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Parijata Harana Yatra of Srimanta Sankaradeva from Admin's blog

Translated by Prof William L. Smith

[Reproduced from https://atributetosankaradeva.org with thanks] 

Hail Krishna, Vishnu Achyuta, the Supreme Lord.

Mounted on the shoulders of Garuda, he struck down his


In his joyful lila the son of Devaki

carried off the parijata flower for the sake of his beloved.

Victory to Krishna.

SUTRA ----Render obeisance to Krishna, summon the audience and say:

Victory to Krishna, destroyer of Kamsa and his family.

His delightful form pervades the minds of his devotees,

like a hundred thousand wishing trees, he fulfills all their


Concentrate your thoughts on his feet.

As death draws ever closer with a growl,

abandon all else and take refuge with Hari.

He is the subject of this play, its name is the Parijata Harana.

Listen, everyone, with devotion,

you have no other friend except Hari.

So says Shankara, the servant of Krishna.

Let everyone repeat the name of Rama!

SUTRA------ Good people! He who is the Supreme Guru of the world, the Supreme Person, is entering the assembly along with his wives Rukmini and Satyabhama. He will perform the Parijata Harana Yatra. Watch,and listen carefully. Never stop repeating the name of Hari.

COMPANION ---What is that music being played?

COMPANION ---It is the instruments of the gods you hear.

SUTRA -----Good people! As I said, the Supreme Lord Krishna is coming here with his wives for the sake of the yatra. Listen with great care.

He enters, mounted on the mighty bird Garuda.

A mere shard of his beauty eclipses that of the Love God.

His dark body glistens, his yellow robe shines,

he wears a gem-studded crown above his jewel-like face.

Bracelets dangle on his arms

and anklets jingle on his feet.

His splendid figure puts a hundred million Cupids to shame.

The radiance of his body fills all the directions.

With him are Rukmini and Satyabhama, the best of women.

So says Shankara, the slave of the slave of Hari.

SUTRA -----After he dances with all his wives, Krishna is staying in a palace with Rukmini. Satyabhama is staying in her own palace. At that time god Indra arrived in the company of the celestial sage Narada. He bowed to Krishna and informed him about the depredations of the demon Narakasura. Then Narada gave obeisance to Krishna. Watch and listen with the greatest attention!

The god Indra comes astride his elephant Airavata,

a royal parasol above his head, thunderbolt in hand.

Before him is Narada, singing of the virtues of Hari.

Indra’s lovely wife Shachi at one side,

walking with a graceful gait, arching her eyes.

So sings Shankara: the Lord of the Gopinis is the way.

SUTRA----- When Krishna saw Narada, he and his wives stood up and greeted him.

NARADA (Raising his hand) -------May you live long!

SUTRA------ After pronouncing his blessing, Narada places the parijata flower in the hand of Krishna and tells him about its wondrous qualities.

NARADA----- Krishna, the perfume of the parijata can be sensed six kilometers away. Wealth, family, and glory never leave the home of a person who possesses a parijata flower. Because of the power of this blossom, the woman who wears it is exceptionally fortunate. Her husband will never leave her. What else can I say about this marvelous flower? (He then sits in silence.)

SUTRA -----When Rukmini hears what the sage said about the qualities of the parijata, she clasps Krishna’s feet with delight and says:

RUKMINI (her hands clasped)------ My dear husband! Since I am your senior wife, O Lord of Life, please present me with that rare blossom!

SUTRA------ Now listen to what happens when Rukmini asks for the flower.

Filled with delight, Rukmini bowed down to her husband’s feet,

her hands joined together in supplication.

‘‘Please Lord, let this parijata flower be given to me.

I learned of its qualities from the lips of the sage,

appease my pride.

You who are merciful to your devotees, I am begging you,

make me a present of the flower.

I am your foremost wife.

Please let my hopes be realized.’’

The lover Krishna smiled at his wife’s words,

says Shankara, the slave of Krishna.

SUTRA----- When he hears Rukmini’s request, Krishna, laughing, lifts her up and proudly seats her on his lap. The Lord of the World then fixes the parijata flower in her hair. Her wish has been granted. Then, sitting together with his wife, Krishna affectionately asks Narada for news.

KRISHNA ------Sage, are you faring well? Our city of Dvaraka has been sanctified by your coming. I am thankful for having been graced with the sight of you.

NARADA -------Lord Krishna, your human deeds have enchanted the entire world. It does not know you as the Lord. I know all about devotion. You wish to enchant me? Listen Lord:

Parameshvara, Lord of the World,

I, Narada, am a slave at your feet.

