Periyāḻvār Tirumoḷi | 251-300



I just heard something new to me!
You ate the rice, curries and yogurt
that the cowherds made and kept for Indra.
It seems that you have mixed them up and eaten them all.
I’m not good enough to feed you.
I’ll never be able to do it.
O Vasudeva, your fame is faultless.
From now on, I will be frightened of you.


You carry a strong white conch in your hand.
It is the auspicious Thiruvoṇam day, your birthday.
I called some women whose words are like music,
planted bean seeds and blessed you
asking that you should live for many years.
I made curry and rice to celebrate your birthday.
O dear child, don’t go tomorrow to graze the calves.
Dress and decorate yourself and stay here.


Viṣṇu-Citta, the chief of Puduvai
where faultless people live
composed poems that describe
how the cowherdess Yaśodā saw her son
coming after grazing the calves.
Those who learn these poems and sing will approach
the ankleted feet of the god who is dark as the ocean.

23. The cowherd girls fall in love with Kaṇṇaṉ


Cowherds come, decorated with fresh leaves and garlands.
The sounds of flutes and songs are heard everywhere.
Drums are beaten.
Govinda, decorated with peacock feathers in his hair,
comes with them.
The young women come to their front doors,
see the cowherds and Kaṇṇaṉ, stand at the doorsteps
and say, “Is a cloud coming in the crowd?”
They forget what they should do
and stand there, forgetting even to eat.


He wears a soft garment
that looks like the petals of flowers blooming on a vine.
He carries a small sword.
He is decorated with a garland made of fragrant mullai
and vengai blossoms mixed with fresh kachandi leaves.
He comes in the middle of a group of cowherds in the evening.
O girls, if you go in front of him,
you will lose your beautiful bangles.


His young friends wearing silk garments
run behind him carrying small swords, bows, chendus and sticks.
One of them blows a conch so the cows will hear and return.
Kaṇṇaṉ, tired, comes with them.
My daughter sees his beautiful body
adorned with turmeric powder and approaches him.
The people of the village see and gossip about her.


He, my beloved god who carried Govardhana mountain
and protected the cows when there was a big storm,
now plays the music on his flute as a cowherd,
grazes the calves and comes with his friends.
O beautiful friend, I see him on the streets.
I have not seen anyone like him before.
O friend, come and see him.
All my bangles are getting loose
and my young breasts beneath their blouse are not under my control.


I saw the cowherds standing around him
carrying umbrellas made of peacock feathers
as Kaṇṇaṉ decorated with beautiful peacock feathers in his hair
sang and danced in front of their doorsteps.
I don’t want you to give me in marriage to anyone
except Maayan, the god of Tirumāliruñcōlai.
You should realize that I belong only to the victorious one
and give me in marriage to him.
If you don’t do it, it will plunge into sorrow.


He will be decorated with shining sinduram
and a perfect naamam on his divine forehead.
The lovely music of flutes and the sound of drums will play.
With the cowherds who carry their grazing sticks
he will come into the flourishing grove.
He is the cowherd child, the god who is eternal.
He will walk on the street as if he knows everything.
Let’s stop him and tell him that he stole our ball
and see the lovely smile on his coral mouth.


He goes behind good cows in a flourishing grove.
His divine body shines bright.
His fragrant hair is decorated with peacock feathers.
His beautiful lotus eyes shine.
He comes in the middle of a group of cowherd children
and plays the flute, sings songs and dances.
The cowherds come with him singing and dancing.
My daughter is fascinated seeing the beauty of that cowherd child.


He is decorated with a poṭṭu made of red powder
and a divine naamam on his forehead.
His hair is decorated with beautiful peacock feathers.
The cowherd child comes like Indra the god of gods.
I told my daughter, “If you go in front of him, you will lose your bangles.”
My beautiful girl stands in front of him in the middle of the street.
See, her bangles and clothes are becoming loose.


He wears on his left ear a lovely thondri flower.
His long hair is decorated with jasmine and forest mauval flowers.
My daughter sees the beauty of the cowherd child
who comes playing his flute.
She falls in love and stands in front of him without moving.
See, her lovely bangles become loose and she grows thin.


