Sunday, September 13, 2015

Krishna A Mother's Grief

Periyazhvar’s brilliant description of a young girl 1000s of years ago  

Can’t even wear a Half Saree but has already ‘Fallen in Love’
Spends all her time looking at herself in the Mirror
Was close to the mother for the first 10-15 years but does not want her mother by her side now
The mother gave her everything she wanted but the girl now hates the constant murmur of the mother

They have seen him carry the mountain in his hand. They have heard him play the flute and were mesmerised by his rendition. Even in the initial days, they realised that he was a unique child quite unlike what they had ever seen. And despite all the complaints about him, the Gopis loved him and swarmed all over him.

Periyazhvar presents an emotional picture of a mother’s expression of the anxiety of her daughter slowly moving away from her after she first met with him. The daughter’s thoughts are now completely centred around him. Every verse is filled with anger and frustration at the dramatic turnaround in the behaviour of the daughter. It is a description every mother even now, 1000s of years later, will be able to easily relate to. 

Periyazhvar in this decad presents the changes that a girl goes through as she enters the teenage phase. The mothers of Gokulam murmur but the daughters don't lend their ear, for their mind has been set elsewhere. More the mother tries, farther her daughter goes away from her. 

Too Young to look at him
Like a typical mother’s remark, she says that her daughter is so tiny that she is not even capable of wearing a little (half) Saree. But like the young boy next door, she too smears dust on her body and carries with her trivial things like pot to play. And then refuses to let go the pot.
(ஐயபுழுதி உடம்பு அளைந்து இவள் பேச்சும் அலந்தலையாய்ச் செய்ய நூலின் சிற்றாடை செப்பன் உடுக்கவும் வல்லன் அவள் கையினில் சிறு தூதையோடு இவள் முற்றில் பிரிந்து மிலள்…).

Angering her even more is the fact that she wants to hold on to his hand and refuses to part with his company.

Her teeth haven’t grown yet, she is that young. She is incapable of even knotting her hair together for that hasn’t grown enough (வாயில் பல்லும் எழுந்தில மயிரும் முடி கூட டிற்றில)!!!!!!!!  She is all the time seen in the company of other young girls learning all the wrong things of life. And against the mother’s words, she repeatedly justifies herself in seeking him.

Will she be with Him now?
Another mother finds her young one making sand castle in her portico comprising of only Conch, Chakra, Mace, Dragger and Bow. It worries her about the direction the daughter is taking. And more importantly her body features have not even grown yet. And every time she suspects that her daughter is physically in his company, her heart misses a beat in the fear that something untoward may happen (கோவிந்தனோடு இவளைச் சங்கையாகி என்னுள்ளம் நாழி தோறும் தட்டுளுப்பாகின்றதே).

Yet another mother bemoans the fact that from being the innocent little girl who was very attached to her mother right from birth, her daughter has gone the wrong way by mingling with some of the other Gopis. They have taken her into the deep wave of the ocean and introduced her to the One with the DISCUS. And that very moment she stopped being the ‘innocent spoon that does not taste the salt of the soup’ (மூழை உப்பு அறியாது என்னும் மூதுரையும் இவளே). The mother wonders as to who she can complain this to.

The young girl bears it all in Public
Typically in such a scenario, a mother would not want her daughter’s activities to be publicised for she is trying to get her daughter back on the right track. The mother is heartbroken that her once innocent girl has now become the gossip of the town. She follows him everywhere and never stays away from him. A lot of the gossip mongers of Gokulam are interested in hearing news of her being ruined. And the most frustrating part for the mother is that she does not want to do it quietly for she is carrying a rich garland around her so everyone can distinguish her from others (நாடும் ஊரும் அறியவே போய் நல்ல துழாய் அலங்கல் சூடி).

