tRshNA-tOyE madana-pavanOddhUta-mOhOrmi-mAlE
 dArAvartE tanaya-sahaja-grAha-sanghAkulE ca |
samsArAkhyE mahati jaladhau majjatAm nas tri-dhAman !
 pAdAmbhOjE varada bhavatO bhakti-nAvam prayaccha || 14

In this verse, the AzhvAr describes the terrors that abound in the ocean of samsAra. He prays to Lord ranganaatha to bless him with the boat of bhakti to ferry across the troubled waters of the ocean of samsAra.

He compares the whirlpools and crocodiles of the ocean to the joys and sorrows caused by worldly attachments to wives, children and relatives.

The AzhvAr addresses SrI ranganaatha as "tri-dhAman" and "varada" in this Slokam. He calls the great boon giver (varadan) as "tri-dhAman" to remind us that He resides in the three abodes - SrI-vaikUNTham, milky ocean, and atop the tiru-venkaTam hills on the Earth. He bases his choice of the name, "tri-dhAman" on the vedic passage, "ambasya-pArE bhuvanasya-madhyE nAkasya-pRshTE" .

He again reminds us that sincere bhakti focussed on the Lord will serve as the mighty ship to cross the terrifying ocean, populated by sea monsters, full of powerful waves of mOha, churned up by the wind of manmata: "uddhUta mOha Urmi-mAlE samsArAkhyE mahati jaladhau majjatAm na: bhavata: pAdAmbhOjE bhakti nAvam prayaccha" .


mA drAksham kshINa-puNyAn kshaNamapi bhavatO bhakti-hInAn padAbjE
mA Srausham SrAvya-bandham tava caritam-apAsyAnyad-AkhyAna-jAtam |
mA smArsham mAdhava tvAmapi bhuvana-patE cEtasApahnuvAnAn
mA bhUvam tvat-saparyA-vyatikara-rahitO janma-janmAntarE'pi || 15

In this verse, SrI kulaSEkhara asserts his devotion to SrI ranganaatha and declares aloud his disinterest in those who lead wasted lives by discarding the Lord from their thoughts.

AzhvAr has no use for such detestable souls who do not have bhakti for ranganaatha. He just cannot imagine such empty lives ! He says he cannot live without performing nityArAdhanam to SrI ranganaatha in every one of his lives on this Earth.

He reminds us here of the two principles for which bhAgavata-s are well-known, viz., "Atma-dAsya harE: svAmyam". Here he reminds us that the only way to attain salvation is to remember constantly that one is the servant of the Lord and the Lord is the Supreme Master for all of us. Any belief to the contrary will lead one astray and such thoughts are totally unacceptable to SrI kulaSEkhara.

I will translate word-for-word to enjoy the sentiments expressed by SrI kulaSEkhara AzhvAr:

"hE bhuvana-patE ! bhavata: padAbjE bhakti-hInAn kshINa puNyAn kshaNam api mA drAksham" O Lord of the universe! I will not look even for a second at the unfortunate who do not offer bhakti at Your lotus feet.

"SrAvya-bandham tava caritam apAsya anyat AkhyAna-jAtam mA Srausham" O ranganaatha! I will not hear any prabandham other than those of Your's which are the most delectable for the ears. I will not pay even momentary attention to delightful songs other than those related to you.

"hE mAdhava tvAm apahnuvAnAn cetasA mA smarsha" O mAdhava! I will not think even for a moment about those unfortunate who reject you from their lives.

"janma janmAntarE api tvat saparyA vyatikara rahita: mA bhuvam" In this and other lives I will not be passing my time without performing your daily ArAdhanam. Please bless me with this boon.

In fact, AzhvAr prays to SrI ranganaatha to bless him to be free from all the mishaps he summarized in this verse.

SrI kulaSEkhara AzhvAr's thoughts about rejecting the Godless reminds us of another AzhvAr :

"kaNNamangai nagarALan kazhal sUDi avanai uLLatteNNAda mAniDattai eNNAda pOdellAm iniyavARE"

Here the other AzhvAr echoes kulaSEkhara's thought: Sweet indeed are the times when I do not think of those who eject the Lord of tirukkaNNamangai from their minds.


jihvE kIrtaya kESavam mura-ripum cEtO bhaja SrI-dharam
pANi-dvandva samarcayAcyuta-kathA: SrOtra-dvaya tvam SRNu |
kRshNam lOkaya lOcana-dvaya harEr gacchAnghri-yugmAlayam
jighra ghrANa mukunda-pAda-tulasIm mUrdhan namAdhOkshajam || 16

In this verse, kulaSEkharar entreats all his senses - tongue, ears, eyes, legs, nose, head and mind to engage in the service to Lord SrI ranganaatha.

