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“Krishna’s touch energises, enthuses and enlivens”

Madabhushi Sridhar – Tiruppavai- 11

Tiruppavai by Godadevi from Tamil

Katru-K-karavaiKanangal Pala Karandu

SetrarThirialAzhiya-ch-chenruSeruchheyyum

KutramOnrimilladaKovalarThamPorkodiye

Putrarawal Gul PunamayilePodaray

ShutrattuThozhimaarYellarumVandu Nin

MutramPugundu Mugil VannanPerpaada

ShittadePey Shade Shelvappendaatti Nee

YettukkUragumPorul-el or Empaavaay.

English Translation from By Madabhushi Sridhar

Many cowherds milking the Ever-young cows.

Also, the brave warriors beating enemies at their place,

Born in a clan that was never short of any,

beautiful like cobra-hood, with peacock colours

O lady of golden grace, Join friends and relations,

We all are waiting at your front yard to sing of Krishna,

O Lovely woman, respond to our pleas,

Wake up from sleep to join us for Sri Nomu.

What is real beauty?

Goda says Krishna is attracted by Jnana Soundarya, the beauty of wisdom, while physical beauty attracts ordinary males.  Goda in 11th Song is trying to invite a beautiful devotee who is Krishna-Premi and Krishna Premika. Gopikaas in Vrepalle could not bear the separation from Krishna even for a minute.

Also read: Naaraayana’ crown is decorated with Tulasi garlands

Sri Krishna is embodiment of love. His touch energises, enthuses and enlivens. His affectionate treatment of Cows was a divine happening in Vrepalle every-day.  Every cow there looks young and healthy. Each cow had a calf. How is that possible? Because Krishna used to touch each cow, feed it, take it for grazing and on return tie it up personally. Hence each cow remained young and gave plenty of milk. Cows were completely devoted to Him.

The Cows – each of which has calves. They are milking their young, like calves. Each of cow and calf is looking strong, healthy, bright, and happy because of the touch of Krishna. Cowherds are experts in milking the cows. At the same time, they are warriors who can suppress the enemies at their place. They are sinless and innocent because whatever they do, they do it for Krishna. No sin attaches them because of this reason. Enemies of Krishna are their enemies; they do not have any enmity with any. Here Goda is teaching us that we should do everything for Krishna to be free from Sin and consider none as enemy. And one who fights Krishna is our enemy.

Also read: Mysterious Madhava, Vaikunthesha –Come

The Gopika whom Goda approached today is beautiful, devoted, like a golden creeper who crawls on the support of Krishna.  Her charm-ful hair dressing is compared to that of a peacock with its colourful spread without any fear, and Goda describes that her curvaceous figure is like that of a cobra spreading its hood gracefully.  Krishna is Megha Varna and GaganaSadrusha, looks like sky or cloud.

Goda prays to the Gopika: We all assembled here in your front yard singing about Krishna to draw your attention. O Beauty come with us so that Krishna will come to see you and we all can have His Darshan.

With His Darshanam, Gopikaas enthral while the Sparshanam of Krishna enlivens cows. Nitya Suris in Vaikuntham enjoy perpetual youth as if they are in twenties always. It is because of Krishna’s proximity.

Also read: Krishna, who tore Keshi’s mouth apart & killed Chaanura- Musthika

Ravan.. tired, return tomorrow

It is stated in Raamayan that Dasarath was 64-thousand-year-old, but in presence of Raama he used to feel very young.  Raama is graceful towards enemies also. Raavan who abducted Raama’s wife was defeated during the Raama-Raavana battle. Raama goes to Ravan’s Lanka and His arrows made Raavan disarmed, his crown and chariot destroyed and the charioteer dead.  He lost everything. Then Raama said, Oh King of Rakshasas, you are tired enough. Now retire to your palace, rest, and come tomorrow to face me again. 

Similarly, the Yadavas, who are proud of being in the clan of Krishna, are capable of disarming the enemies in their own place. They are proud of being associated with Lord Krishna. The Gopika is enjoying in getting immersed in the thoughts of Krishna. Goda says: We came to you rushing, as the peacocks reach out to the sky studded with clouds. As we praise cloud-coloured angel Krishna, we expected you to join us. But you are dumb. Not spelling even a single word.

Also read: Omkar links to God; And chanting of Munis

In this Paashuram Sri PoodattaAalwar is being awakened. Among Sri Poodatta, there are 12 Alva’s.

