thiruppAvai – 28 – kaRavaigaL pin chenRu

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

Full Series

1st pAsuram’s ‘nArAyaNanE namakkE paRai tharuvAn talked about prApakam and prApyam (means and destiny). They describe about those in this pAsuram and the next pAsuram.

In this pAsuram, they say ‘For the elders to allow us to be with you, we used ‘nOnbu’ as the front – nOnbu is not our agenda; it is only kainkaryam to your divine feet’; saying so, with the absence of any efforts by them (Akinchanyam) for gaining any right to mOksham, and with their wish to surrender to perumAn, they say ‘only you are the means’, and say ‘please forgive us for our prior mistakes’, and finally with their prayer for getting Him, they complete this pAsuram. It is only in the next pAsuram they pray Him for getting mOksham, but here they mention it to as part of talking about the absence of any means in them.

===> ANdAL is doing saraNAgathy in this pAsuram. After doing saraNAgathy here, in the next pAsuram she talks about doing kainkaryam to him forever. (dhvayam)

கறவைகள் பின் சென்று கானம் சேர்ந்து உண்போம்
அறிவுஒன்றும் இல்லாத ஆய்க்குலத்து உந்தன்னைப்
பிறவி பெறுந்தனைப் புண்ணியம் யாம் உடையோம்
குறை ஒன்றும் இல்லாத கோவிந்தா உந்தன்னோடு
உறவேல் நமக்கு இங்கு ஒழிக்க ஒழியாது அறியாத
பிள்ளைகளோம் அன்பினால் உந்தன்னை
சிறுபேர் அழைத்தனமும் சீறி அருளாதே
இறைவாநீ தாராய் பறையேலோர் எம்பாவாய்.

kaRavaigaL pin chenRu kAnam sErndhu uNbOm
aRivu onRum illAdha Aikkulaththu
unRannaip piRavi peRunthanaip puNNiyam yAm udaiyOm
kuRaivonRum illAdha gOvindhA
unRannOdu uRavEl namakku ingu ozhikka ozhiyAdhu
aRiyAdha piLLaigaLOm anbinAl
unRannaich chiRu pEr azhaiththanavum sIRi aruLAdhE
iRaivA nI thArAi paRai ElOrempAvAi

Word by Word Meaning

kuRai onRum illAdha gOvindhA – Oh gOvindha! who does not have any shortcomings!
yAm – we
kaRavaigaL pin chenRu – go behind the cows,
kAnam sErndhu – reach the forest/fields,
uNbOm – (we walk around while) eating;
aRivu onRum illAdha – (we are) not having any gyAnam
Aykkulaththu – (belonging to) the cowherd clan
un thannaip piRavi peRum thanaip puNNiyam udaiyOm – we are blessed (have good karmA) to have you born;
iRaivA – Oh the almighty!
unthannOdu uRavu – (our) relationship with you
ingu namakku ozhikka ozhiyAdhu – cannot be removed here by you or by us;
aRiyAdha piLLaigaLOm – we, the innocent little girls (who don’t know the norms of the world),
unRannaich chiRu pEr azhaiththanavum – called you with an insignificant name
anbinAl – due to affection;
nI – you (who loves your adiyArs),
sIRi aruLAdhE – without blessing us your anger,
paRai thArAi – give (us what we) required.

Simple Translation

“Before I give you all the things you have asked till now and anything more you are going to ask (their real requirement), can you gOpikAs tell me what you have done to gain any qualification for getting something from me?”. He is trying to play with them.

If there are any other means that we followed, you would leave us to that and let us continue on that path. We don’t have any such means.

(ALavandhAr asks ’emperumAn! sisupAlan got mOksham because he said your names many times, kAkAsuran got respite as he fell on your feet, etc.. – they did some upAyam (means) and still you gave them mOksham, whereas I have not done anything, so why can’t you give me mOksham?’).

karRavaigaL – cows, which don’t have any knowledge.

pin chenRu

We go behind cows. Our living is with the cows and going behind those cows.

abhimana_sthalam_mannargud_rajagopalan{ krishNan too loves to go behind cows. Cows and calves look at His divine and mischievous face and grow happily. In the accompanying picture see krishNan standing like this as srIvidhyA rAjagOpAlan in the abhimAna sthalama of mannArgudi, and see how the calves are looking at him!}.

To gain gyAnam one has to go live with a guru. We follow the cows. In narasimha purANam 16-13 it says ‘gyAnEna hIna: pasubhi: samAna:‘ (one who doesn’t have gyAnam is equivalent to a cow). Such is our gyAnam learned from these cows.

