thiruppAvai – 16 – nAyaganAi ninRa

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

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nammAzhwAr sang ‘vEdham vallArgaLai-k koNDu viNNOr perumAn thiruppAdham paNindhu’. (phrase-wise translation: Through those who know/understand vEdhas, / the god of the dhEvas, nithyasUris, and mukthas, / pray unto His divine feet).

ANdAL has laid out pAsurams in the same order of these words in thiruppAvai.

vEdham -> first 5 pAsurams told us what the vEdham and upanishads have told: nArAyaNanE namakkE paRai tharuvAn (only nArAyaNan will give us mOksham), through, ‘pizhaigaL … thIyinil thUsAgum’ (perumAn would remove the sanchitha (accumulated) karmAs of those who have surrendered to Him).

vallArgaLai-k koNDu (with the help of those who understand vEdham) -> In next 10 pAsurams (6 – 15), ANdAL and gOpikAs wanted the 10 sleeping gOpikAs to go with them.

Do these thiruvAyppAdi gOpikAs know vEdham? When kaNNan is following these gOpikAs, whatever these gOpikAs say, is vEdham for Him. Even if one learns the words of sAsthram by heart, there is a big difference between that and its meanings and following in action. In thiruvanandhapuram, a bhAgavathar taught srI rAmAyaNam to three students; at the end of it he asked them what they understood from SrI rAmAyaNam – 1st student said that srI rAmAyaNam is about serving the father; 2nd student replied that it says it is hard to be born and have relationship with this body, so one should remove such relationship; 3rd student said ‘Unless we get chakravarthy thirumagan’s blessings, there is no possibility of reaching our goal (Him); The bhAgavatha asserted that the 3rd student has understood rAmAyaNam well and asked him to do discourses on it from then on”.

ANdAL is not getting up and directly going to kaNNan since that is not recommended in our sampradhAyam – we go in the correct order, and through the correct people. Here she is getting all the gOpikAs (bhAgavathAs) to go with her.

– viNNOr -> Those who are always living with perumAn in srI vaikuNtam. Here, in the next 5 pAsurams (15-20) that we are starting, she talks to the people who are like them – nandhagOpar, nappinnai, and so on.

perumAn thiruppAdham paNindhu -> finally in the last 10 pAsurams, she wakes up and talks to kaNNan himself – the one for whom all the gOpikAs have been eagerly doing this nOnbu.


After the gOpikAs woke up and joined the whole of thiruvAyppAdi, In this 16th pAsuram they go together to srI nandhagOpa’s thirumALigai/palace (ANdAL is pretending the vadaperum kOyil of srIvillipuththUr as this thirumALigai). They wake up the people who protect the temple and guard the entrance. As they took oath not to do what their pUrvars did not do (sEiyAdhana seyyOm), they show it in action, by getting helped by those two bhAgavathas for going into the temple, and avoid going directly to emperumAn. If they go to emperumAn straight without through adiyArs (devotees), they would face what sUrpaNakA faced. After all, she (ANdAL) who sang ‘valla parisu varuvipparEl adhu kANdum [nAchchiyAr thirumozhi]’ (if my father/AchAryan brings krishNan to me then I will get Him), is periyAzhwAr’s daughter.

This is also a central / main pAsuram of thiruppAvai (pAsuram also starts with ‘nAyagan‘..(central))

நாயகனாய் நின்ற நந்தகோபன் உடைய
கோயில் காப்பானே கொடித்தோன்றும்
தோரண வாயில் காப்பானே மணிக்கதவம் தாள் திறவாய்
ஆயர் சிறுமிய ரோமுக்கு அறைபறை
மாயன் மணிவண்ணன் நென்னலே வாய்நேர்ந்தான்
தூயோமாய் வந்தோம் துயில் எழப்பாடுவ
வாயால் முன்னம் முன்னம் மாற்றாதே அம்மா நீ
நேய நிலைக்கதவம் நீக்கேலோர் எம்பாவாய்.

nAyaganAi ninRa nandhagOpanudaiya kOyil kAppAnE
kodith thOnRum thOraNa vA(sa)yil kAppAnE
maNikkadhavam thAL thiRavAi
Ayar siRumiyarOmukku
aRai paRai mAyan maNivaNNan nennalE vAi nErndhAn
thUyOmAi vandhOm thuyil ezhappAduvAn
vAyAl munnam munnam maRRAdhE ammA
nI nE(sa)ya nilaikkadhavam nIkku ElOrempAvAi

