Saturday, December 23, 2006

Sri Andal's Thiruppavai kalakshepam

Sri Andal's Thiruppavai kalakshepams by Sri U. Ve. Velukkudi Krishnan swami

An e-book on Tiruppavai is available here.

Monday, August 14, 2006

VaNNa MaadangaL - Krishna Jayanthi Special

As a Janmashtami Special, Adiyen will make a post on Vanna madangal where AzhwAr recognizes ThirukkOttiyUr as Thiru Aayi Paadi and describes the abundant joy of the shepherds of Gokulam(Aayar and Aaycchiyar) in celebrating the avathAram of the Lord in their midst. The scene is one of tumultuous joy. Drums sounded. The people danced out of joy that the Lord was born amidst them in the idaicchEri.

Before we get into the thiru avathara chirappu, I would like to add something that I learnt from Praveen.

Why does periyaazhwar say that Kannan ws born in Thirukkoshtiyoor? Does the aazhwar not know that the Lord was born in Mathura?

The puranas say that Thirukkoshtiyoor is the place where the Lord held counsel with the Devas tormented by Kamsa and He decided to be born as Krishna on the earth.

Since this was the place where the Lord decided to be born, aazhwar says that this was the birth place of Krishna.

Let us get to PeriyaazhwA Thriumozhi:
AzhwAr starts with the beautiful description of ThirukkOttiyUr and visulaizes it as the AaypAdi itself:

vaNNamaadangkaL suuzh thirukkOttiyuur
kaNNan kEsavan nambipiRanthinil
eNNeysuNNam ethirethir thuuvidak
kaNNanmuRRam kalanththu aLaraayiRRE.

The Joyous Aacchiyars and Aayars assembled at ThirukkOttiyUr known for its beautiful , multistoried buildings and went to the palace where utti KaNNan was "born" amidst them. They sprayed scented powder and fragrant oil on each other to celebrate the arrival of their darling and made the courts of the palace slippery with the accumulating paste of oil and the fragrant powder. They were shouting with joy , "KaNNan Kesavan Nambi PiRanthAn".

The tumultuous scene is described further in the second paasuram:

Oduvaarvizhuvaar ukandhaalippaar
naaduvaarnampiraan enkuththaanenbaar
paaduvaarkaLum palpaRaikottaninRu
aaduvaarkaLum aayiRRuaayppaadiyE.

The celebrating party ran from one end of the palace to the other. They slipped and fell in thier rush. They embraced each other. The newly arrived asked about the exact room in which Kutti KaNNan was resting on His Mother's lap "NaaduvAr NampirAn yenguRRAn yenpAr". They sang with joy about the glory of the Lord, who had chosen to be born amidst them. Some danced to the beat of drums. The whole AayarpAdi (ThirukkOttiyUr) floated in a flood of joy during this occasion of the Lord's birth.

Third Paasuram describes the spontaneous outburst of those, who were blessed to see the Parama soundharyam and dhivya tEjas of Kutti KaNNan, who hid His Parathvam and acted just as a beautiful child filled with all SaamudhrikA lakshaNams. Some observed that there is no male that is equivalent to Kutti KaNNan in valor and beauty (AaNNoppAr Ivan nErillai KaaNN). Other knowledgeable ones deduced that this divine child born in SravaNa nakshathram will rule the universe (ThiruvONatthAn ulahALum yenpArhaLE).

pENichcheerudaip piLLaipiRandhinil
kaaNaththaampukuvaar pukkuppOdhuvaar
aaNoppaar ivannErillaikaaN thiru
vONaththaa nulaKaaLumenbaarkaLE.

