Monthly Archives: April 2018

mUnRAm thiruvandhAdhi – 61 – paNdellAm vEngadam

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avathArikai

AzhwAr says that it is not that emperumAn merely removes the enemies of his followers. He says that the reason for emperumAn, who is having paramapadham as his residence, to dwell in various dhivyadhESams (divine abodes) is only for the sake of his followers. AzhwAr reveals the subtle meaning in this pAsuram that the supreme being, emperumAn, desires AzhwAr’s divine mind over his dhivyadhESams.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

paNdellAm vEngadam pARkadal vaikundham
koNdangu uRaivARkuk kOyilpOl vaNdu
vaLangiLarum neeLsOlai vaNpUngadigai
iLangumaran than viNNagar

Word by Word Meanings

vaikundham – paramapadham
koNdu – keeping it as his residence
angu – in that place
uRaivARku – for emperumAn who resides there permanently
pARkadal – thiruppARkadal, the milky ocean
vEngadam – thirumalai
vaNdu vaLam kiLarum neeL sOlai – having expansive gardens where swarms of beetles gather
vaN – beautiful
pU – sweet
kadigai – the divine hills of kadigai (also known as chOLashimhapuram or shOLingapuram)
iLam kumaran than viNNagar – thiruviNNagar which the youthful emperumAn considers as his own

All these divine abodes

paNdu – before emperumAn subjected AzhwAr as his servitor
kOyil pOl – looks like these were his temples (the implied meaning here is that nowadays, emperumAn considers AzhwAr’s heart as his temple)

vyAkyanam

vaikundham koNdu angu uRaivARku – to emperumAn who considers SrIvaikuNtam as his dwelling place and resides there permanently with lot of involvement

pARkadal vEngadam – the divine milky ocean and thiruvEngadamalai (thirumalai)

vaNdu vaLam kiLarum neeL sOlai vaN pUm kadigai – beautiful, sweet divine kadigai hills, which have orchards swarming with beetles

iLam kumaran than viNNagar – the divine abode thiruviNNagaram where emperumAn, who is forever young, has taken residence.

All these divine abodes…..

paNdellAm kOyil pOl – it appears that these were emperumAn’s temples before he recognised AzhwAr. It is implicit here that after emperumAn accepted him, his heart has become emperumAn’s temple.

paNdellAm kOyil pOl – before emperumAn accepted AzhwAr (as his servitor) these abodes were his temples. AzhwAr says that now, after getting rid of AzhwAr’s sins, emperumAn does not know of anything else. He implies that emperumAn has left SrIvaikuNtam, thiruppARkadal and other dhivyadhESams and entered AzhwAr’s divine mind. Or we can construe the meaning for this as – for emperumAn who earlier used to reside in abodes such as vEngadam, pARkadal, vaikundham, kadigai, viNNagar etc, AzhwAr’s heart has now become the temple. Hasn’t  nammAzhwAr mercifully stated in thiruvAimozhi 10-7-8 “thirumAL vaikundhamE thaN thiruvEngadamE” by which he has brought in parity for thiruvEngadam [thirumalai] with paramapadham and thiruppARkadal! We can also construe the meaning for this as – for emperumAn who was residing in the beautiful sweet kadigai hills and viNNagar, abodes such as vEngadam, pARkadal, vaikundham etc were probably temples earlier.

We will move on to pAsuram 62 next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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mUnRAm thiruvandhAdhi – 60 – peRRam piNaimarudham

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avathArikai

When AzhwAr was asked “If you wish to have attachment to life, you can live only if your enemies are removed. What happened to your enemies?”. AzhwAr responds saying “getting rid of enemies has becomes emperumAn’s responsibility”

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

peRRam piNai marudham pEymulai mAchchagadam
muRRakkAththUdupOy uNdudhaiththu kaRRukkuNilai
viLanganikkuk koNdeRindhAn veRRip
paNilam vAy vaiththugandhAn paNdu

Word by Word Meanings

peRRam – cows
muRRakkAththu – protecting without leaving out even one cow
piNai marudham Udu pOy – going between the (two) intertwined pair of arjuna trees
pEy mulai uNdu – suckling the demon pUthanA
mA sagadam udhaiththu – kicking the huge wheel
kaRRu kuNilaik koNdu – using the calf as a stick to throw against
viLanganikku eRindhAn – emperumAn who threw it against the wood apple
paNdu – once upon a time
veRRi paNilam – conch which has the habit of winning
vAy vaiththu – blowing it from his mouth
ugandhAn – was happy

vyAkyanam

peRRam piNai marudham …. – this pAsuram comes under the category of niRai aNi in thamizh grammar. In other words, each of the words in the first line should be connected with the corresponding word in the second line. Thus, the sequence will be: peRRam – muRRak kAththu; piNai marudham – Udu pOy; pEy mulai – uNdu; mAch chagadam – udhaiththu.

peRRam – cows.

piNai marudham – two arjuna trees which had intertwined without any gap between them.

pEy mulai – the bosom of demonic woman, pUthanA.

mAchchagadam – the fearsome wheel.

muRRak kAththu – protecting all the cows without leaving out even one

Udu pOy – going between the arjuna trees, in which the demons yamaLa and arjuna had pervaded, in such a way that they were felled

uNdu – suckling pUthanA such that she was killed

udhaiththu – kicking the demon who had come in the form of a wheel

then

kaRRuk kuNilai – using a calf as a throwing stick

viLanganikkuk koNdu eRindhAn – he threw (the calf) at a wood apple fruit. By using one (calf) [demon] which came to kill him, he killed the other (wood apple).

veRRippaNilam vAy vaiththu ugandhAn – who did all these? It is he who blew the victorious conch pAnchajanyam keeping in his mouth and felt happy, after killing the gang of demons, that he had annihilated the enemies of his followers. Since he had taken a vow that he will not don any weapon, he killed his followers’ enemies by the mere trumpeting sound of conch. Instead of killing each enemy separately with the bows of arjuna, he killed all the enemies simultaneously with the sound of conch and carried out benefit for his followers.

paNdu – before he reached the stage of adulthood, he killed the inimical demons with his hands. After becoming an adult, he killed the enemies with the sound of SrI pAnchajanya (divine conch).

