thiruppAvai – 17 – ambaramE thaNNIrE

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

Full Series

As the guard of the thirumALigai of nandhagOpar removed the lock, opened the doors and let them in, they are going inside and waking up nandhagOpar and others. First they wake up nandhagOpar who was lying down in the front as he was wondering whether the gOpikAs are trying to steal kaNNan. If women would steal anirudhdhAzhwAn (grandson of krishNan), does it not go without saying that they would steal krishNan from whom anirudhdhan came?

அம்பரமே தண்ணீரே சோறே அறம் செய்யும்
எம்பெருமான் நந்தகோபாலா எழுந்திராய்
கொம்பனார்க்கு எல்லாம் கொழுந்தே குலவிளக்கே
எம் பெருமாட்டி யசோதாய் அறிவுறாய்
அம்பரம் ஊட அறுத்து ஓங்கி உலகு அளந்த
உம்பர் கோமானே உறங்காது எழுந்திராய்
செம்பொற் கழலடிச் செல்வா பலதேவா
உம்பியும் நீயுன் உறங்கேலோர் எம்பாவாய்.

ambaramE thaNNIrE sORE aRam sEyyum
emperumAn nandhagOpAlA ezhundhirAi
kombanArkkelAm kozhundhE kula viLakkE
emperumAtti yasOdhAi aRivuRAi
ambaramUdarththu Ongi ulagaLandha
umbar kOmAnE uRangAdhu ezhundhirAi
sempoR kazhaladich chelvA baladhEvA
umbiyum nIyum uRangElOrempAvAi

Word by Word Meaning

emperumAn nandhagOpAlA – O nandhagOpa who is our swAmi!
aRam – who donates
ambaramE – clothes
thaNNirE – water
sORE – and food (all the time, all of it),
ezhundhirAi – please wake up;
asodhAi – dear yasOdhai pirAtti!
kozhundhE – fine one among us
kombu anArkkellAm – women who are like vanji tree that is full of flowers
kula viLakkE – who is a bright lamp for the cowherds
aRivuRAi – please wake up!
umbar kOmAnE – O dhEva dhEva!
ambaram Udu aRuththu – who pierced the AkAsam (space)
Ongi – raised
ulagu aLandha – and kindly spanned/measured all the worlds,
uRangAdhu – without sleeping,
ezhundhirAi – please get up;
selvA – O srImAn!
baladhEvA – O baladhEvA!
sem pon kazhal adi – (who is) having reddish gold thiruvadi (of wealth),
umbiyum nIyum – your brother kaNNan and you
uRangEl – please do not sleep.

Simple Translation

ambaramE thaNNIrE sORE

Clothes, water, food whatever is needed for people, nandhagOpar gives them all;

The ‘E’ and the end of these words is to question whether this is all what nandhagOpar has learned to do; that it looks like as if he keeps doing each and every one of it only.

ambaram: saree; also means sky/space (this meaning is used in 5th line of this pAsuram – ambaram Udu aRuththu).

aRam seyyum

he is giving all these things out of kindness, and as if that is his life, and without expecting anything in return.

Like how you give the people what they need for life, please give us what We need for our life – kaNNan!

emperumAn …

You give sarees/clothes (bhOgyam as it gives comfort), water (dhArakam, life-saving), and sOru (bhOshakam, nurturing); go got us these things for us which is in one form that is krishNan;

Can all the three be one krishNan? Yes, nammAzhvAr agrees! ‘uNNum sORu (bhOshakam), parugu nIr (dhArakam), thinnum veRRilai (bhOgyam), ellAm kaNNan’.

[This applies to AchAryan as well – he can be many at the same time for sishyas:  srI vachana bhUshaNam of piLLai lOkAchAryar: manthramum, dhEvathaiyum, Phalamum, PhalAnubandhigaLum, palasAdhanamum, aihika bhOgamum ellAm AchAryan enRu ninaikkak kadavan / “mAthA, pithA, yuvathaya:”  engiRa slOkaththilE, ivvarththaththai paramAchAryarum aruLich cheidhAr. (ஸ்ரீவசந பூஷணம்: மந்த்ரமும், தேவதையும், பலமும், பலாநுபந்திகளும், பலஸாதநமும், ஐஹிகபோகமுமெல்லாம் ஆசார்யனென்று நினைக்கக் கடவன். “மாதா பிதா யுவதய:” என்கிற ஸ்லோகத்திலே, இவ்வர்த்தத்தை பரமாசார்யரும் அருளிச்செய்தார்).]

Since you are intending to give kaNNan to us who are always living for him, you are our perumAn.

As it seemed that nandhagOpar woke up and gave his permission, they proceed to wake up yaSOdhA.

Unlike how they are going to wake up nappinnai first and then krishNan, why did they first wake up nandhagOpar instead of yaSOdhA? Since she wanted to be near kaNNan, she is sleeping inside.

