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Thiru maal irum sOlai - part 5 - AruL tharum Azhagar Malai

From: Sampath Rengarajan (
Date: Wed Nov 27 1996 - 12:08:27 PST

Thiru maal irum sOlai - Part 5 - AruL tharum Azhagar Malai

In  varaaha  puraanam  this malai or hill  is  discussed  in  the
chapter under the title "rishaabaathiri". "Rishabam" means a bull
or  kaaLai. The hills around this malai are seen as the cows  and
this malai alone is majestic and is seen  tall and strong as  the
bull  or rishabam and that is one reason some people believe that
this  malai  is  called as rishaabaathri.   malaya  parvatham  or
pothiya  malai  is  10 Yojani from this malai and  kauveri  is  6
yOjanai  north of this malai and varaaha parvatham  or  popularly
known  as  pazhani  malai is 6 yOjanai  west  of  this  malai  as
described in (sanka kaala ?) ancient literatures. Such  malai  is
also  known as koodaloor naadu or maal irum kunRam or thiru  maal
irum  sOlai  or vana giri and many  other such names.  Once  yama
dharma  raajan took the form of rishabam and did penance  seeking
Lord  vishnu's  aruL in this malai. He requested Lord  vishnu  to
name this malai as rishaabaadri in memory of his thapas that  was
done here. Subsequently dharma raajan also requested the Lord  to
offer  his  sundara  uruvam of  sundara raajan  for  darsshan  to
commeners  in  this  malai  and the  Lord  obliged.  Darma  dEvan
subsequently   requested vishva karma to create  a  vimaanam  and
Koil   in   this  place  and  it  is  believed  that  vishvakarma
immediately made the most beautiful vimaanam (that is similar  in
beauty to chandiran) for this sundara roopa Lord. And such is the
soma chanda vimaanam.

The  divine features of azhagar malai is also delivered in  great
details  by  Sri nammaazhwaar in thiruvaay mozhi in 11  exclusive
paasurams.  Not many of the hills that emperumaan is  living  are
sung  exclusively  by  aazhwaars  to  this  extent.  Instead   of
revisiting  the  inner  meanings  I  would  like  to  post   some
highlights  of these 11 paasurams on azhagar malai as written  by
Swami  gopala  desikan  of  Oppiliappan  kOil  and  with   little
additional comments by me. Any translation errors are mine and  I
request  the  forgiveness from the Lord the author  and  all  the
baagavathaaLs  in  case  I have erred in my  attempt  to  present
nammaazhwar mozhi on azhagar malai.

kiLar oLi yiLamai kedu vathan munnam,
vaLar oLi maayOn maruviya kOyil,
vaLar iLam pozil sooz maal irun cOlai,
thaLar vilar aagil saarvathu sathirE.   2.10.1

It is the most desirable thing to do when one is young and able
and such is to go and worship Lord Azhagar in thirumaal irum

sathir iLam adavaar thaaz chsiyai mathiyaathu,
athir kural saNGkath thazakar_tham kOyil,
mathi thavaz kudumi maal irun cOlai,
pathi yathu vEththi yezu vathupayanE.   2.10.2

Swami vangipuram navaneetham VN gOpala dEsikaachaariar writes  in
Nrsimhap priya on "thriuvaay mozhi amutham" that as per azzwaar's
quotes,  "azhagar malai is so tall and majestic that  it  touches
the  chandra  mandalam. He also quotes that  this  azhagar  malai
provides  nirmala  parisuththa  nyAnam  on  emperumaan  which  is
without samsayam, viparyayam, maRappu (forgetfulness). ie azhagar
malai  clears the doubts that parama purushan is a devatha  known
as  brahmam and also the doubts that such is a devatha other than
sriman  narayana. Such azhukku illaatha nyaanathai  kodukkum.  ie
azhagar  malai provides a nyaanam that is pure and void of  these
impure  doubts. nammazhwaar says mathi thavazh kudumi  maal  irun
chOlai  in  thriuvaay mozhi. Since "mathi" is the word  used  for
chandran  or  moon, It is said that when this hill,  crosses  the
peaks  of   chandran, it also grinds the cliffs and by  doing  so
chandran  is  removed  of its impurity and  become  pure  or  one
without  dhOsham or kaLangam. Swami Gopala desikan  continues  to
interpret this in another way with a comparison from Sri  koorath
thaazhwaar's  "sundara baahoosthavam". It is  believed  that  Sri
koortha  thaazwaar conveys these sentiments of purifying chandran
by  azhagar malai as a rasa. ie When the azhagar malai siharam or
peaks  are  reaching beyond chandran, certain monkeys  living  in
those  peaks don't want to touch the chandran who is on the  head
of  rudran  and that such rudra sambandam or association to rudra
has  contaminated chandran's purity and that these  monkeys  fear
that  such  impurities of chandran may come to them if they  ever
touch him.


