Monthly Archives: December 2015

upadhESa raththina mAlai – 22

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pAsuram 22

inRO thiruvAdippUram emakkAga
anRo ingu ANdAL avathariththAL – kunRAdha
vAzhvAga(na) vaikuntha vAn pOkam thannai igazhndhu
AzhvAr thirumagaLArAi                                                                  22


Word by word meaning

thiru AdippUram – beautiful month of Adi’s pUram star (AsAdha, pUrva)
inRO – is it today!
emakkAga anRO – Isn’t it for us only,
vAzhvu Aga – to have life
kunRAdha – not having any shortcomings (of this material world),
igazhndhu – (that she) left
vaikuntham – SrI vaikuNtam of
vAn – best
pOkam thannai – comforts,
ANdAL – (that is,) sUdik koduththa nAchiyAr
avathariththAL – had incarnated
ingu – in this world
AzhvAr thirumagaLArAi – as the divine daughter of periyAzhvAr.


Out of the three mentioned in the previous pAsuram, he (maNavALa mAmunigaL) starts with talking about ANdAL who is the best among them, using three pAsurams; in this pAsuram he melts by engagement of his experience, in the thought whether today is thiru Adip pUram (AsAdha, pUrva) when ANdAL divined her incarnation to help him reach the goal.

inRO thiruvAdippUram – Is it today what is famously known as thiruvAdippUram? Is it today that we were granted such a day? If we got what is rare, then, doesn’t that become cause for enjoyment?

He is divining the reason next.

emakkAga anRO ingu ANdAL avathariththAL – Like when her baby falls in a well a mother would also jump in the same way to save it, (she incarnated to) take us out who have drowned in births (in this material world)? She who is the mother for all beings has divined her incarnation here. Like said in “kUpaththil vIzhum kuzhaviyudan kudhiththu avvApaththai nIkkum andha annaiyaip pOl [Arththip prabandham – 9]” (like the mother who also falls into the water and removes the danger), and in “kUpAntharmukthaputhram pathAthamanupathan mAthruvath” (Like how a mother would jump in to save the baby that fell into the well), he who is completely knowledgeable is considering her incarnation as for him.

ANDALpaintingSrI ANdAL

Next it talks about the rarity of such incarnation, by ‘kunRAdha’, etc.

Unlike the experience of other places which are not complete/not without shortcomings, in SrI vaikuNtam there is no hindrance to any greatness where limitless emperumAn is to be enjoyed – discarding such enjoyment, here too ‘pOkaththil vazhuvAdha pudhuvaiyar kOn kOthai [nAchchiyAr thirumozhi 8.10]’ (As the daughter of periyAzhvAr who enjoys emperumAn fully), she incarnated ‘AzhvAr thirumagaLArAi (as AzhvAr’s divine daughter, her highness)’.

Like how a queen would give less importance to the flowery bed of the king and lie down holding her baby’s cradle, ANdAL too ignored the limitless enjoyment of paramapadham, and came incarnating here.

Isn’t this what creates sorrow in the mind of maNavALa mAmunigaL?

– – – – –

English Translation: raghurAm SrInivAsa dhAsan

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upadhEsa raththina mAlai – 21

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pAsuram 21

AzhvAr thirumagaLAr ANdAL madhurakavi
AzhvAr ethirAsarAm ivargaL – vAzhvAga
vandhu udhiththa mAthangAL nALgaL thammin vAsiyaiyum
indha ulagOrkku uraippOm yAm                                                           21


Word by word meaning

thirumagaLAr – divine daughter, that is,
ANdALsUdikkoduththa nAchchiyAr, and
madhurakavi AzhvAr, and
ethirAsarSrI bhAshyakArar (emperumAnAr),
Am ivargaL – so these three,
vAzhvu Aga – for the people of this world to gain the true goal,
vandhu udhiththa – they came and divined their incarnation,
yAm – we
uraippOm – shall say
indha ulagOrkku – to those in this world (about the)
vAsiyaiyum – greatness of those
mAthangaL – months
nALgaL thammin – and days (of incarnations).


Thus in the last five pAsurams after he talked about this AzhvAr’s (periyAzhvAr) greatness through the greatness of his birth star day, now as he had mentioned near the beginning of this prabandham as ‘anthamizhAl naR kalaigaL Ayndhu uraiththa AzhvArgaL’ through ‘vandhu udhiththa mAthangAL nALgaL thammai maNNulagOr thAm aRiya eedhu enRu solluvOm yAm’ [upadhESa raththina mAlai – 5], and as per that intention of going in the order of the months/start days, he talked in detail about AzhvArs’ months and days of incarnation,

and now he vows to talk about the order of months and days of incarnations of ANdAL, madhurakavi AzhvAr, and ethirAsar.

AzhvAr thirumagaLAr etc. Since these three stayed firm in AchArya AbhimAnam (being cared by AchArya and fully dependant on AchArya), and are incarnations of pirAtti (bhUdhEvi), thiruvadi (garudAzhwAr), and thiruvananthAzhvAn (AdhiSEsha) respectively, they can be grouped together in this special way!

periyazhwar-andalAzhvAr thirumagaLAr ANdAL

ANdaL: ‘vittu chiththar thangaL thEvarai [nAchchiyAr thirumozhi – 10.10]’ ( (if) vishNu chiththar (periyAzhvAr) brings his lord (then we will be able to have His darshan)),

madhurakavi AzhvAr: ‘thEvu maRRaRiyEn [kaNNinuN chiruththAmbu – 2]’ (do not know any other lord (than nammAzhvAr)),

nammazhwar-madhurakavi-nathamunimadhurakavi AzhvAr (with nammAzhvAr)


ethirAsar: ‘adi paNindhu uyndha [rAmAnusa nURRanthAdhi – 1]’ (reached the true goal having reached the divine feet of mARan (nammAzhvAr));

emperumAnAr-nammAzhwArethirAsar with nammAzhvAr

These three belong to ‘adi paNindhu uyndha‘ (became glorious by taking shelter of AchArya) group.

