Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Mukunda-mālā-stotra 44

he gopālaka he kṛpā-jala-nidhe he sindhu-kanyā-pate

he kaḿsāntaka he gajendra-karuṇā-pārīṇa he mādhava

he rāmānuja he jagat-traya-guro he puṇḍarīkākṣa māḿ

he gopījana-nātha pālaya paraḿ jānāmi na tvāḿ vinā


he gopālakaO cowherd boy; heO; kṛpā — of mercy; jala-nidhe — ocean; heO; sindhu — of the ocean; kanyā — of the daughter (goddess Lakṣmī, who took birth from the Milk Ocean); pate — husband; he kaḿsa-antakaO killer of Kaḿsa; heO; gaja-indrato the king of the elephants; karuṇā — with mercy; pārīṇa — full; he mādhavaO Lord Mādhava; he rāma-anujaO younger brother of Lord Balarāma; heO; jagat-traya — of the three worlds; guro — spiritual master; heO; puṇḍarīka-akṣa — lotus-eyed one; māmme; heO; gopī-jana — of the cowherd women of Vraja; nātha — master; pālaya — please protect; param — supreme; jānāmi naI do not know; tvām vinā — other than You.


O young cowherd boy! O ocean of mercy! O husband of Lakṣmī, the ocean's daughter! O killer of Kaḿsa! O merciful benefactor of Gajendra! O Mādhava! O younger brother of Rāma! O spiritual master of the three worlds! O lotus-eyed Lord of the gopīs! I know no one greater than You. Please protect me.


King Kulaśekhara's prayers are all addressed to the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His various expansions and incarnations. Sometimes he addresses Lord Nārāyaṇa or Lord Rāma, but very frequently he specifies Lord Kṛṣṇa as his object of special attraction. According to the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.3.28), Lord Kṛṣṇa is in fact the source of all incarnations and expansions:

ete cāḿśa-kalāḥ puḿsaḥ kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam

indrāri-vyākulaḿ lokaḿ mṛḍayanti yuge yuge

"All [these] incarnations are either plenary portions or portions of the plenary portions of the Lord, but Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the original Personality of Godhead Himself. In every age He protects the world through His different features when the world is disturbed by the enemies of Indra" (Bhāg. 1.3.28).

In his famous "Govinda Prayers" in the Brahma-saḿhitā, Lord Brahmā teaches this same conclusive truth, or siddhānta — namely, that all incarnations of Godhead and all demigods, as well as all the material and spiritual worlds and their constitutional elements, originate from Lord Kṛṣṇa, or Govinda: govindam ādi-puruṣaḿ tam ahaḿ bhajāmi **.

In Text 43 King Kulaśekhara directly used the name Kṛṣṇa nine times, while in the present verse he calls on Kṛṣṇa by names that refer to His pastimes. The names in this verse are all as good as the name Kṛṣṇa, since they all arise from kṛṣṇa-līlā, in which the Lord is known variously as Gopāla (a cowherd boy), as Kaḿsāntaka (the killer of Kaḿsa), as Rāmānuja (the younger brother of Balarāma), or as Gopījananātha (the Lord of the gopīs). Ultimately, all names of God refer to Kṛṣṇa. For a Kṛṣṇa devotee, whether God is addressed by the name Kṛṣṇa or other names — even names of God from other religions — the devotee, following the conclusion of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and the Brahma-saḿhitā, always understands that these names ultimately designate the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa.

In this verse we also see a combination of personal devotion and objective appreciation of the Lord. One often finds this in the Vaiṣṇava poetry of the Ālvārs of South India, of whom Kulaśekhara is one. Within a few lines the bhakta will praise the Lord for some of His inconceivable, awe-inspiring activities — and then exclaim how this same great Lord is his personal Lord in the heart.

King Kulaśekhara addresses Lord Kṛṣṇa as the spiritual master of the three worlds, and he calls upon the Lord to protect him. One may question, "Since Lord Viṣṇu is already protecting all living beings, why should a devotee ask for personal protection?" But the bhakta is not seeking physical protection; he wants his personal loving relationship with the Lord to be nourished and maintained. In other words, he wants the Lord to protect him from the greatest calamity — forgetfulness of Him.

Śrīla Prabhupāda explains, "The Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is already in charge of the maintenance of this creation by virtue of His plenary expansion Kṣīrodakśāyī Viṣṇu, but this maintenance is not direct. However, when the Lord says that He takes charge of His pure devotee, He actually takes direct charge" (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Preface). The pure devotee is one who surrenders to the Lord just as a child surrenders to his parents or an animal to its master. When a devotee submits himself in that way, Kṛṣṇa gives him special attention and protection. King Kulaśekhara praises the Lord according to the śāstra and according to His līlā, and yet he also calls upon Him for personal protection, confident that the Lord will fulfill His promise to reciprocate with all His devotees according to how they approach Him.

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