nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 22 – azhagiyAn thAnE

SrI:  SrImathE SatakOpAya nama:  SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama:  SrImath varavaramunayE nama:

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With the joy of experiencing the beauty of narasimha, AzhwAr thinks that some people are missing out on this great experience and instructs them “uplift yourselves by worshipping this beautiful form of emperumAn”.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

azhagiyAn thAnE ari uruvan thAnE
pazhagiyAn thALE  paNimin kuzhaviyAyth
thAnEzh ulagukkum thanmaikkum thanmaiyanE
mInAy uyiraLikkum viththu

Word for Word Meanings

viththu thAn – he is the cause for the entire universe
Ezh ulagukkum – for the seven worlds
thanmaikkum – qualities (such as rUpa, rasa, gandha etc (form, taste, smell etc) of the five senses)
thanmaiyan – being the repository
kuzhavi Ay – being in the form of an infant (during praLaya, deluge)
mIn Ay – being in the form of fish (at some point of time)
uyir aLikkum – one who protects the souls
thAnE – emperumAn himself
ari uruvan – has the form of narasimha (lion face and human body)
thAnE azhagiyAn – he himself is the boundary for beauty
pazhagiyAn – that emperumAn, who is there from time immemorial, his
thALE – divine feet
paNimin – attain


azhagiyAn thAnE . . . . – the narrative on narasimha avathAram (incarnation as Lord narasimha) which AzhwAr enjoyed in the previous pAsuram, continues in this pAsuram.

azhagiyAn thAnE – he (emperumAn) is the only one with beauty in him. When asked whether it is paramapadhanAthan (the Lord of SrIvaikuNtam) who is beautiful, AzhwAr responds …

ariyuruvan thAnE – it is only he who took incarnation as narasimha mUrthi (in the form of lion head and human body) who is beautiful. If emperumAn’s beauty in paramapadham is similar to lighting a lamp in daylight , his beauty in the form of narasimha is like lighting a lamp in darkness. There (in parapadham) one can only see his mercy. Here (on earth) once can see his mercy along with his fury. There he shows his beauty to those who are as knowledgeable as he is while here he shows his beauty to the ignorant. That beauty is something that we only hear while this beauty is something which as periyAzhwAr has mercifully said in his periyAzhwAr thirumozhi 4.1.1 “iraNiyanadhAgam piLandhariyAy udhiram aLaindha kaiyOdirundhAnai uLLavA kaNdAr uLar” (there are people who have seen emperumAn truly, splitting the chest of the demon iraNiya and with blood stained hands, rubbing his hands on iraNiyan’s chest).

azhagiyAn thAnE ariyuruvan thAnE – isn’t he the one who has been praised the world over as azhagiya singar (the beautiful lion)!

azhagiyAn thAnE ariyuruvan thAnE – these words appear to be the translation for the verse in SrI vishNu sahasranAman “nArasimhavapu: SrImAn” .

azhagiyAn thAnE …..paNimin – once a person looks at this beauty of emperumAn, shouldn’t he bow down to his divine feet?

Is it only beauty? Is there no valour?

ariyuruvan thAnE …. paNimin – shouldn’t one worship him who is the boundary for valour? When one, who is the refuge in times of danger, is himself beautiful, could one let go of him?

Even though he may be the refuge during times of danger and may be beautiful,  shouldn’t he also have known our disease and our desire?

pazhagiyAnthALE paNimin – he is the purANa purusha (an entity who could be termed as ancient) who knows that the disease for you people is this body (physical form) which should be got rid of and that the desire is getting an aprAkrutha SarIra (a body which is not made of the primordial matter), which you may be not be aware of, yourselves. Attain such an entity.

pazhagiyAnthALE paNimin – if you bow down to his divine feet, holding them as your means as well as object of attainment, then he, who knows that it is your past deeds which make you keep getting this physical form for a long time and that the antidote for it is only his mercy, will protect you.

pazhagiyAnthALE paNimin – just as people would hold on to a physician who is renowned for a long time and who knows the nature of the body as well as of the medicines, attain emperumAn who is variously said as in periyAzhwAr thirumozhi 5-3-6 “maruththuvanAy ninRa mAmaNivaNNA ” (Oh one with the glitter of gemstones and who is like a physician!), as in vEdham “vaidhyO nArAyaNO hari:” (SrIman nArAyaNa, who is the physician), as in SrI vishNu sahasranAmam “bhEshajam bhishak” (he is both the medicine and the physician) instead of attaining other deities.