This refers to emperumAnAr as well. [-Ar: adding Ar is to show more respect. (maman-ar).]

svApadhEsam for the above lines: AthmA‘s nature of working on emperumAn’s happiness, removal of bhOgam of our own when doing that, and because of that the kainkaryam – our AchAryan gives these as if this is all he is going all the time for his sishyAs.

kombanArkkellAm kozhundhE

She (yaSOdhA) is the head of all the people who have got daughters. She is the only mother who had the joy of enjoying perumAn compared to all other mothers of various avathArams of perumAn.

kombu – ‘vanji’ tree’s.

anAr – like the kombu

kozhundhu grows first out of the tree, so it is the head; if any problem happens to the root, it is the kozhundu that would first look dull.

kozhundhE –  if any gOpikA is having any problems, isn’t it your face that becomes dull?

kula viLakkE – you are the light of the families of all these gOpikAs

emperumAtti – you got our krishNan for us, and so you are our swAmiNi!

yaSOdhAi – Unlike nandhagOpar, being the same gender you can understand our angst; when nandhagOpar who is strict has himself woken up, you who is kind (to kaNNan) can still be sleeping?

like yaSOdhai, prapannas also can tie Him – with thirumanthram (srI vachana bhUshaNam: thirumanthram kai pugundhavARE Iswaran kai pugurum… prApaka lAbham thirumanthraththAlE. ஸ்ரீவசந பூஷணம்: திருமந்த்ரம் கைபுகுந்தவாறே ஈஶ்வரன் கைபுகரும்… ப்ராபக லாபம் திருமந்த்ரத்தாலே.).

aRivurAi – if you wake up then all our troubles will go away

After getting the acceptance from yaSOdhai pirAtti, they proceed to inside and wake up krishNan.

svApadhEsam: Like how the vanji plant would bend and accommodate to the flows of the river, of all the manthrams that make themselves appropriate based on the interest of samsAris, thirumanthram is considered the head, like a lamp for the prapannas, natural swami for them, which can give life in good ancestry and other benefits. (mumukshuppadi: chEthanar ninRa ninRa aLavukku IdAyirukkum. முமுக்ஷுப்படி:  சேதநர் நின்ற நின்ற அளவுக்கு ஈடாயிருக்கும்.)

ambaram Udu aRuththu Ongi

For dhEvas, who come to you asking for their own benefits, you grew big and strong (as thrivikraman) into all the space regardless of whether they are good ones or not;

You grew with your kindness, with your guNam of protection as the water for growing.


Like a mother who keeps her arm on her child while sleeping next to it, you grew while placing your kind thiruvadi on everyone regardless of whether they were aware of it or interested in it;

umbar kOmAnE

And by doing them the favor you got dhEvas/nithyasUris under your spell. They and these gOpikAs are lost to the simplicity/approachability of perumAn who used His most supreme feet for small tasks like covering the forests and small places  (the world).

urangAdhu ezhundhirAi

Do we have to be men or be those who come to you asking for own benefits in order for you to pay attention? Can it not be gOpikAs who came to you for doing only kainkaryam? You touched your lotus feet on all the people, made it so easily available to even those who did not realize your greatness – we know its greatness, can you not show your feet to us?

Can you at least show us your face?

You who stole our sleep, is happily sleeping here? We had heard that you deeply missed a woman and suffered with no food or sleep (anidhra: sathatham rAma:). We thought that would happen here too, and what we see here is upside down. அழகிதாயிருந்தது!

The gOpikAs woke up and got their acceptance in this order:

adiyAr – nandhagOpar;
pirAtti – yasOdhai;
perumAn – krishNan.
~~~~~ praNavam.

Since He did not wake up even after saying all these, they realize their mistake that they should have woken up nambi mUththa pirAn (balarAmar) first (that is, go to perumAn through adiyAr), so they wake up balarAmar:

sem poR kazhal adich chelvA baladhEvA

krishNan came to this world after you – you were born here first and blessed this place with your golden feet; The wealth that iLaiya perumAL (lakshmaNan) got after being born later, you got by being born earlier; Like lakshmaNan you also got the wealth that is kainkaryam, shouldn’t you also be awake like lakshmaNan? Didn’t he stay awake to protect pirAtti and perumAL when they slept! Aren’t you too great in getting krishNan together with this gOpikA (ANdAL)? If so, is it acceptable for you to be sleeping now?

When AzhvArs are having Udal (tiff) with perumAn they would refer to Adhi sEshan as ‘thI mugaththu nAgaNai‘ (bed of serpent who emits fire from his face); when are happy about perumAn they would be kind and say ‘nAgaNai misai nampirAn (perumAn who is on a comfortable bed of Adhi sEshan)’. Here they are being nice and saying ‘sem poR kazhal adi chelvA‘.

[perumAL requested lakshmaNan (Adhi sEshan), “You are born as younger brother and are doing so many kainkaryams to me in this avathAram. During another avathAram please be born as elder brother to me”. In krishNa avathAram, Adhi sEshan was born as elder brother balarAmar, and did kainkaryams to kaNNan!]

umbiyum nIyum urangEl

(addressing balarAmar). “He is beloved to you and you are beloved to Him, and both are sleeping with legs on each other; He being younger brother is nice to you, you being adiyAr (chenrAl kudaiyAm…) is nice to Him and we in the middle are losing His time with us as you both are sleeping”.

“Those who lie on the bed would sleep, but is there sleep to the bed itself? You (balarAmar) who is His bed, please wake up, and also wake Him for us; we are His bed, and give Him to us.”

In this pAsuram ANdAL wakes up nandhagOpar, yasodhai pirAtti, then both krishNan and balarAman. They go through the proper order to krishNan.

English translation Raghuram srInivAsa dhAsan

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