Tiruppavai Pasuram 22

ENGLISH TEXT

aṅganmā ñālat-taraśar | abhimāna
 bhaṅgamāy vandu nin paḷḷik kaṭṭiṛ kīzhē |
śanghaṃ iruppār pōl  vandu talai peydōm |
 kingiṇi  vāy ceyda tāmarai pūppōlē |
śeṅgan ciṛu ciṛidēy emmēl vizhīyāvō ? |
 tiṅgaḷum ādittiyanum ezhundār pōl |
aṅgan iraṇḍum koṇḍeṅgaḷ mēl  nōkkudiyēl |
 eṅgaḷ mēl śāpam izhindēlōr empāvāy ||

WORD BY WORD MEANING

aṅkanmā ñālat-araśar– Kings of this beautiful wide world;

abhimāna bhaṅgamāy  vandu –  shed (their) ego and pride and come;

nin paḷḷik kaṭṭiṛ kīzhē – under the foot of Your throne;

sanghaṃ iruppār pōl – similar to their gathering;

vandu talai peydōm – (we also to Your place of residence) have come with bended head;

kingiṇi vāy ceyda –the half opened mouth of small bells;

tāmarai pūppōlē –  like lotus flower;

śeṅgan – reddish (benign) eyes;

ciṛu ciṛidēy – little by little;

emmēl vizhīyāvō ? – Will You not gaze at us (Your devotees?)

tiṅgaḷum ādittiyanum – the moon and the sun;

ezhundār pōl – similar to their rise;

aṅgan iraṇḍum koṇḍu – with both the beautiful eyes;

eṅgaḷ mēl nōkkudiyēl – If you will deign to look upon us;

eṅgaḷ mēl śāpam izhindu – We will be freed from the curse of all our sins;

INTRODUCTION

In the previous verse Andal talked about enemies losing strength coming to the doorsteps of the Lord, shedding ego and pride;  In this pasuram Andal stresses the acceptance of ananyArhasEshatvam(surrendering to the Lord since they have no other refuge; Servitude only to the Lord Sriman Narayana and no one else);

COMMENTARY

 (aṅkanmā ñālat-tu) ‘am’ refers to beauty; ‘kaN’ refers to space;

 ‘am’ can be considered to refer to the enjoyment; ‘kan’ to the place of enjoyment; ‘mā’ refers to abundance of material for pleasure;

 (ñālat-taraśar) the kings who rule some corner of this beautiful wide world;

 (taraśar abhimāna ) even if they rule over only a small kingdom, still their ego is as if they are the king of kings 

Ego and pride increases as we climb up the ladder; An wonderful incident is quoted to illustrate this point; Once a person questioned Sri Parasara bhattar, one of the Srivaishnava preceptors, ‘while we see in the scriptures that lord brahma and others attain salvation only after doing penance for multiple births how is it that few people (Srivaishnavas) with great confidence believe that they will attain salvation at the end of this birth only and eagerly await the same?’ Sri bhattar remarkably replied,’There is no contradiction; brahma and others have ego and pride as per their positions and to get rid of it they need multiple births but those here by nature consider themselves to be lowly and hence have less ego and pride. Moreover, they depend on Him for salvation and therefore just this birth is enough’ . That is why our Acharyas say,”Even brahma loses but gopis gain; such is the greatness of Kṛṣṇa.’

 (mā ñālat-taraśar abhimānam) These small rulers consider themselves to be the supreme;

 (Abhimāna bhaṅgamāy) Humbled, renouncing their ego;

 (vandu) traditionally kings after sacrificing their crowns go to the forest; here instead of going to forest they have approached the right place for their upliftment;

 (nin paḷḷik kaṭṭiṛ kīzhē ) These kings may be capable of winning just a few other rulers, but the most powerful One who can win over anyone is none other than the Lord and hence (they have come) under His throne;

 (nin) if there is some looting, everyone comes only to the king’s doorsteps;

 Due to the fear of someone crowning them again, they have reached the divine Feet of the Lord;

 (śanghaṃ iruppār) Even if the Lord says ‘I will give back your kingdom go and rule them’ they are not ready for the same; with great humbleness they have gathered here;

 (pōl vandu talai peydōm) Similar to those kings renouncing their kingdom, ego and pride and gathering under Your crown, we also have shed our feminine ego, words of our relatives and all other pleasures and have reached You;

 They lost themselves to Your arrow while we lost to Your beauty;

 We have come by Your divine grace (yAdrichikam) and not due to any of our efforts;’

 It is not easy for us to shed our ego and come to Your divine Feet and even Your massive efforts have failed till today.  So don’t let go this great moment; 

