Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Thiruppavai - Pasuram26

maalE! maNivaNNaa! maargazhi neeraaduvaan
mElaiyaar seyvanagaL vEnduvana kEttiyEl
NYaalaththai ellaam nadunga muralvana
paal anna vaNNaththu un paancha sanniyamE
pOlvana sankangaL pOy(p) paadudaiyanavE
saala(p) perum paRaiyE pallaandu isaippaarE
kOla viLakkE kodiyE vidhaanamE
aalin ilaiyaay aruLElOr embaavaay

மாலே! மணிவண்ணா! மார்கழிநீ ராடுவான்
மேலையார் செய்வனகள் வேண்டுவன கேட்டியேல்
ஞாலத்தை யெல்லாம் நடுங்குமுரல்வன
பாலன்ன வண்ணத்துள் பாஞ்சசன்னியமே
போல்வன சங்கங்கள் போய்ப்பாடுடையனவே,
சாலப்பெரும் பறையே, பல்லாண் டிசைப்பாரே,
கோல விளக்கே, கொடியே, விதானமே,
ஆலின் இலையாய்! அருளேலோ ரெம்பாவாய்.


Here, the young gOpis request the granting of drum, lamp, flag, canopy et al). Oh the embodiment of pure disinterested love! Oh Lord of wonderful colour of the blue sapphire gem! May You listen to us (1) who perform the “bathing during Maargazhi”, an observance the great ancient people followed and (2) who are in the need of following SIX things (for the vratham): (a) superior conches similar to Your great Paanchajanyam, which have the white hue of milk and which through their tumultuous sound shakes all the worlds (b) giant size drums/bhEris (c) PallANDu singers (d)decorative lamps (e) dhvajam-banner& flags and (f) a big canopy.

Oh Lord MaayAvin! the One who just reposed as a baby on a banyan leaf (Vatapathra-saayin) in the waters of PraLayam! Kindly bless us with these six vrathOpakaraNams through Your limitless grace.

Lord as “MaalE” is to depict the Lord's unlimited love and concern for the Jeevan. It is the stand-in for the word” Maam” (MAmEkam SaraNam Vraja) in the Charama SlOkam. Similarly “AalinilayAi” in the final paadham refers to His immense prowess as revealed by the word “AHAM” in charama slOkam.

Oh Lord (maale! maNi vaNNaa! aalin ilaiyaay! ) If you ask us (kEttiyEl) what we want (vEnduvana); Bless us (aruLElOr) to endure the penance (neeraaduvaan) as done (seyvanagaL) by elders (mElaiyaar) in the month of december/january (margazhi); We need conchs (sankangal) like (pOlvana) your (un) own milky white (paalanna vaNNaththu) paancha sanyam, the sound (muralvana) of which makes the whole (ellaam) universe (Nyaalam) tremble (nadunga); powerful (pOy paadudaiyana) very (chaala) big (perum) drums (paRai); those who sing (isaippaar) the 'Tamil paasurams'(pallaandu). (The aazhvaar paasuram recitals start with the recital of pallaandu); decorative (kOla) lamps (viLakku); flags (kodi) and other decorations (vidhaanamE).


God, you are the embodiment of pure love for your devotees! Oh Lord with the fascinating blue colour of Saphire! Please listen to us as we prepare ourselves for the sacred river-bath in the serene month of Maargazhi! In keeping with the traditions set up by our great forbears, we require, for our austerities, conches similar to your Paanchajanya, shining white like milk and which produces sound that threatens to shatter the entire universe. Also big drums, a group of musicians who would sing your glories, decorative lamps, flags and canopies. Lord, the light of the race of cowherds! You who recline on the banyan leaf, as a child, at the time of the great deluge, please grant us our request!

More Insight

Lord Krishna: "O Gopis! Your words are self-contradictory. 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 (accessibility) and AHAM His omnipotence.


We perform hrudh-Yaagam (mAnasIka aarAdhanam) first and then engage in BhAhyArAdhanam (external aarAdhanam). Latter has six steps (aasanams) as established by sishtAgresarars (done by the leaders of righteous conduct: mElayAr seyvanakaL). The word group “mElayAr seyvanakaL vENDuvana” is the essence of this paasuram, where sishtAchAram (Conductof the noble ones)is celebrated as the way to follow, whenever one is in doubt.

The six Aasanams are: (1) manthrAsanam (2) SnAnAsanam (3)alankArAsanam (4) bhOjyAsanam (5) punar-manthrAsanam and (6) paryankAsanam. We have to seat the Lord in each of the six aasanams and offer upachArams.

The six accessories desired by Gopis for the AaarAdhanam match with the six aasanams:

(1) blowing of the conch (pranava nAtham)
(2) Vadhya ghOsham performed Thirumanjanam
(3) manthra pushpam and recitation of aruLiccheyalkaL & Vedic chanting. This is equivalent to singing PallANDu
(4) The samarpaNam of NaivEdhyam for the Lord is known as lighting a lamp
(5) vij~nApanam is made whether the Lord desires any sanchaaram on Garudan, His kodi (Dhvajam) and
(6) the vidhAnam (canopy) is spread over the Lord's bed.

Thus, the six upakaraNams (Sankhu, Parai, PallANDU-isaippAr, Kola ViLakku, Kodi and VidhAnam) are mappable to the six Aasanams prescribed for the six stages of external AarAdhanam for the Lord.

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