The Alvar’s

The word Alvar has traditionally been etymologized as from Tamil. Al ‘to immerse oneself’ as ‘one who dives deep into the ocean of the countless attributes of god’.”Āṇṭāḷ was among the twelve Āḻvārs, the poet-saints, adepts of Viṣṇu, canonized by the tradition, which accepted the interpretation of meaning of the word āḻvār as “submerged, plunged [in love for god]”, from the verbal root āḻ, “to plunge, to be in the deep”.  They were the Tamil poet-saints of South India who espoused bhakti (devotion) to the Hindu preserver deity Vishnu, in their songs of longing, ecstasy, and service. They are venerated in Vaishnavism, which regards Vishnu as the Ultimate Reality.

Modern writers have placed the lifetime of the Alvars between the 5th century and 10th century CE. Traditionally, the Alvars are considered to have lived between 4200 BCE and 2700 BCE. Orthodoxy posits the number of Alvars as ten, though there are other references that include Andal and Madhurakavi Alvar, making the number 12.

Andal is the only female Alvar

Andal is the only female Alvar among the 12. Together with the contemporary 63 Shaivite Nayanars, they are among the most important saints from Tamil Nadu.

They praised the DivyaDesams, the 108 divine realms of deities affiliated to Vaishnavism. The poetry of the Alvars echoes bhakti to God through love, and in the ecstasy of such devotions they sang hundreds of songs which embodied both depth of feeling and the felicity of expressions.(The source is based on ‘Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alvars’.)

Name of Alvar, Avtar of, and Modern datingTraditional date and placeComposition
1. Poigai Alvar, 713 CE Panchajanya (Vishnu’s conch)4203, BC KanchipuramMutalTiruvantati, 100 verses.
2. Boothath Alvar, 713 CE Kaumodaki (Vishnu’s mace)4203 BC MahabalituramIrandamTiruvantati, 100 verses.
3. Pey Alvar, 713 CE Nandaka (Vishnu’s sword)4203 BC MylaporeMoondramTiruvantati, 100 verses.
4. Thirumalisai Alvar, 720 CE Sudarshana Chakra (Vishnu’s discus)3102 BCE ThirumalisaiNanmuganTiruvantati, 96 verses; ThiruchandaVirutham, 120 verses.
5. Nammalvar,798 CE Vishvaksena (Vishnu’s commander)3059 BCE Alwarthirunagiri (Kurugur)Tiruvaymoli, 1102 verses; Thiruvasiriyam, 7 verses; Tiruviruttam, 100 verses; PeriyaTiruvantati, 87 verses.
6. Madhurakavi Alvar, 800 CE KumudaGanesha (Vishvaksena’s disciple) or Padma (Lotus)3049 BCE, ThirukollurKanninunSiruthambu, 11 verses.
7. Kulasekhara Alvar, 9th century Kaustubha (Vishnu’s jewel embedded in his necklace)3075 BCE, ThiruvanchikulamPerumal Tirumoli, 105 verses.
8. Periyalvar, 785 CE Garuda (Vishnu’s mount)3056 BCE SrivilliputhurPeriyalvarTirumoli, 461 verses.
9. Andal, 767 CE Bhudevi (Lakshmi’s aspect as the earth goddess)3005 BCE SrivilliputhurNachiyarTirumoli, 143 verses; Thiruppavai, 30 verses.
11. Thondaradippodi Alvar, 726 CE Vanamalai (Vishnu’s garland)2814 BCE ThirumandangodiTirumālai, 45 verses; Tirupalliḻeuchi, 10 verses.
11. Thiruppaan Alvar, 782 CE Srivatsa (An auspicious mark on Vishnu’s chest)2760 BCE UraiyurAmalandhipiran, 10 verses.
12. Thirumangai Alvar, 776, CE Sharanga (Vishnu’s bow)2706 ThirukurayalurPeriyaTirumoli, 1084 verses; ThiruVeḻukootruirukkai, 1 verse; ThiruKurunThandagam, 20 verses; ThiruNedunThandagam, 30 verses; SiriyaTirumadal, 40 verses; PeriyaTirumadal, 78 verses;

(Art of Nammalvar)

(Art of Nammalvar)

Translation by Madabhushi Sridhar

Also read: Wake-up calls of Chirping birds before dawn

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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