Gangaiyil Punidhamaaya

இந்த பதிவினை தமிழில் படிக்க இங்கே சொடுக்கவும், நன்றி

As the saying goes ” Thirumaalai (the prabandham) ariyaadhaar, Thirumaalaye (Emperumanai) ariyaadhaar”, we all need to learn and understand Thirumaalai , sung by Thondaradipodi Azhwaar, to know more and more about Emperuman. In the first three hymns of this Divyaprabandham, Azhwaar enjoyed the experiences, graced by Emperuman on him and in the subsequent eleven hymns, Azhwaar was preaching us his experiences with Paramathma. When many objections were raised, Azhwaar advised to follow Sri Rama, when he mentioned silaiyinaal ilangai setra devane devan aavaan”; and advised to follow Sri Krishna, who is simple and easy to approach, by stating ‘katrinam meitha kazhalinai panimin; and finally advised to follow Aranagan, by mentioning ‘uybavarku uyyum vannam Thiruvarangam kaatinaan“. Azhwaar continued his preaching by mentioning the glories of Thiruvarangam in the next three hymns.

In spite of above, people did not follow Azhwaar’s preaching, he started to sing about the great help graced by Periyaperumaal to him in the next ten hymns. We discussed the first of these hymns, which is the fifteenth paasuram, ‘Meiyerke Meiyanaagum‘. In that hymn, Azhwaar stated that Emperumaan does all the things for those who show truthful devotion to him; He also protects those who do things related to devotion which are not really truthful, but could be classified as truthful; He lets down those who are not even doing such false devotion as mentioned above. Azhwaar concluded that hymn by stating that Emperuman uses His beauty to clarify all the doubts.

In the next hymn, “soodhanaai kalvanaai“, Azhwaar mentioned that Azhwaar himself was a thief and a fraud, who got entangled with the beauty of the eyes of the other women and fell in deep pits. Azhwaar confirmed that Periyaperumal used His beauty to correct him and diverted all his love and affection towards Him.

In the next hymn, “Virumbi ninru“, Azhwaar stated that previously he did not use his hands to offer Him, the mouth to say prayers or the heart to devote himself to Emperuman. Emperuman used His soft and sweet beauty to fix the hardened heart of Azhwaar and Azhwaar was so elated that his eyes were filled tears. Initially, Azhwaar was happy about the opportunity he got to have the dharsan of Thiruvarangan, who is alone and without any peer, ruling the entire kingdom and that happiness caused continuous tears from his eyes. With tears, he could not enjoy the dharsan continuously. So Azhwaar was worried and frustrated at himself in not making use of the opportunity offered to him and hence he called himself as a sinner in the eighteenth hymn,ini thirai thivalai“.

In the nineteenth hymn, Kuda thisai mudiyai vaithuAzhwaar sang that Emperuman created the four directions and kept the holy parts of His form (thirumeni) in each direction, so that we can get abode by having dharsan of those holy form. Azhwaar continued to state that his mind and body started to melt after having the splendid dharsan of Periyaperumal and wondered how others were unaffected; if they were using any potion to sustain such a strong state, Azhwaar asked them to give him a small portion of that.

To that, people responded by asking Azhwaar to come out of the devotion to Emperumaan. Those who know the glories of Emperumaan, would understand that Emperumaan is in Thiruvarangam for only themselves. Only those who are selfish and proud of themselves would move away from Periyaperumal and Azhwaar said that he would not do that. This is what he conveyed in the twentieth hymn, Paayum Neer Arangam Thannul.

Azhwaar said that he could not leave Arangan after having His dharsan. Azhwaar was given suggestions, that instead of seeing Arangan, he could try limiting his time to enjoy the beauty of Arangan or he could sit in a corner and think of Arangan through his heart, so that he would not suffer. For these, Azhwaar advised his mind/heart that limiting the experience of enjoying the beauty of Arangan, would be like what he lost in the past in the Bhagawath experience, because of the lack of his faith. This was the summary of the hymnPanivinaal manam adhu onri.

