thirunedunthANdakam – 21 – Part 1

SrI: SrImathE SatakOpAya nama: SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama: SrImath varavaramunayE nama:

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The SlOkam that was quoted in eleventh pAsuram, “machchiththA: mathgathaprANA: bODhayantha: parasparam [SrI geethA – 10-9]”, is considered here. SrI parASara Bhattar divines that the three words of this SlOkam give meanings of the three pathigams of thirunedunthANdakam. (each set of 10 pAsurams). This SlOkam was explained in the introduction to eleventh pAsuram. It is explained more here.

“machchiththA:” is – “madh Eka chiththA:” (those who hold only me in their hearts). Not mixing other worldly matters, but channel their mind only in the matter of emperumAn, is the meaning. AzhvArs too divined that the intellect is only that which depends on the divine pair of emperumAn and pirAtti, as in “thAmaraiyAL kELvan oruvanaiyE nOkkum uNarvu [mudhal thiruvanthAdhi – 67]”. Everything else is dishonour (like a wife seeking some other man. It is because, between emperumAn and jeevAthmAs, there is a relationship of husband and wife). Considering other than emperumAn as means and/or destiny is a dishonour. Considering primordial matter (prakruthi) and items that are made of it, as something to attain is also dishonour. Thinking that we are independent of emperumAn, is also a dishonour. These are the meanings shown by “madh Eka chiththA:“. The 1st set of 10 pAsurams of thirunedunthANdakam talked with the mind that is having the place only for emperumAn. So, those 10 pAsurams are the explanation for “machchiththA:“.

“madhgatha-prANA:” (their life is based on me) is the next word. As said in “Aviyai aranga-mAlai [thirukkuRunthANdakam – 12]”, having life that is focussed towards Him. Being like that means – Feeling alive when being with Him, but fainting when separated. In the 2nd set of 10 pAsurams, thirumangai AzhvAr fainted due to the excessive love for emperumAn, and could not talk about her state on her own. So these pAsurams were set as the talk of her mother. So those 10 pAsurams are the explanation for “madhgatha-prANA:“.

“bODhayantha: parasparam” (They enlighten each other about the matters of emperumAn), is the next word. As said in “pullANi emperumAn poy kEttu irundhEnE [periya thirumozhi – 9.4.5]”, listening about emperumAn and sustaining oneself. “gOvindhan guNam pAdi – Avi kAththiruppEnE [nAchchiyAr thirumozhi – 8.3]”, sustaining one’s life by talking about the divine qualities of emperumAn. Talking to her friends about the relationship between her and emperumAn, and listening to their words, is how she could sustain her life – this is shown in the 3rd set of 10 pAsurams of thirunedunthANdakam. So these last 10 pAsurams are the explanation for the third word “bODhayantha: parasparam“. So this has been the additional explanation of SrI parASara Bhattar divining the meaning of groups of pAsurams in thirunedunthANdakam.

The first 10 pAsurams are set like how parASarar, his divine son vyAsar, and rishis would talk keeping emperumAn in their mind. They are of the type of giving importance to intellect. Middle 10 pAsurams are of the type of AzhvArs’ experience of emperumAn – being happy when together with Him, and sad when separated from Him. Third 10 pAsurams go with the state of seethA pirAtti and other pirAttis. They sustain themselves by talking about their happy times with emperumAn.

The relationship of this pAsuram with the previous one is – since not being in the state listening to correcting words, the mother appreciated the state of her ways and stepped aside after saying ‘perum thavaththAL enRu allAl pEsalAmE [thirunedunthANdakam – 20]”. Since her attaining a state of desperation is the result of His efforts (in many lives of a jIvAthmA), He was happy with that result and stayed away. But parakAla nAyaki was not able to tolerate the separation and so was in sunken state. As said in “Evam bahu-viDhAm chinthayithvA [SrI rAmAyaNam – sundhara KANdam – 31-1]” ((After seeing the state of seethAp pirAtti in ashOkavanam, thought of many different ways of introducing himself and the ways of talking to her), so in these ways, after thinking in many different ways .. (he started talking such that only she would be able to hear him)), like how thiruvadi thought of many ways, here too, after observing the state of parakAla nAyaki, her dear friend thought that she is not in the state of accepting good words of advice, and she thought about many different ways to make her sustain her life, and concluded that if she reminded her about the times of her union with emperumAn, then she would sustain her life thinking about that. So she asked parakAla nAyaki – since your union with Him was of gAndharva type, I was not present with you at that time, so you tell me how He came to your place, how did He unite with you, then before leaving what words did He say to comfort you? Since her reply is based on what happened with emperumAn, she was able to sustain herself and answered her inquiring friend – that is the theme running here.

