thiruchchandha viruththam – pAsuram 44 – pAlinIrmai

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsuram, the manner in which chEthanas (those with knowledge) announced their servility through the verse “maNNaLandhu koNda kAlanE” and the manner in which those who follow this servility knew the way in which they could meditate on the aprAkrutha divine form through the verse “anjanaththa vaNNan” were mentioned. During the four yugams [epochs] of krutha, thrEtha, dhvApara and kali, due to the excess of noble, passion etc qualities in jIvans, they will desire the colours of white, red, green and black, respectively. Due to this, emperumAn changed his complexion from the black colour which was mentioned in the previous pAsuram and took upon the complexion of white, red etc, and manifested his divine form with the colour desired by them. Despite that, the jIvans were indifferent to emperumAn. Seeing this, AzhwAr detests the samsAris and exclaims ‘’How strong is their impression of previous births!’’

pAlinIrmai sembonIrmai pAsiyin pasumbuRam
pOlunIrmai poRpudaith thadaththu vaNdu viNdulA
neelaneermai enRivai niRaindha kAla nAngumAy
mAlineermai vaiyagam maRaiththadhenna nIrmaiyE

Word-by-Word Meanings

pALin nIrmai – the whiteness of milk
sem – reddish
pon – gold’s
nIrmai – the quality of being red
pAsiyin – moss’
pasumbuRam pOlum nIrmai – the quality of freshness on the outer layer of greenish complexion
poRpudai – being beautiful
thadaththu – in the pond
vaNdu – beetles
viNdu – spreading their wings
ulA – well spread out
neela – the colour of purple lily
nIrmai – black complexion
enRivai – these complexions
niRaindha – seen (on his divine form) without any shortcoming
kAlam nAngumAy – the one who is the controller of the four epochs of krutha etc
mAlin nIrmai – the simplicity of emperumAn
vaiyagam – those who dwell on earth
maRaiththadhu – not caring about
enna nIrmaiyE – how horrible?

Simple Translation

The whiteness of milk, the redness of gold, the freshness of green complexion seen on the outer side of moss and the dark complexion seen when beetles spread out their wings in the pond are seen in the divine forms of emperumAn who is the controller of the four epochs of krutha, thrEthA, dhvApara and kali, respectively. How horrible is it that those who dwell on this earth have become indifferent to the simplicity of such emperumAn!

vyAkyAnam (Commentary)

pAlin nIrmai – since those who inhabit the world during krutha yugam have excess of sathva guNam (noble qualities) and desire white colour, emperumAn will make his divine form to appear in white colour. The word nIrmai refers to svabhAvam – basic characteristic. Here, it refers to the complexion. Both thirumangai mannan in his thirunendundhANdagam – 3 “kadalamudham koNda kAlam vaLaiyuruvAyth thigazhndhAn” (in krutha yugam, when he churned the milky ocean to obtain nectar [for celestial entities] emperumAn had a white complexion, like a conch) and this AzhwAr in thiruchchandha viruththam 15 “sangavaNNam anna mEni” (divine form like a white coloured conch), had mercifully referred to his white complexion during krutha yugam. Here, while mentioning the colour of that yugam, reference to pAlin nIrmai is to show that the divine form of emperumAn has all the good tastes, including the taste of white coloured milk, just as it has been said in chAndhOgya upanishath 3-14-2 “sarvagandha: sarvarasa:” (emperumAn is the repository of all the good fragrances and all the good tastes))

sembon nIrmai – in the second yugam of thrEthA yugam, people will have a lower level of sathvaguNam and a higher level of rajO guNam (qualities of passion, anger etc), desiring reddish colour. emperumAn will make his divine form to reflect this reddish colour just as it has been said in manu smruthi 12-122 “praSAsithAram sarvEshAmaNIyAmsamaNIyasAm l
rukmAbham svapnadhIgamyam vidhyAththu purusham param ll” (It should be known that parama purushan (supreme entity) controls all entities, that he has radiance like melted gold and that he is apt to be known through knowledge similar to the (amazing) intelligence gathered in dreams) as well as by nammAzhwAr who had said in thiruvAimozhi 3-1-2 “sutturaiththa nanpon un thirumEni oLi ovvAdhu” (even pure gold which has been melted in fire and polished on a grinding stone will not match your divine complexion). While referring to the complexion of emperumAn, thirumangai AzhwAr had said in thirunedundhANdagam 3 “thirEdhaikkaN sEyan enRum” (emperumAn has reddish colour in thrEthA yugam). AzhwAr’s reference to gold while explaining his reddish complexion while saying “sembon nIrmai” is to emphasise that emperumAn’s divine form with that colour is as invaluable as gold.

