kaNNinuN chiRuth thAmbu 1 – kaNNinuN

srImathE satakOpAya nama:
srImathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srImadh varavaramunayE nama:

Full Series

Introduction (avathArikai)


Introduction for this pAsuram:
periyavAchchAn piLLai‘s introduction:
madhurakavi AzhwAr glorifies kaNNan emperumAn since emperumAn is most dear to nammAzhwAr who is his AchArya. Though madhurakavi AzhwAr is fully focussed on nammAzhwAr, since nammAzhwAr likes perumAL, madhurakavi AzhwAr sings about perumAL in this pAsuram.

azhagiya maNavALa perumaL nAyanAr‘s introduction:
madhurakavi AzhwAr reveals the sweet nature of nammAzhwAr in this pAsuram.
parathvam (bhagavAn‘s supremacy which is seen in srIvaikuNtam) is compared to milk ocean, and vibhava avathArams are compared to amrutha kalasam (the nectar pot) that is found in milk ocean (which is very sweet). Even amongst the various avathArams, krishNa avathAram is the sweetest. Even amongst the various leelais in krishNavathAram, his butter-theft action is the sweetest.

In srI rAmAvathAram, every one likes emperumAn‘s virtues. But in krishNavathAram, he attracts everyone through his mischiefs. Being the supremely complete bhagavAn and yet desiring for a material thing like butter, stealing that butter, even though being the supremely knowledgable person yet not knowing how to hide his theft and getting caught, being supremely powerful yet being punished by his mother a simple cow-herd girl and not even knowing how to protect/rescue himself, etc., are the most enjoyable incidents which mesmerizes the AzhwArs.
Knowing well that this “butter stealing” incident is very dear to nammAzhwArmadhurakavi AzhwAr also becomes immersed in that anubhavam.

கண்ணிநுண் சிறுத் தாம்பினால் கட்டுண்ணப்
பண்ணிய பெரு மாயன் என்னப்பனில்
நண்ணித் தென் குருகூர் நம்பி யென்றக்கால்
அண்ணிக்கும் அமுதூறு மென் நாவுக்கே.

kaNNinuN chiRuth thAmbinAl
kattuNNap paNNiya perumAyan ennapanil
naNNith thenkurukUr nambi enRakkAl
aNNikkum amuthURum ennAvukkE

word-by-word meanings
kaNNi – rough surfaced (which will hurt the body when tied around)
nuN – sUkshma (thin – that will blend into the body)
chiRu – small (that is not sufficient in length)
thAmbinAl – with the string/rope
kattuNNap paNNiya – one who facilitated mother yasOdhA to tie him
peru mAyan – one who has wonderful abilities
en appanil – leaving behind my master who is the sarvEsvaran (supreme lord)
naNNi – approached (AzhwAr) and taking shelter of him
then kurukUr nambi enRakkAl – while reciting the name of nammAzhwAr who is the leader of kurukUr (AzhwArthirunagari) which is in the south side (of bhAratha dhEsam)
aNNikkum – it is very sweet
en nAvukkE – only for my tongue
amuthURum – it will be nectarean

Simple translation:
Leaving behind krishNa who is my master and the supreme lord who has wonderful abilities and who facilitated mother yasOdhA to tie him down with rough surfaced, thin and small string, when I recite the name of nammAzhwAr who is the leader of kurukUr (AzhwArthirunagari) which is in the south side (of bhAratha dhEsam), it is very sweet and will be nectarean only for my tongue.

Highlights from nanjIyar‘s vyAkyAnam:

  • madhurakavi AzhwAr worries for the troubles kaNNan emperumAn have gone through for being tied by a string by mother yasOdhA.
  • This pAsuram is madhurakavi AzhwAr‘s “eththiRam“. nammAzhwAr was bewildered thinking about emperumAn‘s divine pastimes of butter-stealing, etc., and fainted crying “eththiRam” (thiruvAimozhi 1.3.1) how is this possible for the supreme lord to be like a small child who is controlled by cow-herd girls, etc?). Similarly, madhurakavi AzhwAr is also having the same emotions/ecstasy.
  • For kings, winning over enemies shows their masculinity and being bound by their queens also show their masculinity. So, emperumAn winning over his enemies by his valour and being humble towards his devotees – both show his supremacy/masculinity only.
  • First madhurakavi AzhwAr spoke about krishNa since that is dear to his AchArya nammAzhwAr. Then he speaks about nammAzhwAr who is his real interest.
  • When madhurakavi AzhwAr says “this is so sweet in my tongue” – others say “it is not so for us”. AzhwAr replies only some one like me who has tasted both bhagavath vishayam and bhAgavatha vishayam can appreciate the sweetness of nammAzhwAr.