Word by Word Meaning

kAppAnE – You the protector of
kOyil – thirumALigai
nAyaganAi ninRa nandhagOpanudaiya – of nandhagOpar who is (our) swAmi
thiRavAi – open
thAL – the bolt
kadhavam – (of the) door
maNi – having gem stones embedded,
Ayar siRumiyarOmukku – for us small gOpikAs;
mAyan – kaNNapirAn with admirable deeds
maNivaNNan – whose color is like that of blue diamond
aRai paRai nennalE vAi nErndhAn – promised yesterday itself that He would give paRai instrument that makes sound;
thUyOmAi vandhOm – we came with the pure mind
thuyil ezhap pAduvAn – to sing so that He would wake up from His sleep;
ammA – swAmi!
vAyAl munnam munnam mARRAdhE – do not refuse with your first words
nI – only you
nIkku – (should) open the
nEya nilaik kadhavam – door which has got the disposition of having love for kaNNan.

Simple Translation

nAyaganAi ninRa nandha gOpanudaiya kOyil kAppAnE  (O the one who is protecting the house of nandhagOpan who is our nAyagan)

They refer to srI nandhagOpa as nAyagan – Because he is a helper, AchAryan – helping the gOpikAs to get krishNan.

kOyil kAppAnE – O the one who is protecting the thirumALigai – They are saying that more than the main protector, the ones who are protecting (his) entrance are their protectors.

bhattar told his sishyar nanjIyar – ‘think of those as your protectors who think emperumAn as their protector’. (also) ‘live with the thought that perumAn is your protector; since I taught you this, live with the thought that I (AchAryan) am your protector’.

nandhagOpanudaiya kOyil –  The one we have surrendered to is parathanthran (serves His adiyArs; serves nandhagOpan); He took his avathAram to come to this place and enjoy the company of His adiyArs who agree that He would be their parathanthran ; in srIvakuNtam too He is a parathanthran, but the ones there don’t agree to that, so here He is looking for His adiyArs to tell Him what to do. Actually in srIvaikuNtam too, hH grows under the stick (scepter) of srI sEnApathi AzhvAn, in the lap of thiruvananthAzhvAn, and under the feathers of thiruvadi (garudAzhvAn).

kOyil kAppAnE – as they are very little girls, they are calling him by the work he is doing; that person also enjoys being addressed like that so they are using these words; whatever name would indicate devotees’ progress of subservience, that is the name that AthmA enjoys.

It is also considering him equivalent to a bhAgavatha. பாகவதனை முன்னிட்டுக் கொண்டு பெருமாளைப் பற்ற வேண்டும்.

kOyil – the place where He resides; He resides also in thirumanthram; kOyil kAppAnE – Oh the protector of thirumanthram from anadhikAris (those who do not have inclination/qualification to learn thirumanthram).

==> rAmAnujar. This pAsuram is addressing emperumAnAr.

nAyagan -> udaiyavar holds the central place of AchArya guru paramparai.

nandha gOpan -> emperumAnAr protected us cows.

udaiya -> ‘udaiyavar’ (holds control of both the vibhUthis of emperumAn as bestowed by Him to emperumAnAr).

‘kOyil kAppAnE’ -> protected kOyil (srIrangam) and many other temples; rAmAnujar organized all the activities of many temples, how and who should do what and when, and so on, which are followed even today. Because of him, our sampradhAyam and the temples have been protected.

kOdith thOnRum thOraNa vAsal kAppAnE

The guard of the temple gives his permission signalling with his eyes, and the gOpikAs proceed to entrance door and wake up the guard of the entrance.

Thinking “someone might stop our goal!”, they are falling on everyone’s feet. They would pray even to other dEvathais to save kaNNan – wouldn’t they go pray to the guard who is fond of kaNNan?

kodith thOnRum – since his thirumALigai looks similar to others’, nandhagOpa has hung decorative flags in front of his thirumALigai. He did that also to make sure that if gOpikAs came looking for kaNNan in the middle of the night, they would be able to identify his house without any problems;

Those who arrange for water booth would erect tall poles with flags so that people coming from afar could see this sign from a distance and feel better and rush to them for water. nandhagOpa has erected these decorations for us to come here and enjoy kaNNan. (so please open the door).

vAsal kAppAnE – kodi and thOraNam are insentient things (achEthanam), they cannot ask us to proceed. So you please let us inside.

