4000 divya prabandham in english pdf lyrics with meaning

Periyāḻvār Tirumoḻi-Iraṇḍām Pattu

Read and relish Kannan’s lilas : Periyāḻvār’s Divine rendition-Second Decade (Periyāḻvār Tirumoḻi-Iraṇḍām Pattu)
  1. 118. * meccūdu caṅgam iḍattān * nalvēyūdi *

  poyccūdil tōṭṛṛa * poṛaiyuḍai mannarkkāy **

  pattūr peṛādu anṛu * bāratam kaiceyda *

  attūdan appūcci kāṭṭuginṛān * ammanē  appūcci kāṭṭuginṛān           

When He blows the Pāñcajanya conch—held in His left hand—it is lauded by all. He plays the flute enchantingly. When He could not obtain even ten villages for the sake of the tolerant Pāndavas—who lost all their wealth in the game of loaded dice—He arranged the colossal Bhārata war. That messenger of Pāndavas says peekaboo! Oh my! He says peekaboo!      


  119  malaipurai tōḷ mannavarum * māradarum maṭṛṛum *

  palar kulaiya * nūṭṛṛuvarum paṭṭaḻiya ** pārttan

  cilai vaḷaiyat * tiṇtēr mēl munninṛa * ceṅgaṇ

  alaivalai vandu appūcci kāṭṭuginṛān * ammanē appūcci kāṭṭuginṛān


He, with red lotus-eyes stood in the forefront of the mighty chariot, caused the total annihilation of the kings with mountain-like shoulders, great warriors like Bhīṣma and many other mighty fighters and the hundred Kauravas. He made Arjuna’s Gāṇḍīva bow bend (to release constant stream of arrows). That Kaṇṇan (Kṛṣṇa), who praises the victory of Arjuna, comes and says peekaboo![1] Oh my! He says peekaboo! 



  120  kāyunīr pukkuk * kaḍambēṛi * kāḷiyan

  tīya paṇattil * cilambārkkap pāyndāḍi **

  vēyin kuḻalūdi * vittaganāy ninṛa *

  āyan vandu appūcci kāṭṭuginṛān * ammanē appūcci kāṭṭuginṛān


Climbing over a Kaḍamba tree and diving in to the boiling water (due to the poisonous fumes), He jumped up and danced on the hoods of the venomous serpent Kāliya, His anklets tinkling loudly. (After subduing Kāliya) The performer of inconceivable activities stood on the hoods of Kāliya, gracefully playing on His bamboo flute. That Kaṇṇan comes and says peekaboo! Oh my! He says peekaboo!  



  121  iruṭṭil piṛandu pōy * ēḻai vallāyar *

  maruṭṭait tavirppittu * van kanjan māḷap **

  puraṭṭi annāḷ eṅgaḷ * pūmpaṭṭuk koṇḍa *

  araṭṭan vandu appūcci kāṭṭuginṛān * ammanē  appūcci kāṭṭuginṛān


Born in the darkness of  midnight, He was transferred forthwith to Gokula. He put an end to the boastful talks of the over-confident and naive cowherd men by pulling down and killing the cruel Kaṁsa. That naughty boy, who once stole all our beautiful silk sarees, comes and says peekaboo! Oh my! He says peekaboo!  


  122  cēppūṇḍa * cāḍu cidaṛi * tiruḍi neykku

  āppūṇḍu * nandan manaivi kaḍai tāmbāl **

  cōppūṇḍu tuḷḷit * tuḍikkat tuḍikka * anṛu

  āppūṇḍān appūcci kāṭṭuginṛān * ammanē  appūcci kāṭṭuginṛān


He kicked hard and wrecked the wooden bullock-cart. Desiring to eat, He stole ghee. He was caught and whipped with the rope of the churning rod by Nanda Gopa’s wife, mother Yaśodā and He jumped and writhed in pain. That day He was tied to a wooden mortar. That Kaṇṇan says peekaboo! Oh my! He says peekaboo! 



  123  ceppiḷa menmulai * dēvaki naṅgaikku *

  coppaḍat tōnṛit * toṛuppāḍiyōm vaitta **

  tuppamum pālum * tayirum viḻuṅgiya *

  appan vandu appūcci kāṭṭuginṛān * ammanē  appūcci kāṭṭuginṛān


He appeared with all opulences and paraphernalia in front of the reddish supple-breasted damsel Devakī. He devoured all the ghee, milk, and curd stored by us (the cowherd women). That merciful Lord comes and says peekaboo! Oh my! He says peekaboo! 



  124  tattuk koṇḍāḷ kolō * tānē peṭṛṛāḷ kolō *

  citta manaiyāḷ * acōdai iḷanjiṅgam **

  kottār karuṅguḻal * gōpāla kōḷari *

  attan vandu appūcci kāṭṭuginṛān * ammanē  appūcci kāṭṭuginṛān


Whether she adopted Him or gave birth to Him, the lion-cub of Yaśoda, acts according to His desires; He sports dark tresses adorned by bunch of flowers and is the unchallenged mighty lion of the cowherds. That Lord comes and says peekaboo! Oh my! He says peekaboo!                       



  125  koṅgai van * kūni coṛkoṇḍu * kuvalayat

  tuṅgak kariyum * pariyum irācciyamum **

  eṅgum barataṛkaruḷi * van kānaḍai *

  aṅgaṇṇan appūcci kāṭṭuginṛān * ammanē  appūcci kāṭṭuginṛān


Masterminded by the cruel and breast-like-hump-backed Kūni, (on His father’s order) He readily went to the perilous forest–handing over the kingdom, the best of the elephants and horses of the world, and everything else to Bharata. That adorable-eyed Kaṇṇan says peekaboo! Oh my! He says peekaboo!



  126  pataga mudalai vāyp * paṭṭa kaḷiṛu * 

  kadaṛik kai kūppi * en Kaṇṇā Kaṇṇā enna **

  udavap puḷḷūrndu * aṅgu uṛutuyar tīrtta *

  adagan vandu appūcci kāṭṭuginṛān * ammanē  appūcci kāṭṭuginṛān


Caught in the jaws of the malevolent crocodile, the elephant king Gajendra raised its trunk in total surrender, and wailed, “My Kaṇṇā! Kaṇṇā! ” To save him, the Lord hastened on Garuḍa and instantly relieved the distress of the elephant. That protector Kaṇṇan comes and says peekaboo! Oh my! He says peekaboo! 



  127  * vallāḷ ilaṅgai malaṅgac * caranduranda *

  villāḷanai * viṭṭu cittan viritta **

  collārnda appūccip * pāḍal ivai pattum

  vallār pōy * vaikuntam manni irupparē


Laṅkā, which was protected by valiant men, was devastated by the arrows of the bow-wielding Lord Rāmacandra. One who learns and recites these ten songs—elaborately rendered full of divine words by Viṣṇu Cittar (Periyāḻvār) on the peekaboo pastime of Kaṇṇan—will cross over the material world and live in Vaikunṭha.          



For the pleasure of mother Yaśodā, Nanda Gopa and the cowherd clan, Kaṇṇan enacts many childhood pastimes submerging them in parental ecstasy. The conditioned soul, having fallen down to the material world, has lost its right to see Kṛṣṇa and His līlās. But Kṛṣṇa is merciful enough to perform them in Gokula in the material world so that everbody could enjoy His līlās. Periya Vāccān Piḷḷai writes that Periyāḻvār prays to Kaṇṇan that like mother Yaśodā, he also wants to enjoy His ‘Peekaboo’ pastime and Kaṇṇan re-enacts it for him. Kaṇṇan plays this game with the cowherd women, girls and the boys. He suddenly shows His four arms, conch and disc, scaring the children. Periyāḻvār, out of his causeless mercy, has rendered this pastime as divine songs—for us caught in the unenviable situation of struggling in the material world—so that we can understand Kṛṣṇa, love Him with all our heart and qualify to go back to Him. Since Kṛṣṇa is the cause of all causes, whether it is creation, qualities or childish playfulness, everything has originated from Him. The ‘peekaboo’ pastime described by Periyāḻvār as appūcci—has undergone transformation as Kaṇṇan pūcci to kaṇṇāmpūcci, then as kaṇṇāmmücci—is commonly played by all children. The child makes his or her eyes bigger or covers the face with the hair to make the other children get afraid.


Regarding the first song (118) of Tirumoḻi 2, an interesting anecdote has been cited in his commentary by Aṇṇangarācārya Swamigaḷ: “Once this song was enacted by an araiyar called Uyndapiḷḷai from the group of Śrī Rāmānujācārya in front of Lord Śrī Raṅgan of Śrīraṅgam. The araiyar mimicked Kṛṣṇa while singing attūdan, and gesticulated with his eyes closed while singing  appūcci. Embār (name given at the time of sannyāsa to Govinda, Rāmānujācārya’s cousin), who was sitting behind Rāmānujācārya, gestured with his hands folded and held close to the shoulder,  indicating Kṛṣṇa holding conch and disc, and the araiyar repeated the same. Pleased with this, Rāmānujācārya said, “Thanks to Govinda Swami (Embār).” The inner meaning of this appūcci gesture is that the Lord who exhibits Himself as a messenger (attūdan) to assure the people that ‘He is one amongst us’, displays sometimes His weapons to scare them.”     


Of these ten songs on peekaboo pastime, the first three are composed as sung by mother Yaśodā and the next six as by the cowherd women. The parental love and ecstasy of mother Yaśodā for Kṛṣṇa are described as intense affection and sometimes as overwhelming attachment (Nectar of Devotion 43). As a consequence, she forgets that He is the Lord and always thinks that Kṛṣṇa has to be protected. However, while describing the appūcci pastime, as a proud mother, she eulogises His acclaimed paraphernalia, the conchshell, the flute and His chivalrous activities. She says proudly that when Kṛṣṇa blows on His transcendental conchshell, it is lauded by all. Rūpa Goswāmī mentions that the sound of Kṛṣṇa's conchshell is heard all over the world and while the wives of the demons experience abortions, the wives of the demigods are blessed with all auspiciousness (Nectar of Devotion 26). At the beginning of the Kurukṣetra war, Kṛṣṇa blows the conch to indicate that there is no hope of victory for Duryodhana. Aṇṇangarācārya Swamigaḷ writes that while grazing, Kaṇṇan blows the conch to call back the lost cows and plays on the flute to control the cows.

Everything about Kṛṣṇa’s flutes is exceptional and uncomparable.  Kṛṣṇa uses three kinds of flutes–veṇu, muralī and vaṁśīVeṇu is twelve fingers long, as thick as a thumb and has six holes. Muralī which is about eighteen inches in length has a hole at its mouth, and four other holes on the body for producing various meters. The sound from this flute is very charming. Vaṁśī is fifteen inches long, with nine holes on its body. A longer version of Vaṁśī is called mahānandā; and sammohinī when made of jewels. Ākarṣiṇī, made of gold, is still longer and ānandinī is much longer. Ānandinī, also known as vaṁśulī, is very much entrancing to the cowherd boys. The flutes are made of either marble or hollow bamboo (Nectar of Devotion 26). Kṛṣṇa has a special flute which is bedecked with indranīla gems and at both the ends with aruṇa gems (rubies). The flute is plated with gold and blazes with diamonds (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Antya 1.161). Nārada affectionately calls Kṛṣṇa’s flute by the name vaṁśikā - “little bamboo flute”. (Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta 3.5.142 purport)   

Bāratam kaiceyda: Mother Yaśodā envisions the incredible activities of Kṛṣṇa, in orchestrating and concluding the Kurukṣetra war in favour of the Pāndavas. Kunti Devī, remembering the pastime of Kṛṣṇa being bound with a rope to the wooden grinding  mortar by mother Yaśodā, tells Him that His agitated eyes brimming with tears out of fear,  although ‘fear personified’ is afraid of Him, perplexes her (Bhāgavatam 1.8.31). These are a few examples of many pastimes wherein the ever Supreme Lord becomes a child and plays with His pure devotees. When the devotee serves the Lord out of pure love, he or she forgets His supreme position. Kṛṣṇa also delights in the service rendered by His devotee out of pure love rather than that of reverential mood. In Vrindāvana, the cowherd boys consider and treat Him as a cowherd boy like one of them and His parents take care of Him and chastise Him like a normal child. Kṛṣṇa relishes these more than the Vedic hymns. 

Poyccūdil tōṭṛṛa: Mother Yaśodā describes the events leading to the war. Yudhiṣṭhira decides to accept the invitation for a game of dice with the Kauravas, as it is from Dhṛtarāṣṭra, an elder to be respected and also because a kṣatriya never declines a challenge. He knows that it would be difficult to win against the expert dice player, Śakuni; however, he accepts the challenge as a part of Kṛṣṇa’s scheme meant ultimately for their own good. After the death of Pāndu, the Pāndavas are put into many difficulties by the envious Kauravas which continue for many years. They tolerate all the difficulties and as they always take shelter of Kṛṣṇa, the Lord protects them. When the evil minded Duryodhana refuses to part with the kingdom, Kṛṣṇa not only orchestrates the Kurukṣetra war but also ensures the victory of the Pāndavas, depite the fact that great fighters like Droṇa, Bhīṣma and Karṇa are on the side of Kauravas.

Tiṇtēr mēl munninṛa ceṅgaṇ:"Jagannāta Swāmi!"–Guru of the Universe! Śaṅkarācārya’s accolade is no extravagance. Kṛṣṇa, the chariot driver holds the reins of His chariot, the creation. As the Absolute Controller, He is the perfect guide and guru. Yet, He never misses an opportunity to render some service to His devotee. As Arjuna’s chariot driver, He takes great pleasure in taking orders from him.  On his deathbed, Bhīṣma described that the chariot driver of Arjuna—Kṛṣṇa, stood with a whip in His right hand and a bridle rope in His left—was very careful to give protection to Arjuna's chariot by all means (Bhāgavatam 1.9.39). When Caitanya Mahāprabhu stayed in Śrīraṅgam during Cāturmāsya, one day He saw a brāhmaṇa near Śrī Raṅganāta Swāmi temple. The brāhmaṇa was chanting Bhagavad-gītā, sometimes correctly and sometimes wrongly and was also crying. On Mahāprabhu’s inquiry, the brāhmaṇa replied that on the instruction of his spiritual master he was attempting to learn Bhagavad-gītā though he was an illiterate. Mahāprabhu asked him the reason for crying. He replied, “As soon as I take up Bhagavad-gītā in my hand, I see Kṛṣṇa standing on Arjuna’s chariot as the driver—the Ultimate Personality of Godhead undertaking a menial service for the sake of His devotee! —and I am not able to control my crying thinking of His greatness.” Immediately Mahāprabhu embraced him and told, “You have understood the true essence of Bhagavad- gītā.” (Lecture on Bhagavad-gītā 2.1-10 and Talk–Los Angeles, November 25, 1968)

Nārada foresaw that Kṛṣṇa would appear as time personified, serve as Arjuna's chariot driver and eliminate huge armies of soldiers to relieve the burden of the earth (Bhāgavatam 10.37.21). The foremost reason for the war was Kṛṣṇa’s assurance to Brahmā and Bhūmi that He would descend to the earth soon to protect His devotees, eliminate the demoniac kings and their huge armies and establish the rule of righteous leaders. In the historic battle that ensued at Kurukṣetra, heroic kings and millions of their soldiers came from all over the world to fight for the side they believed was right. The army of Pāndavas was seven akṣauhiṇīs strong while that of Kauravas was eleven. Although the war lasted only eighteen days, it claimed the lives of as many as 64 crores (640 millions).  

Pārttan cilai vaḷaiya: Mother Yaśodā visualises Arjuna bending his famous bow Gāṇḍīva, releasing a constant stream of arrows, and slaughtering the Kaurava army. Arjuna received the bow and two inexhaustible quivers of arrows as a gift from Agni when he and Kṛṣṇa burnt the Khāṇḍava forest. In Mahābhārata and other authentic scriptures, a detailed history and an astounding description of the bow are given: The bow created by Brahmā to protect dharma was given to Śiva who kept it for 1000 years, then Prajāpati for 500 years, Indra for 580 years and Soma for 500 years. Before coming to Arjuna, it was kept by Varuṇa for 100 years. The bow was created from a heavenly tree called Gāṇḍī and is as tall as a palm tree. It is so heavy that besides Arjuna, the ones who are worthy of wielding it are: Kṛṣṇa, Karṇa, Bhīma, Droṇa, Bhīṣma and Paraśurāma. Decorated with hundreds of gold bosses, the unbreakable bow has radiant ends. It appears like a rainbow studded with celestial gems. The bow is a double curve with 108 strings; one of them is of celestial origin and therefore, unbreakable. The strings make a deep rumble, resembling that of thunder, causing dread amongst enemies. The Gāṇḍīva can fire hundreds of arrows, with a range of over several miles. It can amplify the strength of a normal arrow by a thousand times. Whenever an arrow is fired, the bow glows so brightly that not many people can look at it properly. After the war, Agni reappears before Arjuna and asks him to return the Gāṇḍīva along with the quivers to Varuṇa.

(tiṇtēr mēl munninṛa ceṅgaṇ) Mother Yaśodā points out that Kṛṣṇa, with red lotus-eyes stood in the forefront of the mighty chariot and caused the total annihilation of kings with mountain-like shoulders, great warriors and also the hundred Kauravas (malaipurai tōḷ mannavarum māradarum maṭṛṛum palar kulaiya nūṭṛṛuvarum paṭṭaḻiya). This is echoed by Arjuna himself when he narrates the disappearance of Kṛṣṇa and the Yadu dynasty to Yudhiṣṭhira. He recollects that it was Kṛṣṇa, who withdrew the duration of life, speculative power and the strength of enthusiasm from the great military phalanx made by the Kauravas, headed by Bhīṣma, Karṇa, Droṇa, Śalya and others. Though their military arrangement was expert and more than adequate, Kṛṣṇa caused their Himalayan defeat and annihilation (Bhāgavatam 1.15.15). Guided by Kṛṣṇa, Arjuna launched blazing arrows which fell unfailingly upon men, horses and elephants, leaving dead corpses strewn all around the battle field. Bending the Gāṇḍīva into a semicircle, he released a constant stream of armour-piercing arrows that shone like fire.

When encouraging Arjuna to fight, Kṛṣṇa, tells him: nimitta-mātraṁ bhava savya-sācin, “Great shooter of arrows, just be an instrument” (Gītā 11.33). Kṛṣṇa reveals that according to His plan all those great warriors are destined to die; Arjuna should just shoot the arrows and take the credit for the victory. Śrīla Prabhupāda remarks that Arjuna’s Gāṇḍīva bow was empowered by the grace of Kṛṣṇa. By His grace, His pure devotee can achieve immense power and ability. However, when the Lord withdraws His power from anyone, he turns powerless (Bhāgavatam 1.15.13 purport). It is common knowledge that many powerful leaders in the world, puffed- up by their temporary success and achievements, falsely think that that they are the doers of everything: ahaṅkāra-vimūḍhātmā kartāham iti manyate (Gītā 3.27). They do not understand that they are under the control of Kṛṣṇa. This truth is explicitly illustrated by Arjuna’s predicament when, as instructed by Kṛṣṇa, he took Kṛṣṇa’s wives to Indraprastha after His disappearance: On the way, the retinue camped in Panchajala province for a while. The robbers in that area saw the thousands of richly adorned ladies and attacked the camp dressed as cowherds. Armed with clubs and bows, they rounded up the ladies and led them away, looting as they went. Arjuna mounted his chariot and raised his Gāṇḍīva but, to his incredulity, he found that he was not even able to string it; his strength seemed to have vanished. With great difficulty he strung the bow and fired arrows, but they fell short of their targets. Then he tried to invoke the celestial weapons, but they would not appear. In frustration and anger, he ran after the robbers and struck them with his bow. However, he was unable to prevent them from taking away the Yadu ladies. Arjuna realized that by the Lord’s arrangement, his great power had vanished (Mahābhārata - Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma dasa 2.35).

Arjuna lamented to Yudhiṣṭhira, "I have the very same Gāṇḍīva bow, the same arrows, the same chariot drawn by the same horses, and I use them as the same Arjuna to whom all the kings offered their due respects. But in the absence of Lord Kṛṣṇa, all of them, at a moment's notice, have become null and void. It is exactly like offering clarified butter on ashes, accumulating money with a magic wand or sowing seeds on barren land" (Bhāgavatam 1.15.21). Parīkṣit Mahārāja, grandson of Arjuna, tells Śukadeva Gosvāmī that his grandfather Arjuna and others crossed the ocean of the battlefield of Kurukṣetra—which was full of great commanders like Bhīṣma resembling timingalas which could have easily swallowed them—with the boat of Kṛṣṇa's lotus feet, as easily as one steps over the hoof print of a calf (Bhāgavatam 10.1.5). Material civilization, without the mercy of the Lord, is like a child’s play. As long as the parents allow, the child can play; once the parents decide to stop the play, the child has to obey. Foolish people who deny the existence of God and think that they can do whatever they want and as long as they want, do not realize that their game will be abruptly stopped and they will disappear from this world when Kṛṣṇa comes to them in the form of death, mṛtyuḥ sarva-haraś cāham: “I am all-devouring death.”(Gītā 10.34) 

Periyāḻvār says that mother Yaśodā calls Kaṇṇan alai-valai. The closest English meaning of this word is the phrase ‘not mince words’–to say what you mean as clearly and directly as possible, even if you upset people by doing this. On the battle field, after putting forth many arguments—based on the principles of religion and moral codes—for not fighting, Arjuna confesses to Kṛṣṇa that out of miserly weakness he is confused about his duty: whether to conquer the Kauravas or to be conquered by them. Then he surrenders to Kṛṣṇa and requests to instruct him. The Lord at once takes the position of a teacher and chastises Arjuna saying that while speaking like a learned man he does not know that a learned man does not lament for any state of the body, living or dead. Periya Vāccān Piḷḷai and Periya Jīyar explain that when Arjuna dejectedly told Kṛṣṇa, na kāṅkṣe vijayaṁ kṛṣṇa na ca rājyaṁ sukhāni ca: “nor can I, my dear Kṛṣṇa, desire any subsequent victory, kingdom or happiness” (Gītā 1.31), and then dropped his bow and arrows. Kṛṣṇa spoke ‘not mincing words’—starting from the knowledge on body and soul, ending up with the explanation of the most confidential knowledge on ‘devotional service’—and convinced Arjuna to get up and say, kariṣye vacanaṁ tava: “I am prepared to act according to Your instructions” (Gītā 18.73).  Periya Vāccān Piḷḷai  defines alai-valai as ‘a person who speaks whatever he thinks without getting beguiled by the other’s economic or authority status’. They add that Kṛṣṇa enacted all these pastimes to make the surrendered Draupadī plait her hair (as she vowed to do so only after smearing her hair with the blood of the Kauravas).

Mother Yaśodā expresses her astonishment that Kaṇṇan—who has many wonderful qualities, displays inconceivable activities; who stood on the chariot front and steered it to cause the destruction of many; and made Arjuna’s bow to bend and release torrent of arrows—comes and says Peekaboo!  

When referring to the pastime of subduing Kāliya, Periyāḻvār mentions, kāyunīr pukkuk  kaḍambēṛi: Kaṇṇan climbed over a nearby Kadam tree and jumped into the boiling water of the Kāliya lake. The Ṭamil commentary elaborates that the lake’s water was boiling and trees all around and birds were dead due to the poisonous fumes of Kāliya. When Kaṇṇan climbed over the wilted Kadam tree, due to the touch of His lotus feet, it came alive and was full of green leaves and colourful flowers. After subduing Kāliya, Kaṇṇan jumped and danced on the hoods of the venomous Kāliya, His anklets tinkling loudly, and played on His bamboo flute. In Śrī Kṛṣṇa Karṇāmrtam 1.39, the anklets are described as filled with gemstones and made sweet sound in harmony with the tune emanating from the flute.  On seeing Kaṇṇan dancing, the cowherd clan who were in shock—believing that Kaṇṇan                                                                                                                                        had been bound by Kāliya—revived and rejoiced that their wonder boy is ‘alive and kicking’ the snake. 

From song four to nine, Periyāḻvār captures the sweet words of the cowherd girls who timorously reminisce Kaṇṇan’s pranks and inconceivable activities:                                                                                                 Pūmpaṭṭuk koṇḍa araṭṭan: During the beginning of Hemanta season (October to November), just prior to winter, gopīs of age ten to fourteen worshipped Goddess Kātyāyanī (another form of Durga) praying to arrange their marriage with Kṛṣṇa. Daily they used to take bath in Yamunā leaving their garments on the bank. Kṛṣṇa, who knew the minds of the girls, wanted to fulfil their desire. At the end of thirty days, He appeared on the bank of Yamunā, collected all their clothes and sat on a nearby tree. He ordered the girls to come naked in front of Him and collect their garments. The gopīs were very happy to hear such a request from Kṛṣṇa, as they wanted to get married only to Him. Just out of shyness they did not want to come out of the water naked. They chastised Him that as a respectable boy who was dear to them, He should not play this joke on them. Kṛṣṇa just smiled and remained silent.  Then they lovingly called Him ‘Śyāmasundara’ and pleaded that they were His eternal servants and were obliged to perform whatever He ordered, but this kind of indecent proposal to young unmarried girls was not acceptable to them. If He still insisted, they would complain to Nanda Mahārāja and if he did not take action, then they would tell Kaṁsa about His misbehaviour! Kṛṣṇa nonchalantly replied that if they were His eternal servants, they should do whatever He ordered them to do. They should come with smiling faces, one by one, and collect the garments. He shrugged and said further that if they did not want to come and instead complain to His father, He should not care as Nanda Mahārāja was old and could not take any action against Him!                                                                                                                                      

Seeing no alternative but secretly joyful, the girls came out of the water shivering and covering their nakedness by placing their left hand over their pubic area. Their action in pure love pleased Kṛṣṇa very much and the girls who wanted Kṛṣṇa as their husband were also satisfied. A girl cannot be naked before any male except her husband. Since Kṛṣṇa wanted to see them completely naked, He told them that they should touch their foreheads with folded palms and bow down to demigod Varuṇa as they have committed the offense of taking bath naked in Yamunā. The simple girls believed whatever the impish Kṛṣṇa said. To fulfil their own desire, to pacify Varuṇa, and most importantly to please their Lord, they immediately did as He said. Thus they became the greatest lovers of Kṛṣṇa and His obedient servants. Though, apparently it may look that the gopīs were lusty, their love for Kṛṣṇa was pure and unmatched. Kṛṣṇa said that anyone, whose full consciousness was always absorbed in Him, even if in lust, was elevated. The desire of those who fix their minds on Him does not lead to material desire for sense gratification (Bhāgavatam 10.22.26). Although Kṛṣṇa cheated the young girls, stole their garments, made them stand naked in front of Him, joked with them, and treated them like dolls, the gopīs were still pleased with Him and wanted to be always with Him. This total surrender of gopīs has been described accurately by Caitanya Mahāprabhu in Śikṣāṣṭaka 8: “My dear Kṛṣṇa, You may embrace Me or trample Me under Your feet, or You may make Me broken hearted by never being present before Me. Whatever You like, You can do, because You have complete freedom to act. But in spite of all Your dealings, You are My Lord eternally, and I have no other worshipable object.” Uncontaminated conjugal love is called mādhurya-rasa.[2] The gopīs are the lovers and Kṛṣṇa is the only beloved, the only master and the only husband. Fundamental attachment to Krishna, service to Him, the intimate feelings of fraternity, and the matured conception of maintenance–increase in intensity and romantic love reigns supreme. However, the ‘love’ is not the same to which we are accustomed in this world of birth and death. Spiritual love is devoid of carnality, superficiality, and impermanence–the hallmark qualities of “love” in the material sphere; the conjugal rasa is completely spiritual, profoundly deep, and is eternal.                                                                                                   


Iruṭṭil piṛandu pōy: Kaṇṇan was born in the dark midnight and forthwith was transferred to Gokula on His instruction. Though the night was very dark, Vasudeva could see everything around very clearly as in sunlight. Kṛṣṇa is like sunlight and wherever He is, the illusory energy, compared to darkness, cannot remain. Pūrvācāryās have mentioned that Devakī, who was deprived of the pleasure of taking care of the ‘just born baby’ in the dark midnight, wept inconsolably.                                                                                                                                        


Van kanjan māḷap puraṭṭi: To keep up His assurance to the cowherd clan that He would kill Kaṁsa very soon, Kaṇṇan thwarted all the plans of the evil hearted Kaṁsa to kill Him and Balarāma. After killing Kaṁsa’s wrestlers, Kṛṣṇa jumped on to the high dais of Kaṁsa who unsheathed his sword and prepared to fight. However, Kṛṣṇa caught hold of him, knocked off the crown from his head and grabbed his long hair. Then He threw him down from his seat to the wrestling arena. Straddling on his chest, Kṛṣṇa began to strike him again and again till Kaṁsa lost his vital force.

From the day Kaṁsa heard that he would be killed by the eighth son of Devakī, he thought of Viṣṇu and His disc, twenty four hours a day with hatred. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā 8.6, sadā tad-bhāva-bhāvitaḥ: “Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits body, that state he will attain without fail.” According to ācāryās, Kaṁsa attained sārūpya-mukti (same form as Viṣṇu) after death.                                                                                                       


Araṭṭan: The cowherd girls call Kaṇṇan araṭṭan which means naughty rascal as well as chivalrous. The girls are helplessly in love with Kṛṣṇa, and consider Him as their master and life. On one hand, they are angry with the casual way He treats them, leaves them high and dry, but when they see His mildly smiling face, they forget everything else and just want to be with Him. When He is not with them, they just think of the time spent with Him, His beautiful smile, talking, dancing, and so on, and become crazy with lust.


