Daily Archives: December 20, 2015

upadhEsa raththina mAlai – 18

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pAsuram 18

mangaLAsAsanaththil maRRuLLa AzhvArgaL
thangaL Arvaththu aLavu thAN anRi – pongum
parivAlE villipuththUr pattar pirAn peRRAn
periyAzhvAr ennum peyar                                                     18


Word by word meaning

mangaLAsAsanaththilIn doing mangaLASAsanam (wishing long live)
maRRuLLa AzhvArgaL thangaL – the other AzhvArs
Arvaththu aLavu thAn anRi – limited by their love, unlike that,
pongum – increasing/overflowing
parivAlE – affection
villipuththUr – one who incarnated in SrIvillipuththur
pattar pirAn – head of the learned
peRRAr(n) – is having/got
periyAzhvAr ennum peyar – the divine name of periyAzhvAr


Considering the difference between other AzhvArs and this AzhvAr in doing mangaLASAsanam he got the name of periyAzhvAr – and through this he (maNavALa mAmunigaL) is divining about the greatness, starting with ‘mangaLAsAsanaththil’.

That is, when it comes to mangaLASAsanam, unlike other AzhvArs‘ level of devotion, due to the abundant/increased affection towards bhagavAn this AzhvAr who is identified as belonging to SrIvillipuththur, got the divine name of periyAzhvAr.

mangaLAsAsanam is – due to the tenderness/delicateness of that one (that is, emperumAn), even at the expense of destruction of self, he (AzhvAr) would wish to create greatness for Him. svarUpam (nature) is to create greatness for emperumAn isn’t it? It was divined as ‘SEshikku athisayaththai viLaikkai SEshabhUthanukku svarUpa lAbhamum prApyamum [mumukshuppadi – 177] (Creating greatness for the master is the nature and destiny of the servant).

Getting ‘mayarvaRa mathi nalam [thiruvAimozhi 1.1.1]’ (unblemished knowledge) etc., are same among them, but when it comes to mangaLASAsanam, this AzhvAr’s depth in it makes a difference.

AzhvArgaL thangaL Arvam – As said in ‘adhanil periya en avA [thiruvAimozhi 10.10.10], ones desires are so big, asking for everything of sentient, non-sentient and (even) Isvaran; and it is this desire to be destroyed is what they (the other AzhvArs) wished for.

Their interest is like said in ‘abhinivEsam pOvadhu anubhavaththAlE [SrI vachana bhUshaNam – 293]’, (~ their rush of devotion gets under control after getting the divine experience)

and ‘saththA samrudhdhigaL dharsana anubhava kainkaryangaLAlE [SrI vachana bhUshaNam – 257]’ ((the other AzhvArs’) being/living is based on being able to see emperumAn, getting that experience, and doing kainkaryam to Him).

So this happens only once in a while for these AzhvArs.

In this way they wished for their getting the completeness, of Him;, whereas for periyAzhvAr it is about Him getting the completeness, which he sustains based on his mangaLASAsanam. This is the higher level of devotion of this AzhvAr.

pongum parivAlE – Due to the ever multiplying affection; that is, as said in ‘anbE perugum [periya thiruvanthAdhi – 8] (In your matter my love is ever increasing), and ‘enthan aLavanRAl yAnudaiya anbu’ [iraNdAm thiruvanthAdhi – 100] (the love adiyEn have got for you does not stay within me), and ‘snEhOmE parama: [SrI rAmAyaNam uththara kAndam – 40-16] (I have got only affection more for you), not stopping at surrendering to Him but his love (flood) is crossing the shores.

It is similarly said in ‘sOrAdha kAdhal perun chuzhippAl thollai mAlai onRum pArAdhu avanaip pallANdu enRu kAppidum pAnmaiyan thAL [rAmAnusa nURRanthAdhi – 15].

His love matches that of emperumAn’s love; the love of one who is supreme is matched by this AzhvAr’s devotion.

Now, it is talking about the greatness of the divine name that came from the greatness of such devotion.

perialwar1periyAzhwAr as divining in SrIvillipuththUr

villipuththUr pattar pirAn peRRAn periyAzhvAr ennum peyar – The whole reason for saying this name for him, is his birth in this place isn’t it? Similar to saying, ‘ArAdha kAdhal kurugUrch chatakOpan [thiruvAimozhi 2.1.11] (uncontrollable love kurugUrch chatakOpan – (this says it along with the place where nammAzhvAr was born)).

villipuththUr pattar pirAn – It says his village, lineage, and occupation respectively.

His identity is ‘villipuththUr udaiyAn’. Also saying ‘vishNu chiththan’, and ‘kOyilil vAzhum vaittaNavan [periyAzhvAr thirumozhi 5.1.3] (~ am a SrIvaishNavan who is always in the temple)’, he is like ‘vishNunA vyapadhEshtavya:’ (should say by the name of vishNu) – everything is that for this AzhvAr.

pattar pirAn peRRAn periyAzhvAr ennum peyar – after getting the fame/name by establishing the supremacy of sarvEsvaran, since he performed mangaLASAsanam due to worrying about emperumAn’s delicate divine body, this is the name he got.

Since mangaLASAsanam is done by him all the time every day, this divine name got established fully for him.

