Tiruppavai Pasuram 19


kuttu vilakkeriyak kōṭṭukkāl kaṭṭilmēl |
 mettenna pañca śayanattin mēlēri |
kottalar pūṅkuzhal nappinnai koṅgai mēl |
 vaittu kiḍanda malar mārbā! vāy tiṛavāy |
maitaḍan kaṇṇināy! nīyun maṇāḷanai |
 ettanai pōdum tuyil ezhavoṭṭāy kāṇ |
ettanai yēlum pirivātta killāyāl |
 tattuvam annu tahavēlōr empāvāy ||


kuttu vilakkeriyaku – Traditional standing lamps;

kōṭṭukkāl kaṭṭilmēl – On a cot with ivory legs;

pañca śayanattin mēlēri – on top of the bed made of cotton;

kottalar pūṅkuzhal – tresses adorned with flowers that blossom in bunches;

koṅgai mēl – on the bosom of;

vaittu kiḍanda malar mārbā! – One who rests with (His) broad chest!

vāy tiṛavāy – open your mouth and talk out;

maitaḍan kaṇṇināy! – With wide eyes darkened with kohl;

 – you;

yun maṇāḷanai- your spouse;

ettanai pōdum– even a second;

tuyil ezha – get up;

voṭṭāy kāṇ – will you not allow;

ettanai yēlum – even for a short time;

pirivātta killāyāl – Are you unable to bear separation from him?

tattuvam anru- doesn’t suit your svarupa or basic characteristics ;

tagavu anru – and doesn’t suit your svabhava or nature/behaviour;


In the previous stanza they requested Nappinai Piratti to come and open the door, and when she was about to start from the bed to open the bolt, Kṛṣṇa restrained her from doing so, for He desired that Nappinnai should not grace them before He did. So the Gopis began again to awaken Kṛṣṇa, but this time Nappinnai prevented Him from joining with them and so they again entreated Nappinnai to allow Kṛṣṇa to arise!

Usually the Lord and the divine consort have the tendency to challenge each other and come to the rescue of jivas.  The divine mother argues in favour of the Jivas’ and makes the Lord to forgive their faults.  Once the Lord accepts the Jiva even if the Mother Herself points out some fault on the Jiva the Lord never accepts it and in turn says ‘My devotees don’t do that and even if it is done it is for the good’ such is the determination of the divine couples in protecting the Jivas.  But Andal now reminds the above and says,’Oh! Nappinnai how is it that now you are acting totally against your svarupa and svabhava;’


 (kuttu vilakkeriyawe are all afraid of the villagers and hence trying to complete our vratha before light comes up;  But you are coolly resting with standing lamps burning all around making the night to be like day;  Our minds are in darkness whereas you are enjoying brightness inside; 

 You are the lamp that makes His greatness glow but now you are sleeping amidst other standing lamps!

 In these lines we can detect a hint of jealousy towards Nappinnai. While the gopis seek the Lord in thorny forests and sandy cattle-yards, this Nappinnai has the great fortune to be able to lie beside Him all night long. Not in the least discomforted by having to search for her beloved! Oh, what great fortune she has!

 (ṭṭukkāl kaṭṭilmēl)

 On the couch supported by tusks of the elephant Kuvalayapīḍa, which was killed by the Lord (she rejoices because she the wife of a great warrior);

 Or it can be considered as the couch with legs made from the horns of the seven bulls that Krishna overpowered to marry Nappinnai;

 Before falling to the divine Feet of the divine couples, Andal celebrates the legs of the couch on which they lie. 

 Though made of gold and studded with gems the gopis still call it only a couch or a cot;

 The Lord, when infant, even ignored the valuable cradle sent by brahma and wanted to get out, now happily enjoys this couch as it is Nappinai’s favourite;

 (mettendra pañca śayanamwhile we suffer outside you enjoy the softness of bed inside; shouldn’t that bed be hard for you while we experience sorrow?

  the bed with five qualities required for a superior bed viz., softness, coolness, sweet fragrance, beauty and purity (whiteness); Since ‘mettendra’ refers to softness it can be that the softness is reiterated, meaning it is so very soft or otherwise leaving softness among the five qualities and add the ‘area of spreading’;

 It can also be considered as neither too cool nor too hot;

 Or it can be considered as the bed made with 5 colored threads;

 (śayanattin mēlēriWhat happiness can a bed give for a mother without her child enjoying the same!  We are unable to enjoy the softness of bed due to separation but you are relaxing with great joy.  You have left the divine bed of Adisesha for the very purpose of rejoicing along with us but now forgetting the same how can you enjoy alone?

