nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 16 – nilai mannum

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In the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr spoke about those, who, when someone attains them, instead of protecting them, point them out to another entity (emperumAn) who will protect them [the incidence of mArkaNdEya with rudhra]. In this pAsuram, AzhwAr speaks about the one who would protect his followers, even if he has to change his basic nature.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

nilai mannum en nenjam annAnRu dhEvar
thalai mannar thAmE mARRAga pala mannar
pOrmALa vengadhirOn mAyappozhil maRaiya
thErAzhiyAl maRaiththArAl

Word for Word Meanings

annAnRu – during the period when the mahAbhAratha war was being fought
dhEvar thalaimannar thAmE – (emperumAn) himself, who is the head of all celestial entities
mARRu Aga – positioning as an enemy
pala mannar – many kings
pOr – in the battlefield
mALa – to be killed
vem kadhirOn – sUriya (sun)
mAya – to get set (at an unnatural time)
pozhil maRaiya – the entire earth to be engulfed in darkness
thEr AzhiyAl – with the divine disc
maRaiththArAl – by emperumAn who hid (sUrya)
en nenjam – my mind (which is fickle)
nilai mannum – will hold on in a steadfast manner


nilai mannum en nenjam – just as arjuna told krishNa in SrI bhagavath gIthA 6-34chanchalam hi mana: krishNa pramAdhi bhavath dhrudam I thasyAham nigraham manyE vAyOriva sudhushkaram II ” (Oh krishNa! The  mind (in good matters) is unstable, makes me to grieve, and is very strong; it is (in lowly matters) very stable. I feel that it is very difficult to control it, similar to controlling wind) and as mentioned by thirumangai AzhwAr in periya thirumozhi 1.1.4 “ninRavA nillA nenjam” (the mind keeps shifting), my mind, which is very unstable, became stable, says the AzhwAr.

thErAzhiyAl maRaiththArAl … nilai mannum en nenjam – just as jithanthE SlOkam 5 says “na thE rUpam na chAkArO nAyuthAni na chAspatham I thathApi purushAkArO bhakthAnAm thvam prakASasE II ” (your divine basic nature, divine form, divine weapons and divine place (SrIvaikuNtam) are not meant for you; they are meant for your devotees. Thus, even though you are completely under the control of your followers, you shine radiantly as the supreme being) and as mentioned by kUraththAzhwAn in varadharAja sthavam “parijana paribarhA bhUshaNAnyAyudhAni pravara guNagaNAScha gyAnaSakthyA dhayasthE I paramapadhamadhANdAnyAthmadhEhas thadhathmA varadha! sakalamEthath samSrithArtham chakartha: II” (Oh varadha! You created your servitors (such as vishvaksEnar, AdhiSEshan et al), your attendants (such as the divine umbrella etc), ornaments, weapons, auspicious qualities such as knowledge, power etc, SrIvaikuNtam, the egg-shaped universe, your divine form and your divine nature etc only for your followers), once my heart knew that emperumAn has created his divine nature, divine form, auspicious qualities and wealth for the sake of his followers, it became very steady, just like a floating cotton flower gets stabilised once a weight is kept over it.

nilai mannum en nenjam – the status which comes on reaching paramapadham (SrIvaikuNtam) was acquired while being in this world itself, says AzhwAr.

AzhwAr explains the reason for this, in the lines to follow.

annAnRu – during the time of mahAbhAratha war. AzhwAr celebrates that period saying that emperumAn came as a sulabhan (an easy-to-approach person) who could be seen by even simple-minded women and ignorant people.

dhEvar thalai mannar thAmE – wasn’t it the Lord of nithyasUris who did this! AzhwAr melts down thinking of the supreme being , who is praised by vEdhas and mahAbhAratham and who came down as a very simple person, and wonders at this simplicity.

thAmE mARRAgaemperumAn did not consider dhuryOdhana et al as the enemies of pANdavas. He considered them as his enemies. In mahAbhAratham uththara parvam 24-27, krishNa tells dhuryOdhana “dhvishadhannam na bhOkthavyam dhvishantham naiva bhOjayEth I pANdavAn dhvishasE rAjan mama prANA hi pANdavA: II” (it is not apt to consume the food offered by one who hates; it is not correct to offer food to one who hates. Oh King! You hate the pANdavas. Aren’t pANdavas my life-line!)

thAmE mARRAga – isn’t the one who hates the body, an enemy to the one who occupies (pervades) that body too? [here the reference is to pANdavas and to krishNa who has pervaded their bodies and soul]. Hasn’t emperumAn mentioned mercifully in SrI bhagavath gIthA 7.18gyAni thvAthmaiva mEmatham ” (gyAni (knowledgeable person) is my sustenance; this is my opinion) implying that they are his followers.

pala mannar pOr mALa – ensuring that the egoistical kings died in the war.

vengadhirOn mAya – even sUrya, who cannot be hidden by any object due to his powerful rays, was hidden.

venga dhirOn mAya – sUrya, who carries out the task of rising and setting as per emperumAn’s orders, as mentioned by thaiththirIya upanishath Anandhavalli 7 “bhIshOdhEthi sUrya:” (sUrya rises out of fear of emperumAn), disappeared at an unnatural time.

pozhil maRaiya – ensuring that the entire earth was in darkness. In normal times, when sun sets in one place, he may be still shining in some other place on earth. In order to prevent jayadhradha’s (a King and staunch supporter of dhuryOdhana) friends from claiming that sun had not set in the place where they were hiding, emperumAn made the entire earth dark by making the sun set.

thErAzhiyAl maRaiththArAlAzhwAr says that his heart will get stabilised by the one who hid sUrya with his divine disc which has thousand times the resplendence of sUrya. thErAzhi – a part of chariot; here it refers to the wheel [and thus to emperumAn’s divine disc]. pUrvAchAryars (preceptors in our philosophy) will aver that the divine disc, being thousand times brighter than sUrya, blunted the eyes and hid sUrya.

The narrative here is that arjuna had avowed that he would kill jayadhratha, who had killed arjuna’s son abhimanyu, before the sun set that day and if he did not carry out his vow, he would kill himself by entering a pyre. dhuryOdhana et al hid jayadhratha so that arjuna would not be able to kill him and thus face death himself, as he had avowed. It is very famously mentioned in mahAbhAratham that krishNa, who had given his word that he will not take to arms (take part in the war with his weapons) had taken out his divine disc, thus falsifying his word, and hidden sUrya to enable arjuna to kill jayadhratha.

dhEvar thalai mannar thAmE thErAzhiyAl maRaiththArAl – nilai mannum en nenjamAzhwAr says that his mind calmed down after knowing that emperumAn, who is described by vEdhas (sacred texts) as sathyakAma (one who has truthful qualities) and sathyasankalpa (one whose vows are always fulfilled), broke his world in order to fulfil the words of his follower [arjuna]. After knowing that emperumAn, who speaks only truth, broke his word in order to protect his follower, AzhwAr’s mind which was lamenting that it did not have means such as truthfulness, penance, control of self (both internal and external), ability to donate, follow dharma (righteous path) diligently etc which are mentioned in the vEdhas as apt for reaching paramapadham, calmed down and became stable.

We will go on to the 17th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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