Tiruḍi neykku āppūṇḍu: The girls sing that when Kaṇṇan stole ghee, He was caught and whipped by mother Yaśodā, with the rope of the churning rod and He jumped and writhed in pain and that day He was tied to a wooden mortar. Either the girls should have sung so mockingly or both Kaṇṇan and mother Yaśodā should have enacted a realistic play to please the cowherd women who had brought Kaṇṇan to mother Yaśodā after catching Him stealing butter. Mother Yaśodā loves Kaṇṇan so much that she will do anything to keep Him happy and protected. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is described by Śukadeva that when Kṛṣṇa was caught by mother Yaśodā, He became afraid and admitted to have stolen little butter! He was crying and rubbed His eyes with His little hands; the mascara around the eyes was smeared all over His face. When mother Yaśodā saw her lovely son excessively afraid, she threw the stick away and decided to bind Him so that He would not indulge in any further mischiefs.  The women nearby were smiling and enjoying the fun! This pastime has been depicted amusingly by Ūttukkāḍu Vēnkaṭa Kavi in many songs: The cowherd women sing that Kaṇṇan played a simple trick–while showing to mother Yaśodā that He has stolen only a little butter, He stole their heart by throwing a mischievous glance at them and they blinked helplessly. In another instance, when He was caught red-handed by a cowherd woman, He told her that He was actually looking for a lost calf in the pot! To pacify the woman, He placed a sweet kiss on her cheeks and when she stood enchanted, He caught hold of her tresses, planted a peacock feather, and ran away! Some women come to the conclusion that it is futile to complain about Kaṇṇan—who was the truth that the vedas search for—as He usually changed the untruth to truth, displayed His lovely curly hair and beautiful blackish blue body; and with a deceiving smile made them all dumbfounded. When some women went to mother Yaśodā to tell her how much butter Kaṇṇan stole and ate, He would hide behind mother Yaśodā and signal, ‘Don’t tell’ with His enticing eyes. The Kavi wonders if the women tied the pots of butter and curd high up in their houses to prevent Kaṇṇan stealing them or to set a trap to catch the Parabrahman! It is a well-known secret that the cowherd women really kept lots of butter and curd and prayed that Kaṇṇan should place His lotus feet in their houses.


Dēvaki naṅgaikku coppaḍat tōnṛi: Kaṇṇan appeared with all opulences and paraphernalia in front of Devakī due to the austerity Devakī underwent in her earlier birth, desiring that Lord should be born as her son. In response, Kaṇṇan appeared and explained that in the millennium of Svāyambhuva Manu, Vasudeva was one of the prajāpatis known as Sutapā and she was his wife Pṛśni. Both of them underwent severe austerities and executed devotional service to Kṛṣṇa for twelve thousand years of demigods. Lord gave the benediction to them that He would be born as their son three times. First appearance was as Pṛśnigarbha in that millennium and in the next as Upendra or Vāmanadeva and they were Aditi and Kaśyapa. Now, the third time Lord appeared as four handed Nārāyana to convince Devakī and Vasudeva that He was the same Supreme Personality of Godheard again born to them. He assured them that this time they would go back home, back to Godhead. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.3.9-10 describes Kṛṣṇa’s wonderful appearance:

“…. the new born child, who had very wonderful lotus like eyes, bore in His four hands the four weapons śaṅkha, cakra, gadā and padma. On His chest was the mark of Śrīvatsa and on His neck the brilliant Kaustubha gem. Dressed in yellow, His body blackish like a dense cloud, His scattered hair fully grown, and His helmet and earrings sparkling uncommonly with the valuable gem Vaidūrya, the child, decorated with a brilliant belt, armlets, bangles and other ornaments, appeared very wonderful.”

Tattuk koṇḍāḷ kolō tānē peṭṛṛāḷ kolō: It seems that the cowherd women want to indulge in village gossip. They raise a doubt if mother Yaśodā adopted Kaṇṇan or really gave birth to Him. They wonder, is He really the lion cub of mother Yaśodā? During the delivery, they were serving her, but due to the spell of Yogamāyā they fell asleep and did not see her actually delivering the child. Exhausted by the labor of childbirth, mother Yaśodā was also overwhelmed with sleep and was confused if a male or female child was born to her. The women tease her saying that looking at the extraordinary beauty and naughtiness of this child, they doubt her oft repeated boast, “my child.” mother Yaśodā too wonders many times, if such a mischievous child exhibiting superhuman activities was her own child really.


Kūni coṛkoṇḍu: The cowherd girls recount that though Kaikeyi loved Rāma, due to the crooked talk of her hunch-backed servant Manthara, she was swayed and used her two boons to banish Rāma to the forest and coerced the assurance from Daśaratha to install Bharata as the Prince Regent. To honor His father’s promise, Rāma was ready to put on the dress of an ascetic and depart forthwith to the forest. He forbade the use of the royal umbrella, pair of royal whisks and sent back His ministers and His chariot. He distributed His wealth to the Brahmins: Gold, silver, jewels, pearls, chariots, horses, silken garments and hundreds of thousands of cows. Pūrvacāryās have mentioned that Rāma left Śatrunjayan elephants, the best in the world, the best quality horses and the wide kingdom to Bharata. 


Kaḷiṛu kadaṛik kai kūppi: In this song, the merciful Kaṇṇan relieving the distress of the elephant king Gajendra—caught by a crocodile—is related by the girls. The dangerous crocodile, desiring of its deliverance, caught hold of the leg of the mighty elephant. Depending on its own strength, the elephant struggled for one thousand years of demigods to pull the crocodile on to the land. This is an example for the Bhagavad-gītā verse 3.27, ahaṅkāra-vimūḍhātmā kartāham iti manyate: “The spirit soul bewildered by the influence of false ego thinks himself the doer of activities that are in actuality carried out by the three modes of material nature.” The ignorant person forgets that the mechanism of the body is produced by material nature, which works under the supervision of the Supreme Lord. However, being in its own element–water, the crocodile was stronger and held on to the elephant’s leg tenaciously. Ultimately, becoming weak, the elephant realised its folly and surrendered to the Lord. The elephant was formerly a human being known as Indradyumna and he learnt a prayer to the Supreme Lord. Tirumangai Āḻvār has rendered that fortunately the elephant remembered that prayer, lifted his trunk and wailed with all the left-out strength, “Nārāyaṇa! Oh Maṇivaṇṇa! Ādiśeṣa! Please come.” Periyāḻvār has stated that the elephant shouted, “My Kaṇṇa! Kaṇṇa!”[3] One should chant an authentic mantra like Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra or namo nārāyaṇāya, received from an authorised guru so that even if he may be imperfect in his spiritual consciousness, in his next life he will not forget Kṛṣṇa, even if born as an animal. Kṛṣṇa assures that a little advancement on the path of devotion can protect one from danger. Śukadeva remarks that when Gajendra prayed to the supreme authority, without mentioning any particular name, he did not invoke demigods like Brahmā, Śiva, Indra or Candra. Since Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He appeared before Gajendra.                                                                                                                                      On hearing the heartrending call for succour, the Lord swiftly got up from His bed, did not even catch hold of the supporting hand of Viṣvaksena; started hurrying up on the barren floor and instead of mounting Garuḍa, He just pulled him along with Him urging that He had to save His devotee in distress, and instantly appeared on the scene. On seeing the Lord, Gajendra lifted its trunk and paid obeisance. The Lord immediately pulled him out of the water along with the crocodile and killed the crocodile, rescuing the elephant. 


The cowherd girls sing in wonder, that Kaṇṇan, who has enacted incredible pastimes, now as a child, comes and says peekaboo!   


Periyāḻvār concludes the ‘peekaboo’ pastime rendition with the benediction that one who is able to learn and recite these ten songs, full of divine words, will cross over the material world and live in Vaikunṭha.         



[1] Kaṇṇan: Tamiḻ equivalent of Kṛṣṇa.

[2] mädhurya-rasa: See Long Live the Lord Volume I, chapter titled ‘Transcendental Ecstasy and Mellow’

[3] Tirumangai Āḻvār: Refer Long Live the Lord Volume I, chapter titled chapter titled “Āḻvārs”

128  * aravaṇaiyāy āyarēṛē * ammam uṇṇat tuyileḻāyē *

iravum uṇṇādu uṛaṅgi nī pōy * inṛumucci  koṇḍadālō **

varavum kāṇēn vayiṛasaindāy * vanamulaigaḷ cōrndu  pāya *

tiruvuḍaiya vāy maḍuttut * tiḷaittu taittup  parugiḍāyē

Oh cowherd Lord, reclining on Śeṣa Nāga bed! Wake up to suckle my breasts; last night also You did not take suck and now it is already noon. You have not come to me on Your own with hunger. My beautiful breasts are overflowing with milk (due to my love for you). Fix Your precious mouth on them and kicking my body with Your lotus legs, come suckle.


129  vaitta neyyum kāynda pālum * vaḍitayirum naṛu veṇṇeyum *

  ittanaiyum peṭṛṛaṛiyēn * embirān nī piṛanda  pinnai **

  ettanaiyum ceyyap peṭṛṛāy * ēdum ceyyēn kadampaḍādē *

  muttanaiya muṛuval ceydu * mūkkuṛuñji mulaiyuṇāyē


My Lord! After Your birth, I have never worried about the disappearance of the stored clarified butter (ghee), deeply boiled milk, well solidified curd and fragrant butter. Whatever You want You can do and I will not chastise you at all. So do not be angry, display Your pearl-like smile and drawing Your nose, come, suckle my breasts.


130  tantam makkaḷ aḻudu cenṛāl * tāymārāvār tarikkagillār *

  vandu ninmēl pūsal seyya * vāḻavalla vāsudēvā **

  undaiyār untiṛattarallar * unnai nānonṛu urappamāṭṭēn *

  nandagōpan aṇi siṛuvā * nān curanda mulaiyuṇāyē  


Oh son of Vasudeva! When their crying children complain to them (about You), the mothers do not remain tolerant. The neighbours bring their children and scold You, but You do not bother at all. Your father also does not get in to these issues and I am not capable to handle Your terrible mischiefs. Whatever it be, Nandagopa’s darling son! Come, suckle my breasts.



131  kañjan tannāl puṇarkkappaṭṭa * kaḷḷac cagaḍu kalakkaḻiya *

  pañjiyanna mellaḍiyāl * pāynda pōdu nondiḍum enṛu **

  añjinēn kāṇ amarar kōvē * āyar kūṭṭattu aḷavanṛālō *

  kañjanai un vañjanaiyāl * valaippaḍuttāy mulaiyuṇāyē 


Oh Lord of demigods! (Always envious of You) Kaṁsa got the evil wheel created (to kill You); when You kicked, it totally collapsed and I was apprehensive that Your soft lotus feet might have been hurt. My concern for You was greater than that of the entire cowherd clan. However, with Your valiant and clever actions, You trapped and eliminated Kaṁsa. Come, suckle my breasts. 



132  tīyapundik kañjan unmēl * sinamuḍaiyan cōrvu  pārttu *

  māyan tannāl valaippaḍukkil * vāḻagillēn vāsudēvā **

  tāyar vāyc col karumam kaṇḍāy * cāṭṛṛic connēn pōga vēṇḍā *

  āyarpāḍikku aṇiviḷakkē * amarndu vandu en mulaiyuṇāyē 


Oh son of Vasudeva! The vicious Kaṁsa is extremely angry with You. When you wander all alone if he captures You employing malicious tricks, I will not live any more. I warn You strongly that children should heed to mothers’ advice; do not roam alone playfully. Oh auspicious beacon of Gokulam! Come, peacefully sit and suckle my breasts.



133  minnanaiya nuṇṇiḍaiyār * virikuḻal mēl nuḻainda vaṇḍu *

  innisaikkum villiputtūr * inidamarndāy unnaik kaṇḍār **

  enna nōnbu nōṭṛṛāḷ kolō * ivanaip peṭṛṛa vayiṛuḍaiyāḷ *

  ennum vārttai eyduvitta * iruḍīkēsā mulaiyuṇāyē              


Oh the One who resides serenely in Śrīvilliputtur, where the bees humming sweet tunes, hover over the lovely braids of women with very slender waists resembling streaks of lightning! You have blessed me with the praises people heap on me when they see Your enchanting form; they exclaim “What kind of austerities His mother should have undertaken to have borne this marvellous child in her womb!”; Oh Hṛṣīkeśa! come, suckle my breasts. 

134  peṇḍir vāḻvār ninnoppāraip * peṛudumennum āsaiyālē *

  kaṇḍavargaḷ pōkkoḻindār * kaṇṇiṇaiyāl kalakka nōkki **

  vaṇḍulām pūṅguḻalinār * un vāyamudam uṇṇa vēṇḍi *

  koṇḍu pōvān vandu ninṛār * gōvindā nī mulaiyuṇāyē              


When married women see You, seized with the desire to beget a child like You, they don’t  leave the place. Young girls with bees humming over the flowers on their lovely locks, greedily eying Your enticing features, have come to take You away to taste the nectar of Your mouth. Govinda! Come, suckle my breasts. 

135  irumalai pōledirnda mallar * iruvaraṅgam eri ceydāy * un

  tirumalindu tigaḻu mārvu * tēkka vandu ennalgulēṛi **

  orumulaiyai vāy maḍuttu * orumulaiyai neruḍik koṇḍu *

  irumulaiyum muṛai muṛaiyā * ēṅgi ēṅgi irunduṇāyē  


Burning their huge bodies with the fire of fear, You felled the two mountain-like wrestlers who came to wrestle with You. Let Your effulgent chest be washed by my breast milk. Get on my lap, take one nipple in Your lotus mouth and play with the other nipple with Your lotus hand; suck both the nipples (gorged with milk) one after another, taking a breath in between with Your mouth full.



136  aṅgamalap pōdagattil * aṇikoḷ muttam cindināṛ pōl *

  ceṅgamala mugam viyarppat * tīmai ceydu immuṭṛṛattūḍē **

  aṅgam ellām puḻudiyāga * aḷaiya vēṇḍā amma vimma *

  aṅgamararkku amudaḷitta * amarar kōvē mulaiyuṇāyē             


My Lord! Do not engage in mischiefs in this courtyard, Your red lotus face glowing more beautiful than the attractive lotus, sprinkled with droplets of sweat like the elegant pearls; do not continue to play in the dust lest Your body will be covered with dust. Once upon a time, when the demigods were defeated by the asuras, due to the curse of Durvāsā Muni, You churned and brought out the nectar for the demigods; Oh King of demigods! Come, suckle my breasts.   


137  ōḍavōḍak kiṅkiṇigaḷ * olikkum ōsaip pāṇiyālē *

  pāḍip pāḍi varuginṛāyaip * paṛpanāban enṛirundēn **

  āḍiyāḍi asaindasaindiṭṭu * adanukkēṭṛṛa kūttai āḍi *

  ōḍiyōḍip pōyviḍādē * uttamā nī mulaiyuṇāyē

Oh Puruṣottama! When You run very fast the ankle bells tinkle; matching the sound of the ankle bells, You always hum and dance elegantly, and move towards me. Looking at You, I exclaim, “Is it not Padmanābha!” Do not run away, come suckle my breasts.


138  * vāraṇinda koṅgai āycci * mādavā uṇṇenṛa māṭṛṛam *

  nīraṇinda kuvaḷaivāsam * nigaḻanāṛum villiputtūr **

  pāraṇinda tol pugaḻān * paṭṭarpirān pāḍal vallār *

  cīraṇinda ceṅgaṇmāl mēl * cenṛa sindai peṛuvār tāmē               

Mother Yaśodā, whose breasts are decorated with soft cloth covering, called out, “Mādhava! Suckle my breasts.” This has been rendered as songs by Periyāḻvār, the best of scholars, whose natural fame has spread all over the world and the chief of Śrīvilliputtur, where the blossomed  red lotus flower, an ornament to the water, spreads out its fragrance everywhere. Those who can recite these songs, will be bestowed with consciousness fixed on the all auspicious and all opulent Viṣṇu, who has reddish lotus eyes, and is benevolent to the devotees.  


Children are generally very naughty and their activities make the parents and the relatives enjoy them sometimes or get irritated if they become overboard. When parents discuss about their young children, even though outwardly they exhibit exasperation on how they make their day tough, there is always a tinge of pride in their voices. Children’s naughtiness is sweet as well as tough to handle.                                                                                                                                              

Lord is the cause of all causes. Whatever qualities and activities that are seen in the material world have their origin from the Lord. So, there is no surprise that child Kaṇṇan was the naughtiest child and He showed the way for other children. Being the Lord in child form, He was very attractive and adored by all the men and women in Gokulam. Kaṇṇan took full advantage of this and also the position of being the son of Nanda Mahārāja, the king of the community. We can understand how naughty Kaṇṇan was, from the complaints of the cowherd women to mother Yaśodā:

“Every day morning and evening, Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma come to our houses, let the calves loose even before the milking of the cows, and the calves drink all the milk. They steal curd and butter, wherever we store them. When questioned, They reply, “Why should We steal? Do you think there is a scarcity of them in Our house?”  They distribute the curd and butter to the monkeys, and when the monkeys are well fed and do not take more, then They ridicule us, “This curd and butter are so bad even the monkeys do not want them”, and break the pots and throw them all around. Even if we hide the curd and butter in dark places, They find them with the glaring effulgence of Their jewels. In case They are not able to find them, They go to the cradle where the little babies sleep and pinch them to make them cry. They pile wooden boxes, mortar etc, to reach the pots if they are kept hanging from the ceiling, and make holes in the pots and drain all curd and butter. When They are not able to get anything, out of anger, They pass urine or sometimes spit on the floor. Whole day They make plans how to steal our butter and curd and make our children also help them. Now they are sitting just like very innocent boys.” (Back to Godhead #31, 1969)

Mother Yaśodā shows both her exasperation as well as pride that she is the mother of Kaṇṇan, the most beloved child of Gokulam. On one hand, she is not able to handle the mischiefs of Kaṇṇan, who is always very active, on the other hand, she is afraid that He might get hurt or get in to danger. Kaṇṇan does whatever He wants and does not want to be controlled. She is upset that Nanda Maharaja does not control Him. After His full day’s engagements, Kaṇṇan falls asleep without taking milk. Mother Yaśodā tries to wake Him up asking Him to suckle her breasts full of milk. While calling Him, she narrates His mischiefs as a child as well as the glorious pastimes as Lord. Periyāḻvār has brought out this scene very vividly in his ten nectarean songs.                                                                                                                                             In the first song he has used a special term ammam uṇṇa which means ‘to suckle milk from the breasts’. The mother uses some special words like these to communicate with her child. Though a bystander may not be able to catch the meaning, the child understands perfectly and responds. This is a special language which a mother and a child only employ. Currently this word ammam uṇṇa has transformed in to mammam sāppiḍa vā which means ‘come to eat your food’. Periyāḻvār has captured these special words communicated by mother Yaśodā and given to us.   

Aravaṇaiyāy āyarēṛē: Softness, coolness, fragrance and many more are wonderful qualities of Ananta Śeṣa, the devotee incarnation of Lord, whose sole purpose is to serve Kṛṣṇa,. Periyāḻvār sings that mother Yaśodā is wondering if Kaṇṇan is unable to wake up since He is sleeping on the comfortable bed of Ananta Śeṣa. In his Mudal Tiruvandādi, Poigai Āḻvār sings about the extraordinary service attitude of Śeṣa, glorified by Lakṣmaṇa to reiterate His service attitude in requesting Rāma to allow Him to accompany Rāma to the forest: “He is the umbrella when the Lord moves, He is the throne when Lord sits, He is the tree offering shade when Lord stands and He is the lamp as well as bed when the Lord rests in milky ocean.  

Ittanaiyum peṭṛṛaṛiyēn: The modern world thinks how to make money by ‘cow slaughter’ instead of ‘Cow protection’. The cowherd community was very wealthy due to maintenance of cows. Their wealth was from many milk products like milk, curd, clarified butter and by trading their milk and agricultural products, they accumulated jewellery, costly garments etc. Further, cow dung is used as fuel. The bulls help plough the field for growing grains and vegetables and pull the cart for movement of people and materials. In this jet age, the so called ultra-civilized world is not interested in cow protection and agriculture but opening factories. So, they kill the cows and eat them.                                                                                     The cowherd women carefully store all the cow products like the churned butter, thick curd and fragrant ghee, laboriously collected by them in pots. The large pots are kept on the floor, one above the other, and the smaller ones are hung from the ceiling in rope hangers. Since Kaṇṇan is very much fond of butter and curd, mother Yaśodā collects huge quantity of them and stores at home so that He can eat to His heart’s content (In song number 62 in Tirumoḻi 5, mother Yaśodā tells the moon that Kaṇṇan has filled His huge belly with big handfuls of butter) and does not go to other houses to steal. However, even after filling His belly at home, Kaṇṇan steals from other houses. Since Kaṇṇan wipes out the stock at home, mother Yaśodā tells Him that after His birth, she has never worried about the disappearance of the stored clarified butter (ghee), deeply boiled milk, well solidified curd and fragrant butter; whatever He wants He can do and she will not chastise Him at all. So, in anger, He should not stop suckling her breasts.     

Kañjanai un vañjanaiyāl valaippaḍuttāy: When Kaṁsa heard from Goddess Durga  that his nemesis, the eighth male child, is born somewhere, on the instigation of his evil ministers, he decided to kill all children who were born within the previous ten days in all towns, counties, villages and pasturing grounds. After this discussion, Kaṁsa sent many asuras and witches in all directions, but all of them were killed by Kaṇṇan. After the bull demon Ariṣṭāsura was vanquished by Kaṇṇan, Nārada, desiring to expedite the killing of Kaṁsa, met Kaṁsa and disclosed the secret that the eighth son Kaṇṇan was living incognito in Vṛndāvana and that all the asuras sent by him were killed by Him. Immediately Kaṁsa sent Keśī demon to Vṛndāvana but he too was slayed by Kaṇṇan. Then, Kaṁsa made a crooked plan to invite Kaṇṇan and Balarāma to Mathurā for a wrestling match with his expert wrestlers. He also instructed the trainers of his royal elephant Kuvalayāpīḍa to employ the elephant to  kill the boys at the entrance. Cleverly, he sent Akrūra, one of the Yadu descendants, to bring Kaṇṇan and Balarāma. Kaṁsa also arranged worship of Śiva by offering animal sacrifices, and performed the sacrifice called Dhanur-yajña and the sacrifice performed on the fourteenth day of the moon, known as Caturdaśī. However, all his scheming was smashed, one after the other, with equal cunning and demonstration of extraordinary power by Kaṇṇan. Periyāḻvār glorifies these pastimes and elimination of Kaṁsa that with His valiant and clever actions, Kaṇṇan trapped and eliminated Kaṁsa.

Yādavābyudaya, authored by Śrī Vēdānta Deśika and acknowledged as Mahākāvya, gives an interesting description of the killing of Kaṁsa. After killing the wrestlers, as Garuḍa rises to the sky, Kaṇṇan went up to the place where Kaṁsa was sitting, by a different way not used by all. (According to Rāja- nīti, one should approach the enemy’s place by a route commonly not used.) He caught hold of Kaṁsa’s hair, pushed the stunned king down; jumped up on his chest and tore it. Like Madhusūdana liberates a soul who controls his lust with his wisdom, Kaṇṇan killed Kaṁsa and released his father Ugrasena from the prison.     

Two kinds of living beings are found in the material world–divine and demoniac. In Bhagavad- gītā 16th chapter a detailed description of the qualities of the demoniac persons are given. As we study it, we can realize how well demons like Kaṁsa fit the description. They do not know what is to be done and what is not to be done. Proper behaviour or truth is absent. According to them this world is unreal, without foundation, and has no control; it is produced of sex desire and has no cause other than lust. They do not have intelligence and engage in unbeneficial, horrible activities meant to destroy the world. Absorbed in lust and anger, they secure money by illegal means. Kṛṣṇa says, a demoniac person thinks: "So much wealth do I have today, and I will gain more according to my schemes. So much is mine now, and it will increase in the future, more and more. He is my enemy, and I have killed him, and my other enemies will also be killed. I am the lord of everything. I am the enjoyer. I am perfect, powerful and happy. I am the richest man, surrounded by aristocratic relatives. There is none as powerful and happy as I am. I shall perform sacrifices, give some charity, and thus I shall rejoice." Bewildered by false ego, strength, pride, lust and anger, the demons become envious of the Lord. Sadly they forget that Kṛṣṇa is all devouring-death (Bg 10.34: mṛtyuḥ sarva-haraś cāham). Kṛṣṇa defeated easily all the plans of Kaṁsa and vanquished him as a child effortlessly twists and breaks the neck of a doll.

Aṅgamararkku amudaḷitta: Once upon a time the demigods were defeated by the asuras due to the curse of Durvāsā Muni. Once, Durvāsā offered to Indra a garland worn by him. Indra insulted him by placing the garland on the trunk of his elephant which threw it down and stepped on it. Durvāsā cursed Indra to lose all his opulence. Utilising this opportunity, the demons defeated the demigods and drove them out of heaven. Requested by Brahmā, Lord Viṣṇu adviced the demigods to execute a truce with the demons for churning nectar from the milk ocean. They churned the ocean with Mandara Mountain as the churning rod and the biggest serpent, Vāsuki as the rope. Viṣṇu, in His incarnation as a tortoise, carried Mandara Mountain on His back. When Dhanvantari appeared with a pot of nectar, the demons immediately snatched it.Then, Viṣṇu appeared as Mohinī to captivate the demons and save the nectar for the demigods. She distributed all the nectar to the demigods, cheating the demons.  

Periyāḻvār nicely describes how mother Yaśodā is proud to be the mother of Kaṇṇan, and brings out the vātsalya-rasa in her words. (Song 128) Mother Yaśodā tells Kaṇṇan, vanamulaigaḷ cōrndu  pāya: “My beautiful breasts are overflowing with milk”, out of love for Him. (Song 131) āyar kūṭṭattu aḷavanṛālō: She points out to Kaṇṇan that as a baby, when He kicked and broke the wheel of the cart under which He was left to sleep, “My concern for You was greater than that of the entire cowherd clan.” (Song 132) vāḻagillēn vāsudēvā: She warns Him that if Kaṁsa captures Him employing malicious tricks, “she will not live anymore.” (Song 133) vārttai eyduvitta: She thanks Kaṇṇan for having blessed her with the praises people heap on her when they see Kaṇṇan’s enchanting form and exclaim, “What kind of austerities His mother should have undertaken to have borne this marvellous child in her womb`  ``!”

It is not a coincidence that two exalted vaiṣṇavas, Periyāḻvār and Bilvamaṇgala, have rendered strikingly similar descriptions of the divine līlās of Kaṇṇan. They lived in different parts of the country (Śrīvilliputtūr and Kerala, respectively.) and in different time periods (3055 B.C. and 8th century, respectively.). Both of them have actually entered into the pastimes and recorded their live experiences. They have not imagined the scenes or written whatever that came to their mind. So, instead of reading the trash novels and stories born out of the mundane writers’ imaginations, people should read the transcendental writings of Lord’s devotees and get benefitted. Periyāḻvār sings reflecting the words of mother Yaśodā (135): “Get on my lap, take one nipple in Your lotus mouth and play with the other nipple with Your lotus hand; suckle both the nipples (gorged with milk) one after another, taking a breath in between with Your mouth full.” Bilvamaṇgala writes in Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta 2.62: “He suckles the right and left nipples alternately, while He plays with the other nipple causing droplets of milk to dribble down, and His mother rubs His chin lovingly. Kṛṣṇa’s smiling lotus face displays droplets of milk on the lower lips.  In song 137, mother Yaśodā  says, “When You run very fast, the ankle bells tinkle; matching the sound of the ankle bells, You always hum and dance elegantly and move towards me.” Bilvamaṇgala writes in Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta 2.37, ‘Kṛṣṇa dances with His ankle bells tinkling and singing in a sweet voice like the sound of vīṇā.

139 * pōyppāḍuḍaiya nin tandaiyum tāḻttān * porutiṛal kañjan kaḍiyan *

           kāppārumillai kaḍalvaṇṇā unnait * taniyē pōy eṅgum tiridi **

           pēyppāl mulaiyuṇḍa pittanē * kēśava nambī unnaik kādu kutta *

           āyppālar peṇḍugaḷ ellārum vandār * aḍaikkāy tirutti nān vaittēn

(Mother Yaśodā cautions) “Your father, quite able in protection of his son and the cowherd people, went for grazing the cows and is yet to return; the powerful Kaṁsa is quite revengeful against You. Ocean-hued Kaṇṇa!  There is nobody here to protect You; but You are roaming alone all around. You were mad enough to suckle the breast milk of Pūtanā and You killed the Keśī demon. You are an expert mischiefmaker! The cowherd boys and women have come for Your ear-piercing ceremony. I have kept the betel leaves etc, ready to give them as a token of respect.”               


140     vaṇṇap pavaḷam maruṅginil cātti * malarppādak kiṅkiṇi ārppa *

           naṇṇit toḻumavar cindai piriyāda * nārāyaṇā iṅgē vārāy **

           eṇṇaṛkariya pirānē * tiriyai eriyāmē kādukkiḍuvan *

           kaṇṇukku nanṛum aḻagumuḍaiya * kanakak kaḍippum ivaiyā  


(Mother Yaśodā induces) “Nārāyaṇa, You remain eternally in the hearts of those who approach You and worship You! Adorning a superior coloured coral chain in Your hip and the anklets in Your lotus feet tinkling, come to the place I am calling You. Oh Benefactor! You are beyond even thought. Without any pain I will insert the threads in Your ears. See these elegant gold ear-pendants.”    


141      vaiyam ellām peṛumvārkaḍal vāḻum * magarakkuḻai koṇḍu vaittēn *

           veyyavē kādil tiriyai iḍuvan * nī vēṇḍiyadellām taruvan **

           uyya ivvāyar kulattinil tōnṛiya * oṇcuḍar āyar koḻundē *

           maiyanmai seydu iḷavāycciyar uḷḷattu * mādavanē iṅgē vārāy


Oh effulgent darling of the cowherd clan! You have appeared in the clan to deliver us. I have arranged crocodile shaped earrings, the most sought after, all over the world. I will insert warm threads in Your ears. I will give all the fruits and eatables You want; Oh Mādhava! With Your enchanting beauty, You enthrall the cowherd damsels and prevail permanently in their hearts. Please come here.  

 142     vaṇananṛuḍaiya vayirak kaḍippiṭṭu * vārkādu tāḻap perukki *

           guṇananṛuḍaiyari gōpāla piḷḷaigaḷ * gōvindā nī solluk koḷḷāy **

           iṇainanṛaḻagiya ikkaḍippu iṭṭāl * iniya palāppaḻam tandu *

           cuṇananṛaṇi mulaiyuṇṇat taruvan nān * cōttambirān iṅgē vārāy               


These obedient cowherd boys are wearing colourful diamond ear-dangles with their ears stretched long up to the shoulders. Govinda! You want to play with them, but not listen to my words. If You wear these pair of ear rings, I will give sweet jackfruit and offer my beautifully tanned nipple to suckle. Oh benefactor! I pray to You, come here.      



