Tiruppavai Pasuram 2

ENGLISH TEXT: 

vaiyattu vāzhvīrhāḷ nāmum nam pāvaikku |
ceyyum kiriśaikaḷ kēḷīrō | pāṛkaḍaluḷ
paiya  tuyinna paramaṇ aḍi pāḍi |
 ney unnom pāl unnom nāṭ kālē nīrāḍi  |
maiyiṭṭezhudōm malar iṭṭu nām muḍiyōm |
 ceyyādana ceyyōm tīkuṛaḷai cennōdōm |
aiyamum piccaiyum āndanaiyum kai kāṭṭi |
 uyyum āṛeṇeṇi uhandelōr empāvāy  ||

WORD BY WORD MEANING:

Vaiyattu – In this world (earth);
vāzhvīrgāḷ- those who are born to live;
nāmum – we (who consider Him to be our sole refuge);
uyyum āṛu eṇe – realizing the means for upliftment;
ugandu – joyfully;
nam pāvaikku – for our vow;
ceyyum kiriśaikaḷ – that which has to be done;
kēḷīrō – please listen;
pāṛkaḍaluḷ – in the milky ocean;
paiya tuyinna paramaṇ – the divine Lord in His yogic trance;
aḍi pāḍi – sing praise to His divine feet;
aiyamum – alms (given to the needy);
piccaiyum – offerings made to brahmacharis and sanyasis;
āndanaiyum – abundantly (till they are capable of receiving);
kai kāṭṭi – give;
ney unnom- we will not eat ghee;
pāl unnom – we will abstain from milk;
nāṭ kālē – early in the morning;
nīrāḍi – take bath;
maiyiṭṭezhudōm – will not decorate our eyes with collyrium;
malar iṭṭu nam muḍiyōm – will not bound our hair with flowers ourself;
ceyyādana – that which was not practiced by our elders;
ceyyōm – we will not do;
tīkuṛaḷai – avoid gossip (that would harm others);
cendrōdōm – We will not go and tell (to the Lord);
 

INTRODUCTION:

In this verse the Gopis are describing the vow that they will be performing and the austerities they will undertake. They will sing the praises of the Supreme Being said to be reclining in yogic trance upon the serpent couch Ananta Śeṣa (Infinity) in the sea of milk (the cosmos), contemplating upon the welfare of all beings; sentient and insentient. The Feet are the objects of worship because the devotee considers him/herself so humble that s/he is unworthy to even look upon the Body or the Face of the Supreme Being.  This verse highlights the do’s and don’t’s for the interested aspirants who want to reach their goal.

COMMENTARY:

 (vaiyattu vāzhvīrgāḷ) In this world capable of immersing anyone into the material pursuits, Andal calls to those who are fortunate enough to enjoy the pastimes of the Lord in this Earthly Playground (Lilavibuti)! These devotees are like lotus blooming in a hot pot. Instead of striving hard to reach the goal, these gopis are blessed to enjoy the result. Even in the divine abode some divine qualities (like vAtsalyam, saulabhyam etc) of the Lord are hidden as there is no opportunity for Him to show them but here in this world all His divinity glows as a bright light in a dark room. Enjoying that bright light these gopis are blessed even more than the nityasuris.

After enjoying the motherly compassion of the easily accessible Kṛṣṇa in this world, one will not even cherish the supreme Almighty in the divine abode;  It is a blessing to live here along with Him; Even more blessed is being born as gopis and that too in His age.  Andal now wants to enjoy Kṛṣṇa with those blessed gopis;

(nāmum nam pāvaikku ceyyum kiriśaikaḷ kēḷīrō) We, who want to reach Him through Him (as the means) but still are unable to wait till He reaches us; our vow – for the welfare of His devotees and Himself; Not like the vows of enemies of the Lord but like that of Dasaratha to gain four gems as His sons;
That which has to be done for the vow not as means but for the sake of spending time appropriately; that which has to be done with perfection and not incompletely; please listen;

The gopis have already reached a state of trance, thinking about the divine experience with Kṛṣṇa​; So Andal triggers them by saying don’t daydream missing this rare opportunity while the elders themselves have given us the free way to enjoy Kṛṣṇa​; Andal is not telling them anything new but She is trying to reiterate what they all know already just for the sake of relishing; so that the ears gets its purpose of existence;

