Thursday, July 18, 2024

In sweet words you promised to wake us up

Madabhushi Sridhar -Tiruppavai 14

Tiruppavai by Godadevi from Tamil






Nangaai! Ezhundiraai! Naanaadai! Naavudayai!


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

English Translation from By Madabhushi Sridhar

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 and the Discus


In this 14th song, Goda is waking up the ninth Gopika and Tiruppani Alwar. Acharya prayed to in this song is “SrimannathaMunayeNamah”.

Also read: Slitting ten heads of worst Raavanasura

The previous day this Gopika promised to wake all others up, but she was still sleeping. The red lotuses in the pond of your backyard are blossoming and black lillies(NallaKaluva) which open during the night are closing as the Sun rose. The ascetics with saffron robes and shining white teeth are on their way to the temple to blow the Conch. Oh clever speaking girl, please wake up, let us sing the praise of the Lord who is holding the Conch and the Chakra in His hands and who has such lotus-like eyes and worship him. The conversation between Goda and Gopikas:

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

Gopika: When did the Sun brighten?

Goda: Yes. Red Lotus in your pond have blossomed, and black lilies (Kaluva) closed as the night ended, Haven’t you seen?

Gopika: Your lotus eyes have opened with the happiness of reaching my house and your beautiful lips have closed like Kaluvas with anger due to lack of my response.

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

Gopika: You are moving all over the garden and your bright faces are opening the lotuses and closing the kaluvas and other flowers too.

Goda: Those flowers are beyond our reach in the deep pond. The flowers are blossoming on their own; not because of us.

Gopika: They are not real flowers, but your beautiful eyes and closed lips!

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 without the Sun rays, the flowers are blossoming naturally. Why are you not coming out?

Also read: O! dear wake up and Join us for Sri Nomu

The seven Chakras

The garden is symbolic of the body. The Naadi system facilitates flow of consciousness, which is in the spine. That is water-well. Lotus flowers are Naadi Chakras. Moolaadhaara, Swadhisthana, Manipooraka, Anaahata, Vishuddhi, Ajna and Sahasraara Chakras are symbolized by Kaluvas, petals which are closed at the sunrise. The Garden here is Asthaakshari mantra. The well is ‘namah’. Lotus is dependent on others, while Kaluva flower is not. The stones reflect the desire-ridden minds. Red is the colour of material desire. We must mix powder, which means uniting those things which are related to Bhagawan. Saffron clothing means strong desire for God, His great deeds and dependence on God. Whitened teeth indicate purity of food and word. The sages are devotees. Shameless means they do not hesitate to share their experiences of 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 indicates 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, Rajas, TamoGunas) are separated, it is not possible for Jeeva to meet God. For this we must approach the Acharya who wears Sankha and Chakra Mudras on two shoulders. This is the inner meaning of 14thPaashuram.

The lotus is in the middle of the body, which is minute, where Papaamatma 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: “Krishna’s touch energises, enthuses and enlivens”

Three kinds of proofs

How do we prove certain aspects? We look for proofs. There are three kinds of proofs (Praamanas)- 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, through smoke we can infer 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 ShabdaPRaamana. Raamanuja, Goda and Gopikaas believe all these three PRaamanas. But Charvaka and non-believers insist on the first kind of PratyakshaPRaamana, while Bouddhas 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 PRaamanas explained above, it is difficult to comprehend Pratyaksha totally because our five senses may be defective. It is also difficult to derive the necessary wisdom from Anumaana. Thus, the only alternative left is Veda or Shabda or AaptaVakya route. Raamayana and Bharatha etc taught us the Dharma ordained by the Vedas. What is vaidik or avaidik? The Gopika inside questions Goda and others about PRaamana to establish what Goda is saying. Ultimately Goda asks her to wake up and adopt the third path ShabdaPRaamana to approach Krishna.

The conch and the discus

This song refers to Shankha and Chakra of Vishnu. Vishnu descended on the Earth in the prison of Kamsa to Devaki and Vasudeva, with four hands holding Shankha and Chakra (Conch and Disc). Gopikaas always like Sankha, because it is so close to him touching His lips and filled by His air besides always being in hands. Gopikaas want to have pleasure of touching His lips and hands.  Vishnu informs distant devotees about His presence there, and 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 broad chest and long hands, he can embrace the loved ones. He showers kindness with his lotus eyes- Pundareekaaksha.

Also read: Naaraayana’ crown is decorated with Tulasi garlands

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.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Stay Connected


Latest Articles