The Witch of Hope

By:Mahanidhi Swami

As an innocent and pure, tender sweet baby of six days, Gopala annihilated a most powerful mystic yogini—a nasty witch named Putana! Before meeting her “Angel of Death”, Putana Rakshasi was traveling through the sky all over Vraja Mandala ruthlessly murdering newborn babies and fiendishly sucking their blood.

Nevertheless, even though Putana was a ferocious, cruel evil witch who came to murder our most adorable and worshipable baby, Gopala liberated her! But not only that wonderful promotion.

In addition, the all-merciful Lord Sri Krishna gave her a spiritual body (siddha-deha), and promoted Putana to Goloka Vrndavana to serve in a mood of motherly love. Isn’t this the most inconceivable display of dispensing the topmost degree of causeless mercy to a totally undeserving entity!!

Sri Brahmaji was totally amazed by this. So he praised Sri Krishna for it in his Brahma Stuti: “This wicked witch Putana came to kill you, although she dressed like a devoted cowherd lady of Vraja. But You gave such blessings to her, so I cannot even imagine how You will reward the Vrajavasis who love You absolutely, and have offered everything they have for Your pleasure!” (SB 10.14.35)

Sri Uddhava Mahashaya was so astounded by this karuna-lila of Krishna that he once glorified it in an outburst of ecstasy:

aho baki yam stana-kala-kutam!!!

jighamsaya apayayad apy asadhvi

lebhe gatià dhatry ucitam tato ’nyam

kam va dayalum sharanam vrajema

O! Evil Putana [baki, sister of Bakasura], who offered her poisonous breast, smeared with the most deadly kala-kuta poison, to Krishna to drink with the intention of killing Him, attained the position of a nurse in the spiritual world. Who else is so merciful? I surrender to Krishna! (SB 3.2.23)

Srila Visvanatha Cakravartipada comments (SB 10.6): “Putana Rakshasi pretended to have the sentiments of a mother, and came to Krishna in the dress of a devotee. This shows that despite one’s intentions, even if one just dresses as a devotee and pretends to render some seva, he will get emancipated.

“Such a unique pastime clearly and beautifully shows Sri Krishna’s quality of giving pure bhakti and liberation to Goloka Vrindavana, even to those who hate him.

“Putana attained a status “like a nurse” (dhatri), but not like Ambika and Kalimba—Govinda’s eternal nursemaids in Krishnaloka. Why? Putana’s heart was filled with sukhaishvarya, reverential happiness, and not service in prema. So Putana was kept at distance from Damodara as an indirect nurse.”

Cakravartipada continues, “If a demoniac rakshasi like Putana could attain the highest destination, will a sincere devotee of Bhagavan Sri Krishna not attain the highest award? Surely he/she will.”

Sri Jiva Goswamipada adds, “There is a deeper meaning to Sri Krishna’s most merciful act of killing Putana at the very beginning of His prakata-lila on Earth. This incredible pastime attracts all classes of devotees to Sri Krishna’s sweeter than sweet qualities of compassion upon the wicked and protection of His bhaktas.

In closing, I must say whose heart will not flood with hope after hearing how Krishna mercifully redeems even the most fallen—a wicked murderous witch?

Now let us pray for the mercy of parama krpalu, Putanari Sri Krishna while crying out the following prayer of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura:

“O Gopinatha! I am a wretched person full of laziness and bad qualities. And I am a wicked materialist addicted to all kinds of worldly desires. But You my Lord Gopinatha can do anything, and You have delivered many sinners in the past.

“However, I am so sinful that although all the demons [like Putana Rakshasi] attained Your lotus feet, only I am left behind. O Gopinatha! Piteously weeping, I beg for Your mercy.”

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

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