Sri Chinmayasatgurave namah
Nachiar Tirumozhi - Ch II verse 3
Topic: Andal yearning for Krishna, yet resisting Him, scolding Him, yet expressing her love and yearning…
(You are) the One who lies on the Milky Ocean, O One with the majesty of a Lion! Even after dissolution,you are the One who lies on the mass of water surrounding the whole world! You saved Gajendra, the elephant (from the clutches of the crocodile), so readily! We love You so naturally but with Your side glance You torture us.(Or… we love you so much, so easily and naturally, yet you won’t even confer on us a side glance, and thus you torture us!)
(You seem to not heed that )we suffered a lot in bringing the very fine soft sands from the river-bed, wearing bangles in our hands. We plead You, not to destroy our sand houses.
Andal clearly expresses her understanding of Krishna as the maintainer, the nourisher, the protector. She knows all that He has done as a part of sustaining this Creation. She describes Krishna as the Lord Vishnu Who is lying on the Milky Ocean thereby indicating to Him that He is ever engaged in serious thinking in maintaining the world. Lord Vishnu depicted in the sleeping posture, eyes half closed,shows that only His mind is ever awake thinking of the world, its inhabitants, their welfare, their joys and needs. This reveals to us how compassionate He is.
Again Andal describes Krishna as the One who is lying in the mass of water,(Milky Ocean) referring to the form of the baby Krishna lying on the banyan leaf floating in the water at the time of dissolution – Andal appears to be chiding Krishna saying you are so concerned about your Creation, look how well you protect it, lying on the banyan tree leaf, and in this form you are keeping all the jivas in your safe custody in the stomach. Aren’t you doing this to protect them till the next creation? This also shows His compassionate nature, she admits admiringly but immediately she also says, don’t spoil our creation. Meaning, you are strong and compassionate to protect your own Creation, but why can’t you keep off our (jiva’s) creations of sand castles and rangoli? Do you not think we who despite wearing bangles went out to get fine sand, faced so much difficulty?
Andal is thus caught between annoyance and deep admiration and adoration!
By indicating the incident of saving the elephant Gajendra from the crocodile, Andal is listing out few points:
1. Gajendra did not surrender immediately. He struggled for a thousand years (it is said) trying to save himself. Maybe by pointing this out Andal is hinting at the probability that Gajendran’s ego did not permit him to surrender!
2. He surrendered at last to save his own life.(whereas here Andal is offering her life to Bhagawan, in her surrender!)
3. Bhagavan did not think of all these mistakes of Gajendra, yet how eagerly He seems to have rushed to save Gajendra!
4. He came rushing to save Gajendra just by a call from him. And here she was yearning and pining for Krishna, building sand castles and painting kolams and Krishna? Forget coming to her, He would not even grace her with a side long glance! Andal thinks this is most unfair. “How is this fair?” she asks! The surging anger in Andal is absolutely delightful.
5. Finally He even killed the crocodile to save Gajendra.Comparing this to her own state Andal says, ‘yet you kill me (instead of saving me!) by not even offering me a sideway glance, even as I cry for you, no less in intensity than Gajendra’s cry for help! How are we two different Krishna? You have so much compassion for a mere elephant, but here look at me, what have I not done to adore you, yet you ignore me!
By these Andal may be indicating to Krishna the following
1. We are always surrendered to you – meaning I don’t come to you only when I am in trouble. Here I am crying out for you not because my foot is in the mouth of any crocodile, but because of my intense yearning for you. And this yearning has ALWAYS been there Krishna!
2. We surrendered to you not expecting anything from you – we bhaktas are mindlessly in love with you Krishna. There is no objective for our love and our worship. On the other hand we have even give up everything we have just to get you, left our homes and families! What can we want now other than yourself? (Whereas that Gajendra? He cried out to you to save his life! And I am saying come Krishna, take my life!)
