thirumAlali – 24 – veLLa nIr parandhu pAyum

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the 21st pAsuram, AzhwAr said “manaththinAl ninaikkalAmE” (is it possible to measure emperumAn’s beauty through the mind?). In the 22nd, he said “pEsaththAn AvadhuNdO” (is it possible to talk about emperumAn?). In the 23rd, he said “enganam maRandhu vAzhgEn?” (how will I live forgetting him?). Once periya perumAL started showing his overflowing love for him after seeing that he was trying to find ways of forgetting him, AzhwAr thinks that his love towards emperumAn was nothing compared to that which emperumAn showed towards him. He feels that his love is not congruent with the greatness of emperumAn and that the love born out of this insentient body is like the clarity that a mad person gets on occasions [in other words his love is not permanent, but only occasional] and cannot be believed. Taking pity on himself he disparagingly tells his heart “Oh heart! are you trying to play truant with your love in this matter too, like you do with worldly matters?”

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings, first.

வெள்ள நீர் பரந்து பாயும் விரிபொழில் அரங்கம் தன்னுள்
கள்ளனார் கிடந்தவாறும் கமல நன் முகமும் கண்டு
உள்ளமே வலியைப் போலும் ஒருவன் என்று உணர மாட்டாய்
கள்ளமே காதல் செய்து உன் கள்ளத்தே கழிக்கின்றாயே.

veLLa nIr parandhu pAyum viripozhil arangam thannuL
kaLvanAr kidandhavARum kamala nanmugamum kaNdum
uLLamE valiyai pOlum oruvan enRu uNara mAttAy
kaLLamE kAdhal seydhu un kaLLaththE kazhikkinRAyE


Word-by-Word Meaning

veLLam nIr – kAvEri with huge floods
parandhu pAyum – flowing on all sides
viri pozhil – having expansive gardens
arangam thannuL – inside the temple
kaLvanAr – azhagiya maNavALan [SrI ranganAthan] who steals (the hearts of his followers)
kidandha ARum – the way that he is sleeping
kamalam nal mugamum – divine, beautiful face like a lotus
kaNdum – even after worshipping
uLLamE – Oh, heart!
valiyai pOlum – you are too hardened, it appears
oruvan enRu – that he is incomparable
uNara mAttAy – you do not realise
kaLLamE kAdhal seydhu – faking your love (in emperumAn related matter)
un kaLLaththE – in your falsified actions
kAlaththaik kazhikkinRAyE – you are wasting your time!

vyAkhyAnam (Explanatory Notes)

veLLanIr parandhu pAyum – From the source point of sahyAdhri hill where kAvEri begins her journey, her intention is only to come to SrIrangam. Displaying her intention and her desire, she comes with such a forceful flood flowing in all directions that no one can stop her by building a dam across her. Since there is no end to her desire [to come to SrIrangam and worship the Lord there] there can be no end to her flow also. Hence no one can say that she flowed [using the past tense]. Thus AzhwAr uses the word pAyum which is in the present tense. In other words, she keeps flowing continuously.

viri pozhil arangam – wherever the water [kAvEri] flows, the gardens also spread out expansively.

arangam thannuL kaLvanAr – when he enjoys with the innocent nithyasUris, he does so honestly. But when he wants to attract the crafty samsAris, he decides that he needs to be crafty himself and hence lies down as if he is sleeping inside the temple. An alternative explanation is: while it may appear superficially that he is lying down after seeing the richness of the flowing water and the gardens, in reality he is lying there only to entice the samsAris. Hence AzhwAr is using the term kaLvanAr. When confidants such as thiruppANAzhwAr go near him and worship him they will say “seyya vAy aiyyO! ennaich chindhai kavarndhadhuvE”- implying that there is a crafty look on his face. In other words it would appear that if someone approaches him, he would steal their AthmA and pocket it smoothly. In other words, emperumAn would make that person as his confidant. The person had all along been thinking that the AthmA, which actually belongs to emperumAn, is his own since time immemorial. emperumAn decides that he will make it his own without that person being aware of it. He displays his physical beauty and as said in jithanthE SlOkam “jithanthE puNdarIkAksha!  namasthE viSva bhAvana! I namasthEsthu hrushIkESa! mahApurusha! pUrvaja!” (Oh kaNNa with red coloured lotus eyes! This (Athma) vasthu (entity) has been won over by you. (this) is not mine; only yours; Oh the one who created all the worlds! Oh the one who controls the sensory organs! Oh, the magnanimous and great person! Oh the one who came ahead of everyone else! (this entity AthmA) instead of being mine, should only be yours). This AthmApahAram (coveting of AthmA) has been going on for a very long time. But when emperumAn takes this AthmA, which is always his, it appears that he is stealing it. Even submitting this AthmA to him is equivalent to stealing the AthmA. In thiruvAyppAdi (in gOkulam) along with butter, he also steals the jIvAthmAs. Our submitting this AthmA to him is equivalent to king mahAbali returning his lands to him as a gift.

kidandhavARum – what enticed me is neither his auspicious AthmaguNa (qualities of his AthmA) such as simplicity nor the lAvaNya rUpa guNa (qualities of various parts of his physical form) such as his divine eyes, but the beauty of his lying posture – kidandhadhOr kidakkai as AzhwAr mentioned in the previous pAsuram which is samudhAya SObhA (spendour of his entire physical form).

kamala nanmugamum – for the qualities of well blossomed nature, freshness, coolness and fragrance, lotus can be taken as a similie for emperumAn’s divine face to an extent. But since it cannot equal emperumAn’s divine face, AzhwAr qualifies the divine face as nanmugam. Can the prAkrutha (belonging to materialistic realm) lotus come anywhere near the sudhdha sathva (purely good) and radiantly divine face of emperumAn? Would the lotus which blossoms on seeing sun equal the divine face which blossoms on seeing ASrithars (followers)? By qualifying as nanmugam AzhwAr says that only periya perumAL’s face is a cool [comforting] face in samsAram and all the other faces are hot [repelling] ones.

kaNdum uLLamE valiyai pOlum – even after having dharSan of the beautiful lying posture of emperumAn, AzhwAr’s heart did not show any change in its appearance. AzhwAr wonders “Oh heart! are you this hardened that you are not showing any change even after looking at emperumAn?” Compared to the greatness of emperumAn, whatever changes he had shown earlier are nothing, as far as AzhwAr is concerned.

AzhwAr’s heart asked him, “what is the hardness that I have now shown?”

oruvan enRu uNaramAttAy – you are not realising that he is beyond any comparison. If you realise, you should realise his greatness and auspicious qualities such as ASritha vAthsalyam (motherly affection towards his followers) as they are. If you realise these qualities as they are, you should have matching involvement towards him.  Only because you don’t have this involvement, your heart is hardened, says the AzhwAr.

If such an involvement had not taken place, in the earlier pAsurams. what is the meaning of saying “kaNNinai kaLikkumARE” (pAsuram 17), “paniyarumbu thIrumAlO” (pAsuram 18), “udal enakku urugumAlO” (pAsuram 19)?

kaLLamE kAdhal seydhu – AzhwAr tells his heart “just as you had exhibited falsified love towards worldly matters, you had shown similar false love towards emperumAn also as a matter of habit. You did not have true love towards emperumAn”.

un kaLLaththE kazhikkinRAyE – This deceitful nature has been with you since time immemorial. Just as you had shown false love for a long time in other matters, you had shown similar false love in emperumAn’s matter also. You thought that this matter is similar to the other worldly matters. Your love does not match the greatness of emperumAn’s matter, says the AzhwAr.

We shall now take up the 25th pAsuram.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dasan

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