As said in ‘anantha: prathamam rUpam [nAradheeyam. yAdhavAdhri mahAthmiyam 1.32]’ (thiruvananthAzhvAn first mUrththy), etc., and ‘aheenAmeeSvar SrImAnAseeth rAmAnujO muni: ’ (rAmAnujar is being the head of serpents). The greatness of other two is given in detail in guruparamparA prabhAvam. So he divines the incarnation of these three.

AzhvAr thirumagaLAr ANdAL – bhUmi pirAtti as ANdAL incarnated as divine daughter of periyAzhvAr. Like (seethA) pirAtti incarnating as janaka rAjan’s divine daughter. They incarnated, not from a womb (not based on karma), in vEndhar kulam (king’s lineage), and vEyar kulam (periyAzhvAr’s clan).

madhurakavi AzhvAr madhurkavi azhvar is ‘then kurugUr nambikku anbanAi [kaNNinuN chiruththAmbu – 11]’ (devoted to then kurugUr nambi (nammAzhvAr)), like how ‘padaiththAn kavi [thiruvAimozhi 3.9.10]’ ((nammAzhvAr is) poet of emperumAn) {That is, madhurakavi AzhvAr is to nammAzhvAr, what nammAzhvAr is to emperumAn}.

Unlike saying what ever came to mouth, he is like ‘kurugUr nambi pAvin innisai pAdith thirivanE [kaNNinuN chiruththAmbu – 2] (will sing nammAzhvAr’s pleasant pAsurams), having such delicateness of words. That is, ‘nambi enRakkAl aNNikkum amudhu Urum en nAvukkE [kaNNinuN chiruthhtAmbu – 1]’ (~ saying the word (then kurugUr) nambi would make nectar spring in my tongue).

ethirAsar Am ivargaLemperumAnAr who is the head of yathis (saints) .

In this way the three having such greatness –

vAzhvAga vandhu udhiththa – Rose as a wealth for the world; they are the wealth for sarvEsvaran who incarnated as the wealth for the world; and they are the wealth for sAthvikas (ones having tranquil nature / {SrIvaishNavas} ).

As said in ‘vakuLAbharaNAnghriyugmam [parAnkusa ashtakam – 1]’ (of divine feet of nammazhvAr), and ‘mEvinEn avan ponnadi meymmaiyE [kaNNinuN chiruththAmbu – 2]’ (surrendered to his beautiful feet, and this is the truth), and ‘mARan adi paNindhu uyndhavan [rAmAnusa nURRanthAdhi – 1]’ ((emperumAnAr) surrendered unto AzhwAr’s feet and attained the true goal), they are like the divine feet of nammAzhvAr.

Not only that, as they have surrendered and be like a sandal on AzhvAr’s divine feet, and so they are compared to the lines in the divine feet, and as the protection for the feet; so he divined ‘pon adiyE nanthamakkup pon [thiruvAimozhi nURRanthAdhi]’ (AzhvAr’s beautiful feet is our wealth/beauty);

Apt living and reaching [of the goal] are by being a servant of that feet, isn’t it?

In this way the three of them incarnated as the wealth of SrIvaishNavam, for enriching SrI vaishNava SrI (wealth of SrIvaishNavam).

Their –

mAdhangaL nALgaL thammil vAsiyaiyum – (months and days of incarnation; distinguished greatness of those days) – In this way as they incarnated for the world to get the life as the true existent being – the uniqueness of the months and days of their incarnation,

indha ulagOrkku uraippOm yAmFor the ignorant and knowledgeable ones of this world to know well about the greatness of these star days, we who knows the unique differences/greatness of these days of incarnation of ANdAL et al., shall talk about it to you whether you asked for it or not;

Isn’t it AchAryas’ ways to teach the sentient after seeing their humility as said in ‘aRiyAdhana aRivikkai [SrI vachana bhUshaNam -14] (teaching them what they are ignorant about).

– – – – –

English Translation: raghurAm SrInivAsa dhAsan

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चतुः श्लोकी – श्लोक

श्रीमते शठकोपाय नमः
श्रीमते रामानुजाय नमः
श्रीमद्वरवरमुनये नमः

चतुः श्लोकी


श्लोक १

कान्तस्ते पुरुषोत्तम: पणिपति: शय्यासनम् वाहनं
वेदात्मा विहगेश्वरो यवनिका माया जगन्मोहिनी |
ब्रह्मेशादीसुरव्रज: सदयित: त्वद्दासदासीगण:
स्रिरित्येवच नाम ते भगवति ब्रूम: कथं त्वाम वयम ||


हे भगवति ! हम आपकी प्रसंशा कैसे करें ? पुरुषों में श्रेष्ठ , पुरुषोत्तम नारायण आपके धर्मपति हैं ; सर्पों में श्रेष्ठ आदिसेश आपकेँ शैय्या अथवा आसन हैं ; वेद स्वरूपी गरुड़ आपके वाहन हैं ;सारे सँसार को चौंकाने वाली माया आपकि घूँघट हैं ;अपने देवियों के संग ब्रह्मा, शिव आपके सेवक हैं ; किसी भी शब्द के पहले आने से ही “श्री” नाम कि प्रधानता साबित होति हैं।  इतने गुण संपन्न आपकी हम कैसे प्रशंसा करें ?

