Mudhal Thiruvandhadhi | verses 51-100
Mudhal Thiruvandhadhi | Poigai Āḻvār
Oh my heart, If you attain the inner clarity meriting the reward of being blessed, by the proximity of His sacred Feet, He will also be immensely pleased. Did He not demonstrate this when He as Nṛsiṁha, bestirred to wipe out, His insufferably egotistic adversary? Hence, meditate on His sacred Names.
The eight Vāsus, the eleven Rudra‘s, the twelve Āditya’s, and the two Aśvinī Deva‘s, carrying multi-coloured flowers wend their way every day, and reciting constantly the unparalleled Vedic hymns, pray with folded hands to the Consort of Mahālakṣmī.
To the Consort of Śrī, Ādiśeṣa serves as parasol when on the move, as high throne when seated, as foot-rest when standing, as floating bed when resting on the wide milk-ocean, and as a lamp, a mantle, and cradling head-rest.
What deeds, the Lord with red lotus eyes had performed openly for the whole world to see, driving out the venomous serpent Kāliya, breaking the tusks of the charging elephant Kuvalaya, grazing the cows, uprooting the Kurunda tree, tearing the beak of the pelican, engaging in romantic dalliance the gopis dancing with milk-pots, sucking the life of the demoness Pūtanā, finishing off the twin asuras, Chāṇūra and Muṣṭika in a wrestling bout, and lifting the Govardhana.
The messengers of the Lord of Death Yama, cautiously step away from the devotees of Śrīman Nārāyaṇa, whatever the state of their Karma, commending them instead with the words, “They are the devotees Of our Master”. What is more, they keep away from even those who, merely bear the names of the devotees of Lord Vishnu Who left His couch, Ādiśeṣa to mingle with His devotees as the simple Cow-Herd.
Except reciting His Names even if in disorder, Who can presume to know My Lord. Be that as it may, even Brahma, who stays close to Him seated on the lotus sprung from His Navel can hardly perceive the Lotus Feet of that Lord.
I was frightened of the strangle-hold of my sins so near at hand. Thus frightened, and seeking deliverance from them in Thy sacred Feet, l worshipped Thee with this love-laden garland Of verses and recited the verbal floral string “Namo Nārāyaṇa”.
Be blessed, my heart. Find your liberation in the worship of the Lord, by carrying flowers and incense in your hands. Arise, learning the proper recitation of the Lord’s prayer is for the worship of the Lord. Hence there is no reason to tarry. Go to Him.
If the anguish, sickness and other untoward effects of the terrible onslaught of past action that keeps one bound, are to be got rid off, Then our refuge is the Lord, Who as Śrī Rāma, once put His beautiful hand on His bow which resulted in the obliteration of the asura Rāvaṇa, who had had the temerity to imprison Sita of slender waist in Lanka.
Apart from Brahma born in the lotus flower stemming from Thy navel, who was first instructed in the four-fold path of the Vedas, the mortal denizens of this world surrounded by the oceans do not know, what power protects them in their life- journey except the Lord, Who holds the mighty Sudarśana in His Hand.
All the manifest and unmanifest worlds, the time principle governing them, the beautiful, wavy, blue oceans, die mountains, the blazing fire, the winds and the sky, are the creation of the Will of die Lord, Who is always in the company of Goddess Lakshmi.
Hail to the Shoulders of the One Who has for His bed the well-spread and rising Ādiśeṣa, which passed through the two inter-twined marudha trees, toppled the flower-laden Kurundha tree, finished off in one stroke the seven bulls in order to marry Nappinnai Devi, and to the consternation of all beings, ascended the seven worlds, and filled the eight directions.
My hands will not worship anyone except the Lord, Both my ears will listen only to the melodious words of Him Who is everything to me. My tongue will daily recite the praise of the bejewelled Feet of the One Who has the resplendent Ādiśeṣa for His bed. I will never shamelessly go after sensual desires.
I will not take for myself that which belongs to Him, Neither will I seek the company of those who are engrossed in lowly concerns about themselves, Nor have any relationship with anyone other than the exalted devotees of the Lord. Nor will I look up to, or marvel at, any god except the Lord of Śrī. How will the path of karma point to me?
Those who pray to Him of a thousand Names, endowed with bewitching red eyes, and of dark hue, Who is far and beyond the mental boundaries of anyone, shall never suffer the agony of karma, never descend to hellish depths of saṁsāra, nor tread in the slightest, the path of evil proclivities.
What the exalted souls desiring liberation recite at the break of dawn, and what the Vedic wise-men wish to see is the Feet of the Lord, with the flaming disc resting on the milk- ocean. These holy men constantly hear and meditate upon the sacred names of the Lord with the big Disc.
The rivers flow towards the big blue ocean. The resplendent lotus blossoms at the sight of the morning sun on the sky above. Life reaches the abode of Yama at the end of its journey. The inner consciousness revolves round the Consort of Lakshmi.
