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Thiru mAl irum soLai - part 2 - thiru maL('s thOL) seen as azhagar malai

From: Sampath Rengarajan (
Date: Mon Oct 14 1996 - 12:23:00 PDT

This is a series of posts on thirumAlirunchOlai. Several more are to
follow. I have attempted my best to extract information from couple
of vyAkyAnams and as well assemble some of my own intuitive analysis
in this post. Thanks to Sri SadagOpan for his encouragement (he has
read this before and encouraged me to continue this thread).
Please forgive me for any mistakes and feel free to provide any
additional information you may have "on this pAsuram"
other than the mantric meanings delivered by Sri periya vAchchAn
pillai ( I do have those references of Sri PV pillai myself.
However I would currently submit to all the learned bAgwathALs
of this forum that I am trying to provide all the other meanings
possible than those inner most meanings). Srimath azahgiya singar, the
45 th jeer's 70 th thirunakshathiram is coming on 21 Nov and is to
be celebrated at thirumalai in the newly built (being completed
currently) ahobila muth complex in thirumalai thiruppathi. Few moths back,
Sri Jagan as President of Ahobila muth North America had requested
all bAgawathALs to assist the muth in helping raise funds for this
and other ahobilamuth projects in India suitably. I submit this post
on thirumAlirunchOlai  at the feet of our achAryAL
and request all the interested readers who may want to participate, to join and
send their contributions for the projects requested By Sri Jagan.

thirumAlirunchOlai,the manifestation of   thirumaal  or   Lord
Vishnu as kaLLazhagar : This hill is considered to  host  maal
or   thirumaal   or  lord  vishnu.   The  tamil  literature  "
paripAdal"  says  that  people   used   to  worship   at   the
direction   of  this  hill   from wherever they are, believing
that  such  worship  is directed  to  worshipping and  reaches
Lord   Vishnu  who is living here and as this  hills  HIMself.
People  believed  that Lord Vishnu is permanently residing  in
this   hill and hence worshipped from  all  the remote  places
around this hill and wherever they are, just by looking at the
direction of this hill. They were worshipping so, hoping  that
Vishnu   at  the  center of these worship  will  accept  their
worship from this hill and bless them.  This is conveyed as

"mAyON oththalin nilaiththE
senRu thozhugal seer kaNdu paNi manamE ..."

i.e.   considering this nilai or  hill  station  AS equivalent
to   mAyOn  or  thirumaal and  nilaiththE senRu thozhugal   is
worshipping  towards   such direction (nilaththE  is  both  at
the direction  and as  the hill station used twice but written
once).  thus   believing  that this hill   is   mAyOn   people
worshipped at the direction this hill was situated from  where
ever they are.

AndAL  delivered  10 pAsurams in nAchiyAr thirumozhi  on  this
kshEthram praising Lord kaLLazhagar. Among his   HIS   various
manifestations,  it  is   also believed that Lord Vishnu is in
the  form   of   this  hill. This  is  conveyed   earlier   in
paripAdal  explicitly. In Srimath Bagwath geetha Lord  Krishna
says   that among kunRu's or hillock he is  in  the  form   of
mEru.  AndAL expresses this sentiment in her first pAsuram  on
thiru mAl irum chOlai  kaLLazhagar.

 cinthurac cempodipOl
  thirumaaliruNY chOlaiyenkum,
 inthira kOpankaLE
  ezhunthumparan^ thittanavaal,
 mantharam naattiyanRu
  mathurakkozhuNY caaRukoNda
 suntharath thOLudaiyaan
 chuzhalaiyinin RuythunkolO! (2)  1 nAchchiyaar

"thirumaaliruNY chOlaiyenkum"
- in thirumAlirun chOlai (azhagar malai) where
ever you look

"inthira kOpankaLE"
- the butterflies or in tamil pattup poochchi (
they have so many colors
that will resemble the colors that represents the sentiments )

- reddish

"cinthura podipOl"
-similar t centhoora podi or the chenthoora powder
(chenthooram is similar to kumkumam)


"paran^ thittana"
-spread out

-alas or anthO in tamil

-the day "day" dEvas churned the ocean to get the amirtham,
surrendered to you

-the manthara malai or mEru malai (the mEru hills that was
to churn the ocean as an agitator)

-placed and used as maththu or agitator for churning in the

"kozhu mathuram"
-very pleasant

-the piraati who is similar to the essence of nectar or
amirtha rasam

- you who took possession of such piraati

"sundarath thOLudaiyaan"
- the Lord who has the most beautiful shoulders

"suzhalaiyil ninRu"
- though we stand at this life cycle and are
caught up in this whirl pool

"uythum kol"
- shall we survive this ?