  1. Kṛṣṇa remarked,’ oh! Ladies so you have got what you wanted?’ Andal replies’ we have reached You, but not got the benefit of the same’;

 (kingiṇi vāy ceyda tāmarai pūppōlē śeṅgan ciṛu ciṛidēy emmēl vizhīyāvō ?) The first thing that attracts Your devotees is Your eyes; shouldn’t You bless us with the glance of Your beautiful eyes? Half opened lotus similar to kingini(that is a kind of bell like ornament half-open and half-shut); His eyes are also half opened and half shut;

 The Lord’s independence stops Him from opening His eyes whereas the mediation of Nappinnai doesn’t allow Him to close His eyes;

 Our sins make Him close His eyes but His grace opens it up;

 His nature of abiding to karma (granting results based on our past actions) makes Him close His eyes whereas His nature of supporting His devotees makes Him open His eyes;

 (śeṅgan) benign eyes reddened due to motherly affection towards His devotees;  A Lotus can be red like His eyes but a lotus cannot possess the quality of compassion etc similar to Him;

 (ciṛu ciṛidēy) one cannot fill the water in a ocean in a small pond; Similarly if all Your grace (beauty of Your eyes) fall on us at a time we will be incapable of withstanding the same; So please shower the same little by little;  While He opens His eyes little by little each second is a divine new experience;

 (emmēl vizhīyāvō?) Shower the gracious rain on us who have become dry due to the summer heat.  We are waiting for your grace similar to the sathaka bird that waits for rain;

 What will you obtain if I shower my gaze on you? Asked Kṛṣṇa;

 (tiṅgaḷum ādittiyanum) Earlier Andal praised Kṛṣṇa as ‘kadir madiyam pol mugaththAn’ and there the reference to the face is more apt to the Eyes resembling the sun and the moon;

The foes fear to go near Him as His eyes burns like the sun, whereas it is so cool and pleasant to the devotees similar to the moon; The sun dispels the darkness of sloth anignorance and the moon is cool, refreshing, life-giving and invigorating.

 (aṅgan) Beautiful eyes; not satisfied with comparing the Eyes to the sun and moon, Andal further says beautiful eyes;

 Valmiki maharishi tried to compare the eyes of Sri Rama with that of the moon and adds ‘ateeva priyadarshanam’ (more beautiful than); Sun and moon have got their glory only due to the greatness of the Lord who created them; The beauty of the sun and moon is just a negligible part of the supreme Lord’s beauty; And moreover they have their own drawbacks and faults (eclipses, partial and no visibilities, craters etc).  But the beauty of the Lord’s divine eyes is impeccable.

 (iraṇḍum koṇḍu) Slowly they have gained the confidence to enjoy the beauty of both the eyes;

 Lotus flower generally blossoms on seeing the sun and closes on seeing the moon; Since the sun and moon has arisen at the same time the eyes compared to a lotus are partially open and partially closed;

 Where is the sun and moon here? The divine conch and discus take the place of the sun and the moon;

 (eṅgaḷ mēl) on us who suffer due to Your separation;

 (tiṅgaḷum ādittiyanum ezhundār pōl eṅgaḷ mēl) Your eyes should not burn us like 2 suns; instead let one of Your eyes burn our enemies (who separate us from You) like the sun and the other shower grace on us like the moon;

 Can burning and showering the grace be done at the same time? It is possible for the Lord capable of doing impossible things.  During the Narasimha avatara, He killed hiranya and blessed prahlada at the same time; Sri Parasara bhattar used to say that it is like a Lioness fighting with an elephant and at the same time feeding its cub;

 (nōkkudiyēl) it is You who has to gaze; we are totally dependent on You;

 (eṅgaḷ mēl śāpam izhindu) If Your glance falls on us then our grief of separation will be overcome; śāpam-curse; since the experience of separation is so terrible and cannot be rejected (without experiencing the same) Andal calls it as a curse; 

LESSON FOR THE DAY

So one needs to realize that the Jiva/individual soul is always under the control of the eternal supreme soul (paramatma) and hence shedding our ego and pride is very essential to reach His divine feet.  Even those who lived with great wealth, fame and name in the past finally reached only the graveyards. So Andal in this verse talks about the necessity of shedding one’s ego and pride (as nothing can happen without the help of the eternal Lord) and taking refuge unto His divine Feet permanently.  Our happiness, name or fame is all as a result of our past good deeds and sufferings due to our past bad deeds.  We need to nullify both these to reach the eternal abode of the divine Lord and be blessed with His divine service forever.