– – – – –

English Translation: raghurAm SrInivAsa dhAsan

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pramEya sAram – 4 – karumaththAl

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4th pAsuram


perumAL SrIman nArAyaNan is leader and master of everyone. No one can order HIM. HE is independent and cannot be stopped nor misdirected. Hence, in order for a person to attain HIM, there are many ways as laid out by SAshthras including the likes of karma yOgam, gyAna yOgam, bhakti yOgam etc. One who does not know the nuances and subtleties of shAshthrAs try to reach perumAL through these aforementioned ways and strive harder in their attempts. There is a truth that is being told that is directed towards those people. Unless perumAL HIMSELF grants HIS lotus feet to these people, there is no way that they are going to reach HIM through their own actions. Hence, aruLALa perumAL emberumAnAr advices that let us all seek out and yearn for the moment when HE HIMSELF is ready to offer HIS lotus feet to us.

karumaththAl gyAnaththAl kANum vagai uNdO?
tharum aththAl anRi iRai thALgaL
orumaththAl munnIr kadaindhAn adaiththAn mudhal padaiththAn
annIr amarndhAn adi

Phrasal Meanings:

kadaindhAn – perumAL SrIman nArAyaNan churned for dhevas,

munnIr – the ocean that is made of three sources of water viz., rain water, river water and the water that springs from below

orumaththAl – using the mountain called “manthara” as

adaithAn – HE constructed a bridge across the ocean for sIthA pirAtti

mudhal padaiththAn – HE created water first during the time of creation and

annIr amarndhAn – reclined on that water

adi – Such perumAL’s

iRai thALgaL – lotus feet

tharum aththAl anRi – automatically gives itself (to us). Except this

karumaththAl – other ways like karma yOgam that is done on one’s effort

gyAnaththAl – the ways like gyAna yOgam and bhakti yOgam

kANum vagai uNdO? – will not fetch the lotus feet of perumAL. Will it?


karumaththAl gyAnaththAl kANum vagai undo?: Can a person reach the lotus feet of perumAL using his own efforts like karma yOgam, gyAna yOgam and bhakthi yOgam? No is the answer. bhakthi is automatically included in “gyAnam”. bhakthi is nothing but the highest point of “gyAnam”. The three ways including karma yOgam, bhakthi yOgam and gyAna yOgam are prescribed as per vEdhantha scriptures, to reach perumAL. janaka, the father of sIthA pirAtti, is said to have attained perumAL’s lotus feet via karma yOgam. In bhagavadh gIthai, it is said that there is no other way purer than gyAna yOgam. krishnA had told arjunA, “If a person wants to reach ME, he should keep his mind and heart towards me and should constantly think about me without losing concenteration even for a split second. HE should worship me”. So, we would get a question, then why does aruLALa perumAL emberumAnAr says “ivaRRAl kANum vagai uNdO”? This needs be examined. aruLALa perumAL emberumAnAr knows the exact nature of these aforementioned ways to reach perumAL. He knew this because of his knowledge that he got from emberumAnAr. So he said it. These ways are ways where one needs to follow after doing total surrender at perumAL’s lotus feet. So it is clear that the surrender that they do stands as a supporting element of their actions. Hence it goes without saying that these ways that are being done using one’s own effort, has to have the support of “surrender” (SaraNAgathi). So, even these ways of reaching perumAL are done using the help of SaraNAgathi. So one cannot attain perumaL purely with these ways as the only ways because these ways needs something else in order for it to be successful. If a person does not do SaraNAgathi, then whatever means he follow, be it karma yOgam or gyAna yogam, nothing will fructify because the essential prerequisite , i.e., SaraNAgathi is not being performed as the first step. This message is highly secretive in the advices that are being given by vEdhAntha scriptures. aruLALa perumAL emberumAnAr, with the grace of  emberumAnAr, blesses all of us with this special meaning in this pAsuram.

There are all sorts of relationships between a soul and perumAL. Hence, a soul has all kinds of rights on perumAL. When there are very easy ways to reach HIM, why should one go after highly difficult ways like karma yOGam etc. ALavandhAr in his gIthArtha sangraham 31, says:

nija karmAdhi bhakthyantham kuryAth prIthyaiva kAritha: |
upAyathAm parithyajya nyasyEdhdhEvE thu thAmabhI: ||

thirumazhisai AzhwAr in his nAnmugan thiruvanthAdhi says:

inRAga nAlaiyEyAga inichchiridhum
ninRaga ninnaruL enpAladhE – nanRAga
nAn unnai anRi ilEn kaNdAi
nAraNanE nI ennai anRi ilai

(nAnmugan thiruvanthAdhi 7)

These two quote reinforce that there is no way out apart from SrIman nArAyaNan’s lotus feet.

tharum aththAl anRi iRai thALgaL:  This phrase needs to be read as “iRai thALgaL tharum aththAl anRi”. This would mean that perumaL SrIman nArAyaNan’s lotus feet would automatically give itself to us and there is nothing else apart from this. This bolsters the point that perumAL’s lotus feet is the sole refuge. This is what is being illustrated in mumukshuppadi chUrnikai “pirAttiyum avanum vidilum thiruvadigaL vidAdhu, thiNkazhalAi irukkum”. In this pAsuram, the name “iRai” would mean the ONE that is being referred in the first word of ashtAkshara mahA manthram (Om namO nArAyaNAya), i.e., akAram in the word “Om”. HE is none other than the ONE who is being referred by the “a” in the word “Om”.