Highlights from nampiLLai‘s eedu vyAkyAnam:

  • nammAzhwAr was greatly attached to krishNa and that too his “butter-stealing” incidents. Such most glorious incidents are given up by madhurakavi AzhwAr to pursue nammAzhwAr‘s glories. nammAzhwAr became bewildered contemplating krishNa’s pastimes. But madhurakavi AzhwAr is very clear about his goal of AchArya kainkaryam and does not get bogged down by bhagavath anubhavam.
  • After getting caught for stealing butter, krishNa stands in front of yasOdhA with great fear for her punishments. He is weeping, holding his palms together begging for her mercy, etc. Simply by her love, he who is the supreme lord of everything was tied down.
    It is this great deed of him that makes madhurakavi AzhwAr say “perumAyan” (great person with unimaginable abilities).
  • Even though madhurakavi AzhwAr is AchArya nishtar, he still calls bhagavAn as “ennappan” (my master). nammAzhwAr will not accept praises for himself but will seek out for emperumAn‘s glorification. So, madhurakavi AzhwAr glorifies emperumAn for the satisfaction of nammAzhwAr who is his AchArya. But madhurakavi AzhwAr leaves krishNa behind and continues on to nammAzhwAr. That is because if one is fully focussed in AchArya (charama parva nishtai) they can give up bhagavAn and fully focus on the AchArya. There is nothing wrong in it. Giving up bhagavAn and pursuing ones AchArya is more difficult than giving up material desires and focussing on bhagavAn. Since, material pleasures are temporary and insignificant, they can be easily given up. But since bhagavath vishayam is permanent and great, it is difficult to give up that and proceed on to the ultimate goal of serving AchArya/bhAgavathas.
  • Just by saying nammAzhwAr‘s name without even fully focussing in the mind, I feel great sweetness in my tongue. It is this same mind/tongue which enjoyed so many material aspects but now it enjoys nammAzhwAr‘s divine names. Others may not get the same sweet experience, since they may not be as surrendered to nammAzhwAr as me (madhurakavi AzhwAr).

Highlights from periyavAchchAn piLLai‘s vyAkyAnam:

  • Just like a great emperor when being bound by a flower garland by his dear consort will manifest his humility and love for his consort, emperumAn being tied by mother yasOdhA, shows his humility towards her out of love.
  • One who is worshipped by everyone stands in front of yasOdhA and prays to her to be spared of punishment.  When one takes shelter of bhagavAn, they need to progress up to taking shelter of nammAzhwAr. But when one has taken shelter of nammAzhwAr, there is nothing more to do. nampiLLai quotes nanjIyar saying “AchAryargaLai nambiyennak kaRpiththAr srI madhurakavigaLiRE” meaning “it was madhurakavi AzhwAr who started calling AzhwArs as nambi”. nambi – guNa pUrNa – one who is filled with all auspicious qualities.
  • For bhagavath vishayam – ones mind, words and deeds should be surrendered to emperumAn. But for bhAgavatha vishayam, just surrender by words is sufficient.

Highlights from azhagiya maNavALa perumaL nAyanAr‘s vyAkyanam:

  • The mortar where krishNa is tied is a broken one. This implies that it is not used by or usable for anyone and can only be used to tie him there. emperumAn only appreciates that which exist exclusively for his use – ananyArhathvam.
  • kaNNi (rough), nuN (thin/subtle) and chiRu (small) is compared to gyAnam (knowledge), bhakthi and vairAgyam.
  • Since krishNa’s butter-stealing pastimes is the ultimate joyful aspect, madhurakavi AzhwAr explains that first and then rejects such anubhavam to explain about nammAzhwAr‘s greatness.
  • The string (since small) cannot be expanded and the mortar cannot be shrunk, so, krishNa himself shrinks his stomach with great difficulty to facilitate mother yasOdhA to tie him.
    As said in “nAyamAthmA” sruthi, even when one has bhakthi (devotion), unless bhagavAn himself allows, he cannot be pursued. He says only those who know the deep meanings of thirumanthram and dhvayam can tie down emperumAn (since they will know their total dependency/surrender towards emperumAn). bhagavAn‘s glories vanquished madurakavi AzhwAr’s attachment towards material desires. nammAzhwAr‘s glories vanquished madhurakavi AzhwAr‘s attachment towards bhagavAn.
  • Difference between kurungudi nambi (emperumAn) and kurukUr nambi (nammAzhwAr). nambi means guNa pUrNa – one who is complete in auspicious qualities. bhagavAn‘s completeness is in gyAnam (knowledge), sakthi (abilities), etc. nammAzhwAr‘s completeness is in gyAnam (knowledge about being a servant of bhagavAn/bhAgavathas), bhakthi (devotion), etc. bhagavAn‘s qualities are such that everything is attracted towards him. nammAzhwAr‘s qualities are such that even bhagavAn himself is attracted towards nammAzhwAr.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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0 thoughts on “kaNNinuN chiRuth thAmbu 1 – kaNNinuN”

  1. where can we get the vyakyanams& meanings for Divyaprabandhams in Tamil? this service is laudable!!
    mythili A.K.


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