thiruchchandha viruththam – pAsuram 52 – poRRai uRRa

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

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the three previous pAsurams, AzhwAr showed as to how emperumAn had helped those who were born after his rAmAvathAram, by mercifully residing in the huge temple at SrI rangam. Now, in this as well as the next pAsuram, he shows as to how he helped those who came after his krishNAvathAram. What is the connection between the earlier pAsuram and this? Unlike the previous pAsuram, wherein emperumAn remained to be attained by brahmA, who is the head of all the prAkrutha worlds (those made with the help of primordial matter) and who is the most knowledgeable, in this pAsuram AzhwAr says that emperumAn remained in SrI rangam temple in order to be enjoyed by those who did not expect any benefit other than himself and who did not consider any means other than himself.

poRRaiyuRRa muRRal yAnai pOredhirndhu vandhadhaip
paRRiyuRRu maRRadhan marupposiththa pAganUr
siRReyiRRu muRRal mUngil mUnRu dhaNdar onRinar
aRRapaRRar suRRi vAzhum andhaNIr arangamE

Word-by-Word Meanings

poRRai – atop rock
uRRa – standing
muRRal – very strong
yAnai – kuvalayApeedam
pOredhirndhu – opposing in battle
vandhadhai – one which came
uRRu – going towards it
paRRi – catching hold of
maRRu – beyond that
adhan – that kuvalayApeedam’s
maruppu – tusk
osiththa – one who broke
pAgan – krishNan, who looked like a mahout (elephant-keeper)
Ur – the divine abode where he resides
siRRu – small
eyiRRu – nodes which looked like teeth
muRRal – being strong
mUngil – made of bamboo
mUnRu dhaNdar – holding trident staff
onRInar – being deeply involved (with matters relating to bhagavAn)
aRRapaRRar – sanyAsis (ascetics) who have renounced their attachment towards everything
suRRi – thinking (of living in the temple in all manner as worth living)
vAzhum – living forever
am – being beautiful
thaN – cool
nIr – having water bodies which are full of water
arangam – it is only the huge temple

Simple Translation

SrIrangam is the divine abode where, krishNa, who looked like a mahout and who caught hold of and broke the tusks of the elephant kuvalayApeedam, which stood atop a rock, and came as if it were in a battlefield, resides. It is also the abode where ascetics, who hold a strong, bamboo trident staff having small nodes which look like teeth, and who are deeply involved with matters relating to bhagavAn, think that living in the temple forever is a life worth living. It also has beautiful, cool, water bodies which are full of water.

vyAkyAnam (Commentary)

poRRai uRRa muRRal yAnai – since it is standing atop a rock, it is a strong elephant. AzhwAr hints that if it had been made to stand on sand, during battle, it would not have had firm legs; hence kamsan made it to stand atop a rock. The term poRRai refers to rock. Alternatively, since poRRai could also refer to a place in forest where elephants inhabit, without any contact with humans, this could mean that kamsan brought kuvalayApeedam from the forest, due to which it became bewildered on looking at human beings and became angry enough to harm.

pOr edhirndhu vandhadhai – unlike the washerman who came perchance opposite krishNan [and got killed], since this elephant was brought only to wage a battle with krishNa, it came running, as if in a battle.

paRRi uRRu – without bothering about it, krishNan went towards it on his own. Alternatively, it could mean that he went between its legs, caught hold of its body.

maRRadhan marupposiththa pAgan Ur – beyond that, he casually broke its tusks, which were meant for killing its enemies by piercing their bodies with them. The abode SrI rangam is the place where such krishNan, who was like an elephant-keeper, dwells. Since the term pAgan has been used, which refers to one who keeps the elephant and looks after it by knowing its left and right sides [viz. knowing fully about it] and who controls it by harming it if required, this verse refers to krishNa, who, acting like an elephant-keeper, hurt it in its most critical place and destroyed it.