Once, kaNNan had told the guards to allow arjunan to take away subhadhrA; to you also kaNNan would have told to allow us inside if we showed up.

Oh you who protects the meanings of ‘a’ (‘அ’) and nama: which indicate His ability to protect us.

=> rAmAnujar: kodi thOraNa vAsal -> Entrance to srI vaikuNtam -> emperumAnAr is protecting that, and enabling anyone to reach vaikuntam who has done saraNAgathy through an AchAryan associated with him. { viNNin thalai ninRu vIdaLippAn; விண்ணின் தலை நின்று வீடளிப்பான் }

maNik kadhavam

She sang ‘mAmAn magaLE maNik kadhavam‘ to gOpikas’ houses – this is krishNan’s thirumALigai so she is even more enthusiastic to sing praises of the door.

This door would attract the adiyArs to go inside; once they are inside maNi vaNNan’s beauty would make it impossible for them to go out, making us say ‘மற்றொன்றினைக் காணாவே’ maRRonRinaik kANAvE [amalanAdhipirAn] – ((after seeing your beauty), my eyes won’t see anything else).

maNik kadhavam thAL thiRavAi

Please open this beautiful and attractive door with gems embedded”.

“This is an unsafe town (for kaNNan), and you are coming here in the middle of the night and asking to open the door. Who are you?”

“In this place where kaNNan is there, who removes our fears, what is there to be afraid of?” (prahlAdhan said to his father that there is no fear in him because he thinks of ananthan who removes our fears).

“Is this thrEthA yugam, with the father (dhasarathan) very strong who killed samparan an enemy of dhEvas, and with the sons growing like lions, with ministers like vasishtar, and a country like thiru ayOdhdhi which other kings are afraid of?  No, this is near the end of dhvApara yugam rubbing shoulders with kali yugam, father is of soft nature, the kids here are very small and naughty, this place is not even a town, kamsan the enemy, things that move turn out to be asuras bent on killing Him. Can I be without any fear?”

“should you be afraid of us girls too?”

“sUrpaNakA was a girl too”

“She was a rAkshasi. We are small cowherd gOpikAs who are born to the gOpas who fear for this boy’s safety (இவனுக்கு என்வருகிறதோ!)”

“After pUthanai I have to be afraid of even cowherd women”

maNik kadhavam thAL thiravAi: Please save us by removing any inclination towards AthmAnubhavam which results in svAthanthriyam (feeling independent of perumAn).

rAmanujar – we request rAmanujar to open our minds to receive gyAnam.

Ayar siRumiyarOmukku

We are small little cowherd gOpikAs, too innocent to know even counting, we did not come alone like phUthanai, we are the gOpikas from all of 5 lakh houses of thiruvAyppAdi.

“Can I trust because something is small? (That asuran) came as a little calf too (கன்றாயன்றோ வந்து நலியப் பார்த்தது).  Tell me what you came here for, and I will judge about you”

aRai paRai

“We came to get paRai (instrument) for nOnbu” – trying to say that it is an important matter.

“For that I will ask when they wake up. You may wait.”

mAyan – kaNNan who seems to be under the control of the gopikAs


maNi – gem – one can easily handle/control it by tying into their saree – Even if He does not get under their control, they would not let go of Him because of His beauty

rAmanujar – He is the central gem of the chain of AchAryas.

nEnnalE vAi nErndhAn – You do not have to tell Him about this, He promised us yesterday itself that we can go to Him at this time.

nennalE – not like today when we are begging you, it was the wonderful yesterday when he was begging us

vAi nErndhAn

“How can I trust His words told in public”

“He gave His word to dhraupathi in public and it did not fail. What he promised us also would not fail.”

nennalE vAi nErndhAn – rAmAnujar -> nammAzhvAr informed madhurakavi AzhvAr quite earlier about bhavishyadhaAchArya (rAmanujar) when he asked madhurakavi to boil water from thAmiraparani river. He also said long ago, ‘kaliyum kedum kaNdu kONmin‘ about how rAmAnujar would help defeat kali by spreading the truth about samskritha and thamizh vEdhams (dhivya prabandhams).

