thiruvAimozhi – 1.1.4 – nAm avan

srImathE satakOpAya nama:
srImathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srImath varavaramunayE nama:

Full series >> First Centum >> First decad

Previous pAsuram


Note: sAmAnAdhikaraNyam means more than one aspect/attribute having one common substratum. It also means two or more words focussed on explaining a single entity. A simple example is mrudh gatam (clay pot). This talks about gatam (pot) being the substratum and having two attributes – being made of mrudh (soil/clay) and gatathvam (being a pot). Another example is “sukla: patam” (white cloth). This talks about patam (cloth) being the substratum and having two attributes – suklathvam (whiteness) and patathvam (being a cloth). Similarly, brahmam/bhagavAn being the substratum of all entities is explained through this principle of sAmAnAdhikaraNyam. This is a separate and detailed subject which can be learned from scholars who are well versed in samskrutha vyAkaraNam and vEdhAntham.

Introduction for this pAsuram

Highlights from thirukkurukaippirAn piLLAn‘s introduction

Starting with this pAsuram, the previous pAsuram is explained in detail.

Highlights from nanjIyar‘s introduction

It is explained that the svarUpam (true nature) and svabhAvam (characteristics) of different entities which are identified through different words are completely under the control of bhagavAn according to sAmAnAdhikaraNyam.

Highlights from vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyar‘s introduction

In the next 3 pAsurams (starting with this one), the svarUpam (true nature), sthithi (existence), pravruththi (actions), etc., of the entities which in this leelA vibhUthi are explained as being totally controlled by bhagavAn. In this pAsuram, nammAzhwAr explains that the svarUpam of all the entities are explained as being totally controlled by bhagavAn through sAmAnAdhikaraNyam.

Highlights from periyavAchchAn piLLai‘s introduction

Very similar to vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyars introduction.

Highlights from nampiLLai‘s introduction as documented by vadakkuth thiruvIdhip piLLai

In the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr enjoyed bhagavAn‘s wealth of leelA vibhUthi. While only few pAsurams explained nithya vibhUthi, why are there many pAsurams explaining leelA vibhUthi? nithya vibhUthi (paramapadham) fully follows bhagavAn‘s heart as explained in thiruvAimozhi 4.9.10 “oNdodiyAL thirumagaLum nIyumE nilAniRpa” (Only srImahAlakshmi and you are visible in parampadham – meaning others are so submissive and subdued in service to the two of you). So there is nothing special in saying that everything is under his full control there. But in this leelA vibhUthi, jIvAthmAs acquire bodies according to their karmA and follow the will of bhagavAn according to the circumstances here. Only in this vibhUthi we see anya sEshathvam (being dependant on other dhEvathAs), sva svAthanthriyam (being fully independant), etc are seen. Thus it is more important to establish that leelA vibhUthi is under full control of bhagavAn.

In the next 3 pAsurams (starting with this),  the nature, characteristics and actions are established as being fully controlled by bhagavAn. In the subsequent (7th) pAsuram the sarIra – Athma (sarIri) bhAvam between the universe and Iswara is explained. In the subsequent (8th) pAsuram kudhrushtis (ones who dont accept vEdham as authority) are defeated. In the 9th pAsuram, sUnyavAdhi (philosopher of voidness) is defeated. In the 10th pAsuram, his all-pervading nature is explained. In the 11th pAsuram, the fruits of reciting the decad is explained.

