thiruchchandha viruththam – pAsuram 21 – aranganE tharanga nIr

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

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avathArikai (Introduction)

During the time of samudhra mathanam (churning of ocean), you had incarnated as tortoise [to support the manthara mountain]. Apart from this quality of simplicity, you had carried out several activities including churning of the ocean from both sides [of snake vAsuki, used as a churning rope around manthara mountain), and had said that the celestial entities churned the ocean, giving them the credit for this. When looking at this, it appeared to be similar to your activity of annihilation of demon rAvaNa, but crediting the success to the army of monkeys such that everyone celebrated this. AzhwAr tells emperumAn “You must reveal your partiality towards your followers so that I could understand it”. In other words, AzhwAr is amazed that while the entire world is emperumAn’s possession, he is showing partiality towards his followers alone.

aranganE tharanga nIr kalanga anRu kunRu sUzh
marangaL thEya mAnilam kulunga mAsuNam sulAy
nerunga nI kadaindhapOdhu ninRa sUrar en seydhAr
kurangai Alugandha endhai kURu thERa vERidhE

Word-by-Word Meanings

anRu – during that time (when the ocean was churned)
tharanga – having waves
nIr – ocean
kalanga– to get agitated
kunRu – manthara mountain
sUzh – surrounding
marangaL – trees
thEya – to wear out
mA – huge
nilam – earth
kulunga – to move
nerunga – closely
mAsuNam – snake vAsuki
sulAy – circling it
nI kadaindhapOdhu – when you carried out amrutha mathanam (churning for nectar)
ninRa sUrar – the dhEvas and demons, who stood (helplessly)
en seydhAr – what activity did they carry out?
kurangai– monkeys
ALugandha – one who supported
endhai – lord
aranganE – Oh the lord of SrI rangam!
idhu – this
vERu – in a distinguished manner
thERa – [for me] to know
kURu– [you should] mercifully reveal

Simple Translation

During the time of amrutha mathanam, when the ocean was agitated because of the churning movement of manthara mountain, the trees surrounding the mountain wore out. The huge land mass of earth moved due to this. What activity did the celestial entities and the demonic entities indulge in, when you were churning the ocean? Oh the lord of SrI rangam, who supported the monkeys! You should mercifully reveal this to me, for me to know, in a distinguished manner.

vyAkyAnam (Commentary)

The word aranganE has to be added to the word kURu in the last line to get the correct meaning since it is an exclamatory word, which combines with the adjectives mentioned in the pAsuram.

tharanga nIr kalanga – Just as it has been said in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 19-31 “kAnithas sagarENAyam apramEyO mahOdhadhi: l karthum arhathi rAmasya gyAthvA kAryam mahAmathi: ll” (this king of oceans, who is unfathomable, was severed by (SrI rAma’s ancestor) sagaran. This wise person [referring to the king of oceans] will know the importance of SrI rAma’s deed and would carry out accordingly), since it is a deep ocean, it is capable of pushing back those who enter it for a bath, through its powerful waves. Even such an ocean was agitated as if it were just the water under the hoof of an animal.

anRu – On that day when all the celestial entities lost their wealth due to sage dhurvAsar’s curse and were looking up to you [referring to emperumAn] to redeem their wealth.

kunRu sUzh marangaL thEya – the trees surrounding the manthara mountain started wearing out after being subjected to churning action by vAsuki (the snake).

mAnilam kulunga – due to excessive agitation by the ocean, the land mass, pushkaraththIvu, which was close to thiruppARkadal (milky ocean) was shaken up.

mAsuNam sulAy nerunga – should be rearranged as nerunga mAsuNam sulAy to get the meaning – encircling the mountain closely [for churning it], with the snake, vAsuki. The implied meaning is that since emperumAn gave strength to vAsuki through his radiance, he encircled the mountain closely with vAsuki. SrI vishNu purANam SlOkam 1-9-91 also says that emperumAn gave strength to vAsuki as in “thEjasA nAgarAjAnam thathApyAyithavAn hari: l anyEna thEjasA dhEvAn upabrumhithavAn prabhu: ll” (hari (emperumAn) nurtured the snake vAsuki with a part of his radiance. With another part of his radiance, he gave strength to the celestial entities).

