thiruchchandha viruththam – pAsuram 71 – vaNdulAvu kOdhai

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avathArikai (Introduction)

AzhwAr says in this pAsuram “rudhran had vowed that he would protect his devotee bANAsuran from kaNNan, and had taken the help of his sons as well as other deities such as kALi, agni et al. However, since he was not able to protect bANAsuran from kaNNan, rudhran left him at the mercy of kaNNan and ran away from the battlefield. kaNNan felt ashamed that rudhran could let go of someone who had taken refuge under him, took pity on bANAsuran and did not kill him. Thus, one could see clearly that kaNNan is merciful and rudhran is not a protector. Does anyone need to explain this?”

vaNdulAvu kOdhai mAdhar kAraNaththinAl veguNdu
iNdavANan iRainjgyURu thOLgaLaith thuNiththa nAL
muNdanIRan makkaL veppu mOdiyangi Odidak
kaNdu nANi vANanukku iranginAn em mAyanE

Word-by-Word Meanings

vaNdu – beetles
ulAvu – (continuously) roaming around
kOdhai – one who has garland
mAdhar kAraNaththinAl – for the sake of his daughter, ushai
veguNdu – getting angry
iNda – one who came close-by
vANan – bANAsuran’s
IrainjgyURu thOLgaLai – thousand shoulders
thuNiththa nAL – the day he severed
muNdan nIRan – rudhran, who has tonsured head and body smeared with ash
makkaL – sons such as skandha et al
veppu – deity for diseases such as fever
mOdi – kALi
angi – deity for fire, all these people
Odida – as they ran away [from the battlefield]
kaNdu – looking at that
nANi – feeling ashamed
vANanukku – towards bANAsuran
iranginAn – one who took pity
em AyanE – [he] is only our krishNan

Simple Translation

For the sake of his daughter, ushai, around whose garland, beetles were roaming continuously, bANAsuran, with anger, waged a battle with krishNa. When that bANAsuran neared krishNan in the battlefield, krishNan severed the thousand shoulders of bANAsuran. rudhran [who had come to help and protect his devotee bANAsuran], with a tonsured head and ash smeared over his body, along with his sons skandha et al, the deity of diseases such as fever, kALi and agni, the deity of fire, ran away from the battlefield, leaving bANAsuran at the mercy of krishNa. Looking at this, krishNa, taking pity on bANAsuran since he felt ashamed at the action of rudhran, let go of bANAsuran with his life.

vyAkyAnam (Commentary)

vaNdulAvu kOdhai mAdhar kAraNaththinAl – for the sake of ushai who had decorated herself with a garland around which beetles were roaming continuously. With the usage of the phrase vaNdulAvu kOdhai mAdhar (lady around whose garland beetles were roaming), it is implied that ushai was expectantly awaiting the arrival of anirudhdha, who she had seen in her dream and who was identified by her friend chithralEkai and who was going to bring him to her and that with that expectation, ushai was constantly decorating herself with garland made from freshly blossomed flowers.

veguNdu iNda vANan – bANAsuran, who, without realising that the one whom he was opposing was the lord of all, went head over heels in engaging in a battle with him.  The term veguNdu would refer to anger born out of displeasure. iNdal – to go nearby. Just as it has been mentioned in vihagEndhra samhithai 22 as well as in SaraNAgathi gadhyam “pitharam mAtharam dhArAn puthrAn bandhUn sakIn gurUn l rathnAni dhanadhAnyAni kshEthrANi cha gruhANi cha ll sarvadharmAmScha santhyajya sarvakAmAmScha sAksharAn ll lOkavikrAntha charaNau SaraNam thE’vrajam vibhO ll” (Oh bhagavAn! Leaving aside father, mother, wife, children, relatives, friends, teachers, gems, wealth and foodgrains, fields, houses, all the means [to attain you] and all the benefits including kaivalyam [where the AthmA enjoys itself], along with any taste in these, I take refuge under your divine feet which had mercifully measured the worlds), bhagavAn, who is the natural relative, is one who has to be attained leaving aside those with whom we have relationship through blood. Did not bANAsuran develop enmity towards that bhagavAn, due to his wickedness? When his daughter, ushai, married anirudhdha through the method of gAndharva vivAham (a marriage in which a man and a woman get married without the consent of their parents), instead of feeling happy that he has become related to kaNNan, he became angry due to his pride and ego of having a thousand hands.

IrainjgyURu thOLgaLaith thuNiththa nAL – since the reason for his waging the battle was the strength emanating from his thousand shoulders, kaNNan severed his thousand shoulders. On the day when this happened …

muNdan nIRan makkaL veppu mOdi angi Odidak kaNdu nANi – rudhran, who had given refuge to bANan and who was bANan’s leader, saying that he will protect him, left him at the mercy of kaNNan and ran away from the battlefield, along with his sons and others.

muNdan nIRan – rudhran, who had tonsured his head and who had applied ash all over his body. From this, it is clear that he was practising means in order to attain kaNNan [emperumAn]. rudhran, who normally has a matted hair, also has a tonsured head. Both these forms indicate that he practises a means towards attaining emperumAn. The opinion here is that without realising that he is under the control of kaNNan and that the entity with whom he had engaged in battle was his lord, rudhran came with a tonsured head and ash-smeared body.

makkaL veppu mOdi angi Odidak kaNdu nANi – rudhran ran away from the battlefield along with his sons such as skandha, who is the head of the army of celestials, the deity for diseases such as fever, kALi and agni who is the leader of forty-nine types of fires. The term mOdi refers to pidAri (a village goddess); or it could refer to different forms of kALi. Seeing this, kaNNan felt ashamed. He felt ashamed because he had to fight against people who, instead of protecting one who had taken refuge under them, either by defeating the enemy or getting killed in the battle, ran away from the battle in fear. Alternatively, just as it has been said in the saying “ArthO vA yadhivA dhruptha: parEshAm SaraNAgatha: l ari: prANAn parithyajya rakshithavya: kruthAthmanA ll” (whether out of fear or without fear, if a person surrenders to an enemy, that person should be protected even if one were to give up his life), instead of protecting the person who had surrendered to one even if one were to give his life, how could he run away from the battlefield, leaving the person who had taken refuge, at the mercy of the enemy? Thus, kaNNan would have felt ashamed due to this reason too.

vANanukku iranginAn emmAyanE – thus, bANan should have been protected [by rudhran] since he had surrendered to rudhran. [Since he had been left alone in the battle] considering his precarious situation, taking mercy on him, our leader, kaNNan, who had been born in the clan of cowherd people, left only two shoulders of bANan and protected him. Thus, it is seen that some deities, even if they come forward to protect someone, will not render help during times of danger while sarvESvaran (emperumAn), even when he is angry, will protect and be a friend at the time of need. Just as it has been said in SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 38-35 “sa tham nipathitham bhUmau SaraNya: SaraNAgatham l vadhArhamapi kAkuthstha: krupayA paryapAlayath ll” (SrI rAmapirAn, who is apt to be surrendered to, through his mercy, protected him [kAkAsuran] who had fallen to the ground, though he was fit to be killed, since he surrendered to SrI rAma), isn’t emperumAn one who protected even the great sinner, kAkAsuran?

Next, we will take up the 72nd pAsuram of this prabandham.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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