SRIMATE RAMANUJAYA NAMAHA
SRIMATE BALADHANVI MAHAGURAVE NAMAHA
SRI ANDAL's TIRUP-PAVAI
U.Ve.E.S. Bhuvarahachariar Swamy
Tiruppavai Audio Station
INTRODUCTION: Sri ANDAL is the Quintescence incarnation of Sri BHUMI DEVI the Divine Consort of SRIMAN NARAYANA, who took birth on this earth to liberate suffering human beings from worldly bondage.She sang thirty sweet songs containing the cardinal principles ofSriVaishnava Dharma during the month of MARGAZHI.Singing these songs,with understanding of their inner meaning, will bring to us peace, prosperity and above all Divine Grace. ANDAL, though a Brahmin girl, assumes the guise of a cowherdess and yearns for Everlasting Happiness and Service of the Lord.It is the age-old practice of Sri Vaishnavas to sing these stanzas every day of the year in the presence of the Lord in the temple as well as in their homes.This practice assumes special significance during MARGAZHI so much so that each day of this month gets its name from a pasuram,like for example the first day (12.16.97) is called MARGAZHI- TTINGAL. It may appear in the beginning that Andal is intending to perform a particular religious vow to marry the Lord and thereby obtain His Everlasting Company,and that she is inviting all her girl friends to join her.It is only towards the end of TIRUPPAVAI that we learn that she did not actually go to any pond or river or perform a religious rite; SHE IS ACTUALLY PRAYING TO BE GRANTED THE SERVICE OF THE LORD FOR ALL ETERNITY.It is the Soul's inner craving to redeem itself and to reach His Divine Nearness in order to serve him (" Attaani- cchevagam" as her father PERIYAZHWAR calls it) which forms the real purport of this poem. 1. MARGAZHI TTINGAL
The first stanza which states the central premise to be elaborated in the rest of the poem contains the following ideas: 1.Andal praises the day (NANNAL)that has appeared of its own accord for the observance of the vow.What it means is that for a soul,that day is the Good Day when he understands all about himself and God and their mutual relationship of Lord and Servant which is stated in the Tirumantram. 2.The fruit in getting one's body is for serving the Lord here and hereafter (NEERADA PODUVIR) 3.All those who have a longing for the service of the Lord are qualified to join her.(PODUVIR PODUMINO) 4.She speaks of the radiance that attended on the face of her companions on hearing her requisition.(MADI NIRAINDA ;the moon is not in the sky alone!) 5.The prosperity of Gokula consists of Sri Krishna's amiable pranks in stealing butter and girls; i.e.,the wealth of a Sri Vaishnava consists of his intoxicating love for and enjoyment of Lord's company. 6.Nandagopa's vigilance in guarding Krishna with his very sharp spear in hand symbolises the "ASTHANE BHAYA-SANKA" and "MANGALASASANA-PARATA" which characterises a SriVaishnava. 7.Yasoda's over-indulgence of Krishna is responsible for all his pranks and misbehaviour towards the young gopis. 8.SrimanNarayana is the SOLE MEANS of attaining His Feet. This strikes the keynote of the Song Divine-TIRUPPAVAI. NARAYANANE (Upaya Swarupam) NAMAKKE (Adhikari Swarupam) PARAI (Phala Swarupam) TARUVAN.The safest means of securing Him is not Karma yoga etc but His Grace only. That is the sum and substance of this verse.
