Sunday, January 13, 2008

Secrets in Thiruppavai. Secret -3 (Parai)


Meaning of 'paRai'


'PaRai' which is known as 'thappattai' in colloquial Tamil,
is of different types.

The famous one known to many of us in Tamil nadu is
Bhogi-p-parai.

There is a parai for important events like death and
for some auspicious occasions too.

Generally the parai is beaten while making an announcement.

But the paRai mentioned in Thiruppavai is
"aRAi paRai".

In ThirukkuRaL 1076,
there is a mention of "arai parai"

The commentators Parimelazhagar and Dr. U.vE. Swaminatha Iyer
have associated this arai-parai with
announcement or declaration of
"maRai- poruL", that is, the inner meaning of vEdas.
(Vedas are known as 'maRai' in Tamil.)

Let us see what maRAi poruL of paRAi is indicated in Thiruppavai.

PaRai in Thiruppavai.

At 9 places the word has been mentioned in Thiruppavai.

1. parai tharuvaan,
2. paddi-p-parai kondu,
3. pOrra-p-parai tharum,
4. arai parai,
5. parai thaaruthiyaagil,
6. saala-p-perunm parai,
7. undrannai paadi paraikondu,
8. nee thaaraai parai
9. irrai parai kolvan


The young girls of Ayarpadi
who are engaged in Maargazhi nOnbu,
were beating the paRai to make it known
that they want to be the servants of Narayana and
they want Narayana to grant them servitude.

The beating of the paRai
is associated with the inner meaning (maRai poruL) 'servitude'.
as per 6000-padi vyakhyaanam.


The gopikas want paRai.
This is not just the instrument which is usually beaten everytime a declaration or request is made.
This is a 'state' that they want Narayanan to give them.
It is the state of a subservient servant of Narayanan,
to enjoy themselves and to be enjoyed by Him.

Starting from the 1st paasuram to the 29th,
one can see the development of this idea of paRai as His servant.

In the 1st paasuram, the wish is stated-
that Narayanan will give paRai - "narayananE namakkE paRai tharuvAn"-
that He will certainly accept us as His servants.

This further goes on and the first mention of the benefit of this paRai -
or servitude is mentioned in "koodarai" paasuram.

Undrannai-p-pAdi paRai kondu yAm perum sanmAnam -
The sanmAnam is the pleasures at materialistic level!
Which is also known as "Immai-p-payan"-
the benefits that accrue to oneself in this birth.

But Andal is worried whether He will be irritated by the way
she had called Him (by names).

So she reminds Him of the inseparable relationship He has with her.
(undranOdu uravEl namakku ingu vozhikka vozhiyAdu.)

The import of this is that even though the jivas are indisciplined,
unruly and make lot of mistakes,

the Lord should not magnify those mistakes,
but instead award servitude to them.

That is why IraivA nee thArAi paRai.

But again a doubt creeps into her mind whether she has made the prayer correctly.
A sudden doubt comes to her mind,
that since they are carrying the parai and beating it very often asking him to give them 'parai',
can He by any chance think that the prayer by herself and other gopikas
is only for this instrument called 'parai'?

No no,
she consoles herself.
In the very next paasuram (29th)
she decalres
"iRRai paRai koLvAn andru kaaN"
He will not consider this paRai (the instrument) as THAT which we want.

The grammer of koLvAn and kaaN express this meaning:-
"look, He will not consider this paRai" as what we want.

He knows what we want.
We want to be His servants always and for all the 7x7 births.
Let Him remove from us every wish other than this.

This is the wish for "marumai-p-payan",
the benefits expected for future births.

This is the very essence of thiruppavai
in many swaapadEsa vyakhyanams.
He guaranteed in the beginning that
He will take care of us.

But now it seems He is more concerned about His cattle

(therefore the expression Govindha, coming after koLvaan andru kaaN)
and not about us.
Therefore -
undanOdu uRROmE- unakkE *naaam* aat cheyvOm.
Hi Lord, remove every other wish.

It is Him who has to give us servitude.
It is Him who has to make us seek servitude.
And it is Him who removes all the other desires, except this desire.

This is also the very essence of Ramanuja Siddhantham
which is nothing but the final word of vedantha.

It is He who chooses.
We have to wait until such a time He chooses us.
(Gita 10-10 :dadaami buddhi yogam)

Until then
our cry is
"koovi-k-koLLum kaalam kurugAdhO" (NDP)


Food for thought:-

When someone requested Emperumaanaar (Ramanuja)
to render upanyaasm for atleast one pasuram of Thiruppavai,
he was supposed to have replied,
"Thiru-p- pallaNdukku aaL kidaikkilum,
Thiruppavaikku aaL kidaiyaadu"

Such is the greatness of Thiruppavai
the seed of all vedas.
"vEdamanaitthukkum vitthu"


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