thirunedunthANdakam – 7

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Introduction

As AzhvAr set out to enjoy by taking along his mind also, that emperumAn who is enjoyed was the one being in the divine pose of thrivikraman who without differentiating between noble and otherwise had kept His divine feet on their heads and gave Himself to them. Thinking about this, AzhvAr forgot that it is to be enjoyed, and started becoming afraid. Why be afraid, is His standing in the pose not par for the enjoyment?  By the state of one like himself who are the enjoyers, and by the state of Him who is enjoyed, fear bubbled up. AzhvAr‘s love for Him – is such that fear and doubt is shown in the wrong place (where emperumAn is the almighty). AzhvAr‘s love blinds him such that instead of devotion being an instrument for enjoyment, it becomes an instrument for protecting Him.

AzhvAr‘s enjoyment is emperumAn‘s beauty, etc., and as he thought about emperumAn‘s tenderness, he would have to be scared. When vibheeshaNAzhvAn came amicably and stood for surrendering, mahArAjar (sugreevan) due to being blinded by love, had said ‘vadhyathAm badhyathAm [SrI rAmAyaNam – yudhdha kANdam – 17-29]’ (This vibheeshaNan along with his ministers shall be killed through severe punishment).

AzhvAr too thought that since this place is full of asuras and rAkshasas (by character), as he sees this he would have to be afraid. (Are there enemies here? Yes, there are asuras as said in ‘vipareethasthatha asura:’ (Those who do not have devotion towards vishNu are asuras)).

(AchAryas always followed emperumAn as He would go in procession. As emperumAn would return to temple, embAr and mudhaliyAndAn would prostrate to each other and hug each other and jump happily with fear removed as emperumAn has returned safely. piLLai uRangAvilli dhAsar would carry a knife with him during procession of emperumAn, so that if there would be any small discomfort for emperumAn then he would kill himself with the knife).

When AzhvAr loses (the experience) due to fear, it is on the protector to remove such fear and give the experience of Himself to AzhvAr. So too, like how perumAL decided that it would not be possible to convince mahArAjar by showing about the ways of kings like about His promise that He would not reject those who surrender to Him, as ‘na thyajEyam [SrI rAmAyaNam – yudhdha kANdam – 18-3] (it is not possible to reject him due to any case), had instead showed the strength of his shoulders, and removed the fear of sugreevan,  (thirukkOvalUr emperumAn) showed his strength/pride (incarnations), the guardian of His place (dhurgA), and the protection present in the place (description of the place), thus giving AzhvAr such knowledge, and so AzhvAr being relieved of his fear, tells, ‘Oh mind! Come! let us go and enjoy!’.  Shall fear thinking about delicateness of Him; shall be without any fear by thinking about His bravery and virility.

vaRpudaiya varai nedum thOL mannar mALa
  vadivAya mazhuvEndhi ulagam ANdu
veRpudaiya nedum kadaluL thani vEl uyththa
  vELmudhalA venRAnUr vindhai mEya
kaRpudaiya madakkanni kAval pUNda  
  kadipozhil sUzh nedu maRugil kamala vEli
poRpudaiya malai araiyan paNiya ninRa
  pUngOvalUr thozhudhum pOdhu nenjE               7

Word by word meaning

(AzhvAr is enjoying various incarnations of emperumAn)

