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RANGASWAMY_at_plh.af.mil
Date: Tue Aug 26 1997 - 06:34:23 PDT

GovindEti SadAsthanam GovindEti Sada Japam
GovindEti Sada Dhyanam Sada Govinda Keertanam

SarvOpanishadO Gavo Doghdha Gopala Nandana:
Parthovatsa Sudhir Bhokta Dugdham Geetamrutamahath

Dear Friends,

On the occassion of Sri Krishna Jayanti, I would like to offer my 
tribute to the Lord through the Pasurams of Sri Kulashekara Azhwar 
from the seventh decad of Perumal Tirumozhi. My summary is based on a 
translation of these Pasurams by Sri Ananthanarasimhachar (Bangalore), 
Sri Karyam Srimad Paundarikapuram Ashramam. 

Kulashekara Azhwar was a Chola king who ruled over Kerala. One of 
the Sanskrit Tanians (laudatory verses) in praise of the Azhwar is:

Kumbhe Punarvasubhavam KeraLE Chola PattaNe
Kaustubhamsham Dharadeesham KulashekaramashrayE

(I seek refuge in King Kulashekara of KeraLa, who was born in 
the month of Kumbha [Feb-March] under the asterism of Punarvasu as an 
Amsham of the Kaustubha gem of Lord Narayana).

The uniqueness of Rajarishi Kulashekara is that he is the only Azhwar, 
to be addressed as "Perumal". It is interesting to note that the Azhwar shares 
the janma nakshatram of his Abhimana Daivam Lord Rama. The Azhwar desired 
daily pilgrimage to Srirangam so that he could constantly enjoy the 
Anubhavam of his favorite Lord Rama, reclining on the serpent bed of 
Srirangam as Lord Ranganatha, and spend his time in the company of 
Bhagavatas. Sri Kulashekara Azhwar's contributions to the Divya Prabandham 
consists of ten decads. Each decad is devoted to the Anubhavam of a particular 
feature of the Lord. The language of his poetry is very simple. 

In the first decad, the Azhwar commences by stating 
his wish to be constantly by the side of Lord Ranganatha. The fourth 
decad is devoted to the Lord of Seven Hills in which the Azhwar literally 
provides a guided tour of the path to the Lotus feet of Tiruvenkatan. The 
fifth decad is devoted to SharaNagati to the Lord of Tiruvithkodu. In the sixth 
decad, Kulashekara Azhwar dons the Nayaki Bhavam and portrays himself as a 
Gopi of Brindavan, pining for Lord Krishna's company. The seventh decad 
describes Devaki's anguish at being unable to experience the childhood of 
Lord Krishna. The eighth and ninth decad are devoted to the Rama Avataram, 
in which the love of a mother for her son and a father for his son, 
respectively, are depicted. Finally, Rajarishi Kulashekara concludes the 
tenth decad with a summary of the Ramayana.

In the seventh decad of Perumal Tirumozhi, the Azhwar assumes the 
role of Devaki, who could not enjoy the Lord Krishna's childhood although 
she gave birth to him. In this set of ten Pasurams the Azhwar brings out 
Devaki's distress with consummate effect. 

1. Lullaby to you resembling a long sugarcane fixed in a cane crusher;
lullaby to you with broad eyes resembling a lotus; lullaby to you with an 
attractive body resembling the color of the sea; lullaby to you with a
gait resembling that of a small elephant; lullaby to you oh my son with 
long sweet hair; reciting these words now and then I say lullaby to you to 
my heart's content. I am the most unfortunate amongst the unfortunate 
mothers.

2. Gazing intently at a toy tied above the cradle with your lotus like
eyes made more beautiful by Kajal; folding your tiny feet like lotus and
the dark upper portion resembling dark rain-bearing clouds; folding your 
beautiful little fingers in your palm; the beauty of your posture lying
in the cradle like a tiny elephant, oh! I was not fortunate to see and
enjoy, oh! Kesava what a sinner am I?

3. It has been the tradition that the ladies in the family take the child
turn by turn in their waist and lap with love. Oh! my God! bright jewel of
our family! oh! the one with a beautiful body like a cloud ready to rain!
oh! one resembling a lion! If asked who your father is, your beautiful
fingers and your side glances will point at Nanda. My husband, Vasudeva,
having not done adequate good deeds, did not have this previlege. 

4. Oh Krishna! Your face comparable to the moon light of the full moon,
with well grown hands and chest, strong hands, your face shining in the 
background of black curly hair with fresh flowers, eyes resembling a large
lotus, I am absorbed in seeing your beauty now as a youth. How unfortunate 
I have been that I did not have the opportunity to see you in your
childhood when a child does not leave its mother? Being cheated thus,
sinner that I am, I cannot bear this life. 

5. (As a child,) the movement of your culy hair over your face; kissing with
your beautiful mouth; beauty of your body; resembling that of your father; 
seeing your childish pranks, feeling elated inernally; putting your
fingers in your small reddish mouth; uttering words stammering when you
get angry; I, the unfortunate one, have not experienced or enjoyed any of
the above. Yashoda, equal to a celestial lady experienced all of them. 

