Saturday, June 22, 2024

Shakti Swaroopini called ‘Radha’

Madabhushi Sridhar – Tiruppavai – 18

Tiruppavai by Godadevi from Tamil

Undhumadakalitran, OdhaadhaTholValiyan

NandagopalanMarumagale! Nappinnai!

GandhamKamazhumKuzhalee! KadaiThiravaai?

VandhengumKozhiAzhaithanaKaann! Maadhavi-p-


Pandhaar Virali! Un Maiththunan per paada-ch-


VandhuThiravaaiMagizhundhu-el or Empaavaai

English Translation from By Madabhushi Sridhar

His army has thousands of elephants,

Nandagopa, strong warrior who never defeated,

His niece, Neela, with fragrant hair,

Please hear the wakeup calls of the Rooster and

Amidst leaves and fruits the nightingale’s sweet tweets,

One hand on Him and a playing ball in the other,

We praise your lover Krishna, walk with anklet’s sounds,

And open doors with your lotus hand of golden bangles

In previous Pashuram, Goda and Gopikas could wake up Yashoda and Nanda Raja. They could not ask Krishna to get up. They realized that they should approach Balarama and Neela Devi, niece of Yashoda and Nanda, first before Krishna. Neela was fondly holding Krishna with one hand and a ball with the other. She must have played ball games with Him throughout the night. She was neither disturbed by the wake-up calls of the rooster at regular intervals, nor was she able to hear the sweet sounds of the nightingale happily sitting on the creepers amidst flowers and fruits.

Also read: He, the giver of clothes, water and food

Several lakhs of Earths are called ‘Andam’ as a group. When such ‘Andams’ are joined together it is called Brahmaandam. He is the hero of several crores of such ‘Brahmandams’. The entire Universe is under her protection, even at the end of the creation. 

Neela is very beautiful. Wonderful fragrance is spreading from her well-decorated hair. Her anklets are making gentle sounds as she moves on in style. When she extends her lotus hands, the golden bangles are spreading bright light. Goda is asking Neela to get up and open the doors to shower the generosity to recommend to Krishna to meet and greet them.

Also read: Open this temple filled with love for Shri Krishna

Neela is called Nappinna. She mediates between Jeeva and Bhagawan. Sometimes, the God might be strict disciplinarian in the interest of His children, but it is Mother Neela who helps the Bhagawan understand the merits of her progeny and bless you. She is dynamic and living the link between the Jeeva and Brahman. Unless she is pleased, it is difficult for the progeny to get His grace. It is called the attribute of Purushakaram.

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 Seeta in 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.

Lakshman wants to join Rama in exile. But Rama 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 fails in his attempt. Finally, he surrenders to Seetha, who recommends Rama to generously excuse him and save his life.

Also read: Enchanting pulled tusks, killed rogue elephant

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 Kashipu curses 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.

Who is Neela?

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 Kumbakan (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.

Also read: Tiruppani is not ‘untouchable’: One of 12 Alvars

Swami Desikan in Yadavabyuudayam narrates the story of Neela and how Krishna got married to her. When Nappinnai was 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 control them.  Soon Nappinnai turns 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!’ exclaims Kumbakan. As promised he gives Nappinnai in marriage to Krishna but as they were only children, Kumbakan allows Yashoda to take Nappinnai with her so that she could raise the two together.  The Vedas sing the glory of Goddess Nila in NilaSuktam.

Krishna marries eight women. One is NaagnaJithi. He marries her after killing seven Bulls. It is said that Neela and NaagnaJithi are one and the same.

Ramanuja’s devotion

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 Attullayamma opens 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 seen Neela in her. For this devotion of density, Ramanuja is known as TiruppavaiJeeyar.

Also read: In sweet words you promised to wake us up

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.


  1. […] Gopikas’ calls for Krishna, she wants to respond to them without disturbing Krishna.Also read: Shakti Swaroopini called ‘Radha’Goda pleads with her, “O mother, can’t you endure Krishna’s separation at least for a minute, […]


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