Tiruppavai Pasuram 5

ENGLISH TEXT

māyanai mannu vaḍa madurai maindanai |
tūya perunīr yamunai turaivanai |
āyar kulattinil tōnnum aṇi-viḷakkai |
tāyai kuḍal viḷakkan ceyda dāmodaranai |
tūyōmāy vandu nām tūmalar tūvit tozhudu |
vāyināl pāḍi manattināl cindikka |
pōya pizhaiyum puhudaruvān ninnanavum |
tīyinil tūśāhum ceppēlōr empāvāy ||

WORD BY WORD MEANING 

 Māyanai – one whose acts are inscrutable and mysterious;

mannu vaḍa madurai maindanai – the King of northern Mathura (ever glowing with divine association);

tūya perunīr – pure and deep river;

yamunai turaivanai – one who plays in the bank of Yamuna;

āyar kulattinil tōndrum – born in the cowherd clan;

aṇi-viḷakkai – auspicious radiant lamp;

tāyai kuḍal viḷakkan ceyda – one who illuminated the Mother’s (Yasoda’s) womb;

dāmodaranai – the Lord (who accepted Mother Yasoda tying Him with a small rope and hence has the mark in His body);

nām – We (who He has to reach for);

tūyōmāy vandu – come to Him with purity (in mind, words and deed);

tūmalar tūvit – adorn Him with fresh flowers;

tozhudu – pay our obeisance;

vāyināl pāḍi – sing His praise with our tongue;

manattināl cindikka – meditate in our mind;

pōya pizhaiyum – past sins (committed before realizing our relation with Him);

pugudaruvān nindranavum – those committed later (without our knowledge);

tīyinil tūśāgum – will vanish like cotton in a fire;

 ceppu – (so) sing His glory;

INTRODUCTION 

Andal called for all Her friends(the gopis) in thiruayppadi to undertake the vow of marghazhi nombu. She started the first verse celebrating the supreme Narayana and in the second verse instructed the do’s and don’ts of the vow and worshipped the Lord reclining in the milky ocean. In the third verse, She explicitly conveyed the benefit to the world if they undertake the vow and was reminded of the Lord who measured the worlds and showered His boundless compassion on one and all. In the fourth verse she ordered varuna to perform His duty in the specified way and got reminded of Sri Rama, to whose help various devas appeared in various forms. In the fifth verse the gopis had a query; even the so powerful Rama’s crowning ceremony didn’t happen on the day the great sage vasista marked so how can we be sure that our vow will go on without any hindrance? Andal answers we need not cleanse all our sins to undertake this vow since we are going to surrender to that Lord who is pure in all aspects and capable of burning all our sins and making our vow successful. He is such a Lord who forgoes anything for the sake of His devotees. 

Godā in this verse teaches the means of devotional service; — making simple offerings of flowers, chanting Kṛṣṇa’s name and silently meditating upon His refulgent form. The result of such spiritual practice is the absolution of sins and the attainment of spiritual purity. 

COMMENTARY 

(māyanai) Supreme Being who is inscrutable, beyond the comprehension of the human mind, residing in paramapada (srivaikunta); Surprisingly that supreme Lord who the nithyasuris enjoy always now has descended making Himself so very accessible by the innocent cowherds who beat Him and tie Him and enjoy all His mysterious pastimes; 

(mannu vaḍa madurai maindanai) Yet this Transcendent Godhead (Para-Vasudeva) has taken birth due to His boundless compassion, in the humble circumstances of a prison in the Northern city of Mathura (here differentiated from the Southern city of Madura). 

Mathura has always been associated with the Lord; It was the place of penance of the Lord during the vamanavatara; During the Ramavatara, shatrugna won over lavanasura and ruled over from Mathura; And now Krishna has taken birth in this divine place; Only after His birth in mathura did the almighty’s glory spread everywhere; He was born as the boy who immediately after birth broke His parents bondages. He was like a son to everyone in Mathura and He was celebrated as the king of Mathura (maindan-can mean- strength, son or king) 

(tūya perunīr yamunai turaivanai) it is said that the purity of the waters of the Yamuna river is due to Lord Kṛṣṇa and the Gopis playing in them, gargling and splashing themselves. The waters experienced the Divine touch of the Lord and therefore have become pure. 

