A. Translation from SrImAn SaDagOpan's tamizh treatise
Frustrated and despondent that she had not succeeded in her desire to be united with emperumAn, godai falls at the feet of the flowers, cuckoos, peacocks, the rain and the dark-blue ocean. She appeals to them to convey to her nAthan, nAraNan, how in her distress and solitude she is constantly saying His several names "mAmAyan, mAdhavan, vaikuNthan, mAyan, mannu vaDa mathurai maindan, tUya perunIr yamunait turaivan, tAyaik-kuDal viLakkam Seida dAmOdaran" etc even though He totally ignored her and disappeared from her eyes. Her "nARRattuzhAi muDi nArAyaNan, SangODu cakkaram Endum taDakkaiyan" has vanished from her sight, instead of turning His "pangayakkaN" (lotus-eyes) towards her. She cannot bear this atrocity any more and pleads with all of them individually to please unite her with her Selva maNALan. These ten pASurams that fall under "kArkkODal pUkkAL" are full of beauty
. B. Some additional thoughts (from SrI PVP):
Because she longed to live the life of union with emperumAn, ANDAL appealed to the bees etc. in the previous tirumozhi (Sindurac cempoDi) in the pASuram "enakkOr SaraN SARRuminE", and fell at the feet of the clouds in the viNNIla mElAppu tirumozhi, all in vain. The intensity of her longing for Him kept growing to such an extent that she felt she would live only if He presents Himself right in front of her, or at least shows some signs that He is going to come to her. The kAr kAlam (rainy season) in which He had promised to come has come and gone. The flowers that appeared during this season and other characteristics of the season reminded her of His beautiful tirumEni, color and His other attributes and made her come to life and faint alternately. Even though all these were torturing her, she still had two reasons to continue to live:
The first was His repeated declarations that He will never give up any one who is devoted to Him.
- mitrabhAvEna samprAptam na tyajeyam kata`ncana |
dosho yadyapi tasya syAt satAm etat agarhitam || " (yuddha. 18.3)
"I will never forsake him (vibhishaNan) since he came to me seeking my friendship. Even if he has any dOsham - fault, it is not inappropriate for noble people to accept him".
- dyou: patet prthivI SIryet himavAn SakalI bhavet |
Sushyet toyanidhih kRshNe! na me mogham vaco bhavet ||
(bhAratam uttara kANDam 70-48)
"kRshNe! The sky might fall down, the Earth might shatter into pieces, the himAcala mountain might disintegrate, the ocean might dry out, but my words will never become vain".
- sakRdeva prapannAya tavAsmIti ca yAcate |
abhayam sarva bhUtebhyo dadAmyetat vratam mama ||
"It is My vow to protect unconditionally from every living being, anyone that surrenders to Me even once, or seeks my protection saying "I am your servant".
All the above declarations ensure that He will definitely take care of godai, and so she can continue to live in the definite confidence that He will fulfil her wish.
The second reason that godai feels justified to continue to hold on to her life is: she is confident that He will fulfil her wish because she is none other than the daughter of the great periAzhvAr, and if not based on her prayers, but because of her association with periAzhvAr, there is no other course except for her to be taken to His Feet ultimately. Even though He is a svatantran and thus there is no one who can question Him if He fails to keep His word to her, yet the link between her and emperumAn is periAzhvAr. Since periAzhvAr is too dear to Him, this relationship will change His svAtantriyatvam if needed, and He will have no choice except to accept those who have association with periAzhvAr at His Feet for kaimkaryam to Him. This is what godai is conveying to us all in this tirumozhi.
The point brought about here is that even with bhagavAn's assurance that He will not fail in His words that He will save those who surrender to Him, there is the need for purushakAratvam or the intermediary in the form of an AcArya. The example that SrI PVP gives is bhagavAn's own word:
Anayainam hariSreshTha: dattamasya abhayam mayA |
vibhIshaNO vA sugrIva! yadi vA rAvaNa svayam ||
- yuddha. 18.34.
"Oh sugrIva! Bring him to me; whether it is vibhIshaNan or rAvaNan himself who has sought My protection, I have already assured him My protection".
The key word here is "Bring him to Me". Thus, even after bhagavAn has assured His protection, there is the purushakAratvam or intermediary involved.
