Lord Krishna: "O Gopis! your words are selfcontradictory. You say you have come for getting materials for the NONBU,and in the same breath that it is for enjoying my company. Those who desire my company need to eschew all other desires.Moreover what is this vow you mention? who has prescribed it and what are the accessories needed?" Gopis - "The cowherds proposed this vow.As it came in handy to see your face and sing your glory and as it is in no way opposed to our primary purpose of enjoying your company we readily responded.We do it also to express our gratitude towards these cowherds who have brought about our union under this pretext. "Although there is no direct Vedic injunction ,we do it because our ancestors have done it (Melayaar seyvanagal). We give more importance to the practices of our very learned ancestors,than to any other injunctions." Age old customs,traditions and practices of our Acharyas are to be respected and observed with great care - is the message of Andal in this paasuram.By enumerating all the accessories for the Nonbu,Andal is actually speaking about SAAMYAAPATTI- where the delivered soul gets emblems similar to the Lord's in Sri Vaikuntha; and the warm welcome it receives there after casting off this human mantle. MAALE -depicts the LORD's excessive,boundless and unlimited loving care and affection for the soul.It is the meaning of MAAM in Geeta Charama Sloka. AALINILAYAAY -mentioning His immeasurable and most wonderful prowess brings out the sense of AHAM in the same sloka. MAAM shows His SOULABHYA (accessability) and AHAM His omnipotence.
Sri Krishna,after hearing their list of articles needed for the vow said- "O girls! If there is a God equal to Me then you may find a conch equal to my Paanchajanya.You have asked for 'many conches'I can give the conch blown at the temple PULLARAYAN KOIL you mentioned in St.6,and the one I used to blow to bring back the cattle from grazing and my Paanchajanya. "As regards PARAI - I can give the kettle drum JAAMBAVAAN beat when I measured the whole universe; and the huge drum beaten to celebrate my victory at Lanka;and the big one I tie to my waist to attract all girls to my dance of the pots (Kudakkoottu). " PALLAANDU ISAIPPAAR - are your father Sri Vishnuchittar and Sri Nammaazhwaar. " KOLAVILAKKU - is Nappinnai; KODI - Garuda;and VITAANAM (canopy) is Ananta.Are you satisfied ? Now you may go." Gopis - "These are for the observance of our vow.But after the vow we have to receive certain honours.They are exclusively for us.You have to give them to all to us." This is the prayer of ANDAL in this paasuram;the inner meaning being MUKTA BHOGA - the delivered soul's enjoyment in the Lord's company at Sri Vaikuntha. Incidentally Andal leaves a message for posterity.The Lord can punish a soul for a wrong only if the the soul is not prepared to take refuge unto Him i.e., only as long the soul is bent on protecting himself by himself. The moment he accepts His protection, the Lord cannot punish him for his sins.This is the means to secure a victory over him.This is the inner meaning of the first line KOODAARAI VELLUM SEER.For ex: 1)Parasurama,instead of confronting Rama with a bow and losing,could have come with clasped hands,and won.This,perhaps he was not aware of. 2) Ravana was allowed by Rama to get back to his palace when he had lost everything and stood there unable to defend himself.He came back the next day fully furnished with with chariot and weapons,and lost his life.Had he come without weapons he could have conquered Rama.Gopis won Him over by their humble submission to Him. The ornaments referred to in this stanza are ornaments not only for the body but the soul also.The food (SORU) is the Lord; ghee and milk are His virtues (KALYANAGUNA). MUKTA BHOGA is the quintescence of this stanza.