श्लोक २

यस्यास्ते महिमानमात्मनैव त्वद्वल्लभोपि प्रभुः
नालं मातुमियत्तया निरवधिं नित्यानुकूलंस्वत: |
ताम त्वां दास इति प्रपन्न इति च स्तोष्याम्यहं निर्भय:
लोकैकेश्वरी लोकनाथदयिते दांते दयां ते विदन ||


जबकि आपकी महिमा इतनी श्रेष्ठ हैं की आपके धर्मपति सर्वेश्वर लोकनाथ को भी आपकी महिमा अपरिमित हैं , आपके दास और प्रपन्न होने के कारण मैं आपकी निर्भय प्रशंसा कर गा रहा हूँ।  हे जगन माते ! हे सर्वेश्वर की दिव्य महिषि ! हे अत्यंत क्रुपाळु ! आपकी दया को मैं पहचानता हूँ।

श्लोक ३

ईषत त्वत्करुणा निरीक्षण सुधासँदुक्षणात् रक्ष्यते
नष्टम् प्राक तदलाभतस्त्रिभुवनम सम्प्रत्यनन्तोदयम्
श्रेयो न ह्यरविंदलोचनमन: कांताप्रसादादृते
सम्स्रुत्यक्शरवैश्णवाध्वसु नृणां सम्भाव्यते कर्हिचित ।।


आपकी दयामयी दृष्टी जो मधु हैं तीनों लोकों की रक्षक है। आपकी दृष्टिहीन काल में विनाशित लोक भी अब आपकी करुणा पूर्ण दृष्टी से विभिन्न रूप में प्रकट आ रही हैं। सांसारिक आनंद तथा भगवान के प्रति निरंतर सेवा भगवान पुण्डरीकाक्ष के दिव्य महिषि के कृपा के बिना प्राप्त नहीं होंगे।

श्लोक ४

शान्तानन्द  महाविभूति परमम् यद्ब्रह्म रूपं हरे:
मूर्तं ब्रह्म ततोपि तत्प्रियतरं रूपं यदत्यद्भुतम्  |
यान्यन्यानि यथासुखम् विहरतो रूपाणि सर्वाणि तानि
आहुः स्वैरनुरूपरूपविभवैर् गाडोपागुड़ानी ते ||


भगवान के अनेक रूपों में उनके साथ आपके सारे संबंध की यहाँ प्रस्तावना हैं। परमपद में उनकी शोभायमान रूप या उससे भी अधिक सुंदर तथा आपकी इच्छानुसार कोई रूप या आपके आनंद के प्रति भगवान जो भी रूप अपनाए उनकी लीला मान वे सारी आप आनंद से स्वीकार करती हैं। इस प्रकार भगवान से पिराट्टि के सारे संबंध स्थापित किये जाते हैं।

अडियेन् प्रीती रामानुज दासि


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SaraNAgathi gadhyam – 5th chUrNai: part 5

SrImathE satakOpAya nama:
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namperumal-thiruvadilotus feet of SrI ranganAtha

Let us now look at the last part of this chUrNai.

anAlOchitha viSEsha aSEshalOka SaraNya! praNathArthihara! ASritha vAthsalyaika jaladhE! anavaratha vidhitha nikhila bhUtha jAtha yAthAthmya! aSEsha charAcharabhUtha nikhila niyamana niratha! aSEsha chidhachidhvasthu SEshibhUtha! nikhila jagadhAdhAra! akhila jagath swAmin! asmath swAmin! sathyakAma! sathyasankalpa! SrIman! nArAyaNa! aSaraNyaSaraNya! ananya SaraNa: thvath pAdhAravindha yugalam SaraNam aham prapadhyE II athra dhvayam II

analOchitha viSEsha aSEsha lOka SaraNya bhagavAn is the entity in the whole universe to surrender to, for all people, irrespective of any special qualifications. He does not see whether the person is from a good family by birth or is rich or is highly knowledgeable in vEdha and SAsthra. In rAmAvathAram, SrI rAma tells sugrIva when sugrIva asks rAma not to accept vibhIshNa, when he comes to surrender, that he will accept a person even if he has any fault in him. In SrI rAma charama SlOkam he says that it is his vow to give protection to everyone who surrenders to him .

praNathArthiharapraNatha means those who surrender to him. Arthi is their strong urge or craving to be with him. hara is to remove. Thus, bhagavAn removes the craving of his Asrithars and takes in those who surrender to him.

