Tales from Srimad Bhagavatam: Gurudakshina of Krishna – LXXXIII

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Nilanjana recounts the tale of Krishna’s Guridakshina from the Bhagavatam, in the weekly column. A Different Truths exclusive.

Sukha’s eyes twinkled as he remembered the love that Krishna extended towards his Guru. He said, “Rishi Sandipani had lost his only son to the oceans many years back. His wife and he kept longing for their son. Krishna realised it and was only too happy to pay gurudakshina, as was the custom those days. He instantly granted his guru’s wish and along with Balarama, he set out to find Sandipani’s son. When they reached the shore of the ocean, sat on down contemplating. The lord of the oceans came to pay his respects to Balarama and Krishna. They accepted his cordialities merrily and requested that Sandipani’s son be returned to his guru. They had promised this to him as gurudakshina. The lord of the oceans pleaded innocence. He clarified that he is not responsible for he had not taken the boy away. Under the ocean dwelled an asura (demon) named Panchajana. In the form of a conch, that he often assumed, he stole the boy.

Without wasting a single moment, Krishna dived into the ocean and over-powered Panchajana. After killing him, he opened up the entrails, but could not find the young boy. He found the conch that the lord of the oceans had mentioned and kept it for himself.

Krishna then went to Samyamyani, the favourite place of Yama, the god of death along with Balarama. As they stood there, Krishna blew his conch that he called Panchajanya (meaning born of Panchajana). Yama rushed out to receive his guests. After extending the regular cordialities, he enquired about the reason of their visit. Krishna mentioned that they were there to fetch the son of Sandipani, their guru. This was the gurudakshina that they promised to him. Yama was only too happy to grant their wish.

Snadipani and his elderly wife were delighted to have their son back. Choked with emotion, Sandipani could not speak for a while. When he could finally manage, he expressed heartfelt gratitude that the cosmic consciousness, manifested as Krishna, chose him as his guru gave him the best gurudakshina that was ever possible. He was happy that he was cured of the diseases led by desire. He blessed the brothers with infinite fame.

Balarama and Krishna’s education was complete and they went back to Mathura to complete all the other tasks that awaited them.”

Parikshit was contemplating how divinity, when undergoing a human life, has to play all the roles that nature bestows on mortals. Though fully aware that they were divine, they had to still play the roles to perfection to complete their mortal journey, led by example and inspire the rest of the human beings to live their life as perfectly as they could…

(To be continued)

Footnote: Srimad Bhagavatam is often called the Bhagavad Purana. Authored by Ved Vyasa, the stories are about the various avatars (incarnations) of Lord Vishnu, also known as Narayana. These stories are narrated by Ved Vyasa’s son Sukhadeva to King Parikshit.

©Nilanjana Dey

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A story-teller at heart, Nilanjana Dey is on a journey to experiment with fiction and poetry. Her first novel, largely aimed towards children, is titled ‘The Adventures of Puti – The Cheese Trail’. Her poems have been published at various prestigious portals. An alumni of English Literature from Jadavpur University (Kolkata), she is a marketing and communication professional based in Mumbai. She volunteers with a Mumbai based NGO working with the marginalised sections of the society.