Monday, July 10, 2017

Rules about Upanayanam and wearing of the sacred thread - Yajgyopavitam

What is Upanayanam?
The sacred thread wearing ceremony that is performed to grant the male child with the right to attend the Vedic schools and also the right to wear the thread called yajnopavita for the first time is known as Upanayanam. It is a ceremony performed by Hindus as per some guidelines issued in the Vedas.

Who is entitled to Upanayanam?
The males from the upper three castes of the Hindu religion are entitled to Upanayanam or with the right of wearing the sacred thread called as Janevu. But, some Vedic scholars treated the Shudras also as entitled to Upanayanam and to obtain the Vedic education.

We found that women were also allowed to go through Upanayana and get the Vedic knowledge prior to their marriage in some cases.

When to perform the Upanayanam or the sacred thread ceremony?
As per majority opinion that prevailed from ancient periods, the following ages have been prescribed as the minimum entitlement to receive the sacred thread (yajnopavita) and to receive the formal education.

  • Brahmins at the age of 8 years.
  • Kshatriyas at the age of 11.
  • Vaishyas at the age of 12.
  • The upper age limit was set as 24 years in most cases and as unlimited in other cases. But, it should be done before the marriage in either of the cases.

Rules for wearing the sacred thread or Janevu

  • The sacred thread is to be worn from the left shoulder towards the right side of right thigh crossing the chest so that it rests on your right shoulder and hangs towards your right.
  • It should be worn like that always ever after the Upanayanam ceremony till your death.
  • It should be treated as a holy and divine possession and kept pure always by washing the sacred thread also while taking your daily bath.
  • To maintain its purity, you need to protect it always from contamination and from getting contact with impure objects or substances.
  • Whenever you go to the urinal or toilet, you should tie it around your right ear to prevent it from hanging and getting polluted.
  • In case you happen to visit any house during their impure period (maila days) due to somebody's death, you should take a complete bath immediately after returning from there without touching any objects or people in your house.
  • In the case of death in your family, you should change the sacred thread with a new one chanting the Gayatri after the completion of the performance of the death rites.
  • If the sacred thread becomes worn and dirty or any strand of it gets broken, it should be changed with a new one chanting the Gayatri mantra.
  • In case the Janevu gets lost by slipping from your body or otherwise, you should wear a new one immediately after you realize that it is lost.
  • Whenever you wear a new sacred thread to replace the lost one or impure one, you should apply turmeric paste around it and the tilak lightly.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Yajgyopavitam - The sacred thread- Significance and Importance

What is the sacred thread or Janevu or Yajgyopavitam?

The sacred thread is a thread that is worn by Brahmins as well as Kshatriyas and Vaishyas after it is bestowed upon them amidst chanting of the Vedic hymns by pundits at a ceremony called the Upanayanam ceremony. It is made of three lines of pure cotton thread strands tied together with a single knot to form one sacred thread amidst the chanting of the Vedic mantras glorifying it. Thereafter, the person is required to perform the worship of Sun and Gayatri by performing a ritual known as Sandhyavandanam (three times a day), daily without fail, which I have discussed in two previous articles already.

The knot signifies the Brahma Granthi which should be passed by the soul or mind to attain self-realization or knowledge. It can also be interpreted as a stage where one is held up in doubts and in a very difficult situation unable to solve it.

Brahma Granthi is the first knot or obstruction in our spinal chord located at the base which prevents us from gaining knowledge. It tends to make you self-protective and afraid of accomplishing new tasks. Once you cross that barrier, you can attain knowledge.

Significance of Yajgyopavitam

Yajgyopavitam is to be spelled as "YajgnOpaveetam" the letter 't' spelled as in the word "......"
It signifies as a qualification sanctioned to the person certifying his ability or capability to acquire self-realization and to perform the Sandhyavandanam reciting the Gayatri mantra. A Brahmin boy possesses this ability at the age of 8 whereas the Kshatriya gets it at the age of 11 and a Vaishya at the age of 12 years as per norms set by Vedas.

Significance of the three strands in Yajgyopavitam

You might be wondering what do the three strands of the sacred thread represent.
The three strands of the sacred thread or Janevu refer to the three primary duties and responsibilities of a person in his life.

  1. His duty towards his teachers who lead him towards enlightenment.
  2. His responsibility towards his parents and ancestors who gave birth to him and took utmost care of him and handed over their invaluable culture and traditions to him.
  3. His duty towards the great Sages and Rishis who got enlightened through severe penance and devoted their lives to spreading their knowledge and services for the upliftment of the innocent people. It becomes the duty of a person to carry forward this incomplete mission of those great souls.
The three strands further signify the existence of three Nadis or passages of energy in our body. They are named as Ida, Pingala, and Shusumna in the Vedas. They are said to be existing in our spinal cord. They carry the vital powers of the energy of our life.

Ida Nadi and Pingala Nadi are referred to as Shiva and Shakti or Purusha and Prakriti without which there can be no life. Sushumna Nadi represents a stage of enlightenment which is above all physical attachments. So, the sacred thread or Yajgyopavitam signifies the reality and essential structure of the growth of knowledge in human life.

Variations in the thread count at different stages of life

There are some variations and stages of wearing the Yajgyopavitam as set by the Vedas.
  1. A bachelor boy can wear only one thread that consists of a knot and three strands.
  2. A married person is to wear two threads of the Yajgyopavitam that is made by combining two sets of threads. (Total six strands).
  3. A person, after possessing children, reaching the age of old age is endowed with three threads that are made with three individual sets of Yajgyopavitam. Thus he wears a total of nine strands.

Monday, June 19, 2017

How to Do Sandhyavandanam in a Simple Manner

In the previous post, I have explained the meaning and importance of performing SandhyAvandanam. Now, I am going to tell you about the method of performing Sandhyavanadanam in a very simple manner. The whole process of doing it may take 10 minutes approximately through these steps which I came to know through an elder member of our relatives family.

The article may be long as I am trying to explain it in a clear manner. But, once you understand the method, it will become very easy for you to perform it quickly within a week's time.

This SandhyAvandanam is to be performed only by men after they become eligible for it by way of undergoing the sacred thread ceremony (Upanayana). This sacred thread will be always on your body after once it is worn to you till your death. When it becomes old and torn, it needs to be replaced from time to time chanting the Gayatri mantra as prescribed by the Vedas.You need to wear the traditional men's dhoti and kanduva after having your bath in the morning and wear tilak on your forehead before performing the early morning session of Sandhyavandanam.