The guard continues, “Though He told you yesterday, shouldn’t there be some use of His putting us for guarding here? Aren’t we here to refuse entry to some people; Is He responsible for our duty? I need to know what you are thinking of doing. You are all here with the expectation of getting something from Him (paRai related to nOnbu)”

thUyOmAi vandhOm

“‘paRai’ is just a front. We are ananya prayOjanaigaL (not expecting anything except perumAn). We want to do kainkaryam (mangaLAsAsanam) and that is the only thing we want.

vandhOm – “we are doing what He should have done (come to us).”

“What is the sign that you are ananya prayOjanaigaL? (not prying Him for a benefit other than Him)”

thuyil ezhap pAduvAn

“We came here to sing thiruppaLLiyezhuchchi for Him (wake Him up).” sIthA pirAtti enjoyed how He was sleeping (when kAkAsuran troubled Her, before She woke Him up). Here these gOpikAs want to enjoy looking at Him slowly get up.”

These are the gOpikAs with the background of those who sang ‘arangaththammA paLLi ezhundharuLAyE [thiruppaLLiyezhuchchi]’.

Though he understood their hearts, the guard wanted to enjoy talking to them more, so he has been trying to act strict. When he says “Okay, I will open; please wait”, they say:

vAyAl munnamunnam mARRAdhE

Even if you think in your mind negatively, please do not say it in words.– it might become true and affect our goals. perumAL accepted vibIshaNan only after sugrIvan agreed that vibhIshaNan should be treated equal to them.

rAmAnujar: unlike prior AchAryas who wanted to put people through a lot of test and then give the meanings and rahasyams, emperumAnAr! You wanted to give those to anyone who sincerely wanted to learn.


Making him feel special; Is the one inside kind to us, or are you the one who is kind?

The guard finally says, “pull the lock, and push the door open”

nee nEsa nilaik kadhavam nIkku

That door is even more affectionate (to krishNan). It won’t open if we pushed; only you please open it.

All chEthanAchEthanams (sentient and insentient), all in thiruvAippAdi are for kaNNan (unlike in kamsan’s palace where everything is for killing Him).

As a protector of perumAn you are making sure that only the right people are allowed inside; because of your extreme affection towards Him, you are not allowing those who are fond of Him too? So you please get convinced and you open the door for us.

rAmAnujar/AchAryar: We the sishyAs know that our efforts won’t help, it is only YOUR wish and your blessing / anugraham that will help us to be a srIvaishNava, and to learn the meanings of vEdhams and dhivya prabhandhams (srI vachana bhUshaNam: sadhAchArya prasAdhaththAlE varugiRa bhagavath prasAdhaththAlE enRu thuNindhu – ஸதாசார்ய ப்ரஸாதத்தாலே வருகிற பகவத் ப்ரஸாதத்தாலே என்று துணிந்து).

In this pAsuram, they get permission of the guards of srI nandhagOpa’s thirumALigai, to go inside and do kainkaryam of singing thiruppaLLiyezhuchi through adiyArs.

English translation Raghuram srInivAsa dhAsan

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0 thoughts on “thiruppAvai – 16 – nAyaganAi ninRa”

  1. In this pAsuram adiyen has also heard in Vinjimoor Venkatachariar Swamy’s upanyasam that “thuyil ezharadhu” is an act in itself…so right now ANdAL and the gOpis are not waking him up, but are instead singing pallAndu to the act of emperumAn waking up. Therefore the phrase should be thuyil ezha pAduvan and not thuyil ezhap pAduvan.

    • Thanks for the interesting information.
      In each of the vyAkyAnams the ‘ப்’ (p – connector) is present.
      adiyen will check with swamy to learn more about this.

      An interesting vyAkyAnam by azhagiya maNavALap perumAL nAyanAr: we came here when you are sleeping. prayOjanAnthaparar (who ask Him for other things) would wish to come to you only when you are awake; only the ananyaprayOjanar (asking for Him only) would come when you are sleeping.

      • good to know about the ப் in all the vyAkhyAnams. Swamy would surely be able to enlighten us better.

        thanks for your efforts swamy.

  2. Hari Om!
    Emberumanar Tiruvadigale Charanam! Scintillating explanations in connection with Udaiyavar!
    Adiyen Ramanuja Dasan – Jai Sriman Narayana!


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