You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : January 1998

thiruppaavai -- verse 29

From: Mani Varadarajan (
Date: Tue Jan 13 1998 - 12:44:37 PST

[ Today, January 13, is the 29th day of maargazhi
  (December-January).  On each day of maargazhi,
  one verse from Andal's divine poem ``thiruppaavai'' 
  is savored. 

  Today's verse, "siRRam sirukaalE", is the penultimate 
  verse of the poem and represents the essence of the
  entire work.

  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.
In this verse, she declares that the drum she asked
for was just a pretext, an excuse to come worship
the Lord.  All they desire is to be with the Lord 
and serve Him at all times.

thiruppaavai, verse 29 -- kaRavaigaL pin senRu

siRRam siRu kaalE vandhu unnai sEviththu * un
poRRaamarai adiyE pORRum poruL kELaay *
peRRam mEyththu uNNum kulaththil piRandhu * nee
kuRREval engaLaik koLLaamal pOgaadhu *
iRRaip paRai koLvaan anRu kaaN gOvindhaa *
eRRaikkum Ezh Ezh piRavikkum * un thannOdu
uRROmE aavOm unakkE naam aatcheyvOm *
maRRai nam kaamangaL maaRRElOr embaavaay.

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


In the early hours of the morning 
We came to lovingly serve you
Listen to why we praise 
   Those golden lotuses that are your feet

We are born in the clan of cowherds
Who subsist by tending cattle

You shouldn't reject our 
   loving, personal service

Look here, Govinda!
It's not that we just want to get
   the drum today;
But for even and ever, seven times seven births
We will be bound to you in eternal relationship

And to you alone will we be slaves

Please, change whatever other desires we have!

Word for Word meaning

siRRam siRu kaalE	in the early hours of the morning
vandhu			having come here
unnai			you
sEviththu		worshipped, adored, served

un			your
   (pon + thaamarai)	golden lotus
adiyE			feet
pORRum			to praise
poruL			fruit, purpose

peRRam			cattle
mEyththu		rearing
uNNum			eat by, subsist by
kulaththil		in the clan (of cowherds)
piRandhu		born

nee			you
kuRREval		selfless, loving, personal service
engaLai			of ours
koLLaamal pogaadhu	shouldn't reject

iRRai			for today
paRai koLvaan		to get the drum
anRu			it is not
kaaN			Look!
govindhaa		Govinda! (a name of the Lord emphasizing
			His simplicity and familiarity)

eRRaikkum		for ever
Ezh Ezh			seven upon seven (i.e., endless)
piRavikkum		births

un thannOdu		with you
uRROmE			definitely related
avOm			we will be

unakkE			only to you
naam			we
   (aaL + cheyvOm)	will be your slaves (aaL = slave)

maRRai			remaining
nam			our
kaamangaL		desires
maRRu			change