Items required for Sandhyavandan

  • Dhoti and Kanduva
  • One vessel (rounded pot either of steel, bronze, copper, etc.) or even a tumbler for holding water
  • One empty plate for dropping water
  • Another deep plate or wide bowl containing water for 'TarpaNam' purpose

While performing this SandhyAvandanam, face towards the east at the morning and mid-day times and towards the north at the evening time.

Step 1
Take a vessel (of rounded pot shape, generally) filled with water and a spoon in it for doing the Achamana. Also, take another shallow, deep plate for dropping the water into it while performing the SandhyAvandanam particularly if you are doing it inside the room so as to not wet the room.

Step 2
Purify yourself chanting this hymn and sprinkling some drops of water on your head with your right thumb.

"Apavitra pavitrOva sarvAvasthAngatOpiva, yah smarEt PundareekAksham sa bAhyAbhyantara suchihi". 
Otherwise, you may simply say "PundareekAkshAya Namah" 3 times and drop water on your head 3 times.

Step 3

Sip water 3 times chanting these 3 names of God. You will take a little water each time into your palm with the spoon and sip it from the rear end of the palm.
The three names are "achyutAya Namah, anantAya Namah, and govindAya Namah".
Then, recite another 12 names of God knwon as the dwAdasha nAma of Lord Vishnu as below:

Om kEsavAya namah, Om nArAyanAya namah, Om mAdhavAya namah, Om gOvindAya namah, Om vishnavE namah, Om madhusUdanAya namah, Om trivikramAya namah, Om vAmanAya namah, Om sreedharAya namah, Om hrisheekEshAya namah, Om padmanAbhAya namah, Om dAmOdarAya namah.

Step 4 
PrANAyAmam (the breathing exercise)

Perform this exercise of prAnAyAmam chanting the below-mentioned mantra of Gayatri while inhaling and exhaling the air at each break of the mantra.

"Om bhooh, Om bhuvah, Om suvah, Om mahah,
Om janah, Om tapah, Om satyam,
Om tat savitru varENyam, bhargO dEvasya dheemahi
dhiyO yOnah prachOdayAt"

Recite this one also: "Om aapO jyOti rasOmrutam Brahma bhoor bhuva suvarOm"

Step 5
Sankalpam (the act of determining to perform something)

This step states the location of your place, year, season, time, and your name etc.
"Hari Om, Sri MahaVishnO rajyayA  pravarta mAnasya adyah BrahmaNah dwiteeya parArdhE,
swEta varAha kalpE, vaivasvata manvantarE kaliyugE, prathama pAdE, jamboo dweepE, bharatavarshE, bharatakhandE, mErOh dakshiNa dik bhAgE, gangaakAvErOr madhya dEshE,
Sreerangasya uttara pradEsE, asmin grihE, asya vyavahArika chAndramAsEna, SaShtee savatsarAnAm madhyE, ..........(tell the year,s name here), ......... (tell whether it is UttarAyan or dakshiNAyan), ............. (tell the season name), ....... (month's name), ......... (name of the fortnight), ........... (day's name), sree bhagavadAgNAyA bhagavat kainkarya roopam prAtah sandhyA upAshiSyE.
(This prAtah sandhyA word is applicable at morning sandhyAvandanam only. At midday, you will tell madhyAhna sandhyA upAshiSyE and at evening time, you need to tell sAyam sandhyA upAshiSyE)

Step 6
SamprOkshaNam and Surya namaskAram

Sprinkle water on your head with your right thumb reciting the following:
"AapOhistA mayO bhuvah, tAna oorjE dadhAtana, mahE raNAya chakshasE yOvashshivatamOrasah,
tasya bhAjayatE hanah, ushateeriva mAtarah, tasyAm arangamAmavO, yasyakshayAya jinvadhA, AapOjanayadhAchanah".

Folding your hands to Sun God,
"sooryascha mAmanyuscha, manyu patayascha, manyu krutEbhyah, pApEbhyO rakshamtAm,
yadrAtryAt pApamakArSam, manasA, vAchA, hastAbhyAm, padbhyAm, udarENa, shishnA,
rAtri stadavalumpatu, yatkincha duritam mayi, idam aham mAm amruta younau,
soorye jyOtiSi juhOmi swAhA"

Take water with your both hands and drop through your fingers towards Sun.

Step 7
Repeat the Aachamana process as mentioned at step 3 and do prAnAyAmam also.

Step 8
Arghya PradAnam

This is the process of welcoming Sun God offering water.

Recite "Sri bhagavadAjnayA, sri bhagavad kaimkaryArtham, sandhyAm uddishya, arghya pradAnam kariSyE".

Take water into your hands and recite this "Om bhoorbhuvassuvah, Om tatsavitruvarENyam, bhargO dEvasya dheemahi, dhiyOyOnah prachOdayAt". Now drop the water through your fingers.

Perform this act of offering water another two times.

Now welcoming the GAyatri:
Recite "Sri bhagavadAjnayA sri bhagavad Kaimkary roopam GAyatri mahAmantra japam kariSyE.

Touch water with your middle finger and fold your hands to Goddess while reciting these lines:

"praNavasya parabrahma rishihi, dEvi GAyatri chandah, paramAtmA srimannArAyaNO dEvatA,
aayaatu varadA dEvi, akSaram brahmasammitam, GAyatrim, chhandasAm, mAtEdam brahma rishah svamE OzOsi, sahOsi, balamasi, bhrAjOsi, dEvAnAmnAma nAmAsi, visvamasi, vishvAyuh, sarvamasi, sarvAyuh abhibhoorOm".

Pointing your hands towards your heart, recite the following:
"Om gAyatreem AvAhayAmi, Om sAvitreem AvAhayAmi, Om saraswateem AvAhayAmi,
daivee gaayatree chhandah prANAyAmE viniyOgah".

Step 9

Recite this mantra 10 times:
"Om bhoorbhuvassuvah Om tatsavitruvarENyam, bhargOdEvasya dheemahi, dhiyOyOna prachOdayAt".

After 10 times, do the prAnAyAmam again.

