Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Andal Conch Panchajanya

The story of the Conch is a great message to the devotee that with purity and sincerity of devotion one can gain a share in the Lord’s heart

Andal praises the Conch as being Pure (white) in personality, Great in achievements, Noble in character and Big at heart

In the Nalayira Divya Prabhandham, Azhvaars have praised the Lord in his various Avatars, his personality and his achievements. Thirumangai Azhvaar has praised his presence in many different temples and provides insights into those locations as it existed 1000s of years ago (i.e during his period). The Lord’s personality and valour have seen praised and described.

The 7th decad of Nachiyar Thirumozhi is unique in that it is the only one in the Divya Prabhandham where an Azhvaar has dedicated exclusively to one of the Lord’s weapons. Andal envies the Conch’s position of being ever present with the Lord, especially in light of her not being able to unite with the Lord. Through this decad, Andal brings to us the special relationship between the Lord and the Conch Panchajanya. Given the conch’s close association with her beloved, she makes detailed and probing queries about the Lord.

Andal praises the Conch as being Pure (white) in personality, great in achievements, noble in character and big at heart. 

Andal begins by praising the pure personality of the Conch as signified by the (white) colour. Andal enquires about the Lord’s lips as to whether it will really taste sweet and if his mouth smells of camphor and has the fragrance of Lotus.
 (At the Srirangam temple, camphor is thrown on Lord Namperumal on Kaisika Dwadasi morning in a special event on his way back to his sanctum after the Kaisika Ekadasi Utsavam).

கருப்பூரம் நாறுமோ கமலப்பூ நாறுமோ
திரு பவளச் செவ்வாய்தான் தித்தித்திருகுமோ
ம``ருப்பொசித்த மாதவன் தன் வாய்ச்சுவையும் நாற்றமும்
விருப்புற்றுக் கேட்கின்றேன்

சொல்லாழி வெண் சங்கே

A standing example for us to rise in our lives
Despite being born at the lowly ocean and being brought up in Panchajana’s filthy body, Andal praises the conch’s astounding rise to the top of the world to be ever present in the left hand of the lord. There have been many who grew up alongside the conch in the ocean. They have all remained unsung and unheard. But the conch has had the special privilege of being on the lord’s lips. The roar of the conch is enough to shake the entire world. It is the Conch’s announcement with his deadly noise that shakes the spirit of the Asuras leaving them dumb stuck.

கடலில் பிறந்து கருதாது பஞ்சசனன்
உடலில் வளர்ந்து பொய் ஊழியான் கைத்தலத்து

இடரில் குடியேறித் தீயவசுரர்
நடளைப்பட முழங்கும் தோற்றத்தாய்

நற் சங்கே

We have an opportunity in this life to rise above the filth and follow the Dharmic path.
She then compares the beauty of the Conch to the full moon that has risen tall behind the clouds and high above the Udayagiri Mountain. Andal says that his presence on the hand of Lord Vasudeva of Mathura places him on a special status and gives him a towering personality.  Is that not enough to show the nobility of the Conch?

தடவரையின் மீதே சரத்கால சந்திரன்
இடையுவாவில் வந்து எழுந்தாலே போல நீயும்

வட மதுரையார் மன்னன் வாசுதேவன் கையில்
குடியேறி வீற்றிருந்தாய்

கோலப் பெரு சங்கே

Secret chat with the Lord?
Conch is the symbol of sound. If one needs to reach out to the lord, it is the Conch that we need to approach for he is the closest to the Lord’s ears. One always gets the feeling that the Conch is ever whispering a secret into the Lord’s ears and that our messages are conveyed to the Lord by him on our behalf.

He is ever present in the shoulder of the Lord and there seems to be no space in this world where he is not present. Let alone mere mortals like us, not even the great Lord Indra would envy the  Conch’s fortune. Even Indra cannot equal the conch and his proximity to the Lord.

சந்திர மண்டலம் போல் தாமோதரன் கையில்
அந்தர மொன்றின்றி ஏறி அலன் செவியில்

மந்திரம் கொள்வாயே போலும் வலம்புரியே
இந்திரனும் உன்னோடு செல்வத்துக் கேலானே

There were many others with different features and personalities born in the sea – some friends and others foes. But none has the resplendent feature of the Panchajanya. Though born in the same sea, this conch is special because of his association with the Lord.

