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Swami Nammazhwar Snippets - 6 (December 15, 2012)

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

ஆராவமுதே! அடியேன் உடலம் நின்பால் அன்பாயே
நீராய் அலைந்து கரைய உருக்குகின்ற நெடுமாலே!
சீரார் செந்நெல் கவரிவீசும் செழுநீர்த் திருக்குடந்தை
ஏரார் கோலம் திகழக் கிடந்தாய்! கண்டேன் எம்மானே!
(Thiruvoymozhi 5-8-1)

When the Lord does not respond to his entreaties in Vaanamaamalai, the Azhwar turns to Aaraavamudhan at ThirukKudandhai but even here the Lord keeps mum. The Azhwar feels exactly like a suckling baby that looks up eagerly at its mother for breastfeeding but the mother looks the other way.

As Sri Rama did not pay heed to the pleas of Bharatha, only for carrying out duties in keeping up his promise, the Lord did not respond to Azhwar only to further deepen his emotions to blossom into denouement of the Prabandham.

Like Bharatha who came to the forest in the fond hope of securing Sri Rama’s return, the Azhwar longs for Aaraavamudhan to heed his prayers or at least give him a word of consolation. But, the Lord kept a studied silence.

“How many doors of Yours would I have to knock at and for how long?” he asks in utter desperation.

“Oh! Lord! What is the secret of Your charm that however many times and however long one enjoys Your wonderful form, it always remains as fresh as ever and as insatiably sweet as it can be, as if it were eyed for the first time every time! Amrutham was obtained at a specific point of time when the milky ocean was churned and was made available to the Devas only. But, Your form here is a veritable nectar available at all times and to everyone alike.”

“My heart and mind simply melt away in my love for You. That You can bewitch the hearts of Chethanas (living creatures) is well known. How come, You can even bewitch and melt my body (which is an Achethana -- an inanimate object)?”

It has not only melted but also flows like a flood. Like a goldsmith who melts the ornaments, You melt me, my mind and my body alike?

Having done this, why do You hide Yourself far far away?

“The red paddy grain stems grown tall in the fields waft in the winds as if they are doing fanning service for You!”

The Azhwar draws a comparison between the prosperous greenery of ThirukKudandhai and the cool eyes of the Lord.

“Your reclining posture in the evergreen ThirukKudandhai is an inexhaustible feast to my eyes.”

“I have only seen Your form but have not had the ‘Baahya Samslesham’ yet. I have understood You are my Lord. Is it not natural for a baby to ask for breastfeeding, having known its mother?”

It is said that one Loka Saaranga Mahaa Munigal who was living in the far north, happened to listen to the recital of this hymn by a few pilgrims. He was amazed at the felicity of the word “Aaraa Amudhe” (insatiable nectar) to describe the Lord, when there are umpteen other names for the Lord, Narayana, etc. He found the name so wonderful that he immediately decided to set forth to the Tamil-speaking country where the language had such meaningful expressions never heard of before elsewhere.

This verse is considered most important also because on a similar occasion Sri Naathamunigal heard this decad and on enquiring where he could get the rest of it all. He was told to go to ThirukKurugur. He recited Madhurakavi’s ‘Kanni-nun Siru-thaambu’ and consequently Namaazhwar himself initiated him into not only Thiruvoymozhi but also the entire 4000 Divya Prabandhams. Thus, this decad held the key for unlocking the treasure of Divya Prabandhams, which had almost been lost to posterity.

உண்ணும் சோறு பருகுநீர் தின்னும் வெற்றிலையும் எல்லாம்
கண்ணன் எம்பெருமான் என்றென்றே கண்கள் நீர் மல்கி
மண்ணினுள் அவன் சீர் வளம் மிக்கவனூர் வினவி
திண்ணம் என் இளமான் புகும் ஊர் திருக்கோளூரே.
(Thiruvoymozhi 6-7-1)

In this decad, as in some others, the Azhwar simulates the role of the mother of a girl madly in love with the Lord. The mother and daughter were lying next to each other and sleeping. At dead of night, the mother suddenly wakes up only to find that her daughter is not in her bed. She searches all over but could not trace her. In her maternal anxiety, she wonders whether ghosts would have abducted her. But, since she knows her daughter’s intense devotion to the Lord of ThirukKolur, she decides that the daughter would have walked up all the way to ThirukKolur to meet with the Lord.

The mother narrates how her daughter had missed so many things in life in her pursuit of the Lord — “Her mind, her beauty, her luster and even her sense of shame — in short, everything that is considered precious assets in young girls who have come of age. The mother laments how her daughter had thrown to winds all these and walked away all alone without any escort to ThirukKolur in the conviction that the Lord therein who was everything to her would not let her down.

Nampillai graphically describes the trepidation of the mother who learns that her daughter had taken bold to go it alone to elope with her lover, disregarding all sense of decency and ignoring the possible blame of misconduct at the hands of the village folk who are only too willing to indulge in rumour mongering!

“My daughter who is doe-eyed says that Kannan is everything for her — the food that she eats, the water she drinks and the betel leaves she chews. Repeating this frequently, she languishes tearfully. I am sure she will definitely reach the uniquely-prosperous ThirukKolur about which she has been inquiring.

Soru: That which sustains, that which nourishes.

Vetrilai: That which is enjoyable. Why not merely Soru, Neer and Vetrilai?

Why adjectives for each?

Nampillai explains that these may not afford relish at all times. But, there are times when they will be relished most — food, when very hungry; Water, when really thirsty; and for the one who enjoys pan, it is most delectable after food — and in that order.

Ananthaazhwan accosted a Sri Vaishnava stranger and inquired about his native place. The stranger replied “ThirukKolur”. Azhwan wondered why at all did he leave ThirukKolur, where he could get all he wanted even if he lived by merely tending donkeys meaning that the Lord who was “Unnum Soru Parugu Neer thinnum Vetrilai” was in His native place itself.

Emperumaanaar similarly asked a girl where she came from. She replied that she was from ThirukKolur. He wondered how a woman belonging to ThirukKolur could ever go out of that place.

Nampillai explains that if a girl was found missing, you can surely trace her in the ThirukKolur temple. Such was the charm of the Lord of ThirukKolur. “இவ்வூரில் பிள்ளைகளைக் காணாவிட்டால் கோவிலுக்குள் தேடும் அத்தனை அன்றோ?”

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Next in series: On January 15, 2013.

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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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