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By this pAsuram, AzhvAr says: He who goes to the place of His devotees, and does so without seeing whether they are qualified or not qualified, has absolutely not shown up for me – AzhvAr gets a doubt that “this could be due to my saying earlier ‘mandhiraththai mandhiraththAl maRavAdhenRum vAzhudhiyEl vAzhalAm [thirunedunthANdakam – 4]’ may have been construed by Him as a means I used (other than Him as the means), and so He must have avoided coming to me till I complete the process of such means”; AzhvAr says – in that pAsuram “I said that one could have that thirumanthram as companion, which shows us the relationship between us and emperumAn, and be enjoying that and such people would be able to enjoy so till there is AthmA (eternally), and I did not say that thirumanthram could be used as a means. Only if I think that there is something other than You as prApyam (destiny) would I think that there is something other than You as prApakam (means), isn’t it?”
Saying ‘mandhiraththAl’ – could be construed as using it as a means, and saying ‘maRavAdhu vAzhudhiyEl’ – could be construed as saying that one should perform that means without fail, and saying ‘vAzhalAm’ – could be construed as that if one performs such means then there is a benefit/end/destiny for that. This pAsuram is this AzhvAr’s ‘nORRa nonbu [thiruvAimozhi – 5.7]’. Like how that was for nammAzhvAr, where he said ‘nORRa nOnbilEn nUNNaRivilEn [thiruvAimozhi – 5.7.1]’ (I do not have karma yOgam performed to attain the result/destiny; I do not have subtle knowledge related to gyAna yOgam which is focussed on knowledge about self and god), saying about his Akinchanyam (utter destitution), and ‘Agilum unnai vittu onRRum ARRA kiRkinRilEn [thiruvAimozhi – 5.7.1]’ (Not having bhakthi yOgam which is impossible without these two, i.e. karma yOgam and gyAna yOgam, but after meditating upon your qualities, I am unable to survive even for a moment without You who are the saviour), saying there is no dearth of interest (toward Him) – this is how nammAzhvAr divined. In the same way, in the 4th pAsuram thirumangai AzhvAr sang ‘mandhiraththai mandhiraththAl’ thus divining that there is no dearth of interest (toward Him), and in this 10th pAsuram he is divining about his utter destitution.
pon AnAy pozhil Ezhum kAval pUNda
pugazh AnAy igazhvAya thoNdanEn nAn
en AnAy en AnAy ennal allAl
en aRivan EzhaiyEn – ulagam Eththum
then AnAy vada AnAy kudapAl AnAy
guNapAla madha yAnAy imaiyOrkku enRum
mun AnAy pin AnAr vaNangum sOdhi
thirumUzhik kaLaththAnAy mudhal AnAyE. 10
Word by word meaning
then AnAy – Oh One who is like an elephant that stands in the beautiful thirumAlirunchOlai mountain
ulagam Eththum – which is worthy of praise by one and all in the world!
vada AnAy – Oh One who is like an elephant that stands in the thiruvEnkatam in the north!
kuda pAl AnAy – Oh One who is like an elephant in the westerly (in sleeping pose in thiruvarangam)!
guNapAla madham yAnAy – Oh One who is like a proud elephant (in thirukkaNNapuram)!
imaiyOrkku mun AnAy – Oh One who stands in front of nithyasUris (for them to see and enjoy You)
enRum – at all times!
thirumUzhik kaLaththAnAy – Oh One living in thirumUzhikkaLam
pin AnAr vaNangum sOdhi – like a luminous entity who could be surrendered to by those living after your incarnations!
mudhal AnAy – Oh the cause of the world!
pon AnAy – Oh One who is like the gold!
pozhil Ezhum kAval pUNda – Oh One who is having the fame due to giving divine protection to all the seven worlds!
igazhvu Aya thoNdanEn EzhaiyEn nAn – I who am a devotee who is lowliness/scorn personified and who am of unsteady mind (chapalan),
en AnAy en AnAy ennal allAl – Other than saying ‘Oh my elephant! Oh my elephant!’ (calling emperumAn so),
en aRivan – what else do I know to say? (Akinchanyam).
pon AnAy – Oh emperumAn You who are my destiny! As said in ‘rukmAbham svapnadhee gamyam [manu smruthi – 12.122]’ (Should only meditate upon the supreme being who is … and like gold …), and ‘avyayO nidhi: [mahAbhAratham – sahasranAmam – 301]’ ((emperumAn) is the ever lasting (fixed) deposit of wealth), and as ‘vaippAm [thiruvAimozhi – 1.7.2]’ (emperumAn is the wealth (that is the goal)), in smruthi, ithihAsa, and purANas, by the word ‘nidhi’ it talks about destiny/end. Wealth is – one that helps during crisis, one which if known to exist would bring back the life (of its owner), and one which is enjoyable by everyone.