What did I not give my daughter?
The mother shares something that any mother / parent would relate to. She says she gave her all the freedom in the world and bought her all the things she asked for – bangles, anklets, necklaces and more. She had never been without the mother all these years. But alas how this scenario has dramatically changed after his arrival. Now she is always aloof, always looking for him and never wants the mother around (இட்டமாக வளர்த்தெடுத்தேனுக்கு என்னோடு இருக்கலுறால்). The mother wonders if there is any way to turn around this changed scenario.

Love at Parrot’s Speed
Yet another mother laments her side of the story. The mother had for long thought that her daughter was an innocent one till the day she was introduced to these ill mannered Gopis. And suddenly she found the daughter’s character changing. From an innocent one, she went to the other extreme. She is completely shameless now as she shouts out his name in public so loud that she wants everyone to hear. Her infatuation for the dark complexioned lad has gone beyond repair. Her love has now taken the shape of a parrot’s speed and the mother compares her current state to a ‘spoon that has fallen off its handle’ (பேசவும் தெரியாத பெண்மையின் பேதையேன் பேதை இவள் கூசமின்றி நின்றார்கள் தம் எதிர் கோல் கழிந்தான் மூழையாய்).

It is now time for the next mother to describe the scenario inside her house. She is not able to tolerate the scene of her daughter spending all her time in front of the mirror adorning her necklace and shaking the bangles to listen to the music that resonates. She has now begun to wear silk clothes and is seen holding it with one hand lest it slips. And she is constantly decorating her lips (காரை பூணும் கண்ணாடி காணும் தன் கையில் வளை குலுக்கும் கூறை உடுக்கும் அயர்க்கும் தன் கொவ்வைச் செவ்வாய் திருத்தும்).

And then, much to the mother’s shock, she suddenly falls down in a swoon only to recover and starts uttering his 1000 names. She has become so emotionally attached to him that the mother means nothing to her any more (தேறித் தேறி நின்று ஆயிரம் பேர்த் தேவன் திறம் பிதற்றும்).

Do what you want – I don’t care
Finally frustration caught up with the mother. She had spent a lot of time, effort and money on her daughter all these years celebrating various milestones of her growth. She looks back with a tinge of regret and tells herself that it has been of no avail. In the current scheme of things, she has resigned herself to sending her off with him. And ends up in an angry state saying ‘he can do whatever he wants with her.’

All the preventive steps to no avail
Periyazhvar brings out the consolatory stance taken by the mother. The feeling had always been that she could be kept within the domains of the home. But she has figured out that that’s not the way it has panned out.

Like a doctor who gave precautionary medicines to a patient to prevent the likely occurrence of an illness, the mother says that she took all the right steps to prevent the possibility of a deviation from the rightful path. But she has just found out that her daughter has other thoughts in her mind. And the mother has come to a final decision that before she exceeds the acceptable limits of relationship, it is better for her daughter to 'officially' unite with him

(மருத்துவப் பதம் நீங்கினாள் என்னும் வார்த்தை படுவதன் முன் ஒருப்படுது இடுமின் இவளை உலகளந்தான் இடைக்கே)

Different Features of the Lord
Periyazhvar uses this opportunity of a mother's grief to reveal many aspects and features of the Lord. In these verses, he calls out the different names referring to him as Narayana, Krishna, Govinda and Kesava. He reminds us that he is often seen in one of his four postures - Anantha Sayanam. Through the young girl, he discloses the various weapons of the Lord- Mace, Dragger that he uses to destroy the evil forces. Referring to his complexion as being in Sapphire colour, he compares him to the 'Poovai' Flower. 

Poetic Skills of Periyazhvar

Periyazhvar's true poetic skills are exemplified in two verses:

Referring to the early years of the girl, he says that there was a time when this innocent child did not know to taste the salt in the soup - மூழை உப்பு அறியாது என்னும் -  (but those days are behind her now)!!!


Then he talks about how like a spoon that slips out of one's hand in a momentary lapse of concentration, she has slipped out of the mother's reach in the blink of an eye (even though the mother was living under the impression that she was still an innocent little girl) - பேசவும் தெரியாத பெண்மையின்............... தம் எதிர் கோல் கழிந்தான் மூழையாய்)

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