thiruchchandha viruththam – pAsuram 42 – vERisaindha chekkar mEni

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr had said “nI vaguththalum mAya mAyamAkkinAy” (you had created and destroyed the worlds). In line with the saying “Eka Eva rudhrO na dhvIthiyAya thasthau” (Only Siva was present; there was no second entity) and in line with the authentic text thaiththirIya upanishath nArAyaNavalli 16 “sarvO hyEsha rudhra:” (all these [entities] are only rudhra), only rudhra carries out the activity of destruction. Moreover, it has been mentioned in several authentic texts that brahmA carries out the activity of creation. emperumAn reminds AzhwAr that when such authentic texts say that other deities carry out such activities, how is he saying that only emperumAn has the greatness of carrying out the three major tasks [of creation, protection and destruction]? AzhwAr responds, saying “In order to remove the danger which occurred to rudhra, you had incarnated in a lower status, amidst them [rudhra and brahmA]. Can’t you clarify this doubt yourself?”

vERisaindha chekkar mEni nIRaNindha pun sadaik
kIRu thingaL vaiththavan kai vaiththa van kabAl misai
Uru sengurudhiyAl niRaiththa kAraNandhanai
ERu senRadarththa Isa pEsu kUsam inRiyE

Word-by-Word Meanings

vEru – distinguished
isaindha – appropriate for (the activity of destruction)
chekkar – reddish (due to anger)
mEni – having a form
nIRu – ashes
aNindha – one who has applied
pun – entangled and being thin
sadai – one who has matted hair
kIRu – having a single streak [moon on the first day]
thingaL – moon
vaiththavan – rudhra, who has adorned (on that matted hair)
kai – in the hand
vaiththa – held
van – not letting go
kabAl misai – in the skull
Uru – secreted (in the divine form)
sem – reddish
kurudhiyAl – with blood
niRaiththa – filled up
kARaNandhanai – the cause
kUsam inRiyE – without any shyness
senRu – falling over
ERu – bulls
Adarththa – one who killed
Isa – Oh lord of all!
pEsu – (you yourself) should mercifully state

Simple Translation

rudhran has a reddish, distinguished form (due to his anger) which is appropriate for his activity of destruction. He applies ashes on his body and has an entangled, matted hair, along with moon with a single streak (moon as it appears on the first day after new moon day) on that matted hair. Oh, the lord of all! You had filled up the skull which that rudhran held in his hand, and which was inseparable from his hand, with reddish blood. You, who had killed seven bulls falling over them, should mercifully state the reason for this, without feeling shy.

vyAkyAnam (Commentary)

vERisaindha chekkar mEni – having a reddish form which is appropriate for his distinguished activity (of destruction). chekkar – red. Red – symbol of anger. The term vERisaindha, meaning fitting in a distinguished way, is used as an adjective here. Instead of referring merely to a colour, reddish, it refers to anger, which the colour red symbolises. While emperumAn engages with the activities of creation, protection and destruction, he carries out creation of all entities in the universe, through brahmA. During the time of deluge, he carries out the activity of destruction of the entities in the universe, through rudhran. He also protects all the entities such that they do not get harmed during the time of deluge, by keeping them in his divine stomach. emperumAn carries out the three activities of creation, protection and destruction, because of his mercy. brahmA carries out creation through rajO guNam (quality of passion) and rudhran carries out destruction through thamO guNam (quality of laziness, ignorance).

nIRaNindha punsadai – having a physical form smeared with ashes and having matted hair which is entangled. punmai – lowliness, viz. having entangled hair. It is clear that he is carrying out atonement for having plucked the head of his father, brahmA, since he has smeared ash all over his physical form. Since he has his hair in an entangled manner, it is clear that he is observing a sAdhanam (means) like sages.