pAsiyin pasumbuRam pOlum nIrmai – during dhvApara yugam, emperumAn has the divine complexion which is similar to the freshness on the outer surface of moss, which removes the ennui of beholders.

Next, the pAsuram speaks about the complexion in kaliyugam.

poRpudaith thadaththu vaNdu viNdulA nIrmai – in a beautiful pond, beetles lie close to each other and drink honey from flowers. Due to the resultant happiness [of drinking honey] they flap their wings and roam around, together. emperumAn has the complexion of bluish colour which is seen during that action by beetles. Since adjectives have been provided for the bluish coloured flower, it is implied that he has the complexion of such bluish flower which removes the ennui of those who look at it. The term poRpu refers to beauty. viNdal refers to blossoming. Here, this would refer to spreading the wings. Unlike other yugams, during kaliyugam, emperumAn does not covet any specific colour. Since, in kaliyugam, there is none who desires him irrespective of the colour which he takes, he remains with his original bluish complexion. Did not thirumangai AzhwAr too say in his periya thirumozhi 4-9-8 “muzhudhum nilai ninRa pinnai vaNNam koNdal vaNNam” (during kaliyugam, emperumAn has dark complexion of cloud)? Hasn’t the great sage parASarar too said in SrI vishNu purANam 6-1-50 that during kaliyugam, people will not engage with emperumAn? “kalau jagadhpathim vishNum sarvasrashtAramISvaram l nArchayishyanthi maithrEya pAshaNdOpahathA janA: ll” (Oh maithrEya! During the time of kaliyugam, people, who have been befuddled by pAshaNdis (those who have contrary views to established authentic texts) will not worship vishNu, who is the lord of the worlds, who is the creator and who is the lord of all).

enRivai niRaindha kAlam nAngumAy – being the four yugams when emperumAn takes up the complexions which are without any deficiencies, as desired by his followers. In other words, being the controller of the four yugams. He controls the people in those four yugams, taking up the complexions in his divine form.

mAlin nIrmai – the simplicity of emperumAn, who is the lord of all, who is like this. mAl – an eminent person. Despite being eminent, he has the simplicity to transform his complexion as desired by the yugapurushas (those who live in those yugams).

vaiyagam maRaiththadhenna nIrmaiyE – AzhwAr is amazed that people in the world, looking at such simplicity manifested by emperumAn, instead of attaining him, remain indifferent to him because of the same simplicity, due to their karmas which they have been carrying since time immemorial. Just as the term manjAkrOSanthi (the bed is crying) refers to the people who are lying on the bed, the term vaiyagam (world) refers to the people who are inhabiting the world. The term maRaiththadhu refers to the character of people remaining indifferent to him due to their connection with the three guNams (sathva, rajas and thamas), just as it has been said in jithanthE SlOkam 1-3 “Ekasthavamasi lOkasya srashtA samhArakas thathA l adhyakshaSchAnumanthA cha guNamAyA samAvruthA: ll” (You are the only one who created all the worlds (without expecting any assistance); similarly, for destruction too, you are the only one; you are the one awaiting the time to protect (without stopping those who engage with deeds which lead to bonding further with samsAram), allowing them, being hidden by primordial matter which is composed of the three guNams of sathva, rajas and thamas). The implied meaning is that chEthanas’ deeds which have been gathered over time immemorial are much stronger than the mercy of emperumAn who transforms himself, as per the wishes of his followers.

We shall next take up the 45th pAsuram of this prabandham.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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