vadivAya mazhu Endhi – carrying beautiful axe,
vaRpudaiya varai nedum thOL mannar mALa – (When incarnating as paraSurAman), having strength and mountain-like tall shoulders, such that the kings (like kArthaveeryArjunan) die,
ulagam ANdu – (incarnating as SrI rAman), ruling the word for a very long time,
veRpu udaiya nedum kadalUL thani vEL uyththa vEL mudhal venRAn – (when incarnating as kaNNan) of emperumAn who won those like murugan (subrahmaNya) who threw his spear into the sea that is having mountain inside it,
Ursuch emperumAn‘s divine place,
vindhai mEya kaRpu udaiya madam kanni kAval pUNda – (place which is) guarded by one who  had done penance in vindhyA hills, who is having great knowledge, who does not turn away from a task undertaken, and who is subservient to emperumAn only, that is dhurgA,
kadi pozhil sUzh – (place which is) surrounded by fragrant gardens  
nedu maRugil – having wide/long divine streets
kamalam vEli – having ponds with blossoming lotuses,
poRpudaiya malai araiyan paNiya ninRa – and the place where emperumAn is standing such that the king of the abundant people of hills would come and surrender to Him,
pUm kOvalUr – such beautiful thirukkOvalUr
thozhudhum – shall enjoy that place
nenjE – Oh mind!
pOdhu – Ye come!

vyAkyAnam

vaRpudaiya, etc. – AzhvAr‘s excess of fear is such that emperumAn has to show His strength and make AzhvAr feel better.

vaRpudaiya nedum thOL mannar – Divining about the strength of these kings like talking about the strength of hiraNyan, rAvaNan, and such, is to show His strength.  They are having strength and having shoulders like mountains. If anything hits a mountain those would get decimated, and no damage would be done to the mountain. Likewise, enemies would get destroyed and these kings’ shoulders would not be affected due to that.

mannar mALa – (Aren’t the kings saviours, is it appropriate to destroy them?) – If they have decorated themselves as per kings’ form, but are having excess of asura (demoniac) qualities, then emperumAn would destroy them, is the point. (uLam thottu iraNiyanai – emperumAn checked within the chest whether there was any bit of good quality in hiraNyan)).  In the case of such kings, He would not think as – oh they are kings who are there to protect their people. He would only see their demoniac qualities.  For those kings like kArthaveeryArjunan of thousand hands to be destroyed without any bit left.

What is it that He did that they got destroyed –

vadivAya mazhuvEndhi – (He held the axe in His hands) – As He held the axe in His hand, they simply got destroyed. They got destroyed seeing the sharpness and how His hand held it. (bhattar nirvAham is similar for (karan), ‘ven narakam sErA vagaiyE silai kuniththAn (siriya thirumadal) – seeing the way perumAL held the bow, karan did not have to go to hell; that posture itself was like hell for him).

Like hiraNyan became dead seeing the form as narasimhan;

or, the state  of (paraSurAmar) holding the axe in his hand is a beauty to behold;

Whereas vaishNavas think that this form of holding axe with anger is not to be supported (worshipped), this AzhvAr is saying ‘vadivAya mazhu’ (beautiful axe);  even if emperumAn holds some and any weapon, it would look beautiful; the divine conch is also beautiful to look at as and when He holds it.

ulagam ANdu – Since there is no kingdom for SrI paraSurAmAzhvan, this is about rAmAvathAram. paraSurAman, due to the anger that the kings had affected His father, had cut the heads of all the kings and filled the pond with their blood and performed the karmas for His father, is all that He had done. But then, like it is said in ‘snAthvA bhunjeetha [dharma SAsthram]’ (you have to eat only after having taken bath (‘thvA’ being ‘lyap’ prathyaya in samskrutham)), isn’t the phrase ‘Endhi (ulagam ANda)’ (samskrutha ‘lyap’ prathyaya) set to be performed by one person only? Due to same emperumAn doing both, it is acceptable to say in this way. Since in one incarnation both actions were not done, it is acceptable also to consider this as were done in different incarnations. It is for the same reason that further up in the pAsuram, AzhvAr is going to talk about the actions of incarnation as krishNan, since it is the same emperumAn. (Since paraSurAman gave his power to SrI rAman, and so since paraSurAman’s powers were included in that of SrI rAman, it is acceptable to say that both of them had ruled the world, so ruling the world is talking about SrI rAman only). When paraSurAman saw perumAL, He dropped the axe and took up the bow; perumAL got paraSurAman’s bow and His powers and used that bow for winning rAvaNan and other evil persons, and saved the world such that the strong do not trouble the weak. Thus it talks about perumAL (SrI rAman) ruling the world in this way.