I wander through all ten directions singing of your virtues.

You are the Guru of the World, the God of the gods.

May I serve your feet forever!

May my lips sing your praises forever!

I ask this boon of you.

NARADA------ Krishna, you are the Supreme Person, you are Narayana. You have descended to earth to remove its burden of evil. The demon Naraka is causing the gods much grief at the moment. This is the reason why Indra and his wife Shachi have come to take refuge at your feet. Look, Krishna, look!

SUTRA------ With those words, Narada is silent. Indra falls at Krishna’s feet, and he and his wife praise him.

Victory to the Yadava Lord

in whose name are the four rasas.

Slayer of Agha, Baka, Dhenuka, and Kamsa,

you eased the earth of its burden of evil

and became an avatara for the sake of your devotees.

Now the sinful Naraka is committing great outrages.

He attacked heaven and carried off its riches.

I am pleading at your feet.

INDRA -------Lord Krishna, is there any evil deed the demon Naraka hasn’t done? He has stolen the umbrella of Varuna and carried off all the jewel mountain. O Krishna, what can I say, even the earrings of Mother Aditi are not safe from him. What other recourse have I? O Krishna, there is nowhere else for me to go save the refuge of your feet. Please save me, Lord Jagannath, save me!

SUTRA------ Once he has said this, Indra falls down before Krishna and bursts into tears.

SHRI KRISHNA -----Indra, cease your lamenting! Your enemy’s final hour has come! I will kill Narakasura right away for the sake of the gods. You can be absolutely certain of this. Now go on ahead to Amaravati. I will slay Narakasura today and follow you there.

NARADA------- Indra, when Krishna makes a promise like this, your enemy has as good as forfeited his head. Don’t be afraid, go on ahead. Shri Krishna has felt pity for you, so you don’t need to worry. We will come along later.

SUTRA------ When he hears this promise of relief, Indra circumambulates Narada and Krishna and then bows down to them. Taking leave, he mounts his elephant Airavata and goes his way.

NARADA -------Krishna, get ready to depart at once, as soon as I’ve seen the fun in Dvaraka, I’ll follow you.

SUTRA ------When he says this, Narada departs. See what happened then!

Narada left, singing the praises of Hari,

and wandered to Dvaraka and gazed on its magnificence with awe.

All of Hari’s houses were encrusted with jewels

making them resemble celestial mansions.

Then the sage spied a fabulous dwelling

within which Satyabhama sat,

her face gleaming like the moon waxed full.

Narada greeted her with a smile

and when the lady saw the sage,

she bowed down before him

and said Narada, “May you live a long life!’’

SUTRA------ As she fans him with a cowry, the sage takes a seat.

NARADA ------Queen Satyabhama, I have witnessed the dire deeds of your Krishna. Mother, you are indeed unfortunate. I have just found that out today.

SATYABHAMA------- Muniraj, what are you talking about? I don’t understand you at all.

NARADA----- O dear, fate certainly has not been kind to you! Mother, what can I say, it pains me to have to tell you this.

SUTRA-------- Once he says this, the sage turns his head away and is silent.

Satyabhama becomes nervous and asks:

SATYABHAMA -----Muni, I know that there is no other woman as fortunate as I am. Krishna will never go off and leave me. What did you hear or see? Promise to tell me the truth right away. Muni, I’m very upset. Don’t sit there and say nothing!

SUTRA------ Seeing how determined the queen was, the sage says:

NARADA ----Mother, O Mother! What can I tell you? It’s wrong to speak about all these things. I brought down a precious parijata flower from heaven and put it in Krishna’s hand. The wonderful qualities of the parijata flower make the woman who wears it very fortunate. I knew this when I told him that Satyabhama is worthy of the parijata flower. But then what did Krishna go and do? As he watched you out of the corner of his eye, he fastened the divine parijata in Rukmini’s hair with his own hand with great affection. Oh, yours is an unlucky life! How can you endure witnessing the favor your co-wife enjoys? Mother, you’re numbered among the dead though living. Oh, what more can I say?

SUTRA----- When Satyabhama has heard about the great good fortune of her co-wife from Narada’s lips, she becomes both enraged and overwhelmed with a feeling of humiliation and faints dead away. With her hair spread out, she looks like a clove tree uprooted by the wind. No breath stirs in her nostrils.

