A. Translation from SrImAn SaDagOpan's tamizh treatise:
ANDAL and her friends, who just prayed to kaNNan not to destroy their ciRRil, arrive at a pond close to their village, very early in the morning before sunrise. Thinking that kaNNan would still be sleeping after becoming tired from all His mischiefs during the previous night, they decide to take a bath in the pond quickly and return to their homes before kaNNan gets up. They take off their clothes and place them under the kurundai tree, and take their baths, playing cheerfully. And lo! kaNNan was well up before them and was at the pond even before they had come and was sitting on the branch of the kurundai tree, watching carefully what is transpiring underneath. godai and her friends were still taking their baths as per the tiruppAvai call "nIrADappoduvIr, pOduminO nErizahiyIr". kaNNan gets down from the tree very quickly, takes all the clothes from the ground and climbs up the tree again and sits on the tree branch as usual.
When the girls finish their baths and come out to get their dresses, they can't find them and stand perplexed. They then listen to a sweet, melodious vENu gAnam coming from up the tree. They now understand this is one of kaNNan's mischief. Understanding that He has all their clothes, they get back into the water and with folded hands, try to appeal to Him, by submissive, praising, blessing and chiding tones, to please give them back their clothes. Just like a pUrvAcAriyAr once said, they think "ivan nammai aDi pidittu vanDAn; nAmum ivanai maDi piDittu (fight for our clothes) get back our clothes" - "He came after us; we will also go after Him and fight for our clothes". The outbursts of these girls are what godai is giving to us for our enjoyment, as the ten pAsurams of the third tirumozhi.
The incident described in this tiruvAi mozhi comes from SrImad bhAghavatam tenth skandam - gOpikA vastrApaharaNam. The gOpis are observing kAtyAyini vratam, and go to the banks of the yamuna to take an early morning bath. kaNNan steals all their clothes and makes them all apologize for bathing without any clothes on, thus insulting varuNan, the water god. He makes them pray to Him and then returns their clothes, promising them that He will bless them all with rAsa krIDai that night as a boon from the kAtyAyini vratam they all observed.
Till the days of periyAzhwAr and ANDAL, the youthful leelAs done by kaNNan in AyarpADi had not become famous in South India. Both periyAzhwAr and ANDAL expose to us all the playful mischiefs of the "karugiya nIla nanmEni vaNNan SentAmaraik kaNNan" in the eyes of mother yaSodha and in the eyes of a lover, through their aRul vAkku-s - tirumozhi-s. Through them, they reveal to us, SrImad bhAghavata sAram - the nine kinds of relations between paramAtmA and jIvAtmA. The third tirumozhi - "kaNNan's vastrApaharaNam" is one such attempt.
The sneaky way kaNNan followed the girls to the pond is described sweetly by SrI PVP. The mothers try to imprison (kind of !) the girls in the cellars (after kaNNan embraces them - nAmam Ayiram pAsuram end) . The girls become thinner and thinner every day with viraha tApam; then the mothers decide that they can go to the pond to take early morning baths and do vratam to get married quickly. With their permission, the girls rush to the pond before even the cock starts crowing. Thinking that KaNNan will locate them if they go as a big batch making noise, they decide to go one by one, each girl trying to erase her own foot prints. kaNNan having "iRulanna mAmEni" (dark hued body!) is following each girl without being noticed in that dark time of the day! He is not to be fooled like the people in tiru ayOddhi, who got misled in their paths (when rAma asked sumantran to drive the chariot the opposite way and destroy the tracks to mislead the people who were going to follow Him into the forest)!