 (kottalar pūkuzhal nappinnaiNappinnai with tresses fragrant with flowers that blossoms in bunches once they comes on her hair; you capable of making flowers to blossom shouldn’t you also make our faces blossom with happiness? The buds while placed in your hair, blossom, but in our case they wither; we have vowed not to adorn our hair with flowers but you have decorated yourself;  The Lord is celebrated for His beautiful hair but you have a hair that mesmerizes even Him;

 (kogai mēl vaittu kiandaThe Lord lies with Nappinnai’s bosom rested on His divine chest or the Lord’s broad chest rest on the bosom of Nappinnai piratti;

 (malar mārbā!The Lord’s chest broadened due to ecstasy; a devotee’s devotion and love makes even the unchanging Lord to show changes (this is not a fault but a divine quality of the Lord);

 (vāy tiavāyremain in your place and at least open your mouth and utter a few words; Not wanting to separate the divine couples, they request the Lord to utter a few words while enjoying their union;

 Pitying the state of the gopis, Krishna attempted to utter a few words but Nappinnai signaled Him with her eyes not to open His mouth as she felt that she should be the first person to respond to the call of her friends; So now Andal again turns to Nappinnai and says,

 (maitaan kaṇṇināy!Nappinnai signaled with her eyes and Kṛṣṇa mesmerized by the same kept quiet; so now Andal appreciates the beauty of the eyes; dark and broad; We assumed that the beauty of your eyes will do us favour by uniting us with Kṛṣṇa but unfortunately now you are using the same to separate us from Him; We have vowed not to decorate our eyes with kohl but your eyes are beautifully decorated; 

 Our preceptors always consider the divine Mother’s eye always one step higher as it showers only grace and never anger;

 More interestingly the kohl in Nappinnai’s eye is not the actual kohl but the reflection of the Lord’s divine body as she is constantly enjoying His form with her eyes.  Won’t you also bless us with the same!

 (nīyun maāanaiyou, ever filled in His thoughts; your spouse who is always thinking about you forgetting His supremacy and mastering the worlds;  Is it fair for you to enjoy Him all alone?

 (ettanai pōdum tuyil ezhavoṭṭāy kāwon’t you allow Him to get up even for a moment;

 (ettanai yēlum pirivātta killāyālCan’t you bear His separation even for a second?  Even if He moves a little you start experiencing the distress of separation like we experience standing outside (similar to Sita Devi’s grief while separated from the Lord for 10 months) and probably that is the reason why He doesn’t leave you at all.

 (tattuvam)  what we say is true;

 (tagavu andruBut this will not suit your nature;

 (Tattuvam tagavandru) in reality this will not suit your nature;

 Here ‘tagavu’ refers to Nappinnai’s grace (daya).  A person filled with grace like you cannot do this. Or is your grace not true?

 (Tattuvam andru tagavu andruDoesn’t suit your basic characteristic (grace/daya) or your behavioral characteristic (purushakaram/mediation);

 So to uphold your svarupa and svabhava allow us to unite with your (our) beloved;


 It is essential for every Srivaishnava to have the knowledge of five essential Truths otherwise called as the artha panchaka; while Andal says “pancha sayanam” esoterically it can mean the five essential truths.  The divine couples lie on top of the five essential truths, the knowledge of which can grant us moksha or eternal service to the divine couples in the divine abode; the artha panchaka are:

  1. Paramātma svarūpa, or nature of the supreme soul;
  2. The Jivātma svarūpa, the nature of the Self
  3. The upāya svarūpa, the nature of the means
  4. The Virodhi svarūpa, the nature of obstacles
  5. The Puruṣārtha svarūpa, nature of the goal (eternal service to the Lord)

 Let us understand the above with a simple example: Say I want to make a phone call to my friend; shouldn’t I know the following? 

  1. Who am I?
  2. To whom am I going to make the call?
  3. How am I going to call (through landline or mobile or via internet)
  4. What has stopped me from making the call till now (not interested or the phone was dead etc)
  5. What is the purpose of my call?

We can make a successful call only if we have proper knowledge of the above.  Similarly for a srivaishnava aspiring for salvation he needs to know about self and his master the supreme Lord, the goal and the way to reach it and also essentially the obstacles that stop him/her from reaching the goal.

Let us all try to gain the artha panchaka knowledge and get uplifted;