Periyazhvar provides insights into Yama's Deadly Personality and pleads with Lord Ranganatha of Srirangam to consider today's prayer as one for a time in need (sometime in the future)
அப்போதைக்கு இப்போதே சொல்லி வைத்தேன்
அரங்கத் தரவனைப் பள்ளியானே
He has already composed well over 400verses of praise on the Lord. This has ranged from describing the unique activities of Child Krishna to praising the greatness of sacred towns such as Thirumaliruncholai and Thiru Kottiyur.
Finally, Periyazhvar realises that it is now time for him to seek the Lord directly. It is a personal prayer from him directed at Lord Ranganatha of Srirangam asking him to protect him in his time of need. In this last decad of the fourth Canto, Periyazhvar reaches out to Lord Ranganatha with an advance prayer seeking a help for the future.
It is largely believed that it is Lord Ranganatha of Srirangam who provides Moksham to devotees. While in times gone by, there have been many additional features attributed to Lord Ranganatha, Srirangam primarily continues to be the place for seeking Moksham.
Hence, Periyazhvar addresses the Lord of Srirangam with an advance prayer today that seeks the Lord to accept today’s prayer of his as one for the future when he will be in real need of the Lord’s help but when he may not be in a mental state to remember the Lord!!!
In the earlier decads in this Canto (4.5 and 4.6) ( http://prtraveller.blogspot.com/2015/09/periyazhvar-think-of-and-thank-god.html) and (http://prtraveller.blogspot.com/2015/09/periyazhvar-naming-child.html), Periyazhvar had repeatedly suggested ways to us to undertake and perform positive, selfless things in this life and to take away all the negative energy and thoughts from us. He reminded us time and again in these two decads that being in a good state of mind currently offers us great opportunity to do good things right now without postponing to a later date. Also, he had suggested to us to chant the different names of the Lord at all points of time and to grab this opportunity right now to chant his names when we are healthy. Even in our death beds, he had warned that we will only be calling for our relatives and not the Lord. Such is the fate of the mortals.
Pray Today for ‘Protection Later’
Having thus made such suggestions to the devotees to seek the Lord right now when we are physically and mentally in a good state, in this last decad of the fourth canto, Periyazhvar goes a step forward. By now, he has probably understood the mindset of the mortals as ones basking in arrogant glory of the current and who do not think of the need of Lord’s help as they are in a happy state right now, he presents a beautiful advance prayer to the Lord thus providing guidance to devotees to seek him today.
He asks the Lord to consider this current- today’s- prayer as one for the future when he may need the Lord’s help but when he may not remember the Lord because of ill health and being on death bed.
Periyazhvar provides threatening examples of what might be in store for us, creating a ghastly visual imagination of the deadly Yama and his team and how they may treat us in the last moments of our lives and later.
In these verses, Periyazhvar provides a very negative connotation to Yama and refers to him as cruel, rude, thoughtless, emotionless, uncouth, wicked and as one bestowed with the job to inflict pains on those who did not live a true selfless life.
He provokes the question in us if we want to be in such a scenario of being mis-handled by Yama and his agents or would we be better off invoking the Lord’s blessing today seeking his help at all times, especially for the future and the last days of our lives and to take us safely to Moksham.
No Option but to seek the Lord’s Help
He says there are those who are intelligent and well groomed that they know the right time to seek his help. He says he is not one among them. He claims to be unworthy of that. And yet he says he has no other option but to reach out to him asking for his support citing the example of Gajendra Moksham episode when the Lord came to the rescue of the seemingly helpless elephant caught in the clutches of the crocodile but one who reached out to the Lord.
துப்புடையாரை அடைவது எல்லாம்
சோர்விடத்து துணை ஆவர் என்றே
ஒப்பிளேன் ஆகிலும் நின் அடைந்தேன்
ஆணைக்கு நீ அருள் செய்தமையால்
Periyazhvar says that when death is nearing him, it is likely he will not be able to remember the Lord to seek his help. Hence he requests the Lord to consider today’s prayer (this current prayer) as the one for that day in future and asks him to consider helping him in his real time of need and when he is in distress at a time in the future.
எய்ப்பு என்னை வந்து நலியும் போது
அங்கு ஏதும் நான் உன்னை நினைக்க மாட்டேன்
அப்போதைக்கு இப்போதே சொல்லிவைத்தேன்
அரங்கத் தரவணைப் பள்ளியானே
He says that today he is fully conscious and aware of himself and that he remembers the Lord and his power.
Yama’s Brutal Approach
YAMA @ Thiru Kodikkaval
When we are in his death bed, Yama, who Periyazhvar describes as one with the folded tongue, will be making his way towards us along with his agents. They are likely to beat us black and blue. And we may be all alone (not being able to remember the Lord at that time) without any support. For those times, let us pray today seeking the Lord’s blessings and protection.
நா மடித்து என்னை அனேக தண்டம்
செய்வதா நிற்பர் நமன் தமர்கள்
Depending on our actions in this life (and we may have committed many ill acts), we are likely to be dragged by them. Logically we should be thinking of the Lord at that time but mysterious are your ways that you don’t enable us to remember you when we need you most. However, today we are fully conscious and hence Periyazhvar requests the Lord to treat this prayer for those days of need and help us get a graceful sanctuary.
