thirunedunthANdakam – 3

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In the first pAsuram – AzhvAr was astonished about the series of help of emperumAn to him, starting from removal of vishayAnthara prAvaNyam (interest in other things of material world) through giving him the destiny (divine feet) which is the gain for true nature of AthmA,  and He showed him all this while considering it as an honour for Himself;

(Why the astonishment of AzhvAr when emperumAn is doing these for His own benefit?) – If AzhvAr requests for it and emperumAn performs help on that request, then that would be understandable/valid; but while I am averse/turned away from Him, He Himself is eagerly performing such help, so it is astonishing).

In the second pAsuram – AzhvAr said that emperumAn cut his subservience towards others.  Mistaking due to the misunderstanding that the three deities are equivalent would be subservience to others, isn’t it?

In this pAsuram –  As said as ‘maNi uruvil bUtham aindhAy [thirunedunthANdakam – 1]’,  and ‘mugil uruvam [thirunedunthANdakam – 2]’, that which is illuminating the svarUpam (for (parama) Athma vasthu (entity)),  and for the qualities present in such vasthu (entity), and which is of unsurpassed enjoyment, and which is having the colour like that of rainy clouds – the way in which emperumAn helped by showing such divine body/form of His, to those having even a tiny affection, based on their taste, even by affecting His stature/original form (azhiya mARi), and the way in which emperumAn showed him due to His voluntary kindness His natural body/form – AzhvAr, seeing these as He showed them, says who would be able to see this like he did.

(Why enjoy His divine body instead of focusing on working for emperumAn’s excellence (athisayam) as dictated by subservience?)

Like how a virtuous woman would be focused on being in unison with her husband, if one gets subservience, and also get the state of not yielding  to others (ananyArhathai), then he would just be involved in enjoyment of Him isn’t it? His qualities are such that one would enjoy them more than His svarUpam; but one would enjoy His form more than both His svarUpam and His qualities – such is the enjoyability of His body/form, isn’t it?

By this pAsuram, AzhvAr is enjoying that form/body/beauty.

thiruvadivil karunedumAl sEyan enRum
  thirEthaikkaN vaLaiyuruvAyth thigazhndhAnenRum
peruvadivil kadal amudham koNda kAlam
   perumAnaik karuneela vaNNan thannai
oruvadivaththOruruvenRu uNaralAgA(dhu)
   Uzhi thORuzhi ninREththal allAl
karuvadiviR chenkaNNa vaNNan thannaik
  katturaiyE yAroruvar kANkiRpArE                         3

Word by word meaning

karu neela vaNNan thannaiOne naturally having blue colour among the colours,
perumAnaithat is sarvESvaran,
thiruvadivilin the matter of his divine body,
karunedumAl(like rainy clouds) emperumAn naturally having black colour, having a lot of love towards devotees,
sEyan enRumthat He is having reddish colour
thirEthaikkaNin the thrEthA yugam;
peru vadivil kadal amudham koNda kAlamin the krutha yugam when having many forms, and took nectar from the divine milky ocean
vaLai uruvAyth thigazhndhAn enRumHe was having white colour like a conch;
Uzhi thORu Uzhi ninRu EththalallAlother than being in each kalpam and praise Him (like this),
uNaral AgAdhuIt is not possible to know (Him)
oru vadivaththu Or uru enRuas having one specific form of divine body, or as having one type of colour;
katturaiyEother than (everyone) be (only) talking about
karu vadivil sem kaNNa vaNNan thannaithat emperumAn having bluish divine body, and reddish divine eyes,
yAr oruvar kANkiRpArEwho can see Him (like I did as He showed to me)?


thiruvadivil –  In the matter of divine form/body.

Like how in the first pAsuram it was about (His help in) SEshathvam (subservience), and in the second pAsuram it was about anyaSEshathva nivruththi (removal of subservience to others), now in this pAsuram it is about His (His help about) divine form, you see! says AzhvAr.

thiru vadivu – Distinguished form. periya pirAttiyAr’s form (form enjoyed by Her).

When it could have been said as (just) vadivu, saying thiru vadivu is – Like said in ‘agalakillEn iRaiyum [thiruvAimozhi – 6.10.10]’ (will not leave you even a fraction of a moment), the form is such that pirAtti’s state is like (a thirsty one saying) ‘water! water!’, it is such difficult to attain and get Him in such form, and it is such status He lowered Himself from, and showed it to the world – it is for this, that AzhvAr is saying thiru’ vadivu.

Now it talks about how emperumAn helped by giving such divine from.

karu nedu mAl – Having the form of colour like black rainy cloud (karu), having the great glory that is beyond both the worlds (nedu). By this – One who is having distinguished divine body, not needing/expecting from anyone else (having everything by Himself) (mAl), and superior to everything, is the one, you see, become like these (as shown by phrases that follow)! – says AzhvAr.

