Thirupavai 7


The sleep of the gopikas are different from ours. We are sleeping out of ignorance of God. Sleep means being ignorance of the surroundings. We are ignorant of our swarupam of being ‘shesha’ to God. Gopis are sleeping out of knowledge of their swarupa. They are sleeping out of ignorance of the material pleasures and knowledge of their relationship with Krishna.

या निशा सर्वभूतानां तस्यां जागर्ति संयमी।

यस्यां जाग्रति भूतानि सा निशा पश्यतो मुनेः।।2.69।।

That which is night to all beings, in that the self-controlled man is awake; when all beings are awake, that is night for the Muni (sage) who sees.

People who are following karma, gyAna, or bhakti yOgas to reach srI vaikuntam have to be very careful (so, they are worried) to make sure that they are following all the procedures for the yOgas properly. If they are not followed properly, then they would have to take another birth till they complete properly before they could reach mOksham. But in the case of saraNagatAs (those who have done samAsrayaNam) they have left all the efforts to Narayana himself (through their AchAryan) to take care of getting them to mOksham, so they don’t have any worries whatsoever because they are assured of mOksham – so they sleep with their hands on their chest (no worries).

Out of countless Gopis, 10 Gopis are asleep and didn’t join the goshthi. It’s symbolic and has lot of hidden meanings behind the beautiful story. Had it been a simple story, people would have forgotten it long ago. But, the Acharyas have understood it as quint essence of entire Vedic literature. Ramanuja swami used to chant only Thirupavai while taking alms from 10 doors every day. He used to be so much engrossed in the inner meanings of the prabandham that he came to be known as “Thirupavai Jeeyar”. Out of causeless mercy, our mother Goda gave us the essence of Vedas in form of enjoyable stories.

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kīsu kīsenṛu engum ānaiccāttan | kalandu

pēcina pēccaravam kēṭṭilaiyo? pēy peṇṇe! |

kācum piṛappum kalakalapak kaipērttu |

vāca naṛung kuzhal āycciyar | mattināl

ōsai paḍutta tayir aravam kēṭṭilaiyo?

nāyaka peṇpiḷḷāy! nārāyaṇan mūrtti |

kēśavanai pāḍuvum nī kēṭṭē kiḍattiyō?

tēcam uḍaiyāy! tiravēlōr empāvāy ||


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Andal doesn’t get satisfied with waking up just one gopi but wants each and every gopi in thiruayppadi to join their divine experience and hence knocks at each one’s door.  A perfect devotee wants everyone to enjoy the supreme Lord equally as He is the Father of all.  Vedas declare, “Ekaswaadu na bhunjeeta”. A delicious object shouldn’t be enjoyed alone.

Like grandfather loves his grandchild more than his own child; Bhagwaan also loves the devotee of his devotees, more than his own devotee. Thus, we should serve the devotees of devotee of devotee of god. The more we get down, the more loved we are by Bhagwan.

In this pAsurm, pEi pEnnE refers to ‘pEyAzhwAr‘. Pey Azhwar was found in the lily flower in the well of the Adi Kesava Perumal Temple in Mylapore. Here he sung famous “Tirukanden pasuram” (I found the glorious, golden form of the Lord). This pasuram refers to “Kulashekhar azhwar” too. He has sung a lot about glory of Narayan namam.


Gopika: Bhranta Balika, Deluded girl, pey penne

Divya Desam: Mylapore


 kīsu kīsenṛu engum ānaiccāttan:

kīsu kīsenru – screeching of the birds in chorus;

engum– in all directions;

 ānaiccāttan – king-crows (otherwise called valiyan or bharatwaja pakshi);


Screeching of the birds/ bharadwaja pakshi in chorus (which sounds like a baby’s sweet talk) in the morning hours.

Ānaiccāttan also refers to Krishna who killed one Yaanai (elephant KuvAlayapeetam) and protected another (GajEndhra).

Goda: Oh!! are you still sleeping?

Deluded girl: is it dawn already? Any proof?

Goda: don’t you hear the bharatwaj pakshi’s sound.

Deluded girl: what if just one bird has waken up and that too probably because of the noise you make?

Goda: not only one but we are able to hear the sound of birds talking amongst themselves everywhere (engum).



Inner Meanings:

It is like enquiring when even the birds are worried to leave their spouses and stay separated how could you sleep while separated from Kṛṣṇa?

Birds talking among themselves represents satsangam. All the bhagwatas are having satsangam, how can you enjoy bhagwada-anubhavam alone and not join us?