Step 10
Tarpanam (offering water with both hands)

"sri bhagavadAjnayA bhagavatkaimkarya roopam dEvatA tarpaNam kariSyE"

Touch the water with your middle finger. Then take water each time with your both hands and offer it to the Gods after each name while chanting the below-mentioned names.
Om kEshavam tarpayAmi
Om nArAyaNam tarpayAmi
Om mAdhavam tarpayAmi
Om gOvindam tarpayAmi
Om vishNum tarpayAmi
Om madhusoodanam tarpayAmi
Om trivikramam tarpayAmi
Om vAmanam tarpayAmi
Om sreedharam tarpayAmi
Om hrisheekesham tarpayAmi
Om padmanAbham tarpayAmi
Om daamOdaram tarpayAmi
Om sarvE dEvAnAm tarpayAmi
Om pitru dEvatAm tarpayAmi

Step 11
SandhyOpasthAnam (Requesting Goddess GAyatri to return to her abode after blessing us)

Recite the following with folded hands:
"uttamE shikharee dEvi, bhoomyAm parvata moordhani
brAhmaNEbhyO anujnAtA gachcha dEvi yAdAsukham
chatussAgara paryamtam gObrAhmaNEbhyah subham bhavatu"

This ending sloka is about the affirmation of performing everything with a pure heart and dedication to God expecting no results
"kAyEna vAchA manasEndriyairvA bhudhyAtmanAvA prakritE svabhAvAt
karOmi yadyat sakalam parasmai nArAyaNEti samarpayAmi".

So, this is the procedure of doing the sandhyavandanam in a simple manner which takes only 10 minutes of your time when you become habituated by performing it continuously for 4, 5 days.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Sandhyavandanam- Meaning and Importance with 6 Components of it

SandhyAvandanam is a ritual performed by all Brahmins or Dvijas of Hindu faith. It is the oldest ritual in existence and in practice of this world. One needs to have gone through Upanayanam to observe this practice of SandhyAvandanam. I will discuss regarding Upanayanam later on.

Meaning of Sandhyavandanam
Sandhyavandan is a Sanskrit term which is more popularly referred to as Sandhyavandanam.

The word "Sandhya" means or refers to the twilight time of a day. It may also be interpreted as the joint or transition period between the different phases of Sun during a day.

"Vandanam" means Salutation or offering respect with folded hands.

So, when both words are combined it becomes "SandhyAvandanam" and refers to the practice or ritual of offering salutations to the different transition times of the Sun.

There are three transition periods of the Sun in a day. The early morning time, the noon time, and the evening time.

So, SandhyAvandan is to be performed 3 times a day. These three periods are also known as "PrAtah Sandhya", MadhyAhnik Sandhya", and "SAyam Sandhya".

Importance of Performing Sandhyavandanam
There is much importance of SandhyAvandanam as it involves purification of the body and mind and boosts the concentration of the mind.

There are 6 main components of the SandhyAvandanam.
1. Achamanam and Angavandanam. This comprises the sipping of water to purify body and mind, and the touching of the various body parts chanting 12 names of Lord Vishnu.
2. PrAnAyAma. This is the breathing control exercise performed after Angavandanam and again at prescribed intervals during the whole process of Sandhyavandanam.
3. Sankalpam and Surya NamaskAram. This step involves the affirmation of the determination to perform the worship of Sun God and other Gods with a peaceful mind and the procedure of the worship itself chanting some hymns.
4. Gayatri Japam. This is the main component involving the reciting of Gayatri Mantra 10 times after invoking the Goddess.
5. TarpaNam. Tarpanam consists of offering water to the Gods by both hands chanting God's names and also to our deceased elder members of the family.
6. UpasthAnam. This is the ending part of SandhyAvandanam whereby we appease and pacify the Gods for the happiness of our family. During the morning, we address Mitra (a cool friendly God for will power and peace of mind). At noon, we address the glowing Sun (for power and energy) and in the evening, we address to Varuna (the God of clouds and water).

Benefits of performing Sandhyavandanam

  • SandhyAvandanam is the ritual which makes you self-controlled and determined. You are able to develop good healthy habits of rising early and control your body and mind perfectly.
  • It provides peace of mind and freedom from stress.
  • PrAnAyAma is a great exercise for your body which solves breathing problems and keeps you away from heart problems. It helps a good circulation of blood in your body.
  • Aachamanam purifies your body as it is believed that touching water again and again and sipping the water frequently during this ritual cleanses your hands and mouth and thereby your stomach also. Some supernatural powers are also associated with this process.
  • Gayatri Japam makes you concentrate on your goals and helps you achieve tasks more easily with the help of that concentration power gained by you.
  • As you are performing this ritual at early morning and evening hours, you benefit from the peaceful mind and the determination of it either for concentrating in your studies or performing some complicated tasks involving much concentration and peace of mind.
  • When you are performing this ritual in open spaces in front of the Sun, you are receiving the sun rays direct on your body which are a rich source of Vitamin D besides enjoying the beautiful nature.
  • The ritual can connect you with the elderly family members and relatives, if performed jointly, and thereby increase your confidence and communication skills.
In my next article, I will deal with the actual process of performing SandhyAvandanam, step by step, in a simple manner.

I hope you may like to view some beautiful images of children performing SandhyAvandanam and other Vedi rituals at this Link of (Vedic Schools) website.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Importance and purpose of Udaka Shaanti Pooja

I recently had the privilege to attend one Upanayana Sanskaara ceremony where I witnessed the full Udaka Shanti ritual.

Udaka Shanti is one very important ritual performed by all Hindu people.

It is a ritual through which water gets purified and becomes auspicious through the chanting of mantras and invitation of Lord of Water Varuna and other various Gods and Goddesses. The purified water is considered as equal to the celestial nectar and the holy waters of the Holi River Ganga. The water is used as Ganga Jal for all purposes.

The chief purpose of Udaka Shanti is to protect the house or the family performing this ritual and all its members from evil spirits and bad happenings.

Normal water that is being used in the household procured from taps, wells or from rivers is collected in a small pot-like vessel made up either of copper, bronze, five metals, or even of silver and gold. The pot gets applied with wet turmeric powder and kumkum dots and is placed on a cleaned floor that is decorated with rangoli. Rice is spread over the spot before placing the pot on it. A coconut is placed over that pot vertically after arranging mango leaves around it into the water. This is known as the Kalasha.

