thiruppAvai – 29 – chiRRam chiRukAlE

srImathE satakOpAya nama:
srImathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srImadh varavaramunayE nama:

Full Series

In the previous pAsuram they said that He is the means for reaching Him. They said that their agenda is to do kainkaryam. They said how we are inseparable from Him. It talked about first half of dhvayam.

In this pAsuram, they talk about their interest in prApyam, what is that prApyam, that only He can be the means for us to get that opportunity, and how they are desperate/eager to do that. This pAsuram talks about second half of dhvayam.

thiruvAimozhi talked about prApyam first, in emmA vIdu, and then talked about charama dhasai (final state) in nedumArkkadimai  (bhAgavatha sEshathvam). ANdAL being ‘vinji niRkum thanmaiyAL’ (better than other AzhwArs in many aspects), and since her focus is on bhAgavatha sEshathvam, had talked about that first in the early pAsurams where she addresses other bhAgavathas, and then to make it good and interesting, she gives the ‘emmA vIttu‘ meaning of prApyam in this pAsuram and completes the goals of the prabandham.

In this pAsuram ANdAL gives the reason for their coming to krishNan (which she said she would do later, when in the pAsuram of oruththi maganAi … yAm vandha kAriyam).

சிற்றம் சிறுகாலே வந்து உன்னை சேவித்து உன்
பொற்றா மரைஅடியே போற்றும் பொருள்கேளாய்
பெற்றம் மேய்த்து உண்ணும் குலத்தில் பிறந்து நீ
குற்றுஏவல் எங்களைக் கொள்ளாமல் போகாது
இற்றைப் பறை கொள்வான் அன்று காண் கோவிந்தா
எற்றைக்கும் ஏழ்ஏழ் பிறவிக்கும் உன் தன்னோடு
உற்றோமே ஆவோம் உனக்கே நாம் ஆட்செய்வோம்
மற்றை நம் காமங்கள் மாற்றேலோர் எம்பாவாய்.

chiRRam chiRukAlE vandhu unnaich chEviththu
un poRRAmarai adiyE pORRum poruL kELAi
peRRam mEiththu uNNum kulaththil piRandhu nI
kuRREval engaLaik koLLAmal pOgAdhu
iRRaip paRai koLvAn anRu kAN gOvindhA
eRRaikkum EzhEzh piRavikkum
unRannOdu uRROmE AvOm unakkE nAm At cheivOm
maRRai nam kAmangaL mARRu ElOrempAvAi

padha padhArtham

gOvindhA! – Oh kaNNA!
vandhu – (we) came (here),
chiRRam chiRukAlE – very early in the morning
unnai sEviththu – and prayed you
kELAi – please listen to
un pon thAmarai adi pORRum poruL – the meaning/benefit of doing mangaLAsAsanam to your golden lotus feet;
peRRam mEiththu uNNum kulaththil piRandha nI – you who has born as cowherds, who herd the cows and then eat
engaLai koLLAmal pOghAdhu – cannot be without accepting us in your mind (thiruvuLLam)
kuRREval – (our) very personal kainkaryam (antharanga kainkaryam – confidential service);
iRRaip paRai koLvAN anRu kAN – we did not come here for getting (this) paRai (drum instrument) given today
eRRaikkum – for ever,
Ezh Ezh piRavikkum – how many ever births we go through,
uRROmE AvOm – (we) shall be related
unthannOdu – to you,
nAm – we
AL seivOm – shall be subservient
unakkE – to you only
mARRu – kindly prevent
nam – our
maRRai kAmangaL – interest in other matters.


chiRRanj chiRu kAlE

Very early in the morning, the cold morning in which it is hard for little girls to wake up. Due to our angst we did not mind that.

==> In brahma muhUrtham when we carry more sathva guNam (tranquility); this guNam would help us have a clear mind to do kainkaryam to emperumAn.

In emperumAnAr‘s goshti a question came up: ‘what should we say/request when standing in front of emperumAn?’. Some people said, we should say what kshathrabandhu said (mUdOyam.. vishNu dharmam 98-33) – ‘I pray to you. please give me mOksham’. emperumAnAr said that these words imply that our praying would be an upAyam (means). That should not be the case. We will start thinking that I did something and I got his grace because of that. More appropriate would be what kALiyan said, ‘sOhamthE ..(srI vishNu purANam 5-7-10)’ where, even while he was holding krishNan tight in his body, he requested Him to do all the help to him, that is, even releasing krishNan from him also to be helped by krishNan. So asking for nirhEthuka krupai like kALiyan is what we need to consider, said emperumAnAr.

