Monthly Archives: January 2016

SaraNAgathi gadhyam – 8th and 9th chUrNais

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Both chUrNai 8 and 9 are short ones. Hence we shall see them together in this. First, chUrNai 8:

avathArikai (introduction)

bhagavAn asks of bhagavadh SrI rAmanuja after hearing chUrNai 7, “am I father, mother, relative etc to you alone?”, to which SrI rAmanuja says “you are all these things, to all the entities in the entire universe” in this chUrNai. Now, let us look at the chUrNai:

pithAsi lOkasya charAcharasya
thvamasya pUjyaScha gurUr gareeyAn I
na thvath samOsthyabhyadhika: kuthOnya
lOkathrayEpyaprathimaprabhAva II

Word-by-Word meaning

pithA – father
asi – is or being
lOka – world
asya – this
chara – that which moves
achara – that which is static
thvam – you
asya – this
pUjya – venerable
guru – teacher (AchAryan)
gariyAn – very rare to find (exalted).
na – not
thvam – you
sama – equal
asthi – is
abhyadhika – exceptional or surpassing
kutha – where
anya – other
lOkathraya – among the three different types of people
aprathima – unmatched or incomparable
prabhAva – impact or impression
thasmAth – hence
praNamya – paying obeisance, mentally
praNidhAya kAyam – paying obeisance physically
prasAdhayE – to offer
ISan – lord or one who owns everything
Idyan – one who is fit to be worshipped
thvAm – you
aham – I
pithA– father
Eva – only
puthra – son
asya – this
sakhEva sakhyu: – as friend to a friend
priya: priyAyA: – just as a girl to her lover
sOdum – so do you
dhEva – you
arhasi – qualified or fit

Explanatory Note:

pithAsi lOkasya charAcharasyapithA – father; asi – is or being; lOka – world; asya – this; chara – that which moves; achara – that which is static. You created all the entities such as animals, plants, humans etc which move or are static and hence  you are the father to all the entities in the universe.

thvamasya pUjyasyathvam – you; asya – this; pUjya – venerable. you are highly venerable to all the entities. All these entities look up to you for everything.

gurUr gariyAnguru – teacher (AchAryan); gariyAn – very rare to find (exalted). In the earlier verse the word pUjya was related to bhagavAn being regarded as the biological father; here (in this  verse), gariyAn is related to his quality of bestowing knowledge (gyAnam) and hence defines the boundary for venerability.

na thavathsamOsthyabhyadhika: kuthOnyana – not; thvam – you; sama – equal; asthi – is; abhyadhika – exceptional or surpassing; kutha – where; anya – other.

There is none who is equal to you. How can there be anyone who is superior to you? He stands head and shoulders above everything or everyone else, says SrI rAmAnuja.

lOkathrayEpi aprathima prabhAvalOkathraya – among the three different types of people – badhdhAthmA (samsAris like ourselves, living in this materialistic realm), mukthAthmA (those who have got liberated from samsAram and have attained SrIvaikuNtam) and nithyAthmA (people who were never associated with materialistic realm and were always in nithya vibhUthiSrIvaikuNtam); aprathima – unmatched or incomparable; prabhAva – impact or impression.

You have unmatched impact or impression over the three different types of AthmAs in all the worlds. You are absolutely great!

Let us now move over to chUrNai 9:

avathArikai (Introduction):

SrI rAmAnuja is apologising for carrying out SaraNAgathi (act of surrendering). But what crime did he commit that he should apologise now? He feels that he had been going around doing many acts that are not prescribed in SAsthras (religious treatise), just as a married woman leaves her husband, goes out with several others for a long time and returns to her husband, asking him to give her shelter and protection, going to the extent of saying that he is duty bound to protect her despite her crimes. Such an act of a woman would be considered as the extreme limit of crime; SrI rAmAnuja feels that he too has come to bhagavAn after several births, going to various other dhEvathAs (demi-gods) and indulging in activities not accepted by SAsthram. But why surrender in the first place? It is not possible not to carry out SaraNAgathi either, because at some point of time or the other, just as kAkAsura did in SrI rAmAyaNa, one has to surrender to bhagavAn. Thus, having surrendered, he realises all the mistakes of the past and apologises for the same.

thasmAth praNamya praNidhAya kAyam
prasAdhayE thvAmahamISamIdyam I
pithEva puthrasya sakhEva sakhyu:
priya: priyAyArhasi dhEva! sOdum II

thasmAth – hence; Here, bhagavAn is considered as all the close relatives of the AthmA (mother, father, relatives, teacher etc as seen in chUrNai 7 and 8). A husband or wife will forgive some transgressions. A father will forgive some, so will a mother or brother or such other relatives. Since bhagavAN is all these relatives put together in one form,  SrI rAmAnuja asks for forgiveness for all transgressions that he has committed all along.

praNamya – paying obeisance, mentally.

praNidhAya kAyam – paying obeisance physically; since he has offered obeisance both mentally and physically it is tantamount to offering it verbally too, thus offering it through all three karaNams (media) as mentioned in SAsthras (manO vAk kAyam – mind, speech and body).

prasAdhayE – to offer; who is to be offered here and to whom?

