Saturday, December 31, 2016

Thiruppavai Paasuram 17 - Ambarame thanneere - 1st January

The gopis get inside the palace of Nandagopan after besieging the gatekeepers and now, they have to wake up Krishna's parents, Nandagopan and Yasodha, and Lord Krishna himself and his brother Balarama. So, they reach their chambers and try to awaken one-by-one.

Paasuram - 17 of Thiruppavai

Ambarame thaNNeere SoRe aRam Seyyum
Emberumaan Nandagopaalaa eZhundiraay
Kombanaarkellaam kozhunDe kulaviLakke
Emberumaatti Yasodhaa aRivuraay
AmbaramoodaRiththu ONgiuLagaLandha
UmbaR komaane uRangaaDu eLundiRaay
SemboR kazhaLadi chelvaa BalaDevaa
Umbiyum neeyum uRangelor embaavaay

Outer, explicit literal meaning of this paasuram

The gopis first awaken Nandagopan by praising his virtues.
Oh, King Nandagopan, who generously gifts away clothes, water, and food in abundant quantities, Oh, our Lord kindly awaken.
Oh, Queen Yasodha, who is the slimmest, young beautiful lady (being like a tender child) among all the gentle women and is the brightest light of the entire clan, please wake up.
Oh Krishna, who pierced through the sky with your gigantic form and measured all worlds with two steps, please awaken.
Oh Baladeva, whose feet are adorned with reddish golden anklets, please wake up along with your brother.

The inner, in-depth meaning of the Thiruppavai paasuram 17 

Andal here refers to the four essentials required for accomplishing union with God.
One should first seek an Acharyan, thereafter the Thirumantram, next, he should understand the meaning of it and the last one is to get to the essence of that Thirumantram.
Nandagopan is the Acharyan here. Lord Vishnu himself has imparted the Thirumantram to Goddess Lakshmi. Nandagopan is compared to Vishnu and so got praised as the giver of all essentials.
Yasodha is Compared to Vishnu's consort Lakshmi and so being praised as the most virtuous lady who possessed Lord Krishna in her womb. So, she is the Thirumantram,
Krishna and Balarama are the meaning and essence of Thirumantram. Both are inseparable as they are Sriman Narayan and Adi Seshan themselves. So, along with Krishna, Balarama also gets awakened. The gopis request Balarama to awaken Krishna also along with himself.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Thiruppavai Paasuram 16 - naayaganaay ninRa - 31st December

Thiruppavai paasuram 16 is an important one as it is the stage where the gopis enter the house (temple or Vaikuntham) of Lord Narayana in the form of Krishna to besiege for his darshan and blessings.

Paasuram 16

Naayaganaay ninRa Nandagopan udaiya
Koil kaappaane kodi thhonrum thoraNa
Vaasal kaappaane maNi kaDavam thaaL thiRavaay
Aayar siRumiyomukku arai paRai
Maayan maNi vaNNan nennele vaay neRundaaN
Thooyomaay vandhom thuyiLeda paaduvaan
Vaayaal munnamunNam maatRaadhe amma nee
Nesanilai kadhavam neekkeLor embaavay

Outer, literal meaning of this paasuram
Oh, dear (embaavay) guard of our king Nandagopan's (temple) palace, oh guard at the highly visible flag-staff (the Garuda dhwaja) that is decorated with thoraNams (festoons), please unlock the bejeweled door to let us in.
Lord Krishna, who is full of wondrous deeds and whose complexion is like that of blue sapphire gems, has already promised us to bestow with Parai.
We have come here without sleeping (with a pure heart) to awaken Him with praising songs.
Please don't say no to us immediately, kindly open the door without hesitation listening to our request.

