thirunedunthANdakam – 18 – Part 1

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In the previous pAsuram line of ‘nangAy nam kudikku idhuvO nanmai enna, naRaiyUrum pAduvaL navilkinRALE’, since the mother said that she did not adhere to her words, she thinks now – ‘I cannot get her back by saying good words’, and ‘Now let her be as is, and let us find what her thoughts are’, and so asks the daughter ‘What are you thinking?’. She replies ‘There is no use of calling Him like this any more. So I am going to go to the place where He is present’. Upon hearing this, the mother tells those who came to inquire, ‘Oh she is trying to go and get the experience of Him. Even SrI dhEvi, BhUmA dhEvi et al who are having the utmost love, would struggle to get satisfied by the experience of Him. Isn’t this the state of those like her who ignore their state of womanliness and only consider the sweetness of emperumAn that they wish to attain?’. The mother who was talking indirectly about her being proud of her daughter’s state, is now saying openly as ‘This is what is ‘niRaivu azhindhAr ninRkum ARu’ (the ways of those who ignore their state and consider emperumAn’s sweetness).

In this pAsuram, it makes the mother’s words as first objection (pUrva-paksham), and then talks settled determination (sidhDhAntham) using daughter’s words. Mother’s opinion is – we should realize first about our true nature of complete subservience, and then be involved in the enjoyment that is matching such subservience. Reason for mother to say so is – Since in SAsthrams it talks about benefits like heaven that are adverse to our true nature, first we should determine what (limited) benefit is there as per our true nature, and only then should we be in the path of experiencing that benefit. So, enjoyment is only that which matches our true nature, is the principle of the mother. Daughter, refusing this thought, making it pUrva-paksham, replies – What you are saying is not acceptable. First we should determine the enjoyment that we are going to get, and then we should shape our nature to match that enjoyment. When seeing it in this way, considering the beauty of divine body of emperumAn, and considering the greatness of involvement of SrIdhEvi and BhUdhEvi, we who wish to get such top most enjoyment should not consider our complete subservience, but make efforts towards trying to get Him – this is the sidhDhAntham of daughter (parakAla nAyaki).

kAr vaNNam thirumEni kaNNum vAyum
kaiththalamum adiyiNaiyum kamala vaNNam
pArvaNNa madamangai paththar, piththar
panimalar mER pAvaikkup pAvam seydhEn
ErvaNNa enpEdhai en sol kELAL
emperumAn thiruvarangam engE ennum
neervaNNan neermalaikkE pOvEn ennum
idhuvanRO niRaivazhindhAr niRkumARE            18

Word by word meaning

Er vaNNam pEdhai – Having beautiful form that is the daughter
pAvam seydhEn en – of me who is a sinner,
en sol kELAL – does not listen to my words;
thirumEni kAR vaNNam ennum – She is saying that (emperumAn’s) divine body is having colour like that of dark cloud;
kaNNum – (His) eyes, and
vAyum – divine mouth, and
kai thalamum – divine palms of hands,
adi iNaiyum – two divine feet
kamala vaNNam ennum – are of colour like lotus flower, says she;
pAr vaNNam mada mangai paththar ennum – She says that (He) is under the influence of BhUmi pirAtti;
pani malar mEL pAvaikku piththAr ennum – She says that He is in deep love towards periya pirAttiyAr who was born in the comforting beautiful lotus;
emperumAn thiruvarangam engE ennum – She asking where is thiruvarangam of emperumAn who got me to realize servitude;
neer vaNNan neer malaikkE pOvEn ennum – I have to go to thiruneermalai that is the abode of the one who is having the nature of water;
niRaivu azhindhAr niRkum ARu idhu anRO – It appears that this is the way of those who lost their controlled state.


kAr vaNNam thirumEni By this pAsuram mother establishes to those who came to inquire about her state, that such and such is the determination (sidhDhAntham) of her daughter.

She (daughter) is not the one immersing first in the meaning of praNavam that is the first word (padham) of thiruvashtAkSharam, and that of its congruent and third word “nArAyaNAya”. She got immersed first in the beauty of His divine body that is the meaning of the word “nArAyaNAya” only. (prakruthi – root matter that He is present in, and is used by Him, to create all non-sentient elements and things including our body). Reason for this stance of daughter is that when she was in the state that the body made of prakruthi that causes troubles was the purushArtham (benefit), He showed His beautiful divine body and that is only how He removed her interest in the body made of prakruthi. So it is the divine body that is enjoyed by nithyasUris that she got attracted to first, says the mother.

As seen in “Esha sarvasvsBhUthasthu parishvangO hanUmatha: | mayA kAlamima prApya dhaththas thasya mahAthmana: || [SrI rAmAyaNam – yudhDha kANdam – 1-13]” (SrI rAma says – This embrace of me, which is like giving away everything of me, is given to the noble hanUman by me at the apt time), what He gave to hanUman who served Him, is His divine body only!

In geethA charama SlOkam, based on being arjuna’s charioteer, holding the reins of bridle of horses of the chariot, standing with dust from army’s movement covering His divine fluffy hair – and thus showing His divine body only is how He divined to arjuna – “surrender only to me”.

Because of showing the true nature, qualities that are the destiny, it is the ultimate destiny that is the divine body which helped her get rid of her interest in worldly matters. Going to paramapadham by archirAdhi mArgam too is to enjoy the divine body of paramapadha nAthan who fully shows all His six main attributes such as gyAnam, Sakthi.

