Tiruppavai Pasuram 8


 kīzhvānam veḷḷenṛu erumai ciṛu vīḍu |

mēyvān parandana kāṇ mikkuḷḷa piḷḷaigaḷum |
pōvān pōkinrārai pōgāmal kāttu | unnai
kūvavān vandu ninrōm | kothukalam uḍaiya
pāvāy! ezhundirāy, pāḍi paṛai koṇḍu |
mā vāy piḷandānai mallarai māṭṭiya |
devādi devanai cenru nām cevittāl |
āvāvenrārāyndaruḷ ēlōr empāvāy ||


 kothukalam uḍaiya pāvāy!– Oh! Adorable joyful girl (specially loved and adored by Kṛṣṇa);

 kīzhvānam– the sky on the eastern direction;

 veḷḷenṛu-has cleared and appears white;

 Mēyvān – for grazing (on dewy grass);

 ciṛu vīḍu – (early in the morning) allowed to graze for a short time before milking;

 parandana kāṇ- spread through (the fields);

 pōvān pōkinrārai– those who are going for the very purpose of going;

 mikkuḷḷa piḷḷaigaḷum – and all the remaining girls;

 pōgāmal kāttu– detained from going;

 unnai kūvavān – to call you;

 vandu nindrōm – (at your doorsteps) here we stand;

 ezhundirāy– get up;

 pāḍi – sing (the divine qualities of Kṛṣṇa);

 paṛai koṇḍu– (from Him) receive the parai;

 mā vāy piḷandānai – One who tore open the mouth of the demon kesi who came in the form of a wild horse;

 mallarai māṭṭiya– one who won over and killed the two wrestlers (Muṣṭika and Cānūra);

 devādi devanai– The master of the nithyasooris (always in the service of the Lord in His divine abode);

 nām cendru cevittāl – If we go and offer our obeisance (Him);

 ārāyndu– He will enquire (our problem);

 āvāvendru aruḷ– filled with pity (He will) bestow His grace;


In this 8th verse Andal and Her friends proceed to wake up a gopi who is very special.  She is so special that all of them need to come and wake her (mikkuḷḷa piḷḷaigaḷum) as she is very much adorned and liked by Kṛṣṇa(kothukalam uḍaiya pāvāy!)


Similar to the previous paasuram in this verse also there is an imaginary dialogue between Andal (standing outside) and kothukalam uḍaiya pāvāy! (Sleeping inside)

Andal: The samsaris sleep in the night and eagerly wait for the dawn to start a new fresh day of mundane activity.  But we devotees involved in god realization grab any small opportunity to be in the companionship of Kṛṣṇa.  Then how is that you are still sleeping while we have this special opportunity with the permission of the elders to enjoy the mystical experience with Kṛṣṇa? Look it is time even for those who stop us from our divine experience to wake up but still you are sleeping?

kothukalam uḍaiya pāvāy! : How do you know that it is time to wake up?

Andal: the sky is clear and appears white in the eastern direction indicating rising of sun shortly (kīzhvānam veḷḷenṛu) .

kothukalam uḍaiya pāvāy!: you all have been waiting for the sunrise (to get devoid of separation from Kṛṣṇa) and constantly looking at the eastern direction. You are all “thingal thirumugaththu sEyizhaiyAr” (moon faced girls) so the reflection of your face has appeared on the eastern sky and moreover you are always used to seeing milk, curd, buttermilk – all white and hence the sky also appears white for you. Do you have any better indication?

Andal: the buffaloes are spread through the fields for grazing the dewy grass; Is this not an indication for day break? (erumai ciu vīu mēyvān parandana kāṇ) 

 Listen if you do not wake up now Kṛṣṇa who is a cowherd boy will go at the back of the cows to do his daily duty.

The words “ciu vīu” indicate the custom of allowing buffaloes to graze on the dewy grass for a short time, just before milking so that they may yield milk in larger quantities. This is a short period of release in contrast to the longer period of release for major grazing throughout the day.

 Sri Peria-acchān-piḷḷay (the preceptor in the Srivaishnava guruparampara celebrated as the king of commentators) expresses great surprise that Aṇḍāḷ, being the daughter of the Brahmin Periyāvar well acquainted with Agnihotra and other yajñas, is now so transformed into a Gopi that she is fully conversant with all their customs!

kothukalam uḍaiya pāvāy!: Earlier the light from your face reflected on the sky and it appeared white.  When that light fell on the sky automatically the darkness will move out.  You have confused the darkness to the buffaloes. 