How can it be said that he knows this body which is apt to be given up and the body which is apt to be taken up [to attain SrIvaikuNtam]?

thAnEzhulagukkum thanmaikkum thanmaiyanE – he is the indwelling soul for all the worlds. Who else, apart from him, would know the disease, the patient and the medicine?

thAnEzhulagukkum thanmaikkum thanmaiyanEemperumAn who is prakruthi SarIra viSishtabhUthan (one who is conjoined with primordial matter, he being its indwelling soul and the primordial matter forming a part of his body), is the repository for mahAn (great matter), ahankAram (ego matter) and panchabhUtham (five elements of ether, wind, fire, water and earth); thus he is the causative entity for the seven resultant factors. He is also the repository for the five causative factors for these five elements, namely Sabdha, sparSa, rUpa, rasa and gandha (sound, feel, form, taste and smell respectively). thanmai is ‘thanmAthrai’ viz. subtle element. In other words, the previous state for each of the five elements, which is the respective subtle or rudimentary element. Thus, for example, for sky, the subtle element is sound and the quality of sky will be implicitly held in sound; the same is true for the other four elements too. There are huge differences between the quality and subtle element. The subtle elements will be matter and be the causative factors for each of the five elements. Quality is not like this. The meaning for thAnEzhulagukkum ….. thanmaiyanE is that he is the causative entity for all the mutually causative and effective (resultant) entities. The word Ezhulagu refers to the resultant factors of five elements, mahAn and ahankAram.

Alternatively, thAnEzhulugakkum thanmaikkum thanmaiyanEEzhulagu would mean the seven upper worlds of bhU:, bhuva:, suva: etc up to sathya lOkam and the seven lower worlds of athala, vithala, suthala etc down to pAthAla lOkam with all the sentient and insentient entities living in these worlds. The word thanmaikkum would refer to the qualities of the insentient entities such as Sabdha, sparSa etc [seen previously] and the qualities of sentient entities. Thus, emperumAn is the substrate for all the sentient and insentient entities and their qualities. When they (the worlds and the entities living in them) are his attributes, there is no difference between the guNa (qualities) and the guNi (one who or which has the qualities). If the text is than vaikkum thanmaiyanE it would mean that he has the seven worlds within himself as a natural phenomenon.

If asked whether emperumAn protects us ……

kuzhaviyAy mInAy uyiraLikkum viththu – is there any protection that he has not given us? During deluge, he kept us in his stomach and protected us. As mercifully mentioned by parASara bhattar (son of kUraththAzhwAn and disciple of embAr) in SrI rangarAja sthavam 2-60 “mInathanus thvam nAvi nidhAya sthiracharaparikaramanu manubhagavAn I vEdhasanAbi svOkthi vinOdhai ragalithalaya bhayalavamamumavaha: II” (Oh emperumAn! Taking the form of a fish, you kept representatives of animal and plant species in a boat, near manu (a King) and with the strange words of vEdhas you protected them without any danger from deluge), during deluge, emperumAn took representatives of animal and plant species along with their leader manu on a boat with his will and, taking the form of a fish, navigated the boat to safety from deluge and protected them. In the same way, he returned the vEdhas which are like eyes for brahmA, to brahmA and aided him in the act of creation. In this manner, he acted like a fish and gave life to species.

viththu – apart from these, as mentioned by chAndhOgya upanishath 6-2-1 “sadhEva sOmya” he remained as the causative, materialistic and accessorial reason for all of us.

We will take up the 23rd pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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