Saturday, February 03, 2007


Written by Shri. Mandavapilli Ittiraricha Menon (1745 AD to 1809 AD), this story is explained in Slokas 22 to 66 in 89th Chapter of the 10th Canto of Sreemad Bhagavatam (The story of Lord Vishnu). Another great story in Kathakali, Rugmangada Charitham is also written by the same author.

This is a touching story of a Brahmin whose all the 9 babies died immediately upon birth. This is also a story of Lord Krishna removing the evil thought from Arjuna that nobody is there to beat him in this world.

Scene 1: Krishna and Arjuna

One day, Arjuna will come to Dwaraka. Sree Krishna asked whether all Pandavas are fine? Arjuna told that with the blessings of Lord Krishna all are perfectly fine there. Sree Krishna then asks him to stay there for some days and Arjuna agreed with that.

Scene 2: Balarama, Krishna, Arjuna, Brahmin

On a fine day, one Brahmin will come to the Yadava Sabha carrying the dead body of a new born baby and he tells that his eight kids died upon birth and this is the dead body of the ninth one. He wanted to show this to Balarama and Krishna and ask them to help him. Lord Krishna and Balarama won't mind him at all. Hence non of the Yadavas will mind him. After some time, Lord Krishna and Balarama will go out of the Sabha without telling even a single word. Arjuna is not able to tolerate the condition of Brahmana.Arjuna will tell that he will give the next baby who will born for this brahmin. Then Brahmin will start accusing Arjuna out of desperation and when Lord is also helpless, he lost all his hope. Atlast Arjuna will tell that if he is not able to save the next baby from death, he will jump into fire along with his great bow and arrow. When Arjuna promises in the name of Lord Krishna's lotus-legs, Brahmana became happy and he left the place.

Scene 3: Brahmin, His wife

Brahmana reaches back his home and tells the entire incident to his wife. Then she replies that as Lord Krishhna is not there to help them, she lost her hope. Then Brahmana replied that Arjuna promised that he will jump into fire if he cannot keep his promise. Lord won't leave that promised Pandava. So be happy that Lord Krishna will save our next kid.

Scene 4: (After a few months) Brahmin, His wife, Mid-wife 

In due time, the Brahmana wife will become pregnant. She will tell Brahmana that the delivery is going to happen soon. So please inform Arjuna immediately. Then Brahmana will call a "Vayattatti" (Mid-wife) to take care of his wife. He then went to Dwaraka to see Arjuna.

Scene 5: Brahmin, Arjuna, Brahmin's wife, Mid-wife 

Brahmana tells Arjuna that his wife is going to deliver a baby soon. So come with him and save the baby from death. Arjuna will go along with the Brahmain and he will make a house out of his arrows in such a way that there is not even a single hole for even a single sun ray to come inside. Then Brahmana will call his wife along with the "Vayattatti" to go inside the arrow-Dom for the delivery. After sometime the "Vayattatti" will tell that even the kid's dead body is also not present there. Arjuna is shocked to hear this. Brahmin blaims Arjuna for giving unnecessary hope and tells him to go and enjoy his life.

Scene 6: Arjuna, Yama, Chitragupta (Rare scene)

Arjuna went in search of the kid everywhere and reaches Yama's palace. He asks Yama about the kids with a lot of anger. Yama replies saying that he doesn't know about those kids in Dwaraka and that he has not kept any such kids with him. Chitragupta agrees to the same.

Scene 7: Arjuna, Indra (Rare Scene)

Arjuna, then reaches heaven and asks his father Indra about the kids. Indra replies saying that he is unaware of those kids from Dwaraka. He asks Arjuna to seek help from Krishna for the same.

Scene 8: Arjuna, Krishna, Sudarshanam

As Arjuna is unable to find the kids, he decided to keep his promise. He made a fire and when he is about to jump into it, Lord Krishna will appear in front of him and will stop him from jumping into the fire. Lord Krihna told, "It is world famous that Krishna is there always for Arjuna. when I am there to help you from any problems, why are you worrying? All the kids are safe in Vaikunta and we will take them and give them to their parents ". Then they went to Vaikunta. On the way when darkness prevailed, Lord will think about "Sudarshanam" and Sudarshanam will show the way to Vaikuntam.

Scene 9: (Vaikunta Darshanam) Arjuna, Krishna, Vishnu, Lakshmi, Bhoomi, 10 kids (Rare scene)

In Vaikuntam all ten kids were playing happily. When Krishna and Arjuna called the kids, they told that they won't go anywhere from their Parents Lord Vishnu and Lord Lakshmi. Then Lord Vishnu Himself will request them to go with Lord Krishna and Arjuna. Then the kids will agree and they all left from Vaikuta after getting blessings from Lord Vishnu and Lord Lakshmi.

Scene 10: Arjuna, Krishna, Brahmana, His wife, 10 kids

Lord Krishna, Arjuna and the ten kids came to Brahmins house and Arjuna gave all kids to Brahmin and Brahmin overwhelmed with joy and praises Lord Krishna and Arjuna.

Characters in the story

Krishna                                  - Pacha, Krishnamudi
Arjuna                                   - Pacha
Balarama                               - Pazhuppu
Brahmin                                - Minukku
Brahmin wife                        - Minukku (Lady)
Mid-wife                               - Minukku (old lady)
Yama                                     -Kathi (black strip in face)
Chitragupta                            - Minukku
Indra                                      - Pacha
Vishnu                                   - Pacha (like Krishna with Keshabharam crown)
Lakshmi                                - Minukku (Lady with crown)
Bhoomi                                 - Minukku (Lady)
10 kids                                  - Nine of them minukku, 10th kid will be a doll


Sony K Swamy said...

Thanks for the good explanation of the story of Santhanagopalam.

deepa said...

very descriptive....

Mahesh said...


Excellent, Can you please advice what is the procedure to offer Santhanagopalm Kathakali at Guruvayur temple

Saveesh said...

good one.. gave a good idea about the story behind. Thanks a lot. Keep posting..

nandakumar said...

Your narration is excellent; I have a request to explain the Padam along with this so that we can understand that along with this too...

sunil said...

radheee shyam......

Neela said...

Excellent. !!! Looking forward for more kathakali stories with "Padam"s for a quick round about the story

Winston Palliyil said...

Well written!! This will be helpful for understanding kathakali..Although the story is technically stupid like most of bhagavatham stories, the kathakali is nice.. Kal Krishnan Nair as Brahmin and Gopiasan as Arjuna was a real treat to watch...

rajeev said...

What an English!

rajeev said...

What an English!

Unknown said...

TODAY I saw snathanagopalam kathakali at kottayam. The story helped me in enjoying the play. Very nice.

Unknown said...

Thank u very much. Nw iam watching Santhanagopalam Kathakali in our thirumalida temple