True Devotees and their four Virtues
Friendly, Compassionate, Detached and Dispassionate Indifference
Emotional Description of Narasimha Avatara - Not found in the Divya Prabhandham
The fourth Paripatal also by Kattuvan Ilaveynanaar starts similar to his previous poem with a simple and beautiful description of the true devotees of the Lord. These true devotees, he says, envision God in their minds, by purifying and controlling their senses making them free from delusion of any kind.
They developed the four bhavanas or virtues – Maitri (friendliness), Karuna (compassion), Muditai (detachment) and Upeksha (dispassionate indifference- SEEING GOOD IN EVERYTHING!!!)
ஐந்து இருள் அர நீக்கி நான்கினுள் துடைத்த
தம் ஒன்று ஆற்றுபடுத்த நின் ஆர்வலர் தொழுது ஏத்தி
Kattuvan Ilaveynannaar begins his praise questioning his own ability to sing praise of the Lord – a trait typical of great poets of that period. He says he is inadequate to praise the Lord with his limited knowledge and may not be able to do justice to the greatness of the Lord. He also pleads with the Lord not to laugh at him for even attempting to sing his praise.
Alavanthar says thus in his Chatusloki, so does Vedanta Desikar in his Sri Stuti, each raising the question of whether they are even equipped to sing praise of the Lord!!! In the Periyazhvar Thirumozhi, Periyazhvar repeatedly refers to his inadequacy to sing praise of the Lord but says he has nowhere else to go. In one of the verses he even says that he does not care if the Lord laughs at him because he knows nothing else other than singing praise of him.
The complexion of the Lord is sapphire and compares it to the Blue Sea and the Rain Cloud. He has a garland of green Basil on his sapphire chest, he has lovely lotus like eyes, his feet are greater than the Lord himself and Goddess Lakshmi adds a beauty to this chest.
Emotional Praise of Narasimha Avatara
The poet provides a very emotional description in about 10 lines of the Narasimha Avatara. Such a description is not found in the Nalayira Divya Prabhandham. He describes in a beautiful verse Thirumaal answering the prayers of his true devotee Prahalada and how he emerges out of the pillar.
He describes the anger of the father on hearing the praise of the Lord by his very own son. It created in him a fury and irritation that was beyond description. He says it created in Hiranya a hate for the Lord that even dried up the Sandal on his chest and then this turned the father into torturing his own son in many different ways and harassed him continuously, unmindful of the fact that Prahalada was his son.
நிற புகழ புகைந்த நெஞ்சின் புலர்ந்த சாந்தின்
பிருங்கலாதன் பலபல பிணி பட
வலந்துழி மலர்ந்த நோய் கூர் கூம்பிய நடுகத்து
அலர்ந்த புகழோன் தாதை ஆகலின்
The poet praises the true devotion of the young child. Despite this cruel treatment by his father, the young boy did not flutter and he continued to utter the Lord’s name. Nothing could shake the young child’s heart from thinking of the Lord at all points of time.
And the Lord then decided that it was time to save his true devotee. The poet praises with emotion the opening of the pillar. The Lord leapt upon the hill like chest of the Asura and in a flash shattered his pride of being invincible. And the moment the Lord tore the asura apart with his powerful claws (Lion Avatara), the Poet describes the simultaneous thunder reverberating in the celestial skies.
இகழ்வோன் இகழா நெஞ்சினனாக நீ இகழா
நன்றா நட்ட அவன் தன மார்பு முயங்கி
ஒன்றா நட்டவன் உரு வரை மார்பின்
படிமதம் சாம்ப ஒதுங்கி
And then he describes the mangled flesh that was lying scattered all around the King’s court alongside the broken pieces of the pillar. Having come out of the pillar to tear open the chest of the Asura, one could hear a thunderous roar arising out of pain, almost as if to acknowledge the supreme power of the Lord.
இன்னல் இன்னரொடு இடி முரசு இயம்ப
வெடி படா ஓடி தூண் தடியொடு
தடி தடி பல பட வகிர் வாய்ந்த உகிரினை
The poet follows this with a praise of the Varaha Avatara. He compares his greatness to the huge and famous Meru Mountain and says that it was the Lord who helped recover the Earth from the Nether World and came back carrying it on his ‘DARK and MIGHTY NECK.’
Big Praise for Garuda
The poet praises his different flags of Tirumaal - Garuda, Palmyrah, elephant and Plough and says that Garuda is the best of the lot and is loftier than the others.
சேவல் ஓங்கு உயர் கொடியோயே
சேவல் ஓங்கு உயர் கொடி
நின் ஒன்று உயர் கொடி பனை
நின் ஒன்று உயர் கொடி நாஞ்சில்
நின் ஒனர் உயர் கொடி யானை
நின் ஒன்றா உயர் கொடி ஒன்று இன்று
In another surprise set of lines in this Paripatal, an equivalent of which is not found in the Nalayira Divya Prabhandham, the poet sings great praise about Garuda and his superiority over the Serpent. He describes him as the terror of the Serpent race. His food is the serpent and his ornaments around the middle of his body are also the serpents. His jewel is also a serpent. In this delightful praise of Garuda, the poet says that the snakes shine like gems on his wings.
விடமுடை அரவின் உடல் உயிர் உருங்கு உவணம்
அவன் மடிமேல் வலந்தது பாம்பு
பாம்பு தொடி பாம்பு முடிமேலன
பாம்பு பூண் பாம்பு தலைமேலது
பாம்பு சிறை தலையன
பாம்பு படி மதம் சாயத்தோய்
பசும் பூணவை கொடி மேல் இருத்தவன்
தாக்கு இரையது பாம்பு
There are 10 lines in this fourth Paripatal that start with Your (Nin) praising the Lord’s greatness.
He praises Tirumaal as one about whom only a few qualities are known. Most of the others only the revered sages may know. He resembles the Sun in his heat, Moon in coolness, Rain in bounty, Earth in forbearance, Form of the sea, Fineness of the sky, Advent/Dissolution of Air and Fragrant Grace of the Kaya flowers.
His qualities shows wrath to wrong doers and grace to devotees but on his own he has no friends or foes and is above human limitation.
நினக்கு மாற்றோரும் இலர் கேளி கும் இலர்
Tirumaal’s abodes are listed as Banyan, Kattampu and Hillocks.
In conclusion Lord’s pre eminence and his transcendence beyond good and evil are finely brought out by the poet at the end. To devotees he is easily accessible. He protects and saves all of them. The poet refers to Tirumaal as a servant of his devotee and a Guard and a guide of Good deeds.
He ends saying God is the sole refuge and protector of all.
எவ் வயிளோயும் நீயே
நின் ஆர்வலர் தொழுத கை அமைதியின் அமர்ந்தோயும் நீயே
அவரவர் ஏவலாளனும் நீயே
அவரவர் செய் பொருட்கு அரணமும் நீயே