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"sitran-siru-kAlE"-- Epilogue (2 of 2)

From: sampath kumar (sampathkumar_2000_at_yahoo.com)
Date: Thu Jan 13 2000 - 11:00:06 PST

Dear friends,

Many years ago when adiyen was still in school he had
an "aatma-nanban"....  a very dear friend. We used to
both learn the verses of the "tiruppAvai" from the
same tutor ... an old 'stOtrapAda-vAdhyAr"... a tutor
of Sanskrit and Tamil devotional poems and songs. 

This friend of mine and adiyen learnt the verses of
the tiruppAvai in very good time and with reasonably
good understanding of its essential message thanks
mainly to this "vAdhyAr" to whom adiyen even today is
eternally grateful a she recollects the wonderful and
patient way in which he taught us the "pAsurams".

This friend... this "atma-nanban" of adiyen one day
suddenly told the "vAdhyAr" that he was not too keen
to learn the "tiruppAvai" anymore! 

The "vAdhyAr" and even adiyen were shocked! 

"Why? Why have you reached this decision, my boy?",
asked the "vAdhyAr', "Why, don't you like my way of
teaching?".

"No, it's not that Sir," said my friend quickly,"It's
just that the things that AndAl in her tiruppAvai asks
us all to do in life is, I think, too difficult and
too unreasonable."

The "vAdhyAr' and adiyen were puzzled. What do you
mean?", we asked him.

"I mean that if you read the various "pAsurams" of the
tiruppAvai you can see that Andal is exhorting us all
to do so many things to please God. Those things are
too difficult, Sir, to do in practical life for us."

The "vAdhyAr" listened to adiyen's friend and then
thoughtfully asked, 

"What is it in the "pAsurams" that you find difficult,
my dear boy? Do you find "neyyunnOm pAlunnOm" ("we
shall desist from milk and ghee") in Verse 2 very
difficult to practise in life?". "No, not that one
Sir" replied adiyEn's friend.

"Then do you find "seyyAdana-seyyOm" ("we shall resist
all temptatipns") difficult?". "No, not that one Sir."

"Is it "vAyinAl pAdi" or "manatinnAl-sindikka" ("we
shall sing the Lord's glories and contemplate upon
him") that overwhelms you?". "No, Sir".

"Is "kesavanaipp-pAdavUm" ("to sing the glory of
Kesavan") that is too difficult for you to do in
life?".
"No, Sir."

"Is "pallAndu-isai-pAr" ("to sing the tiruppalAndu")
too difficult then for you?". "No, Sir.".

"Is the "svApadEsArtham" of the verses especially
those about "artha-panchaka" and "atma-svarupa-gnyAna"
etc. ... is all that too difficult for you?". "NO,
Sir".

"Is "kAnam sErndu-unbOm" ("we will eat") too difficult
for you?". "No, Sir, not at all. As a matter of fact,
I can't seem to eat enough.".

The "vAdhyAr" and adiyen finally threw up our arms and
asked, "Nothing is difficult! Then what is it in the
"tiruppAvai" that you find so formidable? Pray tell
us!".

Adiyen's friend finally blurted out: "Sir, the most
difficult thing in AndAl's tiruppAvai is stated in
"pAsuram" no:29.... "sitran-siru-kAlE".... "wake up
very, very early in the morning and pray at the Lord's
feet"! Sir, I can do all the other things that
'devarir' mentioned above.... I can do "vAyinAl pAdi",
I can do "manattinAl sindikka".... I can even do
"seyyAdana-seyyOm".... but Sir, if there is one thing
in life I cannot easily do, it is to wake up early in
the morning in the bitterly cold month of 'mArgazhi"
just to recite the tiruppAvai" verse:
"sitran-siru-kALe"....".

The "vAdhyAr" and I exchanged an incredulous look for
a second...and then all three of us burst out in peals
of laughter!

           *********         *********     ********* 

AndAl's little verse of epilogue in Stanza#29  can not
only raise a few hearty laughs amongst us all but also
help us recollect some of the loftiest thoughts of
SriVaishnava philosophy in our minds.

If Stanza#28 celebrates the soul's "attaiment of God"
in the climactic moment of the 'tiruppAvai', Stanza#29
celebrates the aftermath of such attainment.

The aftermath of attaining God, in SriVaishnava
thought, is equally, if not more important than the
union with God.

What is the "aftermath"?

The "aayarpAdi" girls say, "nee, kutrayval engaLai
kollAmal pOgAdu... anru kAn gOvindA... etraikkum
Ezh-Ezh piravikkum... undannOdu utrOmE aavOm... unakkE
nAmAt seyyvOm!".
 
This is a phrase pregnant with enormous significance
indeed.

After having "attained" the Feet of Krishna
("pOttrAmarai adiyE") the girls tell Him: 

"O Krishna, if you think that we are happy now that we
have attained you, then you are thoroughly mistaken.
Our goal is not simply attaining you. Our real goal is
to attain you and then enter upon your personal
service ("antaranga kainkaryam") as your  servants....
It is only You, O Krishna, who can grant us such
eternal employment whose rich reward is You Yourself!"
(In the "ArAiyarapadi" the commentator Sri.AMP Nayanar
puts it very beautifully, "engallai nee
kollumattanai-yozhiya, nAngal un pakkal-lilley unnai
yozhiyavumm koLvathonrundu enrerrindAyO!").

"O Krishna, our service to you should be not just for
now, for today, not just for tomorrow... but for
eternity. The joy of eternal Service to You
("kainkarya- purushArtha") is for us a thousand fold
greater than the joy of attaining You." (Here, one
recollects the prayer of nammAzhwAr's to the Lord of
Tirupati  (T.mozhi 3-3-1):"ozhivil-kAlamellAm udanAy
manni, vazhuvilA adimai seyya vendumm!"

The girls further tell Krishna, "Our service to, O
Krishna must be uninterrupted.... there should be no
break or leave of absence...."sambandham undAyirukka
seyydE patthumAsam pirind iruthal; pathinAlAndu pirind
iruthal, pathinArAndu pirind irutthal
seyyavonNAdu".... even if there should be some such
fated interruption, O Krishna, let us not be separated
from You too long.... 10 months like Sita is the
utmost we can bear.... but if we were to be separated
from you for 14 years like Bharatha was or for 16
years like NammAlwAr's...it would be simply
unbearable....".

Finally they tell Krishna, "Lord, 'matrai nam kAmangaL
mAtru"... in the course of our eternal employement may
all our desires to serve You remain unchanged ! And
should our hearts entertain the trace of any other
desires (matrai-nam kAmangal") whatsoever, even those
desires, O Krishna, sublimate and convert them
("mAtru") into God-desires.....".

Beautiful and moving lines indeed!

God ("mula-sukhrutan") is the means ("upAyam") and the
End ("upEyam") for every soul. He will shower his
infinite Mercy ("nirhEtuka-kripa") upon a soul of His
accord. All that the individual soul must do is
"ananya prayOjana kainkaryam' ... eternal service unto
Him exactly as the 'aayarpAdi' girls did. 

This is the highest and subtlest truth of Vaishnavite
philosophy that this 29th Stanza of the "tiruppAvai"
teaches.

 AndAl tiruvadigalE sharanam

dAsan,
Sampathkumaran  
         



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