thiruchchandha viruththam – pAsuram 49 – koNdai koNda

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

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr had prayed to emperumAn to tell him the manner in which he could attain emperumAn. emperumAn showed him the greatness of reclining in the big temple in SrI rangam, where he is manifesting his affable qualities of simplicity etc which he exhibits during his incarnations, while at the same time exhibiting the qualities of eminence, on this earth itself. Seeing that, AzhwAr enjoys that in this pAsuram.

koNdai koNda kOdhai mIdhu thEnulAvu kUni kUn
uNdai koNdu aranga Otti uL magizhndha nAdhan Ur
naNdai uNdu nArai pEra vALai pAya neelamE
aNdai koNdu keNdai mEyum andhaNIr arangamE

Word-by-Word Meanings

koNdai – on the hair, on head
koNda – having
kOdhai mIdhu – on the garland
thEn – beetles
ulAvu – roaming
kUni – mantharA’s (servant of kaikEyi)
kUn – hump (on her back)
uNdai koNdu– with balls of clay (on the bow)
aranga – (to make the hunch) to disappear inside
Otti – shot
uL magizhndha – felt happy
nAdhan Ur – the abode where chakravarthith thirumagan (SrI rAma) is dwelling
naNdai – crab
uNdu – ate
nArai – crane
pEra – as it walked
vALai – a scabbard fish
pAya – as it jumped (after seeing the crane)
neelamE – purple water lily
aNdai koNdu – keeping as a protection
keNdai – fresh water carp fish
mEyum – (without fear) foraging
am – beautiful
thaN – cool
nIr – having flowing water
arangamE – it is only SrI rangam

Simple Translation

Beetles were roaming on the garland donned on her head by mantharA, who has a hump. (SrI rAma) shot balls of clay at her hump such that it went inside (her back) and felt happy. SrI rangam is the divine abode where chakravarthith thirumagan (SrI rAma) is dwelling. In that abode, crane would eat a crab and walk away. Seeing that, a scabbard fish would jump into the water, while a fresh water carp fish would forage for food in the flowing water, keeping a purple water-lily as a protective layer (to escape from the crane).

vyAkyAnam (Commentary)

koNdai koNda kOdhai mIdhu thEn ulAvu kUni – kUni, who was attracting people through the beetles which were roaming around the garland that she had decoratively worn on her head. In the svApadhESam (interpretation through inner meaning), kUni represents a bonded jIvan (soul) [in samsAram]. Her hump represents the deficiency of the soul thinking that the body is the soul. By saying “koNdai …. thEn ulAvu” it signifies that the svabhAvam (natural characteristic) of the jIvan is much desirable for emperumAn, just like the SrI kausthubha gem which he dons on his divine chest.

kUni kUn – the term kUn (hump back) which is together with her name kUni and which does not gel with the form and decoration mentioned earlier. Through the term kUn, AzhwAr is referring to ego (namely dhEham is AthmA), being opposed to one’s svarUpam (basic nature), being together with the name as if identifying with terms such as “I am dhEvan (celestial entity), I am manidhan (human entity)” etc, causing deficiency to one’s svarUpam.

uNdai koNdu aranga Otti – when SrI rAma was a child, he kept balls of clay on his bow and shot them playfully on her hump back such that it will go into her body. With respect to the inner meaning, it could be said that AzhwAr is referring to the power of emperumAn who could remove the jIvan’s deficiency of ego in a casual manner.

uL magizhndha nAdhan Ur – being happy that he could remove ego, the deficiency in his followers, in a casual manner, and through that act, he won me over as his servitor. The divine abode of such chakravarthith thirumagan (son of emperor dhaSarathan). Through this, it is demonstrated that it is emperumAn who is happy when deficiency in his followers is removed. Thus, through the first part of the pAsuram, AzhwAr says that the sauSeelya guNam (a person of high stature moving in an affable manner with one of low stature) of SrI rAma could be seen in namperumAL (the uthsava idol of emperumAn in SrI rangam).

naNdai uNdu nArai pEra – crane, which swallowed the crab, due to the weight of the crab, had to move slowly, as if like a mountain, taking short steps; through the term pEra, the greatness of crab posing a hurdle to the crane in moving swiftly has been highlighted.

vALai pAya – the scabbard fish thought that the crane was coming to grab it and hence jumped in fear.

neelamE aNdai koNdu keNdai mEyum – looking at the assembly of cranes and scabbards, the fresh water carp fish, out of fear, hid behind the dark shadow of purple water-lily flowers which had blossomed throughout the surface of the water body. It felt safe under the flowers, just like how people living inside a fort feel, and foraged for food, fearlessly. In the consideration of inner meaning, crab refers to the worldly pursuits such as Sabdham (sound, form) etc. Crane, which eats those crabs, refers to samsAri jIvAthmAs who enjoy such pursuits. The way the cranes move, refers to their ego that identifies body as soul. Scabbard fish, which is scared of this, indicates those who follow other means such as bhakthi yOgam (path of devotion), being fearful of samsAris’ ego and trying on their own efforts to attain mOksham. The act of carp fish, hiding behind purple-coloured flowers and foraging for food, indicates the manner in which prapannas (those who have surrendered to emperumAn), being fearful of how both the ego and self-efforts of samsAris in attaining emperumAn would bring undesired results, take refuge under the bluish complexioned emperumAn and enjoy his auspicious qualities as their pastime, without any fear.

andhaNIr arangamE – the huge temple in SrI rangam which is beautiful and which has water bodies which remove the ennui of everyone. jIvAthmAs suffer from AdhyAthmikam (suffering brought about by one’s physical form), Adhidhaivikam (suffering brought about due to emperumAn’s deeds) and Adhibhaudhikam (suffering brought about by other creatures). SrIrangam removes these three sufferings of jIvAthmAs. Through the term neelamE aNdai koNdu, since the carp fish takes refuge under the purple-coloured water-lily which is dark and fragrant, it is implied here that for those who engage with the beauty of periya perumAL (emperumAn), he remains as the means for uplifting them and the sweet entity for enjoying him. While outwardly, all the terms in the verse appear to refer to naturally occurring events [crane eating crab, fish jumping in fear etc), is it acceptable to give inner meanings of each of these events? If AzhwAr’s divine heart had not engaged with these inner meanings of events, there would have been no purpose behind living in SrI rangam, a divine abode mercifully desired by emperumAn to dwell, and describing only the naturally occurring events. Hence, looking at inner meanings of the events and considering them for uplifting ourselves is appropriate.

Next, we will take up the 50th pAsuram of this prabandham.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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