In the first pAsuram (of the last 10 pAsurams) – parakAla nAyaki says – Oh dear friend!, Even after seeing His beauty and simplicity, like putting into the ocean and losing some thing that we were able to get hold of, I lost Him due to thinking of Him in a different way (that He is supreme, instead of thinking He is simple to approach). As her friend asked first as to how He came, this pAsuram is set as answering that question. This pAsuram is set as the association of chakravarthy thirumagan (rAmar) as the man, and parakAla nAyaki as the woman that is as seethA pirAtti.

maivaNNa naRum kunchik kuzhal pin thAzha
magaram sEr kuzhai iru pAdilangi Ada
eyvaNNa venchilaiyE thuNaiyA ingE
iruvarAi vandhAr en munnE ninRar
kaivaNNam thAmarai vAy kamalam pOlum
kaNNiNaiyum aravindham adiyum ahdhE
avvaNNaththavar nilaimai kaNdum thOzhee!
avarai nAm dhEvarenRu anjinOmE 21

Word by word meaning

mai vaNNam naRu kunchi kuzhal pin thAzha – Black in colour, having much fragrance, flailing in the air on His back is the divine hair each of which is curled separately,
magaram sEr kuzai – ear rings
ilangi Ada – shaking bright
iru pAdu – on both sides,
ey veNNam vem silaiyE thuNai aa – having as the companions the bow having fiery nature of shooting (a rain of arrows),
iruvar Ay vandhAr – He and iLaiya perumAL who does not separate from Him, came
en munnE ninRAr – and stood in front of me
ingE – in this thirumaNankollai;
kai – divine hands
thAmarai vaNNam – are beautiful like red lotus flower;
vAy – mouth too
kamalam pOlum – matches the lotus;
kaN iNaiyum – the two divine eyes too
aravindham – are that lotus only;
adiyum – divine feet also
ahdhE – are that lotus only;
kaNdum – even after having seen
nilamai – the state of
avvaNNaththavar – Him who is having such beauty,
thOzhee – Oh dear friend!
avarai – About Him
nAm – I
dhEvar enRu anjinOmE – was afraid because of thinking that He is the supreme lord.


mai vaNNam – Very dark hair. Its blackness is such that His divine black body would look like a clear crystal. So the divine hair gave more beauty along with His divine body.

naRum kunchi – naRumai – fragrant. Divine hair that is excessively fragrant. So fragrant that it would remove the difficulties faced by both those affected by the three types of hardships faced in this world (ADhyAthmikam, ADhi Baudhikam, ADhi dhaivikam), and the hardships due to separation from emperumAn. As said in “kESava: klESa-nASana: [nArasimha purANam – 26-37] (Did you not worship) kESavan who destroys sorrows, (asked yamadharma to one who is suffering in his hell)“, emperumAn’s divine hair would remove all sadness. Not only pleasing to the eyes, but the excessive divine fragrance also removes all the difficulties faced in mind.

kunchi – Instead of being curly in groups of hair, His hair is looking beautiful with each strand of hair hanging curled separately. At first nammAzhvAr divined, “koLginRa kOL iruLaich chugirndhitta kozhum suruLin uL koNda neela nannUl thazhi kol [thiruvAimozhi 7.7.9]” comparing darkness to emperumAn’s black hair. Since it was not a good match, he said just “anRu mAyan kuzhal [thiruvAimozhi – 7.7.9]”, thus just saying – “His hair”, because nothing was an apt comparison. The unstable darkness would not be a good comparison to His hair that is always set in such form. Hair that is sweet to look at, attracts our mind, and always enjoyable.

kuzhal pin thAzha – As said in “praSastha snigDhaneela kutilakunthala: [SrI vishNu sahasranAmam – kEsava: – 23 – Bhattar’s Bhasyam] (Having locks of hair that is praise-worthy, soft, dark, and curly), hair that is soft, dark, and curly flailing in His back;

pin thAzha – Friend asks, “How did you see His back (where the hair was, when He would have been facing you)”, and she replies, “Like how one cannot swim against the force of air from a cyclone, He could not face the wave of my beauty, and so turned His head away. I saw His hair at that time”. sthOthra rathnam SlOkam-35 talks about hair hanging in the forehead, and SlOkam-34 talks about it hanging till the shoulders. Even for emperumAn who is all-capable could not face it – such is her sweetness.

magaram sEr kuzhai irupAdu ilangi Ada – Due to the darkness of that hair, my sight was darkened, and so the divine face was not clear. At that time, like two moons rising, the divine ear-ornaments were present in His ears. When thiruvadi was searching for seethAp pirAtti, the rising moon helped him. Similarly, for the face that was darkened due to His dark hair, the ear-ornaments were giving it brightness.

ilangi – That is, it is talking about the brightness due to the pair in His ears adding colourfulness to each other. You could not see the beauty of that added colourfulness where I could not decide whether the ear-rings were the ornament for the hair, or the hair was like an ornament for the ear-rings, she says to her friend.

