thirumAlai – 44 – peNNulam sadaiyinAnum

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avathArikai (introduction)

AzhwAr says that all the eminence that he had mentioned for the bhAgavathas (followers) of emperumAn would fit them well, considering that an animal, gajEndhran, got the rare-to-obtain benefit that even people like brahmA et al could not get. Through this incident he also indicates the benefit that he had obtained and brings this prabandham (poetic composition) to an end [the next pAsuram gives the benefit for those who learn these pAsurams].

Let us enjoy the pAusram and its meanings.

peNNulAm sadaiyinAnum piramanum unnaik kANbAn
eNNilA Uzhi Uzhi thavam seydhAr veLgi niRpa
viNNuLAr viyappa vandhu AnaiakkanRu aruLai Indha
kaNNuRA unnai ennO kaLaigaNAk karudhumARE


Word-by-word Meaning

peN ulAm – gangA moving about
sadaiyinAnum – sivan, having matted hair
piramanum – and brahmA
unnaik kANbAn – to see you
eN ilA Uzhi Uzhi – for innumerable periods [Uzhi is the time of deluge]
thavam seydhAr – those who did penance
veLgi niRpa – putting their heads down in shame (since they could not see you)
anRu – during that time
Anaikku – for SrI gajEndhrAzhwAn (who got trapped in the crocodile’s jaws)
vandhu – (to liberate him) coming to the shore of the pond
viN uLAr viyappa – making even the nithyasUris amazed
aruLai Indha – providing your grace
kaNNuRa – one who is blind [in not seeing the shortcomings of followers]
unnai – you
kaLaigaNA – being the refuge for all
karudhum ARu ennO – how to think?

vyAkhyAnam (commentary)

peNNulAm sadaiyinAnum – Siva, who has expansive matted hair so that gangA can move about. The opinion is – is it possible to see sarvESvaran by having the pride of controlling gangA inside his matted locks? It is pertinent to recall thirumazhisai AzhwAr’s nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi 4 “ARu sadaikkarandhAn aNdarkOn thannOdum kURudaiyavan enbadhum koLgaiththE” (is it proper to say that rudhran, who is holding gangA, hidden in his matted hair, is equal to sarvESvaran?

piramanum – and brahmA, who created that Siva. SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 120.3 says “karthA sarvasya lOkasya brahmA brahmavidhAm vara:” (one who creates all the words and who is the greatest among brahmagyAnis (those who know brahmam, emperumAn)). Can such brahmA, thinking of the pride of giving knowledge to jIvAthmAs like a school teacher, attain emperumAn? He can at the most count the people that he has created and their pApa and puNya (sins and virtues), having created them. Can he measure the immeasurable emperumAn? poygai AzhwAr in his mudhal thiruvandhAdhi 56 says “kadikkamalam thannuL irundhum kANkilAn kaNNan adikkamalam thannai ayan” (despite being inside the lotus flower which sprang from emperumAn’s navel, brahmA has not seen the divine lotus feet of krishNa).

unnaik kANbAn – to see you. thaiththirIya upanishath says “yathO vAchO nivarthanthE” (trying to measure the qualities of emeprumAn, vEdhas returned, unable to measure). Your (emperumAn’s) greatness is such that vEdhas could not measure even one of your auspicious qualities. However much nithyasUris enjoy you, they cannot see your limits. To see such an emperumAn . SrIvishNu purANam 5.1.49 says “niravadhya: para: prApthEr niradhithO’kshara: karma: I sarvESvaraparAdhArO dhAmnAm dhAmAthmakO’vyaya: II” ((you) are faultless; are rare to attain; do not have one to support you; are indestructible; have unlimitedly supreme joy; are the support for all who are engaged with you, the Isvara; are the radiance for all radiant materials; are faultless). It is not that the others do not know your limits. Even you do not know your limits. nammAzhwAr said the same in his thiruvAimozhi 8.4.6 “thanakkum than thanmai aRivariyAn” (even he does not know his inherent quality). kANbAn – only after seeing him can I get a benefit from him. Unless he makes himself available to be seen, others, however great gyAna (knowledge) or Sakthi (power) they may have, cannot see him with their capabilities. thaththirIya upanishath nArAyaNavalli 1.10 says “na sandhruSE thishtathi rUpamasya na chakshushA paSyathi kaSchanainam” (his form is such that it cannot be seen by [our] eyes; no one sees him with his eyes). rig vEdham says “na mAmsa chakshurabhivIkshathE tham” (his form cannot be seen by these eyes made of flesh). vishNu dharmam says “na mAmsa chakshushA dhrashtum brahmabhUtha: sa SakyathE” (he, the brahmam, is rare to be seen by these eyes, made of flesh). Thus, the vEdha SAsthras thundered that he cannot be seen easily.