2. VAIYATHU VAZHVIRGAL
At her cordial invitation a huge crowd gathered and the wonder-struck ANDAL exclaims,"in this ignorance-spreading world,are there so many interested in Emancipation!".She proceeds to prescribe "dos" and "don'ts"( which actually are the SAMBHAVITA SWABHAVA,the natural characteristics of the Adhikari). While we appear to be performing this vow for getting rain,in reality it is different.She stresses the words "NAMUM NAM Pavaikku"- NAMUM- WE are quite different from others; we long for His company and firmly believe that He alone is the Means for achieving it. NAM Pavai- Indrajit did a malefic rite to put an end to Rama;but OUR beneficent rite is for securing Lord's and His World's prosperity and happiness. The SriVaishnavite Code of Conduct as prescribed by her is as follows: Recite the Samskrita and Dravida Veda which sings the glory of the Feet of the Lord reclining on the Serpent in the Milky Ocean,all the while thinking about one's Redemption. Eschew all carnal and even worldly desires like eating ghee,drinking milk etc. Bathe early in the morning.Don't adorn your eyes with collyrium,or your hair with flowers till the completion of the vow;meaning thereby that a SriVaishnava needs decoration etc only when he is in union with the Lord. Never indulge in an act which was not practised by our righteous minded ancestors.Bharata refused the kingship though granted by his father and permitted by Rama on the grounds that the tradition of Solar Kings did not permit a younger son to rule when the elder was living. A SriVaishnava should not speak ill of others or even think about it (which is tantamount to reporting it to the God inside the heart,thereby ensuring their fall);Sita never uttered a word to Rama about the illtreatment by the Rakshasis. He should ever be ready to do charity and impart knowledge about God to all those who need it. In short he should constantly be thinking about his upliftment and keep his mind filled with peace and happiness.
3. ONGI ULAGALANTHA UTHAMAN
In this worse ANDAL wishes for rain and consequential prosperity for the whole world as the world is the property of her Lord.So who is a Sri Vaishnava ? It is he who while being detached with reference to the riches of the world,is at the same time aspiring for them considering them as his Lord's riches.Hence all Sri Vaishnavas after daily prayer recite the verse which says "Sarve Janah Sukhino Bhavantu" every one should be happy. Andal tells the girls,"If we,girls,recite the NAME of the Lord who measured the entire universe with his three steps and observe this vow then the whole world will become prosperous." Note the text which says "Uthaman PER"(his NAME).She could have simply said "if we sing the glory of the Lord." But she says instead, the NAME of the Lord. Which means that the NAME OF THE LORD (the Tiru Ashtakshara Mantra,the Eight-Syllabled one) is more efficacious than the Lord Himself.When,in the court hall of Duryodhana,Draupadi was being disrobed by Dussaasana,it was only the NAME "Govinda" which saved her modesty while the Lord failed her. But we Prapannas (Surrenderers) seek salvation only from Him.The Mantra is only for understanding the true nature of the Soul,Lord,and the mutual relationship; it is essentially to promote the ARTHA PANCHAKA knowledge. NEENGATHA Selvam - we see that riches do not remain for long with any man; then what does NEENGATHA mean ? It refers to the Moksha Aiswarya,Service of God,obtained through the recommendation of Sri Mahalakshmi.
4.AAZHI MAZHAI KKANNA
The Presiding Deity of Rain was keenly observing the happenings in this world.He saw his master Sriman Narayana serving all the gopis.So he thought that taking orders from the gopis and carrying out their commands was the best and easiest means of pleasing his master.So approaching Andal who was in the guise of a gopi he requests her to command him;and she does so in a detailed manner in this verse. The inner significance is as follows:Just as the heir apparent to the throne is always feared and respected by all ministers and officers so are the Sri Vaishnavas by inferior gods.Hence When a Sri Vaishnava worships other deities like Indra,Rudra Varuna etc,he is doing something inappropriate as well as ridiculous.It will only cause his downfall and ruin his chance of getting salvation.So Beware! So here the Rain God who has come to hear her command is told," Go to the middle region of the sea,drink the entire water leaving not a drop,then pour it out in its entirety without discriminating between the places where the good and bad live.The rain, which resembles the arrows shot by Sri Rama to shatter the demons to pieces, should instead bring forth happiness and prosperity to the entire land." A Sri Vaishnava is one who always thinks of everything good for everyone in this world.
