Baby Krishna, Ranganayakulu Mandapa, Gandikota

The poetic works such as the Tevaram, the Tiruvachakam, and the Nalayira Divya Prabandham stand apart. I do not find as much time as I would like to delve deep into them but what little I get to read I cherish. Among my favourites is Periyazhwar’s depiction of the celebrations following Krishna’s birth, which he imagines to have been in Tirukoshtiyur. Here is a feeble attempt at translation on the occasion of Janmashtami –


In Tirukoshtiyur surrounded by wondrous painted buildings,

The people on coming to know of the glad tidings,

Indulged in spraying oil and fragrant powder

Until the resultant paste became a quagmire


They ran into, fell upon, and embraced each other

Where is our Lord they asked one another,

In that village of cowherds they sang,

They danced, and the drums they did bang


To take a look at this perfect being,

Visitors kept coming and going,

See the incomparable One they exclaimed,

He is Vishnu of star Thiruvonam they proclaimed


The cowherds rolled the vessels and danced,

They sprinkled ghee, milk and curds, entranced,

Unmindful of their uncoiling tresses,

They pranced about as if delirious


The men arrived with shepherds crook, goad,

Staves and reeds mats neatly rolled,

Their smiles showed their teeth pearly white,

And they bathed in ghee in their delight


It was time now for the baby to bathe,

Yasoda poured warm water in a gentle cascade,

Stretching his arms and legs, on his tongue turmeric she applied,

And then saw in his mouth the entire universe wide


Those who saw this miracle overawed,

Declared no cowherd was he but the great Lord,

This child of good antecedent and acclaim,

As the Creator they did proclaim


Twelve days of rejoicing thus went by,

When with festoon, bunting and flags that fly,

The cowherds placed in a decorated cradle,

The baby who would perform the mountain lifting miracle


When laid in the cradle how powerfully he kicks,

When carried about how he strains my hips,

When held close how he leaps at my stomach,

What a child is he says Yasoda, it is all too much


Of the birth of Narayana at Kottiyur sacred,

Which is by rice fields completely surrounded,

Those who recite the verses of Vishnuchittan,

Will find of their sins complete absolution