Saturday, May 18, 2024

Tiruppani Aalwar merges into Ranganatha

  • Tiruppavai – 14

Goda’s 14th Song

Ungal puzhai-k-kadai-th-thottathu vaaviyul

Sengazhuneer vaai negizhndhu aambal vaai koombina kaan

Sengal podi-k-koorai vennpal thavathavar

Thangal thirukkoil sangiduvaan poginraar

Engalai munnam ezhuppuvaan vaai pesum

Nangaai! Ezhundiraai! Naanaadhai! Naavudayai!

Sangodu chakkaram endhu thadakkaiyan

Pangaya-k-kannanai-p-paadu-el or empaavaai

In your backyard pond, red lotuses

Blossomed and black lilies’ closed

Sages with white teeth wearing clothes

Brick red in color, are going to temples to

Blow the sound of the conches

In sweet words you promised to wake us up,

But breached, Shameless, O matured lady, Awake

To worship Lotus eyed Vishnu, holding Conch & Chakra

Transliteration followed by Translation from Tamil in Italics and bold.

In this 14th song, Goda is waking up ninth gopika and Tiruppani Alwar. Acharya prayed in this song is Srimannatha Munaye Namah.

Previous day this Gopika made promise to wake all others up, but still sleeping. The red lotuses in the pond of your backyard are blossoming and black lilies (Nalla Kaluva) which open during the night are closing as Sun rises.   The ascetics with saffron robes and shining white teeth are on their way to the temple to make sounds of Conch. Oh clever speaking girl, please wake up, let us sing the praise of the Lord holding the Conch and the Chakra in His hands has such Lotus like eyes and worship him.

Also Read : Ego and Beauty are obstacles to reach Krishna or Rama

Goda; We are waiting outside your door, why are you not coming out?

Gopika: When the Sun brightened?

Goda: Yes Red Lotus in your pond are blossomed, and black lilies (Kaluva) closed as the night ended, Did you not see?

Gopika: You lotus eyes opened with happiness of reaching my house and as I did not respond, your beautiful lips have been closed like Kaluvas with anger.

Goda: Not only inside flowers, the garden is full of blossomed flowers. Some are closing.

Gopika: You are moving all over garden and with bright faces causing Lotus to open and kaluva to close and other flowers too.

Goda: Those flowers are in pond which is far deep, we cannot reach. The flowers are automatically blossoming, not because of us.

Gopika: Your beautiful eyes and closed lips look like flowers, not real flowers.

Goda: Okay, you please get up and see in your backyard.

Gopika: No, I think flowers are affected by you only. You are so closely related to Krishna, hence you are capable of doing anything.

Goda: Even though sunrays are not fallen, the flowers are naturally blossoming. Why are you not coming out?

The seven Chakras

The body is symbolized by garden. The Naadi system facilitates flow of consciousness, which is located in the spine. That is water-well. Lotus flowers are Naadi Chakras. Moolaadhaara, Swadhisthana, Manipooraka, Anaahata, Vishuddhi, Ajna and Sahasraara Chakrs are symbolized by Kaluvas, petals which are closed at the sunrise. Garden here is Asthaakshari mantra. The well is ‘namah’. Lotus is dependent on others, while Kaluva flower is not. The stones reflect the minds that are after desires. Red is colour of material desire. We have to mix powder, which means uniting those things which are related to Bhagawan. Saffron clothing means strong desire for God, His great deeds, dependence on God. Whitened teeth indicate purity of food and word. Sages are devotees. Shameless means they do not hesitate to share the experiences about God. Calling Gopika as Paripoorna means the expertise in explaining the disciples. Conch means Omkaram. Chakra is Sudarshana that clearly shows the God. Kunchekola of sages indicate the Jnana mudra of Achaarya. Index finger is Jeeva and thumb is God. Unless the other three fingers (middle, ring and little fingers indicating Satwa, Rajo, Tamas Gunas) are separated it is not possible for Jeeva to meet God. For this we have to approach the Acharya who wears Shankha and Chakra Mudras on two shoulders. This is the inner meaning of 14th Pashuram.

