Moondram Thiruvandhadhi | Peyāḻvār
Moondram Thiruvandhadhi | Peyāḻvār
Śrī Deśika’s Invocation
Swami Vedānta Deśikan in his Prabandha Sāram has dedicated the following verse to Śrī Pei Āḻvār:
Thou divine being who revealed the truth of the Divine Mother in the inalienable company of the Lord, who were born at sacred Thirumalai in the month of ‘thula’ under the star ‘sadhyam’!
When you and the two companion sages stood in shared aura at Thirukkovalur, you alone were blessed with the vision of the Divine Lord as that inseparable duo and the luminescence of that vision dispelled the darkness of the world.
Bless this humble being, oh great One with thy mellifluous garland of one hundred verses.
The vision rose before me first, now at this very instant, of the divine Mother with my ocean-like Lord. Then I saw His brilliant Form radiant like the sun, with his sparkling discus deadly in battle in one hand, and the curved conch in the other.
Oh Consort of Lakshmi, my mind has found its niche in you at the very moment my eyes beheld your sacred feet, even as the divine Mother found her abode on your bejewelled Tulasī- clad chest shining like a gold-soaked mountain. I stand redeemed from the chain of countless births.
My Lord who is equally at home resting on the waves of the Milk ocean and the bosom of Lakshmi, wearer of the cool Tulasī garland and happy destroyer of evil forces, azure - complexioned like the expansive ocean, is the cure - all for the looming hell of samsāra and abides in my heart.
With eyes like the red lotus flower the unmistakable Master of the worlds is the medicine, cure and elixir of life, as he proved at the time of the great deluge by swallowing and recreating the worlds, and when he scaled them after accepting the symbolic offering of water. His sacred feet are the panacea for samsara, and the promise of prosperity on this earth and paradise of after-life.
What awesome beauty it was that the Lord holding the discus exuded at that moment when He strode the worlds; his feet crimson red like the lotus, body the dark blue of the oceans, and his crown the dazzling brilliance of the sun. The same lustrous halo was all over him.
What beauty defined that moment as if all the beauty of the world had come together, the beauty of the oceans reflecting the Lord’s complexion, His giant stride over the universe, and the beautiful sheet of the gushing Ganga sprouting from Brahma’s water jug and washing over the Lord’s feet.
Oh heart, come let us prostrate to the feet of the Lord who measured this world bordered by emerald oceans - Consort of Śrī with the eagle king Garuda as his vehicle, beautiful beyond measure or metaphor, transcendent beyond anyone’s reach of his volition.
Come, my dear heart, let us recite many names like Nārāyaṇa and worship with folded hands. May our eyes behold the vision of Krishna wearing the cool Tulasī garland, who ate and regurgitated this earth.
Can you conjure up a vision of a form that is a dark hue like a jet-black cloud, the azure ocean and a lustrous blue diamond? That is the beauty of Lord’s form if one can visualise it, in which the eyes stand out like the crimson lotus, the hands and the feet which measured this earth are the same.
Really speaking, recitation of the names of the Lord who has a dextral white conch on his hand, causes many a benefit to accrue unsought. Like, splendour, skill, wealth, beauty and birth in a blemishless family, to name a few.
He is the substance of the Vedas. Crystal pure like a mountain stream, He is sweeter than honey, and blue- hued like the ocean. He rests on a serpent on the Milk ocean where shells are washed ashore by the waves. He is the subject of the ocean of knowledge of Seers, and can be understood only by spiritual insight.
Only they who are in constant remembrance through a life of incessant Vedic study with a mind in a state of equilibrium closing the doors of sense organs, will perceive the ocean - hued Divine Personality.
Once upon a time the Lord accepted the gift of land, and strode this round earth in one measured step. At that time, the long crown of His colossal figure ripped through space and extended beyond this universe.
