Thaye Yashoda

Yashoda Krishna

Mother Yashoda’ complain the Gopikas, the ladies of the cowherd community, to Krishna’s mother, ‘Mother Yashoda, there isn’t a boy in this world like your son! Whew!’.

Thinking he is a young boy, I hugged him – instead, he kissed me on the mouth as if he were my husband! I am so embarrassed to talk of this publicly!’

The other day he stopped me to ask for directions and when I gave it, he then asked for kiss and that too loudly! Mother Yashoda, you have brought up your son badly!’

He asked for butter and when I gave it, he winked at me and asked for my daughter!!’

The poet-composer, Venkata Subbaiyar (c.1700-1765) of Oothukadu, describes in beautiful Tamil the litany of complaints against a young and very naughty Krishna. What imagination! How the poet plays with words! How very rhythmic! This superb composition is an old favourite with Carnatic music fans as well as Bharatanatyam fans as the song suits this dance form very well.

Krishna and his flirtations are depicted in Jayadeva’s (c.1200 AD) Gita Govinda in a far more explicit manner. Hindusim accepts erotic-mysticism as one of the many valid paths towards God.  This is in keeping with an important symbolism in Hinduism :  God as the masculine Purusha and the feminine principle, Prakrithi, being all of creation. Poets expressed this in romantic ways, but the idea was the same i.e. the longing of the feminine principle for the masculine representing the longing of us human beings to be united with God, the man-woman union representing the human-God union.

Coming back to Thaye Yashoda, the poet says in the last charanam (stanza) : ‘Yashoda, he is That God! When I picked him as a child and put him on my lap to admire his beautiful face, he opened his mouth and showed me the whole universe within it!’, establishing the symbolism in no uncertain fashion. The song is set to the beautiful raga Todi. Its interesting to me that Todi, a deep and mysterious raga which is  a ‘heavy’ raga and tests the singers mettle, is in this case used for a playfully worded song. To know more about this raga, click here.

Today I present the song sung by Sudha Raghunathan, a version I like very much indeed.

I also came upon this dance performance which unfortunately is incomplete but it is still interesting to see.

Footnote (Lyrics) :

Language : Tamil

There are so many variations sung! I am not at all certain as to what is the ‘true’ one; I have given a few of the variations I have heard. Thankfully the meaning remains essentially the same.

தாயே யசோதா (alt:யசோதே) உந்தன் ஆயர் குலத்துதித்த
மாயன் கோபால கிருஷ்ணன் செய்யும் ஜாலத்தை கேளடி

தையலை கேளடி உந்தன் பையனை போலவே இந்த
வையகத்தில் ஒரு பிள்ளை அம்மம்மா நான் கண்டதில்லை

காலினில் சிலம்பு  கொஞ்சக்-கைவளை குலுங்க – முத்து
மாலைகள் அசைய தெரு வாசலில் வந்தான்
வானோர்களெல்லாம் மகிழ மானிடரெல்லாம் புகழ
(alternate :காலசைவும் கையசைவும் தாளமோடிசைந்து (=தாளமோடு இசைந்து) வர)
நீல வண்ணக் (alt: மேக) கண்ணன் இவன் நர்த்தனம் (alt: நர்த்தம்) ஆடினான்

பாலன் என்று தாவி (alt: வாரி ) அணைத்தேன் -அணைத்த என்னை
மாலை இட்டவன் போல் வாயில் முத்தம் இட்டாண்டி
பாலன் அல்லடி உன் மகன் ஜாலம் மிக (alt: ஜாலமாக) செய்வதெல்லாம்
நாலு பேர்கள் கேட்கச் சொல்ல (alt: சொன்னால்) நாணம் மிக ஆகுதடி

முந்தாநாள் அந்தி நேரத்தில் சொந்தமுடன் கிட்டே வந்து
விந்தைகள் அனேகம் செய்து விளையாடினான் -ஒரு
பந்தளவாகிலும் வெண்ணை தந்தால் (alt: +தான்) விடுவேன் என்று
முந்துகிலைத் தொட்டிழுத்து (alt: பற்றிழுத்து) போராடினான்

அந்த வாசுதேவன் இவன்தான் -அடி யசோதா /யசோதே (alt: அந்த வாசுதேவனை நானும்)
மைந்தன் என்று எடுத்தணைத்து (alt: தொட்டிழித்து) மடிமேல் (alt :மடியில்) வைத்து
சுந்தர முகத்தைப் பார்க்கும் வேளையிலே வாய் திறந்து (alt: சுந்தர முகத்தை கண்டு சிந்தை மயங்கும் நேரம் )
இந்திரஜாலம் போலவே (alt:போலே/போல்)_இரெழுலகம் காண்பித்தான் (alt: அந்தரம் வைகுண்டமோடு எல்லாம் காட்டினான்)

Most of us are familiar only with the few stanzas above which are sung normally in performances; for those interested, the transliterated lyrics for the full song is available here.