Two oil lamps are placed on either side of the Kalash and Mantras from Yajurveda are recited invoking Gods and Goddesses. Flowers are also offered during worship. The recitation of mantras takes around two hours time after which dhoop (agarbatti), deep and naivedyam are offered to the Kalash and the water gets sprinkled on the heads of people performing the ritual as well as on the heads of all those who attend the function. This signifies that all of them are purified and bestowed with the blessings of God.

The water from the Kalash is sprinkled in all the rooms of the house also to protect the house and the people in it from all evil spirits. People will take bath by adding some drops of that worshiped water for performing any auspicious ceremonies and functions.

If anybody is interested in reading or viewing these mantras, the same are available at this link-

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Republic Day celebration and its Specialty for Me

Happy Republic Day to all of you, my Dears.

Republic Day is celebrated by Indians to mark the occasion of India being proclaimed as a Republic from this 26th January Day of the year in 1950.

A "Republic" refers to the form of government where governing power resides with the elected representatives of the people of the country. The elections are conducted throughout the country in which all people above the age of some minimum age limit (either 18 or any other limit that is fixed by different countries as their norms) have the voting power to elect leaders to govern them. The whole country is divided into states or regions and each state or region have many constituencies within them for governing purpose. Each constituency is contested by many candidates of different political parties and one of them gets elected for that constituency according to the number of votes scored by him. These winning candidates again elect their leaders as CM of a particular state. The CM forms his government with the approval of the elected candidates by selecting the other ministers. The same thing happens for electing the country's central government also. All the voters elect their leaders for the Parliament through general elections. The elected parliamentarians, thereafter, elect their leader who becomes the Prime Minister of the country. And, he forms the central government by choosing the ministers with the approval of other elected leaders.

The government thus elected by the people of the Republic governs the state or country according to some constitution formed by the laws and mutual consent of the peoples' representatives. Our first constitution was prepared by B.R. Ambedkar and came into force with effect from January 26, 1950.

The first general elections in our country were held in November 1951 according to the new constitution of India after her becoming a Republic. The elections continued until February 1952 and the first Parliament got announced declaring Jawahar Lal Nehru as the First PM of Republic India.

So, we are celebrating each and every year on this Date, 26 January, as the Republic Day.

We salute our Country. We salute our martyrs who fought for our Independence and gifted us the independence on 15th August 1947.

These national festivals remind me of my forefathers who have also fought for the Independence of our country by taking an active part in the independence struggles and movements. My grandfather used to be referred to as Gandhiji of a village named Tallarevu near Kakinada of Andhra Pradesh during early 20th century. My uncles were born while my grandfather was in jail. So, they were named as Satyagrahacharya (born during the non-cooperation movement) and Pathakacharya ( 'pataak' means Flag and it refers to the Indian National Flag).

Our country abodes people of different cultures speaking different languages and yet they are united and bonded. They love to be called as Indians and feel always proud to be Indians.

We salute our National Flag by hoisting it with great respect and pride. We salute our soldiers and award gallantry awards to them. We salute our Scientists, Litterateurs, and all other great personalities whoever contributed and are contributing to the growth and development of our country in each and every field.

We celebrate the festival with sweets and flowers.

This festival is further associated with my God also for me and my family.

Just as it brought a people's republic and happiness for the people of our country, our God arrived in our house on this day some more than 30 years ago in the form of tiny silver idols. We installed the idols of Lord Narayana and Goddess Sri Lakshmi on this day in a small wooden temple in our puja room on that day in 1984 or 85. From that day, each year, we are celebrating this day as the birthday of our God also besides celebrating the Republic Day.

So, January 26 is a very special day for me in both the cases.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Thiruppavai Paasuram 30 - Vanga kadal kadaindha Madhavanai

This paasuram is the last one of the literary garland of thirty paasurams created by Goda Devi (Andal) to provide the people with a very simple and an easy spiritual path of attainment of moksha and the blessings of Lord Vishnu or Sriman Narayana through the observance of Dhanurmasam or the ritual of sacred Pavai Vrat.

Paasuram 30

Vanga kadal kadaindha Maadhavanai KEsavanai
ThingaL thirumugaththu sey izhayaar senRu iRainji
Anga paRai konda aaRtRai aNi pudhuvai
PaingamaLa ththandheriyal bhattar piraan kOdai sonna
Sanga thamizh maalai muppadhum thappaamE
Ingu ipparisuraippaar eerirandu maalvarai thOL
Sengan thirumugaththu selva thirumaalaal
Engum thiruvaruL petRu iNbuRuvar embaavaay

Literal, explicit meaning of this paasuram

Thus, the gopis who are shining moon-like faced (adorned by new clothes and ornaments), attained moksha by approaching the Lord, who is called as Madhavan (because of possessing Goddess Lakshmi obtained during the churning of the Milky Ocean) and Keshavan (because of the curly hair head).
That story of their attaining moksha is told by Goda who is the daughter of Bhattar piraan (a superior or great person is referred to as Piraan) who used to wear the garlands prepared with Tulasi and lotus beads around his neck.

Whoever recites this garland of Tamil songs (especially recited in groups) honestly without any break will obtain eternal bliss, now itself and thereafter, through the overwhelming grace of that Lord, who has beautiful eyes with a red hue and divinely faced and glorious with all good qualities.

Inner, in-depth meaning of this Thiruppavai Paasuram 30

Andal tells people, through this last paasuram, about her authorship and about her father cum teacher (Achaaryan) and regarding the benefit of performing this Pavai nonbu or Vrat. She also hints at the supreme qualities and benevolence of God who will definitely bless His devotees with the eternal bliss or moksha.

It asserts the importance and valuable worthiness of the Thiruppavai, the authenticity of its writer who is the disciple of a great worthy Achaaryan, the quality, and essence of the contents of this work, and the great benefits obtained by reciting or hearing of these paasurams with sincere honesty.

A concluding paragraph
Goda Devi performed the Vrat of Thiruppavai by preparing a garland of 30 paasurams in this manner and dedicating one paasuram each day to Lord Vatapatra Shaayi at Srivilliputtur temple. After completion of this penance by Goda Devi, Lord, one day, appeared in her father's dreams and also in the dreams of the King and a temple priest of the Sri Rangam Temple, and instructed them to arrange for the marriage of Goda Devi with Himself, the Lord, inside that temple of Sri Rangam. So, Goda married God and became an idol to his side there and is being worshiped as Andal since that time.

