Madabhushi Sridhar -Tiruppavai 28
Tiruppavai by Godadevi from Tamil
Iraivaa, Nee ThaaraayParaiy el or empaavai
English Translation from By Madabhushi Sridhar
Cattle lead us to forests for grazing, we eat with them,
We, cowherds know nothing, but eat and roam around,
But are blessed to have the Bliss called Krishna among us,
Govinda, the completeness without any blemish
No worldly wisdom, does not know how to call,
Please be kind and not angry for calling small names,
O, Lord, Give us love, boons and blessings.
What do Goda and Gopikas desire exactly for this thirty-day Vrata of Tiruppavai? She is yet to spell out. Goda reached Him, had His Darshan and chance to sing His glory. They sought certain things which are closely associated with Vishnu, so that Vishnu will be with them only. They asked for Parai, that symbolizes tool to take them beyond this physical world. We do not know any Vedas or shastras, know no Yoga. We do not know any mantra or tantra. We have no knowledge or studies.
We get up for cattle, they graze, and we eat, they do not take bath and we also do not. We return home with them. They are our leaders; we do not walk in their front but simply follow the animals. The only fortune we have is that You are born amongst us, You are living with us. You are moving and eating with us and talking to us. You give us what we deserve, we don’t even know what to ask for. You will give what we need.
Gopikas say, we are the simple cowherds and for us the cattle earn our daily food, we have no intelligence, except wonderful fortune of having you. You are the truly unblemished Govinda, you are short of nothing. You are a complete personality. We have the bonds and relationship with you that can never be broken. Being small and innocent, we might have called You with small names. We might have taken liberties with you addressing you in singular, so please pardon us. Oh Lord, please grant us the “parai” boon.
The children are parts of the body of the mother. She shares the milk from out of her body, a liquid like blood. Next to mother, the cow or other milking animals share the milk meant for their children with humans. They love cattle and cows as their blood relations, mothers, and the wealth unparalleled. The cowherds love environment, nature, have love for living beings, no selfishness, and get satisfied easily. It is enough if they could eat and sleep. They do not harm any. They do not bother about cleanliness, etc. Their entire life is linked with animals and greenery. God Vishnu chose to be with them.
Vishnu was requested by Devatas to born as a human being to kill Ravana. For that he chose the best clan – Raghu Vamsha, reformed the generations gradually to make Dasaratha fortunate enough to have Vishnu as son. Vishnu did not have such a history. He fulfilled the boon given to Devaki, Vasudeva, Nanda and Yashoda, born to Devaki but got shifted to Yashoda, a household woman of cowherds’ clan. Annamayya wonders whether this boy is father of Brahma or son of a cowherd. Is he Paramatma or a cowherd?
One who could not be known by Vedas is stealing the butter here. He laced his song with all these unbelievable contradictions of Krishna, which Goda also thought of in 28thPashuram.
Krishna and Goda’sGopikas had an interesting conversation, subtly mentioned in this Pashuram. This is their conversation.
Sri Krishna: Unless you follow Karma or Bhakti route for thousands of years, you cannot become my devotee, Did you, do it?
Gopikas: Absolutely no. Where is that knowledge for us? We have neither Jnana nor Bhakti. We know cattle and forests. All through the life all our knowledge is that alone, nothing else.
Sri Krishna: You went round forests, have you ever stayed in any divine temple, which could be a basis for me to grant you boon.
Gopikas: We stop wherever it is convenient for the cattle to graze. That is the divine place for us.
Sri Krishna: Could you do something like Vanaprasthashrama? Hope you have done that Karma.
Gopikas: We heard that rishis go to forests for penance. But we go only to graze our cattle. We don’t bathe; or turn to east to salute the Sun. If cattle sit and take rest, we also sit. If they walk, we follow them. We share ‘saddi’, stale food of yesterday without throwing it. If this is Karma yoga, we did it.
Sri Krishna: Any Karma is fine. But you can also do Jnana Yoga. Even a butcher Dharma Vyadha became great Jnani. Several people like Vidura, Matireyi, Shramani became wise while performing their duties.
Sri Krishna: You have great love. Jnana of your previous births should have matured into some knowledge in this birth.
Gopikas: We do not know anything about it. We have no information also.
Sri Krishna: Now you may not have Jnanis among you, but in future some of you might become Jnanis…
Gopikas: Can anybody say so watching our present status? The path of adopting Bhakti and Jnana Yogas are very far from us, and we have no hope to reach you as we are non-starters. We do not have any ability or capacity to seek shelter under you. You alone should help us. You are the source of our path of reaching you. We have no other way.
