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Story Of Govindadasa Kaviraj And Srinathji Form Of Sri Krishna

God sports with His devotees according to their attitude towards Him. The well-known 16th century saint Govinda Dasa Kaviraja looked upon Bhagavan Srinathji (Sri Krishna) as his friend.

Govinda Das (1506-86) was born in Antri, a village near Vrindavan, and in his youth became famous for his knowledge of poetry and music. He was initiated into spiritual life by the great Goswami Vitthalnath in 1536. Pure and highly spiritual from his boyhood, he would go into the forest and spend the greater part of the day in devotional singing. Such was his musical talent that Vitthalnath honoured him with the title kavishwar (‘chief of poets’) and included him among the ashtachap poets.

Even Akbar and Tansen used to visit him from time to time in disguise to enjoy his heavenly music. People who knew Govindadas were as much awed by his aloofness and detachment as they were attracted by his knowledge and devotion to God.

Once, captivated by Govindadas’ devotional songs, Srinathji appeared before him with Radha Rani. Bhagavan Srinathji sang with His devotee, while His Divine Consort kept time! For all that, Govinda Dasa did not like the ordinary devotee’s attitude of humility. Why should a person who considers himself so close to the all-powerful Bhagavan feel meek and lowly? Govindadas was always merry and fun-loving.

Bhagavan Srinathji used to appear before Govindadas and play with him. One day, as the priest of the Shrinathji temple was getting ready the noon offering for the Lord, Govindadas came tearing into the temple and, before anybody could stop him, struck the Lord’s image forcefully with a stone! The assembled devotees were appalled, and the horrified priest had Govindadas thrown out of the temple.

Govindadas was still waiting outside when Vitthalnath, his guru, arrived at the scene to see what had caused the commotion.

The priest described the offense. And this was Govindadas’ defence:

He was playing a game with Srinathji since that morning and his turn had just come, when the temple bell rang, calling Srinathji into the temple for His noon meal. Without a hint of respect for the rules of fair play, Srinathji abandoned the game and bolted. Not only that. For good measure, He even hit Govindadas with stones — three times, to be precise — before escaping into the sanctuary of the temple. Govindadas scrambled after Srinathji in hot pursuit but could only manage to hit Him once. He was waiting for Shrinathji to come out again after His meal, so he could get even with Him!

Meanwhile, the priest who had gone inside to get on with his duties received an indication that Bhagavan was unwilling to eat. His chum was already cross with Him —and hungry. And now, adding insult to injury, he had been unceremoniously ejected from His house. How could Bhagavan relish His meal when His dear friend was fretting outside in the sun! The priest saw this as a bad omen: Srinathji looked gloomy and depressed! He sent word to Vitthalnath. Himself a highly evolved soul, Vitthalnath knew that the Lord could only be appeased by first pacifying Govindadas. He took Govindadas into the temple and arranged for his meal with his Divine Companion.

It is a basic spiritual law that what we take to be real affects our whole personality, thoughts, emotions and actions. Our whole being responds to this reality. Govindadas’ life is a vindication of this law.

Source - Prabuddha Bharata Magazine July 2002 issue.