vAraNamAyiram

This tirumozhi, which starts with “vAraNam Ayiram” is a very well-known tirumozhi.  Even today, this sixth tirumozhi is being sung in all the vedic weddings during the time called “paccai pUSUdal”.  It is a belief that due to the conducting of this routine, the newly wedded couple’s lives will for ever remain sweet. Godai herself has declared that those chant this tirumozhi will beget children with brahma g~nAnam and sAtvIka guNam.

In spite of Godai’s constant pleas to call her kaNNan, the cuckoo totally ignores her.  Godai’s sorrow increases beyond limits. kaNNan now feels sorry for her plight and out of compassion, bestows a pleasant dream on Godai, who is sleeping after crying for a long time.  In this divine dream, He shows her the scenes happening to them in the wedding between Him and Godai.  ANDAL in her ecstasy, describes her dream to her friends and thus emerges the sixth tirumozhi.

The wedding scenes that ANDAL describes are full of beauty.

 1. The stages of para bhakti, para j~nAna, and param bhakti:

ANDAL is at the stage where she cannot continue to live without Him.  It is not that He does not know this.  But still He is not coming.  Why not?

SrI PVP explains that BhagavAn leads the jIva through stages of para-bhakti, para-j~nAna, and parama bhakti, and then only unites the jIvAtmA with Him- compares this to applying the dye to a white cloth in several steps and gradually.

2. The blessing of svapna anubhavam for ANDAL:

In the case of ANDAL, perumAL does not come, and this tortures her to the point that she won’t be able to keep living.  Her suffering is so intense that now if BhagavAn presents Himself to her in a hurry she may not be able to bear the shock of this also.  So He decides to appear in her dream and give an anubhavam (namely that of marrying Him) that will make her happy and make her live for a while, so that He can take her to His abode at the appropriate time.

3. ANDAL’s experiences:

Godai will not just listen to someone’s consoling words and live; so, emperumAn blesses her with the svapna anubhavam instead.

Thus, this tirumozhi talks about the dream anubhavam that He gave her.

4. ANDAL’s svapna anubhavam vs. others’ svapna anubhavam:

In the case of ordinary mortals, bhagavAn gives some dream experiences based on their karma so that they can have this experience as a reward of their karma-s. The svapna anubhavam of ANDAL is not in this category viz,. karma phala.  In her case, since she wishes to have the anubhavam of BhagavAn Himself, He gives her an anubhavam in the dream that is complete in every sense including all the steps involved in their marriage, and ANDAL in turn rejoices in narrating this experience to her friends and continues to be alive in the hopes of this dream.  He appears in a dream, according to His wish.

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They have the splendid fragrance of the Vedaas . They are linked by the five parts of marriage that are celebrated by Rg Vedam . Our purvAs have described succinctly those five parts this way .

vAg dhAnam cha pradhAnam cha varaNam paaNi peetanam I

sapthapaatheethi panchAnghO VivAha: parikeerthitha: II

The sampradhAyic wedding according to the above slOkA has the following five angAs (parts ) : (1) Vaag DhAnam  (2) KanyAdhAnam  (3) Vara PrEkshaNam  (4) PaaNigrahaNam and (5) saptha Padhi .

Vaag dhAnam as a prelude to KanyAVaraNam

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This first angam deals with the request for the hand of the bride by elders on behalf of the Brahma Chari , who wants to enter GrahasthAsramam at the end of his Adhyaynam Of the Veda’s under a proper guru .The BrahmachAri requests the intercession of elders and asks them to approach the father of the girl to grant his wish to marry his daughter to follow the vedic way.

Sri RanganAthA as the ” Brahmachari ” seeking the hand of GOdhA piratti did some thing special . He appeared in the dream of PeriyAzhwAr , the father of GodhA PirAtti

and suggested : ” Umathu putthiri Godhaiyai kondu yem ThirumuRRatthE vaareer . AvaLakku tahuthiyAha nAmE  pANigrahaNam paNNUhiROm ” ( Please bring your daughter , GodhA , to our court . We will marry Her in a superb manner befitting Her special status ) .

