You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : March 1998

Sri VitthuvakkOttu AmmAn PaasurungaL of KulasEkharA:Part 2

From: Sadagopan (sgopan_at_computer.net)
Date: Sun Mar 08 1998 - 15:01:12 PST

Dear BhagavathALs :

The ten passurams of AzhwAr are moving statements 
about his Aakinchanyam and MahA VisvAsam . Swami DEsikan
captured the mood of the mind of KulasEkharA in 
his SaranAgathi Granthams like Nyaasa Dasakam ,
SaraNAgathi Deepikai as well as in Daya Sathakam 
slOkams . The whole decad is a " VisvAsa PrArthanA 
pUrvam Aathma RakshA bharam " in the spirit of 
Swami Desikan's second slokam of Nyaasa Dasakam :

nyasyAmi Akinchana: Sriman anukUlOnyavarjitha: I
visvAsa PrArthanA pUrvam Aathma RakshAbharam tvayi II 

First Paasuram : Mother and Crying Child 
*****************************************

Here he described his helpless state to that 
of an infant , which has been discarded by 
its mother in anger and disgust because of 
the screams and tantrums of the wimpering infant .
The infant is totally helpless to take care of itself 
and awaits the mercy of the mother to releive its 
misery .Azhwar states that his condition is exactly
like that infant . He says , "Unn SaraNallAl SaraNillai " .
He states further that all of his accumulated samsaaric
ills are causing him indescribable pain and 
they can not be eliminated by anyone except the Lord.
He is screaming in anguish to get the Lord's attention 
and that the Lord like the mother ignoring the infant
does not pay attention to him and move in his direction
to help him . AzhwAr declares with conviction that 
inspite of the Lord's lack of initiative to help him , he 
will not seek help from anyone else .He says :" I will stay 
forever in the belief that your Lotus feet are my 
sole refuge and will hold on to them , even if you kick me 
away .I will wait for your anger to subside 
and meanwhile hold on to your sacred feet firmly until
the dawn of Your DayA ". 

Oh DayA mUrhty ! Oh my Lord ! There are a lot of 
bad sons ( evil PuthrAs : Kuputhra :) , but 
nobody ever heard of evil mothers ( KumAthA ) .
Even with a bad son , a mother shows affection and 
comes to his rescue. If ordinary mothers behave
in this predictable fashion and are compassionate
towards their ill-behaving sons , I can not see how
Yourself , the jaganmAthA can ignore me( Your son )
and my sufferings? Hence I am convinced that 
you will not abandon me .

The description of the Lord of VitthuvakkOdu as
the Mother of the Universe by KulasEkharA reminds 
one of Swami Desikan's prayer to the Lord of ThiruvEnkatam
in Daya sathakam :Maatha: DayE ! mE mana : tvAm 
prasAdhayithum icchathi " . He says : " Oh DayA dEvi!
my mind wants to gladden Your heart . You are afterall
my Mother.As Your dear child , I want to make You 
happy by presenting You with nourishing victuals 
to please You . I look around to see what I have got
in my collection to give You .I see that I have only
one item in plenty in my possession (i-e., ) the 
bundles of my accumulated sins . I conclude that
they will  serve as food for You and perform prapatthi 
at Your sacred feet and offer my paapa raasis as 
the naivEdhyam .With mahA visvAsam in You and 
your power to wipe out my sorrows ( taru thuyaram 
tadAyEl unn saraNallAl saraNillai ) , I offer these
bundles of sins to You as food . What do You do ? In one 
second , you swallow them and stand there famished 
suggesting that what I offered is not enough for You to
appease Your hunger . Oh DayA svarUpi ! please take 
the role of my Mother and do not be angry at me and
enfold me in Your hands in affectionate embrace 
and feed me the milk of Jn~anam and thus protect me .
There is no one else for me as refuge . I wish to
surrender my soul at Your sacred feet . Such thoughts
are echoed by Swami Desikan in the following DayA Sathaka 
SlOkam :

Outhsukhya pUrvamupahruthya mahAparAdhAn 
maatha: prasAdhayithum icchathi mE manastvAm I
aalihyathAn niravasEshamalabhdha trupthi:
tAmyasyahO Vruhshagireesa dhruthA DhayE tvAm II

Second Paasuram :Pathivrathi& ill-behaving Consort 
***************************************************

Here , AzhwAr compares himself to " KondAnai 
allAl aRiyA kula mahaL " and concludes that 
" un kurai kazhalE kURuvanE " .

