Bilwamangal and Chintamani
© Parvathy Baul & Ravi Gopalan Nair
Bilwamangala Swami also known as Lila Suka is the author of one of the seminal Vaishnava Bhakti works titled Sri Krishnakarnamrutam.
His place of origin is largely speculated. Some scholars consider his native origin to be in the southern part of India.
In his early life he was deeply attracted to a woman by the name Chintamani.
There are various versions of this story, the essence of it being that Chintamani plays a pivotal role in making Bilwamangal realise the ephemeral nature of the mundane world filled with desires. Thus effecting a transformation of his mind to turn completely towards Krishna.
He pays homage to Chintamani for being his teacher in the very first verse of his master composition Sri Krishnakarnamritam.
Legend has it that even Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was deeply impacted by this work and set many disciples on the task of writing down this seminal work.
In this woodcut, Sri Bilwamangala’s final journey to Brindavan is being depicted where he was eventually led by Sri Krishna himself.
Sri Krishna tells Bilwamangala that Chintamani has already reached Brindavan and blind Bilwamangala Swami is approaching her holding Sri Krishna’s hand.