ANDAL appeals to kaNNan: "Oh, kaNNA, who is indulged in yOga nittirai on AdiSesha! My friends and I came to the pond to do snAnam for performing our vratam before even the cock would crow. The sun has now risen. We have finished our baths, and now stand insulted and very sad, finding that you have stolen all our clothes. It is getting very cold; we will not even come to this pond ever again. My friend and I are praying to you: Please give us back our clothes and protect us!"kOzhi azhaippadan munnam
As indicated earlier, this episode is based on the incidence described in SrImad bhAgavatam(skandam 10, chapter 22). There is more elaborate detail there about how SrI kr*shNa won't give back the clothes as long as the girls were attempting to defend themselves, and only half-heartedly pleading with Him for His help. It is only when they ultimately gave up that He helped them. This reminds one of draupadi's vastrApaharaNam by duryodana's people, where as long as draupadi was trying to defend herself, there was no intervention by kr*shNa, and it was only when she gave up trying to protect herself and completely depended on kr*shNa that He came to her help.
"Our ArAvamudhe! Oh, gOpAlA, who danced merrily on kALiyAn and destroyed his pride! Why do you come to the pond at this early hour and disturb us? How did you know that we came to this particular pond (we even erased our footsteps as we came)? O The Great Treasure of AyarpADi, with the tuLasi garland filled with the smell of honey! You who are filled with such wonderful powers that normally do not co-exist viz. your greatness and at the same time your soulabhyam or easy accessibility! Since we have not reached total anugraham (blessings), we cannot merge with you as you like. I have heard my father (SrI vishNucittar) do ma~ngaLASasanam as follows, based on the gOpikA vastrApaharaNam in SrImad bhAgavatam."vaNDamar pUnkuzhalAr tugil kaikkoNDu, vIN tOy marattAnAl inRu muRRum vENDavum tArAnAl inRu muRRUm" (peiyAzhwAr tenth tirumozhi pasuram 2)
Today, you are enacting the same incident to me and my friends in this pond. kaNNA! maNi vaNNA! One with such delightful deeds! One who danced on the hoods of the venomous serpent kALIya! Please do not belittle us by keeping our clothes on the kurundai tree! Listen to our prayers, and please give back our clothes".idu en pugundadu I~ngu andO! ip poygaikku evvARu vandAi?
bhagavAn is known to be a stava-priyah - stavyah stava-priyah stotram stutih etc. Here the girls are praising Him as amudhe, mAyane, mAle, vittagappiLLAi, aravil naDittAi, etc., hoping to please Him and persuade Him to give back their vastra-s.
The reference to "How did you come to this particular pond" is enjoyed by Sri PeriavAccAn PiLLai by remembering the incident of gajendra crying for help from a pond, or the enemy crocodile being present in the pond, or the pond where kaLIya is polluting the water with his venom. So the girls are asking Him why He came to this pond now, given that none of the above things are true now.
The term "mAyan" is interpreted by SrI PVP as referring to the vaikunTHa nAthan being now available and easily accessible to everyone in the yAdava race, and intermingling with the those who are subject to karma-s, even though He is above the influence of karma-s.
In this pASuram, ANDAL reminds kaNNan that He is none other than Lord rAma and asks Him if it is appropriate that a great maHAvIran like Him acts childishly and steals girls' clothes on the pond side and makes them stand naked. " Oh, rAmA, who destroyed lanKA with your great kOdaNDam! People will slight you if news spreads that you have insulted us by taking away our clothes! Don't you ever think of honor or shame? If our mothers know about this, they will never let us come near you! At least, please think about that. Oh, kurumbA (mischievous boy), who is sitting on the kurundai tree! Please give us our clothes. We will give you anything you wish! We will run away before the village people come here. Oh, lotus eyed kaNNA! Enough of this test!"ellE! Idu enna iLamai? em manaiyAr kANil oTTAr
"Oh rAmA, who destroyed lankA! We are so scared that someone will find us in this shameful predicament in this pond, where a lot of people come to take their baths, and tell our mothers. Why don't you show your dayai to us? Our eyes are shedding tears without stopping. By climbing on to the kurundai tree, you have established without doubt that you are the head of all the monkeys that jump from tree to tree! Enough of your sAhasam! Please give our clothes immediately".parakka vizhittu e~ngum nOkkip palar kuDaindu ADum Sunaiyil
By repeatedly referring to His rAma incarnation, godA is remembering His taking enormous effort to defend the self-respect of one woman, viz. sItA. The reference to His being the king of monkeys here outwardly refers to His skillfully jumping from branch to branch, but it also has the deeper meaning of referring to Lord rAma who was the de facto king of all the monkeys in kishkindA.