eNNilA Uzhi Uzhi thavam seydhAr veLgi niRpa – those who carry out penance for long years such as the period of deluge, step back from their penance with shame, thinking ”the person, to see whom we are carrying out this penance, has not yet come”. dhEvathAs on whom hiraNya, rAvaNa et al carry out penance to grant them benefits, carry out penance on him. mahAbhAratham sabhA parvam 14.8 says “yuga kOti sahasrANi vishNumArAdhya padhmabhU: I punasthrailOkyadhAthruthvam prApthavAnithi SuSruma II” (we hear that brahmA, born in a lotus flower, did penance for thousands of crores of yugas [each yuga is 43,72,000 years by our metrics] and became the head for the three worlds again). veLgi niRpa – the opinion here is that instead of doing penance for crores of years it would have been better had they fallen into the jaws of a crocodile, and hence they felt ashamed. vishNu dharmam 69.47 says “paramApadhamApannO manasA’chinthayadhdharim I sa thu nAgavara: SrImAn nArAyaNa parAyaNa: II” (gaJendhrAzhwAn [gajEndhra, the elephant], who got into a deep trouble, who had the wealth of kainkaryam [service to emperumAn] and one who had nArAyaNa as the supreme refuge, meditated on hari [nArAyaNa]). Thus, these dhEvathas felt ashamed that instead of surrendering to emperumAn due to the danger of samsAram, their decision to carry out penance with their own efforts has been proved wrong.

viNNuLAr viyappa vandhu nithyasUris were surprised that emperumAn was ignoring them as well as dhEvathAs such as brahmA, who were toiling like this, in order to fall at the feet of an animal, with his divine dress and divine hair dishevelled. They marvel at his simplicity. bhattar in his SrIrangarAja sthavam 2.57 says ”athanthrithaSamupathiprahithahastham svIkrutha praNithamaNipAdhukam kimithi chAkulAntha:puram I avAhanaparishkriyam pathakarAjamArOhatha: kripravarabrumhithE bhagavathasthvarAyai nama: II” (I salute the speed with which you came to climb on periya thiruvadi (garuda), who was not in his splendorous decor, as soon as you heard the distressing voice of gajEndhrAzhwAn, not bothering about the support for your hand that vishvaksEnar extended, not wearing the gem-studded sandals brought for you and with your womenfolk exclaiming in grief “how is this!”). Since those who wonder should be different from those who stand in shame, the term viNNuLAr refers to nithyasUris who are different from brahmA et al [who were referred to as veLgi niRpa]. vandhu – coming to the shore of the pond where gajEndhra was in distress; since AzhwAr says ”coming to the shore” instead of saying “going to the shore” it shows that emperumAn considers only that place where  his follower is present as his place and his action to assist his follower is his own.

Anaikku – without considering that brahmA et al were born in dhEva class and gajEndhra was born in animal class, emperumAn only looked at the danger that his follower was in and protected him.

anRu – that day when gajEndhra realised that his strength would not protect him. vishNu dharmam 69 says “gaja AkarshathE dhIrE grAha AkarshathE jalE I thayOrdhvandhvasamam yudhdham dhivyam varshasahasrakam II” (gajEndhra is pulling to the land; crocodile is pulling into the water; between them the battle lasted on equal front for 1000 years by dhEva metrics). When gajEndhra tried to save himself, there was no difference between him and the penance that brahmA et al had carried out for their benefit. It is pertinent to note that only when gajEndhra stepped back from protecting himself did he become greater than those people [brahmA et al]. That day you showed mercy on an elephant which was trapped in a crocodile’s jaws; today, when I am trapped in the five senses-like crocodiles of Sabdham etc [sound, sight, taste, smell and touch], you should show mercy. The elephant suffered for 1000 years; I am suffering since time immemorial. He was trapped in the shores of a small pond; I am caught in the ocean of births. The opinion here is that emperumAn should shower grace on AzhwAr who in caught in a far more serious danger than gajEndhra.

aruLaiyIndha – aruL is grace. The act of grace [of emerpumAn] was to free gajEndhra from the jaws of the crocodile, gently stroke his injured leg, to give fomentation with his vasthram (upper cloth) to comfort him, to take the flower from his trunk and place in on his [emperumAn’s] divine feet. The opinion is that in the same way emeprumAn should redeem AzhwAr from SabdhAdhi (five senses such as sound etc) matters and comfort him by making him a servitor to make up for the lost time also.

kaNNuRA – one who is blind. “Since you [emperumAn] helped me [not minding my blemishes]” AzhwAr is happy that emperumAn is without sight – this is a type of nindhAsthuthi ( praising through abuse). This shows emperumAn’s sensible quality of not expecting anything in return when he engages in ignoring those who try to protect themselves and blessing those who withdraw from protecting themselves. It shows his great masculinity. AzhwAr is surprised that this world is losing out, not knowing that emperumAn will even fall at the feet of one who desists from protecting himself and holds on to emperumAn as means, bearing in mind his emptiness.

unnai ennO kaLaikaNak karudhumARE – those who think that emperumAn is the universal protector are ignorant because they do not know that he protects only those who consider him as their means and ignores those who think that emperumAn, as well as their own efforts, will protect them. While jithanthE SlOkam 1.2 says “dhEvAnAm dhAnavAnAncha sAmAnyamadhidhaivatham ” (he is equal to both those who follow him and those who do not), since he kills entities such as crocodile to protect entities such as elephant, can we consider him to be protector for all? We could consider this also as nindhAsthuthi.

We shall now take up the last pAsuram in this prabandham.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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