Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Thiruppavai - Pasuram28

kaRavaigaL pin senRu kaanam sErndhu uNbOm
aRivu onRum illaadha aay(k) kulaththu undhannai(p)
piRavi peRundhanai(p) puNNiyam yaam udaiyOm
kuRai onRum illaadha gOvindhaa undhannOdu
uRavEl namakku ingu ozhikka ozhiyaadhu
aRiyaadha piLLaigaLOm anbinaal undhannai
siRu pEr azhaiththanamum seeRi aruLaadhE
iRaivaa nee thaaraay paRaiyElOr embaavaay
கறவைகள் பின்சென்று கானம் சேர்ந்துண்போம்;
அறிவொன்று மில்லாத ஆய்க்குலத்து உன்தன்மைப்
பிறவிப் பெறுந்தனைப் புண்ணியம் யாம் உடையோம்;
குறைவொன்று மில்லாத கோவிந்தா! உன்தன்னோடு
உறவேல் நமக்கு இங்கு ஒழிக்க ஒழியாது!
அறியாத பிள்ளைகளோம் அன்பினால் உன்தன்னைச்
சிறுபேர ழைத்தனவும் சீறி யருளாதே,
இறைவா, நீ தாராய் பறையேலோ ரெம்பாவாய்.


The Gopis address the Lord as “KuRai OnRum illAtha GovindhA!” and say “We are unsophisticated cowherdesses (aRiyAtha PiLLaikaLom) with the BhAgyam of having You born in our kulam (UnraNNai piRavi perumtanai puNNiyam yaamm udayOm). Out of affection, we have called you by inappropriate names (anbinAl unn tannai siRu per azhaitthanavum). We addressed You as NandhagOpan mahanE and other short names! Please do not be angry at us (seeRi aruLAthE) for that. Our relationship is indestructible (unthannOdu uRavu ozhikka ozhiyAthu). You are sEshi and we are sEshans. Even if we do not have seshathva Jn~Anam, the sEshathvam will not disappear. Sarva Jeeva seshathvam is incorporated in Your Pranavam. Therefore, Oh SarvEswaran who has descended from Sri Vaikuntam in the form of a human being to be with us and bless us! Please grant us the nithya Kaimkarya purushArtham!”.

The Lord's identity as “PrApya-PrApaka Sangrahan” (essence as means and goal) was revealed succinctly in the First verse (NaarAyaNE namakkE paRai tharuvAn) and that quintessential upadEsam is elaborated.

Following (pin senRu) the cows (kaRavai), after reaching (sErndhu) the forest (kaanam or kaanagam), we will eat (uNbOm). We, of the cowherd community (aay kulam) without (illaadha) any (onRum) enlightenment (aRivu); what good deeds (puNNiyam) do we (yaam) claim to our credit (udaiyOm) for having (peRundhanai) you (undhannai) born (piRavi) in our community? If we have no relation to you (uRavEl), we (namakku) will not be able (ozhiyaadhu) to bear (ozhikka) it here (ingu). We, the innocent (aRiyaadha) children (piLLai) call (azhai) you (unnai) using your short (siRu) names (pEr) out of affection (anbinaal). Please do not be angry (seeRi aruLaadhE). Oh Lord (iRaivaa)! Please give us (thaaraay) your word (paRai).


Oh blemishless Lord! What a great blessing for us that You are one with us! After all, we are unlettered clan of cowherds who tend cattle, sing carelessly and eat their food in the open. The bond between You and us can never be dissolved. If ever we have out of ignorance and our love for you, caused you hurt by calling you by names which belittle your unbounded magnificence, please do not take offence. Oh compassionate Lord, grant us the drum and eternal devotion to you!

More Insight

In the very first paasuram Sri ANDAL declared unequivocally 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 misbehavior in the past.

6. He should pray to God for the realization 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 apologize 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.


In each paadam a distinct message is conveyed.

(1) "karavaikaL pinn senRu ghAnam sErnthuNpOm"), the Gopis describe themselves as the ones, who seek their livelihood by tending to cattle in the forests and thus do NOT have sath-Kaarya Phalan.

(2) "aRivonRumillA Aaikkulatthu", they reveal their unfitness (apakarsha anusandhAnam) to pursue Bhakthi, Jn~Ana Yogams. We are Tatthva-Hitha-PurushArtha Jn~Ana Soonyars. “Jn~AnEna Heena: pasubhi: samAna:”

(3) "piRavi peRumtanai puNNiyam yaam udayOm", they refer to the extraordinary BhAgyam of having KrishNA born as sajAthIyan in their Kulam.

(4) the Gopis address Him as “KuRaivonRumillatha GovindhA”. They celebrate here the moola Sukrutham (the fundamental, quintessential bhAgyam) of Isvara GuNa Poorthy (PrApya-Prapaka sangrahathvam and GuNa Thungathvam).

(5) "UnRannOduravEl namakku inku ozhikka ozhiyAthu", the Gopis celebrate the sambhandha Jn~Anam

(6) "aRiyAtha piLLaikaLOm anbinAl", the Gopis identify themselves as the little country girls without awareness of lOka maryAdhai and without Bhakthi or Jn~Anam.

(7) "UnraNNai siRu pEr azhaithtanavum sseRi aruLAthE", the Gopis seek PoorvAparAdha KshAmanam (forgiveness for previous trespasses).

(8) the Gopis address te Lord as “IRaivA” and request for Kaimkarya sampath (Nee ThArAi parai). Here UpAya apEkshai is made.

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