Oh Lord of Śrī Vaikuṇṭha, Lord come to tread this earth in various incarnations. Lord of Thiruvenkata hill, Who art the substratum of the musical four Vedas. Who can comprehend Thy greatness? Even if one sits in contemplation, through the aeons, who can grasp within his mental frame Thy image? Who can fathom the depths of the milk ocean on which Thou art resting?
Those knowledgeable sages say that it was true that Thou rested at the time of the deluge in the form of a small baby on a banyan leaf, tucking away the seven worlds in Thy small stomach. Oh Lord, Who lifted the Govardhana hill surrounded by gardens. Only Thou must tell, if at that moment, the banyan leaf floated on the waters, or hung from the sky, or was meshed with the dissolved earth.
While you have all your faculties intact, pray to the Consort of Lakshmi. It is good when the mortal frame is in shape, that you worship Him daily with a garland of beautiful flowers, or sacrifice, or performance of daily obligatory karma, prayers, or singing of His praise whatever.
O my sea-like deep heart, I implore you. Even if you succeed in overcoming age and disease, and get to live through the aeons and rule the worlds, never, never let go of your love for the Lord Who wields the golden Sudarśana.
Oh my love-filled heart, May you reach out to the Chakra- holding Lord. May my tongue sing the praise of the beautiful shoulders of that Lord. May my eyes set their sight on the Lord Who is beyond time. May my ears ever keep hearing the praise of the Lord wearing the pearl necklace.
Oh my heart, regardless of what you do, whether you sing the praise of the Lord adorned by the beautiful Tulasī garland, or decry Him or ignore Him or ponder over Him, He is the One Who is the underlying Cause and Sustainer of the gross forms like the deep sea and the sprawling mountains, and the prime elements like the sky, and the winds, in effect of the manifest universe, and the pulsating life principle behind it.
The Lord Whose favoured vehicle is the mighty Garuda the embodiment of Vedic knowledge, the Lord with a form resembling a cool blue jewel on Whose chest Goddess Śrī is snugly ensconced, the Lord with a long crown on His Head, and with long Feet from Which sprang the river Ganga, Who Tore the chest of Hiraṇya for the sake of His devotee Prahlāda, is the Protector of Śiva of long matted tresses and wearing ashes all over his body who rides the bull, who destroyed in a bonfire, the three fortresses, and who carries, on a part of his body, his spouse Parvatī, and bore on his head the brunt of the torrent of Ganga falling from the sky.
On meditating upon Thee, the lesser gods will leave one alone. On meditating upon Thee the shackles of one’s karma unshackle on their own, and cease to bind. Those who meditate upon Thee are not visited by the ugliness of old age. Oh, Lord of Lakshmi, they who worship Thy Feet find the way to their liberation.
They who worship Thee steadfast in their devotion, find their identity, as declared in the Vedic gospel of truth. Does not the Thiruvenkata hill of the compassionate Lord Who once scaled the worlds, confer the bliss of Śrī Vaikuṇṭha, even while warding off stumbling blocks?
If merely one recounts that the Lord is in state, standing, seated, reclining, and in stride respectively at the Veṅkaṭādri, Śrī Vaikuṇṭha, Thiruvenkata, and the beautiful and enchanting Thirukkovalur of densely blooming, flower-laden paths, then all the perils that hover round one’s path in all these states, simply vanish.
Arise, my dear heart, to worship the Feet of our Lord with beautiful flowers, gathered from the wild punnai tree, the One Who has for His bed, the dazzlingly hooded, spacious Anantha, the Lord that once felled the viciously powerful crocodile which stalked Gajendra. What suffering can ever torment anyone who worships Him thus?
At the instant, when Thou as Vāmana asked for three paces of land from Mahābali, and his symbolic sprinkling of water fell on Thy pretty, outstretched Hand, did not Thy Hands grow tall in the twinkling of an eye, ensconcing the denizens of the heavens in their protective fold? Yet, is it not the way of this world that it belittles the Taker, and not the giver, Who presumes to give that which does not really belong to him?
Can one be a supplicant to anyone other than the Lord of amazing powers, and enchanting form Who entrusted the venomous snake to the hands of the strong Garuda, when the former fearing for his life, at the hands of his traditional enemy, had hastened to seek the protection of the Lord Himself.
The sacred names of the One Who set down the Mandāra mountain as the chumer and tied the long snake Vāsuki as the rope round it, a long time ago, to aid the victory of deva‘s in the fierce battle-field teeming with adversaries, are the protective charm that takes His devotees to safe haven, beyond old cavernous hell.
The damsels with sparkling eyes resembling spears carry beautiful flowers, and incense sticks for offering prayers to the Lord of Veṅkaṭa hill on the holy twelfth day of the fortnight. That Veṅkaṭa hill where the fragrant smoke from the incense rises high screening and making blurred the scattered stars on the firmament, is the abode of the One Who shot an arrow once since long past, to finish off that trickster asura who came disguised as a deer.
Oh Lord, resting in the surfing milk ocean, Who directed the mighty Sudarśana against the asura adversaries, how did Thou lift up the Govardhana as an umbrella on the stem of Thy Shoulders to shield the cattle herd from rain, and fight and kill the seven bulls set as a wager by the cowherds?