ASritha vAthsalyaika jaladhEvAthsalyam, as we have already seen, is treating the faults in ASrithars as good qualities just as a cow treats the dirt on the body of its new born calf by licking it off completely and making the calf look clean. jaladhi is ocean. The vAthsalyam that he has in his ASrithars is like an ocean.

anavarathavidhitha nikhila bhUthajAtha yAthAthmya –  nikhila is all. bhUtha means entity or specimen. jAtha is type or class. anavaratha means incessant (without any stop); vidhitha means various. yAthAthmya is real or basic nature .  He is one who knows the ultimate truth in all entities. There is no need for us to say that “I am not a good person; I have all faults” to go to him since he already knows about us.

aSEsha charAcharabhUtha nikhila niyamana nirathaaSEsha is without leaving anything; charAcharabhUtha is all movable and immovable entities; nikhila is all; niyamana is the ability to direct or control; niratha is being engaged in. He has the ability to control all entities at all times. He can not give up on an entity saying that it is uncontrollable. SrI rAmAnuja conveys here that both samsAram (the materialistic world) and he himself are under bhagavAn‘s control. Can he not cut off the chain that is binding SrI rAmAnuja to samsAram?

aSEsha chidhachidhvasthu SEshibhUthachith and achith are sentients and insentients respectively. SEshi is master. He is the lord and master of all entities in the world. What SrI rAmAnuja conveys here is that since you own me, should you not do what is required to be done for me to reach you?

nikhila jagadhAdhAra – he bears the entire universe. He bears those who commit faults too. You are the basis for my existence and you have to protect me, says SrI rAmAnuja.

akhila jagath swAmin – He owns the entire universe. He removes our faults and creates the desire in us in reaching him through the act of surrender.

asmath swAmin – It is not enough if bhagavAn is owner of the universe. I have to accept this fact and tell him that he is my owner too. You are also my owner, says SrI rAmAnuja, specifically, to emphasise that it was bhagavAn who brought him around and made him to surrender.

sathyakAma – this is the third time that this word and the word following this (sathya sankalpa) are mentioned. But on each occasion, the word takes a different meaning and context. In the first occasion when SrI rAmAnuja mentioned this word while describing the qualities of bhagavAn, it was meant as one possessing good qualities liked by his ASrithars (those who surrender to him). In the second instance, it was meant to indicate his desire to play with AthmAs in nithya vibhUthi (SrIvaikuNtam) and leelA vibhUthi (materialistic world). Here (3rd instance) it conveys the meaning that he is one with no unfulfilled desire. He is fully satiated with all desires fulfilled. He is pleased with whatever we offer him when we perform our daily prayers and rituals (thiruvArAdhanam). There is nothing that he does not have that I have to offer and satisfy him.

sathyasankalpa – in the first instance that this word was used in conjunction with describing his qualities, it meant his ability to create rare things which would not go waste. In the 2nd instance it meant that once he decides to grant mOksha (SrIvaikuNtam) to someone, he takes it to completion without any hurdle. Here it conveys the ability to keep together things which are incongruent. He takes a jIvAthmA to SrIvaikuNtam and makes the jIvAthmA to mix freely with the nithyasUris and they welcome the jIvAthmA happily.

sakalEthara vilakhaNa – superior to all the other entities. He is superior in terms of his svarUpa (basic nature) and qualities. These qualities and nature are meant for the enjoyment of others (his ASrithars) and not for himself. He is rakshakan (protector) to everyone. That quality is fulfilled when his qualities are enjoyed by all. Even if one person is not protected bhagavAn takes it seriously. Thus SrI rAmAnuja says that since he is not able to enjoy bhagavAn‘s qualities (being in samsAram) bhagavAn would not feel fulfilled.

arthi kalpaka – granting what his ASrithars want, especially himself. He went begging as vAmana to mahAbali chakravarthi to get back the three worlds that he had entrusted with indhra. When he goes to the extent of begging to satisfy his followers, will he not grant the desire of those who beg him to grant mOksham?

Apath sakha – being a friend in times of danger, i.e being supportive. Even when parents and relatives closed doors when protection was sought, bhagavAn did not do this (story of kAkAsura).

Sriman – consort of SrI dhEvi. Here the context that SrI rAmAnuja highlights is that even if bhagavAn can get angry with us due to our shortcomings, pirAtti (SrI dhEvi) acts as purushakAra bhuthai (one who recommends our cause) and makes him grant our wish. Hence SrIman.

nArAyaNa – before SrI dhEvi became purushakAra bhUthai, when he created the universe was he not our protector? SrI rAmAnuja reminds him of that role.

aSaraNya SaraNya – Giving refuge to those who do not have any other entity to protect them. Is there anyone like that? SrI rAmAnuja says

ananyaSaraNOham – I am without any other place of refuge.

thvath pAdhAravindha yuglam SaraNam prapadhyE – thvath  – your; pAdham – foot; aravindham – lotus like (foot is equated to lotus to highlight that it is sweet and can be enjoyed by carrying out service) ; yugalam – pair; Saranam – proffer or prostrate; prapadhyE – mentally behold or catch onto. SrI rAmAnuja says here that he proffers himself to the two lotus-like exalted feet of bhagavAn and recites the dhvaya mahAmanthram (the reader is requested to contact  his AchAryan for learning about dhvaya mahAmanthram).

SaraNAgathi is not merely a physical act or a prayer to be recited. It is more of a mental action by which the person who performs SaraNAgathi commits mentally that he accepts bhagavAn as his protector and asks bhagavAn to take him under his wings and give him the most enjoyable role of being a servitor to bhagavAn and pirAtti for ever.

athra dhvayam indicates we should recite “dhvaya mahA manthram” at this time (as customary, this manthram is also recited subtly so only the reciter can hear it).

This completes the 5th chUrNai. We shall now move onto chUrNai 6.

Translation by krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan.

