thiruppAvai – 18 – undhu madhakaLiRRan

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

Full Series

Since krishNan did not awake even after this, they try to awaken nappinnai pirAtti (purushakAra bhUthai (one who makes perumAn understand about his guNams related to accepting saraNAgathi, and mediates between us and perumAn). Since perumAn has both kindness and svAthanthriyam, when we go in front of Him He might see our pApams and take sAsthrams in his hands and tell us to exhaust our pApams first. It would be better if His svAthanthriyam is kept at bay and kindness is brought up. Only one person can do that – thAyAr. So we go through adiyArs, AchAryasAzhvArs  to our thAyar, who will then make sure that perumAn‘s kindness is brought forth and He will also forgive our pApams and accept us. They tried to wake up krishNan Himself first because they thought they are here not for ASrayaNam (surrendering) but to have bhOgam (enjoy with Him).

kAkAsuran, vibhIshaNAzhvAn lived because they had the blessings of thAyAr. sUrpaNakai did not because she avoided thAyAr and went straight to rAman; rAvaNan did not live because He went only to thAyAr and avoided perumAn.

உந்து மதகளிற்றன் ஓடாத தோள்வலியன்
நந்தகோபாலன் மருமகளே நப்பின்னாய்
கந்தம் கமழும் குழலி கடைதிறவாய்
வந்து எங்கும் கோழி அழைத்தன காண் மாதவிப்
பந்தல்மேல் பல்கால் குயிலினங்கள் கூவின காண்
பந்து ஆர் விரலி உன் மைத்துனன் பேர்பாடச்
செந்தாமரைக்கையால் சீரார் வளை ஒலிப்ப
வந்து திறவாய் மகிழ்ந்தேலோர் எம்பாவாய்.

undhu madhakaLiRRan OdAdha thOL valiyan
nandha gOpAlan marumagaLE nappinnAi
gandham kamazhum kuzhalee kadai thiRavAi
vandhu engum kOzhi azhaiththana kAN
madhavip pandhal mEl palkAl kuyil inangaL kUvina kAN
pandhAr virali un maiththunan pEr pAdach
chenthAmaraik kaiyAl sIrAr vaLai olippa
vandhu thiRavAi magizhndhu elOrempAvAi

Word by Word Meaning

madham undhu kaLiRRan – strong like an elephant that is driven by fury producing water in eyes,
OdAdha thOL valiyan – with strong shoulders so he does not run away from the battle field,
nandhagOpAlan marumagaLE – O daughter-in-law of such nandhagOpar!
nappinnAi – who possesses the name of nappinnai!
gandham kamazhum kuzhalee – O who has got her hair/tresses emitting fragrance all around!
kadai thiRavAi – please open the door;
vandhengum kOzhi azhaiththana kAN – spreading in all four directions, the cocks are yelping – please see.
kuyil inangaL – (also) groups of cuckoos
mAdhavi pandhal mEl – (sleeping) on the pandhal (structure for giving shade) having plants of kurukkaththi
kUvina pal kAl kAN – calling many times, please see.
pandhu Ar virali – O you having fingers holding the (flower) ball (which gets kaNNan to lose to you),
un maiththunan pEr pAda – (for us) to sing the names of your nAthan (husband) krishNan,
vandhu – come walking
sIr Ar vaLai olippa – with your sweet bangles making jingling sounds
sem thAmaraik kaiyAl – and with your hands that are reddish like a lotus
magizhndhu thiRavAi – open the door happily.

Simple Translation

undhu madhakaLiRRan

Strong like the elephant that is pushed by musth;

AchAryan removes our aggressiveness.

OdAdha thOL valiyan

Strong, and would not back off when looking at the enemies;

Saying these things about nandhagOpan is to reduce their angst about dangers to krishNan.

thOL valiyan – when we are afraid thinking about our pApams/karmas we think about perumAn’s strength and reduce our fear.

OdAdha – such strength is not common in this place.

