Sri Krishna Karnamrutham was written in Sanskrit by Sri Bilvamangala. The title means: Nectar to the ears of Lord Krishna. The poems express the glorious leelas of Lord Sri Krishna’s childhood life. Because Sri Bilvamangala described the leelas (glories) of Lord Krishna similar to that of Sage Shuka, son of Vyasa who narrated the Bhagavata Purana, he was populary known as Leela Sukha. He was a contemporary of Swami Desikan (AD 1268-1369). The Srikrishna Karnamrutam is known as Madhura Kavyam- tasteful Sanskrit poems.
Sage Leela Shuka belonged to the Saivait family by tradition, but became a devotee of Krishna early in his life. Hence he refers to his traditional background by saying that he wears the feet of Lord Siva on his head. He belongs to a lineage of great devotees of Krishna of Kerala including Narayana Bhattadhiri (the author of Sri NarayaNeeyam) , Poonthanam (author of Basha Karanamrutham), Vasudeva Namboodiri and other great scholars of the Dasama Skhandham of Bhagavata Purana.
Many Pandits say that Leela shuka has traveled over the vast areas of South India when the present day states of Andhra, Karnataka, and Maharashtra were under one province. Some credit him to be one of the builders of the richest temple in the world: the Padma Nabha Swamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram.
In Sadhana, spiritual experiences are rare and remembering these incidents are far less common. However, Sage Leela Sukha was blessed to be able to enjoy and relive these spiritual experiences. We as readers are fortunate to be able to study and learn them through his slokas.
In his early life, Leela Sukha had a love affair with a vesya named Chintamani. She often teased him about his passion and incredible knowledge in sanskrit scriptural grammer: Vyaakaranam, Naatakam and Alankara Sastram and further comments that if he had even one thousandth of that affection towards the Paramaatma (Krishna), he would easily be able to save his own life. That moment was the turning point for Bilva Mangala. He thanked Lord Krishna for showing him the true destiny of life and immersed himself in devotional service to the Lord.
The Srikrishna Karnamrutam has a total 328 slokas sectioned into three chapters.
The book starts off with this sloka:
चिन्तामणिः जयतु सोमगिरिः गुरुः मे(जयतु) शिक्षा गुरुः च भगवान्
शिखि पिञ्छ मौलिः (जयतु) यत् पाद कल्प तरु पल्लव शेखरेषु-
(यत्) जय श्रीः लीला स्वयंवर रसम् लभते(सा) जयतु
In the first sentence the word Chintamani has a double meaning also known as slehsa alamkara. The first meaning conveys the message: “My guru Somagiri who is like Chintamani.” The second meaning talks about his first guide and lover Chintamni who changed his life. This sloka is a guru puja that sets a precedent for the rest of the slokas in the book.
Sage Leela Sukha’s story is an anomaly in the sense that a very small percentage of individuals journey into the Sadhana lifestyle after being insulted. Another example of this situation can be exemplified in the case of King Salvahana who was an illiterate ruler. One day when he was relaxing in the swimming pool, one of the queens said: “Raja naa modakai taadaya” (Modakas are sweets made with coconut and rice flour and jaggery). The King, who possessed no knowledge of grammar misunderstood her statement and thought that she said, “Oh King beat me with modakas”. However, her intended message read, “oh king na= Don’t ; tadaya (beat) with udaka (water). With his little knowledge the king got modakas and started beating his queens. All the queens laughed at his illiteracy and soon the King understood that he was being heckled. Following his embarrassing event, he took refuge at his guru’s feet and became very knowledgeable in many sastras.
He concludes last slokam with the passage:
“Leelaasukena rachitam tava deva Krishna karnaamrutam vahatu kalpa sataanta rephi”
Meaning : this work by Leelasuka creates a flow of nectar for the span of time beyond one hundred kalpas !
Let us now delve more into his spiritual experiences
विहाय कोदण्ड शरौ मुहूर्तम् गृहाण पाणौ मणि चारु वेणुम्
मायूर बर्हम् च निज उत्तम अङ्गे सीतापते त्वाम् प्रणमामि पश्चात्
Once Leela Shukha had a darshan of the Paramaaatma. But he is in the form of Rama with Kondada and Kiriitam. He can say that he will not bow to Rama as he already said Saiva Vayam….. smarati gopavadhu Kisoram. So he says to Lord Sri Rama “ Oh Lord, I know when you give darshan, we have to pray you and then you will give us a boon. So for the time being give me the boon so that I can pray you. For doing so replace your kodandam with cakram and samkham. Replace baanam with venu. Replace kireetam with nemali pincham. So that I can pray you.” Rama complies and blesses Leela Shuka as Krishna. May such Krishna bless us all. That is bhaktha sulabha irrespective of yugam.
रामो नाम बभूव हुम् - तद् अबला सीतेति हुम् - ताम् पितुः वाचा
पङ्चवटी तटे विहरतः तस्य आहरत् रावणः निद्रार्थम् जननी कथामिति हरेः
हुङ्कारतः शृण्वतः सौमित्रे क्व धनुः धनुः धनुः इति व्यग्रा गिरः पान्तु वः
One day, Yashoda bathed Krishna and got him ready for sleep, as all children & grandchildren want to hear a story, Krishna did too. Yashoda started to narrate a story and Krishna was required to respond by saying HUM. The story goes - Once there a lived a king by name Rama HUM. His wife's name was Sita HUM. By the promise given by Rama’s father Rama went to live in forests near Pancavati along with his wife and brother Lakshmana HUM. Then a Rakhasa named Ravana kidnapped Sita. As soon as he heard this, Krishna jumped from his cradle and shouted, “saumitri where is my bow? My bow? My bow?” This shows not the story of Ramayana alone, nor Sita’s abduction but his attachment and devotion to Lakshmana. Such Krishna bless us.
…Sarve Jana Sukhino Bhavantu…