vaṅgak kaḍal kaḍainda mādhavanaik keśavanai |
tiṅgaḷ tiru-mugattu ceyizhaiyār cenniraiñji |
aṅgap paṛai koṇḍavāttai | aṇi puduvai
paiṅkamalat taṇ teriyal bhaṭṭa-pirān godai conna |
caṅgat tamizh mālai muppadum tappāme |
iṅgip pariśuraippār īriraṇḍu māl varai tōḷ |
ceṅgan tiru-mukkatu celva tiru-mālāl |
eṅgum tiruvaruḷ pettinbuṛuvar empāvāy ||
WORD BY WORD MEANING
vaṅgak kaḍal – Thiruparkadal full of ships;
kaḍainda – churned (for the sake of devas)
mādhavanai – spouse of the divine Mother;
keśavanai – Kesavan (Kannapiran/Kṛṣṇa);
tiṅgaḷ tiru-mugattu ceyizhaiyār– The lovely well-bedecked and moon faced girls;
cendriraiñji – approached and worshipped;
aṅgu – in that Thiruayppadi (Gokula);
ap paṛai koṇḍavāttrai – the renowned episode of receiving their aspiration;
aṇi puduvai – born in the beautiful place of Srivilliputtur;
paiṅkamalat taṇ teriyal bhaṭṭa-pirān –One who adorns the fresh, cool lotus garland and Periazhvar’s;
caṅgat tamizh mālai muppadu– The thirty classical Tamil verses that has to be enjoyed in groups;
tappāme – without fail;
iṅgu – in this world;
ip pariśuraippār – chant it in this way;
īriraṇḍu māl varai tōḷ – one with four big mountain like shoulders (arms);
ceṅgan tiru-mukkatu – red Eyes and divine Face;
tiru-mālāl – The Lord, spouse of the divine Mother (Sri);
eṅgum – in all places,
tiruvaruḷ pettru – receive (His) divine grace;
inbuṛuvar – rejoice;
In this final stanza in accordance with poetic tradition, Godadevi gives Her name, parentage and a summary of the nature of Her work. The concluding stanza also deals with the benefit one gains from a recitation of this poem, i.e. that all those who even simply recite this poem would have the Divine Grace showered on them by the loving Lord and His consort Sri Maha Lakṣmī, both in this world and the next. For anyone who learns this poem or recites it with devotion, the benefit will equal that of one who has actually acted in the role of a Gopi and has performed the vow. Bhaṭṭar used to say that just as the mother-cow shows compassion to its stuffed calf and yields milk as it would for its living calf, similarly God will bestow His Grace upon us also, though we do not possess either the ability to emulate (anukāram) of Āṇḍāḷ or the ability to practice (anuṣṭhānam) of the gopis.
(vaṅgak kaḍal kaḍainda mādhavanai) Godādevi mentions the incident of the churning of the ocean by the devas with the object of obtaining the nectar of immortality. During that incident, Mother Lakṣmī arose from the sea and was taken by the Lord as His eternal consort. The churning of the ocean is the actual churning of the mind with the churning stick of devotion to extract the ambrosia of ecstatic love and service. The ships represent the jīvas who are tossed about on the ocean of mundane existence and require a pilot in the form of the Lord to cross over to the other side.
Ships there in milky ocean? Probably present for navigation of the residents of the svEtadwipa. Or probably the mountains and waves that appeared during the churning looked like ships. When He did such a great act of churning the ocean for the sake of devas why will not He grant our aspiration, we being His intimate devotees; That day churning of ocean was a pretense to obtain the divine Mother; now the vow is a pretense for the gopis to attain His divine service; The purpose of churning was to become Madhavan (husband of the divine Mother); Mediation of the divine mother is essential for all jiva’s to reach the Lord and hence She being always with the Lord is a great boon for all of us;
(Keśavanai) The Possessor of glorious hair — The Gopis began with the Feet of the Lord in paramaṇaḍipāḍi (stanza 2) and ended with the Head.
His beautiful Hair admired by even His consorts; The movement of the hair lock while He churned the ocean was a divine sight; He is capable of removing our obstacles shown in the episode of killing kEsi –kEsihanthA-kEsavan; The name Kesavan also has another meaning indicating His supremacy over the brahma and rudra;
(tiṅgaḷ tiru-mugattu ceyizhaiyār cendriraiñji) The faces of the gopis are bright as the full-moon because of their being in the company of the Lord; They are well-ornamented, for according to Stanza 27, they wore these ornaments which were given to them by Nappinnai and Śrī Kṛṣṇa. They have now approached Kṛṣṇa with great lovand devotion and worshipped Him;
(aṅgap paṛai koṇḍavāttrai) there, the way in which they achieved their goal (parai – drum/eternal service to Kṛṣṇa);
(aṇi puduvai paiṅkamalat taṇ teriyal bhaṭṭa-pirān godai) bhaṭṭa-pirān (best of Brahmins) refers to Viṣṇucitta(Periyalvar); Godā’s father who was also a saint. He is known by this honorific title, for in the Pāṇḍya’s court he defeated his antagonists in arguments and established firmly, that the Supreme Almighty is Viṣṇu, and none else. His service to the Lord Kṛṣṇa Vaṭapatraśāyi of Ṣrivilliputtur (like a jewel in this samsara) consisted in making the garlands for the daily use in the temple and is symbolized by adorning cool fresh lotus garland;
Greatness of Srivilliputtur: One place where we find the supreme Lord, divine Mother (Godadevi) and jeevatma (garuda) in the same platform;
(godai conna) sung by Godā, who had experienced all the mental and emotional anguish of the gopis and hence has become faultless. Sung —unlike the Vedas which were born of its own accord, without any originator, the Tiruppavai took its origin from the tongue of Godā and is therefore superior to even the Vedas; the Lord Kṛṣṇa is certainly superior to Kṣīrābdi-nātha (Lord Nārāyaṇa depicted reclining upon the serpent couch).
