periya thirumadal – 4 and 5 – pannu thiraikkavari

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pannu thiraikkavari veesa nila mangai             4
thannai muna nAL aLavitta thAmarai pOl
manniya sEvadiyai vAniyangu thAragai mIn    5

Word by word meaning

maRi kadalum pannu thiraikkavari veesa – the king of ocean fanning with the chowry (fly-whisk) of agitating waves
nilamangai thannai munanAL aLavitta – measuring earth at an earlier time [as thrivikrama]
thAmarai pOl manniya sEvadiyai – towards the lotus-like divine feet


maRi kadalum pannu thiraik kavari veesa – looking at the beauty of emperumAn who is reclining on ananthAzhwAn [AdhiSEshan], samudhra rAjan (king of oceans) is very happy and throws up the sand from ocean floor to its surface. This appears as if he is fanning emperumAn with a chowry (this is an implement used in temples for fanning emperumAn during processions either inside or outside the temple). To emperumAn it appears as if the huge waves are breaking up into smaller waves and these small waves gently massage his divine feet, thus inducing him to sleep. What is the reason for the ocean to fan him? We should rearrange the words of the verse as follows: manniya sEvadiyaip pannu thiraik kavari veesa – the ocean is fanning his divine feet. How are those divine feet?

nilamangai thannai muna nAL aLavitta thAmarai pOl – it is the earth, which has been praised in bhUsUktham as “bhUmir bhUmnA” (she is referred to as bhUmi because of her greatness), which cannot be measured. Didn’t emperumAn measure such inestimable earth with his divine, just then blossomed lotus-like feet! Lotus is taken as the simile here for emperumAn’s divine feet on account of its softness, coolness, complexion, fragrance, beauty etc.

muna nAL – once upon a time; even though emperumAn had measured the earth many yugas (ages) back, AzhwAr is saying nAL (day) due to his ecstasy on thinking about it.

aLavitta thAmarai pOl – it appears that it could be proved that his divine feet, because they had measured the earth earlier, had become sore and are reddish in colour.

manniya sEvadiyai – lotus was taken as a simile only because of a few qualities such as softness etc. After the lapse of a few hours lotus will lose all its qualities of softness, fragrance, complexion etc while the divine feet have their qualities lasting forever (manniya).

Now, the pAsuram discusses the way bhUmippirAtti (bhUdhEvi) massaged the divine feet.

We will see the next part of this prabandham, along with the meaning for the term vAniyangu thAragai mIn ennum in the next article.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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