मच्चित्ता मद्गतप्राणा बोधयन्तः परस्परम्।

कथयन्तश्च मां नित्यं तुष्यन्ति च रमन्ति च।।10.9।।

With minds fixed on Me, with lives dedicated to Me, enlightening each other, and always speaking of Me, they derive satisfaction and rejoice.

Bhagwatas spend their time talking about kalyaan gunas and leela of Bhagwaan.

भाग्योदयेन बहुजन्म समर्जितेन। सत्संगमम् च लभते पुरुषो यदा वै।

अज्ञान हेतुकृत मोह मदान्धकारनाशं विधाय हि तदो दयते विवेक । (भागवत-माहात्म्यम् 2.76).

अर्थ: एक जन्म का नही अनन्त जन्मों के भाग्य जब उदय होते है तो हो सत्संग कथा और संतो के प्रवचन सुनने इच्छा हो पाती हो । ये कृपा गुरु और गोविन्द की होती है। जो हमें ऐसे बचन सुनाने और सुनने का मोका मिलता है

जब द्रवहिं दीन दयाल राघव साधू-संगत पाईये| (मानस)



Pesina pecharavam kettilaiyo ? Pey pennne !

pēcina – talk among themselves;

 pēccaravam – sound of the talk;

 kēṭṭilaiyo?   didn’t (you) hear it?

pēy peṇṇe – deluded girl (well aware of devotion but has forgotten the same); (hey bhrant baalike)


Birds go out collecting food whole day and return in evening. In morning, they are talking in pain of forthcoming separation.  Are you not able to hear it? Just like birds are talking in pain of separation, don’t feel separation from kanna? When even the birds are worried to leave their spouses and stay separated how could you sleep while separated from Kṛṣṇa? Get up O Gopi! Lets go to meet kanna.


Inner Meaning:

Divya Dampati talking to each other about samsaar bandhan of their kids and planning to get them out of it. ‘pēy peṇṇe’ is Bhagwat bhakta who is deeply lost in Bhagavad-anubhavam and as a result look like a deluded one! Such is the ‘Nirhaituki-kripa’ of Narayana.

If a bhAghavata were to go somewhere from the group of devotees, then these people would talk to each other to reduce their angst about that separation, until that bhAghavata joins back; have you not heard them talking to each other?


Kasum pirappum kalakalappa kai perthu, Vasa narunguzhal

kācum – a type of ornament worn specially by cowherd people (achchuthAli);

 piṛappum – another ornament mulaithAli;

kalakalappa: gOpikAs are making noise together when they are churning curd using the churning rods.

 kaipērttu– move their hands back and forth;

vāca naṛung kuzhal – with extremely fragrant hairlocks;

Everyone in Gokula wake up early. They all are churningtogether. Because of exhaustion, their hair locks get undone and that sends sweet fragrance to fill everywhere. The curd in thiruayppadi is so thick that it has to be churned with difficulty and great effort and hence even the hairlocks open up spreading the fragrance everywhere. Their bangles are making sound.

The hands of Gopis of Gokula are bedecked with bangles and other jewellery. They are singing loudly while churning.  They are singing divine names of kanna while churning. Can’t u hear them? Kulasekhar azhwar prostates before the tongue and requests it to drink the names of narayana. The Gopis of Gokula were always singing and immersed in the names of Narayana.


Inner meaning:

Ashtakshari, dvayam and charama shloka (which we get from our AchArya during samAshrayaNam) are heard together, and people are realizing their nature of being the properties of Mukunda. The fragrance of rahsya-mantras is making the environment divine. 


aaychiyar matthinal, Osi paduttha th thayir-aravam kettilaiyo?

āycciyar – the cowherd matrons;

mattināl – with the butter churner;

 ōsai paḍutta – making sound;

tayir aravam – the sound of the curd;

 kēṭṭilaiyo?  – Are (you) not able to hear?


The gopis wore bangles, mangalsutra and other ornaments. Milking is easy task as udders of cows are overflowing with milk but churning them is the job of great muscle power. So much butter is contained in the milk that they had to use power to churn the milk. When gopis are churning the milk, their body used to move and their ornaments make sound.

Other than bangles, the curd churning is also making sound.



Vyas and Acharyas have churned the fragrant Vedas with smrities and Up-Brahmanas and declare Partantriyam and Sheshatvam of Jeevatma. Knowing all this, the chetanas are singing glory of Narayana. Can’t you hear this?


Nayaga pennppillaiy ! Narayanan Murthy

nāyaka peṇpiḷḷāy! –  oh! The Leader of all the young girls; (he kanya mani)

 nārāyaṇan mūrtti– Kṛṣṇa, the incarnation of Narayana;

(The gopi inside realized her mistake thinking – while I am a servant of bhagavatas, Andal is now calling me as a leader.  Immediately Andal sings further so that the gopi hurries to join the others.)