(Why talk about destiny/end when in the context of means?) – saying this now is to imply – only if I knew that there is some other destiny than You, would l be knowing about some means other than You.
Or this is also said to show – one would look for a means only when they need to get to the destiny, isn’t it? (since I have already got You I would not be looking for some means). nammAzhvAr too said ‘vaippAm marundhAm [thiruvAimozhi – 1.7.2]’ (emperumAn is the wealth (that is the goal) and the medicine (that removes the obstacles in attaining the goal) ) (showing that emperumAn Himself is the means as well as the destiny);
Or, since AzhvAr is saying ‘pozhil Ezhum kAval pUNda’, thus saying that emperumAn Himself is the means, and since in ‘ananyasAdhyE [bharatha muni: – vishvaksEna samhithai]’ (When someone else cannot get you what you need, then with full faith praying to the One who is fully qualified (for getting you that), saying ‘Only You shall be the means please’ is saraNAgathi), and so since He is the suitable means for getting the destiny, AzhvAr is first saying ‘pon AnAy’, thus saying that He is the destiny.
AnAy – While I am loitering being interested in worldly matters, based on Your grandeur You Yourself took me up, creating interest in me toward You, and became my destiny. This is all You, isn’t it? (So is there anyway I would look for some other means?)
pozhil Ezhum kAval pUNda pugazh AnAy – by this, AzhvAr says ‘You are also the means’. Oh the protector of leelA vibhUthi!
pozhil Ezhum – talking about all the seven worlds. By this – it implies the worlds below as well. It implies all the oval shaped worlds, that is said in ‘eedhRuSAnAm [SrI vishNu purANam – 2.7.27]’ (There are thousands, ten thousands, crore of crores of oval shaped worlds (in this environment of prakruthi)). pozhil – world.
kAval pUNda – You are unlike the kings of the world who while having taken the crown would use others to protect his people, but is like one who with a weapon in his hand looks out for the safety of his town, You are protecting all the worlds with great attention.
pUNda – You have taken this protection as a penance; You protect by all means even in the presence of any hindrance/danger in protecting. That is, even if one of very close relationship like mahArAjar (sugreevan) say ‘vadhyathAm [SrI rAmAyaNam – yudhdha kANdam – 17.29]’ (this vibheeshaNan shall be killed along with his ministers in most harsh way), Your staunchness of protecting is like your reply ‘na thyajEyam [SrI rAmAyaNam – yudhdha kANdam – 18.3]’ (There is no way I would reject him (vibheeshaNan) who has come in the form of a friend). As saying in ‘abhayam sarva bhUthEbhya: [SrI rAmAyaNam – yudhdha kANdam – 18.33]’ (I give protection from all things (to those who surrendered to me), (this is my vow)), You would protect me without even leaving that responsibility to me.
By this – You are the one who protected me, removing my ignorance, scent of prior actions, and their taste.
Or, pUNda – He is in the form of sweetness itself that is the destiny; without any other option He is being the means also which He takes it upon Himself; even though milk may be the medicine to remove the bile (piththa), one would not consider it as a decoction (kashAyam), but only as a medicine; so – You Yourself are anxious to be the means, says AzhvAr.
pugazh AnAy – Oh You having the splendour due to protecting so! It is said too as ‘yaSasaScha Eka bhAjanam [SrI rAmAyaNam – kishkindhA kANdam – 15.19,20]’ (He is being the holder of fame (due to protecting everyone)), and as ‘ulappil keerththi ammAnE [thiruvAimozhi – 6.10.1]’ (lord with endless glories). As said in ‘yAni nAmAni gauNAni [mahA bhAratham – anusA – 153.13]’ (I shall tell you the divine names of vishNu, which are based on His qualities. These were divined by noble ones. I shall say these for the goodness of the world (stating so, bheeshmar says to yudhishtra the thousand divine names of emperumAn)), your divine names are to express the qualities and acts of Yours that are due to Your vow of protecting.
igazhvAya thoNdanEn nAn – By this it talks about the true nature of ones (adhikAri svarUpam) who attain the means (prApakam) and destiny (prApyam). Like how for You the whole form is greatness, for me the whole form is my lowliness. For us the qualification is not having any quality etc that qualify us. Does it mean one should keep doing mistakes? No, one does not have to do any bad deeds; it is already there aplenty in us. All one has to do is humbly convey that to emperumAn.
