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A selfless king and people of Vrepalle

Tiruppavai – 17

Madabhushi Sridhar

1 January 2024

Ulagalantha Perumal Temple, Tirukkoyilur one of 108 Temples

Tamil Pashuram

Ambaramay, Thanneeray, Soray, Aaram Seyyum

Emperumaan! Nandagopaala! Ezhundhiraai!

Kombanaar-k-kellamKozhunday Kula Vilakkay

Emperumaatti! Yashodhaai! Arivuraai!


Umberkomanne! UrangaadhuEzhundhiraai!

Semborkk-kazhaladi-ch-chelvaa! Baladeva!

Umbiyumneeyumurang-El or Empaavaai

English Poem 17

He, the giver of clothes, water and food,

O, Our Swami, please wake up Nanda

O, Swamini Yashoda! you are a bright star,

In our clan, Krishna, the God of Gods

Arise and awake, you grew up tearing the sky,

Measured the Universe:  Get up soon,

Balarama, with golden anklet, along with

Brother Krishna, please wake up for us.

Yashoda, a great mother

Yashoda is compared with Prabbali plant, which grows on the banks of a stream. This tree has a capacity to bend when the stream swells and floods, and rise back after the flood cedes. Like a mother she is quite affectionate and helpful. She is the bright star of cowherd clan, and the mother of all. She is protecting little Krishna from the wrecked looks of demons. Both Yashoda and Nanda fear those destructive elements, who divide brothers, mother and son, create differences among the people to continue to rule etc. The demons like Kamsa-resort to kidnap and kill the children. Nanda and Yashoda are always worried about Krishna and Balarama because the demons were ruling.

Also read: Goda awakens 10 Aalwars

Yashoda is like Tirumantra

Yashoda here means the giver of Yash, i.e. fame. There is no fame greater than Paramatma. Yashoda could give Paramatma to us. Among the three mantras of Vishnu, Vasudeva and Narayana, Ashtakshari (Mantra with 8 aksharas) is greatest. Yashoda is like that Tirumantra. Our tradition believes that Mantro Maata (mantra is the mother), GuruhPitha (Guru is the father).

The three mothers possessed God as son – Kausalya, Devaki and Yashoda. But, Yashoda is blessed more because she could spend lots of years with Krishna and wield complete control over Paramatma. Yashoda could punish and bind Him with a rope with her utmost devotion. Tirumantra (eight lettered Mantra of Narayana) also has the power of tying down Paramatma. That is why, Yashoda is considered mantra herself.  Waking up Yashoda means understanding and invoking Narayana mantra. Nanda is the giver of Mantra-the Acharya, Yashoda is Mantra herself, and Krishna is the meaning or purpose of mantra. Gopikas are invoking Acharya, Mantra and Mantrartha.

After waking up ten Gopikas and Aalwaars, Goda reached Nanda King’s palace yesterday with five lakh Gopas and Gopikas, convinced the door keepers and entered. Unless you abandon ego and use wisdom (doors), you cannot gain entry at all. Then they peeped through the rooms to find where Krishna and Balarama were asleep. First, they saw Nanda, then Yashoda, after her, Krishna and at last, Balarama.

Also read: Nammalwar says God is ‘Ever-desirable elixir’, amrutham!  

Sri Krishna, the God of the Gods

Krishna, the God of Gods, who rose from being a dwarf to grow as Trivikrama tearing the sky away to measure the Universe with his two steps for the sake of Indra, the King of Angels. After praising Krishna and Balarama, who is distinct with a golden anklet, Gopikas ask brothers to wake up and grant them the result of their Vratha. 

Vishnu heard the prayer of brother Indra and other Devatas who were displaced by Bali, the king of Asuras. Vishnu assures them to restore their kingdom. For their purpose, He is the incarnation of generosity. He becomes a beggar and seeks alms from Bali as Vaman (the dwarf).  When Bali assures him of the donation, He grows higher and higher, tears up the sky, goes beyond, measures two Lokas with two feet, and asks for the third step to get three feet of promised land. He obtains Rajya from Bali and gives it back to Indra.  His devotee and younger brother Indra pray with devotion completely surrendering to Him.

Father of Krishna, Nanda is a very good king who knows the difficulties of all people, He to give clothes to clothe-less, water and food to the needy without expecting anything in return. King used to rule as if he is like father and mother of each and every person. He performed his duty to provide for basic needs of the people. He donates on his own and never denies to anyone.