kIRu thingaL vaiththavan – having moon with a single streak on his entangled hair. Thus, through usage of the term chekkar mEni it is clear that he has the activity of destruction which results from anger; through the term pun sadai, it is clear that he follows a means as he is under the control of SAsthram (authentic texts) and has lowly matted hair; through the term kIRu thingaL vaiththavan, it is clear that he engages with prAkrutha bhOgam (enjoyment with worldly pursuits).

kai vaiththa van kabAl misai – in the brahmA’s skull which is inseparable from his hand. The term kabAl misai makes it clear that he has incurred a curse since he had plucked brahmA’s head. The term van indicates the strength of that curse in the sense that he will not be liberated from the curse until the skull is filled through alms. Since he is called as kapAli by his followers, the strength of this curse is emphasised. Being with a sin is applicable to only the jIvans who are bonded to samsAram and who are under the control of SAsthram. From the narrative of liberation from curse of the skull, it is implied that brahmA too is a bonded jIvan.

URu sengurudhiyAl niRaiththa kAraNandhanai – the reason for filling (that skull) with blood-like water which secreted from your [emperumAn’s] divine form.

pEsu – you tell me if the reason for that is different from the fact that your are the ISvaran who controls him [rudhran] and that he is controlled by you. Is there any reason other than the fact that you are the protector and that he is protected by you? In this pAsuram it has been mentioned through the usage of the term sengurudhi that the material which emperumAn offered as alms from his divine chest is blood. In this prabandham, in the 113th pAsuram, AzhwAr would say alangal mArbil vAsa nIr koduththavan confirming that the material offered as alms from his divine chest is fragrant water. What is the reason for this difference? In this pAsuram, it is said that emperumAn gave reddish water, which was like blood, from his aprAkrutha divine form which he made appear like a prAkrutha form. Just as it has been mentioned in chAndhOgya upanishath 3-14-2 which says of emperumAn that he is “sarva gandha: sarva rasa:” (he is the repository of all the good fragrances and all the good tastes), since he transformed his aprAkrutha divine form which is the repository of all good fragrances into a prAkrutha form, even blood, which came out of his aprAkrutha divine form was fragrant. It is this fragrance which has been cited in pAsuram 113.

kUsam inRiyE ERu senRadarththa Isa pEsu – without feeling shy of the cruel nature of the seven bulls and the softness of your divine form, oh emperumAn, you had fallen on the bulls and proved that you are the ISan (one who controls everything) by controlling those bulls! You only have to mercifully tell me about this.

The meaning for this is as follows: Despite incarnating in the clan of cowherds who are under the control of SAsthrams, you had killed seven bulls and were not affected by that sin and remained as the ISvaran. rudhra was with the name of ISvaran and even when he was still with the divine nature, he attained the stature of a sinner after plucking the head of brahmA. You had incarnated as vishNu to be one among brahmA and rudhra and removed the sin of rudhra even when you had lowered yourself to their level. Could this fact of your being the ISvaran and rudhra being a jIvan under the control of karma, be destroyed by even celestial entities, should they turn against you as your enemies? We could also unite the terms kUsaminRiyE with pEsu and get the meaning – mercifully tell me, without any shyness.

Not feeling shy of hiding your eminence, and standing together with lowly people, just as it has been mentioned in SrI vishNu purANam 5-13-12 “nAham dhEvO na gandharvO na yakshO na cha dhAnava: l aham vO bAndhavO jAthO naithachchinthyamithO’nyathA ll” (I am not a dhEvan; not a gandharvan; not a yakshan; not a demon (these are all different types of celestial entities). I am born as your relative; my birth is not to be considered (by you people) in any other manner), you should mercifully tell me, who knows the aprAkrutha nature of your divine form just as it has been mentioned in bhagavath gIthA 4-9 “janma karma cha mE dhivyam Evam yO vEththi thathvatha: l thyakthvA dhEham punar janma naithi mAmEthi sO’rjuna ll” (Oh arjuna! One who truly knows like this, my aprAkrutha (not relating to primordial matter) birth and activities, does not have another birth after relinquishing his body in that birth. He attains me).

We shall next take up the 43rd pAsuram of this prabandham.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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