Bow to the feet of the Lord who is the essence of Vedic texts worshipped by the celestials and abides for our sake at Tiruvēṅkaṭam. Turn you mind and heart to Him giving up lesser pleasures of the flesh. That will take you to the higher spiritual plane.
The Supreme Master who rectlines in the ocean of giant waves rising and falling in meteoric shower, on the serpent bed of a thousand resplendent hoods, has come to recline in my lowly heart. What marvel!
By the tumultuous ocean-front at Thiruvallikeni - where the corals and pearls tossed ashore by the waves light up the evening sky in myriad colours, the Lord my Master abides along with the lady of the lotus, who adorns His auspicious chest.
The thought that the lotus eyed Lord has watched out for me today has made my day. So has been any day that has rolled by and so will be any day still to come. May my tongue invoke His grace that I may dedicate myself to the sacred feet of my Father, the Eternal one.
O, Lord of all beings, grant that I may serve your beautiful feet without fear through all my lives, the feet that grew and measured this earth on the day, long past, when you as a manikin sought from Mahābali, the gift of three steps of land.
The Lord who, in days of yore, swallowed the seven worlds and slept as an enchanting child on the Vaṭapattra leaf will never deny his grace. But those who take a lead over others in their prayer with an unclouded mind and strew flowers at His feet will perceive His grace first.
For One who earlier swallowed and then regurgitated the worlds, is it any big task to come back and measure them with His feet? Tell me, Oh consort of Śrī, my Lord and Master.
Speaking of the fragrant Tulasī-garland clad Lord, the wielder of the sparkling disc, the Pañchajanya conch and Śārṅga bow and slayer of the loud - mouthed Dantavakra - can anyone have the final say on His many-splendored glory?
Oh my good heart, the celestials bow with their crested heads at His feet and shower fragrant flowers as the means to see Him. You must also melt with intense longing for Him to bless you with His vision.
My entranced heart lingers round His feet which bestrode the worlds, like the bees, which hover round the fresh Tulasī garland adorning the Lord’s chest.
Oh my heart, Continue to worship for the rest of your life the feet of the blazing discus-wielding Lord who pervades the primal elements of earth, ether, wind, fire and water.
Take heart, His worship can never go futile for He is the One Who swallowed, the worlds, like He did the butter of His coiffured mother, and later killed the seven bulls. He is difficult to attain even for heavenly beings.
So the Lord of celestials and gods who wears the cool Tulasī garland, resides for ever in the abode of my heart, the serpent bed and prosperous Kānchī, Thiruvehka, Tiruvēṅkaṭam and Velukkai.
Whoever heard of anyone among those who always worship the Lord who is the Cause of all and once churned the ocean and reclines in the Milk Ocean, of having suffered desolation or misery?
What dance - drama is that? The Lord Who reclines in the ocean-deep conducted a fearsome war for the five brothers and killed an ogress. Yet at the sight of the churning rod in the hand of His mother, He cringed in fear with tell-tale marks of butter in His hand and month.
After He had killed the ogress, she just picked Him up without fear and proffered her breast to suck. To her, He was only a little child with sweet coral lips lisping babyish prattle.
The Tulasī clad Lord Who reclines on a serpent in the ocean is also the Lord of all celestials and the eternal Vedas. Ever more, He resides in our hearts and so we may see, also in His many shrines at Kuṭantai, Vēṅkaṭam and Thiruppādakam.
He assumed the man-lion form in Hiraṇya’s abode and tore him to pieces. The serpent, the Ocean where He reclines and the Vedas and the rest are the temples of the One Who bears Śiva on His frame.
Krishna Who broke the Kurundha tree and resides at Tiruvēṅkaṭam is the one Who has for His other abodes, the Milk Ocean, Vaikuṇṭha the Vedic texts and hearts of seers.
Oh Great One, in the yore, assuming the form of a child you swallowed all the worlds neat and whole and slept on a banyan leaf thereafter. Another time you churned the oceans with Mandāra mountain and gave the resultant ambrosia to the denizens of heaven.