In the very first paasuram Sri ANDAL declared unequi- vocally that Sriman Narayana alone was the Means(UPAAYA) for getting emancipation and His Service."NarayananE Taruvaan"- the "E" is very significant.Similarly Lord Krishna in His CHARAMA SLOKA commanded "Maam EKAM Saranam Vraja." - "EKAM" = Me ALONE. This is very well brought out By Sri Andal in this verse. A Prapanna who firmly believes that the Lord alone is capable of putting an end to our ever-revolving cycle of births and deaths should possess SIX essential characteristics: 1.He should have no truck with any other "means" like Karmayoga etc( this is his AAKINCHANYA). 2.Moreover to observe such Yogas he does not have any legitimate right,as sanctioned by the Scriptures.He has to declare his "lowness".(ANANYAGATITVA) 3.He has to keep thinking constantly of the Fullness or unimaginable capabilities of Lord Almighty who is the "MOOLA SUKRITA". 4.He should concentrate on the indissoluble relationship that he has with God. 5.He should beg pardon of the Lord for all his countless acts of misbehaviour in the past. 6.He should pray to God for the realisation of his aspiration,namely Service to the Almighty. Sri Andal in a very dramatic manner brings out all these in this verse. Sri Krishna observed,"O Girls! When your aspiration is for the highest End - my Service (KAINKARYA),you must have also performed the prescribed rites for it like Karma Yoga etc. Have you done so ?" Gopis: (emphatically) No,O Lord! To perform them we should in the first place have learnt the Vedas by sitting at the holy feet of a great Acharya(Prasaanta- chittaaya samaanvitaya etc) reputed for his erudition and practice of rites. But our "gurus" are the milch- cattle and our vocation is tending them to fill our stomachs.(KARAVAIGAL PIN SENRU etc) To add to this we are born of a race which has no claim for knowledge.(ARIVONRUMILOM) Krishna: If that is the case I can't help you. Gopis: We are imperfect creatures but your perfection should fill up this gap.(KURAIVONRUM etc) Krishna:Now you claim a relationship with me,but this can be broken off very easily by performing a rite called "Ghata Sraaddha" Gopis:That rite is applicable only to the relationships which are the result of Karma.But our relationship(namely the one between the Soul and God)is indissoluble either by you or us or both together.(UNTHANNODU etc) Krishna: Now you correctly understand our relationship and call me "Govinda" signifying my being one amongst you.But in the past you have called me as 'Narayana" which has caused me considerable pain.(NOTE: NARAYANA indicates the Lord's relationship with every created being,prapanna as well as non-prapanna;where as GOVINDA was the title He received indicative of His special Accessibility(SOULABHYA) and compassion towards calves, cows and cowherds.) Gopis: we apologise to you for this oversight on our part.But after all we are innocent cowherd girls.Out of our affection for you we lost our balance of mind. Please forgive us.(ARIYAADA PILLAIGALOM etc) Krishna then summoned NAPPINNAI and ordered her to give them what they desired. Gopis: No! she has played her role by recommending our case to you.(PURUSHAKAARATVA).Now it is your turn.You are the UPAAYA,the bestower of your very valuable and much sought-after Service.(NOTE: in a similar case Sri RAMANUJA in SARANAAGATI GADYA prayed to SRI LAKSHMI for intercession and when she said ,"Astu te; tayaiva sarvam sampatsyate", he proceeded to pray to the Lord for Kainkarya.)Please do it.(IRAIVA etc) "Sriman Narayana charanau...etc" - the First Line of the DVAYA Mantra is well illustrated in this paasuram. The stanza needs to be understood with an elaborate explanation by an erudite Guru.The sum and substance of the stanza is that He alone is the sole Means of Salvation; and a person who has no claim for any Sat Karma as the Means of salvation and a refugee, alone is fit for surrendering himself unto the Lord.
This stanza clearly tells us of the highest Purushaartha (the end of human life),explaining the meaning of PARAI. Asking for Parai is a pretext; as the cowherds proposed this "nonbu' for getting rain and as it came in handy for Gopis(Andal) to keep looking at the face of Lord Krishna for as long as they liked,they accepted it.Their real intention is to get KAINKARYA (eternal service)at the lotus-feet of the Lord.The word NARAYANANE used in the first stanza was explained in the previous verse;the word PARAI is explained here. Both "Means" and "End" are the same in Sri Vaishnava Sampradaaya;it is Sriman Narayana himself.If those who take Him as the "Means' have contact with other "Means" like Karmayoga etc,it is akin to pollution due to contact with a dead body(because Karma Yoga etc are by nature inert and need His Presence to give Result).And if they consider their act of Surrender to the Lord (Prapatti) itself to be the "Means", it is like accretion of sin due to contact with a chandaala(because anything which has the taint of the ego pollutes the purity of the Prapanna). Similarly regarding the "End" also there are two mistakes which need to to be avoided: 1)Desiring other mundane things from Him,which would be like desiring to eat poisoned or contaminated food; and 2)serving the Lord for one's own enjoyment rather than exclusively for His pleasure(Swaartha Kainkarya),which would be like eating food left over from another eater (Uchchishtha Bhojana). Both these types of Purities (UPAAYA SUDDHI and UPEYA SUDDHI) need to be strictly ensured by a Prapanna.The previous verse (28) speaks of UPAAYA SUDDHI -"UNTANNAI.. ..PUNNIYAM YAAM UDEYOM"- You ALONE are our Means.The present verse enjoins UPEYA SUDDHI - "UNAKKE NAAM AAT_ SEYVOM" -We serve you for the sake of your happiness ALONE,and we derive happiness on seeing your enjoyment. Even the least trace of selfish enjoyment is to be totally erased in the service of God.It is just as in the case of sandal paste,cool breeze,flowers,ornaments etc which give pleasure to man,without themselves feeling any;the only difference being that man not being inert like them feels happy looking at the pleasure of the Lord. Krishna ordered His servants to bring the huge kettle- drum (PARAI).Then Andal says,"O Wonder! you have not understood us.We require only your everlasting,most enjoyable service.We wish to be always born alongwith you, and keep company with you always to serve you.(Like Lakshmana who served Rama whether He was in Ayodhya or in the forest.).Kindly guard us from evincing interest in anything except you." Just as the body serves a man,the Soul,which is the body of the Lord (Yasya aatma sareeram),should serve Him.This is the natural law.This is the message of Andal in this crowning verse.
