Kulaśekhara Āḻvār | 5-7


5. Praising the God of Vitruvakkoṭṭam


Āḻvār’s unconditional unflinching faith towards the Lord!

You are the beloved god of Vitruvakkoṭṭam
surrounded with fragrant blooming groves.
Do not give me troubles,
I have no refuge but you.
I am like a crying child who thinks of the love
of the mother who gave birth to it
even if she goes away when she is angry.


I cling to You, Oh Lord! like the helpless wife holds onto to her husband regardless of his behaviour or character.

A girl of a good family does not know anyone
except the husband who married her
even if he treats her so badly
that those who see him hate him.
I am like her.
You are my father.
You are the god of Vitruvakkoṭṭam
surrounded by forts that touch the sky.
Even if you are like a husband and possess me,
I will praise only your feet decorated with sounding anklets.


Like the citizens holding onto the king (good or bad) as the only protector, ruler and saviour, I hold onto You, Lord!

You are my father
You are the god of Vitruvakkoṭṭam
surrounded by fertile fields where fish swim.
Even if you do not look at me,
I have no refuge except you.
I am like those who live depending on the rule
of a king decorated with garlands
even if, unconcerned, he causes them much pain.


I am like the patient loves and holds onto the surgeon in spite of the surgeon cutting my body!

You are my father.
You are the god of Vitruvakkoṭṭam.
A patient loves and does not leave a doctor
even when he cuts him with a knife and burns him.
I am like that patient even if you cause me pain
that I must bear. I am enthralled by you.
I am your slave and look only for your grace
and think you are my only friend.


Where else will I go to get saved except at the pair of Lotus Feet of Yours?

You are my father.
You are the god of Vitruvakkottam.
You conquered the strong elephant that had cruel eyes.
Where can I go and be saved except beneath your feet?
I am like a huge bird that wanders
looking for the shore of the ocean with rolling waves
and, unable to find it, comes back
to the mast of the ship.


My heart will not melt at anything else- even if you do not elect to banish my sorrows!

You are my father.
You are the god of Vitruvakkoṭṭam
where red lotuses only bloom under the hot sun
even though the sun comes to the middle of the sky
and burns them with its heat.
I am like those lotuses.
Even if you do not take away my bad karma,
my heart only melts for your endless grace.


Even if You choose not to banish my sorrows, I will keep my mind focused only on You.

You are my father.
You are the god of Vitruvakkoṭṭam.
Even when it has not rained for a long time,
the green crops look at the huge dark clouds
floating in the sky hoping it will rain.
I am like them. I am your slave.
Even if my troubles will not go away,
my heart will look only for you.


Like all rivers having final destination as the ocean, my mind runs to your auspicious qualities alone...

You are my father.
You are the god of Vitruvakkottam!
Even if all the rivers come together
spread and flood everywhere,
they cannot stay where they are but must join the ocean.
You are the ocean I wish to join like those rivers.
You are a virtuous god!
You have the colour of a dark shining cloud!
See, I have no way to find refuge
except to come to you with your grace.


your eternal servant- this lowly self- would seek and desire You alone at all times!

You are my father.
You are the god of Vitruvakkoṭṭam.
You carry a shining discus bright as lightning.
I am someone who wants only you.
I think of you only as my wealth
and want no other riches.
I am your slave. I want only you.


Those who recite these ten verses would never ever end up in nāraka (hell)...

Kulaśekhara who carries a victorious spear
loved the god and composed ten good Tamil poems
praising Maal and saying, “You are my father.
You are the god of Vitruvakkoṭṭam.
Even if you do not give me your grace
I have no other refuge than your feet.”
Those who learn and recite the ten excellent Tamil poems
that Kulaśekhara composed will not go to hell.

6. The love of a cowherd girl for Kaṇṇaṉ


I believed your deceitful words and waited in Yamuna bank till dawn shivering with fear and cold wind!

