Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Thiruppavai - Pasuram29

sitram siRu kaalE vandhu unnai sEviththu un
potraamarai adiyE pOtrum poruL kELaay
petram mEyththu uNNum kulaththil piRandhu nee
kutREval engaLai(k) koLLaamal pOgaadhu
itrai(p) paRai koLvaan anRu kaaN gOvindhaa
etraikkum Ezh Ezh piRavikkum un thannOdu
utrOmE aavOm unakkE naam aatcheyvOm
matrai nam kaamangaL maatrElOr embaavaay
சிற்றம் சிறுகாலே வந்துன்னைச் சேவித்துன்
பொற்றா மரையடியே போற்றும் பொருள் கேளாய்;
பெற்றம் மேய்த்துண்ணும் குலத்திற் பிறந்து நீ
குற்றேவல் எங்களைக் கொள்ளாமல் போகாது;
இற்றைப் பறைகொள்வான் அன்று காண் கோவிந்தா!
எற்றைக்கும் ஏழேழ் பிறவிக்கும் உன்தன்னோடு
உற்றோமே ஆவோம்; உனக்கே நா மாட்செய்வோம்;
மற்றைநம் காமங்கள் மாற்றேலோ ரெம்பாவாய்.


Until now, the Gopis through ANDAL were seeking “paRai” from the Lord. Now they elaborate the meaning of that paRai is threefold: (1) Our objective (uddhEsyam) is to perform nithya kaimkaryam at Your holy feet (2) We can not live away form You even for a second (3) Please banish any other thought or desire that might interfere with the fulfilment of the above.

Oh Lord GovindhA! May You listen to us (the cowherd girls) (1) who approach You at the very small hours of the day-dawn, and (2) who bow down to You, the purpose and aim of our singing in praise of Your golden, lotus-like pair of feet. You, who took birth in the race of us, the cowherds, earning our livelihood by grazing and rearing the herd of cattle, can not deny us the humble (divine) service (to be rendered unto You). Hearken, Oh Lord! it is not only that we desire to receive the drum (from You) today (lit. in this sojourn of birth), but we desire, in fact, that let us be ever --throughout the births, sevens of generations --the kith and kin of You, let us perform all kinds of Kaimkaryams to You alone; You make us rid of other desires!

Govindha!, Listen (kELaay) to the reason (poruL) for our coming (vandhu) and worshipping (sEviththu) you and praising (pOtrum) your golden lotus (pon thaamarai) feet (adi) at such an early hour (sitram siRu kaalE). You (nee), who were born (piRandhu) in the community of people (kulaththil), who eat (uNNum) by rearing (mEyththu) cattle (petram), should not go away (pOgaadhu) refusing our (engaLai) offerings (kutru Eval). Look (kaaN), we are not (anRu) desiring your grace (paRai koLvaan) just for today (itrai). Forever (etraikkum), for sevens (Ezh Ezh) of births (piRavikkum), we will be (aavOm) in peace (utrOmE) with you (un thannOdu). We (naam) will let ourselves be ruled (aatcheyvOm) by you (unakkE). Please remove (maatru) our (nam) other (matrai) desires (kaamangaL).


Oh Lord Govinda (Krishna)! Why have we come so early at dawn to worship You and to adore your lotus feet? You have taken birth in our cowherd community and You live amidst us who tend cattle for a living. It is only proper that you permit us to render our humble service to You. It is not only today that we would seek your grace but in all our births to come. You and You alone we shall ever be committed to in servitude. Everything else is of no concern to us.

More Insight

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 along with 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.

SIRRAM SIRU KAALE VANTHU: AruNodhaya Kaalam is chosen by Gopis to arrive at Lord KrishNA the time at which the Jn~Anam of the Lord happens (siRRam siRu Kaalam). AzhwAr says : “kaalai nann jn~Anat thuRai padinthAdi”. The dawning of the Jn~Anam about EmperumAn through SadAchArya is SiRRam SiRu Kaalai. "SiRRam SiRu Kaalam" is the time from Prapathti to the shaking of the mortal coils is the for the Prapannan, when MunivarkaL and Yogis rise gently and start Hari nAma sankIrthanam. Gopis seem to say that it is difficult to see You (KrishNA) once the day has dawned as he goes to the fields to graze the cows. Andal reminds us of the KshaNa Karthavya upAyam of Praaptthi (that which is done in siRiya kaalam) with the invocation of the words, “siRRam sIRu kaalE”.

VANTHU UNNAI SEVITTHU: Gopis ask KrishNA to think about the way they came in that cold morning with dew drops on their heads. They remind Him that they have come driven by their fears about their aakinchanyam and ananya gathithvam and have come to worship Him and pray for Kaimkarya Sri. “Sevitthu” refers to the Veda Vaakyam: “BhUyishtAm tE NAMA Ukthim vidhEma”. We have come here with anjali bhaddha hasthams since we know about our mElayAr's saying: “Ohr anjaliyum uNDaRukka maattAthu”. You melt like sugar in water, when a Bhakthan stands before You with anjali mudhrA. That indeed is anjali Vaibhavam. Therefore we have come before You at the early dawn withfolded hands (sEvitthu).

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