iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi – 43 – thOLiraNdettEzhum

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AzhwAr says that it is not possible for us to give up worldly pursuits; we cannot think of emperumAn too; it would be better to hold on to the divine feet of his followers who are firmly engaged with him with the belief that he will remove the enemies of his followers. He says that he need not worship emperumAn’s shoulders; it is apt to worship those who worship him.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

thOL iraNdu ettu Ezhum mUnRum mudi anaiththum
thALiraNdum vIzhach charam thurandhAn thAL iraNdum
Ar thozhuvAr pAdham avai thozhuvadhu anRE en
sIr kezhu thOL seyyum siRappu

Word by Word Meaning

thOL iraNdu ettu Ezhum mUnRum – twenty shoulders
mudi anaiththum – all the heads (which sprouted)
thAL iraNdum – the two legs
vIzha – to be destroyed
saram thurandhAn – emperumAn who shot arrows
thAL iraNdum – two divine feet
thozhuvAr Ar – whoever worships (their)
pAdham avai – divine feet
thozhuvadhu anRE – isn’t worshipping them
en sIrkezhu thOL seyyum siRappu – the help  provided by my beneficial shoulders (to me)


thOL iraNdu ettu Ezhum mUnRumB – rAvaNa’s twenty shoulders (2+8+7+3)

mudiyanaiththum – his heads which could not be kept count of, as they kept on sprouting even while they were being severed

thAL iraNdum vIzha – making the two feet, which are the support for his shoulders and heads, to fall down

saram thurandhAn – the purpose of saying individually the shoulders, heads and legs is to provide some pastime for SrI rAma’s arrows when they were shot. AzhwAr mercifully gives the sequence in which the arrows played. This implies that even though rAvaNa was also created by emperumAn only, since he became an enemy to his followers, emperumAn had to destroy him.

saram thurandhAn thAL iraNdum – the two divine feet of chakravarthy thirumagan (son of dhaSaratha chakravarthy). Aren’t they the target to be attained by us! (implying that only the one who removes our enemy is to be attained).

Such two divine feet

Ar thozhuvAr – in whatever species we are born, with whatever knowledge that we have, worshipping emperumAn’s divine feet is what is required. The greatness or lowliness for a person comes out of worshipping or not worshipping his divine feet. It is always beneficial for one, whoever he may be, to worship emperumAn’s divine feet. nammAzhwAr has mercifully stated this in his thiruvAimozhi 3-7-1pARkadal sErndha paramanaip payilum thiruvudaiyAr yavarElum avar kaNdIr” (whoever worships emperumAn who is reclining in thiruppARkdal (milky ocean), in whichever clan he is born or whatever qualities he has, he is a great person).

Ar – whoever he may be. That person can be a rAkshasa such as vibhIshaNa, or a monkey such as sugrIva or hanuman, or a regal personality such as arjuna or even a devil such as ghaNtAkarNan.

pAdham avai thozhuvadhu anRE – the person who worships emperumAn can be anybody. Even with such a person, his divine feet are apt to be attained. Attaining emperumAn is similar to holding on to someone’s hands for getting a work carried out. Attaining him through his follower is similar to holding on to his divine feet for the same work. In the latter case, it will be impossible to refuse help.

pAdham avai thozhuvadhanRE – what is being sought is not equality with followers, but attaining their feet [being a servitor to emperumAn’s followers].

en sIrkezhu thOL seyyum siRappu – the assistance which my shoulders can provide to me while desiring a benefit. The eminence which my beautiful shoulders can provide for me.

sIr kezhu thOL – AzhwAr gives the difference between our shoulders and those of emperumAn’s follower (the shoulders of emperumAn’s follower worship the divine feet of emperumAn while my shoulders worship the divine feet of the follower, which is more apt). Hence it is enough if one worships such shoulders. The purpose of one’s body is to attain purushArtham (goal). AzhwAr is terming his shoulders as sIr kezhu thOL since they have provided the benefit of attaining the followers of emperumAn.

We shall take up the 44th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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