The key prayer embedded in this slOkam saluting the KoormAvathAran is: “Koorma Vapusha: Parasya nissvAsa Vaadha: bhuvana thrayeem avyAsu:” ( May the waves of breath of the Supreme Being resting on the ocean floor as a giant tortoise protect the beings of all the three worlds ! ).
For blessing the DevAs with life sustaining nectar, our Lord had to establish the Mandara Mountain as the churning rod and the serpent Vaasuki as the rope to churn the Milky Ocean. When the Mandara Mountain began to slip, our Lord took on the form of giant tortoise to hold the mountain firmly on His back. During the rhythmic movement of the churning, Lord’s back got relief from the itches and pains caused by the cyclical movement of the mountain on His back. That rhythmic Movement lulled Him into a most enjoyable sleep. He began to “snore”. The heavy breathing pushed the surrounding water into gently breaking waves. The power of His breath made the Lord enjoy this churning-induced sleep with His Devi at His side. Swamy Desikan appeals therefore to those powerful breaths (Nissvasanam) leading to the SayanOthsavam to protect the beings of the three worlds.
The repeated churnings are like regular itches (KaNDUyanai:) on the back (shell) of the Lord, who has taken the avathAram of a giant Koormam (adhriNA anibhrutham kaNDUyanai: nidhrANasya Parasya Koorma Vapusha:). Those ceaseless (anibhrutham) churnings using Mandara Mountain as the churning rod put Him to sleep. He is in deep sleep and the heavy breathing associated with that slumber raises through the water and serves as a rocking cradle on the Milky ocean (Yath vikshEpaNa samskrutha: Udhadhi paya: prEnkhOLa paryankikA). Our Lord is resting on that rocking cot and sports with His Devi on that watery cradle (prEnkhOLa paryankikA nithya AarOhaNa nirvrutha Deva: SriyA saha ViharathE).
Commentary by: Sri Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan
to be continued…