Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Lord on Banyan Leaf, like lively Blue Sapphire

Madabhushi Sridhar -Tiruppavai – 26

Tiruppavai by Godadevi from Tamil

Maaley! Manivanna! MaargazhiNeeraaduvaam



PaalannaVannathu un Paanchajanyamey

PolvanaSangangal poi-p-paaduUdaiyanave


Kola VilakkeyKodiyeyVidhaaname

AalinIlayai! Arul-el or empaavai

English Translation from By Madabhushi Sridhar

Lord on Banyan Leaf, like lively Blue Sapphire,

 We came doing best practices for Margali Bath,

If You listen, We tell our desire: Grant the Conches

Like your milky white, resounding Panchajanya

That sends spine-chilling terror in enemies and

Free your devotees from fear; Big Drums to

Attract many; melodious Singers; Bright Lamps

Flags & Decorative cloths to hail your glory.

Oh Vishnu, Your shining is like the blue sapphire resting on the leaf of Banyan tree, when the whole universe is on the edge of devastation. You are capable of making possible those impossible things. We want to have your divine association like holy bath during MargaShirsha month of winter mornings. Following the path of elders, we came to You to tell what we want, if You are willing to listen to us. Grant us such conches like the milky white Panchajanya that can send spine-chilling terror in enemies and make the devotees feel assured and fearless- Abhayam; big drums (Parai) which can give notice and attract many melodious musicians who can sing praising Your glory and hail You; the bright lamps that guide us; flags, decorative cloths so that we all worship You as part of this Vratham.

Also read: Devaki and Yashoda – the divine mothers of Krishna

Goda addresses Krishna as Maale, the Supreme Being, which explains the unbounded affection of Krishna for his devotees, over and above the love of devotees. Rama is known for accepting and protecting those seeking his help. Vibheeshan was apprehending whether Rama would suspect him as he was brother of Ravana, while Rama was thinking why Ravana was not coming to him, expecting at least his brother. Sri Krishna loves his associates, friends, Gopikas, Cows and every being and non-living thing that is around.

Maale Mani Varna means one who love us most. His love for those who take shelter under Him is self-shining light like blue sapphire emitting light on its own. His affectionate character is reflected in His bodily colour. Krishna always thinks as to how he can help his devotees. Unparalleled warrior Krishna does not hesitate to do small jobs like a charioteer for his five Pandava devotees. Alwar means one who strongly loves Vishnu. But Vishnu loves Alwars many times more than them. Perumal desires to have Alwars more than Alwars desire to have Perumal.

Also read: Hail thy feet that mapped the entire world in two steps

MaaleManivanna is the pet name which Yashoda used to call Krishna. When Gopikas thoughtfully addressed Him with this lovely name of his mother, He was pleased but hiding his pleasure he smiles and asks them to come out with their desires. There is no reciprocal bargain with God, like I break coconuts, you grant me this, etc. Gopikas know that. We have not performed Vrata expecting anything. You said you would give us something. Okay, if you think of giving something to us, we will take it. But we have not come for that. We want You, Your association, Your affection, to bathe in Your glory, to sing it and to hail you.

Krishna was born to one and came to the other mother only to associate with Gopikas, who were thinking how to get Him nearer.  He was mad after Gopikas, makes Gopikas go mad for Him, enabling comparison between themselves. He is mad with these feelings, says the great interpreter of Tiruppavai, Sri BhashyamAppalacharya. Krishna is an embodiment of love.  Lakshmi who is born out of lotus, loved the colour of Hari and settled permanently on His chest.  He is like a precious stone, whoever has it feels Krishna Mani is his life; without Him there is no life at all. The Mani – diamond will always help others and cannot do anything for self.

Also read: Opened fire-emitting eyes

Goda proposes three principles of Vrata, for our general life too. One- we should follow the path suggested and trodden by elders and should not do what they have not done. Do not do such works prohibited by the experienced elders.  Two- from those good deeds of elders, you can do a few agreeable to you in your context and for your welfare. And three- If someone questions you why are you doing so, you can have enough courage to say that I am convinced with what elders practiced and hence doing.  It does not mean that you have to do all those better practices of the elders of their times.

Gopikas and Goda asked for Conch – the Sankh. Not the Chakra – a sharp disc which cannot be handled by anybody except Krishna.  Once his childhood friend Sri Malikudu, insisted to have Krishna’s Chakra. He warned him about the risks with Chakra. He still wanted. Krishna gave it to him, but he has mishandling that resulted in his death. It is like risking life by mishandling the dangerous weapons like AK 47.

One should deserve to hold the weapons of mass destruction. Brahmastra is one such weapon, which in the hands of Ashwatthama, an undeserving person, created havoc. When Vishnu appears before Subhrahmanya Swamy who did penance on the banks of Pushkarini in Tirumala, (That is why it is called Swami Pushkarini), Shiva also appeared to meet Vishnu. Attracted by the environmental beauty of Tirumala Hills, Shiva expressed desire to stay over there. Vishnu says that entire Tirumala Hills is the Adishesha, his cot and bed and Shiva can reside at the serene end point of Tirumala Hills, which is now known as Kapila Teertham. This place is very sacred with the spring of divine water flowing from Tirumala Hills, where Alwars used to stay and take bath. Hence it is also called Alwar Theertham. Shiva being a great friend of Vishnu, also desired to have the Disc of Vishnu. Vishnu did not give because of the risk involved. Sankh and Chakra of Vishnu generally cannot be handled by others. Sankh is so dear to Vishnu, that He cannot imagine life without it. Hence, Gopikas wanted it as that compels Vishnu to be always with them.

Also read: Shedding Ego, crowding around You

When they asked for Conches, Parai (drum), bright lamps, Singers, Flag and Decorative Cloths, Tents to protect their heads from snow, God doubts, do I have so many with me to give you all?  Then Goda says, you contain the several families of Universes within you and sleep like a pretty baby on banyan leaf as if you do not know anything. Can’t you give us these small things?

Krishna then thinks that he should give them certain things similar to those they asked. Gets one conch from Vishnu temple and offers a musical instrument used by him at the time of eating butter in Nanda Vraja. Singer Nammalwar was given. Towards flag, Garuda was asked to join Gopikas. For Umbrella he gave the SheshaVastram, a cloth he has worn. And above all, to meet their demand for light, He asked Mother Lakshmi to be with them. Mother is of such a great light and life for all, equal to God Himself. It is said as He cannot be everywhere, He created Mothers. Gopikas desired them as they were all closely related to and associated with Vishnu.

This 26th song of Goda symbolizes the Charama Shloka –


Aham Twa SarvaPaapebhyo Moksha YishyamiMaashuchah.

He says give up everything, surrender totally, I will take care of everything.  Holy bath in MargaShirsha means the association with Krishna.

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

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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