Sunday, June 23, 2024

Hail thy feet that mapped the entire world in two steps

Madabhushi Sridhar – Tiruppavai – 24

Tiruppavai by Godadevi from Tamil

AndriIvvulagamAlanday, Adi Pottri

SendruAnguThthennIlangaiChettray, ThirallPottri

PondrachchagadamUdathaai, PugazhPottri

KandrukunilaaiErindhaay, Kazhalpottri

Kundru KkudaiyaiEdutthaay, GunamPottri

VendruPagaiKedukkum Nin KaiyyilVelPottri

Endrendrum Un SevakameaEthiparaiKolvaan


English Translation from By Madabhushi Sridhar

Hail thy feet that mapped the entire world in two steps,

Hail thy valor that vanquished Lanka king in south,

Hail thy fame that kicked off the demon-cart,

Hail thy pose of throwing calf away at the fruit killing two demons,

Hail thy generosity that lifted a hill like an umbrella,

Hail thy spike that destroyed the enemies,

Hail thy bravery, to obtain the desired parai,

Came now, for Bliss and Blessing, for our Vrata.

Limitless Love and Unbounded Affection for Krishna

As Goda and Gopikas desired, Sri Krishna comes out of his abode of rest towards the decorated crown, moving like a Lion and sometimes like an Elephant. Neela Devi stepped forward to invite Him, took Him and then sat by His side. He kept one leg on the thigh and the other on footrest. When Goda and Gopikas saw strain marks on pink lotus-like-foot of Lord they felt sad. He never cares for his own strain for helping devotees. Bhagawan Krishna came down to serve as an ordinary charioteer and obeyed Arjuna’s command to take Ratham here and there amid two large armies of Pandava and Kourava in Kurukshetra. 

Also read: Opened fire-emitting eyes

After watching his stained foot, they forget their purpose of visit (to seek fruits of Vrata) and pray for His welfare, hail Him and remove the evil effects of bad looks to ward off the dangers singing Mangalam. They want to protect Him from evil forces. They know that He is omnipotent but forget all that in the anxiety to secure Him. They are transformed from the phase of knowledge Jnaana to the phase of unbounded love- called Bhakti, a unique mix of knowledge dominated by love.

C Rajagopalachary says: “The way of devotion, is not different from the way of knowledge or Jnana. When intelligence matures and lodges securely in the mind, it becomes wisdom. When wisdom is integrated with life and issues out in action, it becomes Bhakti. Knowledge, when it becomes fully mature is Bhakti. If it does not get transformed into Bhakti, such knowledge is useless tinsel. To believe that Jnana and Bhakti, knowledge and devotion are different from each other, is ignorance”.

Simhasanappattu is the name of previous Pashuram, and the present one is the Mangalasasanappattu. This appears to be the climax of 30 songs. There are 108 Narayana DivyaDeshas, which are so called, because the Alwars sang there in praise of Paramatma’s glory. They hail His glory, wish Him Jayam (Victory), desire for the security, protection and welfare of God – the meaning of Mangalam. After ten Alwars sang the glory, Goda chose Tiruppavai to sing the Mangalam, in this 24th Pashuram and that made her an Alwar.


Once you have measured the whole world, we praise thy feet.

You went down all the way South to Lanka and destroyed the King of demons there; we praise thy valour.

You have destroyed a demon, who came in the form of a cart; we praise your fame.

In one stroke you vanquished the two demons in the form of a calf, and fruit, we praise thy posture.

You have lifted up a hillock like an umbrella to protect your people from the thunderstorm, we praise your kindness.

Also read: Shedding Ego, crowding around You

Our tributes to the sharp spear in your hands that killed your enemies.

We all came here to praise your valour and offer our worship.

Kindly hear our pleas and bless us with your grace.

Jnana yoga

The divine knowledge is that a Jeevi understands the all-pervasive power of Supreme Self, and what a tiny element he is on this earth. He is the saviour of entire Universe, the only protective power. With that knowledge, devotee surpasses that stage too and in the unbounded love he thinks that he has to greet, hail, praise and wish for His welfare. He is worried about safety of the Supreme Personality who protects all.