yatheeya siharaa kathaam sasaikalaam thu saakaamrukaa:
nireeshya "hara"sEkaree bavanam....
sprusanthi na hi thEvathaanthara samaasrithEthi (sundara

hence  it  is  derived that chandran comes to  azhagar  malai  to
remove  his  asuththi. ie malam aRu - to remove the  kaLangam  or
dhosham or kuRai or impurities.

mathi - chandiran
sEr - senru adaiyum or reaches the
maal irum chOlai - azhagar malai

Those who feel that they missed seeing varaahap perumaal need not
feel  sad  anymore  as  varaaahap perumaal himself  had  come  to
azhagar malai just to provide darshan for those. Remember that HE
rescued  booma  dEvi who surrendered to HIM and such  booma  dEvi
incarnation  Sri  ANdAL  revisited here  and  conveyed  the  same
sentiment  in naachiyaar thirumozhi. One of the paasuram  conveys
such saraNagathi as per the vyaakyaanam of our elders.

payan alla seythu payan illai_nenchE,
puyal mazai vaNNar purindh uRai kOyil,
mayal miku pozil sooz maal irun chOlai,
ayanmalaiyadaivathathukarumamE.    2.10.3

"maal irun chOlai,
ayan malai yadaivathathu karumamE"

ie  If one can reach any one of the malai that is closer to  this
"southern thiru malai" or known in tamil as "theRku thiru malai"

karu mavan paasam kazithth uzanRuyyavE,
peru malai yeduththaan pIduRai kOyil,
varu mazai thavazum maal irun chOlai,
thirumalai yathuvE yadaivathu thiRamE.  2.10.4

"maal irun chOlai,
thirumalai yathuvE yadaivathu thiRamE"

ie Azhwaar says that it is the best thing one can do and such
would be to reach thiru malai thiru maal irum sOlai. Now he
extends his accessibility  to this malai itself.

thiRa mudai valaththaal thIvinai perukkaathu,
aRa muyal aazip padaiyavan_kOyil,
maRuvil vaN sunai sooz maal irun chOlai,
puRa malai saarap pOvathu kiRiyE.  2.10.5

With  one's saamarththiyam (smartness) and thEha balam  (physical
strength) one must not continue to do kodiya papams or (very  bad
sins). HE who takes care of HIS adiyaars and the one who has  the
aazhi  or  thiru chakkaram as HIS weapon and such Lord is  living
here.  Such  divya  dEsam is the one that is surrounded  by  many
sunais or water fillets around that doesn't have any mud or  sEru
(ie  the  quality  of  water from these ooRRu  are  so  pure  and
unsoiled) and is such divya desam is also known azhagar malai. If
one can merely *start* to reach any one of the malais that is  in
the  vicinity of this malai, it is then considered  enough  as  a
best  possible sEvai. Such is the specialty of this "theRku thiru

kiRi yena_ninaimin kIzmai seyyaathE,
uRi yamar veNNey undavan kOyil,
maRi yodu piNai sEr maal irun chOlai,
neRi pada vathuvE ninai vathu_nalamE.   2.10.6

