thirunedunthANdakam – avathArikai (introduction)

SrI:  SrImathE SatakOpAya nama:  SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama:  SrImath varavaramunayE nama:

Full series

(vakthru vailakShaNyam – about the greatness of the Author)

AzhvAr, thirumangai AzhvAr is – As said in ‘venRiyE vENdi veezh porutku irangi  vERkaNAr kalaviyE karudhi [periya thirumozhi – 1.1.4]’ (going after victories, and longing for perishable things, and wishing for union with women of spear-like-eyes),  he was of extreme haughtiness that one had to wonder whether everything including the worlds of sarvESvaran are under his thighs, and having the dhEhAthmAbhimAnam (considering body to be non-different from soul) as the reason for it, and so due to that, as said in ‘sAndhEndhu menmulaiyAr thandanthOL puNarinba veLLathAzhndhEn [periya thirumozhi – 6.3.4]’ (I got immersed in the ocean that is ecstasy of embracing the big shoulders of women wearing kumkum (red powder) who are having tender bosoms), he was being a vishaya pravaNar (interest in worldly pleasures) such that he was not eligible to gain any knowledge about AthmA or any knowledge about emperumAn.

emperumAn seeing his association to such matters, looking for a way to uplift him from this situation, thought – we cannot get him by showing him SAsthram since he is interested in other matters, so we should get by him by showing him our beauty – He considered his interest in those matters itself as the means and showed His beauty to him; seeing this, AzhvAr, as said in ‘vEmbin puzhu vEmbanRi uNNAdhu, adiyEn nAn pinnum un sEvadi anRi nayavEn [periya thirumozhi – 11.8.7]’ (the worm living in margo tree would not eat anything other than enjoying the leaves etc., from the margo tree; I who am subservient to you, even if you reject me, would not like anything other than your reddish divine feet), became involved in emperumAn considering it as result of His distinguished beauty;

emperumAn seeing him getting immersed towards Him, thought ‘the love that he got towards me should not be like his interest towards worldly matters (where it is not ever-present and changes constantly), but instead it should be with the understanding of the relationship between us’, and so like how one would give money along with the bag holding it, He showed him thirumanthram that highlights all the meanings, and His qualities like sauSeelyam, and the divine abodes of His temples that are ultimate for the meaning of thirumanthram;

seeing this, AzhvAr, starting from ‘vAdinEn vAdi [periya thirumozhi – 1st centum]’ through ‘oru nal suRRam [periya thirumozhi – 10th centum]’, got immersed in the divine abodes of emperumAn, considering them as ones to be surrendered to, as the means, and as ones to be enjoyed.

Seeing AzhvAr being set at all times in the divine abodes, emperumAn thought – We should take AzhvAr to the special abode where this experience would continue uninterrupted for him; so we should first show him the cruelty of this material world’, and so showed him that;

Seeing this, he became extremely terrified of it, and in ‘mARRamuLa [periya thirumozhi – 11.8]’, he called emperumAn saying ‘iru pAduRu koLLiyin uL eRumbE pOl [periya thirumozhi – 11.8.4]’ (like the ant suffering, being caught between two ends of fire), and ‘ARRankarai vAzh maram pOl  [periya thirumozhi – 11.8.1]’ (like the tree near the shore of a river, am always fearful of what might happen in the future), and, ‘pAmbodoru kUraiyilE payinRAR pOl  [periya thirumozhi – 11.8.3]’ (like living and associating with a snake under one roof), and show such many situations as examples about his fear;

even when he called emperumAn in these ways, like how a mother hearing her child cry would not feed till its indigestion is resolved and there is hunger, emperumAn did not show up till AzhvAr gets the longing that is apt for enjoying emperumAnAzhvAr could not tolerate this even for a moment and so suffered so much;

like how an extremely thirsty one might jump into the water, pour water on himself, etc., AzhvAr thought of sustaining himself by talking about Him by mouth, prostrating Him by his head, thinking about Him by his mind,  and so got into doing that – that was in thirukkurunthANdakam.

Like how water that is drunk for quenching great thirst would itself create thirst due to hurrying, that singing became an instigator for the existing love towards Him, and so in thiruvezhukURRirukkai , he, with great love, surrendered to him, as in ‘nin adiyiNai paNivan varum idar agala mARRO vinaiyE [thiruvezhukURRirukkai]’ (am surrendering to your two divine feet  for the removal of hurdles that may come in the way (of reaching You);  please remove those hurdles by your mercy).

