thiruvAimozhi – 1.3.6 – uNarnthu uNarnthu

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

Full series >> First Centum >> Third decad

Previous pAsuram


Introduction for this pAsuram

Highlights from thirukkurukaippirAn piLLAn‘s introduction

Even though one can realize ones own self which is gyAna svarUpam (being gyAnam), having gyAnam and free (different) from matter, one cannot easily understand sarvEsvaran who descends into many different forms to accept his devotees. One will be always confused if this supreme lord is brahmA, rudhran or srIman nArAyaNan. How to understand the truth in such case?

Highlights from nanjIyar‘s introduction

In this 6th pAsuram, when sarvEsvaran (supreme lord) assumes a form amidst brahmA and rudhran (like them) to manifest his simplicity, that itself becomes the cause of confusion to determine who is the supreme lord. nammAzhwAr clarifies that by clearly explaining mUrthy thrayam (three forms) and eliminates the difficulty in establishing his supremacy.

Highlights from vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyar‘s introduction

Subsequently, the first avathAram (incarnation as vishNu) amidst brahmA and rudhran will lead to considering him as the same as the other two – it is difficult to understand the truth, so you contemplate it and approach the right person.

Highlights from periyavAchchAn piLLai‘s introduction

Similar to nanjIyar‘s introduction.

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

AzhwAr! you said approach emperumAn‘s incarnations. As explained in srIrangarAja sthavam 2.81 “madhyE virincha girisam prathamAvathAra:” (your first incarnation that was in-between brahmA and rudhra…). Each of those 3 were engaged in equivalent roles (srushti – creation, sthithi – sustenance, samhAram – annihilation). In this situation, it is difficult to determine – “Are all these 3 primary? Is there one among the three who is primary? Is there another one who is higher than these 3?” and approach the right person. Can you not establish the supreme person so we can approach him? AzhwAr replies “Instead of considering the body as self, considering that the self is different from body is difficult to achieve. Even it this is understood after trying very hard, it is even more difficult to understand the true nature of sarvEsvaran who have brahmA, rudhran, etc., as his body. Thus, try to understand him properly though this manner (as explained in the pAsuram) and approach him”. He explains who is the approachable object and how to approach him.


uNarnthu uNarnthu izhinthu aganRu uyarnthu uruviyantha in nilaimai
uNarnthu uNarnthu uNarilum iRai nilai uNarvarithu uyirgAL
uNarnthu uNarnthu uraiththu uraiththu ari ayan aran ennum ivarai
uNarnthu uNarnthu uraiththu uraiththu iRainjumin manappattathu onRE

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

uNarnthu uNarnthu – Since jIvAthmA is naturally knowledgable, being the one who realize oneself constantly
izhinthu aganRu uyarnthu – since that gyAnam (knowledge) is unlimited in its pure form, pervading in all directions
uru – unlike achith which can be in a form/shape
viyantha – being distinct
innilaimai – the state of such AthmA
uNarnthu – realizing it through hearing
uNarnthu – further, realizing it through contemplation
uNarilum – Even when realized through yOgam
iRai nilai – the nature of sarvEsvaran who is concealing his supremacy and presenting himself in between brahmA and rudhran
uNarvarithu – difficult to understand
uyirgAL – Oh chEthanas who have the ability to discriminate between different aspects and understand the same!
ari ayan aran ennum ivarai – those who are popularly known as hari, ajan (brahmA) and rudhran (siva)
uNarnthu uNarnthu – analysing their qualities, wealth, nature, etc
uraiththu uraiththu – reading through those pramANams which reveal their qualities, wealth, etc.
manappattathu onRu – whoever is understood as Iswara
uNarnthu uNarnthu – meditating on such person’s guNa (qualities), vigraha (forms), etc., constantly
uraiththu uraiththu – reciting manthrams and nAmams (names) of such sarvEsvaran constantly
iRainjumin – you perform worship