Transliteration

pallavi
tAyE yasOdA (alt: yasodE) undan Ayar kulattuditta
mAyan gOpAla krishNan seyyum jAlattai kELaDi

anupallavi
taiyalai kElaDi undan paiyanai pOlavE inda
vaiyagattil oru piLLai amamma nAn kaNDadillai

charanams
kAlinil silambu konjak-kaivaLai kulunga muttu-
mAlaigaL asaiya-teru vAsalil vandAn
vanOrgaLellAm magizha mAniDargaLellAm pugazha
(alt: kAlasaivum kaiyasaivum tALAmODisaindu vara)
nIla vaNNak kaNNan ivan narttanam (alt: narttam) ADinAn

bAlan endru tAvi (alt: vAri) aNaittEn aNaitta ennai
mAlaiy iTTavan pOl vAyil muttam iTTANDi
bAlan allaDi un magan jAlam miga (alt: jAlamAga) seyvadellAm
nAlu pErgal kETkak-cholla (alt: chonnAl) nANamiga AgudaDi

mundAnAL andi nErattil sondamuDan kiTTE vandu
vindailgaL anEgam seydu viLaiyADinAn -Oru
pandaLavAgilum veNNai tandAl (alt: +dAn) viDuvEnendru
mundukilait-toTTizhuttup (alt:paTRizhittup) pOrADinAn

anda vAsudEvan ivan dAn (alt: anda vAsudevanai nAnum) aDi yasOdA (alt: yasOdE)
maindan endru eduttaNaittu (alt: toTTizhuttu ) maDimEl (alt: maDiyil) vaittu
sundara mugattaip parkkum veLaiyilE vAy tirandu (alt: sundara mugattai kaNDu sindai mayangum nEram)
indirajAlam pOlavE (alt: pOlE / pOl) IrEzhulagam kANbittAn (alt: andaram vaikunTamoDu ellAm kATTinAn)

Translation

O Mother Yashoda! Listen to the tricks done by that illusionist, Krishna, born in your cowherd tribe.

O Lady (taiyalai), listen (kElaDi)! Whew (ammamma)! I have never seen (kanDadillai) a boy (paiyan) like (pOlavE) yours (undan) in this (inda) whole universe (vaiyagattil)!

With anklets (silambu) ringing (konja) in his feet (kAlinil), with bangles (kai vaLai) shaking (kulunga), with a pearl (muttu) necklace (mAlai) moving, he came (vandAn) to the street-front (teru vAsalil). As the heavenly beings (vAnOrgaL) became joyful (magizha) and all (ellAm) the earthly beings (mAniDargal) praised him, this (ivan) blue-skinned (nIla varNa) Krishna (kaNNan) danced (nartanam AdinAn).

Thinking him to be just an infant (bAlan endru) I gathered and hugged him (vAri aNaittEn). Like a husband (malai ittavan pOlE) he kissed me (muttam iTTAn) on the mouth (vAyil), I, who hugged him (aNaitta ennai)! Your son (un magan) is not an infant! If I were to hear (kEtka) people (nAlu pErgal) talk (cholla) about all the tricks he plays (jAlamAga seyvadellAm), I will be so embarrassed (nANamigu agudaDi!

At dusk (andi nErattil) day before yesterday (mundAnAL), he came proprietarily (sondamuDan) near (kiTTE vandu) me. He did many (anEgam seidu) amazing things (vindaigaL) and played (viLaiyADinAn). He struggled with me (pOrADinAn) by catching hold (paTri) and pulling (izhuttu) at the front of my sari (mundukilai – I guess) saying that he would only let go (viduven enDRu) if I gave (tandAl) him at least (Agilum) a ball sized (pandaLavu) roll of butter (veNNai) !

O Yashoda, verily, he (ivan dAn) is that (anda) Vasudeva himself! Thinking him to be my son (maindan endru), I lifted (eduttu) and hugged him (aNaittu) and placed him on my lap (maDi mEl). As I was looking (parkkum) at his beautiful (sundara) face (mugattai), he opened (tirandu) his mouth (vAy) and, like Indra’s magic (indirajAlam pOlE), he showed me (kANbittAn) the fourteen worlds (irEzhulagam)!

1 Comment

Filed under Carnatic Music, Compositions in Tamil, Oothukadu Venkata Subbaiyer, Sudha Raghunathan

One response to “Thaye Yashoda

  1. awesome song . i would play this song in my college fuction kindly will u give me musical notes of this song

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