Tiruppavai Pasuram 15

ENGLISH TEXT

ellē iḷangkiḷiyē innum urangudiyō |
 cil endrazhaiyēnmin nangaimīr!  pōdārkinrēn |
vallaiyun kaṭṭuraigaḷ paṇḍēyun vāy aṛidum |
 vallīrgaḷ nīngalē nānēdān āyiḍuka |
ollai nī pōdāy unakkenna vēruḍaiyāi ? |
 ellārum pōndārō ? pōndār pōndeṇṇikol |
vallānai konrānai māttārai māttazhikka
 vallānai | māyanai  pāḍēlōr empāvāy ||

WORD BY WORD MEANING

Those outside:

iḷangkiḷiyē – (both in talk and beauty) like a young parrot!

Ellē –Amazing! (Sweetness of talk);

Innum– even after we all stand in your doorsteps;

Urangudiyō– are you still sleeping?

From inside:

nangaimīr!– Oh! My young friends;

cil endrazhaiyēnmin – please don’t shrill or be harsh;

pōdārkidrēn– I will come (immediately);

Those outside:

vallai– you are very talented (great power of words);

un kaṭṭuraigaḷ-your harsh words;

un vāy – your (skilful) tongue;

paṇḍē aṛidum– we know for long;

From inside:

nīngalē vallīrgaḷ – You are the ones with skilful tongue (giving clever verbal altercation);

nānēdān āyiḍuka-  but let it be me;

So what is the object of awakening me?

Those outside:

– you;

ollai pōdāy-get up fast;

unakkenna vēruḍaiyāi ?– what restrains you?

From inside:

ellārum pōndārō ?-have everyone (who were supposed to) come?

Those outside:

pōndār– yes (all) are present;

pōndeṇṇikol – (you) come and count;

What should be done once I come out asked the gopi inside;

vallānai– mighty elephant (Kuvalayapīḍam);

kondrānai– one who killed;

māttrārai – the foes;

māttrazhikka vallānai – capable of destroying their arrogance;

māyanai – Mysterious Kṛṣṇa with surprising acts;

pāḍa – to sing;

(Awake immediately)

 INTRODUCTION

 This is the last verse in the category of awakening devotees in Thiruppavai.  This gopi happens to be truly advanced in devotional service and hence aspires for everyone to join in the group.  Only in the verse there is a direct dialogue between Andal and the one inside.  Actually this is the verse that inspired our preceptors to comment the previous verses with imaginary dialogues.

COMMENTARY

 Hearing the wake up call to the neighboring devotee in the last verse “śankoḍu cakkaram ēndum taḍakkaiyin pangaya kaṇṇānai pāḍa” this young girl got inspired and started singing in her sweet voice about the divine Form of the lotus-eyed Kṛṣṇa; so now Andal wonders and sings:

 (ellē iangkiiyē) What a sweet voice? It is capable of even making us forget the purpose of visiting your doorsteps;

 We (parrots) can slightly match the voice and color but never the youth of you (young parrot);

 Though these were words of appreciation the gopi inside couldn’t believe the same as they have already called her neighbor as shameless and skillful speaker probably they are sarcastically mentioning that when you should have been diseased and body should have become white throughout due to separation from Kṛṣṇa, you are still glowing like a parrot; So the gopi inside kept quiet;

 (innum urangudiyō) Are you still sleeping?

 We are all pained due to separation from Kṛṣṇa and yourself.  Don’t you realize the same from our voice? 

The Gopi inside was so engrossed in contemplating the Lord that the other Gopis’ words were harsh on her ears and she retorted;

 (cil endrazhaiyēnmin) please don’t shrill;

 Is it fare to talk to devotees like this? Yes because this reaction was due to her involvement in contemplating the Lord and their call disturbing the same;

Immediately those outside feels that because you are a great (complete) devotee you don’t want to see or hear our talk; so gopi inside replies:

 (nangaimīr! pōdārkidrēn) Oh you great ladies! Complete in all aspects, I beg your pardon please wait and I will come immediately; Andal replies:

 (vallaiyun kaṭṭuraiga paṇḍēyun vāy aidum) we are all well aware of your talent of showering strong words and about your skilful tongue long ago;

 The gopi inside felt offended and retorts:

 (vallīrga nīngalē) You who are outpouring harsh words on me are the ones talented in verbal altercation;

 The gopi inside feels shouldn’t you all feel happy to see me involved in devotion instead why do you disturb me harshly; But then she herself realizes that it is not good to argue with devotees and gets ready to accept the fault on herself;

 (nānēdān āyiuka) Devotees need to be submissive to other devotees.  If by chance a devotee complains about us for no fault of us even then a perfect Srivaishnava is supposed to accept the same and not argue against; remembering all these, the gopi inside now says ‘let it be me’. Though her first reaction was to retaliate, but having reflected a moment, she accepted the fault. This is the nature of a true devotee filled with self-abnegation (nīca bhāva) an essential quality of a Srivaishnava.

