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kooththu

From: Badrinarayanan Seshadri (badri_at_sofia.mae.cornell.edu)
Date: Tue May 07 1996 - 15:36:06 PDT

Thanks Sampath Rengarajan for his postings. I am however not
certain if the phrase "kudam aadu kooththan" refers to holding
the Govardhana Hill as an umbrella. In particular, please
consider periyaazhvaar thirumozhi 2.9.6.

"kunRu eduththaay! kudam aadu kooththaa!"

Both these incidents are mentioned simultaneously, and in a
manner that makes it clear that they are independent events.



I would consider 'kooththu' as a generic word for dance, an
expression of gay abandon, typically associated with little
kids or with someone who is not in the worldy senses like
someone who is drunk or someone who is completely immersed in
Bhakti (as in the case of our aazhvaar).

'kooththu' does not refer to holding hands and forming a
chain. Rather, the word 'kuravai' denotes this. 'kuravai' also
does not directly mean this. 'kuravai' is the thamil word for
one of the 7 svaras. Hence this refers to a particular kind of
dance that is performed by 7 people forming a circle, holding
the hands and dancing to a particular tune - the 'kuravai'
tune. A rudimentary description of this raaga (kind of) is
available in silappadhikaaram.

Again, appealing to thiru mangai aazhvaar's periya thirumozhi
9.8.6

"vidam kalanthu amarntha aravaNaith thuyinRu,
viLanganikku iLam kanRu visiRi,
kudam kalanthu aadik, kuravai mun kOththa
==================== ===================
kooththa"
========

"kuravai kOththu aadiya kooththu" very specifically refers to
this "holding the hands and dancing", and clearly
differentiates this from the "kudaththudan aadiya kooththu"
(dancing with the metal pots).

'kooththu' therefore can not mean the same thing as the root
word "koodu", "koottu" etc.

=======

I do hope someone can tell us the exact events involving this
"dancing on the pots", as well as the "dancing by chaining the
hands together in a circle". The "heroine" of the madal falls
in love with this "dancer on pots" (and not on any
archchaavadhaaraa!). Only after this event that she visits (or
threatens to visit) the archaavadhaara sthalas. The poem is not
entirely in a strict chronological sequence. It starts with
extolling the kaama purushaartha and then the story of heroine
falling in love with the "kudam aadu kooththan" is introduced
as a flashback.

This is also significant, because the heroine was not
interested in (or did not have the knowledge of) the
archaavadhara sthalas. She was interested merely in playing the
ball game - a reference to one's interest in small pleasures
and not the ultimate objective of attaining vaikunda. Hence,
the Lord had to come on His own and perform the dance, to lure
her.


--badri


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