For full story of Andal, read at this link.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Thiruppavai Paasuram 29 - SitRam siRukaale on 13-01-2017

This paasuram once more asserts the determination and commitment by the gopis to keep the penance or performance of Paavai for attaining their goal of moksha and plead Lord to keep away all other desires and thoughts from their mind.

Paasuram 29

SitRam siRu kaalE vandhu unnai sEviththu unn
PotRaamarai adiyE pOtRum poruL kELaay
PetRam mEyuththu unnRum kulaththil piRandhu nee
KutREval engaLai koLLaamal pOgaadhu
ItRai paRai koLvaan AnRu kaaN Govindhaa
EtRaikkum EzhEL piravikkum undhannOdu
UtROmE aavOm unakkE naam aatseyivOm
MatRainam KaamangaL maatRelOr embaavaay

Literal, explicit meaning of this Paasuram

Oh, Lord! We come early in the morning before the dawn to visit you. After the darshan bhaagyam, we get please and sing prayers at your lotus-like feet.
We are blessed to have you born in our clan (as we are very ordinary beings). You cannot do way without blessing us.
Oh, Govindha! We are not simply here to get the Parai from you.
We want to keep this relationship with you throughout the coming seven births and much more, and to perform your service.
Oh, Lord! Please remove all obstacles and fulfill our desires.

Inner, in-depth meaning of this Thiruppavai Paasuram 29

Through this last paasuram in the voice of gopis, Goda Devi spreads the message that those who discard all their material desires and enjoyments and indulge in the services of God with sincere determination, seeking no return from Him for those services rendered, will be rewarded by Lord, on his own, the permanent bliss of moksha removing all the obstacles between Him and His devotees.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Thiruppavai Paasuram 28 - Karavaigal pin senru Dated 12-01-2017

In this paasuram, the gopis acknowledge their ignorance as they are simple cattle feeders and do not know what is good or bad and ask for his forgiveness if they committed any mistakes.

Paasuram 28

KaRavaigaL pin senru kaanam serndhu uNbOm
ARivonRum illaadha aay kulaththu undhannai
PiRavi peRundhanai puNNiyam yaam udayOm
KuRai onRum illaadha Kovindhaa undhannOdu
uRavEl namakku ingu ozhikka ozhiyaadhu
ARiyaadha piLLaigaLOm anbinaal undhannai
SiRu pEr azhaiththanamum seeRi aruzhaadhE
IRaivaa nee thaaraay paRaiElOr embaavaay

Literal, explicit meaning of this paasuram

Oh, Krishna! We are very simple ignorant people going behind the cattle to the forests and eating there even without washing the hands.
In such a clan, you have arrived taking your birth. This is our great fortune.
Oh, Govinda! You are complete with all qualities and so capable of removing all our weaknesses.
This relationship between us cannot be undone even if we desire.
We are like little children unaware of any manners. So, kindly forgive us as we have addressed you with little names.
Please, oh God, bless us with the PaRai (moksha).

Inner, in-depth meaning of this Thiruppavai Paasuram 28

Through this paasuram, Andal refers to the ignorance of people in realizing the greatness of God.
We are unaware about His paramathmathathvam and His being the only savior of all our problems. But, once when we get some hints and glimpses of His image, we are able to recognize his Omnipotence and Omniscience qualities. Then, we discard all our lust for material pleasures and long for His union. We realize that we are too much inferior and discard all our ego and pride to seek His pardon and refuge.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Thiruppavai Paasuram 27 - Koodaarai Vellum Seer Govinda Dated 11/01/2017

In this paasuram, the Gopis reveal to Lord Krishna their intentions that they would like to be gifted magnificent costumes, bangles, jewels etc. and be allowed to feast in His company.

Paasuram 27

Koodaarai vellum seer Govindhaa undhannai
Paadi paRai kondu yaam perum sammaanam
Naadu pugaLum parisinaal nanRaaga
SoodagamE thOzh vaLaiye thOdE sevippoovE
PaadagamE enrenaiya palgalaNum yaam aNivOm
Aadai uruppOm adhan pinnE paal sORu
Mooda neyi peydhu muzhngai vaLi vaara
Koodi irundhu kuLirndhElOr embaavaay

Literal, explicit meaning of this Paasuram

Oh, Lord, you are capable of winning even the hearts of your opponents with your grace!
Oh, Lord, we are blessed with the world's most supreme reward of obtaining the PaRai singing your glories.
We will adorn ourselves with bangles and bracelets, shoulder ornaments, rings, studs and flower-like vertex earrings, anklets, and many more ornaments.
Then, we will wear the new clothes provided by you and eat with you the milk-food prepared with lots of ghee, which while eating overflows from the hand to the elbow.
This is our wish, Oh Lord!

Inner, in-depth meaning of this Thiruppavai Paasuram 27

Andal, through this paasuram, refers to the breaking of the fast (after performing the Vrat or penance).
Lord is very kind and loves His devotees. He blesses them with good results and great rewards when they keep faith in Him. The devotees are blessed with His union or Saayujyam.
So, the gopis on getting His blessings, celebrate the occasion of breaking the penance by wearing new clothes, ornaments, and flowers, They prepare the milk-food with jaggery/sugar and a large quantity of ghee and offer it as Naivedyam to God and eat in His company.

That is why, on this 27th day of Dhanurmaasam, we prepare the akkaara vadisil (ksheeraannam or milk-food made up of milk, rice, jaggery, ghee, cashew nut, raisin, elaichi, etc.)

Monday, January 9, 2017

Thiruppavai Paasuram - 26 - MaalE MaNivaNNa Dated 10-01-2017

In this paasuram, the gopis request Lord Krishna to provide them with the requirements needed to perform this "Pavai" Vrat and tell Him how they would like to be rewarded after performing it.

