Nammazhvar wrote verses styling himself the Parankusa
Nayaki. In one verse, Parankusa Nayaki says, “When will I be with the One at Thiruvallavazh?” Parankusa Nayaki is in Kurugoor, and Thiruvallavazh is miles away. How can she hope to be united with the Lord of Thiruvallavazh?
Vaishnavite Acharya Nanjeeyar had an explanation for
this verse, said Kidambi Narayanan in a discourse. Once
Nanjeeyar was proceeding to Srirangam to participate in the
temple festival. As Bharata went with eager anticipation to
meet Lord Rama, as Akroora went to meet Krishna, so did
Nanjeeyar travel with anticipation. But the Kollidam river
was flooded and Nanjeeyar was unable to cross the river. He
could bring before his mind images of the festival; he could
hear the shouts of devotees and he was saddened by the fact that he was unable to participate in the festival. “Just as I, separated from Ranganatha, pined for Him, so did
Parankusa Nayaki pine for the deity of Thiruvallavazh,” Nanjeeyar said.
Nanjeeyar had been known by the name of Vedanti, because
he was well versed in Vedanta. Usually a Vedanti is not
expected to have the ability to see nuanced meanings in romantic poetry. But Nanjeeyar had unusual explanations
even for verses where bhakti is expressed in terms of romantic love, and his explanations show his genius.
Nanjeeyar had once been a grihastha, but later became a
sanyasi. A taste for sanyasa develops like the ripening of a
tamarind fruit. When the tamarind is unripe, the pulp sticks
to the shell. But when it ripens, give the pod a shake and you
can hear the pulp shaking inside.
Likewise, when we are young, we have deep attachments.
But when we age, we develop detachment. Since Nanjeeyar
was well read in the Sastras, such detachment came to him