pASuram 6.7 (sixth tirumozhi - pAsuram 7 vAi nallAr nalla maRai Odi)
kaNNan en kai paRRIt tI valam Seyyak kanAk kaNDEn
vAi nallAr nalla maRai Odi mandirattAl
pASilai nANal paDuttup paridi vaittu
kAi Sina mA kaLiRu annAn en kai paRRi
tIvalam Seyyak kanAk kaNDEn tOzhI! nAn
A. Translation from SrImAn SaDagOpan's tamizh treatise:
"Chanting the good veda-s and reciting the appropriate mantra-s, the professional vaidikA-s spread the green grass surrounding the agni and placed the samit (wooden sticks) on them. Oh dear friend! I saw kaNNan, who came majestically like an angry elephant, hold my right hand and circumambulate the agni walking slowly."Extract from SrImAn SadagOpan's write-up on saptapati mantrams and their meanings (from the bhakti archives):
With each of the seven steps, a particular mantram is recited. Let us examine these mantrams:
First Step : "EkamishE vishNus tvANvEtu" - is the first mantram . This says : " O Dear girl ! O ANDAL ! You made the first step as my wife. May Lord vishNu (Myself will) follow your step to make sure that you have undiminishing food all your life ( prayer for subhishTam, akshaya pAtram )".
Second Step : "dvE UrjE vishNus tvANvEtu" - Here the groom prays once again to Lord vishNu; he says : " O Dear girl! You have now taken the second step with me as my wife. May Lord vishNu ( Myself will ) follow your step and bless you with pushTi (strength ) in your body ( a prayer for disease-free life )".
Third Step :"trINi vratAya vishNus tvANvEtu" - here again, the prayer is for Lord vishNu to follow gOdai's third step and to grant the boon of vraTAnushTAnam (performance of yaj~nams assigned to gruhastAs as dharma patnI)to her during her married life.
Fourth Step : "catvAri mAyO bhavAya vishNus tvANvEtu" - this prayer once again is to mahA vishNu(Himself)to follow her during her fourth step and grant her the boon of conjugal happiness.
Fifth Step :"panca pasUbhyO vishNus tvANvEtu" - the prayer is : " may Lord vishNu follow your fifth step with me and grow your wealth of cattle (cows, horses, elephants and aisvaryams related to the four-footed)".
Sixth Step : "shad rutobhyO vishNus tvANvEtu " - here mahA vishNu is beseeched to follow her sixth step (be behind her and support her) for all auspicious rutus (six seasons) during her married life. SrI ranganAthar hints that He is going to be right next to her and make sure that vasantha rutu, ghrIshma rutu and all the other four are going to make her days with Him pleasant.
Seventh Step : This is the last of the seven steps. The prayer is : "saptas saptabhyO hOtrAbhyO vishNus tvANvEtu" - the Lord said : "aNi putuvai paimkamalat taNteriyal bhattar pirAn gOdE! When you recited the seventh mantram and took the seventh step , I , MahA vishNu , the former resident of Srirangam will follow You to help You perform oupAsanai, agni hOtram and other gruhastha homams and yaj~nams without deficiencies. You are the nAacciyAr of My house now. SrI villiputtUr is your mALikai (palace). This is your place of birth. Therefore , you have more power than me here. I will hence follow you and bless you to have all SoubhAgyams by moving over to your birth place and stay in my father-in-law's place, your house. We guess that periyAzhvAr was mighty pleased with the decision of his Son-in-law so that he could have the Anandam of seeing his daughter and the Lord, her husband right there in SrI villiputtUr next to him. Even today, we see rangamannAr, ANDAL and periyAzhvAr (garuDan) on one pITam at SrI villiputtUr.The saptapati mantrams end with "sakhA saptapadAbhava" (Be a friend with these 7 steps) and "sakhAyou saptapadAbhabhUva" (We both are friends now after these 7 steps).
B. Additional thoughts from SrI PVP:
nalla maRai Odi: ANDAL is referring to "good" veda-s. Is there a difference in vedam called good vedam and bad vedam? SrI PVP explains this as follows: the first half of vedam describes the yAgams that are to be done to the Lord who is antaryAmi in the dEva-s like indra. The second half, which has the mantrams like purusha sUktam, praise emperumAn's svarUpa guNams directly. gOdai points to this second half as "nalla maRai".
mandirattAl: When mantra-s like purusha sUkta praising bhagavAn's svarUpa guNa-s are being chanted, why is there a reference to additional mantra-s? Again, ANDAL's reference here is to the mantra-s associated with the kriya-s prescribed in gr*hya sUtra-s, such as the paristaraNam around the fire, placement of samit, etc.
kAi Sinam mA kaLiRu annAn - When He came, He walked with the majestic gait of a mad elephant (matta gajam). However, once He came and held my hand, He walked slowly like a normal elephant when we went round the agni together.
kaip-paRRi - It is as if the mad male elephant came majestically and took the hand of the mad female elephant, which is now imprisoned (owned) by the male elephant.
tI valam Seyya - The reference here is to the sapta-pati which is the part of the basic marriage ceremony. SrI PVP refers us to the veda mantram that is recited during saptapati: "EkamishE vishNu: ..... sakhA saptapadA bhava" (yajurvEdam 3-3-89) Since He has held her hand with agni as the witness, He cannot leave her (hand) any more and she cannot leave Him (His hand) any more.B. Additional thoughts from SrI UV:
The agni pradakshiNam is described here. Coincidentally, the seven steps around agni are described in the 7th pASuram of this tirumozhi.
vAi nallAr - refers to the chanting of veda mantra-s by those who chant correctly, and have the power in their word such that when they chant the mantra-s with a certain benefit in mind, it will certainly come to fruition right away without fail.
nalla maRai Odi - Some interpreters interpret the term nalla here to means "excluding devatAntara mantra-s". SrI UV observes that the mantra-s that are already prescribed for devatAntara-s in the respective sUtra-s should not be eliminated. This is as prescribed by svAmi deSikan in SrImad rahasya traya sAram. However, additional devatAntara mantra-s that are not prescribed in the sUtra-s should not be included.
kAi Sinam: He came like a majestic angered elephant; This is put-on by Him, since He probably thought that if He was easily approachable and appeared simple, He would become the scapegoat for naughty boys who play havoc during wedding times.
tI valam Seyya - It is significant that the seven steps around the agni are taken, while the bride and bridegroom are united in pANigrahaNam together. This is an important rite in the marriage ceremony. With agni as the witness, this rite signifies that the relationship that is established through the pANigrahaNam is irrevocable for all future. The significance here is that the couple are together taking a vow with agni as the witness, that they will be united in all their dhArmic activities for all future births (Ezhu Ezh janma~ngaLilum) , in all future worlds ( Ezhu Ezh lOka~ngaLilum), always (eppOdum), everywhere (e~ngum).Abbreviations:
PVP= SrI periyavAccAn piLLai
PBA= SrI prativAdi bhayankaram aNNangarAcAriyAr
UV = SrI uttamUr vIrarAghavAcAriyAr
sarvam SrIman nArAyaNAyEti samarpayAmi.