thiruviruththam – 28 – thaNNandhuzhAy

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

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avathArikai (Introduction)

Due to the greatness of the entity which is lying at thiruvehkA (sarvESvaran) and due to knowing about that entity in the mind, the desire for that entity grew a lot. As a result of that desire, there was a need to unite with that entity. Since that union did not fructify, that led to separation from the entity. All those which were helping the nAyaki (leading lady) so far turned into her foes and started distressing her. When the King gets angry with a person, wouldn’t the other citizens too show their anger on that person? Northerly wind, which was cool until it carried the fragrance of thuLasi, now started blowing fire on her. Just as food which had been cooked could not be eaten due to a lack of opportunity, despite getting thuLasi etc from thiruvehkA, the nAyaki could not get the opportunity to embrace sarvESvaran who is lying inside thiruvehkA, and that led to separation.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

thaNNandhuzhAy vaLai koLvadhu yAm izhappOm naduvE
vaNNandhuzhAvi Or vAdai ulAvum valvAy alagAl
puNNandhuzhAmE porunIrth thiruvarangA aruLAy
eNNandhuzhAvum idaththu uLavO paNdum innannavE

Word-by-Word Meanings

thaN – being cool
am – being beautiful
thuzhAy – the divine thuLasi
vaLai – bangles
koLvadhu – stealing (is apt)
yAm – we
izhappOm – losing is also apt
naduvE – in between
Or – unique
vAdai – northerly wind
vaNNam – the body
thuzhAvi – stealing it
ulAvum – will wander
puL – bird
val – curved
vAy alagAl – with its beak
nandhu – conch [here, this term refers to snail which carries the protective shell, conch, on its back]
uzhAmE – without troubling
poru – fighting
nIr – having water
thiruvarangA – oh one who is the lord of SrIrangam!
aruLAy – you should show mercy
eNNam – mind
thuzhAvumidaththu – during the time of being troubled
innanna – the nature of not showing mercy
paNdum – earlier too
uLavO – was it there?

Simple Translation

With the help of their bent beaks, birds are trying to peck and take away the snails which are inside the river kAviri. However, kAviri is pushing away the birds with its waves and protecting the snails. Oh thiruvarangA who is reclining on that kAviri river! The thuLasi garland which is donning your broad shoulders is making my bangles to slip out [since I am thinning]. This is apt only, since we are willing to lose them for your sake. However, a northerly wind, with which we have no connection, is coming in between and making my complexion become pale, due to which my mind is saddened. You are not coming to my rescue in these circumstances. Please tell me whether in the past too, there have been instances like this when you had not shown your mercy


thaNNandhuzhAy . . . . – there is no embargo on thuLasi. thuLasi can cause me pain any number of times. There is nothing wrong in it. The nAyaki says these since there is a connection of ‘harming’ and ‘being harmed’ between them (thuLasi is harming her and she is being harmed). thuLasi is a very distinguished and superior entity for sarvESvaran. She [nAyaki] has a connection with his divine feet always. Thus, even if thuLasi were to harm her indirectly, considering the circumstances, she is willing to accept it since this is the reason for her having a connection with thuLasi. If the King becomes angry with someone, the King’s army too will become angry with that person and look at him as an enemy. Hence, since sarvESvaran is causing her distress, thuLasi, which is his great entity, is also causing her distress.

naduvE – It is alright if thuLasi, which is connected to her, causes her harm. Why does the northerly wind, which has no connection with her, cause her harm? We can say that it is harming her because it is in this world. But we [nAyaki and her friends/clan] are not any ordinary citizens. Aren’t we in his andhappuram (private quarters)? Reference to wind is equivalent to referring to the other four elements too.

vaNNam thuzhAvi – on its way [the wind is] troubling everyone like this and destroying their complexion.