This Pasuram is instructive in that Devaki offers tribute to Yashoda for 
the latter's Bhagyam for being privy to all the childhood pranks of Lord 
Krishna. The reference to celestial lady is in the context of the incident 
where Yashoda successfully tied up Lord Krishna to the mortar. It must be 
remembered that Yashoda tried several times in vain to tie up the Lord. 
Each time she tried, Yashoda found to her amazement that the rope was a 
little short. Determined to accomplish her mission, Yashoda lengthened the 
rope in every attempt only to find that the rope was not long enough. 
Exasperated in her efforts, and realizing the futility of her endeavor, 
Yashoda implored to the Lord to be bound (by way of scolding the child). Lo 
and behold! the rope was sufficiently long to tie up the Lord. Thus, 
Yashoda succeeded where even Parama Yogis, Devas and Maharishis came up short. 
Brahma, accompanied by the other Devas, Rishis, witnessed this incident and 
poured out tears of joy at the good fortune of Yashoda who had obtained the 
grace of Parama Purushan. One may also relate the Vishnu Sahasranamam 
salutation Agrahya Shashavata KrishNo to this incident.

6. Oh! Lotus eyed Krishna! Your unsteady walking, falling down and getting
up (as a child); your playing in the red dust and embracing me immediately
after, I did not experience. Oh! your taking food with all the five
fingers of your little hand and putting it in your mouth; I was not
fortunate enough to eat the food left by you in the plate. I am a great
sinner. Oh why did my mother give birth to me?

7. Oh kind hearted one! Oh my beautiful child! Oh Govinda! when I hold you
in my right hand, you skid like a flood of beauty (to my lap), with your
tender hand rubbing the tip of my breast while your mouth is in my other 
breast and in between you smile looking at my face. I lost the opportunity
of the benefit of your sacred grace by sending you away immediately after
birth.

8. You were found licking your hands after dipping it in a pot of butter. 
When you were beaten with a rope on your small and soft hand, you were
standing with a guilty look; your beautiful red lips quivering; you were
apologzing with folded hands; Yashoda who saw these with her own eyes
realized "Parabrahman" and enjoyed eternal bliss. 

This Pasuram has several fold meanings and deep philosophical significance. 
Due to limitations of time and space, I shall not discuss it in this post. 
I also request scholars like Sriman Sadagopan, Rengarajan, Sundararajan and 
Anbil Ramaswamy to contribute their inputs with regard to this Pasuram. 
Some of the discussion following the fifth Pasuram is applicable here too.

9. Holding Govardhana hill as an umbrella; your playing Rasakrida with the 
Gopis; your dancing with a calf (Vatsasura in the form of a calf);
throwing a bela fruit (Kapithasura in the form of a bela fruit) both of
them were killed; trodding on the hoods of Kalinga;thinking of your victorious 
childhood deeds as above makes my mind elated. I have not been fortunate to 
see any of your deeds. Please bless me in case there are any opportunities 
to see your deeds in future. 

10. Demoness Putana came to you with a mind to cheat you and you made her
muscles come out and nerves weakened (through sucking her breast). Oh 
what a wonder! You sucked her round breast full of poison as if it is
tasty (by your grace even poison becomes Amritam. One can see the 
connections to Prahlada's partaking of poison in the same spirit) and grew
up. You took away the life of Kamsa. Oh my Lord! resembling dark clouds!
by having purposeless breasts, I stand condemned. Except my life, I have
nothing useful. You have got mothers (Yashoda and Putana) befitting you.

11. Lord in the Krishna Avataram helped Kamsa, the King of wealthy and  
great Madhura, to attain bliss. In this Avataram Krishna's limitless and
extraordinary exploits could not be seen by Devaki even though she gave
birth to him. These Tamil songs bringing out the melancholy of Devaki was
sung by Kulashekara, the king of Kolli, who adores the feet of the Lord as
an ornament on his head, in a sweet tune. Those who recite these songs
with understanding will attain Vaikuntam, the abode of Lord Narayana.

I conclude this post with the Dhyana Shlokam of Lord Krishna from 
the Bhagavad Gita:

Vasudavasutam Devam Kamsa Chanura Mardhanam
Devaki Paramanandam Krishnam VandE Jagadgurum

(I salute Krishna, the son of Vasudeva, who killed Kamsa, Chanura,  
[who is] the supreme delight of Devaki, and who is the teacher of the 
universe).

Shanka Chakra GadApaaNE Dwaraka NilayAchyuta
Govinda PundarikAksha RakshamAm SharaNagatam

(Oh Lord! who holds the conch, discus, and mace in his hand, who lives in 
Dwaraka, protector of his devotees, Govinda, lotus eyed one! protect me 
who has surrendered to you).

Muralidhar Rangaswamy