thiruvezhukURRirukkai – 4

srImathE satakOpAya nama:
srImathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srImath varavaramunayE nama:

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nAl thisai nadunga anjiRaip paRavai ERi
nAlvAi mummadhaththu irusevi
oruthani vEzhaththu arandhaiyai
orunAL irunIr maduvuL thIrththanai

Word by word meaning

oru nAL – once upon a time
nAl thisai nadunga – (got an anger such that) people in all four directions were scared
am siRai paRavai ERi – (and you) got onto the garudan who has got beautiful feathers
iru nIr maduvuL – (and went to the shore of) the pond having deep waters
thIrththanai – and removed
arandhaiyai – the suffering of
nAl vAi – the one having a hanging mouth
mummadham – which lets out madha (intoxicated) water out of three places
iru sevi – and which has got two ears,
oru thani vEzhaththu – that is the unparalleled elephant gajEndhran who was alone.

Simple translation

thirumangai AzhwAr says that it is not just those like indhran who are great in gyAnam and shakthi, you helped even an elephant; whereas you calmly created and destroyed the worlds, in this case you rushed losing your temper, to the astonishment of brahma and all other beings that are on all four sides of the universe;

AzhwAr describes the beauty of elephant the emperumAn rescued. This is to show how emperumAn considered the elephant so dear to him that he appreciates his beauty after rescuing him.

Like ANdAL sang in nAchiAr thirumozhi asking emperumAn to come rescue her, thirumangai AzhwAr is also implying that He should come rescue him from the samsAram and the five faculty/senses that have been dangerous to him from time immemorial.


Now to the question of whether He would help only those like indhran who possess gyAnam and shakthi, AzhwAr points out that if there is faith in Him, and if there is little bit of danger, then too He has come rushing (arai kulaiya, thalai kulaiya – a saying in thamizh to roughly mean that He would rush without regard to whether the clothes worn by self are in proper position, and whether the hair style is getting disturbed) to help even animals which are lower in birth and conformity (ஒழுக்கம்).

nAl thisai nadunga – All the brahma and people who know that when creating the worlds He did so just by his thoughts, and when destroying the worlds He did so without any anger or efforts, now they are witnessing Him rushing without regards to his self and with so much anger; they are terribly afraid to see this, thinking something very untoward might happen.

am siRaip paRavai Eri – Like the dark clouds moving across the golden mountain mEru, He climbed on the shoulders of garudAzhvAn who possesses beauty and speed, and rushed to help gajEndhrAzhvAn. thirumangai AzhwAr then describes why He is rushing like this:

nAl vAi mummadhaththu iru sevi oru thani vEzhaththu arandhaiyai – (nAl vAi) because of having raised its trunk it is having the mouth that his hanging; from three places of its body it is having madha (intoxicated) water pouring; having two (or, big) ears; not having any other source of protection; after having lost its strength, and not having any one to go to for help; having a big sorrow (arandhai – arathi – sorrow)

oru nAL iru nIr maduvuL thIrththanai – on that unparalleled time, when it was a foreign land for the elephant that was your devotee, and which was a familiar land for the crocodile that was its enemy, (you came to such a) shore of the lake having deep waters – seeing the weight of that danger you came rushing and removed the sorrow of the elephant.

oru nAL – thirumangai AzhwAr is celebrating such a day when emperumAn took to rushing to rescue an elephant.

AzhwAr means that like how you rescued the elephant from the clutches of the crocodile, you please rescue me from the clutches of this samsAram. Like it is said, “elephant is pulling towards the shore; crocodile is pulling towards the water; this war continued with their equal strengths for 1000 dhEva years (vishNu dharmam 69)” – for elephant the enemy was one crocodile, for me the enemies are the 5 crocodiles which are the 5 faculty (indhriyas/senses); that one is a strong elephant – I am weak; the elephant suffered for a short duration – I have been suffering from time immemorial; don’t You have to run to me and rescue?

vEzhaththu arandhaiyai iru nIr maduvuL thIrththanai – Like it is said in vishNu dharmam, – grAham chakrENa mAdhava:, He rushed in to the pond, came to the shore tugging the elephant and the crocodile, and without hurting even a nail in the foot of the elephant He very carefully used sudharshaNa chakra and killed the crocodile. Does He have to tug/hug the crocodile that was a bhAgavatha virOdhi (enemy to His devotee), when coming back to the shore? bhattar says, “Like how a servant, who uses his hands and body and fights with the prince every day during the practice for wrestling, would get related food when the prince is fed, the crocodile that fought with the elephant also got the benefit of emperumAn’s hug”.

nAlvAi mumadhaththu iru sevi oru thani vEzhaththu – why is AzhwAr describing so much the body parts and the overall makeup (samudhAya sObhai) of the elephant? When people rescue a baby that fell into a well, they would start describing the beauty of that baby, “Oh! see this baby’s ears, aren’t they so beautiful? The shape (vALippu) of its neck! Its legs are beautiful! Its head is so beautiful! Not able to describe its overall beauty! By good grace we saved such a beautiful child!”, and so they would keep talking about the beauty of the body parts of the baby and its overall beauty; in the same way this phrase of the prabandham talks about emperumAn’s involvement towards the elephant after He rescued him;

vEzhaththu arandhaiyai – unlike the danger of something small-bodied, it was a big danger like its big body; “paramApadham Apanna: manasA{S} chinthayath harim” [vishNu dharmam] – said rishi showing the greater danger of the elephant – this is by saying ‘parmApadh; now, by ‘manasA chinthyAth’ it is implied that gajEndhrAzhvAn lost his ability due to weakness to even open the mouth, but just called emperumAn in his mind only.

oru nAL … thIrththanai – the woman who was born to periyAzhAr who is dear to emperumAn, knew her ways to get emperymAn’s attention, and so sang – kAlaik kadhuviduginRa kayalodu vALai veruvi [nAchiAr thirumozhi 3-5] – when you could not tolerate a worm that lives in the water, can you tolerate when there are two fish (that live in the water)?. In the same way thirumangai AzhwAr asks emperumAn, “When you did not tolerate a crocodile that gave trouble to the strong gajEndhran for some duration, can you tolerate when five faculty (indhriyas/senses) have been troubling me forever?”

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Translation by raghuram srInivAsa dAsan

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