thiruvAimozhi – 1.5.1 – vaLavEzh ulagin

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

Full series >> First Centum >> Fifth decad


Introduction for this pAsuram

Highlights from thirukkurukaippirAn piLLAn‘s introduction

No specific introduction.

Highlights from nanjIyar‘s introduction

In the first pAsuram – AzhwAr is grieving saying “I who is most abominable, have dishonored the most distinct emperumAn with my mind, words and deeds”.

Highlights from vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyar‘s introduction

In the first pAsuram – AzhwAr says he dishonored sarvEsvaran (who sustains/cures everyone) through his three karaNams (instruments – mind, words and deeds) like mixing of poison in nectar.

Highlights from periyavAchchAn piLLai‘s introduction

See nanjIyar‘s introduction.

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

First pAsuram – AzhwAr says he dishonored that emperumAn who is enjoyed by nithyasUris with his mind, words and deeds.


vaLavEzh ulagin muthalAya vAnOr iRaiyai aruvinaiyai
kaLavEzh veNNey thoduvuNda kaLvA enban pinnaiyum
thaLavEzh muRuval pinnaikkAy vallAn Ayar thalaivanAy
iLa ERr Ezhum thazhuviya enthAy enban ninainthu nainthE

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

vaLam – big/spacious (great)
Ezhulagin – for the seven worlds
muthalAya – etc (and other areas of the material realm)
vAnOr – residents of paramapadham (spiritual realm) – nithyasUris and mukthAthmAs
iRaiyai – that supreme lord who is the master of both spiritual and material realm
aruvinaiyEn – I who have inexhaustible sins
ninainthu – having meditated upon (with my mind)
nainthu – (body becoming) depleted
kaLavEzh – being interested in stealing
veNNey – butter
thodu uNda – eating secretly
kaLvA! – Oh thief!
enban – (enRu) will say (the words of mother yasOdhA)
pinnaiyum – further
thaLavu – (mullai) jasmine
Ezh – looking like
muRuval – having gentle smile
pinnaikku – for nappinnai (neeLA dhEvi who is one of the primary consorts of srIman nArAyaNan appeared sathyA/nappinnai, as the daughter of kumba (nagnajith))
Ay – keeping you at her disposal
val  – famous
AnAyar – of the gOpas (cowherd persons)
thalaivanAy – coming as the leader
iLam – youthful
ERu – bulls
Ezhum – seven of them
thazhuviya – embraced and killed them (wanting to engage with nappinnai after winning over the bulls)
enthAy – Oh my master!
enban – I will say (the words of those who are dear to you)

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

I have who have inexhaustible sins meditated upon the supreme lord of both material and spiritual reams, became depelted and said “Oh thief! You are stealing butter with great interest and eating it secretly” as said by mother yasOdhA. Further, as said by those who are dear to you (nappinnai), I said “Oh my master! To marry nappinnai,  being at her disposal, you came as the leader of the cowherd clan, embraced the 7 youthful bulls and killed them”.

Some explains it as “Ezhulagin muthalAya vAnOr” gives the meaning that nithyasUris are the cause of material creation as explained in asthra bhUshaNa adhyAyam in srIvishNu purANam (section where each part/weapon/ornament of bhagavAn is explained as the cause/abode of various aspects in the creation). Also, “vinai” (pApam – sin) here is explained as AzhwAr‘s bhakthi (devotion) which induces him towards glorifying bhagavAn which causes dishonor to bhagavAn (according to AzhwAr‘s humble positioning of himself).

vyAkyAnams (commentaries)

Highlights from thirukkurukaippirAn piLLAn‘s vyAkyAnam

See vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyar‘s translation.

Why is love/devotion towards bhagavAn which is explained as the “ultimate goal” is highlighted by AzhwAr as pApam (sin)? pApam (sin) is that which causes sorrow. Since AzhwAr thinks “my glorification of  emperumAn does not suit emperumAn’s greatness and thus will dishonor him”.  Such dishonor of emperumAn will bring sorrow to AzhwAr – and thus he considers his devotion towards emperumAn is a sin.

Highlights from nanjIyar‘s vyAkyAnam

See nampiLLai‘s vyAkyAnam.