Here SrI PVP quotes another incidence of the importance of purushakAratvam in attaining Him. When SrI parASara bhaTTar once was visiting a king named vANavadaraiyan, he stayed in a village called "SrIdEvimangaLam", all the SrI vaishNava-s in that village flocked to him and performed kaimkaryam to him with intense devotion. Some people asked him "why do these SrI vaishNavas come to you with such great devotion when they are supposed to seek perumAL instead with this kind of devotion". SrI bhaTTar's aruLicceyal was: "His aDiyAr-s are the facilitators or ghaTaka-s in bringing about the union between Him and His seekers.
People are approaching me because of my association with AzhvAn, who they pray will be the ghaTaka who will help them attain Him". [The reference to AzhvAn here is to kUrattAzhvAn, the father of SrI parASara bhaTTar].
[The importance of purushakAratvam is emphasized repeatedly by our pUrvAcArya-s in many places. In the vyAkhyAnam for kaNNiNuN SiruttAmbu pASuram 3, we find the analogy of an elephant and a person trying to mount on top of it. If the person tries to get on the back of the elephant with the mahout assisting in the process, the elephant willingly accepts the person on its back and carries him. But if the person tries to get on the elephant's back in the absence of the mahout, we all know the consequence. The role of the purushakAratvam by the AcArya is similar to that of the mahout in this analogy.]
Oh dark-hued kArkkODal flowers! Where is my kaNNan who has the hue of the dark ocean, and who is aiming you at me as if you are all His warheads, by making you remind me of Him with your dark color. Where will I go and complain about this atrocious crime that He commits? What is the way out for me since I keep losing myself pining over His sugandha tuLasi mAlai?
kArkkODal pUkkAL: The word kAr can mean the rainy season, the black color, or the greatness or hugeness of something. When it is taken to mean the dark color, the phrase can refer to the dark hue of the kAndaL flowers. The dark hue of the flowers are reminding godai of His tirumeni, and so they are torturing her by their color. If the word is taken to mean kAr kAlam-rainy season, the phrase can be taken to refer to the kAr kAlam in which kaNNan was supposed to come back to godai, or the kAndaL flowers that have flowered in the rainy season. If kAr is taken to refer to the size, the reference is to the huge kAndaL flowers.
pOrkkOlam Seidu pOra viDuttavan: Since the flowers are reminding her of Him whichever way one looks at it, godai now thinks that He has made them only to make her feel miserable when she is separated from Him. Conventionally, it is said that the purpose of giving life to the beings in this world is so that they can be devoted to Him and thus attain moksham. ANDAL is beginning to feel that He created everything in this world so that they can torture her in every possible way. Just as the whole rAkshasa kulam became rAmapirAn's enemy after He got separated from sItai, the flowers, peacocks and cuckoos all became godai's enemies when she was separated from her emperumAn. Wherever godai looks, there are only things that torture her more and more. At least in the case of the clouds that tortured her (viNNIla mElAppu-nAcciyAr tirumozhi 8), there was a chance that they might disappear being blown away by winds. But, these flowers do not disappear anywhere and are present everywhere.
pUkkAL: By their physical nature, the flowers are soft; but their behavior towards ANDAL is quite contrary to this nature of these flowers, and they are rough and rude on her instead, and are cruelly torturing her.
kArk-kaDal vaNNan: He has the dark hue like that of the Ocean. He can assume whatever hue He wants; why did He choose this one in particular? Just as He created by His own free will objects like the kArk-kODal flowers to torture Her, ANDAL feels that He assumed this beautiful dark-hued tirumeni also by His own free will just to torture her.
em mEl: By nature, I am a naturally soft woman and I have become so thin because of separation from Him; I cannot even bear His coming and hugging me; I am that weak.
ummai: Oh Flowers! You bear the color that seems to be intended purely for torturing me by reminding me of Him constantly! You are not soft like me; you are so strong that you are capable of bringing me back to life first from my dead state by showing me His hue, and then torturing me by reminding me constantly of Him.
pOrkkOlam Seidu: Just as rAmapirAn decorated lakshmaNan with the outfit for war prior to sending him to kill indrajit, emperumAn seems to have decorated these flowers to torture her and finish her off. cakravarti tirumagan sent people to destroy those who separated Him from His lover; this kaNNan seems to be dressing up these flowers to destroy His own lover.
