After seeing the look of appreciation on the faces of the young girls gathered on the banks of Yamuna, Andal Nachiar continued with instructions on what we must do to obtain the grace of Lord Narayana in her second pasuram.
“Pavai” refers to the deity who is the object of our worship and therefore refers to Lord Narayana here.
Why is it essential for us to do devotional practices to obtain His grace? We all know the story of Dadhipandan. The Lord granted Moksham to both Dadhipandan as well as his pot because Dadhipandan asked the Lord to grant him moksham. Lord Narayana only grants us moksham if we ask for it. He wanted to grant moksham to Yashoda but she never asked for moksham. She was content in spending time with Lord Krishna. One day Yashoda asked Krishna to study. Immediately Krishna decided to use this incident to grant her moksham.
Yashoda sat with Krishna on her lap. She was decorating His hair with peacock feathers. He was getting ready to leave with His friends to go to the forest to graze cattle. Yashoda wanted Krishna to stay at home. She felt very uncomfortable to send her little baby boy to the forest where numerous Asuras might be hiding to harm Him. She wished for Him to stay at home and attend school instead. It would be easy for her to arrange home schooling so that she can watch over her child.
She stroked Krishna’s hair with love and said, ‘darling, stay at home and attend school. You should spend time learning shastras so that mommy can feel proud of you. Don’t you want to make mommy proud?’
‘Why should I learn shastras?’ queried Krishna innocently.
‘So that you can know about Bagawan’
‘Who is Bagawan?’
Yashoda looked at the Supreme Lord of the Universe sitting on her lap as an innocent little child. She didn’t see the Supreme Being but only saw her little baby boy. ‘Sweetie, He is the Lord of the Universe. We see Him when we go to the temple. Shastras will teach you everything about Him’
‘Mommy, why should we know about Bagawan?’ asked Krishna trying to make her say the word “moksham”.
‘If we know about Him we will learn the proper way to approach Him with love and detachment from this world. This is called as “Bakthi” and “Vairagyam”’
‘What do we get if we approach Him with love and detachment?’
‘Moksham!’ replied Yashoda
Krishna smiled at her happily and said, ‘granted!’
Therefore Andal urges the girls to listen carefully to her instructions to obtain the grace of Lord Narayana. The earlier the gopis were not happy that she continued to speak about Narayana while all they wanted to do was hear about Krishna. Therefore Andal told them that she will speak in code to deceive the spies sent by the village elders so that they will not come to know about the girls plans to obtain the grace of Krishna.
Paarkadalul paiya thuyinra
Andal started her instruction by stating that they must meditate upon the Lord who is trying to fall asleep in Thiruparkadal. Any spies who overheard this instruction would have assumed that Andal was speaking about Sheerabhdhi Nathan who is unable to sleep because He decided to stay at Sheerabhdhi to be easily accessible to the Devas; He is afraid to fall asleep in case He misses their cry for help. Andal actually referred to Lord Krishna in the above line. The place where milk is available in plenty is a milky ocean and thus refers to the house of Nanda Gopan. The Lord sleeping in this ocean of milk is Krishna. Lord Krishna doesn’t sleep because He is eagerly waiting for His friends to come play with Him. She asks the gopis to sing the praise of Krishna’s feet. His thiruvadi has a higher status than even His charming face among Bagawathas.
This why Swami Desikan composed 1000 slokams about Perumal’s padukai but how can we relate Paduka Sahasram to this pasuram as paduka represent shoes which is different from feet? Swami Desikan logically proved that “thiruvadi” refers only to Paduka; when we visit Ashramams we get Acharya Sripada Teertham which is given to us from the water used to wash the Padukai (wooden sandal) of our Acharyan. No one calls this as “Paduka Teertham” but we always refer to it as “Sripada Teertham”.Feet and padukai are considered to be one and the same.
Valmiki also proved the same concept. Thiruvadi is Perumal and Padukai is Lakshmi they are never separated. Bharatazhwar said that he will feel consoled and happy only when he gets the chance of sporting the Lord’s feet on his head. He got this opportunity when Perumal gave him His sandals. This is why we hold Paduka Sahasram Mahotsavam during Margazhi. Paduka Devi says that, ‘I am above all devas since all devas accept satari from Perumal koil but as the Lord is standing over me He is even more superior.’ Therefore Paduka shows us that He is the Supreme Being.
