Tiruppavai Pasuram 4

ENGLISH TEXT

āzhi mazhai kannā onnu nī kai karavēl |

azhiyuḷ pukku muhandu koḍārtēṛi |
uzhi mudalvan uruvampōl mey kaṛuttu |
pāzhiyan tōḷ uḍaip paṛpanābhan kaiyil
āzhipōl minni | valamburi pōl ninnu adirndu |
tāzhāde śārṅgam udaitta śara mazhaipōl |
vāzhā ulahinil peydiḍāy | nāṅgaḷum
mārgazhi nirāḍa mahizhndelōr empāvāy ||

WORD BY WORD MEANING

 Āzhi – Majestic and vast like the ocean;

 mazhai kannā – Varuna deva , the deity of rain;

 nī – you;

 ondrum – even a bit;

 kai karavēl – don’t withhold;

 azhiyuḷ pukku – dive deep into the ocean;

 mugandu koḍu – fill and give (the ocean water);

 ārtu – with the sound of thunder;

 ēṛi – rise high in the sky;

 uzhi mudalvan – the primordial cause;

 uruvampōl – like His divine form;

 mey kaṛuttu – become dark hue;

 pāzhiyan tōḷ uḍai – one who has strong and beautiful shoulders;

 paṛpanābhan kaiyil – in the right hands of the Lord who has the lotus in His naval;

 āzhipōl minni – Blaze with lightning like the Discus;

 valamburi pōl – (in the left hand) like the Divine conch;

 nindru adirndu – stay and sound (thunder);

 tāzhāde – without delaying;

 śārṅgam udaitta śara mazhaipōl – like the arrows showered from the bow śārṅga shower abundant rain;

 vāzhā – (for everyone in the world) to live;

 nāṅgaḷum – and also we who are undertaking the vow;

 magizhndu – with joy;

 mārgazhi nirāḍa – to enjoy ritual bath in marghazhi;

 peydiḍāy – please shower rain;

INTRODUCTION 

Varuna deva, the god of rain realizing the importance of service to devotees to whose place the supreme Lord Himself has descended as Kṛṣṇa and follows their instructions wanted to serve the gopis in some way.  In this verse, Andal instructs varuna the way he can help them out.

Here Godā again stresses Her desire for rain, and addresses this invocation to the Rain-god Varuna. He is not addressed as an independent deity but is referred to as an executive of the Supreme Being Kṛṣṇa. After poetically describing the precipitation process She requests Varuna to assume the dark blue form of Kṛṣṇa who is the Primordial cause of the universe. Kṛṣṇa is known as Meghaśyāma — “cloud coloured One”. Godā now uses similes of Kṛṣṇa’s three weapons to describe the phenomena associated with rain. The lightning is likened to the discus Sudarśana (‘Pleasing to behold’.) The discus which moves at the speed of light represents the Universal Mind. It is discharged for the punishment of the wicked and the salvation of the devotees. The conch — Pāñcajanya, was born of the sea; from the primordial ocean of creation. It is symbolic of the emanation of the cosmos and of the sound of omkara. Its tumultuous sound is meant to proclaim the Lord’s saving grace. In His incarnation as Sri Rāma, the lord used the bow — śārnga, to defeat the demonic host of the Rākṣasas lead by Rāvaṇa. Here the bow is invoked to destroy the demon of drought.

Esoterically the cloud is said to represent the great preceptors (ācāryas/swamy Ramanuja celebrated as the ‘anna’, elder brother of Andal). They collate spiritual knowledge from many sources, distil the essence and then spread it all over the world in a form easily understood by the masses. This they do without any expectation of gain or selfish motive, the only reason being their boundless compassion for suffering beings.

Most of the Āḷvārs who preceded Aṇḍāḷ in their hymns compared the Lord to the clouds, but Śrī Aṇḍāḷ on the contrary compares the clouds to the Lord. To Her the Lord is upamāna, the known object, with which the object of description. ie, prāmeyam is sought to be compared. This shows Aṇḍāḷ’s excessive devotion to the Lord.

