Periya Thiruvandhadhi | Nammāḷvār | 2
(We) Have the beautiful knowledge (that the Lord is the means) for eliminating our terrible unrighteous actions.
(Thus we) Have become the shadow and the foot creases (the servants) to the lotus feet of our Lord - who in the ages gone by (as Śrī Krishna) danced circling around with the pots on his head and who later reclined and rested on the large ocean of milk.
Āḻvār in this verse says that with help of the same supreme Lord, he got rid of all his adversarial karmas as well obtained the grace of serving His divine lotus feet.
The Lord Dāmodara (one with the imprints of the rope tied by the mother Yaśodā on His waist) always wanted to be the servant.
My great mind however, if instructed to serve, declaring that it will do only what is pleasing to itself, goes after its usual unrighteous actions descending to lowly state. What is to be done by us in this world?
Āḻvār in this verse says that even when he decides to be the servant of the Lord, his mind pulls him away entangled as it is with the physical body.
Shouldn't we offer something (even though nothing is ours and everything is His) and seek that Lord, who destroys our adversaries like He splits the demons, who do not show even one little act of gratitude towards Him, into pieces by His discus?
Why can't we understand fully at least one thing that forms His body? Why can't we at least have love towards ourselves?
Āḻvār in this verse says that if we have any brains, must we not seek the Lord.
O' Lord with the resplendent hue of the dark sea! The ancient cause! Your nature is to destroy all our sins from the eternal past.
Seeking You and merely hearing about Your beauty, as you lie reclined on the ocean of milk, we become weak in our legs, begin to lose our hearts with eyes bedimmed (with tears).
Āḻvār stated in the previous verse that offering some thing or the other one needs to seek the Lord only. However, when he himself tries to do that his body and mind become so overcome with emotions and love that they do not function for him adequately.
This verse describes Āḻvār 's own state as well as the state of all the other Āḻvārs who are also immersed in the love of the Lord.
Despite residing in many holy shrines, standing, sitting, reclining and moving about, the Lord feels as though He had not done anything! He never leaves my heart.
At the time of His divine incarnation, as Nṛsiṁha, with the blows of His beautiful hands, He crushed the mouth and tore the chest of the demon king Hiraṇyakaśipu.
My Lord has love for His devotees, indeed. Is that not so!
Āḻvār in the previous verse described his state on hearing about the Lord. In this verse, Āḻvār describes the efforts that the Lord makes on behalf of the devotees that lose their hearts in love of the divine.
Is that Lord difficult to reach, or easily accessible or is He both? Is He transcendental and inaccessible for many?
Giving up such doubtful thinking, if you understand that He always favours His devotees and become the true devotee of Śrī Krishna, then He himself will become your shield in many ways.
Āḻvār says in this verse that since the Lord is all loving of His devotees, we should not have unnecessary doubts about His grace and refrain from Him.
O' Good mind! Is it not rare to come to possess intellect that has a right disposition? We fortunately seem to possess that right intellect.
Praise with love the Lord who wears the cool Tulasī garland with flowers swarming with bees. Remain fixed with determination in that.
Āḻvār in this verse says that to be totally dedicated to the Lord is hard to come by for many but fortunately he is otherwise.
O' Mind! If we analyse, being quiet and not talking about the Lord for even brief periods like blinking of the eyes is not right.
You do not spend time in contemplation of the wonderful Lord with the sweet Tulasī flower garlands, even if it is for teasing about the ways in which the cowherd lady Yaśodā awarded punishment to Him. That is wrong.
Finding his mind withdrawing from praising the Lord thinking about its own defects, Āḻvār tells his mind that it is wrong and admonishes to spend its time only in speaking about the glories of the Lord.
O' Mind! Please pray tell whether it is wrong accepting as good deed for the tongue to sing the glories of that Lord with the chest that blossoms afresh even fading Tulasī flowers, here and now, instead of calling Him and awaiting for one day to reaching His eternal realm and serving Him there.
Listening to the Āḻvār, his mind followed his instruction of singing the glories of the Lord. It was found by the mind to be sweet and enjoyable.
Āḻvār says to his mind in this verse," See there was nothing wrong in what I had suggested".
O'Mind! Please come, there is no time like now. Withdrawing further and further, do not immerse me in the terrible hell of separation.
Praising the Lord who sucked the life along with the milk killing the deceitful demoness Pūthanā, who came in the form of a mother, alone will give us strength.
Āḻvār in order to prevent his mind from withdrawing again instructs the mind to cease the opportunity now and not let it go.
Using your strong arms adorned by the beautiful discus, instead of simply severing the strong heads of the wrestlers Chāṇūra and Muṣṭika, who came to fight against you thinking that they were the toughest, instead delivered painful blows to their heads and made them roll down. (Because of this alone), this earth will last for a long time.
