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kooththaadi

From: Badrinarayanan Seshadri (badri_at_sofia.mae.cornell.edu)
Date: Fri May 03 1996 - 16:03:19 PDT

kadan kalantha van kari marupposiththu Or poykaivaay
vidam kalantha paambin mEl nadam payinRa naathanE
kudam kalantha kooththan aaya koNdal vaNNa! thaN thuzhaay
vadam kalantha maalai maarpa! kaala nEmi kaalanE!

You broke the tusk of the elephant !
You danced on top of the poisonous snake !
Oh cloud coloured Lord, You danced on a pot !
You have thulasi garland in Your chest!
You hold the disc in Your hand that is like death to Your enemies!

    - thiru mazhisai aazhvaar (thiruch chandha viruththam 38)

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Azhvaars praise Sri Krishna by remembering all his pastimes in
childhood. I remember a few of them, having read them a long back in
Srimad Bhagavatam and in Azhvar pasuram recounted more vividly.

A few weeks back, while discussing the madal, we came across the
expression 'kudak kooththu' (a type of dance performed on top of
metal(?) pots). Divyap Prabandham is full of references to 'kooththu'
by kaNNapiraan. periyaazhvaar, aaNdaaL, thiru mazhisai aazhvaar
(above), thiru mangai aazhvaar and nammaazhvaar... all refer to his
'kooththu' in general, and 'kudak kooththu' in particular.

Also, is there any reference in Bhagavatham about the equivalent of
'kuravaik kooththu' ? This is another form of dance where several
children hold hands together and form a circle, facing each other.
During the dance, without breaking the chain formed, they have to flip
inside out so that they all face outside and keep on flipping back and
forth. Ideally 7 to 9 people form a circle while dancing this dance.
There is a mention of this kind of dance performed by Krishna,
Balarama and nappinnai in silappadhikaaram. [This chapter on
silappadhikaaram (aaychchiyar kuravai) also has a very moving peace in
praise of Sriman Narayana which rivals that of Azhvar poetry in the
depth of emotion conveyed and the language used. Several of the
expressions used in this chapter is found wholesale in the
prabandham. I do not want to start another controversy:-) According to
the dates accepted by historians, silappadhikaaram should be
considered earlier than the prabandham. However, GPBs mention kaliyuga
as the time period of the Azhvars].

It appears that these 'kooththu' are full-fledged events in themselves
from the way they find mention in 4000. These dances seem to have a
specific purpose. In particular, in thiru mangai aazhvaar's madal, the
'kudak kooththu' causes parakaala naayaki to fall in love with the
Lord, and that sets of in motion the entire poem.

Can more knowledgeable people recount this particular pastime of
Krishna where he performed this 'kudak kooththu' ? Why did He dance
this dance (or any other form of kooththu, for that matter)?

Thanks for your help.

--badri

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Badri Seshadri 
Graduate Student
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Cornell University
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