Monday, September 26, 2022

Tiruppavai-3: Narayana: divine name, philosophy and source of bliss

Tamil Paashuram

OngiUlagalandhaUtthaman Per Paadi

NaangallNampavaikkuChaattriNeeradinal

TheengindriNadellam  ThingalMummaripeydhu

OnguPerumSennnellooduKayalugala

Poonkuvalai-p-podilPorivanduKannpaduppa

ThengathePukkirindhuSeerthaMulaiPattri

Vaanga-k-kudamNiraikkumVallallPerumPasukkal

Neengade Selvam Niraindhu-el-or emPaavaai

English Poem 3

Sing of the dwarf who grew to measure the Universe.

As holy bath cleanses the heart to intensify the prayer.

Three rains a month to raise the wealth of crops.

Where fishes flourish with joy in farm-waters, and

Where bees doze within the folds of white lotuses

Grown up and healthy cows in herds are ready and

Generous enough to splash the streams of milk filling the pots

Wealth unlimited greets all of us, come & join my girls.

Vaamana, another form of Naaraayana, was a short boy – Vatuvu (one who is at the start of Vedic education) who secured the charity of three feet of land from King Bali, and then started growing up and up to measure the entire universe. He demands the place for the third foot of land, and bowing down Bali shows his head. Bali is sent to the underworld (Paataal) as punishment for his expansionism and eviction of Indra.  Praise him, we will not have any problems in our country. Come on my friends, let us do this Vrata. We will have three rains a month, Paddy grows fabulously. The fish jumps with joy in the green farm-field waters. Beautiful white lotuses blossom and attract the bees to sleep in the folds of their petals peacefully. Milking animals are no less in number, and several herds of cows are so kind that they rain the milk unasked and without any extraction. They yield many pots of milk. The vast wealth, unlimited and ever growing, is the reward of the Lord,s generosity.

God never hesitates to take any form like fish, tortoise, boar, dwarf etc to help the good and end the bad. He is the best personality, Purushottama, the best of all beings.

In his exile also Raama was holding his bow and arrows besides a Sword etc. Surprised, Seeta asks: “Are you really an ascetic who is expected to spend 14 years in forests doing penance?” Raama asks “Why do you doubt?”  She answers: “Where is the need for arms for a man who is supposed to silently pray like a Rishi”. Then he smiles and explains: “Dear Seetha, listen to me, I vowed to safeguard ascetics in the forest to free them from miseries caused by Demons. It is my Vratam…” to fulfil my promise. RaghukulReetiSadaaChaliAyee, PraanJaaye Par VachannaJaaye” (It’s the tradition of Raghu clan all along, that they may afford to lose life but not the word given).  Come what may, even if I lose you (Seetha), or my dear Lakshman I will perform my duty; hence I am ready with arms anytime”. That is the Greatness of benevolent Raama. 

Krishna, the God himself, born to a princely class, prefers to live with cowherds. He never minds about the level or the caste.  Krishna was so kind, that he granted an ending flow of clothes to Draupadi when she prayed addressing him as Govinda, in the worst crisis. Chanting the name of Raama made Hanuma cross the Ocean in one leap, whereas Raama could not cross it unless the bridge was built by his army. It means His name is more powerful than he Himself. Let us chant his name and attain all peace and glory.

Naaraayana in His forms as Vaamana, Raama, Krishna is very kind, under whose cover all of us can be fearless and happy.

There are six kinds of suffering according to tradition and Indian culture. They are 1. floods, 2. drought, 3. rats, 4. birds, 5. locust swarms, and 6. worst rulers. They are called in Telugu: EethiBaadhalu for the country. Even individuals have six issues: 1. Considering Body as Soul, 2. Thinking that one is independent, 3. Feeling that one belongs to someone other than Supreme Soul, 4. Presuming that he can protect himself, 5. Considering that relations of Body are his relations, and 6. Desire to enjoy bodily pleasures.

As Goda referred to three rains in month, she was in fact, symbolically meaning: 1. Believing that she belongs to Paramaatma and no one else, 2. Trusting that except Paramaatma there is no other way, 3 Firm in her view that she does not like anything except the experiencing Him, the Paraamatma.

This poem refers to Raama and Krishna, besides explaining the power of Vaamana. Mantras might have stringent restrictions for chanting. But singing the name of God is easy and free from all limitations. Anybody at any time can spell His name.  Gopikaas were asked to come and bathe in early hours with chanting of NaarayanaNaamam. It will relieve them from pangs of separation from Sri Krishna. Once you get into it there is no dearth for anything, says Goda.

  • – 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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