nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 12 – madhiththAy pOy nAngin

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AzhwAr implores people to analyse the hardships which those who do not know emperumAn face and the benefit that gajEndhrAzhwAn (the elephant gajEndhra) accrued by thinking about him as mentioned in the SlOkam “sa thu nAgavara: SrImAn manasA’chinthayath harIm” (that gajEndhrAzhwAn who has the wealth of kainkaryam (service to emperumAn) thought of hari (emperumAn) in his mind). While the pAsuram has been addressed to emperumAn, in line with the earlier and the succeeding pAsurams, the people of the world are the real target.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

madhiththAy pOy nAngin madhiyAdhAr pOy vIzha
madhiththAy madhikOL viduththAy madhiththAy
madukkidandha mA mudhalai kOL viduppAn Azhi
vidaRkiraNdum pOyiraNdin vIdu

Word for Word Meanings

pOy – analysing all the SAsthras (sacred texts)
madhiyAr – those who do not know you
nAngil – among the four major species (celestial, human, animal and plant)
pOy vIzha – falling [into one of the four species]
madhiththAy – you had taken a vow
madhi – moon’s
kOL – curse
viduththAy – Oh one who caused it to disappear!
madu – in a pond
kidandha – having arrived at (due to a curse)
mA mudhalai – a huge crocodile
kOL – grasping (the elephant gajEndhra)
viduppAn – to liberate it
Azhi – the divine disc
vidaRku – to propel
madhiththAy – you thought of
iraNdum – both the elephant and the crocodile
pOy – leaving their earlier stage
iraNdin – for the two creatures
vIdu – for liberation from their curse and for attaining SrIvaikuNtam
madhiththAy – you took a vow


nAngil pOy madhiyAr vIzha madhiththAy – you had vowed that those who do not know you despite analysing the four vEdhas will bite the dust.

nAngil madhiyAdhAr – “chathur vEdhadharO viprO vAsudhEvam na vindhadhi I vEdhabhArabharAkrAnthas sa vai brAhmaNagardhabha:  II” (the brAhmaNa who studies the four vEdhas and who does not know vAsudhEvan (emperumAn), is like a donkey which carries the loaded vEdhas (which is like invaluable saffron) ). These people (who, despite analysing vEdhas do not know emperumAn) are despised like this (like the example given here).

madhiyAr nAngil pOy vIzha madhiththAy – you vowed that such people will be born in the four major species (of celestial, human, animal and plant) repeatedly. emperumAn has mercifully mentioned in SrI bhagavath gIthA 16-19thAnaham dhvishatha: krUrAn samsAreshu narAdhamAn I kshipAmyajasramaSubhAnAsurIshvEva yOnishu  II” (I push those who hate me, who are cruel, who are the worst among people  and sinners, into the demonic species repeatedly).

madhi kOL viduththAy – you removed the affliction of chandhra (moon) who knew you. Is it not well known that those who do not know you suffer and those who know you are joyous!

Has this been seen elsewhere before?

madukkidandha mAmudhalai kOL viduppAn AzhividaRku madhiththAy – you decided to release the divine disc (to allow the elephant to be liberated) when the crocodile in the pond grasped firmly.

mAmudhalai – both in terms of physical form and strength, the crocodile was bigger than the elephant.

kOL – the strong grasp (of the crocodile)

Azhi vidaRku madhiththAy – while you could have killed the crocodile through your vow/will, you came to the pond and released the disc so that you would sustain gajEndhra who wanted to have your dharSan (seeing) with the divine hand and divine disc. While removing the enemy could have been achieved with emperumAn’s vow, pleasing the follower can be done only through releasing the disc. Aren’t emperumAn’s divine, auspicious form and armaments/ornaments meant only for his followers, as quoted in jithanthE SlOkam 5 “na thE rUpam na chAkArO nAyudhAni nA chAspadham”  (your basic nature, your divine form, your weapons, your dwelling place are not meant for you; they are for your devotees)!

iraNdum pOy iraNdin vIdu madhiththAy – you vowed that both crocodile and elephant would get rid of their forms and return to their original forms – crocodile regained its old gandharva (a class of celestial entity) form and the elephant went to SrIvaikuNtam. vIdu – position. This word can also mean liberation. Hence emperumAn vowed that crocodile will get liberated from its curse and elephant, liberation from samsAram.

Legend has it that a sage dhEvala was carrying out penance in a water body. At that time, a gandharva by name hUhU grasped the sage’s leg due to which the sage cursed him that the gandharva will be born as a crocodile and eat by grasping its victims. Similarly, indhradhyumna, a vishNubhaktha (devotee of vishNu) was meditating when he did not see the arrival of sage agasthya. The sage cursed him that he will become an elephant due to his vanity. Though born as an elephant, indhradhyumna was devoted to vishNu. One day, when he entered a pond to pluck a flower and offer it to emperumAn, he was grasped by the crocodile (gandharva) and the two fought for a very long time. Ultimately, when the elephant cried out to emperumAn AdhimUlam (the prime cause) he was saved by emperumAn and both crocodile and elephant were liberated from their curse.

We will take up the 13th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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