mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 21 – ninRu nilamangai

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AzhwAr tells his heart “do not retreat, looking at emperumAn’s greatness. Mingling with followers is his nature”. Alternatively, it can be said that AzhwAr tells his heart “even though emperumAn is great, ignoring that, he will carry out tasks for his followers even if he has to change himself”.

Let us enjoy the pAsuram and its meanings.

ninRu nilam angai nIrERRu mUvadiyAl
senRu thisai aLandha sengaNmARku enRum
padai Azhi puLLUrdhi pAmbaNaiyAn pAdham
adaiyAzhi nenjE aRi

Word by Word Meanings

ninRu – standing (near mahAbali)
nilam – earth
am kai – with beautiful hand
nIr ERRu – taking alms
mU adiyAl – with three steps
senRu thisai aLandha – measuring, while walking in all directions
sem kaN mARku – the supreme entity with reddish eyes
enRum – at all times
padai – weapon
Azhi – chakkaram (divine disc, sudharSan)
puL – garudAzhwAn
Urdhi – vehicle
Azhi nenjE – Oh profound heart!
aRi – listen (to this)
pAmbu aNaiyAn – emperumAn who has thivananthAzhwAn (AdhiSEsha) as his mattress
pAdham – divine feet
adai – attain


senRu ninRuemperumAn walked up to the yAgasAlai (the place where religious rites are conducted) of mahAbali and stood in front of the King, displaying clearly his intent of taking alms. His reaching mahAbali’s place and standing in front of mahAbali are attracting AzhwAr.

ninRu – it appears as if emperumAn is telling mahAbali that  he will not leave until he obtained what he set out for

nilam am kai nIrERRu – taking the earth, after wetting his hands with water [given by mahAbali as a traditional system of keeping one’s oath]. emperumAn’s hands know only to give to others; as a result they have grown, by giving constantly. For perhaps the first time, he is taking something. While sIthAppirAtti was always his (mahAlakshmi), emperumAn (as SrI rAma) took her when janaka maharAjan offered him her hand, after king janaka referred to her as “my sIthA”. In the same way, emperumAn took the worlds, which were always his, when offered by King mahAbali.

mUvadiyAl thisai aLandha – he measured all the directions with his three steps. Alternatively, we can consider this as “in every direction, he measured”.

sengaN mARkuemperumAn’s eyes became reddish after receiving the gift [from mahAbali], out of happiness. He was happy that he obtained what could not be obtained at all! Is it required of him to display his happiness after obtaining what was always his, from mahAbali? Since in the earlier pAsuram (20) AzhwAr had referred to emperumAn measuring the worlds, his thoughts follow him from that pAsuram and he speaks mercifully of the same matter.

enRum padai Azhi – wasn’t it the person who has everything with him, who went to mahAbali and asked for alms! nammAzhwAr says in periya thiruvandhAdhi 87 “eppOdhum kai kazhaLa nEmiyAn” (one who always has chakrAyudham (disc as weapon) in his hand). He always has garudan as his vehicle. He always has AdhiSEsha as his mattress. (The opinion here is that since he holds one devotee on his hand, one as his vehicle and one as his bed, it is natural that mingling with his followers is his nature). Only the one who is capable of holding the disc on his hand without slipping, one who is capable of riding periya thiruvadi (garudan) astride and who is capable of lying on the lap of AdhiSEsha can be the supreme entity!

pAdham adai  Azhi nenjE – to get the divine feet of such a supreme entity, give yourself unto him; do not be like mahAbali who gave a little bit of earth and moved aside.

Azhi nenjE – Oh profound heart! Aren’t you capable of teaching me too! Do I need to teach you this? Do not think that I am saying these words to impress the gallery, but think that I am seeing these words as the whole truth!

We shall take up the 22nd pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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