In the previous verse, since reference was made to the incident of elimination of the demoness Pūthanā during Śrī Krishna Avatāra, Āḻvār continues to talk about the same Avatāra now relating the elimination of the wrestlers that Kamsa had arranged to attack Śrī Krishna, in the pretext of inviting him for the "bow-festival".
The Lord swallowed this earth and brought it out. He lifted this earth from the deluging waters and measured the same with His divine feet.
The wise further declare that He created these worlds at the end of the great dissolution, Himself becoming all these. If so, who is the refuge for these worlds? They will not be dependent on anyone else.
Āḻvār in the previous verse, indicated that the earth became safe due to the intervention of the Lord, by which the demon kings were eliminated.
In this verse, Āḻvār describes the various other protective deeds of the Lord. He further states that no one else can be the refuge for this earth.
Is there any way of eliminating the mental distress for those who do not place the Lord high in their mind without any doubt and glorify Him steadily - the Lord who blows away the sorrows of the devas who seek Him as their refuge?
Āḻvār in this verse says that there is no other way of eliminating mental anguish and distress arising from the worldly life except seeking refuge at the lotus feet of the Lord who removes all sorrows of all the sentient beings.
Embodied beings despite having the good mind as the tool for the use of knowledge, and having the mouth with the tongue (meant for glorifying the Lord), do not show great interest in reaching the Lord:
Mounting great efforts, they live without singing the benediction on the sovereign Lord. Is it not the effect of their previous unrighteous actions?
Āḻvār in the previous verse referred to the people of the world. In this verse, he says that the reason why people in the mundane world do not sing benediction on the Lord is the effect of their unrighteous actions.
Afraid of the terrible owes that arise from separation from the Lord (caused by the strength of the karmas) and not thinking of indulging in anything other than the Lord even for a short period of time, I glorified the resplendent golden feet of the suzerain Lord worshipped in mind, words and body by the Nityā Suris (the eternal attendants).
In the previous verse, Āḻvār said that the people of the world do not seek the Lord due to their unrighteous actions carried out in their previous births.
To answer the question as to what he did, Āḻvār says in this verse, that he worshiped the lotus feet of the Lord remembering the sorrows that befall when separated from the Lord.
The Lord who has the hue of the waters of the ocean and who has the beautiful red eyes is the eternal beatitude. He is also the means of protection against descending into the terrible samsāra.
O' mind, you remember this. I, who have known this, also tell you these words only daily.
In the previous verse, Āḻvār said that his pastime was essentially the worship of the Lord. In this verse, he tells his mind to remember that "the Lord is both the goal and the means".
O' Lord! Please do not frown at the people of the world since they will worship you only to fulfil some small desires, for they do not have the wisdom of considering you alone as the refuge and the goal. In this world such wisdom does not arise that easily.
For us who has obtained your grace however, the conduct of the worldly will not arise even little.
The Lord points out to the Āḻvār that people of the world unlike him are always worshipping him to fulfil some of their small desires.
Āḻvār in this verse requests the Lord not to get upset with them saying that it is only with His grace that the true knowledge of Him being both the way and the goal arises. For such beings, this conduct of the worldly will not arise even little.
Contemplating on Śrī Krishna who killed the seven bulls with the terrible horns all at once for the sake of Nappinnai Piratti with arms soft and tender like the bamboo, we were fixed on the eternal realm beyond all the heavens for ourselves. That is "the way", is it not?
In this verse, Āḻvār says how he would overcome all obstacles in reaching his goal.
Āḻvār answers the question by saying that the Lord who overcame the obstacles, which were in the way for the wedding of Nappinnai Piratti, would eliminate these as well.
Āḻvār, who has been revelling in the thoughts of the Lord, says that he does not desire even the eternal realm beyond all the heavens.
My mind, looking at the clouds, the dark mountains, the wide ocean, the dense darkness of the night, the Pūvāy trees, which the bees don't seem to want to leave and everything else that is black in colour, at the time of their sighting, thinking that they are the beautiful form of the Lord Krishna, wandered away from me.
In the last verse, Āḻvār established that the Lord Himself is the means for getting rid of all obstacles and for attaining the eternal beatitude. In this verse, he indicates, the ways to spend the time (for those who are so determined) until the mortal coil falls.
He does not show lovingly, even once His compassion and grace pitying the mind of mine, which feverishly follows Him around, thinking of nothing other.
O' how stone hearted is the Lord, who split the mouth of the demon in the form of the horse Keśī!
In this verse, Āḻvār complains that the Lord is not coming forward to show His grace towards his mind which thinks of Him alone even when looking at all things black resembling His colour.
He does not think of all the efforts, the Lord has taken to receive him in all his previous births, with the physical body bestowed by Lord and by His efforts,
when finally desires are turned towards Him, if He shows even a little delay that appears as a fault of the Lord. However bad the child might have behaved, if the mother does not feed the hungry child, the mother will always be faulted.
The mark of true devotees with broad minds and admirable qualities, consists in winning over the five sense organs that make the mind go astray
thereby eliminating the resulting anger, and directing them instead towards the Lord adorned with garlands of freshly blossomed Tulasī flowers and having the vision of His divine feet. Is it not?