We will take up the 61st pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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mUnRAm thiruvandhAdhi – 59 – vAzhum vagai

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avathArikai

In the 57th pAsuram, AzhwAr had told his divine mind “kariyAn kazhalE theruL” (being devoted to the divine feet of emperumAn). In this pAsuram, he approaches those divine feet and experiences them.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

vAzhum vagai aRindhEn mai pOl nedu varai vAy
thAzhum aruvi pOl thAr kidappa sUzhum
thirumA maNi vaNNan sengaNmAl engaL
perumAn adi sErap peRRu

Word by Word Meanings

mai pOl nedu varai vAy – in the huge mountain which is very dark like a black pigment
thAzum – flowing down, on both sides
aruvi pOl – like stream
thAr kidappa – with the garland lying

(engaging with that)

sUzhum – circling it without leaving it even for a moment
thiru – one who has SrI mahAlakshmi
mA maNi vaNNan – one who has the complexion of blue coloured gem
sengaN mAl – the great one with reddish eyes
engaL perumAn – emperumAn’s
adi – divine feet
sErappeRRu – since (I) approached
vAzhum vagai aRindhEn – I learnt the way to sustain myself

vyAkyanam

vAzhum vagai aRindhEn – I learnt the way to sustain myself – by attaining emperumAn and holding on to him. I learnt that this is the wealth which is meant for AthmA (souls). In earlier times, as mentioned in SrI bhagavath gIthA 2-62, and 2.63dhyAyathO vishayAn pumsa … budhdhinASAth praNaSyathi” (by thinking of worldly matters, the mind was having attachment towards them…. he is lost since he loses his intelligence), I had learnt the way to get lost by involving with worldly matters and getting destroyed. nammAzhwAr too has mercifully stated in thiruvAimozhi 6-9-9 “pala nI kAttip paduppAyO” (are you going to destroy me by showing me all the worldly matters?). Only knowledge about emperumAn and lack of that knowledge are the reasons for attaining salvation (from samsAram) and for getting destroyed, respectively. Since sIthAppirAtti had instructed rAvaNa, as in SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 21-20 “yadhi jIvithumichchasi thEna maithri bhavathu thE” (if you desire to live, make friends with SrI rAma), if one wishes to sustain oneself, he/she should attain emperumAn.

mai pOl nedu varai vAyth thAzhum aruvipOl thAr kidappach chUzhum – even if emperumAn does not grant us salvation but destroys us, he has such beauty that we cannot shun him.  Just as streams roll down the sides of a huge black mountain, garlands from his shoulders are surrounding his divine chest. Just like two streams falling rapidly from mEru mountain (a celestial mountain) towards earth, the garlands come down from the shoulders towards the divine feet. Since the mountain is not sufficient to describe the divine chest of emperumAn, AzhwAr is adding a simile to it by saying mountain which is like a black pigment.

sUzhum thirumAmaNivaNNan – we can combine the last word of the previous verse (sUzhum) with the first word of the next verse (thirumAmaNivaNNan) and say that pirAtti will surround emperumAn, unable to let go of this beautiful divine form of emperumAn, as mentioned in thiruvAimozhi 6-10-10 “agalagillEn iRaiyum enRu” (not wishing to leave him even for a moment) and dwell permanently on that divine chest.

thirumAmaNivaNNanemperumAn has the complexion of a lustrous, priceless gem. Alternatively, this could mean that he has on his divine chest thiru (pirAtti) and kausthuba garland (blue coloured pendant on a chain, resting on his divine chest, representing all the jIvAthmAs). He has periya pirAtti and a divine form that removes the fatigue of those who see him.

sengaNmAl – emperumAn with lotus eyes. These eyes will give out the fact that he is the supreme being. We can construe the reddish colour of the eyes to have come from the fact that he is the consort of SrI mahAlakshmi. This implies that the cause for happiness is also an ordained one.

engaL perumAnemperumAn and pirAtti together – the pair – is a very sweet matter for AzhwAr. emperumAn who is with periya pirAtti is asmath swAmy (my lord).

adi sErappeRRu – I learnt the way to approach and be with such emperumAn. I learnt the way to attain the divine feet of emperumAn, who is sweet, great and ordained for me, and to sustain myself.

We will take up the 60th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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mUnRAm thiruvandhAdhi – 58 – theLindha silAdhalaththin

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avathArikai

When told that we should attain emperumAn who has such greatness, we told AzhwAr “we can hold on to him only if we see him”. AzhwAr responds saying that he has taken residence in thirumalai so that we can see him.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

theLindha silAdhalaththin mEl irundha mandhi
aLindha kaduvanaiyE nOkki viLangiya
veN madhiyam thAvennum vEngadamE mElorunAL
maN madhiyil koNdugandhAn vAzhvu

Word by Word Meanings

theLindha – being clear
silAdhalaththin mEl irundha mandhi – the female monkey sitting on the crystalline rock
aLindha karudanaiyE nOkki – looking at the affectionate male monkey
viLangiya veN  madhiyam thA ennum vEngadam – thiruvEngadam (thirumalai) which appears such that the female monkey will ask the male monkey to catch hold of and give the bright moon
mEl oru nAL – at an earlier point of time
maN – earth
madhiyin – through cleverness
koNdu – obtaining (from mahAbali)
ugandhAn – emperumAn who was happy in his divine mind
vAzhvu – the place of residence

vyAkyanam

theLindha silAdhalaththin mEl irundha mandhi – female monkey sitting on a black rock which appeared pure like a crystal. These monkeys are much like SrI rAma and sIthAppirAtti who were residing in the divine chithrakUtam during their time of dwelling in forest.