Or, by mAl – with maddening love, He is of deep (nedu) love. By this, the One who is of greatness as aforementioned, is lowering/changing himself and showing himself due to His being of deep love (vyAmOghatha).

karu -> kALa, in samskrutham, both meaning black. kALa mEgham -> black cloud.

sEyan enRum thirEthaikkaN – When considering thrEthA yugam, He would be having reddish (sEy) form. People of that time were having more quality of rajas (action/anger), so their interest would be in red colour only isn’t it? (rajas is represented as red). Based on that interest of those people, He would present himself to them in reddish colour.

rajas (anger/active) is reddish, sathvam (tranquillity) is whitish, and thamas (ignorance/laziness) is blackish.

For prakruthi (material realm) specific properties are these three qualities as said in ‘lOhitha Sukla krishNAm [SvEthasvathara Upanishadh – 4.5]’ (red, white, and black) (samsAri (worldly person) with the mind of enjoyment follows the woman that is prakruthi having red (rajas), white (sathvam), black (thamas) colours (qualities) and which can create various things equal to it; the other one that is muktha jeevan (liberated), even though enjoys the woman that is prakruthi for some period, then hates it and leaves her [gets liberated]. This prakruthi and these beings are eternal (meaning is taken from pramANath thirattu (collection of authoritative references) given along with vyAkyAnam).

Reason for talking about red first is – to show that it is in the order of word of Sruthi in ‘lOhitha Sukla krushNam’.

While it is for the subservient to set himself for the happiness of the lord, it is the lord who is changing Himself against His superiority according to the taste of His subjects.

(This can be seen in), As said in ‘thamar ugandhadhu evvuruvam [mudhal thiruvanthAdhi – 44]’ (whatever form the devotees enjoy), the ‘enRum enRum ((praise him) as, as) seen in multiple lines of this pAsuram is to be read with ‘Uzhi thORu Uzhi ninRu EththalallAl’ (other than praising him in each such yugam).

peruvadivil kadal amudham koNda kAlam – When considering krutha yugam;  not saying (explicitly) krutha yugam in the pAsuram, like saying ‘thirEthaik kaN(in previous line) , but saying about it as ‘kadal amudham koNda kAlam (time when He churned milky ocean)Saying thirEthaik kaN’ appears as barren time for AzhvAr (As SrI rAman with anger bridged on the ocean just for killing the asura and so AzhvAr is not considering that as great, whereas here He with kindness churned the ocean (and gave nectar)), and so AzhvAr is talking about the specifics of emperumAn’s glory of krutha yugam since the activities of emperumAn of this time is loved by AzhvAr;

This is similar to how those (in SrIrangam) having love towards periya thirunAL (panguni uththram day when perumAL and pirAttiyAr grace together once a year) would say ‘I will do it (some activity) after periya thirunAL’ instead of saying based on the month, as, ‘I will do after the month of panguni’, thus basing it on the activity of emperumAn. (In the same way AzhvAr is talking about the time of churning of milky ocean).

But, is it not enough to say ‘kadal amudham koNda kAlam’ why say ‘peru vadivil kadal amudham koNda kAlam’? (huge form)

kSheerAbdhi (milky ocean) is big such that it covers fourteen hundred thousand miles (14 lakh miles (kAdham -> around a mile); 

Isn’t He reclining in that ocean as said in ‘thALum thOLum mudigaLum samanilAdha pala parappi [thiruvAimozhi – 8.10.8]’, such that the whole area of the ocean swells and splashes.

With that form itself as He gets up and churns, it would look like an ocean churning an ocean, so AzhvAr is divining so (as peru vadivil (huge form));

Ocean is such that it relieves our burdens, and it is boundless; likewise, (emperumAn’s form) also relieves our burden, is boundless, and enjoyable.

Or, as peru vadivu – by the form that cannot be measured; for the manthara mountain not to drown He took the form of kUrmam (tortoise), and to control the turbulence above, the form of bruhathrUpi (brahma rUpi (as said in ’uparyAkrAnthavAn Sailam bruhadhrUpENa kESava: [SrIvishNu purANam – 1.9.90]’) (kESavan)), thus being in a form among the dhEvas and in a form among asuras, and pulling / churning amidst them, and being as strength for vAsuki the snake (used as rope for churning), and as said in ‘yanna dhrushtam surAsurai:’, thus permeating everywhere whether mountain, dhEvas, asuras, and gave strength – thus taking many forms in these ways.