Oh heart, was it the severe exertion of measuring the length of the worlds once upon a time, that He chose to sit down at Thiruvelukkai and lie down at Thiruvehka. Think about the auspicious One Who got rid of Kamsa.
The eyes hearken ‘See, behold the golden frame of the Lord wearing dazzling jewels and garlands. Like the humming bees hovering round the garlands, my lips crave to sing in tune His glory and hands fold in prayer. Worship His crimson feet thus in all manners.
When the wonder Lord strode the worlds, His feet grew in size as did His amazing weapons - the fiery discus, milk-white conch, formidable mace, ebony bow and the shining dagger. Even His ocean bed did.
The Lord’s chest resplendent with gem-studded jewels and necklaces, is the abode the coral-lipped, lotus born Lakshmi. He Who resides in the brine waters of the dark ocean is within me and outside everywhere. I am thus bonded to Him forever.
He is everything that exists in the universe.
The penance - performing sages, the stars, planets, blazing fires, mountains and the eight radial quarters, are all His expression. He is the Supreme Controller non pareil.
The Lord Who is at once this earth, the eight quarters the embodiment and substance of the Vedas the distant celestial region, resides in Tiruvēṅkaṭam rising tall close to the moon where sparkling streams rustle.
He is present too in the core of my heart.
My good heart, know that the Lord abides ever with you. The great Being Who resides in Vēṅkaṭam where tall peaks tower over the sky and streams are in full flow, and who made the earth shrink by His giant stride, exists now and forever and abides with cherishing hearts.
In the yore, when He straddled the worlds, just one step filled the face of the earth with its beings. His bejewelled crown ripped through, in all eight quarters, the high heaven where streaks of lightning played on Him like raiment. He is the One who held a mountain on his finger to protect the cows.
As the cow-herd Lord, He grazed the cows, playing the flute. The same gem-hued Lord tore the horse demon to bits. Taking the leonine form, He dug His nails into the body of the demon Hiraṇya. O heart, comprehend the anger of the Lord.
The Lord felled the mad wild tusker by breaking its tusks. He took this fertile earth to treasure in the safe- vault of His capacious stomach. The whole universe is but a small part of His infinite creative will.
The creation the deluge, the oceans, the radiant sun and lustrous moon, and the Are are all the manifest form of the Lord Who wears the beautiful gem-studded crown. Oh my heart, give yourself completely to His feet.
The Lord Who, in the yore, came as a boar, and pitchforked this earth on Its tusk resides in Tiruvēṅkaṭam where the tusker in heat roams freely with its mate and separated from it, wildly charges into the rock-face, sending pearly bits of its tusk flying into the air.
Setting the Mandāra mountain on His own back as foundation, stringing Vāsuki as the rope round it, and holding down the peak with one hand, the Lord churned the ocean once, throwing the froth into the fringes of the universe.
Oh Lord, Who once stooped to take the symbolic offering of water, and straddled the worlds in two steps. Oh Lord of lotus eyes, with Tulasī wreath around the crown, Who tore asunder the horse-faced Keśin’s jaws. Now have you not torn down the jaws of hell for us?
Did you not accept the symbolic water and walk the worlds? Did you not in another time, graze the cows and break the jaws of the horse-faced Keśi? Did you not crawl through the Maruta-trees, and yet again cause the demoniac forces to be vanquished in their war with celestials?
You killed rebel Hiraṇya. You asked for and got the big earth from Mahābali. Again you took a bold, calculated stance against the charging bulls humbling their pride, to take the hand of Nappinnai, Oh wielder of the dextral conch.
The blue-complexioned Lord wearing the Tulasī garland and lustrous gem-studded crown, killed the crocodile, that inhabited the crystal waters of a deep lake set in a mount valley of flowing streams.
He is the One Who protected the cows under the cover of the mountain. He is the One Who broke the Maruta trees. Again, He is the same Lord Who set the city of Lanka ablaze with his fusillade of arrows. It is up to Him to show us the way to His peril-free kingdom.