In ‘aham asmyaparAdhAnAmAlaya: [ahirbudhnya samhithA 87.30 and 87.31]’ (I am the abode of all faults..), and ‘rAvANO nAma dhurvruththa: [Sri rAmAyaNam – yudhdha kANdam – 17.12]’ ((I am the brother of) the one who is full of evil qualities named rAvaNan), and ‘amaryAdha: kshudhra: [sthOthra rathnam 62]’ ((I am) one who crossed the limits of vEdhas, having great interest in lowly matters…), it is humbly conveying to Him of one’s own faults only. So what we have to do is convey to Him about our faults, and about not having any qualifications.
thoNdanEn nAn – I who am deeply interested toward You. By this, it talks about interest in what is going to be attained (prApya ruchi). Like how for praying Him to be the means, one has to convey to Him that we do not have any qualifications and convey our own faults, to pray that He is the one to be attained, one has to have interest toward Him, isn’t it? It is about not having any qualifications and not tolerating separation from Him that convey our qualification for involving in dhvaya manthram.
igazhvAya thoNdanEn nAn – Like how people would scorn a servant who carries water pot if she wishes to marry the emperor, and like how everyone would scorn a beggar who begs for a handful of food if he wishes to be crowned, it is same as me who am a nithya samsAri (forever involved in worldly affairs), wishing to attain You.
en AnAy en AnAy ennal allAl – (Anai – elephant) – By this – it talks about how the time is spent by him, he who considers emperumAn only as the means and destiny. I reminisced your qualities (like in ‘manthiraththai) for spending the time only, and not by considering such interest of me as a means (to attain You). He is saying ‘en AnAy’ (~You are like an elephant for me), based on the qualities of elephants.
Elephant is such that (1) one is not satisfied by seeing it just one day – it is such that one would wish to see it always; (2) having huge pride; (3) is such that it could lift someone nearby and place on its neck; (4) it would stoop down if one wishes to climb on it by himself; (5) if it pushes down some unwanted one from its back it is not possible to find its reason; (6) would itself give the rope for tying it down;
emperumAn also carries these qualities; (1) He having the beautiful form that is wished to be seen always; (2) He having great pride as there is no one equal to or above Him; (3) like how if a king wishes to make a female servant as his main queen then there would not be anyone to stop it, if emperumAn wishes to grant Himself to a nithya samsAri (one who is forever involved in worldly affairs) based only on his surrendering to Him, then there is no one to stop Him – He is having such independence; (4) like how the elephant would stoop down if someone wishes to climb on it on his own, emperumAn having the character of simplicity of giving Him even to those who wish to attain Him by using some other means; (5) having the character of not having anyone who could stop Him from finishing off the enemies of His devotees even if they are related to Him; (6) creates interest towards Him by He Himself giving the bhakthi (devotion) that could be used for enjoying Him – these are the characteristics that are matters for AzhvAr‘s time pass. (How is rope related to bhakthi?) – In ‘ettinOdu iraNdenum kayiRu [thiruchchandha viruththam – 83]’, bhakthi is referred as a rope. It is about tying emperumAn in the pillar/post that is mind, using bhakthi that is rope, so that He would not be able to go away.
By repeating ‘en AnAy’ (and by comparing the aforementioned respective qualities), AzhvAr implies that these qualities are always in his mind, and are the matter for his time pass. It is not possible to remove this from his mind. AzhvAr cannot indulge in material pleasures – since he became afraid of those and so joined emperumAn. AzhvAr cannot indulge in other means – since he has surrendered to the means that is emperumAn who does not tolerate other means. So AzhvAr can only be involved in the matters of emperumAn by talking about his many qualities.
ennal allAl – In this way I keep spending my time thinking about Your nature; other than that,
en aRivan – would I know any other means mentioned by the SAsthram? Would I know the qualities like ‘do not disrespect the noble people’ etc. (qualities such as ones listed in SrI bhagavath gIthA chapters 7 through 11)? Would I know karma yOgam? Would I know gyAna yOgam? Would I know bhakthi yOgam that can be attained through these two yOgams? What do I know? Like the dawn that came upon someone sleeping, when I was roaming as one interested in worldly pleasures, I saw, as you showed, the greatness of You. This is all I have got – where did I see other means – is what he is saying.
emperumAn asks “If you are staying put thinking that I am your means and destiny, and if you are in the state that you do not have anything good as a qualification, then do you not have to just be as I see fit? Is it right of you to call saying ‘Oh You are not showing your face to me!’ “
ezhaiyEn – What can I do if my love for seeing You is unbounded? During those times when I was interested in worldly affairs only, I did not have any control or limits; then how would I be able to control or limit in the case of wishing to enjoy You? Without having ability to think that this is good and that is not good because of my my excessive interest, I had immersed in worldly matters; this is all I had done isn’t it? (now also I am showing interest towards You without any control or limit). If you are going to consider this my love for You as my using it as a means and You try to reject me, then you would have to reject the nithyasUris first before rejecting me.
As emperumAn asks, ‘Did you learn through SAshtrams or through an AchAryan that I have got qualities similar to that of elephant?, AzhvAr replies, ‘I found and learned from the divine abodes where You are happily present (ugandhu aruLina nilangaL)…
Continued in part 2
Translation by raghuram SrInivAsa dAsan
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