silAdhalaththin mEl irundha – this implies that the female monkey was sitting on the black rock already.

irundha – the female monkey was sitting on the rock, manifesting its greatness. This monkey is sitting on the rock just like sIthAppirAtti was sitting on a rock on the banks of river gOdhAvari. Just as SrI rAma told lakshmaNa as in SrI rAmAyaNam AraNya kANdam 63-12 “asminmayA sArdhamuthAraSeelA SilAthalE pUrvamupOpavishtA, kAnthasmithA lakshmaNa jAthahAsA thvAmAha sIthA bahuvAkyajAtham” (Oh lakshmaNa! sIthA, who has a deep nature and a beautiful smile, was sitting close to me on this rock earlier and said many words to you with a banter), this monkey is also doing the same.

aLindha kaduvanaiyE nOkki – looking at the male monkey, which was very affectionate towards the female monkey and expecting the next command from the female monkey.

aLindha – just like servitors who look for signs from knitting of the brow. This implies an expectation from the male monkey as to when the female monkey is going to order it to carry out a specific task.

aLindha kaduvan – don’t love quarrels take place due to excessive affection!

kaduvanaiyE nOkki – when there is a love quarrel, without the need for a mediator, the female monkey directly talks to the male. When there was a love quarrel between SrI rAma and sIthA, lakshmaNa was present to be a mediator but here there is none like that.

nOkki – by its mere look, the female monkey gives out everything that it wanted to covey.

viLangiya veN madhiyam thA ennum – the female monkey wants the male to bring the brightly shining moon. Just as asking for a mirror to see its face, it is asking for the moon. Since thirumalai hills are taller than the lunar region, the other side of moon is visible to the female monkey. Since there is no fault on the other side of moon, it is asking the male monkey to give the faultless moon.

thA ennum – since the female monkey is sitting on top of the rock and the male monkey below, it is stretching its hand to offer it the moon.

vEngadamE – thiruvEngadam hills like this

mEl oru nAL maN madhiyil koNdu ugandhAn vAzhvu – this is the place which is considered as his wealth by emperumAn, who by his cleverness, lowered himself in the presence of mahAbali and obtained the earth by asking for alms from him, and became very delighted.

maN madhiyil koNdu ugnadhAn – by having the knowledge that (mahAbali) will give if asked for as alms, emperumAn asked for as alms.

ugandhAn – he was delighted as if he had got something which was not his.

vAzhvu – the place of residence. It can also be considered as his wealth.

maN madhiyil koNdu – it appears that when the monkey asked for moon, AzhwAr was reminded of vAmana asking for three steps of land!

We will consider the 59th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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mUnRAm thiruvandhAdhi – 57 – polindhirundha kAr vAnil

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avathArikai

AzhwAr says that it will be great to meditate on emperumAn who has such greatness. He tells his heart to attain emperumAn, who has garuda as his flag and, who is the consort of SrI mahAlakshmi. He says that instead of being aloof saying that it is not possible, if we attain him, that itself will give eminence to everyone.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

polindhiruNda kArvAnil minnE pOl thOnRi
malindhu thiruvirundha mArvan polindha
garudan mEl kaNda kariyAn kazhalE
theruL thanmEl kaNdAy theLi

Word by Word Meanings

thiru – pirAtti
polindhu iruNda kAr – being very dark during rainy season
vAnil – among the cloud
minnE pOl thOnRi – dazzling like lightning
malindhu irundha mArvan – one who has the divine chest in which she resides with pride
polindha garudan mEl koNda – conducting garuda
kariyAn – emperumAn who is of dark complexion
kazhalE – only the divine feet
theruL than mEl – is the matter for devotion, which is superior to knowledge
theLi kaNdAy – (Oh heart!) be clear on this.

vyAkyanam

polindhu iruNda kAr vAnil minnE pOl thOnRi –  golden hued periya pirAtti (SrI mahAlakshmi) has taken residence in the dark complexioned divine form of emperumAn just like a flash of lightning dazzles across the dark clouds during monsoon when the sky is dark.

malindhu thiru irundha mArvan – emperumAn has his divine chest on which periya pirAtti has taken residence with her greatness showing clearly. Alternatively, malindhu thiru irundha can be construed as periya pirAtti greatly desiring the divine chest of emperumAn and taking residence in it.

polindha garudan mEl koNda kariyAn kazhalE – it appears that for emperumAn being atop garudan gives him supremacy over being the consort of periya pirAtti. It appears that the beauty when he is atop garuda is more than that when he is with periya pirAtti. The dark coloured divine feet of emperumAn who is riding garuda…

polindha garudan – we can consider this as garuda who is fully complete. emperumAn sitting on garuda is like a dark coloured peak sitting over the golden colured great mEru mountain.

kariyAn – it is implied by this that the two of them (emperumAn and garuda) ae having contrasting hues.

theruL thantherul means knowledge; being meditated upon. We can consider this as referring to bhakthi (devotion) which is the matured state of gyAna (knowledge).

mEl kaNdAy – think higher than these. In other words, think that all the rest are on a lower level and bhakthi is at a higher level. Isn’t this the greatness which is apt for the servitor’s nature!

theLi – think of this as being truly stated, inside the heart, instead of stating something superficially.

garudan Mel koNda kariyAn thiruvirundha mArvanpirAtti is like lightning which manifests both emperumAn and garuda.

