The river Yamuna is praised, for no river was as blessed as this river, said M.V. Anantapadmanabhachariar. The Godavari was tainted, because of its behaviour during the Rama avatara. When Ravana carries away Sita, She cries out for help. She calls out to the trees to tell Rama that She is being abducted by Ravana. She beseeches the river Godavari to bear witness to her abduction, and tell Rama to hasten to rescue Her. Rama, having killed the magic deer, Mareecha, skins it and returns, only to find Sita missing. He berates Lakshmana for being so careless, and then proceeds to look for Her. He calls out to the river Godavari and asks if she had any news of Sita. The river Godavari observes silence, fearing Ravana's wrath. Thus Godavari acquired a taint. This taint was removed, only when Andal appeared as the daughter of Periazhvar and was named Goda.

But the river Yamuna was blessed right from the beginning. The waters of the Yamuna are dark, and yet Andal described the Yamuna as a pure river. That is because the Yamuna was fortunate enough to have touched Krishna's feet. When Krishna is born, Vasudeva puts Him in a basket and decides to take Him away to safety. But it is raining, and the Yamuna is in spate. Adisesha, the serpent, is the umbrella that keeps baby Krishna from getting wet. Garuda is circling too, to protect the infant. But how is Vasudeva to cross the river? He steps into the water, which isn't deep near the bank of the river. But as he progresses, the water becomes deeper, and at one stage, only his nostrils are above the water. The infant Krishna then dangles His feet outside the basket into which His father has put Him. His feet touch the waters of the river Yamuna. This divine touch is what Yamuna has been waiting for. She makes way for Vasudeva to walk across to safety.

In Gokula, the Gopikas playfully rinse their mouths and spit the water on Krishna. The water bounces off Him into the river Yamuna. Thus the Yamuna receives water that had touched the Lord's body. When Krishna grazes the cows, He kneels and laps the water in the Yamuna, to show the calves how to drink water. Thus again the Yamuna is touched by the Lord.

More In: Faith | Friday Review