In the previous verse, Āḻvār complained that the Lord was not coming forward to show His grace. In this verse he says that true servant of the Lord should accept and abide by the will of the Lord and to express otherwise is wrong.
Once taking the form of a dwarf celibate, He begged for three feet space of this earth. As Śrī Krishna, pretending to drink milk from the poisoned breasts of the demoness Pūthanā, He sucked her life away.
Our eyes desire only to see the peerless form of that Lord alone and nothing else. Will (my) tongue ever crave for anything else but sing the auspicious glories of that Lord?
Āḻvār in this verse, says that what he said in general for all Śrī Vaishnavas actually materialized for him.
O'Lord, with beautiful divine red eyes, partial to thine devotees! I must tell you one thing. You always are thinking of what more you can do for your desireless devotees.
However for them, the eternal abode of Vaikuṇṭha, which you want to bestow upon, will it be ever sweeter than the joy that their minds feel from revelling in your auspicious attributes?
Āḻvār in the last verse told the Lord that all his senses were revelling in His bliss. The Lord then reveals His intention of taking the Āḻvār to His eternal abode, Vaikuṇṭha. Āḻvār states that Vaikuṇṭha does not appeal to him as much as delighting in the thoughts of the Lord here on this earth.
We bowed to the holy divine feet of the Lord, who lifted and hurled the demon (Vatsāsura), who came as a new-born calf in the air and brought down the wood apple tree and its fruits, where another demon Kapittāsura was hiding.
Lo! What a wonder! We cannot see the terrible sins anywhere near us! Did they vanish into the skies? Did they become immersed in the wavy sea? Did they blow away with the wind? Did they burn up in the fire? Did they hide in the forest?
When Āḻvār states that his current state of bliss being immersed in the kalyāṇa guṇas of the Lord is better than anything that the future may bring, the Lord seems to ask Āḻvār what happened to all the obstacles in the way of this experience in the form of all unrighteous actions. To that query of the Lord, Āḻvār replies in this verse, that he is not able to discern where they seem to have disappeared.
The Lord by His appearance removes all mental agony.
While it is hard for us to go near the Lord, who lies reclined on the bed of Ādi Śeṣa, the serpent studded with gems in the ocean (of milk) with the surging waves, we can always fully visualize Him in our minds.
Āḻvār in this verse says that since all his karmās which were like obstacles vanished, he is able to actually visualize the Lord.
The Lord by Himself seems to have taken abode in my mind even without any obvious means adopted by me. My life however is sweet. What a wonder this is!
In order to bestow His grace to all beings, Lord Krishna Himself hiding His own true nature, form and attributes carries out their tasks without any need for them to resort to any other means.
The same Lord remains far away unreachable to the demoniac beings.
In ancient days, He himself strode over all the worlds. The means that wondrous Lord showed and how that came about, no one would know.
Āḻvār in this verse says that he also does not know why the Lord, Who is not easily attained for many, became so accessible to him.
O' my mind! Won't the Lord not eliminate the ignorance and the desires in indulging in various things arising as a result of the invincible effects (both meritorious and otherwise) of our previous karmas from the ancient days,
the Lord holding down the demon Hiraṇya in the battle, tore his heart apart allowing his blood to flow, flooding all the lower grounds and put down his life and ego of his material wealth?
Āḻvār in this verse, replies the query of his own mind which was asking him how to get rid of the ignorance and the desires in various material things which had co-existed in us from the ancient days, saying the Lord who destroyed the demon Hiraṇya, alone would also eliminate these.
O'Lord with the divine resplendent form! I had lost myself immersed in thy pure sweet auspicious guṇas. Please do not change that experience ever from now on.
In the days ahead for me, the wealth that I besiege of you is not to do service at your divine lotus feet after attaining moksha but merely not to ever forget thine divine feet.
Āḻvār in this verse, tells the Lord that he does not want from Him the kainkaryam of serving His lotus feet at the eternal abode after release from the mundane world, but all that he wants of Him is to be able to never ever forget His divine lotus feet.
The waves of the wide ocean surge and splash near the great Lord who lies in it in a meditative sleep.
The moment we begin to think of His glorious names, the powerful effects of all our unrighteous actions, should leave us and reach the forest or other regions.
Why is the delay in their leaving us? Do they wish to return to us?
Āḻvār in this verse speaks with joy since he had made sure of attaining Moksha. He says that "pāpa" (sins) cannot near him anymore.
O' my mind! There is no other saviour wherever you may want to search, who will protect you from falling into this eternal, big and terrible hell of this material mundane life.
Without looking elsewhere away from Him, follow that wondrous Lord who is adorned with garland of sweet Tulasī flowers. Otherwise follow your evil ways.
Āḻvār in this verse addresses and instructs his mind and fearing that it might fail to turn towards the Lord due to the influence of the tendencies from its previous experiences.