ISamIdyam thvAm – ISan – lord or one who owns everything; Idyan – one who is fit to be worshipped; thvAm – you. Here SrI rAmAnuja requests bhagavAn to offer himself (bhagavAn) to SrI rAmAnuja. If bhagavAn decides to offer himself to his ASrithar (one who has surrendered to him) who can question him? SrI rAmAnuja says that he has committed so many crimes; instead of worshipping and praising bhagavAn, he has been ignoring and hating him. bhagavAn can forgive SrI rAmAnuja of all such crimes and offer himself to him.

aham – I (reference is to SrI rAmAnuja himself), who, instead of worshipping and praising you (here the reference is to bhagavAn), has been indifferent to you all these days and indulging in various crimes. bhagavAn wonders why he should forgive him of such indifference and crime? bhagavadh rAmAnuja offers the reasoning mentioned below, for this.

pithEva puthrasyapithA– father; Eva – only; puthra – son; asya – this. Just as only a father will forgive the transgressions of his son,

sakhEva sakhyu:sakha – friend. Just as only a friend will forgive the transgressions of a friend,

priya: priyAyA:priya – beloved. Just as a girl (or boy) would forgive the transgressions of her (or his) beloved,

sOdum – you are related to me in every way and hence you should forgive

dhEva arhasidhEva – you; arhasi – qualified or fit. SrI rAmAnuja says that bhagavAn, being related to him in every way, is fully apt to forgive him.

With this, SrI rAmAnuja completes quoting from purANas and SAsthras. Next he lists out what all wrong deeds he has committed. We shall see these in the 10th chUrNai.

Translation by krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan.

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pramEya sAram – 10

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pAsuram 10:

azhwar-emperumanarnammAzhwAr – emperumAnAr

Synopsis: Previous pAsurams talked about the fact that one’s AchAryan is a reincarnation of sriman nArAyaNan HIMSELF. It is noteworthy to take cognizance of the phrase “thirumAmagaL kozhunan thAne guruvAgi” in gyAna sAram pAsuram 39.

Having talked about the glories of AchAryan, aruLALa perumAL emberumAnAr concludes his work by explaining the significance of the greatest help that he does.


iRaiyum uyirum iruvarkkumuLLA
muRaiyum muRaiyE mozhiyum
maRaiyum uNarthuvAr illA nAL onRalla Ana
uNarththuvAr uNdAna pOdhu

Phrasal Meanings:

iRaiyum: sriman nArAyaNan, who is referred by “akAram” or “a”

uyirum: jIvAthmAs , who are referred by “makAram” or “ma”

iruvarkkumuLLA muRaiyum: The relationship between them (as illustrated by the 4th degree case ending) that is nothing but “being God” and “being servant”

muRaiyE mozhiyum: The ability to clearly enunciate this relationship

maRaiyum: is thirumanthram that is known as the essence of vEdhas (vEdha sAram)

uNarthuvAr illA nAL: During the time when there is no one (no AchAryan) to explain this relationship clearly

onRalla: the two aforementioned, namely jIvAthmA and paramAthmA, its existence will not make any sense and will be irrelevant (thought they exist, their existence is in line with non-existence)

uNdAna pOdhu: But when an AchAryan

uNarththuvAr: explains the meanings of thirumanthram

Ana: those two come to life


iRaiyum uyirum iruvarkkumuLLA uRaiyum: In the first pAsuram of this grantham that starts with “avvAnavar”, aruLALa perumAL emberumAnAr explained the meaning of “a” and who it refers to. HE is none other than sriman nArAyaNan HIMSELF. In the subsequent phrase, he explained what is meant by “ma”. They constitute anything and everything in this gamut of universe that is not sriman nArAyaNan. This entities are known as jIvAthmAs. The relationship between sriman nArAyaNan and the jIvAthmAs was also illustrated as “avvAnavarukku mavvAnavar”. This would mean “all the mavvAnavar (who are jIvAthmAs) are indeed for the paramAthmA sriman nArAyaNan. This is saying “paramAthmA’s jIvathma” which is like saying “father’s son”. This is the meaning of the 4th degree case ending of “akAram” that would mean that the jIvAthmAs are for the paramAthmA.