We will take up the 58th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thirunedunthANdakam – 8

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Introduction

As AzhvAr became sorrowful and thought – ‘We could not experience at that time when He strode the worlds’, and (as He said), ‘I am there with that beauty in thirukkOvalUr, come and experience it!’, as AzhvAr took along his mind to experience Him (there), he forgot about the saurya (not running away in a fight (absence of parAngmukhathvam)), and veerya (not getting confused and agitated during fight (unlike arjuna did in kurukshEthra)) of Ayan (of thirukkOvalUr dhivya dhEsam), also forgot about experiencing Him, and as he saw Him in front of his eyes he saw the soft delicateness of emperumAn, and thought about the nature of the place which is having many asuras, and thought ‘Oh what might happen to this divine One’, thus fearing for Him. It is the nature of AthmA to be loving of and be caring of Him. As He showed His valor etc., and cleared his fear, he took his mind along and was involving in experiencing Him – in the previous pAsuram.

In this pAsuram – AzhvAr is deciding that we shall go to thirukkOvalUr and experience the emperumAn. Since it is he (who is having extreme love toward emperumAn), his divine feet are not moving; thinking about the beauty etc., of Ayan (of thirukkOvalUr) his senses got weakened as said in ‘kAl Azhum nenjazhiyum kaN suzhalum’ [periya thiruvanthAdhi – 34] (~ my feet would get stuck, mind would be destroyed, eyes would not focus, even if I just hear about how He is lying down in the divine milky ocean), and to be according to the true nature of self (to be subservient and not do something on own efforts) – that is, both at the time of surrendering to Him, and at the time of enjoying Him (by doing services) – surrendering to Him when He comes and pushes us to surrender to Him, and enjoying Him when He comes with His own efforts and making us enjoy Him, is our true nature. This is as said in ‘kUvudhal varudhal seyyAy [thiruvAimozhi – 9.2.10](~You call me and make me serve you, and You come to me), en thiRam sollAr [thiruvAimozhi – 8.3.7]’ (He is not saying a single word about me His ardent devotee).

Thus due to decimation of senses, and not having eligibility (as per his nature), he is not able to go there; but he did not have the place he was in to happen to be thirukkOvalUr; he started calling (the place); as he was longing to enjoy thirukkOvalUr, why would he start calling other divine places?  Like how one would pick and collect multiple grains (spilled in the field), as Ayan’s nature is shining in dhivya dhEsams, AzhvAr is calling them based on that. It is like (praising SrI rAmA through multiple examples as) said in ‘vishNunA sadhruSO veeryE [SrI rAmAyaNam – bAla kANdam – 1-18]((SrI rAman) is equal to vishNu in manliness; He is pleasing to the eyes like the moon; is like the annihilating fire in His anger; is equal to the earth in His patience).

neeragaththAy nedu varaiyin uchchi mElAy
  nilAththingaL thuNdaththAy niRaindha kachchi
UragaththAy oNthuRai neer vehkAvuLLAy
  uLLuvAr uLLaththAy ulagamEththum
kAragaththAy kArvAnaththuLLAy kaLvA
  kAmarupUngAviriyin then pAl mannu
pEragaththAy pErAdhen nenjin uLLAy
  perumAn un thiruvadiyE pENinEnE                        8

Word by word meaning

neeragaththAy Oh One who is giving divine presence in thiruneeragam dhivya dhEsam!
nedu varaiyin uchchi mElAy –  Oh One who stood at the top of tall and great thirumalai!
nilAththingaL thuNdaththAy –  Oh One who is giving divine presence in the divine place called nilAththingaL thuNdam!
niRaindha kachchi UragaththAy – Oh One who is giving divine presence in the divine place called Uragam by pervading the whole of kachchi (by your qualities)!
oNthuRai neer vekhAvuLLAy – Oh One who is in sleeping posture at the beautiful shore of water tank that is in thiruvehkA!
uLLuvAr uLLaththAy – Oh One who is present in the hearts of those who think of you (as their leader)!  (that is also a temple for Him);
ulagam Eththum kAragaththAy – Oh One who stood in the divine place called ‘thirukkAragam’ for the whole world to worship!
kAr vAnaththuLLAy – Oh One who lives in the divine place called kArvAnam!
kaLvA – Oh the thief (who hid the divine form and not showing it to the devotees)!  (there is a dhivya dhEsam called kaLvanUr);
kAmaru pUm kAviriyin then pAl mannu pEragaththAy – well set in the town of thiruppEr (of appakkudaththAn) that is on the south shore of very beautiful kAvEri!
en nenjil pEradhu uLLAy – Oh One who is showing Himself to my mind without break or going away!
perumAn – Oh One having many many divine places!
un thiruvadiyE pENinEnE – I am calling for your divine feet (wishing to see it).

vyAkyAnam

thiru neeragam – image courtesy – http://www.divyadesam.com

neeragaththAy – Oh one residing in thiruneeragam! Since One who is of neermai that is of quality of neer (water), is residing here, the place is referred to as neeragam. Even though the nature of AthmA is same for everyone, it is due to karma there are differences of being human, dEvas, etc., and also based on that there are differences in their knowledge and thoughts; but water is the life line for every one of them; likewise, the emperumAn of thiruneeragam  is the life line for everyone. So the divine feet that stored all the worlds is the life line for everyone; since this nature of emperumAn is highlighted in this dhivya dhEsam, Oh One who is enjoyable to everyone without any limits, is not showing yourself to me! wonders AzhvAr.

nedu variyin uchchi mElAy – Oh one who is divining His presence in thirumalai such that You are enjoyed not only by those in the earth, but also in the higher worlds.  This is as said in ‘vAnavar vAnavar kOnodum namanRezhum thiruvEngadam [thiruvAimozhi – 3.3.7]’ (nithyasUris (eternally free souls of paramapadham), with sEnai mudhaliyAr (vishwaksEna – who is their leader), bowing (which highlights their total dependence), feeling accomplished (having realized their true nature), divine place having the name thiruvEngadam); the state of thirumalai reminds of the divine feet of nAyan who strode all the worlds; You who would show up even for those who think of themselves as lords, is not showing yourself to me! wonders AzhvAr.

nilAth thingaL thuNdathhAy – this is also being the name based on the nature of nAyAnAr (emperumAn, the lord). Oh, like the moon who is complete in all the arts, One who helps those who suffer from the three types of thApams by clearing those thApams, and being sweet to those who enjoy You!

