The Little One

December 21, 2023 [personal] #gratitude

There is this creature in the house. A guest that is here to stay. Mute so far, but oh god, so cute. She makes known her displeasures, of which there are many. Everything of interest is chewed on till she gets bored. Refuses to be contained in the barrier we have set up for her. No. She wants to be out, in the room, in the house. Surveying. Adventuring. Being where she shouldn't be. Attracted to bright things. And dark. To corners. To drawers. To sockets. She wakes at 1 am and lets us know very loudly that she doesn't like to be alone in her room. Allowing her to cry it out is a battle she makes sure we regret fighting. If she is pleased, she purrs - when she sees us in the morning, when she is placed on her back gently after a hug, after she’s had her meal.

We now find it hard to imagine the lives we had before the little one entered ours. She has taken over, dictating the terms of our existence. We complain about our middle of the night excursions. But this existence of ours, it seems it finally has meaning now, which is to be a humbled servant of our daughter. It’s easy to love and worship the little ones, being secure in front of them while performing monkey tricks.

I am beginning to understand why the Bhakti saints worshipped the lord as a little child. When the object of devotion is a baby, one's self gets out of the way far more quickly. Here is Periya Azhwar singing about Krishna in the 9th century:

There's a very handy translation on Project Madurai, thanks to Dr. Kausalya Hart.

  1. Come and see the lotus feet of the innocent child
    who was given to Yashoda by Devaki, his mother
    whose hair is decorated with beautiful garlands
    and is as sweet as the nectar that came out of the milky ocean.
    Come and see how he holds and puts his lotus foot
    in his coral-red mouth and tastes it.
    Come and see.

  1. Come and see the ten perfect toes
    of the sapphire-colored child
    that look like an ornament studded
    with pearls, jewels, diamonds and pure gold.
    O girls with shining foreheads,
    come and see his perfect toes. Come and see his toes.

  1. You, the highest one, the creator of the world
    swallowed it into your beautiful stomach
    rest gently on a banyan leave that floats on the ocean
    whenever the world ends and begins again.
    You have a body dark as kohl,
    your eyes are long and beautiful like lotus flowers
    and your ears are decorated with precious shining emeralds.
    O dear one, crawl gently.
    Do not shake Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth who stays on your chest.
    You should think of her safety.
    Shake your head and crawl for me once.
    You are a bull and you fight for the cowherds. Crawl, crawl.

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