Tiruppavai Pasuram 14


ungaḷ puzhak kaḍai tōṭṭattu vāviyuḷ |
 cengazhunīr  vāy nehizhndu āmbal vāy kūmbina kāṇ |
cengal poḍi kūṛai veṇpal  tavattavar |
 tangaḷ tiru kōyil śangiḍuvān pōthanrār |
engaḷai munnam ezhuppuvān vāy pēcum |
 nangāy! ezhundirāy! nāṇādāy nāvuḍaiyāy |
śankoḍu cakkaram ēndum taḍakkaiyin |
 pangaya kaṇṇānai pāḍēlōr empāvāy ||


engaḷai– ourselves (we who are your friends);

munnam ezhuppuvān– will first of all awaken;

vāy pēcum– told with your mouth;

nangāy!– perfect lady!

nāṇādāy– you shameless! (For not doing as per commitment);

nāvuḍaiyāy– One who has a tongue (that showers sweet words);

ungaḷ puzhai kaḍai tōṭṭrattu vāviyuḷ-In the pool at your backyard garden;

cengazhunīr vāy negizhndu – Red lotus flowers have blossomed;

āmbal vāy kūmbina kāṇ– the blue lotus or water Lilly flowers (Nymphaea stellata) have closed;

(Moreover) cengal poḍi kūṛai­– those who wear the saffron colored robes;

veṇpal -white teeth;

tavattavar– the ascetics (saiva sanyasis);

tangaḷ tiru kōyil– in the temple of their gods;

śangiḍuvān– to blow the conch;

pōginrār- are going;

śankoḍu cakkaram– the divine conch and the discus;

ēndum- (in both hands) One who holds perfectly;

taḍakkaiyan – (One) with big hands;

pangaya kaṇṇānai-the supreme Lord whose Eyes resemble a beautiful red lotus;

pāḍa-(with overflowing love) to sing;

ezhundirāy!-please get up!


 In this verse Andal stands in the doorsteps of a gopi who usually leads their team and who has earlier committed to wake everyone up, but have forgotten the same and is sleeping inside.


 (unga puzhai kaai tōṭṭrattu vāviyu cengazhunīr vāy negizhndu āmbal vāy kūmbina kā)

 Again in this verse our commentators show a imaginary dialogue between Andal and the gopi inside (nāvuaiyāy); One interesting point is that among the ten verses that is in the category of awakening the gopis, five have the indications of dawn and the remaining do not;

 Andal: we are all standing with deep thirst for KrishnAnubhavam in your doorsteps but you are still sleeping;

 nāvuaiyāy: Is it dawn yet?

 Andal: Don’t you see that everywhere red lotus flowers (flowers that blossoms during daytime) have blossomed and the blue lotus or water Lilly flowers (Nymphaea stellata-blossom during the night) have closed;

 nāvuaiyāy : You have mistaken, due to the happiness of reaching my house, your eyes (equated to red lotus flower) have opened up and due to my silence, your mouth (equated to water Lilly) are shut due to disappointment;

 Andal: No we are talking about the flowers in the farm;

 nāvuaiyāy: Throughout the night you all have no other job than making the flowers to blossom or close them appropriately;

 Andal: But even in the gardens deep inside where we will be unable to reach the flowers have blossomed and closed;

 nāvuaiyāy: It is not real flowers but only the reflection of your eyes and mouth;

 Andal: Why don’t you go and see even in the guarded secure gardens the flowers have blossomed and closed;

 nāvuaiyāy: But you are all in close association with Kṛṣṇa who is capable of accomplishing the impossible so you are also capable of anything;

 To get the argument to an end, Andal finally says, (unga puzhai kaai tōṭṭrattu vāviyuḷ) – not anywhere else but in the pool inside your garden at your backyard (where even sun has to enter with your permission), the changes in the flowers have happened; When even the flowers do their duties in time how can you keep sleeping?

 But how did Andal standing outside come to know about the changes in her backyard? Is it not logical for the flowers in her backyard to bloom or close while all the other such flowers in the village have done so? This is a matter of mere inference;

 But is it correct for Andal to separate a devotee from them and say “ungal” (your); It is customary for devotees to use ‘we’ ‘ours’ in the place of ‘I’ and ‘mine’;  Here out of frustration Andal says ‘your’;  Though in general it is wrong to possess ego and pride, having ego and pride due to the association with Bhagavan and bhakthas is acceptable and sometimes even welcomed and here (as it is divine). Whatever words Andal uses to call the gopis is all out of love and not hatred;

 nāvuaiyāy: Ok let it be so; but is there some other indication of dawn?