Do we look like we have got some qualifications? Are the cows equivalent to sage vasishtar? Even the cows imitate and laugh at our cowherd behavior.

kAnam sErndhu

We go to forest; unlike people with gyAnam who with their ability live in villages, towns, and cities who would be able to gain some knowledge, we live in this small place and go behind cows to forest for getting them fed; this forest is not where many saints lived like in sALagrAmam etc., – this is one with just grass for the cows (so we don’t have that benefit too).

sErndhu – Our legs won’t stay in the village; they would go and be in the forest. (so we don’t have any qualification related to knowledge).


“for vysyas, taking care of cows is the varNAsrama dharmam, so you are all doing that? Isn’t that a qualification?”

“No we didn’t go to the forest with any vairAkyam (to follow the dharmam) – we don’t go there to do thapas like rishIs; we go there and we take care of ourselves–we eat. (Can you count this as karma yOgam?)”

aRivu onRum illAdha

“You may not have any such gyAnam now, but in your previous lives you might have gained gyAnam at the level of vidhurar or others”

‘onRum’ – (not even one/none of it) – no we don’t have any qualification in any life whatsoever. We don’t have any Athma gyAnam that leads to bhagavath gyAnam, nor do we have bhakthi which comes after gaining such gyAnam.

Isn’t the gOpikAs’ eagerness to mix with krishNan a form of bhakthi?  It is their nature to be desparate to be with Him – they don’t consider it as a means for getting him.

=> So, with these, they say they don’t have any karma, gyAna, bhakthi yOgam which can be used as a means for reaching him in srI vaikuntam.

nammAzhwAr said the same thing in the same order, “nORRa nOnbu ilEn, nuN aRivu ilEn‘ (I don’t have any karmas(actions) that is karma yogam, or any gyAnam (and so nor any bhakthi which is the next stage after gyAnam).

thoNdaradippodi AzhwAr too sang, ‘kuLiththu mUnru…‘ to say that he does not have any karma/gyAna/bhakthi yOgams as means.

“You are also talking like those AzhwArs, so you do have such gyAnam”

Aykkulam (cowherds)

The cowherd community that you can be sure of that we won’t have any gyAnam;

Our kulam is such that all the lack of qualifications mentioned above are our strength.(srIvachana bhUshaNam – uthkrushta janmamE srEshtam / ஸ்ரீவசந பூஷணம்: உத்க்ருஷ்ட ஜன்மமே ஸ்ரேஷ்டம்)

“Even after seeing us you are saying that we have brains – this is your lack of gyAnam”.

“You don’t have any qualifications, but you still want mOksham?”

un thannaip piRavi peRum thanaip puNNiyam yAm udaiyOm

krishNan continues, “Those who don’t have any puNNiyam (good karmA), cannot wish for mOksham”

“How can that be? We have got You. We feed food for the puNyam (you). That is, we don’t say No to your accepting us as your adiyAr; so you feel fulfilled. You are the means”.

piRavi peRum thanai – people go to perumAn and pray to him. Are we like that? You were born among us, and mingled with us – that is what we have got.

puNNiyam yAm udaiyOm – All gyAnis say that krishNan is The dharmam himself; we have got you, we play with you, do what we want with you. (நினைத்தபடி விநியோகம் கொள்ளலாம்படி கைப்புகுந்த உன்னை உடையோமன்றோ?)

krishNan catches them: “You said you don’t have any gyAnam (so no puNyam (good karmA), but now you are saying you have got puNyam. You are contradicting yourselves.”

“See?! We don’t have gyAnam (to talk without contradicting!) [ periyavAchAn piLLai‘s hAsya rasam].

“You don’t have any of the yOgams; only a lot of disqualifying aspects, so why should I give you mOksham?”

kuRaivu onRum illAdha gOvindhA

We talked about lack of everything in us, did we say anything is lacking in you? You are everything. Our lack of everything would match with your having everything. We are like a deep pit and you are like a mountain that could perfectly fit into that pit; so we have got a good match.

We will have to lose our prize due to our lacking everything, only if You lack anything.

We don’t have to lose you because of not having anything else. (no other means, only you are our means to reach you). Thus this shows their upAya-nairapEkshyam.


Since you are saying that I am everything, then I can give you mOksham if I want to, or I can deny if I don’t want to”.

“Did we come to paramapadham to ask you all these? You could not stay there without us, so it is you who were born here to be with us, to be teased by us, and to do all the chores we tell you to do – we are asking you only in such a place (here)”.

This name of gOvindhA shows perumAn‘s saulabhyam (being able to mix with small level people (all of us)), which is one of the main guNams of perumAn that one considers when doing saraNAgathi.