Also read: Lotus eyed Vishnu, holding Conch and the Discus

Importance of cloth: Ambarame

In this 17thPashuram Goda deals with Cloth, Water and Food. When you have it in abundance, you do not value the cloth. Draupadi knows it. Her five husbands, great warriors could not protect her; all other elders like Dhritarashtra, Bhishma and Drona become helpless spectators, while Dussasana under the command of Duryodhan was disrobing her. Blind king knows what was happening, but keeps quiet blinded by love for his son and jealousy towards Pandavas. Vikarna, younger brother of Duryodhana, questions, but he is snubbed. Vidura, the incarnation of Dharma, the Prime Minister of Kaurava King objects and advises the King to abandon Duryodhana for this anti-Dharma conduct. The King was silent. Vidura walks out.  Helpless Draupadi does not surrender to Duryodhana, but completely surrenders to Krishna with her mind and heart. She prays for His Honour to protect her Honour. She recites the following Shloka.

శంఖ చక్ర గదాపాణే ద్వారకా నిలయాచ్యుత గోవింద పుండరీకాక్ష రక్షమాం శరణాగతిమ్

Miraculously, Krishna gives her abundant clothes. Dussasana gets exhausted pulling the clothes out, fails and falls down.


Second word is Tanneere, means ‘water’. Jaladaanam is a great deed.  There is an incident involving Sri Krishna. During the Kurukshetra war, the horses were in dire need of water. They were tired and not in a position to move further. Pandavas had no clue out. Then Sri Krishna uses the Vaarunasthra for to swell up from the underground. The thirst of not only His horses but of all the other horses was quenched. He uses weapons not to kill the rivals but only to help all living creatures. Learn positive use of destructive weapons.


Next word used by Goda is Shore… which means food.  Munis perform Yanja to invoke God and to feed Him with Havya. Little Krishna is around those Rishis performing Yajna, but they do not recognize Him. The Yajna goes on beyond the noon. The Gopala Gopikas complain of hunger, and they approach Rishis who refuse to give food until Yajna is completed. Krishna takes them along and approaches the wives of those Munis. No mother can resist when a lovely boy with divine looks and ever-smiling face is seeking food. They simply give it without bothering about the completion of the Yajna defying the rules and command of husbands. All children along with Krishna were fed happily. Krishna smiles at Munis who are still bothered about their empty formalities, without recognizing the real God. Every day, Vaishnavas recite a shloka at the time of offering of food, in which they remember the Muni’s wives who fed Krishna with love and affection. “Yaa preetirmunipatni bhakti rachiethe…” Those wives are more blessed than their husbands.

Duryodhana and Durvaasa

Duryodhana once offered food to Durvasa Muni and his disciples in a sumptuous manner. Pleased by this, Durvasa asked him to seek a boon. Duryodhan wanted him to bless Dharma Raja similarly. He did this with malicious intention that Yudhistira would surely fail leady to angry curse of Durvasa. But a different thing happened. As he had huge team with him in exile, Yudhistira find it difficult feed all of them. He prays Surya, who granted an Akshya Patra. It used to feed any number of people every day.  But there is a limitation, that it cannot give any more food for the day, once it is was cleaned. After cleansing the Akshaya Patra, Durvasa approaches them. It was difficult for Pandavas to feed Durvasa’s team. There was no way other than praying to God. Draupadi prays to Krishna to help them out. Krishna arrives, asks her to fetch Akshaya Patra and miraculously finds one grain of rice somewhere and eats it. When the ruler of whole universe feels satiated with one grain, the whole universe feels fully-fed, and so were the members of team of Muni.

The Cloth, Water and Food are the forms of Brahma. Ambaram also means the sky. Getting them is not easy, especially in difficult and testing times. God must be kind enough and the seeker of these three must also be giver.

This 17th song invokes the Parabrahmam through its inner meaning.

Also read: Splitting mouth of crane-Baka demon

Madabhushi Sridhar, 1.1.2024

Prof. M. Sridhar Acharyulu
Prof. M. Sridhar Acharyulu
Author is Dean, Professor of law at Mahindra University at Hyderabad and former Central Information Commissioner. He published a number books in English and Telugu.


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