“thALgaL tharum aththAl anRi” means that the sole refuge for all of us is perumAL’s lotus feet and nothing else. This has been detailed in vEdhic scriptures. In dhvaya mahA manthram, we can see that in the first half of it, there is an exclusivity in “thiruvadigaLE SaraNamAgap paRRugirEn.  nammAzhvAr says “ARenekku nin pAdhamE SaraNAgath thandhozhindhAi”, “kazhalgaL avaiyE SaraNAgak koNda”, “adimEl sEmamkoL then kurugUrch chatakOpan” and “charaNE charaN namakku”. We can see that he has said about the exclusivity of perumAL’s lotus feet as the sole refuge in many pAsurams and so are other AzhvArs. Hence there is literally nothing else apart from HIS lotus feet for a person to catch hold of. There are many examples that are being illustrated.

orumaththAl munnIr kadaindhAn: Once upon a time, in dhEvalOkam, indhra ascended on his elephant “airAvadham” and was roaming. While doing so, he ran across dhurvAsa munivar who was having a garland that he got as prasAdham of SrI mahAlakshmi. dhurvAsa offered the garland to indira. indhra was not at all interested in it and so made the elephant “airAvadham” take the garland and destroy it. Agitated upon seeing this act of indhra, dhurvAsa gave a curse that all the wealth of indira be destroyed and his pride brought to ground. indhra’s entire wealth was obliterated in seconds. Not knowing what to do, indhra felt for his mistake and surrendered to the lotus feet of the supreme lord SrIman nArAyaNan. perumAL does not leave anyone who has fallen in HIS feet. HE churned the ocean with the vAsuki snake as the rope and mountain manthara as the rotating instrument. HE took the incarnation of a tortoise and bore the entire weight of the mountain. HE churned the unshakeable ocean that was a task that cannot be done by anyone. He churned as per the pAsuram “Ayiram thOLAl alai kadal kadaindhAn” (HE churned the wavy ocean with 1000 shoulders). A lot of wealth came from the churning process and perumAL gave them to indhra and restored his wealth.

adaiththAn: sIthA pirAtti who was away from Sri rAma pirAn, was visibly sad. Sri rAma constructed a bridge across the ocean for the happiness of HIS wife sIthA pirAtti.  HE constructed the bridge with the help of monkeys which would typically run helter-skelter if they see water in the first place. HE used big rocks to construct the bridge that was known as “sEthu” that cannot be fathomed by anyone.

mudhal padaiththAn: During the time of cosmic deluge, all the living beings  had no body, no shape and thus was in a state where they could have the sensation of happiness or sorrow. During that time, when everything was in that state, perumAL started creation one more time. HE created the ocean, followed by the four faced brahmA and then everything. So it is water that HE created first.

annIr amarndhAn: HE reclined on the ocean that HE created and protected everyone HE created. Some of the pAsurams like “veLLath thadankadaluL vidanAgaNai mEl maruvi”, ‘pArkadal yOga niththirai seydhAi”, “pArkadaluL payyath thuyinRa paraman”, “veLLa veLLAthin mEl oru pAmbai meththaiyAga viriththu adhan mElE kaLLa nidhdhirai koLgiRa mArgam” illustrate the state of perumAL wherein HE reclines on the ocean.

adi:  Is there our own way to get to the lotus feet of such a perumAL who was described above with the acts that HE performed? The lotus feet of such perumAL who churned the ocean, who constructed bridge across ocean, who created the water and the one who reclined on it was described. These stories imply that, HE is the sole protector people like indhra who went to HIM for material benefits, people like sIthA pirAtti who yearned for nothing else apart from HIM alone, and the countless other people who constantly get destroyed during deluge and constantly get birth during creation. HE does not differentiate between people who surrender unto HIM. Such a perumAL’s lotus feet is what is described by “adi” in this pAsuram. Thus, the order in which this pAsuram renders meaning would be “munnIr adaindhAn mudhal nIr padaiththAn annIr amarndhAn aagira adi iRaivanudaiya adiyAgira iRaithALgaL tharum aththAL anRi karumaththAl, gyAnathAl kANum vagai undO?”

Thus, the overall message is that whatever individual souls do on their own to reach lotus feet of SrIman nArAyaNan cannot be a means by itself. The means is nothing but the lotus feet of SrIman nArAyaNan HIMSELF. There is nothing else apart from that.

Translation by santhAnam rAmAnuja dhAsan

Source: http://divyaprabandham.koyil.org/index.php/2015/12/prameya-saram-tamil-4/

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pramEya sAram – 3 – palam koNdu

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3rd pAsuram


Each and every soul should realize that their inherent nature is being subservient to SrIman nArAyaNan. It should not just stop with realizing this but should culminate in doing service to HIM, the master. It should not digress from this and go astray and seek other benefits. If for some reason, a soul is involved in doing activities other than service to perumAL, then there is no point in realizing that the soul is of “subservient” type. It is totally useless to do things other than service to perumAL. When perumAL SrIman nArAyaNan incarnated as thrivikrama, HE measured the entire universe which included each and every soul. It goes ahead to show the every soul is a servant to HIM. Does it mean there is a benefit to these souls? No. During that time, the souls that did not realize that they were under HIM, were born again and again in this world with multitude of body in each birth. Hence, it behooves that a soul should realize its true nature and complement it by serving HIM. In addition to this thought, aruLALa perumAL emberumAnAr talks about those unrealized souls that does not seems to get out of the cycle of births and deaths

palam koNdu mILAdha pAvam uLadhAgil
kulam koNdu kAriyam yen kURIr?
thalam koNda thALiNaiyAn anRE thanaiyozhindha yAvaraiyum
ALudaiyAn anrE avan

