You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : December 1998

thirup pAvai - part 13 - "pOthuminO nEr izhaiyeer"

From: Sampath Rengarajan (
Date: Thu Dec 24 1998 - 05:41:39 PST

thirup pAvai - part 13 - "pOthuminO nEr izhaiyeer"

Dear bAgawathAs,                            mArgazhi day 9, 4:45 AM

(note :  We are getting into the  central  theme  as  to  how  this 
pAsuram describes the saranAgathi shAsthram).
ANDAL thiruvadikaLE saraNam

pOthumiNo nEr izhiayeer - perumAL's thiru uLLam

In Tamil :

"vArunGaL nAm nOnbu nooRkalAm, melliyathum azahgiya
 abArNangaLai thariththathum aAga uLLa siRu idaiyai uLLa thOzhiyar
 gaLE vArungAL".

In English:

"Come  and  join us  folks, Let us perform the nOnbu, Ye, folks of 
AyarpAdi   those who are with the tender hip and wearing the  most 
precious jewelleries".

    The nOnbu here is addressed as saraNAgathi (prapatti) and this 
"pOthu minO" is the key word here in some ways. It is perumaL Lord 
Krishna's  thiru  uLLam  that  some  are  made  to  surrender  and 
undertake  prapatti (saraNAgathi - observed in these pAsurams as a 
nOnbu). It  is  Lord  Krishna's  thiru uLLam that some are made to 
follow the other mArgam as well. It is lord's parOpakAram that  HE
provides the required knowledge or "urge"  in  one's  mind  to  do  
prapatti either through bAgawatha sambandam or through the  advise 
of elders in the family. Untill such initiation takes place due to 
Lord's para upakAram the jivAtma  continues to  dwell  in samsAram 
and is not aware of this urge or need to do prapatti. Swami Desikan 
describes this in Swami Desikan prabhandam (amirtha swAthini) as

munnilaiyAm dEsikar munnE sErththu - 28 amirtha swAthini

ie This pAsurams deals with the parOpakAram of emperumAn that  the 
Lord Himself takes us to the AchaAryAL  and make us understand the 
rahasya arththam (referred  as  aruLi   chcheyals of  AzhwArs  and 
AchAryALs) and  undertake  prapatti  through  such AchAryAL.  (mun 
nilaiyAm dEsikar munnE sErththu - 28 amirtha swAthini).  HE is the 
causes of all causes.  And HE causes us to  go to the AchAryAL and
seek the rahasyArththam from them and undertake  prapatti  through them.

              The chOsen ones for the easier mArgam are made to be 
incarnated as   Aycchiyars and attain Sri KrishnA anubavam through 
"bagwath kAmA" and self surrender ("saranAgathi").  This  is  also 
seen as a precedence for the srivaishnavaLs who are chOsen due  to  
Lord's thiru uLLam and for those  who   are   incarnated   in  Sri 
Sampradhayam (ie., following "pirAtti" (godhA pirAtti) Sri ANDAL's  foot 
steps).  These  puNNyAthmAs  symbolised  here   as  Aycchiyar 
(gOpika sthrees) immerse in their love with  Lord Sri Krishna (Sri  
Krishna  anubavam) and undertake saraNagathi (or prapatti)  at the 
feet of the Lord through AchAryAs (nanda gOpan). 

        There are often quetions  raised  often  as to whether  if  
saranAgathi is mainly a  ritual  alone  (baranyAsam)  or a  mental  
reflection and realisatio conceived and observed by a jivAtmA.  It 
is  both together.  This  effort can be conceived as  both  mental  
realisation and  as well as   performing  externally   the  ritual 
otherwise  chracterised   as  a little  effort  known  as  "nOnbu" 
addressed  here  as  prapatti at the feet of acharyAL. prapatti or 
sarangathi is accepted by  the Lord  when  performed both together 
mentally and by doing this nOnbu at the feet of AchAryAs.    (even   the  
mental  work is  an  effort  though  there  is  insignificant  "physical 
energy" exhausted in doing it). One may ask what about a
small boy doing baranyAsam (ritual) at a very  young  age.  It  is 
Lord's thiru uLLam that HE  makes  the parents of the boy to  help  
him  get his baranyAam done at an younger age. And it will be same thiru  
uLLam of the Lord that will  prevail  at the required  time 
when the boy is grown up such  that  the  boy will be blessed with 
the  conception  and  realisation  through  bAgawatha sambandam or 
elders asirvAdam.  The same Lord who makes the boy as a chosen one
also takes care of the realisation for the boy in HIS own ways.

   The word "neerAda  pOthu veer" has two meanings to support both these 
ways of   performing  prapatti. The outer most meaning is to
take an early morning  bath  and    perform  this "nOnbu" known as 
prapatti or baranyAsam at the feet of AchAryALs. The inner meaning  
is to  have  the  Sri KrishnA anubavam  by  mentally  surrendering 
to the Lord and observing the five angams of  prapatti while doing 
such prapatti  (mental  realisation,  conceptin and observation of 

        Some fundamentals questions may be raised as to whether an
effort is required by the jivAtmA or not. It is important to  note  that  
these  conceptions  are valid together  as  they   both  are  invloving  
little effort either mentally or physically.  Though it 
is sometimes argued that the physical   ritual (effort) or (nOnbu) never  
took part, it is evident from the vaibavam   of  Sri  ANDAL  that  she  
did take bath every day early morning  and  offered her prayers (and did 
"nOnbu" or an effort to   attain HIM) to the Lord. ie., She did seek to 
unite with the  lord and  did   this  "nOnbu" knonw as thirup pAvai.  
ie.,   She   did  deliver  "thirup pAvai", conveying her  bagawath  
anubavams (and nOnbu) and  was  "seeking"  (effort)  to  reunite  wirh 
lord. It was an effort  in itself.  It 
is also evident from the following episode from her vaibavam  that  
she  did   perform  the  "nOnbu"   by   which   she   "physically" 
surrendered  to  Lord  Sri Krishna  and  was accpeted   by   Lord   
Sri Krishna in Sri Arangam. 

Sri ANDAL thiruvadikaLE saraNam
Sampath Rengarajan

Get Your Private, Free Email at