Faith

Exceptional mothers

The name Vasupradah in the Vishnu Sahasranama occurs twice, in succession, in the same verse. Parasara Bhatta, in his commentary, gives two different meanings for the name, said M.A. Venkatakrishnan, in a discourse. Vasu means wealth. Parasara Bhatta says that the first Vasupradah means the Lord gave Himself to Devaki and Vasudeva. For the second Vasupradah, he says it means He gave Vasudeva and Devaki the great blessing of being His parents. While Devaki was blessed to have borne the Lord for twelve months and to have given birth to Him, she did not have the blessing of bringing Him up. That blessing went to Yasoda and Nandagopa. If Devaki was unique in being the birth mother of Krishna, Yasoda too was unique, for she had the boon of caring for Krishna. Andal celebrates both mothers of Krishna, when She says ‘oruthi maganai pirandu … oruthi maganai valarndu’ — born to one exceptional mother, brought up as the son of another exceptional mother.

We desire riches, hoping to enjoy the same. In the case of Devaki and Yasoda, Devaki prayed for the Lord to be born as her son. But she did not enjoy the wealth she had asked for. Enjoyment of the childhood of Krishna was given to Yasoda, and not to Devaki. Vasudeva means rich man, and indeed Vasudeva was rich, for His son was Lord Krishna. Nandagopa means one who is joyous. And the name suits Krishna’s foster father perfectly, for who will not be joyous if he is addressed as father by Krishna? A Rg Vedic hymn uses the words Atmadaa and Baladaa for God. Atmadaa means He who gives Himself. Baladaa means He who gives the strength to enjoy Him. Krishna is Atmadaa, for He gave Himself to Devaki and Vasudeva; He is baladaa, because He gave Yasoda and Nandagopa the experience of bringing Him up.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2021 11:48:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/exceptional-mothers/article33594870.ece

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