Phrasal Meanings:

pAvam – (if) sins

uLadhAgil – were to exist

palam koNdu – after getting irrelevant wealth, money etc., from perumAL,

mILAdha – without realizing via spiritual advice that it is futile

kAriyam yen kURIr? – What is the use of having

kulam koNdu – realizing that we are born in clan destined for “subservience” to perumAL

thALiNaiyAn – One who has such a glorious feet, with which HE

thalam konda – measured the entire universe

avan – that very same person

anRE – at that very moment ensured that

yAvaraiyum – all the souls

thanayozhindha – except HIM,

ALudaiyAn – are in fact servants to HIM


palam koNdu mILAdha pAvam uLadhAgil: This refers to the condition of certain people who go after petty benefits like money etc. Subsequent to that, they may have an opportunity to listen to great saints who talk about its futility. These people still do not seem to rectify their mistakes, rather keep going back after temporal wealth. These people are the ones who are engulfed by bad karma. The word “pAvam” can also mean “memory”, in which case it would mean that these people cannot seem to have a memory that prevents them from going back to how they were originally; i.e., during the times when they had the knowledge that the soul is always subservient to perumAL. These people listen to the advices of their AchAryan, learn through SAsthras like bhagavadh gIthai etc. Still they commit the same mistakes forever and area unable to declutch themselves from the wrath of bad karma and continue to multiply it forever.

kulam koNdu kAriyam yen kURIr?: If one were to have desires in other things apart from perumAL SrIman nArAyaNan, HE will certainly not save a person from the never ending cycle of births and deaths. HE will not cut it as he is under the unnecessary ties that a person has in his life. Eventually, HE will not take the person unto HIS lotus feet. Hence, aruLALa perumAL emberumAnAr asks, if a person is cognizant of the nature of a soul yet has interests in other stuff, then what is the use of possessing that knowledge in the first place.

There is a question that arises at this juncture. Does it not suffice if a person realizes and is cognizant about the fact that the inherent nature of a soul is to be subservient to perumAL? Will this knowledge make perumAL happy and eventually earn HIS love and sympathy towards a person?

thalam koNda thALiNaiyAn:  This phrase describes the incarnation of perumAL in the form of thrivikiraman. Once upon a time, there was a person known as “mahAbhali” who wanted to rule over the three worlds, i.e., bhUlOkam, bhuvar lOkam and suvar lOkam. In order to fulfill his desire, he performed a penance. These three worlds were under indirA’s possession. Since his property was under threat by mahAbhali, indhra went to perumAL and surrendered before HIM. perumAL protects everyone who had surrendered unto HIM. So, HE HIMSELF went as the dwarf “vAmana” to the place where mahAbhali was performing his penance. As a part of penance, the person who does it has to offer anything that a person who seeks, asks for. perumAL went as a seeker (vAmana) and requested for three feet of land. mahAbhali offered to give vAmana three feet of land. vAmana immediately grew massively to measure the land with HIS three foot. HIS one feet measure the entire earth. HIS second foot measured the entire sky. HE measured 14 worlds (seven above and seven below) with HIS two feet.  Since HE did not have anything to measure for HIS third feet, HE put his third feet on mahAbhali’s head and pushed him to pAthALa lOka. Thus, HE rescued indirA and ensured that there is no problem to his 3 worlds in terms of ownership. In this pAsuram, “thalam konda thALiNaiyAn”, would mean the ONE who measured the earth and the sky.

anRE thanaiyozhindha yAvaraiyum ALudaiyAn anrE avan: At the time when HE measured the whole universe, did HE not send the message to everyone that HE is the owner of everyone except HIM and everything in this universe? HE is in fact the master of the universe and we all are HIS servants. When HE did this act, HE not only bolstered the point that HE is the only one permanent master that we all have, but HE also was so happy about the fact and stood as thrivikrama in that posture. thiruppANAzhvAr says “uvandha uLLaththanAi ulagalam aLandhu”. HE was happy because HE could touch everyone, who are his servants, with HIS feet. This was similar to how a mother would be happy by hugging her sleeping child. Having described this, one would have a question as to why would such a merciful person leave HIS children suffer from the cycle of births and deaths forever?  The reason is explained below.  A person forgets perumAL and HIS help. He involves himself in mundane activities, tries to collect material wealth, and becomes obsessive about that. As a result, he is so into the cobweb of material wealth that he forgets about himself and his true identity. Even if he listens to the advices of his guru, he cannot leave his materialistic pursuit due to the interest he has in them. Even if he says words like “adiyEn” etc, to refer that he is a servant of perumAL, he may still continue to seek benefits apart from perumAL. If this is the case, perumAL waits for the time when he realizes that it is a mistake and then yearns for only perumAL’s lotus feet. Until that glorious time happens, perumaL will not protect a person who does not want and yearn HIM in the first place.

The condensed essence of this is what thiruvaLLuvar says “piRavip perunkadal nIndhuvar, nIndhAr iRaivan adi sErAdhAr” and “paRRuga paRRaRRAn paRRinai appaRRaip paRRuga paRRU vidaRku”. nammAzhvAr says “aRRadhu paRRenil uRRadu vIdu uyir”.

Thus, in these first three pAsurams of pramEya sAram, namely, “avvAnavar”, “kulam onRu” and “palam”, the condensed meaning of praNavam (Om) was explained. The next four pAsurams (4th to 7th) talk about the second word “nama:” in “Om namO nArAyaNAya”.

