Tiruppavai Pasuram 10


nōttuc cuvarkkum puhukinna ammanāy!
 māttamum tārārō vācal tiravādār ? |
nātta tuzhāi muḍi  nārāyaṇan |  nammāl
 pōtta paṛai tarum puṇṇiyanāl | paṇḍoru nāḷ
kūttattin vāy vīzhnda kumbha karuṇanum |
 tōttum unakkē perunduyil tān tandānō ? |
ātta anandal uḍaiyāy! arungalamē! |
 tēttamāy vandu tiṛa vēlōr empāvāy ||


 Nōttru– undertaking vratha (fasting and prayer);

 cuvarkkam puhukindra – enjoy the state of constant happiness;

 ammanāy – mother!

 vācal tiravādār-one who doesn’t open the front doors;

 māttramum tārārō– will you not even utter a word?

 nāttra tuzhāi mui– one who adorns the ever fragrant divine thulasi (Basil leaves) garland on His head;

 nārāyaan– one who has the renowned name Narayana;

 nammāl pōtta paai tarum– whose praise we sing and thereby receive our goal of divine service (kainkaryam) from Him;

 puṇṇiyanāl– our supreme Lord who is the personification of dharma (that which leads us to our goal);

 paṇḍoru nā – Once upon a time;

 kūttrattin vāy vīzhnda– One who fell prey to death;

 kumbha karaanum-that kumbhakarna;

 unakkē tōttrum – failed in front of you;

 perunduyil tān tandānō ? – did he transfer his everlasting sleep to you?

 āttra anandal uaiyāy! – One with a beautiful slumber!

 arungalamē!- One like a rare jewel;

 tēttramāy vandu tia– Shake of your stupor and open the door. 


Similar to young girls loosing self at the very sight of Krishna, this gopi awakened in this verse is capable of making Krishna loose Himself on seeing her. That is the reason Andal calls her as “arungalamē!” (A rare precious jewel).

 She is so special and very close to the residence of Krishna and hence is blessed to get the divine experience of Krishna whenever she aspired for the same (“nōttruc cuvarkkam puhukindra ammanāy!”).

 This gopi believes in the upanishadic verse that says, the Supreme Lord Himself makes the jeevatma happy” She believes in sAdhya bhakthi (the Lord Himself being the means) rather than sAdhana bhakthi (karma, jnana, bhakthi yogas as the means). 


 (nōttruc cuvarkkam puhukindra ammanāy!) You accepted to undertake vratha along with us but instead you are now enjoying the heavenly state of ecstasy of one who has completed all vrathas;

 Is it proper to consider ‘cuvarkkam’ (svarga) to be the divine experience of Lord?

 Sri Ramayana comes to our aid.  In Sri Ramayana Sita Devi before the trio left to forest asked Rama to define Svarga and naraka.  Sri Rama a proud vasista’s disciple without hesitating answered that it was the land of happiness (Indra’s kingdom) and the land of horror (yama’s abode).  Sita Devi laughed and said you could have asked me if you didn’t know the answer and explains that for each person the svarga and naraka varies.  For instance for a daily wager if he gets a square meal that day it is svarga and unable to earn the same is naraka.  So Sita Devi concluded that wherever she lives if it is along with Sri Rama then it is svarga and even if it was ayodhya or mithila without Sri Rama was naraka;  So for the gopis, svarga is undoubtedly the place where they get krishnAnubhavam (experiencing Krishna).

 So here the vratha for this gopi is acceptance of Krishna as the means and hence she is relaxing without taking even a single step by herself. 

 But doesn’t Andal and others have Krishna as their means too?

 Yes but their extreme longing to have bhagavatanubhavam pushes them to undertake vratha and for the same purpose stand in the doorsteps of each gopi and awaken them. Those who have completely surrendered to the Lord also continue to do their duties, seek knowledge and immerse themselves in devotion not as a means but for the sake of service, realizing self and refinement of devotion;

(ammanāy!) Oh our leader! How can you leave us and get immersed in devotion in solitude?

 The singing of Andal and others outside was so sweet and soothing that the gopi inside cherished and kept silently enjoying or otherwise since she always enjoyed being the servant of devotees couldn’t stand her being called as the leader and hence kept quiet; So Andal continues:-

 (māttramum tārārō vācal tiravādār?) Even if you don’t open the doors cant you even utter a word? 

 Like Sri Rama eager to hear what Sita Devi told once Hanuman returned from Lanka, Andal and others were waiting eagerly to hear from the gopi inside!  You don’t need to welcome us but at least say ‘go away’.

 Since Andal said “cuvarkkam puhukindra” meaning that the gopi was enjoying Krishna inside, the gopi inside denied the same.  Andal answers:-

 (nāttra tuzhāi muḍi) Both of you can try to hide but the fragrance of the tulasi in His head can never be hidden. 

