mUnRAm thiruvandhAdhi – 11 – nangOdhum

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AzhwAr says that other than those with sharp knowledge, it is not possible to know about emperumAn. When his divine names are recited, he may reveal himself, but for the others he cannot be known.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

nangOdhum nAlvEdhaththuLLAn naRaviriyum
pongOdharuvip punalvaNNan sangOdhap
pARkadalAn pAmbaNaiyin mElAn payinRuraippAr
nURkadalAn nuNNaRivinAn

Word by Word Meanings

nangu Odhum nAl vEdhaththu uLLAn – he is spoken of by the four vEdhas (sacred texts) which are faultless
naRavu iruyum – with sweetness which will beat honey
pongu Odham aruvi punal – like an ocean and like the water from a stream
vaNNan – having divine form
sangu Odham pAl kadalAn – one who is reclining on the milky ocean with waves having conches
pAmbu aNaiyin mElAn – one who is resting on SEsha Sayanam (AdhiSEshan mattress)
payinRu uraippAr nUl kadalAn – emperumAn who is spoken of by SAsthras (sacred texts) which are recited and explained by vaidhikas (followers of sacred texts)
nuN aRivinAn – not known (by those who try through their efforts to know him)


nangOdhum nAl vEdhaththu uLLAn – emperumAn has been established by the four vEdhas (sacred texts) which have been learnt properly and sustained in the mind. He is established by vEdhas which have sub-parts and which been studied by observing various religious practices such as fasting, continence etc. Just as emperumAn himself has mentioned in SrI bhagavat gIthA 15-15 “vEdhaiScha sarvairahamEva vEdhya:” (only I am known through the vEdhas), he is present in all the four vEdhas. emperumAn is the meaning for all the words spoken in the vEdhas, both direct and subtle meanings. nangOdhum would also mean vEdhas speaking explicitly about emperumAn’s auspicious qualities.

naRa viriyum pongOdha aruvip punal vaNNan – he has the complexion of ocean having lapping waves and like a stream of water. By splitting the first two words as naRavu iriyum we can say that emperumAn has sweetness bettering even honey. He has a divine body which, as mentioned in chAndhOgya upanishath 3-14-2 “sarva gandhas sarvarasa:” (he has all the sweet fragrances and sweet tastes), is sweet.

sangOdhap pARkadalAn – he reclines in the thiruppARkadal (milky ocean) where the waves bring forth conches which keep blowing resoundingly. Alternative explanation – he is reclining in milky ocean which has conches and waves. This implies that emperumAn who is known only through vEdhas is now closer to samsAris (people living in materialistic realm) [since he has descended from SrIvaikuNtam to thiruppARkadal].

pAmbaNaiyin mElAn – He reclines on the soft mattress of AdhiSEshan so that his divine form will not be pricked by the ocean water. He is ananthaSAyi (one who reclines on AdhiSEshan). Alternatively, we can say that in order not to give up his followers, he came to thiruppARkadal, which is closer to this world.

payinRu uraippAr nURkadalAn nuN aRivinAn – he is established well by learned people who are experts in sacred texts such as smruthi, ithihAsam, purANam etc. Alternatively, he is established by ithihAsa and puRANas through people who speak with total involvement in these texts.

nuN aRivinAn – he is such that only people with sharp intellect will know him. He cannot be known by those who try to know him through their own efforts.

We shall take up the 12th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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