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"vEnduvana-kEttiyEl" "yAm perum sammAnam"(2 of 2)

From: sampath kumar (sampathkumar_2000_at_yahoo.com)
Date: Tue Jan 11 2000 - 09:47:25 PST

Dear friends,

Continuing from the earlier post (1 of 2) with the
same title as this one...
-------------------------------

The 6 pieces of equipment the "aayarpAdi" girls ask
for are interpreted by traditional SriVaishnava
"vyAkhyAna- kartA-s" in terms of 3 different
metaphorical sets viz.(a) "purAnic" or mythological
(b) "Agamic" or temple-related and (c) philosophical
or "swApadEsArthA"

In the first mythological-set, the 6 items of gift the
"aayarpAdi" girls ask for are said to convey "purAnic"
equivalents as follows:

(1)The expression "pAlanna vanna.... sanghu" is said
to represent conches that would send out bugle-notes
like the divine-conch, Panchajanya of Lord Narayana
(2) "sAlap-parai" represents drums that sound exactly
like those that Krishna had Himself sounded during the
"kudak-kutthu" he performed in his youthful days in
Gokulam... that extraordinary dance  performed with
earthen pots balanced on His head..
(3) "pallAndu-isaippArE" is a reference to the Lord's
foremost benediction chanteurs ---- NammAzhwAr who
sang "pOliha, pOliha, pOliha" (T'mozhi: 5-2-1) and
Peri-AzhwAr who sang "pallAndu-pallAndu".
(4)"kOla-villakku" is poetic metaphor for the "torch"
that would shed resplendent light along our pathway...
like "Napinnai-pirAtti" who in her role of
"purushAkArA" leads us on the roadway unto Him
(5) "kOdi" is an expression that symbolises a
flag-post with an insignia emblazoned on it....
exactly the kind of flagstaff function which
"peria-tiruvadi", Sri.GarudAzhwAr performs for the
Lord
(6) "vidAnamE" ... canopy ... is the poetic equivalent
of the Lord's fabric that is thrown around Himself
like a shawl... vide TiruppAnazhwAr's description in
the "amalanAdipirAn" as "arai-sivandhavaaday".

The next set of metaphors is closely related to temple
conventions or modes of worship as per say some
"Agama-manuals". For example in the Srirangam temple
when the Lord is taken out in procession during the
month of "mArgazhi" one can hear the 
(1) "sanghu", the blowing of conches (2) the beating
of drums ("parai") (3) the recitation of
"tiru-pallAndu" (4) one can see "dAsa-nambis" holding
fire-torches or lamps of "kOla-viLakku" (5) great big
banners ("kOdi") and (6) canopies too.  

Traditional commentators however emphasise that the 6
gifts of the "aayarpAdi" girls are in truth the
philosophical metaphors for the following
qualifications that every devotee of God ardently
seeks to acquire:

(1) "sanghu" or conch symbolises "ananyArha- sEshatvam
gnyAnam" embodied by the "pranavam". This refers to
the realization by the devotee of God that there is no
other means to liberation available to him except
through servitude to God

(2) ""parai" or drum symbolises "pAratantriya gnyAna"
which denotes the devotee's absolute reliance on God
for absolutely everything in life here and the
hereafter

(3) "pallAndu-isaipArE" or benediction-chanteurs
symbolises "satsahavAsam" or the extreme importance
that the company of the godly holds for the devotee 

(4) "villakE" or lamp or torch... which symbolises
"bhAgavatha-seshatva gnyAna" or the need for the
devotee to willingly serve God's elect

(5) ""kOdi" or banner or flag-post symbolises
"bhagavath-kainkarya" or the yearning of the devotee
to be able to serve the Lord directly

(6) "vidAnamE" or canopy which symbolises
"bhOgdritva-nivritti" or the attitude of utter
self-lesness which the devotee must cultivate.

Without the above "gifts" of mind and soul, the
devotee of God can never hope to attain God. So when
AndAl, through the "aayarpAdi" girls, asks for the
"gifts of baubles", we realize that she is in truth
asking for the greatest of "gifts" that God in His
Kindness can ever grant a human soul.

**********        ********        *********
In Stanza#27, we see the 'aayarpAdi" girls enumerating
the great benefits they shall reap with the help of
the 6 pieces of equipment they ask Krishna to gift
them and they are:

(1) "sudakamE" -- bracelets
(2) "tOlvaLayE"-- armlets
(3) "tOdE"     -- ear-pendants
(4) "sevvipuvE"-- ear-studs
(5) "padagamE" -- anklets
 
Here too, the traditional "vyAkhyAna-kartA-s" point
out that the above are symbolic of the marks that a
true devotee of God bears upon both his body and soul
for all the world to see. What are those marks? They
are:

(1) "sudagam" which signifies the SriVaishnavite
caste-insignia or the 12 "urdhva-pundrA-s" or 12 marks
of "tirumann-srichurnam"

(2) "tOl-valai" signifies the marks of "Chakra" and
"sanghu" that is branded on the shoulers of every
SriVaishnavan during the "samAshrayanam" rite which is
obligatory in life for him

(3) "todu" symbolises the "tirumantra" or
"ashtAkshara" the sound of which will ever be
reverberating in the ears of the true devotee

(4) "sevippu" symbolises the "dvaya-mantra"
realization of which shows in a radiating halo of
"bhakti" around the devotees ears and head

(5) "pAdagam" symbolises the Lord's "charam-shlokam" 
(of 32 aksharA-s) which shows the devotee on the path
on which he must tread to attain Him.

Thus, on a deep study of Stanza#26 and #27, containing
the very significant expressions ""vEnduvana-kEttiyEl"
and "yAm perum sammAnam"
we see how skillfully our "pirAtti" of SriVilliputtur
uses poetic symbols to convey lofty spiritual truths
through simple, scenes of idyllic drama.

AndAl tiruvadigalE sharanam,
dAsan,
Sampathkumaran  

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