Through this, it is implied that for those who came after krishNAvathAram, periya perumAL would remove the hurdles which prevent his followers from enjoying him, just as he removed kuvalayApeedam. Didn’t kuvalayApeedam stand as a hurdle for SrI vasudhEvar, dhEvakip pirAtti and the women of mathurA who had assembled near the stage which kamsan had arranged for demonstrating one’s prowess in shooting arrows from bows, in looking at kaNNan? SrI vishNu purANam 5-20-54 says “sakhya: paSyatha krishNasya mukhamathyaruNEkshaNam l vikAsiSAradharambhOjamavaSyAya jalOkshitham l paribhUya sthitham janma saphalam kriyathAm dhruSa: ll” (Oh friends! Look at the eyes of krishNa which have won over [the beauty of] lotus of autumn season, which has been sprinkled with dew. Make use of having been provided with eyes). SrI vishNu purANam 5-20-52 says “mahOthsavamivAsAdhya puthrAnana vilOkanam l yuvEva vasudhEvO’bUth vihAbhyAgathAm jarAm ll” (SrI vasudhAvar, in order to look at the lotus-like face of his son, got rid of his old age and became a youth). Just as it has been mentioned in these SlOkams, didn’t krishNa give himself to them for their enjoyment?

siRReyiRRu muRRal mUngil mUnRu dhaNdar – the ascetics, who were holding in their hands, firm bamboo trident staff which had small nodes, looking like teeth. Usage of the term thridhaNdar distinguishes the ascetics from brahmAchAris (those who are fit to learn vEdhams and who are not yet married) who hold palASadhaNdam (a staff made of Indian coral tree) and gruhasthas (married people) who hold single dhaNdam (staff). The term eyiRu refers to teeth; here, it refers to the nodes present in the bamboo staff. muRRal mUngil refers to strong bamboo. SrI rAmAyaNam bAlakANdam 56-23 says “dhigbalam kshathriya balam brahmathEjO balam balam l EkEna brahmadhandEna sarvAsthrANi hathAnimE ll” (Is the strength of being a king, real strength? The strength derived due to brahmathEjas (the splendour of worshipping the supreme entity) is the real strength. Due to the brahmadhaNdam of vasishtar, all my weapons were destroyed). viSvAmithra says that all his weapons were destroyed by the single staff of sage vasishtar. AzhwAr reminisces the strength of thridhaNdam destroying all the weapons of others and not being destroyed by any of the other weapons. He shows that the strength of thridhaNdam comes from the ascetics who hold them, through the next two terms.

onRinar – we could construe this as those whose hearts were firmly entrenched with emperumAn or as those who came to SrIrangam, considering it to be the ultimate benefit, leaving aside all the other divine abodes of emperumAn.

aRRa paRRar – without attachment towards aiSvaryam (opulence) and kaivalyam (AthmA enjoying itself), without attachment towards other means such as karma, gyAna and bhakthi yOgams (paths of deeds, knowledge and devotion, respectively), and considering that perumAL (emperumAn) alone is the means and the ultimate benefit. The terms onRinar and aRRapaRRar could be considered as stating the greatness of ascetics who were referred to by the term mUnRu dhaNdar or they could be considered as describing all the varNASramams (those in the specific varNam (brAhmaNa, kshathriya etc) and specific ASramam (brahmachAri, gruhastha etc). In the former instance, these terms would convey the meaning “ascetics who hold the trident, who have hearts which are firmly entrenched with emperumAn and who consider matters other than emperumAn as being equivalent to grass”.

suRRi vAzhum – in all manner, living in the huge temple alone as life worth living. The term suRRi refers to being firm in all manner. Alternatively, suRRal could also refer to thinking. Thinking of the distinction of the temple, all the time, considering that alone as the sweetest way to live.

andhaNIr arangamE – SrI rangam huge temple alone is beautiful and has water flow which is invigorating.

Next, we will take up the 53rd pAsuram of this prabandham.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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