As said in ‘sUryAmSu janitham thApam ninyE thArApathi: Samam [SrI vishNu purANam – 5-10-3](like how a discerning mind would remove the sorrow caused by pride, moon the head of stars removed the heat caused by the rays of sun), for the people who suffer due to the heat of the sun it is the moon that is reason for their calm and comfort;  nilAth thingaL – during waning phase its light would be dimmed, and so it is mentioned as ‘nilAth thingaL’  (to imply full moon). Since the divine abode is a part (thuNdam) of the earth, he is saying ‘nilAth thingaL thUNdam’ based on that. Since he mentions about it specifically saying thuNdam, he is saying it to show its uniqueness compared to other dhivya dhEsams. This reminds about emperumAn who is present with removal of tiredness he got due to striding the worlds, and being lovely. Oh one who removes the tiredness and gives happiness to everyone, is not showing yourself to me! wonders AzhvAr.

niRaindha kachchi UragaththAy – Oh one who is present and divining in the dhivya dhEsam of thirukkachchi Uragam for the whole of kAncheepuram to be filled with your beauty and kindness! He is present in thiru Uragam that reminds us of His divine posture in thirukkOvalUr! niRaindha kachchi – As said in ‘SObhayan dhaNdakAraNam [SrI rAmAyaNam – AraNya kANdam – 38-15]’ (SrI rAman, by His brightness, appeared like a young moon which rose just then, in that forest), the whole of thirukkachchi is filled with His brightness; also kachchi that is filled with divine abodes (thirukkachi being one having so many dhivya dhEsams).

Uragam – image courtesy divyadesam.com

oN thuRai neer vekhAvuLLAy –  Oh one who is in sleeping posture in the shore of beautiful thiruvehkA! Unlike other places, since this is the one where thirumazhisaip pirAn got down and took holy bath, this is referred to as beautiful shore. He is staying put and lying down in this shore to show that He obeyed AzhvAr‘s words. Going behind the devotee when he left, and coming back as that devotee came back and lying down back again but in the opposite direction keeping His head where His divine feet were earlier – isn’t this how the ‘pArathanthryam toward devotees’ is present in there!

thiruvehkA – sonna vaNNam seydha perumaL – image courtesy divyadesam.com

As said in ‘irundha Uril irukkum mAnidar eththavangaL seydhAr kolO [periyAzhvAr thirumozhi – 4.4.7]’ (Oh what penances they might have performed to be rewarded of being in the town where His devotees are present!), for SrIvaishNavas it is the place where a SrIvaishNavan lives is the preferred place – likewise, it is for eeSvaran the place that is preferred is where there is a connection of devotee.

As said in ‘vAsal kadai kazhiyA uL pugA kAmar pUngOval idai kazhiyE paRRi ini [mudhal thiruvanthAdhi – 86]’ (neither going out nor going in, you are staying in the in-between place (because that is where we three mudhal AzhvArs had stayed once)!), how He had entered and jammed Himself into the place where the three AzhvArs were present, and even after they left, He did not have the mind to leave that place – this is how it reminds us about the nature of emperumAn at thiruvehkA (being dedicated to devotees).  soNNa vaNNam seydha perumAn mingled with the devotees with his divine head in the place of the feet. Oh You who is steadfast in the place that was of the devotees, are not showing Yourself to me who would not bear the separation!

uLLuvAr uLLaththAy – Oh one who lives in the hearts of those who live with the thought that there is a lord for me!  It is for reaching a devotee’s heart that He is present in a dhivya dhEsam (this is the reason for AzhvAr to talk about the heart of devotees when in the setting of listing these dhivya dhEsams). ‘ninRadhu endhai [thiruchchandha viruththam – 64]’ (He being present in these dhivya dhEsams is doing all those sitting, standing, etc., in my mind too), etc. You who would live in the hearts of those who have got even a little love toward You, are not showing Yourself to me! wonders AzhvAr.

ulagam Eththum kAragaththAy –  Oh who is divining his standing presence in thiruk kAragam for the whole world to heap praises! As said in ‘lOka vikrAntha! charaNau [vihagESvara samhithai padalam 22]’ ((vikrama:  = stepping) – Oh emperumAn! adiyEn am leaving all the relatives, and all the means, and all other destinies including kaivalyam, and surrendering unto the divine feet of You who strode the three worlds!), for all the worlds to argue (with Him saying – Your divine feet is common and available for all), and surrender, He having such history of taking the three steps, that Ayan being amicable for all to surrender, and this dhivya dhEsam (too) lets us think about that emperumAn! Oh You who is available for all to surrender, are not showing Yourself to me!

kAr vAnaththu uLLAy – Oh one who lives in thiruk kArvAnam, who is having the nature of cloud whose nature is to pour rain! The divine name for dhivya dhEsam is based on the nature of this emperumAn. Cloud would pour rain without expecting any benefit, and without any distinction of water or land (to everyone) – this dhivya dhEsam reminds of the generosity of Ayan (of thirukkOvalUr), who kept His divine feet on the heads of all the people whether they longed for it or not.

kaLvA – Oh one who steals! (apahAram). We would not call Him ‘kaLvA’ since we do not have such love towards Him like this AzhvAr. Stealing is – hiding something that belongs to one by making it not his. His stealing is – not showing His beauty which is to be experienced by His devotees. AthmApahAram is when the sentient does not agree that the AthmA belongs to Him;  whereas that is how it is regarding AthmA, we don’t agree to that but say ‘svathanthrOham’ (I am independent) – this is our stealing.  Is your preventing my stealing, is to steal (not showing) Your AthmA (divine body)? Making the meaning of AthmA to flourish, is for destroying the meaning of ‘bhakthAnAm [jithanthE sthOthram – 1.5]’ (everything of You are there not for you; they are there for Your devotees)?