The time when darkness in minds got cleared and our mind got enriched with bhagavath vishayam.

kAlE – in the morning

chiRu kAlE – early morning

==> chiRRam chiru kAlE – Very very early in the morning.  ‘kAlE’ instead of pure thamizh ‘kAlai’ is due to the slang of their cowherd clan.

krishNan’s dhinacharyai (daily schedule):

– Early morning (chiRu kAlE) krishNan would go out for herding his cows (periyAzhwar imagining himself to be yasOdhai in ‘periyAzhwAr thirumozhi’, feels bad for sending him like that instead of letting him go around to other people’s houses for doing mischief).

– He would enjoy herding cows during the day; play with them; his body would be covered with dust.

– At lunch time he would wait for rishi pathnIs to bring him food – he will be eagerly looking in that direction (nedu nOkkuk koLLum paththa vilOchanan), with his big stomach yearning for tasty food;

– In the evening he will casually walk back coming behind all his cows and along with other friends (kAlip pinnE varuginRa kadal vaNNan), enjoying the nice sunset; all the gOpikAs would come out to their door steps to see his beautiful body covered with dust,

– Reaching home, without taking bath, he would eat food along with his father (appanum uNdilan, unnOdu udanE uNbAn).

– Immediately after filling his stomach, he would go around to all the houses and try to see which girls are available to play with. He would see one girl here, talk to one girl there while giving signals to another, then would play with another, dance with yet another, and so on.

– Very late at night (about 2 or 3am) he would reach home and go to bed.

So when can one meet him in his home??

The best time to get hold of him is very very early in the morning, about 3 or 4 am – that is, chiRRam chiRu kAlE!!


Our mistake is that whereas You should have come to us to bless us, but due to our desperation to see you we came here first. Please bear with us.

krishNan was so pleased and felt bad that he made these little girls get up so early; and  they cleverly caught him at the right time when he was not busy with other things.

perumAL praised guhan for walking from his place to see Him in srungibErapuram; (never mind he had walked all the way from ayOdhya to see guhan).

unnaich chEviththu

He is enjoyable not only when we have achieved the destiny – even during the time we consider him as upAyam (means). AzhwAr sang ‘pala mundhu sIril padimin (thiruvAimozhi 2-8-4), that is before getting Him, enjoy the kalyANa guNams (divine qualities) of emperumAn during upAya dhasai – while considering him as upAyam.

You would want to come to us and lose yourself in us (like how you walked for dhEvas, pANdavas, and you did everything for them; you wanted mahArAjar (sugrIvan) as your nAthan (master) because he was so dear to you), but instead we came here and we fell on your feet, and not somebody else’s feet – unnai seviththu.

Not only that, we came here and did anjali too.

(( chEviththu – anjali – nama: –  If one does anjali to perumAn (by hand, in mind, etc.), He feels He is indebted to that person. How much ever He gives to that person, He does not feel he has done enough. That person, if a srIvaishNava, also would be satisfied only if perumAn gives the kainkarya prApthi (both here and in srIvaikuNtam). )).

un poRRAmarai adiyE

Your thiruvadi – divine golden lotus feet – which is priceless, enjoyable, and appropriate – is the means to reach you,  adiyE – we don’t get into any other means/destiny – other than your lotus feet.


===> One of the reasons we say ANdAL has done something beyond other AzhwArs:

As we know, only perumAn‘s feet (thiruvadi) is the means to reach Him. So we surrender to perumAn‘s thiruvadi. After surrendering, we do kainkaryam –  which is again for his thiruvadi.

We know that dhEvas and others made perumAn walk with that soft thiruvadi to all places, for their own benefits. What have we, as saraNAgathas, done? same thing? For our saraNAgathy we made use of his feet?

We had to, because we don’t have any other means. So it is difficult for us also to be reminded that we made use of his feet for doing our saraNAgathy. So when we go to next step of doing kainkaryam to his thiruvadi we don’t want to be reminded about our previous deed of using his thiruvadi (as the means).

So, in dvaya manthram’s first half:  “srIman nArAyaNa charaNau saraNam prapadhyE“, it talks about his thiruvadi (charaNau) when doing saraNAgathi (prapadhyE);  but the second half of dhvayam, “srImathE nArAyaNAya nama:” which is about doing kainkaryam, the manthram does not remind us about his thiruvadi, so there is no ‘charaNau’ or something in the 2nd half. But it is understood that the kainkaryam mentioned in the 2nd half is for his thiruvadi only.  (dhvayam too is finding it difficult to be reminded of our using thiruvadi (as the means)).

So, following the same way of dhvayam, whenever all the AzhwArs sing about doing saraNAgathy, they too would mention perumAn‘s thiruvadi at that time (un adik kIzh amarndhu pugundhu, and so on), but whenever they sing about doing kainkaryam, they would mostly not mention about his thiruvadi (and it is understood that there also they are talking about doing kainkaryam to thiruvadi).