Viṣṇu-Citta, the chief of Puduvai
surrounded with lovely groves where bees swarm,
composed ten poems about the love of cowherd girls
who saw Kaṇṇaṉ, the god of gods
coming on the street of cowherd village
surrounded by cows and cowherd children.
The devotees who sing these songs happily will reach divine Vaikuṇṭha.

24. Govardhana mountain
Kaṇṇaṉ carried Govardhana mountain and used it as an umbrella to protect the
cows and the cowherds from the storm.


The victorious umbrella-like mountain that the god
who has the colour of the ocean
with rolling waves that gives rain
and who ate a pile of rice with lentils, yogurt and ghee
carried to protect the cows—
is Govardhana where the gypsy girls
feed good milk and raise round-eyed innocent baby deer
that were caught by their husbands and given to them.


The victorious umbrella-like mountain
that the god Madhusudhanan carried to stop the rain
when Indra, the king of gods was angry
and made it rain for seven days,
hurting the innocent cows—
is Govardhana where a female elephant chased by a young lion,
afraid her cub may be hurt and protecting it under her legs,
opposes the lion and fights.


The victorious umbrella-like mountain that the god
carried when the cows, the large-eyed cowherd women
and the cowherds
screamed and asked for help saying,
“ Help us, you are our refuge!”—
is Govardhana where men who have strong mountain-like arms
bend their bows when their lovely doll-like women
ask them to catch deer saying,
“See, a group of deer are grazing on our millet.”


The victorious umbrella-like mountain of the god of gods
who, taking the form of a boar, dug
and carried the earth with his tusks
as if he were a mahout giving a ball of rice to a cruel-eyed elephant—
is Govardhana where the clouds gather
after descending to the ocean,
scooping up the water, rising to the sky in the east
and pouring down rain.


The victorious umbrella-like mountain that our father,
the god who took the form of a boar, carried,
digging it up and calling the gods, saying,
“O gods in the sky!
If anyone among you is strong enough, tell me,
and come carry this with me!”—
is Govardhana where a happy forest elephant
that has lost its tusks raises its trunk, worships the god
and asks him to give the crescent moon for his tusk
as the musth pours from his temples.


The victorious umbrella-like mountain
that our wonderful god carried,
putting all the five fingers of his lovely lotus hand
at its base and lifting it with his large, beautiful arms—
is Govardhana where the water
of the white waterfall flows everywhere
as it carries lovely glistening beautiful pearls
and makes the hill look like a treasure of pearl garlands.


The victorious umbrella-like mountain
that our god Damodaran carried
using the five fingers of his wide hands
just as the thousand-headed Adishesha carries the earth—
is Govardhana where the monkeys who live there
put their small children to sleep
holding them in their hands
and singing the fame of Hanuman
who went to Lanka and destroyed its pride.


The victorious umbrella-like mountain that the god
Nārāyaṇa carried to protect the cows
when the strong rain fell
like a warrior who uses his shield to stop
the arrows coming at him like a heavy rain—
is Govardhana where pious rishis who practice tapas
live in huts roofed with leaves, while angry murderous tigers
go and sleep with them.


The victorious umbrella-like mountain
that the god Damodaran, who drank milk
from the breasts of the terrible demon Puthana
carried like a pillar—
is Govardhana that has the same name as the god Govardhanan,
where monkeys carrying their babies on their backs
climb on the branches of trees
and teach them how to jump.


When the beautiful blue-coloured one
carried Govardhana mountain,
the fingers of his lotus hands did not loose their beauty
and his strong beautiful finger-nails did not hurt.
He carried the mountain as if it were something he did every day.
On victorious umbrella-like Govardhana mountain,
a group of large clouds that rest on the top of the hills
make the mountain look as if it has grey hair
as they pour down rain everywhere.


The famous Paṭṭarpiran Viṣṇu-Citta
where the Brahmins recite the divine Vedas
composed these ten poems on Govardhana mountain
where jasmine flowers bloom
on the branches of kuravam trees.
He describes how the hill is carried as an umbrella
by the god who sleeps on Adishesha
and rides on an eagle, the enemy of snake.
The devotees who recite those poems in their hearts
and worship god will reach divine Vaikuṇṭha.