nI kadaindhapOdhu – celestial entities started the act of churning, just as it has been said in SrI vishNu purANam 1-9-84
manthAnam mandharam kruthvA nEthram kruthvA cha vAsukim l thathO mathithumArabdhA maithrEya tharasAmrutham ll” (Oh maithrEya! Subsequently, the manthara mountain was placed as the churning staff, vAsuki was used as the churning rope and celestial entities started churning milky ocean with their strength). However, the one who truly churned that ocean was only your highness, just as it has been mentioned in periya thirumozhi 5-7-4 “Ayiram thOLAl alai kadal kadaindhAn” (emperumAn churned the ocean, with agitating waves, with a thousand shoulders). When your highness churned the ocean…

ninRa sUrar enseydhAr – the celestial and demonic entities, who had both strength and valour, were looking on helplessly [when you were churning the ocean]; what did they do?

ninRa sUrar – celestial entities are referred to as surars. We can consider that the term sUrar as a variation of the term surar and say that this term refers to celestial entities. To be celebrated as “celestial entities churned nectar”, what did they do? Did they take the form of a tortoise and support the manthara mountain? SrI vishNu purANam 1-9-90 says “uparyAkrAnthavAn Sailam bruhathrUpENa kESava: l thathAparENa maithrEya yanna dhrushtam surAsurai: ll”
(Oh maithrEya! Unknown to the celestial and demonic entities, emperumAn took a huge form and pressed on the mountain from the top). Did the celestial entities press on the mountain from the top so that it did not move? Did they provide strength to vAsuki through their radiance? Apart from reaping the benefit of churning nectar, is there anything which they did to be termed that they had churned the ocean? SrI vishNu purANam 1-9-141 says “bhrugO kyAthyAm samuthpannA SrI: pUrvamudhadhE puna: l dhEvadhAnavayathnEna prasUthA’mruthamanthanE ll” (SrI dhEvi initially appeared as the daughter of sage bhrugu and his wife, khyAthi. Again, during the time of amrutha mathanam, she appeared from the ocean through the efforts of celestial and demonic entities). As mentioned in this, while demonic entities were together with the celestial entities during the churning process, why were they given sorrows and celestial entities were given happiness [through the distribution of nectar]? Also, while emperumAn had churned the ocean himself, he gave the credit to celestial entities. Aren’t these acts of partiality!  What is the reason for emperumAn showing partiality towards celestial entities who, instead of desiring him, desired only other benefits? SrI vishNu urANam 1-9-65 says “praNAma pravaNA nAtha dhaithya sainya parAjithA: l SaraNam thvAmanuprApthA: samasthA dhEvathEgaNA: ll” (Oh lord! We, the assembly of all the celestial entities, who were won over by the demonic entities, were engaged only with bowing down to you and have taken refuge under you). As mentioned in this SlOkam, is it not because they had taken refuge under you?

kurangaiyAL ugandha endhai – an example is cited for the partiality described thus far. The implied meaning is that while emperumAn had annihilated rAvaNa, he had said that the army of monkeys killed him, crediting them with the victory.

endhai – even though emperumAn has the greatness of having nithyasUris (permanent dwellers of SrI vaikuNtam) as his servitors, instead of talking despicably about monkeys as “animals”, he had taken them too as his servitors. AzhwAr is amazed with this quality of simplicity and calls him as his lord.

aranganE kURu thERa vERidhE – emperumAn has mercifully taken residence in SrI rangam, in this samsAram, where people do not even know that there is a sarvESvaran (lord of all), in order to exhibit his quality of ASritha pakshapAtham (partiality towards followers), expecting followers to come to him and to accept him. AzhwAr tells emperumAn, who is reclining like this in SrI rangam, to reveal to him so that AzhwAr would understand this in a distinguished way. The implied meaning is that the quality of partiality seen in this pAsuram and in the previous pAsuram, with the vyUha mUrthi of kshIrAbhdhinAthan (lord of milky ocean) as well as the vibhava mUrthi (incarnation) of kUrmam, SrI rAman et al, could be seen directly in periya perumAL who is today in SrI rangam.

Next, we will take up the 22nd pAsuram of this prabandham.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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