Among the assembled gopis,one expressed a doubt,"we are planning elaborately for getting the company of Krishna.But remember,we are sinners and our sins will throw obstacles in our path.It always happens when a good deed is contemplated.It is the way of the world.Take the case of Dasaratha who planned the coronation of Rama;the great omniscient sage Vasishta fixed the date;the citizens clamoured for him and applauded the decision.But what happened ? Rama went to the forest forsaking the city,and it was His Paduka (holy sandals) which sat on the throne for fourteen years.So what is the surety that we will succeed?" The answer is given in this verse: Recite the name of Krishna;think of him;offer flowers;and all obstacles will vanish.All sins committed before taking Refuge with Him,as well those unwittingly accruing after Surrender (Saranagati) will perish. The Purva Agha (earlier sins) will be burnt to ashes like cotton bales in a fire;and the Uttara Agha(Subse- quent Sins) will not stick to the person like drops of water to a lotus leaf. Milk is both a pleasurable food as well as a medicine to cure bile.The same is the case with Him.(Maruttuvanai ninra mamanivanna) SECTION II INTRODUCTION: The first five pasurams of Tiruppavai form one section and pasurams 6-15 the second section.These 10 stanzas describe the sleeping girls being woken up by those who are already up.These two groups represent KAINKARYA NISHTHA (those impatient to serve God,like Lakshmana) and GUNA NISHTHA (those who are content to meditate on the glorious qualities of God,like Bharata).Nammazhwar speaks of their presence even in Vaikunthaloka - VAIKUNTATTU AMARARUM (service minded) MUNIVARUM (enjoying His Virtues). Poison acts on different people in different ways - some faint and some run here and there;so do the attributes of Sri Krishna.Hence the sleeping girls not a bit inferior in their longing for Krishna to those who wake them.Though one could go to Krishna on one's own,it is not advisable "VEDAM VALLARGALAI KKONDU,VINNOR PERUMAN TIRUPPADAM PANINDU " says Nammazhwar.We should always approch Him through some godly person;because we have sinned against Him and being a SWATANTRA (free to act as He pleases),He may punish us.Hence a Recommending Authority is very much needed.Moreover His virtues are like a huge river in spate during rains,and so if a man wants to croos it surely he needs the help of others.Further unlike in the case of carnal company,enjoyment of His company will be sweeter in the company of Bhaktas. Those gopis who are vigilant are goaded on by their haste (twara) to get Kainkarya,while those that are asleep have firm faith (adhyavasaya)in the Lord as Upaya.Hence pasurams 6-15 give room for interpreting them as referring to Azhwars and acharyas.
6. PULLUM SILAMBINA KAN
The girls approach the mansion of a gopi and wake her up by indicating signs of early dawn,"even the birds are up and chirping.Get up." The sleeping girl rejects this reason,"oh girls,you never allow the birds in your town to sleep,with your chanting of His names and making them chant too.This is no sign of dawn!" Then they mention a noteworthy sign," PULLARAYAN KOIL etc..The blowing conch in the temple of Vishnu for early morning worship, is inviting us all for His service.Get up." Here the phrase PULLARAYAN KOIL brings out an excellent quality of the Lord: PUL is bird,here Garuda; ARAYAN king ; KOYIL temple. The temple of Vishnu.But why this circumlocution? There is a reason. In Ramayana while narrating to Hanuman her abduction by Ravana,Sita says,"On that fateful day I was lured by that demon disguised as a deer,and was separated from Rama's younger brother and Lakshmana's elder brother(RAMANUJAM LAKSMANA POORVAJAM CHA)." Such phraseology is used for a purpose.The Lord feels happy when His name is coupled with His devotee'sand so does the devotee when he is referred to as being subservient to the Lord.The message of Sita (Sri Devi) and Andal (Bhu Devi) to us is that when a Sri Vaishnava names his child he should follow this principle. ULLATHU KKONDU etc in this verse is noteworthy.The munis and yogins get up in the morning very slowly from their beds so that the Lord,taking eternal abode in their hearts may not be disturbed.Prahlada was pushed down from the top of a huge mountain,and while falling he held fast his bosom with great concern for Sri Hari living there,never bothering about what was happening to himself.But the Lord waited for him at the bottom of the mountain and received him in his spread arms. Parasara Bhattar used to embellish his body with silken robe,ornaments,sandal paste etc, and when asked about its propriety in respect of the despicable body,he said in his view it was not despicable but adorable being the sanctum sanctorum of the Almighty. Andal also leaves this lesson in this verse: When you get up in the morning chant the name of Hari (HARIR HARIR HARIRITI VYAHARET VAISHNAVAH PUMAN).Let us do so.