Due to these reasons, one should first consider the meaning of third word of thirumanthram (nArAyaNAya) that is the beauty of divine body, and only in congruence with that should we determine our true nature that is the meaning of the first word (praNavam) of thirumanthram – this is the opinion of her daughter.

kArvaNNamRemoval of three types of sorrows that arise in this world (AdhyAthmikam, AdhiBauthikam, Adhidhaivikam), and removing the suffering from those who are undergoikng that due to separation, is done by this divine body only.

kaNNum vAyum kaiththalamum adiyiNaiyum kamalavaNNamAs said by poet kambar in bAla kANdam of his kamba rAmAyaNam – “karumugil thAmaraik kAdu pUththu(like flowers blossoming in the dark cloud), in the cloud that is His divine body, His eyes, lips, and palms are reddish – so it appears like lotus blossoming in the dark cloud. That is the way the divine limbs of His body are. That is, it is not enough to give just the dark cloud as an example to explain about His divine body; one can say it as an example only if there is a cloud that is full of blossoming lotus. So this comparison is aBhUthOpamai (comparison with a non-existent).

kaNNum vAyum kaiththalamum adiyiNaiyum kamalavaNNam – In general, those who surrender to emperumAn should first consider the attributes such as vAthsalyam, sauSeelyam, saulaBhyam that are present in His true nature/form. But since she is interested in His divine body, she is first considering the divine limbs of His body, that is, eyes, lips, palm, divine feet, which reflect the attributes of His divine body.

If she had fallen in love based on His true nature, then the attributes of His nature like saulaBhyam etc., would have helped her as the means to surrender to Him. But since she is in love with Him based on the beauty of His divine form, it is the limbs and qualities of His divine body only that are the means for her. Generally when one gets afraid of the worldly matters, then they understand the true nature of self and of emperumAn, and understand one’s (wrong) ways of living earlier, and to remedy that be involved in the divine qualities of Him – this is Not the case for her. She got interested in His divine form first, and so is considering the qualities of His form and surrendering to Him.

kaNNum – As said in “thUdhu sey kaNgaL [thiruvAimozhi – 9.9.9]”, His eyes would make one who is not interested in emperumAn, to become interested and fall on His feet. So His eyes are the means for Her.

As seen in “jitham thE puNdareekAkSha namasthE viSvaBhavana .. || [jithanthE sthOthram – 1.1]“ (Oh One having eyes like beautiful lotus! (This AthmA) was won by You; it is not mine; it is Yours! Oh One who created the worlds! … (this AthmA) should avoid being for me, and it should be there for You only (as Your servant)) — it is the eyes of emperumAn that first makes one interested in Him. So only His eyes are the means.

As said in “aham BheethOsmi dhEvESa samsArE(S)min BhayAvahE | pAhi mAm puNdareekAkSha na jAnE SaraNam param || [jithanthE sthOthram – 1.8] (Oh the leader of dhEvas! I am taken aback seeing this scary sea of births. Oh One with lotus eyes! I don’t find any way other than You (to cross such a sea). Please save me) – for those who get interested in Him, it is the eyes that are the means to reach Him.

As said in “thAmaraik kaNNanai viNNOr paravum thalaimaganai [thiruvAimozhi – 2.6.3]”, after reaching emperumAn, it is the eyes that one has to see all the time, it is only the eyes that becomes the destiny/benefit (upEyam) too.

vAyumTo those who got involved in His eyes, it is the divine lips/mouth that gives out a smile to remove all the sadness due to such a long separation from Him; if we approached Him with the hesitation – “Would the mind of emperumAn be in anger towards us who have done mistakes”, His smile would be such that we ourselves would think “We did not do any mistakes”. It is the smile that says without saying that He has forgiven our mistakes.

kaiththalamumand the hand that says to the ones that go to Him, “mASucha: [geethA charama SlOkam]” (do not feel bad/bemoan). As said in “aNimigu thAmaraik kaiyai andhO adichchiyOm thalai misai nee aNiyAy [thiruvAimozhi – 10.3.5]”, it is only the hand that is the destiny/benefit (upEyam) too.

adiyiNaiyumAnd the divine feet that one would wish to enjoy, after getting their fear removed by seeing the hand that gives removal of fear. As said in ‘lOkavikrAntha charaNau’ it is the divine feet that is for surrendering. As said in “thirvikrama thvath charaNAmbuja-dhvayam-madheeyamUrdhAnam alankarishyathi [sthOthra rathnam]”, and in “padikkaLavAga nimirththa nin pAdha pankayamE thalaikkaNiyAy [thiruvAimozhi – 9.2.2]”, it is only the divine feet that is enjoyable.

This is the nature of the divine eyes that enable our relationship first, of the smile of lips that make it stronger, of the divine hands that would eagerly embrace those who have understood their relationship with Him, and of the divine feet one falls to after losing themselves to that embrace.

kamala vaNNamComparing to lotus is just based on a small similarity only; the lotus that would wither soon would not be a suitable means to explain about the parts of divine body of emperumAn that is said as ‘sadhaika-rUpAya [vishNu purANam – 1.2.1](to vishNu who has got the divine body that is always of a sustained form). nammAzhvAr too rejected the comparison by divining, “katturaikkil thAmarai nin kaN pAdham kai ovvA [thiruvAimozhi – 3.1.2]”.

Continued in Part 2.

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Translation by raghurAm SrInivAsa dhAsan.

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