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Swami Nammazhwar Snippets - 7 (January 15, 2013)

A Peek Into Satakopa's Enrapturing Sentiments
Anbil Ramaswamy, U.S.A.

ஆவி திகைக்க ஐவர் குமைக்கும் சிற்றின்பம்
பாவியேனைப் பல நீ காட்டிப் படுப்பாயோ?
தாவி வையம் கொண்ட தடந்தாமரைகட்கே
கூவிக்கொள்ளும் காலம் இன்னம் குறுகாதோ?
(Thiruvoymozhi 6-9-9)

Referring to the various impediments to the realisation of the Lord, the Azhwar points to the mischief played by the five senses, which stupefy the soul. He asks “Is it that I am a sinner that You subject me to the vagaries of the five senses for diverting my attention? Do You mean to ruin me? Don’t You remember that I am destined to enjoy the ultimate happiness with You at Your feet that measured the entire universe? Will not the time between now and the time of Your call for me gets abridged? I cannot wait anymore.”

‘Aivar’ refers to the five senses of ear, eye, mouth, nose and body.

ThirukKurugaip Piraan Pillaan, while in his deathbed undergoing physical pain, was frequently muttering the question in the last line of this verse “Koovikkollum kaalam innam kurugaadho?”

Nanjeeyar, who was beside him at that time, was overwhelmed with grief and wept his heart out. Pillaan told him why he should not feel sorry. “After all, I am going to a place of ultimate happiness and therefore, death was not a matter to be scared of or fit to be mourned.”

ஆளும் ஆளார் ஆழியும் சங்கும் சுமப்பார் தாம்
வாளும் வில்லும் கொண்டு பின் செல்வார் மற்றில்லை
தாளும் தோளும் கைகளை ஆரத் தொழக்காணேன்
நாளும் நாளும் நாடுவன் அடியேன் ஞாலத்தே.
(Thiruvoymozhi 8-3-3)

This decad is described as the Azhwar’s ‘Mangalaasaasanam’ and hence known as Nammazhwar’s ‘ThirupPallaandu’.

“O Lord! How come You carry the entire load of Your disc and conch and other weapons all alone with none to accompany or assist You in this? Cannot someone share your burden by carrying at least your sword, bow or arrows?”

Like Lakshmana, he would like to assist the Lord to get an opportunity to admire the shoulders and arms of the Lord at close quarters all the time. The Azhwar seems to feel sorry for the lack of assistants for the Lord in this regard.

வாரிக்கொண்டு உன்னை விழுங்குவன் காணில் என்று
ஆர்வுற்ற என்னையொழிய என்னின் முன்னம்
பாரித்து தான் என்னை முற்றப் பருகினான்
காரொக்கும் காட்கரையப்பன் கடியனே.
(Thiruvoymozhi 9-6-10)

The Azhwar expresses a peculiar devotional experience in which he portrays vividly how the devotee is within God and God is within the devotee each devouring the other.

“O Lord! As soon as I saw You, I wanted to devour You whole. But, You overtook me and completely drank me up.”

Earlier in the same decad, the Azhwar said that under the pretext of showering His grace, the Lord entered his body and soul and devoured his life (திருவருள் செய்பவன் போல என்னுள் புகுந்து உருவமும் ஆருயிரும் உடனே உண்டான்– Thiruvoymozhi 9-6-5).

Nampillai explains that by the words ‘Undaan’ and ‘Paruginaan’, the Azhwar means that while in the former Paasuram the Lord ate and in the later, He drank. While the Azhwar was considering Kannan as his “Unnum soru, Parugu neer, etc.”, it was now the Lord’s turn to reverse the roles considering the Azhwar as His “Unnum soru, Parugu neer, etc.”

By exhibiting His qualities, He literally liquefied the mind of the Azhwar and drank it even before the Azhwar could devour the Lord. It can be inferred that between the two, the Lord seems to be more hungry and thirsty than the Azhwar in this game of eating up each other!

சரணமாகும் தனதாள் அடைந்தார்க்கெல்லாம்
மரணமானால் வைகுந்தம் கொடுக்கும் பிரான்
அரண் அமைந்த மதிள்சூழ் திருக்கண்ணபுரத்
தரணியாளன் தனதன்பர்க்கு அன்பாகுமே.
(Thiruvoymozhi 9-10-5)

This verse confirms that the Lord, out of His infinite compassion, grants to all Prapannas who surrender at His feet, Moksham instantly on their death.

This gives the lie direct to the concept of ‘Jivan Mukthi’ contended by some. The Azhwar exhorts us to surrender at the feet of the Lord of ThirukKanna Puram.

Nampillai says that except when he is in a trance like state of devotion, the Azhwar during his awakened state never tires of exhorting us to reach for the Lord’s feet since that alone can ensure salvation after current life.

கண்ணன் கழலிணை நண்ணும் மனம் உடையீர்!
எண்ணும் திருநாமம் திண்ணம் நாரணமே.
(Thiruvoymozhi 10-5-1)

The great Acharyas of yore used to give invaluable and rare advice to near and dear ones when they are about to give up their mortal coils. Similarly, in this decad, which represents the grand finale of his immortal work, the Azhwar tenders his sage advice to all of us.

“O those who desire to attain the feet of the Lord, who is renowned for His accessibility to His devotees! The only name you ever need to remember and meditate is that of Narayana and nothing else. This is the only truth.”

This is like Vyasa’s swearing — “Sathyam Sathyam Puna: Sathyyam…”

Nampillai comments on the word ‘Naaranam” thus: “Unlike other Manthras in which mutilation of pronunciation, variation in intonation, etc. are likely to result in disastrous repercussions like the perpetrator being born as Brahma Raakshasa, etc., the efficacy of the name Narayana never gets affected by any distortions if the name is uttered with sincerity and a pure heart. How reassuring, this!

The Azhwar carefully avoids the word ‘Manthra’; instead, he uses the word Thirunaamam’ to indicate that there are no restraints or constraints either in the matter of ‘Adhikaari’ (fitness of the person) or ‘Anga Nyaasa’, ‘Kara Nyaasa’ (gestural invocations), etc. It is like a child calling its mother in its ‘baby talk’ and the mother feeling happy over this.

The Azhwar seems to advise — First, do this ‘Sabdha Anusandhaanam’ – ‘Aartha Anusandhaanam’ will follow”.

பேரே உறைகின்ற பிரான் இன்று வந்து
பேரேன் என்று என் நெஞ்சு நிறையப் புகுந்தான்
கார் ஏழ் கடல் ஏழ் மலை ஏழ் உலகுண்டும்
ஆரா வயிற்றானை அடங்கப் பிடித்தேனே.
(Thiruvoymozhi 10-8-2)

The Azhwar says that Bhagavaan, who entered his mind as a non-immigrant visitor, fully occupied it and is now refusing to move out and claims citizenship on the grounds that “possession is nine points of the law”!

A strange predicament indeed! How strange that the Lord, who with His huge belly, felt insatiable even after devouring the seven worlds, seven seas and seven mountains sought mere tenancy but was held virtually a prisoner without parole, in the heart of the Azhwar! A case of “container contained”.

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Series concluded.

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The author is President, Swami Desika Darsana Satsangam (SDDS) and Editor,
Sri Ranga Sri (SRS) Electronic Journal, U.S.A.

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