periya thiruvandhAdhi – 6 – neRi kAtti

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AzhwAr tried to go away from emperumAn thinking that he is not qualified to be with emperumAn even after emperumAn had created an interest in AzhwAr towards him. emperumAn had got him into his fold [as we had seen in the previous pAsuram] . AzhwAr now thinks that emperumAn has decided that AzhwAr could now take care of himself and says in frustration “If you think in your divine mind about me this way, I will surely perish”

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

neRi kAtti nIkkudhiyO ninpAl karumA
muRi mEni kAttudhiyO mEnAL aRiyOmai
en seyvAn eNNinAy kaNNanE IdhuraiyAy
en seydhAl enpadOm yAm

Word by Word Meanings

kaNNanE – Oh my swAmy (lord) who incarnated as krishNa!
neRi kAtti – showing (other) means
nin pAl nIkkudhiyO – will you remove (me) from you?
(nin pAl) karu mA muRi mEni – your blackish divine form which is like a tender mango leaf
kAttudhiyO – will you show?
mEl nAL – since time immemorial
aRiyOmai – I, who am ignorant
en seyvAN eNNinAy – what do you propose to do?
Idhu uraiyAy – tell us the words (mA Sucha:)
en seydhAl – whatever beneficial acts which you do
yAm en padOm – (if you leave the act of protecting us, to us) what troubles will we not create?


neRi kAttu nIkkudhiyO – will you banish me from you by showing me other means in which I have to make the efforts (to attain you)? AzhwAr says that showing him, who is totally dependent on emperumAn, other means by which AzhwAr has to make efforts himself, which are contrary to his svarUpam (basic nature), is equivalent to banishing him. When krishNa instructed in SrI bhagavath gIthA 18.65 to arjuna “man manA bhava madhbhakthO ….” arjuna felt sad that emperumAn was showing him means in which he has to make efforts. That he felt sad is reflected in the very next [charama] SlOkam 18.66 when krishNa says mA Sucha: (do not grieve). Is it not clear that if a person is told “you take care of your needs” it means that it has been said with the intention of giving him up? Did not naLa tell his wife dhamayanthi “this is the way to vidharbha and this is the way to kOsala” and leave her later when they were sleeping, by cutting the cloth that they were wearing as said in “Esha panthA vidharbhANAm Esha yAthi hi kOsalAn”? In the same way, is it not to get rid of a person [AzhwAr] who has attained him [emperumAn] and who has given him [emperumAn]  the responsibility of protecting him, that emperumAn says “you have to look after what is good for you”?

ninpAl karu mA muRi mEni kAttudhiyO – Or else, will you show me, through your causeless mercy, your divine form which is blackish and which is like a tender mango leaf? The word ninpAl is added to both the previous verse and this verse to get the meaning. Did not upanishath too mention that emperumAn will show his divine form to those who are dear to him, as mentioned in kata upanishath 1-2-23?  “nAyamAthmA pravachanEna labhyO na mEdhayA na bahunA SruthEna I yamEvaisha vruNuthE thEna labhyA: thasyaisha AthmA vivruNuthE thanUm svAm  II” {(this paramAthmA) cannot be attained through hearing, committing to memory and meditating, without devotion.  Whoever is chosen by the paramAthmA only will attain him. This paramAthmA reveals his divine form to him}.

karumA muRi mEni – The word muRi refers to a tender leaf. mAmuRi – tender mango leaf. Thus, the softness of emperumAn’s divine form is spoken of by this word. Since the adjective karu (black) has been added, this refers to emperumAn’s divine form being darker than the tender mango leaf.  The commentator for this prabandham, SrI periyavAchchAn piLLai would say that karumAmuRi would refer to the glossy black pigment from which the superficial layer of dust has been removed. Thus, this refers to the glossy state of emperumAn’s divine form.

The next word mEnAL can be added to the preceding and succeeding words to get the meanings..

mEnAL karumA muRi mEni kAttudhiyO – Will you show your divine form which has been existing from time immemorial?

mEnAL aRiyOmai – I, who have been ignorant from time immemorial.

aRiyOmai en seyvAy eNNinAy – what are you proposing to do with us who have been caught up in the whirl of ignorance since time immemorial? Is it proper on a person who knows the correct path, to tell another person who has lost his way “You find the way yourself”? Or is it proper on his part to show the lost man, the correct path? AzhwAr’s situation is similar to the one expressed by SrI ALavandhAr in his sthOthra rathnam 49th SlOkamavivEkaghanAntha dhingmukE bahudhA santhatha dhu:khavarshiNi I bhagavan bhavadhurdhinE padha: skalitham mAm avalOkayAchyutha II ” (Oh one who is full of knowledge, power and auspicious qualities! Oh one who does not let go of your followers! Shower your mercy on me who has lost the correct way and is caught in the dark times of samsAram (materialistic realm) which is having darkened directions due to the clouds called as indiscretion and which keeps pouring continuous troubles).

en seyvAy eNNinAy – did you try to push me into the path of devotion as said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 18-65man manA bhava madh bhaktha ….” or did you propose to show yourself as the means, as said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 18.66sarva dharmAn parithyajya mAmEkam SaraNam vraja I aham thvA sarva pApebhyO mOkshayishyAmi mA Sucha: II” (leave aside all the righteous paths (as means of attaining mOksham) with their traces and hold on only to me as the means; I will liberate you from all your sins. Do not grieve)?

kaNNanE Idhu uraiyAy – the responsibility of telling me “Do not worry” (which you said in the just quoted charama SlOkam) and giving me refuge, rests only with you.

emperumAn says with his divine mind “But I have given you deep knowledge and devotion such that  ignorance will be got rid of”……

en seydhAl en padOm yAmAzhwAr responds to emperumAn “It is true that you created in me the ability to be free from malevolence towards you; you made me to be favourably disposed towards you;  you also gave me deep knowledge and devotion such that I can get rid of my ignorance. Apart from [providing me with] these, even if you carry out more benefits towards me and take me to paramapadham (SrIvaikuNtam), if you leave it to me to take care of myself, will I not get rid of the first mentioned quality of being without malevolence towards you and return to samsAram to become your enemy?”

We will move on to the 7th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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