Learn the following that is being told by me (azhwaar) on azhagar
malai  as the  best purushaarththam. Without getting involved  in
the materials pleasures of this world, and without committing the
actions  that will indulge one again and again in these  material
pursuits, the Lord Who stole and ate the butter from the uRi (pot
hanged from the roof and such Lord) is living in this kOyil.  And
in  this  Koil  that  the deer lives with its  new  born  infants
(meaning  it is so safe even for a deer to live here  just  after
its  delivery),  if  one can meditate on this Lord  azhagar  that
would  be the best purushaarththam.  In the previous paasuram  he
says  if  one is able to think that they must reach this  azhagar
malai is by itself a good deed. And in the subsequent paasuram he
says that if one can even think of this azhagar malai that itself
would be a good purushaarththam. ie One need not even think to go
there but simply think about this malai and that by itself  is  a
great  deed.  The emperumaan who provide shelter for  these  deer
will  also  provide protection for us who are  HIS  children  and
infants in his vibavam and once we think about HIM HE will  never
let  us  go from HIM as similar to a deer that would not let  its
infant  leave  it  and wander in  danger. In  poorvach  chaaryaar
vyaakyaanam it is said that it is the best deed even if  one  can
think of the path that leads to this azhagar malai. This path  or
maargam is compared to the achchiraathi maargam that is described
by Lord Krishnar.

nala mena_ninaimin nara kazun dhaathE,
nila munam idandhaan nIduRai kOyil,
mala maRu mathi sEr maal irun chOlai,
vala muRai yeythi maru vuthal valamE.   2.10.7

                   malam Ara aNuguveer

aazwaar also says that when one reach the azhagar malai they also
must go there by  observing the protocols and sentiments that  HE
is  param and we are HIS adiyaars. Please don't go close  to  him
with  a  thought of ego that jarasandhan and his fellow raakshash
approached  paramporuL Sri Krishnar. Azzhwaar also says  that  If
one  can  go around perumal and the malai (giri valam)  and  live
there  forever in nityaa vaasam, such is the best purushaarththam
one can do.

                      valam seythu

The  strength  and  the  able  body and  mind  are  provided  and
maintained by HIS aruL  and such strength be spent only for going
around  HIS  azhagar  malai and going around azhagar  and  living
there in nityaa vaasam. And such is the genuine thing to do  with
the mortal strength we all have been provided by the Lord.

                  valam seyyum maayavan

Adi kavi vaalmeeki says that Sri ramachandran strolled around the
thiruch   chithrak koodam holding hands with seetha and such  was
the  case  here  in  azhagar malai also where  swami  azhagar  is
strolling around with piraati all the time as per aazhwaar. ie HE
gave us the strength only to worship HIM and HE also gave HIMself
the  sundara  archa roopam in azhagar malai that  we  can  easily
worship  HIM.  Swami  VN gopala desikan quotes  from  veda  "  ya
aathmathaa balathaa" to prove this point.

                vaanOr valam seyyum sOlai

nitya  suris  and  boolOga vaasis always do darshan  of  the  two
malais ie thirup pathi  thiru malai and azhagar malai. The reason
is  provided by thirumangai azhwaar that all  the nitya suris and
boolOga vaasis who are children of piraati are very fond of   her
breasts  as an infant and the two such breasts of booma dEvi  are
the  thirumalai and azhagar malai

ie thennnan uyar poruppum theyva vada malaiyum ennum ivaiyE
mulaiyaa vadivamaintha

                                 -    periya thiru madal

All   these  sentiments  are  in  a  way  similar  to  kulasEkara
aazhwaar's sequential desires conveyed in perumaal thiru mozhi on
thirup pathi thiru malai.

The meanings of the last 4 pasurams will be discussed later.

valamseythuvaikal valaNGkaziyaathE,
valamseyyum_aaya maayavan kOyil,
valamseyyumvaanOr maalirunchOlai,
valamseythu_naaLum maruvuthalvazakkE.   2.10.8

vazakkena_ninaimin valvinaimoozkaathu,
azakkodiyattaa Nnamar_peruNGkOyil,
mazakkaLiRRinancEr maalirunchOlai,
thozukkaruthuvathE thuNivathusoothE.    2.10.9

soothenRugaLavum soothumseyyaathE,
vEthamunviriththaan virumpiyakOyil,
maathuRumayilsEr maalirunchOlai,
pOthavizmalaiyE pukuvathuporuLE.   2.10.10

poruLEnRivvulagam padaiththavanpugazmEl,
maruLilvaNkurukoor vaNsadakOpan,
theruLkoLLachchonna vOraayiraththuLippaththu,
aruLudaiyavan_thaa LaNaivikkummudiththE.     2.10.11