This goes by the thamizh grammar book “nannUl”. In explaining the meaning of the 4th degree case ending as represented by the suffix “ku” in avvAnavark”ku”, we should first look at the excerpt from nannUl. It says:

“nAngAvadharkku urubAgum kuvvE
kodai pagai nErchi thagavu adhuvAdhal
poruttu muRai Adhiyin indhaRkku idhu poruLE”

Here, we can see that “ku” would mean “direct relationship (this for that)”. Hence, going by the thamizh grammar, we can see that the phrase “avvAnavarukku mavvAnavar” would mean “mavvAnavar is for avvAnavar”.

muRaiyE mozhiyum maRaiyum: The aforementioned relationship is being clearly explained in vEdhas, in thirumanthram. In gyAna sAram pAsuram 31 (vEdham oru nAngin utpodindha meipporuLum), it was explained that the meaning of thirumanthram is very much treasured throughout the vEdhas. It stands out the elite meaning of the vEdhas.

uNarththuvAr illA nAL onRalla: This relationship between jIvAthmA and paramAthmA was not something that is created at one point of time. It was and is there forever. However, unless the time a jIvAthmA realizes this relationship (through the grace of AchAryan), even though both (paramAthmA and jIvAthmA) exists, their existence is non-existent.

Ana uNarththuvAr uNdAna pOdhu: “Ana” is a verb. It would mean that the jIvAthma and paramAthma would start to exist (Ana) only when the relationship is revealed by someone. Who can be this someone other than one’s AchAryan. Only an AchAryan can clearly enunciate this relationship to a jIvAthmA, as revealed by thirumanthram. This is what is referred by “uvvAnavar uRaithAr” in the first pAsuram of this work. This is the greatest thing that an AchAryan does for a person. nammAzhvAr called this very act “aRiyAdhana aRiviththa aththA”. periyAzhvAr expressed this as “pIdhagavAdaip pirAnAr pirama guruvAgi vandhu”. Thus the greatness and significance of an AchAryan was explained.

end of pramEya sAram!!!

periya jIyar thiruvadigalE sharanam!!!


Translation by santhAnam rAmAnuja dhAsan


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pramEya sAram – 9

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pAsuram 9



In the previous 8 pAsurams starting from “avvAnavarkku” through “viththam izhavu”, aruLALa perumAL emberumAnAr talked about the essence of thirumanthram (Om namO nArAyaNAya) that is split into three parts. In these pAsurams, it was told that one should treat his AchAryan who taught him about thirumanthram, as an incarnation of the supreme lord sriman nArAyaNan. One should realize this and serve him with respect as prescribed by the shAshtrAs. In this pAsuram, aruLALa perumAL emberumAnAr delineates two group of people and talks about the risks and rewards for each of them. In the first group are those who respect one’s AchAryan as incarnation of Lord and serve him respectfully. The second group consists of those who disrespects their AchAryan.


thaththam iRaiyin vadivu enRu thALiNaiyai

vaiththa avarai vaNangiyirAp piththarAi

nindhippArkku uNdu ERA nINirayam nIdhiyAl

vandhippArkku uNdu izhiyA vAn

Phrasal Meanings

avarai – Towards an AchAryan,

thALiNaiyai vaiththa – who kept his lotus feet on the top of a sishyA’s head to remove any ignorance

vadivu enRu – one should regard him as verily Lord sriman nArAyaNan

thaththam iRaiyin – and celebrate him as “our god”

vaNangiyirA – People who does not do this and instead disrespect his AchAryan

piththarAi – who does not realize the true greatness of his AchAryan

nindhippArkku – and dismiss him as just another mortal human

ERA nINirayam uNdu – A hell awaits from which it is impossible to get freed

nIdhiyAl – But for those who worship him as prescribed in the shAsthrAs

vandhippArkku – and respect him with utmost respect

izhiyA vAn – there awaits a world from which there is no point of return and hence no rebirth

uNdu – this is certain


thaththam iRaiyin vadivu enRu: The word “thaththam” is a grammatical transformation of the original word “tham tham”. The phrase “thaththam iRaiyin vadivu” would mean “one’s god’s form”.  Lord sriman nArAyaNan is common to everyone. When a person worships his god, he can refer him as “our god sriman nArAyaNan” because HE is inside everyone including the lesser gods that a person may worship. This lord sriman nArAyaNan is the only leader for everyone. HE manifests HIMSELF as AchAryan and appears in a human form that is accessible to all and removes the ignorance that grows from eons. shAshtrAs show that one should understand that one’s AchAryAn is none other than sriman nArAyaNan HIMSELF.

thALiNaiyai vaiththa avarai: It behooves us to refer to gyAna sAram pAsuram 36 that starts with “villAr mani kozhikkum”. In that pAsuram , the phrase “maruLAm iruLOda maththagaththu than thAL aruLALE vaitha avar”. This describes the AchAryan who kept his lotus feet on top of his sishyA’s head to eradicate any trace of ignorance. Thus the same meaning is reverberated in this phrase that talks about the blessing act of an AchAryan.

vaNangiyirAp piththarAi: Without realizing the true nature and greatness of such an AchAryan, there are some people who does not go after their AchAryan and take refuge at his lotus feet. On top of this, they regard him as just another mortal human and dismiss him. The fact that an AchAryan’s lotus feet will dispel any trace of darkness can be seen in “chAyai pola pAda vallAr thAmum aNukkargalE” (periyAzhvAr thirumozhi 5-4-11).