"Oh dark-hued kaNNA! Since you took away all our clothes and are sitting on the tree, we are not able to come out of this cold water. The small and big fishes in the pond are biting our legs and bothering us. If our brothers learn about the mischief you are doing to us, they will rush here with spears in their hands to punish you. Just imagine what all your childish pranks will lead to. Please give us our clothes and save us from the biting of the fishes".kAlaik kaduviDuginra kayaloDu vALai viravi
"You came running (without even caring for the proper parivAram and paraphernalia), to save the elephant when a crocodile snatched his leg. Now, we are being hurt by fish" the girls try to appeal to His kind heart, thinking that mentioning the fish nibbling at their feet will ring a bell for Him. When an elephant was caught by the foot by a crocodile, He did not wait for sEnai mudaliyAr to give a helping hand to get on to the vAhanam, and did not care to wear maNi pAdukA-s that He normally wears on His feet etc., but rushed out to help in a hurry - (atantrita-camUpati-prahita-hastam, asvIkr*ta-praNIta- maNipAdukam). "When my Asrita bhaktA elephant is praying to me with his hurt foot, I should not be worrying about My hands and feet" - thinking thus, He rushed to save the elephant. So, godai tries to remind Him of such a plight for them, by pointing out that now it is not one but a multitude of these fish that are hurting them. In addition to pleading with Him and praising Him, the girls also try to threaten Him simultaneously by pointing out that if He does not return their clothes, He will end up suffering at the hands of their brothers worse than they are suffering at His hands right now. [SrI PVP]
"On the one side, the fishes are biting us and we try to escape that by moving away. But then the stems of the lotus flowers rub against our legs and bother us; it feels like venomous scorpions stinging us. Oh, kuDam ADum kUttA (one who is an adept in throwing up kuDam-s (vessels) in the air and catching them)! Please do not bother us, who do not have the dexterity like you to move around, and give us back our silk garments."taDattavizh tAmaraip poygait tALgaL em kAlaik kaduva
The girls plead that they cannot stay in the pond for ever; but, even if they get on to the bank, they will only get caught by the lotus that is kaNNan who has "Sekkamala (sengamala) talar pOlum kaN kai kAl senganivAi". The reference to "kuDattai eDuttEra viTTUk kUttADa valla em kOvE" is because of his mischievous way of collecting girls by trying to show in the meeting place of 4 roads, that he can play with kuDam-s (vessels) by throwing them in the air and catching them (refer also to seventh tirumozhi - Anirai meikka nI podi pasuram 7 - "kuDangaL eDuttEra vittu kuttaDa valla em kOve" of periyAzhwAr).
kaNNan is pretending that He is not hearing the pleas from godai and He is happily seated in the kurundai tree that is full of blossoms. In the next 3 pasurams, godai chides kaNNan for shamelessly committing atrocities by not returning back the girls' garments. "We are freezing in the water and can't come out because we have no clothes. But you are seated safe on the tree and doing all this mischief and unjust acts. We would like to wail loudly and call our relatives in the village, but, that is not possible, because it is too far from here. Now, we are stuck with you. Our hearts are with you, but we can't be united with you because it won't meet with the approval of our mothers. Please give us back our clothes."nIrilE ninRu ayarkkinRom nIdi illAdana seydAi!
The reference to "Uzhi ellAm uNarvAnE" is that He takes care of the whole universe during praLAya kAlam. Here it is used to plead to kaNNan to ask for His help now when they are freezing in the water. Normally, He goes after people who cause difficulties to His devotees; now He is the only one who can remove the difficulty given by Himself to them.
