kaNNinuN chiRuth thAmbu 5 – nambinEn

srImathE satakOpAya nama:
srImathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srImadh varavaramunayE nama:

Full Series

Previous pAsuram


Introduction for this pAsuram:

All the introductions for this pAsuram are seen as a continuation of previous pAsuram.

nanjIyar highlights that when madhurakavi AzhwAr was asked what lowly qualities he was talking about in previous pAsuram, he says he was desiring for others’ wives and others’ properties. But he became reformed by the unconditional grace of nammAzhwAr. He is expressing his gratitude towards nammAzhwAr who reformed him out of his causeless mercy.

nampiLLai  highlights that when asked about it madhurakavi AzhwAr reveals the details of his previous state and how nammAzhwAr reformed him (based on previous pAsuram where he said he was filled with lowly qualities).

periyavAchchAn piLLai highlights that the same point as nampiLLai .

azhagiya maNavALa perumaL nAyanAr highlights that madhurakavi AzhwAr was asked – What were your lowly qualities highlighted in the previous pAsuram? Who triggered your devotion towards nammAzhwAr? madhurakavi AzhwAr replies “Since time immemorial I was having great ego and attachment towards wealth and lust. That too mainly towards lust. That too I wanted to enjoy many women. For that I needed lots of wealth through which I can attract women towards me. For that I went to different towns and villages. At that time, I saw the huge palaces in AzhwArthirunagari which had golden balconies. Wanting to get some wealth from this rich place, I entered the town. At that time, nammAzhwAr blessed me and reformed me. I became surrendered to him and won over my tendency towards sense enjoyment. This is my current state”.

nambinEn piRar nanporuL thannaiyum
nambinEn madavAraiyum munnelAm
sempon mAdath thirurkkurukUr nambikku anbanAy
adiyEn sathirththEn inRE

word-by-word meanings
adiyEn – I (who have become reformed to call myself dhAsan/servitor)
mun elAm – previously (before being blessed by nammAzhwAr)
piRar – others
nal poruL thannaiyum – good properties/objects
nambinEn – desired (for them)
(piRar) madavAraiyum – women (who are married to others)
nambinEn – desired
inRu – But today
sempon mAdam – (having) beautiful balconies built using gold
thiru kurukUr nambikku – leader of AzhwArthirunagari
anban Ay – become a devotee
sadhirththEn – attained greatness

Simple translation:
I previously desired for good properties/objects of others and other women. But today (after being blessed by nammAzhwAr), I have become a devotee of nammAzhwAr who is the leader AzhwArthirunagari which has many beautiful palaces that have balconies that were built using gold and have attained greatness (by becoming nammAzhwAr‘s disciple).

Highlights from nanjIyar‘s vyAkyAnam:

  • piRar nan poruL – As said in “chOrENa AthmAbahARiNA” (A thief who stole the AthmA, i.e.,  considered AthmA as ones own property while it is owned by bhagavAn), I looked to rule over myself independently while AthmA is owned by bhagavAn.
  • Since “madavAr” (women – plural) is used, it means, I am not satisfied with one woman but keep looking out for many for sense enjoyment.
  • I am the one who was attached to women before. But the same me, have become attached to nammAzhwAr – this is my greatness (such huge transformation).

Highlights from nampiLLai‘s eedu vyAkyAnam:

  • poruL means wealth. Here it means AthmA. Amongst dhravyams (objects), AthmA is highlighted primarily.  As thirumangai AzhwAr said in periya thirumozhi 1.1.5 “kaLvanEnAnEn” (became a thief) and nammAzhwAr says in thiruvAimozhi 5.1.4 “vankaLvan” (great thief), madhurakavi AzhwAr also says the same thing. Just like jIvAthmA who is a servitor of bhagavAn first and ultimately to nammAzhwAr (AchArya) was stolen, only when madhurakavi AzhwAr becomes a servitor of nammAzhwAr, it will become exclusively used for bhagavAn,
  • piRarAthmA is represented by kausthuba jewel on bhagavAn‘s chest. The most cruel nature of theft is explained. The atonement/punishment for a theft is based on the object that is stolen and the owner of the object. Stolen object AthmA is like kausthubam and the owner is bhagavAn himself – so atonement is very difficult and punishment is severe.
  • If one is bold enough to steal bhagavAn‘s property “AthmA”, what to speak about stealing of common people’s wives – I have also been engaged in that.
  • nambi – complete in qualities. Even after being so complete in grace/mercy, would nammAzhwAr consider my lowly qualities and discard me? No (He has surely accepted me).
  • Before being a disciple of nammAzhwAr, I was very lowly/fallen. After being blessed by nammAzhwAr, I have become so great. AchAryas are called “nambi” and oneself being called “adiyEn” in front of them is due to madhurakavi AzhwAr‘s usage of these terms in his pAsurams and action.

