Saturday, March 13, 2010

Introduction to Sri Krishna Karnamrutham


This great work was composed by Sage Leela shuka according to the last sloka of the first chapter. Elsewhere he mentions that he is a shaivite but attached to Lord Krishna. It is generally agreed by historians that Leela shuka was his pseudonym and he was known as Vilwamangalathu Swamiyar. He is known as Bilwamangala Thakura in the north India. Though his Samadhi is supposed to be in Mathura, the local legend there agrees that he is from South India. Majority of the literary commentators feel that he was from Kerala. Some of the reasons for this are

1. In several slokas the poet mentions the child Lord Krishna as wearing the golden chain with Tiger’s nail. This was and is done in Kerala only.
2. The famous stotra starting “Kararavindam…” is the first sloka of Balamukundashtakam which is written by Vilwamangalathu Swamiyar of Kerala.

But this work was spotted by Chaithanya Maha Prabhu of Bengal on his visit to Andhra Pradesh. There is a story that people were sent to Trivandrum to get a full book as only the first chapter was available in Andhra Pradesh.

Vilwamangalthu Swamiyar is believed to a great scholar who was a great devotee of Guruvayurappan, the lord of Guruvayur. It seems the child Krishna used to come whenever he was called by the Swamiyar. He is also believed to be responsible for spotting and building of very many temples of Kerala.
Some of his works are
1.Sreekrishna Karnaamritham, 2. Sreechinham, 3. Purushakaaram, 4. Abhinava-Kausthubha-Maala, 5. Dakshinaamoorthy-Sthavam, 6. Kaalavadha Kaavyam, 7. Durgaasthuthi, 8. Baalakrishna Sthothram, 9. Baalagopaala Sthuthy, 10. Sreekrishna Varadaashtakam, 11. Vrindaavana Sthothram, 12. Bhaavanaamukuram, 13. Raamachandraashtakam, 14. Ganapathy Sthothram, 15. Anubhavaashtakam, 16. Mahaakaalaashtakam, 17. Kaarkotakaashtakam, 18. Krishnaleelaa-Vinodam, 19. Sankara-Hridayamgamaa, 20. Subanda-Saamraajyam, 21. Thinganda-Saamraajyam, and 22. Kramadeepika

It is also believed that Lord Krishna used to shake his head as a sign of approval for the slokas of this great work( Sri Krishna Karnamrutham) that He approved. The Swamiyar used to reject all those sloka that did not get approval of the God. On the days when he did not approve any of the Slokas, it seems the Swamiyar used to starve.
Many people think that this great work has only one chapter because in the last sloka of the first chapter, the author mentions that it was a work of Leela Shuka. Normally such references are only made in the last sloka of the last chapter. But the book has three chapters containing respectively 110, 109 and 108 slokas.
The author sings mainly about two stages of the life of Krishna-the childhood and youth .Only in rare cases there is reference to Krishna of later stages of his life.
Two translations of the first chapter of this great work are available in the web. They are
1.Translation by Dr.Saroja Ramanujam- This translation is well illustrated by several mind blowing pictures of Lord Krishna.

2. Translation by Madhumati dasi - This work contains word by word meaning of each sloka.

I am hoping and praying that they will continue and complete the translation. Being a Keralite , I have followed the Malayalam commentaries for my translation effort. I have also consulted the Tamil translation by Sri Anna , published by Rama Krishna Mutt, Madras.
The slokas are of bewitching beauty. They are poems of great quality which has come from the heart of a very great devotee. Ofcourse reference to love and parts of the body of women are mentioned in various places in the book. But I feel that it is only an out pouring of devotion by the poet.
At a very young age my revered father who is no more, had some problem with his leg and when he was bed ridden , it seems he used to get solace by reading and re reading this great work. Later in life, as far as I can remember, whenever he was sick, he used to chant slokas from this great work and get solace. So whenever I read this work, I remember vividly of him. I dedicate my translation to my father Sri.P.R.Rama Iyer who was known as Thekke Madam Kunju Raman of Chelakkara

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