AchAryan havng the strength of gyAnam

nandhagOpAlan marumagaLE

Referring to nappinnai as the daughter-in-law of the great nandhagOpalan, instead of as daughter of srI kumbar. This is what she likes too – like how sIthA pirAtti is fond of referring herself as dhasaratha chakravarthy’s daughter-in-law.

nandhagOpAlan – AchAryan who saves us;  marumagaLE – If emperumAn can be amicable like a son to AchAryan, then there is nothing wrong in saying pirAtti as AchAryan’s daughter-in-law.


Since she (nappinnai) kept quiet thinking that after krishNan was born in this thiruvAippAdi, every girl became a daughter-in-law of nandhagOpan, so this is not specifically about me, the gOpikAs say, ‘nappinnAi’.

gandham kamazhum kuzhali

Fragrance becomes meaningful on the day of joining nappinnai’s divine plait;

It is said that emperumAn is the source of all fragrances ‘sarva gandha:’, and her plait gives fragrance even to Him.

She attracts emperumAn with this, encourages Him to protect those who surrender to him, and makes everyone appreciate and celebrate Him.

kadai thiRavAi

krishNan’s fragrance and your fragrance have mixed and its flooding your place, please open your doors and let them out for us to quench our separation; please open the dam for us;

Please remove our ignorance (agyAnam).

“why are you waking us in the mid-night?”

“it is dawned”

“how do you say that?”

vandhu engum kOzhi azhaiththana kAN

“The roosters are crowing”

“Just one of them doing that will make it a dawn?”

“engum kOzhi azhaiththana” (everywhere) – like tapping on our laps to wake us up.

mAdhavip pandhal mEl

If the cuckoo birds which slept in a cozy bed have woken up and are cooing, then it is not a sign?

“Just one of them does not make it a dawn”

palkAl kuyil inangaL kUvina kAN

“The one bird is calling so many times after not seeing you in the morning”.

“Just one calling many times would not make it a dawn”

“different varieties of them, calling you for a long time”

pandhAr virali

“It is our loss that we are not achEthanams (insentient)”

“why so?”

“then we would have been in your hands (like that ball)! “

nappinnai won krishNan in playing the flower ball, and she is holding the ball in one hand and hugging krishNan with Her other hand; He is for enjoyment (bhOgam), and the ball is for playing (leelai);   nAram (jeevAthmAs, etc.,) in one hand, and nArAyaNan in the other hand;  vibhUthi in one hand, vibhUthimAn in another. From this, with these two relationships, Her purushakAram can be seen.

Flower ball is like devotees – pirAtti is holding us in one hand and perumAn in the other and is always helping the two parties reach each other.

can you not include us in your game? and we will nicely play with you and krishNan.

“What have you come here for?”

un maiththunan pEr pAda

maiththunan:  husband

When you are having interesting arguments with your husband, we want to join your side and say things that would support your side, and talk about His (mis)deeds; don’t the children always side their mother when there are any arguments between parents? Like how when sIthA pirAtti told iLaiya perumAL that she won the swimming race against perumAL, then iLaiya perumAL also supported only pirAtti.

when you are happy together, we will also go along with it.

un maiththunan – like it is phrased in the first part of dhvaya manthram.

pEr pAda – nAraNa nambi has got so many names; also He can be identified as this girl’s adiyAn and that girl’s adiyAn;

pEr pAda – when you both play with the ball and He loses, we want to sing His names for that.

The girls tell nappinnai pirAtti that krishNan is common to all the girls in thiruvAyppAdi, without us He is not complete, etc..

Hearing this, pirAtti says, “If so, krishNa! open the door”.

But, He says, “If they are on your side, would I open the door for them?”.

pirAtti tells the girls, “I have setup the doors to automatically open for you. Come inside”

==> They reply: ” We cannot get You by ourselves, we can get only by yourselves;  we look for your efforts”:

senthAmarai kaiyAl

pirAtti, we look for your hand – perumAn keeps His Hand in the pose that says ‘anjEl’ (don’t be afraid) when we are worried about our pApams. Your hand says ‘anjEl’ – that we shall not be afraid of perumAn’s svAthanthriyam. perumAn is also fond of your hands;

Your hands which have become red due to playing with the Flower ball.