Vaaman is a pretty small boy who seeks three feet of land as alms, from Bali the King of three Lokas. Once granted, He raises His leg to measure the uneven surface of the Universe that might have injured His delicate feet. When His leg measured the upper Universe, Brahma washed the feet that became Sri Pada Tirtha- Akasha Ganga, which landed on the head of Rudra making him Shiva.  None hailed his feet then. We do it now.


While Vamana was pained by measuring two steps, Rama walked all through the forest and suffered most. He goes to the place of enemy, the strong fort in the ocean. He crossed Vanadurgam, SthalaDurgam, JalaDurgam and then attacked Lanka Durgam. Rama breaks Ravan’s strong and high compound, kills each of his brothers, supporters and sons, his charioteer, horses, breaks his flag, chariot, bow, crown, and leaving him stand on bare foot, and to walk back home all through the main streets of his own capital. His entire ego should have vanished by this great insult. He tried to invoke wisdom in Ravana and gave him one more chance to correct, surrender and return Seeta. But he does not, hence, gets killed. But none hailed Rama’s strength of arms. Lanka is a symbol of human body, ten heads – ten Indriyas, his mind – the ego and that is the demon Ravan. The Antaryami goes into the place of that mind and destroys the ego.

Also read: Surrendered at Your Feet and Gate, Helpless and Praising

Viswamitra knows Rama’s valour, gives him divine weapons Bala and AtiBala, and when he gets into war with Taataka, He says SwastiRaghavayorasthu.

When Rama accepts the hand of Seeta in marriage, Janaka sings a sloka

ఇయం మమసుతా సీతా తవ సహధర్మచారీ

చ ఏనాం ప్రతీచ్ఛ | భద్రం తే | పాణిం పాణినా గృహ్ణీష్వ

Iyam Seetha mama SuthaTavaSahadharmachaaree cha

YenamPrateeccha, BhandranthePaanim, PaaninamGrihneeshva.

This slokam is recited in every marriage even today. On the way to Ayodhya, just married Rama, confronts the destroyer of rulers – Parashuram. Father Dasaratha was worried and tense until Rama comes out of the conflict of safely.

Seeta knows the power of Rama but when King Dasaratha summons him through Sumantra, Seeta asks all rulers of eight sides to protect him. (Rama was called to convey Kaikeyi’s wish to go to forest). Sribhashyam recalls several episodes in Ramayana when the loved ones prayed for security of Rama.

Jatayu knew valiant Rama who single-handedly killed 14 thousand demons led by Khara and Dushana. Still worried about his safety. Jatayu after getting severely injured in the battle with Ravana to save Seeta, looks at Rama, and blesses him “Ayushman Bhava”. Rama could demolish seven strong Saala trees and kill Vaali at one stroke and throws out the heavy body of Dundubhi with the thumb of his foot. Sugreeva knows all this, but when Vibheeshana wanted to switch to the side of Rama, he apprehends internal sabotage and was deeply worried about the safety of Rama. It shows Sugreeva’s deep affection.  Rama takes the trouble of walking all the way on Sethu built with uneven stones bound by rough ropes etc, and also when he walks in forest all through. Gopikas and Goda sing for the welfare of His arms that killed Ravana.

Krishna’s adventures

Krishna descends as an infant with four arms, holding Sankhu and Chakra. He plans and explains the scheme for the smooth exit from Kamsa’s prison to Nanda Vrajam. Yet, Vasudeva and Devaki were worried about safety and pray for his security. Nanda and Yashoda knew the great deeds of Krishna but still tie bands to secure the life of Krishna many a time during his childhood.

Rama faced enemy demons after growing up. But Krishna had to fight demons even as a child. He kills Poothana on his 21st day. As a seven-months-baby, he kicked his leg while crying, and that killed Sakatasura breaking into pieces. The deeds of Jeevi are compared to Sakata, the birth and death cycle is due to his Karma that comes in the way of experiencing the glory of Paramatma. The cycle breaks only with the divine touch of His feet.