In-depth inner meaning of this paasuram 16 of Thiruppavai
The gopis are the devotees. In order to enter the Lord's Vaikuntham, they have to first cross the doors by appeasing the gate-keepers.
The gate-keepers here refer to the teachers or acharyas who show us the path to moksha.
The temple is the abode of Lord Narayana, Vaikuntham. There are two Dwarapalakas (gatekeepers), one who guards the building and the other who guards the entrance to Lord's presence. Here, the guards are the two mantras of moola mantra and dhvaya mantra as revealed by Lord Narayana to Goddess Lakshmi and through her to other Acharyas. So, the devotees should seek the help of these two mantras to possess God's blessings.
Hence, the request is made to the Acharyas to kindly accept us into their presence as disciples without refusing our prayers instantly (as we have come to them with a pure heart) and impart us these two mantras so that we can reach the abode of Lord Narayana who has already promised through his various avatars that he will grant moksha to all those who seek his protection with a pure heart and sincere efforts.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Thiruppavai- A holy composition of 30 verses by Andal or Goda Devi for uniting with God

Sri Vaishnava sampradaya people regard this thiruppavai book as very auspicious. Thiruppavai is a collection of 30 stanzas or verses (known as paasurams in Tamil and Telugu languages). They were composed by Sri Goda Devi, also known as Andal who has been a great devotee and lover of Lord Krishna in the form of Sri Ranganathaswamy.

Goda Devi was the adopted child of a great priest named Vishnu Chitta of that Ranganathaswamy temple. She got attracted towards God since her childhood and developed pure love with Him as she grew up. She decided to marry God only and not any human being. In order to attain the unity with Him, she performs the Vrat (vow or penance) of Pavai.

Thiruppavai means holy or respected Pavai penance. She performs this vow in the guise of a religious ritual. It is performed by her during the auspicious month of Marghazhi (December 16 to January 14) which is considered to be a part of the celestial dawn in heaven. Andal (Goda Devi) assumes herself as a cowherdess and invites other young girls also to perform this ritual along with her to seek eternal bliss. She performed this penance for 30 days, getting up early at Brahma muhurta and worshipping God, each day with one verse composed by her in praise of the God.

To know how to perform Dhanurmasa vrat rituals, view this article about "Dhanurmasam".

The first five verses of thiruppavai give an introduction towards the main purpose and theme of performing the ritual. Common people seek for happiness in life. But, Andal does not seek material happiness. She was after the eternal happiness and bliss of attaining unity with God even though other members of her group think that she is doing this for worldly happiness like them. Goda Devi tells here that people should give up their luxuries and worship God for possessing happiness in life. They should get up early in the morning, take bath and worship God with flowers, other offerings, and with a sincere faith in Him seeking his blessings and happiness. She tells that honest prayers can bring rains and prosperity in their lives.

The next ten stanzas of Thiruppavai are about the importance of collective participation and the part of nature and surroundings in making your penance successful. She also stresses the importance of performing one's daily duties honestly without escaping them in the pretense of being busy in performing spiritual rituals. She goes around the locality waking up each friend to take part in the ritual along with her, describing the beautiful surroundings of nature, like the chirping of birds, the beautiful colors of the sky and clouds, the blossoming flowers, their enchanting fragrance, the ringing of bells from the necks of cattle, the chantings in the temples and sounds of conches, etc. All these are also a part of our daily life. So, Andal reminds all that they should get up early from bed and perform their daily routines along with involving in spiritual meditation and rituals. She also tells us that we should restrain ourselves from indulging in material worldly pleasures of life by curtailing our desires, ego, prestige, and pride. Then only God gets pleased and provides all blessings and happiness to us.

The verses from 16 to 22 are rendered in waking up Lord Krishna's father, mother, brother, consort Neela and Krishna. In these verses, she praises their great virtues and at the same time reminds all that God is not limited to some particular people but belongs to all his devotees. No one should forget this fact and hinder others from seeking his company and blessings.

In the next 5 stanzas of 23 to 27, Andal seeks Krishna's forgiveness for awakening him so early in the morning and enumerates all His virtues and praises Him. The 28th verse narrates the humbleness and ignorance of people in realizing God and seeks for His gifts in the form of eternal bliss.

Verse 29 narrates her, along with other devotees', determination to perform this penance or ritual of Pavai to seek eternal happiness and relief from worldly problems.

Verse 30 is the concluding stanza describing her compilation of these 30 verses to the dedication of God and that whoever will recite these paasurams daily for 30 days without failure will attain all pleasures and blessings of God.

This is the essence, importance, and purpose of Thiruppavai which is being recited by Sri Vaishnava people, especially, during this month of Dhanurmasa.

To know more about the story of Andal or Goda Devi view this complete "article on Andal's life and her greatness".

