thirumAlai – 20 – pAyu nIr arangam thannuL

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsuram when the samsAris heard AzhwAr’s involvement with periya perumAL and his resultant suffering [his tears preventing him from seeing the wonderful form of periya perumAL], they told AzhwAr “who don’t you keep aside this involvement with emperumAn and enjoy like us, taking care of food and clothing so that you will not have to bother about the body melting and you can be steady and firm like us?” AzhwAr responds saying “we realise after seeing periya perumAL in this sleeping posture that he is doing this for our sake. We know our svarUpam (basic nature); how can we be like you, not being involved with emperumAn related matter, and exhibit our ahankAram and mamakAram (ego and possessiveness) like you?”

Let us look at the pAsuram and its meanings.

பாயு நீர் அரங்கம் தன்னுள் பாம்பணைப் பள்ளி கொண்ட
மாயனார் திரு நன் மார்வும் மரகத உருவும் தோளும்
தூய தாமரைக் கண்களும் துவரிதழ்ப் பவள வாயும்
ஆயசீர் முடியும் தேசும் அடியரோர்க்கு அகலலாமே.

pAyu nIr arangam thannuL pAmbaNaip paLLi koNda
mAyanAr thiru nan mArvum maradhaga uruvum thOLum
thUya thAmaraik kaNgaLum thuvaridhazhp pavaLa vAyum
AyasIr mudiyum thEsum adiyarOrkku agalalAmE


Meanings of Words

pAyu nIr – surrounded by [the river] kAviri in which water is flowing
arangam thannuL – in  thiruvarangam [SrI rangam]
pAmbu aNai – in the bed of thiruvananthAzhwAn [AdhiSEsha]
paLLi koNda – lying, asleep
mAyanAr – emperumAn’s, with wondrous activities
thiru nal mArvum – the supremely great chest where pirAtti [SrI mahAlakshmi] resides
maradhagam uruvum – colour of thirumEni [divine form] like emerald stone
thOLum – divine shoulders
thuvar idhazh – red-coloured divine lips
pavaLam vAyum – coral like divine mouth
Aya sIr mudiyum – crown with unparalleled greatness, for a very long time
thEsum – the radiance (as a result of all the aforementioned aspects)
adiyarOrkku – for his followers (who know their svarUpam, basic nature)
agalalAmE – can they be lost?

vyAkhyAnam (Explanatory Notes)

pAyu nIr arangam – instead of being at an elevation, requiring construction of a dam and forcing water to go up, thiruvarangam (SrIrangam) is at a lower level so that water will flow naturally. Water is used as a metaphor to denote all substances that purify and which are clear. This temple is the repository for such substances. As mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam bAla kANdam 2.5 “agarthdhamidham thIrtham bharathwAja! niSAmaya I ramaNIyam prasannAmbu sanmanushyamanO yathA II´- hEy bharathwAja! Look at this river which is without mud, beautiful, and clear like the minds of good people. Thus water is taken as a simile for good people.

thannuL pAmbaNai – in order to prevent any irritation to his divine body, which is softer than a flower, by the water, he has spread AdhiSEshan as a mattress on top of the water. periyAzhwAr said the same in periyAzhwAr thirumozhi 5.1.7 “veLLai veLLaththin mEl oru pAmbai meththiyAga viriththu” – spread AdhiSEsha on top of the white water, as a mattress.

paLLikoNda mAyanAr – his way of sleeping is wondrous. sIthA pirAtti tells hanuman in SrI rAmAnyaNam yudhdha kANdam 28.25 “vAyasEna thathasthEna balavathkliSyamAnayA I sa mayA bOdhitha: SrImAn sukhasuptha: paranthapa: II – SrI rAmapirAn, who was sleeping comfortably, (due to which) who was so handsome, and who burns his enemies, was woken up since that kAkAsuran kept troubling me.  Thus pirAtti enjoyed his sleeping posture. The word mAyA denotes something wonderful. The word mAyanAr [used here by AzhwAr] denotes emperumAn who is wondrously beautiful.  paLLikoNda mAyanAr …… agalalAmE – if emperumAn were in standing posture or sitting posture, it would have been possible for one to leave that place. nammAzhwAr says in thiruvAimozhi 5.8.1  “ErAr kOlam thigazhakkidanthAy” displaying such a beautiful form, you were lying, and kulaSEkarap perumAL says in perumAL thirumozhi 7.2 “AnaiyiRkidantha kidakkai kaNdidappeRRilEn”  – I have not been fortunate to see you lying as an elephant;  when he is in lying posture is it possible for anyone to leave him and go?