Many of the cowherd women in this town
decorated with fresh flowers
say they don’t desire to embrace your chest
because you lied to them.
I am standing on a sand dune
on the bank of the Yāmuṉa river,
shaking in the cold that comes after a strong rain.
O Vāsudeva, I am waiting for you to come.


You entered into that house and pretended helping the beautiful cowherd lady; I have seen them all...

You saw a lovely girl with beautiful fish-like eyes
churning yogurt in her home near you
and you entered her house like a thief and said,
“I will also churn yogurt.”
When the girl whose long beautiful hair
was decorated with flowers that swarmed with bees
saw you, her bright face sweated and her red mouth quivered.
O Dāmodara, I know truly how you churn the yogurt!


As you grow, Your deceitful deeds appear to grow proportionately

You looked at one girl
whose dark hair was decorated with flowers,
you approached another girl and your heart fell for her,
you told another girl about her,
you told lies to another innocent girl,
and you embraced a young girl who has curly hair,
but you are not true to any of them.
You are the god who destroyed the wrestlers
who came in the form of marudu trees.
As you grow, your magic grows with you.


Isn't it a bit too much for Your mischief, Kaṇṇaṉ!

Even though there is nectar-like milk
in your mother’s breast, you crawled
and toddled to the devil Pūthanā,
put your mouth to her breasts
and drank her poisonous milk.
Those who saw you called you crazy.
I am here and I love you,
but you joined with the girl
I sent as a messenger and enjoyed her.
Is that also one of your naughty deeds?


Why did You leave that beautiful girl and come here? Go to her only.

I saw you decorated with golden silk clothes
as you went on the street in the dark night
with another girl with a thin lightning-like waist.
I stood there and saw how you looked at her
as she looked at you,
but you were also gesturing with your hands
to call another girl who saw you.
Why did you return leaving them all?
Dear one, go back to them now.


O Vāsudeva, you have strong heroic arms.
Did I do something to get bad karma?
When I went to sleep in the middle of the night,
you left me on the bed alone,
and not only that night, O my dear one,
but other nights also.
And after you embraced young girls,
you came back to me.
Why did you come back and leave them?
O dear one, get up and go to them.


You sleep on the snake bed of Ādiśeṣa.
We are not like the ones you knew before,
not like those you loved
who have beautiful eyes decorated with kohl.
Stop coming to our village and staying here.
It is enough that we fell for you,
looking at your beautiful garment, divine face,
fruit-like red lips and listening to the music of your flute.
If we hear your lies for one day, that is enough.
Stop saying your cheating words to attract us.
O young one, please go away.


You asked me to come here
but you went to the pandal blooming
with clusters of jasmine and loved her.
When you saw me, you muttered
as if your heart was melting for me.
Even though you brought a golden dress for me
and lied that you love me before you went away,
when you come to see me again
I will still care for you,
and if I see you my anger may go away.


Your chest is decorated
with lovely, auspicious flower garlands
and you wear peacock feathers in your hair.
Your bright clothes are beautiful
and your ears are adorned with a bunch of flowers.
You played sweet music on the flute for the girls,
whose hair is decorated with fragrant kongu flowers
and flirted with them.
Would you come and play music
on your flute one day to enthral us?


Those who recite or read these ten verses would never ever get any sorrows or grief for themselves!

Kulaśekhara the chief of Kolli hills
composed ten sweet Tamil poems
describing how the young cowherd girls
fell in love with the beloved of beautiful goddess Lakshmi
who stays on a lotus flower
and how they expressed their wish
to fight with him lovingly in the night.
Those who recite with music these sweet ten Tamil poems
of Kulaśekhara will have no troubles in life.

7. Devakī’s lullaby and worry


Devakī laments how most unfortunate mother that she is!

You are as sweet as the sugarcane juice
that comes from a sugarcane press, thaalo.
Your big eyes are lovely as lotuses in the water, thaalo.
Your colour is like the water of the ocean, thaalo.
You are the king who killed the elephant Kuvalayabeeḍam, thaalo.
You are my son who has handsome fragrant hair, thaalo.
I am more unlucky than all other mothers
because I don’t have the good fortune
of singing a lullaby and saying “thaalo, thaalo” for you.


