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thiruppaavai -- verse 28

From: Mani Varadarajan (
Date: Mon Jan 12 1998 - 16:57:04 PST

[ Today, January 12, is the 28th day of maargazhi
  (December-January).  On each day of maargazhi,
  one verse from Andal's divine poem ``thiruppaavai'' 
  is savored. Today's verse is "kaRavaigaL pin senRu".

  What is presented below is the surface meaning.
  Each verse can actually be understood in many 
  poetic and profoundly philosophical ways. I invite
  others to offer further thoughts and reactions.

  An introduction to Andal and the thiruppaavai
  can be found on the Web: 

  Pardon me for skipping some verses.
  Vacation and illness conspired against me,
  and I hope to make up the missed posts in the meantime.

  -- Mani ]


In the first five songs, Andal described the sacred 
vow (paavai nonbu) she and her friends will 
undertake during the month of maargazhi to get
the "divine drum", which only the Lord of the 
Universe, Narayana (Krishna), can give them.  

Imagining herself to be a cowherd-girl in Brindavana,
the idyllic setting of Lord Krishna's youth, Andal
goes about waking up her friends in the wee hours 
of the morning so they can go perform this vow (5-15). 
In verses 16-22, Andal and her friends gather at the 
doors of the household of Krishna and ask that those
inside rise and grace them.  She finally takes her
appeal directly to Krishna and his wife Nappinnai
who are slumbering inside.

As the Lord and His consort awaken and cast their 
glances on the girls who have gathered, Andal describes 
their reason for coming and the girls' inherent 
and unbreakable relationship to the Divine Couple.

thiruppaavai, verse 25 -- kaRavaigaL pin senRu

kaRavaigaL pin senRu kaanam sErndhu uNbOm *
aRivu onRum illaadha aayk kulaththu * undhannaip
piRavi peRum thanaip puNNiyam yaam udaiyOm *
kuRai onRum illaadha gOvindhaa * undhannOdu
uRavEl namakku ingu ozhikka ozhiyaadhu *
aRiyaadha piLLaigaLOm anbinaal * undhannai
siRu pEr azhaiththanavum seeRi aruLaadhE *
iRaivaa! nee thaaraay paRaiyElOr embaavaay.

  [ '*' indicates the end of a line, split 
     both for recitation as well as to help
     with the meaning. ]


We follow our cattle and eat in the woods
Ignorant cowherd folk are we

We have the great merit of having
You born amidst us in our clan

O Govinda 
   without a single fault!
No one
   neither you nor we 
Can break your kinship with us

If through our love
We innocent girls have called 
   you with nicknames
Please do not get angry 

And O Lord! Grant us the drum!

Word for Word meaning

kaRavaigaL	cows
pin cenRu	following
kaanam		forest
sErndhu		having reached
uNbOm		we will eat

aRivu		knowledge
onRum		any
illaadha	without
aay kulaththu	cowherd community

undhannai	you
piRavi		birth
peRum thanai	to have you (in our community)
puNNiyam	good deeds
yaam		we
udaiyOm		have

kuRai		fault
onRum		any
illaadha	without
govindhaa	Govinda (a name of Krishna, one of whose meaning
		is "protector of cows")

undhannOdu	your
uRavEl		relation
namakku		to us 
ingu		here
ozhikka	ozhiyaadhu
		cannot break, destroy
		(by *either* of us)

aRiyaadha	ignorant, innocent
piLLaigaLOm	children, girls
anbinaal	out of love

undhannai	you
siRu pEr	nicknames, pet names
		(literally small names)
azhaiththanavum	addressing
seeRi aruLaadhE	do not get angry

iRaivaa		O Lord!
nee		you
thaaraay	grant us
paRai		drum