Once upon a time, there were a bunch of people who approached embAr to get clarification for this phrase “chAyai polap pAda vallAr thAmum aNukkargaLE”. This phrase literally would mean “those who sing this last 10 pAsurams of periyAzhvAr thirumozhi like a shadow will be dear to the lord”. The group of people asked embAr “what  does periyAzhvAr mean when he says “to sing like a shadow” as revealed by the phrase “chAyai pOlap pAda vallAr”. embAr replied them “Well!!! adiyEn does not know the meaning as adiyen did not listen to the meanings of these pAsurams from my AchAryan rAmAnujar. However there should be an interpretation as to why periyAzhvAr sang like that. My rAmanujar has left to thirukkOttiyUr to meet thirukkOttiyUr nambi. So adiyen cannot get hold of him right away”. Saying this he went inside and placed the sandals of his AchAryan rAmAnujar on his head. Instantaneously, he got clarification to this pAsuram. embAr replied “Hey guys!!! Did you not hear what rAmAnujar told just now to me. We should have the phrases as “chAyai polath thAmum anukkargaLE”. Now the meaning would be that those who sing those 10 pAsurams of periyAzhvAr thirumozhi would become so dear and near like a shadow to a body”.

In the ensuing parts of this pAsuram, the risks of treating an AchAryan as human is being discussed.

nindhippArkku uNdu ERA nINirayam: The word “ERA” means unsurmountable and “nIL” is “forever”. “nirayam” is hell and thus the phrase “ERA nIl nINirayam” refers to a unsurmountable hell where a person is tied up forever.  This place is reserved for those who disrespect his AchAryan using shallow words and treat him just like another human being. This hell that is described here is different from the regular hell that is governed by yama. In the hell where yama rules, there is point in time where one gets relieved as mentioned by the phrase “naragamE suvargamAgum”. However, this hell mentioned in this pAsuram is a different one and is special because it is a place of no return.

Thus, we can see that people who regard AchAryan as human being, can never be liberated. Nor would they get any qualification to get liberated. They would be born again and again in this world forever. thiruvaLLuvar described this as “uRanguvadhu pOlum sAkkAdu uRangi vizhipadhu pOlum piRappu”. This means that rebirth and dealth is something like getting up from sleep and sleeping again.

nIdhiyAl vandhippArkku uNdu izhiyA vAn: As mentioned in gyAna sAram pAsuram “thEnAr kamala thirumAmagal kozhunan thAnE guruVagi thannaruLAl mAnidarkkA innilathE thOnRudhalAl”, one should treat his AchAryan as none other than an incarnation of sriman nArAyaNan and treat him with utmost respect as mentioned in the SAsthram. For such people, there is no rebirth as they will be liberated of the worldly bondage forever.

“nIdhi” is the procedure of worshipping an AchAryan and vandhiththal is to worship. “izhiyA vAn” refers to paramapadham from where there is point of no return. In conclusions, we can learn that we should know the true greatness of AchAryan and take refuge at his lotus feet. We do not need to know anything other than this as revealed by madhurakavi AzhvAr in “thEvu maRRu ariyEn” phrase. He did not know anything other than nammAzhvAr’s lotus feet. People who do this would go to paramapadham and be in the elite company of nithyasUris and enjoy the lord. Such people who have this kind of AchArya bhakthi would never be born in this world ever.

Translation by santhAnam rAmAnuja dhAsan


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pramEya sAram – 8

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pAsuram 8


Synopsis: Thus far in this grantham, aruLALa perumAL emberumAnAr dealt with the meaning of “Om” in the first three pAsurams namely, “avvAnavar”, “kulam onRu” and “palam koNdu”. In the ensuing four pAsurams namely “karumaththAl”, “vazhiyAvadhu”, “uLLa padi uNaril” and “illai iruvarukkum”, he discussed the meaning of “namaha”. In this pAsuram, he talks about the meaning of “nArAyaNAya”.

