Pavai Genre[ edit ] Thiruppavai belongs to the Pavai genre of songs, a unique Tamil tradition sung in the context of the Pavai vow Vratham or ritual observed throughout the month of Margazhi. Sri Vaishnavas sing these stanzas every day of the year in the temple as well as in their homes. This practice assumes special significance during Margazhi : each day of this month gets its name from one of the thirty verses. There are references to this vow in the late-sangam era Tamil musical anthology Paripadal. Vaishnavas sing these songs to bring peace, prosperity and Divine Grace. Andal assumes the guise of a cowherd girl in these 30 verses.
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Soodi kodutha chuddar kodiaye! Andal cited the measures of prosperity in these terms in the days that she lived. Will these measures mean prosperity now? She picturises the Lord as going deep into the ocean, taking the water and rising high in the sky to deposit it in the magnificent black clouds to eventually precipitate into rain. And how do you think of the Lord — think of Him in his many forms, as the One who incarnated in Mathura, as the one who is the Lord of the Yamuna, as the scion of the cowherd community, as the One who made his mother proud, as the One who was bound by a rope as a naughty child.
And if you do so, all the sins that one had done unknowingly and our bad thoughts will be burnt away like cotton in a flame, therefore come my dear friends, let us worship and perform our Nonbu. Each verse is an attempt to awaken one of the girls and adopts a different reasoning and pleading. The common theme however is citing the reason for waking up ie to worship the Lord, and the the Lord who is to be worshipped is referenced citing his many splendorous qualities and pertinent deeds He performed during his incarnations in this earth.
Like any scripture or any great literary work, the meanings inside the verses are far far greater than what they appear to be on first reading. The more we know and are involved in the subject, the more we understand it. For now I will stay with the simple meaning of these verses, We will revisit the deeper inner meanings later. While retaining this format for the beginners, we will open up a level 2 section in a couple of months as also other sections of this site.
In this verse Andal says the birds are up and setting out, the sound of the white conch from the nearby temple is heard, so it is really daybreak, so dear girl, please wake up. As you wake up may a similar godliness enter your mind to enable you to begin our worship.
Pey pennne! Are you not able to hear it, devilish girl Kasum pirappum kalakalappa k kai perthu their hands bedecked with bangles and other jewellery Vasa narunguzhal aaychiyar matthinal The lovely scented cowherd maidens, with their mixers Osi paduttha th thayir-aravam kettilaiyo?
You are sleeping, please come and open the door my girl Sounds wake us up from sleep. Andal asks the girl, can you not hear the sound of the birds that are chirping, conversing before the leave the company of each other in their nests and setting out on their own to search for their food?
We think of you as our leader, but you are asleep, why are you not awake even as we sing the praise of the Lord Narayana as Kesava who vanquished the demon Kesi, Is the sound of our music lulling you to sleep instead of waking you up? Please open the door! When we sing and pray and get to Him, He is going to be so pleased that we sought him out instead of Him coming to us, that He will joyfully bless us and remove all our deficiencies.
Is she dumb or deaf or just slovenly Emapperunthuyil mandirappattalo Is she in slumber because of some magic spell? A nice bed, comfortable and a conducive environment make for good deep sleep. Have you been handed over the sleep of the demon Kumbakarna? Kumbakarna who was slain by Lord Rama, the embodiment of dharma who is adorned by tulsi mala, with fragrant hair, who is worshipped by us and is full of virtues.
Oh sleepy slovenly girl, please wake up adorn yourself and come and open the door and join us in the Paavai Nonbu.
Thiruppavai - Thiruvempavai - Thirupalliyezhuchi