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upadhEsa raththina mAlai – 20

SrImathE SatakOpAya nama:
SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama:
SrImath varavaramunayE nama:

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pAsuram 20

uNdO thiruppallANdukku oppadhOr kalai thAn
uNdO periyAzhvArkku oppu uruvar – thaN thamizh nUl
seydhu aruLum AzhvArgaL thammil avar sey kalaiyil
paidhal nenjE nee uNarndhu pAr                                             20


Word by word meaning

uNdO – Is there
oppadhu – an equal
Or kalai thAn – prabandham
thiruppallANdukku – for thiruppallANdu
uNdO – is there?
oppu oruvar – an equal person
periyAzhvArkku – for periyAzhvAr?
(Is there an equal)
AzhvArgaL thammil – among AzhvArs
seydhu aruLum – who divined
nUl – prabandhams
thaN thamizh – (in) sweet thamizh (eerath thamizh),
kalaiyil – and among the prabandhams
avar – (that) those AzhvArs
sey – divined,
paidhal nenjE – Oh childish mind!
nee – you
uNarndhu pAr – try to know.


Further more, he (maNavALa mAmunigaL) is divining about the greatness of this AzhvAr and also his prabandham due to there being no equal for them, starting with ‘uNdO thiruppallANdukku’.

maNavALa_mAmunigaL_thiruvaheendhrapuram-closupmaNavALa mAmunigaL – thiruvaheendhrapuram

For this prabandham which is focused only on doing mangaLASasanam, is there an equal in other dhivya prabandhams that are focused on experiencing emperumAn and be immersed in that?

Difference is that ‘pallANdum paramAthmanaich chUzhndhu irundhu Eththuvar pallANdE [thiruppallANdu – 12]’ (would be around emperumAn for ever and do mangaLASasanam to Him),

(as compared to the following where it is about one’s experiencing of and immersed in the matter of emperumAn only)

AyiraththuL ivaiyum Or paththum vallAr URRin kaN nuN maNal pOl urugA niRpar neerAyE [thiruvAimozhi 6.8.11]’ (Like the fine sand near a spring, their mind (who learn this) would melt (for emperumAn)), and in

onbadhOdu onRukkum mUvulagum urugumE [thiruvAimozhi 9.5.11]’ (Those in all the three world would melt),

– is how the difference of this prabandham (thiruppallANdu) is compared to these other prabandhams.

uNdO periyAzhvArkku oppu oruvar – Can he (periyAzhvAr) who sustains himself by doing mangaLASAsanam to emperumAn’s beauty etc., be equaled by other AzhvArs who are (only) immersed in such beauty, etc., of emperumAn?

Starting from ‘adiyOmOdum [thiruppallANdu – 2]’ (we and you shall live forever), through ‘pAncha chanyamum pallANdE [thiruppallANdu -2] (including the disc and the conch shall live forever), such is the state of this Azhvar, and can he be equaled by the other AzhvArs who say ‘adiyEn innam thaLarvEnO [thiruvAimozhi – 6.9.3]’ (even though I am having your relationship would I still be here and suffer (due to separation from you)),

chinthai kalangith thirumAl enRu azhaippan [thiruvAimozhi 9.8.10]” ((Thinking whether I would be able to reach and live with you) with my worried mind I would call your divine name out (thirumAl)), and “chakkaraththu aNNalE enRu thAzhndha(u) kaNNeer thathumba [thiruvAimozhi 4.7.10]” (Saying that you mesmerized me by showing your disc and conch, would drop tears due to not getting your experience now), etc., where they get immersed in every which way they related to emperumAn) – so he (nammAzhvAr (of thiruvAimozhi)) cannot equal this periyAzhvAr isn’t it? This is applicable for other AzhvArs as well.

thaN thamizh nUl seydhu aruLum AzhvArgaL thammil uNdO periyAzhvArkku oppu oruvar – The other AzhvArs through the grace of sarvEsvaran had divined their prabandhams in sweet thamizh, can they equal periyAzhvAr who by nature cannot sustain himself without doing mangaLASAsanam to emperuman?

avar sei kalaiyil thiruppallANdukkum oppadhu Or kalai thAn uNdO – As they wished by His grace their sustenance and growth (of experience with emperumAn), can they equal periyAzhvAr who wishes well for the growth of emperumAn?

kalai -> dhrAvida prabandhams; their prabandhams are in thamizh that talk about brahmam.

Among these, about the greatness of this AzhvAr’s prabandham

paidhal nenjE nee uNarndhu pAr – (Oh the childish mind you try to know whether those are equal to this prabandham) – Get out of your dumbness and using your true nature of having wisdom analyze the difference in greatness of this.

Since in the aspect of getting‘ ‘mayarvaRa mathinalam’ [thiruvAimozhi 1.1.1] (unblemished knowledge) and divining dhivya prabandhams based on that is same among all of the AzhvArs, Oh the ignorant mind which thinks that due to this the other AzhvArs and prabandhams are equal to periyAzhvAr and his prabandham!

At least now, since you have the ability to understand the huge difference between these, think properly and analyze it. Then only you can understand their huge difference.

– – – – – –

English Translation: raghurAm SrInivAsa dhAsan

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upadhESa raththina mAlai – 19

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pAsuram – 19

kOdhilavAm AzhvArgaL kURu kalaikkellAm
Adhi thiruppallANdu Anadhuvum – vEdhaththukku
Om ennum adhu pOl uLLadhukkellAm surukkAyth
thAn mangalamAdhalAl                                                         19


Word by word meaning

kalaikku ellAm – Among all the dhivya prabandhams,
kOdhu ilavAm – (all of which are) non-blemished
AzhvArgaL kURu – which are divined by AzhvArs,
Anadhuvum – is arranged
Adhi – as the first;
Om ennumadhu pOl – Like Om is recited (first)
vEdhaththukku – for the vEdhas,
thAn – that thiruppallANdu
surukku Ay – is as the summary/essence
uLLadhukku ellAm – for all the other prabandhams
mangalam AdhalAl – because it is the auspicious mangaLASAsanam.