7. KISU KISU
In this stanza,from the two addresses in vocative case PEY PENNE! and NAYAKA PPENPILLAY! which are diametrically opposite in meaning,we are to understand that they are said out of love and affection for the sleeping girl. Whatever may be the apparent contradiction,the inner feeling is most important while moving with Sri Vaishna vas. In the 6000-Padi commentary we find very interesting and enlightening comments and to illustrate them an episode narrated with exquisite charm.Having woken up a handful of girls Andal could have proceeded on to Krishna.Why go to EVERY house ? If one is a Sri Vaishnava he should think of the welfare of ALL- not just a few.Not even a single girl should lose the golden opportunity of getting the grace of Sri Krishna. A man's relationship with Sriman Narayana is true only if he rejoices at the good luck of another man as if it were his own son's.If he fails to feel that way he is no Sri vaishnava. ALKONDAVILLY JEEYAR,a sincere pupil of SRI RAMANUJA once met in Sri Rangam NANJEEYAR,the disciple of PARASARA BHATTAR.The former exclaimed," O Jeeyar! Really I have not developed a taste for Bhagavad Vishaya (i.e., God)." Nanjeeyar was amazed and asked "How is this possible? you are the faithful student of Sri Ramanuja,serving him assiduously - still you say this ?" The former said," If a man has real taste for Bhagavan he must enjoy the sweet company of His devotees.If not he is no Sri Vaishnava.Have we developed that pleasurable attitude towards Sri Vaishnavas ? Hence I say so." Unless the meeting,mingling and deriving supreme satisfaction and happiness in the company of Bhagavatas are secured here in this world (which is the intensive training ground for our life in Sri Vaikuntha),the Moksha will not be delectable.NAMMAZHWAR says at the end of Tiruvaymozhi,"ADIYAARODU IRUNDAMAI". He aspired not for the mere union of the Lord but for the same in the company of His devotees,which alone would make it delectable.8. KIZH VANAM
Here a girl who is Krishna's particular sweetheart is being woken up.She can be compared to NAMMAZHWAR (Krishna- trishna tatvam) the very embodiment of deep devotion to Sri Krishna.Her company is certain to accomplish their desire. KOTHUGALAMUDAYA PAVAAI! is a most beautiful form of address. "The horizon has become bright.Get up." say the girls. But she astonishes them by replying,"It is the lustre from your moon-like faces which has brightened the Eastern quarter.The day is yet to dawn." The second sign of daybreak mentioned in this stanza indicates that Andal has indeed been transformed into a gopi - "The buffaloes are fast dispersing in the fields searching for the tender green grass with the dew drops of dawn clinging to them.If we delay, Krishna would have followed them into the forest and our purpose would be lost." This statement could not have come out of the lips of anyone other than a true cowherdess.So Andal has totally identified herself with a gopi,living with the cowherds and taking part in all their daily chores. Her father Sri Vishnuchitta was a learned Vedic authority and had even written a rule book for conducting sacrifices called Kalpa Sutra.He too assumed the role of Yasoda to the extent of participating in every childish activity of Krishna.For this his daughter affectionately calls him, "Bhogattil Vazhuvada Puduvayarkon"(one who has not missed a single opportunity to enjoy Krishna).Now his daughter does the same. The conclusion is this: Only that caste is desirable,which is congenial for the enjoyment of God and which is calculated to bring down His Grace on us.SRI LOKA DESIKA says in SRI VACHANA BHUSHANAM,"Periyazhvarum Tirumagalarum Gopa Janmattai Asthanam Panninargal."