When he mentioned “manathinaal ninaikalaame ?“, he confirmed that enjoying the beauty of Periyaperumal could not be contained within a time frame or with a restricted frame of mind by the heart. Then people started advising Azhwaar that he could keep speaking about the beauty of Periyaperumal. Azhwaar questioned back as how to talk about something which could not be conceived by the heart fully. This is the gist of this hymn “pesitre pesal allaal’. Azhwaar told his heart that we could talk only what vedas and our acharyars had spoken and we would not be able to speak the glories of the Emperumaan, who lives in the hearts of those who are faultless, using any new or different words. Emperumaan would also not be understood or visible to others. There is nothing else to do than offering our prayers to Him.

Now let us go into the next hymn.

Thirumaalai Twenty Third Hymn

Gangaiyil punidhamaaya Kaaviri naduvu paatu, pongu neer parandhu paayum, poom pozhil Arangam thannul, engal Maal, Iraivan, Easan kidandhadhor, kidakai kandum, enganam marandhu vaazhgen ezhaiyen ezhaiyene (Thirumaalai 23)

When Azhwaar said that he could not think or speak anything new about Periyaperumal, people suggested that he could forget Him. Azhwaar responded how he could forget and live in this world, after having had the great dharsan of Periyaperumal in the reclining position. This is the summary of this hymn, Gangaiyil punidhamaaya.

Gangaiyil Punidhamaaya Kaaviri

Azhwaar starts this hymn that Kaveri is more beautiful and sweeter than the river Ganges, and superior in the sanctification of others, than the Ganges. The river Kaveri had attained the same status of Ganges after performing many penances to Brahma and became superior to Ganges after the Srirangam Vimaanam (the structure over the sanctum) was established in Thiruvarangam, according to the book ‘Sriranga Mahathmiyam’.

Brahma says in the book Easwara Samhithai, that all rightful things known as Dharma, turned into water, due to their devotion to Vishnu, and that water was used by Brahma paying his obeisance and to wash Thrivikraman’s Holy feet, when it crossed and measured all the worlds.

Lord Siva, declared that he was ready to get purified with the same water and agreed to hold that water on his head and later discharged it slowly to this world and that became the Ganges.

Ganges has a shortcoming, as it has a connection with Lord Siva, associated with Rajo and Thamas types of Gunas. Thaamasa Guna is known as traits of inaction, inertia and dullness. Rajo Guna is being very aggressive and anger. For this reason, even his own devotees would not accept the prasadams from the Siva temples, and called them as “nirmalyam” which means “Remains”.

Thirumangai Azhwaar in the Prabandham, Thiruvezhu kootru irukkaiMukkan Naatroll, Aivaai aravodu, Aarupodhi sadaiyon arivu arunthanmai perumaiyul ninraanai”, sang that Vishnu has the glory that He is not visible to even the great Lord Siva, who is with three eyes, four shoulders, wearing a snake with five mouths and six streams of Ganga on his mat-hair. So the Ganges has the connection and smell of Lord Siva’s mat-hair. Even with those shortcomings, Ganges is still with holiness at the end as it has the association of the holy feet of Vishnu once.

Poigai Azhwaar in his Prabandham, Mudhal Thiruvandhaadhi, (97) “unthan adi serndhu arul petraal andre, podi ser anarku am kai yetraan avir sadai mel paayndha, punal Gangai ennum per pon” meaning that Ganges got her blessings after touching the holy feet of Vishnu, a long ago. That holiness of Ganges helped to purify Siva, as he held the Ganges in his head.

Acharyar, Parasara Bhattar, in his Rangarajasthavam, (22), said that Ganges was very proud that she got the connection with Vishnu’s holy feet for just a moment. He continued that Kaveri is flowing on the streets, preparing for the visit of Namperumal, offering the sacred water for the holy bath (Thirumanjanam) and gently strikes the holy feet of Emperumaan to give Him the comfort. Thus Kaveri has been serving Thiruvarangam Emperuman continuously as against the Ganges’ short period of association, and that too only once, with Emperumaan. For these reasons, Kaveri is superior to Ganges, according to Parasara Bhattar.

All the holy rivers visit Kaveri and get themselves purified in the Tamil month of Aipasi (Thula) as many sinners would have visited those rivers to wash off their sins. This is stated in a book called Thula Kaveri Mahathmiyam.

