Periya Thiruvandhadhi | Nammāḷvār | 3
The glowing stars spread over the spacious skies, look like flowers with a variety of bright coloured pollens thrown over the divine feet of the Lord of the universe when He measured the earth, by the various devas in their turn one by one as per the respective Vedic rites.
Having obtained what he desired, Āḻvār began to look at the stars in the spacious skies and they appeared to him like flowers strewn by the devas over the divine lotus feet of the Lord when He took the giant strides over the three worlds as Trivikrama.
Śrī Periyavāccāṉ Pillai in his commentary of this verse says that when Āḻvārs indulge in the worldly aspects, they see them only through their divine experiences:
He further refers to the following, incident when an Āchārya by name Siriyācchān said the following to Śrī Nampiḷḷai:
“Just as we cannot forget the material things even when we try to think of the divine, Āḻvārs cannot forget the Lord even when they look at the world".
The Lord who came as Trivikrama and who grew high and measured the worlds like the central stick made of blue stone holding up the huge umbrella of the spacious skies, with the studded stars like the tips of the spokes and the moon, the king of the stars and the bright Venus forming the connecting hollow rods, the same Lord is our medicine for our ills, the samsāra.
Āḻvār continues to enjoy the Trivikrama Avatāra in this verse also. - Āḻvār uses a simile here to describe the Trivikrama Avatāra. For an umbrella, there should be tips of spokes spreading at the top and a central stick for holding it. There should be rods connecting the two.
In that bygone age of the incarnation of Śrī Rāma, the valiant and victorious Lord with the fiery red discus, chopped away the nose and the large ears of that terrible demoness Sūrpanakhā
and returned back to His abode in the ocean of milk with the surging waves similar to the water laden dark clouds moving away from the blowing winds, settle back in the sea with the powerful waves.
Āḻvār in the previous verse sang the glory of the Lord in His Trivikrama Avatāra. In this verse he speaks about Śrī Rāma, who got rid of the demons.
If only the devas realize in their hearts, that in the bygone age,
Śrī Rāma who threw the arrow piercing through the seven Sāla trees and Śrī Krishna who split the mouth of the demon Bakāsura who came in the form of a bird –
are in fact the same transcendental Lord, wouldn't their clasped hands worship Him thrice a day?
In the previous verses, the Lord's incarnations were talked about. In this verse Āḻvār feels sorry for devas since they do not recognize the transcendental nature of the Lord although He exhibited this by His actions in the Avatāras of Śrī Rāma and Śrī Krishna.
O' mind! He will destroy the effects of our unrighteous karmas preventing them from causing misery and chase them away.
Always deck that ancient and loving Lord, who is majestic and invincible like the mountain and who is known as Keśava, Nārāyana and Mādhava, with garlands of words
In this verse, Āḻvār addresses his mind saying that it does not matter if the devas do not serve the Lord and instructs his mind to serve Him forever.
O' mind! Understand the Sovereign Lord, who carries the divine discus as an ornament,
He is the wondrous Lord, who vanquished the ancient demon Rāvaṇa staying close and causing havoc on his dear life and He wears the cool garland of Tulasī full of nice fragrance, who is glorified in the Vedas. I have taught this to you.
In the last verse, Āḻvār told his mind to serve the Lord forever. In this verse, he instructs his mind to understand that He is the wondrous Lord who vanquished the ancient demon Rāvaṇa (and therefore He will destroy all our adversaries), He is sweet (for He wears the cool fragrant Tulasī) and He is the Supreme (for He is glorified as such in the Vedas).
Understanding, that enjoying the Lord in the eternal world to be a good thing, if you wished for the same it would not be unobtainable.
(On the other hand) giving that up, if you preferred to stay in this world and enjoy all the worldly pleasures, it would still be possible.
O' my dear mind! Learn to sing benediction to the divine holy feet of the Lord Śrī Krishna.
In this verse, knowing Him to be the sweet and most desirable and also as the supreme ruler, Āḻvār instructs his mind to sing the glories of benediction on the divine feet of the Lord Śrī Krishna instead of seeking from Him, the eternal world or some other material things.
