nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 5 – thoguththa varaththanAy

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Even after AzhwAr explained clearly the supremacy of emperumAn, the worldly people were muddled in their thinking. AzhwAr then tells emperumAn “Oh benefactor! It is very rare to find in this world those who are able to accept your supremacy. Thus, as I recite, you should mercifully listen”.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

thoguththa varaththanaAyth thOlAdhAn mArvam
vagirththa vaLaiyugirththOL mAlE ugaththil
oru nAnRu nIyuyarththi uLvAngi nIyE
arunAngum AnAy aRi

Word for Word Meanings

thoguththa varaththanAy – earning the boons (through penance)
thOlAdhAn – hiraNya kashyap who did not lose to anyone
mArvam – chest
vagirththa – splitting into two
vaLai ugir – curled up nails
thOL – and having shoulders
mAlE – Oh benefactor!
nI – you
ugaththil – during deluge
uL vAngi – keeping (the worlds) inside, after annihilating
oru nAnRu – during the time (of creation)
uyarththi – bringing (those worlds) outside
nIyE – you, with such qualities
aru nAngum AnAy – became the indwelling soul for the four types of entities (celestial, human, animal and botanical)
aRi – know this


varaththanAy – collecting all the boons. hiraNya kashyap collected all the boons which were available in the world. AzhwAr reminisces the many boons which hiraNya kashyap earned through which he would not be killed by those who were created by brahmA (celestial, human, animal and botanical entities), during night or day, in the sky or on the earth, inside or outside the house, through weapons, those which have life and those which do not have life etc.

thOlAdhAn – due to the strength of such boons, he was such that he could not be defeated even by those who granted him the boons.

mArvam vagirththa – splitting the chest into two

vaLaiyugirth thOL – having curved nails and shoulders. Since emperumAn punctured the chest of hiraNya in deep anger, his shoulders and nails became curved. There are people who construe the word thOL as referring to divine hands; thus the meaning would change to: having divine hands with curved nails.

mAlE – one who was very affectionate towards prahlAdha even when he was in deep anger like this! nammAzhwAr too mercifully said “sIRRaththOdu aruL peRRavan” (one who is merciful even when he is angry). When asked by a follower as to whether it is possible to have affection and anger at the same time, udayavar (SrI rAmAnujar) mercifully explained “even when the lioness is fighting with elephant, she will nurse her cubs affectionately and hence this is apt”

mAlE – we can also construe this to mean supreme entity. Through this activity, while it is very clear that you are the lord for brahmA, rudhra et al, why is it that many people are befuddled!

mAlE – Is it not correct to analyse whether those who granted the boons are supreme or one who removed their difficulties?

Next AzhwAr says that it is emperumAn who, as indwelling souls of brahmA, rudhra et al, carries out the tasks of creation and annihilation. When he was asked “but there are some who say that brahmA and rudhra carry out the tasks of creation and annihilation”…….

uL vAngi nIyE ugaththil oru nAnRu nIyuyarththi – as one who keeps all the entities inside during the time of deluge and brings them out during the time of creation. This is similar to Athapadhakam by which water which is subdued by the rays of sun comes out during rainy season. In this simile, emperumAn is like the sun, brahmA, rudhra et al are like the rays of the sun and the worlds are like water. AzhwAr says that emperumAn, utilising brahmA, rudhra et al as implements, keeps the worlds inside and lets them out, at appropriate times.

Next AzhwAr says that one can know emperumAn is carrying out the three functions of creation, protection and annihilation through his sarvAthmabhAvam (pervading all souls)…

aru nAngum AnAy – did you not become the unseen jIvan (life) for the four entities of dhEva (celestial), manushya (human), thiryak (animal) and sthAvara (botanical)! By the usage of the sound um in nAngum it is inferred that he dwells inside achith (insentient) entity too. Just as it is said “kshEthragyam chApi mAm vidhdhi” (know that I am (both body and) soul) the words can be transposed to nAngum aru AnAy meaning that emperumAn is the indwelling soul of celestial, human, animal and botanical entities. This conveys that just as he carries out creation and annihilation, he also protects by being the indwelling soul.

aru nAngum AnAy – it is apt to reminisce on the sayings of upanishaths “viSvAthmAnam parAyaNam”, “anthar bahiScha thath sarvam vyApya nArAyaNa: sthitha:” (nArAyaNa pervades both inside and outside of all) “sarvabhUthAntharAthmA nArAyaNa:

nIyE aRi – there is none in this samsAram (materialistic realm) who would understand even if these meanings are instructed. AzhwAr thus says that you [emperumAn] should know and shower your grace. One can construe these verses as either nIyE aru nAngum AnAy or nIyE aRi. appiLLai (one of the commentators for this prabandham) says “those who are unable to bear your greatness will suffer the fate of hiraNya kashyap and AzhwAr is hence bringing in the reference to hiraNya”

puththUr swAmy, who has expanded on the vyAkyAnam of both periyavAchchAn piLLai and appiLLai has given another meaning for the second part of the pAsuram. This is based on another meaning for uyarththi which means incarnation. The first paragraph below is the avathArikai for the pAsuram and the words following this paragraph, are the verses from the pAsuram with new meaning:

In the previous pAsuram, after AzhwAr has spoken of emperumAn’s supremacy, some people objected saying “How can nArAyaNa be considered as supreme since he has suffered a lot during his incarnations?”, AzhwAr responds in this pAsuram saying that the incarnations that he had taken due to his partiality towards devotees will only bring greatness to him and not lowliness.

ugaththil – in every yuga (age). Hasn’t emperumAn himself mentioned mercifully in SrI bhagavath gIthA 4.8sambhavAmi yugE yugE” (I incarnate in every age)?

oru nAnRu – on various occasions. As mentioned in SrI bhagavath gIthA 4.9yadhA yadhA hi dharmasya glAnil bhavathy bhAratha abyuththAnam adharmasya thadhAthmAnam srujAmyaham ” (whenever righteousness is threatened and evil is nurtured (I incarnate myself)), on such occasions.

nI uyarththi – you incarnate. For his nature etc, incarnation becomes a greatness. It is said “sa u SrEyAn bhavathi jAyamAna:” (he attains greatness only after being born); “pala piRappAy oLivaru muzhu nalam” (he attains completeness on being born radiantly in many births)

uyarththi arunAngum AnAy – when incarnating, you are born in all types of creations such as celestial, human, animal and botanical.

uL vAngi – once the purpose of incarnation has been achieved, he returns to his paramapadham.

nIyE aRi – as mentioned in authentic texts “nA vEdhavinmanuthE” (one who does not know vEdhas will not know the greatness of his births) “avajAnanthi mAm mUdA:” (the foolish persons denigrate emperumAn who is in human form), those who speak such lowly words do not know this meaning. Those who are said as in “thasyA dhIrA: parijAnanthi yOnim” (only the brave understand his incarnations) are indeed rare. Hence AzhwAr tells emperumAn that only he should understand the meaning of this.  The first interpretation explains his supremacy and this interpretation explains his simplicity.

We will take up the 6th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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