thiruviruththam – 36 – thuzhA nedum

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avathArikai (Introduction)

It is the basic nature of both the daughter of King janaka (sIthAppirAtti) and nammAzhwAr to consider that all the benefits which they get are due to emperumAn’s mercy and all the sorrows which they experience are due to their misfortune. When his existence cannot take place without emperumAn’s presence, AzhwAr doubts emperumAn’s ability to protect him, considering his lowly situation. Just as it is said in SrI rAmAyaqNam yudhdha kANdam 26-24 “EshaivASam sathE lankAm svEnAnIkEna mardhithum” (the army which went under the leadership of naLa hastened (to destroy lankA) in which each monkey cried out “Only I will destroy” and went further) wind and night time competed with each other to destroy her (nAyaki, AzhwAr in feminine mood).

Let us go throu0gh the pAsuram and its meanings:

thuzhA nedum sUzh iruL enRu than thaN thAr adhu peyarA
ezhA nedu Uzhi ezhundha ikkAlaththum Ingu ivaLO
vazhA nedum thunbaththaL enRu irangAr ammanO ilangaik
kuzhA nedu mAdam idiththa pirAnAr kodumaigaLE

Word-by-Word Meanings

than – belonging to self
thaN – cool
thAr adhu – desire towards the divine thuLasi
peyarA – as the reason
thuzhA – touching gently
nedum – completely
sUzh – pervading
iruL enRu – called as darkness
ezhA – without enervation
nedu – unending
Uzhi – kalpam (a day of brahmA)
ezhundha – started
ikkAlaththum – during this time too
Ingu – here
ivaL – this nAyaki
vazhA – without missing
nedum thunbaththaL enReNNi – thinking that she is suffering from great sorrow
irangAr – he is not showing mercy
ilangai – in lankA
kuzhAm – gathered in abundance
nedu mAdam – huge mansions
idiththa – one who destroyed
pirAnAr – the benefactor
kodumaigaL – cruel acts
(were like this)
ammanO – how terrible

Simple Translation

Night time came, like an unending kalpa kAlam (the day of brahmA running into several millions of years) with such darkness and pervading everywhere, that one has to know objects only by feeling them and not by seeing them. She is unable to tolerate the distress of separation, thinking of emperumAn’s divine thuLasi garland while he remains unaware of her sorrows and is not showing mercy on her. How cruel is the quality of the benefactor who destroyed all the huge mansions in lankA!


thuzhA nedum sUzh iruL enRu – the term thuzhA could mean both destruction and touching [objects] to feel; holding tightly on to an object which has been just found so that it does not slip out of one’s hands.

sUzh iruL – darkness has pervaded everywhere, surrounding all places in such a way that no one can find a safe place to rest. While night time comprises 30 nAzhigai (one nAzhigai is 24 minutes; thus night time is 12 hours), AzhwAr calls it as nedum (very long; unending) because for those in separation, it is called as dhIrkka yAmA thriyAmA (long period, composed of three yAmams, with each yAmam being about 3 hours duration).

iruL enRu – the night time behaved like rAvaNa who came in the form of a pious sage and once he knew that sIthAppirAtti was alone, changed his form to that of a demon; night time too set in like a normal event but started extending for a very long time.

than thaN thAr adhu peyarA – making use of the opportunity when the nAyaki desired the cool, divine thuLasi garland on  his divine shoulder.

ezhA nedu Uzhi – the time of kalpam which is unending. Even that kalpam will have an end but this [night time] is unending. Just like people from the malayALa dhESam will not leave a place until they complete the job for which they came, this night also seems to stay until it destroyed her.

ezhundha – appeared. Normally the term Uzhi would refer to kalpam only. Using nigaNdu (lexicon), the vyAkyAthA says samvardha: praLaya: kalpa: to show that these terms have the same meaning. Thus, the night time extended like a praLayam (deluge). SrI rangarAja sthavam 2-41 says “dhayamAnamanA:” – Oh ranganAthA! During the time of praLaya your divine mind took pity, looking at the condition of the sentient and insentient entities (which were lying without name and form). If sarvESvaran shows mercy, there will be an end to praLayam too. However, since he is not showing his mercy, this night time, referred to as praLayam is extending further.

ikkAlaththum – just as it is mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 28-18 “sIthAthavEnyudhgratham gruhIthvA”(sIthAppirAtti says I am going to end myself by hanging from the braid of my locks as a rope), she too is in a similar distressed condition.