"We, the girls here, may be of the right age to be related to you as your devi-s, but, we are not the only ones in this pond. There are older people who could be your aunts and mothers-in-law also. Do not insult them just like you are troubling us! KomaLakkaNNA, normally you do all your pranks in the earlier part of the night and then sleep soundly in the later part. Believing this, we came to the pond at this time, but now we are in this pitiable state. The prank that you play on us in return for all our love for you, is not fair at all! Please give us the garments that are placed on the kurundai tree."mAmimAr makkaLE allOm maRRum i~ngu ellArum pOndAr
"Oh, shameless kaNNA! The pranks you play! Oh, dark-hued krishNa! When kamsan wished to destroy you, you managed to survive by being born to one mother and being brought up by another mother ("orutti maganAi piRandu orutti maganAi vaLarndu"). Was that all for having this kind of fun by making us stand like this without any garments? For all the injustice you commit, your mother is letting you grow with no discipline whatsoever. Instead of chiding you for the mischievous pranks you do, she delights in learning about them. To whom can we go and voice our grievances? Oh You who put up a show of deceit by drinking pUtanA's poisonous milk as if it was amr*tam and sucked her life out of her! Kindly give us back our garments!ka~njan valai vaitta anRu kAriruL ellil pizhaittu
"kAriruL ellil pizhaittu" - Knowing the fact that child kr*shNa escaped in the darkness of the night, the devotees would feel glad for His escape and praise the darkness that protected Him. It is that same darkness which the girls thought will protect them from kr*shNa and came here, but they got into this trouble.
When kr*shNa was born in the middle of the night and had to leave devaki immediately after being born, she was obviously saddened ("pUNDu anRu annai pulambap pOi angu Or Aykkulam pukkadum" - tiruvaimozhi 6-4-5). Just like her sadness, the girls are also feeling sad today.
In rAmAvataram, when the r*shis surrendered to rAma and asked for His protection, He felt shy that instead of His seeking them out and asking them for their grievances, they approached Him first and told Him their difficulties. While rAma was thus shy because of His magnanimity, the girls are chiding kr*shNa for lacking any element of shyness by depriving them of their garments.
In concluding this third tirumozhi dealing with gOpikA vastra apaharaNam, ANDAL outlines the phala-s to be derived by those who learn and recite the ten pASuram-s of this tirumozhi and indicates that they will reach SrI vaikuNTham and do service to the Lord every day.kanniyarODu e~ngaL nambi kariya pirAn viLaiyATTaip
SrI TS Rajagopalan in his book titled "nAcciAr tirumozhi" explains "e~ngal nambi" thus: godai and the girls feel that kaNNan made them all His own by His mischievous pranks. Even though they all chide Him with words like "irakkam onRum ilAdAi" (one who has no compassion - pAsuram 3.4), "kurakku araSu Avadu aRindOm" (you are the king of the monkeys - 3.4), "nIdi allAdana seidAi" (you did all the wrongful things - 3.7), "nenju dukkam seyyappOndAi" (you came to give grief to our heart - 3.9) etc., His beauty enthralls them all and they surrender to Him. By referring to herself as "mAmimAr makkAl - we are the daughters of your mAmimAr (3.8)", Arvam unakkE uDaiyOm (3.7) etc., ANDAL is indicating the deep love that jIvAtma should have towards the paramAtmA. Only an accomplished devotee like gOdai (pinjAip pazhuttAL - one who realized bhagavAn at a very young age) can relate to this intense love on a one-on-one basis with kaNNan. Sri PVP calls godai's 'inniSaiyAl Sonna mAlai', "pATyE gEyE ca madhuram" (rAmAyaNam bAla kANdam 4-8) - ANDAL's songs are sweet whether they are chanted or sung.