*Vangak kadal*: An explanation: 


thiruk kaNNan kudi - part 8 - "vanga mA munneer" - thirumangai pAsuram

*From:* Sampath Rengarajan ( srengara@ford.com )
*Date:* Fri May 15 1998

Sri MaNavALa mAmunigaL did mangalA sAsanam at this divya dEsam. Sri Pillai perumAL iyengar has also delivered his pAsuram on this. Lord. Thirumangai AzhwAr is the only AzwhAr who delivered prabandhams on this Lord. Among the 12 AzhwArs. Thirumangai delivered 10 pAsurams.

vanga mA munneer vari niRap periya
vAL aravin anai mEvich
changamAr angaith thadamalar unthich
sAma mAmEni en thalaivan
angam ARau ainthu vELvi nAl vEtham
arum kalai payinRu eri moonRum
sengaiyAl valarkkum thuLakkam il
manaththOr thiruk kannan kudiyuL ninrAnE periya thiru mozhi (9-1-1)

*Vangak kadal*: An explanation: Vanga in tamil means white or veNmai. It is the color of the milk and hence it is called in sanskrit as ksheera sAgaram and in tamil as pArk kadal (pAl means milk).

vangak kadal kadaintha mAthavanai - means one who churned the ksheera sAgaram or thirup pAr kadal (paR or pAl here is denoted by vangam or white) during His koorma avathAram as Lord Sri Koorma.

vangam also means thooymai in tamil ie., cleanliness or purity. vangam also has two other meanings in tamil that are not related to the current context. The term vanga dEsam and the adjacent sea known as vangak kadal or bay of Bengal is a term that was derived in the later years.

vangam also means ship in tamil. munneer means kadal or ocean. In this pasuram vanga ma muneer means at surface level a similar sea like bay of bengal where huge ships float. AzhwAr draws parallel to this ocean and transforms the scene in this pasuram in the inner layer of meaning to ksheera sAgram or thirup pARk kadal by showing the similarity of the ocean. One should not mistake that there are huge ships that are floating in thirup pARk kadal.


There are huge ships (vanga) that floats in the high sea. In such similar sea, ie thirup pARk kadal thiru anantha azhwAn Sri Adi sEshan, appears with beautiful lines or stripes on HIS thiru mEni. On such adisEshan, our lord is appearing with HIS Sri Changam and Sri Chakram and the lotus in HIS naabhi or navel. Such Lord appears in HIS shyAmala vaNNam (ie blue in color). There are anthanars or brahmins who are knowledgable in six angams (six vedAngams) and ithihaas (Srimadh rAmAyanam and Srimadh bAgavatham) and who are also experienced in conducting the five yAgAs (vELvi). They pray all the three agni as prescribed in four vEdAs. Such mahAns who have unwavering or unflinched mind (thulakkam il manatthOr) towards the Lord live here in thiruk kaNNan kudi and our Lord appeared there in the midst of such mahAns and is living there in nitya vAsam.

There is a reason to choose this pAsuram among the 10 pAsuram delivered by thirumangai on this Lord. This is the first in the decad. And also that our next part will deal on an encounter that thirumangai and his parivAram had during their journey to this place with the mariners of Sea Trading. Thirumangai delivers the last decad of the 7m patthu (7th centum) on Lord thiruk kaNNa mangai and then proceed to thiruk kaNNa puram and delivers a whole 100 pasurams on the Lord Sowri Rajan of thiruk kaNNa puram. On completion of this, AzhwAr delivers the first decad of the 9th centum (9m patthu) on the Lord of thiruk kaNNan kudi. This is a coastal belt on Bay of Bengal and must have been scenic as AzhwAr passed through this belt. He delivers about the beauty of the sea first that his vision captured and identifies the shipping trade (due to his citation as "many boats") that took place during his era. Sea trade or kadal vANibam took place even much prior to thirumangai's era(**). We must not stray our thoughts on the basis of modern historians who may deal very little about bhAratha kandam's historical truth that were *recorded* in our sAthvika purANams. Instead we must have faith in our poorvAchaAryAL'S vyAkyAnams and follow them.

Sri lOka nAyaki samEtha Sri lOka nAyakan thiru vadikaLE saraNam - Sampath Rengarajan


(*) There are always controversies that are raised by the historians on the actual period of AzhwArs' incarnation. There was a historian who tried to identify that ANDAL must belong to 8th century AD as the lines "veLLi ezhunthu viyAzhan urangiRRu". ie, as per some westerner this level of astronomical knowledge was available only after 8th century AD. By saying so the western view point totally missed to take into account the entire Indian purAnic and mythological explanations of the Indian astronomical gnyAnam. The verse of ANDAL was about the Venus and Jupiter positions on the early morning sky when these pasurams on the paavai nOnbu were sung by HER.

Unfortunately it is believed that this led a famous (late) Indian politician to publicly question that the thirup pAvai was sung by periAzhwAr and not by ANDAL. Our Sri Putthur Swami gave such a hard hitting reply, to which the questioner is believed to have withdrawn his question and accepted Sri putthur swami's explanation. adiyEn have privately explained this to a few last December when the same was raised in this forum. In this authorship question what was quoted by some as "authentic truth" as similar to announcement in "sanga kAlap palakai" turned out to be "untrue". This issue on authorship of thirup pAvai was set to rest by Sri Putthur Swami more than twenty years ago. One can find such explanations of Sri Putthur swamigaL from his publications. Due to my own owe and as well due to the fact that the politician is not alive, I do not want to write the details about this in the net. Please forgive me for any apachArams committed by bringing out this truth.

(**) As per Tamil Historians the shipping and trade across the seas of chOla sEra pAndiyan kingdoms took place many many centuries ago.