The fourth Paasuram describes the intense activities at the homes of the cowherds and cowherdesses. Their wealth is Milk, Butter and Curd. They brought those precious offerings to Kutti KaNNan's residence as gifts and prayed for His well being. Others poured those offerings in the courtyard of Kutti KaNNan's house in a gesture of joy and abandon. They sang and danced and were immersed in waves of bliss and forgot even where they were. The joyous experience overpowered them ("yengum aRivizhanthanar AaypAdi AayarE").

uRiyaimuRRaththu uruttininRaaduvaar
naRuneypaalthayir nanRaakaththoovuvaar
seRimenkoondhal avizhaththiLaiththu engum
aRivazhindhanar aayppaadiyarE.

The fifth Pasuram describes the arrival of the cowherds from their night watches over their herds. They had the staff in their hands, their mats made of coconut palm leaves .They rushed straight from their duties of the night to NandhagOpan's palace to have the first look at the divine child and jostled with each other to get closer.

koNdathaaLuRi kOlakkodumazhu
thaNdinar paRiyOlaichchayanaththar
viNdamullai yarumbannapallinar
aNdarmiNdippukundhu neyyaadinaar.

A day or two went by. YasOdhai was now ready to give a bath to her darling child and slowly stretch out His tender arms and legs. She prepared comfortingly warm water and added fragrant essences to it. She painted the little tongue of Kutti KaNNan with turmeric paste to eliminate any phlegm. As she looked into the mouth of her darling during that exercise, she saw the seven worlds inside the mouth of that divine child ("Vyaam yEzhum kaNDAL PiLLai vaayuLLE"). When she saw this astounding scene inside the mouth of her little one , YasOdha and the cowherds surrounding her recognized that this mysterious child can not be the child of NandagOpan and YasOdha and concluded that this child with anantha kalyANa guNams is none but the Supreme Being (Aayar putthiran allan Arumdhaivam , Baalakan Maayan yenRu mahizhnthanar )

kaiyumkaalumnimirththuk kadaaraneer
paiyavaattip pasunchiRumanchaLaal
aiyanaavazhiththaaLukku angaandhida
vaiyamEzhumkaNdaaL piLLaivaayuLE.

vaayuLvaiyakamkaNda madanallaar
aayarpuththiranallan arundheyvam
paayaseerudaip paNbudaippaalakan
maayanenRu makizhndhanarmaadharE.

In the eighth pasuram , PeriyAzhwAr continues with his anubhavam of shifting the 12th day celebration happenings at Vada Mathurai to ThirukkOttiyUr . PeriyAzhwAr visualizes the decoration of the entire dhivya dEsam with victory pillars holding multicolored flags and festoons. The cowherdess took KaNNan in their hands , lifted Him and kissed Him with great affection in anticipation of the ways in which He was going to protect them later from the anger of Indhra by lifting and holding Govardhana Giri as an umbrella ("Mattha Maamalai taangiya Maindhanai , utthAnam seythu uhanthanar AayarE ").

paththunaaLumkadandha iraNdaanaaL
eththisaiyum sayamaramkOdiththu
maththamaamalai thaangiyamaindhanai
uththaanamseythu ukandhanaraayarE.

In the ninth paasuram , YasOdhai refers to the adhubhutha chEshtithams of this divine child and her dismay over those Baala KreeDais.

kidakkil thottilkizhiyauthaiththidum
eduththukkoLLil marungaiyiRuththidum
odukkippulkil utharaththEpaayndhidum
midukkilaamaiyaal naanmelindhEnnangaay.

In the tenth and the final Paasuram, PeriyAzhwAr instructs us that those who sing these ten paasurams about ThirukkOttiyUr ArchA Moorthy (Soumya NaarAyaNan) as KaNNan will never get admixed with Bhagavath – anubhava VirOdha Paapams:

SennellAr Vayal soozh ThirukkOttiyUr
Mannu NaaraNan Nambi PiRanthamai
minnu nool Vittuchitthan virittha
ippannu pAdal vallArkku illai paavamE

Thanks: Sriman Sadagopan IyengAr of SriRangaSri yahoo groups.