veRpu etc. – subrahmaNyan who is like a young calf who threw his spear into the big ocean that is having a mountain (veRpu); That is, when mountains were able to fly and were destroying the worlds, indhiran used his vajra weapon and cut the wings of mountains. One of the mountains escaped and hid inside the ocean. Since he (subrahmaNyan) is the head of the army of dhEvas, he learned its hiding place and destroyed it – this phrase talks about this incident.

nedum kadal – very vast ocean. Talking about this to show that it was so vast that it would be very hard for anyone else to find where that mountain was hiding.

thani vEL uyththa – Throwing the spear that is unparalleled – if he throws his spear then it would not require any other weapon to kill the enemy. While ‘vEL’ refers to kAman,  referring to him as ‘vEL’  is about talking of his winning enemies due to his youth and strength.

mudhalA venRAn Ur – place (thirukkOvalUr) where The Man (krishNan) who won such subrahmaNyan and others; in the battle with bANan, it is he who came first and foremost, so his name is being mentioned first in the list (of family of Sivan who came fighting). It is said too as ‘nEr sarindhAn kodik kOzhi koNdAn [thiruvAimozhi – 7.4.8]’ (came to the battle, one who is having rooster in his flag). Since there were innumerable persons who came fighting emperumAn, AzhvAr is talking about it in short, saying ‘vEL mudhalA’.  Similar to ‘muNdan neeRan [thiruchchandha viruththam – 71]’ (a bigger list is present in this pAsuram).

venRAn Ur – (kaNNan’s grandson was taken away while sleeping, as arranged by bANan’s daughter ushA, and was kept in her room with love; as her father learned of this, and), as  (bANan) captured and tied anirudhdhAzhvAn, SrI nAradha bhagavAn came and informed krishNan; He went there riding periya thiruvadi (garudAzhvAn);

(bANan then approached Sivan to protect him from this). Since he (Sivan) is of ignorant mind to not realize that it is not possible to win if it is krishNan on the other side, he thought about his promise (to bANan) to protect him, and so came and opposed krishNan. Since they (dhEvas) are not like those (rAvaNan) who say ‘na namEyam’ (won’t bow),  but since they came to fight thinking ‘eeSvarOham’ (we are supreme),  He made them realise and leave bANan and run away showing their back.  Not killing bANan but only destroying his many shoulders/arms (except two) is – to avoid ushA crying ‘I am fatherless’;

leaving them so had also helped in another way – ‘Oh the trouble I went through taking you as my protector’, and ‘Oh the trouble I went through imagining me to be your protector’ saying  so they could hug each other with (remaining) two arms and weep.

venRAnUr place (thirukkOvalUr) where such a hero (veeran) is present.

vindhai mEya, etc – AzhvAr is divining about the strength of protection for this divine place.

vindhai mEya – She who was present in the forest of vindhyA mountains;  while he could have referred to her by just saying ‘dhurgai’, he is saying this (vindhai mEya, madak kanni) to – talk about the forest where she performed penance to become a protector of emperumAn. Even though it is by true nature (of AthmA) one could render service, one would do penance to get the recognition as protector of a divine place, by acceptance of emperumAn; (why sing about her?) – her greatness is resulting in protection of the place, so AzhvAr is divining about her.

kaRpudaiya – kaRpu – (result of kaRRal (learning) – knowledge).  She having the richness of knowledge/ability of tying the eyes of an enemy of emperumAn‘s divine place, and to release it when he becomes amicable.  kaRpu – as female virtue; like how  a female would try to save her virtue even by forgoing her life if required, this demigod is protecting the place even forgoing her life;

madak kanni – madam – is a quality where one does not forgo an association with someone. Here, even if there would be any strong enemies to this dhivya dhESam, she would not shy away, but would protect it. kanni – implies not be subservient to any one other than emperumAn.

