Faith

Kesava explained

One of Lord Krishna’s wives (some versions say it is Rukmini; some say it is Jambavati) wanted a child and expressed her desire to Krishna. Krishna said that He would do tapas to propitiate Lord Siva and ask for this boon. This incident is described in the Kailasa Yatra parva of Hari Vamsa, which is an appendix of the Mahabharata, said V.S. Karunakarachariar in a discourse.

In the meanwhile, in Kailasa, Siva spoke about Sri Vaikuntha. There was a devotee of Siva in Kailasa, called Ghantakarana. He was known by that name because he wore bells on his two ears. He hated Vishnu, and whenever someone mentioned Vishnu, he would shake his head so that the bells would ring loudly, and Ghantakarana would not hear the name of Vishnu. At the end of Siva’s discourse, Ghantakarana asked Siva how he could attain moksha, and Lord Siva said that as long as he hated Vishnu, he could never attain moksha. Lord Siva said that the name Kesava, which Vishnu bore, indicated that Brahma (ka) and Siva (Isa) came from Him. He also said that Vishnu was on the way to Kailasa, and had reached Badrikasrama. Ghantakarana rushed to Badrikasrama, where he worshipped Vishnu, and was granted moksha. While explaining the name Kesava in his Vishnu Sahasranama commentary, Adi Sankara, cites this story, and quotes Siva’s words about Kesava.

But why would Krishna, who could accomplish anything He wanted, do tapas for a child? Siva Himself furnished the answer in Hari Vamsa. He said that this was playacting on the part of Krishna. Appayya Dikshitar, in his commentary on Vedanta Desika’s Yadavabhyudaya, says the One who has no birth took many avataras for the sake of His devotees. This sounds unbelievable, and yet it happened. In the same way, He also became a messenger of the Pandavas.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 6:10:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/kesava-explained/article33224561.ece

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