Monday, January 02, 2006

திருப்பாவை - 18 (உந்து மதகளிற்றன்)

உந்து மதகளிற்றன் ஓடாத தோள்வலியன்,
நந்தகோ பாலன் மருமகளே! நப்பின்னாய்!
கந்தம் கமழும் குழலீ! கடைதிறவாய்;
வந்தெங்கும் கோழி அழைத்தனகாண்; மாதவிப்
பந்தல்மேல் பல்கால் குயிலினங்கள் கூவினகாண்;
பந்தார் விரலி! உன் மைத்துனன் பேர்பாட,
செந்தா மரைக்கையால் சீரார் வளையொலிப்ப
வந்து திறவாய், மகிழ்ந்தேலோ ரெம்பாவாய்.

Hey lady, the daughter in law (marumagaL) of Nandagopan (nandhagOpan), who does not retreat (Odaadha), even against an elephant (kaLitran) showing off (undhu) his excitement (madham); who has powerful (valiyan) shoulders (thOl), You, who has a fragrant (kandham) smelling (kamazhum) head of hair (kuzhali), open (thiRavaay) the door (kadai). Look (kaaN)! The hens (kOzhi) are up (vandhu) and are calling (azhaiththana) everywhere (engum). Many sorts (inangaL) of cukkoo birds (kuyil) are singing (koovina) several (pal) times (kaal), on top of (mEl) the trellis (pandhal) of the 'kurukkaththi creeper' (maadhavi). Look! (kaaN). Will you please come (vandhu) cheerfully (magizhndhu) and open (thiRavaay) the door, with your red (sen) lotus (thaamarai) hands (kai), and jingling (olippa) of beautiful (seer) bangles (vaLai), so that we may sing (paada) the praise (pEr) of your (un) husband (maiththunan), who is holding a ball (pandhu) in his fingers (viral).

Oh, Nappinnai, the daughter-in-law of Nandagopalan who has the strength of a furious elephant and who will never run away from a battle, you Nappinnai in your fragrant tresses. Kindly open the door.

The shrill clarion of the cocks fills the air. Cuckoos perched on the bower of the jasmine plant have been singing away with their shrill notes. You young Lady, kindly unlock the door. The jingling sound of your bangles we will hear and rejoice.

More Insight
This is a very important pasuram. Even after waking up all from Nanda to Balarama, when Krishna does not open His lips, they realize their folly in not waking up first NAPPINNAI, the chief queen and Purushakara (recommending authority) during His sojourn in this world as Krishna. They do it in this verse.

Nappinnai is Sri NEELA DEVI, the other two being SRI DEVI (Rukmini) and BHOO DEVI (Satyabhama). Nappinnai's name is not found anywhere in the Puranas and in Sanskrit poems except in SRI YADAVABHYUDAYAM of Sri DESIKA, where she is referred to as Neela; and in the stotras of Sri KURATTAZHWAN.

As we are sinners and the Lord is known for His "Swaatantrya" (acting according to His own will), it is necessary to approach Him through somebody who is very near and dear to Him and whose advice is infallible. Hence Nappinnai's intervention is is essential.

She is addressed as Nanda's daughter-in-law,because she thinks that that is what gives her prestige and status in society.Sita,when asked by Hanuman said," I'm the daughter-in-law of Dasaratha first,and then only the daughter of Janaka." So to an Indian woman Andal's exhortation is: "After marriage a girl should always prefer herself to be referred to as the daughter-in-law of her father-in-law; which means that the welfare of her husband's family should weigh more with her than that of the family of her origin.This attitude would enhance her own prestige and bring immense joy to her own family."