3. Think, we are only in Love with you and you alone – not in love with our lives! We want to give up ourselves to be One with you, so that we don’t have this body identity as distinct from you! Think Krishna! I am saying take away this identity so that I and You may merge as one…Gajendra didn’t say that no? Gajendra still wanted his life saved and still be distinct from you! Is this not my love?
4. We are trying our best through putting our effort in all ways and means just to unite with you.
5. You are not encouraging us, nay, you are not even showing any sign of acknowledging our effort. Worse, you come and destroy our creation – our sand castles and kolams!
6. What do you think of yourself? Have we become lower than the animal (Gajendra) that you have saved? You were so eager to save him, you rushed to his rescue. You didn’t need to do that. And you killed the crocodile! Where was the need? You could have saved that elephant without that. So eager you were to shower your attention and love on an animal. But us? Are we lower than that animal?
Here we are reminded of Krishna’s own statements in the following verses of the Bhagavad Gita:
catur-vidha bhajante mam
janah sukritino ’rjuna
arto jijnasur artharthi
jnani ca bharatarsabha|| 7.16
Four kinds of virtuous men worship Me, O Arjuna, the dissatisfied, the seeker of (systematised) knowledge, the seeker of wealth, and the wise, O best among the Bharatas.
tesam jnani nitya-yukta
priyo hi jnanino ’tyartham
aham sa ca mama priyah || 7.17
Of them the wise, ever steadfast and devoted to the One, excels; for, I am exceedingly dear to the wise, and he is dear to Me.
udarah sarva evaite
jnani tv atmaiva me matam
asthitah sa hi yuktatma
mam evanuttamam gatim|| 7.18
Noble indeed are all these, but the wise man, I deem, as My very Self; for, steadfast in mind he is established in Me alone as the Supreme Goal.
Andal wants to remind Krishna of His own words “that the wise man, I deem, as My own Self” for his mind is ever fixed in Him as his goal. And by presneting His words back to Him and cleverly weaving the paradox of Gajendra into her argument, Andal stuns Krishna with, “So Krishna you are saying one thing and behaving quite the opposite!
Here we should be careful in our understanding that Andal’s intention is not to say anything low about Gajendra or or talk poorly of Krishna. It is her faultless Love that gives her strength to talk like this! So when she continues “our Love for you is so natural and you are torturing us only with you side glance” she is telling Him - how come you still maintain such a distance with us/me and not showering your grace on us/me so that we become united with you immediately, instantly? (Can’t you do for me what you did for Gajendra?)
Here Upanishad also comes to the help of Andal with the the following mantra from “Mundakopanishad”.
näyamätmä pravacanena labhyo
na medhayä na bahunä çrutena|
yamevaiña våëute tena labhyaù
tasyaiña ätmä vivåëute tanuà sväm|| (III.ii.4)
The Self is not attained through discourses nor through memorizing scriptural texts, nor through much learning. It is gained only by him who wishes to attain it with his whole heart. To such a one, the Self reveals its true nature.
And thus Andal now says to Krishna, “After seeing all the effort we have put in with our soul and heart, wishing to be united with You, still You are not revealing your True Love explicitly but you simply go and spoil our efforts (worship) as well! So kindly, we plead with you to not destroy our sand houses.
It may seem like an anti climax that after all her pleas and cries, Andal ends with ‘don’t destroy our sand castles’. But could she be saying, “We jivas create our own unique path to reach you; we are after all limited humans created by you as limited. We didn’t ask to be limited but you as Bhagawan chose to design us as limited. And with this limited body we have been working so hard to worship you to reach you….to the best of our capabilities given our limitations….no doubt our efforts (like scriptural study, japa, mantra, etc) are like sand castles…and to attain you none of these will suffice. Yet why do you make this effort so very very difficult? Why do you spoil our sand castles (meditation efforts, study efforts, etc) which we created only for you? (Our japa, meditation, study etc are all only with You in mind!)
So maybe our efforts at worshipping you may be insufficient, but you know why we are doing this, then why don’t you simply accept them all instead of spoiling them?