We are singing praise of Narayana, who incarnated between us. Such is his Karunyam and you are sleeping?

Narayana means one who is holding us from outside and from inside and invisible to us. Still, he comes down and becomes visible to us. Narayana is within us and we are within Narayana. Another meaning of Narayana is one sleeping in the ocean. One ocean is inside us. Our heart is having dahar-aakasha. The aatma is the serpent-bed and Narayana is sleeping on it. Another ocean is outside us. Narayana is residing in that ocean as all-pervading antaryaami. One ocean is Ksheera-ocean where Narayana is sleeping on Adi-shesha as Sri Vaikunthanatha.

Such Narayana, who is out of our reach, is present in sulabha form as Archa-avtara i.e. Narayana murti (Vatapatrashaayi perumal). If Bhagwaan has made himself so much sulabha, how can you still sleep?


Kesavanai p padavvum  nee kette kidathiyo

Kēśavanai: One having beautiful curly hairs, one who killed Keshi.

pādavum – even While (we) sing;

 nī– you

 kēṭṭē kiḍattiyō – even after listening to our song can you lie down like this?

Keshava is a beautiful name of God having lot of meanings. Keshava means one having long beautiful locks of hairs. Let’s go four divine Vrata and enjoy his beauty.

Keshava means slayer of demon Keshi (Keshi-hanta Keshava). The gopi inside is sleeping enjoying the songs of Gopis outside. She knew that if she came out, they would stop singing so she was pretending as if she is still asleep. To give her a jolt, Gopis mention the name ‘Keshava’. Gopi inside stood up in jolt that Krishna is in danger, he is fighting with Keshi. Rama after killing 14,000 army of khar-dushan, returned with wounds over his body. On seeing him, Sita quickly went and hugged Him with love and affection. How can you sleep even after hearing about the fight between Kṛṣṇa and Kesi?

Keshava means father of Brahma and Shiva. Keshava is the only protector of the universe. Such a God has invited us to play with us and you are sleeping?

Kesava is the abhimAna dEvatha for the month of Marghazhi. He is one of the Upa-vyUha Moorthy of Sriman NaarAyaNan. Hence in this month Kesavan has to be worshipped


Inner meaning:

Kesi is anything inside us that stops us from doing kainkaryam of God. Krishna kills them and enables us to perform kainkaryam. The Gopi inside would remember Keshi demon and fear any misfortune that may fell on Krishna and get up. A sharanagata would fear of anything that separates him from God and remains alert.

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Desamudaiyai thiravelor empavai.

Dēcam uḍaiyāy – Oh glittering damsel! (Hey Tejaswi!)

 Tira– please open the door;

Amazed by the silence from inside Andal peeps through the window and visualizes the glitter added to the gopi inside on hearing them sing about Kṛṣṇa.  So Andal now requests her to open the door so that they can enjoy her glow fully. o pretty and beautiful girl, o the girl who looks so bright due to thinking about krishNan, please open the door for us to see that beauty and get the same gyAnam about

krishNan, and quickly join us. Open the door and let the flood of your happiness (of thnking about krishNan) hit us.

You are glittering as you are having gyanam of tattva-hita-Purusharth.

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The Gopi inside realized the ‘paratantriyam’ of sharnagata toward fellow Bhagwatas and comes out to perform their kainkarya.



The main purpose of Thirupavai is being with the devotees. Being in good company, being in God’s thinking and doing our duty and responsibility.

Andal talks about the full moon, fully grown paddy fields and beautifully blossomed flowers, the sound of chirping birds, the sweet singing of birds etc.  We say thiruppavai is the essence of Vedas then why should Andal sing all these in her divine song?  Nature and poetry always go hand in hand.  Moreover when azhvars sing about nature they see it as bhagavat svaroopam (divine form) or admire the amazing creation of the Lord.  Thirumangai azhvar has extensively sung the beauty of each and every divyadesam he visited as he was not only interested in the Lord who resides there but was greatly attracted by the ambiance of the whole divine place.


 Today most of us complain about stress.  From a school kid to an elderly person say “Life is so hectic and filled with stress” Such was not the case with our ancestors why? That’s because they lived with the nature.  They nourished, cherished and enjoyed the nature.  Nowadays we seldom take time to enjoy the cool morning breeze, sounds of birds, the rising sun, beautiful beaches, clear river water, sparkling full moon, the tall green trees etc.  From today let us get determined to stay away from computers, mobiles and social media at least for few hours in a week to preserve, protect, and celebrate nature’s beauty to live a peaceful contended life.

Author: ramanujramprapnna

studying Ramanuj school of Vishishtadvait vedant

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