Next thing , Sri RanganAthA did was to command His servants at Srirangam thru a dream and told them : ” namm chatra chAmara taalavrunthAthi parijana paricchEthangalOdE Sri VilliputthUrERp pOy ANDALai azhaitthukondu vArungOL “( please go to Sri VilliputthUr and bring ANDAL here with all of the Koil maryaadahis : My Umbrella , Fans ,Percussion Instruments , naathasvaram music and my liveried servants ) .

The Koil sippandhis( purOhithAs and others ) went to Sri VilliputthUr with all the insignias  of Sri RanganAthA for requesting the hand of ANDAL for their Lord . The Veda manthram that Sri RanganAthA recited and today’s BrahmachAris recite is as follows :

pra sugmanthA dhiyasAsanasya SakshaNi

varEbhir varAgum abhishu prseedhatha: I

asmAkamindhra ubhayam jujOshathi

yath sOmyasyAndhasO BhuBOdhathi II

( Meaning) : O Elders ! please proceed with haste to the house of the father of the Kannikai and have my interests in your minds ! Please arrive there with a clear mind and sense of purpose about your mission . Please tell the father that Indran is waiting to partake off the Soma rasam of the Soma Yaagam that we plan to perform as husband and wife and wishes us well to engage in such pious activities . Please accomplish your mission on my behalf and return safe and successful !

Lord RanganAthA commands with the two Demi Gods , AryamA and Bhagan to make the path of the elders going to PeriyAzhwAr’s house free from thorns and sharp stones . He asked them to unite Him with His dear love , ANDAL in the Vedic way resonant with harmony and happiness .

The Veda manthram housing such thoughts is as follows :

anruksharA rujava:santhu panthA

yEbhi: sakAyO yanthi nO varEyam I

samaryamaa sam BhagO nO nineeyAthsam

jAspathyam suyamamasthu dEvA :II

(Meaning) : O Celestial ones ! May the path that our messengers travel to reach the house of the bride’s father , be smooth and straight . May the Lord of cosmic order ( aryamA ) and gracious Lord ( Bhaga ) conduct us , and may  the union of wife and husband be easily accomplished .

PeriyAzhwAr’s response : KanyA varaNam

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PeriyAzhwAr responded positively to the request of the Lord sent through His kainkarya bharAs (elders) and declared : DhanyOsmi ( Blessed am I ) . He poured forth words in joy about his sowbhAgyam to realize the Lord as his son-in-law :

” ThribhuvanAthe esvarAya , AkilAntakOti BrahmAnda NaayakAya , TattvA theethAya

Sakala nishkaLa svarUpAya , Sura surAr chitha – paadha padhma yugaLAya , akilOnnatha pavithrAya , Ardhra-thrANa  pArA yaNAya , paravyUha vibha antharyAm-archA-svarUpiNE , Chandra pushakaraNi thata-sthithAya , SharaNAgatha santhrANa tathparAya , SRI RANGANAATHAAYA mama kanyA dhattham ” .

( Meaning ) : To the Lord of the three worlds , to the Master of the entire universes and its crores of beings , to the one beyond all TattvAs , to the one of the form totally free from any blemish , to the One , whose pair of lotus feet are worshipped by the DevAs and the asurAs alike , to the supreme principle , which is the most sacred among the sacred  , to the One supreme being which has taken the vow to come to the rescue of the distressed , to the one who is of the pentad forms (viz., ) Para , VyUha , Vibhava , ArchA and antharyAmi , to the One who resides on the banks of Chandra PushkaraNi , the one whose vratham is to protect those , who seek refuge under His feet , to that Sri RanganAthA , my daughter ANDAL Is betrothed .

Sri RanganAthA’s joy over the good news

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When the koil servants returned to Srirangam  and informed the Lord that His request was accepted by PeriyAzhwAr , the Lord was delighted . He rushed to SrivilliputthUr surrounded by thousands of His elephants and His other retinue . There at the city gates , He found PeriyAzhwAr standing to greet Him with pUrNakumbham along with the citizens of Sri VilliputthUr .

