Posted in Amalanaadhipiran, Naalayiram

Amalanaadhipiraan Song Five: Paaramaya Pazhavinai

Preamble:
In the upward march of the Alvar’s mind from Lord Ranganatha’s feet to His crown, each limb, in the ascending order, is said to have pressed, according to the Commentator, its special claim to the Alvar’s attention. And now, when the Alvar’s mind was gaily strolling along the Lord’s golden belly-band, it looked as though the mind would simply stay on there. However, in its competitive exuberance, the Lord’s winsome chest, with its handsomeness, enhanced manifold by the gem-set ‘Vyjayantimala’, the lovely mole (Srivatsam), the dazzling ruby (Koustubham) and, above all, the Divine Mother (Mahalaksmi), inseperably poised on it, compelled the Alvar’s attention. Did not the Divine Mother (Sita), Grace first, Grace last, Grace throughout, the very personification of Grace, try to turn even the fiend Ravana into Lord Rama’s friend ? Little wonder, the Mother, adorning the Lord’s chest, could easily draw up the Alvar’s chastened mind. After a good bit of introspection as to how an ace-sinner like him, woefully transformed, beyond recognition, by truck-loads of sins, dark and dense, could at all enjoy such felicity, the Alvar’s mind could trace it to the Lord’s chest, motivated by His conjunction with the Mother (Devya karunya rupaya). The Alvar acknowledges, rather reveals, in this song, his grand discovery. The Alvar aghast with wonder at this extra-ordinary turn of events, the Lord absolving him, in toto, of the age-long accumulation of sins and on the top of that, getting Himself firmly lodged inside him.

Text:
Paramaya palavinai parraruttu ennaittan
Varamakki vaittan vaittatanri ennul pukuntan
Koramatavam ceytanankol Arangattamman tiru
Varamarpatanro atienai atkontate ! ||5||

Translation:
Surely, ’tis the bejeweled chest of my Sire at Arangam
With ‘Tiru’, well-poised, that fastened me unto Him;
Rooting out my age-long sins, dark and dense,
He got inside me; indeed, I know of no penance,
Tough and austere, gone thro’ by me in by-gone days ||

Notes:
Paramaya palavinai: The Alvar is at loss to spell out the manner in which he committed sins, which have swelled up, down the ages, into mountainous proportions pressing him down miserably. It is said that the soul commits a vast variety of countless sins, in a trice, which cannot be neutralized by the resultant punishments, undergone over aeons of time(Brahma Kalpa, running into millions of years). The sins could be of various kinds, such as non-performance of duties, enjoined by the Sastras; performance of acts, specifically prohibited by them; moving in the company of sinners; bartering away God; seeking from Him petty gains; and owing allegiance to minor deities, keeping God away. Pity, the Alvar could not recollect the vast variety of sins committed by him and the manner in which they were committed. It is a staggering past and the sins are also countless, baffling enumeration. He could only mention it, in general terms, as too dense, pressing on him much-too-heavily. Well Nammalvar also fared no better, going by his utterances in his hymns. He could describe the sins committed by him ancient and massive like the long stretch of a mountain range. [The reader should not, at once jump to the conclusion that the Alvars were also ace-sinners like us. Far from it; they were spotless souls, untainted by sins of any kind and that is why they were sent, in our midst, as His chosen emissaries. If they, as well as our illustrious Acharyas have, in their hymns and stotras, presented themselves before God in such terms, it is only a matter of self-denouncing humility, setting pace for us to follow in their footsteps. That is how we can suppress the ego in us effectively, leaving no room for conceit, arrogance and the like to raise their ugly heads and damn us beyond redemption].

Parraruttu: Eradicated, root and branch. Normally, when one tries to atone for the sins through the methods, indicated by the Sastras, only specific categories of sins can be got over by the relative rites and rituals and not the rest. But when the Supreme Lord cuts the Gordian knot, as in this case, sins one and all, however numerous and dense, get rooted out, never more to raise their ugly heads, the erstwhile stink of all the sins also vanishing. [If the stench from the sewage of sins keeps lingering on, even after the sins themselves have been wiped out, there is the offchance of the sins sprouting again. In the case of bugs, crushed to death, the resultant smell is said to give rise to further crop of bugs].

Ennaittan varamakki vaittan: Not only did the Lord absolve the Alvar of all sins but He also admitted him into His fold as a hot favourite, inducing in him, at the same time, extreme liking for Him to the exclusion of everything else. What more ! (see notes below).

Vaittatanri ennul pukuntan: Even as the spiritually regenerated, fully sanctified Alvar lost his separate entity, soaked in God-love of intense magnitude, the Lord got inside the Alvar and became part of him. What a grand reciprocity ! What a marvel ! Like Sage Vasista entering the hut of the lowly- “Sarva bhutantaratma Narayano Harih”. This underscores Lord Ranganatha’s ‘Antaryami’ aspect, as well.

Koramatavam ceytanankol ariyen: Amazed by the present turn of events, the Alvar is led on to an intense introspection as to whether at all he had, at any time, gone through any austere penance, including the severest mortification for a good length of time, to merit this much. But he draws a complete blank. However much he scratched his brain and searched his heart, he could not find the slightest trace of self-effort, indulged in, by him, for his spiritual uplift.

Sri Vedanta Desika, however, tries to examine the issue, the other way, interesting enough, although a bit stretched too far, according to his own admission. He wondered whether Lord Ranganatha, who left Ayodhya, bound for Lanka (as intended by Rama and fondly looked for, by Vibhisana), took His abode, instead, at a spot, chosen by Him, on the bank of the river Kaveri and lay on the Serpent-Couch at Srirangam, doing tough penance, to get at Panan, the long-lost treasure !

Tiru ara marpatanro adiyenai atkondate! Well, here is a flash ! “O, I see ! My Mother is so near at hand, right on the Lord’s chest, surrounded by the gold necklace, par excellence [the hiranya prakara for the Mother (Harini) – Sri Suktam]. In this grand milieu, the proximate promptings of the Mother have clicked so well. Not only that; Grace personified that She is, She has lit up my essential nature (Svasvarupa Jnana, hitherto lying dormant). So far, I was enthralled by the Lord’s exquisite charm but now, I am inseparably drawn to Him by His auspicious traits, innumerable, each one being of unlimited dimensions. Above all, the knowledge has dawned on me that He is my Sole Master and I am His exclusive vassal (servitor)-(adiyen)”. It is noteworthy, in this context, that Hanuman introduced himself, initially, to Sita, the Divine Mother at Asoka vana, as but Rama’s messenger (Dutoham). But with the influx of the Mother’s Grace on him, he instantly realized (the dawn of true knowledge) that he was the Lord’s vassal, not a mere messenger. From then onwards, he introduced himself to everyone in Lanka, that queried him who he was, as “Dasoham Kosalendrasya – I am the servant of Rama, the King of Kosala territory”.

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