So, Ganges has the connection with Siva and had touched the Holy feet of Vishnu only once. But Kaveri does not have any such shortcomings. Moreover, Lord Ranganatha, having those Holy feet, Himself, wanted to be in the shores of Kaveri and that made Kaveri to get associated with Thiruvarangan for ever. So it is very apt for Thondaradipodi Azhwaar to sing “Gangaiyil punidhamaaya Kaaviri”.

Naduvu Pattu

Naduvu means that it is in the middle and Azhwaar mentioned this as Thiruvarangam is in between the two Kaveris, one, the river Kaveri, flowing on the south of Srirangam and second, the river Kollidam, flowing on the north of Srirangam, which is also known as North Kaveri. The commentator explains that Arangan is in the middle of two Kaveris, as Sri Krishna lying on the lap of Yasoda.

There are four objectives, dharma, artha, kaama and moksham, collectively known as ‘Purushaarthams”. Dharma is all right things; artha denotes material richness; kaama means worldly desires and moksham means abode. From these we can understand that Kaama and artha are temporary whereas Dharma and Moksha are permanent and are always close to Paramathma.

Since Thiruvarangam has two Kaveris (South Kaveri and North Kaveri or Kollidam), it has four banks. The banks which are closer to Srirangam or Periyaperumal are associated with Dharma and Moksham. The other two banks, namely the outer ones to Srirangam are associated as Artham and Kaamam.

The commentator assigned every bank of the Kaveri to Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksham. The northern bank of the North Kaveri is assigned as “kaamam” and the south bank of North Kaveri as Dharma. The northern side bank of the South Kaveri is assigned as Moksham and the southern side bank of South Kaveri as Artham. In other words, the banks closer to Thiruvarangan are denoted as Moksham and Dharmam.

Pongu Neer Paranhu Paayum Poompozhil

River Kaveri does not flow as a gentle river but flows with much force that batters both the banks. Parasara Bhattar in his Rangarajasthavam, mentioned that Kaveri flows with abundant water and was anxious about meeting Arangan, that made Kaveri to become muddled and throw the waves everywhere. Before reaching Thiruvarangam, she is anxious, since Periyaperumal is her son in law. Bhattar says that when she leaves Thiruvarangam, she feels sad, as she may not see Arangan again and that resulted her always to become unclear and anxious.

Because of Kaveri’s plentiful water, the gardens of Thiruvarangam were always filled with blossoming flowers, all the times, representing spring season throughout the year. So Thiruvarangam always would remove the fatigue of all people.

The purity and cleanliness of Kaveri is covered by the term “Gangaiyil punidhamaaya” and the sweetness is referred to by “Pongu neer parandhu paayum poompozhil

Engal Maal Iraivan Easan

All the three words, Maal, Iraivan, Easan mean the same, Arangan.

One of the meanings for the word Maal, is crazy. Arangan is crazy about His devotees. In other words, His affection and love towards His devotees is boundless! Here Thondaradipodi Azhwaar included other Azhwaars with him, as they had also entrusted the responsibility of protecting them to Periyaperumal and that is why Azhwaar said “engal Maal”, meaning our Thirumal. From the above context, it might look as though Periyaperumal had chosen Thiruvarangam due to its sweetness and holiness, but the underlying meaning denotes that He chose this place only due to His love and affection towards His devotees, as the commentator says.

The word Iraivan means, He is the Leader, or entitled to all and everything. Paramathma, being Iraivan, is affectionate with His devotees.

The word Easan means that He has the capability to guide according to His leadership or He is the one, who controls and guides all the actions or He is the one, who is capable of controlling and guiding all.

With these three words, Maal, Iraivan and Easan, Azhwaar states that He loves His devotees and guides them in the right direction as a Leader. In our tradition, His love and affection is referred as Vathsalyam (kindness), Sowlabhyam (simplicity) and Sowseelyam (humble). The way He guides us in the direction is referred as “Niyanthruthvam”. His leadership is conveyed as “Swamithvam”.

The explanation given by the commentator can be summarised as follows.