Or vAdai – there in no second entity to destroy like this. It is like a unique soldier.

ulAvum – the wind is like an elephant which has pushed aside its controller and which roams around since there is none to control it. It [wind] desires to snatch the body too, not only the complexion and splendour. Looking at the pitiable condition of her daughter, the mother lays her at the divine feet of periya perumAL (the presiding deity at SrIrangam) and asks him whether there is any connection between his taking residence in SrIrangam and her distressed condition.

vaLvAy . . . .  – Two instances are narrated in the commentary: (1) once a few persons brought a lady to parASara bhattar (son of kUraththAzhwAn) and told him “She has committed a crime; you should mete out punishment to her” He mercifully responded saying “She has given up everything related to worldly matters and taken refuge in SrIrangam. How do we punish her?” (2) There was some misunderstanding between embAr (rAmAnujar’s cousin) and one vIrasundharan. A person who was vIrasundharan’s enemy and living in his village, took refuge under embAr out of fear for vIrasundharan. embAr’s disciples told embAr “There is already a misunderstanding with vIrasundharan; at this juncture, is it apt to accept this person?” embAr mercifully told them “If we accept a person who takes refuge under us saying ‘I am surrendering to you’ the SaraNAgathi dharmam (the principles of surrendering) would protect everyone”. kAviri is protecting the snails which are lying in her water so that they are not troubled by birds which have curved beaks. Oh thiruvarangA (Lord of SrIrangam) who is reclining on that kAviri which is protecting the snails by fighting with the birds through its waves which are like its hands!

porunIr – bird with curved beak is waiting expectantly for snatching its prey from kAviri. Snail, unaware of the presence of the bird, is not asking kAviri to protect it from the bird. Yet, since the snail has taken residence inside it, kAviri is engaging in warfare with the bird through its waves and at the same time it is pushing the snail deep inside it so that it will not be snatched by the bird. If an insentient entity such as river could help those who are with it, oh thiruvarangA, what should you not do to protect her? Are you not reclining here in order to protect the Sudhdhasathva (purely good) entity of AthmA so that it is not harmed by the insentient samsAram (materialistic realm)?

thiruvarangA aruLAy – since she is requesting him to shower his mercy, it is evident that he is not showering it until that moment. Why is he not showering his mercy? emperumAn says “I have given you physical form, all the senses to know about me, the path of devotion to attain me and SAsthras which tell you that these are the means for attaining me” AzhwAr says “You are the omniscient and omnipotent entity who has created all these. But how will I, with ignorance and with no strength, attain you? You have not created svarUpagyAnam (true knowledge about self) in me” Why is AzhwAr, who is immersed in bhagavath vishayam (matters relating to emperumAn) afraid like this? Since he has attained knowledge with emperumAn’s mercy, he has given up all which needed to be given up and the knowledge has shown him the goal too. He has developed the required desire too, to attain sarvESvaran. Yet he has not attained him. The reason for this is the inimical samsAram and he is afraid of that only. One should be fearful of samsAram and that fear should disappear on seeing sarvESvaran. If one has not lost fear of samsAram even after seeing emperumAn, it reflects that one has not understood the greatness of emperumAn. If one is not afraid of samsAram (to start with) it means that one has not understood the nature of samsAram. Only those who preach lowly narratives such as “samsAram is an illusion; jIvan will attain liberation on realising this” will not be afraid of samsAram. sarvESvaran can tell a jIvAthmA as in bhagavath gIthA 18-6 “mA Sucha:” (do not grieve) only if the jIvAthmA knows the greatness of sarvESvaran and is afraid of samsAram. Only then could the jIvAthmA say as in bhagavath gIthA 18-73 “sthithOsmi” (I will stand firmly).

thiruvarangA – what for are you reclining here? Is it to experience the result of your karma (deeds from past)? Is it in search of an enjoyable abode? Is it because there is none with any shortcomings? Is it because there is none with taste in liberation? Why are you not showering your mercy?

aruLAy – if emperumAn has mercifully granted “mayarvaRa madhinalam” as in thiruvAimozhi 1-1-1 (knowledge and devotion without any shortcoming), should not the result be “sudaradi thozhudhezhu” (worship his splendorous divine feet and rise)? Has it been your practice not to shower grace on those who are in turmoil and bewilderment? Or is it being done only now?

uLavO paNdum innannavE – is it not famously known that “emperumAn has showered his mercy on those who had cried to him in distress”? Has this not been seen in the cases of dhraupadhi, SrI gajEndhrAzhwAn, SrI prahlAdhan, SrI vibhIshaNan, kAkAsuran et al?

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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