Translation by santhAnam rAmAnuja dhAsan

Source: http://divyaprabandham.koyil.org/index.php/2015/12/prameya-saram-tamil-3/

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pramEya sAram – 2 – kulamonRu

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2nd pAsuram


Preface: In the previous pAsuram, we saw that the souls are being classified into three types that includes (a) those that gets birth inside a body again and again due to karma, (b) those that gets liberated from this kArmic cycle of rebirths by perumAL’s causeless cause and (c) those that never get affected from karma and are always in unison with perumAL. The first category of souls are those that are bound by karma in some body or the other. For these souls, birth and death happens time and again just like the flood in a river. What is the reason for this and what is the way to get liberated? This pAsuram answers these questions:

kulam onRu uyir pala tham kuRRaththAl itta
kalam onRu kAriyamum vERAm
palam onRu kANAmai kAnum karuththAr thiruththAlgaL
pENAmai kANum pizhai

Phrasal Meanings:

onRu – There is only one

kulam – clan/family of servants (of SrIman nArAyaNan)

uyir – However, the souls that possess this character of being a servant

pala – is many

tham kuRRaththAl –  Such souls’s good and bad deeds (karmA)

itta – are being bound by sriman nArAyaNan

kalam – in a container that is known as “body”

onRu – is of only one type that is made up of the same material known as “mUla poruL”

kAriyamum – Such soul’s activities are

vErAm – variegated depending on its karmA

pizhai – The mistake / wrong thing for a soul to do is

pENAmai kANum – not to catch hold the

thiruththAlgaL – lotus feet of an

karuththAr –  AchAryan who

kANum – blesses these souls

kANAmai – without

palam onRu – looking out for any benefits


kulam onRu: All the souls in this universe belong to only one family that is characterized by being a servant to its eternal master SrIman nArAyaNan. The soul’s true character is to not go haywire by its own likes and dislikes, but being obedient to its master. This character is the inherent nature of a soul and would not change. This family is being referred as “family of servants”. An example would be “thoNdakulaththiluLEr” (thirupallAndu 5).

uyir pala: The number of such souls are infinite. These innumerable souls are servants to its master SrIman nArAyanan forever.

tham kuRRaththAl itta kalam onRu: These souls live in a container known as “body”. This body is being given to them by sriman nArAyaNan based on the good and bad deeds (karmA) it performs. All such bodies are made of up only one type of material. This material is called as “prakruthi”. So, it can be said that the body is also one, referring to the lone type of material of which it is made of. An analogy to this would be to say that anything that is made of sand is sand at the end of the day. Anything that is made of a precious metal (like ring, necklace, pendant etc.) is still a precious metal. Similarly, anything that is made of prakruthi is still prakruthi. The phrase “tham kuRRathAl itta kalam onRu” is to be construed in this manner by expanding its meaning. The eternal master sriman nArAyaNan gives a body to these souls based on their individual deeds. “kalam” actually means a container but in this context refers to “body”. Since all the bodies are just made of one type of material, it is being described as “kalam onRu”.

Urva padhinonRAm onbadhu mAnudam
nIr paRavai nARkAl Or pappathu
sIriya bandhamAndhEvar padhinAlu ayan padaitha
andhamil sIrthAvaram nAlaindhu

In this poem, we can understand the variegated forms in which a soul can reside in. Within each one of these forms, there are thousands and thousands of sub forms that literally make the count infinite. How much ever innumerable / infinite the types of body may be, it can still be grouped under a common umbrella known as “body” just because all of them are made of the same material known as “prakruthi”. nammAzhvAr in his thiruvAimozhi says”

piNakki yAvayum yAvarum pizhayAmal bEdithum bEdhiyAdhadhu Or kaNakkil kIrthi vela kadhi gyAna mUrthiyinAi

Here nammAzhvAr celebrates the brilliant knowledge of perumAL who gives a body to these innumerable souls without missing / forgetting even the smallest karma that a soul had did in its innumerable lives.

kAriyamum vErAm: Similar to the innumerable souls, the activities that these souls do inside a body is also innumerable.  While the good activities/deeds would make the soul go to heaven for some time, the bad deeds would take it to hell for some time. At the end of the enjoyment/punishment time in heaven and hell respectively, it is back to the cycle of births and deaths.

“vaguththAn vaguththa vagaiyallAl kOdi thoguththArkkum thuythalaridhu” is a thirukkuraL. The subject “vaguththAn” refers to SrIman nArAyaNan who so adeptly calculates the amount of good and bad activities that HE ensure that it is only that particular soul that reaps/risks its deeds. HE does not make the deed transferable to another soul due to HIS ignorance or inability to do it.

In the word “kAriyamum”, the suffix “um” reveals something. There are multitude of souls but there is only one family for all of them namely the “family of servants”. Similarly, there are only one type of body that these souls go into yet there are multitude of activities that each and every soul does. The basic nature of a soul is to be subservient to its eternal master sriman nArAyaNan. However, without realizing this true nature, there are countless soul that go into the cycle of perform multitude of deeds, reaping their risks and rewards in hell and heaven, coming back to the universe, be born again, perform countless deeds, die, go to heaven/ hell. This is like a never ending cycle that is like water flowing in a flood. If one were to know the real reason for this and would want to get liberated from this, then it behooves one to be cognizant of the following:

