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Omkar links to God; And chanting of Munis

Madabhushi Sridhar -Tiruppavai – 7

Tiruppavai by Godadevi from Tamil

KeechuKeechuEndruEngumAanaichathanKalandhu

PesinaPecharavamKettilaiyo? Peypennnay!

KasumPirappumKalakalappa-k-kai Perthu

VaasanarumKuzhalAaychiyarMatthinal

OsaipadutthaThthayir-aravamKettilaiyo?

NayagaPpennppillaiy! Naaraayanan Moorthy

KesavanaiPpadavvum Nee Kettekidatthiyo

ThesamudaiyaiThirav-el or Empaavaai.

English Translation from By Madabhushi Sridhar

As dozens of birds chirp together at dawn

O, crazy, listen to morning dialogues of Bharadwaja birds.

Hear the music of golden necklaces & bangles.

Of lovely hands; feel the fragrance of flowers of their hair

Churning curds by staffs, can’t you hear?

O, the lady of Naaraayana, get up, to lead us.

To Keshava and to sing with us, His praise.

Awaken, open the doors & let us go, my girl.

Goda in this 7th song is waking up KulasekharaAlwaar. She sang morning song for Periyaalwaar, her father in her 6thPaashuram, which embodied the Acharya Vandana “Asmat Guru Bhyonnama” (Namaskarm to my Gurus). In this song, Goda is saying “AsmatPaRaamaGurubhyonnamah”. (Salutations to Guru of Gurus, ex:Kulasekhara)

Also read: Wake-up calls of Chirping birds before dawn

Gopika at the doorstep indicate three points to convince the Gopika inside about the passage of night and beginning of dawn. In 6th Paashuram chirping of birds, Conch sound, chanting of Hari Hari by Yogis and Munis are the three sounds of the morning to be noticed. Birds render great service to the mankind by waking them up at right time with their sounds unknowingly. Sankha Naadam (sound of the Conch) tells us that it is time to pray to God. It is Omkaram, which links us to God, whereas the third sound is the chanting of Munis and Yogis which is the result of human effort.

What is the meaning of chirping sounds of birds? Goda says, they are planning to fetch food together for their children. They can fly with two wings- Knowledge and Practice. Rishis meditate for some time, then come out to discuss with other Rishis, and they go back to penance. The chirping is nothing but such conversation, Goda says. 

Also read: The bonds of affection, not ropes, bind Krishna

This Song mentions about Bharadwaja Muni. Bharadwaja birds which are found in Kerala-Tamil Nadu coastal region make sounds like Parrots. Prince Raama during his exile, stays for a night at Bharadwaja’s Ashram (residence). Thereafter, Bharatha, with his family, Gurus, royal staff and army arrives at the forest in search of Raama, and pays respects to Bharadwaja in his Ashram. Bharadwaj asks Bharatha, “What else do you want to do to Raama, who is innocent and harmless: Why are you searching for him?”.

The question is quite derogatory and suggestive of suspicion. Pained, Bharatha falls on his feet and cries: “Muni, you know past, present and future, don’t you know my role and can’t you read my mind?”.  Bharadwaja wants to test him further. He creates a spacious Royal palace for all who came with Bharata and asks him to take the King’s seat. Bharatha leaves it and goes to a nearby seat meant for the Minister and operates the hand-fan towards the Simhasana as if Raama is sitting there. This proves that he was not fond of occupying the king’s seat.

Bharadwaja spent all Taposakthi to build this palace just to test the devotion of Bharata. But he was happy to discover a great Bhagavatottama in him. Bharadwaja uses all his PurushAyush (300 years of life of pious man) to learn a small part of Veda Adhyana. He invokes from God another PurushAyush to study Vedas further. He could not complete and asks for another 300 years from Prajapathi. Three terms Ayush of 300 years each was not enough for him to learn even a little portion of Vedas. When Bharadwaj did Tapas again, Prajapati appeared and showed there three big hills of Vedas and a fistful of earth on each Hill. He said: “in all these years you have learnt three fistfuls from the three Hills of Vedic knowledge. Now you can stop learning and start the practice of what you gained”. To reach God, one must serve His devotee. This is a quote from Bharadwaja Samhita. Bharadwaja was trying and testing who would be such a divine devotee whom he can cultivate as a contemporary colleague, and he found Bharatha after spending all his Taposhakti& knowledge attained in 900 years. Goda says it is not enough to meditate on God, one should frequently meet the devotee.