143     cōttambirān enṛu irandālum koḷḷāy * curikuḻalāroḍu nī pōy *

           kōttuk kuravai piṇaindu iṅgu vandāl * guṇam koṇḍiḍuvanō nambī **

           pērttum periyana appam taruvan * pirānē tiriyiḍavoṭṭil *

           vēyttaḍantōḷār virumbu karuṅguḻal * viṭṭuvē nī iṅgē vārāy              


Oh Benefactor! Even if I beg, You do not consider! Oh master of mischief! If You clasp the hands of the curly haired damsels and play rāsa-līlā with them, how can I accept it as proper behaviour? Oh Patron! If You allow me to insert the thread in Your ears, I will give big patties. Oh dark haired Viṣṇu, desired by the damsels with long arms like bamboo, come here!   


144     viṇṇellām kēṭka aḻutiṭṭāy * un vāyil virumbiyadanai nān nōkki *

           maṇṇellām kaṇḍu en manattuḷḷē añji * madusūdanē enṛaṛindēn **

           puṇṇēdumillai un kādumaṛiyum * poṛuttu iṛaippōdu iru nambī *

           Kaṇṇā en kārmugilē kaḍalvaṇṇā * kāvalanē mulaiyuṇāyē              


When You cried loudly with the sky resounding, I looked in to Your mouth to see if there is any trace of sand. Seeing the whole creation in Your stomach, I was bewildered, and understood that You are none other than Madhusūdana. There is no sore in Your ears, just be patient, oh Pūrṇatama! Kaṇṇa! Oh rain cloud! Oh ocean-hued! My Saviour! Suckle me.    


145     mulaiyēdum vēṇḍēn enṛōḍi * nin kādil kaḍippaip paṛitteṛindiṭṭu *

          malaiyai eḍuttu magiḻntu kalmāri kāttup * paśu nirai mēyttāy **

          cilaiyonṛu iṛuttāy tirivikkiramā * tiruvāyarpāḍip pirānē *

          talainilāppōdē un kādaip perukkādē * viṭṭiṭṭēn kuṭṛṛamēyanṛē               


Saying, “I do not want either to suckle your nipple nor the eatables”, You escape from my hand, tear off and throw away the ear rings. You lifted Govardhana Hill and held it graciously, without getting tired, to protect the cowherd men and the cows. You ensured that the cowherd men continued to tender the cows! You broke the incredible bow of Rudra to claim the hand of Sītā! Oh Trivikrama! You measured the worlds, expanding Your lotus steps! The Lord of cowherd clan! It was my mistake that when You were yet to hold Your head as an infant, piercing of Your ears was not performed.      


146    en kuṭṛṛamēyenṛu sollavum vēṇḍākāṇ * ennai nān maṇṇuṇḍēnāga *

          anbuṭṛṛu nōkki aḍittum piḍittum * anaivarkkum kāṭṭiṭṛṛilaiyē **

          vanpuṭṛṛaravin pagaik koḍi * vāmana nambī un kādugaḷ tūrum *

          tunpuṭṛṛanavellām tīrppāy pirānē * tiriyiṭṭuc collugēn meyyē              


(Kaṇṇan said) You need not regret your past mistake. Pretending that you loved Me, you caught Me and made Me open My mouth to see if I have eaten mud; didn’t you beat me and ridicule Me in front of everybody saying, “See His mouth” and show to all? (Mother Yaśodā pleads) Vāmana, You have Garuḍa, the enemy of the snake hiding in deep holes, on Your flag. Succorer of all anguish! Oh benevolent Lord! Your ear holes will get closed. I shall insert thread in Your ear holes; I am telling the truth.


147     meyyenṛu solluvār sollaik karudit * toḍuppuṇḍāy veṇṇeyaiyenṛu *

          kaiyaip piḍittuk karaiyuralōḍu ennaik * kāṇavē kaṭṭiṭṛṛilaiyē **

          seydana sollic cirittu aṅgu irukkil * śirīdarā un kādu tūrum *

          kaiyil tiriyaiyiḍugiḍāy * inninṛa kārigaiyār siriyāmē


(Kaṇṇan said) Believing the words of those who accused, “He stole butter”, didn’t you decide that I stole and ate butter? You caught hold of My hand and tied Me to a mortar when everybody was looking on? Mother Yaśodā says, Oh Lord of Goddess of fortune! If You laugh and grumble about what I did, without coming near me, Your ear holes will close; then these girls here will make fun of Your closed ear holes. So, come and get Your ear holes filled with the thread.   


 148    kārigaiyārkkum unakkum iḻukkuṭṛṛen * kādugaḷ vīṅgiyeriyil *

          tāriyādāgil talai nondiḍumenṛu * viṭṭiṭṭēn kuṭṛṛamēyanṛē **

          cēriyil piḷḷaigaḷ ellārum kādu perukkit * tiriyavum kāṇḍi *

          ērviḍai seṭṛṛu iḷaṅganṛu eṛindiṭṭa * iruḍīkēśā endan kaṇṇē              


(Kaṇṇan said) If my ear holes get infected and burn, what is the loss for these laughing girls or you–waiting to insert the thread in my ears? Mother Yaśodā replies that it was my fault that I didn’t get your ears pierced in the early days, concerned that you might develop head-pain. One who killed the charging bull demon Ariṣṭanemi and Pralambāsura who took the form of a calf! Hṛṣīkeśa! My darling! Don’t You see that all the children in the village are roaming around with their ears pierced and threads inserted?                       



149    kaṇṇaik kuḷirak kalandu eṅgum nōkkik * kaḍikamaḻ pūṅguḻalārgaḷ *

          eṇṇattuḷ enṛum irundu tittikkum * perumānē eṅgaḷ amudē **

          uṇṇak kanigaḷ taruvan * kaḍipponṛum nōvāmē kādukkiḍuvan * 

          paṇṇaik kiḻiyac cagaḍam udaittiṭṭa * paṛpanābā iṅgē vārāy             


Damsels, whose hair are decorated with fragrant flowers, look at Your alluring body longingly, with the intense desire to enjoy with You, who engages in amorous pastimes with them. Oh glorious Lord! Our nectar! One who kicked and dismantled Śakaṭāsura! Oh Padmanābha! I will give You fruits to eat. I shall fix ear rings without any pain, come here.



150  vāvenṛu solli en kaiyaip piḍittu * valiyavē kādil kaḍippai *

         nōvat tirikkil unakkiṅgiḻukkuṭṛṛen * kādugaḷ nondiḍuṅgillēn **

         nāvaṛpaḻam koṇḍu vaittēn * ivai kāṇāy nambī * mun vañja magaḷaic

         cāvap pāluṇḍu cakaḍiṛap pāyndiṭṭa * dāmōdarā iṅgē vārāy             


Calling Me, “Come here”, and catching hold of My hand firmly, if you forcibly and painfully insert the ear rings, there is no problem for you. But, My ears will pain, I will not come. (Mother Yaśodā replies) Oh complete One! Look, I have kept Jāmun fruit (which You like very much); You suckled the milk along with the life of Pūtanā and kicked Śakaṭāsura to dismantle him, oh Dāmodara! Come here.


151  * vārkādu tāḻap perukki amaittu * magarak kuḻaiyiḍa vēṇḍi *

          sīrāl asōdai tirumālaic conna sol * cindaiyuḷ ninṛu tigaḻa **

          pārārtol pugaḻān puduvai mannan * panniru  nāmattāl sonna *

          ārāda andādi panniraṇḍum vallār * accudanukku aḍiyārē                

Desiring to stretch the ears and adorn crocodile-shaped ear rings, the songs mother Yaśodā composed on the Master of the Goddess of Fortune, are carefully imbibed and embedded eternally in the heart of Periyāḻvār, the ever glorious chief of Śrīvilliputtur. He renders his ecstatic experience in twelve serial songs (Andādi). Those who can recite these songs will become the eternal servants of Acyuta.


Periyāḻvār has adopted a unique style of Tamiḻ poetry called Andādi in this decade. Andādi is composed with the last or ending word of each song becoming the first word of the next song or both are somewhat similar or connected, thus making the series of songs, a garland of songs. Anda(m) means ‘end’ and ādi means ‘beginning’. Other Āḻvārs like Poigai Āḻvār, Bhūtatāḻvār and Peiāḻvār have also employed this style. In English, we find the same style (should have been borrowed from Tamiḻ) and it is called ‘Anadiplosis’, which means “a doubling, folding up”. There is a repetition of the last word of a preceding clause. The word is used at the end of a sentence and then used again at the beginning of the next sentence (Wikipedia). Periyāḻvār is not only a great devotee of the Lord but also an expert in Tamiḻ poetry. He is the precursor for Piḷḷaittamiḻ and Andādi.[1] The first song (139) of this decade ends with the word vaittēn, which connects with the first word of the second song (140) vaṇṇap pavaḷam (vaittēn vaṇṇap pavaḷam). The second song ends with ‘ivaiyā’ and 141 starts with ‘vaiyam’ and ends with vārāy. 142 starts with Vaṇa… and ends with cōttambirān iṅgē vārāy. 143 starts with cōttambirān enṛu and ends with vārāy. 144 starts with viṇṇellām and ends with mulaiyuṇāyē. 145 starts with mulaiyēdum and ends with viṭṭiṭṭēn kuṭṛṛamēyanṛē. 146 starts with en kuṭṛṛamēyenṛu and ends with collugēn meyyē. 147 starts with meyyenṛu solluvār and ends with kārigaiyār siriyāmē. 148 starts with kārigaiyārkkum and ends with endan kaṇṇē.149 starts with kaṇṇaik kuḷirak and ends with iṅgē rāy. 150 starts with venṛu solli and ends with rāy. 151 starts with rkādu.

Periyāḻvār is bringing before us the amusing scene of mother Yaśodā cajoling and pleading with Kaṇṇan to get His ears pierced. Mother Yaśodā desires to pierce and stretch His ears to adorn with crocodile-shaped diamond ear rings. (This ceremony, called karṇa-veda-saṁskāra, is part of the cūḍā-karaṇa- saṁskāra, and marks the eligibility to hear the Vedic literature by giving up hearing of topics unrelated to the Lord.). She invites the village women and to honour them arranges a variety of eatables and gift. When she calls Kaṇṇan to pierce His ears, He says, “It will pain” and refuses to come. Mother Yaśodā tries to pacify Him with encouraging words and by offering His favourite delicious eatables. Whoever has conducted the ear piercing ceremony for their children will be amused to recollect the tussle between the child and all others to hold it still till the ears are pierced. The father tries to control the writhing child, the mother puts some sweet in the mouth, and others show different toys (ultimately they end up playing with those toys!) to distract the child. When the piercing is done finally, everybody is sweating and heave a long sigh of relief! Being a special, but very naughty child, Kaṇṇan makes it very tough for mother Yaśodā, and they engage in an amusing dialogue! He is the precursor for everything, whether creating inconceivable universes in millions, or playing childish pranks to please His devotees!

Mother Yaśodā tells Kaṇṇan, “Your father, quite able in protection of his son and the cowherd people, went for grazing the cows and is yet to return; the powerful Kaṁsa is quite revengeful against You; there is nobody here to protect You; but You are roaming alone all around. You are an expert in doing mischiefs! The cowherd boys and women have come for Your ear piercing ceremony. Adorning a superior coloured coral chain in Your hip and the anklets in Your lotus feet tinkling, come to the place I am calling You. Without any pain I will insert the threads in Your ears; See these beautiful gold ear pendants. I have arranged also crocodile-shaped earrings, sought after all over the world the most; I will insert warm threads in Your ears; I will give You all the fruits and eatables You want; wearing colourful diamond ear dangles and the ears stretched long up to the shoulders, these cowherd boys are obedient; Govinda ! You want to play with them, but do not listen to my words. If You wear these pairs of ear rings, I will give You sweet jackfruit and offer my beautifully tanned nipple to suckle. I pray to You; come here!  Even if I say, ‘I beg You’ You do not consider! Oh Master of mischiefs, if You clasp the hands of the curly haired damsels and play rāsa-līlā with them, how can I accept it as proper behaviour? If You allow me to insert the thread in Your ears, I will give You big patties. Come here. There is no sore in Your ears, just be patient; Suckle my nipple.”

Kaṇṇan replies, “I do not want either to suckle your nipple or the eatables”, escapes from the hands of mother Yaśodā and throws away the ear rings.

Mother Yaśodā laments, “It is my mistake that when You were yet to hold Your head as an infant, I did not perform piercing of Your ears.”

Kaṇṇan angrily points out, “You need not regret your past mistake. Pretending that you loved Me, you caught Me and made me open My mouth to see if I have eaten mud; didn’t you beat Me and ridicule Me in front of everybody saying, “See His mouth” and show to all?” Kaṇṇan exaggerates that mother mother Yaśodā beat Him, which is definitely not true. Mother Yaśodā just chastises Him, so that those who complain about Kaṇṇan’s pranks are mollified and Kaṇṇan feels afraid at least a wee bit; but to get every body’s compassion, He says that she beat Him and ridiculed Him in front of everybody. Generally the children start crying even before we touch them and when we just touch them they cry so loud that it may look that we really beat them! The author teaches Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and English to children of 7 years to 12 years in a gurukula. The usual complaint from every child is that the child sitting next to him beat him when in reality the other child would have just touched him!

Then mother Yaśodā tries to pacify Him, “The holes will get closed. So,I shall insert the threads in Your ear holes; I am telling the truth.” 

Kaṇṇan retorts laughing, “Believing the words of those who told, “He stole butter”, didn’t you decide that I stole and ate butter? You caught hold of My hand and tied Me to a mortar when everybody was looking on?”

Now mother Yaśodā cautions, “If You keep laughing and talking about what I did without coming near me, Your ear holes will close; then these girls here will make fun of Your closed ear holes. So, come and get Your ear holes filled with the thread.”

Still, Kaṇṇan keeps away and questions, “If my ear holes get infected and burn, what is the loss for these laughing girls or you–waiting to insert the thread in my ears?”

Totally vexed, mother Yaśodā blames herself again, “It was my fault that I didn’t get Your ears pierced in the early days, concerned that you might develop head-pain..” She tries to reason out with Him, “My darling! Please see that all the children in the village are roaming around with their ears pierced and threads inserted.”

Since Kaṇṇan does not want to come near yet, mother Yaśodā tries to tempt Him, “I will give You fruits to eat; I shall fix ear rings without any pain, come here.”

However Kaṇṇan is very cautious and complains, “Calling Me, “Come here”, and catching hold of My hand firmly, if you forcibly and painfully insert the ear rings, there is no problem for you. But, My ears will pain, I will not come.”

Again mother Yaśodā tries to induce Him, “Look, I have kept Jāmun fruit which You like very much, come here.

All glories to Kaṇṇan and His pranks! Devotees love to hear again and again about His pastimes. When honey is added to jackfruit, its taste multiplies; similarly, when the sweet plays of Kaṇṇan are rendered as songs, they are like nectar. Periyāḻvār promises that those who can recite these songs will become the eternal servants of Acyuta. Karumbu tinnak kūli vēṇumō? is a proverb in Tamiḻ which means: “Is it necessary to pay to make somebody eat Sugarcane?” So also, there is no need for any inducement to recite these nectarean songs.


[1] Piḷḷaittamiḻ: See Long Live the Lord Volume I, chapter titled “Child moon”.

152  * veṇṇeyaḷainta kuṇuṅgum * viḷaiyāḍu puḻudiyum koṇḍu *

tiṇṇene ivvirā unnait * tēyttuk kiḍakka nān oṭṭēn **

eṇṇeyp puḷippaḻam koṇḍu * iṅgu ettanai pōdum irundēn *

naṇṇalariya pirānē * nāraṇā nīrāḍa vārāy


Your hands emanate putrid smell of butter; Your body is smeared with dirt from playing. As I am concerned about You, tonight I will not allow You to lie on the bed and keep scratching Your body. I am waiting here for a long time for You with warmed up Sesame oil (good to smear on and massage Your body) and Soap nuts to remove the stickiness of the oil. Oh benefactor, You are difficult to attain by one’s own efforts! Nārāyaṇa! Come to bathe! 


 153  kanṛugaḷōḍac ceviyil * kaṭṭeṛumbu piḍittiṭṭāl *

  tenṛik keḍumāgil * veṇṇey tiraṭṭi viḻuṅgumā kāṇban **

  ninṛa marāmaram sāyttāy * nī piṛanda tiruvōṇam *

  inṛu nī nīrāḍa vēṇḍum * empirān ōḍādē vārāy    


If You drop ants in the ears of the calves , they will scatter away and then let me see how You get butter to devour. You brought down the seven Sal trees! Today’s star is Śravaṇā, Your birth star; You have to bathe today. My Lord! Don’t run away, come here.



154  pēycci mulaiyuṇṇak kaṇḍu * pinnaiyum nillādu en neñjam *

  āycciyarellārum kūḍi * aḻaikkavum nān mulai tandēn **

  kāyccina nīroḍu nelli * kaḍārattil pūrittu vaittēn *

  vāytta pugaḻ maṇivaṇṇā * mañjanamāḍa nī vārāy  

When You sucked the nipple of Pūtanā and sucked her life air and annihilated her, out of my love, ignoring the caution of the cowherd women, fearlessly I gave You my breast to suckle. I have kept ready a drum filled with water boiled with Gooseberry wood.  Very glorious  Maṇivaṇṇā! Come to bathe.


155  kañjan puṇarppinil vanda * kaḍiya cagaḍam udaittu *

  vañjagap pēymagaḷ tuñja * vāymulai vaitta pirānē **

  mañjaḷum ceṅgaḻunīrin * vāsikaiyum nāṛucāndum *

  añjanamum koṇḍu vaittēn * aḻaganē nīrāḍa vārāy   


My Lord, You kicked and eliminated the cruel Śakaṭāsura sent by Kaṁsa and sucked the life air out of the nipple of Pūtanā! I have arranged turmeric, lotus garland, sandal paste mixed with musk, rose water and collyrium. Charming  Kaṇṇa! Come to bathe.


156  appam kalanda ciṭṛṛuṇḍi * akkāram pālil kalandu *

  coppaḍa nān cuṭṭu vaittēn * tinnaluṛidiyēl nambī **

  ceppiḷa menmulaiyārgaḷ * ciṛupuṛam pēsic cirippar *

  coppaḍa nīrāḍa vēṇḍum * cōttam pirān iṅgē vārāy   


Oh Pūrṇa! I have prepared snacks made of milk sweetened by palm jaggery and mixed with sweet pancake. If You want to eat them, You have to bathe nicely. Otherwise, the copper colour skinned and tender breasted damsels will mock at You. My Lord! I beg You, come here.


157  eṇṇeyk kuḍattai uruṭṭi * iḷampiḷḷai kiḷḷi eḻuppi *  

  kaṇṇaip puraṭṭi viḻittuk * kaḻakaṇḍu seyyum pirānē **

  uṇṇak kanigaḷ taruvan * olikaḍal ōdanīr pōlē *

  vaṇṇam aḻagiya nambī * mañjanamāḍa nī vārāy     


You kick and overturn the oil pitchers, pinch and wake up the baby who cries aloud; and scare the children showing Your eyelids inside out. Like this You carry out intolerable mischiefs, Oh Svarāṭ! I will give You fruits to eat. You who have the alluring skin colour akin to the foaming water of the uproarious ocean, Oh Pūrṇa! Come to bathe.    


158  kaṛanda naṛpālum tayirum * kaḍaindu uṛimēl vaitta veṇṇey *

  piṛandaduvē mudalāgap * peṭṛṛaṛiyēn embirānē **

  siṛanda naṭṛṛāy alar tūṭṛṛum * enbadanāl piṛar munnē *

  maṛandum uraiyāḍa māṭṭēn * mañjanamāḍa nī vārāy  


My Lord! Since Your birth, I have never seen delicious milk or butter churned from quality milk and stored in hanging pots, remaining. Others comment that, “She is a very good mother, even if her son is at fault, she overlooks it.” By mistake even, I will not talk about Your activities. Come to bathe.  


159  kanṛinai vālōlai kaṭṭik * kanigaḷ udira eṛindu *

  pin toḍarndōḍiyōr pāmbaip * piḍittuk koṇḍāṭṭināy pōlum **

  nin tiṛattēn allēn nambī * nī piṛanda tirunal nāḷ *

  nanṛu nī nīrāḍa vēṇḍum * nāraṇā ōḍādē vārāy    


You tied a branch of palm leaves to a calf’s tail, threw a demoniac calf up on the Wood-Apple tree; ran after a snake, caught it and shook its tail. You are an expert in mischiefs! I am not aware of Your stunts. Today is auspicious, as it is the day of Your birth star. You have to bathe very well. Nārāyaṇa! Come, don’t run away.  


160  pūṇit toḻuvinil pukkup * puḻudi aḷainda ponmēni *

  kāṇap peridum ugappan * āgilum kaṇḍār paḻippar **

  nāṇettanaiyum ilādāy * nappinnai kāṇil sirikkum *

  māṇikkamē en maṇiyē * mañjanamāḍa nī vārāy   


You enter the cow pen where the cows are allowed to roam free and play in the dust there; I would love to see Your dust covered golden coloured body. However, others who see You will deride You, unabashed fellow!  If Nappinnai sees Your body, she will laugh. Māṇikkamē! My darling! Come to bathe.


161  * kārmalimēni niṛattuk * kaṇṇa pirānai ugandu *

  vārmali koṅgai yasōdai * mañjana māṭṭiyavāṭṛṛai **

  pārmalitol puduvaikkōn * paṭṭar pirān sonna pāḍal *

  sīrmali sentamiḻ vallār * tīvinai yādumilarē


The full breasted mother Yaśodā, lovingly bathing Kaṇṇan, whose skin colour is much more admirable than the bluish black colour of the fresh rain clouds, has been rendered into ambrosial songs by Periyāḻvār, the king of the ancient Śrīvilliputtur and whose opulence is sublime and unheard in the world. Those who can recite these songs of pure Tamiḻ are sinless.  


The much harassed mother Yaśodā is appealing to Kaṇṇan to come to bathe by tempting Him with sweet meats and trying to reason out why He should bathe. This enthralling episode is narrated by Periyāḻvār in captivating songs employing a pioneering Tamiḻ literary style named as aṇi grammar. Aṇi means beauty. The beauty of the words and the content of the poem is defined by the aṇi grammar. This is presented in an ancient writing called Taṇḍialañkāram (literary decoration). 35 types of content related aṇis, 6 word related aṇis and 9 style related aṇis are described in this book. It seems that Periyāḻvār has used content related atisaya aṇi. Atisaya means wonder and viyappu means surprise or wonder. In this aṇi, the unique and superior qualities of an object are  described very imaginatively and elegantly, so that the listener or reader is surprised or wonders about the object. Though mother Yaśodā expresses her vexation due to Kaṇṇan’s non-stop mischiefs, while engaged in household activities like cooking, churning or milking the cows, in vātsalya-rasa she composes songs on His glories and wonderful activities.  Periyāḻvār narrates these beautiful, naughty pastimes, and extraordinary activities of Kaṇṇan in a charming way and the devotees read and discuss again and again His transcendental activities. Kṛṣṇa points out this in Bhagavad-gītā 10.9: kathayantaś ca māṁ nityam tuṣyanti ca ramanti ca: The devotees always think of Kṛṣṇa, dedicate their life to serve Him and enjoy talking about Him.

Tiṇṇene ivvirā unnait tēyttuk kiḍakka nān oṭṭēn: Mother Yaśodā complaints to Kaṇṇan, “Your hands emanate putrid smell of butter; Your body is smeared with dirt from playing. As I am concerned about You, tonight I will not allow You to lie on the bed and keep scratching Your body. I am waiting here for a long time for You with warmed up Sesame oil (good to smear on and massage Your body) and Soap nuts to remove the stickiness of the oil. Come and take bath.”                                                 

Naṇṇalariya pirānē: Periyāḻvār adds that it is difficult to attain Him with one’s own efforts. Brahma also points out that the yogis who practice prāṇāyāma to attain the Supreme Truth just get a glimpse of His partial personal form of Paramātmā; and the jñānīs who search for impersonal Brahman by mental speculation just achieve kaivalya or merging into the Brahman after thousands of millions of years. Only by unalloyed devotional service, it is possible to realize the Supreme Truth.     

Veṇṇey tiraṭṭi viḻuṅgumā kāṇban:Mother Yaśodā cautions further, “If You drop ants in the ears of the calves, they will scatter away from the cows”. If the calves are not with them, the cows will not secrete milk and consequently butter cannot be produced. She wonders then how will He get His favourite butter.She reminds Him, “Today’s star is Śravaṇā, Your birth star; You have to bathe today. My Lord! Don’t run away, come here.”

Ninṛa marāmaram sāyttāy: Periyāḻvār appreciates Kaṇṇan that He brought down the seven Sal trees! Sugrīva asked Rāma to show His strength by piercing one of the seven Sal trees in the forest nearby, right through with an arrow. Each Sal tree was more than thirty arms’ length in diameter and Vāli had easily broken down many such trees. Rāma smilingly took up His bow and strung it, and placed on the string, a dreadful-looking arrow. He took aim and released the arrow which bore through all seven trees. The arrow, gilded with gold, entered the earth and descended to the subterranean regions. Forcing its way back out of the earth, it again entered Rāma’s quiver. Sugrīva was astonished and fell flat on the ground at Rāma’s feet, satisfied that Vāli was as good as slain.

Āycciyarellārum kūḍi aḻaikkavum nān mulai tandēn: Mother Yaśodā reveals how much she loved Kaṇṇan. When He sucked the nipple of Pūtanā and her life air and annihilated her, ignoring the caution of the cowherd women, out of love, fearlessly she gave Him her breast to suckle.                                                                                               She keeps ready a drum filled with water, boiled with gooseberry wood and mixed with turmeric, lotus garland; sandal paste mixed with musk and rose water, and collyrium. She wants His already beautiful body to glow after a thorough bathing.

Appam kalanda ciṭṛṛuṇḍi akkāram pālil kalandu coppaḍa nān cuṭṭu vaittēn: As Kaṇṇan ignores mother Yaśodā’s calls, she tries to woo Him with snacks made of milk, sweetened by palm jaggery and mixed with sweet pancake. If He wants to eat them, He has to bathe nicely first. She warns that if He remains dirty, the copper colour skinned and tender breasted damsels, will mock at Him wherever they see Him.  As He does not come still, she begs Him to come to bathe.

Kaḻakaṇḍu seyyum pirānē: Then mother Yaśodā chastises and cajoles Him, “You kick and overturn the oil pitchers, pinch and wake up the baby who cries aloud and scare the children showing the eyelids inside out.  Like this, You carry out intolerable mischiefs. Anyway, if you come, I will give You fruits to eat.” Then she praises Him that He has alluring skin colour akin to the foaming water of the uproarious ocean, and it should shine with a good bathing.                                                                         Periyāḻvār acclaims that the Lord is Svarāṭ (independent), He does not have to obtain any knowledge from anyone. He is complete in Himself and is not controlled by anyone.

Piṛandaduvē mudalāgap peṭṛṛaṛiyēn embirānē: Then she tries to reason out with Him, “Since Your birth, I have never seen any delicious milk, butter churned from quality milk and stored in hanging pots, remaining. Others comment, ‘She is a very good mother, even if her son is at fault, she overlooks it.’ By mistake even, I will not talk about Your activities in front of others.” She expects Him to reciprocate by coming to take bath.

Kanṛinai vālōlai kaṭṭik kanigaḷ udira eṛindu: With no response from Kaṇṇan, She attempts to glorify Him, “You tied a branch of palm leaves to a calf’s tail, threw a demoniac calf up on the Wood-Apple tree and followed and ran after a snake, caught it and shook its tail. You are an expert in mischiefs! I cannot keep a score of Your stunts. Today is auspicious as it is the day of Your birth star. You have to bathe very well.” Once, a demon by the name Vatsāsura, took the shape of a calf and mingled with the other calves, waiting for the opportune time to kill both Kṛṣṇa, and Balarāma. Kṛṣṇa, who noticed this, silently approached him; caught hold of the demon-calf’s hind legs and tail, whipped him around with force and threw him up onto a tree. The demon died instantly and dropped down from the top of the tree. He subdued the black serpent Kāliya and made him leave the Yamunā and go elsewhere. Thus the Yamunā water became pure again.  

Nappinnai kāṇil sirikkum: Mother Yaśodā points out, “You enter the cow pen where the cows are allowed to roam free and play in the dust there; I would love to see Your dust covered golden coloured body. However, others who see You will deride You, unabashed fellow!  If Nappinnai sees Your body, she will laugh.” On hearing the name of Nappinnai, Kaṇṇan immediately comes and agrees to be given a bath.                                                                                                                             

The author came across an article on Nappinnai in Hinduism beta, edited on Apr 13, 2017:

The story of Nappinnai is mentioned in a variety of scriptures, including the Harivaṁśa, the Garuḍa Purāṇa, and the poems of the Aḻvārs. Nappinnai, an incarnation of Viṣṇu's third wife Nīlā Devī, was born as the daughter of mother Yaśodā's brother Kuṁbaka. Kṛṣṇa married Nappinnai after defeating the seven ferocious bulls of Kuṁbaka. I came across the following words of Kṛṣṇa in Garuḍa Purāṇa: “The maiden was born in the house of Kuṁbaka and was called Nīlā. I went to his house, O best of birds. I killed Kuṁbaka and married Nīlā. In her second birth, Nīlā was born as the daughter of Nagnajit. In the svayaṁvara of Nīlā, I controlled seven bulls, who by the favour of Śiva, were uncontrollable by any one. I conquered the kings who had assembled there and married Nīlā. Thus Nīlā was born twice and married to me.”

162  * pinnai maṇāḷanaip * pēril kiḍandānai * 

  munnai amarar * mudal tani vittinai **

  ennaiyum eṅgaḷ * kuḍimuḻudu āṭkoṇḍa *

  mannanai vandu kuḻalvārāy akkākkāy *

  mādavan  tan kuḻalvārāy akkākkāy           


Here is the Lord of Nappinnai who is in a reclining posture in Tiruppēr. He is the chief of the nitya- sūris, Cause of all causes and King of the fully surrendered cowherd clan who have remained sinless through twenty-one generations (seven generations before, seven after and seven in middle). Oh raven, come and comb His hair, comb the hair of Mādhava!  