The Lord who is great (with no compeers) and who has a beautiful dark hue entered me and will not leave my heart.
(Therefore), the Thirumalai, the chattering ocean of milk and the eternal abode Śrī Vaikuṇṭha all have become small for Him. What a pity!
In the previous verse, Āḻvār stated that he did not desire anything other than singing benediction to the divine holy feet of the Lord. This verse describes how the Lord giving up all His other abodes, took up Āḻvār’s heart as His choicest abode.
The effects of all the terrible unrighteous actions appear like someone with sorrowful red eyes and grieving face.
Who can get near me and squeeze to cause any harm to me since my mind has engulfed the deep and the vast ocean of the auspicious guṇas of the great Lord, the consort of Lakshmi?
In this verse, Āḻvār states that all his unrighteous actions which are the cause of the repeat birth, have all vanished due to the love and affection of the Lord towards him.
I have taken into my heart the Lord, who is adorned with the radiant golden crown, who is known by the thousand names and who carries the resplendent discus
which shines as though it has engulfed the splendour of all shining things, as the mother and the father who will drive away all (my) distress. It does not matter anymore whatever happens.
In the previous verse, Āḻvār talked about his victory over the effects of all the unrighteous karmas (sins). In this verse, Āḻvār says that it matters very little to him even if he were to experience the effects of these karmas, since he has taken the Lord as his mother and as his father.
O'Lord, who remained all alone as the causeless cause at the end of dissolution! Śiva with the matted red locks soaked with the cool waters of Gangā resides in the right side of your body (while), - the four faced Brahmā has his origin in your navel lotus. How can I even begin to describe your greatness?
In this verse, Āḻvār says that the Lord whom he has taken as his mother and his father is actually the ancient cause of even Brahmā and Śiva.
Some will state that the trinity of Brahmā, Vishnu and Śiva with the three beautiful forms are the first cause of the cosmos. Yet some others will state that only one is the cause of even the trinity.
O' Lord! The ancient cause, with the hue of the dark clouds! Did not the resplendent lotus (the splendour arising from being the origin of the creator and the creation), sprout from your divine body?
In the previous verse, Āḻvār stated that Lord Nārāyaṇa is the source and refuge of all including Brahmā and Rudra.
Since some people consider Rudra and Brahmā to be equal to Nārāyaṇa and state that they can be sought as the sole refuge, Āḻvār in this verse establishes his statement and exposes the fallacy in their arguments.
Whenever the Pūvāy flower, the Kāyām flower, the blue water lily and the fresh blossoms of Senkazhunīr flowers, were sighted, at that time, the soft mind and the body of this lowly self of mine, thinking that all of them are in fact my Lord's divine form, become very elated.
In the previous verse, Āḻvār established that Lord Nārāyana alone is to be sought. In this verse, Āḻvār enjoys the Lord in all His glorious forms.
Although I have been begging all the time not even failing a single day, the Lord Gopāla, who protected the cows by lifting the Govardhana mountain, does not show His grace (to me).
O' mind! This place (where I am), appears to be high ground for the stream of His grace to reach.
Āḻvār in the previous verse felt elated because of the mental experience of the Lord.
In this verse, he expresses his sadness at not being able to see the divine form of the Lord even though he thinks of Him all the time.
While love of the Lord and desire to see Him arise only after taking a physical body, Āḻvār feels as if he has longing to see the Lord forever.
O'Lord with the discus capable of engulfing blood of all adversaries! This world as well as the eternal realm is under your will.
Such as you are, you have come in through my ears and have stayed inside me uninterruptedly. Among us two, who can decidedly know whether I am the great one or you are the great one. Please think!
Āḻvār in the previous verse expressed his sadness that the Lord did not show His grace and did not reveal His form. Āḻvār noticing that the Lord Himself was feeling bad for making him feel so let down, Āḻvār feels ecstatic and claims that there is no compeer to himself.
