Tiruppavai Pasuram 9


tūmaṇi māḍattuc cuṛṛum viḷakkeriya |
 dhūpam kamazha tuyil aṇaimēl kaṇvalarum |
māmān mahaḷe! maṇi kadavam tāḷ tiṛavāy |
 māmīr! avaḷai yezhuppīrō?  un mahaḷ tān |
umaiyō? anṛic ceviḍo? anantalō? |
 ēmap perunduyil mandira pāttāḷō? |
mā māyan mādhavan vaikuntan ennennu |
 nāmam palavum navinnēlōr empāvāy ||


tūmaṇi māḍattu– The beautiful palace studded with precious gems that are pure by nature;

cuttrum– throughout;

viḷakkeriya– divine lamps glow;

dhūpam kamazha– Fragrant smoke of incense wafting around;

tuyil aṇaimēl – On top of a soft bed (capable of putting anyone lying on it to sleep);

kaṇvalarum– You lie asleep;

māmān magaḷe! – Oh! My uncle’s daughter (cousin);

maṇi kadavam tāḷ-The locks of the precious gems door;

tiṛavāy- please open;

māmīr!-Oh my aunt!

avaḷai yezhuppīrō– Why don’t you wake her up?

un magaḷ tān– Is your daughter;

umaiyō? – Dumb?

anṛic – or else;

ceviḍo – deaf?

Anantalō – Is she tired?

Ēmap (pattalO) – is she under surveillance?

perunduyil mandira pāttāḷō– Is she bound by a spell to sleep for long time?

mā māyan- one whose actions are  extremely surprising and beyond our imagination;

mādhavan-Lakshmi Nathan (consort of Sri Mahalakshmi);

vaikuntan– Lord of Vaikunta;

endrendru nāmam palavum navindru – this way we have recited many such divine Names of the Lord (but still your daughter didn’t wake up)


 In this paasuram they awaken a gopi who has full knowledge about the self.  She strongly like Sita devi believes that it is the responsibility of the Lord, the master to take into possession His property, the jeevatma (soul).  Those outside believed in constantly doing service to the Lord similar to Lakshmana (seshatvam) whereas the gopi inside believed in ultimate surrender (parathantriyam) to the Lord like Bharatha.  Those outside where attracted by the sweetness of the goal whereas the gopi inside immersed herself in the greatness of the way/path to reach the goal. Those outside where in a hurry to reach the Lord whereas the gopi inside was peacefully assured to reach the goal at the right time.  In the previous paasuram, Andal awakened a gopi who had a attitude similar to a muktha jeevatma (one who once lived in this samsaric leela vibhuti and then got released and reached the divine abode) whereas in this verse the gopi inside has a attitude similar to a nithya jeevatma (those who are ever present in the divine service of the Lord in the divine abode).


 (tūmai māattu) There are two types of gems.  The first type of gems is pure always devoid of dhosha (impurity) forever.  Those are the types of gems studded in the thirumaligai (house of a srivaishnava) of the gopi awakened in the 9th verse.

 Another type of gems initially has some dhosha (impurity) and has been cleansed.  Swamy Nammazhvar refers to such gems in his paasuram “tuvalil mani mAda mOngu tolaivilli mangalam” Here is the specialty of the Lord.  He has constructed His temple with the gems that has been cleansed from impurities whereas when it came to building His beloved’s temple, He has provided absolutely pure (tumani) gems. 

 The first type of gems is talked in comparison to the superiority of the Paramatma svaroopam (nature of super being that is blemish less) whereas the second type is similar to the jeevatma svaroopa (that gets covered up for some time and then ultimately attains its original self)

 (cuttrum viakkeriya) Like welcoming Krishna, the gopi has lighted lamps throughout the place; or actually there was only one lamp lighted, the reflection of the same in the gems studded made the whole place glitter.  But how did the gopis begging for opening the door come to know about the light inside? Since it is a bejeweled chamber it is transparent and hence they are able to view inside.  Andal laments while all our hearts are immersed in darkness how could you sleep with light glittering throughout your room?

 (dhūpam kamazha) while in the separation from our dear Krishna how can you enjoy the sweet fragrance of the incense!