There   are   also  other deeper  meanings  in  this  pAsuram:
We  would  like  to  atleast  see   HIS shoulders (in the form
of this azhagar malai) that saved  the  dEvas when surrendered
the  other  day (aNdAL compares this hill to the shoulders  of
the Lord  who saved dEvAs by supporting the mEru  hill on  HIS
shoulders in his koorma avathAram). (is it possible  that  she
was always making  garland  for the Lord such that She can put
it  only  on the most suitable  and MAJESTIC shoulders of THIS
perumaal). But  the  butterflies with their red color   spread
out   and  hovered  over this hill makes it invisible  to   my
sight.   Oh   what  is this misfortune  ?   In  certain  tamil
ilakkiyam  (literature)  it is commonly   said   that  "  avan
naatil  kunRum  kodiyavO onRum thOnRaa?" when  thalaivi   (the
female)  goes  out  to  see the thalaivan  to his country  but
fails   to   see  him. However "thalaivi" or the female  would
like to see a kunRu or hillock that would have seen him last ?
In  this case aNdAL touches that sentiment as  she goes around
to  several kshEthrams and is unable to see her thalaivan  the
Lord and when she hears that HE  is present in this hill,  she
came  here  and  is unable to see him but she would have  felt
happy  to see  the hill that hosts him. She is unable  to  see
the    hill   also  as  they  are  covered  by the butterflies
allover. It is  also  observed in  an another  way  that   the
hill   looks   like  a  mad elephant (so strong and  tall  and
majestic).  It   is  customary  to  apply  senthooram  on  the
foreheads   of mada yAnai or mad elephant. aNdAL compares  the
red  blanket  provided  by  the  butterflies as the senthooram
applied to the strong  hills  that  is standing similar  to  a
mad  elephant. This  hill  ia also  known  as vrishabAthri and
the   details   are  discussed   in   part  4.   Periyaazhwaar
comparess "sinthura  milangath  than thiruneRRimEL"   in   his
pasuram   and  comapres the senthuram as  applied   to  Lord'S
thiru neRRi or fore head.

They   (dEvars) brought the "manthara malai" with the help  of
Sri   Garudan to the thirup pARkadal  and placed  it  in   the
centre  of thirup  pARkadal  or nucleus  of the whole universe
(the  whole universe is  considered  thirup pARkadal by *many*
yogis, and scholars (both    srivaishnava    faith    and  non
srivaishnava faith) and for symbolising  this  the  count   in
manthra japam, counting is routed through the 10 peripheral joints
of the 4 fingers considering them  as  the  periphery  of  the
universe   and  excluding  the  middle  joints of the long
finger and ring finger as  they   are representing the position of
mEru  malai in an universe.  It is believed that  no one  must
cross  over mEru malai as a mark of respect and one can   only
go  around it.  mEru malai is  always    considered  to be the
nucleus of the  universe by *these* souls  (as per science  it
is  nothing  but dense  particles or a black hole that  is  in
the  centre  of  this  universe and  no  physical  object  can
possibly   cross it) As a respect for the malai  none (dEvas)
will   cross   it  even  while  they  are traveling  or  doing
japam,  while counting  gAyathri japam.  Same way  while *many*
ahObila  mutt followers do "ashtAksharam"  as a part  of  their
nitya   karmA  they  also  count the 10 external   joints   of
the  fingers and exclude the two middle joints of  long finger
and ring finger considering them as perumal and  pirAtti in an
anushtAnam that one goes around in  pradhakshinam of the divya
dampathis. The hill that  was so strong and powerful and that when
such hill was used as the agitator, it churned the sea in such a
way   that   the  sea by itself will bring  out   and  surface
its   rich  contents. It is also  conceived that  HE  agitated
the unagitable philosophies  and brought  the best out of them
through   HIS  charam slOkam of varAha avathAram  and that  HE
alone  can do  so  with HIS supreme nature and that  all   the
philosophies  are born out of HIM only. It is  also  contented
that  the amirtham is nothing  but  the extract  of the thirup
pARkadal  while  the  precious  and   sweet  extract  (madhura
kozhunchAru)  was  the piraati  HERself  who went to  perumal.
A   thought comes to the mind that amirtham might have got its
properties due to its association with piraati  in the   ocean
bed   ?  This  is  also  summarized  by thirumangai  on   Lord
Oppiliappan    as     "viNNAvar   amuthuNNa    amuthil   varum
peNNamuthuNda  emperumAnE" ie  the  comparison  is  such  that
though  the   dEvas  thought that they got  the  best  out  of
churning  the ocean it is still the Lord who got the best  out
of   the   thirup   pARkadal   ie   the   piraati   and   that
piraati's   presence  with   HIM   glorifies HIS opulence. It is
thus submitted as an indirect observation from this ocean
churning, that whatever action one will or a group will do, it is
done so, to serve the purpose of Sriman  nArAyana only.

    One    can   also  summarise  and  read    the     meaning
collectively  as  "Lord  Azhagar   with   HIS  thiN  thOL  (or
majestic shoulders that helped dEvAs churn the ocean but  then
served  HIM ultimately (by bringing piraati on board with  HIM
in  offering HIS divya darsaNam to us) yielded me.  Thus  with
his opulence HE also spreads out his trap for me & also at the
same   time  hides and denies me the sight (or divya darsanam)
of  HIM  as  the  "thirumalai" by using  the  butterflies   to
blanket and  cover  them.   I  am saddened  by  this oodal and
will I  ever  get  to survive this separation ?

AT the outset AndAL also compares this hill to the Lord
thirumaal  (and  his  shoulders)  or  vishnu HIMself  as
similar to the belief  summarised  in "paripadal" and longs
for meeting this Lord.

AndAL thiruvadikaLE saraNam
anathasayanan samEthara sridEvi sundaravalli thaayaar
kaLLazhagar thiruvadikaLE saraNam

Sampath Rengarajan