kadal amudham koNda kAlam – All the dhEvas without anyone missing, who due to the curse of dhurvAsa muni became losers of wealth, losing nectar and becoming poor, and so as said in ‘SaraNam thvAmanuprApthA: samasthA dhEvathAgaNA:’ – surrendered, and the way He churned the ocean and gave nectar to them.

koNda -> having (as against ‘gave’ the nectar))-  He was thinking that it is his gain/blessing to give them nectar.

kadal amudham koNda kAlam – The time when He created nectar for the dhEvas, for Himself, and for me (AzhvAr).

dhEvas got the goods of nectar and went away; He took the nectar that is periya pirAttiyAr (who came from the ocean and settled on His divine chest);  These two, as said in ‘viNNavar amudhuNa amudhil varum peN amudhuNda [periya thirumozhi – 6.1.2](dhEvas got the nectar, emperumAn got the nectar that is thAyAr) are not enjoyment  for AzhvAr. It is as said in ‘nAl thOL amudhu [thiruvAimozhi – 6.10.9] (emperumAn the divine nectar), with his hands arms and divine conch, the One who churned the ocean is the One that is the enjoyment for him (AzhvAr).

dhEvas got what they loved; He also got His love; I also got what I love (says AzhvAr).

As said in ‘paSyathAm SarvadhEvAnAm yayau vakSa:sthalam harE:’, as all dhEvas where witnessing it, stepping her feet on His divine flower of navel, climbed into His divine chest. Why climb so without giving importance to those witnessing? It is only when One gets Her love would She be able to shower love on others.

Or, thinking – only due to His grace I would be able show my grace, and looked at His face (for His grace/approval).

(aithihyam) ­- (nan)jeeyar asked (parASara) bhattar, ‘Is it appropriate for womanhood to climb on His chest when so many dhEvathAs are present watching?’;  bhattar divined his reply, ‘While being with husband, is it required to be shy in front of those who are doing personal services to them?’.

Even though all the dhEvathAs were thinking that they were all powerful as ‘eeSvarOham’ , the true nature of subservience is to serve towards the togetherness of emperumAn and pirAtti.

amudham koNda kAlam – Oh what a wonderful time it was! – says AzhvAr.

{similar to ‘madhi niRaindha nannALAl [thiruppAvai – 1]’}.

Not only showing Himself to ananya prayOjanar (devotees not expecting anything else), even for prayOjanAntharaparar (those seeking some other thing from Him) it is a time of good life as he was available for them too.

Time when His supremacy, simplicity, and enjoyability shined!  Since all the deities came and surrendered, supremacy shined;   since not enforcing His supremacy against the prayOjanAntharaparar who are arrogant and think ‘eeSvarOham’ (I am the controller/supreme), and as He performs what is required to help them, His simplicity is highlighted; due to the togetherness of Him and pirAtti enjoyability shined.

(at the time when He incarnated and churned the ocean..)

vaLai uruvAyth thigazhndhAn enRum – (.. He was white in colour)Since the ones in krutha yugam are high in sathva guNam (tranquillity), it is white that they are joyous about. So as per their taste, He was in the form having white colour. vaLai uruvAy – in the colour of conch. (uru -> colour, as a facet of beauty). It is said too, ‘SaSi varNam chathur bhujam’.

If asking what the authoritative reference is for the time of churning ocean was krutha yugam;- Since it is said as He was ‘SvEtha varNan’ (white in colour), – it shows that it is krutha yugam. The great one (thirumazhisai AzhvAr) divined ‘pAlineermai – niRaindha kAlam nAngumAy [thiruchchandha viruththam – 44]’ (among the four yugams, He having simplicity like milk (white)), showing as four colours for the four yugams.

thigazhndhAn enRum – Lowering His state and showing to them, instead of them becoming bright/satiated, He becomes bright/satiated; since He shows/attends even by lowering His state, His simplicity is obviously highlighted.

perumAnai – (supreme / lord); Not having any count of the forms He takes in these ways for devotees. If yugams are four, would His forms also be just four? Since there is no count for each of the yugams (since they repeat), obviously His forms also would be countless.

