I have a question for you this week. You know how we Hindus worship Krishna as Balagopala, in the form of a child? And we also worship Kartikeya as a young lad? Do we worship any Goddess as a child in a temple anywhere in India? I thought of Kanyakumari, but her form is that of an adult woman in spite of the name. Googling brought me no answers. I am aware of the kumari puja tradition during Navaratri; I myself have enjoyed being the recipient of honours as a child. But I haven’t heard of a child-Goddess murti. If you have, please do write and tell me.
My question occurred to me in a roundabout fashion. I was remembering the Indian PM’s speech on Republic Day and his words regarding female infanticide or selective abortion. I also remembered an episode of Satyameva Jayate by Aamir Khan in which he approaches this very touchy subject. I wondered, if we worshipped child-Goddesses, would that have been a deterrent against this horrific practice? But then again, I suppose it wouldn’t have made much of a difference. After all, horrid crimes against grown women happens everyday in a country where Goddesses control power, wealth and knowledge. Odd that, don’t you think?
I searched in my mind for songs addressed to child-Goddesses and again I drew a blank. There is Bharathiyar’s chinnanjiru kiliye addressed to a girl-child but she’s not a Goddess. The nearest which came to mind was Chinnanjiru Pen Pole which, though not addressed to a child-Goddess, at least likens Durga to a young girl. The poet describes the beauty of her eyes and her body, saying that she is a good match for the most handsome Lord Shiva. Those who have been following my blog for a time would have noted my particular fascination with dancing and musical Gods; here the poet says she is equal to her Lord in dance as well. Ah how I love the mental image this creates of the divine couple swirling away! I always imagine that if they were to stop, the world too would come to a dead halt; Sivaji Ganesan singing என் இசை நின்றால் அடங்கும் உலகே, நான் அசைந்தால் அசையும் அகிலம்மேல்லமே (if my music halts, the world will stop; and when I move, the world moves with me) in Pattum Nane (Thiruvilaiyadal) left a lasting impression!
Chinnanjiru Pen Pole belongs to the genre of Bhakti Padal or devotional song, similar in concept to the Bhajans of North India. These devotional forms of music often straddle the line between classical and popular music; though based on classical ragas, the songs have an approachability which classical music often lacks. Sirkazhi Govindarajan was a master of this genre. The song is lovely, his voice is always very interesting with a very unique timbre and he infuses it with great feeling. Written by Ulundoor Pettai Shanmugasundaram, it is set to Sindhu Bhairavi and is addressed to Sivagami (Durga) who resides in a temple next to Sivaganga tank in Chidambaram. I visited Chidambaram just last year but alas, I missed seeing this shrine. I hope you enjoy it!
Footnote (Lyrics and Translation) :
Composer : Ulundoor Pettai Shanmugasundaram
Raga : Sindhu Bhairavi
Language : Tamil
சின்னஞ்சிறு பெண் போலே சிற்றாடை இடை உடுத்தி
சிவகங்கை குளத்தருகே ஸ்ரீ துர்கை சிரித்திருப்பாள்
பெண்ணவளின் கண்ணழகை பேசி முடியாது
பேரழகுக்கு ஈடாக வேறொன்றும் கிடையாது
மின்னலை போல் மேனி அன்னை சிவகாமி
இன்பமெல்லாம் தருவாள் எண்ணமெல்லாம் நிறைவாள்
பின்னல் சடை போட்டு பிச்சிப்பூ சூடிடுவாள்
பித்தனுக்கு இணையாக நர்த்தனம் ஆடிடுவாள்
chinnanjiru peN pOlE chiTRADai iDai uDutti
sivagangai kuLattarugE srI durgai sirittiruppAL
peNNavaLin kaNNazhagai pEsi muDiyAdu
pErazhagukku IDaga vERonDRum kiDaiyAdu
minnalaippOl mEni annai sivagAmi
inbamellAm taruvAL eNNamellAm niRaivAL
pinnal shadai pOTTu pichchippU shUDiDuvAL
pittanukku iNAIyAga narttanam ADiduvAL
Near (arugE) the Sivagangai pond (kuLam), Sri Durga smiles (sirittiruppAL), wearing (uDutti) a small garment (chiTRADai) on her waist (iDai) like (pOlE) a little (chinnanjiru) girl (peN).
I can endlessly talk (pEsi muDiyAdu) of the beauty (azhagai) of that (avaL) girl’s (peN) eyes (kaN)! There is nothing (vERonDRum kiDaiyAdu) equal (IDaga) to that great beauty (pErazhagu)!
Mother (annai) Sivagami’s body (mEni) is like (pOl) a lightning (minnal)! She will give (taruvAL) all (ellAm) happiness (inbam), she will fulfil (niRaivAL) all our wishes (eNNam=thoughts)!
She braids (pinnal) her hair (shadai) and adorns (shUdiduvAL) it with wild jasmine (pichchippU). And she will dance (narttanam ADiDuvAL) in conjunction with (or equal to) (IDAga) the Mad One (Shiva) (pittan).