163  pēyin mulaiyuṇḍa * piḷḷai ivan munnam *

  māyac cagaḍu * marudum iṛuttavan **

  kāyāmalar vaṇṇan * kaṇṇan karuṅguḻal *

  tūydāga vandu kuḻalvārāy akkākkāy *

  tūmaṇi vaṇṇan kuḻalvārāy akkākkāy          


He sucked the the breast of the demon Pūtanā; kicked and dismantled the evil Śakaṭāsura, and brought down the yamala-arjuna trees. He is brilliant bluish coloured like the Kāyāmbu flower. Oh raven, come and comb nicely the blackish hair of Kaṇṇan.Oh raven, come and comb His hair, whose skin colour is akin to the faultless blue sapphire stone. 


164  tiṇṇak kalattut * tiraiyuṛi mēl vaitta *

  veṇṇey viḻuṅgi * viraiyan uṛaṅgiḍum **

  aṇṇal amarar * perumānai āyar tam *

  kaṇṇanai vandu kuḻalvārāy akkākkāy *

  kārmugil vaṇṇan kuḻalvārāy akkākkāy      

He eats all the butter stored in the sturdy vessels hung from the ceiling by strong rope hangars, runs away quickly, lies down and acts as if fast asleep.  He is the Lord of eternally liberated spiritual associates and dear most for the cowherds. Come raven and comb His hair. Come raven and comb His hair, whose skin colour is like the fresh bluish clouds.      


165  paḷḷattil mēyum * paṛavai uruk koṇḍu *

  kaḷḷa asuran * varuvānait tān kaṇḍu **

  puḷḷiduvenṛu * podukkōvāy kīṇḍiṭṭa *

  piḷḷaiyai vandu kuḻalvārāy akkākkāy *

  pēymulai  uṇḍān kuḻalvārāy akkākkāy


A demon named Bakāsura, took the form of a crane, which eats the fish in ponds and came to kill Kaṇṇan. While herding the calves, Kaṇṇan noticed the demoniac bird and split its mouth easily and killed him. Come obsidian and comb His hair. Come and comb His hair, who sucked the life air of Pūtanā along with milk.            



166  kaṭṛṛinam mēyttuk * kanikku oru kanṛinai *

  paṭṛṛi eṛinda * paraman tirumuḍi **

  uṭṛṛana pēsi * nī ōḍit tiriyādē *

  aṭṛṛaikkum vandu kuḻalvārāy akkākkāy *

  āḻiyān tan kuḻalvārāy akkākkāy


He is a protector who while grazing the calves, caught hold of the legs of the demoniac calf named Vatsāsura, and threw him up on the wood-apple tree making the fruits fall down. Don’t just roam around crowing away like the other ravens, come daily and comb His hair. Comb His hair, who holds the disc in His hand.           



167  kiḻakkil kuḍi mannar * kēḍilādārai *

  aḻippān ninaindiṭṭu * avvāḻi adanāl **

  viḻikkum aḷavilē * vēraṛuttānai *

  kuḻaṛku aṇiyāgak kuḻalvārāy akkākkāy *

  gōvindan tan kuḻalvārāy akkākkāy


When Indra and the other demigods, who lived with all opulence under the shelter of Kṛṣṇa, were threatened to be annihilated by Narakāsura whose capital city was Prāgjyotiṣa, Kṛṣṇa decimated him and his associates in no time. Come raven and comb His hair decoratively. Comb the finest hair of Govinda.           


  168 piṇḍat tiraḷaiyum * pēykku iṭṭa nīrc cōṛum *

  uṇḍaṛku vēṇḍi * nī ōḍit tiriyādē **

  aṇḍattu amarar * perumān aḻagamar *

  vaṇḍottiruṇḍa kuḻalvārāy akkākkāy *

  māyavan tan kuḻalvārāy akkākkāy


Don’t roam around, desirous of eating the offerings made to the forefathers during the annual ritual or the cooked rice mixed with water offered to the ghouls. Come and comb the beautiful dark curls resembling bumble-bees, of the Lord of demigods and the universe, who performs inconceivable activities. Come raven, comb His hair.            



169  undi eḻunda * uruvamalar tannil *

  candac cadumugan * tannaip paḍaittavan **

  kondak kuḻalaik * kuṛandu puḷiyaṭṭi *

  tandattin cīppāl kuḻalvārāy akkākkāy * 

  dāmōdaran tan kuḻalvārāy akkākkāy      


In the beautiful lotus flower originated from His navel, He created the four-faced Brahmā and endowed him with all the transcendental knowledge. Oh obsidian, comb His hair nicely, applying the musky scent of the civet and with an Ivory comb, as His hair is matted due to washing with soap nut. Oh raven, comb the hair of Dāmodara.


170  mannan tan dēvimār * kaṇḍu magiḻveyda *

  munnivvulaginai * muṭṛṛum aḷandavan **

  ponnin muḍiyinaip * pūvaṇai mēl vaittu *

  pinnēyirundu kuḻalvārāy akkākkāy * 

  pērāyirattān kuḻalvārāy akkākkāy


Asura king Bali’s wives were enchanted by the beautiful Vāmanadeva, who measured and reclaimed the universe. Oh raven, place His head on a bed as soft as the flowers and comb from the back. Comb His hair, who has thousands of names.  


171  * kaṇḍār paḻiyāmē * akkākkāy * kārvaṇṇan

  vaṇḍār kuḻal vāra * vāvenṛa āycci sol **

  viṇtōy madiḷ * villiputtūrk kōn paṭṭan sol *

  koṇḍāḍip pāḍak * kuṛugā vinaitānē     


Mother Yaśodā called, “Oh raven, before others mock at His uncombed hair, come and comb His black hair, resembling the bumble-bees.” Her words were rendered as ambrosial songs by Periyāḻvār, the chief of Śrīvilliputtūr, which is surrounded by sky-high walls. Those who praise these divine songs, and recite them will never ever be afflicted by sinful reactions.


Child care specialists say that combing the child’s hair can help increase the blood flow to the scalp, stimulate the nervous system and also promote healthy hair growth. However, combing one’s little angel’s hair can be a difficult task. As a child’s scalp, skin, and other body parts are so delicate, the last thing a mother would want to do is hurt the child. So, it is a daily struggle to comb the child’s hair and the mother has to employ all her wits to make the child sit and allow the hair to be combed. A mother takes pride in presenting a well-groomed child and feels proud when her child’s prim looks are appreciated, especially by other mothers.

After cajoling and convincing Kaṇṇan to take bath, next mother Yaśodā decides to comb His hair. To make Him get distracted so that she should be able to comb with little protest, she calls the raven to come and comb Kaṇṇan’s hair. She tells the raven, “Before others mock at Kaṇṇan’s uncombed hair, come and comb His hair.”  Periyāḻvār, with His divine vision, enjoys the “combing of Kaṇṇan’s hair” episode and unfolds it to us in sweet songs. These songs praise the divine activities of Kaṇṇan and ask the obsidian to come and comb the hair of such a glorious child.

Pinnai maṇāḷanai: Periyāḻvār refers to “Śrī Appakkuḍattān,” the principal deity (who is in a reclining posture) of Tirupper nagar (one of the 108 Divya Desams), near Koḷḷiḍam, Tamiḻ Nāḍu as the Lord of Nappinnai.[1] Nappinnai, the beloved consort of Kaṇṇan has been extolled by ācāryas and āḻvārs:

Parāśara Muni: nīlā tuṅga stanagiri taḍī suptam: “(The Lord) who is enjoying a deep sleep resting His head on the mountain-like breasts of Nappinnai.”[2]

Nammāḻvār: kulavāyar koḻundu: “The cowherd clan’s darling Nappinnai from a reputed family”[3] (Tiruvaimoḻi 5-6-11). tōḷisēr pinnai:  “Elegant-shouldered charming Nappinnai” (Tiruvaimoḻi 5-6-11).

Tirumaḻisai āḻvār: āyanāgi āyar mangaitōḷvirumbināi: “(Kaṇṇā) You desired the exquisite-shouldered cowherd girl Nappinnai”[4] (Tiruccanda viruttam 41).

Śrī Āṇḍāḷ: mai taḍam kaṇṇināi: “Collyrium-anointed, wide-eyed lady Nappinnai, you do not let your spouse rise even for a moment. Your unwillingness to part with Him, even once, is neither fair nor just”[5] (Tiruppävai 19). seppenna men mulai cevvāi : “Full-breasted lady Nappinnai with slender waist and coral lips! Give us your fan and mirror, let us attend on your husband now” (Tiruppävai 20).

Swami Vedānta Deśika: nisāmayatu mām nīlā yat bōga patalai: “Due to Nappinnai’s enchanting spell”[6] (Dayā satakam 8).


Periyāḻvār, in the words of mother Yaśodā, lauds the Lord citing His various qualities and pastimes and asks the raven to come and comb His hair:

Tani vittinai: The cause of all causes. Brahma-saṁhitā (5.1) confirms: anādir ādir govindaḥ sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam: “Kṛṣṇa, who is known as Govinda, is the origin of all. He has no other origin, and He is the prime cause of all causes.” Kṛṣṇa is the remote cause and material nature is the immediate cause of the cosmic manifestation. Unintelligent men may think that the earth is the cause of an earthen pot. The intelligent will find that the original cause is the potter, who brings the earth and moves the wheel, and shapes the pot. When Kṛṣṇa glances over material energy, the three modes of nature is agitated and the creation takes place. Material nature may help in the creation of cosmic manifestation but is not the ultimate cause. The Lord is the cause of all causes (Bhāgavatam 4.31.17, purport). If one knows that Vāsudeva is the original cause of all causes, he becomes a perfect mahātmā (vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti sa mahātmā su-durlabhaḥ).

yasmin yato yena ca yasya yasmai
yad yo yathā kurute kāryate ca
parāvareṣāṁ paramaṁ prāk prasiddhaṁ
tad brahma tad dhetur ananyad ekam

The Supreme Brahman, Kṛṣṇa, is the ultimate resting place and source of everything. Everything is done by Him, everything belongs to Him, and everything is offered to Him. He is the ultimate objective, and whether acting or causing others to act, He is the ultimate doer. There are many causes, high and low, but since He is the cause of all causes, He is well known as the Supreme Brahman who existed before all activities. He is one without a second and has no other cause. I therefore offer my respects unto Him (Bhāgavatam 6.4.30).

Madhvācārya affirms, ananyaḥ sadṛśābhāvād eko rūpādy-abhedataḥ: “Kṛṣṇa has no cause nor any equal, and He is one because His various forms, as svāṁśa and vibhinnāṁśa, are nondifferent from Himself. Out of ignorance prople think that matter is the cause of everything.

Śruti-mantra reiterates this: yato vā imāni bhūtāni jāyante; yena jātāni jīvanti yat prayanty abhisaṁviśanti. The Lord is the original cause of everything. On annihilation, everything enters into Him (prakṛtiṁ yānti māmikām). (Bhāgavatam 8.3.3)

The King of the elephants, Gajendra, prays to the Lord, “My Lord, you are the cause of all causes, but You Yourself have no cause. Therefore, You are the wonderful cause of everything.” Śrīla Prabhupāda explains that the Lord is wonderful because, although there are unlimited expansions from Him, He always remains complete (pūrṇasya pūrṇam ādāya pūrṇam evāvaśiṣyate). (Bhāgavatam 8.3.15)

When Nārada requests his father Brahmā to clarify if someone more powerful than him exists, Brahmā explains about the Supreme Personality of Godhead and concludes, nānyad bhagavataḥ kiñcid bhāvyaṁ sad-asad-ātmakam: “You must know for certain that whatever there is (either as cause or as effect, both in the material and spiritual worlds) is dependent on the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” (Bhāgavatam 2.6.33)

Śrīla Prabhupāda ridicules the scholars and philosophers who postulate the theory of impersonal creation of the universe[7]

An inexperienced boy may be struck with wonder by seeing the impersonal actions of electronics or many other wonderful things conducted by electrical energy, but an experienced man knows that behind the action is a living man who creates such energy. Similarly the so-called scholars and philosophers of the world may, by mental speculation, present so many utopian theories about the impersonal creation of the universe, but an intelligent devotee of the Lord, by studying the Bhagavad-gītā, can know that behind the creation is the hand of the Supreme Lord, just as in the generating electrical powerhouse there is the resident engineer. The research scholar finds out the cause and the effect of everything, but research scholars as great as Brahmā, Śiva, Indra and many other demigods are sometimes bewildered by seeing the wonderful creative energy of the Lord, so what to speak of the tiny mundane scholars dealing in petty things. (Bhāgavatam 2.4.6, purport)

Eṅgaḷ kuḍimuḻudu āṭkoṇḍa: Fully surrendered cowherd clan who have remained sinless through twenty-one generations. Hari-bhakti-vilāsa explains that a person who has firm conviction that he belongs to the Lord, and who acts in that way by his body, mind and words is a surrendered soul. His surrender is without any reservation (ātma-samarpaṇa). When Śukadeva Gosvāmī narrates the subduing of the snake Kāliya, he says that the cowherd community has offered Kṛṣṇa everything—their very selves, their families, their wealth, wives, and pleasures. So when they see Kṛṣṇa in the snake’s coils, motionless, their intelligence is overcome by grief, lamentation, and fear and thus they fall to the ground (Bhāgavatam 10.16.10). The cowherd community consider Kṛṣṇa as their beloved child, friend, lover, master, and life itself. They preserve Kṛṣṇa’s footprints as great treasures, the very ornaments of the earth. Thus no living being within Vṛndāvana would ever walk upon Kṛṣṇa’s footprints (Bhāgavatam 10.16.18, purport).


Paḷḷattil mēyum paṛavai uruk koṇḍu: A demon named Bakāsura, took the form of a crane, which eats the fish in ponds and came to kill Kaṇṇan. In Kṛṣṇa, the supreme personality of godhead, chapter 11, a vivid description of this pastime is given:

One day, all the cowherd boys went to the bank of the river Yamunā to water their calves. When the calves drank water from the Yamunā, the boys also drank. After drinking, when they were sitting on the bank of the river, they saw a huge animal which looked something like a heron and was as big as a hill. Its top was as strong as a thunderbolt. When they saw that unusual animal, they became afraid of it. The name of this beast was Bakāsura, and he was a friend of Kaṁsa’s. He appeared on the scene suddenly and immediately attacked Kṛṣṇa with his pointed, sharp beak and quickly swallowed Him up. When Kṛṣṇa was thus swallowed, all the boys, headed by Balarāma, became almost breathless, as if they had died. But when the Bakāsura demon was swallowing up Kṛṣṇa, he felt a burning, fiery sensation in his throat. This was due to the glowing effulgence of Kṛṣṇa. The demon quickly threw Kṛṣṇa up and tried to kill Him by pinching Him with his beak. Bakāsura did not know that although Kṛṣṇa was playing the part of a child of Nanda Mahārāja, He was still the original father of Lord Brahmā, the creator of the universe. Mother Yaśhodā’s child, who is the reservoir of pleasure for the demigods and who is the maintainer of saintly persons, caught hold of the great gigantic heron by the two halves of his beak and, before His cowherd boyfriends, bifurcated his mouth, just as a child very easily splits a blade of grass. From the sky, the denizens of the heavenly planets showered flowers like the mallikā, the most fragrant of all flowers, as a token of their congratulations. Accompanying the showers of flowers was a vibration of bugles, drums and conch shells.


Piṇḍat tiraḷaiyum pēykku iṭṭa nīrc cōṛum: Mother Yaśhodā warns the raven not to roam around, desirous of eating the offerings made to the forefathers during the annual ritual or the cooked rice mixed with water offered to the ghouls, but come and comb the beautiful dark curls of Kaṇṇan.

According to the rules and regulations of fruitive activities, there is a need to offer periodical food and water to the forefathers of the family. This offering is performed by worship of Viṣṇu, because eating the remnants of food offered to Viṣṇu can deliver one from all kinds of sinful reactions. Sometimes the forefathers may be suffering from various types of sinful reactions, and sometimes some of them cannot even acquire a gross material body and are forced to remain in subtle bodies as ghosts. Thus, when remnants of prasāda food are offered to forefathers by descendants, the forefathers are released from ghostly or other kinds of miserable life. Such help rendered to forefathers is a family tradition, and those who are not in devotional life are required to perform such rituals. One who is engaged in the devotional life is not required to perform such actions. Simply by performing devotional service, one can deliver hundreds and thousands of forefathers from all kinds of misery. It is stated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.5.41):

devarṣi-bhūtāpta-nṛṇāṁ pitṝṇāṁ

na kiṅkaro nāyam ṛṇī ca rājan

sarvātmanā yaḥ śaraṇaṁ śaraṇyaṁ

gato mukundaṁ parihṛtya kartam

“Anyone who has taken shelter of the lotus feet of Mukunda, the giver of liberation, giving up all kinds of obligation, and has taken to the path in all seriousness, owes neither duties nor obligations to the demigods, sages, general living entities, family members, humankind or forefathers.” Such obligations are automatically fulfilled by performance of devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. (Gītā 1.41, purport)


Undi eḻunda uruvamalar tannil: In the beautiful lotus flower originated from His navel, He created the four-faced Brahmā and endowed him with all the transcendental knowledge. A detailed description of the cosmic creation and creation of Brahmā are given in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Canto 3. When the three worlds were submerged in the water of dissolution, Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu lay down in the water on the great snake Ananta for a thousand cycles of four Yugas and appeared to be in slumber in His own internal potency. Agitated by the material mode of passion the subtle form of creation in the form of a lotus bud pierced through His abdomen. Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu entered the lotus flower as Supersoul, impregnated it with all the modes of material nature and generated Brahmā. Brahmā could not see anything around and while moving his eyes in all directions he achieved four heads corresponding to the four directions. He contemplated who was he and wherefrom the lotus fower had sprouted. Then he entered the water through the channel of the lotus stem and went nearer to the navel of Viṣṇu, but he could not trace out the root. Thereafter, as advised by the Lord, Brahmā engaged in penance for one hundred celestial years. At the end of one hundred years, he developed the required knowledge and could see in his heart the Supreme, whom he could not see earlier with his own endeavor. The Lord asked him to follow His instructions and create the living entities, by dint of the complete Vedic wisdom and the body he received directly from the Lord, the supreme cause of all.


Pērāyirattān: Who has thousands of names. Viṣṇu-sahaśranāma rendered by Bhīṣma, which lists 1000 names (sahaśranāma) of Viṣṇu is found in the Anuśāsana-parva of the Mahābhārata. Other versions of sahaśranāma exist in the Padma Purāṇa, Skanda Purāṇa and Garuḍa Purāṇa. There is also a Sikh version. Each name eulogises one of Viṣṇu’s countless great qualities. In His Śikṣāṣṭaka, Lord Caitanya says that the Lord’s holy name alone can render all benedictions to living beings. In His hundreds and millions of transcendental names like Kṛṣṇa and Govinda, He has invested all His transcendental energies. There are no hard and fast rules for chanting these names and thus we can easily approach the Lord by His holy names.   

Periyāḻvār concludes his narration of the pastime of combing of Kaṇṇan’s hair by blessing those who praise these divine songs and recite them that they will never ever be afflicted by sinful reactions.


[1] Nappinnai: Refer to also chapter titled “Tirumoḻi 4—Come to bathe!” 

[2] Parāśara Muni: See Long Live the Lord! Volume I, chapter titled “Periyāḻvār”

[3] Nammāḻvār: See Long Live the Lord Volume I, chapter titled “Āḻvārs”

[4] Tirumaḻisai āḻvār : See Long Live the Lord Volume I, chapter titled “Āḻvārs”

[5] Śrī Änòäÿ: See Long Live the Lord Volume I, chapter titled “Āḻvārs”

[6] Swami Vedānta Deśika: See glossary in Long Live the Lord Volume I.

[7] Śrīla Prabhupāda: See Appendices.

172  * vēlikkōl veṭṭi * viḷaiyāḍu villēṭṛṛi *

  tālik koḻuntait * taḍaṅgaḻuttiṛ pūṇḍu **

  pīlit taḻaiyaip * piṇaittup piṛakiṭṭu *

  kālippin pōvāṛku ōr kōl koṇḍu vā * kaḍalniṛa 

                                 vaṇṇaṛku ōr kōl koṇḍu vā  

The ocean-hued Lord carries a strung, toy bow made of staff cut from the hedge, sports a tender palm leaf ornament around His big neck, hangs on His back a fan made of peacock feathers and goes after the calves. Oh raven, fetch a herding staff for Him.


173  koṅgum kuḍandaiyum * kōṭṭiyūrum pērum *

  eṅgum tirindu * viḷaiyāḍum en magan **

  caṅgam piḍikkum * taḍakkaikkut takka * nal

  aṅgamuḍaiyadōr kōl koṇḍu vā * arakku

                             vaḻittatōr kōl koṇḍu vā          

My son roams around and plays in fragrant Kumbakōṇam, Tirukkōṣṭiyūr, Tiruppēr and all other Divya Desams. Oh raven, fetch a lacquer-polished herding staff suitably shaped to fit the conch-holding broad palm of my son.    


174  kaṛuttiṭṭu edir ninṛa * kañjanaik konṛān *

  poṛuttiṭṭu edir vanda * puḷḷin vāy kīṇḍān **

  neṛitta kuḻalkaḷai * nīṅga munnōḍi *

  ciṛuk kanṛu mēyppāṛku ōr kōl koṇḍu vā * dēva

                                  pirānukku ōr kōl koṇḍu vā          

He slayed the hostile Kaṁsa and split the jaws of the charging Bakāsura. His beautiful curly hair parts when He runs faster than the calves and herds them. Oh raven, fetch a herding staff for the protector of the demigods.


175  onṛē uraippān * orusollē solluvān *

  tunṛu muḍiyān * duriyōdanan pakkal **

  cenṛu aṅgup bāratam * kai eṛintānukku *

  kanṛugaḷ mēyppadōr kōl koṇḍu vā * kaḍalniṛa

                                 vaṇṇarkku ōr kōl koṇḍu vā

He always states and emphasises His protection of His devotees. He went to gems studded-crowned Duryodhana as the emissary of the Pāṇḍavas and concluded the imminence of the great Bhārata war. Oh raven, fetch a herding staff for the ocean-hued Lord.          


176  cīronṛu tūdāy * duriyōdanan pakkal *

  ūronṛu vēṇḍip * peṛāda urōḍattāl **

  pāronṛip bāratam * kai ceydu pārttaṛkut *

  tēronṛai ūrndāṛku ōr kōl koṇḍu vā * dēva

                          pirānukku ōr kōl koṇḍu vā           

He went as a forthright messenger of the Pāṇḍavas and requested Duryodhana to give atleast one village to each of the Pāṇḍavas. Riled by the outright rejection of His request, He orchestrated the great Bhārata war and supported Arjuna as the driver of his magnificient chariot. Oh raven, fetch a herding staff for the Lord of the demigods.


177  ālattilaiyān * aravinaṇai mēlān *

  nīlak kaḍaluḷ * neḍuṅgālam kaṇ vaḷarndān **

  bālap pirāyattē * pārttarkku aruḷ ceyda *

  kōlap pirānukku ōr kōl koṇḍu vā * kuḍantaik

                            kiḍandārkku ōr kōl koṇḍu vā

He floated on the banyan tree leaf, reclined on the serpent bed, and assumed a protracted creative sleep in the blue-hued ocean. He became the patron of Arjuna when he was a boy. Oh raven, fetch a herding staff for the beautiful benefactor. Fetch a herding staff for the reclining deity of Kumbakōṇam.            


178  pon tigaḻ * cittirakūḍap poruppinil *

  uṭṛṛa vaḍivil * oru kaṇṇum koṇḍa ** ak

  kaṭṛṛaik kuḻalan * kaḍiyan viraindu unnai *

  maṭṛṛaik kaṇ koḷḷāmē kōl koṇḍu vā * maṇivaṇṇa

                                     nambikku ōr kōl koṇḍu vā         

In the Citrakūt valley, lush with dense groves and brimming lakes, you lost one of your eyes because of your lusty looks at Mother Sītā’s exquisite form. That Lord with dense hair is very stern, and if you do not wish to lose your other eye also, quickly fetch the herding staff. Oh raven, fetch a herding staff for the ruby-coloured perfect master.  


179  minniḍaic cītai poruṭṭā * ilaṅgaiyar *

  mannan maṇi muḍi * pattum uḍan vīḻa **

  tannigaronṛillāc * cilaikāl vaḷaittiṭṭa *

  minnu muḍiyaṛku ōr kōl koṇḍu vā * vēlai 

                        aḍaittāṛku ōr kōl koṇḍu vā       

To win back Mother Sītā—with lightning-like elegant hip—He severed all the ten heads of Rāvaṇa—the master of the rākṣasas of Laṅkā—bending His unrivalled bow. Oh raven, fetch a herding stick for that radiant-crowned Lord. Fetch a herding staff for Him who built a bridge of rocks over the ocean.    


180  tennilaṅgai mannan * ciram tōḷ tuṇi ceydu *

  minnilaṅgu pūṇ * vibīḍaṇa nambikku **

  ennilaṅgu nāmattaḷavum * arasenṛa *

  minnilaṅgāraṛku ōr kōl koṇḍu vā * vēṅgaḍa

                                vāṇarkku ōr kōl koṇḍu vā           

He, bedecked with dazzling ornaments, separated the heads and arms of the king of Laṅkā on the south, and crowned Vibhīṣaṇa with the promise that “You will be the king until My name is known in this world.” Oh raven, fetch a herding staff for that Lord wearing a radiant necklace. Fetch a herding staff for the Lord of the Śrī Veṅkaṭa hills.     


181  * akkākkāy nambikkuk * kōl koṇḍu vāvenṛu *

  mikkāḷuraitta sol * villiputtūrp paṭṭan **

  okka uraitta * tamiḻ pattum vallavar *

  makkaḷaip peṭṛṛu * magiḻvar ivvaiyattē        

The words of the most fortunate Mother Yaśodā asking the raven to fetch a herding staff to her little Lord has been rendered “as it is” in ten sweet songs by Periyāḻvār. Those who can learn and recite these songs will beget sons, who will be devotees of the Lord.


When Kaṇṇān is about two to three years old, Mother Yaśodā finds it difficult to make Him take bathe or to comb His hair or to decorate His combed hair with flower garland. She has to find different ways to make Him stand near her or to distract Him so that she can comb His hair and decorate it. After the combing pastime described by Periyāḻvār in the previous ten songs, Mother Yaśodā diverts His attention by calling the raven to fetch a herding staff for Kaṇṇān. He wants to imitate the elder boys grazing the cows and calves and asks Mother Yaśodā to get Him a herding staff. Kaṇṇān has already equipped Himself with a strung toy bow made of staff cut from the hedge, a tender palm leaf ornament around His big neck and on His back a fan made of peacock feathers (vēlikkōl veṭṭi viḷaiyāḍu villēṭṛṛi……), as the bigger boys do. Now, He requires a herding staff to herd the calves. Mother Yaśodā invents a good trick to distract Kaṇṇān so that she can decorate His hair and starts calling the raven to fetch Him a herding staff.

In The Nectar of Devotion, chapter 43, little Kṛṣṇa’s cowherd attire is described nicely:

Kṛṣṇa carried a small stick in His hand, His clothing was a little longer, and He had a knot around His waist, resembling the hood of a snake. In that dress He used to take care of the calves near the house, and sometimes He played with cowherd boys of about the same age. He had a slender flute and a buffalo-horn bugle, and sometimes He played on a flute made from the leaves of trees.          


onṛē uraippān orusollē solluvān: He always states and emphasises His protection of His devotees. In Bhagavad-gītā (4.8) Kṛṣṇa says, paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṁ vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām: “I descend to give protection to the pious and to kill the demons.” He has many agents and weapons competent enough to vanquish the demons. But the Lord himself descends to protect His unalloyed devotees, who are always harassed by the demoniac. Lord Rāma has declared, “If one surrenders unto Me sincerely, saying, ‘My Lord, from this day I am fully surrendered unto You,’ I always give him protection. That is My vow” (Rāmāyaṇa, Yuddha-kāṇḍa 18.33).

The protection given by Kṛṣṇa cannot be compared to the protection given by the demigods. Rāvaṇa was a great devotee of Lord Śiva, but when Lord Rāmacandra went to kill him, Lord Śiva could not give him protection. There is a Bengali saying, māre kṛṣṇa rākhe ke, rākhe kṛṣṇa māre ke: “If Kṛṣṇa protects someone, no one can kill him, and if Kṛṣṇa wants to kill someone, no one can save him.” Every living being is given all protection by Kṛṣṇa according to each one’s acquired position in the world. The Lord is known as bhūta-bhṛt, one who gives protection to all living beings.

We should know that we are actually in danger in this material world. Māyā, illusion, may catch us at any time.

The perfection of life is, therefore, to become dependent on the will of the Lord, instead of becoming falsely independent in the material world. Those who try to become falsely independent of the Lord are called anātha, or without any guardian, whereas those who are completely dependent on the will of the Lord are called sanātha, or those having someone to protect them. Therefore we must try to be sanātha, so that we can always be protected from the unfavorable condition of material existence (Teachings of Queen Kuntī 20, purport).                                                                                                                     

The living entity’s position is to be under the protection of the illusory energy or under Kṛṣṇa’s personal protection. When a living entity is fully surrendered, he is under the direct protection of Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa gives him all intelligence by which he can advance in spiritual realization. The nondevotee, however, being under the protection of the illusory energy, increasingly forgets his relationship with Kṛṣṇa (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya 22.100, purport).

Kṛṣṇa told Arjuna, pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati: “Declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes” (gītā 9.31). Unless one is protected by the mercy of the Lord, no remedial measure can act effectively. So, one should depend fully on the causeless mercy of the Lord. There is a funny anecdote on why Krsna asked Arjuna to declare. It was generally believed during Krsna’s time that people from Mathura naturally tell lies! Further, it is a well known fact that Krsna resorted to telling many lies to the innocent gopīs to escape from difficult situations and also to initiate and conclude the great Bhārata war in favour of the Pāṇḍavas. So, it is told that while instructing Bhagavad-gītā to Arjuna, Krsna felt that in future people might doubt if He really meant His promise that His devotees would not perish. So, He asked Arjuna to announce the promise on His behalf!


