18. Tiruppavai Stories
Neela Devi is to Krishna what Bhu Devi (Goddess of earth) is to Varaha and Sri Devi (Sita) to Rama. Neela Devi took avatar as Nappinnai, daughter of Kumbhaka (brother of Yashoda) and Krishna won her hand after conquering seven ferocious bulls owned by her father. Nappinnai’s brother is Sudama. Sri ParasaraBhattar describes that Sri Krishna, intoxicated by her beauty, as “NeelathungaSthanagirithatiSuptham“. She is called Nappinnai in Tiruppavai and Dravida tradition. She is equated with Shakti Swaroopini called ‘Radha’, Radharani’, or ‘Radhika” in north India.
Swami Desikan in Yadavabyuudayam narrates the story of Neela and how Krishna got married to her. When Nappinnaiwas born, happy Kumbakan purchases seven identical male calves from the market. He wants to raise seven along with his daughter. He also makes a vow that the young man who controls these seven will get her hand in marriage! A miracle happens. Those seven calves grow into adult bulls overnight as Asuras entered their bodies. Seeing them in the barn Kumbakan was surprised. The bulls start to torment the people and Kumbakan was unable to controlthem. Soon Nappinnaiturns three years old when Yashoda visits her brother along with a five-year-old Krishna. ‘Your son is very beautiful! I can see that He will turn into a handsome youth. I wish I can promise Nappinnai to Him, but I made a foolish vow that I will give her hand in marriage only to the man who can control all the seven bulls tied in my barn,’ said Kumbakan. ‘Uncle, don’t worry,’ said Krishna, ‘I will subdue those bulls this very second!’ Kumbakan laughed at the sweet child but was terrified when Krishna went in search of the bulls. ‘Yashoda! Stop your son! I am afraid that He might get hurt!’ As Yashoda and Kumbakan rush to the barn they find that Krishna has killed all the seven bulls with one blow! ‘What a marvel!’ exclaimsKumbakan. As promised he givesNappinnai in marriage to Krishna but as they were only children, Kumbakanallows Yashoda to take Nappinnai with her so that she could raise the two together. The Vedassing the glory of Goddess Nila in NilaSuktam.
Krishna marries eight women. One is NaajnaJithi. Her father’s name is NajnaJitha. He marries her after killing seven Bulls. It is said that Neela and NaagnaJithi are one and the same.
Ramanuja worships Goda and meditates on Tiruppavai and NappinnaPiraatti, i.e., Neeladevi. One day after meditating upon Neela, he goes to his guru Mahapurna and knocks at the door.Guru’s daughter Attullayammaopens the door. Imagining her to be Neela, he falls unconscious in ecstasy. Highly knowledgeable saint Mahapurna could guess what happened and tells his daughter that Ramanuja must have seenNeela in her. For this devotion of density, Ramanuja is known as TiruppavaiJeeyar.
Hanuman could not find Seeta in Sri Lanka in spite of his best efforts. Thoroughly frustrated, Hanuma for a moment goes into depression and thinks of ending the life. But, he recovers soon realizing that such a senseless act would fail the entire mission of uniting Rama and Seeta. Unless they are together Jeevas cannot gain the grace of God. Shoorpanakha desires Rama alone without Seetha, attempts to separate Rama from Seeta and suffers the consequences. Ravana desires Seetain isolated form separate from Rama, takes away Seeta and meets the end besides witnessing complete destruction of Lanka. Though he served Rama with great devotion, only when Hanuma unites them and serves them together, becomes a complete devotee.
Sita’s kindness to Lakshman
Lakshman wants to join Rama in exile. ButRama did not accept. Then Lakshman approaches Seeta to recommend and succeeds. Kaakasura, the crow-demon, harasses Seeta when Rama was resting in the lap of Seeta. Angry Rama converts a piece of grass into a dreaded missile as Brahmastra targeting that demon. The Demon runs from piller to post, begs Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva for rescue, but failsin his attempt. Finally, he surrenders to Seetha, who recommends Rama to generously excuse him and save his life.
Why Kamsa Killed 6 kids? According to Harivamsham, an Asura Kaalanemi has six sons. They are called Shadgarbha, Six fetuses. They were attempting to do penance for immortality. Hiranya Kashipu was the king of demons at that time. Hiranya Kashipu proclaimed himself as God and prohibited worship of all other Gods. He insisted that everyone should worship him alone. Hiranya Kashipucurses those six sons for worshipping a different God, to die in the hands of their father only. To comply with the curse, KaalaNemi takes his next birth as Kamsa, and six fetuses are born to Devaki, the sister of Kamsa. We know the story that Kamsa kills his sister Devaki’s six sons. But as they are born as elder brothers of God Vishnu, the later blesses them with higher altitude to their souls.