This pasuram was the special favorite of our Acharya Sri Ramanuja. He was in the habit reciting to himself Tiruppavai stanzas while he went for his Maadhukara Vritti (for collecting the alms the householders used to give) .Once just as he reached the door of his Guru's house he was meditating on this verse. While the last line "SEERAAR VALAI OLIPPA etc " was on his lips the door opened to the clinking of the bangles of the daughter of his guru. Sri Ramanuja thought that it was Nappinnai herself who opened the door and overwhelmed with jubilation promptly prostrated himself before her. The terrified girl ran to her father and narrated the incident. The guru TIRUKKOTTIYUR NAMBI exclaimed, "Jiya! Were you reciting UNDU MADAKALIRU? "What an understanding between the Teacher and the taught! May that relationship save us all!.

Click title to hear the song by Sudha Raghunathan (Ragam: Saveri; Thalam: Adi)

Sunday, January 01, 2006

திருப்பாவை - 17 (அம்பரமே, தண்ணீரே)

அம்பரமே, தண்ணீரே, சோறே அறஞ்செய்யும்
எம்பெருமான்! நந்தகோ பாலா! எழுந்திராய்;
கொம்பனார்க் கெல்லாம் கொழுந்தே! குலவிளக்கே!
எம்பெரு மாட்டி! யசோதாய்! அறிவுறாய்;
அம்பரம் ஊடறுத் தோங்கி உலகளந்த
உம்பர்கோ மானே! உறங்காது எழுந்திராய்;
செம்பொற் கழலடிச் செல்வா! பலதேவா!
உம்பியும் நீயும் உறங்கேலோ ரெம்பாவாய்.

Hey, our leader (em perumaan) Nandagopa! you, who gave to charity (aRam
seyyum), clothes (ambaram), cool water (thaNNeer) and food (sORu), wake up (ezhundhiraay). Hey our lady (em perumaatti) Yasoda!, the leader (kozhundhu)of all (ellaam) the women folk (kombanaar), the light (viLakku) of the family (kulam), come to your senses (aRivuRaay). Oh Lord, you who split open (oodu aRuththu) the sky (ambaram), became a giant (Ongi) and scaled (aLandha) the world (ulagu); king (kOmaan) of the devas (umbar), stop sleeping (uRangaadhu) and wake up (ezhundhiraay). Properous (chelva) Balarama (baladhEvaa)!, whowears pure (sem) gold (pon) anklets (kazhal) on his feet (adi), you (nee) and your younger brother (umbi) wake up (uRangEl)!

Our Lord, King Nandagopa! You who are reputed for your magnanimity in presenting clothes, water and food to the needy! Kindly wake up! O, Queen Yasodha, the foremost among noble women, the beacon-light of our race, do wake up!

Our Lord Krishna! You who pierced the sky with your full stature (Viswaroopa) and measured the entire universe with your feet, the Lord of Lords, may you please wake up. Oh, the strong and powerful Balarama! May your brother and you please do wake up!

More Insight
Having entered Nandagopala's palace with the permission of the guards, the Gopis (Andal) wake up Nandagopa, yashoda, Krishna and Balarama, panegyrising their greatness.

Nanda has placed his bed near the entrance for fear that the gopis, like Usha in the case of Aniruddha, may steal Krishna; especially as Krishna is more handsome than His grandson! Andal glorifies Nanda as a munificent donor of clothes, water and food; but we do not come across any such reference elsewhere. The commentator says: "As Krishna was seen giving clothes to Draupadi to save her modesty; water to the chariot horses at Kurukshetra; and food to boyhood companions in the forest - it could be presumed that his qualities were inherited from His father."

But the gopis are not here for these items; they need only Krishna (VAASUDEVAH SARVAM).Yashoda gave birth to Krishna only to make Him their husband; and being a woman she knows their plight. So they next wake her up.

Sri Krishna in his past incarnation as Trivikrama had obtained Indra's kingdom for him. But the gopis do not want Him to do any such thing for them. It is enough if He allows them to do service to Him. Krishna does not respond.

Realizing their mistake in not approaching Him through Balarama, they do so now and ask him to help them as he had once done in the case of the gopis separated from Krishna when He went to Mathura.

Click title to hear the song by Sudha Raghunathan.