Now he (maNavALa mAmunigaL) is divining about the greatness of this with an example through this AzhvAr’s dhivya prabandham that is thirupallANdu’s placement as the first of all dhivya prabandhams, by starting with ‘kOdhilavAm’.

Mistake (kOdhu) in a poem is – talking about some other story. That is not present here. For these AzhvArsdhivya prabandhams, starting with ‘rAmAyaNam, nArAyaNa kathai [AchArya hrudhayam 63]’ author of AchArya hrudhayam (azhagiya maNavALap perumAL nAyanAr) has established showing that this problem exists in those (rAmAyaNa, etc), and does not exist in the dhivya prabandhams;

Or, when ‘no mistakes’ is taken as an adjective for AzhvArs (kOdhilavAm AzhvArgaL), they don’t have the mistake of even a hint of trying some other means on their own for reaching him which in turn would prevent getting emperumAn’s grace, nor do they have any less haste in wishing to reach emperumAn. These AzhvArs are having love without any mistakes.


AzhvArgaL kURu kalaikkellAm – For the dhivya prabandhams divined by the AzhvArs who do not have any blemishes and so can be referenced (pramANam), and all of them speak the same in unison, and their dhivya prabandhams are ‘gyAnak kalaigaL [thiruvAimozhi 1.9.8]’ (pAsurams based on their (faultless) knowledge), and are sAsthras about ‘adhyAthma vidhyai [vEdhArththa sangraham]’ (“jIva paramAthma”).

– for all such dhivya prabandhams

Adhi thiruppallANdu Anadhuvumthis (thiruppallANdu) is foremost among all the dhivya prabandhams; like how:

vEdhaththukku, etc. – As said in, ‘praNavAdhyAs thathA vEdhA: – OngkAra prabhavA vEdhA: [lakvathri samruthi 1.9]’ (All vEdhas include praNavam as first; vEdhas came from praNavam), and ‘vAngmayam praNavam sarvam [vishNu dharmam – 67.6]’ (All the four vEdhas came from brahmA’s face),

(so) praNavam is the essence of all the vEdhas;

starting from ‘OngkArach chAdhA sabdhachcha [Word that is Om], it says ‘thasmAnmAnggaLikAvubhou [so the two auspicious]’, and ‘a ithi bhagavathO nArAyaNasya pradhamAbhidhAnam | kimnAma mangaLam na krutham [What mangaLam has not been done when he has started with ‘a’ (first part of praNavam (a-u-m)), that is the first divine name of bhagavAn nArAyaNan]’ (mahA bhAshyam kaiyadam-1], is having auspicious ways in the beginning,

Like how ‘yadhvEdhadhau svara: prOktha: [thaiththiriyOpanishath nArAyaNavalli 10-24]’ (the sound that is recited first for vEdham) , the praNavam is in the beginning of vEdhas, thiruppallANdu too (is recited first in dhivya prabandhams);

Like said in ‘prApyasya brahmaNO rUpam [hArItha smruthi 8-141]’, etc., (nature of the goal (emperumAn)), all of their meaning is about artha panchakam (five aspects of it – nature of emperumAn, nature of individual soul, way to reach Him, activity/goal of individual soul after reaching emperumAn, and hurdles that stop souls from reaching the goal); since these are divined in his prabandham (thiruppallANdu), and starting from ‘pallANdu pallANdu (thiruppallANdu – 1)’, through ‘sUzhndhu irundhu Eththuvar pallaNdE [thiruppallaNdu -12]’ it is mangaLASAsanam everywhere,

like so, since it is having the quality of being the essence, and being auspicious, there is no issue in this also being the first of dhivya prabandhams.

Some more – Like how thirumanthram that is having praNavam in the beginning is important for reaching emperumAn, thiruppallANdu which is its explanation is also acceptable to be the first (of prabandhams).

Not only that, for all the other prabandhams which talk about the greatness of emperumAn, this prabandham (thiruppallANdu) is present in the beginning and in the end, and so protects the prabandhams.

This protection is as said in ‘brahmaNa: praNava kuryAdhAdhAvanthE cha sarvadha | sravanthyanOngkrutham pUrvam parasthAchcha visIryathE [dharma sAsthram]’ (It is special, that to begin with, for brahmam in all states/stages, in the beginning and end, praNavam is pronounced).

periyazhwar-srivilliputhurperiyAzhvAr – SrIvillipuththUr

With this, it is concluded that like how this AzhvAr is foremost among the AzhvArs, his prabandham also is foremost about the dhivya prabandhams.