The meaning of “nArAyaNAya” that is revealed in this pAsuram is that one should be an eternal servant to the supreme sriman nArAyaNan and should do service to HIM. This is the highest thing anyone can get. In this word “nArAyaNAya”, there are many layered meanings. They include the insatiable thirst to enjoy sriman nArAyaNa the supreme, the joy of seeing HIM, accepting the fact that there is nothing that can give more joy apart from seeing HIM, serving HIM and finally the modus operandi of how to serve HIM. All these are impregnated in “nArAyaNAya”.  This is what is being succinctly explained in this pAsuram.


viththam izhavu inbam thunbam nOi veekAlam
thaththam avayE thalai aLikkum  – aththai vidIr
ichchiyAn ichchiyAdhEtha ezhil vAnaththu
uchchiyAn uchchiyAnAm

Phrasal Meanings:

viththam: Wealth

izhavu: loss

inbam: happiness

thunbam: sadness

nOi: diseases

veekAlam: time of oldage and consequential death

thaththam avayE: Based on one’s karma

thalai aLikkum: the pain and benefits will be exercised at the appropriate time

vidIr: Please leave

aththai: the thought about it

ichchiyAn: One who does not like anything except the joy of sriman nArAyaNan

ichchiyAdhu – will not look for other benefits

yEtha – He will praise his master sriman nArAyaNan

ezhil vAnaththu: in the beautiful paramapadham

uchchiyAn: where sriman nArAyaNan is on top of

uchchiyAnAm: the head of such a person with such good merits


While explaining the meaning for the phrase “nArAyaNAya”, excerpts like “iLaiya perumALaip pOlE iruvarumAna sErthiyilE adimai seigai muRai (to serve like sri lakshmaNA who served both sri rAma and HIS wife sIthA pirAtti)”, “aththai nithyamAga prArthithE peRa vENum (to keep asking for an opportunity to serve THEM)”, “unakE nAm Atcheyya vENum (to serve YOU and only YOU)”.

In srirAmAyaNam, the concept of “kainkaryam” was shown through sri lakshmaNa. He did not consider sri rAma as his brother. Instead he treated HIM as verily the god. kambanAttAzhvAr says that

“endhaiyum  yAyum embirAnum emmunum
andham il perunguNaththu irAman AdhalAl
vandhanai avan kazhal vaiththa pOdhu alAl
sindhai vengodunthuyar thIrgilEn”

–          kamba rAmAyaNam, ayOdhyA kANdam, paLLidaip padalam 58)

sri lakshmaNa treated sri rAma as his every possible relationship. He regarded that it is his prime duty to serve HIM and thus he went behind sri rAma and served HIM in every possible way.

“agAdhadhu anRAl unakku avvanam ivvayOththi
mAkAdhal irAman nam mannavan vaiyyamIndhum
pOgA uyirththAyar nam pUnkuzhal sIthai  – enRE
yEgAi: ini ivvayin niRRalum yEdham”

–          kamba rAmAyaNam, ayOdhyA kANdam, nagar nIngu padalam146)

“pinnum pagarvAL. “maganE! ivanpin sel; thambi
ennumpadi anRu, adiyArinin yEval seydhi;
mannum nagarkkE ivan vandhidin vA: adhu anREl
munnam mudi” enRanaL vAr vizhi sOra ninrAL

–          kamba rAmAyaNam, ayOdhyA kANdam, nagar nIngu padalam147)

The above mentioned verse are the words of sumithrA, the mother of sri lakshmaNa. The phrase to be noted here is “adiyArinin yEval seydhi”. sri lakshmaNa renounced all relationship with everyone except sri rAma and went behind HIM. He not only served HIM for just 14 years but for his life. This is the definition of how a jIvAthmA should be. This opportunity has to be sought after and got from sriman nArAyaNan. thiruppAvai, that is celebrated as the seed of all vEdhas, says “eRRaikkum EzhEzh piravikkum undhanOdu uRROmE yAvOm umakE nAm AtcheyvOm maRRai nam kAmangaL mArru”. periyAzhvAr said “unakkup paNi seidhirukkum thavam udaiyEn”. nammAzhvAr said “ozhivil kAlamellAm udanAi manni vazhuvilA adimai seyya vENdum nAm. thirumangai AzhvAr said “ALum paNiyum adiyEnai kondAn” and “unakkAga thoNdu patta nallEnai”.