ANDAL described this joyous scene to Her dear friend :

In the very first pASuram of  “vAraNam Ayiram”, Godai starts describing beautifully to her friend, the divine dream that she just had before waking up.

“Oh my dear sakhi! I had this wonderful dream; I saw Narayana (SrI Ranganatha), surrounded by thousands of elephants, going around  SrI villiputtUr.  My father,  periyAzhwAr, 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.”

vAraNam Ayiram SUzha valam Seidu

 nAraNan nambi naDakkinRAn enRedir

pUraNa poRkuDam vaittup puRam e~ngum

 tOraNam nAttak kanAk kaNdEN tOzhi nAn

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:  Nanda Gopa has only cows and calves; where do the elephants come from?  SrI PVP explains that vasudeva had these elephants as part of his army to defend against enemies –

ANDAL herself says in tiuppAvai 18 “unDu maDakkaLiRRan”. Since nandagopan and vasudevan were close friends, they shared each other’s wealth very freely.

vAraNam Ayiram: why a thousand elephants? As periyAzhwAr said in 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.

valam Seydu:  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 Narayana (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 vAraNa-s.  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.

Godai continues describing the next scene in her dream:

“Tomorrow is the day that has been fixed for the wedding; I saw a handsome young youth, who goes by the names Narasihman, MAdhavan & GOvindan, enter the wedding dais, decorated with betel-nut trees, in order to participate in the niSchi-tatArtha (finalization of the wedding between bride and groom) ceremony.”

nALai vaduvai maNam enRu nAL iTTu

 pALai kamugu pariSuDaip pandanR kIzh

kOLari mAdhavan gOvindan enbAn Or

 kALai pugudak kanAk kaNdEn tOzhi! nAn

nALai vaduvai maNam enRu nAL iTTu: What is the reason why the wedding is tomorrow and not today or 4 days later?  SrI PVP’s aruLicceyal is that if it is today, Godai will become too excited with happiness, and like a thirsty person who drinks water very fast and chokes and dies in the process, she cannot hold the excitement.  If it is a few days later, it is too long a wait for her, and she cannot stand it either.  Hence the day is fixed for tomorrow.

kOLari:   like the majestic lion. His majestic walk displays His pride in being the pathi of SrI. ” apramEyam hi tattEja:  Since ANDAL belongs to emperumAn, His pride of this fact shows in His walk like a kOLari when He is walking towards the wedding dais.

mAdhavan:  mAyAh dhavah mAdhavah – being Lakshmi pathi & Jagat pathi, He is walking as if displaying His great taste.

gOvindan:   having extreme soulabhyam as to treat cattle and Ayars with great love at their level.  SrI PVP remarks that  it is as if He is subdued and is treating everyone with the utmost respect and equality here in order to ward off any obstruction to the wedding from anyone.   He is trying to be pleasant to all  and moves with them without any reservation.

kALai:  Even in the absence of all the above greatness, the very fact that He is an extremely attractive young man with great soundaryam.   Godai’s friends, relatives and parents cannot say “the bridegroom is not the right match for the bride”.

ANDAL continues with the next part of her dream to her friend.

” Indra and the other devAs gather together and make the proposal to offer me in marriage to Lord ra~nganAtha.  Then the sambandhi-s converse with each other to agree on all arrangements.  Then durgA, kri*shNa’s sister, helps me wear the kURaip puDavai (the sari worn at wedding time) and I am also decorated with exquisitely smelling flower garland”.