COMMENTARY 

 (āzhi mazhai kannā) azhi refers to the ocean; Varuna and the ocean have similarities in majesty and vastness; Small innocent gopis not knowing the name, refer to the rain god with the activity he does or it could be because they are so involved with Kṛṣṇa that they call everyone as ‘kanna’;

 Leaving the jobs of creation and destruction to brahma and rudra, the Lord chose to take up protection. Similarly your job is not like yama and others but involves protecting us by showering rain appropriately. So ignore our shortfalls and do your duty properly. Don’t differentiate between the sinners and virtuous people but shower to all with compassion instructs Andal.

 (ondru nī kai karavēl) Don’t withhold even a bit; don’t discharge compassion like the Lord who does so by calculating the good and bad of the jiva; instead like His divine consort shower on one and all; 

(azhiyuḷ pukku mugandu koḍārtēṛi) plunge deep into the ocean completely fill yourself rise high in the sky with thunder sounds; The water in lakes and ponds will not be enough even in the ocean don’t stop with the top layer but go deep inside and absorb all the water; You should not behave like Kṛṣṇa who hides Himself when performing His duty of protection, but you must demonstrate your presence to us by rising into the sky with a thunderous sound. Like the victorious sound of Hanuman when returning from Lanka after seeing Sita Devi that gave life back to the vanaras; 

(uzhi mudalvan) the primordial cause of the universe; Kṛṣṇa protects all the beings in the world by keeping them safe in His abdomen during the deluge and then bringing them out again with the next cycle of creation. This concept has been well described by the word ‘nābhan’ in the term ‘padmanābhan’ in line four. The word connotes “He who created brahma from His navel who in turn created the world.”

(uruvampōl mey kaṛuttu) ‘O Parjanya! emulate the dark complexion of the primordial cause and appear in the form of a rain cloud; Before creation the Lord is filled with compassion only because of seeing the sad state of the dormant jivas. Only after the basic creation He calculates the good and bad and discharges accordingly. So you be like the Lord during creation filled only with compassion;

 But O parjanya though you can appear in complexion like His divine form you can never possess His boundless compassion;

 (pāzhiyan tōḷ uḍaip paṛpanābhan kaiyil āzhipōl minni) Lightning like the discus that shines in the divine Hands of Padmanabha with strong and admirable shoulders, which are not just attractive but also powerful (protects and makes us enjoy);

 When a child is born more than the parents the relatives celebrate similarly once brahma was born in the naval of the Lord, sudarsana the divine discus glittered with happiness. Like the parents taking safety measures to protect the child, the Lord holds the shining divine discus to protect the child in the naval. Beautiful hands holding the beautiful discus words fail to explain;

 (valamburi pōl nindru adirndu) Thunders like His conch; ‘Unlike the sound of Kṛṣṇa’s Pāñcajanya which terrifies His enemies and delights His devotees, your roar of thunder delights the hearts of all (both enemies and friends) and all creation dances in joy’. Not once but the sound has to be heard continuously;

 (tāzhāde) even after seeing our state please don’t delay;

 (śārṅgam udaitta śara mazhaipōl vāzhā ulaginil peydiḍāy) Pour down your showers in abundance, like arrows from His bow Sarnga. — This expression connotes that even if the Lord delays in destroying His enemies, His Sarnga bow will shower rain of arrows unceasingly upon them. — ‘O Parjanya do not rain like the arrows of the bow causing destruction and misery but rain in such a way as to make the world flourish.

 Varuna asked, “But showering rain is my duty how is it service to you all?”

 (nāṅgaḷum mārgazhi nirāḍa magizhndu) We will undertake the marghazhi ritual bath and hence you can get satisfied with service; we will bath in the divine experience along with Krishna and enjoy the rain (heat of separation vanishes) along with the sound of thunder and brightness of lightning;

 The attitude of the girls is that their rejoicings are only secondary to Universal well-being, which is primary. This expression implies that they live for others and not for their own sake. Happiness lies in seeing the Lord and the people of the world happy;

 LESSON FOR THE DAY 

 1. Anyone known or unknown will come to help if one follows his/her dharma.  In this verse Andal shows how parjanyadevan awaits an opportunity to serve the devotees of Lord.        Difficulties may arise while trying to be dharmic but one need not worry as help will surely come from some corner as the Supreme Lord always favors dharmic personalities.

 2. In Ramayana, even monkeys came to help Sri Rama whereas even his own brother vibheeshana did not support ravana’s adharmic act.