Oh VitthuvakkOttammA ! I am Your bonded servant .
If You do not come to my rescue , others will 
laugh at You as a negligent Master. They will
laugh at me as well and point out that I am the
foolish girl , who puts too much belief in Your
action to protect me and I am going to be surely
disappointed . Whatever these people of the village
say , I will have enduring visvAsam in Your 
public statement , " MaamEkam SaraNam vraja" 
and will wait for you to take the first step towards me.
My state is similar to a Chaste woman , whose husband 
engages in despicable acts . Even if the neighbors laugh 
at her for her "stupidity " to be faithful to him , she 
will continue to wish for his KshEmam and will
perform without let kaimkaryam to him . My status is
similar to that pathivrathai . Even if you declare that 
You will not protect me , I will hold onto Your  lotus 
feet adorned with the silampu denoting 
You as a mahA Veeran ; I will not let go
off your protective feet  . I want to remind you 
that Our relationship is not dissolvable .

Third Paasuram : Aggreived Citizen& Irresponsible King
*******************************************************

In this paasuram , AzhwAr compares his state of
Ananya SaraNAgathithvam by invoking the example
of a negligent and derelict king , who does not
come to the rescue of the suffering citizens. That king 
wears the sceptre and crown for the express purpose
of protecting his subjects. That is his kshathriya dharmam . 
Even when he fails to discharge his avowed 
duties , the people have no other recourse except 
to expect him to protect them . My status is 
similar to that. Even if You wont cast Your 
benovolent glances in my direction and take 
note of my suffering , I will stay at Your feet
reminding You of Your dharmam as SaraNAgatha Rakshakan 
and will wait in my helpless state without seeking
relief from anyone else . Like the fish in the ocean ,
Who know that they have no other place to go even
if the waters of the Ocean dry up , Oh Lord of
VitthuvakkOdu surrounded by the rich and wet fields of 
paddy , I will stay with mahA visvAsam in You
as my protector. I will not look to powerless
demi-Gods , who pretend to offer protection 
and finally reveal their helplessness . I will
firmly place my faith in You and You alone 
as my protector and rest my case for Aathma 
RakshaNam at your sacrd feet .AzhwAr states here:
" unn paRRallAl PaRRilEn " .

Fourth Paasuram : The ill patient and the Surgeon 
**************************************************

Here AzhwAr compares his relationship with the Lord
as one between a sick patient needing help and the 
Doctor , who could cure the illnes with surgery .
The patient has cancer and the surgeon has to 
perform an operation to cut the flesh and remove
the cancerous  growth . The patient is going to 
suffer immensely from the pain of surgery . 
Once the operation takes place and the patient is cured of 
his long sickness , he is utterly grateful to 
the surgeon for saving his life . AzhwAr says that 
his status is like the trusting patient , who 
casts the burden of protection to the mAyAvi surgeon , 
the Lord ,and bears with all the intermediate sufferings 
during the period of surgery .He says that he will
comprehend the pain as activities on the part of 
the Lord to save him and will wait to be cured 
and offer his thankfulness later to the Lord for 
His mahOpakAram .He says that he will wait for 
the dayA of the Lord to perform the surgery and cure 
him of the fearsome cancer of SamsAram .

Fifth Paasuram : The tired albatros bird and the Ship 
*****************************************************

In this paasuram , he describes his helpness with
a soul-stirring cry : Where will I go ? What
will I do ? He compares himself to a sea bird , 
which was  sitting  on the mighty tall mast of a ship 
in the middle of the ocean . The big bird thought 
it was strong enough and decided to leave the safety of 
the towering mast and discover the land to rest . 
It flew for hours and hours away from 
the ship in search of comforting land to rest .
The bird did not sight the land and was mighty tired .
It recognized how foolish it was to abandon the safety of
the ship's mast and to venture forth on its own 
to cross the ocean .It returns chastised and sits 
on the mast to complete safely its journey to 
the other side of the ocean . AzhwAr compares his status to 
this bird , which cast safety to winds and was going to 
endanger its life . He says in this context : 
" Oh Lord who destroyed the royal elephant of Kamsa 
that came rushing to you in anger with blood-shot eyes ! 
Where can I go for refuge forgetting your strong pair of feet ? 
Is it possible to forget them and look for safety 
anywhere else ? Please tell me ." Yengu POyhEn ? 
Unn iNai adiyE adayallAl , yengu pOyhEn ? " .

As a vivEki , I have evaluated Your power and
that of other Gods and comprehend very well 
that You alone have the power to bless me 
with the fruits of Moksham . I used to be like 
the restless sea bird , which left the safety of 
the mast and wandered here and there . I have
now fully understood that Your sakthi and grace
have no match in all the worlds . I am therefore 
desirous of performing nithya Kaimkaryam to You .
I wish to place my AathmA at  Your sacred feet . 
Swami Desikan echoed the thoughts of AzhwAr in 
an AshtabhujAshtaka Slokam this way :

sakthim saraNyAnthara sabdha bhAjAm 
sAram cha samthOlya palAntharANAm I
tvadh dAsya hEtho: tvayi nirvisangam
nyasthAthmaNAm nAtha Bibharshi Bhaaram II  

KulasEkhara perumAL ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam 
Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan