You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : March 1999

thiruppAvai - 4

From: Anand Karalapakkam (anand_at_engr.uconn.edu)
Date: Tue Mar 02 1999 - 16:52:28 PST

Sri:
Sri Lakshminrusimha Parabrahmane namaha
Sri Lakshminrusimha divya pAdukA sEvaka SrivaNN-
SatakOpa Sri nArAyaNa yateendra mahAdESikAya namaha

Dear devotees,
 namO nArAyaNA.

ThiruppAvai upanyAsam of Sri U.Ve. VillUr KarunAkaran swAmy
************************************************************
  So far, the six salient features of thiruppAvai was presented as
beautifully explained by Sri karunAkaran swAmy. Lets proceed
now to the "avatArikai" of thiruppAvai and other related issues.

What is "pAvai" ?
*************
 "pAvai" has various meanings. They are :

  i.  doll ( marap pAvai)
 ii.  beautiful personality ( usage : thiruvaLLuvar)
iii.  pupil (in the eye )
iv.  women ( usage : thEvAram)
v.  koravam flower (usage: aimperumum nool)
vi. dance ( usage : sillappathikAram )
vii. nonbu  (usage : AndAL)
viii.Ginger
ix. Fort ( ie. madhiL).

 pAvai can refer to PerumAL also. We shall consider it later.

 Thus, the meaning of the title "thiruppAvai" can be given
 explained in many  ways. The main meaning is related with
 the "nOnbu" undergone by AndAL and Her friends.

 Connection between  pAvai as "ginger" with thiruppAvai :
*********************************************************
 This is very very strange !! How come pAvai as ginger has
 any connection with the "thiruppAvai" of AndAL ?
 Ofcourse it has . In the thuLA kAvEri mAhAtmyam (*),
 Lord Krishna explains to Arjuna about the vrattam to be
 observed during the month of mArgazhi.

 PerumAL says that during all the 30 days of the month,
one should take bath in the brahma muhUrtham and perform
the ArAdhanam. PerumAL wants only pongal to be offered
during that time. PerumAL also gives the recipie for pongal :
paiththam paruppu + (probably) pAsi payir + miLagu +
ginger. PerumAL says that ginger should neccessarily be
there !! thats the connection !

(*) :  Actually, thuLA kAvEri mAhAtmyam is concerned
with the glories of river kAvEri : During aippasi month if
one takes bath in the river, it gets one rid of many sins.


 pAvai as "madhiL" (for vEdAs) :
*******************************
 
ThiruppAvai is also a "madhiL" ie. fort gaurding vEdAs. 
Once one knows thiruppAvai properly, he/she will not have 
any problems in interpreting vEdam. To guard the vEdAs, 
AndAL has built this fort of thiruppAvai.

-------------------------------------

                 ThiruppAvai - avatArikai 
                ************************** 
   
 a. ThiruppAvai is an "anukaranam" ie. imitation :
    **********************************************  
   
  ThiruppAvai is the nOnbu observed by AndAL with Her 
  friends to obtain communion with Lord Krishna (Kannan).
  AndAL follows the footsteps of gOpIS who had earlier 
  succeded during the krishnAvatAram. But, there is a 
  lot of difference. Even PeriAzhwAr was advising AndAL
  that PerumAL is not in vibhavam now ; He is only in
  archAvatAram wherein His sankalpam is purely to be 
  at the hands of the archakar(priest) - whether it is
  taking bath, taking food or even to drive an insect
  sitting on His thirumEni, only the archakar has to
  do everything. Thus, PerumAL will not move, walk, 
  run etc and marrying Him in His archAvatAram is
  almost impossible. Even then, AndAL was determined
  to marry PerumAL (in archAvatAram).

  AndAL transformed Herself into a gOpI and imitated 
 them. Usually, when one's love towards someone 
 becomes very extreme (and are in separation), he/she 
 imitates the act of the other. gOpIs imitated the 
 acts of krishnar when He disappeared suddenly during
 the rAsa leelA, since without that imitation, their 
 mere existence (of life) itself was in question. 
 That deep feelings/emotions gives rise to that act
 of imitation.Similarly, AndAL also had such feelings
 and in order to obtain communion with Krishnar, she
 transformed Herself into gOpIs, and considered all
 Her friends as gOpIs too. Due to AndAL's intense
 viraha thApam, SrivillipuththUr became the 
 AyppAdi(gOkulam), the pushkarini became river Yamuna, 
 vatapatrasAyI PerumAL became Krishnar, the temple 
 became the house of krishnar etc. AndAL was completely 
 in a different world altogether and transformed 
 Herself to be the leader of the gOpIs.

 In the peak of such an emotion, AndAL even got the
 way a gOpI would walk, talk etc ( usages like 
 "siRuveedu" in keezhvAnam pAsuram, "pAllunnOm" in 
 vaiyaththu pAsuram are very unique to that of gOpIs).
 AndAL being brought up by BhattarpirAn (PeriAzhwAr), 
 who performs agnihotram etc, it won't be a surprise 
 if she uses such words connected with this brought 
 up. But,transforming oneself entirely as a gOpI
 is very difficult. AndAL didn't practise being 
 like gOpIs, but directly got transformed !!
 This is more than a simple imitation, rather
 the peak of it. Moreover, "udainAttram" ie.
 smell (milk, curd, butter etc) of the clothes 
 of gOpIs also was found with AndAL !! 

 Though the village people actually asked these
 girls to perform the nOnbu so that enough rain 
 will shower and make the village prosperous,
 AndAL (and Her friends) wanted to perform it
 for a different cause (communion with krishna)
 as the primary objective. 
   
 
  -- to be cont --

 adiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan
 ananthapadmanAbha dAsan
 krishNArpaNam