(caṅgat tamizh mālai muppadum tappāme) Just as the Universal Mother took Her birth as Śrī Āṇḍāḷ, the Upanishads took their birth as Tiruppavai. ‘Mālai’ – garland of verses – denotes that this prabandham is not only beautiful and pleasing to the ear, but one to be praised. Further Kṛṣṇa gave Godā only a flower (cevippu — St. 27), but ireturn she gave him a garland. Not leaving out even a single stanza — If even one gem is lost in a necklace, it will spoil its beauty, similarly, even if one verse is left out without being sung, the beauty of the Tiruppāvai will be diminished. Godā states that even a correct recitation of the verses, without devotion, will bring the desired effect of winning the grace of the Lord as long as it is done with a concentrated mind. It is enough that one simply recites the verses even without understanding their inner meaning.
This should not be enjoyed in solace but in groups (caṅgam). This divine work is not in tough Sanskrit but in classical simple Tamil and just thirty in number.
(iṅgip pariśuraippār īriraṇḍu māl varai tōḷ ceṅgan tiru-mukkatu) Even today if one recites the verses of Andal, they will also be blessed with the grace of that Lord with four big mountain-like shoulders, red eyes and beautiful face. When the Lord experiences the joy with His devotees His shoulders stretches multifold due to happiness; During Krishnavatara all His foes saw Him with two Hands whereas His intimate devotees enjoyed His darshan with four hands (gopis, Arjuna); His eyes have become red due to satisfaction and pleasure;
(celva tiru-mālāl) The wealth of the Lord is the ubhayavibhutis (Lila and nithya vibhuti); Moreover He is the spouse of the Goddess of Wealth; He is the wealth of the Goddess of wealth;
(eṅgum tiruvaruḷ pettrinbuṛuvar) will be blessed with grace of the lord here and there everywhere and enjoy eternal happiness;
Experiencing the joy of visualizing the union of the Kṛṣṇa and Andal is the biggest pleasure we will be blessed with; Traditionally Divine marriage of Andal with Kṛṣṇa is celebrated in all the temples on this divine day
LESSON FOR THE DAY
The Lord Sri MahaViṣṇu, churned the Milky Ocean, without causing even a slight motion to the ships. He used the Mandhāra Hill as the churning-rod, the Snake Vasuki as the rope and through His effort attained the Goddess Lakṣmī as His consort, similarly, the Lord has churned the ‘ocean of Samsāra’ with His mercy, without creating even a slight discomfort to the body of the cetana, using His Saṅkalpa or Wish as the churning-rod; and His Grace as the rope, and attained a thing more precious than even Sri MahaLakṣmī, viz, the Jīvatma.
The devotees of the Lord with bright faces, filled with knowledge (jñāna), devotion (bhakti) and dispassion (vairāgya), went to His very presence out of extreme love, and attained their desire of selfless service (kainkarya puruṣārtha) though ostensibly seeking the drum. This account of how the Gopis approached the Lord and obtained their desires is beautifully sung by Śrī Āṇḍāḷ, the daughter of Viṣṇucitta of Śrī Villiputtur and it is a Prabandham containing a garland of Tamil verses fit to be sung in groups and fit to be celebrated for all ages to come. Those who recite these verses without leaving out a single stanza shall obtain here and in the world to come, eternal happiness through the Grace of Kṛṣṇa, (the consort of Sri MahaLakṣmī) with red eyes, beautiful face and with four big mountain-like shoulders.
Tradition has it that at the age of 32 Sri Parasara Bhaṭṭar had a carbuncle on his back incised. But the only anaesthetic he would permit was the chanting and hearing of the Tiruppavai songs. When the surgeon operated on the carbuncle he did not show any pain whatsoever.
Not only in the month of Marghazhi but the Thiruppavai is supposed to be recited and the meanings mediated on throughout the life of a Srivaishnava. Swamy Ramanuja, the great acharya of the srivaishnava Sampradaya, was so immersed in the divine work of the small girl Andal. Swamy Ramanuja was called as the ‘koil Annan’ (elder brother of andal) and also Tiruppavai Jeeyar.