Why should Lord Narayana be merciful to us when we go against all prescribed tenets of good conduct, when we fall prey to emotions so easily and when we are swayed by the desire for material possessions? The answer can be given in one word — “Thiruppavai,” said Akkarakkani Srinidhi, in a discourse.
The story goes that Andal would first wear the flower garlands intended for the Lord before they were offered to Him. When Her father came to know of this, he was aghast for, garlands for the Lord are not to be worn by any mortal before they adorn the deity. So he took to the temple a garland which Andal had not adorned Herself with. But the deity rejected this offering. He wanted a garland which Andal had first tried on. Thus, through Her love for Him, She had bound Him to Her, says Vaishnavite acharya Vedanta Desika. She further bound Him to Her through Her verses, collected under the title ‘Thiruppavai’. Bound by Her flowers and Her words, the Lord saves anyone who knows the Thiruppavai. So the best way to worship Him is to recite the Thiruppavai.
While all the 30 verses of the Thiruppavai are equally important, some are quite special, like the 15th one, for example. This verse says that even if a person criticises us, we should think we deserve the criticism. We should not retort. This will teach us to be tolerant towards others. In this verse, a sleeping girl is woken up by other girls for the morning worship. The girl inside is awake, and gets annoyed when her friends wonder if she is awake or not. She talks back to them harshly. They say that her words only confirm what people say about her, namely, that she is rude in her speech. The girl then feels remorseful, and apologises to her friends and says she will willingly accept whatever criticism they make of her.
This verse shows how easy it is to defuse a tense situation if we keep a check on our words. The girl realises this, and shows us the value of politeness, through her conduct.
Reciting the Thiruppavai thus shows us how to worship Him and how to conduct ourselves.