Paasuram 26

MaalE maNivaNNaa MaargaLi neeraaduvaan
MElaiyaar saivanagaL vEnduvana kEttiyEl
Nyaalaththai ellaam nadunga muralvana
PaalannavaNNaththu un paanjasanniyamE
POlvana sankangaL poy paadudai YanavE
Saala perumpaRaiyE pallaandu isaippaarE
KOla viLakkE kodiyE vithaanamE
Aalin ilaiyaay aruLElOr embaavaay

Literal, explicit meaning of this Paasuram

Oh, Lord with unbounded love and with the beautiful complexion of blue sapphire gems!
We are to perform the holy bath in this auspicious Maargazhi. Our ancestors have also performed like that.
For this purpose, we seek some tools from you.
1) The sound of which trembles all this universe, that milk-like hued Panchajanyam resembling conches;
2) A large musical instrument "paRai";
3) A group of singers to sing "pallandu":
4) Lighting lamps:
5) A flag and;
6) A huge tent for shelter.

Oh, All-powerful Lord, please provide all these things.

Inner, in-depth meaning of this Thiruppavai Paasuram 26

Through this paasuram, Andal gives us the message that we should value the age-old customs and traditions of our ancestors. She tells that we should follow rituals as per their prescribed principles and practices to maintain the decorum and respect to our customs. The ancestors referred to can be either our AchAryas or our own family elders and include both.

The bath referred to is the worship here involving six steps.
While starting worship, we blow the conch reverberating the sounds of "Om".
Then we sound the bells and drums.
Next, we decorate Lord with the flowers and recite the Vedic mantras and slokas.
The fourth step is to light the lamps which refer to the offering of Naivedyam and lighting of camphor.
The flag is used during processions of Lord.
The tent referred to is the cover used for Lord while sleeping.

So, the gopis required all these tools to worship Him which is equal to their taking bath in a spiritual river.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Thiruppavai Paasuram 25 - Oruththi maganai pirandu Dated 09/01/2017

In this paasuram, Goda Devi refers to the divine tales of Sri Krishna's birth and the ultimate goal of performing this Parai ritual or penance. 

Paasuram 25

Oruththi maganaay ppiRandhu Oriravil 
Oruththi maganaay oLiththu vaLara
Tharikkilaanaagiththaan theengu ninaindha
Karuththai pizhai piththu Kansan vayitRil
Neruppenna ninRa nedumaalE unnai
Ariththiththu vandhOm paRai tharudhiyaagil
Thiruththaka selvamum sEvagamum yAmpaadi
Varuththamum theerndhu magzhilndhElor embaavaay

Literal, explicit meaning of this Paasuram

You have born as the son of one mother during one night and grew up as the son of another mother.
Oh, Lord! We can't keep thinking about the ways you involve in rewarding or punishing the acts of people. You have been like a fire in the belly of Kansa due to his bad acts.
We have come to seek Parai (moksha) from you.
If you grant us the "PaRai", we will sing the glories of You and about the heroic deeds of You to please You and Nappinnai. 
Please grant us moksha so that our sorrows and problems get dissolved and may we immerse in bliss.

Inner, in-depth meaning of this Thiruppavai Paasuram 25

God seems to assume various forms and involve in various deeds to protect His devotees and to punish those who create trouble in the lives of His people. We can't understand or describe such wonderful deeds of God. Even we do not understand the ways in which He rewards the good acts or punishes the bad acts. We should simply submit ourselves to Him and seek the eternal bliss of moksha.

The essence of this paasuram is that the gopis seek permission to perform His worship in His human form and enjoy His company. 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Thiruppavai Paasuram - 24 - Anru ivvulagam alandaay Dated 08/01/2017

In this paasuram, the gopis sing the praise of Lord in the style of PallAndu (mangaLaasaasanams) while Krishna wakes up and walks towards His throne accompanied by NeeLA Devi and gets seated on it.

Paasuram 24

AnRu ivvUlagam aLandAy adi pOtRi
SenRangu ththennilangai setRaay thiRal pOtRi
PonRa chchagadam uthaththaay pugazh pOtRi
Kanru kunilaaveRindaay kazhal pOtRi
Kunru kudeyaay eduththaay kuNam pOtRi
VenRu pagai kedukkum nin kayyil vEl pOtRi
EnRenRum un sEvagamE  Eththi paRai koLvAn
InRu yaam vandom irangElOr embaavaay

Literal, explicit meaning of this Paasuram

During those days when the world was weeping due to atrocities of the demons, You took the step(s) (measuring the earth and sky with two steps and keeping the third foot on the head of Bali).
Again, those days, You took steps towards Lanka in the South with the arrows (to kill Ravana).
Then again, You kicked the wheel with force using these feet (to kill the SakatAsura demon in the form of a wheel).
You, again, flew a demon-calf towards another demon in the form of a tree, using amazing force with these feet, to kill both of them simultaneously.
You lifted the mountain Govardhana like an umbrella with such splendid awe using a finger (to protect your people and cattle from the anger of Indra).
Oh, Lord! You hold a spear in your hand that destroys all the enemies.
Glory to Thee, oh, Lord!
We have come here to offer our eternal services and to seek the gift of Parai from You. Oh, Lord, have mercy on us.

Inner, in-depth meaning of this Thirupaavai Paasuram 24

Goda Devi, in this paasuram, not only refers to the different styles of  Lord in killing the demons but also wanted to highlight the different gaits of Lord during His walk from His chamber towards the throne. A gait is a style of moving one's feet or legs while walking. She describes the different gaits of Lord which are exceptionally worthy of Him only. The gopis requested Lord to ascend His throne for listening to their prayers only because of this reason of getting the pleasure of viewing His majestic and beautiful gaits. After viewing this beautiful scenery, the gopis got overwhelmed with joy and praised the Lord with so many great deeds of Lord during different times and with shouts of "Glory to Thee".

Friday, January 6, 2017

Thiruppavai Paasuram 23- maari malai muzhanjil Dated 07-01-2017

Krishna gets awakened after the gopis accompanied with Nappinnai (NeeLa Devi) herself pleaded Him to awaken and heed to their requests. Now, the gopis request Him to come out of His bedding room and sit on the throne and listen to their prayers and grant them the gift of Parai.