palam onRu kANAmai kANum karuththAr thiruththAlgaL pENAmai kANum pizhai: The reason is very simple. The mistake is that a soul does not go and catches the lotus feet of an AchAryan. This is being described by the phrase “karuththAr thiruthAlgaL pENAmai kANum pizhai”. An AchAryan is being celebrated as “palam onRu kANamai kANum karuthAr”in this pAsuram. When an AchAryan takes up his disciple, he does not seek any materialistic benefit for himself that includes the likes of fame, money or the capability of having so many sishyAs who serve them as his servants etc. The only thing that he desires is for his sishyAs to go to paramapadham. This is the only thing that he yearns and nothing else. With this, he blesses his sishyAs and teaches all that is needed for the sishyAs to go to the ultimate destination of paramapadham. The act of not taking refuge under the lotus feet of such AchAryan is verily the reason for the never ending cycle of births and deaths. The very look/grace of an AchAryan does a world of good for a soul. One should go to an AchAryan and take refuge under his lotus feet. This would ensure that the kArmic deeds accumulated over eons of births and deaths gets annihilated and so would pave way for liberation eventually. Such greatness of an AchAryan was being described in this pAsuram.  “thiruththAlgal pENudhal” would mean the act of catching hold of an AchAryan’s lotus feet. “thiruththAlgal pENAmai” would refer to its opposite, i.e., not holding the lotus feet of an AchAryan. This is the fault (pizhai). We can see this greatness of AchAryan in the SrIvachana bhUshaNam.

“bhagavallAbham AcharyanAlE; AchArya lAbham bhagavAnAlE. AchArya sambandham kulaiyAdhE kidandhAl gyAna bhakthi vairAgyangaL uNdAkki koLLalAm. AchArya sambandham kulaindhAl avai (gyAna, bhakti) uNdAnAlum prayOjaNam illai. thAli kidandhAl bhUshaNangaL paNNip pUNalAm. thAli pOnAl bhUshaNangaL ellAm avadhyaththai (a source of curse) viLaikkum. svAbhimAnaththAle Ishvara abhimAnaththaik kulaiththuk koNda ivanukku AchArya abhimAnam ozhiya gathi illai enRu piLLai pala kAlum aruLich cheyyak kettu irukaiyAyirukkum. svasvAthanthriya bhayaththAle bhakthi nazhuviRRu, bhagavadh svAthanthriya bhayaththAle prapaththi nazhuviRRu. AchAryanaiyum thAn paRRum paRRu ahankAra garbhamAgaiyAle kAlangoNdu mOdhiram idumO pAdhi. AchArya abhimAnamE uththArakam” (SrIvachana bhUshaNam 434).

SasthrAs talk about bhakthi that promises to take one to paramapadham. More than that there is prapaththi (total surrender) unto the lotus feet of perumAL SrIman nArAyaNan. Both these methods cannot take a person to paramapadham. In such a case, the only option available to a person who has abandoned bhakthi and prapathhi is to catch hold of an AchAryan who is an embodiment of impeccable character. If such an AchAryan regards his disciple by calling him “he is mine”, out of the love he has for his disciple, then there is nothing more a person needs. It can take a person to paramapadham no matter how qualified the disciple is. Hence, the essence of this pAsuram is that those who become the target of an AchAryan’s grace go to paramapadham and those who do not, suffer from this never ending cycle of births and deaths.

Translation by santhAnam rAmAnuja dhAsan

Source: http://divyaprabandham.koyil.org/index.php/2015/12/prameya-saram-tamil-2/

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pramEya sAram – 1 – avvAnavarkku

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1st pAsuram


The essence of thirumanthiram is “Om” that is also known as “praNavam”. The crux of praNavam is being described in this first pAsuram.

avvAnavarku mavvAnavar ellAm
uvvAnavar adimai enRu uraiththAr
ivvARu kEtirupARkku AL enRu kaNdiruppAr mItchiyillA
nAtiruppAr enRu iruppan nAn

Phrasal Meanings:

uvvAnavar = AchAryAs

uraiththAr = told that

mavvAnavar ellAm = all the souls that are collectively represented by the word “ma” are

adimai = servants to

avvAnavarku = perumAL sriman nArAyaNan, who is being referred by the word “a”

ivvARu = There are some people  who

kEtu = listen carefully

rupARkku = stand by such great aforementioned advices from their AchAryAs.

kaNdiruppAr = Those people who realize themselves as someone who

AL enRu = are servants to those people who listen and abide by their AchAryAs

iruppAr enRu = will go and live forever with nithyar, mukthar and other devotees at

nAdu = paramapadham that is

mItchiyillA = a point of no return

nAn = I (Adiyen) who is a devotee of SrI rAmAnuja

iruppan = will strongly believe in this.


avvAnavarku: Sriman nArAyaNan is the very meaning of the word/syllable “a”. HE is being referred by the word “a” in the vEdhas. In this pAsuram, the word “a” is used as both “name” and its meaning, i.e., the name “a” would refer perumAL as its target and would mean perumAL as its very meaning. The relationship between a name and its meaning cannot exist separately. It has to be always in unison. This can be understood in this pAsuram with this “a”. mahAkavi kAlidhAsa in his salutary chapter of his magnum opus “raghuvamsam” describes the state where perumAL and pirAtti are together. He described them as inseparable as “word and its meaning”. It is similar to saying something as “salt” because it is salty. Hence, kaNNan HIMSELF in his bhagavath gIthai said that, “of all the letters, I am “a”. This is why thiruvaLLuvar said that “agara mudhala ezhuthellAm Adhibhagavan mudhaRRE ulagu”. The l

The letter / name “a” (अ or அ) denotes only Sriman nArAyaNan. The root / origin (daathu) for it is (अ or அ) = “ava rakshanae”, that means “One who protects”. There is a separate section in Vedas that talk in more detail as to why “a” (अ or அ) represent Sriman nArAyaNan only and no one else and also why only HE can be the lone protector and no one else can. It talks about “sAmAnAdhikaranam” logic which we will not go through here. But let us try to understand it in much easier and simpler terms. Sriman nArAyaNan is the cause of all causes (primordial cause). This has been proved by azhwar’s pasurams, Vedas, Upanishads and what not. He is the source of all objects, both finite and infinite, conscious and non-conscious. There is nothing in the universe that was not born without HIM or without HIS connection. Similarly, in the phonetic scheme of things, the letter “a” (अ or அ) is present in all other letters in one form or the other (explicit or implicit).

