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Nammalwar says God is ‘Ever-desirable elixir’, amrutham! 

Tiruppavai – 15

Madabhushi Sridhar

30 December 2023

Tiruppavai by Godadevi from Tamil

Ellay! Illam Kiliye! Inna Murungudiyo!

Shillenruazhayen min Nangaimeer! Podharukinren

Vallai un katturaikal Pande un Vaai Arithum

ValleergalNeengale! NaanthanAayiduga!

Ollai nee Podaai, UnakkennaVerudayai

EllarumPondhaaro? PondhaarPondhuEnnikkol

Vallaanai-k-konraanai, MaatraaraiMaatrazhikka

VallaanaiMayanai-p-Paadu-el or Empaavaai.

English Translation from By Madabhushi Sridhar

O Sweet Parrot, We are all here, Are you still sleeping?,

O Complete Person”, “Don’t call with chilling sound, I will just come”

“We know your clever skills in talk”, “You have more skill, Me also Perhaps”.

“Join us quickly, do you have any other purpose?”, “Are all of you here?”,

“Oh, if you want, come out and count us in your corridor”,

We praise the enchanting kid that pulled tusks, killed the rogue elephant,

Indomitable to destroy brutal strength of enemy demons,

Come on, join us and listen to the adventures of the Little Angel.

Parrot indicates

Acharya NAMMALWAR

In this part of the song, Goda pays tributes “SrimatheSathagopayanamah”. The tenth Alwar that was waken up is Tirumangai Alwar, who followed Nammalwar, as a parrot did. Tirumangai Alwar also confirms this saying Nammalwaar known as Sathagopa, taught him Tiruvaimozhi. Tirumangai slept for years, hence the reference also points to him. He was considered a divine incarnation of Shaarnga, Vishnu’s bow.

They refer to Acharya as a parrot. When a person is immersed in meditation on Paraamatma, even the sweet voice of Parrot irritates him. Hence, she asks them not to make chilling sound. Immediately she says that it was her mistake not to have joined them in time. They surrender, consider them as lower or subordinate to the others. They shed the ego and tolerate the insulting words. Humility without ego is the character of a real Vaishnava.

Also read: Lotus eyed Vishnu, holding Conch and the Discus

Nammalwar sang 1000 songs in praise of God with such beautiful and extremely rich descriptions. They were so great that in those days, whoever sang these songs attained liberation right away! This was unacceptable to some people in the society because people used it whenever one got upset even for small fights,  within family members. The songs were then edited to give liberation after one ends their current life-time rather than right away.

Explains Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swami, “however, Nammalwar describes God as ‘Ever-desirable elixir’, amrutham that one cannot feel satisfied about. You are always on the drive to want more and more of His greatness, more and more of His excellence, more and more of His sweet qualities, more and more of His compassion! Such a beautiful description from Nammalwar about the experience of relishing God’s qualities and the experience of wanting to be in his sannidhyam, in his Abode!”

Alwar-Thirunagari, the place where Nammalwar lived for 32 years – 16 years with no connection to any external influences and another 16 years after he was awakened by Madhura Kavi a:lwa:r. During those 16 years, he shared his wisdom about God through his songs. He would speak about one quality of God and stay in Trans for a while; return and then continue.

At the age of 32, He pleaded very strongly asking God to take him to his abode. God accepted and wished Him to take the a:lwa:r through the same body that he was in. Nammalwar refused reaching Him in the current body. He described the nature of the body to be very deceptive, but God insisted that he is happy to host that body which helped Him sing the most beautiful verses ever sung on God in the entire history! Nammalwar then disappeared into Lord’s feet.

Also read: Splitting mouth of crane-Baka demon

All the sadhus and scholars were very saddened about losing Nammalwar and expressed to God that they cannot live without him..!

According to China Jeeyar Swamy…

God offered a Deity form of Nammalwar to them. And till today – The same form is being worshipped by everyone at Alwar Thirunagari! Jeeyar Swamiji in Divya Saketham (Hyderabad at Samatha big Vigram of Ramanuja) celebrated Nammalwar’sMokshotsavam on Bahula Panchami with so much love and respect towards Nammalwar. What can one give back to someone who has given us God? Only Love and Respect. Let’s all bow down to such a great a:lwa:r who stands as the backbone for the ‘Bhakthi’ philosophy, said in a Swamy’s disclosure.

Krishna removes Ego

Goda is waking up one Gopika who is immersed in meditating the Bhagawaan. Th team of Gopikas led be Goda wanted the inside Gopika to join them so that they have association with one who is close with the Bhagawaan. They ask her to come out and count them if she wants to ascertain whether all joined to praise Krishna. This is with an intention that she would spend more time with them, and that divine association with her will clear of all hurdles between them and Sri Krishna. Ultimate aim is to praise Krishna, who once saved an Elephant in Gajendra Mokshanam, and punished another Elephant that was commissioned by Kamsa to attack Him. People in Madhura saw the way Krishna killed the Kuvalayapeedam, Chanura and Mushtika, and finally the cruel king Kamsa. These victories were made Madhura people to worship Krishna and surrender to Him. They felt punishing these arrogant rogues will cause good to the world than saving one Elephant. Kuvalayaapeedam is the symbol of the Ego that attacked Krishna, whereas the in Gajendra Moksham, the elephant was proclaiming her surrender to Vishnu. This elephant was devoid of ego, and hence was saved by Krishna.  Chaanura represents Kaama, Musthika is embodiment of Krodha. Ahankaara (ego), Kaama (desire), Krodha (anger) are the natural elements in each praani, and impediments in reaching the ultimate. The God Himself has to generously eliminate them from us. Krishna does it.