Seidu: Emphasizes the Creator aspect of bhagavAn; He is the One who created everything including these flowers and gave them their attributes such as their beautiful hue that reminds godai of Him constantly.kRshNa eva hi lokAnAm utpattirapi cApyayah |
kRshNa is the One who is the Creator, Protector and Destroyer of this Universe; all things that move and don't move are created for His pleasure.
pOra viDuttavan: Thinking that these flowers are not fast enough in destroying her, godai feels that He is standing behind them and goading them to be faster. When kings attack their enemies' forts, if their warriors fail to fell those forts, they will send their paraphernalia like umbrella, cAmaram etc. to the battle front and instill encouragement in their warriors to succeed in the battle and fell the enemies' forts. Similarly, as an encouragement to these flowers to destroy her fast, He seems to have given His hue to them. If He didn't create these flowers to torture her, He could have at least stopped them from appearing in her sight!
e`nguRRAn: Where is He?. Why is godai asking this question to the flowers? Because she suspects that He is standing behind them and goading them. Their strength and power in torturing her clearly indicate to her that these flowers are not alone in their action, and are backed by some power much stronger than them. When vAli heard the loud noise made by sugrIva backed by rAma, he immediately realized that sugrIva's voice was not cowardly as it used to be before. This indicated to him right away that sugrIva has someone to back him up, and he came out hoping to meet someone that can be a match to him. Godai could similarly guess that someone is behind these flowers in their act of destroying her.
Why is she asking them where He is, when she knows He is out to destroy her? Her secret wish is that if they are anyway going to destroy her, she will at least get to see Him once before she gets destroyed by these flowers. And if she sees Him, her desire gets fulfilled. If she dies after she sees Him, His desire also gets fulfilled.
Why is godai asking the acetana vastu where He is? godai hopes that they might respond to her question feeling sorry for her pitiable state. Is this ever heard of, namely, someone addressing the acetana vastu and asking questions like this? In rAmAyaNam AraNya kANDam 49-32, sIta prays to godAvari river to please tell rAma that rAvaNa is taking her -hamsakAraNDavAkIRNAm vande godAvarIm nadIm |
ArkkO ini nAm pUSal iDuvadu: The flowers are not responding. She does not realize that the flowers are not equipped to respond to her query. She thinks that the reason why they are not responding is because they are on His side. He created them and they are not in her favor. They are also slaves of His like she is, and they could have helped and cooperated with her, but this is not happening. Now, who else can she go to and complain?
aNi tuzhAit tArkkODum ne`njam tannai paDaikka vallEn andO: ANDAL wonders aloud: While He and these flowers which are His creations and belongings team together to destroy me, my mind which belongs to me could cooperate with me in defending me. But alas! It just melts away in pursuit of Him and runs after the tiruttuzhAi mAlai that He wears on His tirumEni.
ne`njam tanniap paDaikka vallEn - It is my sin that I have the manas-mind that runs after Him like this when He does not care for me. At least I could have got a body that does not house this kind of manas but then again, I am the one who did the karma that ended up with this body so this again is sadly my own creation.
andO: He is not for me; His Greatness and Glory are not for me; Even I am not for myself; I am such a sinner that even my mind is not for myself; there is no one to even look at me and say alas, saying thus, godai ends up self-pitying ayyO.C. Additional thoughts from SrI PBA:
Not only are all things that are created by His Glory not supporting godai, but even her own self, her own mind is not helping her; instead, it is going after Him unceasingly. emperumAN's separation from godai is intolerable to her; yet, her mind runs only towards bhagavad vishayam; that is the aRuLic ceyal of godai in this pASuram.pASuram 10.2 (tenth tirumozhi - pAsuram 2 mEl tOnRIp pUkkAL- emperumAnuDaiya jyotiyil ennaic cErppIrgaLA?)
godai turns her eyes towards the sky trying to avoid the kAndaL flowers which remind her of emperumAn. She sees some other kANdaL flowers blossomed on top of the tall trees. The dark color of these flowers again reminds her of kaNNan's hue and godai feels all burned up. She appeals to them not to burn her as cakkarattAzhvAn (who is in the right hand of paramapada nAthan sung in the veda-s as the Prime Deity) burns up His enemies, but instead to cool her down by taking her to the crowd of aDiyArgaL (followers) of "em param SOdi gOvindan".
