PuNNiya thiru maeniyai;
Potri nin mugam potri nin manam
Potri nin padham ayyane.
potri = praise/worship/hail; mana koil = heat temple; puNNiya = merit/meritorious deeds; there maeni = sacred body; mugam = face; manam = heart/mind; padham = feet.
Ramana, residing in my heart, praise be to you, to your sacred face, sacred heart and holy feet! Ayyane!
‘Ayyane’ is a word for calling the lord. Saint Manickavasagar says in Tiruvasagam, ‘VedangaL ayya en ongi aazndhu agandra nuNNiyane’ (Vedas priase you my Lord, you spread deep and wide and are the subtlest of the subtle).
‘en mana koil utridu’ means you who have taken residence in the temple of my heart (manam is heart or mind and koil is temple).
Tirumular in Tirumandiram (Tantra 7) says:
uLLam perunkoyil oon udambu aalayam
vaLLal piraanarkku vaai gopura vaasal
theLLath theLinthaarkku seevan sivaliNgam
kaLLap pulan aindhum kaaLaa maNiviLakke
Mind/heart is the sanctum, this fleshy body is the temple
For the generous lord, the mouth is the entrance (tower gate)
For those who have crystal clear knowledge the atma is Siva linga
The deceiving five senses are lamps (that guide)
‘potri nin mugam …’
This verse praises Bhagavan’s face, his mind/heart and his holy feet. Many devotees and visitors have written about the effulgence of Bhagavan, the penetrating gaze of his grace, the deep, abiding peace of his presence. Here we see couple of examples from Echamal and Muruganar.
(From Devotees, Echammal section):
"Years later, in fact just a few years before his own departure, for two or three evenings in a row Bhagavan kept a great silence in the hall. There was a blaze of light all around him that new visitors were astonished to see. Someone asked whether this light was always there and another devotee replied: ‘No, not always. This light usually shines on three occasions. On Kartigai day, on Mahapuja day and on Jayanti day. This is something special and a very important event is about to happen.’"
"It is a common belief that great yogis take birth in this world only to finish the process of their spiritual evolution which was left incomplete in their previous life. In one of Muruganar’s poems, a woman asks her friend, “If not to make up for the deficits of previous lives, why has this Venkataraman come down to earth? Why else would he be walking about on this earth now?”
'To this, her friend replies, “Though it may appear as though Venkataraman is leading a mortal’s life, the truth of the matter is that he is, God himself, walking around barefooted, only to satisfy the Earth Goddess’ longing to feel the touch of God’s Feet.” '
Though God came down to the Earth in various incarnations, in these incarnations He was transported by various divine vehicles (vahanam) and His feet seldom touched the earth directly. So the Earth Goddess felt deprived of the privilege of touching the Divine Feet, and she longed for the chance to do so. In response to her desire, God came into the world in the form of Ramana and walked barefoot over every inch of the Arunachala Hill, just to please the Earth Goddess.
Bhagavan never wore any footwear. But Muruganar alone could have imagined such a beautiful and moving explanation for Bhagavan’s bare feet!
Bhagavan never wore footwear! Even in the blistering heat of Tiruvannamalai summers, he would walk at his usual measured pace. And he would tell those around him to rest in whatevre shade they could find before walking further. Yet his feet were soft (as Ranga narrates in his experiences).
Bhagavan’s feet, face and heart are objects of worship because he is Arunachala himself, which is clear from the following exchange.
Sadhu: “People say that you are an Avatar of Subramaniam. What do you say about it?” Bhagavan said nothing. Sadhu: “If it is a fact, why do you keep silence about it? Why don’t you speak out and tell us the truth?” Bhagavan did not reply.
Bhagavan (quietly): “An Avatar is only a partial manifestation of God, whereas a Jnani is God himself."
Arunachala, Sadhu. A sadhu's reminiscencs .