போம் இடத்து உன் திறத்து எத்தனையும்
புகா வண்ணம் நிற்பதோர் மாயை வல்லை
ஆம் இடத்தே உன்னைச் சொல்லி வைத்தேன்
When we reach that final phase of life, it is quite likely that we will not remember the Lord. It is a big worry today that we may not have any solutions against the strategy of Yama and his commandants. Hence when the memory is sharp, we will today start uttering all your different names with utmost sincerity and seek your protection for the time when Yama will be all set to kick us through the gates of the nether world.
எல்லையில் வாசல் குறுகச் சென்றால்
ஏற்றி நமன் தமர் பற்றும் போது
நில்லுமின் என்னும் உபாயம் இல்லை
சொல்லலாம் போதே உன் நாம மெல்லாம்
சொல்லினேன் என்னைக் குறிக் கொண்டு என்றும்
அல்லார படா வண்ணம் காக்க வேண்டும்
Periyazhvar seeks Lord Ranganatha’s help for those final days. When the final days are nearing and Yama is making his way towards us to take us in a rude way on that final narrow gateway, it is only Lord Ranganatha who can come forward to save this true devotee and put Yama on hold. To that end, he says he is offering prayers today in true selfless way, praising him in every possible way.
Lord’s appointment of Yama and his role
Periyazhvar follows up with a beautiful verse describing the reason for TIME and the creation of the role of Yama. He says even Shiva and Brahmma do not know his real greatness.
வையா மனிசரைப் பொய் யென் றெண்ணிக்
காலனையும் உடனே படைத்தாய்
He says that the Lord obviously knows that we – mortals - are prone to mistakes despite the fact that we all have an opportunity to reach out to God every day of our lives. To punish the mortal men, Periyazhvar says that the Lord put in place a process for Yama. ‘But since I remember your greatness and I now know this entire process of connection between good deeds and later punishment, I am beginning the chanting of your names. Remember this and protect me when the need arises.’
Describing Yama - Ruthless, Heartless, Emotionless, Cruel, Rude!!!!!!!!!
Periyazhvar goes on to provide more insights into the ways of Yama and how he can be ruthless in our phase journey of life. Yama is generally seen to be heartless and carries out his function without any emotion whatsoever. And as death looms large and we see Yama in front of us, it is very likely that we will not remember this Lord. Today we are hale and healthy with a strong in body and mind.
Let us offer our prayers with all sincerity seeking Lord Ranganatha’s blessings for protection from the wicked ways of Yama. Periyazhvar asks the Lord to bear in mind today’s prayers of the devotee and to protect him in that time of need.
Yama’s deadly act
Periyazhvar also creates a sense of fear in us today of what might dawn on us much later, when it is likely to be too late. One is likely to find Yama and his team appear before us in different forms and sizes. They are likely to look very scary and we will be left unprotected in their hold. Periyazhvar describes Yama as uncouth, heartless and having the capability to inflict harmful pains.
தண்ணெனவில்லை நமன் தமர்கள்
சாலக் கொடுமைகள் செய்யா நிற்பர்
He says that we have an opportunity today to utter all the sacred names of the Lord and to meditate on him. He pleads with the Lord to protect us in such times and asks him to reassure us that we don’t have to fear Yama.
Mortal humans are not likely to know the Lord’s mysterious ways and also we do not have the ability to interpret your messages (Periyazhvar refers to the Lord’s ability to make us forget him at the most inappropriate time).
Lord forgotten in our physical pain
When Yama comes to forcibly take us away, he and his team are likely to beat us up and in that physical pain that we undergo, we may not be able to remember the Lord. But today, we plead that you redeem us at that time of need when we are likely to be in a helpless state.
வஞ்ச உருவின் நமன் தமர்கள்
வலிந்து நலிந்து என்னைப் பற்றும் போது
Periyazhvar goes on further to paint a dark picture of the God of Death and his team. He says that he dreads those messengers of Yama who he visualises as being cruel and ready to capture us mercilessly for our final trip.
நன்றும் கொடிய நமன் தமர்கள்
நலிந்து வந்து என்னைப் பற்றும் போது
Mysterious Ways of the Lord
He says that he does not have the capacity to understand this mysterious play of the Lord. But despite this, when the God of Death and his messengers arrived and give out the command directing us to enter into that fleshy world and hit out at us, it is at that time and place, that we will suddenly forget to think of you. And that is when we need you to redeem us from those deadly messengers of Yama.
நான் ஏதும் உன் மாயம் ஒன்றறியேன்
நமன் தமர் பற்றி நலிந்திட்டு இந்த
ஊனே புகி என்று மோதும் போது
அங்கேனும் நான் உன்னை நினைக்க மாட்டேன்
Periyazhvar says that he has realised the greatness of the Lord from the time he heard of his great achievement including carrying the Govardhana Mountain. Since that time, he says, not once has he lost sight of the Lord.