  • Jeevathmaas are attracted towards the three types of characters (gunas), Satva, Rajo and Thamas.
  • Paramathmaa prevents them from getting attracted towards the three characters and intends to guide them to Paramapadham, where the Jeevathmaas can experience a state of continued happiness.
  • So Paramathmaa, due to His love towards Jeevathmaas, came to Thiruvarangam and has been waiting there, to take back His own asset, the jeevathmaas, according to His own wishes.

Kidandhadhu Or Kidakai

Azhwaar for a moment, set aside all the glories of Periyaperumal on one side, and started to think about how he got captivated by the beauty of the Periyaperumal. The word “Or” meaning one in Tamil and is used by Azhwaar as ‘unparalleled’. The reclining posture is an unique and special posture of Perumal. Azhwaar felt that he might have forgotten if Perumal is in standing or sitting position, but could not forget this beautiful reclining posture that he highlighted in the word “Or‘. He added that when others were reclining or lying down, they appear unaesthetic, but when it comes to Periyaperumal, it is completely aesthetic according to the commentator.

In the hymn “Payum Neer Arangan thannul“, it was explained how Sita enjoyed the beauty of the reclining Rama in Ramayanam, Yudha Kaantam (38.25) (Sa Mayaa Bodithah Sreemaan Sukha Suptah Parantapah), even when she was hurt by an asuran, Kakasuran. The meaning of the sloka is that Rama, very handsome and capable of hurting His enemies, was woken up from His sleep.

Generally, Azhwaars glorify Paramathma, whether He is sitting, standing or reclining. For example, in Periya Thirumozhi, (6.9.5) by Thirumangai Azhwaar, “Nilayaara ninraan than neezh kazhle adai nenje“, meaning that the standing posture is perfect for the deity of Thirunaraiyur and Azhwaar asked his heart to go and reach Him there. This is to highlight the beauty of His standing posture. In the same way, Nammazhwaar in Thiruvaaimozhi (6.5.5), sang “Piraan irundhamai kaatineer”, to appreciate the beauty of the sitting posture of the main deity of Thirutholaivillimangalam.

In this hymn, Azhwaar sings about “Gangaiyil punithamaaya Kaveri” first and then brings the words “kidanthathor kidakai“. But the logical sequence is, only after touching the holy feet of Thiruvarangan, the river Kaveri gets all the holiness that is more than the Ganges, as we saw earlier. So the sequence should be as, “kidandhadhor kidakai” first and later “Gangaiyil punidhamaaya Kaviri”. The commentator justified that Azhwaars would always give more importance to Divyadesams, (the place), as those are the places which identified the Divyadhampathis (Emperumaan and Thaayar) to them and hence Azhwaar sang in the above sequence here.

Kandum, enganam marandhu vaazhgen

Azhwaar states that he could forget Periyaperumal, had he not seen the reclining posture of Him. But how could he forget after enjoying the beauty of the reclining posture of Periyaperumal? Swami Nammazhwaar’s Thiruvaaimozhi (5.5.1), “enganeyo annai meergaal, ennai munivadhu neer ? nangal kola Thirukurunkudi nambiyai naan kandapin“, is highlighted here by the commentator, as how could Nammazhwaar forget and live after the seeing the beauty of the Thirukurunkudi Nambi. Once this Bhagawadh matter is experienced, it can not be forgotten. When forgotten, life can not be continued with other worldly things.

Ezhaiyen Ezhaiyene

Here Thondaradipodi Azhwaar considered himself as poor, on bhagwadh matters. Azhwaar could not fully enjoy the Bhagwadh matters, as sung by him in the previous hymns, he called himself poor, (Ezhaiyen), even though Azhwaar was greedy to experience the Bhagawadh matters, Similarly Azhwaar sang that he would not survive, if he moved away from this (bhagawadh matter). So in that context, he called himself poor. The other meaning of the word “ezhmai” is, fatigue. Azhwaar was worn out and weakened by the karmas he accumulated over many years and many births. He became poorer, when he wanted to enjoy the Bhagawadh matters, which are unmeasurable. So the poor became poorer. Azhwaar sang this as “ezhaiyen ezhaiyene”.

With that, we will conclude this hymn and catch up again in the next hymn, “vella neer paranthu paayum“, which is the last one in this subsection, where Azhwaar was appreciating the favours graced by Emperuman to him.

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