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Goda

the 4th Alvar

 

 


Goda

The fourth Alvar was called Goda.  She was an incarnation of Bhu-Laksmi.  One day when Visnucitta was doing his gardening, he heard the cry of a baby from his tulasi garden.  He went in there and under the tulasi plant he found this baby.  He took her and brought her to his home.  Up till now, Visnucitta was a naisthika brahmacari and a babaji.  He had no family life.  And now there was this small baby, and it was a girl.  

So he went around in the village and told the matajis, "Please come and take care of this child."  So they took care of the child.  Since his service was gardening and he was collecting many flowers, her service was making flower garlands.  She used to make a garland, give it to him, and he would take it to the deity.  One day when he came back to the house, he arrived a little early.  Usually the garland was ready and was kept in a basket and take, but today he came ten minutes earlier.  And while coming, he just peeped in through the window to see what was happening with the service, and he saw this young girl standing in front of the mirror, and she was wearing the flower garland, and she was smiling.  

So Visnucitta burst in the door.  "What have you done?" he yelled.  "Great offence!  This flower is for the enjoyment of Visnu, and you are a jiva, a living entity.  You should not take anything which is not enjoyed by him firsthand, and this has made a great offence.  Now you have become disqualified to do this service any more.  I won't take these garlands from you."  

So then he ran out onto the street, and he was begging so many other people, "It's time for darsana, and I have to offer a flower garland.  Can you make something?"  So then all of them sat together and made a nice flower garland and he took it, and went into the temple.  At the end of the puja he offered it to the deity but it broke and fell off.  

Then he had to arrange for another garland to be made.  That also broke.  One more was made and that broke too.  Then he gave up.  He laid down and he was crying, "What is happening?"  So then the deity came in his dream and told him, "I will only accept that garland which has already been worn by your daughter, and other garlands I will not accept."  

So he went to his daughter and said, "You please make a flower garland, wear it and then give it to me."  Then she said, "But it is bhoga!  I am not supposed to wear it."  Visnucitta said, "I am so confused.  I don't know.  I have established Visnu as the Supreme Person, and now I don't know what this philosophy is."  So then she said, "I was only wearing it to see in the mirror how it will look on the deity, because I am of the same height as the deity.  I am making this garland, it is thick in here, it is going thinner and thinner, and then there are two lotus flowers at the end.  So I wanted to see how it would look on the Lord's body.  That was what I was checking, but you said I have done offence.  What can I do?" 

Then he said, "This is even higher philosophy.  You please do like this, give it to me and I will offer."  This was going on.  And one day he called his daughter and said, "I was taking bath in the well, and I overheard a neighbour say, 'This babaji has got a daughter from somewhere.  She is already of age and he is not thinking of her marriage.'  So I have to get you married to someone."  So she said, "Don't mention human beings!  They're ugly, they're not beautiful people.  Who will suit my beauty?"  So then he said, "I will describe to you some beautiful people."  Then he gave a description of different deities.  When he was describing the beauty of Ranganatha in Sri Rangam she said, "I would marry this person."  So then he said, "Look my dear child, I was just joking.  You cannot marry Him, He is a deity."  So she said, "If I can give Him a flower garland, what is the difficulty for me in marrying Him?"  He said, "That is because He is so merciful that somehow He is accepting your service, because you were only checking that it was all right.  But don't have this dream.  This is against our philosophy, so don't think like this."  

Then she said, "Well if I can't marry Him I won't marry anyone."  So the problem continued.  And then one day the priests of the temple came to Visnucitta and said, "We had an instruction in our dream that from Sri Rangam the deity is sending His priest to carry your daughter from here, and we are supposed to go, and you should also come because there is a marriage and the muhurta is at such and such hour, on this day, in this city..."  And then Visnucitta said, "What happened to all of you?  Now you are having a dream that she is marrying the deity in Sri Rangam, and she has been saying this already.  Don't tell this to my daughter, she is already confused.  And go away from here."  

Then they said, "Well we came here to give you the instruction from the Lord."  And somehow he drove them away.  Then he saw there was a big procession coming from Sri Rangam.  Palanquins, camaras, umbrellas, and they were all asking, "Who is Visnucitta?  Where is he?"  He went up and said, "I am Visnucitta."  They asked him, "Where is your daughter?  She should sit in this palanquin, and you should come.  Marriage is coming close."  "Marriage?  With whom?" asked Visnucitta.  "With Ranganath deity," the priests answered.  "Deity getting married?  Who ever heard of that?  You're all priests, have you ever heard of that?"  

They said, "We know that Ranganath is the Supreme Lord, and He is saying this, so who are we to argue with Him, "You are a deity so You cannot get married."  We cannot do that.  You only just established Him as the Absolute Truth, so how can you make argument with Him?"  "All right then," Visnucitta said.  So Goda was brought to Sri Rangam.  On the way she dreamed the marriage, and she was composing these poems which describe the marriage, and when she was singing these songs Visnucitta was getting more and more confused.  "She's seeing everything, how the marriage of the Lord will happen."  

Finally when they arrived they went three times around the compound wall of the temple, and as they entered she got down from the palanquin, shook her cloth and cleaned herself.  And they told her, "You go pay obeisances to the Lord."  So she walked to pay obeisances, and she kept on walking.  So then Visnucitta started screaming, "Wait!  Stop there!  You have to pay obeisances there!  No closer!"  She kept on walking, and again he said, "Stop!" but still she kept going.  Visnucitta was half-fainting.  Then she went inside.  There was the coils of the snake on which the Lord was sleeping.  She stepped on it, and Visnucitta fainted.  Someone was trying to wake him up, and when he woke up again he saw that she had climbed on the snake coil, and was sitting on the snake.  She had her hands on the feet of Visnu, and she was giving massage.  He fainted again.  The next time he woke up there was no Goda.  She had gone back to Godhead.

 

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