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From: Parthasarati Dileepan (MFPD_at_UTCVM.UTC.EDU)
Date: Wed Feb 15 1995 - 17:31:18 PST

In this continuing series of twelve posts, twelve of the
many guNaas that are innate to Brahman is discussed
with illustrations from aazhvaar paasurams.  These
twelve guNaas demonstrate God's eternal love for us
jeevaathmaas.  They are sowseelyam, vaathsalyam,
maardhavam, aarjavam, sowhaartham, saamyam,
kaaruNyam, maadhuryam, gaambeeryam, owdhaaryam,
chaathuryam, and sthairyam.  The subject of this post is
maardhavam.  There are two interpretations for this
kalyaaNa guNam.

Maardhavam: (1)     dislike for separation from devotees
                    (bakttharkaLin pirivai poRukkaamai)
             (2)    compassion even while meting out

(1)  dislike for separation from devotees
Sri raamaan's maardhavam is most apparent right after
raavaNa vadham.  His mind immediately turned to
Baradhaazvhaar.  Declining vibeeshNan's request to stay
a little longer in Lanka, Ramaa rushed back to ayOdhyaa
to reunite with his dear devotee.  (Question: In what way
can Bharathan be equated with madhurakavi aazhvaar?
Answer: In thiruvaay mozhi 6.10.10, Nammaazhvaar
says, "adiyEn un adikkeezh amarndhu pugundhEnE,"
"adikkezh amarndhu" (seated at the bottom of your feet)
is widely interpreted to mean paadhugai.  Madhurakavi
in his kaNNi nuNsiRutthaambu declares that besides
nammaazhvaar he knows of no other Lord, "dEvu
maRRariyEn."  In this sense madhurakavi, like Barathan,
is a devotee of our Lord's paadhugai.)

Back to maardhavam; thirumangai aazhvaar gives us a
glimpse of our Lord's maardhavam in periya thiru mozhi

ettanaip pozhudhaagilum enRum
  en manath agalaathirukkkum pugazh
thattalartthaponnE yalar kOngin
  thaazh pozhil thirumaaliruncOlaiyaNG
kattiyai karumbeenRa insaaRRaik
  kaadhalaal maRainaan_gum munnOthiya
pattanai paravaitthuyilERRaiyen
  paNpanaiyanRip paadalseyyEnE

ettanaip pozhudhaagilum = even for a fraction of a second
enRumen manath agalaa   = (you) will not separate from my mind,
thirumaaliruncOlai      = the Lord of thirumaaliruncOlai (that is)
thaazh pozhil kongu     = filled with trees that have
pon Ey alar             = golden flowers
thattalarttha           = like plates, big and wide;
mun                     = earler in Krishnaavadhaaram
Othiya                  = (you) learnt from rishi saantheebini
maRai nanngum           = the four vEdhaas;
pattanai                = you are omniscient;
karumbeebnRa insaaRRaik = you are my sweet nectar of sugar cane;
paravai thuyilERRai
en paNpanai             = my Lord, slumbering in paarkadal;

yanRi paadal seyyEnE    = I will sing only of you and not any others
kaathalaal              = with love.

"The sweet Lord of the large and golden flowers filled
thirumaaliruncOlai; the Lord who was schooled in the
four vEdhaas by Saantheebini during
Krishnaavadhaaram; the Lord slumbering in thirup
paarkadal; is in my mind and He will not leave me even
for a fraction of a second; and I will sing in His praise
and not any other."

Azhvaar is not claiming any credit for the fact that the
Lord is firmly secured in his mind.  He says,  "en
manatthagalaa;" which shows that the Lord has chosen to
stay in aazhvaar's mind and not be separated from him.
This is maardhavam.

(2)  compassion even while meting out punishments
While Raamaa waited out the monsoon in the forest,
sugreevan was enjoying the princely life style to which
he was restored.  The rains stopped, but sugreevan forgot
all about his promise to search for seethai.   Even though
sugreevan deserved the wrath of LaskhmaNan, our Lord
instructs iLaiya perumaaL to "gently" remind sugreevan
about his promise.   This gentleness is maardhavam.

Another example of maardhavam is the well-known
"inRu pOy naaLai vaa" to vaNNangalil arakkan, (periya
thiru mozhi 9.8.5).  [vaNangalil = impious, arakkan =
demon, i.e. raavaNan].  Sri Raamaa's maardhavam is good
even towards vaNNangalil arakkan!

AndaaL appeals to this maardhavam with,
"aRiyaadha piLLaigalOm anbinaal unRannaich
siRu pErazhaitthanavum, seeRi aruLaathE"
          --  thiruppaavai (28)

The "siRu pEr azhaitthana" refers to the gOkulam days,
when, without the true knowledge of who Krishnan
really is, gopi and gopakaas may have been irreverent to
our Lord, albeit out of love.  In the 28th paasuram of
thiruppaavai, ANdaaL appeals to our Lord's maardhavam
for forgiveness  (seeRi aruLaathE = "don't be angry with

.... to be continued

This and other posts to follow in this subject are based
on the aruL mozhigaL of the 45th azhagiya singar of sri
aHObila madam, sri vaN satakOpa sri naaraayaNa
yatheendhra mahaa dEsikan, published in sri nrusimhap
priyaa starting with bava varusham, chitthirai maasam,
(April 1994), and commentaries of aazhvaar
prabhandams published by The Visishtadvaita Pracharini
Sabha, 27, Venkatesa Agraharam, Mylapore, Madras,
600 004.