indhiran uLLitta * dhEvar kuzh..Am ellAm *

vandhiru endhennai * magaL pEsi… mandhiriththu **

mandhirak kOdiu duththi ma Na mAlai *

andhari sUttakka*nAk kaNdEn thOzhI! nAn                ||3||

indiran uLLITTA: SrI PVP comments that indra and all the other  deva-s came to this earth to arrange ANDAL’s marriage to kr*shNa, because SrI kr*shNAvatAra has aspects of both ISvaratvam and mAnushatvam.  In fact, nammAzhvAr describes indra’s appearance even at the time of kr*shNa’s birth – indiran tAnum ezhiluDaik kiNkiNi tanduvanAi ninRAn tAlElO (reference from SrI T.S. rAjagopAlan).  Unlike this, in rAmA incarnation, rAma had decided to present Himself as a “mere human”) – rAma tells the dEvas that He considers Himself a human and as daSaratha’s son -“AtmAnam manusham manyE” – rAmAyaNam yuddha kANdaM 120-11.  So indra avoided appearing before SrI rAma in Sarabhanga ASramam

dEvar kuzhAm ellAm vandu irundu:  In spite of their natural way of not touching the ground with their feet, they came and stood determined that they will not leave till the marriage is conducted.

mandiruttu: The reference here is to the secret discussions that go on behind the scenes in a marriage arrangement.  Note that ANDAL’s dream is very detailed in all finer aspects of a marriage.

mandirak kODi uDutti:  pArvati, nArAyaNa’s sister, decorated ANDAL with the wedding sari right away because she wanted to ward off any delay as implied by the famous saying that good deeds are wrought with many obstacles -SreyAmsi bahu-vighnAni bhavanti.

mandirak-kODi refers to the wedding sari santified by the chanting of the vedic mantras

antari – The reference here is to durgA “who disappeared in the sky” – who became “antardhAna” in antara or antariksha – and declared to kamsa that he will be slain by devaki’s eight son.  Because she was born to yasoda, she is the sister of kr*shNa and thus the sister-in-law (nAttanAr) for ANDAL.

antari SUTTa: To godA, kr*shNa’s sister’s sparSam (touch) itself is sweet, next to His own sparSam.  She proudly declares to her tOzhi: “I got to wear the garland that His sister helped me wear by touching me.”

In koushIdakI 1-34, there is a description of how a mukta jIva is decorated by five hundred beautiful damsels in preparation for this mukta jIva’s journey to SrIvaikunTham –

tam pa~ncaSatAnyapsarasAm pratidhAvanti … tam brahmAl ankAreNa ala~nkurvanti –  “when the mukta purushan goes to heaven, five hundred beautiful women rush to him; hundred of them take garlands in their hands, hundred of them carry eyetex with them; hundred of them carry good-smelling powder, hundred of them take clothes with them and dress the mukta jIva with divine alankAram.

In the same way, ANDAL gets decorated by durgai.

 “Several brAhmaNa SrEshTha-s bring holy waters from all the four directions; brahma, periyAzhwAr and the sapta-rishis and vedic scholars take the tIrtham that has been purified with udakaSAnti mantrams and sprinkle it on my head and chant ASIrvAdam for me.   I  see Lord ranganAtha, who stands like a sarvA~nga sundara, decorated with colorful garland.  I saw in my dream, my hand and His hand being tied together with ka~nkaNam.”

nARRiSai tIrtham koNarndu nani nalgi

 pArppanac ciTTargaL pallAr eDuttEttip

pUppunaik kaNNip punidanODu en tannaik

 kAppu nAN kaTTak kanAk kaNDEn tozhi! nAn    ||4||

nARRiSai tIrtham koNarndu:  Just as the vanara-s brought water from the four oceans for SrI rAma’s pattAbhishekam ..ANDAL in her dream sees that the holy waters are being brought for her marriage from all four directions.

nani nalgi:  This refers to the holy waters being sprinkled well.  SAstra-s say that if holy water is sprinkled well, it will bring long life; so, the elders do tIrtha prOkshaNam on Godai.

pArppanac-ciTTargal – The reference here is not just to brAhmins, but the best among them, who have learned well the veda-s, and who are well respected by all.

pUp-punai kaNNip-puniDan:   SrI PVP’s anubhavam here is wonderful.  Unlike Godai who is all dressed up with ornaments, kaNNan is wearing a single garland after His bath,  and is coming for the vedic ceremonies wearing a pavitram in His finger;  He is walking very carefully,  holding His dress to make sure it does not come in contact with anybody.   He even declares to everyone around “Don’t come near me and touch me”, and with great Acharam, comes to Godai with extreme purity.  Why does kaNNan observe this much Acharam? He thinks if Acharam is not observed, periyAzhwAr might not give his daughter in marriage to Him.

ennaik kAppu nAN kaTTa – Even though ANDAL really wants to have the sparSam from kaNNan, and even though this has not materialized, she is happy that she had the touch of the purohita who had contact with kaNNan when he tied the ka~nkaNam for kaNNan.