 (tuyil aaimēl kavalarum) The bed is so soft that one will fall asleep even if determined not to. The gopis think: — “Is the bed so comfortable as to assuage even the agony due to the separation from Śrī Kṛṣṇa? How is it that you are sleeping soundly on the soft-bed, when we find such similar beds to be like beds of thorns due to the agony of separation from our beloved?” We are unable to sleep similar to Lakshmana but how could you alone sleep? 

 Here the special term “kanvalarum” is used instead of the normal usage “toongum” for sleeping to show that while talking with or about great devotees we need to talk with respect and not in a colloquial way.

 (māmān magae!) It is not just enough to be a friend or the follower of a great devotee but how nice is it to cherish the bodily relation with such a great devotee! Andal hence calls the gopi as “Oh my cousin!”

 Who can be the uncle of Andal?  Andal is the daughter of vishnuchitta/periazhvar who was fond of making flower garlands for the Lord similarly there was one garland maker in Mathura who enjoyed making garlands while Krishna and Balarama first visited Mathura during the Danuryaga of kamsa.  Our preceptors opine that it is apt to consider that malakara/garland maker who Krishna fondly went search off and enjoyed His garland to be the uncle of soodikoduththa nachiyar (the divine Mother who gave garlands to the Lord that was first adorned by herself)

 The gopi inside kept quiet as if remarking “what is so difficult in opening this door why don’t you open it yourself and come inside?”

 (mai kadavam tāḷ tiavāy) Andal says “please come and open the door” since it is door made of gems we are unable to open it and moreover even if it is open we cannot enter without your help (we have vowed to follow srivaishnavas and not do things on our own)

 The gopi’s mother appeared as if she pitied the girls outside and hence next Andal calls for her;

 (māmīr! avaai yezhuppīrō) Oh aunty! Why don’t you wake her up?

 Their love and respect towards the gopi flows towards her mother also; the mother herself is in deep involvement towards the great devotee and hence keeps quiet not able to talk against her devotee daughter.

 Losing her patience Andal says, (now their anger also falls on the mother)

 (un maga tān umaiyō? anic cevio?) Is your daughter dumb or is she deaf unable to hear our call and respond to the same?

 (anantalō?) Or is she so exhausted and tired after experiencing Krishna the whole night?

 Probably she is not responding to us because her mouth, ears and mind are all deeply immersed in devotion.

 (ēmap pāttāō) or is she restricted inside?

 (perunduyil mandira pāttāō) Or is she bound by spell to sleep for very long hours that she is unable to hear our call and rush to join our group?

 The mother taking pity on Andal and others, tipped them to sing the praise of the Lord to wake her up.

 (mā māyan mādhavan vaikuntan endrendru nāmam palavum navindru) not one oh aunty! we have sung innumerable Names of the Lord. 

 mā māyan one whose actions are extremely surprising;  Ignoring His supremacy He is capable of dancing with innocent gopis like us. 

 Mādhavan prime reason behind His sowlabhyam (easy accessibility by one and all); that is because He is mAdhavan-the consort of Sri Mahalakshmi who is so compassionate even towards the rakshashees who tortured Her while in asoka vana as instructed by ravana;

 We have talked his paratvam (transcendence as the Supreme Godhead) and sowlabhyam (easy accessibility to one and all) and the reason behind them sriya:pathitvam (consort of the divine mother) but still your daughter refuses to get up;


What if I am unable to convince my close relative or friend to be a devotee? 

 We need to try all possible ways to convince people close to us highlighting the negatives of this worldly pleasures and the ecstasy in experiencing the Lord.  But if we do not succeed we just need to leave them alone and not try to hurt them as they might become devotees at any time by the divine grace of the Lord.  But from our end we need to show a detached attachment towards them and enjoy the satsangam (union) of devotees.  Any devotee is a relative to us (athma bandhu-related through soul).  But if fortunately we have a blood relative as a great devotee then we need to cherish that relationship.  That is why Andal in the 9th verse wakes up one of the gopi not calling with her name but with the relation indicating that she cherishes to be her relative (“mAmAn magalE! – Oh! My uncle’s daughter)