Cīronṛu tūdāy: He went as a forthright messenger of the Pāṇḍavas. Krsna has explained the reason for stringently following the principles of śāstra (scripture). He says,

yad yad ācarati śreṣṭhas

tat tad evetaro janaḥ

sa yat pramāṇaṁ kurute

lokas tad anuvartate

Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues (gītā 9.31).

Starting with the preparation for the travel and task, giving respect to the elders and conveying the Pāṇḍavas’ message to the Kurus, Krsna carried out all the activities very appropriately. A detailed account of His pastime as the messenger of Pāṇḍavas is given in Mahābhārata:

Before He started, He asked Sātyaki to equip His chariot with both offensive and defensive weapons adding that Duryodhana lacked all scruples, and so did Karṇa and Śakuni. An enemy should never be disregarded, even if he is weaker. When He arrived at Hastināpura, He first met Dhṛtarāṣṭra, the king and then even Duryodhana, according them proper courtesy. When Duryodhana invited Krsna to dine with him and stay in Dushashana’s palace, Krsna refused and said that only those messengers who achieved their objectives should accept the hospitality offered by those who have received his message. When Duryodhana replied that they were snubbed without any reason, Krsna gravely explained to him, “I never abandon virtue from motives of desire, anger, hate or attachment. One should eat another’s food if there is love between them or if he is in distress. O King, you do not please Me and I am not in distress. For no reason you have borne malice toward the Pāṇḍavas from their childhood. Your cousins are virtuous and devoted to the good of all beings. Whoever bears malice for such blameless men bears malice toward Me. He who follows the virtuous follows Me.” Krsna looked intently, but without anger, at Duryodhana and said further, “whoever becomes antagonistic toward a virtuous man, impelled by lust or anger, should be known as the vilest of men. He does not keep his prosperity for long. On the other hand, he who wins over virtuous men with services and kind words, even though they may not be dear to him, gains great renown in the world. Your food is defiled by wickedness. I will not eat it. I prefer instead to stay with Vidura and eat his food.”         

When Vidura expressed the futitlity of Krsna’s visit since Duryodhana would ignore His advise, Krsna said, “Knowing full well of Duryodhana’s hostility and wickedness, I have come here to do something virtuous. He who liberates these men from the clutches of death will earn great religious merit. The wise have said that if one attempts a virtuous act with all his power but fails, he will still receive the merit of that act. Therefore, with all sincerity I will seek to establish peace.”

In the assembly, Krsna’s speech was cutting and painfully true. He told Dhṛtarāṣṭra that He had come to bring peace between the Kurus and Pāṇḍavas and that no heroes might be slain on either side. Inspite of the advice given by Krsna, ṛṣis like Nārada and elders of the Kurus, Duryodhana ignored all and refused to part with even that much land which can be pierced by the point of a needle. Kṛṣṇa’s peace mission had failed. War was certain.

Pārttaṛkut tēronṛai ūrndāṛku: Krsna orchestrated the great Bhārata war and supported Arjuna as the driver of his magnificient chariot. A description of Arjuna’s heavenly chariot is given in Mahābhārata: The chariot was given by Agni. Its white steeds, which run at the speed of wind, were given by the Gandharva chief, Citraratha. The banner, created by Viśvakarmā, appeared to extend in all directions for eight miles. It had all the colors of Indra’s bow. The mighty Hanumān was decorating the flag.

Cittirakūḍap poruppinil uṭṛṛa vaḍivil oru kaṇṇum koṇḍa: Mother Yaśodā warns the raven, “In the Citrakūt valley, lush with dense groves and brimming lakes, you lost one of your eyes because of your lusty looks at Mother Sītā’s exquisite form. If you do not wish to lose your other eye also, quickly fetch the herding staff for the stern Lord.” In the Sundara-Khanda, Rāmāyaṇa, this incidence is narrated by Mother Sītā to Hanumān when he searches and finds her in Laṅkā. In Citrakūt valley, Indra’s son Jayanta attracted by Mother Sītā’s beauty attacked her with lust. Rāma threw a blade of grass at him, imbuing it with the power of brahmāstra. The grass chased the crow across the universe and finally when Jayanta surrendered to Rāma, He pardoned Jayanta after allowing the brahmāstra to destroy one of his eyes.

Vēlai aḍaittāṛku ōr kōl koṇḍu vā: Fetch a herding staff for Him who built a bridge of rocks over the ocean. To cross over the sea and to reach Laṅkā, Rāma got a bridge built by the monkey named Naḷa, son of Viśvakarmā, the heavenly architect. This transcendental bridge has been a topic of a war of words between the so called scientific wisdom and the faithful devotees and stoked up by the unscrupulous politicians.

The author found a blog, “thecosmoconscious.blogspot.in” presenting a sound scientific and śāstric listing of evidences on the construction of the bridge: Space images taken by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), U.S.A. reveal an ancient bridge in the Palk Strait between the islands of Rāmeswaram, off the south-eastern coast of Tamiḻ Nāḍu, India, and Mannār, near north-western Śrī Laṅkā. Currently named as Adam’s bridge, the bridge is found to be a chain of limestone shoals, 30 Km long. The unique curvature, varying breadth, and composition of the bridge, and presence of loose sand under the bridge indicate it is man made. A former director of the Geological Survey of India, S. Badrinārāyaṇan, has stated that a natural formation of such a structure is impossible. Based on the geological and archaeological findings of Teri formations, a rich assemblage of mesolithic-microlithic tools and human fossils found on both the sides of the bridge, the Department of Earth-Science stated in March 2007, “Vast, well-constructed, magnificient with its wonderful paved floor, solidly cemented, the great causeway like unto a linetraced on the waves, resembled the parting of a woman’s hair.” The Rām Setu is 30 miles (48Km) long. Some of the sandbanks are dry and the sea in the area is very shallow, being only 3 to 30 feet deep in places.

The concept of monkeys building a bridge is considered mythical by the modern historians and scientists. Darwin’s theory mentions that man evolved from monkeys but existence of intelligent monkeys in the Satya-yuga is not acceptable to the anthropologists. Rāmāyaṇa has a detailed description of the construction of Rām Setu under the supervision of Naḷa, son of Viśvakarmā, the heavenly architect and the steps seem to be no different from those employed by modern day civil engineers. Thousands of trees and massive heaps of rocks were piled on the beach by the monkeys. Naḷa had them thrown in the sea and using lengths of creepers to measure and make straight lines Naḷa gradually constructed his bridge over the sea. The ocean allowed even great rocks to float on his waters. Binding together tree trunks, rocks and reeds, the monkeys built the bridge toward Laṅkā. On the first day they covered over one hundred miles. Becoming even more enthusiastic, they built one hundred and fifty miles on the second day and nearly two hundred on the third. In this way the bridge was completed in only five days and reached right across the ocean to the shores of Laṅkā. The bridge’s length was 100 yojanas and the breadth 10 yojanas making a ratio of 10:1. Today the bridge measures around 35km in length and 3.5km in breadth conforming to the ratio of 10:1. Mahābhārata 3.267.45 states, “….which even today, popular on earth as Naḷa’s bridge, mountain like is sustained out of respect for Lord Rāma's command.”     

Rāmāyaṇa mentions about the “floating stones” used by the Vānara sainya to build the Rām Setu. Stones used to make the bridge floated on water because Rāma was written on those stones. But, there is also some scientific explanation why those stones floated on water and why now the Rām Setu is under water. If air is trapped within a shell of silica, it would look like a stone but would actually be very light and would thus float. When ice is dropped in a glass filled with liquid, it floats for some time and sinks. Another prime example is of “Pumice” stone that floats on water. Pumice is the hardened foam of lava from a volcano. Pumice is full of air bubbles and is less dense than water. So initially it floats, but gradually water enters the bubbles driving out the air and the pumice sinks. Some “floating stones” are found on the coastal regions of Rāmeswaram. These stones possess the same features, physical, and chemical compositions like any other stone. However, they are not pumice stones. Archeologists claim that Rām Setu is not man-made but are actually coral formation but this is not substantiated as coral formation does not occur naturally in the sea, but only on hard surface. Also, coral stones do not float. The truth which the modern historians, scientists and archeologists will not accept is that the technology to make stones float on water existed once and that Naḷa was a too advanced engineer.


Tennilaṅgai mannan ciram tōḷ tuṇi ceydu: Rāma separated the heads and arms of the king of Laṅkā on the south. Such a battle between Rāma and Rāvaṇa had never been seen at any time even by the gods. They watched anxiously as Rāma came under repeated ferocious attacks from the lord of the rākṣasas.

Vibīḍaṇa nambikku ennilaṅgu nāmattaḷavum arasenṛa: Crowned Vibhīṣaṇa with the promise that “You will be the king until My name is known in this world.” Rāma declared to Lakṣmaṇa that he should crown Vibhīṣaṇa king of Laṅkā for Vibhīṣaṇa is devoted to Him and had done a lot of good deeds for Him.

Periyāḻvār concludes the pastime of Mother Yaśodā asking the raven to fetch a herding staff for Kaṇṇan with the blessing that those who can learn and recite these songs will beget sons, who will be devotees of the Lord.

182  * ānirai mēykka nī pōti * arumarundāvadaṛiyāy *

kānagam ellām tirindu * un kariya tirumēni vāḍa **

pānaiyil pālaip parugip * paṭṛṛādār ellām cirippa *

tēnil iniya pirānē * ceṇbagap pūccūṭṭa vārāy

Oh Lord, You are sweeter than honey! When You drink the just drawn milk from the pots, those envious of You, deride You. You roam all over the forest grazing the cowherds and Your tender, blackish body wilts due to the scorching heat. Oh tender one! Do not go for grazing the cowherds. You do not know that You are an elixir of life. Come, get Your hair decorated with champak flowers! 


183  karuvuḍai mēgaṅgaḷ kaṇḍāl * unnaik kaṇḍāl okkum kaṇgaḷ *

uruvuḍaiyāy ulagēḻum * uṇḍāga vandu piṛandāy **

tiruvuḍaiyāḷ maṇavāḷā * tiruvaraṅgattē kiḍandāy *

maruvi maṇam kamaḻkinṛa * malligaip pūccūṭṭa vārāy

When I see the water laden clouds, I am reminded of Your beautiful bluish-black body hue! You have appeared in Gokulam to give succor to the seven worlds. Oh Master of Śrī Lakṣmī, You are her opulence! One who is in reclining posture in the opulent Śrīraṅgam! Come, get Your hair decorated with jasmine flowers of lasting fragrance!  


184  maccoḍu māḷigaiyēṛi * mādargaḷ tammiḍam pukku *

kaccoḍu paṭṭaik kiḻittuk * kāmbu tugilavai kīṛi **

niccalum tīmaigaḷ ceyvāy * nīḷ tiruvēṅgaḍattu endāy *

paccait tamanagattōḍu * pādirip pūccūṭṭa vārāy

You climb up the balcony and rooftops, enter the private chambers of the ladies and rip their corset, bodice and nice bordered sarees. Throughout the day You engage in many such mischiefs! Oh my Lord of the glorious Tiruvēṅgaḍa Hills! Come, get Your hair decorated with ever green davanam and fragrant padri flower.         


185  teruvinkaṇ ninṛu iḷavāyccimārgaḷait * tīmai ceyyādē *

maruvum tamanagamum cīr * mālai maṇam kamaḻginṛa **

puruvam karuṅguḻal neṭṛṛi * polinda mugiṛ kanṛu pōlē *

uruvam aḻagiya nambī * ugandivai cūṭṭa nī vārāy

Oh my Lord! With Your elegant eyebrows, curly, dark tresses, and in between them an effulgent forehead, You look perfectly charming like a cute calf born to a fresh rain cloud. Don’t go to the street and tease the cowherd damsels. Come, I wish to decorate Your hair with these garlands made with marjoram and davanam. 


186  puḷḷinai vāy piḷandiṭṭāy * porukariyin kombu osittāy *

kaḷḷavarakkiyai mūkkoḍu * kāvalanait talai koṇḍāy **

aḷḷi nī veṇṇey viḻuṅga * añjādu aḍiyēn aḍittēn *

teḷḷiya nīril eḻunda * ceṅgaḻunīr cūṭṭa vārāy

You bifurcated the mouth of Bakāsura! When the elephant Kuvalayāpīḍa attacked You, You broke off one of its tusks! You cut off the nose of the vile Śūrpaṇakhā and also severed the heads of Rāvaṇa, the protector of rākṣasas! When You were devouring butter, I beat Your tender body, inhumanely. Please forgive my action and come, get Your hair decorated with red water lily bloomed in clear water.


187  erudukaḷōḍu porudi * ēdum ulōpāy kāṇ nambi *

karudiya tīmaigaḷ ceydu * kañjanaik kālkoḍu pāyndāy **

teruvinkaṇ tīmaikaḷ ceydu * cikkena mallargaḷōḍu *

porudu varuginṛa ponnē * punnaip pūccūṭṭa vārāy   

Oh Lord! Desirous of Nappinnai, You were not interested in anything, fought with the demoniac bulls and attained her. When Kaṁsa schemed to get You killed, You turned the table on him, and kicked him with Your lotus feet. On Your way to encounter Kaṁsa, You killed his washer man, broke his mighty bow, and slaughtered wrestlers like Canura, Muṣṭika and others. Kaṇṇā, precious as gold, come, get Your hair decorated with ball tree flowers. 


188  kuḍaṅgaḷ eḍuttēṛa viṭṭuk * kūttāḍa valla em kōvē *

maḍaṅgoḷ madimugattārai * mālceyya valla en maindā **

iḍandiṭṭu iraṇiyan neñjai * irupiḷavāga mun kīṇḍāy *

kuḍandaik kiḍanda em kōvē * kurukkattip pūccūṭṭa vārāy

My Lord! You are adept in handling many pots and hurling them in the sky! My son, You are very adroit in enticing the demure damsels whose faces are cool like the full moon! In the past, You ripped apart the chest of Hiraṇyakaśipu with Your divine nails! My Lord, one who reclines in Kumbakonam, come, get Your hair decorated with white fig flowers.[1]                   


189  cīmāligan avanōḍu * tōḻamai koḷḷavum vallāy *

cāmāṛu avanai nī eṇṇic * cakkarattāl talai koṇḍāy **

āmāṛaṛiyum pirānē * aṇiyaraṅgattē kiḍandāy *

ēmāṭṛṛam ennait tavirttāy * iruvāṭcip pūccūṭṭa vārāy            

You adroitly befriended Māligan the leader of the asuras! Then You decided to eliminate him and shrewdly severed his head with the disc! The Knower of all! One who reposes in Śrīraṅgam![2] You rid me of my miseries! Come, get Your hair decorated with yellow bauhinia flowers.


190  aṇḍattamarargaḷ cūḻa * attāṇiyuḷ aṅgirundāy *

toṇḍargaḷ neñjil uṛaivāy * tūmalarāḷ maṇavāḷā **

uṇḍiṭṭu ulaginai ēḻum * ōrālilaiyil tuyil koṇḍāy *

kaṇḍu nān unnai ugakkak * karumugaip pūccūṭṭa vārāy               

You preside in Śrī Vaikuṇṭha planet being surrounded by Your ever-liberated, eternal associates! You eternally reside in the hearts of devotees! The Lord of goddess Lakṣmī, born on a pure lotus flower! You swallow the seven upper worlds and float on a leaf of the banyan tree on the water of devastation! Come, get Your hair decorated with fragrant cananga flowers. 


191  * ceṇbaga malligaiyōḍu * ceṅgaḻunīr iruvāṭci *

eṇpagar pūvum koṇarndēn * inṛu ivai cūṭṭa vāvenṛu **

maṇpagar koṇḍānai * āycci magiḻndurai ceyda immālai *

paṇpagar villiputtūrk kōn paṭṭarpirān conna pattē               

Mother Yaśodā endearingly calls the Lord—who first made Mahābali seal his oath by pouring water into His hands and then reclaimed all the worlds— saying, I searched and brought champak flowers, jasmine flowers, red water lily, yellow bauhinia flowers and other flowers specifically named; come, get Your hair decorated with those fragrant flowers. This pastime has been depicted in songs following “paṇ” meter by Periyāḻvār, the master of Śrīvilliputtūr. This “garland of words” are also one set of ten songs.    


Since the beginning of time, flowers have intrigued us with their unique beauty and enticing scents. Because of the attraction, humans love flowers simply, simply because of the beauty. When we hear the word BEAUTIFUL, it is normal that the first thing may come to our mind is the flower. From love and friendship to joy and happiness, flowers have held symbolic meaning long long before the Victorian Era. So it’s no surprise that over the years, flowers have been incorporated into everything from songs, stories, jewelry to clothing. They’re a constant, reliable presence at some of life’s greatest moments and most challenging trials. Flowers have inspired poets, painters, scientists, and countless others for centuries. Flowers are a beautiful creation and they just have that magic in them to make a person feel good. It also makes a beautiful gift to convey our feelings and warmth for a person.

Lotus features in the poems of all the Āḻvārs, comparing the Lord's eyes, His fore-hand and feet with its petals or color. But Periyāḻvār, who had a great interest in flower-gardening, has enumerated a list of flowers and fragrant leaves. He had composed these 10 poems (Tirumoḻi 7), inviting baby Krishna to decorate his hair with these flowers.

Tēnil iniya pirānē: In Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta (92), Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura claims that the transcendental body of Kṛṣṇa is very sweet, and His face is even sweeter than His body. But His soft smile, which has the fragrance of honey, is sweeter still. In the mood of the gopīs, Lord Caitanya extols that the nectarean buttermilk of Krishna’s flute’s vibration, nectar of His sweet words and the nectarean sound of His ornaments mix together to attract His ears, mind and life. He further warns that even one particle of His sweet song can inundate the entire world and when it enters one’s ears, one is immediately bereft of all other types of hearing. (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Antya 17.39, 41). The holy name, character, pastimes and activities of Kṛṣṇa are all transcendentally sweet like sugar candy. By careful chanting of these sweet names every day, a natural relish awakens within one’s tongue, and his disease, the jaundice of avidyā (ignorance), is gradually destroyed at the root. (Nectar of Instruction 7) Śrī Vallabha Bhaṭṭa has composed Śrī Madhurāṣṭakam depicting the all sweetness of Kṛṣṇa. He sings that everything is sweet about the Emperor of sweetness! His lips, face, eyes, smile, heart, words, character, dress, belly-folds, movements, wandering, flute, foot-dust, hands, feet, dancing, friendship, singing, yellow cloth, eating, sleeping, beauty, tilaka, deeds, liberating devotees, stealing, love-sports, oblations to Him, His tranquillity, His gunja-berry necklace, His flower garland, Yamunā river and the ripples He makes, water, lotus, gopīs, His pastimes, His union, food, His delight, courtesy, cowherd boys, His cows, His staff, His creation, His trampling and fruitfulness. Everything is sweet about the Emperor of sweetness!        

Paṭṛṛādār ellām cirippa: Kṛṣṇa, although appearing like a human being, is not a common man which are confirmed by His uncommon activities. Yet many foolish men consider Him to be merely a powerful man and nothing more. Kṛṣṇa rejects their foolishness saying, “Fools deride Me when I descend in the human form. They do not know My transcendental nature as the Supreme Lord of all that be (Bhagavad-gītā As It Is 9.11). Many so-called scholars and commentators of Bhagavad-gītā do not consider Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They do not know that Kṛṣṇa’s body is eternal and a symbol of complete knowledge and bliss, that He is the proprietor of everything that be and that He can award liberation to anyone. Nor do they know that Kṛṣṇa’s appearance in this material world is a manifestation of His internal energy and that He is the master of the powerful material energy, while we are under its control. Only the devotees of Kṛṣṇa understand that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and therefore they completely surrender unto Him and render devotional service.

Karuvuḍai mēgaṅgaḷ kaṇḍāl unnaik kaṇḍāl okkum kaṇgaḷ: The two-handed form of Kṛṣṇa with beautiful bluish-black body hue is called the Śyāmasundara form. The form Śyāma is not the blue color visible in the mundane world but is the transcendental variegated color affording eternal bliss, and is not visible to the mortal eye. True devotees see that form in their purified hearts under the influence of devotional trance. 

Niccalum tīmaigaḷ ceyvāy: Throughout the day Kaṇṇān engages in many mischiefs! The cowherd women enjoy the naughty childish activities of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. They assemble and go to Mother Yaśodā to lodge complaints against the boys and enjoy transcendental bliss when they look at Their seemingly innocent faces and then plead with Mother Yaśodā not to scold them! Ūttukkāḍu Vēnkaṭa Kavi has captured these transcendental scenes in many songs summarised here: The cowherd women exclaim, “Look at Kaṇṇān’s beautiful ears, hands, legs and mischievous eyes; He is so exquisite like the soft lotus that it is difficult to believe He can be so naughty! All the butter pots in the village are emptied; the clothes of the young damsels who go to bathe in the river are stolen.” In another song Kaṇṇān lists the complaints one after other and refutes them saying that the women are telling blatant lies but she should verify with His friends and then decide whether to punish Him or not: “This woman says that she is ashamed to say openly in the gathering that I kissed her like her husband. Mother, do you think I know such a thing, don’t believe her. Where do I get sufficient butter to dump in to the mouth of her fast asleep relative? Do you think he would continue to sleep till I did it, don’t believe her too. Another complaint is that I pinched the sleeping baby; look at my fingers, there are no nails at all, do you still believe her? In another house I tried to teach the struggling new calf how to suck milk from its mother’s udder, is it wrong? If I have butter in my mouth as this woman says, will I be able to speak? If I have stolen butter really, will I be angry? Since she is so cruel as to complain about Me to you, she does not have a child even after having performed many austerities. These girls complain that I hid their play ball and teased them; I told them to give me butter for finding out the ball, but they call me thief. Now, this girl says that I asked her the way to her house, yes I did; yes, I asked her way to the solitary river bank; but, when I asked for the way to the courtyard, she insists that I wanted to court her, what kind of a girl is she?” Naughty are children but Kṛṣṇa’s pastime is being “naughty!”  


Puruvam karuṅguḻal neṭṛṛi polinda mugiṛ kanṛu pōlē uruvam aḻagiya nambī: With Your elegant eyebrows, curly, dark tresses, and in between them an effulgent forehead, You look perfectly charming like a cute calf born to a fresh rain cloud.

Kṛṣṇa’s beauty is called sarva-saundarya-saṅgraham-a collection of all kinds of beauties and complete in all aspects. Everything about the Lord is complete — His creation, beauty and bodily features. Because the Supreme Lord attracts everyone—including demons and devotees, materialists and spiritualists—He is called Kṛṣṇa (Bhāgavatam 4.24.45-46). One who is attracted by the beauty of the Lord is no longer attracted by the beauty of material nature, although he does not minimize its beauty. Kṛṣṇa’s beauty resembles a dark cloud during the rainy season. As the rainfall shimmers, His bodily features also shimmer. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 3.2.12 Uddhava tells Vidura that Kṛṣṇa’s personal beauty was so great that there was no need for ornaments on His body—instead of the ornaments’ beautifying Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa’s beauty enhanced the ornaments.

Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura illustrates the beauty of Kṛṣṇa in many songs in Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta:

(24) When will that child (Kṛṣṇa), adorned with peacock plumes, soothe and cool our eyes with a vision of His moon-like face, imbued with gentleness by the trickling honey of His tender smiles?

(28) Your bodily spendor, which is the most magnificently beautiful in all the three worlds, which bears Your continuous smiles and Your long, wide eyes.

(31) 0 Lord! Our eyes have become restless to see Your childlike form, with its clustered locks delightfully adorned with a peacock feather. That form, which is worshiped by the buxom milkmaids' lotus eyes, possesses a face that has begun defeating the beauty of the moon and the lotus.

(51) whose eyes resemble luscious lotuses gently developing their beauty under the rays of the sun, and whose moon-face is full of beauty.

(54) My eye desires to see the form of the young child of Vraja, who enchants the whole universe. His dark eyebrows are curved, His blossoming eyelashes quite thick, His rolling eyes full of passion, and His gentle speech saturated with feeling. His nectarous lips are very red, and He sounds low, clear, soft notes on His flute.

(69) This boy (Kṛṣṇa), with His dancing eyes, His face beautifying all directions, and His charming outfit just suitable for a cowherd, has extracted the milk of joy for our eyes.

Brahmā, the first and foremost living being of the universe says that the pure devotees see—in their heart of hearts with the eye of devotion tinged with the salve of love—Śyāmasundara form of  Kṛṣṇa with inconceivable innumerable attributes (Śrī Brahma-saṁhitā 5.38).


Kaḷḷavarakkiyai mūkkoḍu…: This refers to the well known episode of Lakṣmaṇa cutting off the nose of a powerful rākśasī named Śūrpaṇakhā, a sister of Rāvaṇa. Śūrpaṇakhā was attracted to the handsome Rāma, with His powerful frame and majestic bearing. Her mind filled with lust, she assumed the form of a beautiful woman, approached Rāma and asked Him to accept her as wife. Rāma laughed heartily and playfully suggested her to approach Lakṣmaṇa. Refused by Lakṣmaṇa and turned back to Rāma, she assumed her rākśasī form and rushed furiously toward Sītā to devour her. Rāma immediately roared and checked her by the sound alone and asked Lakṣmaṇa just to disable her with His sword and not slay her as she was a woman. Lakṣmaṇa swiftly sliced off the demon’s long nose and pointed ears. Screaming loudly she quickly ran off into the woods. Later, she planted the lusty idea of kidnapping Sītā to enjoy her in the mind of Rāvaṇa and thus face his destiny.


Aḷḷi nī veṇṇey viḻuṅga añjādu aḍiyēn aḍittēn: When You were devouring butter, I beat Your tender body, inhumanely. As the child grows up, the naughtiness and number of tantrums increase. The parents might try reasoning with the child initially, but then in most cases, they will be forced to discipline their child in any way they can. Since Kṛṣṇa is the “cause of all causes,” He was very naughty and though the cowherd men and women enjoyed His pranks, the women in particular went often as a group to complain to Mother Yaśodā. This charade often ends in the women pleading with Mother Yaśodā not to punish the little darling. The truth is that neither the women nor Mother Yaśodā can tolerate any distress caused to little Kṛṣṇa. When Mother Yaśodā recollects the pranks played by Kṛṣṇa and her anger sometimes expressed deliberately to control Him, she feels guilty and deprecates herself and this has been verbalized by Periyāḻvār, “When You were devouring butter, I beat Your tender body, inhumanely.” This is very nicely picturised in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.9.7-9 and 10.9.11-12:

Mother Yaśodā, after taking down the hot milk from the oven, returned to the churning pot, and when she saw that the container of yogurt was broken and that Kṛṣṇa was not present, she concluded that the breaking of the pot was the work of Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa, at that time, was sitting on an upside-down wooden mortar for grinding spices and was distributing milk preparations such as yogurt and butter to the monkeys as He liked. Because of having stolen, He was looking all around with great anxiety, suspecting that He might be chastised by His mother. Mother Yaśodā, upon seeing Him, very cautiously approached Him from behind. When Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa saw His mother, stick in hand, He very quickly got down from the top of the mortar and began to flee as if very much afraid. Although yogīs try to capture Him as Paramātmā by meditation, desiring to enter into the effulgence of the Lord with great austerities and penances, they fail to reach Him. But Mother Yaśodā, thinking that same Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, to be her son, began following Kṛṣṇa to catch Him. When caught by mother Yaśodā, Kṛṣṇa became more and more afraid and admitted to being an offender. As she looked upon Him, she saw that He was crying, His tears mixing with the black ointment around His eyes, and as He rubbed His eyes with His hands, He smeared the ointment all over His face. Mother Yaśodā, catching her beautiful son by the hand, mildly began to chastise Him. Mother Yaśodā was always overwhelmed by intense love for Kṛṣṇa, not knowing who Kṛṣṇa was or how powerful He was. Because of maternal affection for Kṛṣṇa, she never even cared to know who He was. Therefore, when she saw that her son had become excessively afraid, she threw the stick away and desired to bind Him so that He would not commit any further naughty activities.

Kuḍaṅgaḷ eḍuttēṛa viṭṭuk kūttāḍa valla em kōvē: Mother Yaśodā proudly exclaims, “My Lord! You are adept in handling many pots and hurling them in the sky!” Pūrvācāryas have explained that as when the brāhmaṇas get excess wealth in charity they indulge in performing sacrifice, similarly, when the cowherds gain excess wealth they express their pride performing antics. They keep a pot on the head, one pot on each shoulder and hold a pot in each hand and juggle the pots throwing them in the air in turns. There are various sculptural depictions of Kṛṣṇa on the pillars of Tiruveḷḷaṛai temple, a Divya Desam, and the most notable of which is Kṛṣṇa dancing on a pot.

Cīmāligan avanōḍu tōḻamai koḷḷavum vallāy cāmāṛu avanai nī eṇṇic cakkarattāl talai koṇḍāy: You adroitly befriended Māligan the leader of the asuras! Then You decided to eliminate him and shrewdly severed his head with the disc!

In the original commentary this pastime is described: A person named Māligan was a very intimate friend of Kaṇṇan and he learnt the use of many weapons from Kaṇṇan. Subsequently he became proud with his mastery and started tormenting the people. Out of the consideration that, “How can I kill my friend?” Kaṇṇan advised him not to cause any harm to the people. Being demoniac in nature, Māligan did not heed the advice but pestered Kaṇṇan, “You have taught me the use of all weapons except the mighty disc, teach me that also.” Kaṇṇan evaded him saying, “When it is tough even for me, you can not handle it.” When he persisted, “There is nothing tough for me, you should definitely teach me,” Kaṇṇan saw a very good opportunity to eliminate him. Kaṇṇan called for the disc, threw it up and accepted it back in his finger. He teased Māligan that he could not do so. As the Sanskrit saying goes, vināśa kāle viparīta buddhi, akin to the English saying, “Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad,” Māligan became mad with pride and took the disc from Kaṇṇan and tried to imitate Kaṇṇan. Since the disc was whirling very fast, he could not accept it in his hand and ended up getting his head sliced off. (Since this pastime is not mentioned in any Purāṇas, pūrvācāryas have concluded that like Vālmīki Muni was empowered by Brahmā to write Rāmāyaṇa, Periyāḻvār has been empowered by Kaṇṇan. They have also commented that due to his association with Kaṇṇan, Māligan came to be called as Śrīmāligan. To avoid earning the blame that He killed His friend and to show that Māligan’s death was his own making, Kaṇṇan cleverly killed him.)                  