– – – – –

English Translation: raghurAm SrInivAsa dhAsan

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SaraNAgathi gadhyam – 5th chUrNai: part 4

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Let us now look at the 8 qualities and several other auspicious qualities which bhagavadh SrI rAmAnuja mentions prior to surrendering to perumAL.

sathyakAma! sathyasankalpa! parabrahmabhUtha! purushOththama! mahAvibhUthE! SrIman! nArAyaNa! SrIvaikuNtanAtha! apArakAruNya sauSeelya vAthsalya oudhArya aiSvarya soundharya mahOdhadhE! anAlOchitha viSEsha aSEshalOka SaraNya! praNathArthihara! ASritha vAthsalyaika jaladhE! anavaratha vidhitha nikhila bhUtha jAtha yAthAthmya! aSEsha charAcharabhUtha nikhila niyamana niratha! aSEsha chidhachidhvasthu SEshibhUtha! nikhila jagadhAdhAra! akhila jagath swAmin! asmath swAmin! sathyakAma! sathyasankalpa! SrIman! nArAyaNa! aSaraNyaSaraNya! ananya SaraNa: thvath pAdhAravindha yugalam SaraNam aham prapadhyEII

The first 4 of the 8 qualities described below are part of bhagavAn’s ability to create the worlds. The next four are part of the path to surrender – that only he can grant us mOksham (SrIvaikuNtam). Again, the terms sathyakAma, sathyasankalpa and parabrahmabhUtha (which are part of the 8 qualities described below) are linked to leelA vibhUthi (materialistic realm or this world that we live in) part of the chUrNai. purushOththama and nArAyaNa are linked to his gUNas (his qualities). mahAvibhUthE and SrI vaikuNtanAtha are linked to nithya vibUthi (spiritual realm or SrIvaikuNtam). SrIman is linked to the chUrNai relating to his consorts. We have already seen the meanings of these 8 words.

sathyakAma – the word kAma has several meanings. It refers to the person who desires something; it also refers to the object of desire. And, it also refers to desire itself. Earlier, SrI rAmAnuja had mentioned this word kAma to refer to the nithya vibhUthi (SrIvaikuNtam). Here he uses it in the context of referring to bhagavAn who owns prakruthi, purusha and kAla and plays with these (as we had seen a few paragraphs back) to fulfil his desire, i.e. there it referred to the objects of desire and here it refers to desire itself. sathya refers to his permanent nature. The objects of creation, AthmAs, the objects of their enjoyments, the equipment through which they enjoy these, the time which determines what and when they will enjoy – all these are playful things for him. We may ask, why something which binds us to this samsAram (materialistic world), which makes it difficult for us to get liberated from, and which hides bhagavAn, should be an object of enjoyment for him. Let us see what will happen if he does not create at all – we will be sticking to his thirumEni (his physical  body) along with achith (insentient) for eons, without ever having a hope of reaching his abode, SrIvaikuNtam. Only because he keeps creating the worlds that a vaSishta or a suka or a vAmadhEva or such sages are able to reach SrIvaikuNtam. We can also then hope to, one day, discard this physical body and be blessed by him to reach his SrIvaikuNtam and carry out kainkaryam to his thiruvadi (exalted feet). An agriculturist, despite facing repeated losses due to some reason or the other when he sows seeds, does not stop sowing or cultivating his land. He still keeps doing it in the hope that some crop or the other will bring him benefit, just as he had got a few times. bhagavAn‘s act in repeatedly creating/protecting/destroying the worlds is similar.

sathyasankalpa – his ability to  create the objects of enjoyment for his ASrithars (those who surrender to him)  to fulfil their desires through his sankalpa (thought or will). The term sathya here refers to his ability never to fail or disappoint his ASrithars. There will be no hurdles in his path to do this. When brahmA (first creation of bhagavAn) created sanaka, sanathkumAra et al, and asked them to help him in creating the world, they refused. brahmA’s creation thus became wasted. Similarly when he lost out vEdhas to aSurars (demons) he fell at the feet of bhagavAn for retrieving the vEdhas. But bhagavAn’s creation doesn’t go waste.

Let us look at the 8 qualities now.

sathyakAma – this term refers to bhagavAn being the owner of all the permanent entities which are the implements or aids for the creation of the world in which jIvAthmAs will take many different physical forms before attaining bhagavAn.

sathyasankalpa – being firm in his will that it will not go waste. Once he decides that a particular jIvAthmA should reach SrIvaikuNtam, no hurdle can impede him in taking his decision to fruition. jIvAthmA has a role to play in this, in that he should have the desire to go to SrIvaikuNtam.

parabrahmabhUtha – he is unimaginably huge. How huge is he? The entire universe, with all its thousands of galaxies forms the body of bhagavAn (also called as brahmam; the term brahmam is not to be confused with brahmA. While brahmA is the creator on bhagavAn‘s direction, brahmam is bhagavAn himself).  That is how huge he is. At the time of pralayam (deluge), the entire chith (sentients) and achith (insentients)  take refuge in him. At the time of creation he takes a sankalpam (will) saying “let me take multitudinous forms” and starts dividing himself into many different objects that we have seen earlier (prakruthi, purushan, kAlam etc). All these objects still form part of his thirumENi (physical body). That would give an idea about how huge he is.

purushOththama – purushAnAm uththama: i.e. highest among purushas (sentients). There are three types of purushapurusha:, uthpurusha:, uththara purusha:, and then there is bhagavAn who is uththama purusha:. purusha: are badhdhAthmAs, those who are still bound to this samsAram (materialistic world). uthpurusha: are mukthAthmAs, those who have been released from the samsAram and have reached SrIvaikuNtam. uththara purusha are nithyAthmAs, those who were never born in samsAram and have always been in SrIvaikuNtam (AdhiSEshan, vishvakSEnar, garudan et al). uththama purusha or purushOththama is bhagavAn, the highest among all the purushas. Even though he resides within the three types of  chith (the three types are bhadhdha, muktha and nithya jIvAthmAs) and three types of achith entities (sudhdha sathvam or pure goodness, miSra thathvam or mixture of sathvam, rajas and thamas which are the goodness, desire/passion and ignorance respectively and kAla thatvam which is time), their impurities will not affect him. He removes the impurities of his ASrithars (those who surrender to him). Moreover, he pervades us all, he bears us all and he owns us all. He grants us all that we (the three types of purusha) desire. He is purushOththama.

mahAvibhUthE – Owner of vibhUthis (worlds). Earlier itself, his vibhUthis have been clarified. Why then repeat it now? Earlier we had seen who all constitute the vibhUthis. Now he emphasises that he will grant his wealth (we have seen this quality under oudhAryam, earlier). If an Asrithar wants him, bhagavAn grants everything to him, even himself to him. He also stays with the ASrithars throughout, in SrIvaikuNtam, giving kainkarya anubhavam (exalted experience of serving bhagavAn).

