Faith

Krishna’s infancy

None could have enjoyed the beauty of the Krishna avatara more than the Azhvars, said M.A. Venkatakrishnan in a discourse. Periyazhvar imagines himself to be Yasoda, and his verses celebrate Krishna’s infancy and childhood. There are verses dedicated to combing the baby’s hair, to feeding Him etc. There is a genre of poetry in Tamil, known as Pillai Tamizh, wherein the hero of the poem is imagined to be a child. Each stage in the child’s life is then described.

Periyazhvar’s verses about Krishna may be considered to be the forerunner of this kind of poetry. Peiryazhvar imagined himself to be Yasoda, and so, there were many possibilities for him to compose verses about baby Krishna. After all it was Yasoda to whom this blessing of witnessing His growing years was given. But Kulasekara Azhvar put himself in the place of Devaki and wrote about Krishna, the child. Devaki had never enjoyed Krishna’s childhood, for she did not bring Him up. Kulasekara Azhvar’s verses are called “Devaki’s lament,” for they express Devaki’s grief at being separated from her child Krishna. One verse has Devaki crying over her husband’s misfortune.

The baby Krishna is the darling of everyone in Gokula, and people claim kinship with Him, so that they can pick up the baby. One of them asks the baby where His father is. Krishna is only some months old, and has not yet begun to speak. But He is at that age where He can understand a simple question that is put to Him. So, when asked where His father is, His eyes wander, until He locates Nandagopa. Then, with His hands, He points to Nandagopa, much to the delight of all those gathered. Should this joy not have been Vasudeva’s by right, for after all, he was Krishna’s father, cries Devaki in anguish.


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Printable version | Dec 7, 2021 3:51:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/krishnas-infancy/article37095940.ece

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