Since those in dhvApara yugam people were with the mix of rajas and thamas, He was having the form having colour as per their taste thus not having just red or blue (respectively) – since this is not said explicitly in the pAsuram, this word includes that form/colour as well (bluish black). It is said too as ‘pAsiyin pasum puRam pOlum neermai  [thiruchchandha viruththam – 44]’ (~like the outside blackish colour of moss outside, He being with simplicity).

karu neela vaNNan thannai – In the time of kali, since people shun him and are not having any taste about the colour of his form – He would be having his natural form (of colour) (bluish black). From ‘kalau jagathpathim [SrIvishNu purANam]– etc., (parASara muni saying to maithrEya – people of kali yugam would not worship vishNu the supreme) – “Oh maithrEya! See the trouble emperumAn went through! You are the only one who is not affected by this period! (since parASara in dhvApara yugam can see the future kali yugam, he is talking as ‘this period’)”

karumai – is the name for black; it is also the general name for colours; when it comes to His colour it would be black.

oru vadivaththu Or uru enRu uNaral AgA – Not just lowers himself in colour, but also lowers himself in his form; since in this way for the devotees he lowers himself in his form and colour, it is not possible for anyone to measure it and say that such and such is His form, such and such is His colour; as said in ‘sura nara thiraSchAm [varadharAja sthavam – 17]’, (when incarnating as dhEva, human, or animal, He hid His original nature and took respective characteristics of those births), (Or,  sura nara thiraSchAm [SrIvishNu purANam] (even though you are of no birth and do not go through any change, you are incarnating with the characteristics of dhEvas, human, and animals, for your leelai (play/enjoyment)), since He comes and incarnates in different types of births, He lowered His original form too; 

The adolescent age as said in ‘yuvAkumAra:’  (emperumAn is of such young age), and His colour of dark clouds would be His natural state  – could we not limit/determine His form and colour in this way? Since we also see Him as being a son (growing to different ages), it is not possible to determine the limit of Him based on age.  And, it is not possible to determine the limit of colour since He takes upon the colour based on the taste of devotees.

But what is wrong in determining/limiting by saying, how He is in SrivaikuNtam is the natural colour and form, and the colour and form in these incarnations as incidental (temporary)? When looking at the forms and colours that He took for the devotees, the one in SrivaikuNtam would look incidental/temporary, and the ones He took up for His incarnations are the ones that would be well set for Him (as actual nature); It is ‘ichchAgruheetha’ (He does that out of love for those forms/colours (due to the interest in such forms/colours by devotees), isn’t it?

uNaral AgA – Not only one cannot talk about it with words/songs; it cannot even be thought by the mind (about His many forms/colours).

Uzhi thORu Uzhi ninRu Eththal allAl – (other than praising Him in each eon);  we can only do this – says AzhvAr. If we see His ways of many forms and many colours, other than praising Him till there is time (eternal), it is not possible to determine/limit them.

karu vadivil sem kaNNa vaNNan thannai – (AzhvAr) divines about the form emperumAn showed to him. Only if there is any interest towards Him would He show as per his interest in any specific form or colour.  Since he is not interested in emperumAn and interested in material affairs, He showed, based on His own interest, He showed me His natural form; He showed Himself of dark cloud-like colour and as its accompaniment, the divine (red) eyes – the ones which shower the nectar that is the love (represented as red) which  is inside His mind; (like the love (rain) that is inside rainy clouds);  these too define his superiority similar to His being the husband of periya pirAttiyAr.

katturaiyE yAr oruvar kANkiRpArE – by voluntary blessing of emperumAn I saw Him and talked to Him – is it possible for anyone else to see and talk to Him? (katturaiyE – who can say? Or, they can only talk based on imagination).

Is there anyone who can see Him like I saw Him? Is there anyone who can talk to Him like I talked to Him?

Or, katturaiyE – everyone can only stay far and talk about it; is there anyone who can see Him?

(Aren’t there vEdhams, and AzhvArs who have done that?)

vEdhams too talked about the form of emperumAn as ‘neelathOyadhamadhyasthA’ (nArAyaNan is like the dark rainy cloud with lightning in the middle), thus seeing Him from afar and said approximately so, and went away.

Even those (other AzhvArs) who said ‘neelamuNda min anna mEnip perumAn [thiruviruththam – 29]’ (emperumAn of form like black clouds with lightning) – did they see Him in the way I saw Him? They saw Him only by their innate indifference (to worldly matters), and innate love (towards Him);  Is there any equal to the ways in which I, who is having innate indifference to emperumAn and love towards material matters, saw Him, in compromising ways? Since such is the case, has the vEdham or have the AzhvArs seen the scene that I saw?

Ar oruvar kANkiRpArE – who can see by their own accord? Like the worshippers (sAdhakar (rishis)), did I see Him by my own efforts? Like the prapannas (Arththa prapannas (those who wish to be liberated immediately and reach SrIvaikuNtam), did I see Him by being fearful of this material world? I saw while I was roaming around with interest in worldly aspects, isn’t it? (so I am the main one eligible for paragatha sveekAram (emperumAn voluntarily pursuing me)).

– – – – –

Translation by raghuram SrInivAsa dAsan

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0 thoughts on “thirunedunthANdakam – 3”

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