Also read: Bharath was sure that Ram will not return

Goda and other Gopikaas were waiting outside the house of a beautiful and clever lady, who heard all singing of Krishna. She started humming those tunes. It was very sweet to listen to that tune. Hence outsiders called Ilan Kiliye. In Tamil Kile, means the parrot. Ilan means very young. This Paashuram also is composed of conversation between Goda outside and Gopika. In other Paashurams conversation is partial, whereas here it is total from beginning to end. It goes on like this:

Goda: “O young parrot, we have all come for you; You know that. Are you still sleeping?” She and her colleagues wanted this Gopika to join them so that they get access to Krishna easily. They were praising her.

Gopika inside: “O friends, don’t shout with chilling effect, I say, I am unhappy as I am separated from all of you, and it is not proper for you to praise me”. She assessed that Gopikaas and Goda might be suspecting presence of Krishna with her.

Goda: “You are a perfect personality, we know”.

Gopika: “No, not at all. Krishna is not with me. You are perfect persons, not me…Fine, I am coming to join you anyway”.

Goda: “You are very clever and adept at sweet talk. We know about your satire and hard-hitting words for long”.

Gopika: “Not me, you are very clever, you are calling me efficient, but I am unhappy as Krishna is far away, whereas you are all planning to reach Sri Krishna. I know it is my mistake that I did not join you in time. Ok you are right that I am a hard-nut”.

Goda: “Okay, then come. Do you have any other purpose?”

Gopika: “Have all of them come?”.

Goda: “Yes, if you want, come and count. We want to see you, dear.”

Gopika: “What shall we do together?”

Goda: Krishna, that wonderful person with surprising adventures, who killed Kuvalayapeedam, the rogue elephant of Kamsa, by pulling out its tusks and killing it with the same as weapons. He is a mysterious hero, who can defeat all the mischievous manipulations of enemies. He can kill the enmity among enemies. Let us all sing together about that wonderful little angel, Krishna.

Parrot indicates Acharya

They refer to Acharya as a parrot. When a person is immersed in meditation on Paraamatma, even the sweet voice of Parrot irritates him. Hence, she asks them not to make chilling sound. Immediately she says that it was her mistake not to have joined them in time. They surrender, consider them as lower or subordinate to the others. They shed the ego and tolerate the insulting words. Humility without ego is the character of a real Vaishnava.

Vaishnavas generally greet others with ‘Sarvaaparaadhini”, I am the one who committed so many mistakes…. Bharatha says, “it was my mistake, my actions in earlier Janma that caused Raama to go for exile, the mistake was neither my mother’s, nor king’s, nor Mandhara’s, but mine”. 

Seetha repents

Seetha also says she is suffering in Sri Lanka because of her own wrongs. I did a small and very big sin. Her small wrong was when Raama was disinclined to take Seetha along with him into the exile, she provoked Raama saying ironically “My father thought that he was giving his daughter to a male person”. Her big mistake was to hurt Lakshmana with her harsh words and allegations for not going to the rescue of Raama after hearing the words “Haa Seetha, Haa Lakshmana…” mimicking Raama’s voice. She feels: I am suffering in Lanka for the last ten months because of this major mistake against the devotee of Raama.  Abusing Bhagawatha is a worse crime than abusing Bhagawan Himself. 

Kurattaalwar’s devotion

Devoted disciple of Raamanuja, Kurattalwar goes to Srirangam. It was then under the control of King Chola, who hated Vishnu and Vaishnavism. He ordered not to allow into Ranganath Temple anyone related to Raamanuja. The soldiers there explain this order to Kurattalwar but they were ready to allow him into the temple if he abandoned his relation with Raamanuja. Kurattalwar refuses to enter the temple if the entry costs him his association with BhagavatottamaRaamanuja. He never adopted anything that is against Bhagavata’s (relating to devotees of Bhagawan) even if that is about Bhagawan.

Goda also narrates the importance of devotees in this Paashuram. Here Parrot means the Acharya who gains the same form as of Bhagawan. Sweet sounds of Parrot mean those who have great love for devotees. Goda calls Gopika inside to join them for association with the devotees.

In this part of the song, Goda pays tributes “SrimatheSathagopayanamah”. The tenth Alwar that was waken up is Tirumangai Alwar, who followed Nammalwar, as a parrot did. Tirumangai Alwar also confirms this saying Nammalwaar known as Sathagopa, taught him Tiruvaimozhi. Tirumangai slept for years, hence the reference also points to him. He was considered a divine incarnation of Shaarnga, Vishnu’s bow.

Goda coined the Hello type word first

The 15th song starts with word “Elle” which is an expression like ‘hello”, a greeting in English. Hello is a greeting word credited to Thomas Edison. Graham Bell used Ahoy, generally used on ships, as his telephone greeting. Holla means ‘stop’, and that must have modified into hallo and then became hello. Much earlier Goda, of 7th Century called “Elle” as a starting word to conversation, in 15thPaashuram. Goda is the inventor of Elle that gradually became Hello. 

Also read: Jnana Soundarya, the beauty of wisdom attracts Krishna

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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