nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 18 – mARAya dhAnavanai

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madhurakavi AzhwAr, ANdAL, emperumAnAr


After AzhwAr said “AlmEl vaLarndhAnaith thAn vaNangumARu …..uraiththAn” (as mentioned in the previous pAsuram), some people asked him “would you say that attaining emperumAn is the most superior means?”. AzhwAr responds in this pAsuram saying “attaining his followers is superior to attaining emperumAn”.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

mARAya dhAnavanai vaLLugirAl mArviraNdu
kURAkak kIRiya kOLariyai vERAga
EththiyiruppArai vellumE maRRavaraich
chAththiyiruppar thavam

Word for Word Meanings

mARu Aya – standing as an opponent
dhAnavanai – the demon hiraNya kashyap’s
mArvu – chest
vaL ugirAl – with sharp finger nails
iraNdu kURagak kIRiya – splitting it into two
kOL ariyai – narasimha mUrthy, who is very strong
vERu Aga – as a dinstinguished entity
Eththi iruppArai – those who worship him
maRRu avarai sAththi iruppAr thavam vellumE – the good deed of the ultimate devotees who attain such devotees of emperumAn [as mentioned in the previous word] will defeat.


mARAya dhAnavanai – the demon hiraNyAsuran who opposed emperumAn ; one who thought of himself as being the supreme being and who opposed emperumAn himself.

mARAya dhAnavanai – one who remained until the end as an opponent to emperumAn. Doesn’t emperumAn annihilate only those who remain as an opponent even after he says as in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 59-114 “gachchAnujAnAmi” (you may go; I allow you) [this was said by SrI rAma to rAvaNa after destroying his chariot and weapons, allowing him to ponder in his quarters].

mARAya dhAnavanai – hiraNya kashyap who remained as an opponent with all his three faculties of mind, speech and deed. emperumAn does not kill if his opponent opposes him with only two out of the three faculties. He kills only those who oppose him with their minds. Hasn’t nammAzhwAr mentioned in his thiruvAimozhi 2-6-6unnaich chindhaiyinAl igazhndha iraNiyan agalmArvam kINda en munnaik kOLariyE ” (Oh the powerful lion! You tore the heart of hiraNya who despised you with his thoughts)! For emperumAn to accept someone, it is enough if that person displays a mere intention. But he does not give up a person unless that person hates him completely, with his heart.

mARAya dhAnavanai – the demon who slid down towards his lifeline itself. Just as emperumAn himself had said as in SrI bhagavath gIthA 7.18gyAnI thvAthmaiva mE matham” (my philosophy is that the knowledgeable person is like my soul) and in mahAbhAratham uththara parvam 24-23 “mama pRANA hi pANdavA: ” (the pANdavas are like my life), did not hiraNya kashyap carry out offence towards prahlAdha, who emperumAn considered as his life?

mARAya dhAnavanai – emperumAn does not consider someone who opposes him as his foe. But if someone opposes his followers, he considers such a person as his foe. Just as it is said in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 24-34 “krOdhamAhArayath thIvram” (SrI rAma made himself very angry), SrI rAma took on an angry makeup when arrows [from rAvaNa’s bow] fell on him. When the arrows fell on thiruvadi (hanuman), as said in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 59-136 “atha rAmO mahAthEjA rAvaNEna kruthavraNam I dhrushtva plavagaSArthdhUlam kOpasya vaSamEyivAn  II” (the radiant SrI rAma, on seeing the injuries suffered by the great monkey hanuman due to rAvaNa, became anger personified), did not emperumAn become anger personified?

vaLLugirAl kIRiya – emperumAn effortlessly carried out the task with his fingernails.

mArviraNdu kURAgak kIRiya kOLariyai – Is it required to split hiraNya kashyap’s chest into two in order to kill him? Wouldn’t an angry snort (hUnkAra) have been sufficient for this? It is said that emperumAn wanted to see if there was some wetness (indicative of affection) in hiraNya’s heart and this is why he used his fingernails to check for this. Didn’t periyAzhwAr too mercifully mention in his periyAzhwAr thirumozhi 1-6-9 “uLandhottu iraNiyan oNmArvagalam piLandhitta kai” (emperumAn touched the heart of hiraNya with his hand and tore it)!

vaLLugirAl kIRiya – emperumAn carried out the task by fulfilling brahmA’s boon that hiraNya will not be killed by weapon.

kIRiya – emperumAn tore the heart effortlessly, similar to tearing a dry blade of grass.

kOLariyai – the mightily strong narasimha.

vERAga EththiyiruppArai – those who worshipped in a distinguished manner. The distinction comes out because the one who is protected [emperumAn’s follower] meditates on the divine activities of emperumAn in earlier times, worries about what will happen, accepts the protection and praises emperumAn. These are people who are similar to the ones mentioned by periyAzhwAr in his thiruppallANdu 6andhiyam pOdhil ari uruvAgi ariyai azhiththavanai pandhanai thIrap pallANdu pallAndu enRu pAdudhumE ” (we will praise emperumAn who killed he demon hiraNya, the enemy of emperumAn’s follower prahlAdha, during the time of dusk, in the form of narasimha (lion head and human body) so that his pain will be relieved).

maRRavaraich chAththiyiruppAr – those who hold on to such SrIvaishNavas who sing pallANdu to emperumAn (those who praise emperumAn, as seen in the previous verse), keeping them as the means as well as the object of attainment.

maRRu – just as it is mentioned by madhurakavi AzhwAr in his kaNNinuN chiRuththAmbu 2dhEvu maRRaRiyEn” (I do not know of any other God…), these people will not have emperumAn as the means. Since he is worshipped by those whom they have held on to, they will look at emperumAn. These are people who are mentioned as in ANdAL’s nAchchiyAr thirumozhi 10.10 “villi pudhuvai vittu siththar thangaL dhEvarai vallaparisu varuvipparEl adhu kANdumE” (if vittuchiththan (periyAzhwAr) calls out to emperumAn, then we will see and worship emperumAn) [this implies that on our won, we will not worship emperumAn, but will worship him if the person that we have attained, shows him to us and asks us to worship him].

EththiyiruppArai vellumE maRRavaraich chAththiyiruppAr thavam – the virtues earned by those who hold on to the followers of emperumAn will win over the virtues earned by the followers of emperumAn. If one holds on to the hands of another person and asks for help, that may be rejected; but if he holds on to the legs of the person and asks for help, can it be denied? In the same way, those who hold on to emperumAn may have doubts on the end result. But in the case of those who hold on to the followers of emperumAn, the result is guaranteed. The superior meaning of this pAsuram is that engaging with SrIvaishNavas (followers of emperumAn) is better than engaging directly with emperumAn. Here, the word thavam refers to that which is liked by emperumAn.

We will take up the 19th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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