The first appeal goes to SrI kulaSEkharar's tongue - He asks it to praise Lord kESavan. The name kESava has three meanings covering dushTha-nigraham, svAmitvam and saundaryam of SrI ranganaatha. In the aspect of destruction of the unrighteous (dushTha-nigraham) he refers to the Lord slaying an asura by name "kESi" - therefore the name kESava. In the aspect of svAmitvam, kESava stands for SrI ranganaatha being the master of brahma and rudra. In the aspect of saundaryam, kESavan means one with beautiful hair. Through the invocation of the name kESava, SrI kulaSEkhara implies that the kalyANa guNa-s of the Lord are countless and his tongue will not run out of kIrtana-s to sing about Him.

The second appeal of SrI kulaSEkhara - hE "cEta: mura-ripum bhaja!" - goes to his mind. He asks his mind to meditate on the Lord who is the destroyer of an asura by name "muran". By this meditation one will see Him clearly inside oneself, says the AzhvAr. He probably has the following verse from brahma-bindu-upanishad in mind:

"ghutamiva payasi nigUDham bhUtE ca vasati viGYAnam | satatam manthayitavyam manasA manthAnabhUtEna || "

The upanishad verse says that Lord SrIman-nArAyaNa is hidden in all cEtana's hearts like ghee in milk. Just as one churns the milk with a wooden instrument (ie mattu, in tamizh) to release the butter, so should one use one's mind to witness SrIman-nArAyaNa in one's heart.

Then the AzhvAr asks his two hands to do arcana with tulasi leaves and flower petals. He wants his hands to do arcana to SrI-dharan with perfection appealing - "pANi-dvandva SrI-dharam samarcaya (samyak arcaya)". He wants his hands to do arcana not only to nArAyaNa but also to SrI-dEvI by choosing the name, SrI-dhara. The divya-dampatI-s are inseparable.

SrI svAmi dESikan later followed the AzhvAr's thought when he bowed to the divya-dampatI's Eka-SEshitva-yOgam in his SrI-stuti and declared: "yuvAm dampatI daivatam na:" (ie dampatI yuvAm na: daivatam) SrI dESikan amplified the thought behind SrIdhara: by stating that both mahAlakshmI and nArAyaNa, shining as matchless couple, serve as Supreme and unified God in one inseparable form.

After the appeal to his hands, SrI kulaSEkhara turns his attention to his ears. He asks them to hear (SrOtradvaya tvam acyuta kathA: SRNu !) stories about acyutan. The name acyutan symbolizes His total resolve to come to prapannas' rescue without fail. By invoking acyuta, SrI kulaSEkhara reminds his ears about SaraNAgati-vratam and abhaya-pradhAna-guNam of SrIman-nArAyaNa reclining on Adi-SEsha at SrI-ranga kshEtram.

AzhvAr says to his ears that hearing of the kathA-s of acyutan such as vibhIshaNa-SaraNAgati, kAkAsura-SaraNAgati, draupatI-mAnasamrakshaNam, gajEndra-mOksham, ambarIsha-caritram etc. can only assure one of the secure and delectable experience of tasting the nectar-like SaraNAgata-rakshaNa anubhavam. sAtvata-samhitA echoes AzhvAr's thought as follows: "sankalpAdEva bhagavan tattvatO bhAvitAtmAnAm | vrtAntamakhilam kAlam sEcayatmRtEna tu || " The samhitai verse states that SrI acyutan blesses those who worship Him with the nectar-like experience of association with Him throughout their earthly lives and gives them the refuge of His cool feet by driving away afflictions.

SrI kulaSEkharar next calls on his pair of eyes to enjoy the beauty of SrI ranganaatha in His avatAra as SrI kRshNa. His appeal is "kRshNam lOkaya lOcana-dvaya:"

To witness and enjoy the beauty of SrI kRshNa bhagavAn, he asks his legs to go to temples where His arca-mUtIs are enshrined. The AzhvAr advises his legs as follows : "anghriyugma harE: Alayam gaccha".

AzhvAr then asks his nose to smell the sweet perfume of tulasi leaves that adorned the holy feet of SrI kRshNa - "hE kRshNa, mukunda-pAda-tulasIm jighra".

Finally, he asks his head to bend and offer its namaskAram-s to Lord ranganaatha - "hE mUdhan adhOkshajam nama".

*** SrI kRshNArpaNamastu! ***

In Dec.2001-Jan.2002, Shriman Sadagopan Iyengar swami avargal of Coimbatore posted in the Bhakti List six articles on Kainkaryam, based 
on this Mukundamala slokam. These articles have been collated by me in a single file; it may be seen HERE.

Krishnaswamy M.K.