thirunal mArbum – his chest, made greater by the presence of pirAtti. What was the greatness due to pirAtti, to his chest? The marks left by her feet with sempanju [ a paste prepared from red cotton, used to dye women’s feet] and the garlands discarded by her were always there on his chest and this was essential in deciding emphatically that he is the paramporuL [supreme being]. parASara bhattar says in SrI guNa rathna kOSam 4 “vEdhAnthAs thathvachinthAm murabhi dhurasi yathpAdha chihnais tharanthi” – by looking at which pirAtti’s marks of divine feet on the chest of emperumAn, the vEdhAnthams bring to an end the discussion on who is the supreme being … Another explanation is: as nammAzhwAr said in 6.10.10 “agalagillEn iRaiyum enRu” – I [pirAtti] will not leave his chest even for a moment, his chest becomes great because pirAtti will not leave it even for a moment.

maradhaga uruvum – his form which has the radiance of emerald green, bathing the eyes of the beholder with a coolness.

thOLum – unlike his chest and form which needed adjectives to bring out their greatness, his shoulders are great, by nature. His shoulders provide a float to those who were sinking after seeing the beauty of his chest and form.

thUya thAmaraikkaNgaLum – the divine eyes which cast a gracious look on both pirAtti and demons such as  hiraNyan without any difference. The reason for this is the causeless mercy in emperumAn’s eyes. In SrI bhagavath gIthA 5.29, krishNa says “bhOkthAram yagyathapasAm sarvalOkamahESwaram I suhrutham sarvabhUthAnAm gyAthvA mAm SAnthimruchchathi II” – the one who accepts rituals and penances, the one who is the lord of all the worlds, the one who is the friend of all living creatures – knowing such a person [emperumAn] everyone attains peace. Thus irrespective of whether the person is a friend or a foe, emperumAn remains friendly with everyone. In jithanthE SlOkam 1.2 it says “dhEvAnAm dhAnavAnAmcha sAmAnyamadhidhaivatham I sarvadhA charaNadhvanthvam vrajAmi SaraNam thava II” – I take refuge under your divine feet which are available for holding on to , by both devotees of SrI vishNu and those who do not have any devotion towards him. Thus for both celestial and demoniac persons, the relationship with him is the same. Despite this, the reason for the troubles faced by demons is entirely due to their faults. The wind, which is beneficial to everyone, dries up lotus. Since AzhwAr has used the adjective thUya thAmarai (pure lotus) for his divine eyes, the lotus would equal emperumAn’s divine eyes only in terms of softness, coolness and fragrance. But when one looks at the flood of grace which is there in emperumAn’s divine eyes, the lotus can never equal that.

thuvaridhazhp pavaLa vAyum – with reddlish lips and mouth with coral-like row of teeth. The colour of the teeth is due to the reflection from the reddish lips. chAndhOgya upanishath 3.14.2 says “avAkya nAdhara:” (due to profundity) not talking to anyone and not regarding anyone. It appears that from such a state of supreme being, periya perumAL losing his profound state, gives words of comfort to those who attain him. Another interpretation is that thuvaridhazh refers to the petals of drum-stick flower and hence his lips are like the petals of drumstick flower and coral. His lips smile at the chEthanas (sentient entities) who, thinking about their faults, are afraid to approach him and tell them “do not fear”.

Aya sIr mudiyum – crown, being ready and with greatness for a very long time. Aya refers to being ready for a long time. sIr refers to great wealth. Starting from thirunan mArbum up to Aya sIr mudiyum the gracefulness of periya perumAL’s different divine parts of the body was highlighted.

thEsum – with this word, samudhAya SObhA, the grace of his total divine form, is highlighted.

adiyarOrkku agalalAmEAzhwAr asks, “when we look at the greatness of the physical form of periya perumAL, is it possible for people like us with svarUpa gyAnam (knowledge about the true nature of AthmA) to leave? “Only those who have carried out such terrible sins that they cannot enjoy this, and those who are enslaved by ego and possessiveness can leave. By using the term AmE in the end, he is emphasising that even samsAris will say “yes, it is not possible for you people to leave”, highlighting the greatness of emperumAn’s physical beauty and the involvement of AzhwAr in enjoying that beauty.

In the previous word Aya sIr mudiyum, the vyAkhyAthA says that “Ayam” means gold and with a shortened phoneme, it becomes Aya and Aya sIr mudiyum thus refers to emperumAn’s golden locks which are great.

We shall now go on to the 21st pAsuram.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dasan

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