You are hiding yourself from us but the divine tulasi never hides but spreads its divine fragrance everywhere;
The gopi inside replied “don’t you know that the smell of tulasi remains for days.  Not today but Krishna had been here days back but the fragrance still remains and moreover you are at my doorsteps from the time of sunset how can He enter?

 (nārāyaṇan) He is Narayanan; He is capable of appearing in any place at any time as He is omnipresent and doesn’t need to enter or wait for you to open the door like us.  He is present inside even those who don’t accept Him what to say about devotees like you;

 (nāttra tuzhāi muḍi nārāyaṇan) He is Narayanan, one who adorns the divine tulasi garland to experience joy while embracing devotees. He adorns the tulasi on His head thereby indicating his nature of placing those who surrendered to Him on top.

 The gopi not in a mood to argue kept quiet again;

 (paṇḍoru nāḷ kūttrattin vāy vīzhnda kumbha karaṇanum) Did kumbhakarana gift you his sleep while in his death bed?

 (Nammāl pōttra paṛai tarum puṇṇiyan) the almighty (dharmAtma) who grants us (those with zero credit-akinchanas) our ultimate goal;

 nāttra tuzhāi muḍi nārāyaṇan – indicates He is the master of the nithya vibhuthi (Lord’s celestial abode);

 nārāyaṇan nammāl pōtta paṛai tarum puṇṇiyan – indicates He is also the master, means and goal for all on the leela vibhuthi (Earthly playground)

(paṛai tarum puṇṇiyan) The word ‘punniya’ means that truth that leads people towards good fate; This definition perfectly fits to Krishna and our preceptors have mentioned various quotes that ascertain the same. 

(pōttra) Andal is the daughter of periazhvar who was always involved in singing pallandu (mangalasasanam-aspiring for the well being) for the Lord and following suite Andal says ‘pōttra’

 (puṇṇiyanāl paṇḍoru nāḷ kūttrattin vāy vīzhnda kumbha karaṇanum tōttrum unakkē) Earlier there was one kumbhakarana who kept sleeping and hence missed the opportunity of enjoying and surrendering (like vibheeshana) under the divine feet of Sri Rama who has incarnated to uplift the jeevatmas and entrapped in gratitude fought in the side of ravana and paved way for his death himself.   Probably that kumbakarana lost in a battle between you two in sleeping long hours and as a result gave his sleep also to you.

 (perunduyil) Kumbakarana’s was tuyil and yours is perunduyil; He at least woke up every six months but there is no fixed time for you to wake up.  He helped only to separate one Sita Devi but you are now making all of us cry in separation;

 The gopi inside got up hurriedly unable to bear the comparison with a rakshasa and said “Krishna krishna”

 (āttra anandal uḍaiyāy!) What a style of waking up! Just this sight is enough we don’t even have to go to wake the Lord;

They saw her waking up through the window and were awestruck by her beauty and hence calls her-

 (arungalamē!) Oh our precious jewel greatly celebrated by Krishna;

 She rushed to join the group and so they remind her to adjust herself before coming out;

 (tēttramāy vandu tiṛa) Adjust your dress and ornaments properly and steadily come and open the door;

 Unlike tara (the wife of vali) who came out to talk to lakshmana without adjusting her dress  and ornaments straight from her bed, you come properly dressed for the vratha;


All Astigas (who believe in god and Vedas) aim at doing good deeds to gain punyam (result of good deeds) and get away from papam (result of sins). Jeevas take birth in this world due to the accumulated karma (combination of papa and punya).  In case of those who aspire to get rid of this cycle of life and death and attain salvation (moksha) both punya and papa are obstacles.  Punya is like a golden Hand cuff and papa is like a Iron Hand cuff both are anyway going to bind us in this samsara (cycle of birth and death).  So to get rid of this bondage both our papa and punya has to be nullified.  But how does that happen?  Andal answers “nAttra tuzAi mudi nArAyanan nammAl pOttra parai tarum punniyan”  Other acts like charity, digging wells, building/maintaining temples etc are surely good deeds but that will not lead us to moksha (as it will only increase our punya balance) So how then can we nullify our balance?  With the help of punniyan- Narayanan adorning the fragrant tulasi garland who we praise and who will grant us the requested parai (servitude). 

 So should we stop all the other so called good deeds we do today?  No we need to continue to do all the good deeds and refrain from sins with greater enthusiasm since that is the only way we can please our master (the supreme Lord) who has ordained so through the Vedas.  But while doing the same we need to do it only for His happiness and not for any other benefits, then that supreme Lord will grant us His divine abode.