[ ANdAL used the name ‘nArAyaNA’ three times in prior pAsurams. In these three pAsurams (previous one, this, and the next) she calls him ‘gOvindhA’. When she said nArAyaNA, perumAn did not seem to be happy – she realized that He is born here in order to enjoy us and not be reminded of his greatness – so to make him happy she called him as gOvindhA three times, but the meaning is same – perumAn with saulabhyam for us to do saraNAgathi, and perumAn with swAmithvam for us to do kainkaryam].

“only if there is any rule that the one with everything should give to ones who don’t have anything”

“O, that?”

un thannOdu uRavu

“Aren’t you our relative? Don’t you have to take care of what we need?”

“Because of our relationship? That will end with a pot of water (last rites)”.

un thannOdu uRavEl namakku ingu ozhikka ozhiyAdhu

( namakku ) Our relationship cannot be broken either by us or by you. It cannot be broken even if we tried together with an understanding between us.

“How can you say for sure?”

thirumazhisai AzhwAr sang ‘nAn unnai anRi ilEn kaNdAi nAraNanE! nI ennai anRi illai‘ (I am nothing without you nAraNA!, and you are nothing without me) – that is our proof”

“But they are your parents, (they would only talk like that)”

“Also see in what you (in the form of our AchAryAn) gave in our hands as the first pramANam – the source of all references (thirumanthram) – see its first word (praNavam)”.

That is why we said ‘nArAyaNanE namakkE paRai tharuvAn‘. You are the savior, we are the ones to be saved – that is our relationship, forever”.

“You are talking about our relationship, with you as gOpikAs, and me as your gOvindhan; but you called me as ‘narAyaNan’ instead.

“Is it wrong to call you, who is (in) everything, as nArAyaNan?”

“My purpose of coming here was to be with you all; so I like it when you call me gOvindhan”

If a prince and a common man were in a prison, and after getting released if the common man reminds of those days to the prince it would hurt the prince’s feelings. perumAn was also having the same emotion.

ariyAdha piLLaigaLOm

“we did that because of agyAnam due to being ignorant and small”. Sorry that we pushed you about our relationship with you and reminded you of your parathvam.

[When we do saraNAgathi to perumAn, we accept all our mistakes and shortcomings. For example nAthamunigaL‘s and rAmanujar‘s slOkas related to their saraNAgathi]


“We called you nArAyaNA because of our agyAnam due to our love. So please bear with us.

It is like when we are (wife is) in the same bed, you please do not complain that ‘the legs hit me, arms hit me’ “.

arjunan pleaded to krishNan to forgive him (during bhagavath gIta) for having called him ‘hey krishNa!’, ‘hey yAdhavA’, ‘hey friend’ without realizing krishNan’s greatness.

un thannaich chiRu pEr azhaiththanavum sIRi aruLAdhE

When you have come to this world to enjoy earning your saulabhyam, we called you with the name of nArAyaNan instead of gOvindhan by mistake due to agyAnam, small age, and love. Please do not be upset with us.


We are asking Not based on thinking about the god of the dhEvas, but the god of us cowherds.

Would anyone say that their legs and arms did mistakes and be angry with those things? Since we are your property, if you don’t bless us then would it not be a loss for you?

Since you have not learned from a teacher sitting under his seat, (as a sarvagyan (who knows everything)), you do not know that it is not correct for you to be angry with us?

Your saulabhyam does not match with you anger.

nI  (you)

krishNan tries to back out saying that you have to go through thAyAr when doing saraNAgathi.

They say that they have done all of that, and they are here only with thAyAr‘s (nappinnai’s) blessings and recommendation.

So it is now You who have to act.

nI thArAi paRai

You, who hope that people would not say No when you bless them, please give us paRai. Please allow us to surrender to you – please give us mOksham.

ElOrempAvAi – O girl, think, commit, and follow our ways.

This pAsuram is related to first half of dhvayam. Through AchAryan and thAyAr we surrender to perumAn; we learn not to prevent him from pouring his love on us. First half of dhvayam is about saraNAgathy. Next pAsuram is related to second half of dhvayam which is about requesting to doing kainkaryam after saraNAgathy.

This pAsuram talks about doing saraNAgathy – 1) accepting that we are not capable of doing karma/ gyAna/ bhakthi yOgams,  2) understanding that we don’t have any qualifications, and don’t want any qualifications to be the means, 3) praising perumAn who is complete in everything, 4) understanding our relationship with him, 5) accepting and feeling bad for our mistakes of thinking that there are other means other than Him for reaching Him, and 6) surrendering to Him through our AchAryAn;  This thought is saraNAgathy.

English translation Raghuram Srinivasa Dasan.

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