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thirup pAvai - part 4 - "pAvai" oru poruL viLakkam

From: Sampath Rengarajan (
Date: Sat Dec 19 1998 - 09:55:01 PST

Dear bAgawathALs,                                 mArgazhi   day 4
                                                         4:45 AM

Sri ANDAL thiruvadikaLE saraNam
(meaning  for  the  tamil  word word thirup pAvai. Those who think 
they know the simple tamil meanings may skip this anubavam).

     It is said that pArvathi and Lord shiva once had vAkku vAtham
and Lord Shiva  cursed  pArvathi.  Soon  pArvathi  had to separate
from Lord  Shiva.  She  prayed to him for  remedy.  As advised  by
Shiva pArvathi, did a severe penance at thiruk kalvanoor,  seeking
Lord  vAmanA's  blessings.  The  penance was so severe and intense
that  pArvathi  stood on one leg and on top of the needle and surr
-ounded by fire all around.

             Her  resolve  to seek the  blessings  of Lord  vAmanA
never  diminished.  On seeing her sincere  vratham Lord vAmana did
appear and  blessed  her to be  reunited  with Lord  Shiva.  Since
pArvathi did penance on Lord vAmanA and obtained the  blessings of
Lord vAmana she is called as "kAmakshi".

    Her name, "pArvathi" became (Pava) and then pAvai, (due to her 
severe vratham seeking Lord vAmanA's thiru aruL)a generic name for 
all woman folk doing "nOnbu" and seeking  the  blessings  of  Lord 
uththaman (Lord vAvaman or Lord  Vishnu)   for  their  union  with  
their "purushan".  Later  the  vratham  or nOnbu was practiced  so 
sincerely by such women generally called as "pAvai", and they made 
the "ilakkaNam or akarAthi" or the rule book for  "nOnbu"  itself.  
i.e., there are vrathams  undertaken for so many purposes. However 
this "pAvai nOnbu" is  undertaken  for  seeking  their  union with their 
purushan. This pAvai  nonbu was  undertaken  so  intensively  
for generations by these  pAvaiyar, or woman,   such that the name 
"nOnbu or vratham"  itself came to be  known  through them  mainly 
and named after them as "pAvai" and was addressed  as "pAvai" ever 
since.  The word  nOnbu in tamil  means,    "iRaivaNudaiya   thiru  aruL 
Akiya oru naRkathiyai perum theevira muyarchci. ie., it is  a  sincere 
and serious "EFFORT" by a jeevAtmA  seeking  the blessings  
of Lord (blessings - known as thiru aruL).  Thus whenever  a woman  
(symbolising a jeevatma here) do a nOnbu  it  is  addressed  as  a 
pAvai nOnbu or many times "pAvai" itself.

     Thus thiru pAvai means  thiru's  nOnbu or thiru's  vratham to
attain  the Lord.  ie.  thiru or boomi dEvi's nOnbu to attain  the
parama   purushan   the  Lord. Boomi devi is ever present with the 
Lord as his patthini. But then this vaibavam is believed  to  have
taken place to help the jivAtmAs in kali. ie., boomi Devi  herself  
do this vaibavam as per the AnYa of the Lord, doing the sarangathi 
and act as a role model.  

   There is only one "purushan" in the entire universe and such is 
Lord Krishna.  Thus ANDAL who is the amsam of boomi piraati (boomi  
devi) did a nonbu to attain her purushan and  showed  "us all" the 
way or mArgam for attaining  this "parama purushan".

      Another  reason  for the name  thirup  pAvai is  derived  as
follows.  Any  sincere  effort  a  woman  would  take to seek  the
blessings  of the lord to reunite  with her  purushan  is known as
nOnbu or pAvai nOnbu or pAvai.  pArvathi  performed  this  sincere
effort and sought the  blessings of the eternal God Lord  Vamanan,
to reunite with her purushan and named this effort as pAvai nOnbu.
While pirAtti (gOtha  pirAtti)  performed  this nOnbu (effort) and
sought the  blessings  of the  eternal  God Sri Krishna to reunite
with her eternal  purushan  the Lord  Krishna  HIMself.  Thus this
nOnbu or effort  became the most special  nOnbu of all and came to
be known as "thiru   nOnbu" or "thiru  pAvai" or the "holiest  and
most special effort".   

     Since this generic thiru nOnbu is a mArgam (prapatti) for all 
jivAtmAs  to  follow  the path shown by Sri ANDAL  and  attain the 
patham with the parama purushan. The nool (literature)  itself got 
this  name  as the  act  perfomed in this nool is nOnbu. Thus this 
nool (as similar to thirup paLLi ezhuchchi -  means  awakening the Lord) 
obtained its name from the very act being performed in these verses.  
This  act  nOnbu  to  attain  unity (to reunite) with the 
parama purushan is performed through  the little  effort  of  this  
jivAtma and such little effort is  known  as saranAgathi.

The entire nool is a saranAgathi  thatthuvam  one can  learn  from 
and such will be the central theme for adiyEn's understanding  and
presentations to follow.

Sri ANDAL thiruvadaikaLE saraNam
Sri Boomi dEvi thAyAr samEtha Sri Oppiliappan thiruvadikaLE
Sampath Rengarajan

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