SrIman – kainkaryam is done to both bhagavAn and pirAtti. Once the jIvAthmA reaches SrivaikuNtam and becomes a mukthAthmA, he enjoys doing service to both bhagavAn and pirAtti.

nArAyaNa – possessing countless auspicious qualities (already seen) without any fault and granting these qualities to the ASrithars for them to enjoy and carry out kainkaryam. Thus, kainkaryam is carried out to the dhivya dhampathis (divine couple, bhagavAn and pirAtti).

SrIvaikuNtanAtha – lord of SrIvaikuNtam, the place fit for carrying out kainkaryam.

Of the above 8 qualities, the first 4 qualities (sathyakAma, sathyasankalpa, parabrahmabhUtha, purushOththama) extol his abilities for creation (of the universe) and the next 4 (mahAvibhUthE, SrIman, nArAyaNa, SrIvaikuNtanAtha) emphasise that he is the entity that we should approach, and enjoy by carrying out kainkaryam. Thus he is the creator and he is the object of enjoyment. SrI rAmAnuja now mentions 24 further qualities of bhagavAn before surrendering to him. Why another 24 qualities when he has already mentioned so many? We can surrender only to someone who possesses great qualities. If the entity to whom we surrender is devoid of qualities, how can we surrender? It is customary to mention all the qualities before surrendering. Even in dhvaya mahAmanthram (one of rahasya thrayam, the three secret manthrams, that our preceptors taught us down the generations), we say that we surrender to SrIman nArAyaNan, in which the term nArAyaNan means one who has great qualities. Thus it is not out of place to keep mentioning the qualities of bhagavAn repeatedly.

In the next few qualities (apAra kAruNya souSeelya, vAthsalya, oudhArya, aiSvarya soudharya mahOdhadhE), the term “apAra” (great, unlimited) is considered to be added to each of the 6 qualities that follow it.

apAra kAruNyakAruNya means being merciful – not being able to tolerate others’ sorrow. It becomes apAra kAruNya (great or unlimited) when bhagavAn extends this to persons like rAvaNa (the demon king of SrI lankA who abducted sIthA pirAtti and separated SrI rAma and sIthA pirAtti) – this incident is mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam when vibhIshaNa crosses the ocean to surrender to SrI rAma. sugrIva, the monkey king and friend of rAma’s, says that rAma should not accept vibhIshaNa as he is a demon and brother of rAvaNa. SrI rAma convinces him by saying that he would accept should rAvaNa himself come for surrendering. Here periyavAchchAn piLLai, the preceptor who wrote vyAkhyAnam (explanation) for gadhyathrayam, mentions that SrI rAmAnuja felt that bhagavAn showered his mercy on him (rAmAnuja) such that even a lowly person like himself was able to compose a work such as gadhyathrayam (this is absolutely untrue, but our preceptors, without exception, considered themselves to be lowly, a quality called as naichyAnusandhAnam, which means imagining oneself to be of lowly nature even though it is not true).

sauSeelya – showing magnanimity when a superior person befriends an inferior. During rAmAvathAram, he became friends with guha, sugrIva and vibhIshaNa. It becomes apAra souseelya when bhagavAn, taking mathsyAvathAram or kUrmAvathAram or varAhAvathAram, befriended fish, tortoises, boars respectively treating himself as one of them.

vAthsalya – the quality of bhagavAn which treats faults in ASrithars as good qualities. apAra vAthsalya here refers to the quality by which he treats even enemies with vAthsalyam. As example, In the case of rAvaNa, bhagavAn killed him in war so that he will not commit further sins – just as a mother will remove hastily a rod that  her toddler takes so that the child will not hurt his/her eyes with the rod.

oudhAryabhagavAn grants the wishes of his ASrithars (those who surrender to him) as per his svarUpa (nature or basic characteristic). apAra oudhArya is when he laments that he has not given anything to his ASrithars even after giving them everything. He did this when he took krishNavathAram and lamented that he did not give anything to dhraupadhi after she surrendered to him when being disrobed in dhritharAshtra’s court. He had sided with her husbands (pancha pANdavas) and got back their kingdom. But still he lamented that he did not help her when she cried out to him.

aiSvarya – having wealth which would enable him to give to ASrithars whatever they want. apAra aiSvarya is giving so much to his ASrithars that they will have enough wealth to give it away to people who ask of them.

soundharyam – being beautiful. apAra soundharyam is possessing such beauty that even an enemy such as sUrpaNakA (rAvaNa’s sister) gets attracted to him (as in rAmAvathAram). When SrI rAma went to various forests to visit rishis (as part of spending 14 years in exile) the rishis felt attracted to his features. That is his beauty. He steals the eyes and thoughts of persons who see him by his sheer beauty.

mahOdhadhE – great ocean. He has these qualities which are bigger than the biggest ocean.

Translation by krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan.

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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


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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


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