Ada – It was like an ocean coming with gentle movements, when the two ear-rings shaking on both sides as He came walking. Bhattar divines about this as, “There would be some movement (of happiness) in the face when seeing one’s lover. (so the ear-rings were shaking)”. nanjIyar divines, “Showing his front side, then His back side, what all gimmicks does He do to destroy her womanliness! (that is why the ear-rings shook on either side)”.

Who came along with Him?

ey vaNNa venchilaiyE thuNaiyA – He came with his hands and bow only as His companion, she says.

ey vaNNa venchilai – The fiery bow with the nature of shooting arrows. It is in the family of the bow to shoot arrows. (As per the ways of the clan of ikShvAku to which SrI rAmar belongs; as per the ways of bow made of bamboo). He brought the bow as His companion, thinking that a “Shiva-dhanuS” helped Him unite (Bow given by Shiva to janakar which SrI rAmar lifted and broke and so got the hand of seethA pirAtti. Here she thinks of herself as pirAtti). As she herself said, He is “villiRuththu mellyial thOL thOydhAy [thirunedunthAndakam – 13]” (~broke the bow and embraced the shoulders of pirAtti).

venchilai – The bow is such that even if a person with no valour would lift it then it would make him the greatest among beings. Or, it cannot be lifted other than the greatest of beings. Even for paraSurAmAzhvAn, he had to be born as a son of jamadhagni muni as an amSAvathAram (jeevAthmA with aspects of emperumAn’s powers), in order to be able to life the bow.

venchilaiyE thuNaiyA – bow that does not require the help of mind of one lifting it and shooting arrows. Just the bow serves as the companion.

venchilai – The bow is such that the enemies would be afraid to the core at just the sight of it. Seeing the state of Him with the bow would make those who love Him to live well, and those who oppose Him to lose. Oh friend, you could not see the manliness of how He came here with His hands holding the bow. Wife of a valorous warrior would indulge in his valour only. It is as said in “tham dhRushtvA SathruhanthAram – parishasvajE [SrI rAmAyaNam – AraNya KANdam – 30-39]” (Seeing such SrI rAman who destroyed the enemies and gave comfort to the maharishis, seethA pirAtti felt like regaining her existence. Happy, she hugged Him very much – it is His valour to which she fell for here).

silaiyE thuNaiyA – Since He came for me, He came alone (along with a non-sentient bow). Or, If someone who see Him asks why He came here, then He could say that He came for hunting, so that they could not question any more. He came with the bow that would help Him so. She also came here with the front of plucking flowers, so that she could be with Him.

ingE – This is the place where I got the treasure-trove (that is union with Him). After He went away after union, this place is such that I could stay put smelling the sand as He walked leaving the marks of His foot-prints here.

ingE – She is showing thirumaNankollai.

iruvarAy vandhAr – Isn’t it a contradiction to say that two of them came, after having said He came with His bow as the companion? There is no contradiction since like how the bow gives Him identification, presence of iLaiya perumAL (SrI lakShmaNan) also gives Him identification. He is said as “rAmasya-dhakShiNO-bAhu: [SrI rAmAyaNam – AraNya KANdam – 34-13, 34-14]” ((SrI lakShmaNan is) like a right-hand for SrI rAmar).

iruvarAy vandhAr – If he is like His right-hand, then why mention him separately? Like how it is not a separating meaning when one says that He came with His shoulder that hugs. It is not an exaggeration to say that one who is coming alone for union is coming with His bed (SrI lakShmaNan being Adhi Seshan).

iruvarAy vandhAr – He came as a supreme lord but also came as a simple human being. He did not come as just a lord, nor as just a devoted person, but as these two aspects mixed in Him. (How can someone come with both aspects mixed?) – He came with the mind as the lord placing His divine feet on my head, but ended up placing my feet on His divine head, losing Himself due to love. When holding hands during wedding one behaves as the lord, and in the bed room the formal ways are lost. So emperumAn is supreme as per the state of His devotees, and when His love for them flows back in excess, He behaves like a devotee of the devotee, as said in “athyantha Bhakthi yukthasya na Sasthram naiva cha krama:” (One who is having great love would not focus on the rules of SAsthras, nor the formal etiquettes).

Or, considering the word’s grammar, He came such that we would become two; such that only we two would be present (neither He nor I would be alone).

vandhAr – While I am supposed to go to His place and do madal procedure to get Him, it is He who came to my place. Or, Oh friend, you did not get to see the beauty of His walk when He came here walking. His walk required shouting an award to Him that He is the expert above of all in the art of walking.

vandhAr en munnE ninRAr – He came with a big rush, but like a river stagnating when nearing an ocean, He hesitated and stopped after not being able to win me, and so stood in front of me. While it is apt for me to longingly think when the time would come that I would see Him, it is He who stood thinking whether this girl could see my face directly – she says to her friend.

ninRAr – Stood as He could not step further. Stood in one place like a plant, or stood because there was nowhere else to go – these could also be the meanings.

Continued in part 2.

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Translation by raghurAm SrInivAsa dhAsan.

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