tirumaNa ERpADugaL naDai peRak kanAk kaNDEn
In the first pASuram of "vAraNam Ayiram", gOdai starts describing beautifully to her friend, the divine dream that she just had of her marriage with kaNNan.
"Oh my dear sakhi! I had this wonderful dream; I saw nAraNan (SrI ranganAthan), surrounded by thousands of elephants, going around SrI villiputtUr. My father, periyAzhvAr, and the citizens of the village are ready to extend a grand welcome to Him with pURNa kumbhams placed on their heads. The whole village is decorated with tOraNams (streamers) to mark the festive occasion."B. Additional thoughts from SrI PVP:
ANDAL is not just looking for the pleasure of His nearness after He comes to her; she wants to have the anubhavam of the scene of His coming to her, and so she sees in her dream all the preparations and decorations in the town to receive Him.
vAraNam: tiru AyppADi has only cows and calves; where do the elephants come from? SrI PVP explains that vasudEvar had these elephants as part of his army to defend against enemies - ANDAL herself says in tiuppAvai 18 "undu mada kaLiRRan". Since nandagopan and vasudevan were close friends, they shared each other's wealth very freely. Their friendship was like that between rAma and sugrIva - "ekham duhkam sukhamcanou -you are my very close friend; we will share our pleasures and sorrows alike" rAmAyaNam kishkindA kANDaM 5-18). Also, kaNNan gets the wealth of both His natural father and His father who brought Him up.
vAraNam Ayiram: why a thousand elephants? As periyAzhvAr said in his tirumozhi 3-1-1, "tannErAyiram piLLaigaLODu taLar naDai iTTu varuvAn" - kaNNan has these thousand friends, and will not bear to see any of them in any way less comfortable than Him. So here are the thousand elephants, one for each so that they can also ride the elephant with Him. emperumAn's soulabhyam is such that He will keep His devotees who reach Him in an equivalent position as He is (periya tirumozhi 11-3-5 - "tammaiyE nALum vaNa~ngit tozhuvARkku tammaiyE okka aRuL SeyvAr").
valam Seidu: gOdai is guessing that He is coming around the village, from the sound coming from the vAdya gOshTi (nAdaswaram, drums etc.) that are preceding Him.
nambi nAraNan - nArAyaNa who is brimming with Supreme qualities. When kaNNan (the king of mathurA and tiru AyppADi) is walking, it is like nArAyaNan (ubhaya vibhUti nAthan) walking. His supreme qualities are expressly visible only in avatAra kAlams, when He has to mix with imperfect and deficient samsAri-s. His soulabhyam (the ease with which He can be approached), His SouSilyam (the ease with which He mixes with others), and His Arjavam (open-heartedness) cannot be noticed in a setting like paramapadam where only the Realized great nitya mukta-s live. These great qualities of empirAn shine like the lamp in a dark room only when He gives Himself to the samsAri-s of the world.
naDakkinRan: Just as hanumAn's word that rAma was approaching ayodhyA was sufficient to keep bharata alive, ANDAL is able to keep herself alive even by the thought that kaNNan was in town and walking towards her with His vAraNam-s (from SrI T.S. rAjagopAlan). Also, in the case of rAma, viSvAmitra had to bring Him to sItA; in ANDAL's case, kaNNan is coming by His own free will, and so this is special.
tOraNam nATTa: When people from bhUlOkam go to paramapadam, the residents of paramapadam welcome them with tOraNams (decorate with streamers) - "tOraNam niraittu en~gum tozhudanar" - tiruvAimozhi 10-9-2). Similarly, when paramapada nAthan comes here, the people of this world are welcoming Him with tOraNams.
kanAk kaNDEn: For sItA, trijaTA had to first see Lord rAma coming to sItA, and she had to then communicate that dream to sItA pirATTi. In ANDAL's case she did not have to depend on her tozhi or some other well-wisher to communicate their dream to her. She did not have to depend on her indriya-s to get this anubhavam, and it was all her experience through her own heart, to the extent that she could now communicate it to her tozhi.C. Additional thoughts from SrI UV:
vAraNam Ayiram: Even though periyAzhvAr doesn't have so much wealth as to provide a thousand elephants to receive kaNNan, it is a dream that is coming from His sankalpam; so, He can arrange for it. And, they are all His elephants - all from His birth father ("mattak kaLiRRU vasudEvar "- periyAzhvAr tirumozhi 1-3-6) and His foster father ("undu madakaLiRRan .. nandagOpAlan" - tiruppAvai 18), both of whom were wealthy enough to provide for the thousand elephants. In addition, after He killed kuvalayAPIDam and kamsan, He would have inherited several elephants. Even if He did not have elephants in His birth as kaNNan, He has had them in His previous incarnations. Having elephants is a sign of wealth; that is why gOdai is using the term here. We could include horses here too. Since kaNNan always comes with a thousand friends "tannEr Ayiram piLLaigaL" (periyAzhvAr 3-1-1), the thousand elephants are for carrying them. One can argue that during gOdai's time the thousand friends of kaNNan were not present. In that case, there is nothing wrong if we take this phrase to mean "thousand elephants came with Him".
SUzha valam vandu: The Urvalam (going around the village) is the function where the 'varan' (mAppiLLai) who is coming for the wedding is welcomed by the bride's family.
naDakkinRAN: it could mean that He is riding the elephant that is walking, or that He is walking by foot out of kripai so that every one else can walk along with Him close by.
SrI UV comments further on this second meaning. Even people without wealth try to get some kind of vAhanam during marriage time. Even though He had thousands of elephants as well as other vAhanam-s, He chose to walk by foot out of His soulabhyam. SrIman nArAyaNan has all kinds of vAhanams; yet, in order to bless the people who belong to Him, He chooses to walk because He is "nambi" - the Best among purusha-s. (He showed His soulabhyam by His incarnation as kaNNan "nambi piRandinil" - periyAzhvAr tirumozhi). By walking instead of riding, He is giving one example of His sakala kalyANa guNa pUrNattvam.Abbreviations:
PVP= SrI periyavAccAn piLLai
PBA= SrI prativAdi bhayankaram aNNangarAcAriyAr
UV = SrI uttamUr vIrarAghavAcAriyAr
sarvam SrIman nArAyaNAyEti samarpayAmi.