Thursday, September 2, 2010

Like a Child

It is that time of the year again.

The day we celebrate the child god. And quite unlike other birthday festivals like Christmas, Vinayaga Chathurthi, Ramanavami etc. this one feel special, because there is special emphasis on the child-God Himself. i.e. not a child who shall one day grow-up and become the God commanding awe. Which is why the feeling of celebration and endearment, come so naturally without piety and its attendant grown-up-ness.

As has become an annual custom I was reading periyAzhwAr today. Arguably the most pleasing, universally appealing , easy-on-the-cerebrum poems in the divya prabhandham. And sheer delight.

In an earlier post I had written about the appeal of celebrating the omnipotent as a child. PeriyAzhwAr explores various facets of this in several poems, which I will try to give some examples in the rest of this post.

YasOdhA, after witnessing the various of acts of the Lord is afraid to nurse him. A whole decad of poems end with the refrain

.. உன்னைஅறிந்துகொண்டேன்
உனக்குஅஞ்சுவன்அம்மம் தரவே.

Which is even more scintillating when taken out of context. Isn't the inseparable joy and terror of parenthood about bringing something into the world, which one can never understand or control fully? Imagine a mother having a தம்மின் தம்மக்கள் realization way way ahead of schedule and that too suddenly, rather than gradually.

But then the Lord's mother has to lord over the Lord

அள்ளி நீ வெண்ணெய் விழுங்க
அஞ்சாது அடியேன் அடித்தேன்

One of the poems seemed even Jocastian to me, but let me not derail this post!

Notable are the poems in the அம்புலிப் பருவம் which describe the stage of childhood when the child is shown the moon. It is the நிலா நிலா ஓடி வா routine but more like: "for your own good, you better be here Mr.Moon".

And here is a sample of the threat:

சிறியெனென்று எண்ணி இளஞ் சிங்கத்தை இகழேல் கண்டாய்
சிறுமையின் வார்த்தையை மாவலியிடைச் சென்று கேள்

Now that's more like it !

The one that made my morning is the following last lines from a poem in that section.

தக்கது அறிதியேல் சந்திரா சலம் செய்யாதே
மக்கள் பெறாத மலடன் அல்லையேல் வா

Today, our civilized self, can't help feeling an 'ouch' when reading the epithet 'barren'. But I feel inclined to take it in the spirit of poet-King who famously said a childless man's life is quite useless

மயக்குறு மக்களை இல்லோர்க்குப்
பயக்குறை இல்லைத் தாம்வாழும் நாளே

And as mentioned in the earlier post, the appeal of these poems is incredibly heightened when one thinks of PeriyAzhwAr, as a man who never had a grandchild. So when he asks the moon to double up, I can see a sort of camaraderie in that familiarity.

Art thou barren
My moon brother?
Child-Lord beckons
Come thee hither

PS: Here are some links


  1. A Great Yawn is more like it...பாட்டுடைத் தலைவனுக்கு அது இன்னும் பொருத்தமாய் இருக்கிறது!

  2. தமிழறியாதவர்களுக்கு இந்த பதிவு வேஸ்ட். நீங்கள் முழுதும் தமிழில் பதிந்திருக்கலாம். இன்னும் கொஞ்ஜம் தெளிவாக பாமரர்க்கும் பிடித்தமாகவும் எழுதியிருக்கலாம். - ஜெ.

  3. 'லாம் தான்.

    தோணியது தோணியபடி எழுத ஆரம்பித்துவிட்டால், என் பேச்சை நானே கேக்கமாட்டேன்.

    Welcome to these parts.

  4. Ada, Pokkiri dialogue-laam adichchu namma bait panna paakkaraanga daa yaaro! :-)