Highlights from periyavAchchAn piLLai‘s vyAkyAnam

See nampiLLai‘s vyAkyAnam.

ninainthu – mAnasa (by mind); nainthu – kAyika (by actions); enban – vAchika (by words);

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

  • vaLa Ezh ulagu muthalAya – vaLam (greatness) is explained as an attribute of the Ezh ulagu (material realm), vAnOr (nithyasUris) and iRai (bhagavAn). Also, by highlighting Ezh ulagu (material realm) and vAnOr (residents of spiritual realm) – bhagavAn‘s ubhaya vibhUthi nAthathvam (being the controller of both material and spiritual realm) is established. While explaining this as nithyasUris being the cause of creation, a doubt arises if they are involved in creation (as only bhagavAn is said as the singular cause of everything) and this doubt is explained using srI. In srIvishNu purANam asthra bhUshaNa adhyAyam (the section where bhagavAn’s weapons, ornaments, etc., are explained in detail). Here it is explained that “bhagavAn bears the collection of jIvAthmAs on his kausthuba jewel” and “bhagavAn bears the insentient matter on his srIvathsa mole”.
  • vAnOr iRaiyai – Since nithyasUris are dhEsikas (ones how know the truth) they know well that bhagavAn as their swAmy (master). AzhwAr wanted to say “vAnOr iRaiyaik kaLvA enban” (I will call master of nithyasUris as thief), but before completing the sentence, he started thinking about himself and said “aruvinaiyEn” (most sinful me). Just like a virtuous person would light a fire at home due to passion/ignorance and later when good sense prevails will atone for that, AzhwAr too thinks he called emperumAn kaLvA (thief) out of love and then realises he did a mistake and worries for that.
  • aruvinaiyEnAzhwAr is calling himself most sinful – here, the love which induced him to call emperumAn as “kaLvA” is the sin. Since its said “anishtAvaham pApam” (that which produces unfavourable result is sin), AzhwAr’s love is highlighted by him as sin, since it brings disrepute to emperumAn (according to AzhwAr’s thinking out of humility).
  • kaLavEzh veNNey thoduvuNda kaLvA enban – kaLavEzh – One who enjoys stealing, one who steals so others know about it. With this, AzhwAr is saying that he is repeating the words of mother yasOdhA.
  • thaLavEzh … – I also spoke the words of (his dear consort) nappinnai to whom emperumAn revealed even more than what was revealed to mother yasOdhA.
  • thaLavEzh muRuval – jasmine buds are no comparison to the beauty of nappinnai’s teeth (her teeth are so much more beautiful) – yet just like when one sees a wild cow, he gets reminded about the domestic cow, her nappinnai’s teeth is compared to jasmine buds.
  • pinnaikku Ay – Being flattened by nappinnai’s smile, krishNa became to be fully under her control.
  • vallANAyar thalaivanAy – two explanations:
    • valla (great/strong) is explained as an attribute of Ayar – As said in mahAbhAratham dhrONa parvam 183.24 “krishNAsrayA: krishNabalA: krishNAnAthAscha pANdavA:” (pANdavas – surrendered to krishNa, krishNa is their strength, krishNa is their master) pANdavas were walking around with great self-belief and confidence due to their dependence on krishNa and were thus winning over everyone easily – similarly the cowherd clan was great/strong due to their dependence on krishNa.
    • vallAN is explained as an attribute of “thalaivan of AnAyar” (krishNa – leader of cowherd clan) – He would not even take bath properly (as its common for cowherd clan). Even if some cowherds take bath on certain festive occasions, krishNa would not even bathe on such days (proving his cowherd nature even more than others). Only such grooms will find good brides in cowherd clan. sundhara bAhu sthavam 7 “… kulEna sadhrusi …” (krishNa being born in kshathriya kula and being raised in vaisya kula, married rukmiNi and nappinnai matching the respective clans he was associated with) and srI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 16.5 “thulya seela vayO vruththAm…” (sIthA pirAtti is equally great in nature, age, actions, etc with respect to srI rAma) are to be remembered.
  • iLa ERu Ezhum thazhuvi – He embraced the 7 deadly bulls by combining their necks together. The word “thazhuvi” (embrace) is used since after killing the bulls, he embraced nappinnai pirAtti.
  • enthAy enban – I repeated those words said by nappinnai pirAtti after she was won over by krishNa by defeating the seven bulls.
  • ninainthu – I even caused disrepute to him by mind.
  • nainthE – by becoming depleted, others came to know about my situation thus causing disrepute by body/actions as well.
  • AzhwAr is feeling sorry for saying “ayarvaRum amarargaL adhipathi” (which matches “vaLavEzhulagin muthalAya vAnOr iRaiyai“), “eththiRam (which relates to “kaLavEzh veNNey thoduvuNda kaLvA“) and sending messenger assuming the form of his consort in thiruvAimozhi 1.4 (relates to “iLavEREzhum thazhuviya enthAy“).

In the next article we will enjoy the next pAsuram.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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