When Satyabhama’s friend Indumati sees what happened, she shouts, ‘‘She’s dead!’’ and holds her in her arms and sprinkles her head with water. Then she wipes her face with the hem of her sari and tries to comfort her as she weeps herself.

INDUMATI------- My dearest friend, are you going to die of humiliation because of your co-wife? Is this any way to react? Won’t your husband Krishna try to make it up to you? Mother, stop thinking these gloomy thoughts!

SUTRA------ When Satyabhama has recovered to some extent, she sighs deeply as if she were in agony.

Tears poured from the lotus-like eyes of the lovely lady

as her body grew exhausted from sobbing.

All seemed to be darkness to her.

Her heart burned because of the success of her rival

and the pain welled up in her heart.

‘‘Hari, my dear Hari, you have become like an enemy

since you slighted me so.’’

She rolled round on the floor groaning.

SUTRA -----Satyabhama complains about her humiliation in this piteous way. Then the trouble-loving Narada returns to Krishna. Listen to what he told him!

NARADA----- Shri Krishna, how can you be happy here? Satyabhama has stopped eating and drinking because of the insult of the parijata flower. She’s dying of grief. Go to her quickly and see for yourself.

SUTRA----- When he hears from the sage about his wife’s grief, Shri Krishna is upset because of his deep affection for her. He asks the sage what has happened and then goes to see her.

Tell me sage, straight out, with no tricks,

is the love of my life alive?

That proud lady cannot bear the most trivial slight,

how can she survive my crime?

The suffering of my beloved sears me with pain.

By not giving her the flower, I caused her death.

SUTRA----- Overwhelmed by affection, Krishna goes to his beloved. Her face is pale from weeping. She is heaving deep sighs and lying on the floor. Holding her in his arms, Krishna asks her what has happened. As tears stream from his eyes, he consoles her.

SHRI KRISHNA---- Darling, I only gave a single flower to Rukmini; if this is the reason you feel slighted, then get up off the floor! I’ll give you a hundred parijata flowers. My love, Rukmini and Jambuvati are not as favored as you are. You are as precious to me as my very life. Now you know this, so stop grieving. It breaks my heart to see you suffering in this way. Beloved, I swear it to you, get up, get up!

SUTRA------- When she hears her husband’s words, Satyabhama turns her back to him, sinks her head, and begins to sob in a heart-rending manner.

SATYABHAMA -------My husband, why are you trying to bamboozle a miserable woman like me with your clever talk? Go to your beloved Rukmini instead! What’s the point of your staying here?

SUTRA ------Once she says this to Krishna, she laments. Listen and see!

‘‘Keshava, now I have understood you.

Now I see how you behave.

Forget your tricks and go back to your dear wife.

Krishna, I didn’t understand your wiles,

There’s no woman as miserable as I.

I’m now aware of your lover’s tricks,

now I know your mind.

Oh, I’ll not outlive this insult,

I’ve left all hope of life.’’

The lady fell at her lover’s feet moaning,

says Shankara the servant of Hari.

SATYABHAMA------- Oh miserable me! I take second place to my co-wife! You have humiliated me so terribly, how can I stay alive? My life is ruined!

SUTRA -------Having said this, the queen faints and falls to the floor, tears gushing from her eyes. When he sees that, Krishna cries out and takes her in his arms, and his heart fills with tenderness. Tears run from her doe-like eyes. He holds his beloved tight in his arms and comforts her with the following words:

Dear, I see that your frail frame cannot bear your grief.

Tears are flowing from your lotus eyes.

My love, listen to what I have to say,

I did not give you a parijata flower

and I cannot get over that.

There is no one else as fortunate as you,

I gave Rukmini just one flower,

does that upset you so?

I’ll pull up the parijata tree by the roots

and plant it by your door.

Listen my dear, I’ve told you the truth,

you must believe my words.

So stop crying princess,

my heart cannot bear to see your sorrow.

I swear I will do it,

get up, get up!

SUTRA------- When he said this, Krishna held Satyabhama’s hand.

INDUMATI------ My dearest friend! Your husband is the Supreme God. He’s very upset and begging you to forgive him. What else can he to do to satisfy you? Forget your grief, get up, get up!

SUTRA ------When Satyabhama hears her husband’s pleas, her heart is somewhat calmed. Seeing that, Krishna lifts her up, sits her on his thigh, and wipes away the dust with his yellow robe and binds up her hair. He puts betel and camphor into her mouth with his own hand.

