Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Thiruppavai - Pasuram18

undhu madha kaLitran Odaadha thOL valiyan
nandhagOpan marumagaLE nappinnaay
kandham kamazhum kuzhali kadai thiRavaay
vandhu engum kOzhi azhaiththana kaaN maadhavi(p)
pandhal mEl pal kaal kuyilinangaL koovina kaaN
pandhu aar virali un maiththunan pEr paada(ch)
chendhaamarai(k) kaiyaal seeraar vaLai olippa
vandhu thiRavaay magizhndhElOr embaavaay

உந்து மதகளிற்றன் ஓடாத தோள்வலியன்,
நந்தகோ பாலன் மருமகளே! நப்பின்னாய்!
கந்தம் கமழும் குழலீ! கடைதிறவாய்;
வந்தெங்கும் கோழி அழைத்தனகாண்; மாதவிப்
பந்தல்மேல் பல்கால் குயிலினங்கள் கூவினகாண்;
பந்தார் விரலி! உன் மைத்துனன் பேர்பாட,
செந்தா மரைக்கையால் சீரார் வளையொலிப்ப
வந்து திறவாய், மகிழ்ந்தேலோ ரெம்பாவாய்.

----- MEANING -----

Lord and Sri Devi are inseparable and they serve together as UpAyam (means) and UpEyam (Ultimate goal). This is “Yeka Seshithvam”. ANDAL wakes up Goddess Nappinnai and appeals to Her.

Oh daughter-in-law of King NandagOpA, who has the proud gait of elephants with valiant shoulders having invincible strength. Oh Nappinnai with enchanting fragrant black tresses! Kindly unlock Your door. Hearken, the cocks have awakened now everywhere and are making lound noises. Hearken, the group of cuckoos, sitting on the boevenwer of Maadhavi (Kurukkatthi) flowers, have cooed gently many times.

Oh Young Lady holding the sporting ball with Your fingers as BhOgOpakaraNam! As we wish to sing about Your Lord's names, please come with joy and open the door with Your red lotus-like soft hands, which create a pleasant sound (sunAdham) from the movement of Your bracelets adorning Your forearms.

Hey lady, the daughter in law (marumagaL) of Nandagopan (nandhagOpan), who does not retreat (Odaadha), even against an elephant (kaLitran) showing off (undhu) his excitement (madham); who has powerful (valiyan) shoulders (thOl), You, who has a fragrant (kandham) smelling (kamazhum) head of hair (kuzhali), open (thiRavaay) the door (kadai). Look (kaaN)! The hens (kOzhi) are up (vandhu) and are calling (azhaiththana) everywhere (engum). Many sorts (inangaL) of cukkoo birds (kuyil) are singing (koovina) several (pal) times (kaal), on top of (mEl) the trellis (pandhal) of the 'kurukkaththi creeper' (maadhavi). Look! (kaaN). Will you please come (vandhu) cheerfully (magizhndhu) and open (thiRavaay) the door, with your red (sen) lotus (thaamarai) hands (kai), and jingling (olippa) of beautiful (seer) bangles (vaLai), so that we may sing (paada) the praise (pEr) of your (un) husband (maiththunan), who is holding a ball (pandhu) in his fingers (viral).


Oh, Nappinnai, the daughter-in-law of Nandagopalan who has the strength of a furious elephant and who will never run away from a battle, you Nappinnai in your fragrant tresses. Kindly open the door.

The shrill clarion of the cocks fills the air. Cuckoos perched on the bower of the jasmine plant have been singing away with their shrill notes. You young Lady, kindly unlock the door. The jingling sound of your bangles we will hear and rejoice.

More Insight

This is a very important pasuram. Even after waking up all from Nanda to Balarama, when Krishna does not open His lips, they realize their folly in not waking up first NAPPINNAI, the chief queen and Purushakara (recommending authority) during His sojourn in this world as Krishna. They do it in this verse.

Nappinnai is Sri NEELA DEVI, the other two being SRI DEVI (Rukmini) and BHOO DEVI (Satyabhama). Nappinnai's name is not found anywhere in the Puranas and in Sanskrit poems except in SRI YADAVABHYUDAYAM of Sri DESIKA, where she is referred to as Neela; and in the stotras of Sri KURATTAZHWAN.

As we are sinners and the Lord is known for His "Swaatantrya" (acting according to His own will), it is necessary to approach Him through somebody who is very near and dear to Him and whose advice is infallible. Hence Nappinnai's intervention is is essential.

She is addressed as Nanda's daughter-in-law,because she thinks that that is what gives her prestige and status in society.Sita,when asked by Hanuman said," I'm the daughter-in-law of Dasaratha first,and then only the daughter of Janaka." So to an Indian woman Andal's exhortation is: "After marriage a girl should always prefer herself to be referred to as the daughter-in-law of her father-in-law; which means that the welfare of her husband's family should weigh more with her than that of the family of her origin.This attitude would enhance her own prestige and bring immense joy to her own family."

This pasuram was the special favorite of our Acharya Sri Ramanuja. He was in the habit reciting to himself Tiruppavai stanzas while he went for his Maadhukara Vritti (for collecting the alms the householders used to give) .Once just as he reached the door of his Guru's house he was meditating on this verse. While the last line "SEERAAR VALAI OLIPPA etc " was on his lips the door opened to the clinking of the bangles of the daughter of his guru. Sri Ramanuja thought that it was Nappinnai herself who opened the door and overwhelmed with jubilation promptly prostrated himself before her. The terrified girl ran to her father and narrated the incident. The guru TIRUKKOTTIYUR NAMBI exclaimed, "Jiya! Were you reciting UNDU MADAKALIRU? "What an understanding between the Teacher and the taught! May that relationship save us all.


In our AarAdhanam, we awaken (invoke) AchAryan and Ananatha-Garuda-VishvaksEnar (nithyasooris) first and then awaken PirAtti. Here through the awakening of Nappinnai, all the three parties are awakened. In KrishNavathAram, until the time of the Lord's residence in Gokulam, Nappinai PirAtti was PradhAnam (chief wife) and enjoyed the andharangam of the Lord. Nappinnai is the incarnation of NeeLA dEvi. Therefore, the Gopis approach Nappinnai seeking her intercession (PurushakAram). Without PurushakAram of PirAtti, Saasthrams say that one should not approach BhagavAn. Even PirAtti would not intervene unless that the chEthanam has sath sahavAsam and SadAchArya sambhandham.

Therefore as poorvAngam (preliminaries), the Gopis related to the gate keepers, and NandhagOpan. Nappinai's close relative is NandhagOpan. Therefore, Gopis address Napinnai cleverly as “NandhagOpAlan

MarumahaLE” here. NandhagOpan's Isvaryam is indicated with “Unthu mathakaLiRRin OdAtha ThOlvaliyan” in this paasuram. Besides his wealth of cattle, NandagOpAlan is known for the herd of elephants befitting his role as the king of GopAs. His Bhuja bala parakramam is also indicated by the reference to the elephants in rut, which NandhagOpan is able to subjugate.

(This is the famous Paasuram associated with AchAryA RaamAnujA's swoon, when he identified AthtuzhAi, the daughter of his AchAryAn, with Nappinnai, when sheopened the door of her house with jangling bangles to offer Bikshai to RamanujA).

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