 “In my dream I saw many beautiful young girls, carrying mangaLa dIpam-s which shine like the bright Sun and with golden kalaSams.  They were welcoming mathurai mannan (kaNNan) who was walking with His sacred sandals on with the majesty and firmness that made the earth shake.  ”

kadiroLi dIpam kalaSamuDan Endi

 SaDiriLa ma~ngaiyar tAm vandu edir koLLa

mathuraiyAr mannan aDi nilai toTTu e~ngum

 adirap pugudak kanAk kaNdEn tozhi! nAn                 ||5||

kadiroLi dIpam kalaSamuDan Endi:  The ma~ngala dIpa-s are compared to the Sun because the Sun never loses its brilliance, and so also the ma~ngala dIpam is such that it will not lose its brightness and thus in any way infer any inauspicious omen.  So also the reference to golden kalaSams suggests that they will never tarnish.

Sadir iLa ma~ngaiyar:  ANDAL’s reference to the beautiful young damsels welcoming kaNNan in this world is compared to the way the beautiful young damsels welcome the mukta jIva-s to SrIvaikunTham .   Just like a muktAtmA is welcomed in paramapadam, emperumAn is given a grand welcome on earth.

mathuuraiyAr mannan:  mathurai has a special significance in that He left paramapadam to come and take over kingship here. ANDAL herself likes to call Him “mannu vaDa mathurai maindanai” (tiruppAvai – 5).  Here, SrI PVP narrates a story:

a SrI vaishNava installed a kr*shNa vigraham and was wondering what should be the name of this perumAL.   perumAL came to him in his dream and said:  Don’t call me “aduvE, iduvE” (this and that); call me mathurai mannan”.

aDi nilai toTTu: BhagavAn is coming with His sacred sandals as He walks to the wedding hall.  An alternate interpretation that kr*shNa removes His sandals as He approaches the wedding hall, and walks majestically such that the earth vibrates.

e~gum adirap puguda: why is He walking making a noise that kind of shakes the bhUmi? why the earth shook when BhagavAn came to mahAbali during the vAmana incarnation (referring to a slokam in vishNudharmam).  BhaTTar explained that BhagavAn was very perturbed when He came to receive something from bali, since His Nature was only to give and never to receive anything.  If He was so perturbed just to ask for some land, it is no wonder that He is very perturbed and walks such that the whole earth is shaking when He comes to ask for ANDAL.

Another anubhavam for “adirap pugundu”.  He points out that the earth was shaking because kr*shNa was walking with great excitement and happiness to get ANDAL.

“MangaLa vAdyams were being played;  conches were being blown;  under the canopy that was decorated with low-lying pearl strands, madhuSudanan took my right hand into His and did pANigrahaNam; Oh dear sakhi! I saw this in my dream next.”

maththaLam kottava * ri shangkam ninRUdha *

muththu daith thAmam * niRai thAzhndha pandhaR kIzh **

maiththunan nambi.. * madhusUdhan vandhu…*

ennai kaith thalam pathaka *nAk kaNdEn thOzhI! nAn           ||6||

mattaLam koTTa variSangam ninRu Uda: SrI PVP raises the rhetorical question: “why didn’t ANDAL say that He did pANigraham to the accompaniment of vedic chantings, and instead says that maTTaLam and conch are being played?  This sounds like a wedding where there are no veda mantra-s”.   SrI PVP’s anubhavam is that may be kaNNan is marrying Godai even before before He learned vEdam from SAntIpini mahA r*shi.  KaNNan lived in tiruvAyppADi for a while before going to SAntIpini to do gurukula vAsam and learn vEda-s.  Thus it makes perfect sense that ANDAL who imagines herself as an AyarpADi girl,  sees kaNNan marrying here before He does gurukulam and learns veda etc.