AndAL thiruvadikaLE charaNam
Sri  Sridevi piraati thaayar  samEthara Sri azhagar  thiruvadikaLE

Sampath Rengarajan

Note: It is in deed the noblest is to think of this azhagar malai
and  perhaps  it  is a small deed and a step if this  adiyEn  can
provide  to everyone in simple terms and enable them to think  of
this  azhagar malai in some popular way. Such would be considered
as  a service to naraaynaa by me.  Few scenes of the kaaviyam  of
movies "thillaanaa mohanaambaaL" written by koththamangalam subbu
is  reminded by me for bringing easy  memory for those who cannot
go  right  away to India or see pictures of  this malai.  At  the
beginning of this movie the title of this movie itself  is  shown
for  about 5 minutes with this malai and the azhagar kOil and the
kudhirai  vaahnam and the surrounding malais and thiruvizhaas  or
festivities.  The  movie itself is kicked off  with  a   festival
being  held in this malai with participation of various  vidwaans
and  artists  performing in the thiru vizhaa  for  Lord  azhagar.
naadaswaram of MPN ponnusaami and MPN sethuraaman of  madurai  in
inDolam   (?)  (nagumO  GaNalE)  starts  in  th  ethiru   vizhaa.
Subsequently  the  naatiyap pErOLi padmini and  Nadikar  thilakam
sivaji  ganesan  (who  plays  the  role  of  naadaswara  vidhawan
(earlier)  sikkal sanmuga sundaram and he is the one  who  starts
with  nagumO  ..  in  nagaswaram (sikkal is by  the  way  a  very
important  srivaishnava  thalam)  crosses  each  other  with   an
introduction and oodal and a challenge, the theme for the  movie.
Then mOhanaa the dancer takes the podium and starts to dance.  In
kavignar kannadaasan's words this oodal is presented as

"maRain thirunthE paarkkum marmam enna, swaami ?"
ahzagar malai azhagaa ? intha silai azhagaa ?"

ie.. what is the reason you are hiding and watching me my hero ?
Is this ahzagar malai is the most beautiful or this silai or
statue is most beautiful ?

There  is a double meaning here. The whole song can be summarized
as  the oodal between the hero and his lover. But it can also  be
seen as the praise for the Lord ahzgar that ANDAL praised in  her
oodal. Except for the usage of the words velavan and shanmugan to
suit  the movie character, In some way kannadaasan *attempts*  to
capture  the oodal sentiments (nava rasa mum - the next  sentence
in  this song is shown with nava rasam or expressions of a female
in  love  and  the  subsequent words are "oru  mOhaththilE  ennai
moozhga  vaiththu  ;  ie  you made me  immerse  in  mOham)  ANDAL
conveyed  when she reached this malai and naatiyap  pErOLi  never
missed this opportunity either to convey the expressions in dance
language or muththirai and abainayam and oyil.  The question here
is if this malai is beautiful or the Lord Azhagar is beautiful  ?
When these words are sung, mohana dances and makes muththirai  of
pari  mEl  ahzhzar  ie ahzagar in his horse carrier  or  kuthirai
vaahanam  and  then for malai she uses a majestic  muththirai  of
tall  and one that has peaks in it. This question (azhagar  malai
azhagaa ? (azhagar) intha silai ahzhagaa ?) is sung thrice in the
song  and  mohana  makes unique muththirais each  time  for  this
malai. The second time she makes a posture to convey its (azhagar
malai)  width  and density and the third time she  shows  how  it
(azhagar  malai) is spread around in a circular way. My wife  who
learnt  and did baratha naatiyam from very young age, had  danced
for  this song when she was only 8 years old. I learnt to see the
different  muththirais  from her review  of  this  song.  I  hope
bakthaaLS wanting to think of azhagar malai but donot have access
to  any photos or any oral account from earlier visitors, can see
these  first few minutes of this kaaviyam and think of this malai
and Lord Azhagar with a pure mind.

Sampath Rengarajan