Andal: Ok even if we accept that we are filled with ignorance why don’t you tell the reason to prove that it is still only night time?

kothukalam uḍaiya pāvāy!:Among the 5 lakh gopis in thiruayppadi, only a few thousands have come here. From the very fact that others are not awake it is sure that it hasn’t dawned yet.

Andal:  All others have gone (mikkuḷḷa piḷḷaigaum )

kothukalam uḍaiya pāvāy!: Have they ignored me and gone?

Andal: No since it is a huge crowd they didn’t realize that you haven’t come and so they didn’t leave you intentionally.

kothukalam uḍaiya pāvāy!: For what are they going?

Andal(pōvān pōkinnārai) they are just going for the sake of going;

Similar to a jeevatma (soul) going in the Archiradhi gadhi (the path that leads to His divine abode) to reach the Srivaikunta (divine abode of the Lord); Like akrura who went to meet Kṛṣṇa as per kamsa’s orders; Like the devotees visiting Thirumala;

kothukalam uḍaiya pāvāy!: If they have already gone leaving me why should I wake up?

Andal: (pōgāmal kāttu) they started to go but once I said that you were missing, they stopped abruptly and are eagerly waiting for you to come.

This clearly depicts that we should not approach the Lord without the aid of other Bhāgavatas. Vibhīana had to surrender himself to Sri Rāma with the help of monkey-people (vānara-mudalis).

“You should worship the Supreme Lord of Heavenly Beings, through those who know the Vedas”.

(Tiruvaymozhi. 4-6-8)

Akrura was directed by Kamsa, to bring Kṛṣṇa to be tortured and Akrura proceeded with

mingled feelings of joy and regret; joy at the prospect of meeting the Lord, the highest aim in one’s life and regret of the purpose of the mission itself.

(unnai kūvavān vandu nindrōm) We stopped them there and came here to call you.   Like they go aimlessly towards the place of vow, we come here with the only aim of calling you.

kothukalam uḍaiya pāvāy!:Why should you take so much efforts to wake me up?

(kothukalam uaiya pāvāy!) ‘kothukalam ‘ is from the Sanskrit word ‘ kautukalam ‘ which means joyful; it may also mean ‘the Gopi who is especially loved and adored by Śrī Kṛṣṇa’.

(pāvāy!) You are a female and only you can understand our feelings.  Would you also behave like the Lord who restricts from hearing our pleas?

(Ezhundirāy) Even if you don’t join us we would like to at least see your beauty while waking up or give us the greatness of coming to your doorsteps and succeeding in waking you up.

kothukalam uḍaiya pāvāy!: But what I am going to get if I wake up?

(pāi paai koṇḍu) We are now blessed to experience Kṛṣṇa – not in our hearts but directly.  We can sing His praise loudly without hiding the same from others. And as a resultKṛṣṇa will give us parai.  Parai – for others is the result of the vow; but for the gopis it is service (kainkaryam) to Him.

kothukalam uḍaiya pāvāy! : Will he give us the parai?

(mā vāy piandānai mallarai māṭṭiya devādi devanai) He might be the master of nithyasooris, who do permanent service in the divine abode but He is the one who descended to overcome our obstacles.  He killed kesi, the demon who came like a horse and when he went to Mathura he won over mushtika and canura thereby filling the hearts of the ladies over there.  So though He is devAdhi dEvan(God of gods) He is our Kṛṣṇa.

The Demon Keśi esoterically represents the ego and the two wrestlers are desire and anger. These three represents the greatest obstacles on the path to God-realisation.

(cendru nām cevittāl)  It is proper that Kṛṣṇa should come to our place to meet us;

But on the other hand, we are going to His abode.  Sri Periya Acchān Piḷḷai renders the meaning as: — ‘We are going to His abode to show our frames, emaciated due to the Lord’s separation from us’.

If we go and show our obeisance to Him,

(āvāvendru ārāyndu aru ēlōr empāvāy) Taking pity on us indeed, Kṛṣṇa will bestow upon us His grace. 


 Many of us think that devotees should not mingle with others and always have to enjoy devotion alone.  That is not true always.  There might be times when one gets into deep meditation forgetting the world enjoying divinity but that is not a common phenomenon.  In most cases, enjoying in groups of likeminded devotees keep us away from distractions.  We should try to share our experience with maximum number of friends and relatives. Andal calls for one of her friends and says “Oh! kOdhukalamudaiyapAvai (enthusiastic girl!) I have stopped the others from proceeding towards the pavaikalam (place of vratha) and have come to wake you up so that you can also join us for bhagavat anubhavam (experiencing the Lord)” 

 We might have to invest a little bit of time and energy but for the benefit of all we need to work towards making our friends and relatives also understand the joy of devotion.  This is one of the biggest service we can do the supreme Lord.