Muddhugaarey Yashodha is a precious composition by the saint poet Annamacharya, fondly known as Annamayya. In this composition, he parallels LORD KRISHNA with NAVARATHNAS (the nine precious gems) and also portrays His leelas. Annamayya was born on 22nd May 1408 at Tallapaaka, a village, in the present day, Kadappa district in Andhra Pradesh. He is celebrated as the avatar of ‘Nandakam’ (the Sword of Lord Vishnu).

Annamayya has composed over 32000 Sankeerthanas (devotional songs), idolizing Lord Venkateshwara, of which only about 12000 are available at present. His compositions are classified into two genres, namely, Adhyaathma (spiritual) and Sringaara (Romantic). He deemed that his compositions were floral offerings at the Lotus feet of Lord Venkateshwara. Annamayya was so devoted to Lord Venkateswara, and through his songs, he limns the beauty of the deity, exalts the Lord, proclaims his love for Him, argues and quarrels with the Him, and totally surrenders himself to Lord Venkateshwara.

Though his compositions are well received now, they were forgotten for over three centuries for some inexplicable reason. In 1849, they were discovered in a small room, just opposite to the Hundi, in the Thirumala Tirupathi Temple. The compositions were engraved on copper plates. Although they were hidden and out of sight for centuries, by the grace of the Lord, they were retrieved for the benefit of posterity. Thirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam (TTD) had taken enormous efforts to preserve and popularize his compositions. Hence, a committee was formed and the late Dr Balamuralikrishna (the Aasthana Gaayaka of the Thirumala Temple for 2 decades), was appointed as the committee head. He set the music for several compositions of Annamayya, which are popular even today. He composed the song in the same raaga that was inscribed on the copper plate. The legendary singer Smt. M S Subbulakshmi’s album, Balaji Pancharatnamala, a collection of Annamayya sankeerthanas was released in 1979, and four more followed subsequently and they were lauded by rasikas. TTD decided to compile and popularize Annamayya krithis, M S Amma, the then ASTHANA VIDHWAN(resident artist) of Thirumala, was entrusted with the cyclopean task of recording them in cassettes, which led to the emergence of many precious jewels of Annamayya.

The Telugu movie named Annamayya, depicting his life, was created by K. Raghavendra Rao, in 1997. Actor Akkineni Nagarjuna donned the pivotal role of Annamayya. The film was a colossal hit and was well appreciated by music lovers.
It is impossible to choose the best compositions of Annamayya, as each song is so dear, even to Lord Venkateshwara Himself. Some of his popular compositions are Adhivo al adhivo, Naraayanathey, Kattedura, Pidikita Thalambraala, Nigama, Jo Atchuthaananda, Podagantivaiya, Brahma kadigina, Brahmam okatey, Muddhugaarey Yashodha and a myriad more.

The song Muddhugaarey Yashodha, is a rare Gem, composed in Telugu, set in the raaga KURINJI and AADHI taala. The Raaga Kurinji has a soothing effect on one’s mind. This raaga is replete with Bhakti Bhava (Devotion). This raaga is generally sung at the Madhyam Shruti. This raaga’s complete form is realized within a single Octave. Kurinji Raaga is prevalent in ancient Tamil folk music. It is an auspicious raaga and hence many wedding songs such as, Seetha Kalyana Vaibhogamey and Thanthi Muganukkillaya are composed in this raaga. Kannney en kanmaniyey by Papanasam sivam, Ksheerabdhi Kanyakaku, and Muddhugaarey by Annamayya and Aliveni Enthu by Swathi Thirunal, are lilting pieces, cherished by connoisseurs of music. The famous movie song, based on this raaga is, Sundari Soundari (Thookku Thookki),
In this composition, Annamayya adulates Yeshodha, who is Krishna’s foster mother, but he has shown equal prominence for Mother Devaki, who was separated from Krishna, on the very day she gave birth to Him. In the Pallavi, the composer showcases the deep love that mother Yashodha has towards Little Krishna. Mother Yashoda pours her love and deluges Bala Krishna with kisses. He is the Muthyam, (Pearl) in her courtyard. He is the one with impeccable qualities, and the son of Mother Devaki.

Lord Krishna is like the Manickyamu (Ruby) in the palms of Gollethala (Gopikas or cowherdesses). He is as sharp and tough as Vajramu, (Diamond) when He conquers the stubborn and arrogant Kamsa. He is the Paccha Poosa (Emerald) which emanates radiance across the three worlds. For all His devotees like us, He is Chinni Krishnudu, (Little Krishna), who is amongst us and always accessible.

Lord Krishna’s consort Rukmini Devi's lips are Rangu movi Pagadamu, (Colourful Coral lips). He is like Gomedhikamu (Hessonite) for the Govardhana mountains, which He lifted so effortlessly with His little finger. The Lord is the Vaiduryamu (cat’s eye) which is between the Shankh (conch) and Chakra (discuss). For devotees like us who seek refuge in Him, He is Kamalaakshudu, (the Lotus-eyed one) who protects us.

Our Human mind is poisoned and tainted like the serpent Kalinga. Just as Lord Krishna vanquishes the serpent’s ego through His Grace, likewise, He destroys all our evil qualities. The composer compares Lord Krishna, who is dancing on the hood of the Serpent, crushing his ego, to Pushyaragamu (Yellow Sapphire). The one who reigns the Venkatadhri Hills (Thirumala Hills) is hailed as the Indra Neelamu (Blue Sapphire). He is lauded as Divya Rathnamu (the divine Jewel) in the Milky ocean. Although He is Padmanabhudu, (From the navel of Lord Vishnu, a Lotus emerged in which Lord Brahma was born), the source of the Universe, He wanders around like an adorable innocent boy who is beloved to His devotees.

This composition is not only honey sweet to our ears but also a visual treat, as all the Krishna Leelas,(anecdotes of Krishna) unfold in front of our eyes while we listen to this composition.

Muddhugare Yashodha is an evergreen composition that is rendered by renowned singers like MS Subbhulakshmi, Priya sisters, Nithyashree Mahadevan and S P Shailaja. The song was recently rendered by Utthara UnniKrishnan and the Duo, Rahul Vellal and Surya Gayathri. Their angelical voices have brought in freshness and innocence that is so blissful to the Rasikas.

B.Yamuna is a musician cum teacher. She enjoys singing and teaching. Yamuna and her team have given group performances in number of places. She is a graduate of English Literature and qualified various other courses in the field of language teaching.