krishNa trushNA thathvam

srimathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srimadh varavaramunayE nama:
sri vAnAchala mahAmunayE nama:

parAsara bhattar declares that nammAzhwAr (satagOpan) is krishNa thrushNA thathvam (srIrangarAja sthavam - 6) - which means AzhwAr is the embodiment of  love (thirst) for kaNNan emperumAn (krishNan).

In bhagavath gIthai 7.16 to 7.19, kannan emperumAn declares the glories of his devotees who are very attached to him.

In 7.16, he first identifies four types of people who approach him - the one who is looking to revive lost wealth, the one who is inquisitive about AthmA and AthmAnubhavam, the one who is looking for new wealth and the one who is situated in pure knowledge about bhagavAn.

In 7.17, he identifies that of these four, the one who is situated in pure knowledge is most dear to him and he is most dear to such gyAni as well.

In 7.18, he says while all four are generous (because they are the ones who establish bhagavAn's supremacy by approaching him to fulfill their desires - without some one receiving he cannot manifest his magnanimity) - the gyAni is like his own AthmA. While the whole of vEdhAntham declares that bhagavAn is the antharyAmi (in-dwelling super soul) of all beings, here, bhagavAn himself declares that the gyAnis are his antharAthmA. The love and affection between bhagavAn and such gyAnis are unimaginable within our limited capacity.

In 7.19, bhagavAn says:
bahUnAm janmanAm anthE gyAnavAn mAm prapadhyathE
vAsudhEvas sarvam ithi sa mahAthmA su dhurlabha:

After many many births one becomes such gyAni and surrenders to me. Such great souls who fully accept me as the controller of everything that exists are very rare to find.

srIman nArAyaNan is constantly enjoying along with nithya sUris in paramapadham. But in his mind, he is always caring about the souls who are suffering in samsAram. Since he is related to everyone in the same manner, he wants to help such souls in samsAram to reach him as well
  • He gives body and senses to the jIvAthmAs during srushti. He also reveals sAsthram through brahmA during srushti. But, without using the intelligence to reach bhagavAn, the jIvAthmAs simply spend their life in material pursuits.
  • Seeing this, bhagavAn himself takes many incarnations like varAha, narasimha, srI rAma, krishNa, etc. But even at his physical presence, very few people accept him as supreme and surrender to him.
  • Finally, just like a hunter catches a deer using another deer, bhagavAn wants to help jIvAthmAs through other jIvAthmAs. So, he picks a samsAri jIvAthmA, blesses him pure/blemishless knowledge and makes him satagOpa (nammAzhwAr).
nammAzhwAr, by the divine grace and causeless mercy of bhagavAn, is born with great devotion towards srIman nArAyaNan. Just like thuLasi which reveals its fragrance during its sprouting stage itself and like iLaya perumAL (lakshmaNan) who was attached to srI rAma right from his birth, AzhwAr was greatly attached to bhagavAn right from his birth. This is why, when he was taken to AthinAthan emperumAn sannidhi (in AzhwAr thirunagari) as a toddler, he crawled into the divine tamarind tree, settled there and started meditating on bhagavAn.

Coming back to krishNa's words in gIthai, nammAzhwAr proves to be such great gyAni with utmost attachment to bhagavAn. This we can understand by his various pAsurams and his own life ( Yet, his pAsuram for vaithamAnidhi emperumAn (thirukkOLur dhivyadhEsam) is one place where he explicitly reveals his attachment to kaNNan emperumAn (directly reflecting bhagavAn's own words of vAsudhEvas sarvam). Let us see this a little bit now.

uNNum chORu parugum nIr thinnum veRRilai ellAm 
kaNNan emperumAn enRenRE kaNgaL nIr malgi
maNNinuL avan sIr vaLam mikkavanUr vinavi
thiNNamenniLamAn pugumUr thirukkOLUrE