Paasuram 23 

Maarimalai muZhanGil mannikkidandhu uRangum
Seeriya singam aRivutRu ththeeviLiththu
VERimayir ponga eppaadum pErundudhaRi
Moori nimirundhu muzhangippuRa pattu
POdarumA pOlE nee poovai poovaNNaa un
KOil ninRu iNGanE pOndharuLi kkOppudaiya
Seeriya singaasanaththu irundhu yaam vandha
Kaariyam aaraayndhu aruLElOr embaavaay

Literal, explicit meaning of this Paasuram

Just like the lion sleeping in a cave shudders its sleep with a loud roar, watching all around fiercely and erecting all its hair, and steps out of the cave majestically, Oh, Lord Krishna, possessing an enchanting hue of bluish complexion, please come out of your temple-like chamber and be seated on your majestic throne, throwing a blessing glance at us while passing by. Oh, Lord, may you, then, listen to the purpose of our coming to you and awakening you so early from your sleep.

Inner, in-depth meaning of this Thiruppavai Paasuram 23

It seems that Andal, here in this paasuram, wanted to elaborate the previous reference made by her to Lord Krishna as "Yasodhai iLam-singam" in her first paasuram. 
The attribute of iLam singam is derived from God,s form of Narasimha incarnation to save Prahlada and to punish the demon HiraNyakashipa. So, Krishna gets compared with Lord Narasimha in this paasuram and not the animal lion.

Andal indirectly refers to the AchAryAs and their awakened souls (JnAni and JnAnam) and wishes that they should always spread awareness and pave the path for ignorant people to be able to be gifted with His blessings. Nappinnai is one such path shower in Thiruppavai who aids the gopis in reaching Sri Krishna and get blessed by His grace. And, Andal herself is a great path shower to all of us as she gifted this Thiruppavai to us.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Thiruppavai Paasuram -22 - AngaNmaaGyAlaththu arasar on 06-01-2017

Thiruppavai paasuram 22 describes the submissiveness of the entire world at the feet of God with no more egoism to seek His blessings and protection. The gopis accompanied by the support of NeeLa Devi or Nappinnai, who guided them to the bed of Lord Krishna,  praise Him and appraise Him that they have discarded all pride and ego that possessed them previously and seek for His graceful vision that can wash their sins and purify their body and soul.

Paasuram 22

AngaN maaGyaalaththu arasar abimAna
BangamAy vandhu nin paLLikattiRkeezhE
SangamiruppAr pOl vandhu talai ppeyidhOm
KiNgiNi vaay chCheydha thAmarai ppooppOle
SengaN SiRichchiRidhe emmEl vizhiyAvO
ThingaLum Adiththiyanum EzhundaaR pOle
AngaNiraNdukondu engaLmEl nOkkudhiEl
EngaLmEl sAbamizhindheLor embaavaay

Literal, explicit meaning of this Paasuram

Just like the vanquished kings released by their ego have surrendered at your feet by gathering below your bed in groups to serve you, we also have come to rest at the feet of your bed after banishing our pride and ego to receive your protection.
Just like little bell-shaped pearls opening their mouth slowly, please open your lotus-like eyes gradually so that we may bear the radiant glow of your glances.
As if the Sun and Moon are rising at the same time, please look at us with your beautiful eyes with the coolness the moon and the brightness of the sun, so that all our sins and defects get washed away.

Inner, in-depth meaning of this Thiruppavai Paasuram 22

As human beings, we are always in the deception and under the delusion that we are the superior beings in whatever field we are. We believe that we are the authority here and this position, place or thing belongs to us and we can do whatever we like with it as we are independent in all respects. But, once when you become helpless before circumstances and unable to control things, you gradually realize the reality and the existence of something superior that controls everything. You will then discard all your ego and pride and seek the help of God. This fact is preached to people through this paasuram.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Thiruppavai Paasuram - 21- EtRa KalanGaL Edhirpongi - 05-01-2017

Nappinnai got awakened and opened the doors after the gopis along with Goda Devi pleased her with their praises and requests. Now, Nappinnai also joins with the gopis to awaken Lord Krishna from his sleep.

Thiruppavai Paasuram 21

Etra kalanGaL edhRpongi meedhaLippa
MaatRaadhE paal sorium vaLLal perum pasukkaL
AatRa padaiTTHaan magane! aRiuRaay
OotRam udaiyaay periyaay ulaginil
ThOtRamaay ninRa sudarE thuyilezhaay
Maatraar unakku vali tolaindhu unvaasaR kkaN
Atraadu vandhu unnadi paNiyumaa pOlE
POththiyaam vandhOm pugazhndhElOr embaavaay

Literal, explicit meaning of this paasuram

Oh, Lord, the son of NandagOpan, whose innumerable, big cows pour milk incessantly even before the vessels get changed quickly and thus get overflowing! Please kindly get up.
Oh, Supreme being, Oh Lord! even though you have no limits in this universe and are unreachable, you have taken this human form for us, Oh, the effulgent streak of light! Please awaken.
Just as your enemies, who got defeated and made powerless, come to your house and stand up at your doorsteps in line,  we have come here singing your praise and glory. Kindly listen to our prayers.

Inner, in-depth meaning of this Thiruppavai Paasuram 21

The in-depth meaning of this paasuram is too much complex to understand by us. It is based on some very highly spiritual knowledge. There are some deep explanations to be found on some of which I am providing here.

The phrase "maatRadhe paal sorium vaLLal perum pasukkaL" is interpreted as referring to the capabilities of brilliant disciples who are able to produce the knowledge derived by them from their previous teachers in exactly the same manner without changing anything in an incessant flow. Their knowledge spills out overflowing but nothing is changed or twisted that has been imparted by their Acharyas. Further, it is mentioned in the same website that "VaLLal perum pasukkaL" refers to the brilliant Acharyas who have been able to pass on the knowledge gained from their previous Acharyas as it is without changing anything. So, the knowledge that has been directly derived from God and Goddess are passed on from generation to generation through this ever-maintained chained relationship of brilliant teachers and brilliant disciples.

The passage "matRaar unakku vaLi tolaindhu un vaasaRkkaN" is interpreted as the gopis surrendering before Lord Krishna telling Him that they have left all their pride and ego (of thinking themselves as the most beautiful gopis after seeing His amazing beauty and virtuous qualities).

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Thiruppavai Paasuram 20 - Muppaththumoovar Amararku for 04-01-2017

In this Paasuram, Goda Devi and her gopis continue awakening NeeLa Devi (Nappinnai) and Sri Krishna.