Thus, our ancestors have always had this as their only purpose in life, i.e. to serve HIM forever. During their lives, they did not celebrate any happiness stemming from accumulation of wealth. Nor did they have any sorrows because of their losses. Wealth was always something that ought to be abandoned as taught to us by AzhvArs. This can be seen in many pAsurams. “vENdEn manai vAzhkkaiyai”, “kURai sORu ivai vENduvadhillai” and “nIL selvam vENdAdhAn” are some of the examples. They regarded kaNNan as everything and their only objective was to serve HIM. In order to do this service to HIM, one’s heart should not get side tracked by the gain and loss of other factors like wealth and health. In this pAsuram, aruLALa perumAL emberumAnAr talks about how such a person should be.

viththam: Happiness that arises from wealth that includes the likes of gold, silver and the like.

izhavu: Sorrow that arises from loss of such wealth that is so temporary. thiruvaLLuvar condemned such finicky wealth in “nillAdhavaRRai nilaiyina enRu uNarum pullaRivAnmai kadai”

inbam: Happiness that arises from things that generate pleasures.

thunbam: Sorrow that arises from things that generate pain.

nOi: Diseases that attack the body

vIkAlam: One’s final days in death bed.  (vIdhal means to end)

thaththam avaiyE: The cause of all these aforementioned feelings is nothing but one’s accrued karma.

thalai aLikkum: These karma will start to reap its risks and rewards on a person at the appropriate time whenever it is destined to do so. When a person is born, he is born with his or her inherent karma that carries from the past lives. The effects of karma need to be experienced. No one can escape it. thiruvaLLuvar had talked about this in a separate chapter called as “Uzh”. He said “AkUzhAR thOnRum asaivinmai kaipporuL pOkUzhAR thOnRum madi”. When a person gets wealth, he gets it because of his efforts that is caused by the karmic reactions associated. Similarly, when he loses it, it is again initiated by karma associated to lose it. He also said “pEdhai padukkum izhavUzh aRivagaRRum AgalUzh uRRak kadai”. Even though a person has a lot of knowledge, when he starts to lose his wealth, all the knowledge that he has accrued would not come into his rescue. It would disappear momentarily because of his karma. Similarly, even though a person is a total illiterate, when he starts to gain wealth, because of his karma, he starts to gain knowledge that eventually leads him to get wealth. Hence, the reason for knowledge to expand / shrink is nothing but karma. However, we should be aware that karma related to wealth and karma related to knowledge are separate though it has an interaction at some point of time. It is also to be noted that karma can turn from bad to good and vice versa. thiruvaLLuvar has talked about this in a detailed fashion. The upshot of all this is that those who are really intelligent and knowledgeable should never pay heed to the ups and downs of karmic reactions.

aththai vidIr: aruLALa perumAL emberumAnAr advises all of us that we should never pay any attention to these feelings of happiness and sadness that are nothing but the result of one’s karmic interactions. One who does not gets perturbed by these karmic effects are those who are really successful in their ulterior motive of doing service to the supreme lord sriman nArAyaNan. This is explained in the second half of the pAsuram.

ichchiyAn: This is a person who does not have any interest in any materialistic wealth. Only such a person is capable of doing service to the lord. thirumazhisai AzhvAr said “adakkarum pulangaL aindhadakki AsaiyAmavai thodakkaRuththu vandhu nin thozhiRkaN ninRa ennai”.

ichchiyAdhEtha: One who worships perumAL should never expect anything in return, even if that expectation is paramapadham or kainkaryam. There should never be an ulterior motive behind service for service itself should be deemed as the only thing. As madhurakavi AzhvAr put “pAvin innisai pAdi thirivAn”, doing service itself is the benefit and so there should not be any implicit expectations behind it. “payan therindhuNar onRinmayAl thIvinayEn vALA irundhozhindhEn kIzhnALellAm karandhuruvil ammAnai annAnru pin thodarndha Azhiyangai ammAnai yethAdhu ayarthu (thiruvandhAdhi). Here the word “yEthudhal” is connotated with service to the lord by means of mouth, i.e., singing. This should be extrapolated to include mind and body as well to include all services that are done through mind and body. Hence, the service needs to be done using heart, mouth and body.

ezhil vAnaththu uchchiyAn uchchiyAnAm: If there is such person as described in the previous paragraphs, then that person would be celebrated by sriman nArAyaNan in HIS eternal abode viz. paramapadham. HE would take such a person and place him on HIS head. “ezhil vAnaththu” is paramapadham that is also referred as “viN thalai”. perumAL who is there is known as vaikuntha nAthan is also being referred as “viNmIdhu iruppAi”. That same perumAL is now referred as “ezhil vAnaththu uchchiyAn”. “ezhil vAnam” is the place that is also known as “mOksha bhUmi” or “paramAkAsam” or “the highest place”. The one who is on top of such a highest place is known as “uchchiyAn”. So “ezhil vAnaththu uchchiyAn” is vaikuntanAththan. Such vaikuNtanAthan bears on HIS head, the devotee who is selfless and does service to HIM just for doing service and nothing else. Such a person is what is being called as “uchchiyAn uchchiyAnAm”. The grammar here is 4th degree case ending (nAlAm veRRumai urubu) that would actually be “uchchiyAnukku uchchiyAna”.

