Sarayu in the meadows

செறி நறும் தயிரும் பாலும்  வெண்ணெயும் சேந்த நெய்யும்
உறியொடு வாரி உண்டு, குருந்தொடு மருதம் உந்தி,
மறி உடை ஆயர் மாதர் வனை துகில் வாரும் நீரால்,
பொறி வரி அரவின் ஆடும் புனிதனும் போலும் அன்றே

Fragrant curd, milk, butter and ghee
with the pot it swallows, breaks down the trees,
takes away the clothes of doe eyed women – the flood
is like the God who danced on the spotted snake’s hood.

In this Kamban equates the flood to Krishna, the god associated with the meadows. Krishna was known for stealing butter; when his mom tied him to a grinding stone to stop him wandering about as a toddler, he pulled the stone along with him and brought down two trees which where actually monsters sent to kill him; he stole the dresses of the shepherd women while they bathed in the river; danced on the hood of Kalinga, the snake sent to kill him. Chronologically Krishna avatar comes after Rama avatar. But Kamban who came long after the avatars had no qualms in bringing in Krishna as a metaphor in Ramayana.


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