kAmaru pUm, etc. – Oh One who is having presence in thiruppEr(nagar; appakkudaththAn) that is near the south of kAvEri river that is beautiful which is wished to be seen! AzhvAr is adding this adjective (to river kAvEri) because it is having kOyil (thiruvarangam) in the middle. kOyil (SrIrangam) is such that it is preferred by the ones who are to be saved and for the One Who saves.  then pAl – checking whether there are people going by the shore (on the south), He is staying put near the shore (to get them). Like people who depend on the shore for their livelihood – He is also by the shore for His being the protector to come to bear.  mannu – He is staying put thinking He won’t leave unless everyone one in this world reached Him; ‘Is there anyone who will come and reach Me?’ – thinking so You are waiting for such opportunity; but You are not showing Yourself to me! This dhivya dhEsam also reminds us of Ayan (of thirukkOvalUr) who cannot not sustain Himself without having devotees following Him;

pErAdhu en nenjil uLLAy – You are not making Yourself the target of my eyes, but then why are You appearing in my mind? While making Yourself grandly visible in my mind like it is a brahmOthsavam, why are You keeping Yourself away on the outside like without any kAhaLam (instrument that makes sound), or pole/flag,etc. (that are used during celebrations). If You would not show Yourself in my mind, I would live without thinking about You; I did not get to live by seeing You on the outside; did not get to live by Not seeing You on the inside (mind); did not get to live by dying – says AzhvAr;

he could not live by seeing – because it is He who has to give that vision; he could not live by forgetting Him in his mind – due to the distinct greatness of what he sees in his mind;  not able to live by dying – due to the wish the he would be able to see Him again;  even if separated, the distinct greatness of emperumAn is such that one would keep saying ‘that! that!’ about Him. Only if it is about other matters, that one would be able to forget as time goes by; this matter is such that it would increase the longing as days go by;

he is not able to live by dying – because being present under His control – (sIthA) pirAtti could not proceed with attempting to hang Herself – because She is His property; nammAzhvAr, even though was desperate when singing ‘uyirinAl kuRaivilam [thiruvAimozhi – 4.8.10]’ (There is no use of my AthmA (self) which is not liked by emperumAn), he had to beg Him for ending his life as he sang in ‘sAmAREpaNi (kaNdAy) [thiruvAimozhi – 4.9.1]’ (to die (and shed my body), you have to mercifully speak a word (as in the case of SrI bhagavath gIthA 18.66 “mOkshayishyAmi” (I will free you)).

perumAn – Oh one who does not have any count of such dhivya dhEsams! Since there is not a count of dhivyadhEsams that remind us of Ayan (of thirukkOvalUr), and since he (AzhvAr) does not have the ability to talk about all those dhivya dhEsams, he is collecting them together with this word (perumAn).

Or, perumAn – Oh the lord who accepts our services! Oh I am suffering because of knowing the relationship with Him, says AzhvAr. If I had not known that then I would have happily done whatever came to mind as one interested in worldly matters, like the samsAris (people interested in worldly matters). Is it correct for him to feel bad for not being like the samsAris who undergo the three types of suffering? – the suffering of samsAris due to their ahankAram and mamakAram are tolerable; the suffering that AzhvAr goes through by not getting emperumAn even though he wishes for it so much – this suffering is not tolerable, isn’t it? (ALavandhAr too said) ‘sarvam sahE [sthOthra rathnam – 25]’ (my) sorrows are tolerable (but not that of your devotees), and as I said in ‘nAn kaNdu koNdEn nArAyaNa ennum nAmam [periya thirumozhi – 1.1.1]’ (I have obtained the divine name nArAyaNA), I thought it is enjoyable when I got You. But it has ended up being the reason for my sorrows! When one gets the knowledge about their true nature, there would be happiness only when one gets life that is according to that nature; when that is not the case, it is all sorrows only, isn’t it? It is for one who is having indigestion that the hunger is preferable; for one who is very hungry, it is that hunger that is the cause for his suffering. ‘On one hand I am not enjoying in worldly matters like the samsAris; on the other hand, I am not enjoying in Your experience like the mukthAthmAs (liberated from the cycle of birth); I am not being in the state of ‘thath thasya sadhruSam bhavEth [SrI rAmAyaNam – sundhara kANdam – 30.30]’ (it would fit His nature (to get me when He likes)) like mumukshus (those wishing to be liberated) who have understood their true nature; like being not in any of these groups, I am having this state of suffering!, wonders AzhvAr.

emperumAn asks – For you who were having affinity towards bodily affairs and earthly interests, I showed you the true goal that is suitable for your true nature, and affected you such that your union with and separation from me would be happiness and sadness for you – while there is all these help of mine for you, why are you calling in this way like an ungrateful?

un thiruvadiyE pENinEnE – I am not calling while being ungrateful for things You have done for me; in those matters I am grateful to You; I am calling due to the longing to see Your divine feet – says AzhvAr. Is my purushArtham (aim) about getting a few better things compared to worldly people? (No,), it is about seeing You with my eyes that is the purushArtham for me, says AzhvAr. Because You have not shown Your divine feet, the good things You did for me have become the reason for my sorrows, is the thought here.

un thiruvadi – Your divine feet that is both the means and destiny. Mentioning many of these divine abodes and then saying ‘un’ (Your in singular) thiruvadi, shows that AzhvAr is experiencing the ways of Ayan (of thirukkOvalUr) only in all these dhivya dhEsams.  un thiruvadi – Your divine feet that is of such nature.