Oh Lord, How come that the same earth which snugly fitted the size of my Master’s Foot when Thou strode the worlds effortlessly, appeared to be just a fragment of Thy tooth as Varaha? Who but Thou can comprehend Thy Greatness?
O my heart, which is firmly fixed on the goal of reaching Oneness with Him, With control over the five feckless sense organs, And with flowers and holy water in hand. Tell me, if you Have witnessed and enjoyed the beauty of the Lord resting on Anantha or His flag sporting the eagle King Garuda.
Oh my Lord of deep complexion Who lifted the Govardhana to ward off The blitz of hailstorm. Did Thou not materialise with the Divine Mother Śrī Before me in the corridor at Thirukkovalur - Where both art and nature overflow to embellish its beauty - Without appearing to be not entering nor exiting?
The beings of this beautiful land of Jambudvīpa are well acquainted with the way to reach the anklet-adorned Feet of the Lord of lovely Shoulders which hurled the killer asura who came disguised as a calf at another asura who stood hidden in a wood-apple tree. Who will enter the teeming gates of hell from now? O emissaries of Yama, bolt those gates securely without ire at us.
When my mind wanders, it will only wander round Thy Feet. When I sing every day, I shall sing only Thy praise. If I think of wearing anything on my head, I shall only like to wear the golden Feet of the Lord Who holds the golden Sudarśana. What does it matter to me what happens?
The colour of kāryam flower blooming in its congenial soil, and the colour of Pūvāy flower which blossoms but a little at every gaze, brings to my mind, crystal clear, the beautiful Form of the Lord. Is there anyone equal to me, blessed as I am? Even the Lord of all worlds is but equal to Himself, but not to me.
Oh, Mādhava, Thou did as incomparable Nṛsiṁha tear asunder with Thy strength the formidable Hiraṇya who deserved his fate. Was it because he became too inflated with his ego due to the boons that he had obtained, and failed to bow at Thy Feet in reverence?
Will they ever see deliverance that do not every day remember to bow before the Feet of Him Who, entering this frame of flesh remains inside to dispel the ignorance born out of our sense of identification with the mortal frame, and kindles the light of spiritual awakening, Who as Varaha retrieved this earth and protects it at the time of total dissolution?
Oh the Lord of Śrī, That art palpable in the form of the sky, the fire, the surging ocean and the wind, and like sweet milk and honey To Thy devotees. Tell me, when Thou swallowed the butter churned by the cow-herd women, did that fill Thy stomach that once upon a time incubated and brought forth the whole universe?
Oh Lord of beautiful and soft hands that hold the golden Sudarśana, before which flowers pale into insignificance, Who cast the asura Hiraṇya -that charged at Thee with drawn sword That made stomachs turn- on Thy lap and tore to bits with razor-sharp nails. How come that even after destroying him, Thou continued to flare Thy upper lip flashing Thy teeth in unabated fury?
Excepting Śrī Krishna of awesome powers Who rose in anger in the court, spitting fire at His adversaries, opening His mouth declaring ‘These are the seven worlds that were inside my stomach’, and revealed the whole manifest universe to the learned ones in that assembly, My tongue will not sing in the least the praise of anyone else.
The tongue is there in the mouth to sing His praise. The eminently chantable Mantra of ‘Om Namo Nārāyaṇāya’ is with us for ever. The Way from which there is no return which leads to the land of ultimate liberation, Śrī Vaikuṇṭha, is ready at hand. Is it not strange then, that there are still misguided ones who choose the path of affliction?
Oh my heart, realise that it is the red-eyed Lord Nārāyaṇa Who is the Dispenser of fruits of all karma, virtuous or sinful alike. This earth, the tumultuous oceans, the wind, the sky and the self and the ego different from the above, are all Him, see. Hold steadfast to this truth till the end.
Oh Lord of great compassion, Who saved from peril the Gajendra engrossed in sensual pursuit in the company of his mate. Was not the golden Ganga who descended from her celestial course onto the lustrous curls of the ash-smeared Śiva who stretched out His beautiful hands to hold fire to purify himself, blessed and sanctified By Thy grace at Thy sacred Feet?
Though the virtuous Śiva with a body of resplendent beauty and matted curls, and the Great Lord Who scaled the worlds go round in two different forms, One of Them like the rest of all creation is for ever, but the body of the Supreme Being.
My good heart, The Supreme Being is forever with us. He resides for ever in the hearts of those who remember Him. Know too, that He That rests on the waves of the milk ocean and is present on the Veṅkaṭa hill, is forever there in the inner recesses of your being.
O my heart, treasure the thought of the One adorned by the cool Tulasī garland, Who scaled the worlds in one step, He Who destroyed the asura Keśi, the Supreme Artist of incredible feats. If only, you succeed in that, you will be able to behold those two soft, crimson Feet, softer than the beautiful lotuses, the One That scaled the worlds, and the One That kicked the asura that transformed into a cart into smithereens.