Having gotten her way with her husband, Satyabhama bows to Krishna with a satisfied smile on her face and says:

SATYABHAMA-------- My dear husband, you promised to get a parijata tree for me. So fetch it right away and don’t dawdle. I will not set foot into my home unless I see a parijata tree before it. I swear it!

SHRI KRISHNA------ My dear, the evil demon Naraka has defeated the gods and carried everything they owned. So first I have to kill him and help them. Then I can get you your parijata tree.

SAT YABHAMA------ You’re right. First do the work of the gods, then fetch the parijata tree on the way. I’ll go with you.

SHRI KRISHNA------ My dear, you’re a woman. It’s not proper for you to go where fighting will be taking place.

SATYABHAMA ------My husband, you have many other wives. It’s not certain which one you will give the parijata flower to. There’s no way I’ll let you out of my sight.

SHRI KRISHNA------ Dearest, if you’re going with me, then get ready quickly.

NARADA (with irritation) -------Krishna, I see that you’re abandoning the work of the gods because of a woman. You’ve spent the whole day making up to her.

SHRI KRISHNA --------Sage, what does a woman understand about fighting? I cannot get away from her. I’m on my way right now. Don’t be angry.

SUTRA ------With these words, Shri Krishna quickly sets off with his wife. He twangs his bowstring and the sound reverberates in all ten directions.

Narada then comes up and says:

The Lord of the Yadus has departed,

saranga bow in hand, his wife at his side.

He wears a yellow robe on his dark blue body

which glistens like a new rain cloud.

Jeweled anklets resound on his feet.

Shankara says, ‘‘Immerse your mind in this!’’

NARADA ---------I have not seen many men so far under their wife’s thumbs as you. You can’t even leave your wife when you go into battle. You are the Guru of the World. I wander through the three worlds singing of your glory. Oh, I feel ashamed!

SHRI KRISHNA------- Listen, muni, what am I supposed to do? Satyabhama was on the brink of death because of the parijata. How much more of that could I take?

NARADA------- Krishna, This is the way a man gets when he’s lovesick. He has to do whatever his wife orders. So what! The demon Naraka is in Kamrup and this is Dvaraka, a four-month

journey away. If you take a woman along, the journey will take two or three years. Is this doing the work of the gods? Do one thing. Summon Garuda, the king of the birds, your vehicle. Climb up on his shoulders and go kill Naraka.

SUTRA-------- When he had heard Narada’s words, Krishna says to his wife:

SHRI KRISHNA--------- Dear, Narada is right.

SATYABHAMA--------- Husband, I can’t go all the way by foot.

SHRI KRISHNA ---------(summoning Garuda) King of Birds: come quickly, come quickly!

GARUDA-------- My Lord, while I am here, there’s no need to walk. Climb on my back and slay the evil Naraka.

SUTRA------- Then Shri Krishna mounts on Garuda and flies off to perform his lila. Shri Krishna flies to Kamrup on Garuda with the speed of the wind. He sounds his conch Panchajanya, and when Naraka hears it, he comes running. Watch and hear how Krishna slew him.

Govinda flew on the back of Garuda,

eager to slay Naraka.

The King of Birds went with the speed of the wind

and reached Kamrup in the blink of an eye.

Hari sounded his conch time and again,

and the demons’ hearts shook to hear it.

They knew that Madhava was on his way

and went off roaring to fight.

Kettledrums announced the battle

and cries of ‘‘kill, kill!’’ and ‘‘Hold, hold!’’ filled the air.

Enraged, Naraka charged,

intending to cleave Krishna with his sword.

Hari twanged the string of his bow

and plagued the demons with a flurry of missiles,

slaughtering the demon warriors,

slicing off arms, shoulders, and heads.

Seeing this, the other demons fled

as arrows struck and felled them.

The angry Jagannath hurled his discus

and cut off the evil Naraka’s head.

The delighted gods

beat the victory drums and tossed down flowers,

shouting ’’Jaya, jaya Yadava.’’

Let everyone repeat the name of Hari!

SUTRA------- Once Shri Krishna has killed Naraka, the gods celebrate the glorious deed, beating kettledrums and shouting ‘‘Jaya Krishna, jaya Krishna’’ and showering down flowers upon his head. Shri Krishna and Satyabhama are filled with joy. When Vasumati learns that her son Naraka has been slain, filled with grief, she takes her grandchild Bhagadatta to an audience with Shri Krishna. See what happened!

Come the beloved mother, come for darshan of Hari.

Holding the child, Vasumati approaches with a graceful gait,

her body pale from suffering at the sufferings of her son.

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