But, ANdAL did not follow such a pattern. She is AzhwArgaL tham seyalai vinji niRkum thanmaiyaL. She did not explicitly make use of the word thiruvadi when doing saraNAgathi (even though that is the only option, and that is what is actually used by her as the means), but she wanted to explicitly make use of the word thiruvadi when doing kainkaryam pAsuram only:

In the previous pAsuram of ‘kaRaviagaL pin cheRru‘ which is related to first half of dhvayam,  that is, doing saraNAgathy, there is no mention of thiruvadi. But in this pAsuram related to 2nd half of dhvayam, that is, doing kainkaryam, she is confidently using the word thiruvadi, in the phrase of ‘un pon thAmarai adiyE pORRum poruL kELAi‘.  Nobody else has done it this way.



pray, and do mangaLAsAsanam.

poruL kELAi

Why are they saying ‘kELAi’ (listen) to the Him who is standing in front of them?

It is because he is looking around at all the gOpikAs.

Please stop your parAkku looking at us, and listen to us.

He too thinks “it is my dear girls’ talk, so let me listen to them”.

Even if we ask for other benefits/goals from you because of our rajas/thamas, you don’t have to listen to that and you don’t have to give us those things.

peRRam mEiththu uNNum kulaththil piRandhu nI

Whereas you are known only through sAsthrams / vEdhAs, you came and be born amidst us who cannot eat without herding the cows. (who do not eat unless our cows’ stomachs are filled). You are one among us, so you cannot avoid our subservience to you. We want to achieve our goal because of your birth here too.


subservience – which is liked by us, which is our nature. Personal kainkaryams like pressing your legs, you telling us rahasyams.


Cows may get some other people to save them, but we cannot be saved by anyone else – we have got only you as our savior.

koLLAmal pOgAdhu

This is a command for you. We were enjoying all material things and focusing on samsAram, and you showed your beauty and changed us to think ‘uNNum sOru, parugu nIr, thinnum vEththilai ellAm kaNNan emperumAn‘ – now after providing us gyAnam related to our svarUpam, you cannot avoid giving us the opportunity to do kainkaryam.

ANdAL is forcing him saying ‘you don’t have any other option; you have to give us paRai’  (balAthkruthya bungthE – in thaniyan).

As they said this, He says “For doing your nOnbu you take these items and instrument; why are you talking about new things like being subservient and all that”, and he tries to give them paRai instrument.

After listening to them, he thinks ‘They would not let me go. They would stop and surround me and get what they wanted’, and so he says ‘take the paRai (instrument)’. (இவர்கள் நம்மை விடார்களாயிருந்தார்கள்; நம்மைத் தடுத்தும் வளைத்தும் கொள்வர்கள்)

iRRaip paRai koLvAn anRu kAN

See dear, we did not come here to get the instrument paRai or other things for ourselves.

kAN – look, don’t you understand our intention?

koLvAn anRu – you have to get us;  that is what we are here for. (not for getting things from you).

You are just following the sounds/words (and not the intentions) of what we are saying.

gOvindha (you don’t have gyAnam, as you have been going behind the cows?)

Your janmam (birth as a cowherd boy) does not have the gyAnam about the intentions? Can you not see the inner meanings of our requests? You go behind cows; you don’t understand girls’ hearts?  You were away from us for four days and you have become like this.

bhattar said ‘keduvAi! nAngaL iRRaip paRai koLvAn anRu kAN! / கெடுவாய்! நாங்கள் இற்றைப் பறை கொள்வான் அன்று காண்‘, where “keduvAi” implies ‘you are not having the brain to understand what we intended’.

Aren’t you the one who upon hearing ‘pOgu nambi / போகு நம்பி‘ (go away dear), would come and stand around? (thiruvAimozhi 6-2-2 / திருவாய்மொழி 6-2-2).

“I tried to use the word in the sense that is understood by most people, but you are saying I don’t understand the intention. okay, I will spend the time with you today if that is what you wanted”.

eRRaikkum EzhEzh piRavikkum

We want to do kainkaryam to you forever.

When you are in srIvaikuNtam we want to be in srIvaikuNtam with you;

When you take avathAram, we want to be born during the same time period and be with you in the samsAram.

Like iLaiya perumAL who was with you when you were in the forest, and who was with you when you were back in your kingdom (without wishing to enjoy as a prince).

Like how pirAtti is with you there in srIvaikuNtam, and does a suitable avathAram when you do avathAram.

Any day, during any number of births, we want to be with you.

unthannOdu uRROmE yAvOm

This relationship of ours with you should be there forever.  Can the body and its owner be separate? Like how the body listens to its owner, we want you to take our services.