(pāṛkaḍaluḷ paiya tuyinna paramaṇ aḍi pāḍi) The first verse talked about Sriman Narayanan in the divine abode (Srivaikunta); in this verse Andal talks about the Lord reclining on His divine serpent bed in the milky ocean (ksheerabdi), in yogic trance, mediating on jagatrakshana (protecting the universe); this line refers to the three hypostatic emanations that He adopts for the creation (Pradyumna), sustentation (Aniruddha) and transformation (Saṅkarṣana) of the universe.

paramaṇ – matchless, in beauty (reclining posture adds to His divine beauty that too on Adisesha) or divine qualities as He has descended from Srivaikunta to the milky ocean to listen to the grief calls of the devas and protect them;

aḍi pāḍi – Lost to His greatness, sing the praise of His divine Feet; Like the mother’s breast attracting an infant the master’s Feet attracts the servants;
Even though singing (self-effort by a Jiva) is against our svarupa (natural characteristic), still the thirst to reach the goal provokes Andal;

But why should they sing about the Lord in the milky ocean leaving Kṛṣṇa? It is to hide their actual intent from the elders and make them believe that they are indeed worshipping the supreme Lord. In reality they are only interested in Kṛṣṇa here, who is none other than the incarnation of that supreme lord;

(pāḍi ney unnom pāl unnom) We will not eat ghee or milk; since we are already full of enjoyment singing His praise why do we need anything else for pleasure;
Though ghee and milk are liquids, Andal says “eating” as they are innocent gopis or it is just a colloquial reference;

(nāṭ kālē nīrāḍi) we will bath in the appropriate time (early in the morning) to overcome the heat of separation;

(maiyiṭṭezhudōm malar iṭṭu nām muḍiyōm) No collyrium for eyes and flowers for the hair; Andal says ‘nām muḍiyōm’ indicating that we will not decorate ourselves but if He comes to do the same we will accept it happily. The Lord would always like His devotees to be beautiful and happy;

(ceyyādana ceyyōm tīkuṛaḷai cendrōdōm) We will not do anything against culture and tradition followed by our ancestors for generations; we will not leave even one gopi and approach Kṛṣṇa; Will not hurt anyone by word, deed or thought; Unnecessary gossips about anyone need to be avoided; moreover going from one place to another for gossip is waste of time and energy; Here Andal says we will not go to Kṛṣṇa and talk ill of others;

(aiyamum piccaiyum āndanaiyum kai kāṭṭi ) By ‘aiyam’ is meant giving alms to befitting persons. By ‘pichai ‘ is meant giving charity to brahmins and sanyāsis; It is not just giving but giving abundantly till there is someone to receive the same;
Aiyam can be giving divine experience of Kṛṣṇa to those who aspire for it and pichai  giving experience with devotees for those who aspire the same; Aiyam – knowledge about the supreme; pichai – knowledge about nature of the soul;

kai kāṭṭi – even after giving abundantly, considering that we were just instrumental in the good deed to happen (not the doer);

(uyyum āṛeṇeṇi ugandu) thus thinking about the means to liberation and thereby experiencing bliss;

LESSON OF THE DAY:

Do’s and Don’ts

The word discipline makes many people shrug.  At the outset following rules and regulations, imposing do’s and don’ts might sound as hardship but in reality disciplined people are happier and enjoy better life.  We accept and oblige to rules and regulations in school, college, office, hospitals and even on the road but when it comes to being disciplined in life and in spirituality we argue.  Why should I do something that has been told by the sastras?  Why should I follow what my elders (generations before) practiced?


The answer to these questions is the sastras declare the dos and don’ts for the wellbeing of each one of us and our elders who have cognized the truth by experience followed the sastras and lived a contented life.   Andal in the second paasuram calls for those who want to live their life rather than simply exist on this earth and tells them the requirements of their vratha (vow).
Singing the praise of that eternal Lord is the foremost requirement; Keeping us clean in body and mind; Concentrating on decorating the soul and not the perishable body; Refraining from talking ill of others and showing mercy on the needy.