Those who study this Tiruppavai are forever acceptable to Sri Mahalakshmi and Sriman Narayana - this is the gist of this stanza.In days of yore,in Dwaapara Yuga,Gopis actually performed this Nonbu.Later on Sri andal imitated them in her heart.Both Gopis and Andal got the service of the Lord. So also even without performing the rite or imitating it, just by chanting this Divya Prabandha,people will get the same fruit (Kainkarya).Sri PARASARA BHATTAR said,"Just as the mother cow gives milk even in the presence of its dead and stuffed calf (TOL KANRUKKUM IRANGUMAPOLE) so also the Lord will bless us even though we are absolutely devoid of the supreme devotion of Andal,merely because we are repeating her words." Gopis had surrendered themselves to Sri Krishna;but their Saranaagati would gain fruit only through the PURUSHAKAARA (recommendation) of Sri Mahalakshmi.The Lord had churned the Milky Ocean to get her; and so the Gopis begin by chanting that herculean effort of the Lord.VANGAKKADAL was churned only to get Sri Devi who had remained hidden there.Thus He became MAA(Lakshmi's)-DHAVA(husband).In stanza 2 Andal said ADI PAADI- singing the glory of His Feet; here in 30 she says KESAVANAI -of Him who has fascinating locks of hair. Thus she enjoys the Lord's Form from His Holy Feet to His Head (Aa paada choodam). The meaning of the POORVA KHANDA (first half) of the DVAYA Mantra is implied in this first line. The word "SRIMAT" (He who is ever in the company of SRI) in DVAYA mantra is represented here by MAADAHAVANAI. " NARAYANA" in DVAYA means He who has the noble qualities of VAATSALYA,SWAAMITVA,SAUSHILYA,SAULABHYA,GNAANA and SHAKTI. These are brought out in the present paasuram as under: 1.KADAL KADAINDA -Lord Vishnu ,turning a blind eye (Kaanaa- kkannittu) towards the blemishes of all the gods and demons, churned the ocean to get them nectar;this is VAATSALYA. 2.He established His Supremacy by managing the entire operation single-handedly; this is SWAAMITVA. 3.He even worked in cooperation with worst criminals - the lowliest of the lowly; this is SAUSHILYA. 4.He took the guise of a charming cherub and personally distributed the nectar;this is SAULABHYA. 5.He had the requisite knowledge,the know-how to churn the ocean; this is GNAANA. 6.And He had the required strength to complete the task up to the end; this is SHAKTI. KESAVANAI- By referring to the locks of hair, His Form is implied; that is the meaning of "CHARANAU" in the DVAYA. Those who recite the Tiruppavai paasurams are sure to be blessed by Him.They will get everything here and finally attain Salvation.Sri PARASARA BHATTAR used to say,"every one should every morning recite all the 30 verses;or at least the 29th one-SITTAM SIRUKALE; if he finds even that difficult, he should at least bring to his mind how much exquisite joy WE added to our days and nights through chanting,understanding,discussing and in fact living with these Divine Verses (Naam irunda iruppai ninaippadu)." Those who thus take refuge unto Him will serve Him for ever and ever;no rebirth for them.Let us also chant these sweet songs and make our mother SRI GODA DEVI's appearance in this world useful and purposeful.
SRIMATYAI VISHNUCHITTARYA MANO NANDANA HETAVE
NANDA NANDANA SUNDARYAI GODAAYAI NITYA MANGALAM
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