IngivaLO – is her condition similar to that of the samsAris (those who are in the materialistic realm) and their position in samsAram? They had lost their forms and senses during praLayam. Here her existence is in question. There, it is related to primordial matter; here it is related to the AthmA. There it is praLayam due to water; here it is praLayam due to darkness. There, the water, which is visible, is destroying the form [of sentient entities], which is visible; here it is the invisible darkness which is trying to destroy the invisible AthmA. There, they did not realise the danger that they were in, only emperumAn was aware of their condition; here, she fully knows the danger that she is in and she has the desire too for his protection.

vazhA nedum thunbaththaL enRu irangAr – he is not taking pity on her condition where she is in deep sorrow which will not go away. Just as it is mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 15-39 “dhukkEna bubudhE sIthAm” ((hanumAn) recognised sIthAppirAtti who was in deep sorrow); hanumAn could recognise sIthAppirAtti from her sorrowful mood. sarvESvaran did not recognise the nAyaki’s sorrow. karma (deeds from previously encountered sins and virtues) would keep whittling down as it is experienced. But her sorrow is such that it will keep increasing as it is experienced. Since this sorrow is coming on the basis of bhagavath ruchi (engagement with sarvESvaran), it is not possible to alter it and it is not possible to make it to be without distinction. For one [sarvESvaran] who is the opposite of all faults, is it not expected of him to remove the faults of those who are engaged with him and shower mercy on them? If affection [from her] is not needed, should her AthmasvarUpam (true nature of AthmA) too not be required? If he is steadfast in his stand that he will protect only during times of danger, is her anguished state of being separated from him, false?  Is she devoted to someone else for you not to show mercy on her? If it is a fault for us to move away from you, it is also a fault for you not to come towards us [to protect us].  If you come to us, our total dependence on you will be sustained and if you do not come to us, your state of being our lord will be harmed. Is it not the duty of the servants to create eminence for the lord? Creating eminence for one who is complete in all aspects [such as sarvESvaran] is not to protect oneself under any situation. This has been demonstrated in SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 31-22 when lakshmaNa tells SrI rAma “vaidharmyam nEha vidhyathE” (Make me your servant; there is nothing unrighteous in this. Besides I will be accomplishing my objective of being your servant). Due to the backing of SrI rAma’s powerful shoulders, just as one inserts one’s hand into the mouth of a poisonous snake, sIthAppirAtti, while being in aSOka vanam, told rAvaNa as in SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 22-16 “thvam nIcha: SaSavath smrutha:” (you, a lowly person, are said to be like a hare). For such a pirAtti, the situation now is that she doubts his ability to protect her. The reason for this is because of her doubt on her own nature, similar to the condition in which sIthAppirAtti said as in SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 38-48 “mamaiva dhushkrutham kinchith…” (it is because of the faults in me that the two brothers, SrI rAma and lakshmaNa are neglecting me). If this is the case, why did she say that sarvESvaran is not showering mercy on her? The vyAkyAtha explains this by saying that she has knowledge about his quality of showering mercy but not on her nature. In other words, she has not understood his anguish. His condition has been described in SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 36-42  “naivadhamSAn namaSAkAn” (he does not even drive away the insects and flies crawling on his body). This is because of the reason mentioned in the same SlOkam 36-42 “thvathgathEnAntharAthmanA” (his mind is fully engrossed in you), as told by hanuman to sIthAppirAtti. His mind is agitated like the agitation one sees in an ocean and not the agitation that takes place in the puddle of water under the hoof of a cow [in other words, his distress is real and deep]. While her condition was just as it was described in SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 66-25 “Urdhvam mAsAnam najIvishyE” (I will not live for more than one month) his condition was described in sundhara kANdam 66-10 “na jIvEyam kshaNamapi” (I cannot live for a moment more). Both spoke about killing themselves because of the desire that each knew of the other. The vyAkyAthA quotes a few references to prove that one cannot survive without the other, as in nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi 7 “inRAga nALaiyEyAga inichchiRidhu ninRAlum ninnaruL en pAladhE nanRAga nAn unnai anRi ilEn kaNdAy nAraNanE nI ennai anRi ilai” (either today or tomorrow or even after a longer time than that, your grace will certain fall on me since for me, your servant, there is no existence other than through you and for you there is no one to be protected other than me). There is no nArAyaNan without nAram (sentient entities). nArAyaNan refers both to the nature [being the lord etc] and the qualities [being with motherly forbearance, simplicity etc]. One cannot speak of a complete person if there were no incomplete (or faulty) persons; there can be no lord without servants.

irangAr – if he does not come, the quantum of sandalwood paste applied and its quantum which dries up and withers due to waiting for  his arrival, appear to be doubling.

ammanO – she says this word with the fear that she would have had if she had sighted a tiger or a snake. He is the entity who looks at everyone as “suhrudham sarvabhUthAnAm” (I am friendly towards all creatures), and she is scared of such an entity. thaiththirIya upanishath Anandhavalli says “Anandham brahmaNO vidhvAn na bibhEthi kuthaSchana” (one who knows the extent of the happiness of brahmam (supreme being) does not fear anything). One who has known brahmam’s Anandham need not fear the sins that he has committed knowingly. Her situation is such that despite knowing about brahmam, she has to be scared. The final syllable O refers to the cruelty of her sorrow.

ilangai . . . pirAnAr kodumaigaLE – while interpreting this, embAr [cousin of rAmAnujar as well as the one who succeeded him in the AchArya guruparamparai] would say “What happened to the one who destroyed the huge mansions of lankA for the sake of one lady, by bridging the ocean and shooting arrows which carried the names of SrI rAma and lakshmaNa, and the one who destroyed the gardens such that all the coconut trees lost all their leaves and looked like tonsured heads?” thirumalai nambi [maternal uncle of rAmAnujar as well as one of his AchAryas] would interpret this as “He destroyed lankA out of jealousy since it appeared more beautiful than ayOdhyA and it was not due to a lady”.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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