Neyyunnom paalunnom naatkale neeradi
Maiyittu ezhudom malarittu naam mudiyom
Andal Nachiar instructs us on the dos and donts of following Pavai Nombhu, ‘We must take bath early in the morning when the day is still fresh “nakkal” We won’t decorate our eyes with collyrium nor will we eat rich food containing milk and ghee’. She sings that,’we won’t wear flowers on our hair’. She means that they won’t wear flowers but if Krishna offers to decorate their hair with flowers they will accept it. Has Krishna ever offered to decorate anyone’s hair with flowers? We find an incident mentioned in Srimadh Bagawatham. During the Rasa Leela dance the gopis started to feel proud that they have been able to attract Krishna with their beauty. As soon as this feeling entered their minds, Krishna vanished from their view. The gopis started to search for Krishna. They saw two pairs of feet leading away from them. One pair of feet belonged to Krishna and the other pair was smaller feet of a girl. The gopis followed the foot marks and arrived at a location surrounded by flowering trees. There on top of a rock they found a few flower petals scattered on the rock. The gopis said to each other, ‘this is where Krishna must have decorated the hair of the other girl with flowers! Isn’t she the lucky one! How many flower garlands must she have offered to Him in her previous births to have received such an honour!’
Seyyadhana seyyom thhekuRalai chenRodhom
Andal Nachiar instructs us to follow in the footsteps of our ancestors. We should do everything good that was followed by our ancestors and not do those things that are not part of the traditional customs. We should offer offerings to Perumal without expecting anything in return from Him. We should take up a vow to do only good things. We shouldn’t gossip or talk ill of others. Refrain from passing slanderous remarks about others “thhekuRalai chenRodhom’ Sita Piratti never mentioned to Lord Rama about the tortures inflicted upon her by the Rakshashis at Ashoka Vanam. If someone caused us any harm, we shouldn’t pray to Perumal to destroy them. We shouldn’t be a brown nose.
Aiyamum pichchaiyum aandhanaiyum kai kaatti.
Aiyyam is donation given to scholars. This is a respectable donation as before donating we seek the blessings of the scholars. Picchai is regular donation given to the needy. Andal Nachiar instructs us to donate sambhavanai to scholars as well as donate necessary items to the needy. We must feel that we are only an instrument in the hands of Perumal and therefore not take pride in the amount of donation made by us. Aandhanaiyum means according to capacity. We would instantly assume that “aandhanaiyum” means that we must give as much as possible according to our capacity but the actual meaning is that we must keep donating till the receiver gets tired of accepting!
Has anyone ever donated according to this pasuram in the past? From Kalidasa’s Raghuvamsam we learn that Emperor Raghu was known for making such donations. Emperor Raghu performed a yagam called Vishwajit after conquering Persia. At this yagam he donated all of his personal property without keeping anything for himself. After Emperor Raghu finished giving his entire possessions a young man called Kautsan approached him for donation.
Kautsan looked at the emperor and said, ‘I don’t think I can accomplish my task after seeing the situation here!’
The emperor was surprised to hear Kautsan say so. The emperor asked him, ‘what were you expecting to obtain here?’
Kautsan then narrated his story, ‘I just graduated from my gurukulam. I wanted to offer guru dakshina but my guru refused to accept dakshina as he was aware that I am very poor. I couldn’t leave without giving dakshina and therefore kept insisting that my guru should accept dakshina. My guru became very angry at my constant insistence. He therefore asked me to give 1 crore gold coins for every subject I had learned from him. I learnt 14 subjects from him and per his instructions have to give him 14 crore gold coins! I wasn’t worried since I thought that I could approach you for donation but as soon as I arrived you offered me water for arghyam in a clay pot. It was then that I realized that you had given away your personal property and was left with only a clay pot instead of a gold pot! I will approach someone else for the money. Please give me leave.’
‘I can’t let you leave without receiving donation from me!’ said the emperor, ‘Please stay here for a few days while I find out a way to provide you with 14 crore gold coins.’
Emperor Raghu discussed with his ministers to find out about rich kingdoms in the neighbourhood. He wanted to invade a rich kingdom in order to gain wealth. As he had already brought every kingdom under his control there was no other kingdom left on this Earth. Emperor Raghu then turned his attention on the celestial Kubera who was known as the “God of Wealth”. The emperor approached his guru Sage Vasishta and sought his blessings and approval for invading Kubera’s kingdom. He requested the sage to specify an auspicious time for his endeavours. Sage Vasishta told the emperor to start at 4 am on the following day in order to be successful. The emperor was worried that he might miss the wake-up call and therefore slept on his chariot that night outside the city limits.