உன்னோடு உடனே ஒரு கடலில் வாழ்வாரை
இன்னார் இனையா ரென்று எண்ணு வாரில்லை காண்
மன்னாகி நின்ற மதுசூதன் வாயமுதம் பண்ணாலும்
உண்கின்றாய் பாஞ்சசன்னியமே

The conch is indeed privileged that he does not have to travel a great distance for a sacred bath (in the 2nd decad of Nachiyar Thirumozhi, Andal describes the distance she and her friends have to travel to have a bath every morning before dawn). Being ever present in the Lord’s Lips, the conch is ever bathed. The conch has no reason to go on sacred pilgrimage for a permanent place has been found with the Lord. Instead of going around like mere mortals for a sacred bath the conch because of the permanent residency in the Lord has the sanctified sacred holy water from the Lord’s nectar mouth.

Praising the Lord’s Conch as being the best among Conches, Andal calls them a beautiful lot.

Comparing the conch’s presence on the shoulder of the Lord to the Swan, she says that just like a swan that gracefully rests on a lake after sipping nectar from the fresh lotus flowers, the conch’s ever residing stature on the Lord’s shoulder gives it a glowing personality.

And then she turns envious of the conch!!!!

Conch’s Food every day

To sustain himself, the conch consumes the nectar from the Lord’s lips every day. And when it is time to sleep, the Conch finds the Lord’s hands as the resting place. Is this not far too difficult for the young and beautiful girls to digest for they are ever longing to be with the Lord. Will they not rise in protest? They too want a place in the Lord’s heart but this beautiful conch has a place of rest in the Dark Lord’s Palm.

உண்பது சொல்லில் உலகளந்தான் வாயமுதம்
கண்படை கொள்ளாள் கடல் வண்ணன் கைத்தலத்தே

பென்படையார் உன்மேல் பெரும் பூசல் சாற்றுகின்றார்
பண்பல செய்கின்றாய் பாஞ்ச சன்னியமே

16000 girls are in the queue and you enjoy exclusivity!!!!!

There are 16000 (6000 celestial beauties+10 thousand other damsels) beautiful young girls awaiting their turn to taste the Lord’s lips. While they are all wondering as to whether they will ever get their chance, the conch is enjoying an exclusive share of the Lord’s Lips. Andal questions the conch if this is not unfair and whether this will not result in them quarrelling with the conch. Girls are jealous of his special status accorded by the Lord. Feeling aggrieved, the young girls are likely to find faults in him for this exclusive rights.

பதினாறாயிர தேவிமார் பார்த்திருப்ப
மது வாயில் கொண்டாற்போல் மாதவன் தன் வாயமுதம்
பொதுவாக உண்பதனைக் புக்கு நீ உண்டக்கால்
சிதையாரோ உன்னோடு

செல்வப் பெருஞ் சங்கே

In this 9th verse, Andal refers to the episode relating to Narakasura. When the mother of the asura pleaded with the Lord, he let go Narakasura’s son and handed over the entire kingdom to him. During the process, he drove out all the elephants except one. The 16000 ladies who were under captive pleaded to be freed from the Asura and sought to be united with their beloved Lord. Krishna took them all to Dwaraka and married them.

The story of the Conch

After completion of tutelage under Sage Sandipini, Krishna paid his Guru Dakshina by restoring to the sage his long lost son in the same form when he was lost years ago. For this, he had to undertake a battle with the demon inside the ocean. Out of the bones recovered from the battle was born Panchajanya, Krishna’s famous conch that he used through the war as his trumpet.

Thus born to a demon in the ocean, Panchajanya had grown to this high privileged status of being with the Lord. It is a clear message to the devotee that with purity and sincerity of devotion one can gain a share in the Lord’s heart. True devotion to God is a link between our path of action and knowledge.

Panchajanya is unique in that it is separated from all others in the huge seas and found a place in the Lord’s hand. Panchajanya is different from all other conches living eternally in peace resting in the Lord’s palms. The conch has the privilege of ever enjoying the nectar for food from his lips. In his hands, the conch sleeps.  Thus, the wealth of the conch being with the Lord is just unmatched.

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