 In Sri Ramayana, Bharata started thinking the reason behind the exile of Sri Rama. Was manthara or kaikeyi or Dasaratha or Sri Rama himself at fault? No the fault is all on me (for being born with so much sin) concluded Bharata-a perfect Srivaishnava;

 Our preceptors opine “The whole essence of Tiruppavai is present in two main paasurams one the verse 15 “ellē iangkiiyē” talking the nature of a bhagavata and then the verse 29 “cittañ ciu kālē” that talks the nature of the Supreme Lord;

 (ollai nī pōdāy) actual enjoyment is always along with other devotees so please rush to join us;

 Still the gopi inside didn’t come out so Andal continues to say:

 (unakkenna vēruaiyāi) what is restricting you?

 Whether you are involved in some material pursuit or enjoying the Lord Himself there is no difference when that is stopping you from joining the group of devotees;  One should be involved in service to the Lord and His devotees for the happiness of them and not for self;

 One interesting incident in the life of our preceptors is quoted here by the commentators. During the life of swamy Ramanuja once the king kirumikanta chozha placed soldiers at the doorsteps of the Srirangam temple and ordered them not to allow anyone who is related to Swamy Ramanuja inside for the darshan of the Lord Ranganatha.  Not knowing this Swamy Ramanuja’s prime disciple Swamy koorathAzhvan visited the temple.  To his surprise the guard at the gate said “though you are a disciple of Ramanuja you are a great person and so I will allow you inside” Taken aback by the statement, KoorathAzhvan immediately turned back without entering inside for the darshan of the Lord.  “What will the darshan of the Lord do to me by breaking the relation with my revered acharya.  All my goodness is due to him” remarked KoorathAzhvan.  Such was the conviction of our preceptors so even Bhagavat anubhavam devoid of association with devotees was not entertained by our preceptors.

 In Sri Ramayana, Bharata comes to chitrakoota to request Sri Rama to come back to Ayodhya.   Seeing the huge army and countrymen approaching them from a distance Lakshmana misunderstands that Bharata is coming to kill Sri Rama; Enraged by the harsh words from Lakshmana about a great devotee Bharata, Sri Rama cuttingly replied,”if you want the kingdom I will ask Bharata to give you the same” This proves that even the Lord cannot stand talking ill of devotees even from the mouth of other devotees.  Lakshmana felt ashamed and similarly the gopi inside now feels ashamed for keeping herself away from devotees for such a long time and arguing with them; In case of great devotees (paramaikanthis-who consider the Lord Himself to be the means and goal) even contemplating on the Lord in solitude, avoiding devotees, is a matter of shame;

 Realizing her mistake the gopi inside responds “other than your association what is more important for me but I would like to see everyone in the group” (ellārum pōndārō?)

 (pōndār pōndeṇṇikol) Yes all have come.  Please come and count yourself;

 While counting she will see each one of them, call their name and also touch them there by her aspiration to rejoice with all the devotees will be satisfied; And all others can enjoy her company while she keeps counting the endless group of devotees in Thiruayppadi;

 What should we do next?

 (vallānai kondrānai māttrārai māttrazhikka vallānai māyanai pāḍa) what else! Singing the valor of Mysterious Kṛṣṇa; One who killed the mighty elephant and capable of destroying our enemies;

 Again we should remember that for the devotees anyone who tries to harm the Lord is their enemy, in this case Kuvalayapīam;

 Like killing the mighty elephant He also removed our feministic ego and pride;

 Like removing the enemies from our way He also changed the minds of our elders to allow us to undertake this vratha and enjoy Him without any impediment;

 (māyanai) surprisingly that very Kṛṣṇa gets enslaved in the hands of the devotees;

 He finds His victory in losing to devotees; is it not amazing!

 (pāḍa) to sing our victory followed by His defeat and thereby His victory followed by our defeat in sequence;

LESSON FOR THE DAY

 Each phrase in the 15th verse of Sri Andal highlights the way we need to behave with devotees.  It is very important for each one of us to know this because one sin that the Lord never pardons is ill treating or talking bad about devotees (bhagavata apacharam);

 ellē iḷangkiḷiyēImportance of seeing and listening to devotees;
innum urangudiyōIt is a mistake to be away from the association of devotees;
cil endrazhaiyēnminShould not use harsh abusing words towards devotees;
nangaimīr! pōdārkidrēnShould use respectable words while talking to devotees;
vallaiyun kaṭṭuraigaḷ…Even being scolded by a devotee is good for us;  As devotees scold only to correct us and take us in the right path;
vallīrgaḷ nīngalē nānēdān āyiḍukaAccepting the fault even if it was not ours is a perfect srivaishnava lakshana;
ollai nī pōdāyEven for a moment we should not miss the association of devotees;
unakkenna vēruḍaiyāi?Even experiencing the Lord should be done as part of service to devotees; As devotees enjoy others enjoying the Lord and do not envy them;
ellārum pōndārō ?All devotees are equal not to leave anyone;
pōndār pōndeṇṇikolLeaving one also will reduce our joy;
Vallānai…Singing the praise of the almighty and bringing happiness to one and all is the aspired result for any devotee;