The gopi woken up in this verse has unflinching faith in the Lord's UPAYA BHAVA.In this regard she matches very well with Sita who ,when Hanuman suggested that he carry her back to Rama,sternly refused and rebuked him saying that he was equal to Ravana,(Ravana-tulya) in this that while Ravana robbed Rama of one of his possessions,Sita; Hanuman is trying to rob Him of another,His "Sarva loka rakshakatvam" (sole right to protect all).Then she added,"With my power of chastity which cooled your burning tail,I could have saved myself;but that would have only destroyed Rama's reputation.He alone by His prowess should rescue me and establish his valour.Tat Tasya Sadrusam Bhavet.That alone would be befitting to Him." Hanuman applauded these words. So also this girl having transfered her burden to Sri Krishna,sleeps having total faith in His words," Ananyah chintayanto mam......Yoga kshemam vahamyaham". ANDAL teaches us in this stanza that a soul after surrendering to the Lord should be like this gopi. "MAMAN MAGALE!" -Oh,my uncle's daughter!. Though blood relationship is condemned as it contributes to worldly attachment,the same is most welcome if it helps to do service to God and His devotees. NAMMAZHWAR recommends living with all relations in TIRUVAYMOZHI 8.10,11,but condemns the same in 9.1.1. for the above reasons. KOORATHU AZHWAN,used to remark with a sad heart," I do not have blood relationship with Sri RAMANUJA. Fie upon me!That good fortune is with MUDALI ANDAN and EMBAR!" This idea is noteworthy in this verse. 10.NOTRU SUVARGAM
There are two addresses in the vocative case in this pasuram - NOTRU SUVARGAM PUKUKINRA AMMANOY! and ARUN KALAME! - both bring out the excellences of this gopi and thereby imply the excellent characteristics of good Sri Vaishnavas. 1. SUVARGAM here means only union with God. Sita says,while pressing Rama to take her with Him to the forest," If I am with you that is heaven for me.Separation from you means hell." The girl here has completed all her rites by surrendering to the Lord and hence is enjoying His company.So also for a Sri Vaishnava there remains nothing to be done by way of" Upaaya" after accepting Him as the sole refuge(SARANAGATI). 2.ARUNKALAME! "Kalam" has two meanings (a) vessel and (b) ornament; A Sri Vaishnava is the vessel to contain His Grace.A Sri Vaishnava possesses superior ornaments in the form of virtues;or he himself is the best ornament embellishing the gatherings of other Sri Vaishnavas. SUVARGA can also be broken up into SU+VARGA (SU=good VARGA=gathering).If a man possesses all good qualities he will be taken into the fold of Sri Vaishnavites. (Ref to PERIYAZHWAR TIRUMOZHI 3.6.11 - Saadu kottiyul kolla ppaduvare.)
In this pasuram a gopi reputed for her exquisite beauty like a golden creeper (POR KODI) and born of a very noble family,is being woken up.Her father and kinsmen are known for discharging the duties pertaining to their cowherd caste,which entails milking an endless number of cows. So Andal seems to say that performance of one's duty as enjoined in the Scriptures is calculated to bring happiness to the Lord and thereby falls into the category of His Service. One should hence never discard one's duty. SETTAR TIRALAZHIYA is noteworthy.SETTAR means enemies. Who are the enemies meant here ? Not those who despise them but those who want to harm Sri Krishna.For a Sri Vaishnava there is no direct enemy;he will not mind or may even welcome (as it will take away his sin) someone trying to harm him.But he considers him his enemy who intends harm to the Lord. SUTTATTU THOZHIMAR - the girl-companions of this gopi - who are they? They are those who even after performing all kinds of services to the Lord,do not expect anything in return except His Supreme Satisfaction and Happiness. "Praharshayishyami sanatha jeevitah"-I'll make my life worthwhile by pleasing Him- says Sri ALAVANDAR.The stanza in NACHIYAR TIRUMOZHI " Naaru narum pozhil".(9.6-7) is also to be remembered in this context.