Also read: Perfect, no less than Lakshmi, wake up! Experience Bliss of Paramaatma

Krishna found one demon in the form of a calf and another hidden in a fruit. He picked up the calf, after spinning it several times with great speed hits at the fruit-formed-Kapitthasura, killing both instantly. Krishna put forward one leg and slightly bent another to gain strong footing and then spun the calf to hit the fruit. That pose is hailed by Gopikas.

Indra thinks that he commands the dynamics of nature and hence entitled to the offerings in Sacrifices meant for the ultimate Parabrahmam. He thinks he was havirbhokta (receiver of fruits of sacrifice) and Phala-pradaata (provider of the results). Krishna teaches a lesson to him, that a hillock can do the job of Indra, by making the clouds to rain. Environment cycle naturally nourishes the crops, and it is not due to the generosity of an administrator like Indra, and that Nature is Parabrahman. But Indra’s mind is blocked due to the ego. He wants to punish the people of Nanda Vraja, for worshipping Govardhana Hills ignoring him. He orders Varuna and Vayu to shower thunderstorms and lightning on their village. Yet, Krishna does not get angry, considering him as an adamant hungry child throwing stones or things at others, and he will stop it when tired. Krishna takes the pain of lifting the Govardhana as an umbrella. He does it with a great ease; just a little finger was enough. He protects the Gopala, Gopika, Go (=cows) for seven nights and days. All the villagers call Him Govinda. He loves this title most, because it was attained with great effort. GopaGopikas think that they should support Krishna’s effort with their sticks. When Indra stops the assault, Krishna asks all to go out from the cover of Govardhana. They refuse to withdraw the support of sticks thinking that Krishna cannot hold the hill. Then Krishna slightly brings the hill down and all the sticks break into pieces. They realize and get out. They sing for the welfare of His hand. At different point of time, Gopikas find that Vela, a weapon in the hands of Krishna protected them and hence sing in praise of the Vel- weapon.

Sri BhashyamAppalacharya described this 24thpashuram in great detail and clarity explaining the mutual love of Krishna and residents of Vrepally.

Vishnu Chitta

Once, the Pandya King invites Pandits for a debate on establishing the Bhagavat Tatwa (the Nature of God) for a big prize. Narayana inspires Periyalwar (Vishnu Chitta, father of Goda) to participate in it. The King and all members of Royal Assembly were pleased as Vishnu Chitta wins the debate. Felicitating with Gajarohana (Sitting on Elephant) and Gandapenderam (golden anklet), he was taken in procession in the main streets of Madhura. Bhagawan Narayana Himself comes down on Garuda and stays in sky to watch the glory of his victorious devotee. Though overwhelmed with joy at the sight of Bhagwan Narayan, Vishnu Chitta (Periyalwar) immediately apprehends Drishti Dosha (effect of evil sights) to Vishnu and starts singing Mangalam for Him. It is called famous PallanduPallanduPallayirattandu.. (Pal = andu means many years, Pal Ayiram means several thousands of years) for His safety for thousands of years to come. When Vishnu shows the Sankhu and Chakra to Vishnuchitta to suggest that he is well-protected with the conch and disc, Vishnu Chitta sings for the strength and prowess of Sankhu and Chakra also. He also finds mother Lakshmi with Vishnu and wishes for her security too. Narayana smiles at him. He does not need Vishnu Chittas protective boons in the form of Mangalasaasanam but accepts it as it comes from devotion for him. It is not logic or reason but abundant love for Him. Like her father, Goda too binds the Protective Band (raksha) for Vishnu.

There is another ardent devotee of Ranganatha, –Dhanurdasu. He used to carry a small hand-knife with him, when the Rangamannar (festival deity of Ranganatha in Srirangam) was brought out with full decoration for procession. The reason was if something untoward happened to Him, he would end his life immediately with the knife because he cannot see and survive.  Similarly, the Gopikas also reflect this unbounded love and affection for Krishna. Jaya Mangalam to Krishna.

Also read: O Neela with wide lively eyes lined black

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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