nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 21 – ivaiyA pilavAy

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After hearing the sweetened words of AzhwAr, emperumAn became very happy. His divine mouth, divine eyes and divine form blossomed and became radiant. AzhwAr became wondrous at the change in the form of emperumAn, a change that emperumAn brought on himself for the sake of his follower (AzhwAr) even though vEdhas (sacred texts) refer to him as one who is unchanged in his form (avikArAya). Immediately emperumAn’s form as narasimha, a combination of human head with lion’s body, which he took when his devotee prahlAdha was tortured, came to his mind. AzhwAr engages with this form of narasimha, wondering as to how emperumAn transformed himself for the sake of a follower.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

ivaiyA pilavAy thiRandherikANRa
ivaiyA eri vattak kaNgaL ivaiyA
eri pongik kAttum imaiyOr perumAn
ari pongik kAttum azhagu

Word for Word Meanings

thiRandhu – spread out
eri kANRa – spitting fire
pilavAy – mouth as huge as a cave
ivaiyA – is it this?
erivatta – like a huge ball of fire, being round and glowing
kaNgaL – divine eyes
ivaiyA – are these?
eri – like fire
pongi – tumultuous
kAttum – having a divine form
imaiyOr perumAn – lord of nithyasUris, who controls them
ari – as lion faced
pongi – tumultuous
kAttum – shown
azhagu – beauty
iviayA – is it this?


ivaiyA pilavAy – Could one sing in a pAsuram how an entity, who is spoken of as in chAndhOgya upanishath 3-6 “avAkyanAthara:” (he will not engage in conversation with anyone and he does not have any likes or dislikes) and as in muNdanIka upanishaths 1-1-7  “vruksha iva sthabdhO dhivi thishtathi” (he stands like an unbending tree in paramapadha), suffers for the sake of his followers?

ivaiyA pilavAy thiRandheri kAnRaemperumAn’s divine mouth is described by thiruppANAzhwAr in his amalanAdhipirAn 7 as “mAyanAr seyya vAy aiyO ennaich chindhai kavarndhadhuvE”  (the divine, reddish mouth of the amazing entity engaged my mind. How is this?) and by nammAzhwAr in his thiruvAimozhi 7-7-3 “vAliyadhOr kanikol vinaiyAttiyEn valvinaikol kOlaththiraL pavaLath thuNdangolO aRiyEn neelanedumugil pOl thirumEniyammAn thoNdai vAy” (emperumAn’s divine mouth appears like a ripened fruit fit to be enjoyed, but AzhwAr, in the guise of parAngusa nAyaki, is sorrowful that her cruel sins have taken a form to prevent her from enjoying that). How amazing that such a divine, beautiful mouth could spit fire after opening out like a cave!

ivaiyA – this could be construed as ivai Ah – here,  Ah would mean that this is very wondrous. Alternatively, this could be taken as one word ivaiyA which would mean is this (same as the other one)? [in other words, such a divine, fruit like mouth of emperumAn is spitting fire after opening out like a cave; are the two, the same or are they different?] AzhwAr is wondering whether the mouth that he is seeing, looked different during emperumAn’s incarnation as narasimha by opening out like the mouth of a cave and spitting fire from it.

ivaiyA erivattak kaNgaL – would the divine eyes, which were sung about by AzhwArs (1) as in periya thirumozhi 7-1-9 “sudar mAmadhi pOl uyirkkellAm thAyAyaLikkinRa thaNdAmaraikkaNNA” (Oh one with cool, comforting lotus eyes! Your eyes are like the bright, huge moon looking at the people of this world like a mother), (2) as in thiruvAimozhi 7-7-1 “sUzhavum thAmarai nANmalar poL vandhu thOnRum kaNdIr” (emperumAn’s eyes will appear from all four sides like lotus which has just then blossomed) and (3) as in amalanAdhippirAn 8 “kariyavAgip pudai parandhu miLirndhu sevvariyOdi nINda apperiyavAya kaNgaL ennaip pEdhamai seydhanavE” (those black, expansive, bright, with reddish lines, long eyes made me lose my control), which attract his followers and engage with them, become inimical in the case of the enemies of followers and spit fire? How amazing that these eyes have become balls of fire and are spitting fire?

ivaiyA eripongik kAttum imaiyOr perumAn ari pongik kAttum azhagu – emperumAn, whose divine form is radiant and who is the lord of nithyasUris, transformed himself, for the sake of his follower, into a lion and how beautiful is this!

eri pongik kAttumemperumAn’s divine form will outwit all the radiant, glowing objects. His divine form is described in muNdakOpanishath 2-2-11 as “na thathra sUryO bhAthi na chandhrathArakam nEmA vidhyuthO bhAthi kuthO’yamagni” (in the presence of that paramAthmA (supreme being) sun and moon will not shine; lightning too will not look bright; is there a need to talk about agni (fire)?)

imaiyOr perumAn – It is implied that since he is the lord of celestial entities, he carried out this task (of transforming himself into a lion, spitting fire) for  their sake.  It also implies that they wilfully became his servitors after seeing this beauty and losing out to it.

ari pongik kAttum azhagu – even though he is the supreme being, his beauty in the form of a furious narasimha was superior to that of his original form (as emperumAn). Wasn’t it to experience and enjoy this beauty of narasimha, which was like sugar mixed well with milk, that thirumangai AzhwAr mercifully composed a whole decad in periya thirumozhi 1.7 “angaN gyAlam”!

AzhwAr thus mercifully mentioned as to how an entity [emperumAn], who does not change at all, transforms himself for the same of its followers.

We will take up the 22nd pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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