 (cengal poi kūai vepal tavattavar tanga tiru kōyil śangiuvān pōgindrārEven those who are supposed to be filled with Tamo guna (typically filled with sleepiness, laziness, and lack of clarity) have awakened and proceeding towards the temple of their respective gods to blow the conch as an indication of day break; They are wearing saffron colored robes and have white teeth, as they do not chew beetle leaves and nuts as part of enjoyment;

 (tanga tiru kōyil śangiuvān pōgindrārThese sanyasis are just dressed like renounced people but filled with Tamo guna.  They proceed towards the temple to blow the conch as a matter of fear of being punished by the king or ill treated by the common folks;

 If it is pōgindrār it is in present tense- they are going but there is another version that says pōthandār in the past tense indicating that they have gone long back;

 A great preceptor, acharya to Swamy Ramanuja himself, Sri Thirumalai nambi gives a different angle to the same line; He opines that waking a gopi filled with sattvic quality showing the example of a person with tamo guna is not so appropriate; so as per his commentary,

 (cengal poi kūai vepal tavattavar tanga tiru kōyil śangiuvān pōgindrārThe sattvika sanyasis, who are immersed in devotion and renounced other worldly pleasures and hence have adorned the saffron robes and with white teeth as they refrain from pleasures (like chewing pan) have completed their morning chores and are ready to perform worship to the supreme Lord (Thiruvaradhana) at their houses and ashrams.  Is this not an indication of dawn?

 Please note that the answer of the gopi also varies in both the commentaries;

 Answer for the first commentary: The practices of the people filled with tamo guna cannot be considered examples for we devotees so say something else as proof;

 According to Second commentary: But these people are ever involved in the service and experience of the supreme Lord;  If there is a time when they get engaged in other activities then we can consider the time they are involved in service to Lord as dawn but in their case there is no such time as they are ever involved in bhagavatanubhavam;

 Not able to convince her Andal starts to talk in an offensive approach;

 (engaai munnam ezhuppuvān vāy pēcum nangāy!You assured us before to wake up first and then awaken all of us, but now even after we have come to your doorsteps you refuse to join us.  Earlier you said we need to follow the path of great devotees but how can we follow what you are doing now!

 (vāy pēcumyou talk something and your action is different is it fare?

 Mahatmas(great souls) talk what they think and act accordingly; only Duratmas (immoral souls) think something, talk something else and act totally different;

 (nangāy!Oh! Perfect lady!

 How can you be perfect when your actions don’t match your words?  We can consider that they are calling with sarcasm

 or otherwise they are crediting her by saying ‘since you are complete in devotion you are ignoring us’;

 (ezhundirāy!For our sake please wake up.  Please make us also complete with your company;

 (ādāy)  you are shameless.  First of all, you didn’t keep up your words and you didn’t wake up early.  Even after we coming to your doorsteps still you haven’t rushed to join us.

 Sri Rama expressed His shame when the Dandakaranya rishis showed their troubled body due to the rakshasas and asked for protection.  But you are in close association with that shameless Kṛṣṇa and hence behaving similarly;

 (nāvuaiyāyYou have only the capacity to argue with us

 or otherwise they are celebrating her to be blessed with talented speech (sweet words/tone) in order to assure her that only her talent of speaking has attracted all of them to her doorsteps;

 It is a practical experience for all of us that those who are capable of talking well are more successful in life; People get attracted to words and seldom care about the actions that follow;

 (śankou cakkaram ēndum taakkaiyanWe are waking you only for the purpose of singing the praise of the beautiful Lotus-eyed Kṛṣṇa who holds the divine conch and discus in His hands appropriately; these weapons terrify the opponents and give pleasure to the devotees, as devotees see them as ornaments or their means of protection.  As a result of seeing happiness in the face of the devotees, the Lord in turn experiences ecstasy and hence His arms have grown fatter;

 But during the time of incarnation as KṛṣṇaKṛṣṇa was seen only with two Hands as requested by His parents immediately after birth;  But how can Andal then say that He holds the conch and discus?  Since there are other proofs we have to infer that Kṛṣṇa appeared with two Hands in front of enemies and for the beloved ones He showed His divine form with four Hands;  It is worth to get to memory the words of Arjuna who after vishvaroopa darshana requested Kṛṣṇa to show His original Form with four Hands (tEnaiva roopEna chaturbhujEna)

 (pangaya kaṇṇānaiKṛṣṇa with the divine eyes that mesmerize the devotees whether it is innocent gopis or the celestial nithyasuris;

 (ḍasing as a result of your overflowing love and thereby also uplift us entangling us in the joy of devotion;


 One of the great preceptors in the Srivaishnava chain of acharyas, Sri Manavala Mamuni, in one of his masterpiece, Upadesa Ratinamalai says that the most important qualification of an acharya is both knowledge/jnyana and practice/anushthana in the most effective way.  In the modern world one more thing becomes very essential – presentation! One may possess the required knowledge abundantly and may even have the capacity to follow the same but it will be useful to others only if it is presented in the appropriate manner. 

 In this 14th verse Andal highlights the importance of speech. We need to talk the truth in the right manner acceptable to all with sweet words and tone.  Thinking of the well-being of one and all, the knowledge gained through the right authentic texts has to be imparted to others.  Even truth shouldn’t be conveyed harshly.  At the same time, talking sweetly to deceive others or to gain good name and fame is a sin.  So one has to realize the importance of speech and try to improve our speaking ability.  Even in a family circle, people who have good talent to speak prosper whereas even good knowledgeable people do not shine due to lack of communication skills.

 Let us follow ‘nāvuaiyāy’ and going forward concentrate on talking the right things, in the right way to the right person.