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Translation by raghuram SrInivAsa dAsan

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mUnRAm thiruvandhAdhi – 56 – niRam veLidhu

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avathArikai

AzhwAr says that one can enjoy this beauty of emperumAn but cannot estimate the beauty and say that it is like this. One can engage in enjoying the benefit of experiencing emperumAn’s beauty but it is not possible to describe that beauty.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

niRam veLidhu seydhu pasidhu karidhenRu
iRai uruvam yAm aRiyOm eNNil niRaivudaiya
nAmangai thAnum nalam puriya vallaLE
pUmangai kELvan polivu

Word by Word Meanings

iRai – sarvESvaran’s (supreme being’s)
uruvam – the divine auspicious form
niRam – by colour
veLidhu – will it be white? (Or)
seydhu – will it be red? (Or)
pasidhu – will it be green? (Or)
karidhu – will it be black?
enRu – of what colour will it be
eNNil – if we analyse
yAm aRiyOm – we will not know

(let this remain)
niRaivu udaiya – one who is complete in knowledge and power
nAmangai thAnum – sarasvathi dhEvi too
pU mangai kELvan – emperumAn, the consort of SrI mahAlakshmi who dwells on a lotus flower, his
polivu – the completeness
nalam pugazha vallaLE – does she have the power to praise? (No, she does not)

vyAkyanam

niRam veLidhu seydhu pasidhu karidhu enRu iRai uruvam yAm aRiyOm eNNil – if we try to analyse whether emperumAn’s complexion is whitish or reddish or greenish or blackish, we cannot know that, even a little bit.

yAm aRiyOm eNNil – we can only speak with devotion but cannot think with our mind. It is only this much. That we cannot think of, is not due to any shortage of our knowledge but because of his greatness.

niRaivudaiya nAmangai thAnum – even sarasvathi, who is apt to be attained by people of the world who try to speak about emperumAn and one who has the greatness herself to speak about emperumAn; sarasvathi dhEvi who has the quality to speak without any confusion and one who can speak in an unbiased way.

nalam pugazha vallaLE – is she capable of speaking completely about the auspicious qualities of emperumAn? Is she capable of speaking appropriate to emperumAn’s greatness ?

What is the reason for her being unable to praise emperumAn?

pUmangai kELvanpolivu – is it possible for sarasvathi to speak fully about the greatness of emperumAn who has as his servitor thirumagaL (SrI mahAlakshmi) who in turn has sarasvathi as her servitor! Is it possible for some people to speak about emperumAn’s greatness? Is it possible to speak in a place where emperumAn and pirAtti (SrI mahAlakshmi) are together? Has it not been mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam AraNya kANdam 37-18 “apramEyam hi thath thEja: yasya sA janakAthmajA” (is it possible to estimate the radiance of SrI rAma with whom sIthA, the daughter of janaka, is together)! That it is not possible to estimate the greatness of emperumAn has been mercifully mentioned by nammAzhwAr too in thiruvAimozhi 1-1-1uyarvaRa uyarnalam udaiyavan” (one who has great auspicious qualities which cannot be surpassed by anyone).

iRai uruvam yAM aRiyOm eNNil – this the greatness of the divine form of emperumAn (implies that it is impossible to speak about his auspicious qualities).

We will take up the 57th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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mUnRAm thiruvandhAdhi – 55 – periya varai mArvil

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avathArikai

AzhwAr enjoys the beauty of emperumAn who has affection like this for bhUmippirAtti.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

periya varai mArvil pErAram pUNdu
kariya mugil idai min pOla thiriyungAl
pANodunga vaNdaRaiyum pangayamE maRRavan than
nINedungaN kAttum niRam

Word by Word Meanings

periya varai mArvil – in the divine chest [of emperumAn] which is like a huge mountain
pErAram pUNdu – donning a huge necklace
thiriyungAl – if he roams around
kariya mugil idai min pOla – it will appear like a flash of lightning across rain-laden clouds
maRRu – more over
avan than – that emperumAn’s
nIL negum kaN – long expansive eyes’
niRam – colour
pAN odunga vaNdu aRaiyum pangayamE kAttum – lotus flower, in which beetles remain and sing so sweetly that all the other songs which had earlier been sung and called as songs would be obliterated, would show out.

vyAkyanam

periya varai mArvilemperumAn’s divine form would appear like mEru mountain (a celestial mountain which is very huge). With garlands decorating his divine chest, the divine chest would appear like a mountain which cannot be estimated [for its expansiveness].

pErAram pUNdu – the greatness of the garland is such that it has to be folded twice over on that divine chest.

kariya mugil idai min poLa – an example is given to describe how the garland appeared on his black divine chest. Just as a flash of lightning would appear across dark clouds, the golden garland appeared across the black divine form of emperumAn.

thiriyungAl – when emperumAn was roaming here and there, donning the huge garland on his divine chest. Or, it can be construed as: when thinking of this beauty.

pAN odunga vaNdu aRaiyum pangayamE – the beetles will sing so sweetly that all the others who can sing would hang out their heads in shame. Lotus flowers, on which these beetles would be foraging, would show. What will they show?

maRRu avan than nIL nedungaN kAttum niRam – They will show the colour of the long, expansive divine eyes of emperumAn. The lotus flower will show the colour of his eyes whose beauty is immeasurable. Did not nammAzhwAr too describe emperumAn’s divine eyes in his thiruviruththam 45 “perum kEzhalAr tham perungaN malarppuNdarIkam” by saying that emperumAn’s divine eyes are like lotus flowers!

