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Aiming to reach ultimate Lord Naaraayana

Thiruppavai-1

Tiruppavai by Godadevi from Tamil

MargazhiThingalmadiNiraindaNannalal           

Niradapoduvir, PoduminoNerizhaiyeer                  

SeermalgumAayppadiSelvaChirumeergal        

KoorvelKodumThozhilamNandagopan Kumaran     

ErArndhaKannniYasodhaiIlansingam                        

Karmenichengann Kadir Madiyam pol Mugathan    

NaaraayananeNamakkeParaiTharuvan       

ParorpugazhaPpadintdul-el or empaavaai.   

Nature shines in the moonlight of Margazhi month

Come, dear friends let us bathe before the Sunrise

O Team of enriched and enlightened devotees of our rich village

Where Nanda wields protective spear for his son,

Lotus eyed young cub of mother Yashoda

His resplendent face with eyes shining like the Sun and Moon.

Aiming to reach ultimate Lord Naaraayana

Let us commission the mission together.

English Translation from By Madabhushi Sridhar

In the abode of Lord Venkateshwara in Tirumala, the songs of Tiruppavai replace the Suprabhatam throughout Dhanurmasa. The Lord wakes up hearing Tiruppalliyochi of VipraNaaraayana and Tiruppavai of Goda every day. Even otherwise, every day, Tiruppavai is recited by the Veda Pandits every day.

Around 1200 years ago, Andaal also known as Goda Devi, penned unique poetry of 30 songs (Paashurams in Tamil) comprising eight lines each. It is called ‘Tiruppavai’, which is quite relevant even today and recited every day.  When women were denied access to education and caste restrictions were predominant, Goda learnt Sanskrit, Tamil, Vedas, Upanishads and Tamil prabandhams which explored VishishtaAdvaiata (qualified monism) of Sri Vaishnavism (worshipping Vishnu as the ultimate God) and wrote Tiruppavai in her 13th year, in praise of Parabrahma(Supreme Lord) depicting ways of Jnana (the wisdom) and Bhakti (complete devotion) to attain solvation and liberation from vicious birth-death-rebirth cycle.

The Goda’s poem Tiruppavai has an in-built scheme of Vrata (the mission) with three parts. First part introduces the mission contemplated to worship Naaraayana in the form of Sri Krishna, Kanhaiah, or Kaanha. First part (initial five songs–Paashurams)– explains the rules of month-long Deeksha (MaasaVrata), do’s and don’ts in the first two songs, followed by description of glory of Naaraayana in 3 songs. Part 2 (Songs 6 to 15): Goda preaches togetherness as a strategy for mutual inspiration and sustaining the enthusiasm. Goda selects the members of the team, goes to each of their houses and wakes them up in the early hours of foggy winter.

NAARA + AAYANA is a combination of two roots. All Naarams (beings) depend on Him. He bears all of them, resides in each and every iota of Nature. He is Vaasu Deva. Being in them, He protects the being. Or He preserves all beings in Him. Aayanareflects all divine and special qualities and characters of Krishna.  If you step out to reach Him, he rushes to meet your extended hand.  Accessing Him is the easiest way (Saulabhyam). He is near and dear to us as He resides in us or we reside in Him (Saameepyam). He is above all of us, all Lokas (Param), the Ultimate, in higher altitude. Goda is giving us the mantra to read him, showing the route to tread to Him, and scheme to achieve Him. There is no need for any preparation. Intense desire and strong decision to launch this mission is enough, the rest falls in line.

Goda’s first song indicates the components of remaining 29 songs, prepares the men and women for choosing the path of Gopas and Gopikaas to gain Hari in Krishna form.  The mission aims at Krishna. Krishna is the only way to reach Krishna. Nothing else is.

Madabhushi Sridhar

Prof. M. Sridhar Acharyulu
Prof. M. Sridhar Acharyulu
Author is Dean, Professor of law at Mahindra University at Hyderabad and former Central Information Commissioner. He published a number books in English and Telugu.

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