Āmāṛaṛiyum pirānē: The Knower of all. All the scriptures state unequivocally that the Lord is the knower of everything. An account of the statements from some important scriptures is enumerated here:

In the relative world the knower is different from the known, but in the Absolute Truth both the knower and the known are one and the same thing. In the relative world the knower is the living spirit or superior energy, whereas the known is inert matter or inferior energy. Therefore, there is a duality of inferior and superior energy, whereas in the absolute realm both the knower and the known are of the same superior energy (Bhāgavatam 1.2.11 purport).

sarvaṁ tad-ātmakatayāvagamo ’varuntse: My Lord, You are the supreme knowledge personified. You know everything about this creation and its beginning, maintenance and annihilation, and You know all the endeavors made by the living entities, by which they are either implicated in this material world or liberated from it. As the air enters the vast sky and also enters the bodies of all moving and nonmoving entities, You are present everywhere, and therefore You are the knower of all (Bhāgavatam 8.12.11).

vettāsi vedyaṁ: You are the knower of everything. You are all that is knowable. He is the knower of everything that is happening in this world, and if knowledge has any end, He is the end of all knowledge; therefore He is the known and the knowable. He is the object of knowledge because He is all-pervading (Gītā 11.38 purport). 


aśeṣa-sākṣiṇaḥ: ,(As Supersoul) the witness and knower of everything. (8.6.14)

catur-viṁśad-guṇa-jñāya: (The Supersoul) the knower of the twenty-four elements—the five gross elements (earth, water, fire, air and ether), the three subtle elements (mind, intelligence and false ego), the ten senses (five for working and five for acquiring knowledge), the five sense objects, and contaminated consciousness (8.16.30).

dharma-vit: Knower of religious principles (10.38.40)

jña: (As the Supersoul) one who knows everything — past, present and future (4.30.20)

kāla-jñaḥ: Who knows the progress of time (8.19.8)

samasta-dṛk: Seer or knower of everything (4.6.49)

sarva-dharma-jña: Supreme knower of religious principles (11.17.7)

sarva-dharma-jña: Perfect knower of the nature of all beings (10.19.10)

sarva-jñaḥ: The knower of everything (10.87.28)

sarva-veda: The knower of all Vedic knowledge (9.8.7)

vihāra-vit: The knower of all sports and games (10.18.19)

vijñātākhila: The knower of everything  (10.57.35)

viśva-vedasam: The supreme knower of everything in this world (8.3.26)

viśva-vit: Knower of everything happening in the entire cosmic manifestation (10.13.17)


Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.16:

pradhāna-kṣetrajña-patir guṇeśaḥ: (As the Supersoul) the chief knower of the body


Bhagavad gītā:

māṁ viddhi: The knower in all bodies (13.3)

veda-vit: The knower of the Vedas (15.15)

vettāsi: The knower of everything (11.38)

Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta:

bhāṣā-vit:  Knower of languages. Kṛṣṇa is the linguist of all wonderful languages. (Madhya 23.71


Śrī Viṣṇu-sahasranāma:

ameyātmā: Has immeasurable knowledge

brahma-jña: Knows Vedas as Himself

brahma-vit: Knows Vedas properly

catur-veda-vit: Knows properly the meaning of four Vedas

dhanur-veda: Knows the science of archery

dharma-vid-uttama: Greatest among those who know dharma

dharma-vit: Knower of religious principles

guru: Teacher of all knowledge

guru-tama: Teacher of teachers

jñānamuttama: Personification of right knowledge

kavi:    Sees (knows) everything

kṛddha: Full of knowledge, dharma and renunciation

kṛdha-jña: Knows good and bad of all beings or He who gives salvation even by giving leaves and flowers.

kṣetra-jña:  Knows  the  field  of action,  thought  and  realisation.

mādhava: The lord of knowledge (Vidyā)

mahā-buddhi: Has tremendous knowledge

mahā-tapa: Extremely knowledgeable

medhāvī: The supreme intelligence

pratyaya: Personification of knowledge

sama yagña: Knows the time for action or treats all as equals

samaya -jñaḥ: Knows the tradition

sarva darśī: Knows everything naturally or He who sees everything

sarva-darśana:            Sees (knows) everything

sarva-jña: Knows all that is to be known

sarva-vid-bhānu: Shines in the knowledge of everything

sarva-vit: Knows  all

satta: Personification of non-differential knowledge

satya-medha: Has a knowledge which is unalloyed truth

sumedha:  Has good causing knowledge

tattva-vit: Knows his essence

vācaspati udārathi: The supreme personification of knowledge

vaidya: Knows all knowledge

veda-vidhā: Knows the meaning of Vedas; One who creates the Vedas

veda-vid-uttama: Greatest knower  of  scriptures


Aṇḍattamarargaḷ cūḻa: You preside in Śrī Vaikuṇṭha planet being surrounded by Your ever-liberated, eternal associates! As stated in the Vedas, oṁ tad viṣṇoḥ paramaṁ padaṁ sadā paśyanti sūrayaḥ: those who are spiritually advanced simply look to the lotus feet of Viṣṇu (Bhāgavatam 5.13.19). In Vaikuṇṭha the Lord is always served by His eternal associates like Garuḍa, Viṣvaksena and many others who are ever-liberated. They are called nitya- sūris. They have never been under material bondage, are omniscient and thus are endowed with perfect knowledge. They serve Lakṣmī and Nārāyaṇan as śeṣas and shine because of their nature. Their form is of śuddha-sattva (pure goodness) (https://ramanuja.org › sri › BhaktiListArchives › Article–Retrieved on 10.09.2019)


Toṇḍargaḷ neñjil uṛaivāy: You eternally reside in the hearts of devotees!                                                      Brahmā states that the pure devotees see Śyāmasundara, Kṛṣṇa Himself, with inconceivable innumerable attributes, in their heart of hearts with the eye of devotion tinged with the salve of love (Brahma-saṁhitā 5.38). Sūta Gosvāmī explains the process—to the great sages headed by the sage Śaunaka in the forest of Naimiṣāraṇya, assembled to perform a great thousand-year sacrifice for the satisfaction of the Lord and His devotees—“Anyone who rises early in the morning and, with a purified mind fixed upon the Mahāpuruṣa, quietly chants this description of His characteristics will realize Him as the Supreme Absolute Truth residing within the heart” (Bhāgavatam 12.11.26). A devotee of Kṛṣṇa known as Śrutadeva humbly states: Kṛṣṇa reveals Himself within the hearts of those persons of pure consciousness who constantly hear about Him, chant about Him, worship Him, glorify Him and converse with one another about Him.Though the Lord resides within the heart of all living beings, He is not visible to those who are entangled in material work. It is not possible to grasp Him by material powers, for He reveals Himself only in the hearts of the devotees who appreciate His transcendental qualities (Bhāgavatam 10.86.46-47). Śrī Havir, one of the nava-yogendras (See Long Live the Lord Volume I, Glossary) explained to King Nimi, King of Videha that when a devotee takes shelter of the Lord’s lotus feet and chants His holy name with genuine love, Kṛṣṇa can never give up the heart of such a devotee. That devotee is to be known as bhāgavata-pradhāna, the most exalted devotee of the Lord (Bhāgavatam 11.2.55). The Lord, being situated in the hearts of His devotees, drives away all evil desires and is always ready to help them in adversity. Padma Purāṇa states: “Within the heart of a person who is overpowered by lamentation or anger, there is no possibility of Kṛṣṇa’s being manifested.” (Nectar of Devotion 7)    

Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira avows that devotees are verily holy places personified. Because they carry the Lord within their heart, they turn all places into places of pilgrimage (Bhāgavatam 1.13.10). When Durvāsā Muni offends Ambarīṣa Mahārāja and being chased by the disc of Lord Viṣṇu runs to the Lord for saving him, the Lord advises him to go to Ambarīṣa Mahārāja for his protection:    


śrī-bhagavān uvāca

ahaṁ bhakta-parādhīno

hy asvatantra iva dvija

sādhubhir grasta-hṛdayo

bhaktair bhakta-jana-priyaḥ

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said to the brāhmaṇa: I am completely under the control of My devotees. Indeed, I am not at all independent. Because My devotees are completely devoid of material desires, I sit only within the cores of their hearts. What to speak of My devotee, even those who are devotees of My devotee are very dear to Me (Bhāgavatam 9.4.63).

In his Śrī Caurāgragaṇya Puruṣāṣṭaka Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura, in seemingly self-deprecating mood but in fact in pure love, castigates the most adorable “Thief of Vraja”:

O stealer of my everything! O Thief! Today I have imprisoned You in the miserable prison-house of my heart which is very fearful due to the terrible darkness of my ignorance, and there for a very long time You will remain, receiving appropriate punishment for Your crimes of thievery!

O Krishna, thief of my everything! The noose of my devotion remaining forever tight, You will continue to reside in the prison-house of my heart because I will not release You for millions of aeons.

This set of ten divine songs—on Mother Yaśodā calling Kaṇṇan to get His hair decorated with “specifically chosen flowers” like champak flowers, jasmine flowers, red water lily, yellow bauhinia flowers and other flowers, approved by the śāstra for use—have been formed by Periyāḻvār with specifically chosen words” and is aptly celebrated by Periya Vāccān Piḷḷai as “garland of words.” Periya Vāccān Piḷḷai adds that Periyāḻvār has not closed this decade of songs denoting the benefit of reciting them, as he has done with other decades, because he decided that reciting this sweet pastime is the ultimate benefit.  


[1] Lord Śāraṅgapāṇi of Kumbakoṇam, Tamiḻ Nāḍu—deity of one of the 108 Divya Desam temples.

[2] Śrīraṅgam: One of the 108 Divya Desam temples. Presiding deity is Śrī Raṅgan.

192  * indiranōḍu piraman * īsan imaiyavar ellām *

  mandira māmalar koṇḍu * maṛainduvarāy vandu ninṛār **

  candiran māḷigai cērum * caturargaḷ veḷḷaṛai ninṛāy *

  andiyam pōdu iduvāgum * aḻaganē kāppiḍa vārāy    

Oh Lord of Tiruveḷḷaṛai in standing posture! In Tiruveḷḷaṛai the houses touch the moon and are residences of men of knowledge. Indra, four-headed Brahmā, Rudra and all other demigods have come to worship You with the finest flowers sanctified with the Puruṣa-sūkta mantras and are standing at a respectable distance, invisible to others. It is dusk now; come my charming Lord, for Your protection, let me ward off the evil eye.


193  kanṛugaḷ illam puguntu * kadaṛuginṛa pasuvellām *

  ninṛoḻindēn unnaik kūvi * nēsamēl onṛum ilādāy **

  manṛil nillēl andip pōdu * madiḷ tiruveḷḷaṛai ninṛāy *

  nanṛu kaṇḍāy endan sollu * nān unnaik kāppiḍa vārāy  

Oh Lord of fortified Tiruveḷḷaṛai in standing posture! The cows have entered the barn of calves and are crying aloud to free the calves. I am weary of calling for You repeatedly. You don’t show any affection to me! Don’t stand in the cross roads at dusk; if you have any regard for my words, come, for Your protection, let me ward off the evil eye.


194  ceppōdu menmulaiyārgaḷ * ciṛusōṛum illum cidaittiṭṭu *

  appōdu nān urappap pōy * aḍicilumuṇḍilai āḷvāy **

  muppōdum vānavarēttum * munivargaḷ veḷḷaṛai ninṛāy *

  ippōdu nān onṛum ceyyēn * empirān kāppiḍa vārāy   

Worshipped by the demigods thrice a day and Your glories always praised by the devotees You remain in standing posture in Tiruveḷḷaṛai! My Lord! My majesty! Because, You smashed the mud houses and sand rice prepared for play by the young girls with supple breasts of golden hue, when I admonished You, You ran away scared without partaking the sweet rice. Now I will not catch and chastise You; come, for Your protection, let me ward off the evil eye.


195  kaṇṇil maṇal koḍu tūvik * kālināl pāyntanai enṛenṛu *

  eṇṇarum piḷḷaigaḷ vantiṭṭu * ivarāl muṛaippaḍuginṛār **

  kaṇṇanē veḷḷaṛai ninṛāy * kaṇḍārōḍē tīmai ceyvāy *

  vaṇṇamē vēlaiyadoppāy * vaḷḷalē kāppiḍa vārāy    

Kaṇṇā! You stood in standing posture in Tiruveḷḷaṛai! You engage in mischiefs with all and sundry. You are ocean hued! You are benevolent! Each one of these girls have come to accuse that You threw sand in their eyes and kicked them. Come, for Your protection, let me ward off the evil eye.


196  pallāyiravar ivvūril piḷḷaigaḷ * tīmaigaḷ ceyvār *

  ellām un mēlanṛip pōgādu * empirān nī iṅgē vārāy **

  nallārgaḷ veḷḷaṛai ninṛāy * ñānac cuḍarē un mēni *

  collāra vāḻtti ninṛēttic * coppaḍak kāppiḍa vārāy                

You assumed the standing posture in Tiruveḷḷaṛai, residence of saints! Brilliance of Knowledge! My Lord! There are umpteen number of naughty boys in this cowherd community; whatever nuisances they create will all be blamed upon You only. Don’t be friends with them, come here. Come, for the protection of Your divine body, let me worship You and bless You with selected prayers and ward off the evil eye.      


197  kañjan kaṛukkoṇḍu nin mēl * karuniṛac cemmayirp pēyai *

vañjippadaṛku viḍuttān enbadōr * vārttaiyum uṇḍu **

mañju tavaḻ maṇimāḍa * madiḷ tiruveḷḷaṛai ninṛāy *

añjuvan nī aṅgu niṛka * aḻaganē kāppiḍa vārāy    

You assumed the standing posture in Tiruveḷḷaṛai, full of towers embedded with valuable gemstones and rising to touch the floating clouds and surrounded by ramparts! When You appeared, it was heard on the grapewine that “the enraged Kaṁsa sent the dark skinned and red-haired demon Pūtanā to kill you.” Don’t stand there, I am apprehensive. One with enviable beauty! Come, let me ward off the evil eye.      



198  kaḷḷac cagaḍum marudum * kalakkaḻiya udai ceyda *

  piḷḷai arasē nī pēyaip piḍittu * mulai uṇḍa pinnai **

  uḷḷavāṛu onṛum aṛiyēn * oḷiyuḍai veḷḷaṛai ninṛāy *

  paḷḷikoḷ pōdu iduvāgum * paramanē kāppiḍa vārāy  

You assumed the standing posture in vibrant Tiruveḷḷaṛai! The Supreme Personality of Godhead! You kicked and collapsed the wicked cart (Śakaṭāsura) and felled the twin arjuna trees delivering the sons of Kuvera. The best of children and the glorious! You sucked the poisoned nipple [of Pūtanā] and I do not know what happened really. It’s time to go to bed, come, let me ward off the evil eye.


199  inbam adanai uyarttāy * imaiyavarkku enṛum ariyāy *

  kumbak kaḷiṛaṭṭa kōvē * koḍuṅgañjan neñjiniṛ kūtṛē **

  cempon madiḷ veḷḷaṛaiyāy * selvattināl vaḷar piḷḷāy *

  kambak kapāli kāṇ aṅguk * kaḍidōḍik kāppiḍa vārāy  

Giver of bliss! You are beyond the knowledge of demigods! Oh king, You slayed Kuvalayāpīḍa, the royal elephant of Kaṁsa! You create the fear of death in the mind of the vicious Kaṁsa! You have Tiruveḷḷaṛai as Your holy abode! Child of opulence! Look there, the fearsome Durgā is moving around; come quickly, let me ward off the evil eye.     


200  irukkoḍu nīr caṅgil koṇḍiṭṭu * eḻil maṛaiyōr vandu ninṛār *

  tarukkēl nambi candi ninṛu * tāy colluk koḷḷāy sila nāḷ **

  tiruk kāppu nān unnaic cāttat * tēsuḍai veḷḷaṛai ninṛāy *

  urukkāṭṭum andi viḷakku * inṛoḷi koḷḷa ētṛukēn vārāy  

You have assumed the standing posture in effulgent Tiruveḷḷaṛai! Master of mischiefs! Atleast for some more days You should obey Your mother’s instructions. Brilliant Vedic brāhmaṇas have come to perform protective rituals with Puruṣa-sūkta mantras and sanctified water in a conch. Don’t be intractable and stand in the crossroads. For Your protection, I am lighting bright lamps which will illuminate Your elegant form. Come and see that.


201  * pōdamar selvak koḻundu * puṇar tiruveḷḷaṛaiyānai *

  mādarkkuyarnda acōdai * magan tannaik kāppiṭṭa mātṛam **

  vēdap payan koḷḷa valla * viṭṭucittan conna mālai *

  pādap payan koḷḷa valla * pattaruḷḷār vinai pōmē   

Mother Yaśodā, the best of all women, recounts how she insured the protection of her son Kaṇṇan—who is in the standing posture in Tiruveḷḷaṛai and is the Lord of “Śrī” always situated on the red lotus flower. The narration of  Mother Yaśodā has been rendered as a “garland of words” by Periyāḻvār, adept in elucidating the essence of Vedas. Those devotees who grasp the essence of these songs will be relieved of all sins, the enemy of auspiciousness.   


The “curse of the evil eye” stems from the belief that someone who achieves great success or recognition also attracts the envy of those around them. That envy in turn manifests itself as a curse that will undo their good fortune. The belief in this curse spans cultures as well as generations. Virtually every culture has a legend related to the evil eye. Talismans or amulets created to protect against the evil eye are also frequently called "evil eyes". The idea expressed by the term causes many different cultures to pursue protective measures against it. The concept and its significance vary widely among different cultures.

In general in India, babies and newborn infants will have their eye adorned with “kajal”, or eyeliner. This would be black, as it is believed that black wards off the evil eye or any evil auras. In South India people call it as “disti” or “drusti”. To remove “disti” people follow several methods based on their culture/area. The items used to remove “disti” are either rock salt or red chilies or oiled cloth. People remove “disti” by keeping one of these items in the palm and rotating their hand, around the person affected and the item will be burnt later. In more than 3,000 years old Tamiḻ scriptures and Atharva Veda, people having used talismans have been mentioned. Even now, for protection from evil effects, people wear in the arm or neck talismans powered with mantras and tied with black thread. For children’s protection especially, a small piece of the umbilical cord is enclosed in a small tube-like talisman, sealed and tied around the hip with a black thread. In Tamiḻ Nāḍu, children usually wear chains consisting of five charms (the conch, disc, sword, bow and mace—five weapons of Lord Viṣṇu) known as aimbaḍai for protection from evil spirits.

Earlier, Mother Yaśodā pleaded and somehow succeeded to persuade Kaṇṇān to bathe, to get His hair combed and to get it decorated with a variety of exotic flowers. Having tried to beautify the most beautiful personality, or rather having enhanced the beauty of the beautifying paraphernalia by offering them to the Madana-mohana, Mother Yaśodā enchanted with the glowing beauty of Kaṇṇān and getting anxious about the “curse of the evil eye,” begins to entreat Him to stop wandering on the streets at the time of dusk and come home so that she can perform the rituals to ward off the evil eye.     In these songs, Periyāḻvār weaves “a garland of words” to portray the whole episode for our sake.  

Indiranōḍu piraman īsan imaiyavar ellām  mandira māmalar koṇḍu: Śiva, Brahmā, Indra and all other demigods come with flowers from the heavenly desire trees to worship the Lord with transcendental hymns like Puruṣa-sūkta. Men of less intelligence, though may be great scholars, consider demigods like Śiva, Brahmā, Indra and others as various forms of the Supreme Lord. In reality, they are parts and parcels of God. īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ. The Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa or Lord Viṣṇu is one and the many demigods are delegated with different grades of material powers to manage this material world. The demigods are not on the same level of the Lord. In fact, the Lord is worshipped by demigods such as Śiva and Brahmā, śiva-viriñci-nutaṁ: “honored by powerful demigods like Śiva and Brahmā (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 11.5.33). In Bhagavad-gītā 7.20, Kṛṣṇa admonishes those whose intelligence has been stolen by material desires and surrender unto demigods for immediate results, kāmais tais tair hṛta-jñānāḥ prapadyante ’nya-devatāḥ. But they do not know that thses reults are temporary. By worshipping a political leader, if a person gets a ministerial post, or by pleasing his boss, a householder gets a promotion in his job, they feel that they have received a great boon.Such foolish men are not interested in worshipping the Lord for the permanent solution to the woes of material existence.

Muppōdum vānavarēttum munivargaḷ: You are worshipped by the demigods thrice a day and Your glories are always praised by the devotees. The concept of worship is the most concocted one. Hankering always for material gains, people have invented their own Gods and follow the particular rules and regulations of worship according to their own natures as pointed out by Kṛṣṇa, taṁ taṁ niyamam āsthāya prakṛtyā niyatāḥ svayā (Gītā 7.20). Service with love and faith is especially meant for the Lord. One can avoid worshiping a respectable man or demigod and may be called discourteous, but one cannot avoid serving the Supreme Lord without being thoroughly condemned. Nondevotees may perform pūjā as an external ritual. The Māyāvādīs, for example, see it as a way to aid in fix one's mind on the Supreme and lead him to see God and Brahman and the self, as one. In other words, he thinks that by worshiping God he will become God.  

The real worship is that which pleases the God and the real purpose of such worship is to cross over the impassable ocean of material existence. Śiva, the most powerful demigod and a great Vaiṣṇava explains to Pārvatī, ārādhanānāṁ sarveṣāṁ viṣṇor ārādhanaṁ param: “O Devī, the most exalted system of worship is the worship of Lord Viṣṇu” (Padma Purāṇa). Those who are completely purified of the material modes of nature and who are transcendentally situated worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Pure devotional service means service to the Lord without any tinge of material desires and empiric speculation. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted. Caitanya Mahāprabhu expresses the most sublime sentiment on devotional service: "O almighty Lord, I have no desire to accumulate wealth, nor do I desire beautiful women, nor do I want any number of followers. I only want Your causeless devotional service, birth after birth" (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Antya 20.29, from Śikṣāṣṭaka 4)

Worship has been defined by pure devotees as found in Nārada-bhakti-sūtra, written by Nārada: Vyāsadeva, son of the great sage Parāśara Muni states that bhakti is fond attachment for worshiping the Lord in various ways (sutra 16). Garga Muni defines that bhakti is fondness for narrations about the Lord, by the Lord (sutra 17). Śāṇḍilya says that bhakti results from one's removing all obstructions to taking pleasure in the Supreme Self, the Lord (sutra 18). Nārada, however, emphasises that bhakti consists of offering one's every act to the Supreme Lord and feeling extreme distress in forgetting Him (sutra 19). Pure devotional service, is far superior to fruitive work, philosophical speculation, and mystic meditation (sutra 25) After all, bhakti is the fruit of all endeavour (sutra 26). The Supreme Lord doesn't grant devotion as easily as He grants liberation, because when He gives devotion one gets an opportunity to serve Him directly.

Prahlāda recommends nine different processes of devotional service: (1) hearing about the Lord, (2) chanting His name and glories, (3) remembering Him, (4) serving His lotus feet, (5) worshiping the Deity, (6) offering prayers to the Lord, (7) becoming His servant, (8) becoming His friend, and (9) offering Him everything. While the first two of these processes are extremely important, any one of them is sufficient for achieving perfection. (Bhāgavatam 7.5.23-24 purport).

Kulaśekhara Āḻvār defines worship and praise of Kṛṣṇa in his famous Mukunda-mālā-stotra:

O my Lord! I have no attachment for religiosity, or for accumulating wealth, or for enjoying sense gratification. Let these come as they inevitably must, in accordance with my past deeds. But I do pray for this most cherished boon: birth after birth, let me render unflinching devotional service unto Your two lotus feet (stotra 5). The wise inhabitants of the heavenly regions know that the perfection of the head is to offer prostrate obeisances to the Supreme Lord, the perfection of the life-breath is to worship the Lord, the perfection of the mind is to ponder the details of His transcendental qualities, and the perfection of speech is to chant the glories of His qualities (stotra 46).

Perfection of human knowledge is to realize the Absolute Truth and to establish the glories of the Lord. Knowledge not engaged in the service of the Lord is nescience. We should pray to Kṛṣṇa sincerely to give us the intelligence to properly glorify Him. Everyone should glorify the Lord according to his qualification—a singer by singing very nicely, a musician by playing musical instruments and so on. Svanuṣṭhitasya dharmasya saṁsiddhir hari-toṣaṇam: One can achieve the highest perfection by discharging the duties prescribed for one’s own occupation according to orders of life to please the Personality of Godhead (Bhāgavatam 1.2.13). The unlimited transcendental qualities, opulences, name, fame and paraphernalia of the Lord are glorified by learned sages in choice poetry. Even though our attempt to glorify the unlimited Lord with our words must surely fall short, we should have the desire to glorify Him in an appropriate manner that is pleasing to Him. We should glorify Him every day and every moment with body, mind, and words. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (4.6.13), the praise of King Pṛthu by the professional reciters is described:

Although we are unable to glorify you adequately, we nonetheless have a transcendental taste for glorifying your activities. We shall try to glorify you according to the instructions received from authoritative sages and scholars. Whatever we speak, however, is always inadequate and very insignificant. Dear King, because you are a direct incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, all your activities are liberal and ever laudable.

Kṛṣṇa has personally promised Nārada Muni that whoever chants His glories will attain the Lord's mercy, despite social or occupational status: “My dear Nārada, I do not dwell in Vaikuṇṭha or in the hearts of the yogī, but wherever My devotees sing My glories" ((Padma Purāṇa) Nārada-bhakti-sūtra 37, purport).

ñānac cuḍarē: Brilliance of  knowledge! Kṛṣṇa is the Absolute Truth and the embodiment of full and perfect knowledge. The most authoritative source for anything and everything is Kṛṣṇa, for He is the reservoir of all knowledge. No one is wiser or more knowledgeable than Kṛṣṇa. He says that remembrance, knowledge, and forgetfulness come from Him. By all the Vedas, He is to be known. Indeed, He is the compiler of Vedānta and the knower of Vedas. (Gītā 15.15). It is He who imparted the Vedic knowledge unto the heart of Brahmā, the first living being and the science of yoga (Bhagavad-gītā) to the sun-god Vivasvān in the beginning of Tretā-yuga. The Supreme Lord can dissipate the darkness of ignorance with the spiritual effulgence emanating from His body. (Renunciation through wisdom 2.13). When Kṛṣṇa was born, He illuminated His birthplace by His natural influence. (Bhāgavatam 10.3.12). Similarly, when Vāmanadeva entered the arena of sacrifice of Bali Mahārāja, His brilliant effulgence diminished the brilliance of all the priests and their disciples. (Bhāgavatam 8.18.24-25). In Śrī Īśopaniṣad, mantra 15, the Lord is prayed to remove the dazzling effulgence that covers His face and exhibit Himself to His pure devotee. The brahma-jyotir is the eternal effulgence emanating from the Lord’s form.   

Kañjan kaṛukkoṇḍu nin mēl karuniṛac cemmayirp pēyai vañjippadaṛku viḍuttān enbadōr vārttaiyum uṇḍu: When You appeared, it was heard on the grapewine that “the enraged Kaṁsa sent the dark skinned and red-haired demon Pūtanā to kill you.” When Nanda Mahārāja went to Mathurā to pay taxes to Kaṁsa, he met Vasudeva who inquired him if they were all living in Vṛndāvana undisturbed and peaceful. Vasudeva inquired so because he was very anxious about Kṛṣṇa’s safety as he knew that Kaṁsa and his followers had schemed to kill Kṛṣṇa by sending various demons. They had actually decided that all children born within ten days of the birth of the eighth child should be killed. Accordingly, a witch named Pūtanā, who knew the black art of killing small children by ghastly, sinful methods, to kill all children in the cities, villages, and pasturing grounds. Periyāḻvār mentions that Mother Yaśodā cautions Kaṇṇān, “When You appeared, there was grapewine that “the enraged Kaṁsa sent the dark skinned and red-haired demon Pūtanā to kill you,” as she had heard so from Nanda Mahārāja.

Aḻaganē: One with enviable beauty! People are very much enamored by the beauty of this world. The smitten young man sees his sweetheart as the epitome of loveliness, the scholar is moved by the rich imagery in a masterpiece of poetry, and the artist views the beautiful scenery as the handiwork of angels. In each case the viewer appreciates what he or she perceives to be true beauty. Material beauty appears momentarily and then disappears like a mirage. The attractive young body becomes old and wrinkled; it dies, decays, and is eaten by worms and the beauty of the poem, although preserved for some time in book form, must also perish, as must the flowered countryside, lost forever with the passage of time. Further, the young man may turn to another lover, the scholar buys a new book of poems, and the artist shifts to another scenary. Material beauty is not only temporary but is also false—if the covering layer of skin on the alluring young body is peeled off, one would immediately be repulsed, proving conclusively that material beauty is only “skin deep.” Similarly, the poem or beautiful scenery will lose their charm with a change in mood or some emotional trauma. Then, is there a beauty which is not false, temporary or does not change? Yes, the relative beauty found in this world has its origin in the reservoir of beauty and the source of everything—Lord Kṛṣṇa:

advaitam acyutam anādim ananta-rūpam                                                                                                            ādyaṁ purāṇa-puruṣaṁ nava-yauvanaṁ ca

The primeval Lord, who is without a second, who is not subject to decay, is without a beginning, whose form is endless, who is the beginning, and the eternal puruṣa; yet He is a person possessing the beauty of blooming youth (Śrī Brahma-saṁhitā 5.33).

In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 3.2.12, Uddhava tells Vidura:

The Lord appeared in the mortal world by His internal potency, yoga-māyā. He came in His eternal form, which is just suitable for His pastimes. These pastimes were wonderful for everyone, even for those proud of their own opulence, including the Lord Himself in His form as the Lord of Vaikuṇṭha. Thus His [Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s] transcendental body is the ornament of all ornaments.


