mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 24 – viralOdu vAy thOyndha

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emperumAn asks AzhwAr “I am known for having all my desires fulfilled already. [When such is the case] Would I need to steal a material because it is not possible for me to get it and would I need to get caught and be tied?” AzhwAr responds saying “Do you not know how you were tied!”

Let us look at the pAsuram and its meanings:

viralOdu vAy thOyndha veNNey kaNdu Aychchi
uralOdu uRap piNindha nAnRu kuralOvA
dhEngi ninaindhu ayalAr kANa irundhilaiyE
OngOdha vaNNA urai

 Word by Word Meanings

viralOdu vAy thOyndha – stains on your fingers and your mouth
veNNey – of  butter
Aychchi – yaSOdhA pirAtti (mother yaSOdhA)
kaNdu – seeing
uralOdu – with mortar
uRap piNindha nAnRu – securing well
kural ovAdhu – without stopping (your) crying
Engi – yearning
ninaindhu – thinking of stealing butter (even then)
ayalAr – all the others
kANa – to look at in amusement
irundhilaiyE – were you not!
Ongu Odha vaNNA – Oh the one who has the divine form with the complexion of an ocean with agitating waves
urai – please tell the truth yourself.


viralOdu vAy thOyndha veNNey kaNdu – kaNNan (krishNa) was caught by yaSOdhA even as he stole butter and tried to eat by taking it near his mouth. He was caught before the butter, which he relishes the most, could reach his throat! If he had been caught after he ate it, he would have tolerated it. AzhwAr says, even as he was about to consume it he got caught red-handed. In one place (siRIya thirumadal) thirumangai AzhwAr says “thArAr thadam thOLgaL uLLaLavum kai nItti ArAdha veNNey vizhungi” (he swallowed the butter, which never gives him satisfaction however much he eats, by dropping his garlanded shoulder down to the bottom of the pot) implying that he ate the entire quantity of butter before being caught. Here, it says “viralOdu vAy thOyndha veNNey kaNdu” which means that he was caught even as he was about to eat the butter. nanjIyar, disciple of parASara bhattar (celebrated son of kUraththAzhwAn) asked of bhattar “the two do not match; which is correct?” to which bhattar responded “until he reached the age when he went after girls, krishNa’s main pastime was stealing butter. Hence, one day he would get caught and one day he would be able to eat the butter before getting caught”. Will a thief, who is used to stealing, give up the habit? Moreover, krishNa was born at midnight, which is the time when thieves are at work. Thus, as nammAzhwAr says in thiruvAimozhi 1-8-5vaigalum veNNey kai kalandhu uNdAn”, stealing butter is a daily exercise for krishNa.

Aychchi uralOdu uRap piNindha nAnRu – seeing this, yaSOdhA pirAtti bound kaNNan’s divine body with the mortar in such a way that there were identification marks (scars) on his body. She tied him so tightly that it was difficult to differentiate between kaNNan and the mortar.

kural OvAdhu Engi – unable to disengage himself from the rope with which yaSOdhA tied him, kaNNan started crying continuously. Immediately, yaSOdhA threatened him with the stick in her hand so that he would stop crying. kaNNan shut his mouth but had a forlorn look on his face. Just as emperumAn needs to take the effort to release us from the bondage that he had put us in, he himself needed the assistance of the one (yaSOdhA) to release him from his bondage! Who will believe him if he unties himself, thus disproving that he remains tied to his followers? Only to prove that he does not give up his followers that he puts on acts such as this! For an avApthasamasthakAman (one who has no unfulfilled desires) such as he, we have to believe that he has a desire to steal a material (butter); that, unable to get it, he gets caught while stealing; that the omniscient that he is (one who knows everything), does not know how to untie himself from the bondage that yaSOdhA had put him in; that this happens as an everyday affair – what a wonderment is this!

ninaindhu – even as he remains tied to the mortar, kaNNan thinks “there is so much of butter all over thiruvAyppAdi (SrI gOkulam). How terrible is it that I am not able to steal them and eat them, being tied down like this”

ayalAr kANa irundhilaiyE – is there any one among the five lakhs of girls in thiruvAppAdi who did not get to see you being tied to the mortar? All the girls who were troubled by you, were waiting for such a day when you would get caught like this. vihakESvara samhithai says “athyuthkatai: puNyapApai: ihaiva palamaSnuthE” (people experience the results of their puNya (good deeds) and pApa (bad deeds) here itself). The girls also got to see you in this condition, so that they could forget all the troubles that they had to endure because of you. Even as kaNNan was crying, they were laughing, saying “he deserves this. He needs more of this”.

irundhilaiyE – you remained like this! Just as rAvaNa could not forget the arrows of SrI rAma, you also could not forget this incident.

OngOdha vaNNA – even though you were tied down like this, your divine form was such that it resembled the complexion of an ocean with agitating waves! The act of tying you to a mortar looked like holding all the water in an ocean!

urai – please tell the truth. In mahAbhAratham udhyOga parvam 70-48 krishNa tells dhraupadhi “dhyau pathEth pruthivI SIryEth himavAn SakaleebhavEth, SUshyEth thOya nidhi: krishnE na mE mOgham vachO bhavEth ” (Oh dhraupadhi! The sky may fall, the earth may crumble, the himAlaya mountain may get powdered to pieces, the ocean may dry up; but my word will never be false). Since your words will never be false, you please tell the truth yourself.

OngOdha vaNNA uraiAzhwAr implores emperumAn to tell the truth so that he could enjoy the beauty of his divine form which resembles the ocean and the beauty of his words.

We shall next take up the 25th pAsuram.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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