In this pAsuram, srushti (creation), aNu pravEsam (all-pervading nature), etc., are explained as fully dependant on bhagavAn both in subtle (cause) and gross (effect) states.


nAm avan ivan uvan avaL ivaL uvaL evL
thAm avar ivar uvar athu ithu uthu ethu
vIm avai ivai uvai avai nalam thIngu avai
Am avai Ay avai Ay ninRa avarE

Word-by-Word meanings (based on vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyar‘s 12000 padi)

nAm – self (which is going to be the context for the other words to follow)
avan – a male who is far away
ivan – a male who is nearby
uvan – a male who is neither far away nor nearby
avaL – a female who is far away
ivaL – a female who is nearby
uvaL – a female who is neither far away nor nearby
evaL – (being questioned as) which female?
thAm – respectable person (first person – in front of us)
avar – a respectable person who is far away
ivar – a respectable person who is nearby
uvar – a respectable person who is neither far away nor nearby
athu – an animal/bird/insentient that is far away
ithu – an animal/bird/insentient that is neaby
uthu – an animal/bird/insentient that is neither far away nor nearby
ethu – (being questioned as) which animal/bird/insentient?
vImavai – temporary objects that are subject to change
ivai uvai avai – such temporary objects that are nearby, neither far away nor nearby, far away
nalam thIngu avai – those virtuous and lowly actions/aspects
Amavai – future aspects
Ayavai – all such (past) objects
Ay ninRa avar – one has become such objects

Simple transalation (based on vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyar‘s 12000 padi)

bhagavAn is the one who has become (is the antharyAmi of) all entities (male, female, insentient, temporary ones) which are identified by different words to indicate their proximity (nearby, faraway, in-between, etc) that are good or bad and that existed in the past, exist now or will come to existence in the future.

In short, all words point to bhagavAn only. Whatever words missed are also to be included here. This means all objects of all times are under the full control of bhagavAn.

vyAkyAnams (commentaries)

Highlights from thirukkurukaippirAn piLLAn‘s vyAkyAnam

This pAsuram explains that bhagavAn controls all entities that are referred by different words.

Highlights from nanjIyar‘s vyAkyAnam

Very similar to vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyar‘s vyAkyAnam.

Highlights from periyavAchchAn piLLai‘s vyAkyAnam

Very similar to nampiLLai‘s vyAkyAnam.

Highlights from nampiLLai‘s vyAkyAnam as documented by vadakkuth thiruvIdhip piLLai

  • Amavai Ayavai – all past and future aspects. When past and future are explained, that includes present as well.
  • AyninRa – those entities that exist. When these entities are considered as they are, aikyam (sameness/oneness) can not be explained (since each entity is distinct naturally).
  • Any word (relating to matter) represents three aspects – the achith (insentient/body), jIvAthmA who is the abimAni of that achith (the jIvAthmA who controls that achith) and paramAthmA who is the antharyAmi (in-dwelling soul) of that jIvathmA. (For example, when we say “sheep” – that indicates the sheep’s body, the jIvAthmA inside the sheep’s body which control’s the body and finally the paramAthmA which controls that jIvAthmA. It is explained by emperumAnAr in vEdhArththa sangraham that one who is not learned in vEdhAntham will only see the sheep’s body but the learned ones will see all 3 entities through that word).
  • This pAsuram reflects the same meaning of chAndhOgya upanishath vAkyam (statement) “idham sarvam brahma kalu” (isn’t this all brahmam?) and “thathvamasi” (that brahmam which has the entire universe as its body is the same brahmam that has you (AthmA) as its body as well). Here the real meaning of thathvamasi is beautifully explained. In the first pAsuram, bhagavAn‘s auspicious qualities, being in the spiritual realm and having divine form are explained. In the second pAsuram, his glorious nature is explained. “thath” in “thathvamasi” refers to previously explained brahmam with such great qualities which is explained by the “avar” (respectable him) in the end of this pAsuram. “Ay ninRa” explains paramAthmA which exists along with the jIvAthmAs and achith (matter). Thus, oneness of brahmam and chith/achith is explained through sAmAnadhikaraNyam – that the same brahmam is the substratum for all chith and achith.
  • Thus, by expressly identifying all types of entities in relation to bhagavAn, their true nature of them being fully controlled by bhagavAn is established in this pAsuram.

In the next article we will the next pAsuram.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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