Highlights from periyavAchchAn piLLai‘s vyAkyAnam:

  • This vyAkyAnam is mostly based on nampiLLai‘s vyAkyAnam.
  • nanporuL means AthmA. piRar (other) means bhagavAn. He is called “Other” because he is totally different from AthmAs – nithyasUris (eternally free souls), mukthAthmAs (liberated souls) and badhdhAthmAs (bound souls). In gIthA slOkams 15.16, 15.17, and 15.18, bhagavAn is explained as “uththama: purusha” (the supreme person) and he is differentiated from different types of jIvAthmAs.
  • munnelAm – forever until now. Just like Iswara, AthmA is also eternal. kAlam (time) is also beginning-less. achith sambandham (our existence in this material world) is also beginning-less (it is not that we have suddenly jumped into samsAram – material world from some where else). Thus until now, all the time, we have been engaged in such lowly activities.
  • I was searching for wealth for my sense enjoyment. I reached AzhwArthirunagari which looked very rich. But I was caught by the mAnidhi (great wealth) here. nammAzhwAr is madhurakavi AzhwAr‘s vaiththamAnidhi (emperumAn at thirukkOLUr – vaiththamAnidhi means great wealth that is preserved).  Since AzhwArthirunagari is as enjoyable for madhurakavi AzhwAr like nammAzhwAr‘s lotus feet, he is glorifying the town here.
  • As said by iLaiya perumAL (lakshmaNan) in srI rAmAyaNam (kishkinthA kANdam 4.12) “guNair dhAsyam upAgatha:” (I am surrendered to srI rAma for his auspicious qualities), here madhurakavi AzhwAr says “adiyEn” for being surrendered to him seeing nammAzhwAr‘s auspicious qualities.

Highlights from azhagiya maNavALa perumaL nAyanAr‘s vyAkyanam:

  • He has so many lowly qualities and those cannot be easily listed. So, as a sample he identifies “paradhravya apahAram” (stealing others’ properties) and “paradhAra apahAram” (seeking out others’ wives) which are the most cruel ones. AthmA apahAram means considering AthmA as independent (instead of knowing AthmA is totally dependent on bhagavAn).
  • nanporuL – vilakshaNa dhravyam – unique object. achith (Matter) is anithyam (temporary), anavaratha vikArAspadham (abode for change always), athayantha hEyam (very unfavourable), agyAnam (ignorance), asukam (lack of bliss), abhOgyam (lack of enjoyment). chith (jIvAthmA – soul) is nithyam (permanent), nirvikAram (unchangable), athyantha vilakshaNam (very unique/different from matter), svayam prakAsamAy (self-effulgent), sukamAy (blissful), svabhAvathO bhOgyam (naturally enjoyable).
  • piRar – anya – one who is amongst others, yet not mingling with others. Though bhagavAn is all pervading and present along with chith (jIvAthmAs) and achith (matter), he is not touched by the defects of any of those he is present with. Even though is the antharyAmi (indwelling super-soul) of every one, he is called apahathapApmA (being relieved of all blemishes). All of these principles are heard by madhurakavi AzhwAr from nammAzhwAr in his various pAsurams.
  • AthmApahAram (stealing of AthmA) means svAthanthriyam (independence). Seeking out for sense enjoyment means dhEhAthmAbimAnam (considering body as self). It is because of this misunderstanding that AthmA (soul) is dhEham (body), one is seeking enjoyment for the body.
  • Though I went to AzhwArthirunagari seeking for wealth and lust, since nammAzhwAr who lives in AzhwArthirunagari is ashtAkshara samsidhdha (one who is well situated in thirumanthram) and in whose proximity there is no theft, etc., I developed an attachment towards him just like kshathrabandhu became reformed in the proximity of a saint. I approached him and became very much devoted towards him.
  • Like nammAzhwAr had attachment towards the palaces/balconies of dhivya dhEsams as mentioned in thiruvAimozhi 6.5.1 “thuvaLil maNi mAdam Ongu thulaivillimangalam“,  madhurakavi AzhwAr is attached to “sempon mAdam” of AzhwArthirunagari.
  • In the previous pAsuram “annaiyAy aththanAy” explains “mAthA pithA” (mother and father). Here “madavAR … sempon mAdam” explains “yuvathaya:” (women) and “vibhUthi:” (wealth). This is in reference to “mAthA pithAthaniyan for nammAzhwAr that was rendered by ALavandhAr.
  • inRE – right now. Instead of having to experience the remaining karmA, give up the body, reach virajA and finally become pure, I have become pure right here (by nammAzhwAr‘s grace). Previously, I was accompanied by bhagavAn (as antharyAmi) but still was in samsAram – now in the presence of nammAzhwAr I have become relieved from the miseries of samsAram.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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