maittunan nambi: (aunt’s son);  just as nappinai is related to kaNNan (nappinai is said to be the daughter of yasodai’s brother), ANDAL wishes to think of herself as an AyarpADi girl who is related to Him.

madhuSudan:  He destroyed the demon, madhu (with his associate kaitabha), who took something that belonged to Him (the vedas).  ANDAL chooses this name here to suggest that just like that, if anyone else claims any relationship with Godai or in any other way lays claim for her, He will destroy him.

vandu ennaik kaittalam paRRak: she is the daughter of peiryAzhwAr, whose thought is: “I am His property; so, it is only proper that He comes to get me”; so, she says: “He came and took my hand”.

kaittalam paRRa:  A reference similar to the above is found in SrImad rAmAyaNam – (yuddha kANDam 119-16).   pIditah here means that He “took my hand and held it tightly”.  SrI embAr was asked by some as to why the word “pIDita:” was used instead of an alternate word such as “pANigrahanam”; He replied: “With the tight holding of the hand, He is showing her that she absolutely belong only to Him.  This is conveyed by nammAzhvAr –  ‘ankaNNan uNDa en AruyirkkOdidu’ (tiruvAimozhi 9-6-6) – When He owns something, He absolutely owns it, and what is left is nothing.”

“Professional vaidikA-s chanting the good veda-s and reciting the appropriate mantra-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.”

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     ||7||

Extract from SrImAn SadagOpan’s write-up on saptapati mantrams and their meanings :

With each of the seven steps, a particular mantram is recited. Let us examine these mantrams:

First Step : “EkamishE vishNus tvA-NvEtu” –  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 isvaryams 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 plesant

Seventh Step : This is the last of the seven steps . The prayer is : “saptas saptabhyO hOtrAbhyO vishNus tvANvEtu” –  The Lord said : “aNi putuvai paimkamala taNteriyal bhattar pirAn gOdE! When you recited the seventh mantra and took the seventh step , I , Mahan 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 periyAzhwAr 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 periyAzhwAr ( garuDan ) on one pITam at SrI villiputtUr.

The saptapati mantrams end with “sakhA sapta padA bhava” (Be a friend with these 7 steps) and “sakhAyou sapta padA bhabhUva” (We both are friends now after these 7 steps).

nalla maRai Odi:  ANDAL is referring to  “good” veda-s.  Is there a difference in vedam called good vedam and bad vedam?  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 majesty of a  elephant (madha 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 pagal  he-elephant came majestically and took the hand of the pagal she-elephant, which is now owned by the he-elephant.

tI valam Seyya – The reference here is to the sapta-padhi 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.

Godai describes the next part of her dream to her friend:

“Narayana, who is our protector for us in this birth and all the forthcoming births, and who is filled with kalyANa guNa-s, held my right foot with His red-hued tiruk-kai and placed it on the ammi (stone).”

immaikkum EzhEzh piRavikkum paRRAvAn

 nammai uDaiyavan Narayana nambi

SemmaiyuDaiya tirukkaiyAl tAL paRRi

 ammi midikka kanAk kaNDEn tozhI! nAn                   ||8||

ANDAL declared in tiruppAvai “ethaikkum EzhEzh piRavikkum un tannODu uRROmE Avom unakkE nAm At SeyvOm maRRai nam kAma~ngaL mARRElorempAvAi”, thus describing the SaraNAgati tattvam. In this tirumozhi, she declares the same in a different form: “emperumAn is having a permanent, indestructible relation with us in this birth and the next and in all His avatArams”.  In tiruppAvai ANDAL declares – kuRai vonnu millAda govindA! un tannODu uRavEl namakku i~ngu ozhikka ozhiyAdu”.  Here she does mangalASasanam to Him saying “ithaikkum EzhEzh piRavikkum paRRAvAn, nammai uDaiyavan Narayana nambi”.

immaikkum EzhEzh piRavikkum paRRAvAn: In the previous pASuram, Godai had said that because of their holding hands in front of agni as the witness, they cannot part with each other.  Here she says: “even if the witness agni tries to make us leave each other, He will not let go ever, in this birth and all future births”.

