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HH Srimad Andavan's upanyasam on Thiruppavai

From: Shyam Sreenivasan (
Date: Fri Feb 11 2000 - 16:30:24 PST

His Holiness Srirangam Srimad Andavan has started to give a series of
discourse on Thiruppavai from the previous upanyasam on Jan 9. I have
boldly attempted to provide below the summary of Srirangam Srimad
Andavan's upanyasam on Jan 9, 2000 for continuity before the next
upanyasam on this coming sunday Feb 13 at 10am. Please send a mail to or call adiyen at 732-393-9268 if you would
like to participate.

Please pardon me for the short falls that will most definitely happen in 
trying to translate and summarize His Holiness's discourse. If any
incorrectness is found below, it is solely adiyen's fault and ignorance 
alone and request ahead for your tolerance and forgiveness. This upanyasam 
is held on a monthly basis on every second sunday of the month scheduled at 
10 AM EST. His Holiness plans to complete the discourse on Thirupaavai in 4 
or 5 upanyasams.

With a melodious voice, Srimad Andavan started the upanyasam by singing 
Thirukkundanthai Andavan's thanian and acharya thanians (Ramanuja 
dhayapathram..) Srimad Andavan started the series with the first one 
dedicated to Sri Andal Thanian and Avatharikai Parasara Bhattar (12th 
Century AD) fondly called by his sishyas as Battarpiran composed two thanian 
on the request of his prathama sishya Nam Jeeyar. In a single thanian he 
salutes all Azhwars as..

Bootham Sarascha Mahathavya Bhattanatha
Sri Bhakti Saara kulasekara yogivahaan
Bhakthangri Renu parakala yatheendra misran
Srimad Parankusa munim pranathosmi nithyam

and he specially dedicates the other thaniyan totally to Andal because
of her special place as the Lord's consort.

           NeeLaathunga sthanagiri thatee supthamudhbodhya Krishnam
             Paraardhyam svam sruthi sata siras sidham adhyapayanthi
            Svochishtayam sraji nigaLitham yaa balaatkrithya bhungthe
             Godha thasyai nama itham itham bhooya evasthu bhooyaha

To that Krishna who enjoys the bliss of sleep with His consort Neela,
oh! goda, you had offered floral garlands after adorning it yourself
first. You attained Him forcefully and you had explained to Him our
dependence on Him which has been indicated in the vast hymns of Vedas.
Oh Goda with such greatness! I offer my felicitations and prostrations
again and again to you.

Swami Desikan in Goda Sthuthi praises Andal with comparison to Kshama
also called Bhoomi Devi and also personifies her to none other than
Lakshmi who has immense Karuna for her devotees "sakshaath kshamam
karunaya kamalam ivanyam" (Godasthuthi Slokam:1).  Andal is known as
'soodi kodhutha nacchiyar'  because she wore the garlands meant for
Perumal on herself first before offering it to Him. Periyaazhwar in his 
pallandu for Perumal says that we bhaagavathas will be happy to eat the left 
overs from your vessels, we will be delighted to wear the flowers and 
garlands that was worn by you ("thodutha thuzhai malar soothi kalainthana 
soodum ith thondargalom"). But it is to be noted that Andal who is the 
daughter of Periyazhvar out of immense love for perumal does the opposite. 
She wears these garlands first before offering it to emperuman. (Emperuman 
loves these garlands so much that He starts awaiting for garlands adorned by 
Andal everyday).

Neela-the nappinnai prattiyar binds perumal to herself with the bhoga
mayakkam ("Nishamayathu Maam Neela yath bogha patalai dhruvam": 
Dayasatakam:slokam 8). Andal binds Emperuman Sriman Narayana to herself by 
the garland of flowers that she weaves. She forcibly(balathrukya) tells 
(adhyapayanthi) empurman of the dependence we have in Him and surrenders 
unto Him. This saranagathi margam displayed by her has been indicated by the 
vast Hymns of Vedas and Upanishads.

Just like how Sri Ramanuja in Srivaikunta gadyam says "uththaya uththaya 
punah punah pranamya"- we will prostrate before the lord again and again, 
Bhattarpiran offers the traditional Sri Vaishnava way of prostration on Goda 
devi's feet repeatedly again and again ("Goda thasyai nama itham itham 
bhooya evastu bhooyaha").

Uyyakkondar (8th Century AD), the desciple of Sri Nathamuni and the
acharyan of Sri Nathamuni's grandson Sri Yamunamuni composed the other two 
thanian of Sri Andal.

