perumAL thirumozhi – kulaSEkara AzhwAr vaibhavam – part 2

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Subsequently, kulaSEkharar, not willing to continue in regal duties which are fraught with such deceitful activities, crowned his son dhrudavrathan as the king and left for SrI rangam, as per his long-standing wish, along with his daughter, chErakulavalli nAchchiyAr. He lived there for many years, worshipping namperumAL (uthsavar at SrI rangam). Since his daughter chErakulavalli nAchchiyAr desired azhagiya maNavALan (namperumAL) as her husband, he gave her in marriage to namperumAL. He built a fortified wall on the third prakAram (perambulation) of the temple; this exists even today and is known by the name kulaSEkharan thiruchchuRRu (perambulation of kulaSEkharar). He carried out several other services to perumAL as well as to his followers.

Desiring to go to other dhivyadhEsams (divine abodes), kulaSEkharar went to thiruvEngadam, thiruvayOdhdhi, thillaiththiruchchithrakUtam, thirukkaNNapuram, thirumAlirunjOlai and thiruviththuvakkOdu, worshipped the emperumAns there; he went to thirukkurugUr and worshipped the divine feet of nammAzhwAr. He went to brahmadhESam (mannArkOyil) which is near that place, carried out divine service to rAjagOpAla swAmy there. He attained paramapadham in his sixty seventh year. When he went to various dhivyadhEsams and worshipped emperumAns in these abodes, the overflowing love which he had towards those emeprumAns took the form of divine pAsurams (hymns) which everyone could enjoy in later years too. This collection of pAsurams is known by the name perumAL thirumozhi (the divine words of kulaSEkharar). Another work, in samskrutham, by the name mukundha mAlai (garland for SrIman nArAyaNa, who grants mOksham), a wondrous prabandham, is also ascribed to kulaSEkharar. However, preceptors such as periyavAchchAn piLLai, who wrote divine commentary for all the nAlAyira dhivyaprabandham (the collective works of all AzhwArs) and for pUrvAchAryars’ (preceptors’) works such as  sthOthra rathnam (gem of praises on SrIman nArAyaNa), did not write a commentary for mukundha mAlai. Also, none of the preceptors prior to maNavALa mAmunigaL cited reference from any of the hymns from mukundha mAlai. Thus, it would not be inappropriate to state with certainty that kulaSEkhara AzhwAr did not compose mukundha mAlai and that a kErala king, by the same name kulaSEkharar, who lived prior to maNavALa mAmunigaL’s time, and who was a great devotee of SrIman nArAyaNa, had composed this.

We will now briefly state the meaning of perumAL thirumozhi. The most merciful emperumAn (SrIman nArAyaNa) provided AzhwAr with devotion and knowledge without any trace of ignorance. With that knowledge, which was born out of devotion, AzhwAr had a longing to see emperumAn immediately. Not being able to bear the delay in going to paramapadham (SrI vaikuNtam) to experience him, he longed to have dharSan (vision) of periya perumAL in SrI rangam where emperumAn, apart from having the auspicious qualities such as parathvam (greatness) matching that of paramapadhanAthan (lord of SrI vaikuNtam), also has the auspicious qualities of saulabhyam (easy to approach) such as Seelam (a great person being affable with inferior persons). However, he was unable to proceed due to his regal duties and the thadhIyArAdhanam that he was organising for SrI vaishNavas. Due to these reasons, he lamented “When will I enjoy the great gem who is lying in the beautiful SrIrangam?” in the first decad.