Additional thoughts: Godai's looking up after being reminded by the kAndaL flowers is suggestive of her looking up in the sky for the garuDa vAhanan to be coming to her.B. Additional thoughts (from SrI PVP ):
mEl tOnRip pUkkAL: Because godai could not stand to bear the tApam caused by the kAndaL flowers, she turns her eyes away from them and looks up. She is not spared the pain by this action, since she sees the mEl tOnRip pUkkaL, which are the same family as the kAndaL flowers, but grow on tops of the trees. It looked like the mEl tOnRip pUkkaL took a different name and grew on top of the trees just to finish godai off if she escaped the kAndaL flowers at the ground level. Out of the four varieties of life forms, namely, deva-s, manushya-s, animals and plants, godai feels that these flowers which belong to the plant form have been explicitly created by Him for her destruction.
mEl tOnRum Sodi: This is the reference to paramapadam. emperumAn's abode SrI vaikunTham is described in mahAbhArata as having a brightness far exceeding that of the sun and the moon, and a blissful place from which those who are fortunate enough to go will never have to return back to samsAra, tatra gatvA punarnemam lokamAyanti bhArataeva || (AraNya. 136-18).
veda mudalvar: He who is praised and revealed by the veda-s as the Prime Deity. Sri kRshNasvAmi aiye`ngAr gives several quotes from paripADal declaring that bhagavAn is the veda mudalvar; just to give few examples: "tolliyal pulava", "kAla mudalvanai", munnai marabin mudumozhi mudalva" etc.
Azhiyin ve`njuDar: Having described the greatness of paramapadam and then the greatness of veda mudalvan whose abode is paramapadam, now godai comes to the greatness of the Azhi that is in His right hand. We know the Sun to be extremely bright. The tEjas of indra and other devas is more than that of the Sun; brahma's tejas is greater than that of the devas; much brighter than that will be tejas of mUla prakr*ti which is the cause of their bodies; the brightness of paramapadam will make this mUla prakRti look like darkness by comparison. The tEjas of emperumAn's divyamangaLa vighraham is what gives the brightness to paramapadam. SrI PVP's anubhavam is that the tejas of the tiruvAzhi that He is carrying in His right hand is higher than that of emperumAn Himself - hence ve`njuDar Azhi. SuDar Azhi.
Azhiyin ve`njuDar pOlac cuDAdu - not scorching her like the tiruvAzhi in His right hand. Could ANDAL have not said "Don't scorch me like the bright hot Sun" which we can all directly feel and see, and instead why is she using His tirvAzhi which we can only imagine? SrI PVP gives a couple of reasons. One is that for godai, objects belonging to His nitya vibhUti are as visible as are the objects in this world, and so she can give the analogy of His tiruvAzhi just as easily as she can give the Sun as the example. In one sense, for godai the nitya vibhUti is even closer since she can enjoy it to her heart's content, whereas she is unable to reach Him in this world. To her, the anubhavam of His nitya vibhUti is like a downward slope which she can easily maneuver whereas the anubhavam of Him in this world is like an uphill slope. SrI PVP notes that nammAzhvAr also first talks about emperumAn as "amarargaL adipati" in the first pASuram of tiruvAimozhi, and then only in the third pASuram he talks about bhagavAn's leelA vibhUti.
SuDAdu emmai: tiruvAzhiAzhvAn will punish only those who do not have any love for emperumAn; he will bless those who are His devotees ("aruLAr tiruccakkaram" tiruviruttam 33 and "aruLAzhi" - tiruvAimozhi 1-4-6). "But, you, mel tOnri pukkAL, are destroying me even though I am His devotee".
mARROlai paTTavar kUTTattu: The term mARROlaip paTTavar is given two different interpretations. One is that this term refers to those who are seeking only AtmAnubhavam and not bhagavad anubhavam. In this interpretation, the reference is to those who have been "designated" to not have bhagavad anubhavam. SrI tirumalai nambi's interpretation is as follows: "ANDAL is beginning to feel that she is undergoing this kind of suffering only because she is seeking bhagavad anubhavam; so now she feels she better join those who have been designated to not have bhagavad anubhavam, and so will not seek bhagavad anubhavam any more, but instead seek to join the crowd of the kevala-s, who only seek AtmAnubhavam, and not the bhagavad kaimkarya anubhavam". This is a stage that is somewhat intermediate between the state of the acetana-s and the parama cetana.