Nanda Mahārāja enjoying the beauty of child Kṛṣṇa is depicted very nicely by two exalted ācāryas:

Kaṇṇan’s charming smile, the tinkling of His earrings with bells offering worship to Him and His sweet prattle, left Nanda Mahārāja unsatiated even after watching Him again and again. (Yādavābyudaya 4.15)   

When Nanda Mahārāja saw the beauty of child Kṛṣṇa, with tiger nails on His chest, a complexion like the new-grown tamāla tree, beautifully decorated tilaka made with cow’s urine, arm decorations of nice silk thread, and silk clothes tied around His waist, he never became satiated by the child’s beauty. He would tell Mother Yaśodā that Kṛṣṇa’s wonderful look—blackish bodily luster, His eyes tinged with red color, His broad chest and His nice golden necklace—increases his transcendental bliss more and more (Nectar of Devotion 43).

The cowherd friends of Kṛṣṇa were so happy in His company that they expressed their transcendental feelings within themselves thus:

Dear Kṛṣṇa, You are always busy tending the cows that are scattered all over beautiful Vṛndāvana. You have a beautiful garland, a small conch shell, a peacock feather on Your turban, yellow-colored silk cloth, decorations of karṇikāra flowers on Your ears and a mallikā flower garland on Your chest. Appearing so beautiful, when You pretend, just like an actor, to be fighting with us, You give us unlimited transcendental bliss (Nectar of Devotion 42).

As Kṛṣṇa’s form is eternal, so is His beauty and it is also ever fresh and always increasing. While material beauty offers momentary pleasure to the senses, Kṛṣṇa’s spiritual beauty satisfies the soul and creates such a pleasure that once having relished it, it can never be given up. The more one appreciates Kṛṣṇa’s spiritual beauty, the less one fails for the flickering attractions of this material world. Since He is the cause of material world also, everything beautiful should remind us of Kṛṣṇa and thus act as an agent for our spiritual enlightment.   

piḷḷai arasē, inbam adanai uyarttāy: The best of children, Giver of bliss!  In whatever incarnation he has appeared or whatever part He has played as Kṛṣṇa, He has acted role-perfect. In Vṛndāvana, as a child, Kaṇṇan was loved by the entire cowherd community, their daily life revolve around serving Him. Śukadeva Gosvāmī vouches that, kṛṣṇe ’rpitātma-suhṛd-artha-kalatra-kāmā: “They had offered Kṛṣṇa everything — their very selves, their families, their wealth, wives and all pleasures” (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.16.10). Kaṇṇan reciprocated by being the best son, best boy in the neigbourhood, best friend and the best protector one can ever have. When Garga Muni visited Vṛndāvana, sent by Vasudeva to astrologically calculate the future life of Kṛṣṇa, he told Nanda Mahārāja, “This child will be very pleasing to all the cowherd men and cows. Being very popular in Vṛndāvana, He will be the cause of all good fortune for you. Because of His presence, you will overcome all kinds of material calamities, despite opposing elements” (Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead 8). No wonder, through the words of Mother Yaśodā, Periyāḻvār is lauding Kaṇṇan as “The best of children.”

In his great treatise Yādavābyudaya (4.74, 76-79), Swami Vedānta Deśika glorifies the opulences of Vṛndāvana and Kaṇṇan’s pleasing behaviour with the inhabitants, confirming the prediction of Garga Muni: While grazing the calves, whenever His friends felt hungry, Kaṇṇan wass always ready with the delectable curd rice sweetened with honey, in His lotus hands. Vṛndāvana was blessed with abundant opulences enjoyed by all in the community and was full of wandering cow herds. Even in scorching summer, lakes with cool water, unlimited grass and trees offering dense shade—warding off the heat wave and strong winds—were present for the cows and calves. Because of the protection of Nanda Mahārāja’s riches by Lord Nārāyaṇā Himself along with Lord Balarāma akin to His strong shoulders, the cows were free from affliction by diseases, fear of demons, and threat of wild animals. Owing to the presence of Lord Vāsudeva, the cowherds did not suffer from the climatic quirks like excess rains or draught, they could obtain without any difficulty whatever they desired and enjoyed happiness much more than that in the heaven. In fact, they were experiencing a unique yuga not conforming to the four yugas.

Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma enjoyed Their childhood pastimes apparently like ordinary, mundane children. It is described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam that sometimes Mother Yaśodā used to ask Kṛṣṇa to bring her a wooden plank for sitting. Though the wooden plank was too heavy to be carried, somehow or other Kṛṣṇa would bring it to His mother. His father would ask Him to bring his wooden slippers, and Kṛṣṇa would put the slippers on His head and bring them to him. In this way, He was the reservoir of all pleasure for His parents. The Lord was exhibiting such childish dealings with the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana. Kṛṣṇa used to take care of the calves every day, beginning in the morning, and enjoyed His childhood pastimes as cowherd boys in Vṛndāvana. Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa used to imitate Lord Rāmacandra’s monkeys, who constructed the bridge over the ocean, and Hanumān, who jumped over the sea to Ceylon. Kṛṣṇa gave full transcendental pleasure to the cowherd boys who played with Him as intimate friends with intense love for Him.

Imaiyavarkku enṛum ariyāy: You are beyond the knowledge of demigods! When this is the position of the powerful demigods, what to say about the mortals of this world! Kṛṣṇa Himself, and many other devotees of the Lord, have emphasized the statement of Periyāḻvār:

In Bhagavad-gītā, Kṛṣṇa says, “Neither the host of demigods nor the great sages know My origin or opulences, for, in every respect, I am the source of the demigods and sages”(10.2). “The patriarchs, Śiva and others are created by Me, though they do not know that they are created by Me because they are deluded by My illusory energy”(Mahabharata, Moksha dharma stated in Gītā 10.8 purport).

Prayers by the Personified Vedas:

Dear Lord, although Lord Brahmā, the predominating deity of the highest planet, Brahmaloka, and King Indra, the predominating demigod of the heavenly planets, as well as the predominating deities of such planets as the sun and the moon, are all very confidential directors of this material world, they have very little knowledge about You. Then what can ordinary human beings and mental speculators know of You? It is not possible for anyone to enumerate the unlimited transcendental qualities of Your Lordship. No one, not even the mental speculators and the demigods in higher planetary systems, is actually able to estimate the length and breadth of Your form and characteristics (Kṛṣṇa, The Supreme Personality of Godhead 87).

Bali Mahārāja said to Kṛṣṇa, “No one knows how You act through Your yogamāyā potency. Even demigods cannot calculate the expanse of the activities of Your internal potency” (Kṛṣṇa, The Supreme Personality of Godhead 85)

Mahārāja Parīkṣit asks Śukadeva Gosvāmī, “I beg to know from you how the Personality of Godhead, by His personal energies, creates these phenomenal universes as they are, which are inconceivable even to the great demigods (Bhāgavatam 2.4.6)

Akrūra prays to Kṛṣṇa, “Even demigods like Lord Brahmā, being covered by the influence of material nature, do not exactly know Your transcendental existence beyond the cosmic manifestation of the three modes of material nature (Kṛṣṇa, The Supreme Personality of Godhead 40).

Brahmā clarifies to Nārada Muni, “Neither I nor all the sages born before you know fully the omnipotent Personality of Godhead. So what can others, who are born after us, know about Him? Even the first incarnation of the Lord, namely Śeṣa, has not been able to reach the limit of such knowledge, although He is describing the qualities of the Lord with ten hundred faces” (Bhāgavatam 2.7.41).

Śukadeva Gosvāmī said, brahmādayo ’pi na viduḥ padavīṁ yadīyām: “Even great demigods like Brahmā do not know how to approach Him” (Bhāgavatam 10.59.44).


Koḍuṅgañjan neñjiniṛ kūtṛē: You create the fear of death in the mind of the vicious Kaṁsa!                                When Indra killed Viśvarūpa, engaged by demigods as priest,  his father performed a yajña to kill Indra. When Vṛtrāsura appeared from that yajña, the demigods, in fear, sought shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and glorified Him praying, Antako ’sau bibheti: “Fear personified is afraid of the Supreme Lord.” The powerful controllers of the universe submit themselves in fearful reverence to the supreme controller, Lord Śrī Viṣṇu. As the Taittirīya Upaniṣad (2.8.1) states:

bhīṣāsmād vātaḥ pavate

bhīṣād eti sūryaḥ

bhīṣāsmād agniś cendraś ca

mṛtyur dhāvati pañcamaḥ

“Out of fear of Him, the wind blows. Out fear of Him, the sun moves and Agni and Indra execute their duties. And death, the fifth of their number, races along out of fear of Him.”

Once Nārada approached Kaṁsa and informed him how the demoniac persons who were a great burden on the earth were going to be killed by one of the sons of Devakī who might be Viṣṇu. Thus Kaṁsa was placed into great fear and doubt. In fact, Kaṁsa feared Devakī’s existence because after her eighth pregnancy she would give birth to a son who would kill him. So he was always meditating on Kṛṣṇa in fear.


Selvattināl vaḷar piḷḷāy: Child of opulence! Because Lord Kṛṣṇa took birth in the house of King Nanda, the goddess of fortune was obliged to manifest her opulences in Vṛndāvana. The cowherds in Vṛndāvana were rich in every respect, simply by maintaining cows. Their wealth was in milk, yogurt, clarified butter and many other milk products and agricultural produce. By trading their products, they amassed various kinds of jewelry, ornaments and costly garments. Not only did Nanda Mahārāja posses all the opulence, but he also gave them away in charity lavishly when he celebrated the birth ceremony of Kaṇṇan. He respectfully received the learned brāhmaṇas and gave them in charity whatever they desired.

Tiruveḷḷaṛai ninṛāy, nallārgaḷ veḷḷaṛai ninṛāy, mañju tavaḻ maṇimāḍa madiḷ tiruveḷḷaṛai ninṛāy, oḷiyuḍai veḷḷaṛai ninṛāy, cempon madiḷ veḷḷaṛaiyāy, tēsuḍai veḷḷaṛai ninṛāy: The Lord in the standing posture in Tiruveḷḷaṛai. Periyāḻvār has glorified Lord Puṇḍarīkākṣa, the presiding deity of Tiruveḷḷaṛai temple in each of the eleven songs of Tirumoḻi 8. Tiruveḷḷaṛai, a Divya Desam, also known as Śvetagiri, owing to the presence of white rocks in the region, is located at a distance of 27 km from Tiruccirāpaḷḷi, enroute to Turaiyūr, Tamiḻ Nāḍu. According to some legends, the temple is said to have been built by Sibi Cakravarty, king of Ayodhyā in Tretā-yuga 1.5 million years ago, and some other legends say, 4 Catur-yugas ago (17.3 million years). Since this temple is much older than Śrīraṅgam temple it is also called Ādiveḷḷaṛai. The construction of the unfinished temple’s gateway tower has been started in 2017. The temple built on a 50 ft (15 m) tall artificial hill has two stepped entrances to the sanctum, uttarāyaṇa gate (open from 15 January to 15 June) and dakṣiṇāyana gate (for the other six months). Lord Puṇḍarīkākṣa is named Tai Māta Nāyagan (Lord of the Tamiḻ month Tai, 15th January to 14th February) during uttarāyaṇa and Māyavan (Mystic Lord) during dakṣiṇāyana. It is told that the first eighteen steps in the temple represent the eighteen chapters of Bhagavad-gītā and the last four steps the four Vedas. The consort of Puṇḍarīkākṣa, Śeṇbagavallī has a separate shrine. The rectangular walls around the temple enclose eight shrines and six of the seven water bodies. There are various sculptural depictions of Kṛṣṇa on the pillars of the temple, and the most notable of which is Kṛṣṇa dancing on a pot. The temple is revered also by Tirumangai Āḻvār in thirteen hymns. Some ancient Sanskrit texts consider the temple as an uttamakṣetra, meaning “the place that gives the best to the devotees.” Vēdānta Deśika has revered the temple in his work Haṁsa Sandeśam.

202  * veṇṇey viḻuṅgi veṛuṅkalattai veṛpiḍaiyiṭṭu * adanōsai kēṭkum *

  kaṇṇa pirān kaṭṛṛa kalvi tannaik * kākkagillōm un maganaik kāvāy **

  puṇṇil puḷippeydāl okkum tīmai * purai puraiyāl ivai ceyya valla *

  aṇṇaṛkaṇṇānōr maganaip peṭṛṛa * asōdai naṅgāy un maganaik kūvāy     

The cowherd women complain, “Lady Yaśodā! Mother of the exasperating Kaṇṇan, who is very naughty unlike His nice brother Balarāman(Tamiḻ equivalent of Balarām). Akin to the act of pouring tamarind juice on a wound, causing intense burning (similar to “rubbing salt in the wound”), Kaṇṇan steals the pots full of butter and not only devours the butter but also breaks the empty pots with stones and exclaims, ‘the breaking sound is nice!’ We do not have the ingenuity to guard against the trickeries of the Lord! Restrain your intractable son; call Him now.”      


203  varuga varuga varuga iṅgē * vāmana nambī varuga iṅgē *

  kariyakuḻal ceyyavāy mugattuk * kāgutta nambī varuga iṅgē **

  ariyanivan enakku inṛu naṅgāy * añjana vaṇṇā asalagattār *

  paribavam pēsat tarikkagillēn * pāviyēnukku iṅgē pōdarāyē          

Mother Yaśodā calls, “Lord Vāmana! Come here immediately. Oh Lord with curly black hair, red lips and charming face! One who enhanced the acclaim of Kākutta dynasty! Please come here.” She tells the women, “My son is uncontrollable now.” Then she calls Kaṇṇan again, “Oh, collyrium-hued! I cannot bear these neighbourhood women slandering You. To mitigate the affliction of this sinful me, please come here now.”       


204  tiruvuḍaip piḷḷai tān tīyavāṛu * tēkkam onṛumilan tēsuḍaiyan *

  uruga vaitta kuḍattoḍu veṇṇey * uṛiñji uḍaittiṭṭup pōndu ninṛān **

  arugirundār tammai aniyāyam ceyvadu tān * vaḻakkō asōdāy *

  varugavenṛu unmagan tannaik kūvāy * vāḻavoṭṭān maḍhucūdananē          

Another woman accuses, “Mother Yaśodā! Your affluent son Kaṇṇan never restrains Himself from playing pranks but believes they increase His acclaim. He swallowed all the butter from the pot kept on the stove for melting, broke the pot and, has come here now. This slayer of Madhu demon is now not allowing us to live in peace.  Is it right on your part to let your son do all the mischiefs in your neighbourhood? Call your son here and keep Him with you.”  


205  koṇḍal vaṇṇā iṅgē pōdarāyē * kōyiṛ piḷḷāy iṅgē pōdarāyē *

  teṇ tiraicūḻ tiruppērk kiḍanda * tirunāraṇā iṅgē pōdarāyē **

  uṇḍu vandēn ammam enṛu solli * ōḍi agampuga āycci tānum *

  kaṇḍetirē cenṛeḍuttuk koḷḷak * kaṇṇapirān kaṭṛṛa kalvi tānē       

Mother Yaśodā calls out, “Fresh rain cloud-hued Kaṇṇā! Śrī Raṅgā in the reclining posture in Śrīraṅgam, come here!  Nārāyaṇā in the reclining posture in Tiruppēr, surrounded by pure water lakes with waves, come here!  Please come here so that I can feed You. Replying, “Look, I have fed Myself,” Kaṇṇan hastily enters the house. Seeing Kaṇṇan entering, Mother Yaśodā goes near and takes Him on her hip. Enjoying this loving gesture of Mother Yaśodā, Periyāḻvār happily remarks, “All as anticipated by Kaṇṇan!” (Kaṇṇan has learnt very well the tricks to evoke the love of Mother Yaśodā ignoring His impish activities.)         


206  pālaik kaṛandu aḍuppēṛa vaittup * palvaḷaiyāḷ en magaḷ iruppa *  

  mēlaiyagattē neruppu vēṇḍic cenṛu * iṛaippoḻutu aṅgē pēsi ninṛēn **

  cāḷakkirāmam uḍaiya nambi * cāyttup parugiṭṭup pōndu ninṛān *

  ālaik karumbin moḻi anaiya * asōdai naṅgāy unmaganaik kūvāy      

Another woman laments, “Lady Yaśodā! One who speaks words as sweet as ripe sugarcane! My daughter, wearing many bangles, milked the cows, poured the milk in vessels kept on the stove for boiling and, stood guard. I went to our neighbour’s house to fetch fire and spent just a moment talking. This boy, who has Śālagrāma as His abode and is full of all opulences, tilting the vessels, drank all the milk,  quickly came here and, is standing now. Keep your son Kaṇṇan with you.            


207  pōdar kaṇḍāy iṅgē pōdar kaṇḍāy * pōdarēn ennādē pōdar kaṇḍāy *

  ēdēnum colli asalagattār * ēdēnum pēsa nān kēṭka maṭṭēn **

  kōdukulamuḍaik kuṭṭanēyō * kunṛeḍuttāy kuḍamāḍu kūttā *

  vēḍap poruḷē en vēṅgaḍavā * vittaganē iṅgē pōdarāyē          

Mother Yaśodā tries to cajole Kaṇṇan, “Oh son with opulences glorified by all! One who held Govardhana Hill as umbrella!  One who is adept in dancing and juggling the pots! Essence of all Vedas! Hailed as “my Lord” by all in Śrī Vēnkaṭa Hills! One with inconceivable creative energies! Come fast; don’t say no, please come fast. Me, Your mother, cannot hear or utter or bear all the denigrating accusations of our neighbours. Please come here now.     


208  cennelarisi ciṛuparuppuc * ceyda akkāram naṛuney pālāl *

  panniraṇḍu tiruvōṇam aṭṭēn * paṇḍum ippiḷḷai parisaṛivan **

  innamugappan nān enṛu solli * ellām viḻuṅgiṭṭup pōndu ninṛān *

  unmagan tannai asōdai naṅgāy * kūvik koḷḷāy ivaiyum silavē         

Yet another woman accuses, “Lady Yaśodā! I cooked rice pudding, suitable for fasting during twelve Śrāvaṇa months, with red rice, yellow lentils, palm jaggery from very expertly boiled palm sap, fragrant ghee and milk. This boy, whose mischiefs I know well, gulped everything, and demanded, ‘I want more;’ and then He comes here and plays innocent. Allowing Him to act impishly is the way to bring up a boy? Call your son and keep Him with you.”


209  kēsavanē iṅgē pōdarāyē * killēn ennādu iṅgē pōdarāyē *

  nēsamilātār agattirundu * nī viḷaiyāḍādē pōdarāyē **

  tūsanam sollum toḻuttaimārum * toṇḍarum ninṛa iḍattil ninṛu *

  tāy solluk koḷvadu tanmam kaṇḍāy * dāmōdarā iṅgē pōdarāyē        

Mother Yaśodā pleads with Kaṇṇan, “Keśavā! Come here; don’t say, ‘no, I will not come,’ come here. You say, ‘I will play for some time nearby,’ but, don’t play in the houses of unfriendly people; don’t go to the places where the accomplices of the cowherd women and assistants of cowherd men are there. Come here, You should obey Your mother. Dāmodarā! Come here.


210  kannalil aṭṭuvattōḍu cīḍai * kāreḷḷin uṇḍai kalattiliṭṭu *

  ennagamenṛu nān vaittup pōndēn * ivan pukku avaṭṛṛaip peṛuttip pōndān **

  pinnum agam pukku uṛiyai nōkkip * piṛaṅgoḷi veṇṇeyum cōdikkinṛān *

  unmagan tannai asōdai naṅgāy * kūvik koḷḷāy ivaiyum silavē        

Yet another woman from the group of cowherd women accuses, “Lady Yaśodā! I placed palm jaggery syrup balls, small fried rice flour balls, and, black sesame balls in a vessel and thinking, ‘Nobody will enter my house’ came out. This boy stole into my house, devoured all the sweets and savoury, leaving nothing for us. Later, again He came to the house and looked for fragrant cow ghee. Call your son here. Allowing Him to act impishly is the way to bring up a boy?”


211  sollilarasippaḍudi naṅgāy * cūḻaluḍaiyan unpiḷḷai tānē *

  illam puguntu enmagaḷaik kūvik * kaiyil vaḷaiyaik kaḻaṛṛik koṇḍu **

  kollaiyil ninṛum koṇarntu viṛṛa * aṅgoruttikku avvaḷai koḍuttu *

  nallana nāvaṛ paḻaṅgaḷ koṇḍu * nānallēn enṛu cirikkinṛānē

Now it is the turn of another woman. She grumbles, “Lady Yaśodā! Even after listening to all the outrageous acts of your son, you don’t get angry. He came to my house, called my daughter by her name, removed the bangle from her hand and left through the back door. Then He went to a woman vending Jamun fruit and bartered the bangle for the cute Jamun fruits bearing His bluish-black hue. On top of it, when I saw the bangle with the woman and asked Kaṇṇan, ‘Did You give the bangle to her?’ He grinned and said, ‘I am not the one who gave the bangle to her.’”    


212  * vaṇḍu kaḷittiraikkum poḻil sūḻ * varupunal kāvirit tennaraṅgan *

  paṇḍavan seyda kirīḍai ellām * paṭṭarpirān viṭṭucittan pāḍal **

  koṇḍivai pāḍik kunikka vallār * gōvindan tan aḍiyārgaḷāgi *

  eṇ tisaikkum viḷakkāgi niṛpār * iṇaiyaḍi en talai mēlanavē         

Periyāḻvār concludes, “This decade of songs rendered by the “Chief of Pundits,” Viṣṇu Cittar, recalls the memorable pranks enacted by Kaṇṇan, the Lord of the elegant Śrīraṅgam, surrounded by gardens— swarmed by bees drunken with nectar and making noisy humming—watered by the gushing Kāverī. Those who chant these songs and dance ecstatically will become pure devotees of Kaṇṇan/Govinda and illuminate the eight directions. I will adorn their effulgent lotus feet on my head.”       


Of all the incarnations, the descent of Krṣṇa is the most glorified by the devotees because of His childhood pastimes as an ordinary cowherd boy. The residents of Vṛndāvana are considered the most fortunate to have relished the pastimes. King Parīkṣit tells Śukadeva Gosvāmī that Kṛṣṇa’s childhood activities are so attractive that they are automatically pleasing to the mind and ear. Kṛṣṇa was not a simple, obedient, calm and quiet child. He was disobedient, boisterous, rebellious, independent in every way, and if anybody interfered with his independence, He would react with consternation, a wonder which surpasses human understanding. Still, He became the most beloved of all the children. Nobody could dislike him. He was loved in all circumstances because He was transcendental, outside the jurisdiction of this material world. Therefore, Kṛṣṇa can be understood only by those who are already living in the spiritual world. He is the embodiment of all the transcendental rasas and the origin of all rasas found in the mentality of living beings.

In this decade, Periyāḻvār gives a hilarious account of how the cowherd women came in a group in the pretext of reporting the mischief played by Kaṇṇan in their houses, reaction of Mother Yaśodā and Kaṇṇan. This is a tableau often played by all these participants to increase their transcendental pleasure looking at Kaṇṇan’s act of innocence. None of them really desired Kaṇṇan to be punished.In fact their only prayer was that Kaṇṇan should place His lotus feet in their houses and for that to happen they made a lot of butter and ghee and stored in their houses to tempt the Master of thieves! May that transcendental thief steal all our hearts!

A cowherd woman complains,“Kaṇṇan is very naughty unlike His calm brother Balarāman. He comes to my house to steal butter and breaks the empty pots with stones to hear the breaking sound!” She compares this irritating mischief of Kaṇṇan to pouring tamarind juice on a wound, causing intense burning. (“rubbing salt in the wound” or “adding insult to injury”). She says that she is not clever enough to guard against the trickeries of Kaṇṇan and demands that Mother Yaśodā should call Him immediately and restrain Him.

When Mother Yaśodā extols Lord Krṣṇa’s pastimes and beauty and implores Him to come to her, the woman protests saying, “Is this the way to call the culprit? Should you not threaten Him to come immediately?” Mother Yaśodā sends her off telling, “It is very difficult to give birth to an extraordinary child like my son. I can not speak harshly to Him.” Then she puts herself down as a sinful woman for being forced to listen to the complaints of other women and pleads to Kaṇṇan, “I cannot bear these neighbourhood women slandering You. Please come here now.”          

Meanwhile, another woman comes and accuses, “Your affluent son Kaṇṇan never restrains Himself from playing pranks but believes they increase His acclaim. He swallowed all the butter from the pot kept on the stove for melting, broke the pot to listen to the sound and, has come here now. He is not allowing us to live in peace.  Is it right on your part to let your son do all the mischiefs in your neighbourhood? Call your son here and keep Him with you.”         

Again Mother Yaśodā celebrates His virtues and calls him to come and suckle her breast. Kaṇṇan runs in and tells her cheerfully, “Look, I have fed Myself.” Proudly looking at the elegance of His running in and vivaciousness, she goes to Him and lovingly takes Him on her hip. Enjoying this scene of intense motherly affection Periyāḻvār wonders appreciatively, “Kaṇṇan has very well learnt the art of mesmerising Mother Yaśodā and make her forget His mischievous deeds and act lovingly to Him.” The pūrvācāryas add here that Mother Yaśodā contemplates that as if others point out that Kaṇṇan has learnt the tricks very well to hoodwink her to ignore His impish activities and pour out her affection for Him, and she admires His ability to do so at this young age!  

Then enters another woman and she laments that Mother Yaśodā is adept in speaking words as sweet as ripe sugarcane to cover up her being repeatedly deceived by Kaṇṇan and not punishing Him. She goes on, “I went quickly to my neigbour’s house to fetch fire. Meanwhile, your wonder boy crept in to the house, ignored my young daughter’s protests and swallowed all the butter from the pot kept on the stove for melting, broke the pot, and has come here now.

Then Mother Yaśodā tries to make Kaṇṇan understand the seriousness of the issue. She urges Him, “Come fast; don’t say no, please come fast. Me, Your mother, cannot hear or utter or bear all the denigrating accusations of our neighbours. Please come here now.”

Inspite of His mother’s pleading Kaṇṇan goes to another house knowing very well what eatables He can find. That lady haurriedly comes to Mother Yaśodā and accuses, “I cooked rice pudding, suitable for fasting during Śrāvaṇa months (July–August), with red rice, yellow lentils, palm jaggery from very expertly boiled palm sap, fragrant ghee and milk. This boy, who has done this earlier, gulped everything even before they were offered to the Lord, and demanded, ‘I want more;’ then He comes here and plays innocent. Allowing Him to act impishly is the way to bring up a boy? Do you think His acts, me coming and complaining to you are required? Call your son and keep Him with you.” 

Mother Yaśodā questions Kaṇṇan that when there is big enough space in their house why should He go to somebody else’s house to play. Out of her love for Kaṇṇan, she criticizes those who accuse Him unfairly! She appeals to Him not to go to the houses of unfriendly people—where the servants and maidservants who are nothing but slaves in the other cowherd womens’ houses are and so are not qualified to complain about Him! She implores Him to obey His mother. She reminds Him that once He was very obedient allowing her to bind Him around the abdomen with a rope. In this form He is known as Dāmodara. Dāma means ‘rope,’ and udara means ‘the abdomen.’

Yet another woman from the group of cowherd women laments that when she came out of her house, Kaṇṇan stole in and devoured all the sweets and savoury—palm jiggery syrup balls, small fried rice flour balls, and, black sesame balls— leaving nothing for them. On top of it, He was looking for fragrant cow ghee! She questions Mother Yaśodā if allowing Him to act impishly is the way to bring up a boy? Mother Yaśodā angrily retorts that it is natural that children are fond of snacks, and don’t their children also disobey them? She also teases them that it has become a habit for them to complain about her son. The woman rebuts that these mischiefs are only a few of many other atrocious acts committed by Kaṇṇan!

Now it is the turn of another woman. She grumbles that even after listening to all the outrageous acts of her son, Mother Yaśodā doesn’t get angry. She pours out her accusation that Kaṇṇan came to her house, removed the bangle from her daughter’s hand, and bartered it for jamun fruits with a vendor. When the woman saw the bangle with the vendor who pointed to Kaṇṇan, standing nearby and eating jamun fruits, she asked Him if He gave the bangle to the vendor. Kaṇṇan replied her glibly, “I didn’t give her. Did you see the bangle with me? Did you see me come to your house? Did you see me call out your daughter? Or did you see me remove the bangle from her hand? If you have seen, then why didn’t you snatch back the bangle at that time?” and kept grinning. She told Mother Yaśodā that she could not speak anything and wondered if any body could be wicked than Kaṇṇan?

Ūttukkāḍu Vēnkaṭa Kavi gives an amusing account of Kaṇṇan’s thefts and the reactions of the cowherd women in many songs: 

He quips, “Thinking that he will sneak into the houses to steal butter, the women lock up their houses and go out carrying the butter in pots on their heads to sell it. Their right hand pressing hard against the lid covering the mouth of the vessel, the left hand, adorned with a bangle, swinging free, the young women cry,‘Kaṇṇano Kaṇṇan!’ (Kaṇṇan O Kaṇṇan! instead of Veṇṇaiyo Veṇṇai (Butter O Butter)!). The purport is that their minds are filled always with thoughts of Kaṇṇan!

One woman grumbles, “We can not store butter in our houses, we can not question if He (Kaṇṇan) comes and gobbles it up, we can not complain to His mother and if we complain He creates more trouble and if we call Him genially “thief,” He retorts, ‘Your mother, grandmother, aunt, grandfather, all are thieves!”

Another woman exclaims sarcastically, “The one who stole the butter but denied doing so in the presence of his mother shamed the tale-bearers! Isn't Kaṇṇan the noble one who steals butter from the hanging pots? Just because He is the son of the village chief, can he do anything?”

Here is yet another instance. The woman bemoans helplessly, “When I caught Him red-handed dipping into the butter-pot, He said innocently that He was searching for a missing calf! To soften my anger, He kissed me, grabbed hold of my hair and stuck a peacock feather in it and ran away with the flute in one hand, leaving me enchanted! When I went to Mother Yaśodā to narrate the incident, He went behind her and pleaded with His eyes, ‘Don’t tell!’”      