Sarvam Sri Krishnaarpanam. (Everything is dedicated to Him).

In Brindavan, Gopikaas always meditate on Sri Krishna. Even when they are immersed in their daily activities, they do not forget Sri Krishna. What all they think, say, and do, they offer it to Sri Krishna. Sarvam Sri Krishnaarpanam. (Everything is dedicated to Him).

Also read: Gracefully raining knowledge equally on all

Krishnaand their association with Gopikaas

Gopikaas attained Bhakti not because of their learning and knowledge. It is because of their association with Krishna in Vrepalle. Each of those villages used to bring what all they made or cooked for Krishna. A mother-in-law could not tolerate this madness and to teach a lesson to daughter-in-law, she entrusted a huge stock of Curds and Milk to be sold in a day. That Gopika took it to nearby town for sale and could sell it all easily by chanting the names of Govindaa, Damodaraa and Maadhavaa instead of the milk products she carried. They got dissolved themselves in the thoughts of Krishna.

While churning the buttermilk with staffs also, they were meditating on Krishna. Goda is asking the Gopika, “Can you hear those churning sounds? As they churn, their bangles and necklaces shake and produce a lot sound”. And the flowers decked in their plaits get loosened spreading their fragrance. Goda addresses the girl inside as a leader and requests her to lead all the Gopikaas to the abode of Sri Krishna.

Krishna became Keshava when he killed a demon-horse in a very unusual manner. It was the demon Keshi, in horse form that attacked Krishna with open mouth. Little Krishna pushed his hand into his mouth. Keshi was happy that he could eat the tender hand away. But that was a play (a leela) for little Krishna, who increased the size of his hand making Keshi breathless. Keshi died as the enlarged hand spread to the entire body.

Also read: Bhagavan lives in NaaraayanaTatva

Goda’s words are quite symbolic. Cows are Vedic sentences; their milk represents God’s beautiful form and wonderful deeds. Discovering them through Teacher and remembering them is reflected in Curds. Curd is the experience. Churning staffs relate to God, thread is thread of love for God, while churning is the action. The result is the mind that could be offered to God, that is butter. That butter melts down with the heat of separation from God. Retain the butter and offer it to Krishna before you are separated from Him. 

When Ocean of Milk was churned, three sounds emerged. 1. Sound of returning rivers as Mandhara Hill was placed in the ocean as a churning staff, raising the water levels. 2. Sound that emerged while Vaasuki (Serpent) was tied as rope around Mandhara. 3. Sound of surging waves in the ocean due to the rotation of Mandhara in the ocean. Similarly, three sounds emerged from Gopikaas- the sound of bangles, their song, and of churning curds. Churning of Milk is compared with churning of Milky ocean, by Goda. The act of churning is the Gopikaas’ penance. 

Kulasekhara as threshold at Tirumala

In this Paashuram, Goda is waking up KulasekharaAlwaar. He is a shining jewel among the 10 Aalwaars. He is a Kshatriya, of the ruling class, He is a guru of gurus, i.e. PaRaama Acharya. Thus, the acharya mantra is ‘AsmatPaRaamaGurubhyonnamah”. When God appears and offers a boon to Kulasekhara, he seeks to be a threshold at the sanctum sanctorum of Tirumala Temple so that he would be looking at the God always and enjoy touch of foot (padasparsha) of devotees. The threshold before Lord Venkateshwara is thus called KulasekharaPadi, none except the ardent archakas can cross it.

Also read: No perfect being on this earth: say Seeta and Goda

Translation by 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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