SrI embAr gives a different interpretation here: Since the word 'kUTTam" or gathering is used, and kevala-s are those who seek AtmAnubhavam by intense meditation in isolation, we should not take it to refer to the kEvala-s. kevalar try to indulge in their own AtmAs individually, not in a crowd; so, here it should be taken to mean mukta-s. (like tiruvAimozhi 2-3-10 says "aDiyArgaL kuzhAngaL"). Thus here the term "mARROlaip paTTavar" refers to those who have been "designated" to be relieved from the bondage of samsAra and instead be in the crowd of mukta-s.
kurattAzhvAn's disciple SrI AppAn gives yet another explanation; which is obviously a reflection of kUrattAzhvAn himself. His explanation is: "sarvEsvaran has sent you to destroy me; there are some whom He chooses to destroy Himself. Please take me away from the crowd who are ordained to be destroyed by you and put me in the crowd who are ordained to be destroyed directly by Himself. If He asks you why you brought me in that crowd, tell Him that the Order document got mixed up (mARROlai). Even if He will destroy me anyway, at least I would get the satisfaction of seeing Him in person". [what a great anubhavam kUrattAzhvAn and AppAn had!].
Another anubhavam is that ANDAL feels so tortured by these mEl tOnRip pUkkaL that she thinks it can only be less painful for her even if she is put in the crowd of those who are considered by Him to be His enemies. SrI PBA gives yet another anubhavam: Instead of reading the text as "mARROlaipaTTavar kUTTattu", we can read it as "maRROLaip paTTu, avar kUTTattu". Sometimes, even though yama specifically writes the order to his dhUta-s to get a person X, they may by mistake, get a different person Y. ANDAL is telling these flowers that even though these flowers have been given the order to torture ANDAL, they can make a mistake (mARROlaip paTTu - Olai mARRap paTTu), and instead, take Him to the crowd of His devotees (avar kUTTattu).C. Additional thoughts from SrI uttamUr vIrarAghavAcAriyAr (denoted by SrI UV from now on):
In the last pASuram, we had the reference to kArkkODal pOOkkAL. KAr also means "cool". These flowers also resembled bhagavAn's tirumeni, and thus represent perumAL. In the current pASuram, we have the reference to the mEl tOnRip pUkkAL, which are hot like the tiru Azhi, who is a mahA bhAgavta. In our sampradAyam, a bhAgavata is worthy of even higher respect than perumAL. The reference to :mEl tOnRip pUkkAL can be understood in this context as well.
The term jyoti occurs in the vedas to describe parama padam - yada kah paro divo jyotir dIpyate viSvatah pRshTheshu anUttameshu lokeshu. The use of the word jyoti must have reminded ANDAL of the veda vAkyam, and so she immediately refers to bhagavAn as veda mudalvan.
emmai: The use of the plural here refers to ANDAL's request to include her tozhi-s also in the anukUlar kUTTam along with her.
Regarding the different explanations for the phrase "mARROlaip paTTavar kUTTattu", SrI UV points out that this is an instance which illustrates that pirATTi's SrI sUkti has a lot of inner meanings. Our acAryAs have considered that these need to be deeply researched in order to have the full anubhavam of these SrI sUkti-s. The same is true of all of our AzhvArs' SrI sUkti-s.
In the first pASuram, the kAndaL flowers appeared to be decorated for war on her. In the second pASuram, the kAndaL flowers seem to be set to torture her like the Azhi. When someone is set for a war with someone else, the only way they will stop their onslaught is if the opponent surrenders. Here ANDAL seems to be surrendering to them so that they will all be on her side - she is going to befriend everything which has an aspect of bhagavAn in them.
godai sees the kOvai fruits on the kOvai plant in her father's garden fence and exclaims: "amma, kOvaippirATTi! Do not torture me with your fully developed, reddish fruits! Your red fruits remind me of tirumAlicmcOlai mAmAyan's lips. As a result of my birth, a great mishap happened to that emperumAn, who is lying on the serpent bed; His tongue split into two just like the tiru anantAzhvAn's tongue. With this forked tongue, He started lying to me. With one tongue, He says that He will come and take me and with the other, He says that He never said anything like that before. Thinking that it is all because of my sin, I am pining for Him shamelessly. What can I do?
