Monday, August 27, 2012

Indra Dhanus - இந்திர தனுஸ்

The Aruna Prasnam(1st prasnam) of the Taitiriya Aranyakam narrates an interesting tale of a battle between Devas and Asuras. It descibes the following.

Rudra, with his magnificent bow firmly planted on the ground, declared that none could equal him in valour - neither Devas, nor Mortals, nor Agni, nor Indra nor Varuna ("naiva dEvO na martya:, na rAjA VaruNO vibhu:, nAgni: na Indro na PavamAna:, Madruk kacchana vidyatE"). 

Then it describes about the colossal nature of his bow. It continued, while the Bow's upper end was far above in the sky, the lower end stood firmly rooted on the ground ("divi asya EkA dhanu: Artni:, PrithivyAm aparA shrtiA"). 

The gigantic size of the bow and Rudra's terrifying mood were terrifying to the entire world, which watched the scene with utmost fear. 

To defuse the situation, Indra came out with a strategy. He took a form of termite and ate into the taut string connecting the two ends of the bow-"tasya Indro vamri roopeNa, dhanu: jyAm acchinat svayam", thereby reducing the damage potential of the bow. 

When Rudra pulled back the string with a destructive arrow, the predictable happened-the weakened string broke and instead of causing any damage, the bow, due to the force of the pull, fell far into the sky-"tat Indra dhanu: ityajyam, abhra varNEshu chakshaktE". 

The broken bow, due the force of its passage and release, struck Rudra's head with great force and shattered it into pieces-"RudrasyatvEva dhanu: Artni:, shira utpipEsha". 

It is perhaps due to this event that the Rainbow, which is formed in the sky, is known as the "Indra Dhanus" or Indra's Bow, commemorating Indra's contribution in saving the world from Rudras arrows. Also as we see today, the Rainbow resembles a bow without a string. 

But now, what has this story got to do with Nampillai's Eedu? Sri Nampillai records this tale in Eedu, while commenting on the pasuram "Surar arivaru nilai- சுரரறிவரு நிலை" for the line "புரம் ஒரு மூன்று எரித்து அமரர்க்கும் அறிவியந்து; அரன் அயன் என உலகு அழித்து அமைத்து உளனே."- "taan poottina naani tan kazhuttai arutthukkondu pogaadu ozhiyum podum Isvaran antaraatmavaai nirkka vendum". Sri Nampillai explains that, when Rudran did ThripuraDaganam, Emperuman(the Antaratma) should also wish similarly or else like other time, His (Rudra's)Bow or His arrow would have attacked him(as told  in Arunam).

Eedu - "தழல்நிறவண்ணன் நண்ணார் நகரம் விழ, நனி மலை சிலை வளைவு செய்தங்கு, அழல்நிற அம்பது ஆனவனே" என்றார்கள் மயர்வற மதிநலம் அருளப்பெற்றவர்கள். ஆதலால், தான் பூட்டின நாணி தன் கழுத்தை அறுத்துக்கொண்டு போகாது ஒழியும்போதும்  ஈஸ்வரன்  அந்தராத்மாவாய்  நிற்க வேணும்.

Though Sri Nampillai has indicated about this story in eedu, he has just mentioned it a line(than pootina), however entire story and context was elaborated only by Kanchi PB Annangaracharyar Swamy in his Divyartha Deepkai for Thiruvaimozhi.

Indeed, an interesting Anubavam in Eedu.

Madhusudhanan MA


  1. But the Antharathma would have been present even when the string cut off his head. Right? So what difference?

  2. I think, you got the wrong context. Here, it is mentioned that Emperuman is the antaratma of the Arrow(அழல் நிறம் அம்பு அது ஆனவனே).

  3. And I was talking about your words "Emperuman had to be the Antaratma of the Rudara's arrow or else like another time, his Bow or His arrow would have attacked him(as told in Arunam)." Wasn't He the antharathma when the bow string did cut the head?

  4. yes, everytime everywhere Emperuman is the Antaratma. Whenever Rudra takes a Bow and arrow, just his wish alone is not enough for getting the act fulfilled, but Emperuman also should wish similarly. Emperuman wished that arrow would go properly during Tripura Daganam and on the other occassion(mentioned in Arunam) Emperuman wished otherwise(to cut off Rudras head). So if emperuman thinks otherwise, even his(rudra's) Bow or arrow wouldnt listen to his(rudra's) words. The context here is how Emperuman by being inside as antaratma fulfils other Demi Gods' wishes and acts. Thats why aazhwars say "அம்பு அது ஆனவனே"(Periya Thirumozhi 6-1-3)

  5. Thanks sir, but doesn't the statement "Emperuman had to be the Antaratma of the Rudara's arrow or else like another time, his Bow or His arrow would have attacked him(as told in Arunam)" sound like He was not the Antharathma when the bow string cut the head? What else could the 'else' in your statement mean?