Your beautiful lotus eyes are decorated with kohl.
You look up and see the decorations on the cradle.
You look like a baby cloud.
As you bend your legs and put your fingers in your mouth,
you look like an elephant bending its trunk and sleeping.
O Keśava, I don’t have the good fortune
of seeing these things when you are a baby.


Mothers who come from good families
keep their children on their laps and say,
“You are my dear one,
you are the bright light of our family,
you are like a bull that has the colour of a cloud.”
When someone asked you, “Who is your father?”
you looked at Nandagopa out of the corner of your eyes
and pointed at him with your beautiful fingers.
Vāsudeva, our chief, does not have the good fortune
of being your father.


I missed all your childhood pranks, Krishna!

O Kaṇṇā! Your face is like a shining full moon.
Your hands, chest and arms are strong.
Your dark hair is decorated with fresh flowers.
Your forehead is like the crescent moon.
Your eyes are like lotuses blooming in a pond.
I do not have the fortune of seeing
you with my eyes when you are a baby
even though I think of myself as your mother.
I am unlucky and I don’t have the pleasure
of raising my child, yet still I am alive.


Yaśodā was blessed with everything.... She even got lovely sweet kisses from you, Krishna.

You kissed your father Nandagopa
and your mother Yaśodā with your beautiful lips
as the chuṭṭi ornament on your beautiful forehead swung around.
You put your sweet fingers into your lovely mouth
and prattled innocently.
When your father saw you like that
his heart was filled with joy,
but I did not have the good fortune of seeing those things
or listening to your baby talk.
Only the divine Yaśodā has known that joy.


O Kaṇṇā! You have cool lotus eyes.
You crawled and toddled in the cowherd village.
You played in the red sand.
I don’t have the good fortune of embracing you
and covering my chest with the red sand you played with.
When you eat your food you scatter it all over.
I never had the good fortune of eating
what was left over on your plate.
Surely, my karma is bad.
What is the use of my mother gave birth to me?


O sweet one! You are my lovely child.
O Govinda! Babies hold on to one of their mothers’ breasts
with their young beautiful hands
that are as tender as shoots and drink milk.
They look at their mother’s face and smile at them.
I don’t have the fortune of feeding you milk like that.


You took butter with your small lotus-bud-like hands
and ate it.
When Yaśodā brought a rope
you were afraid she was going to hit you.
Your beautiful mouth smeared with yogurt,
you looked at Yaśodā with fear and cried.
Your small red mouth trembled.
You folded your hands and worshipped her
and when she saw this, she found endless joy.


Please bless me to witness those wonderful child hood līlās of Yours!

You stopped the rain with Govardhana mountain
and protected the cows.
You danced the beautiful kuravai dance and the pot dance.
You carried the Rākṣasas who came in the form of calves,
threw them at the vilam fruit tree and killed them.
You danced on the head of Kālinga the snake.
I never saw how you played like this as a child.
My heart never felt the joy of seeing these things.
Give me your grace that I may see you play like that
if you can do it again.


When you drank milk from the breasts of Pūthanā,
the evil-hearted one, her body became withered,
blood flowed out and her nerves were broken.
You survived even though you drank her poisonous milk
and gave your grace to all.
You took the life of Kaṁsa,
my father, you are like a dark cloud.
My breasts are a burden to me and I cannot use them.
I think I will see you one day
and that is the only thing I am living for.
You have a good mother, Yaśodā.


Krishna- Kaṇṇā! What a wonderful name!

Kulaśekhara the king of Kolli
who bowed down with his head and worshipped the god
wrote a garland of ten Tamil poems
describing how Devakī was sad not to have the fortune
of seeing her son grow up
who fought with Kaṁsa the king of Madura and killed him.
Those who learn and recite these fine musical Tamil poems
will be with Nārāyaṇa soon.