thiruchchandha viruththam – pAsuram 20 – kUsam onRum inRi

SrI: SrImathE SatakOpAya nama: SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama: SrImadh varavara munayE nama:

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avathArikai (Introduction)

AzhwAr says in this pAsuram “The eminence of your lying in thiruppARkadal (milky ocean) such that celestial entities such as brahmA et al, who desire worldly pursuits, praise you, became the upper limit of simplicity. During the time of amruthamathanam (churning of ocean for nectar), the simplicity of becoming a tortoise to bear the manthara mountain on your back, became the boundary for eminence. You should mercifully shower your grace on me and explain these qualities of simplicity as well as this eminence, separately”.

kUsam onRum inRi mAsuNam paduththu vElai nIr
pEsa ninRa dhEvar vandhu pAda mun kidandhadhum
pAsa ninRu nIril vAzhum AmaiyAna kEsavA
Esa anRu nI kidandhavARu kURu thERavE

Word-by-Word Meanings

pAsam – snares
ninRa – remaining
nIril– in the ocean
vAzhum – living happily
AmaiyAna – one who incarnated in the tortoise species
kEsavA – Oh one who sired brahmA, rudhra et al
kUsam – the thought of “What will happen from someone?”
onRuminRi – without anything
mAsuNam paduththu – spreading [the mattress of] thiruvanandhAzhwAn (AdhiSEshan)
vElai nIr – in the ocean
pEsa ninRa– those who stood (opposite to emperumAn) to speak
dhEvar – celestial entities such as brahmA et al
vandhu – coming from their respective abode
pAda – to praise
mun – from the time of creation
kidandhadhum – the quality of reclining
Esa – to be abused by those who do not know your benevolence
anRu – that time (when the celestial entities were expectantly looking for you)
nI kidandhavARu – the way you were reclining with the manthara mountain gyrating on your back
thERa – to make it known
kURu – you should mercifully speak

Simple Translation

Oh one who sired brahmA, rudhra et al and who incarnated in the species of tortoise, living happily in the ocean filled with weapons such as snares etc! You spread out the mattress of AdhiSEshan without any thought of what danger will come from someone, with celestial entities coming from their respective abode, to speak from the opposite side, praising you and to be abused by those who do not know your benevolent qualities. You should mercifully speak about the way in which you were reclining with the manthara mountain gyrating on your back, at that time, so that I will know.

vyAkyAnam (Commentary)

kUsam onRUm inRi – this could be construed in several ways: (1) this place is full of demons and monsters who are experts in warfare, hiding themselves. Without the fear of what sort of trouble will emanate from where or from whom; (2) emperumAn’s divine form is such soft that it cannot bear even the fixed glance of pirAttis (SrI, bhU and neeLA). Without the fear of his divine form being the subject of the looks from the poisonous eyes of evil people; (3) By combining this term with the last part of the verse, viz. kUsam onRum inRi kURu thERavE, the meaning will be – [emperumAn would think that] there is none appropriate enough to speak about our greatness. Without feeling ashamed of the absence of anyone to speak about our greatness. Aren’t there people who attempt to leave emperumAn saying that he is too eminent an entity for them and people who insult him seeing his simplicity and attempt to leave him?

mAsuNam paduththu – spreading out the mattress of thiruvanandhAzhwAn so that the ocean water will not irritate his gentle form.

vElai nIr pEsa – Since ocean is the abode where emperumAn comes to recline, it felt very happy and showed by agitating itself resoundingly.

ninRa dhEvar – celestial entities such as brahmA et al, who protect the people who are under them. Alternatively, the verse could be rearranged to get vElai nIr mAsuNam paduththu – pEsa ninRa dhEvar: the meaning will be – celestial entities such as brahmA, Sivan et al who are spoken of by some people as being supreme entity and who are opposite to emperumAn. nammAzhwAr too, in his thiruvAimozhi 4.10.4 said “pEsa ninRa sivan” (Sivan is spoken of by some people as the supreme lord, and is standing by such persons’ words)

vandhu pAda – these celestial entities came from their respective abode in the upper worlds to praise emperumAn, in order to get their desires fulfilled.

mun kidandhadhum – this activity of reclining since the time of creation. When brahmA et al praise you, your greatness is seen. At the same time, your simplicity is also seen when along with the agitating noise from the ocean and the praise of brahmA et al for getting their desires of worldly benefits granted, the praising of those from SwEthadhvIpam (another habitable land mass within the galaxy) who desire only emperumAn and nothing else.

pAsa ninRa nIril vAzhum AmaiyAna kEsavA – Oh kEsavA who considered manthara mountain gyrating on your back as your benefit, when you took the form of tortoise in the ocean where varuNan’s (deity for rain) weapons such as pAsam (snares) are present. Alternatively, for the term pAsam ninRa nIr, the meaning could be construed as: thiruppARkadal which is dearer to emperumAn than paramapadham. The term kEsavA refers to the fact that he is the creator of brahmA, Sivan et al since he protected them when they beseeched him to save them so that manthara mountain will not slip into the ocean at the time of churning.

anRu nI kidandhavARu – when the celestial entities looked up to you to protect them, you fulfilled their desire and stood at a greater level than any of them. Such an entity [as you] took the form of a tortoise to protect them, disregarding the abuse thrown at your followers by those who do not know your eminence when they said “Your lord became an animal like tortoise”. This quality of simplicity as revealed by you.

kURu thERavE – you should mercifully reveal to me, yourself, so that I will know. In your quality of simplicity when you took the form of tortoise, your eminence, far above all the others mentioned earlier, was revealed. At the same time, when you reclined in thiruppARkadal with brahmA et al beseeching you, your quality of simplicity was revealed. Of these two predominant qualities, you should reveal which comes to the fore, where. This should be done only by you so that I will understand, says AzhwAr.

Next, we will take up the 21st pAsuram of this prabandham.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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