You be the swAmi and we be the belongings of you – this is all we wish for.

ANdAL does not specifically say which relationship – she wants all relationships to be Him.

“Is that all? What else are you praying for?”

unakkE nAm At chEivOm

This relationship is not all. We want to do kainkaryam to you too based on the relationship.

Unlike bharathAzhwAn who had to suffer because of separation, we would like to be with you always like iLaiyaperumAL and do kainkaryam.

“So that is it?”

“unakkE – not for the enjoyment of both ourselves and you, but, just for you. (like how we tell kids when we give them something ‘idhu unakkE unakku’ (this is for you and you only)). It should not be just for our enjoyment, or for both our enjoyment – it should be to make you enjoy it.  Subservience that is mixed with ahankAram would not be purushArththam (destiny)”.

“Is that it? Let that happen. What next?”

maRRai nam kAmangaL mARRu

Please remove any thought in us that we do the kainkaryam for our own enjoyment, AND remove any thought in You that you accept the kainkaryam for these people’s enjoyment. These two are obstacles, so they ask Him to remove such thoughts in both.

kAmam maRRu – they are devoted to krishNan, always looking at his face to see what he will want them to do next. Their kAmam is not like ours, the samsAris. Their kAmam (hindrance) is what the elders wanted them to do – that is nOnbu – for material things. They are praying that they want to do kainkaryam to him without any other agenda from the elders or others.

“Sounds good; is that it?”

“That is not it”

maRRai kAmam mArru – When we are with you in srIvakuNtam amidst the nithya sUris, you would have to talk to us respecting your office; instead it should be an exchange like how it is here in our verandahs where you call us gOpikAs! / பெண்காள்! and we respond “krishNa! / க்ருஷ்ணனே!” and we jump at each other and fall on each other.

As they talk about him as the means, him as the destiny, this place’s friendliness, and preference to be in srIvaikuNtam and so on,

“Instead of one wish, your hearts are wishing for many things?”

“Since it is you who is prApyam, prApakam, and saraNyan, we wish for all of that. We talked about this place because of this closeness; about that place because it would be without any interruption – our hearts which is fixed on getting your thiruvadi won’t be broken in srIvaikuNtam”.

maRRai kAmam – maRRu is similar to what is said in ‘maRROnrinaik kANAvE (amalanAdhipirAn)‘.

govindhA-maRRai-kAmam-mARRu : What else are you going to achieve without giving us mOksham?

In previous pAsuram ANdAL said we don’t have any other ways/means to reach you; you are the only means; she also apologized for all the mistakes of ours; it talked about first half of dhvayam.

In this pAsuram, ANdAL talks about the beauty of prApyam that is perumAn thiruvadi, our being desperate to reach His thiruvadi;  she destroys any of our thoughts that are against our nature of being a dhAsan of perumAn; This pAsuram talks about second half of dhvayam – we are forever inseparable from perumAn‘s relationship; we are His dhAsan; He always blesses us.

gOvindhA unakku – ‘akAram’;  unakkE – ‘ukAram’;  nAm – ‘makAram’   (praNavam).

‘unRannOdu uRROmE AvOm’ – means ‘nArAyaNAya’.

‘maRRai nam kAmangaL mARRu’ – refers to nama:

together, it is thirumanthram.

srI vaishNavas who have the taste of understanding their nature of doing kainkaryam, would enjoy the beauty of perumAn‘s thiruvadi as their destiny; thinking about its safety they would feel the angst, and would avoid thinking of anything other than Him itself as the means; would have strong faith in the blessing they have got for doing kainkaryam, without thinking of any benefits for themselves;

srIvaishNavas – Waking up very early in the morning, going to bhagavath sannidhi, doing mangaLAsAsanam to perumAn, confessing to thAyAr our mistakes, talking about the importance of perumAn‘s avathArams, telling him how we desperately want to be with Him, letting Him know that we don’t want any other benefits, wanting the same kind of conversation with Him that nithyasUris enjoy (in srIvaikuntam), and praying Him that He should help destroy those guNams or thoughts that make us act against our nature of being subservient to Him.

ANdAL and gOpikAs wish krishNan to understand all of their thoughts above, and so they look at krishNan’s divine, beautiful, mischievous, and attractive face, and request him for all these so that they can achieve the goal of doing saraNAgathy: uninterrupted kainkaryam in srIvakuNtam.

ElOrempAvAi – Dear girl, think and commit, then follow our path.

This pAsuram IS thiruppAvai, (thiruppAvai Agiradhu ippAttu) say our AchAryas.  In previous pAsuram ANdAL performed saraNAgathy; in this pAsuram she says that all we want to do is kainkaryam to your lotus feet for ever and ever.

English translation Raghuram Srinivasa Dasan.

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