25. Kaṇṇaṉ plays the flute


O beautiful girls who live in this wide world,
listen to a wonderful thing!
When Tirumāḷ who has a white valampuri conch in his hand
plays the flute with his divine lips,
the cowherd girls who have young breasts
hear the sound of the flute, get excited
shiver and run away from their houses
where they are guarded,
untying the ropes that they are tied with.
Putting the ropes on their necks as if they are garlands,
they come, shyly and surround him.


When Govinda takes his flute in his hands,
bends his eyebrows, blows the air bending his stomach and plays,
the young girls who are beautiful as peacocks
and have doe-like eyes, listen.
Their hair decorated with flowers becomes loose,
their dresses become loose.
Holding their falling dresses
they stand looking at him out of corners of their eyes.


He is the prince of the sky.
He is the little one of Vaikuṇṭha. He is Vasudeva.
He is the king of Madhura.
He is the princely son of Nandagopan.
He, Govinda, is the little child of the cowherds.
When he plays his flute the young Apsarases
come down from the sky and approach him.
Their hearts melt and their flower-like eyes shed tears.
Their hair swarming with bees becomes loose.
Their foreheads sweat
and they close their ears to everything else
and hear only the music of his flute.


He fought, conquered and destroyed
the evil Asuras Thenuhan, Pilamban and Kaliyan.
When that small dark child plays his flute
wandering about in the forests,
Menaga, Thilothama, Ramba,
Urvasi and other heavenly Apsarases,
fascinated as they hear his music, become speechless.
They come down from the sky, dance, and sing with joy.


The kings of the three worlds are afraid of the god.
He came in the form of a man-lion and killed Hiraṇyan.
When Madhusudanan plays the flute,
Narada who plays the Tumburu veena,
those who play the kinnaram,
the midunam and other string instruments,
hear his music, forget their skills and say,
“We won’t touch our musical instruments
because we can’t compete
with the lovely music of Madhusudanan.”


He is the small son of Devakī,
who has large beautiful eyes and strong arms.
He is our highest god and a lion among the gods.
When he plays his flute,
the Gandharvas who wander in the sky,
fascinated by the nectar-like music,
say, “He, our highest god, is playing the flute,”
and they feel ashamed because they can’t play like him,
and they stand folding their hands and worshipping him.


Listen to the wonders that I have seen on this earth.
When the god who sleeps on Adishesha plays his flute
in the middle of a crowd of young cowherds,
the music is heard in the gods’ world
and all the sky dwellers forget to eat their sacrificial food
and enter the cowherd village.
Their ears are filled with the sweetness of the music
and they follow happily wherever Govinda goes
and do not leave him at all.


When Govinda plays the flute
holding it in his small fingers, his beautiful eyes close,
his red cheeks puff out
and his brow sweats with small drops of water.
The flocks of birds leave their nests,
come and surround him.
The herds of cattle leave the forest
where they graze, come near Govinda,
and lie down holding their legs apart.
They bend their heads, listening to the music of the flute
and move their ears as if they are dancing.


His body is dark like a cluster of clouds,
his face is beautiful like a red lotus,
and his dark curly hair is the colour of the bees.
When he plays his flute,
a herd of deer, fascinated with his music, forgets to graze.
The grass that they have eaten
hangs from their mouths
and, unmoving from side to side,
they stand motionless as if they were painted pictures.


Our god, the matchless one,
the chief of the cowherds
decorated with dark-eyed peacock feathers
and a silk garment tied tightly and beautifully
on his handsome body plays the flute.
The trees stand without moving,
flowers pour honey-like rain
as if to bow and worship him.
Their straight branches bend to hear the music.
They all turn towards wherever the beautiful god Tirumāḷ is
because that is their nature.


Viṣṇu-Citta, the chief of Puduvai,
composed poems about
how the music flowed like a flood of nectar
from the holes of the bamboo flute
in the beautiful hands of Govinda
who has curly hair and a tuft on his head.
Those who know Tamil well
and recite these poems of Viṣṇu-Citta
will be among the devotees of the god.

26. The mother of a young girl worries about her daughter
who falls in love with Kaṇṇaṉ.


She plays on the sand and makes herself dirty.
She speaks like a baby.
She doesn’t know how to wear her lovely dress
made with fine threads.
She has not gone out of our front yard yet
with a small play pot in her hands,
but holding the hands of the one
who sleeps on the snake bed she comes home.