The Godāvari River never imparted any information to Sri Rāma about Sitā Devi, due to fear of Rāvaṇa, though Sitā had specifically requested her to do so. Yamuna by contrast, assisted Vāsudeva to carry the child Kṛṣṇa to Gokula, not being afraid of Kaṃsa, although she was flowing underneath the very palace of the demon — herein lies the purity of the Yamuna. The Yamuna helped Vāsudeva by flowing knee deep at first, then with a desire to touch of the lotus feet of the Lord; she began to rise up higher and higher until she reached the mouth of Vāsudeva. Vāsudeva in fear raised the child from his shoulders over his head and while he was doing so the child Kṛṣṇa stretched out his leg and touched the waters and lo and behold, the water-level suddenly dropped and flowed once again knee-deep. 

If they say the name Krishna then kamsa might get alert and come to kill Him so andal hides and says yamunai turaivan; 

(āyar kulattinil tōndrum aṇi-viḷakkai) born in the cowherd clan and thereby glowed like an auspicious lamp; tōndrum – indicates that He was not born like others due to karma but due to His divine wish; His greatness illuminated only after He reached gokula not while He was in Srivaikunta or while born in Mathura; 

(tāyai kuḍal viḷakkan ceyda dāmodaranai) Kṛṣṇa brought such fame to His mother that the entire world wonders what austerity she did in order to beget such a son! Kṛṣṇa was born to Devakī but was fostered out to Yaśoda; so here the reference to “mother’s womb” applies to Yaśoda who acted as the functional mother of Kṛṣṇa, and not to Devakī who was the natural mother. The name Damodara refers to His pastime of breaking the butter pots and Yaśoda in order to restrain him tried to bind Him with a piece of rope needless to say she did not succeed in her endeavour with her effort but Krishna made it happen. 

Once Sri Nañjiyar was asked why the wet garment of the Lord Ranganātha was slowly removed from beneath only after the dry garment was placed up to the chest? Nañjiyar replied that this was to prevent the imprint from the rope from around His waist becoming visible to the Gopis, and thus to avoid giving them the chance to jeer at Him! 

(tūyōmāy vandu nām) How is it that the Gopis declare that they have become pure before they have even taken a bath? Here the purity referred to is mental purity obtained by love of the Lord (Bhakti). Purity in approaching the Lord, instead of considering our sins and moving away from Him; Purity of accepting His greatness and hence surrendering to Him as it is (without trying to purify or contaminate self ); Purity of considering He to be the means and goal; 

Rāma accepted the offerings of Guha, the hunter, by declaring that it was perfectly pure because it was offered to him with love. Draupadi cried to the Lord for help, when she was in her impure days, the Lord responded immediately. 

(Vandu nam) His compassion doesn’t allow Him to wait till the devotees come to Him but now due to our extreme distress we have come to His place; 

(tūmalar tūvit) Those flowers submitted to His divine feet not expecting anything in return; any flower is acceptable for Him but that need to be submitted with Love; 

(tūvit) He accepts with joy even if it is not done in order or in a specific fashion; 

(tozhudu) prostrate and pay our obeisance; 

The Lord doesn’t even stand His devotees prostrating Him as He is deeply in Love with them. But the gopis for the sake of the elders show their respect by prostrating Him and thereby their hands can get the purpose of existence; 

(vāyināl pāḍi) if the hands get their purpose shouldn’t the tongue also get the purpose of existence; So they sing His glory with their tongue; 

(manattināl cindikka) meditate in mind thereby the mind does what it has to do; 

The sequence of performing an action is first to conceive of it in the mind, then expressing it by speech, and thereafter performs the physical action. This is the usual order in doing any karma or action, but here we find the order reversed. This is due to extreme love each sense organ rushes to achieve its purpose of existence and hence the order is lost but the Lord is ready to shower His grace in whichever order we worship Him. 

(pōya pizhaiyum pugudaruvān nindranavum tīyinil tūśāgum) By worshipping Lord Kṛṣṇa with all our three Kāraṇas (instruments); — through the mind by engaging in contemplating the glories and pastimes of Kṛṣṇa, through speech by singing His glories and chanting the Holy Name, and through the body by engaging ourselves in the service of the Lord by offering flowers at His feet — we will be absolved of all our sins, those already committed and those we are likely to commit in future (out of ignorance); – like a bundle of cotton burnt by a spark of fire. 

(ceppu) Just singing is enough to burn our sins (tongue chants His names without the mind or body involved);  

LESSON FOR THE DAY

 1. In Ramayana great rishi Vasista fixed the date for Rama pattabhisheka but even that didn’t happen so what to say about the obstacles that will come in our way?

 2. Andal answers our doubt in Her fifth verse, if our intentions are good and filled with devotion- if we praise the Almighty with our mouth, and meditate on His divine qualities and use our sense organs to do service to Him and His devotees then by His grace all the obstacles in our way will be burnt to ashes.