For example, in Thamizh if we look at the word “ப”, it is a break of “ப் “+ “அ”. If we consider “கி”, we can break it up into “க + இ”. Now if we further break the “க” in it, we get “க் + அ”. Thus, the letter “கி” would be like this: “கி = க + இ = க் + அ + இ”. The presence of “அ” is implicit. While, in some cases it is implicit, in some others they may be explicit. But whatever may be it, “அ” is present in one form or the other. It is the source of all letters / words / sounds, just like Perumal is the source of all objects. Swami Nammazhwar says in his Thiruvaimozhi, “karandhengum parandhuLan” and “karandha silidam thOrum idan thigazh porul thOrum”. He is present in each and every entity. It is like seeing ghee inside milk. It is there but not visible to us at this point of time. But the presence of ghee in milk cannot be negated at all. Thus, the letter / name “அ” and Perumal are similar in the manner that it is from these that all the others have been born out of. So “அ” denotes Perumal only and no one else.

kambanAttAzhvAn, in his kadimaNap padalam of bAla kAndam, said “bhU magaL poruLum ena”. This would mean that if we were to refer to something that is so intertwined in its very existence, its meaning automatically gets explained. Likewise, if we just say “a”, its meaning, i.e., “perumAL” is explained automatically.

mavvAnavar ellAm: The word “ma” would refer to the entire gamut of all souls. That would be the meaning for the word “ma”. SAsthra say that “ma” kAram always point to an object that has conscience. Even though it says “an” object and thus means singular soul, it is a collective noun in the sense that it includes everything. To give an example to this, if we say “this is one paddy seed”, we do not mean that there was only one paddy seed. We mean the fact that there was only one kind of a paddy seed. So the singularity is for the type count and not for the unit count. Likewise, “ma” would include all souls that has conscience. The souls can be classified into three types. (a) those that gets birth inside a body again and again due to karmA, (b) those that gets liberated from this kArmic cycle of rebirths by perumAL’s causeless cause and (c) those that never get affected from karmA and are always in unison with perumAL. These three are referred to as “baththar”, “mukthar” and “nithyar” respectively. All these three are collectively referred by this one word “ma”.

uvvAnavar: The word “uvvAnavar” would refer to the person who is the meaning of the word “u”. “ukAram” describes an AchAryan. SAshtrAs says that the direct meaning of “u”kAram would be periya pirAtti Sri mahAlakshmi. She is someone who acts as a common connection between a soul and perumAL and ensures that they get united. In an exactly similar fashion, it is an AchAryan who unites a soul with perumAL Sriman nArAyaNan. Since the actions of pirAtti as well as AchAryan are both the same, “u” kAram denotes AchAryan too. In addition, an AchAryan has bhakti towards pirAtti and earns her affection. AchAryan ensures that, those who take surrender at the lotus feet of one’s AchAryan, gets her affection as well which would eventually get the love and affection of perumAL. Since, both AchAryan and pirAtti perform a recommendatory role for the eventual action of getting the love of perumAL towards a person, an AchAryan is referred by “u”, the very same word that means “pirAtti”.

There is a story to illustrate this. Once upon a time, when emberumAnAr was happy, he explained the aforementioned meaning of “u”kAram to his sishya known as “mudhaliyAndAn”. This was passed on by mudhaliyAndAn to his son namely “kandhAdai AndAn”, who in turn passed it on to “bhattar”.  The meanings of “u”kAram as told by svAmi emberumAnAr, was compiled and told in a book called “praNava sangraham”.  In this book, it is told that the meaning of “u”kAram is AchAryan.  The author of this work namely “pramEya sAram” is svAmi aruLALa perumAL emberumAnAr. Since he talks about this meaning of “u”kAram in this work, it can be inferred that svAmi emberumAnAr told this exact meaning of “u”kAram to svAmi aruLALa perumAL emberumAnAr as well. The latter was a dear sishyas of svAmi emberumAnAr. He served his guru svAmi emberumAnAr for a long time and became the target of his divine compassion.

adimai enRu uraiththAr: These souls eternally serve as servants to their eternal master who is being referred as “a” (sriman nArAyaNan). The relationship that exists between a “ma” and “a” is a “MASTER-servant” one. This relationship is being shown to “ma” by an AchAryan who is the mediator. Only when an AchAryan (represented by “u” here) shows the sishya (who is represented by the word “ma” here), the relation, latter gets to know of it in its fullest sense. Thus the phrase “avvAnavarku mavvAnavar ellAm uvvAnavar adimai enRu uraiththAr” goes ahead to show that an AchAryan shows / reveals the “MASTER-servant” relationship between perumAL and the soul. There is story to illustrate the relationship that can be seen in thiuvAimozhi Edu vyAkyANam.

