nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 3 – pAlil kidandhadhuvum

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AzhwAr was asked “Is it apt on your part to say that Arum aRiyAr – (no one knows his [emperumAn’s] greatness) as this implies that you know about him. He responds saying “Arum aRiyAr meant that no one has fully estimated his greatness. There are many who know a little bit of his greatness. But there is none among them who knows as much as I do. Those who attempt to know him through their efforts would know a little bit about his supremacy. Since he, with causeless mercy, showed himself to me, I alone know his great qualities such as simplicity etc”. Alternatively, it can be construed that he is saying “When it comes to the question of those who are carrying out means on their own to attain him, is it possible for them to know about as much as I do, who had seen him when he chose to show himself?”

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

pAlil kidandhadhuvum paNdarangam mEyadhuvum
Alil thuyinRadhuvum AraRivAr gyAlath
thoruporuLai vAnavar tham meypporuLai appil
aruporuLai yAn aRindhavARu

Word for Word Meanings

pAlil kidandhadhuvum – reclining on thiruppARkadal, the milky ocean
paNdu arangam mEyadhuvuam – at an earlier point of time, dwelling in thiruvarangam (SrIrangam)
Alil thuyinRadhuvum – sleeping on a tender banyan leaf
gyAlaththu oruporuLai – one who is the only causative factor for the worlds
vAnavar tham meypporuLai – one who is shining radiantly to the nithyasUris (permanent dwellers of SrivaikuNtam)
appil aru poruLai – (during the time of creation) the rare entity, emperumAn, who is lying on water
yAn aRindhavARu – as I know him to be
Ar aRivAr – who knows?


pAlil kidandhadhuvum – being the controller of nithyasUris and the causative factor for the worlds, emperumAn, in order to uplift some chEthanas (jIvAthmAs) from samsAram, thinking of taking several incarnations, lies in the milky ocean in a meditative posture.

paNdarangam mEyadhuvum – dwelling aptly at thrivarangam which is considered as the upper limit for emperumAn’s incarnations.

paNdu – at a time when the entire area was like a forest and there was none expecting him, emperumAn had reclined there with the desire “will not someone at some point of time attain me?” – the anguish of the protector more than that of the protected.

arangam mEyadhuvum – fitting into arangam better than at SrIvaikuNtam. Thinking of the troubles faced by samsAris in this world, emperumAn feels for them in his divine heart and with that warmth, comes and dwells here. When paraSAra bhattar was mercifully explaining this, he was asked by a follower “is it apt for someone who is full of happiness in SrIvaikuNtam to feel sorrowful?” to which bhattar responded quoting SrI rAmAyaNa SlOkam “vyasanEshu manushyANAm bhruSam bhavathi dhukkitha:” (when people (of his kingdom) suffer, SrI rAma suffers more than they). nampiLLai, in his Idu commentary for thiruvAimozhi 4.10.2 has mercifully mentioned “if there is no way of showering his mercy, emperumAn wouldn’t have created chEthanas (sentient entities – the jIvAthmAs) [creating chEthanas implies giving them bodies], as he had already negated any happening for himself out of karmas (virtuous and sinful deeds) ; has it not been said ‘sa EkAkI na ramEtha’ – nArAyaNa was not happy at the beginning, when he was alone, even when the nithyavibhUthi and all his auspicious qualities were already present!”

Alil thuyinRadhuvum – sleeping on a tender banyan leaf after keeping all the worlds in his stomach and protecting them at the time of deluge and the chEthanas were threatened

AraRivAr – who will know that emperumAn has such soft qualities? One may comprehend, to an extent, his greatness. It is not possible to understand his simplicity.

yAn aRindhavARu AraRivAr – would anyone know, out of his own efforts, the qualities such as simplicity etc of emperumAn’s as much as I, who had been manifested these by emperumAn himself, would know?

When asked whether emperumAn has only simplicity, AzhwAr says next that even his greatness has no limits. Only if simplicity and greatness are together would it shine radiantly like a gemstone studded in gold.

gyAlaththu oru poruLai – the unique entity which is the causative factor for the creation of the worlds as mentioned in the upanishaths such as “sadhEva sOmyEdhamagra AsIth EkamEva adhvathIyam” (Oh sOmadhEva! There was only one entity at the beginning and none else) and “EkO ha vai nArAyaNa AsIth na brahmA nESAna:” (only nArAyaNa was there at the beginning; not brahmA, not Siva)

gyAlaththu oru poruLai – the only entity who stood as the entire worlds – as being joined with subtle forms in the beginning (during deluge when all the entities, both sentient and insentient, were part of his form, with no form or name of their own) and being joined with gross entities later on (during creation when the sentient and insentient had forms and names of their own)

appil aru poruLai – the causative factor for the worlds, who created the element appu (water) initially, and reclined on it.

yAn aRindhavARu yAr aRivArAzhwAr asks as to who knows such emperumAn as much as he knows. Those who know his greatness do not know his simplicity and those who know his simplicity do not know his greatness. AzhwAr says that he is the only one who knows both. Those who attain him on their own do not know of his simplicity. Those who worship other deities do not know of his greatness. AzhwAr says that he alone knows both the qualities of emperumAn.

We will move on to the 4th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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