Muppaththu moovar amaraRku mun senRu
Kappam thaviRkum kali ye thuyilezhaai
Seppamudaiyaay thiRaludaiyaay settaarku
Veppam kodukkum Vimalaa thuyilezhaai
Seppannamenmulai Sevvaay chchirumarunGul
Nappinnai nangaai thiruve thuyilezhaai
Ukkamum thattoLiyum thandhu un maNaaLanai
IppOde emmai neerattelor embaavaay

Literal, explicit meaning of this Paasuram

Oh, Lord Krishna, who removes the trembling fear of the thirty-three crore angels (it is believed by ordinary people that there are thirty-three crore angles in heaven) by standing in front of them (during their battles with demons), Oh, valorous one, kindly wake up from sleep.
Oh, Lord, who takes care and protects your devotees and possesses enormous strength! You are blemishless in doing so by saving your dependants and punishing their enemies. Oh, blemishless, please wake up.
Oh, Nappinnai! Who possesses a charming body with soft bosoms, red lips, and a narrow waist! Oh, Goddess Lakshmi! Please awaken.
Please give your Lord to us along with a fan (of peacock feathers generally) and a bronze mirror and bathe us in the holy waters just now.

Inner, in-depth meaning of this Thiruppavai Paasuram 20

The number 33 angels or gods, in this context, comprises the total figure of ashTa Vasu (8 vasus), 12 Sun-Gods of Bhagavata Purana, 11 Rudras, and 2 Ashwini Devatas.
Andal tells that Lord Krishna should come even before all to protect us as he does with them.
God always protects his devotees and has an equal attachment with all beings. But, if anybody harms his devotees, He will destroy them.
Nappinnai is regarded here as the Goddess Lakshmi herself. So, she is referred to as Thiru in "thiruve". She is the PurushakAram just like Goddess Lakshmi who always involves herself with God in the protection of devotees. So, the gopis request Her to help them in taking this holy bath by giving them Lord Krishna.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Thiruppavai Paasuram 19 - Kutthu viLakkeriya for 03-01-2017

When Andal praises Nappinnai (NeeLA) and reminds of the duties, she wakes up and wants to open the doors. But Krishna wants to open the door himself and so prevents her from going to the door. So, the gopis now appease both Krishna and Nappinnai again in this 19th paasuram.

Paasuram 19

Kutthu viLakkeRiya kOttukkaal kattil mEl
Metthaina panja sayanathin mEl ERi
Kotthalar pUngudal Nappinnai kongai mEl
Vaitthukidandha malar maarbaa vaay thiRavaay
Maththadan kaNNinaay nee un maNaaLanai
Etthanai pOdum thuyilezha vottaay kaaN
Etthanai yElum pirivaatRagillaayaal
ThatthuvamandRu thagavElor embaavaay

Outer, explicit literal meaning of this paasuram

Oh, Krishna, you are sleeping even when the lights are glowing beside the ivory bed, on the soft mattress (having all the five qualities of coolness, freshness, fragrance, softness, and filled with flowers) resting your broad chest on the lofty bosom of Nappinnai whose braid is adorned with fresh bunches of flowers. Oh, Krishna, please open your mouth (and answer to our calls).

Oh, Nappinnai, whose eyes are dark and wide as if decorated with collyrium lotion! Won't you allow your Lord to wake up even after so long duration to come to us? Won't you bear separation from Him even for a while? It is not just for you or noble on your part.

Inner, in-depth meaning of this Thiruppavai Paasuram 19 

In this paasuram, Andal is referring to the Purushakaara element or nature of Nappinnai and reminds her of this nature and the other important point that Lord is not the possession of a single being. He belongs to all and He should attend to all his people's needs and calls.

The glowing lights refer to the knowledge imparted by teacher or Acharya.
The bed with its four legs refers to the four goals of life - Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha.
The mattress is the five-headed serpent's ShEshatalpam or universe.
MaiththadamkaNNi means the best disciple of her Teacher as Nappinnai always has been close and dear to Lord.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Thiruppavai Paasuram 18 - Undhu madagaLitRa nodadha 2nd January

When Krishna does not awake, Goda Devi realizes that she should first awaken Nappinna piRaati (NeeLa Devi) as they are both inseparable and Krishna would not awake without her. So she awakens NeeLa first.

Thiruppavai Paasuram 18

Undhu madhagaLitRan Odaadha thoLvaLiyan
Nandagopalan marumagaLe Nappinnaay
Kandham kamazhum kuzhali kadai thiRavaay
Vandhengum kozhi aLaiththanagaaN Madhavi
Ppandhalmel pal kaal kuzhilinanagaL koovinakaaN
Pandhaarvirali un maiThThunan peRpaada
Chendhaamarai kayyaal Siraar vaLaioLippa
Vandu Thiravai maghindu Elor enbaavaay

Literal, explicit meaning of this Paasuram

Oh, daughter-in-law of the great warrior Nandagopan who is famous for his invincible valor and army of giant elephants and so never faces defeat!
Oh, Nappinnaay! you, whose hair is dark and beautiful with locks, please open the door.
Even the cocks have arrived now making loud noises and even the cuckoo birds sitting on the bower of creeping flower plants have cuckooed many times very sweetly.
Oh, Lady with lofty round fingers! As we want to sing in praise of your Lord, please open the door making a loud noise of the bangles on your lotus like hands, so that He can awaken.

Inner, in-depth meaning of the Thiruppavai Paasuram 18

Here, Nappinnai is the PurushakAram or the important recommendation for reaching Lord Krishna. So, she is to be pleased and requested for seeking the blessings of Krishna.
Now, to appease Nappinna, Goda Devi first praises her father-in-law Nandapopan. Goda is clever enough to know that if she praises Nappinna's father-in-law, she would get much pleased and listen to her requests as Nandagopan is a close relative of Nappinna. Goda Devi praises his great valor and then praises Nappinna's good qualities. She praises her beautiful long hair, her lotus-like hands, and her bangles. She further adds that the shouting of the cocks and the cuckoo birds making pleasant sounds as the signal for people to awaken and indulge in their duties. The cock generally crows three times to awaken people. It is a symbolic reference to the three mantras that are imparted by Vaishnava Acharyas for attaining moksha, the Thirumanthram, Dvayamanthram, and Charama slokam.  So, Andal requests Nappinna to kindly open the door so that Krishna will awake.

The opening of door refers to the removal of obstructions in the path of reaching God. Goda Devi requests Nappinnai to help us in crossing the obstacles in the path of reaching God.