In conclusion, we can see that those who are indulged in eternal service to sriman nArAyaNan, would never be perturbed by losses and gains in wealth, deteriorating health, sickness, last days in this world etc. They know that they are all there due to karma and that so would not pay any heed to them. Being in this state, they would never expect anything in return for their service towards the lord.  They would worship the lord not for any other benefit but for the very reason of worshipping HIM. Such devotees when they reach the paramapadham, they will be celebrated by perumAL on HIS head. So it is an advice for all of us to indulge in selfless service to the lord that can happen only when does not gets confused or perturbed by karmic influences in this materialistic world.

Worship should be done without expecting anything in return. To worship perumAL itself is a service. To worship via mouth (thudhithal) is one of the three type of service. The other two being service done via mind and services done via body. The only reason for having a mouth is to praise HIS glories and for nothing else. Some of the excerpts from dhivya prabandham is listed below that supports this point:

  1.       vAi avanai allAdhu vAzththAdhu (209)
  2.       nAkku ninnai allAl aRiyAdhu (433)
  3.       yEthuginROm nAthazhumba (1863)
  4.       nAthazhumba nArAyaNA enRazhaithu (561)
  5.       iravu nanpagalum vidAdhu enRum yEthudhal manam vaiminO (2954)
  6.       pEsumin kUsaminRi (3681)
  7.       vAyinAl pAdi (478)

Translation by santhAnam rAmAnuja dhAsan


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pramEya sAram – 7

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Synopsis: In the previous pAsuram, paramAthmA was described as the ONE and the only ONE who does not have anything to take to make HIM complete. jIvAthmAs were described as the souls that has nothing to give HIM to paramAthmA. Kamban described perumAL sri rAma and HIS divine consort sIthA pirAtti as “marungilA nangaiyum vasaiyil aiyyanum”. He described them in a jocular fashion. He called sIthA pirAtti as one who does not have a hip and sri rAma as the ONE without any complaints. Similarly, the lack of ability to accept anything and the lack of ability to offer anything were clearly dealt in the previous pAsruam. Continuing on the same thought process, aruLALa perumAL emberumAnAr says that there is no one who can win over perumAL. One who realizes this truth is known as “gyAni”. gIthAchAryan (lord krishNa) says that such gyAnis are my souls. Moreover, these gyAnis are the eternal recipient of MY love. I am always bowled over / defeated by their love towards ME”. aruLALa perumAL emberumAnAr celebrates these gyAnis by saying where are such gyAnis found? sri ANdAL described perumAL as “kUdArai vellum sIr gOvindhA” that means that perumAL is someone who gets bowled over by HIS devotees. This pAsuram describes how rare are such gyAnis.


illai iruvarukkum enRu iRaiyai venRirupAr illai
akdhoruvarukku ettumadhO illai kuRaiyudaimai
enRU kURinArillA maRaiyudaiya mArgaththE kAN

Phrasal Meanings

iRaiyai venRirupAr illai – There are no one available who wins over perumAL by thinking that

iruvarukkum – for both jIvAthma and paramAthmA,

illai enRu – have a lack of something.

Akdh- This thought,

ettumadhO – is it something that

Oruvarkku – a person can get?

illai – perumAL has no fault that is caused by

kuRai thAn – having to accept something in order to make HIM complete

enRU – This particular is thought is

maRaiyudaiya mArgaththE – impregnated in vEdhas that is

kURinArillA – something that is not spoken by someone

kAN – Please go ahead and see in vEdhas about this fact!!!


Illai iruvarukkum enRu: There is something that both paramAthmA and jIvAthmA have.  In the case of paramAthma, HE is one without any fault as described the phrase “kuRai onRum illAdha gOvindhan”. However, in the case of jIvAthmAs, there is nothing that they have as described by the phrases “aRivonRumillAdha Aykulam” and “poruL allAdha”.  This is the true state of jIvathmAs and paramAthmA. It behooves us to always think about this truth. If one were to think incessantly on this, to such souls, perumAL sriman nArAyaNan comes and serves them forever. We can look at AzhvArs‘ pAsurams to see examples for this. thiruAimozhis including “vazhavEl ulagu”, “minnidai madavAr”, “kaNgaL sivandha” and  “OrAyiramAi” are examples of where perumAL comes and serves them.  To those people who does not realize this truth, it is impossible for perumaL to come and serve them. This is explained in the following paragraphs.

iRaiyai venRirupAr illai: perumAL does not need to obey anyone. HE is independent and acts upon HIS volition. It is impossible for anyone to control perumAL. However, it is very easy for gyAnis to control HIM. HE is very accessible to such gyAnis as revealed by “paRRudai adiyavarkku iLaiyavan”. Can we see such a gyAni?

