thiruviruththam – 42 – van kARRaRaiya

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avathArikai (Introduction)

She said that it is difficult for her to survive the onslaught of this breeze and that she would perish. As soon as she said this, he showered his mercy on her.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

van kARRaRaiya orungE maRindhu kidandhu alarndha
menkAR kamalaththadam pOl melindhana maNNum viNNum
enkARku aLavinmai kANmin enbAn oththu vAn nimirndha
thanpAR paNindha en pAl empirAna thadangaNgaLE

Word-by-Word Meanings

maNNum – the earth
viNNum – the upper worlds
enkARku – for my divine feet
aLavinmai – are not apt
kANmin – please see
enbAn oththu – as if saying so
vAn – in the sky
nimirndha – growing
thanpAl – towards him
paNindha – worshipped
en pAl – (caused) towards me
empirAna – sarvESvaran’s
thadam – expansive
kaNgaL – divine eyes
van – bring cruel
kARRu – wind
aRaiya – to blow
orungE – towards one side
maRindhu kidandhu – having fallen
alarndha – blossoming
men – soft
kAl – having a creeper
kamalam – lotus flowers’
thadam pOl – like ponds
polindhana – were full of beauty

Simple Translation

I worshipped the divine feet of sarvESvaran’s, of which he said “See, neither the earth nor the upper words would equal my divine feet”. How were his divine eyes towards such me? They bent towards me, just like the lotus flowers with long creepers in a pond would, when a strong breeze blows, bend towards one side.


van kARRu . . . menkAl kamalam refers to a lotus whose stem is so slender that it cannot withstand even a gently blowing breeze. van kARRu refers to a breeze which blows hard without taking into consideration the gentleness of this lotus.

orungE – on one side alone. In other words, the divine mercy of emperumAn was oriented towards her alone. If he changes his glance to some other direction, the lotus flowers (divine eyes) will lose their beauty.

maRindhu kidandhu alarndha – if a samsAri (dweller of materialistic realm) comes towards him, sarvESvaran looks at him with mercy. If he wishes to look at even pirAtti, after that, he cannot. thiruvAimozhi 2-6-2 says “engum pakkam nOkkaRiyAn” (he did not look in any other direction)

menkAl kamalam – SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 19-34 says “prakruthayA dharma Seelasya rAghavasya” (SrI rAma is one who, by his nature, treads the path of righteousness). In this SlOkam, the word dharma refers to Sri rAma being of gentle nature. SrI rAma asks the monkeys “What is the way to cross this ocean which is like a hurdle between us and lankA?” SrI vibhIshaNAzhwAn, since he had recently carried out SaraNAgathi (act of surrendering) to SrI rAma and had got the benefit of that act, since he knew that SaraNAgathi is the means for all advantages and since he knew that it grants highest benefits, told SrI rAma to surrender to the ocean. The greatness of SaraNAgathi is that even an insentient entity will grant what has been asked for, when a person performs SaraNAgathi to it. Among the various means to captivate the hearts of great people, there is nothing higher than SaraNAgathi. If it can be effective with sarvESvaran who does not have a clan or limitations, should one doubt whether it will be effective with those who are having restrictions? SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 19-31 “SaraNam … karthum arhathi” (the ocean will be inclined to do what SrI rAma had surrendered for). SrI vibhIshaNAzhwAn had seen the effectiveness of SaraNAgathi with the disciples of sage vasishta [srI rAma and lakshmaNa]. Hence he firmly believed that it will be effective with an insentient entity such as ocean too. The vyAkyAtha cites a thamizh proverb to buttress this belief – erudhu keduththArkkum EzhE kadukkAy – for the one who lost his bull, take seven gall-nuts to retrieve it. The story goes like this – a person had lost his bull; he went to another person and asked him whether he will be able to find it. The other person told him, mischievously, to eat seven gall-nuts and that he would find it. So the owner of the bull ate the gall-nuts and waited at the tank bund. The bull per chance came there. Thinking that he got the bull back because he ate the gall-nuts the person went home happily. On the way back home, a lady, who had not had a child till then, asked of him to giver her a remedy for it. This man told her to ask his friend who had suggested to him to eat the gall-nuts. That person told her too to eat seven gall-nuts. She did that and she conceived. In other words, a deed carried out with deep belief fructifies into desired action.