EzhEzh piRavikkum:  There is no void in our lives, no matter how many times we will be born, as long as we get to enjoy Him.  When yAgams are done for the sake of making it rain etc, the benefit would be that it will give the right fruit only once.  But this not the case with Him.  It is enough for us to hold on to Him once as upAyam; that anubhavam will stick to us for as long as time exists.  nammAzhwAr shows us this sentiment in tiruvAimozhi 9-1-7 “kuRRamil SIr kaRRu vaigal vAzhdal kaNDIr

guNamE”.

nammai uDaiyavan:  He is our sarva-svAmi; we belong to Him, not to our own selves. Here  “coreNa Atma apahAriNA” (bhAratam udhyoga parva 42-35) – this AtmA belongs to bhagavAn; whoever thinks it belongs to himself, is really stealing the AtmA.  There is no greater thievery and sin than this.

nambi – refers to He who is full of unlimited kalyANa guNa-s.  This is the equivalent of akhila heya pratya nIka, asankhyeya kalyANa guNa ganuagha: mahAr Navam.

SemmaiyuDaiya tirukkaiyAl tAL paRRi: Semmai here refers to two attributes of His tiruk-kai.  One is the beautiful red color of His palms.   The other is His ASrita pAratantriyam – His becoming subservient to those who seek refuge in Him – or His great desire to hold His bhaktas’ feet, ‘Semmai”.

During weddings, normally, the bridegroom’s relatives will say “don’t touch the bride’s foot”. The bride’s relatives will say “you will have to hold her foot”; when the two sides are arguing like this, He came on His own and held Godai’s foot with great desire. Even though He is our svAmi, we don’t have  interest in resorting to His Feet; unlike us, He is very eager to hold the feet of those who resort to Him.  This is what is conveyed by the word “Semmai”.  Even though He tells us “mAm ekam SaraNam vraja”, which means we should hold His Feet and surrender to Him, in truth when we go and seek His Feet, it is He who holds our feet with great zeal.

ammi midikka:   This is the aSma ArohaNam ceremony –  stepping over the stone – ammi midittal.  The bridegroom says to the bride – “Be strong in your loyalty to me, like this stone” – “aSmEva tvam sthirA bhava”.   Anubhavam is that as He is trying to place Godai’s foot on the stone, she is worried about His foot touching the stone by accident.  Why?  Because, that stone might turn into a woman like ahalyai!

tozhI nAn – Godai tells her sakhi:  Previously I have heard about His ASrita pAratantriyam from you;  now I have myself experienced it.

“My brothers who have attractive eye brows that look like the bent bow ignite the agni by adding samits and make me stand before the agni.  They place my hands on top of the hands of kaNNan (who has a majestic face like the lion’s) and put rice puffs (pori) in the agni and help me do the hOmam. I saw this poriyiDal vaibhavam in my dream, oh sakhi!”

variSilai vAL mugattu en aimAr tAm vandiTTu

 erimugam pArittu ennai munnE niRutti

ari mukan accutan kai mEl en kai vaittu

 pori mugam taTTa kanAk kaNDEn tOzhI! nAn                        ||9||

This ceremony is called lAja hOmam.  The bride does the lAja hOmam praying that her husband should live for ever with sarva mangaLams. When the lAja hOmam is done, the wife keeps her two hands together; her brothers will place the rice puffs in her hands; the husband will place ghee on the rice puffs and saying the lAja hOma mantram,  pour the puffs into the fire, joining hands  with the wife’s hands.  The husband tells agni: ” my wife is doing this lAja hOmam, praying for a long life for me.”

variSilai vAL mugattu en aimAr:  The expression on the face of Godai’s brothers is indicative of the pride that they are the only ones who have the right to place the pori on the couple’s hands for the lAja hOmam; thus, they come with shining faces and brows that are raised like bows.

ennai munnE nirutti: Godai is so shy that he hesitates to come and stand in the front; her brothers have to persuade her to do so.

ari mukhan: Anubhavam is that kaNNan is keeping a serious face just so His brothers-in-law will not start indulging in jokes about Him and make everyone laugh, but instead will keep away from Him.

acyutan: na cyutah iti acyutah – One who will never forsake His devotees.  Anubhavam is that even after the pori has been placed in the fire and the brothers have removed their hands, acyutan is not letting go of Godai’s hands. This indicates to Godai that He will never let go of her.