ANDAL saw the kArkkoDal flowers, and they reminded her of His complexion; she saw the mEl tOnRi's, and they reminded her of His tiruvAzhi; now she sees the kOvai flowers, and they remind her of His red and beautiful lips.
kOvai maNATTi: The term "maNATTi" can be interpreted as referring to bhagavAn's pirATTi, or one that has good fragrance (maNam). How would a kOvaikkoDi (a vine) have a good fragrance? Since the kOvaippazham (fruit) resembles emperumAn's red lips, it will have the smell of the tiruppavaLac cevvAi of emperumAn. She has just finished asking the Sankam "karuppUram nArumO kamalappU nArumO tiruppavaLac cevvAi tAn tittittu irukkumO" (nAcciyAr tirumozhi 7-1). See also SrI UV's interpretation for "maNATTi" in the next section.
nI: isn't it enough that kAndaL flower and mEltonRi flower torture me? Do you have to follow suit by appearing in the middle of a bush?
un: "You don't undergo the torture like me since you don't understand the feeling of separation from Him. But since you are a vine (koDi) yourself, if you only you understood that you are a female yourself, as one female to another, should you not desist from torturing me by not appearing in front of me and reminding me of His beautiful red lips?"
kozhum kani: These kOvai fruits are so beautifully red that they resemble His beautiful lips.
Avi tolaiviyEl: ANDAL wonders: It is not just that the kOvai fruits are torturing her mildly or outwardly, they are hitting at her "Avi" itself - her life's very roots. Already the kArkkODal flowers and the mEl tOnRi flowers have drained her life away from her - what else is there to drain for these kOvai fruits, and why are they torturing her even more now?
How can the acEtana vastu like the kOvaik koDi understand all these words from godai and respond to her such as "I am not torturing you or destroying your Avi"? Still, it is a fact that kOvai fruits are reminding her of emperumAn's red lips and torturing her, and so she forgets that they are acetana-s, and pleads with them to spare her.
SrI kRshNasvAmi aiye'ngAr quotes here from kALidAsan in mEghasandESam - "kamArtA hi prakRti kRpaNAh cEtanA cEtanEshu" - those who are experiencing viraha tApam, will not know the difference between cetanam and acetanam.vAyazhagar tammai a'njudum: "During the times I am spending time with emperumAn, I will be overwhelmed by the sweetness of association with Him, and will keep closing my eyes with fear (that this may end sometime?). When I am separated from Him, I keep my eyes closed because everything reminds me of Him. Even though I keep saying " I am afraid", you (kOvaikkoDi) are not saying "mA Sucah" (gItai 18-66); you could have said "Don't be afraid; I will disappear from your sight." pAviyEn tonRi: "It was only after I was born, that this plight of falling at the feet of kOvaikkoDi has resulted. Before I was born, periyAzhvAr and emperumAn regularly shared all their secrets with each other and all that ceased only after I was born".
pAviyEn tonRi nAvum iranDuLa vAittu: "With periAzhvar, bhagavAn used to always tell the truth, and there was no issue of double talk from Him. If He had indulged in any double talk, their relationship would have been cut off right away. He made periAzhvAr praise Him as "onRE uraippAn oru SollE SolluvAn" (periyAzhvAr tirumozhi 2-6-4) since periAzhvAr did not know His true nature. Now He is showing His true nature by His action towards me, and His behavior is: "I will keep talking as my mind dictates; let godai live or die". Godai is now lamenting: "All this is only because of my sinful birth"."
sItA pirATTi laments similarly when she is separated from Lord rAma: rAmAyaNam sundara kANDam 26-11 ("SankE madbhAgya sankshayAt" - rAma, who is known for His great knowledge and the quality of not forgetting the help done to Him, has become compassionless only because of my dur-bhAgyam). Also "mamaiva dushkRtam ki'ncit mahadasti na samSayah - There is not the slightest doubt that I must have committed very big sins since Lord rAma and lakshmaNa have ignored me" - sundara kANDam 38-48.continued,please click here