Sri Gopala Vimsati – 20


On the banks of the Yamuna river shines the Lord, who is seated on the bow of a Kunthaa tree with a smile on his face. He is enjoying the prank that he played on the unsuspecting Gopis, who had left their clothes on the river bank and were engaged in taking morning ablutions. He wanted to teach them a lesson for breaking the rules of Sastras, which forbid one from taking bath in the river without wearing a cloth. Gopalan sneaked up on the crowd of Gopis deeply absorbed in water sports and took all of their clothes and climbed up the Kuntha tree and sat on one of its branch and waited for them to come out of the water. The unaware Gopis completed their water sports and ablutions and got out of the water and discovered that there clothes were removed by the smiling Gopalan sitting on the adjascent Pinnai (Kuntha) tree. Overcome by modesty, they rushed back into the water and prayed to him to return their clothes. He commanded them to come out of the water with folded hands raised above their hands as a mark of atonement for the sin of breaking the injunctions of Saastras. They had no choice, but to obey him to regain their clothes. May that mischievous Gopalan fond of Gopis be victorious!


This slOkam is the equivalent of the PhalAdhyAyam of Brahma Soothrams. It deals with the event that took place on the banks of YamunA River, when the Lord stole the garments of the Gopis, who were sporting in the river without clothes (naganais). He steals their clothes laid out on the banks of the Yamuna river (VallaveenAm vAsa hruthvA Dinakara suthA sannidhou), climbs a nearby Kuntha tree with the vasthrams and has a big smile on His face in anticipation of events to unfold (leelA smEra: laLithAm Kunta Saakham Aasthitha:). The gopis come out of the water and look for their vasthrams (anthareeyams and Utthareeyams), which are not to be found anywhere. Then they see the Kithava Gopalan on the branch of the Kuntha tree holding their vasthrams. They beg Him to give the vasthrams back and save them from the cold and shame. They fold their hands and beg Him for mercy (savreeLabhi: vasanE abhyarTyamAna: kara kamalayO: anjalim kurvan). He responds to their anjali and returns their vasthrams and is victorious in the game (kascchith Kaame Jayathy).

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