Lotus is located in the middle of body, which is minute, where Paramatma resides in the heart of Jeevi.  To deeply meditate on God, His beautiful forms along with His great characters need to be studied. This is called “poornopaasana”. When Goda used expression like Nangaay (Poornurala), she was referring to this Poornopasana.

Also Read : Lakshmana serves Ram, Bharata meditates Him

Three kinds of proofs

How do we prove certain aspects? We look for proofs. There are three kinds of proofs – Pratyaksha (direct), Anumaanam (indirect), and Shabda (spoken by others). If we can see, hear, touch, or smell and taste, we can understand them. Second class of evidence believes existence of a thing because of some other circumstances. For example smoke, makes us to believe about fire. When a credible person or elderly personality like Rishi tells us about it, it is called Shabda, another class of proof.  It is Shriti.  Veda is called Shabda Pramana. Ramanuja, Goda and Gopikas believe all these three Pramanas. But Charvaka and non-believers insist on first kind of Pratyaksha Pramana, while Bouddha’s agree on first two and reject Shabda.

Jeeyar says, Goda is revealing the nuances of Vedas, and Vedantha, which were mentioned by Rishis, and which are beyond ordinary five senses of human body. Though we have three Pramanas, explained above, it is difficult to totally comprehend Pratyaksha because our five senses may be defective. It is difficult also to derive needed wisdom from Anumaana. Thus only alternative is Veda or Shabda or Aapta Vakya route. Ramayana and Bharatha etc taught us which Dharma is as per Vedas. What is vaidik or avaidik?  Gopika inside questions the Goda and others about Pramana to establish what Goda was saying. Ultimately Goda asks her to wake up and adopt third path Shabda pramana to approach Krishna.

The conch and the disc

This song refers to Shankha and Chakra of Vishnu. Vishnu descended on Earth in the prison of Kamsa to Devaki and Vasudeva, with four hands holding Shankha and Chakra (Conch and Disc). Gopika’s always like Sankha, because it is so close to him touching His lips and filled by His air besides always being in hands. Gopikas want to have pleasure of touching His lips and hands.  Vishnu informs distant devotees about His presence there, and also cautions the rivals that He is ready to strike. Sudarshana facilitates the clear visualization of the God. And Disc can kill the enemies even at distance, and comes back to the hand of Vishnu. Krishna has broad hands. Aajaanubahu, with wide chest and long hands he can embrace the loved ones. He showers kindness with his lotus eyes- Pundareekaaksha.

Also Read : Krishna’s association with cows and cowherds


According Manavala Mahamuni, the first three aalwars namely Poigai, Bhoothath and Pey belong to Dvapara Yuga (before 4200 BC). At the same time, there were three Saiva nayanmars, who influenced the ruling Pallava kings. Alwars (also spelled as Azhwars) and Naayanars generated a strong Bhakti movement to alter religious geography from Buddhism and Jainism to two sects – Vaishnava and Shaiva in south India. The verses of the various Aalwars rendered different Pashurams, which are compiled by Nathamuni (824-924 AD), a 10th-century Vaishnavite theologian, as Naalaayira Divya Prabandham containing 4000 verses and the 108 temples revered in their songs are classified as Divya desam. Naalaayiram was called “Tamil Veda” or “Dravida Veda”

It is believed that the first three aalwars, Poigai, Bhutha and Pei were born miraculously. Tirumizhisai was the son of a sage, Thondaradi, Mathurakavi, Peria and Andal were from brahmin community, Kulasekhara is a Kshatria, Nammazhwar was from a cultivator family, Tirupana from the ancient musical pāṇar community and Tirumangai from kaḷvar community.