Sri Krishna: How to help you, without Karma – actions, Jnana – knowledge, Bhakti – devotion?
Gopikas: We are giving milk and food to Supreme Soul, nourishing Him. That should be our great Punya – good consequence of past good deeds perhaps. We might not have attained anything on our own, but our earlier generations might have left us something good for us.
Sri Krishna: You say that you know nothing, but you are speaking about the fortune, good deeds and Punya.
Gopikas: That is the issue. We do not know even that.
Sri Krishna: Then you should be deserted…
Gopikas: You are a complete personality, without any shortcomings. You please remove our ignorance. Our ignorance should not be your shortcoming. You take care of us and you will be completely perfect.
Sri Krishna: Then you know that Bhagawan is capable of giving energy, jnana and completeness. Thus, you have Swa Swaroopa Jnana.
Gopikas: O Krishna, if you have that Swaroopa Jnana, perhaps we also get it. You have left your abode, left Nitya Soori groups and living among the cows and cowherds. If you remember Swa Swaroopa Jnana, if we also have it, we would have not met each other. We are known for committing thousands of mistakes. You are an absolutely independent supreme being. The shastras talk about Saaroopya equality etc. That means those who cannot stand at par will not reach you. That is a major defect of Paratatwa. Sri Krishna, You do not have that deficiency. We are no better than cattle. But you are with us. You have grown with us like a shepherd boy. For us and our cattle, you have lifted Govardhana for seven nights and days. You are known as Govinda, the title you love most. You killed so many demons, but you love Govindashabda. You have told all of us: SarvaDharmaanParityajya, maamYekamSaranamVraja, i.e. you can leave all the alternatives, instruments and everything and take me as the source and destination.
Sri Krishna: I am not compelled to fulfil your desires.
Gopikas: If you recall our relationship, you cannot ignore us. This bond is perpetual, cannot be deserted. We cannot leave you; we do not think that you can leave us. You said that ‘I have born as your relative; you should not consider that I am different from you”. Please do not contradict this.
Sri Krishna: You have called me Narayana. It is the name of a hill. I left it. Now you say I have no shortcoming and I am Govinda, Koodarai Vellum etc.
Gopika: We do not know all that. That shows our ignorance or foolishness. Pleas bear with us. We took some liberty with you out of affection and your affectionate responses are with us. Called you in singular, used small names, please forgive us. Calling you Govinda as only Narayana is our great wrong.
After listening to Geeta lessons in the battlefield, Arjuna realizes that he was considering Krishna as an ordinary brother-in-law. He said: “I slipped my tongue many times. I addressed you as a friend, colleague, and equal, and referred to you jocularly”. We also feel like Arjuna. Govinda is a brilliant name compared to Narayana. We also addressed each other, o dumb, o deaf or o mad girl, these are all wrongs. We are profusely apologetic to you. We also apologise each other for such references. Please do not be angry with us for this. Forgive and be kind to bless us.
Sri Krishna: Okay let us agree that we have mutual relationship, but there should be some effort on your behalf, you know.
Gopika: If you want you can give. Otherwise, how can we convince you with our efforts? It is something like one getting angry with his legs or hands for some mistakes made by hands or legs. We belong to you. We are your belongings. Your belongings came in search of you, Will you desert us? You have to prove your all-pervasive character, Omnipotence, by helping us out. Sri Krishna smiles.
ChinnaJeeyar Swamy explains the philosophy in a very simple manner. He says six points are needed: 1. We should make it clear that we did nothing to seek the fulfillment of desires. 2. We have no eligibility or capacity, we are deficient. 3. We should agree that the Lord has completeness to be benevolent with us, though we have defects. 4. We have inseparable relationship with Him. 5. We should pray for forgiveness. 6. We should show our anxiety and deep desire to have the chance to serve Him. If one does not have these six qualities, he cannot reach Him. Sri Bhashyam proposes six requirements in the following words.
- I have not done anything that can take me nearer to Him.
- Not eligible, did many wrongs, very small being, undeserving.
- If I have any Punya, that is the belief that it was because of the grace of God.
- We have nothing else except relationship with Him.
- I seek apology for my past mistakes.
- We have no other alternative except Him.
Goda made it easy to attain liberty. She laid these simple steps to reach Lord VaikunthaNatha.
Also read: Opened fire-emitting eyes