For those who are greatly involved with emperumAn, six prapanna svabhAvams (basic qualities of those who surrender to emperumAn) will gradually form. These are: (1) AnukUlya sankalpam (vowing to engage in activities which are pleasing to favourable ones (emperumAn and his followers), (2) prAthikUlya varjanam (avoiding the unfavourable ones; desisting from carrying out activities inimical to emperumAn), (3) firm belief that “The owner, emperumAn, will protect us”, (4) considering emperumAn as the protector, (5) proffering the AthmA (soul) to emperumAn and (6) appealing to emperumAn about the absence of anything in us to reach him. Of these, AzhwAr manifested his having AnukUlya sankalpam towards emperumAn through iruLiriyach chudarmaNigaL … in the first decad. He manifested his having AnukUlya sankalpam towards bhAgavathas (followers of emperumAn) in the second decad, thEttarum thiRal …. Thus, with the engagement with emperumAn cascading to his followers too, AzhwAr says that his connection with the unfavourable ones got severed (this is prAthikUlya varjanam as seen in serial no 2 above), through the third decad, starting with meyyil vAzhkkaiyai … Despite having AnukUlya sankalpam with emperumAn and his followers as well as prAthikUlya varjanam, AzhwAr realised that he had not attained emperumAn. He thought “Perhaps emperumAn thinks that I still have attachment with my kingdom and is delaying my attaining his divine feet”. He now appeals to thiruvEngadamudaiyAn (the lord of thirumalai, where thiruvarangan, who was experienced in the first three decads of perumAL thirumozhi, stands) expressing his detachment towards wealth in both his kingdom on earth and in the ethereal world. He expresses his desire to be any object atop thirumalai hills and to see emperumAn’s beautiful, coral like lips, through the fourth decad, starting with UnERu selvaththu. Even after attaining all these, he realises that he has not attained emperumAn. He now reveals that he has the characteristics of Akinchanyam (not having anything on his own to attain emperumAn) and ananyagathithvam (not entrusting himself to anyone other than emperumAn) detailed through several examples and appeals to the divine feet of emperumAn at thiruviththuvakkOdu, in the fifth decad, tharu thuyaram thadAyEl. Since he did not attain emperumAn even after this, he reaches the limit of distress, assumes the state of pirAtti (consort of emperumAn) and expresses his state of joining with emperumAn, separating from him and having love-duel with him through the sixth decad Ermalarp pUnguzhal, just as nammAzhwAr did in minnidai madavar (thiruvAimozhi 6-2) and thirumangai AzhwAr in kAdhil kadippittu (periya thirumozhi 10.8). With the sorrow of what he had lost since time immemorial rearing its head, AzhwAr recalls the lamenting of dhEvaki (krishNa’s mother), upon seeing krishNa after he killed kamsan, about what all she had lost after krishNa was born and asked to be shifted to gOkulam soon after his birth. AzhwAr does this through the 7th decad AlaineeL karumbu. After singing this in the bhAvam (emotions) of dhEvaki, he assumes the bhAvam of kausalyA (mother of SrI rAma) and sings lullabies for SrI rAma at thirukkaNNapuram through the 8th decad mannu pugazh. After this, he assumes the bhAvam of dhaSaratha chakravarthi and laments about how dhaSaratha feels distressed about sending off SrI rAma to the forest after enjoying all his playful and courageous activities as a child and youth, through the ninth decad van thALiNai. In order to get rid of all the sorrow of all such losses that he had suffered in the previous decads, he brings the prabandham to an end by describing the incarnation of SrI rAma, just as it was done by SrI vAlmIki bhagavAn, from the time of his birth to the time of his ascension to SrI vaikuNtam, by praising SrI rAma in thiruchithrakUtam, in the tenth decad angaNedumadhiL.

Since he was totally engaged with perumAL (chakravarthith thirumagan, the son of dhaSaratha chakravarthi) during his life time and through his prabandham, he was called as kulaSEkharap perumAL. In his perumAL thirumozhi 4.9, AzhwAr, while carrying out kainkaryam (service) for emperumAn, had said “padiyAyk kidandhu un pavaLavAy kANbEnE” (I will lie down in your presence as a step and enjoy your beautiful, coral-like lips). In this, he states that he does not have the primary share of enjoyment through the words padiyAyk kidandhu (lying as a step, made of stone). He also stresses that it is only emperumAn who has the primary share of enjoyment through the words un pavaLa vAy (your coral-like lips). He also says that he has secondary share of enjoyment through the words kANbEnE (I will see). Since he prayed this way to thiruvEngadamudaiyAn, annulling his desire to attain emperumAn, the step which is present just before the sanctum sanctorum in all the bhagavath sannidhis (dwelling places of emperumAn) is called as kulaSEkharan padi (the step of kulaSEkhara AzhwAr).

Note: These two parts of kulaSEkharAzhwAr vaibhavam and perumAL thirumozhi introduction were translated based on the article by puththUr swamy in the perumAL thirumozhi commentary published by him.

We will enjoy the thaniyans for this prabandham, in the next two articles.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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