Also Read : Vishnu descended to see Three Aalwaars together

Incarnations of some aspects of Vishnu

Divya Suri Saritra by Garuda-Vahana Pandita (11th century AD), Guruparamparaprabavam by Pinbaragiya Perumal Jiyar, Periya tiru mudi adaivu by Anbillai Kandadiappan, Yatindra Pranava Prabavam by Pillai Lokacharya, commentaries on Divya Prabandam, Guru Parampara (lineage of Gurus) texts, temple records and inscriptions give a detailed account of the aalwars and their works. According to these texts, the saints were considered incarnations of some aspects of Vishnu. Poigai is considered an incarnation of Panchajanya (Krishna’s conch), Bhoothath of Kaumodakee (Vishnu’s Mace/Club), Pey of Nandaka (Vishnu’s sword), Thirumalisai of Sudarshanam (Vishnu’s discus), Namm of Vishvaksena (Vishnu’s commander), Madhurakavi of Vainatheya (Vishnu’s eagle, Garuda), Kulasekhara of Kaustubha (Vishnu’s necklace), Periya of Garuda (Vishnu’s eagle), Andal of Bhoodevi (Vishnu’s wife, Lakshmi, in her form as Bhudevi), Thondaradippodi of Vanamaalai (Vishnu’s garland), Thiruppaan of Srivatsa (An auspicious mark on Vishnu’s chest) and Thirumangai of Shaarnga (Rama’s bow). The songs of Prabandam are regularly sung in all the Vishnu temples of South India daily and also during festivals. (Dalal, Roshen (2011). Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin Books India, PP 20-21, and Ramaswamy, Vijaya (2007). Historical Dictionary of the Tamils. Scarecrow Press. p. 211)

This 14th Song refers to Aalwar Tiruppani Aalwar, a great Vaishnavite, who used to be immersed totally in singing praise of Ranganatha, with his Veena on hand. He was believed to be from Sri Vatsa on the Chest of Vishnu. He is found in year 398 of Kaliyuga in an agriculture field of a Brahmin in Alagaapuri village near Srirangam. But he was raised by a Shoodra. He was treated as untouchable, and not allowed inside Ranganatha temple and on banks of Kavari River.

Also Read : Nine kinds of relations between Jeeva and Paramatma

Tiruppani’s instincts were heavenly and he grew as a man leaving all worldly material. With Veena (string instrument) in his hand, he was always singing the glories of Vishnu. Soon he became famous and his skill as a singer and ability to inspire bhakti drew audiences from afar. He was known as “Paanar perumal”. [Rajarajan, R.K.K. (2016). “Master-Slave Ambivalence in the hagiography of the Āḻvārs”. The Quarterly Journal of the Mythic Society. 107 (1): 44–60]. Because of unreasonable strictures from high caste, Paan Perumal did not come near the Kaveri river, but mostly stood alongside its banks facing the Srirangam temple and sang in praise of Ranganatha. Once he was immersed in singing where Loka Saranga priest wanted to go to carry sacred water for worship, from Kaveri.  Saranga asked him to give way. He could not hear the call because of his concentration on Ranganatha. With anger, Saranga threw a stone and went to Kaveri in a different route. Tiruppani suffered bleeding injury on forehead, which also he did not mind for a while. Saranga was feeling that something went wrong.

When he entered Sanctum of Srirangam, priest Saaranga was taken aback as blood was oozing out from the forehead of Ranganatha. Got appeared in the dream of Saaranga and commanded him to bring Paanar to the temple the next morning in his shoulders. But, Tiruppani, referring to his lowly birth, declined to enter the holy place. When he was told that it was command of Ranganatha, Tiruppani was lost in a deep trance. Saaranga said that if he objects to enter holy temple with his legs, he could carry him on his shoulders to the temple as ordained. As Tiruppani entered the sanctum, he experienced the bliss of Ranganatha and instantly composed the Amalan Adhipiraan, a collection of ten songs describing the beauty from the divine feet to the face. When he was describing the beauty of His divine eyes, he laid his life at the feet of the deity. Like Goda, this is another Alwar who was found on earth and got merged with Ranganatha.

Also Read : Goda preaches togetherness in good deeds and towards Tirumala

His verses explain how a devotee should pray at any temple starting to first look at the divine feet (Tiruvadi)  to Tirumudi (face) and be immersed in the Lord’s presence. Critics consider that the ten songs to be sweeter than even the melodious music of the Veena.

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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