Thursday, September 17, 2015

Periyazhvar revels in Symbolic Revelation

கண்டார் உளர்
You missed it, but there were many who were fortunate to witness the Lord's Achievements

The first decad of the fourth canto is a one of a kind decad in the Nalayira Divya Prabhandham. In the first half of the Periyazhvar Thirumozhi, Saint Poet Periyazhvar presented a unique composition referred to as ‘Pillai Tamil’, one that traces the growth of a unique child. The first two cantos were descriptive of celebrations around young child’s birth and the activities during infancy phase.. Each of the child’s activities was described - some making the mother happy but most making the neighbours complain. A large part of the third canto dealt with his  remarkable achievements much beyond his age even during the childhood phase.

In this first decad of the fourth Canto, Periyazhvar revels once again presenting an entire decad of the Lord's achievement in the Rama and Krishna Avatara but he uses the 'Symbolic Revelation' style to showcase these achievements.  Periyazhvar in these verses has used a very interesting way to narrate the story. After describing the greatness of the Lord in the first part of the verse, he concludes each verse by disclosing to the devotees that there were those fortunate enough to have witnessed each of these great achievements of the Lord almost giving out a ‘I missed it’ feeling with these devotees.

Continuing on from where he left off in the 9th decad of the 3rd Canto with the Paadi Para verses
 (, Periyazhvar once again alternates between praising the greatness of Rama and Krishna and ends the decad with the Varaha Avatar.

Praising Two Avataras in two different poetic ways

Rama’s crown, says Periyazhvar, is studded with gems and its shine can be compared with the rays emanating from a thousand Suns.

கதிர் ஆயிரம் இரவி கலந்து எறிந்தால் ஓத்த நீள் முடியன்
எதிரில் பெருமை இராமனை இருக்குமிடம் நாடுதிரேல்

He equates Rama with his previous Avatara and says that those interested in knowing his location, they could probably find it out from the many lucky ones who witnessed the Man-Lion tearing apart Asura Hiranya and had his hands in a stream of red blood.

அதிரும் கழற் பொருதோல் இரணியன் ஆகம் பிளந்து அறியாய்
உதிரம் அளைந்த கையோடு இருந்தானை உள்ளவா கண்டார் உளர்

Thus in the first verse, he provides insights into two different Avataras- one directly by praising Rama and his radiant features. And the next by revealing his features symbolically by taking one back to the Narasimha Avatara.

In the next verse, he directly describes Lord Rama and his physical posture of one having multiple weapons in his armoury. Periyazhvar names each of his five weapons he holds - Nandaka (Sword), Panchajanya (Conch), Kaumodaki (Mace), Saaranga (Bow) and Thiru Chakra (Discus).  
நாந்தகம் சங்கு தண்டு நான் ஒளிச் சார்ங்கம் திருச்சக்கரம்
ஏந்து பெருமை ராமனை இருக்கும் இடம் நாடுதிரேல்

And he goes on to his symbolic revelation of the same Lord.
He says that if anyone is keen to know his abode, they could check out with those who were fortunate to have seen him in his magical act of breaking the ‘Rudra’ bow and thus winning the prized hand of Sita at Janaka’s Court in Mithila. Periyazhvar praises Sita’s hands as being soft and compares it with the bud of red Kantal flowers.

காந்தள் முகிழ் விரல் சீதைக்காகிக் கடுஞ்சிலை சென்று இருக்க
வேந்தர் தலைவன் சனகராசன் தன வேள்வியில் கண்டாருளர்

In a matter of minutes he sent a swift arrow that ran through 7 trees before killing the dreaded Rakshasas Kara and Dhushana. Those that are interested to meet him can check his greatness with those  who have seen him seated alongside the sea shore, while an army of monkeys were helping him build the bridge across the ocean by carrying big boulders on their heads.
தலையால் குரக்கினம் தாங்கிச் சென்று தடவரை கொண்டு அடைப்ப
அலையார் கடற்கரை வீற்றிருந்தானை
அங்குத்தை கண்டார் உளர்

Periyazhvar offers a clue to locate him
If any of the devotees are keen to spot the Lord in the middle of a huge ocean, Periyazhvar says he has a clue to offer. As a child who seemed all innocent he had pierced seven bulls and killed an Asura who had troubled his girl friend Nappinnai. After his act, many found him standing there in perspiration.

In the next verse, he once gives a feeling of missing that great event by disclosing to the readers that those interested in seeing the Lord who Shiva with matter hair and Brahma with 4 heads sing praise of as the one with Lakshmi on his chest, can possibly find his whereabouts from the fortunate few who saw his valorous act of holding his beloved Rukmini by the hand staving off preventive efforts of her brother Rukmi and riding away in his chariot through the army of Rukmi. 

Periyazhvar describes Dwaraka as a place where the waves strike the shore in a soft way. He describes the Lord as one who rules the place seated in his majestic through along with his many beautiful consorts. As seen earlier in the Periyazhvar Thirumozhi, it was he who sucked the poisonous breasts of Putana till she breathed her last. He says there were many who were privileged to see him ascend the throne at Dwaraka and taking care of the loving people.

Periyazhvar once again says that he has a clue on offer to those who are on the lookout for his abode. It was He who stood in front of Arjana’s Chariot that was drawn by white horses and had the distinct symbol of monkey on its flag and conducted the entire Mahabaratha war.

Describing the Dramatic Sunset Event
Periyazhvar stays on with Mahabaratha and says that there were many lucky to witness that dramatic event just around Sun set.

நாழிகை கூறிட்டுக் காத்து நின்ற அரசர்கள் தம் முகப்பே
நாழிகை போகப் படை பொருதவன் தேவகி தன சிறுவன்
It was he, Devaki’s son, who in a fraction of a moment hid the sun thus deceiving Jayadratha who falsely believed that dusk had been reached and that he was now safe.

As Jayadratha basked in glory, the Lord brought back the hidden sun and Arjuna grabbed the opportunity to send out sharp arrows that took the head of Jayadratha.
ஆழி கொண்டு அன்று இரவி மறைப்பச் சயத்திரதன் தலையை
பாழில் உருளப் படை பொருதவன் பக்கமே கண்டார் உளர்

Varaha Avatara
He ends the first decad of the fourth canto praising the Lord, once again in his poetic style disclosing the Lord through a symbolic revelation. He says that those interested in seeking him can ask those who had the rare opportunity of seeing as a Boar, in whose form he swirled through the ocean and brought back Goddess Earth and married her.

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