As Śrī Rama, He felled seven trees with one arrow, and at Divine Mother’s behest struck down the make-believe deer with another arrow. With a fusillade of arrows, He took the life of Lanka’s king. As a diminutive brāhmin boy, He beguiled Mahābali, and took away this world from him.
He was the wonder child Who lay on a banyan-leaf floating on the wide ocean of earth - dissolving flood waters for long, He is the Lord that wears a cool swaying garland. O heart, worship His feet with involvement.
With His foot He kicked to death the demon that came as a cart and the elephant Kuvalaya. His crawl sent the Maruta trees crashing to the ground. He took the form of a lion to lift the earth on His tusk. The love of the Lord-Whose chest is the cosy seat of Śrī, for Divine Mother earth is boundless.
The beautiful necklace on His big mount - like chest, sparkles like a streak of lightning over a dark rain cloud.
His long wide eyes have the hue of a lotus swarmed by bees whose hum is sweeter than music.
I do not know if the complexion of the Lord’s frame can be described as white, red, green or black. For that matter, can the goddess of learning glorify with her word the glory of the spouse of the lotus - seated Mahālakṣmī.
The Lord with Divine Mother ensconced on His chest and riding on the mount of resplendent Garuda, dazzles like a flash of lightning over the sable cloud. O heart, arise and awaken to His sacred feet as the evolved wisdom of all knowledge.
The Lord Who in time of yore strode over the worlds, and artfully took this earth, resides in Vēṅkaṭam, propitious for monkeys to romance and play around, where, for instance, a female perched on a crystal rock, looks at its admiring star-struck mate and the sky above, as if signalling to him to pluck the silvery moon for her.
The hugging rivulets shimmering in the dark slopes of the mountain like nestling garlands conjure the vision of the eternal Śrī-graced gem-hued Lord of lotus eyes with strings of pearls adorning His chest. Reaching His feet, is the purpose of life. That is what I have understood.
In distant past, the Lord protected the cows, crawled through the twin conjoined Maruta trees, drank off the ogress’s breast, kicked the demoncart, and hurled the make - believe calf at the wood - apple branch. In the Bhārata war, He gladly blew His victorious conch - shell.
From times of yore, the Lord of Vaikuṇṭha has taken up His abode also in the milk ocean and Vēṅkaṭam. The beautiful Thirukkadigai set amidst gardens where bees swarm and Thiruvinnagar are His other abodes.
Tiruviṇṇakar, Thiruvehka, Tiruvēṅkaṭam with flowing waters, the city of Velukkai of rising mansions, the beautiful Tirukuṭantai and Thiruvarangam of honey-rich flower gardens, and Thirukkoṭṭiyur, these are shrines where the Lord Who accepted the symbolic water resides with condescending grace.
The matted locks, the majestic crown, shining axe, curling serpent and golden waist band all these twin contrasting images blend in one image in my Father at Thirumalai surrounded by torrential streams. What wonder!
The Lord is reclining in Thiruvehka, and is sitting and standing elsewhere in Kānchī. Is it due to the exertions of churning the ocean for nectar with serpent Vāsuki and Mandāra mountain as tools?
Our Master Who angrily broke in two, the tusk of the dark elephant, rose in anger in man-lion Form at dusk in an earlier time, to tear the chest of Hiraṇya that no harm may befall child Prahlāda.
The hostile Madhūkaiṭaba came near the Lord reclining on a serpent whose gem-studded luminescent hoods dispelled the surrounding darkness. But they met their end, then and there, scorched by Lord’s mere deep breath.
The rising lotus flower on the navel of the Lord alternately blossomed and folded on the sky, in intrigued reaction, as it turned towards, the disc on His right hand shining like the sun, and the white conch on the left, what wonder!