menkAl kamalam – there is no need for breeze to blow to move these lotus flowers. Their stems will sway on their own; they are that soft. In other words, for sarvESvaran to shower his mercy with his divine eyes, it is not necessary that one should be an Arthaprapannan (one who craves to surrender to get mOksham immediately). sarvESvaran will do that on his own. Is it not required to surrender through one’s mind? vyAkyAthA responds to this doubt by quoting SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 18-3 “mithrabhAvEna samprAptham na thyajEyam” (I do not desert anyone who comes with a friendly appearance, even if he has a defect). Instead of analysing whether vibhIshaNAzhwAn has true friendliness or not towards him, SrI rAma says as in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 18-31 “bala vIryam vinASanam” (It is enough that he came with a friendly demeanour. If I do not accept him, my strength and valour will get devastated). If sarvESvaran demands something from one who comes to surrender to him, which he does not have, then it would result in his not being easily worshippable. sarvESvaran has the nature of accepting whatever the person who comes to surrender to him, has. SrI rAma says in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 18-28 “ArthO vA yadhivA dhruptha parESam SaraNam gatha” (whether he is oppressed or arrogant, if one comes seeking protection from others …). If a person comes saying as in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 17-16 “rAghavam SaraNam gatha” (I take refuge under SrI rAma), it is enough for sarvESvaran. When he heard such words from SrI vibhIshaNAzhwAn, SrI rAma immediately fully realised the tenderness in vibhIshaNa’s heart. sugrIva thought “These are mere words; his thoughts are otherwise. Even though SrI rAma considers him as Artha prapannan he is indeed dhrupthan only. He has something in his mind and speaks differently; he should be killed”. An Arthan is one who thinks that he should live only if he attains sarvESvaran; otherwise, he would die. dhrupthan is one who has arrogance in him and says that he has come to take refuge, not with his full heart but with an arrogance. Whether one is an Arthan or a dhrupthan the benefit is the same. This is because the benefit does not accrue out of the nature of the one who surrenders but based on the greatness of the act of surrendering and the greatness of the one to whom one surrenders. How does dhrupthi act like a means similar to Arthi? While the one who has Arthi has Akinchanyam (not having anything on his own) as a natural behaviour, in the case of one who has dhrupthi sarvESvaran thinks “Since he does not have Akinchanyam, let us go on our own and show him mercy”. Thus whether one is an Arthan or a dhrupthan, if he comes to take refuge, as said in SrI rAmAyaNam 18-28 “parESAm SaraNam gatha” (one who comes to take refuge from others), he will be protected, even if he is from the enemy side. periya thirumozhi 1-9-3 says “konREn . . . anRE vandhadaindhEn” (Oh the lord of thiruvEngadam! I killed many people and immediately, before even cleaning the blood stain, I reached you to take refuge). SrI rAma says in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 18-28 “prANAn parithyajya rakshithavya” – he should be protected even if one were to give his life, ireseptective of whether one who comes to surrender is Arthan or dhrupthan. The above mentioned SlOkam ends with the worlds “kruthAthmanA” – one who has a disciplined mind, one who stands in the path of righteousness. Thus, SrI rAma gave refuge to SrI visbhIshaNAzhwAn not only to protect him but also to safeguard his nature of being one who does not cross the path of righteousness. If one surrenders to an AchAryan (guru; teacher) in order to practice the path of righteousness, he has to do like this only.

menkAl kamalaththadam poL polindhana empirAna thadangaNgaL

Whose eyes are they?

maNNum viNNum . . . – they are of one who stands firmly saying “See that this world and the worlds above are too little to be measured by my foot”. He filled the entire ethereal layers with his divine form. If he had said that “I will keep my divine feet on your heads when I measure these”, just as rAvaNa said in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 36-11 “na namEyam” ([rAvaNa told mAlyavAn, who came to offer him good counsel that] he would not bend before anyone even if he were to be cut into two), the people of the world would have refused. Hence he said “Look at this amazing act” [and measured the worlds, keeping his divine feet on everyone’s head even before they realised it]. But why say that here? This is to illustrate the fact that sarvESvaran, on his own, without any of the worldly people asking him to or taking any efforts on their own, took incarnation as thrivikrama and kept his divine feet on his own, on their heads. In other words, he took the efforts for them to get the benefit. This brings out his quality of menkAl kamalam, viz. without the sentient entity taking any effort, sarvESvaran remains the means on his own.

vAn nimirndha than kAl paNindha enpAlAnukUlya sankalpam is the steadfastness with which one remains as favourable to sarvESvaran. For this, sarvESvaran takes the effort himself. Initially [during thrikrama avathAram] he bowed to king mahAbali, then made mahAbali to bow to him and kept his divine feet on mahAbali’s head saying “You were favourable to me” and showed his mercy.

than pAl paNindha – this is similar to van kARRu aRaiya

en pAl – this is similar to saying orungE maRindhu kidandhu alarndha

empirAna thadakkangaLE – he took the efforts for mahAbali to get the benefit. That sarvESvaran feels happy that the benefit is his, is clear from the blossoming of his divine eyes.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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