I will deal with each paasuram in elaboration with full meanings in my next posts.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

How to Manage the Problem of Cash Crunch in India after Demonetization 2016

Demonetization of the high valued currency notes of Rs.1000 and Rs.500 by our PM Narendra Modi on November 8, 2016, has gripped the country with a severe problem of cash crunch or cash crisis.

All banks and ATMs have gone cashless and people are left with no money at all to meet their daily requirements essential for the everyday existence. Poor people with no knowledge of online transactions or e-payments are the worst hit. They had to depend on the mercy of vendors and traders who could offer them their daily essentials on credit.

The media and the political parties have expressed their own views and launched much criticism of the step taken by our PM Modi and our central bank RBI in their varying comments and at public meetings.

Many of them opined that it was the result of the lack of proper planning and foresight on the part of Reserve Bank of India and our Government. But, they didn't think of the circumstances that lead to taking such a sudden step overnight by our PM.

I appreciate the bold move taken by our government even though most of us had to face many difficulties in coping with our daily necessities due to the lack of cash.

I thought of presenting my own opinions here in this regard and to offer my own suggestions to tackle the situation in a better manner.

How to tackle the problem of the cash crunch in our country?

1) First of all, I would like to suggest that RBI should not release all the amount of withdrawn currency notes that they print. They should print only 65% of the withdrawn currency as advised by some thinkers of the economy. Even after printing the 65%, they should make available only half of the notes to be circulated again among the public. So, only up to 35% of the total withdrawn currency should be in circulation and the balance 30% should be kept in reserve for emergencies with RBI and not with the commercial Banks.

The real position of currency notes and their printing is as follows:

Suppose that the total demonetized notes were as follows according to some reliable reports in media.
1650 crore notes of Rs.500  =Rs 8.25 lakh crore in value
  670 crore notes of Rs.1000=Rs 6.70 lakh crore in value
The total value of demonetized =Rs 14.95 lakh crore in value

RBI sources informed according to a media report published in the dated 19/12/2016 that as on 8/11/2016, RBI had printed 2473 million pieces of Rs 2000 denomination notes before announcing the demonetization. The value of those notes amounts to Rs 4.946 lakh crores.

So, RBI already had a fund of Rs 4.95 lakh crore to meet the demonetization effect.

Now, if RBI should print only 65% of the demonetized value of notes, it should print (14.95 lakh crore x 65% = Rs 9.72 lakh crore value of the currency.

But, we already have Rs 4.95 lakh crore in the shape of Rs 2000 notes.
So, we need to print only (9.72 less 4.95 = 4.77) Rs 4.77 lakh crore value of the currency.

If all this value of the currency is printed in the shape of Rs 500 notes, we need to print 954 crore notes.

According to these same reports, the currency printing machines have a capacity of printing only 7.4 crore notes a day in their present working conditions of two shifts per day.

So, to print 954 crore notes, it will take (954 divided by 7.4) 129 days roughly or say 4 months.

If RBI started printing the notes from 1st December itself at this rate, the notes will be ready by 8th April 2017. So, we have to bear another 3 months till the position improves.

2) Establishments and business companies should disburse only Rs.10,000 in cash as salaries and the rest amount should be credited to the bank accounts of their employees. This will control the cash shortage by limiting the cash in the hands of people.

As of now, our population is around 134 crores. So, if RBI is printing a total of 972000 crore value of the currency (9.72 lakh crore value including Rs 2000 notes), each individual including the just born child will be having a sum of Rs 7250 with him for immediate needs. This is excluding the other notes of Rs.100, 50, 20, and 10 denominations.

So, if a family has 4 members, it will have roughly Rs 30,000 with them. This is too much for meeting your cash transactions. That is why I advocate for releasing only half of the printed currency for circulation among the public.

3) Banks should allow only a maximum of Rs.20,000 as cash withdrawals and nothing more than that limit during any month excepting some special cases where it is necessary.

4) Government and Banks should provide safer and quicker means of making cashless transactions.

5) I think all people should open savings or other current accounts with Banks and get their ATM cards. These ATM cards can be used very safely for making any kind of payment with no threats of security if properly maintained.

6) Mobile apps can also be taken to make other transactions but they should be properly guarded.

7) Public awareness should be promoted to educate people regarding the various types of safer apps and tools available for going cashless and regarding their proper usage with public demonstrations conducted throughout all the corners of the country.