                     Annavayal pudhuvai AndaL arangarku
                        pannu thiruppavai pal pathigam
                   innisayal paadik koduth-thaaL nar paamaalai
                       poo maalai soodi koduthaLai sollu

Praise the great Andal who was born in Puthur (Sri Villi Puthur) which
is abound with fields of swans, the one who attained Arangan by not only 
offering the garland of flowers but also offered Him the garland of 
beautiful composition of musical verses of Thiruppavai.

Andal has placed immese stress on the singing aspects of Thiruppavai.
There are 14 places in the 29 verses that Andal mentions "Paaduthal".
1. Vaiyathu..: Paraman adi paadi
2. Ongi Ulagualantha uthaman per paadi
3. Maayanai..: Vaayinal Paadi
4. Keesu Keesu..: Kesavanai Paadavum
5. Keezhvanam..yezhundirai paadi parai kondu
6. Karrukaravai..mukilvannan per paada
7. Kanaithu..padavum nee vaai thiravai
8. Pullin vaai..keerthimai paadippoi
9. Ungal pazhakkadai.. paadelor empaavaai
10. Ellae ilamkiliyae..paadelor empaavaai
11. Naayakanaai..thuyil ezhapp paaduvaan
12. Oruthi maganai..sevagamum yaam paadi
13. Maalae manivannaa..poyppaadu udayanavae
14. Koodarai vellum.. paadipp parai kondu

It is to be noted that 11 of the first 15 paasurams where Andal
addresses her gopika friends to wake up has "Paaduthal" in the verse.
That is the reason Uyyakkondar describes thiruppavai as "Innisayaal
paadikoduthaaL nar paamalai..". Uyyakkondar also refers that thiruppavai was 
sung for the pleasure of Sri Ranganatha as "Arangarku pannu thiruppavai.." 
Eventhough Andal has not addressed Arangan in any of the 30 verses, 
Uyyakkondar had a reason for calling it "Arangarku". In many places in Peria 
Thirumozhi it is proven that Sri Ranganatha is none other than Krishna. 
Throughout Thiruvaaymozhi, Arangan, Kannan and Manivannan are referred 
interchangeably. It is Sri Ranganatha who is immensely pleased with Andal's 
love for Him and invites Andal to
Srirangam and takes her as His bride. [Swami Desikan also refers Andal
with Arangan  in Prabhandha saaram as "Aranganaarku thuzhoi maalai mudi 
soodikk kodutha maadhey.."]

                     Soodikkodutha sudar kodiyae tholpavai
                          paadi aruLavalla palvaLayai
               naadi nee Venkadavarrku yennai vidhi enravimmarram
                         naam kadavaa vannamae nalgu

Oh Goda- the one who offered Him the flowers adorned by yourself first! You 
are like a glittering creeping plant with an array of many beautiful bangles 
on your hands! You had undertaken the ancient Vratham "paavai nonbu". You 
had asked Manmadan, the god of love to join you in unision with Lord 
Venkatesan of the seven hills. You should bless us all to not transgress 
your great resolve and bless us to be choosen to offer services for Him.

Uyyakondar refers the "Paavai nonbu" undertaken by Andal as "tholpavai" ie 
Ancient Vratam. The reason for this is because, Paavai Nonbu has been 
referred as a very holy vratham, in many ancient scriptures like Bhagavatham 
and in the Vaishnava kaandam of Skanda puranam. Andal in the first verse of 
Naachiyar Thirumozhi "Thai oru thingalum tharai viLakki....Venkatavarku 
yennai vidhikkirriyae" seeks Manmadan, the God of love to join her with 
Thiruvenkatamudayan, the Lord of seven hills. Uyyakkondar seeks Andal to 
bless us with the strength to not transgress her great resolve by favouring 
us in similar way to serve none other than Sriman Narayana.

Emperuman says in Gita that the "A bhagavatha does not have any thought but 
the thought of Lord Himself. They dont sing anything but the songs about the 
lord alone. They dont do anything but the kaimkaryam for the Lord alone". 
Andal thru the verses of Thiruppavai displays the bhagavatha sambandam 
perumal has. She transforms herself into a parama bhagavathai as in all the 
29 verses of Thiruppavai she assumes the bhaavam of a Gopika who is immensly 
in love with the Lord and sings amidst the other gopikas and doing the 
chores of a gopika like waking them up for the paavai vratam, milking the 
cows and waking up krishna in the gokulam and praying for His mercy.

[In the next upanyasam on Feb 13, His Holiness Srimad Andavan will start the 
discourse on Thiruppavai verses]

Shyamsundar Sreenivasan

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