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

Oh chEthanas who have the ability to discriminate between different aspects and understand the same! Since jIvAthmA is naturally knowledgable and that knowledge in its pure form is unlimited and expanding in all directions, one can understand that the AthmA is different from body by hearing and meditating and realize the self. Even if that is accomplished, it will be difficult to understand the nature of sarvEsvaran who descends amidst brahmA and rudhran in a concealed manner. Knowing the three popular dhEvathAs brahmA, vishNu and rudhran, analysing their qualities, abilities, etc., through the pramANams which reveal them, understand the supreme being amongst them. Having understood that, meditating on his qualities, abilities, etc and reciting the manthrams and his names, approach him and worship him.

vyAkyAnams (commentaries)

Highlights from thirukkurukaippirAn piLLAn‘s vyAkyAnam

Similar to simple translation based on vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyar‘s commentary.

Highlights from nanjIyar‘s vyAkyAnam

Similar to nampiLLai‘s vyAkyAnam.

Highlights from periyavAchchAn piLLai‘s vyAkyAnam

Similar to nampiLLai‘s vyAkyAnam.

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

  • uNarnthu – AzhwAr uses the term “uNarnthu” (knowing/realizing) instead of “uNarvu” (knowledge/gyAnam) – this rejects the philosophy of yOgAchAra (baudhdha school) “knowledge only exists and there is no knower”. The repetition “uNarnthu uNarnthu” rejects the philosophy of naiyAyika/vaisEshika “conciousness is accidental (not natural). On liberation, jIvAthmA will become like stone, etc., without any consciousness” – insisting that gyAnam is a natural attribute of jIvAthmA which exists always – even in liberated state. Since “gyAthruthvam nithyam” (being knowledgable is eternal), this also rejects the philosophy of kriyAvAdhi (a school which believes in action/results) “knowing is the cause of action, since there is beginning and end for action, the cause of such action which is knowledge, is also not eternal”.
  • izhinthu aganRu uyarnthu – spread in all directions. nampiLLai says “Iswaran svarUpaththAlE engum vyApiththirukkumApOlE gyAnaththAlE engum vyApiththirukkum” (Like bhagavAn is pervaded naturally himself everywhere, jIvAthmA is pervaded through his gyAnam).
  • uru viyantha innilaimai – this nature of jIvAthmA being different from achith which is with form. It is also explained as “uruvu iyantha” – chith which is beyond what is seen (achith). In any case, the self is different from the body. Though this can be understood by hearing, meditating on such matters (from sAsthram), one may personally try hard and realize it through yOga sAsthram.
  • iRainilai uNarvarithu – Even if the self is truly realized through difficult means, bhagavAn being the antharyAmi for brahmA, rudhran, etc., cannot be understood easily.
  • uyirgAL – Oh the conscious ones! Are you like achith (which lacks knowledge) to miss out on understanding this. Being a chEthana, the objective should be achieved – if not, its not worth having knowledge.
  • ari ayan aran ennum ivarai uNarnthu uNarnthu uraiththu uraiththu … – One person is the destroyer of enemies and protector (hari), one person was born directly from the navel of vishNu (brahmA), one person is incharge only for annihilation (rudhra). By neutrally analyzing the authentic texts that explain about them and reciting them, you can understand who is truly superior. Instead of siding with one person like it is done in (the beginning of) linga purANam “please give me a text that will explain the glories of lingam” (and then the rishi explains the glories of lingam in that purANam), you should analyze the svarUpam (true nature) and svabhAvam (attributes) of these persons. If that is done, you will understand that one person is supreme among the three.. You can then hear about him and meditate on him and finally approach him to accomplish the ultimate goal (of being accepted by him to render service to him).

In the next article we will the next pAsuram.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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2 thoughts on “thiruvAimozhi – 1.3.6 – uNarnthu uNarnthu


    Hari Om! A Pasuram to be ruminated during Meditation daily! Great work indeed!
    Adiyen, Ramanuja dasan, Jai Sriman Narayana!

  2. Pingback: thiruvAimozhi – 1.3.9 – valaththanan thiripuram | dhivya prabandham

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