Kōdukulamuḍaik kuṭṭanēyō: Oh son with opulences glorified by all! Parāśara Muni, a great sage and the father of Vyāsadeva, gave the following definition of God:

aiśvaryasya samagrasya

vīryasya yaśasaḥ śriyaḥ

jñāna-vairāgyayoś caiva

ṣaṇṇaṁ bhaga itīṅganā

Bhagavān (Bhaga means opulence, vān means one who possesses), one who is full in six opulences—full strength, fame, wealth, knowledge, beauty, and renunciation (Viṣṇu Purāṇa 6.5.47).

Lord is the proprietor of the entire creation, both material and spiritual. No one in the world can claim that he is the owner of all the wealth or no one is richer than him. On this earth, Kṛṣṇa had 16,108 wives, each wife living in a palace made of marble and studded with jewels, furniture made of ivory and gold. Kṛṣṇa expanded Himself in 16,108 forms and was personally present in every palace. This is not at all possible for any man, but God is unlimited and omnipotent. These are the most attractive features. Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, is the richest person in the world currently, and so is very attractive. But, he does not possess all the wealth in the world. Naturally, the possessor of all riches, the Lord is the most atrractive. Júlíus Björnsson of Iceland is the winner of world’s strongest man right now. But, is he strong enough to say he will not die or become old or suffer from any disease? Kṛṣṇa had unlimited strength from the moment of His birth. He is eternal and, does not die or become old or suffer from any disease. There is nobody stronger than Him anywhere in the creation. Kṛṣṇa also has unlimited fame. He is known not only all over the world but all over the creation. Similarly, Kṛṣṇa is the most beautiful. Śrī Brahma-saṁhitā 5.30 says:

veṇuṁ kvaṇantam aravinda-dalāyatākṣam-

barhāvataṁsam asitāmbuda-sundarāṅgam


govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi

I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is adept in playing on His flute, with blooming eyes like lotus petals with head decked with peacock's feather, with the figure of beauty tinged with the hue of blue clouds, and His unique loveliness charming millions of Cupids.

Kṛṣṇa is attractive not only because He is beautiful, but also because He is the most knowledgeable. There is no knowledge in this material world more sublime than that found in Bhagavad-gītā. Though Kṛṣṇa possesses all the opulences in full, He is the most renounced too. The entire creation is working under His direction, but Kṛṣṇa is not present here.

Vēḍap poruḷē: Essence of all Vedas!  All the rules and regulations of the Vedas are meant for knowing Kṛṣṇa. yo ’sau sarvair vedair gīyate: All vedic literature— Vedas, Vedānta-sūtra and the Upaniṣads and Purāṇas, the glories of the Supreme Lord are illustrated. In Bhagavad-gītā 15.15 Kṛṣṇa says unequivocally that vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo: “By all the Vedas, I am to be known.”

Vittaganē: One with inconceivable creative energies!

The Nirukti Vedic dictionary says, yujyate ’nena durghaṭeṣu kāryeṣu: “The Supreme Lord is performing inconceivably wonderful pastimes, displaying His energy.” When Kṛṣṇa wants to do something, simply by His willing, everything is performed perfectly.

parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate

svābhāvikī jñāna-bala-kriyā ca

“The Supreme Lord has multipotencies, which act so perfectly that all consciousness, strength and activity are being directed solely by His will.” (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.8)

Kṛṣṇa is ever present everywhere by His various energies. Material nature called prakṛti is a creative energy of the Lord. One of the Sātvata-tantras of Nārada Pañcarātra describes that in the process of material creation, three puruṣa incarnations are involved—Mahā-viṣṇu creates the total material energy, the mahat-tattva, then Garbhodaka-śāyī Viṣṇu enters into each universe to creat diversities, and Kṣīrodaka-śāyī Viṣṇu pervades even within the atoms as Supersoul. The ingredients of the material manifestation are separated energies of the Lord.

bhūmir āpo ’nalo vāyuḥ

khaṁ mano buddhir eva ca

ahaṅkāra itīyaṁ me

bhinnā prakṛtir aṣṭadhā

Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego – all together these eight constitute My separated material energies (Gītā 7.4).

apareyam itas tv anyāṁ

prakṛtiṁ viddhi me parām

jīva-bhūtāṁ mahā-bāho

yayedaṁ dhāryate jagat

Besides these, O mighty-armed Arjuna, there is another, superior energy of Mine, which comprises the living entities who are exploiting the resources of this material, inferior nature (Gītā 7.5).

The brahma-jyotir, which is the ultimate goal of the impersonalists, is a spiritual energy manifested in the spiritual sky.

Nothing else can be far from the truth than the scientists’ claim that with the accidental combination of chemicals life has been created. In fact, from the pure spiritual energy the material energy is created. Because of the presence of soul the body grows. Once the soul leaves, the body becomes lifeless and disintegrates. Though the soul is a superior spiritual energy of the Lord, in the material world it is under the control of the inferior material energy. The only process to transfer ourselves from material energy to spiritual energy is to engage in the service of the Lord. A microphone, for example, when it is used for speaking politics or singing a cinema song is engaged as a material energy; but, when it is used to spread the message of God, it becomes a spiritual energy. Anything engaged in the service of the Lord is spiritual. Instead of using our body for our sense gratification, we should use it for serving the lord, which is bhakti-yoga.

Periyāḻvār concludes this decade that those who chant these songs on the memorable pranks enacted by Kaṇṇan and dance ecstatically will become pure devotees of Kaṇṇan/Govinda and illuminate the eight directions. Out of his respect and love for those devotees he wants to adorn their effulgent lotus feet on his head. Pūrvācāryas cite Nammāḻvār’s similar rendition (9.1.11) ōdavalla pirākkaḷ nammai yāḷuḍaiyārgaḷ paṇḍe: “Those pure devotees who learn and chant these songs are my masters.”

213  * āṭṛṛil irundu * viḷaiyāḍuvōṅgaḷai *

  cēṭṛṛāl eṛindu * vaḷai tuhil kaikkoṇḍu **

  kāṭṛṛin kaḍiyanāy * ōḍi aham pukku *

  māṭṛṛamum tārānāl inṛu muṭṛṛum *

vaḷaittiṛam pēsānāl inṛu muṭṛṛum          

The cowherd damsels wail (to Mother Yaśodā), “We were playing on the bank of Yamunā. Kaṇṇan shoved mud on us, grabbed our bangles and sarees, and ran away swifter than the wind. Hiding inside your house, He is neither answering our calls nor replying (if He will give back or not the bangles) to our appeal regarding the bangles. We are ruined!”   


214  kuṇḍalam tāḻak * kuḻal tāḻa nāṇ tāḻa *

  eṇ tisaiyōrum * iṛaiñjit toḻutētta **

  vaṇḍamar pūṅguḻalār * tuhil kaikkoṇḍu *

  viṇḍōy marattānāl inṛu muṭṛṛum *

vēṇḍavum tārānāl inṛu muṭṛṛum           

His earrings sway brushing the shoulders, the locks of curly hair dangle in sync, the long golden necklace swing grazing the stomach, and from the eight directions the demigods and the ṛṣis worship Him and pay obeisances. Collecting the sarees, (of the damsels whose lovely hair is decorated with flowers swarmed by the bumble bees), He climbed up a tall Kurundha tree touching the sky and we are ruined! Because of Him, who refuses to return the sarees ignoring our pleading, we are ruined!     


215  taḍampaḍu tāmaraip * poygai kalakki *

  viḍampaḍu nāgattai * vāl paṭṛṛi īrttu **

  paḍampaḍu paintalai * mēleḻap pāyntiṭṭu *

  uḍambai asaittānāl inṛu muṭṛṛum *

ucciyil ninṛānāl inṛu muṭṛṛum         

Because of Him (Kaṇṇan) who agitated the waters of the large lotus lake, pulled the tail of the snake Kāliya who in great anger spread its hoods, and pounded and danced on those hoods vomiting venom, we are ruined! Because of Him, who trampled the hoods of Kāliya making it surrender finally, we are ruined!             


216  tēnukanāvi * ceguttu panaṅgani *

  tān eṛindiṭṭa * taḍamperuntōḷināl **

  vānavar kōn viḍa * vanda maḻai taḍuttu *

  ānirai kāttānāl inṛu muṭṛṛum *

avai uyyak koṇḍānāl inṛu muṭṛṛum         

Because of Kaṇṇan—who with powerful shoulders, flung Dhenukāsura on the stout palm tree and killed him, and made the fruits fall down; lifted Govardhana Hill and protected the cowherds from the heavy rains sent by king Indra—we are ruined! Because of the maintainer of the cowherds we are ruined!      


217  āycciyar cēri * aḷaitayir pāl uṇḍu *

  pērttavar kaṇḍu piḍikkap * piḍiyuṇḍu **

  vēyttaḍantōḷinār * veṇṇey koḷ māṭṭādu * aṅgu

  āppuṇḍu irundānāl inṛu muṭṛṛum *

aḍiyuṇḍaḻudānāl inṛu muṭṛṛum             

Because of Him—who gobbled up all the curds and milk stored by the cowherd women, was caught by them when He went again to steal butter, and before He stole the butter was caught and bound in the house of the strapping shouldered women—we are ruined! Because of Him who cried when beaten by them, we are ruined!   


218  taḷḷit taḷarnaḍai iṭṭu * iḷam piḷḷaiyāy *

  uḷḷattinuḷḷē * avaḷaiyuṛa nōkki **

  kaḷḷattināl vanda * pēycci mulai uyir *

  tuḷḷac cuvaittānāl inṛu muṭṛṛum *

tuvakkaṛa uṇḍānāl inṛu muṭṛṛum          

Because of Him—who when He was just a toddler, though He understood that witch Pūtanā had come to kill Him but did not reveal it, sucked her nipple so hard that along with milk drew her life out violently—we are ruined! Because of Him, who sucked the poison without any effect on Him, we are ruined!  


219  māvali vēḷviyil * māṇuruvāyc cenṛu *

  mūvaḍi tāvenṛu * iranta immaṇṇinai **

  ōraḍi iṭṭu * iraṇḍāmaḍi tannilē *

  tāvaḍi iṭṭānāl inṛu muṭṛṛum *

taraṇi aḷantānāl inṛu muṭṛṛum         

Because of Him—who went to the sacrificial arena of Mahārāja Bali as a dwarf brāhmaṇa boy, begged and was offered land measuring three steps by His legs, covered the entire surface of the world and the sky with the first step, and the entire upper planetary system with the second—we are ruined! Because of Him who scaled all the planetary systems, we are ruined!   


220  tāḻai taṇṇāmbal * taḍamperum poygaivāy *

  vāḻu mudalai * valaippaṭṭu vādippuṇ **

  vēḻam tuyar keḍa * viṇṇōr perumānāy *

  āḻipaṇi koṇḍānāl inṛu muṭṛṛum *

adaṛku aruḷ ceydānāl inṛu muṭṛṛum         

Because of Him, who arrived with His eternal carrier Garuḍa relieved the distress of the elephant king Gajendra—caught by a crocodile in a large lake with cool lotus flowers and lined with screwpine trees—by killing the crocodile with His disc—we are ruined! Because of Him, the saviour of Gajendra, we are ruined! 


221  vānatteḻunda * maḻai mugil pōl * eṅgum

  kānattu mēyndu * kaḷittu viḷaiyāḍi **

  ēnatturuvāy * iḍanda immaṇṇinai *

  tānattē vaittānāl inṛu muṭṛṛum *

taraṇi iḍandānāl inṛu muṭṛṛum          

Because of Him—who took the form of fresh rain cloud-hued boar (Varāha), happily played and roamed in the forest feeding on nut grass tubers, dived in the ocean, brought the earth out on His tusks and placed it afloat on the water—we are ruined! Because of Him, who lifted the earth on His tusks, we are ruined!     


222  * aṅgamalak kaṇṇan tannai * yasōdaikku *

  maṅgai nallārgaḷ tām * vandu muṛaippaṭṭa **

  aṅgavar sollaip * puduvaikkōn paṭṭan sol *

  iṅgivai vallavarkku * ētam onṛillaiyē

The cowherd damsels, attracted by the lovely lotus-eyed Kaṇṇan, complained about His mischievous acts to Mother Yaśodā. Their words have been rendered in to sweet songs by Periyāḻvār, the chief of Śrīvilliputtūr. Those who recite these songs will be relieved from the worldly miseries.             


After relishing the theft of butter and other eatables and pranks committed by the “Master-thief” Kaṇṇan in the neighbour’s houses and the complaints of the women thereafter, Periyāḻvār portrays poetically the troubles meted out by Him to the damsels of the community. The damsels love Kaṇṇan so much that they really want Him to engage in all sorts of amorous acts with them but discreetly. However, Kaṇṇan purposely teases them in front of elders or does very embarrassing and atrocious mischiefs (which they secretly enjoy) like stealing their sarees when they take bath in the Yamunā. They openly accuse Him to Mother Yaśodā. These pastimes are all display of transcendental existence, bliss, and knowledge. His relationship with the young girls cannot be compared to the mundane romance. The girls of Vṛndāvana showed the perfection of samādhi (trance) by their constant absorption in thoughts of Kaṇṇan and His pastimes.

Periyāḻvār narrates the dilemma of the damsels caused by Kaṇṇan’s mischiefs in their words of complaint to Mother Yaśodā. They tell her that the same Kaṇṇan who has protected His devotees by assuming various incarnations, has put them in great trouble and lament that they are ruined!

vaḷaittiṛam pēsānāl inṛu muṭṛṛum: Kaṇṇan never misses a chance to cause trouble to the damsels when they play in a secluded place. So that particular day they chose to play on the bank of Yamunā where there was a regular movement of people. They accused that when they had not caused any harm to Him or not glanced at him surreptitiously or not even thought about Him, He came and splashed mud on them inviting others attention. Pūrvācāryas add that their secret desire was that instead of teasing them He should touch them furtively! Later, when they take bath in the Yamunā, He grabbed their sarees and bangles and ran away swifter than the wind. (It is their custom to keep the sarees and ornaments on the bank and bathe naked in the river).  Pūrvācāryas make an amusing comment here that Kaṇṇan’s business was to steal the damsels’ sarees and bangles and the damsels’ business was to hanker after His enticing beauty! Kaṇṇan ran and hid inside His house and did not at all respond to their pleading calls to return their belongings. They were apprehensive that they would be questioned by their mothers about the missing bangles and conclude that they were ruined!

iṛaiñjit toḻutētta: Despite their predicament the young girls visualise that the demigods and the sages worship the alluring beauty of Kaṇṇan and are amazed that the creator and the final shelter of the material creation has not only appeared as a human being but is palying pranks with the cowherd girls! The damsels were disappointed that Kaṇṇan rather than being with them and admiring their lovely locks had gone up the tree like a monkey!

ucciyil ninṛānāl inṛu muṭṛṛum: The girls express their anguish that Kaṇṇan who subdued and drove away the snake Kāliya and relieved the distress of the cowherds and the boys had been responsible for their grief instead of delight!

ānirai kāttānāl inṛu muṭṛṛum: When Kṛṣṇa stopped the sacrifice to Indra, the king of demigods became angry and wanted to punish the cowherds. As the chief of clouds, he ordered the Sāṁvartaka cloud—this cloud is invited at the end of Brahmā’s term to to devastate the whole cosmic manifestation—to inundate Vṛndāvana with an extensive flood. The clouds filled all the lands in Vṛndāvana with rain accompanied by mighty winds. The cowherds and the people began to tremble from the severe cold. Kṛṣṇa picked up Govardhana Hill with one hand, exactly as a child picks up a mushroom from the ground and held it up as umbrella over the animals and people. They remained there for one week without being disturbed by hunger, thirst or any other discomfort.

It is commented that the young girls were indignant that Kaṇṇan protected the cowherds from the torrent of rains but failed to protect them from the danger of loneliness!

āppuṇḍu irundānāl inṛu muṭṛṛum: The damsels criticized that Kaṇṇan mercifully allowed Himself to be bound by a rope for having stolen the butter and curd from the neighbour’s houses and relieved the distress of the elephant king Gajendra but was not merciful to them at all.

āḻipaṇi koṇḍānāl: The Lord killed the crocodile with His disc, relieved the distress of the elephant king Gajendra and kindly accepted the lotus flower offered by the elephant at His lotus feet. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (8.3.32) narrates the scene:

Gajendra had been forcefully captured by the crocodile in the water and was feeling acute pain, but when he saw that Nārāyaṇa, wielding His disc, was coming in the sky on the back of Garuḍa, he immediately took a lotus flower in his trunk, and with great difficulty due to his painful condition, he uttered the following words: “O my Lord, Nārāyaṇa, master of the universe, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You.”

Śrīla Prabhupāda extols the total surrender of the devotee of the Lord. He points out that a devotee in danger feels that it is a good opportunity to fervently pray to the Lord in great ecstacy. Tat te ’nukampāṁ susamīkṣamāṇaḥ susamīkṣamāṇo bhuñjāna evātma-kṛtaṁ vipākam: The devotee does not accuse the Lord for having put him in to such a dangerous situation. Rather, he considers the situation to be due to his past misdeeds. With such surrender, his going back home, back to Godhead is guaranteed (Bhāgavatam 10.14.8).

iḍanda immaṇṇinai tānattē vaittānāl: Lord Varāha dived in the ocean, brought the earth out on His tusks and placed it afloat on the water. Once, the earth was hid in to the depths of the ocean by the demon Hiraṇyākṣa. Lord Viṣṇu appeared as a huge boar in the sky, His very glance was luminous, and He scattered the clouds in the sky with His hooves and glittering white tusks. Playing like an elephant, He dived in to the water like a giant mountain, penetrated the water with His sharp hooves and found the earth lying in the water. Lord Varāha took the earth on His tusks and came out of the water. He immediately killed the demon. The Lord had a bluish complexion and the demigods and the sages could understand Him to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead and offered prayers. The Lord touched the earth with His hooves and placed it afloat on the water ((Bhāgavatam 3.13). The cowherd girls lament that Kaṇṇan delivered the Bhū Devī from the ocean but pushed them in to the ocean of separation. 

The author dips again in to the wonderful collection of lively songs of Ūttukkāḍu Vēnkaṭa Kavi on the embarrassment meted out to the girls and women by the vivacious Kaṇṇan:

He (Kaṇṇan) takes the girls in to the groves, and in the pretext of teaching dance, touches them everywhere!                                                                                                                                                      A beautiful woman came to see Mother Yaśodā. Attracted by His charm, she lifted Him up and Kaṇṇan touched innocently her breasts to her great embarrassment!                                                                                                                      He called the next door girl and asked her if she knew mukārī rāga (melody). She said ‘no.’ He pinched her so hard that she started crying and He said this is mukārī rāga!                                                                              He asked for veṇṇai (butter), ate the butter given to Him and then asked for my peṇṇai (daughter) and winked grinning!                                                                                                                                While He danced he tossed sand in my eyes with His foot and grabbed the butter pot in my hand & ate the butter! I stood mesmerised when He played His flute; He came near me and touched me in all the places!                                                                                                                                                                           Day before yesterday evening He came to my house, played with me like a lover, pulled my top cloth and asked for “ball-size” of butter!                                                                                             When my daughter was going to the river Yamunā, Kaṇṇan mesmerized her with His lotus-eyes, took her somewhere else and came back home with her at midnight! He told me that He was like my son and asked for butter! In Gokula, all the women with young daughters are wary of Him! What can we do? The damsels think that it is their great fortune to have Kaṇṇan there!

Akṣauhiṇī: A military phalanx of 21,870 chariots, 21,870 elephants, 109,350 infantry and 65,610 cavalry is called an akñauhiëé.

Akrūra: He was a chief of the Yādavas and a descendant of the Vṛṣṇi dynasty. He was a great devotee of Kṛṣṇa. He was sent by Kaṁsa to bring Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma to the festival arranged by Kaṁsa with a plan to kill them.

Araiyars: males, trained generation after generation to recite songs from the Nālāyira Divya Prabandham accompanied by gesturing.

Bali Mahārāja: Son of Virocana. He was a benevolent daitya King, and the grandson of Prahlāda Mahārāja. The festival of Oëam is celebrated in Kerala to mark Bali’s yearly homecoming after being sent down to the underworld Sutala by Lord Vāmana.

Balltree: Calophyllum inophyllum is commonly called tamanu, mastwood, beach calophyllum or beautyleaf. It is an important source of timber for the traditional shipbuilding of large outrigger ships.

Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura: Born in a South Indian brāhmaṇa family, after being transformed by a devotee prostitute, became a great ācārya of the Viṣṇu Svāmī Vaiṣṇava sect.

Cāturmāsya: The cāturmāsya period begins in the month of Āṣāḍha (June-July) from the day of Ekādaśī called Śayanā-ekādaśī, in the fortnight of the waxing moon. The period ends in the month of Kārtika (October-November) on the Ekādaśī day known as Utthānā- ekādaśī, in the fortnight of the waxing moon. During the four-month period, one should abstain from all food intended for sense enjoyment.


Champak: Magnolia champaca. A large, evergreen tree known for its fragrant flowers, and its timber used in woodworking.


Civet: Punugu is a musky scent obtained from the African civet (civettictis civetta), a small, lithe-bodied mostly nocturnal mammal also found in tropical Asia.


Davanam: Artemisia pallens, davanam from the Sanskrit name damanaka, is an aromatic herb. The flowers bear numerous small yellow flower heads, but the silvery ehite silky covering of down gives the foliage a grey or white appearance.


Divya Desam: A Divya Desam is one of the 108 Viṣṇu temples that are glorified in the songs of the Āḻvārs. “Divya” means “spiritual” and “Desam” indicates “temple”. Of the 108 temples, 105 are in India, one is in Nepal, and last two are outside the earthly realms.


Eight directions: Aṣṭa-dik. North,south, east, west, northeast, southeast, northwest, southwest.


Fragrant cananga: Cananga odorata, known as the cananga tree, fragrant cananga or perfume tree. The flower is drooping, long-stalked, with six narrow, greenish-yellow petals, rather like a sea star in appearance and yields a highly fragrant essential oil.  


Garga Muni: One of the most revered Vedic sages in ancient India, who was a preeminent scholar and a major benefactor to the field of Ayurveda. Author of Garga Samhita, he is considered one of the 18 most important contributors to the subject of astrology. Garga Samhita not only deals with astrology but also accounts the life of Lord Kṛṣṇa. He was born to the renowned scholar and major author of Ṛg Veda, saint Bharadwäja and Suśīlä.


Gooseberry: (Ribes uva-crispa) commonly known as amla in Hindi.


Govinda: Another name of Kṛṣṇa. “Go” means cow and senses. He is the object of all pleasures for cows and the senses.


Jāmun fruit (Syzygium cumini): It is commonly known as jambolan or java plum or black plum. This is the favourite fruit of Kaṇṇan. It is mentioned in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam commentary (10.30.25) that Kṛṣṇa has four symbols of the fruit (rose apple) on his right foot. Jamun fruit is a precious but humble fruit. It is rich in iron, minerals, vitamin A and vitamin C; acts as a coolant and, induces digestive power.


Kadamba tree: Neolamarckia cadamba. English common names: burflower-tree, laran, and leichhardt pine.

Kākutta dynasty/ kakutsthaḥ: Vikukṣi, son of Ikṣvāku was the father of Purañjaya also called as Kakutstha. When Purañjaya fought on behalf of the demigods, with the demons, Vikukṣi sat on the hump (kakudi) of a bull [Indra]. Thus he is known as Kakutsthaḥ.

Kāverī: Also known as Cauvery (anglicized name) and Ponni, is a river flowing through the states of Karnāṭakā and Tamiḻ Nādu. It is the third largest river – after Godāvari and Kṛṣṇa – in South India and the largest in Tamiḻ Nādu which, on its course, bisects the state into North and South. Kāverī is sacred to the people of South India and is worshipped as a goddess. Kāverī is also one of the seven holy rivers of India.

Kāyāmbu flower of the plant memecyion edule roxb is brilliantly blue coloured and the leaves are evergreen.

Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta: This book was composed by Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura in 112 verses. By studying this book, one is elevated to the knowledge of pure devotional service to Kṛṣṇa. There are two commentaries on this book—one written by Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī and the other by Caitanya dāsa Gosvāmī.

Kuruntha tree: A flowering plant in the citrus family, the Rutaceae. Commonly known as Native Kumquat or Desert Lemon.

Madhvācārya: A Vaiṣṇava ācārya, appeared in 1238 A.D. near Udupi, Karnataka in South India. He was considered an incarnation of Vāyu (wind god). He had an unusually strong physique and extraordinary intellectual power. He appeared with a mission to fight and defeat Śaṅkarācārya's Māyāvāda (impersonal) philosophy. By giving a pure interpretation of Vedānta-sūtra he promoted pure theism. He named his innovative śāstric explanation dvaita-dvaita-vāda (pure dualism).

Mahārāja Parīkṣit: Posthumous son of Abhimanyu and grandson of the Pāṇḍava king Yudhiṣṭhira. He is praised in all scriptures for hearing Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam non-stop for seven days from Śukadeva Gosvāmī before being bitten by a poisonous snake-bird because of the curse of a brāhmaṇa boy.

Marjoram: Origanum majorana is a somewhat cold-sensitive perennial herb or undershrub with sweet pine and citrus flavours. Its usage for flavour and aroma dates back to ancient times.

Mukārī rāga: A rāga or melody that is colourful, well-known and full of emotive appeal. This rāga is often spoken of as a sorrowful rāga    (śoka rasa), but in reality it also exudes bhakthi-rasa and śānta-rasa effectively.

Nārada: A Vedic sage, famous as a great devotee of Lord Nārāyaṇa, a traveling musician and storyteller, who carries news and enlightening wisdom. He is mentioned in a number of Vedic texts.

Nut grass: Cyperus rotundus (coco-grass, Java grass, nut grass, purple nut sedge or purple nutsedge, red nut sedge, Khmer kravanh chruk) is a species of sedge (Cyperaceae). It is a staple carbohydrate in tropical regions for recent hunter-gatherers and is a famine food in some agrarian cultures.

Padri flower: Stereospermum chelonoides, commonly known as fragrant padri tree, stag’s horn trumpet-flower tree and white-flowered trumpet-flower tree. The fragrant flowers are 10-20cm long and pinkish.

Parāśara Muni: The author of many ancient Indian texts. He is accredited as the author of the first Purāṇa, the Viṣṇu Purāṇa, before his son Vyāsa wrote it in its present form. He was the grandson of Vasiṣṭa.

Puruṣa-sūkta: The demigods offer their obeisances unto Lord Viṣṇu by chanting the The Puruṣa-sūkta prayer, beginning Om sahasra-śīrṣā-puruṣaḥ sahasrākṣaḥ sahasra-pāt, found in the Ṛg Veda.

Pūrvācāryās: Predecessor ācāryās. Periya Vāccān Piḷḷai and Maṇavāḷa Māmunigaḷ are the Śrī Vaiṣṇavas who have written the original commentary for Nālāyira Divya Prabandam.

Red water lily: Nymphaea rubra is a hardy and tender aquatic plant cultivated as ornamental plant.

Red rice: Raktaśali, also called Cennellu (red rice), is widely mentioned in Purāṇas and ancient texts of Āyurveda as having properties potent enough to cure many ailments, including cancer. Āyurveda says this variety of rice, dating its use back to more than 3,000 years, is good for the Tridoṣas— kapha-vāta-pittaiḥ.

Sal tree: (shorea robusta) Also known as sakhua or shala tree. It is said to be favoured by Viṣṇu.

Śālagrāma: Among the followers of the Vedic way, the śālagrāma-śilā, the vigraha of Nārāyaṇa, is worshiped in the form of a stone ball. In India, many brāhmaṇas still worships the śālagrāma-śilā in their homes. The śālagrāmas are collected from the river-beds or banks of Gandaki River in Nepāl. According to geologists, they are spherical, black-coloured ammonoid fossils of the Devonian-Cretaceous period which existed from 400 to 66 million years ago.

Śāṇḍilya: He was the progenitor of the Śāṇḍilya-gotra. He was a son of the sage Asita and grandson of prajāpati Kaśyapa.

Screwpine tree: Pandanus odorifer is an aromatic monocot species of plant in the family Pandanaceae. Also known as kewda, fragrant screwpine, umbrella tree, and screw tree.

Sesame oil: An edibile vegetable oil derived from sesame seeds. In South India, besides being used as cooking oil, it is used for massaging as it removes heat from the body.                                                                                                    

Soap nuts: Commonly known as soapberries as the fruit pulp is used to make soap. They were used for washing by ancient people in Asia.

Śrī Hari-bhakti-vilāsa: Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī and Sanātana Gosvāmī, the personal associates of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, presented the standards of behaviour and worship for Gauḍīya lineage in this book.

Śrīla Prabhupāda: His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda. Founder-Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). He is widely acclaimed for his commentaries on Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and has authored totally 80 books on Krishna Consciousness. 

Śukadeva Gosvāmī: Son of Vyāsadeva (the literary incarnation of Lord Kṛṣṇa and the compiler of Vedas, Purāṇas and Mahābhārata). Śukadeva Gosvāmī narrated Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam to King Parīkṣit in seven days.

Swami/Śrī Vēdānta Deśika (1268-1369) was a Śrī Vaiṣṇava guru/philosopher and one of the most brilliant stalwarts of Śrī Vaiṣṇavism in the post-Rāmānuja period.

Ūttukkāḍu Vēnkaṭa Kavi: He was born in Mannārguḍi, near Tanjāvūr, Tamil Nāḍu, sometime in early 1700s. Lord Kṛṣṇa is said to have appeared before him and blessed him with spiritual knowledge. His devotion for Kṛṣṇa can be observed in many songs composed by him on Kṛṣṇa in Sanskrit and Tamiḻ.

Uddhava: Cousin and counsellor of Lord Kṛṣṇa. He was a great scholar in logic, and he was known to be a son or disciple of Bṛhaspati, the greatly learned priest and spiritual master of the demigods. He resembled Kṛṣṇa in appearance and was often mistaken for Kṛṣṇa. 


White fig: Ficus virens. The fruits are edible.


Yellow bauhinia: Bauhinia tomentosa, the yellow bauhinia or yellow bell orchid tree. Flowers are bell-shaped with large, yellow petals with a dark maroon patch at the base.