thiruchchandha viruththam – pAsuram 6 – nAgam Endhu mEru

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

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsuram, it was mentioned that since emperumAn is the antharyAmi (in-dwelling soul) for all, he is the AdhAram (support; prop) for all. emperumAn asks AzhwAr “It is seen in the world that one substance supports another; when such is the case, how do you say that I alone am the prop for everything?” AzhwAr responds in this pAsuram “vEdhAnthams (end portions of vEdhas, also called as upanishaths) eminently say that you are the prop for all the materials and that this is firmly established only in you; none can see that you are supporting everything as the base, on one’s own efforts”

nAgam Endhu mEru veRpai nAgam Endhu maNNinai
nAgam Endhu mAgam Aga mAgam Endhu vArpunal
mAgam Endhu mangul thIyOr vAyu aindhum amaindhu kAththu
Egam Endhi ninRa nIrmai ninkaNE iyanRadhE

Word-by-Word Meaning

nAgam Endhum Aga – Oh one who has the divine form which is supported by thiruvananthAzhwAn! (AdhiSEshan)
nAgam – svargam (heaven)
Endhu – support
mEru – known as mEru
veRpai – the mountain
nAgam – with the eight elephants in each direction
Endhu– supported by
nAgam – through thiruvananthAzhwAn
Endhu – supported by
maNNinai – earth too
mAga – paramapadham (SrI vaikuNtam)
mAgam – in the ethereal layer
Endhu– supported by
vAr – flowing
punal – river gangA, all these
mAgam – by the ethereal layer
Endhu– supported by
mangul – cloud too
Or thI – vaiSvAnarAgni (a type of fire which helps in digesting food)
vAyu aindhum – the five prANans (vital airs) which help in nourishing
amaindhu – fitting well in the form of protecting
kAththu – protecting them
Egam – only by one entity
Endhi– supported by
ninRa – being [this way]
nIrmai – quality
ninkaNE– only with you
iyanRadhE – is present

Simple Translation

Oh one who has the divine form lying on thiruvananthAzhwAn! Heaven is supported by the celestial mountain mEru. Earth is supported by eight elephants (Alternatively, earth is supported by thiruvananthAzhwAn in pAthALa lOkam, the nether world). The river gangA which is flowing in the ethereal layer is supported by paramapadham. Cloud is supported by the ethereal layer. All these supporting entities, as well as the vaiSvAnarAgni, along with the five vital airs are protected by only one entity. This quality [of supporting everything] is present only with you.

vyAkyAnam (Commentary)

nAgam Endhu mEru veRpai – the mountain which is known as mEru, which supports heaven. As seen in the vEdhavAkyam (context in vEdhams), ‘svargO vai lOkO nAka:’, the word nAga refers to heaven. SAsthras say that mEru mountain, with the help of the beam of rays on its peak, supports heaven.

nAgam Endhu maNNinai – The word nAga: would refer to the serpent AdhiSEshan as well as to elephant. purANas say that earth is borne by AdhiSEshan, or alternatively, by eight elephants, in each direction. Thus, it could be construed that earth is supported either by the eight elephants or by AdhiSEshan, in pAthALam (nether world).

nAgam Edhu mAgam – paramapadham which is also known as paramAkASam, which is full of happiness without any trace of sorrow.

mAgam – svargam which could be considered as parmAkASam, since it is full of happiness without the sorrows seen in this world. Alternatively, since it is larger than the other four elements [of wind, fire, water and earth], this could be considered as mahAgam (large ethereal layer)

mAgam Endhu vAr punal – the AkASa gangai (river gangA) which flows in that ethereal layer, supported by it. When mAgam, which is the thamizh form of mahAkam is occurring thrice here, the first instance refers to paramapadham, the second refers to heaven and the third, to the ethereal layer in earth. Alternatively, the first refers to paramapadham, and the latter two, to ethereal layer. For the first instance of mAgam, what is the meaning of nAgam Endhu qualifying it? Its meaning is that it refers to total happiness without any trace of sorrow. How is this arrived at? The word kham in samaskrutham refers to mirth. akham would refer to the opposite of happiness, which is sorrow; when a na is added to akham (to get nAkham in samaskrutham and nAgam in thamizh) this refers to happiness without any trace of sorrow. Since the word Endhu refers to ‘overflowing’, this phrase nAgam Endhu mAgam refers to paramapadham which is referred to in upanishath as paramavyOman (thaiththirIyam), full of happiness. Alternatively [just as we have seen at the beginning of word-by-word meaning], “nAgamEndhumAga” would be an expression to call or address someone, conveying the meaning “Oh one who is borne by thiruvananthAzhwAn!” The earlier mAgam refers to paramapadham and the next mAgam refers to heaven.