We will take up the 56th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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mUnRAm thiruvandhAdhi – 54 – thALAl sagadam

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avathArikai

AzhwAr enjoys the deeds of kaNNapirAn (krishNa) which could be compared with the deed of emperumAn on the banyan lead.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

thALAl sagadam udhaiththup pagadundhi
kILA marudhidai pOyk kEzhalAy mILAdhu
maNNagalam kINdu angOr mAdhugandha mArvaRkup
peNNagalam kAdhal peridhu

Word by Word Meanings

sagadam – sagadAsuran [a demon who had entered a wheel to kill krishNa]
thALAl – with divine feet
udhaiththu – kicking
pagadu – elephant [called as kuvalayApIdam]
undhi – pushing it aside
kILA – without a split
marudhu idai pOy – crawling between the arjuna trees
kEzhal Ay – in the form of varAha (wild boar)
mILAdhu – without hesitating and returning
agalam maN kINdu – digging out the expansive earth from the wall of the universe
Or mAdhu ugandha mArvaRku  – emperumAn who has the divine chest much desired by periya pirAtti (SrI mahAlakshmi)
peN agalam – on the divine form of bhUmippirAtti (SrI bhUdhEvi)
kAdhal – affection
peridhu – will be flooding

vyAkyanam

thALAl sagadam udhaiththu – killing the demon sagadAsuran with his divine feet. Kicking aside a wheel which came close to his divine feet.

pagadundhipagadu – elephant. Killing the elephant kuvalayApIdam set on him by kamsa, by pushing it. He pushed hard at the elephant which came close to his hand. He kicked the wheel which came in his way, with his divine feet and pushed aside the elephant, as mentioned by thirumangai AzhwAr in periya thirumozhi 6-5-6 “puguvAy ninRa pOdhagam” (elephant which stood in his way of going towards kamsa) with his divine hands.

kILA marudhidai pOy – finding a path between two arjuna trees which had intertwined closely without any gap. We can also construe it as krishNa going between the trees by splitting them.

kEzhalAy mILAdhu – When he, who is greater than everyone else, takes a very lowly form of boar, should he not look like a boar? Thus, he felt like a boar. If he had thought of himself as the consort of thirumagaL (SrI mahAlakshmi) could he have carried out the activities of a boar?

mILAdhu maNNagalam kINdu – we can construe the meaning as – digging out the earth such that it cannot be snatched away.

angOr maNNagalam kINdu – he came out of deluge there, holding the expansive earth.

mAdhu ugandha mArvaRkuemperumAn who has the divine chest much desired by periya pirAtti.

peNNagalam kAdhal peridhu – his affection towards SrI bhUmippirAtti (SrI bhUdhEvi) was over-flooded. peNNagalam refers to the divine form of SrI bhUmippirAtti.  Has bhUmippirAtti’s form not been described in siRIya thirumadalkArAr varaikkongai kaNNar kadal udukkai” (bhumippirAtti has thiruvEngadam and thirumAlirunjOlai on which clouds take rest, as her bosom and the expansive ocean as her dress)!

kAdhal peridhuemperumAn’s infatuation with bhUmippirAtti is described here. emperumAn’s desire for those whom he likes is much larger than the desire which those who like him have for him. Did not emperumAn who has all his desires fulfilled, take out earth from the walls of the universe by taking the form of a boar!

peNNagalam kAdhal peridhuAzhwAr says “Is it not because of the affection that he has for bhUmippirAtti that he dug out the earth  which she respects a lot (or earth which has bhUmippirAtti as the caretaking deity)?”.

We will take up the 55th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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mUnRAm thiruvandhAdhi – 53 – muyanRu thozhu

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avathArikai

AzhwAr enjoys the experience of emperumAn reclining on banyan leaf, just as he enjoyed the deed of vAmana in the previous pAsuram. He tells his heart that they should fall head over heels and experience such deeds when emperumAn’s characteristics are like these. He says that emperumAn is capable of uniting things which are incompatible.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

muyanRu thozhu nenjE mUri nIr vElai
iyanRa marathAlilaiyin mElAl payinRangOr
maNNalangoL veLLaththu mAyak kuzhaviyAyth
thaNNalangal mAlaiyAn thAL

Word by Word Meanings

mUri nIr vElai – in the ocean having water with waves
iyanRa – fitting
Alamaraththu ilaiyin mElAl – on top of a banyan leaf
payinRu – reclining for a long time
angu – there
maN – earth’s
nalam – benefit
koL – seized
veLLaththu – in the deluge
Or mAyak kuzhavi Ay – as an amazing child
thaN alangal mAlaiyAn thAL – emperumAn who has a cool, swaying thuLasi garland, such emperumAn’s
thAL – divine feet
nenjE – Oh heart!
muyanRu thozhu – make an effort and worship

vyAkyanam

muyanRu thozhu nenjE – Oh heart, try to attain emperumAn with zeal instead of having the attitude of “if it comes, let it; I wouldn’t go after it”! Make an effort and attain him. Keep falling [in front of emperumAn] till your hands fracture.

mUri nIr vElai – in the ocean which has water throwing up waves

iyanRa maraththu Al ilaiyin mElAl – on top of a tender banyan leaf which had just sprouted on that ocean

payinRu – lying on top of the banyan leaf for a very long time such that people such as mArkaNdEya become fearful [as to what trouble will befall emperumAn]

angOr maN nalam koL veLLaththu – in the deluge which tries to destroy the characteristics of earth. Earth is in the effect mode.

maN nalam koL veLLam – the virtues of earth are: it is an implement for the enjoyment of chEthanas (sentient entities), it is the place for enjoying and it is the object of enjoyment. Such earth is destroyed during deluge.

mAyak kuzhaviyAyemperumAn is an infant with amazing activities.

thaN alangal mAlaiyAn thAL – the divine feet of emperumAn who has the swaying garland which removes fatigue.

muyanRu thozhu nenjE – when he kept all these objects [the worlds, oceans etc] inside his stomach, did he not carry out that task in such a way that his garland and other decorative ornaments were not disturbed even a little bit! The beauty with which he was lying on the banyan leaf with his garland! Was yaSOdhA present there to deck him up? Isn’t everything amazing!

We will move on to the 54th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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