Continuing with the trend of highlighting the auspicious attributes (கல்யாண குணங்கள்) of the Supreme Lord, Nammazhwar, in this padhigam, brings into focus the Lord’s condescension or Sauseelyam (ஸௌசீல்யம்) – the crowning trait in which the Lord mixes freely with the lowliest of beings. Sauseelyam is the first of the sixteen attributes of the Lord mentioned by Sage Valmiki at the very beginning of Ramayana. Sri. Rama’s relationship with the hunter Guha, the army of monkeys and Vibhishana etc. are demonstrative evidence of the Lord’s Sauseelyam.
In response to Azhwar’s heart-warming appeal to be in union with the Lord in amchiraya mada nArAi padhigam (அம்சிறைய மட நாராய்), the Lord presented Himself in front of Azhwar. However, instead of getting himself locked in the divine Lord’s sweet embrace, Azhwar, considering himself to be undeserving of being the object of emperuman’s condescension, attempted to run away from Him. In his Eedu commentary, Nampillai demonstrates how the Lord’s Sauseelyam shines even more when our limitations play foil in preventing us from obtaining union with the Lord (பகவத் ப்ராப்தி):
அயோக்யதாநுசந்தானம் பண்ணி அகலுவாரையும் தன் செல்லாமையைக் காட்டிப் பொருந்த விட்டுக்கொள்ளும் சீலவான்
That is, emperuman (சீலவான்), by virtue of His Sauseelya Guna (செல்லாமை), will enjoy the union of (பொருந்த விட்டுக்கொள்வது) even those who run away from Him (அகலுவாரை) by citing their limitations (அயோக்யத்வத்தை அநுசந்தானம் பண்ணி).
However, why will Azhwar, who sent out emissaries in the form of birds in the previous padhigam, thereby desiring union with the Lord, run away from Him now? Nampillai reasons out the behavior of Azhwar thusly in his Eedu commentary:
ஆழ்வார் கலங்கி தூதுவிட்ட இடம் ப்ரேமகார்யம்; இங்கு அகலபார்க்கிறவிடம் ஞானகார்யம்
That is, out of his abounding love for the Lord, the devotion of azhwar clouded his intellect, which made him overlook his own candidational qualifications. However, as clarity in the form of wisdom set in, he became aware of his limitations and started realizing that his union with the Lord will be a desecration to the Latter’s stature. Azhwar starts comparing his union with the Lord to the act of destroying the purity of water set aside for the exclusive consumption of Brahmins (தார்மிகன் வைத்த தண்ணீர்பந்தலை அழிப்பார்போலே). That is, Azhwar’s union with the Lord will make the Latter unfit of being enjoyed by the celestials (which is compared to poisoning a drinking water supply, mixing poison in ambrosia etc.; ஊருணியில் கள்ளியை வெட்டியெறிவதைப்போல், அம்ருதத்தில் நஞ்சைக் கலப்பதுபோல்). Thus, Azhwar gets drifted into a mental complex at the mere thought of the Lord’s transcendental glory and decides to run away from Him. (நித்யசூரிகளுக்கு அனுபாவ்யமான வஸ்துவை நாம் கிட்டி தூஷிக்க பார்ப்போமல்லோம்).
The next question Nampillai raises in this context of Azhwar’s behavior is whether it is possible for Azhwar to survive the separation of the Lord? He answers that although it is not possible, Azhwar will go to any extent, including putting his own life at risk as long as he can add to His glory (சேஷிக்கு அதிசயத்தை விளைக்கத் தேடுமவர்கள் தம்-தாம் விநாசம் பாரார்கள்). However, the Lord demonstrates how much He desires for the union with the so-called “lowly beings” like Azhwar and opines that Azhwar’s running away from Him makes not just a mockery of His Sauseelyam but questions the very purpose of His existence (நீர் அயோக்யர் என்று அகலுவது ஸத்தாஹாநி). He also warns Azhwar that the latter’s refusal to His advances will earn him a place in hell along with those who denied him access to butter in his Krishna Avatharam (இனி நீர் அகலில் திருவாய்ப்பாடியில் வெண்ணை விலக்கினார் புக்க லோகம் புகுவீர்). Thus, having left with no defence, we will see Azhwar finally uniting with the Lord at the end of this padhigam.
In the next post, we shall see the saram of this Thiruvaimozhi.