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baalakaaNdam

From: Badri Seshadri (badri_at_cricket.org)
Date: Wed Feb 05 1997 - 02:33:00 PST

                    Sree:
         SreemathE raamaanujaaya nama:

    dhivyaprabandhap paasurappadi raamaayaNam


baalakaaNdam
============

thirumadandhai maNmadandhai irupaalunthigazh

  With Sridevi and Bhoodevi on either side

(thiru - sri, maN - denotes the whole earth
 madandhai - woman. According to tholkaappiyam, young women are
 classified into 7 stages according to their age group. 'madandhai'
 is one of those stages.
 irupaalum - on the two sides
 thikazha - to remain majestically.)

nalam andham illadha Or naattil,

    in the city blessed with endless good qualities

(nalam - loosely, all that is good. In particular, here it refers
         to wealth, health, association with good people, and
         the opportunity to see Lord Rama in person - what more can
         one ask for?
 andham illadha - without an end, infinite         
 nattil - in that country

 illadhOr can be taken to mean two things.
 illadha + Or (Or = oru), or illadhOr = illaadhavar - referring to the
 people of that country. But since the next line is directly referring
 to the people in the country, the former line must refer merely to
 the city. Why should there be a distinction at all?

 The city itself is endowed with all that is good - be it wealth or
 various other things for the earthly people to enjoy. There could
 be several people who fall prey to the earthly enjoyments. But it is
 not them who are around Him, but only those who are interested in
 enjoying the "infinite bliss", the mokhsha itself! Hence the
 distinction.)

andham il pEr inbaththu adiyarOdu

    with devotees immersed in infinite bliss around

(andham il == andham illaadha - endless
 pEr inbam - denotes the blissful state of the devotee
             completely immersed in worshipping the Lord
 adiyar Odu - with the devotees. 

Ezhu ulakum thanikkOl sella

    ruling all the 7 worlds with His sceptre

(Ezhu ulakum - all the 7 worlds. Traditional vedic conception of
               the universe.
 thanikkOl - this very clearly insists on the vishnu parathvam
 kOl - sceptre. thanikkOl implies that there is no question of
       sharing the rule with someone else. He rules alone, with
       no one to challenge. thani - alone
 sella - this rule is continuing, there is no danger of this
         being replaced anytime)

veeRRu irukkum

    one who is sitting

(veeRRu - to sit
 reminds me of that wonderful thiruppaavai paasuram - maari malai
 muzhainchil. I am still trying to finish up typing azhagiya singar's
 discourse on this paasuram. When aaNdaaL requests Him to look into
 her demands, He consents. Asks her what He should do. She says
 that is not the way for a king to grant boons. A king derives his
 power from his sceptre and his throne and his crown! Therefore, she
 asks him to sit on top of the 'seeriya singaasanam' and then carefully
 examine the request (yaam vandha kaariyam aaraayndhu aruLi!) before
 granting it! It is not a light matter to just give 'paRai' to
 someone who asks for it. Where is the sense of His propriety?

 Likewise, here 'ayarvarum amararkaL adhipathi' should first be sitting
 atop His throne, with a sceptre in hand, His consorts on either side,
 his court full of the right people. Only then should He be ready to
 accept calls for help or any other demands! Sometimes you wonder how
 difficult these aazhvaars can get to please:-)

ayarvu aRum amararkaL adhipathi aana

 who is He? He is the king of Devas, and He is [the only one] capable
 of destroying the nescience and fill you with the knowledge!
 
(ayarvu - sOrvu - nescience
 aRum - aRundhu pOkum - to destroy
 amararkaL - the heavenly beings
 adhipathi - the Lord and Master. He is not just a king who rules
 over them. He actually owns them)

aNi aar pozhil soozh aranga nagar appan

 Here what you see is a blatant parochialism of the aazhvaar and
 periya vaachchaan piLLai :-) They see aranga nagar appan everywhere!

(pozhil - little ponds
 aar - azhakiya - beautiful
 aNi - yet another adjective here! a word to describe enhancement
       as I mentioned in a previous posting
 soozh - surrounded by

 The city of Sri Rangam is surrounded by little ponds)

alai neerk kadaluL azhundhum naavaay pOl aavaar

 people, [here Devas] like a little ship sinking in deep sea

(kadal - sea
 alai neerk kadal - sea full of huge tidal waves
 uL azhundhum naavaay
 naavaay - a small ship, or rather a largish boat that carries
           mostly commerical goods
 uL azhundhum - if there is a little hole somewhere at the
                bottom, the ship starts sinking.
 uL - gives a measure of the depth.
 azhundhum - we talk about a "sinking feeling". It is something that
             is very difficult to explain. I have personally felt this
             once as I slipped in mossy pond steps during bathing in
             thiru naagai temple tank. Somewhat akin to what your
             mind goes through when you slip on a banana peel and you
             are going down. You know you are going to fall, and you
             are helpless. You can't even shout. The brain simply
             doesn't respond. But you have this terrible feeling that
             something very bad is going to happen to you. That fraction
             of a second seems too long for you. You feel something
             stirring in your stomach, something seems to be caught
             in your throat, you gasp for air, your tongue is like a
             dry parchment! There... that is the best I can describe.

 This is a beautiful analogy to describe those who are caught in the
 samsara sagara. This one appears quite often in the thamizh classics.

 pOl aavar - those who are like this ship sinking too fast into the
             deep sea)

Or thuNai

   as their only help, solace etc.

(thuNai - help is a very loose and probably a very bad translation.
          It actually means 'accompaniment'. vazhiththuNai - someone
          who comes along with you and help you drive away your fear
          when you are crossing a difficult and arduous path, all alone.
          Thus, you don't go to Him to get you out of your current
          situation but you want Him to be with you all the way,
          to accompany you to your final destination.
 Or - one. This one person will do, and ONLY this person will do!)

 enRu thuLangum

    You exist thusly. thuLanguthal == viLangudhal. The root word
    also means to explain, or to take away the doubt etc. Thus
    the fact that 'He is the only one capable of getting you
    out of trouble and also accompanying you to take you to your
    final goal' is rather self-explanatory.

nal amarar thuyar theera,

    to put an end to the hardships of the good Devas

(nal amarar - indicates that the truth is on the side of Devas, hence
              'nal' meaning good. contrast this with the adjective given
              to the asuras - 'val' meaning strength. This is yet
              another classical portrayal of what Bharathiyar says
              in paanchaali sabatham: 'dharumaththin vaazhvudhanai
              soodhu kavvum'. The Rakhshasas, with their strength
              always trouble the good minded Devas. Devas then endure
              hardships. They then go to Him. He then destroys the
              evil... so repeats the story again and again.

thuyar = varuththam - hardships
theera - to get over)

val arakkar vaazh ilangai paazh padukka eNNi,

     decided to destroy the city of Lanka where the strong
     Rakshasas live

(val arakkar - see above
 vaazh - live
 ilangai - Sri Lanka
 paazh padukka - to obliterate
 eNNi - thijnking thusly)

see the 'muRan thodai' nal-val (in a loose way), vaazh-paazh
coming in addition to the 'edhukaith thodai' simultaneously.

======

People talk about the free form of poetry as something that Indians
borrowed from the Westerners. I wish they just have a look at the
gadyams of Sri Ramanuja and this paasurappadi raamaayaNam of piLLai
before making such statements. Even the GitaBhashya of Sri Ramanuja
is an example of a prose poem!

--badri