After that, since he did not get what he wanted, he with scared eyes, like how when perumAL surrendered to the ocean and when the ocean-king did not show up, as perumAL said in ‘chApAmAnaya saumithrE [SrI rAmAyaNam – yudhdha kANdam – 21.21]’ (bring the bow, Oh lakshmaNa! (I shall drain the ocean of its water)),  like saying bring the one that would work, AzhvAr went in not-so-apt ways,  he performed madal (going around town announcing about one’s love to her man), thinking that somehow we should get Him to show up even if it meant going against the true nature of either of them;

Out of that, in siRiya thirumadal, he said he would destroy emperumAn’s supremacy, destroy the neermai (staunchness, simplicity), that is, He considering His form of incarnations as Himself, which is as said in ‘thEvum thannaiyum [thiruvAimozhi – 2.7.4]’ (supremacy (which is the cause for simplicity), and his special aspect of simplicity);

He did not show up even for that; AzhvAr thought that emperumAn is thinking that there are these temples which stand for the ultimate level of neermai which are as if that is the real abode of emperumAn; and so AzhvAr said the he would destroy that neermai that is in the temples which are the desired abodes for both of them – this was in periya thirumadal.

emperumAn thought that if He does not show up even then, then the world would be considered as not having any eeSvaran  (controller),  (as AzhvAr might try to erase that if He does not show up), and so showed Himself to him like He did for prahlAdhan et al, and so made Himself, AzhvAr and the world to be truly existing (per nature).

(prathipAdhya vailakShaNyam – greatness of what is talked about in this prabandham)

Saints like sukhar and mudhal AzhvArs would be immersed in emperumAn’s parathvam (supremacy).  Those like sanakar and thirumazhisaip pirAn would be immersed in the nature of His being antharAthmA (being present in side our AthmAs); those like parASara, pArASarya (vyAsa) and nammAzhvAr, periyAzhvAr, ANdAL would be immersed in krishNa avathAram (incarnation);  those like nAradha and SrI thoNdaradippodi AzhvAr, thiruppANAzhvAr would be immersed in kOyil (SrI rangam) (It is included along with others that show his supremacy since emperumAn’s status got formed by itself, and since this abode is the root for every other abode); SrI Saunaka bhagavAn and this thirumangai AzhvAr would be immersed in archAvathAram (emperumAn in the form of deity – ultimate form of emperumAn’s quality of simplicity);

Unlike the other AzhvArs, and unlike the divine daughter of king janaka (seethai), this AzhvAr would be having intolerable delicateness (of mind) when having separation from emperumAn;  that is, when separated,  as said in ‘um adiyAr ellArOdum okka eNNi irundheer adiyEnai  [periya thirumozhi – 4.9.6]’ (You are considering me to be at the same level as your other devotees), can you consider me who cannot tolerate separation for even one moment, along with other AzhvArs who can enjoy like malaiyALar Uttu (those in the place of malayALam (kEraLA) can eat food of four days, and can also stay without food for four days), and can tolerate for some days  when separated, and along with divine daughter of king janakar who was separated from Him for ten months?

and, during the time of union with Him, as said in ‘Azhiyodum ponnAr sArngam udaiya adigaLai innAr enRu aRiyEn [periya thirumozhi – 10.10.9]’ (I do not clearly see who it is that is with divine conch and disc), due to the taste of experience of being together, this AzhvAr is not able to see clearly, and so even when He is present with His extra-ordinary aspect of identifications, AzhvAr is not sure, due to the experience;

So,  he enjoyed as emperumAn showed him the aspects of chith, achith, and eeSvaran, and as said in ‘adhanil periyavennavA [thiruvAimozhi – 10.10.10]’ (my love which is greater than chith (sentient beings), achith (insentient beings) and eeSwara (supreme lord)), not getting enough of it to match his devotion, he calls with a great desire, and then, he concludes by talking about him getting satisfied by attaining SrIvaikuNtam as said in ‘avAvaRRu veedu peRRa [thiruvAimozhi – 10.10.11]’ – in this prabandham.

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Translation: raghuram srInivAsa dhAsan

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