Tiruvēṅkaṭam where sylvan springs abound, is the abode of the Lord Who once long ago, hurled a disguised calf - demon at another hiding in the branch of a wood - apple tree. By the spring side a male perched on a kāla-fruit tree looks at his reflection in the water and backing away in fear as if having come face to face with another, still lingers outreaching his hand entreatingly asking for fruits from the tree.
When someone talks about a mountain, my moon - struck daughter breaks into song in praise of Tiruvēṅkaṭam. When she thinks of a flower to wear on her tresses, she reaches for Tulasī leaves. At dawn, she sets out for a dip in the ocean where the Lord of invincible arms reclines.
The tusker in heat on the hills of Tiruvēṅkaṭam, from whose forehead the mast fluid flows down in torrent washing its cheeks, mouth and feet, like purificatory water, offers with its trunk, a nectar - filled flower to the all-powerful Lord there in mute worship.
In the same hills, an errant tusker runs amok charging the low-hanging clouds with a raised trunk when a unicorn emerges in provoked anger and pouncing on it snaps its shining tusk and emits a resounding roar over the wailing fallen elephant. It is Vēṅkaṭam the hill-abode of the Lord, Who once threw a calf at the wood-apple tree.
The resident gypsy damsels wedded only to the hill, swing in playful sport with bangled hands swaying the pretty bamboo shoots which part to let the silvery rays of the moon light up the serene peaks. This is Tiruvēṅkaṭam, the abode of the Lord of the youthful celestials.
The Lord Who resides in the north at Tiruvēṅkaṭam is the moving spirit of the sun’s chariot of seven horses as it traverses from east to west. The purpose of the tongue is to sing the praise of the anklet-laden feet of that Lord Who once rapturously waltzed to the rhythm of the pots.
The cunning ogress Pūtanā came disguised to feed the child off her envenomed beast. With matching design. He sucked at it hard till she dropped dead on the ground. The cow-herd queen picked Him up in concern and mouthed Him to her breast. And what ambrosial antidote was that!
The silvery moon rides with its rim skimming the edge of the towering peaks of Thirumalai. On such a night as this, an angry panther moves close to the edge and waits staring at the illusive rabbit on the white moon shimmering so near and yet so far. This is Śrī Krishna’s mountain resort lush with sweet-smelling venkai trees.
There is no need to stand a top mountains or in cold waters or around sacrificial fires Just worship the Lord of Thiruvehka eagerly looking out for us, with fresh flowers and pure heart. All your bad ‘karma’ will flee from you.
As a child on the lap of the learned four-faced Brahma, the Lord counted with His foot, the garlanded heads of Rāvaṇa, to forewarn the Vedic seer that they were fit subject to be axed. Those lotus feet are our unfailing anchor.
He is our anchor - the Lord Who, as Krishna, wielded the discus to snuff out the life of Mura. When He is our protector, do not bemoan, ‘What is my achievement? What is my status? what is my destiny?’ Rest assured, He will always be our beacon light and harbour both. Repose faith in the wondrous Lord and recite His many names.
The graceful Lord in yogic repose resembling the calm ocean wears the garland of cool, fragrant, dark-green Tulasī leaves, and arrays of necklaces and jewels. With a focussed mind in constant remembrance of Him, we can overcome the sway of the senses and the cycle of repeated births.
My heart bestirs to draw close to the crimson feet of the Lord Who rests on the serpent bed and wields the dazzling sharp discus that once cut down in one fell stroke all the thousand arms of the daring chariot - borne adversary Bāṇāsura.
Oh my heart, the Lord’s glory is beyond your conceptualisation. But speak His glory nevertheless steadfastly. If you dwell on Him but once, He will surely come to dwell in you for ever. Why then are you vacillating?
He is difficult to comprehend by one’s learning alone. Even when He is there in our hearts, we have no idea of His true identity. Where and how do we find this Lord Who wears the cool Tulasī garland dripping with nectar and swarmed by bees?