mAgamAgamEndhu vAr punal – paramapadham and the flowing river of gangA which is borne by ethereal layer. Just like svargam, earth, ethereal layer etc were mentioned as being borne by one another with the grace of emperumAn, paramapadham is borne by emperumAn himself directly, without any intermediary entity.

mAgamEndhu mangul – cloud which is borne by ethereal layer.

thIyOr vAyuvaindhamaindhu kAththu – the word Or (unique) is to be added to both the earlier and later terms [0r thI and Or vAyu aindhum aindhum amaindhu kAththu]. emperumAn fits well in the pathos of protection and protects the unique vaiSvAnarAgni along with the five vital airs of prANa, apAna, vyAna, udhAna and samAna. bhagavath gIthA 15-14 says
aham vaiSvAnarO bhUthvA prANinAm dhEhamASritha: l prANApAna samAyuktha: pachAmyannam chathurvidham ll”
(I am present inside the physical forms of all jIvAthmAs as vaiSvAnara agni (also called as jAtarAgni, for digesting food), being together with their vital airs such as prANa, apAna etc, and digest the four types of food which they eat). Thus, it is emperumAn himself who protects jAtarAgni and the five vital airs by being their antharyAmi. The text is also written as Or vAyuvaindhumaindhu kARRu [kARRu or wind instead of kAththu or protection] in which case the meaning would be – along with the five vital airs [as seen just now], there are also five kinds of wind as mentioned in “nAkaScha kUrma: krukara: dhEvadhaththa: dhananjaya:” (winds are classified as nAkan, kUrman, krukaran, dhEvadhaththan and dhananjayan), thus making ten different types in all. Just as it is seen in the authentic text “mEghOdhayas sAgarasannivruththir vidhyuth vibhanga: spurithAni vAyO: l indhOr vibhAkhO gathamushNaraSamEr vishNOr vichithrA: prabhavanthi mAyA ll” (cloud forms and disappears; wave from the ocean reaches the shore and returns; lightning manifests briefly and disappears; wind breezes through; moon waxes and wanes; sun moves. All these are due to the amazing activities of vishNu), all the entities which move about in the ethereal layer, which is not a prop for anything, do so with the sankalpam (thought) of emperumAn. Has it not been mentioned in bhagavath gIthA 9-6 “yathAkASasthithO nithyam vAyus sarvathragOmahAn l thathA sarvANibhUthAni mathsthAnIthayupadhAraya ll”
(Know that just as the expansive wind spreads in the ethereal layer (which is not a prop for anything), in the same way all the entities stand firmly in me)!

EgamEndhi ninRa nIrmai – In the following references, vEdham says, with pride, that emperumAn alone supports entire world: (1) subAla upanishath “dhAthA vidhAthA nArAyaNa:” (it is only SrIman nArAyaNan who creates and supports every entity); (2) thaththirIya AraNyakam “sa dhAthAra pruthivIm dhyAm uthEmAm” (it is only that supreme being who supports all these lower and higher worlds); (3) “Eka Eva sa idham bibharthi viSvam” (he alone supports all the world); (4) thaiththirIya upanishath nArAyaNavalli “viSvam bibharthi bhuvanasya nAbhi:” (for the world, which is like a wheel, he alone bears (as the pot) through his divine navel)

nin kaNE iyanRadhE – it is present only with your highness. The word iyaRRal (noun form of the verb iyanRadhE) would mean both conducting and nurturing. Here it is considered as conducting. In other words, this action of supporting every entity is firmly fitting with emperumAn. The verse yAvar kAna vallarE seen in the 3rd pAsuram is to be brought here to get the meaning that just as I had seen your greatness of supporting all these entities, as revealed by you, could anyone else see these?

We will next take up the 7th pAsuram of this prabandham.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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