Who is this NiLaa in earth's reckoning?
To understand this, we must know who this NiLaa is!
The NiLaa suktam, which is recited as part of Pancha suktam
is found in Yajur Veda. (4.4.12 & 13)
The two verses of this suktam describe the Lady of Vishnu,
in the context of offerings in the yajna.
Ghee which is primarily offered,
is being spoken in the verses preceding this suktam
and the two verses which have been declared as hailing NiLaa
tell us what she is and what she does.
The translation is as follows:-
"Rich in ghee, O Savitr, through thy overlordship,
Be the bounteous region rich in milk, for us.
The firm among the quarters, lady of Vishnu, the mild,
Ruling over this strength, the desirable,
Brhaspati, Matariçvan, Vayu,
The winds blowing together be gracious to us.
O Prop of the sky, supporter of the earth,
Ruling this world, lady of Vishnu"
Let us see the symbolisms contained in these verses.
What immediately catches our attention is that
NiLaa is rich in ghee and milk and lords over these two.
This description suits Nappinnai, the Ayar girl.
We have already seen that Nappinnai's colour is that of NILaa.
Now we understand that she symbolises NiLaa in another way too,
by her association with plenty of ghee and milk of the Ayarpaadi!
So when we think of Nappinnai,
we must think how by name, form and works,
she is the vital force of God Himself.
If Bhu is Vishnu's consort at physical level
and Sri is His consort at mental level (always in His chest),
NILa is represents the vital force that helps in connecting Bhu and SrI.
She is addressed as Savitr, who gives us ghee and milk.
What is this milk and ghee is one question.
How does niLa give it, is another.
The question -
What is this milk and ghee?
Quite a few terms get repeated in the Vedas with wide range of symbolisms.
One among these oft-repeated terms is 'go' and another is 'ghrta'
In ordinary parlance go means cow
and ghrta means ghee.
Since these two are connected (the go gives ghee)
we have to see what go stands for in the vedic verses.
The 'go' is said to be an 'offering' in many verses.
This does not mean that the physical body of the go is offered in the yajna!
In some places it means the animal cow.
But at all the places where it is mentioned in the veads, it does not mean cow.
In most verses of vedas, it refers to a ray of knowledge!
Hence go is translated as Ray, not cow.
For instance, gochara is not 'cow-moving', it is 'becoming aware'.
Similarly this term 'ghrta' in the opening verse of NILaa suktam, "gruthavati"
means one rich in ghee.
The root word of ghrta is 'ghr' which means 'shining'.
Since ghrta is got from 'go' (ghee from cow),
this means that ray of knowledge gives rise to faculties of vital importance.
Thus we understand that NILa is one who lords over the faculties
that are crucial for gaining knowledge.
and gives it to us.
Knowledge or thought is the end result of this faculty.
Knowledge or thought is of the mental level (svah).
But to attain that level we need to have a robust system of vital fluids
that connect the physical with the mental level.
This is indicated by ghee offered in the yajna of agni (bhu)
in order to reap the benefits of the yajna (svah)
The ghee is therefore symbolic of the Bhvah, manifestation at the vital level.
Connecting it to Nappinnai,
we find that she symbolises the vital ingradiant to attain God.
She attained God (
That ingradiant is love or bhakti which made Him tied to her always.
We find this aspect of
expressed in Thiruppavai, wherever Andal has spoken about Nappinnai.
Infact Andal also stands as a symbol of Nappinnai or NILa
(Andal is not BhU devi since she is the daughter of Bhu maatha.
Andal stands qualified to be called as Pinnai as she was the later born of the BhU
And she symbolises NiLa and Nappinnai by offering the ghee of Bhakthi through Thiruppavai
to activate their knowledge and awareness about Bhagawan.)
The symbolic ghee given by Nappinnai is bhakthi rasa,
by which the physical being is connected to the mental consciousness.
Bhakthi is the medium.
Bhagawan is the end!
How does NILa give this ghrta?
She gives as Savitr, as per the Suktam.
Who is this Savitr and what does (s)he give?
From the Rik vedic gayathri on Savitr,
we gather that Savitr is one who activates our intelligence.
Any gayathri manthra has a three-fold heirarchy,
starting from the Highest Goal that is prayed,
followed by an intermediary support system
that helps in converting the prayer
from the the basal level.
When we say Vishnu gayathri, it is prayer that takes us through 2 levels to the 3rd level.
'Narayanaaya vidmahE Vaasudevaaya dheemahi,
thannO Vishnu prachOthayaat'.
(Taii- Narayana valli).
'We desire to attain Narayana (Brahman).
Therefore we meditate ( do upasana) on vAsudEva (the Purusha who dwells in all).
May Vishnu make this upasana grow.'
Similarly the Savitr gayathri states
"May he (prachodayaat) activate our intelleigence.
May that Sarasvati uphold the yajna.
Our body is in a position to accept the power to be bestowed by Savitr and Savitri"
The goal is activation of intelligence.
Sarasvati aids in that.
we have to be in preapredness to accept that aid.
The aid given by NILa addressed as O Savitr is the ghee!
The ghee that helps in activating knowledge
so that the next level of the Traid, Sri or prosperity can be attained!
Thus it is inferred that nILa acts as a medium and an aid.
Thinking of Kuravai-k-kootthu,
the setting of the dance resembles this intermediary role of Napinnai.
She is an intermediary between Balarama symbolising physical earth, (he is the plough-man)
So when we think of Nappinnai,
we have to think of how she helps us in having our minds ploughed
and prepared ready for god-thinking!
(continued in Nappinnai-6)