At 4 am the following morning the emperor was ready to start on his journey when his treasury officer came running to him.
‘Maharaja please stop!’ yelled the treasury officer while running towards the chariot.
‘What is the urgency? Don’t you know it is bad luck to stop someone who is embarking on a journey?’
‘I came to inform you about a wonder! It is raining gold coins in the city!’
Lord Kubera felt happy that Emperor Raghu was even ready to wage war with him in order to donate money to the needy. Hence, he rained gold coins. The gold coins kept raining down without a break. The emperor called for Kautsan. He asked Kautsan to take as many gold coins as he wanted. Kautsan asked for 14 sacks and packed 1 crore gold coins in each sack. After packing the 14 sacks Kautsan was happy and said that he was ready to leave. Kautsan did not take any gold for his personal use. He only packed the fees requested by his guru in the sacks.
The emperor was unhappy that Kautsan did not pack any gold for his personal use. The emperor hence asked Kautsan to take gold for himself.
Kautsan said, ‘I don’t even need a single gold coin. I will lead the life of an unchavarthi. All I want are these 14 sacks to pay my tuition fees.’
The emperor tried to reason with Kautsan, ‘You will have to start a family soon. You need money to raise your children and feed your family. Therefore plan for your future and take some gold with you.’
Kautsan still refused to take money with him. The emperor became angry and soon an argument ensued between Kautsan and the emperor. The emperor was trying to force wealth on Kautsan while Kautsan refused the wealth. This was a very strange witnessed by everyone. Normally the donors do not force wealth on the needy. The donors would be happy if the needy replied that they do not need anything. The needy also do not feel satisfied with any amount of wealth donated to them. Hence it was very strange that the needy Kautsan refused wealth while the donor Emperor Raghu tried to force Kautsan to accept wealth. Andal Nachiar instructs us to donate like emperor Raghu. If we are unable to donate, we should at least direct the people requesting donation to a good donor.
There were once two men in a village. They were called Srinivasan and Rangaswamy. Both of them were very wealthy but Rangaswamy was a miser. If anyone approached Rangaswamy for money, Rangaswamy would point a finger towards the house of Srinivasan and directed the person to seek alms from Srinivasan. Srinivasan never complained because he was very generous. One day Rangaswamy died. Yama dhuthargal took Rangaswamy to the court of Yama. Chitra Guptan listed the sins committed by Rangaswamy. He told Lord Yama that in spite of being very wealthy Rangaswamy never donated any money to the needy. Lord Yama wanted to find out if Rangaswamy did at least one good deed. Chita Guptan replied that the only good deed performed by Rangaswamy was to point a finger at Srinivasan’s house and direct the needy to collect funds from Srinivasan. Lord Yama directed his people to roast Rangaswamy in a vat of boiling oil but instructed them to keep the finger which Rangaswamy used to direct the needy to the house of Srinivasan outside the vat and apply cooling lotion on it since Rangaswamy performed good deed using his finger. As Rangaswamy was about to be dragged into the torture chamber, one of Lord Yama’s ran inside and told them that they had brought the wrong Rangaswamy and the man they were about to torture wasn’t supposed to die. As a result, Lord Yama instructed his men to return Rangaswamy to our world. Rangaswamy returned to life and got up as if waking up from a nightmare. He was terrified. He realized that only his finger had been treated well because he used his finger to direct people to the house of Srinivasan while the rest of his body would have been deep fried. The following day a poor man approached Rangaswamy for money. Rangaswamy asked the man to wait while he went inside. The poor man thought that Rangaswamy has had a change of heart. Soon Rangaswamy came out wearing only a towel. He used his entire body to point towards the house of Srinivasan as he felt that now if he died Yama’s soldiers would have to treat his entire body with respect! We shouldn’t live a life like Rangaswamy. We can’t expect to hold on to everything we have and still gain marks for good deeds. Only by donating we can gain merits for good deeds.
Uyyumarrenni ugandhelor empaavai means we must contemplate on the path to attain salvation. We should feel happy once we are on the right path. We should be happy that we have received an opportunity to follow practices like the Ekadashi vratam. We shouldn’t grumble that we are unable to consume food on Ekadashi. We should happily follow our vratams like the Margazhi Nombu and Ekadashi vratam. We should look forward to these auspicious days.