Once upon a time there was a trader who occupation was to go place and earn money by trading. His wife was pregnant. One day, he left home, crossed sea and reached another country for business. Before he left, he told his wife that it may take some time for him to be back home and that she should teach “trade” to their yet to be born son. She delivered a boy after some time. The boy grew up into a youth, learned the art of trading. It was time for the son to involve himself in overseas trading. Incidentally, he ended up in the same country where his father landed. He started to do trading there in that country. One day, there erupted a fight between the father and the son who were now sharing the same port of trading. The fight was about some business rules. Seeing the fight, a lot of people assembled to see what is going on with these two people. Among those group of people, there was an old man who knew both (father and son) of them. Seeing the fight, the old man said, “Hey guys!!! Look!!! Why are you fighting between the two of you? You are the father and you are his son”. He united these two by informing the relationship between them. After this, both father and son reconciled. In fact, their happiness knew no bounds once they knew the true relationship. Thus, the AchAryan is the mediator between a person and perumAL. The relationship is not being created by anyone. It is being there forever. In the story, the old man did not create a new relationship, rather he just reminded them of the existing relationship. The one point about this story is that while in the story the father was oblivious of the fact that he is the father, in actuality, perumAL is never oblivious of anything. HE just reincarnated in a human form as AchAryan, so that a person can go unto him easily and surrender.

Thus, an AchAryan is someone who serves as a mediator between a person and perumAL. He reveals the “MASTER-servant” relationship between them. An AchAryan reveals more about perumAL to a person. He says that a perumAL is the one and the only one who is a mother, father, relatives and everything else to a person. On the other hand, this same AchAryan tells perumAL that this soul (person) is someone inseparable from HIM and that HE should forgive his sons and take him unto HIS lotus feet. An AchAryan liberates a person by doing this. This is what an AchAryan does to a person and is being celebrated in this pAsuram.

ivvARu kEtirupARkku: This refers to the group of people who had listened to these aforementioned concepts of “a”, “u” and “ma” from their AchAryan and stood by it. Thirumanthiram has in itself the name of perumAL as “nArAyaNA”. This name can be split into “nAra” and “ayana”. One’s AchAryan explains to his sishyAs about the relationship between “nAra” and “ayana”. “nAra”, simply put is about the soul and “ayana” is about perumAL sriman nArAyaNan. AchAryan advises that the soul is always subservient to its eternal master sriman nArAyaNan. After listening to this advices, the sishyAs lives a life abiding by it.

AL enRu kaNdiruppAr: There are few persons who serve such sishyas described in the previous paragraph. These person treat these sishyas as everything for them. The first level is to be a servant to perumAL Sriman nArAyaNan. Extending this logic would mean that the servant does everything that his master sriman nArAyaNan likes. HIS like is nothing but a person be a servant to HIS devotees forever and do kainkaryam to them. Hence, the last level is for a person to be subservient to the devotees of sriman nArAyaNan. This is what is explained by this particular phrase “AL enru kaNdirupAr” in this pAsuram.

In thirumanthiram, three essential qualities of a soul is being explained. They are (a) this soul is servant to no one else apart from Sriman nArAyaNan. (b) There is no refuge for a soul apart from sriman nArAyaNAn and (c) there is no other happiness to a soul apart from sriman nArAyaNAn. In these three salient qualities of a soul there is an impregnated meaning that is implicit. If we were to replace “sriman nArAyaNan” with “devotees of sriman nArAyaNan, we would get three qualities of a soul that bear reference to the deveotees of sriman nArAyaNan. They are (a) this soul is servant to no one else apart from devotees of sriman nArAyaNan. (b) There is no refuge for a soul apart from devotees of sriman nArAyaNanand (c) there is no other happiness to a soul apart from devotees of sriman nArAyaNan. The reason why replacing “sriman nArAyaNan” with “devotees of sriman nArAyaNan is being talked about in the first place is because of the fact that Sriman nArAyaNan loves HIS devotees more than anything else. Hence, it would not be contradictory to anything. It goes ahead and explains the meaning of being a servant to the servants of perumAL that is often called as “charama parva nishtai”.  Hence, to know one’s true self is to first realize that he is servant to perumAL. After having realized that, the next step, rather the last step would be the logical extension of it, which would be to realize that he is a servant of servants of perumAL.

mItchiyillA nAtiruppAr enRu irupan nAn: svAmi aruLALa perumAL emberumAnAr, the author of this work, strongly believes that those who are the servants of servants of perumAL will go to paramapadham, a place of no return. There, they will be with the elite company of nithyasUris who are always there with perumAL. He uses the word “nAn” to stress that he strongly believes in it. The reason is because svAmi aruLALa perumAL emberumAnAr learned the esoteric purports of vEdhAs from his AchAryan namely svAmi emberumAnAr. He was well respected as he lived by the words of his AchAryan svAmi emberumAnAr. svAmi aruLALa perumAL emberumAnAr, after learning the vEdhAs and other shAshtrAs from his AchAryan, concludes with a strong statement that this is the truth. The truth that these people who are servants of servants of perumAL never come back to this materialistic world and suffer. They will reach paramapadham and be with nithyasUris forever.

Translation by santhAnam rAmAnuja dhAsan

Source: http://divyaprabandham.koyil.org/index.php/2015/12/prameya-saram-tamil-1/

archived in http://divyaprabandham.koyil.org

pramEyam (goal) – http://koyil.org
pramANam (scriptures) – http://srivaishnavagranthams.wordpress.com
pramAthA (preceptors) – http://acharyas.koyil.org
srIvaishNava education/kids portal – http://pillai.koyil.org