“I dreamt that a lot of ku~nkumam and sandalwood were applied on our bodies, and kaNNan and I were placed on top of the majestic elephant and taken in procession along the streets which had been decorated in celebration of our wedding, and then were given the holy bath with the sacred waters, oh sakhi!”

ku~nkumam appi kuLir Sandam maTTittu

 ma~ngala vIdi valam Seidu maNa nIr

a~ngu avanODum uDan SenRu a~ngu Anai mEl

ma~najam ATTak kanAk kaNDEn tOzhi! nAn              ||10||

ku~nkumam appi kuLir Sandam maTTittu:  Even though (in pASuram 4) kaNNan started off wearing a simple garland during rakshA bandhanam, this pASuram has been followed by subsequent pASurams which describe the marriage ceremony.   Both kaNNan and ANDAL must have worn a lot of garlands and other decorations during the wedding; with all that heavy dressing, they were sitting in front of the agni and their soft tirumEni-s would have become very hot. So, in order to cool their tirumeni-s,  decorations are removed and cool ku~nkumam and sandalwood paste are applied all over the tirumeni-s, and then the ma~ngala snAnam is given.

Anai mEl:  When He came to marry her, He came with a thousand friends on thousand elephants (“vAraNam Ayiram Suzha valam SeyDu”); now, after the marriage, Godai gets to accompany Him on the elephant in a procession.

” Godai, the tirumagaL of vEyar pugazh villiputtUr kOn periyAzhwAr, has sung this  tirumozhi with ten pASurams in poetic tamizh, describing her divine dream about Ayar kulak kaNNan wedding her. Whosoever is able to learn and chant these pASurams, will be blessed with good progeny and prosperous lives with them.”

AyanukkAgat tAn kaNDa kanAvinai

 vEyar pugazh villiputtUr kOn kodai Sol

tUya tamizh mAlai Iraindum vallavar

 vAyu nan makkaLaip peRRu magizhvarE        ||11||

AyanukkAga – Only for kaNNan the Ayar kulattan, and for no one else.   In tiruppAvai, we have “unakkE nAm At-SeivOm – 29.  It is for that paramAtmA who will not bear to be separated from His devotee even for a moment .

vEyar pugazh – These pASuram-s are sung by none other than the daughter of the famed periAzhvAr who is known to speak the truth and praised as such as by the vedic brAhamaNa-s of villiputtUr.  (So the benefits accruing from chanting these pASuram-s as stated by ANDAL are guaranteed).

tUya tamizh mAlai: This was not sung like poems that are created with great effort by planning the construction of words, forming and joining words together for poetic effect, etc. This is the spontaneous outpouring of the result of the great, wonderful anubhavam that ANDAL had in her dream, an anubhavam that she enjoyed so much.

vAyu nan makkaLaip peRRu magizhvarE: If girls in marriable age chant this pASuram,  they will be blessed with husbands who are handsome like kaNNan.  If married women and men chant this pASuram, they will be blessed with children who are bhaktas like ANDAL.  periyAzhwAr also offered a similar blessing in 1-7-11 periyAzhwAr tirumozhi – “mAyan maNi vaNNan tAL paNiyum makkaLaip peRuvargaLE”.

Iraindum – The first five of the ten pASuram-s deal with the experiences before the pANigrahaNam, and the later five are experiences after the pANigrahaNam.

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About Divine Light

A closer look at any activity will reveal the truth that one's own contribution to it is negligible compared to the things provided by nature and the role of the unseen hand in facilitating it.
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