kAval pUNda – not doing the protection based on someone’s instigation, but due to her own desire.

kAval pUNda – due to overflowing affection, she involved herself in protecting the place. If she marries someone then there would be a break in her protecting emperumAn, kanni (virgin) implies she is focussed only on protecting emperumAn.

kanni – is the name for something that does not disintegrate (similar to ‘kannith thamizh’), so since she does not have annihilation, there is no annihilation (for the protection) of the place. (During the incarnation of krishNan), she had undertaken His command and had gone from thiru AyppAdi to mathurA, and she always holds affection towards Him. (Since she was born before Him, to yaSOdhA, and as an elder sister she was protective towards kaNNan, so) nanjeeyar says ‘she is thambi vaLaikkAri isn’t it’ (so says periyavAchchAn piLLai in this commentary. vaLai – protection). Even though one is a servant , due to one’s overflowing affection would take up the role of a protector. periyAzhvAr too said ‘nin sevvadi sevvi thirukkAppu [thiruppallANdu – 1]’ (divine protection to your beautiful divine feet).

kadi pozhil, etc. – arcade having fragrance as its identity. Place which is of spring season eternal. Now, the intention is not to talk about the enjoyability of the place; since this is the occasion of talking about the things that aid in removal of AzhvAr‘s fear of safety of emperumAn,  our AchAryas divine the meaning of this phrase as aid of removal of fear. There is no other destiny than enjoyment (of things in this world), and liberation (to SrIvaikuNtam);  the beauty of this place would attract and tie those who are after material pleasures of this world, and thus would not let them go inside the dhivya dhESam; it is such that ‘do you have to go inside and bring trouble to the One? Is it not enough for you to enjoy the beauty of the place?’.

nedu maRugil – (maRugu – divine streets) The divine streets that are beautiful to see by length and breadth, and so would tie those who escaped the beauty of the arcades, and thus prevent them from going inside the temple.

kamala vEli – Place having waterways where lotus blooms through out the breadth of them;  since the streams would be full of flowers (like a fence), it would attract and keep such people; by this, it says that that the place is having such protection as if there is no other need of protection by people.

poRpudaiya, etc. – (poRpu – connection); even if there is no (aforementioned) protection, there is the strength of policing of the dhivya dhESam preventing them entering it. This is the place of residence of the head of people living in the neighboring mountains, who is fond of the dhivya dhESam and who is into protecting it. Unlike protecting it after doing penance, he protects it considering it as his duty.  Or, poRpu to imply all the kings around are connected to each other and the group is protecting the dhivya dhEsam; hence mentioning them together in singular (as malai aRaiyan).

paNiya ninRa – place of the One who is surrendered to by everyone;

ninRa – (emperuman) stood firmly, feeling satisfied and happy about the purpose of His incarnation only after everyone surrendered to Him; those who surrender to Him would feel that their purpose is satisfied after getting immersed fully in the enjoyment of Him; in the same way, when people were for other things, He voluntarily showed their relationship with Him and when they surrendered to Him based on that connection, is it required to mention explicitly about the satisfaction He would derive from that?

pUngOvalUr thozhudhum – that divine place (the people of that divine place) is enjoyable even without considering Him; this is how this AzhvAr is fully attached (maNdinapadi) to divine abodes.

pOdhu nenjE – even after his fears were cleared (based on aforementioned), the divine mind of his was still in fear and still fainted; we don’t have to fear since this place is protector in all the ways, Oh mind! let us go so we can experience this, says AzhvAr.

thozhudhum pOdhu nenjE – He is calling like how someone would call ‘let us go for feasting’ (which is enjoyable to everyone);  it is said too as ‘thozhudhu ezhu [thiruvAimozhi 1.1.1]’ (worship, be uplifted and be enthusiastic);  there is no existence/life when not worshipping;  AzhvAr is saying ‘thozhudumpOdhu nenjE’ (Oh mind! let us worship, come on!).

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Translation by raghuram SrInivAsa dAsan

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