Vaiyaththu Vaazhveergaal refers to the people who treat their Acharyan with gratitude as it was the Acharyan who helped them perform Saranagathi at the divine feet of Perumal. They should donate to all the charitable causes supported by their Acharyan. A sadacharyan will never expect any money from us as he doesn’t seek material wealth but we should aim to donate to him. If we wish to donate funds in proportion to the help provided to us by our Acharyan we will never be able to achieve this unless there is another Vaikuntham and a second Narayanan in existence; as Acharyan showed us the way to Vaikuntham, if we want to return the favour we can do so only if are able to show him way to another Vaikuntham. As this is not possible since there is only one Vaikuntham we are forever indebted to our Acharyan. Lord Krishna Himself cannot repay an Acharyan completely by doing some favours in return. Those people who realize this and live with the feeling of indebtedness and feelings of gratitude for their Acharyan are referred to as “Vaiyaththu Vaazhveergaal”. Those people who think about their Acharyan with devotion and gratitude will be blessed with the wealth of knowledge.
Naamum nam paavaikku seyyum kirisaigal keliro
“Pavai” refers to our Acharyan who is the “Prathyaksha Deivam”. Andal Nachiar asks her friends to listen to her instructions about the kaimkaryams we should do for our Acharyan.
Paarkadalul paiya thuyinra Paramanadi paadi
To please our Acharyan we should sing the glories of the Lord resting in Thiruparkadal. The Lord resting in Thiruparkadal also refers to our Acharyan. Thiruparkadal refers to the divine qualities of Perumal. Our Acharyans find solace in Perumal’s divine qualities and therefore take rest under the shade of His lotus like feet. Our Acharyans find nourishment in speaking about the qualities of Perumal and spend their time contemplating about the divine qualities of Perumal. As a result they do not worry about the samsaric life. Therefore our Acharyan is the Lord who rests on the milky ocean of Thiruparkadal .
Neyyunnom paalunnom naatkale neeradi
We shouldn’t consume rich food like ghee and milk. Consuming milk has the following secret meaning.
“Pal” in Tamil refers to gender as well as body. Paalunnom refers to books or other media which promotes our interest in bodily pleasures. We should refrain from paying attention to this type of media. We should refrain from material desires called “sirrinbam” and only contemplate on Perumal who is “perinbham”. We should not seek any objects which fuel our materialistic desires for our body like spending money to decorate ourselves to look good.
Ghee is hidden inside milk and is obtained after making curd from milk, obtaining butter from curd and finally by melting butter. Similarly our atma is hidden inside our body called milk. We should not waste time contemplating on our atma which yields only kaivalyam. Only people who are pure can contemplate on their atma; to make themselves pure, they meditate on Perumal using Him as Panchagavyam but they don’t realize that meditating upon Perumal is tasty as well as purifying!
Naatkale refers to dawn. Esoterically, day time refers to Sri Vaikuntham, night refers to samsara and dawn refers to the time spent listening to the instructions provided by a sadacharyan. Neeradi refers to chanting Acharya taniyan with devotion.
Maiyittu ezhudom malarittu naam mudiyom
Under taking severe penance to follow gnana yoga in order to reach Sri Vaikuntham is referred to as Maiyittu ezhudom. As this is not possible for us to do, we should not follow these practices. malarittu naam mudiyom tells us that it is not possible for us to reach Sri Vaikuntham by following bakthi or karma yogam. We have to stay steadfast in our belief that the saranagathi performed by our Acharyan will yield us moksham.
We should not practice those things which are not followed by our Acharyans and by our ancestors like worshipping other deities. We should do all activities to please the Lord and should not expect any benefits in return.
thhekuRalai chenRodhom We should not speak ill of Bagawathas as doing so will cancel our saranagathi. Worshipping other deities or speaking ill of Bagawathas cancels our saranagathi.
Aiyamum pichchaiyum aandhanaiyum kai kaatti.
We should share our Acharyan’s instructions with the people who approach us to gain a share of the knowledge.
Uyyumarrenni ugandhelor empaavai We should spend time chanting/contemplating on the Dwayam manthram after receiving mantropadesam from our Acharyan. The Dwayam manthram is referred as 6 in “uyyumaru” as it has six padams. We should stay happy and contented as there is anything else other than Dwayam manthram which could make us happier. Dwayam is given a high status as it was first obtained by Piratti from Perumal at Thiruparkadal. This meaning is also indicated by “Paarkadalul paiya thuyinra paramanadi padi”. Paraman means the Supreme Being but it also means “Para Ma yasya saha Parama” and refers to that Supreme Being who has the Supreme Lakshmi as His wife. Thus Dwayam has to be chanted by meditating on Lord with Piratti.