O' Lord who strode all the worlds! When I think of Thee, my mind expands (with joy). If Thy vision actualizes and the loads of my sins vanish with Thine grace, I feel as if that I also will pervade all the worlds. How is that? Please pray tell.
Āḻvār in the previous verse expressed what he learnt by listening ( ). In this verse he refers to knowledge that arises from contemplation and meditation.
O' Lord who reclines (on the serpent bed) in the noisy ocean! If I were to state, what family or friend is there (for me) excepting You? Without You, I do not see any other so called relative or friend that represents the good for the self of mine, the unmatched word, support and all stated relationships.
Āḻvār in the previous verse, addressing the Lord - The Lord who strode the worlds, indicated that for all beings the Lord is the only true relative.
In this verse, Āḻvār asks the Lord whether there is any true relative for him except the Lord.
He further indicates that in this world our so called relatives are taken as relatives because of our delusion. True and everlasting relationship for us is really with the Lord.
O' my good mind! Even if friends, life, large clan of relatives, birth in renowned and old family and their associations provide some happiness, (do not get attached to them).
Always delight in the experience of the eternal auspicious attributes of the Lord (Śrī Rāma ), who incessantly carries the Śārṅga bow armed with the arrows ready for discharge (for the protection of the devotees), considering them as the best food for your eternal enjoyment.
Āḻvār in the previous verse stated that there is no other relative or friend for him except the Lord.
In this verse, Āḻvār tells his mind that although there might be some good relatives and friends in life and the life in this mundane world may itself be pleasant, the real joy is actually the experience of the Lord alone.
In this earth, whoever it might be, from whatever class they may be from, even if they were engaged in the most degraded avocation, if they are the devoted servants of the sovereign Lord Krishna with the (Śrī Sudarśana) discus in His hands, they attain the brilliance shining ever more resplendent than that of the eternal realm.
Will they ever fear the unlimited accumulated karmas? Will they ever consider the heavens even as a worthy goal?
Giving up birth, death, aging, and disease and going beyond all these, even if I were to obtain limitless bliss in the form of kaivalya moksha, all of that time, being oblivious of the Lord and unaccompanied by worship of the divine feet of the Lord who measured the earth,
will I ever consider that as anything other than misery?
Āḻvār in the previous verse said that even if born in the lowest of classes in this world, if it was characterized by loving devoted service to the Lord, then such a birth is the best of all.
In this verse, Āḻvār declares that even if he gets "kaivalya moksha", if it were without any thought of the Lord, will only mean misery to him.
The thoughtful Lord, who reclines in the ocean of milk in meditative sleep (on the serpent bed), not noticing that this person (Āḻvār) is lowly and unfit for His grace, incapable and helpless to think of His auspicious attributes, and not even bothering to note whether it is day or night, has forcefully submerged me both times in His auspicious guṇas.
Āḻvār in the previous verse stated that the time when the Lord is forgotten, even if it is a state of liberation from the embodied life in this material world, is only misery.
In this verse, Āḻvār speaks about the fact that the Lord has indulged him in the experience of all His auspicious attributes day in day out.
In the aeons gone by, I who had no true knowledge and full of unrighteous karmas, wasted all that time in ignorance, failing to worship Lord Śrī Rāma adorned by the beautiful ring in his hand, who followed the magical deer (deceitful demon in disguise).
Āḻvār in the previous verse stated how he obtained unending experience of the Lord's guṇas day in day out. In this verse, he expresses his sorrow for the lack of that experience in the ages gone by.
O' my Mind! I fear that you indulge in things that should not be indulged in. Praise the Lord, who as Śrī Krishna got rid of the lives of the (demoniac) wrestlers. Note this is the only way for safe conduct in life.
O' Mind! Forgetting this advice of mine, destroy yourself or remembering the same, save yourself. I spoke to you (for your own good).
Āḻvār in this verse, recalling how his mind had been for ages, admonishes and advises his mind against such a state.