kai (hand) – implies gyAnam. (AzhvAr sang: gyAnak kai thA (thiruvAimozhi 2-9-2)

Flower’s attributes are beauty, softness, and fragrance. In svApadhEsam, these are: beauty – reducing interest in other matters; softness – reducing enjoyment for self on other matters; fragrance – love for Him.  kai – gyAnam with these understanding.

nappinnai tries to open the door but without her bangles making any noise as she had raised them tight in her arms:

sIrAr vaLai olippa

open, with your bangles making sweet jingling sounds; like how the rain clouds would thunder and rain;  we would survive by hearing that sound of your bangles;  since you are always with Him – ‘agalakillEn iRaiyum [thirvAimozhi]‘, those bangles stay in your arm – sangu thangu mun kai nangai [thiruchchandha viruththam-57]; it is unlike our arms that don’t hold the bangles due to separation, like ‘iru kaiyil sangivai nillA’ (thirunenunthANdakam-24). It would stay in their hands only if they both together (with krishNan helping) put the bangles in their arms (after the nOnbu).

with that sound krishNan also would wake up and we will live happily.

svApadhEsam – with ever lasting bhagavath sambandham, having the brightness due to getting the meanings of rahasyams.

As nappinnai thought she should not be separated from krishNan, she tried to open the door while lying down:

vandhu thiRavAi

Please give us the fame that she walked a few steps for gOpikAs”. Please walk a few steps this way and that way and open the door – krishNan would enjoy the beauty of your walk and so would we see that and live happily;

svApadhEsam – without considering our efforts, you please come and remove our agyAnam related to obstacles related to svarUpam (our/His nature), upAyam (means to reach Him), and purushArththam (goal :- kainkaryam).


without thinking of the dharmA like “when these gOpikAs are standing outside could we have other anubhavam”, come and open the door with happiness in your mind, that it is a blessing for you; show your happy face after being with Him; we wanted to do nOnbu to ‘magizhndhu nIrAda‘ (take bath happy / be with krishNan happily), and as a main benefit we want to see you happy.

More than being with Him, you are happy to see His adiyArs – we want to see that happiness so please open the door.

The reason for doing kainkaryam is to see thAyAr perumAL’s happiness; (owner becomes happy when he gets his properties that is we.)

svApadhEsam – purushakAram be yours.

vaLai Olippa – reduce the angst of ears
pEr pAda – reduce the angst of our tongues
senthamarai kaiyAl – reduce the angst by touch
gandham kamazhum kuzhali – reduce the angst by smell
magizhndhu – with all the indhriyams becoming happy, your manas will get the happiness.

AchAryan ==> emperumAnAr is very fond of this pAsuram.

206th item in vArthAmAlai by pinbazhagiya perumAL jIyar who is a sishya of nampiLLai:

nampiLLai says, “As emperumAnAr was reciting this line from the pAsuram’s ‘sIrAr vaLai olippa vandhu thiRavAi‘ (open the doors, with your bangles making sweet music), he happened to come in front of thirukkOshtiyUr nambi‘s thirumALigai, and at the same time nambi‘s daughter opened the door to go out, (with her bangles making noise); emperumAnAr felt that this is nappinnai pirAtti herself and he prostrated in front of her, falling on the floor; she got afraid and ran inside the house; when her father asked what was the matter, she told her father that emperumAnAr fell on her feet; when emperumAnAr came insde, nambi knowing the reason, asked emperumAnAr,”iLayAzhvIr! Are you doing recital of undhu madhakaLiRRan?” ‘  (இளையாழ்வீர்! இப்போது அநுஸந்தானம் உந்துமதகளிற்றனோ?” என்று அருளிச்செய்தாரென்று பிள்ளையருளிச்செய்வர்.)

English translation Raghuram srInivAsa dhAsan

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0 thoughts on “thiruppAvai – 18 – undhu madhakaLiRRan”

  1. Neatly put swami..

    thOL valiyan – Nandhagopar is the resort for protection of Kannan and protection against Kannan(for complaints against Him) 😀

    dhanyosmi..adiyen srivaishnava dasan


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