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Vraja Vilasa: Ambika, Krishna’s wet nurse




May Ambikā, Krishna’s wetnurse, who was very anxious out of fear of the demons and who performed many harsh austerities for Krishna’s protection with which she satisfied the universal mother Bhagavatī, who granted her a heroic son who is able to kill all the demons, protect us.

Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā: In this verse Shripad Das Goswami draws a loving picture of Krishna’s wet nurse Ambika, who is a vessel of pure parental love for Sri Krishna.

ambikā ca kilimbā ca dhātṛke stanya dātrike 
ambikeyaṁ tayor mukhyā vrajeśvaryāḥ priyā sakhī


Ambikā and Kilimbā are two wet nurses who breastfed Krishna. Of the two, the greater is Ambika, for she is Vrajeshvari Yashoda’s dear girlfriend. (


She worshipped Durga Devi and by her grace got a heroic son named Vijaya.

atrādhyākṣo’mbikā sūnur vijayākhyas tapasyayā.
yaḥ kilāmbikayā lebhe dhātryopāsya sadāmbikām


“Vijaya is the leader of the older boys that serve as Sri Krishna’s bodyguards, his mother Ambikā performed penances to please Ambikā or Pārvati to get a heroic son like him.” (ibid.)


Out of fear of the demons she is very anxious at heart to keep tender Krishna safe and protected. Ambikā is always carried away by worries that some calamity might befall Sri Krishna. She is always concerned about His safety, even though He Himself is the guardian of the world. This is the work of pure transcendental parental love.

Shrila Jiva Goswamipada has written that love alone can cause such apprehension of harm:

yasmin jāte tat sambandhābhāsenāpi mahā-bāṣpādi-vikāraḥ priya-darśanādy-atṛptasya parama-sāmarthyādau saty api keṣāñcid aniṣṭā-śaṅkā ca jāyate (Prīti Sandarbha)

“When affection for the Lord awakens, even the slightest relationship with the Lord creates tear-filled emotional transformations, the devotee is never satisfied by seeing the Lord and always apprehends harm befalling him, although He is omnipotent.”

This apprehension of harm is especially strong in parental love, where the devotee observes the tenderness of Sri Krishna’s body. Therefore mother Ambikā was always afraid at heart of the demons. “I think that a demon is coming, I think he’s going to kill Krishna!” Tormented by thoughts like these, mother Ambikā desperately began to perform harsh austerities to please goddess Durgā with the aim of getting a heroic son who would protect Sri Krishna.

On the bhakti path it is considered to be an impairment to the principle of pure devotion if one worships other gods and goddesses, especially if it is for benefits like wealth and children. But the Vrajavasis’ worship of other gods and goddesses and their praying to them for boons like children is nothing else but another form of their love for Sri Krishna. The Goswamis have given the following conclusion about the Vraja-kumārīs (virgin-gopīs)’ worship of Kātyāyanī-devī to get Sri Krishna as a husband:


“Because the pastimes of Sri Krishna and his companions in Vraja are human-like it is seen that the Vraja-companions worship Māyādevī for getting wealth and sons and so (although Kātyāyanī is the Lord’s chit shakti or spiritual potency, when her worshippers ask her for wealth and children she gives that through her māyā-śakti), but these should be understood to be their most blissful loving pastimes. Their worship is also nothing but prema, because as a result of their worship they do not attain Kātyāyanī-devī but the Supreme Lord. Therefore if someone forgets the means and the goal and thinks: “The Vraja-devīs were also worshiping Kātyāyanī-devī, therefore there is no other means to get Sri Krishna and love of him than to worship her”, or “The worship of Kātyāyanī is the only means and goal”, they will never even catch a whiff of the wind that carries the breeze of Krishna-prema. The only means of attaining the Lord is pure and exclusive worship of and meditation on him.” (Vaiṣṇava Toṣaṇī Tīkā to Bhāgavata 10.22.4)


Basically the worship of the different gods is also worship of the Supreme Lord, because he is the aggregate of all the gods , this is the philosophical conclusion of scriptures like Śrīmad Bhāgavata. There is no question of the self-perfect loving eternal companions of Krishna in Vraja having to perform any sādhanā. Therefore when mother Ambikā of Vraja, who is constantly swimming in the ocean of pure parental love, saw Vraja being repeatedly attacked by demons she became very apprehensive about Krishna’s safety and pleased Bhagavatī-devī with her penances, desiring to get a son who could kill all the demons. By Devī’s grace she was then blessed with a heroic son named Vijaya. Raghunath Das Goswami says: “May that goddess Ambikā always protect us!”

vātsalye vyākula cittā daityera bhayete;
komalāṅga putra kṛṣṇera satata rakṣārthe
vyākulita hoiyā yei kore upavāsa;
jagan mātā bhagavatīra māge āśīrvāda
tāra anugrahe yini daitya-ghātī putra;
prasava korilo kṛṣṇa rakṣī supavitra
śrī kṛṣṇera dhātrī-mātā nāma se ambikā;
sadā rakṣā korun more vātsalye adhikā

“May Sri Krishna’s wetnurse named Ambikā, who, out of motherly love, is very frightened of demons, who fasted out of anxiety over the protection of her tender son Krishna, praying for the blessings of the universal mother Bhagavatī, and who, by the goddess’ grace, gave birth to a pure son who protects Krishna by killing the demons, always protect me with great motherly love.”



Commentary of Sri Radha Kund Mahant, Pandit Sri Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj is named Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā (a drop of the nectar of Stavāvalī), and was published in Gaurābda 503 (1989 A.D.) from Sri Krishna Chaitanya Shastra Mandir, Vrajananda Ghera, PO Radhakunda (district Mathura), U.P., India.

Devotional songs in Bengali that follow each commentary were composed by Dr. Haripada Sheel.

© Translated by Advaita dāsa in 1994
Source: Tarun Govinda Das, Flowing Nectar Stream blog.

The post Vraja Vilasa: Ambika, Krishna’s wet nurse appeared first on Vrindavan Today.





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