O' my Mind! You do not praise the divine feet of that Lord, offering flowers, with bent head and with your hands in worshipful clasp even when asked to do so. You do not lovingly glorify Him asking Him where He had gone. Stay put if you can still bear this.
Oh! Terrible indeed is the burden of the effects of karma.
Āḻvār in this verse further admonishes his mind.
Where did the clouds, with the beautiful colour of my Lord, who sleeps reposed on the cool beautiful ocean of milk with surging waves, wandering over the spacious skies go and observe what kind of austerities with such relentless efforts to obtain the colour?
Āḻvār, who has been sad until now alternating between feelings of satisfaction and dissatisfaction in relation to his experience of the Lord, looks at the world.
Looking at the rain bearing dark clouds in the skies, Āḻvār expresses his wonderment in this verse as to what kind of austerities these clouds observed to obtain the colour of the Lord.
The people of the world do not seem to get rid of the terrible distress arising from all the unrighteous actions,
meditating on the holy words glorifying all the auspicious attributes of the Lord, Who has the form with the hue of the dark clouds, with the arm adorned by the divine discus,
with the divine stomach strong and spacious to hold the worlds at the time of dissolution and Who reclines on Śrī Anantha, the serpent bed.
Thinking of what else, can they even spend the time?
Āḻvār, in the 84th verse, expressed that he could not live without delving on the Lord with all three kinds of action involving his mind, speech and his body.
In the 85th verse, looking at the world, the dark clouds reminded him of the beautiful dark hue of the Lord.
In this verse, he states that it will be difficult to live without immersing on the auspicious guṇas of the beautiful Lord and furthermore it will not be possible even to pass the time.
O' my good mind! Always try to sing the glories of the beautiful lotus feet of the Lord whose divine arms never ever remain bare of the divine discus, in order to get rid of the effects of all our unrighteous actions.
Sing the glories of the auspicious names of the Lord, at the present time as well as in the future and also all times to come.
Recalling what Āḻvār says in the previous verse, wondering how the people of the world will pass even the time, Āḻvār’s mind points out to him that the people of the world, pass their times in various ways after all.
To this Āḻvār advises his mind to dwell always and all the time in the names of the Lord describing His limitless auspicious guṇas, and be unmindful of others.
Benedictory Verses on Śrī Śrī Nammāḷvār
Long live the divine feet of the Tirukkurukai Pirāṉ
Long live the beauty of (His) divine presence
Long live the one who enlightened my mind
about the meaning of the Vedic hymns
Long live the leader of our father Śrī Yatirāja (Śrī Rāmānuja)
Long live the one who will protect us from falling into the darkhole of Samsāra
Long live the teacher that showed (me) the way in this world
Long live the one who came and protected me, removing (my) suffering
Long live indeed the benefactor of our Śrī Madhura Kavi.
Long live the one who graced us with the hundred verses of Tiruviruttam
Long live the benefactor who gave us the seven verses of Tiruvāciriyam
Long live the one
who bestowed the 87 verses of Thiruvandhadhi to rid of (our) base nature
Long live the one who uttered the shining Tiruvāymoḷi of one thousand one
hundred and two verses
Long live the king of Tirukkurukai with tall towers reaching out to the skies
Long live the one who appeared on Viśākham (star) of the Vaikāsi (month)
Long live the benevolent one
who took the incarnation of Śrī Viṣvaksena (the commander)
Long live the holy feet of Śrī Caṭakōpaṉ of Tirukkurukai.
Long live the one who was born on Vaikāsi Viśākham on this earth
Long live the one who gave clear exposition of the Vedas through Tamil
Long live the one who descended on this earth as the ancient teacher (guru)
Long live the one who worships Śrī Viṣvaksena all the time
Long live the benefactor who bestowed
the four thousand (verses of the Āḻvārs) to Śrī Nātha Muni.
Long live the one who excels in speech
and who is worshipped by our Madhura Kavi
Long live the one who as the golden sandals of Śrī Mādhava,
continues to grace (us)
Long live Śrī Caṭakōpaṉ
who is adorned with blossoms of Maghizham flowers, on this earth.