Sunday, May 22, 2022

Krishna arrives with 1000 elephants around

It’s around 1200 years ago the devotee poetess Goda (Andal) of 9thcentury AD only one womanAzhwar of Sri Vaishnavas is very popular even in contemporary world is one who penned the thirty Pashurams called Tiruppavai. She also wrote a fairly long poem in Tamil NachchiarThirumozhi, a compilation of 143 verses explaining her deep love and affection for Sri Ranganatha and her attempts to marry Him.



There yet another small poem called “VaranamAiyiram”, consisting of 10 verses, said to have written in her teenage after performing Vrata of Tiruppavai. She expected the joining Govinda, after her Tiruppavai, but it did not happen. Goda was frustrated.  In distress, she was emotionally disturbed, Goda prays Angel of Love, Manmatha, who sacrificed himself to get Shiva marry Parvathi, to help her to send across the message to Him through the beautiful and sweet voices of Cuckoo birds, and the clouds that reach anywhere unobstructed.  Her pangs of separation and frustration was increasing. Then Hari appeared in her dream to enthuse her, she saw Ranganatha arriving at Sri Villi Puthur surrounded by thousand elephants like an emperor and entire town gets ready to welcome him Poorna Kumbham, even as the Vedic scholars recite divine Mantras. Next day Goda narrates how Krishna came. That description is VaaranaMaayiram (thousand elephants)

This Bhakti Kavyam is recited in every Vaishnavite marriage in Tamil Nadu. In Tirumala Tirupathi, during Nitya Kalyanotswam of Sri Venkateshwara and Padmvathi, VaaranaMaayiram ten pashurams are sung.

The ten poems describe ten celebrations of the marriage.

1. Reception of the bride groom (Mappilaiazhaippu -Janavasam)

2. Announcement of wedding ceremony (Niscayatartham)

3. Dressing up bride by her sister in law (Nattanarkodiuduttal) 

4. Tying the protecting band called Kappu(KAppukattal)

5. Removing the obstacles (Pidissurudal )

6. The groom holding hands of the bride (Panigrahanam)

7. Taking seven steps together, wedding vows (saptapati)

8. Stepping on the stone (ammimidittal)

9. Offering of puffed rice (lajahomam)

10. Visiting friends and relatives and taking holy bath (Manjalneerattal)

TirukkandaMangaiyaandaan has written an introductory Taniya (poem) as follows:

Alli naalltamaraimelaranangininthunaivi
mallinadandamadmayilmeliyalal
aayarkulavendhanagathal then puduvai
veyarpayandhavilakku


It means that Godaa (Andal) is the very close friend of Shri Mahalakshmi Devi, seated always on a lotus. She is enchanting beauty as a peacock, and with that beauty, Goda rules the forest area of Mallinadu. Goda is an expert in singing glory of Sri Krishna, the kind hearted, generous and friendly. She is born in the Tulasi Garden of Sri Vishnu Chitta in southern city of Sri Villi Puthur.
First Pashuram

Varanamayiramchoozhvalanseidu,
Narananambinadakindranyentredhir,
pooranaporkudamvaithupuramengum,
thoranamnatta’ kana kanden’ thozhi ! naan
.

Meaning: Sriman Narayana, a personification of perfection was arriving in a majestic form surrounded by thousands of elephants, in Srivalliputthurtown, which is richlydecorated with festooned poles, toranas, holy water filled golden pots, while vedic scholars were reciting Swasti Mantras move with Poorna Kumbham, so I visualised my sweet dream.

English version

Narayana, the personification of flawless perfection

Arrived in majestically surrounded by 1000 elephants

As each door decorated withbanana, mango leave-arches,

Sacred Purnakumbham welcomed, so I saw a dream, dear.

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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