SrI: SrImathE SatakOpAya nama: SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama: SrImadh varavara munayE nama:
In the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr had enjoyed the greatness of emperumAn incarnating as krishNa, transforming his aprAkrutha (not made of primordial matter) divine form into the form of a cowherd boy, creating taste in mOksham (SrI vaikuNtam) and bhOgabhUmi (earth which offers worldly pleasures) among people who did not have any taste in these. In this pAsuram, he engages with the greatness of the quality of krishNAvathAram (incarnation of emperumAn as krishNa) once again, recalling how he brought himself under the control of a cowherd lady, yaSOdhAp pirAtti, such that she could tie him up with a rope or release him at her will, as well as beat him up.
ambulAvu mInumAgi AmaiyAgi AzhiyAr
thambirAnumAgi mikkadhu anbu mikka adhanRiyum
kombarAvu nuN marungul Ayar mAdhar piLLaiyAy
embirAnumAya vaNNam enkolO em IsanE
em IsanE – Oh one who is our natural lord!
AzhiyAr – (being the indicator of lord of all) divine disc’s
thambirAnumAgi – being the lord
ambu – in water
ulAvu – roaming around
mInum Agi – incarnating as a fish too
AmaiyAgi – incarnating as a tortoise too
mikkadhu – gaining greatness
anbu mikku – being highly affectionate
adhanRiyum – beyond that
kombu – like a stick
arAvu– like a snake
nuN – slender
marungul – one who had waist
Ayar mAdhar – yaSodhAp pirAtti, the herd-lady’s
piLLaiyAy – as her son
empirAnum Aya vaNNam – the quality of being our lord
enkol – how is it!
Oh one who is our natural lord! You are the lord of the divine disc. You incarnated as a fish too, roaming in water. You incarnated as a tortoise too, being affectionate and being great. Beyond that, you also became the son of yaSOdhA, the herd-lady, who had a slender waist like a stick or like a snake. How did you do this!
The first two lines of the pAsuram should be rearranged as AzhiyAr thambirAnumAgi – ambulAvu mInumAgi AmaiyAgi – mikkadhu to get cogent meanings.
AzhiyAr thambirAnumAgi – Just as it has been said in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 114-15 “vyakthamEsha mahAyOgI paramAthmA sanAthana: l anAdhimadhya nidhanO mahatha: paramo mahAn ll thamasa: paramo dhAthA SankhachakragadhAdhara: ll” (This SrI rAma is paramAthmA, the ancient and mahAyOgi entity. He is without a beginning and end. This eminent entity is more eminent than thamas and mahAn [these are entities derived from prakruthi, the primordial matter]. He dons the divine disc, conch and mace), he is the supreme entity, having the divine disc in his divine hand.
ambulAvu mInumAgi – incarnating as a fish which dwells in water. The word appu refers to water. ambu is a variation of appu. Alternatively, the samskrutham word ambu which means water, could be considered here. Just as it has been said in periya thirumozhi 11-4-1 “mudhugil malaigaLai mIdhu koNdu varum mInai” (emperumAn, who is in the form of a fish, bringing mountains on his back), emperumAn is moving about as a fish, in his natural habitat of water, in order to remove the danger of celestial entities who were worried since they lost their habitation to the deluge. The um (also) in the term mInum (also as fish) indicates that apart from incarnating as upEndhran (vAmanan), a celestial entity, and as SrI rAma and krishNa, human entities, emperumAn also incarnated as a fish, an animal, manifesting his greatness.
AmaiyAgi – incarnating as a tortoise in order to bear the weight of manthara mountain, during churning of the milky ocean. yajur AraNyakam 1-23 says “sO’pAm antharatha: kUrmam bhUtham sarpantham thamabravIth” (that brahmA told that eminent tortoise which was roaming in the middle of the stream). In line with this, it could be said that emperumAn incarnated in the form of tortoise and told brahmA about the sequence of creation, during the time of deluge.
mikkadhu – being great. The implied meaning is that taking incarnation in lowly species, in forms which are normally taken by those who have committed lot of sins, and which are incongruent to his eminence, adds greatness to him.
anbu mikku – did he not take incarnations like this only because of his affection for jIvans, who were in dire straits! It was not because of karma (past deeds) or to beget someone, that he incarnated. Did not nammAzhwAr too say that he took several incarnations because of his affection for chEthanas, in his thiruvAimozhi 1-8-8 “mInOdu Enamum thAnAnAn ennil thAnAya sangE” (he himself incarnated as fish, boar etc because of his affection for me).
anRiyum – more than that. AzhwAr wonders “How is he transforming the divine form which is enjoyed by nithyasUris into a tortoise which dwells in water!” Due to this involvement with such transformation, he said “AmaiyAgi Azhkadal thuyinRa AdhidhEva” (in pAsuram 14) and “pAsam ninRa nIril vAzhum AmaiyAna kEsavA” (in pAsuram 20). He continues that involvement in this pAsuram too. Further, he states through the second half of the pAsuram as to how the eminence of krishNAvathAram, which is higher than in kUrmAvathAram (incarnation as tortoise), made him engage more with emperumAn.
kobmarAvu nuN marungul Ayar mAdhar piLLaiyAy – as the son of yaSodhaip pirAtti who had a slender waist, like a stick or like a snake. When he incarnated as fish or tortoise to protect chEthanas, there was none to control him. Didn’t this incarnation [as krishNa] have the eminence of his being under the control of a cowherd lady, who tied him down and beat him up! parASara bhatar (son of kUraththAzhwAn, the eminent disciple of rAmAnujar) says in SrI guNarathna kOsam 28 “svarUpam svAthanthryam bhagavatha idham chandhravadhanE thvadhASlEshOthkarshAth bhavathi kalu nishkarshasamayE l thvamAsIr mAtha: SrI: kamithuridhaminthanthvavibhavas thadhantharbhAvAth thvAm na pruthagabhidhaththE Sruthirapi ll” (Oh mother mahAlakshmi who has a face like the moon! During the time of establishing supremacy of the supreme entity, did not the svarUpam (basic nature) of bhagavAn’s independence come about because of your embracing him? You are the distinguished attribute for your consort, emperumAn, explaining his basic nature and basic characteristics. Since you are together with him (identifying his basic nature), vEdham too does not treat you separately). In this incarnation [as krishNa], even that independence was destroyed. In other incarnations, you transformed yourself but did not give up your independence!
empirAnumAya vaNNam enkolO – how amazing that you manifested your quality of simplicity by which you let them to tie you down and to beat you! By using the plural term in empirAn (our benefactor) [instead of en pirAn which will be in singular, referring to my benefactor], AzhwAr is including the other AzhwArs who also were engaged with this quality of simplicity of emperumAn.
emmIsanE – we understood that your transforming your divine form and divine nature is only because you considered our happiness and sorrow as your own.
We will next take up the 36th pAsuram of this prabandham.
adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan
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