Her teeth have not grown out yet.
Her hair is not yet thick.
She plays with sparse-haired slow-witted children.
She made friends with naughty girls
but she says that they are good children like her.
She falls in love with Maayan
who has a beautiful sapphire colour.


Even when she tries to make a play house
on the white sand in the front yard of her house,
she cannot make it without drawing
pictures of a conch, a wheel, a club, a sword and a bow.
Her breasts have not grown out yet.
My heart worries every day
because she is in love with Govinda.


Who can I tell about the tricks
that this young Kaṇṇaṉ does?
He gets together with my young, innocent
daughter’s friends
and cheats her and makes fun of her.
She doesn’t know the old saying
that the spoon that scoops the porridge
doesn’t know how much salt is in the porridge.
Just like that she does not know
whether the one who holds the discus loves her
as much as she loves him.


She wears fragrant Tulasī garlands
and goes to all the cities and lands
where Nārāyaṇa stays and searches for him.
Many can’t understand her and want to hurt her.
Confused, they say, “Put her in a guarded place with Keśava.”
Why is the world like this?


I decorated her with a forehead ornament,
golden ear rings, a paḍagam ornament and anklets
and raised her with love.
She doesn’t want to stay with me now.
She left me and just keeps saying, “Puvai puvanna!”
O girls with long thick hair,
see, she is falling in love with him.


I am an innocent mother and she is my innocent daughter.
She stands in front of the girls who are obedient to their mothers.
She is like a spoon that gets loose from its stem and spills food
everywhere without knowing what it is doing.
Shameless, she mutters like a parrot and says,
“Keśava, you are faultless!”
O girls with long fragrant hair,
she is fascinated with him and has fallen in love.


She wears pretty dresses
and looks at herself in the mirror.
She makes the bangles on her arms jingle.
She wears a new sari and sighs.
She decorates her red mouth as sweet as a kovvai fruit.
She does the same thing again and again.
She raves about the power of the god who has a thousand names.
She falls in love with the sapphire-coloured god.
who has no hatred for anyone.


What is the use if I save abundant wealth
and wish to spend it
to do the auspicious ceremonies for her?
It only hurts me.
She is like a tender shoot that grows on a field
and he is like the one who owns the land.
He can do whatever he wants with her.
Take her to the place of the beautiful one
who has the colour of a dark cloud
and leave her there.


We did all the auspicious ceremonies
that we needed to do for her
and kept her in our home thinking that she will stay here.
But she wants to do something else
and worries how she can leave home.
Before others know that she is in love with him
and is leaving home because her parents
have not arranged marriage for her,
we must take her to him
who went to Mahābali as a dwarf
and measured the world.


Viṣṇu-Citta, the chief of Puduvai
surrounded with beautiful flower gardens
composed a garland of ten poems
about how a mother describes her daughter
who fell in love with Nārāyaṇa,
the god who swallowed the whole earth
and sleeps on a banyan leaf.
Those who recite these poems
will not have any trouble in their lives.

27. A Mother's worry. Mother says.


“I haven’t seen my daughter anywhere.
My house is empty.
It is like a pond that has lost its beauty
and its fresh lotuses have shed their petals
when the dew has fallen on them
and the alli blossoms have shed their pollen.
Did she go towards Madurai city
following him who destroyed the Asuras
when they came disguised as wrestlers?


Nārāyaṇa made my virgin daughter
play with him and took her with him
like the ignorant cowherds who steal calves.
Won’t this terrible thing that Nārāyaṇa did
be a disgrace for our family?


We made arrangements for my daughter’s wedding,
decorated her beautifully and kept her at home.
We announced to our relatives
that we are giving her in marriage to Dāmodara.
Will the people beat the sounding drums,
worship the queen of Indra the king of gods
and decorate this village with beautiful garlands?


I have only one daughter
and I raised her like Lakshmi, the beautiful goddess.
The world praises me as a good mother.
Lovely-eyed Māl has taken her with him.
Will Yaśodā who lives in a respectable family
and gave birth to a wonderful son
feel happy seeing her daughter-in-law
and perform the post-marriage ceremonies for her well?
Will I see that?