What if they say, He is sweet but an elusive trickster, and beyond reach or that He cunningly walked away with the whole universe under the pretext of a gift of a small land-space. What matters is that He abides in me.
The inner meaning of the Vedas captures the divine experience. Even if the wise ones aspire to understand Him as the Indweller of the hearts of beings through practice and learning, few, if ever have experienced the wonder Lord of lotus eyes including the exulting poets like me.
Even if all beings of this earth endowed with spiritual yearning and poetic fervour came together, with folded hands and eyes, filled with Lord’s feet to sing His praise, would that be an adequate description of the beauty of the Lord who struck the bulls dead for the hand of Nappinnai.
The fast-moving thunderous monsoon sky lit by the sparkle of a lovely streak of lightning conjures the vision of the complexion of the beautiful Lord resembling the dark rain cloud.
Your dark frame shimmers like an emerald of excellence in the glow spread over it by the Kaustubha gem that you wear. The evening sky in its myriad colours reflects the vision of your body, wearing the cool Tulasī garland swarming with bees in the fresh bud bunches.
Do not be assailed by constant doubt, if that is good, and this bad, but instead worship the sought after golden feet of the Lord, who wears the cool honey-filled Tulasī garland. If you do that, all your cumulative karma will unhinge and vanish before their time.
Tiruvēṅkaṭam is, where even the uprooted roots of bamboos left in the holes cut by wild boar to ferret out rye seeds sown by gypsy elders, come live and shoot right up-to open the gates of heaven. It is the hill of Śrī Krishna of another time, Whose lips mesmerised by the magic of His flute.
As the Tulasī-clad Lord’s sacred foot touched the fringes of space washed by gods, and music of the bells and anklets filled the universe, space ran out for the shoulders filling out all eight quarters. How big can this earth be then?
Not satiated by all the mud that He ate, nor by drinking from the bosom of Pūtanā, He started swallowing butter from milk pots. Angry at this, the cow-herd mother bound Him with a rope. And the good Lord submitted.
My heart, the wonder Lord, Who is not sired by any created being, condescended to be born, as the son of Devakī with a breath-takingly lovely body. Meditate with complete involvement on His sacred feet Who sundered the thousand arms of Bāṇa who had imprisoned His favourite grandson.
The Lord and Consort of Śrī Who rose high to scale the worlds, lay on a banyan leaf as a peerless small child, involuting all the worlds in His tender stomach and went to quiet sleep on the surging flood waters.
Is there anyone in this world who really meditates on Him to seek clarity of mind and spirit? Oh heart, you take Him into your heart and seek your liberation.
I lit the lamp of consciousness, looked for the wonder Lord in that light, pursued Him and netted Him. Entering my heart, He softly stood there first. Then He sat, and now, has lain Himself down in it, inseparably.
As dusk descended, the Lord assuming the man-lion form ferociously tore into shreds, the body of the vilifying adversary Hiraṇya. Oh my heart, hail with bowed head the sacred feet of that Lord, the Consort of Śrī.
The celestials hail and bow at the lotus feet of the Consort of the lotus-flower-seated dame with their gem-studded crowns. They leave imprints on those tender feet.
Can the fair faced Indra, the lotus-born Brahma, or Śiva of flowing locks comprehend, even for a while the wonder Lord Who has the hue of kāryam flower and bears a lotus on His navel.
The Lord who pervades everything from the towering snow-clad Himalayas to the wind and the sky, tore the jaws of the shiny horse - demon Keśī. He will surely protect us from the jaws of hell.
Ever the Vanquisher holding eight types of armour, the Lord of Attabuyakaram, Who in time of yore, threw His discus at the pond to finish off the powerful crocodile - His feet are our sole recourse and haven.
The lotus-eyed Divine Mother seated on a honey-filled lotus, and resembling a lightning on the crest of rain clouds, on the sprawling Tulasī-clad chest of the discus-wielding Lord is our refuge now and forever.