ThiruppAvai – Vedam anaithukkum vithu (திருப்பாவை – வேதம் அனைத்துக்கும் வித்து)
Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita says mAsAnAm mArgashIrso aham ( of months, I am mArgaSirsha). A question that naturally arises is why this month of mArgazi is so special? Is it because of the good weather or is it because one gets VenPongal and AkkAra Vadisal in temples? of course, may be both! But as SrivaishnavAs, we understand that the month derives its auspiciousness due to its association with ThiruppAvai. The next question that arises now is why we are talking about ThiruppAvai when there are 5 more days to go for the month of mArgazhi to begin.
The reason is simple. It is important to discuss and understand the sacredness of the verses before the month begins, so that one can endeavor to appreciate the composer, the verses and its meaning. It is believed that ThiruppAvai is the only prabandam of the 4000 Divya Prabandam that is written in most of the major Indian languages. It is very sacred and all our AchAryAs have given commentaries on this. The very fact that Swami RamAnujA was called ‘ThiruppAvai Jeeyar’ because of his deep attachment to this, illustrates the special place ThiruppAvai had with Swami RamAnujA. The following incident is quoted in the 2000 padi vyAkyAnam of JananyAchAryar. When the sishyAs requested Swami RAmAnujar to give a discourse on ThiruppAvai, RamAnujar replied that one may find some people to listen to PallAndu, but it is very difficult to find someone fit enough even to listen to Thiruppavai, let alone talk about it.
Even SwAmi RamAnujar thought he was unqualified to speak about ThiruppAvail. In fact while going on unchivritthi, Swami would not wear any padhukAs while reciting thiruppAvai pAsurams because of the sacredness and his deep reverence for Andal. Another very notable incident in SwAmi RamAnujar’s life is fulfilling AndAl’s wishes for offering 1000 and odd vessels of AkkaAra vadisal to Sri Azhagar. It is said that Sri AndAl appeared in front of Sri RamAnujar just after this episode and addressed him as ‘AnnA’. It is normally customary for the elder brother to offer ‘seer’ (சீர்) from the ‘piranda veedu’ and Sri RamAnujar fulfilled this. That is why in vAzhi ThirunAmam, we say ‘ பெரும்பூதூர் மாமுனிக்கு பின்னானாள் வாழியே’ (all glories to the younger sister of Swami RamAnujar) There are several commentaries for ThiruppAvai. While the literal meaning of Thiruppavai itself is so beautiful, the numerous underlying layers of the inner meanings of ThiruppAvai make it even more delectable.
In these postings, I will restrict myself to the topics mentioned below and we will see briefly how these concepts are conveyed in ThiruppAvai, so that one can appreciate it while reciting during the month of mArgazhi.
These postings are based on PerukkAraNai swami’s writings.
• GothA’s AvathAra rahasyam
• swApadEsam and anyApadesam
• Naama sankirtanam
• Rahasya traya vivaraNam
• Artha panchakam
Although each of the topics is significant, I will deal with Artha Panchakam in ThiruppAvai in greater detail over the month of mArgazhi.
To be continued…
Article by: Smt. Geetha Rangarajan