உண்ணும் சோறு பருகும் நீர் தின்னும் வெற்றிலை எல்லாம்
கண்ணன் எம்பெருமான் என்றென்றே கண்கள் நீர் மல்கி
மண்ணினுள் அவன் சீர் வளம் மிக்கவனூர் வினவி
திண்ணமென்னிளமான் புகுமூர் திருக்கோளூரே

AzhwAr in the bhAvam (mood) of his own mother  (i.e., parAngusa nAyaki's mother) explains that her daughter (nammAzhwAr) who considers krishNan as food (thAraka - one that sustains), water (pOshaka - one that nourishes) and betel leaves (bhOgya - one that brings joy) and is always crying out for bhagavAn, has left to meet vaithamAnithi emperumAn who has descended into thirukkOLUr in archA form for the upliftment of jIvAthmAs. So, for AzhwAr, bhagavAn is thAraka, pOshaka and bhOgyam - everything.

In this pAsuram, AzhwAr's great attachment for krishNan is revealed by himself. This quality of full dependence on bhagavAn and looking out for bhagavAn alone is the true nature of a gyAni identified by bhagavAn himself in bhagavath gIthai. Specifically, the glories of dhivyadhEsa emperumAns and bhagavAn's utmost mercy of descending to dhivyadhEsams for our benefit is explained. Also, it is explained that we should always engage in some kainkaryam in dhivyadhEsams is also emphasised in this pAsuram.

In thiruvAimozhi (and all other prabhandhams of nammAzhwAr), we can easily see that krishNan is sung more than any other vibhavAvathAram of emperumAn. Our pUrvAchAryas explain the reasons for this as follows:
  • Because krishNAvathAram is the most recent avathAram of bhagavAn. So, everyone remembers and discusses about the most recent activities often.
  • Everyone is concerned about the well-being of krishNan since he was born in dark night inside the jail and was constantly chased by the evil-minded kamsa and others.
  • krishNan's childhood pastimes are so amazing. He fully exhibited saulabhyam by getting bound by the cow-herd girls and leaving himself at the full control of cow-herd boys and girls of vrndhAvan. This quality is greatly appreciated by AzhwArs in their pAsurams.
nammAzhwAr sung many pAsurams enjoying the glories of krishNAvathAram and was unable to bear the separation from bhagavAn even for a moment, which is why he was called krishNa thrushNA thathavam (embodiment of love for emperumAn).

In AchArya hrudhayam chUrNikai 57, azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr identifies that bhagavAn himself spoke his glories through nammAzhwAr and still brought all the fame and glories to nammAzhwAr. He establishes this through AzhwAr's own pAsurams, specifically thiruvAimozhi 7.9 padhigam where AzhwAr explains how emperumAn is in full control of nammAzhwAr and his words. In this chUrNikai, nAyanAr says that "nAdum kaiyedukkumpadi" (நாடும் கையெடுக்கும்படி) - mAmunigaL beautifully explains that, as soon as we hear the name "satagOpan", everyone performs an anjali (saluting with folded hands at chest height) towards AzhwAr's direction. This is why we see people performing anjali in aruLicheyal gOshti when the last pAsuram of every padhigam in thiruvAimozhi is sung, since AzhwAr's name is present in the last pAsuram of every padhigam. Even while we hear bhagavAn's name, there is no such practice of performing an anjali immediately - but emperumAn gave such honors to AzhwAr that any time any one hears AzhwAr's name they perform an anjali immediately towards AzwAr's (AzhwAr thirunagari - his avathAra sthalam) direction.

Thus we have enjoyed a little bit about the deep and loving relationship between nammAzhwAr and krishNan (which is to be found nowhere else). Let us pray at the lotus feet of nammAzhwAr to be blessed with pure knowledge and service to bhagavAn/bhAgavathas.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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  1. swami
    dhanyosmi for making us remember aazhwar, bhattar and naayanaar along with jeeyar along with relevant sloka from the Gita.
    adiyen dasan

  2. yennathunathAvilae arivAr athmA yennu avan matham thonrum.


    1. good one - thats from AchArya hrudhayam too. direct translation of gyAni thu Athma Eva mE matham - gIthai 7.18.

      adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan