thiruvAimozhi – 1.2 – vIdumin

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Previous Decad

sriman narayanan-nanmazhwarsrIman nArAyaNan – nammAzhwAr

Highlights from thirukkurugaippirAn piLLAn‘s introduction

As it is natural for devotees (who are fully focussed on bhagavAn alone) to share and discuss the svarUpa (divine nature), rUpa (forms), guNa (qualities), chEshtitha (activities), etc., of bhagavAn with many and seeing that there is not many who are purely focussed on bhagavAn alone, nammAzhwAr considers “Even if we have to transform them to be purely focussed on bhagavAn alone let that happen and then we can share this experience together” and starts instructing detachment towards wordly matters which is the first step in bhakthi yOgam which is a means to becoming fully focussed on bhagavAn.

Highlights from nanjIyar‘s introduction

nammAzhwAr, after enjoying emperumAn‘s parathvam (supremacy), being blissful, as explained in bhagavath gIthA 10.9 “bhOdhayantha: parasparam” (discussing with each other) – one cannot bear without discussing with others about these divine matters and realises that there is none  qualified to have discussion with him. nammAzhwAr contemplates the method to reform worldly people and share these divine matters with them. He realizes that “chEthanas (sentients  – ones with knowledge) usually reject/avoid unfavourable aspects and accept favourable aspects. Similarly, Let me highlight what is unfavourable for them in this samsAram and the enjoyable nature of bhagavath vishayam and reform them” and instructs them about the temporary and insignificant nature of this world and the pure bhagavAn who is filled with auspicious qualities and instructs them to pursue bhakthi yOgam to worship him.

Highlights from vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyar‘s introduction

nammAzhwAr mercifully explains the process of worshiping emperumAn through parOpadhEsam (instructions to others) in this decad. Since emperumAn is the sarvasmAthparan (most supreme) and he is to be worshipped, aspects that are considered as hurdles in his worship are to be given up. AzhwAr explains how such unfavourable aspects to be given up. He also explains the insignificant nature of worldly matters and the glorious nature of bhagavAn. He also explains how the hurdles are removed and the true goal is accomplished.

Highlights from periyavAchchAn piLLai‘s introduction

Same as nanjIyar‘s introduction.

Highlights from nampiLLai‘s introduction

mOksha sAsthram has 2 aspects – thathvam (truth about the entities) and upAsanam (process to achieve mOksham). In the first decad, thathvam is explained clearly. This decad is the summary of upAsanam related aspects.

thirumAlai ANdAn explains this decad with respect to prapaththi as heard from ALavandhAr. emperumAnAr too was doing the same until he completed srI bhAshyam (commentary from vEdhAntha/brahma sUthram). Subsequent to completion of bhAshyam (to present consistent views between vEdhAntham and thiruvAimozhi), he started explaining this decad with respect to bhakthi yOgam. embAr too followed the same principle.

nammAzhwAr‘s bhakthi (devotion) and prapaththi (surrender) are indistinguishable (in one aspect he looks like performing prapaththi and in another aspect he looks like performing bhakthi) and he has abundance of both (due to his unflinching love/devotion towards emperumAn).

nammAzhwAr was fully blessed by emperumAn with blemishless knowledge and he in turn performs saraNAgathi to emperumAn in various pAsurams. So, his bhatkthi itself was blessed by bhagavAn and his bhakthi is some thing which is part of the goal (to perform kainkaryam one needs devotion – that devotion/desire is AzhwAr’s bhakthi which was blessed by bhagavAn himself). bhakthi is explained as supported/decorated by karmA (activity) and gyAnam (knowledge) – i.e., by following the process of karma yOgam and gyAna yOgam, one’s mind gets purified and engages in bhakthi yOgam. But for AzhwAr, bhagavAn‘s mercy takes the role of karmam and gyAnam.

So, nammAzhwAr is explaining sAdhya bhakthi (bhakthi that is part of bhagavath kainkaryam). If we consider, nammAzhwAr to be instructing sAdhana bhakthi (bhakthi yOgam as explained in vEdhAntham), few contradictions will arise:

  • Since he has full knowledge of everything (and not a confused person) – he would not practice one thing (saraNAgathi/sAdhya bhakthi) and instruct some thing else (sAdhana bhakthi yOgam) to others.
  • Based on previous point, If we say, he is instructing sAdhana bhakthi, then his own greatness that “he was fully blessed with blemishless knowledge/devotion by bhagavAn‘s causeless mercy” will become invalidated.
  • Finally, “apasUdhrAdhikaraNa nyAyam” which explains that “sUdhra (persons of 4th varNam) cannot engage in sAdhana bhakthi” will be invalidated. This is explained in detail in arumpadham. There was a virtuous king named jAnasruthi. When two rishis wanted to bless him, they took the form of 2 hamsa (swan) birds and flew on top of him. While crossing him, one bird told the other “please ensure that your shadow does not follow on jAna sruthi (since he is a virtuous king)”. The other bird asks “Why should I be careful? Is he like raikva?”. Hearing this jAnasruthi went searching for the mahAn named raikva (who he understood to be a great mahAn from the words of the second bird). He found raikva to be in the most abominable form and yet requested him to teach brahma vidhyA. First raikva says he should perform service to learn brahma vidhyA. jAnasruthi replies he does not have time to perform service to raikva due to administrative duties. Then raikva says “bring lots of wealth” and jAnasruthi obliges and offers his everything. Seeing his great desire raikva says that since jAnasruthi is a sUdhra, he will teach him brahma vidhyA. emperumAnAr while explaining the word “sUdhra” here, says that one who have not undergone upanayanam (sUdhra) is not qualified to learn brahma vidhyA. But he explains that, here sUdhra is explained as “sOchanAssUdhra:” (one who is with sorrow is a sUdhra) – since jAnasruthi was lamenting greatly due to lack of brahma vidhyA, he is qualified to learn the same. Thus, while sAdhana bhakthi is only applicable for thraivarNikas (brAhmaNa, kshathriya and vaisya), sAdhya bhakthi is applicable for everyone. And since nammAzhwAr is instructing to all jIvAthmAs who are bound in this material world, he is explaining sAdhya bhakthi only.

From the above, it is concluded that nammAzhwAr is instructing the same sAdhya bhakthi  (which he received from bhagavAn out of his unconditional grace) to others.

A few questions arise on why he is instructing to others after fully experiencing bhagavAn in the previous decad.

  • Is he instructing others since he has seen bhagavath vishayam fully (and there is nothing left to experience)? No. As he himself explains in thiruvAimozhi itself, there is no end to bhagavAn‘s glories and it cannot ever be fully experienced. He himself too has unlimited desire to experience bhagavAn more and more. So, this is not the reason.
  • In some cases, one develops taste towards something but after sometime, one will start losing interest. Is bhagavath vishayam like that? No, as he himself says in thiruvAimozhi 2.5.4 “eppozhuthum nAL thingaL ANdu Uzhi UzhithoRum appozhuthaikku appozhuthu en ArAvamuthE” (Always day, month, year, epoch after epoch, everytime you are so new and nectarean) – he is ever tasteful.
  • Is this for AzhwAr to be seated as an AchArya (master)? No.
  • Is this for name, wealth and fame? No.
  • Is it to fulfill injunctions of sAsthram that says an AchArya must teach the sishya? No.

His teachings are the outcome of his own overflowing blissful experience. bhagavath vishayam is not to be enjoyed alone. He seeks out for good companions to share this blissful knowledge and only finds samsAris (materialistic persons). Just like he was attached to bhagavath vishayam, samsAris were attached to worldly pleasures. He could not bear the suffering of samsAris and desperately wanted to remove their sufferings. nanjIyar often explains “if one has vaishNavathvam (vaishNava quality), he himself will know that. When he sees others sufferings and suffers for that he can consider himself to be a vaishNava. When he sees others sufferings and feels that ‘let them suffer’, he cannot consider himself to be a vaishNava”.

To uplift them, AzhwAr explains the limitations of wordly pleasure and benefits of bhagavath vishayam. Realizing that, he explains insignificant/temporary nature of worldly pleasures and the eternal/glorious nature of bhagavAn, bhagavAn‘s relationship to jIvAthmAs are not something new and it is always there for every jIvAthmA, the manthram that is to be pursued for such persons who realize bhagavAn, his most worshippable nature and finally the need for detachment towards worldly pleasures and surrendering to emperumAn.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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2 thoughts on “thiruvAimozhi – 1.2 – vIdumin

  1. anantharaman

    Dear Sarathy Swamy,
    bhagavAn’s relationship to jIvAthmAs are “not” something new and it is always there for every jIvAthmA
    You seemed to have missed the not in the above sentence, so adiyen added the same.

    adiyen ramanujadasan


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