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"pOtri", "pOtri" and ...more "pOtri" - (1 of 2)

From: sampath kumar (
Date: Sat Jan 08 2000 - 09:15:05 PST

Dear friends,

On the 24th day of 'mArgazhi' Goda-pirAtti decided to
sing a benediction to Krishna in the "tiruppAvai".

This Stanza is a rather unusual one for the following

--- It marks a sudden but pleasant "break" in the
narrative sequence or the "story-line" of the

Until the previous Stanza i.e. #23, AndAl step-by-step
builds up a proper logical sequence of unfolding
events. The "aayarpadi" girls first proceed to perform
their ritual "neerAtam" and pray for rains and
prosperity; then the girls go around to one another's
house and awaken each from slumber; then they approach
the quarters of Krishna but first wake up the
gate-keepers ("kAval-kAppan"), then Nandagopan, then
Yasodha, then Baladeva; thereafter they wake up
Napinnai and finally the Lord Himself.

In Stanza#23, Krishna finally comes out of his inner
chambers ("like a lion striding out of its winter
retreat in a cave") and seats himself on a throne in
the outer assembly-room. He prepares solemnly to hear
the the girls, about the purpose of their visit to his
abode and their petitions ("yAm-vanda- kariyam"). 

Now, at this point in the narration, when they have at
last managed to get the audience of Krisha, the reader
expects the "aayarpAdi" dames to immediately commence
relating their plaints to the Lord. After all that is
precisely what they'd wanted to see Him about, isn't

But instead what happens? A strange thing happens! 
Watching Krishna seated right before them, waiting to
hear them out, the girls suddenly and momentarily
forget their errand entirely! They just blank out! In
a moment they simply forget all about their woes and
instead are thoroughly bewitched by the Lord's
effulgent beauty... "saukumAryam"! Watching the
"gambheeryam" of the "seeriya-singam" enthroned on a
"seeriya-singAsanam" waiting for them to begin
talking.... that glorious sight of Him suddenly takes
their breath away!

At that instant of time, the girls lose awareness of
their cup of worldly woe and anxieties. Instead their
minds at once are filled with rich and vivid memories
of the several exploits of Krishna both in his present
and previous 'avatArA-s'! They are filled with the joy
of recollecting those exploits... as an infant and
mere boy... and even as Rama in his previous

They all immediately and spontaneously break out into
a song of benediction! They heap blessings on Krishna
and wish him long, long life... as though by some
curious reversal of fortunes, it is He who is in dire
need of their blessings and not the other way around!

What an irony! What a twist of the tale! What a
splendid anti-climax! To adiyen's mind the scene is
almost like this: A sick and troubled man visits a
doctor in his clinic. After securing an appointment
with great difficulty and after waiting in queue in
the sick bay with others for 1-1/2 hours.... and after
humouring and ingratiating himself with the medical
clerks, the attendents and all the ward-boys there...
after all the ordeal, the patient finally gets his
consulting audience with the doctor. When he actually
meets the physician, however, instead of relating his
illness, suppose the sick man breaks out into a song
and dance on how healthy and handsome the doctor
himself wonderful that he is an MBBS, MD,
FRCS... and how glorious that he is the Dean of the
great Madras Medical College... and so on and so
forth... and finally also tells him, "May you remain,
O great Doctor, as glorious as ever for a 100 years...
Amen, Amen and Amen....!". Now, what would be our
reaction to such a sight?!.

Unusual, right!?

--- The other reason why Stanza#24 of the "tiruppAvai"
is unusual is that it is the most "straight-forward"
verse in the entire poem. The words carry simple clear
meaning  ("semmporul") and have less of difficult,
hidden significance ("illakanai- porul") than is
usually the case with other verses.

Now, we may ask ourselves why this sudden and unusual
"break" in the story-line of the "tiruppAvai"? What
happened to our Poetess of SriVilliputtur here? What
happened to the"aayarpAdi" girls? Why this unusual
behaviour? And what is the real significance ... the
"svApadesArtham"... of this simple, beautiful and
uncomplicated Stanza? 

Such questions are interestingly explained by
traditional commentators like Sri.PVPillai and
Sri.Azhagiya ManavAlaperumal Nayanar in their
"muvAyirapadi" and "ArAyirapadi" respectively. 

adiyEn's accompanying post titled "pOtri", "pOtri" and
evermore "pOtri"(2 of 2) will briefly summarise their


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