akdhoruvarkku ettumadhO: Can anyone incessantly think about perumAL’s total completeness and our total incompleteness? It is highly difficult to practice this in this world that if full of “I” and “mine” (ahankAram and mamakAram). This is why it was said that it is impossible to get perumAL in control.

illai kuRaiyudaimai enRU kURinArillA: This phrase is to be read as “kuRai thAn illai udaimai thAn illai” in order to get the meaning. The word “thAn” comes in between to impart exclusivity which would mean “there is no fault at all” and “there is no possession at all”. As mentioned earlier, for perumAL, there is no fault of getting something from the soul. There is nothing that a soul can give perumAL. This truth is not to be realized easily and the reason for this is explained in the following paragraphs.

maRaiyudaiya mArgaththE kAN:  It is latent in the vEdhas and that is exactly why it is extremely difficult to know it. vEdhas are not something that is being created by someone. It is not confined by time either. It is devoid of faults such as “aiyam” and “thiribu” (unclear and different meanings respectively) and so is the most credible and authoritative body of work. One needs to know the meaning from those who learned it. The word “kAN” literally means “hey look!” and so the author aruLALa perumAL emberumAnAr talks to someone who is infront of him (or it can also be understood as that person is a representative for all of us and hence aruLALa perumAL emberumAnAr advices us). maNavALa mAmunigaL, who wrote the explanation, yearns for such gyAnis aforementioned and thinks if they can be seen in the practical world.

The overall essence of this pAsuram is as follows. perumaL sriman nArAyaNan is complete. The souls are HIS property. Hence there is nothing called “property” of property. This is the secrete purport that is latent in the vEdhas. This meaning can be understood only by people who understand vEdhas and impossible for others. gyAnis, who understand this nature of these two, to them, perumAL dances to their tunes and comes and serves them.  Except for those gyAnis, it is impossible for the people in this materialistic to realize this. Thus the thought about “paramAthmA-jIvAthmA” relationship will make perumAL come and serve a person while the lack of it will make it impossible to do so. nammAzhvAr said “paththudai adiyavarkku eLiyavan piRargalukku aRiya viththagan”. perumAL is very near to people who abide by the shAshtrAs and is very far to all those who does not obey it. kaNNan described gyAnis as HIS soul in bhagavad gIthai. HE was totally accessible to them. ANdAL described kaNNan as one who comes running if periyAzhvAr says “kAppida vArAi”, “pUchchUda vArAi”, “ammam uNNa vArAi” etc. maNavALa mAmunigaL said “gyAniyarkku oppOrillai ivvulagu thannil”.

Translation by santhAnam rAmAnuja dhAsan


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pramEya sAram – 6

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uLLa padi uNaril onRu namakku uNdenRu
viLLa viragiladhAi vittadhE – koLLa
kuRai yEdhum illArkku kURuvadhu yen solleer
iRai yEdhum illAdha yAm

Phrasal Meaning

uLLa padi: If we were to correctly understand and

uNaril – realize the true nature of soul

onRU – then we can see that

uNdenRu – there is

namakku – nothing  on us (who are characterized by lack of anything)

viLLa – We have nothing that we can talk about

viragiladhAi – Our state is truly this and we have no way of talking about us

vittadhE – Look at our true nature!!!

yEdhum illArkku – lord sriman nArAyaNan who is characterized by

yEdhum illAdha – absolute dearth of anything

koLLa kuRai iRai – from us in order to make HIM complete

solleer – Hey folks!!! Please tell me

yAm – We, whose basic nature is to be subservient to sriman nArAyaNan

kURuvadhu yen – what do we have to say on our own, in order to protect ourselves


uLLa padi uNaril: This phrase literally means, “if we were to know and realize the true nature of a soul”. thiruvaLLuvar says “epporuL eththanmai thAyinum apporul mei poruL kANbadhu aRivu”. This means that knowledge/intelligence is nothing but knowing the true nature of the soul. When we look at our world, we perceive things as living things, non-living things. Within that we tend to differentiate it as human, animal, plants etc. We do not perceive the soul that resides in it.  A truly knowledgeable person never sees the peripheral characteristics such as the living/non-living nature or the category/sub-category within it. He sees the true nature of the soul that is inside them. However, it is not very easy to know and realize the true nature of a soul just by ourselves. We should know it with the help of shAshtrAs.  A soul is made of knowledge that we would like to call “conscience”. A soul is personified by conscience. In addition to this, a soul possess the character called “conscience”.  Our scriptures thus describe the soul as (a) that which is nothing but complete conscience and (b) that which possess conscience. So, a soul inherently has the arrogant nature that “I am the one that does this”. If we were to look into this statement carefully, we can unearth something interesting. The souls, though it may be conscience personified etc., it cannot act and do things by itself. It needs someone to guide/enable it to work. That someone is none other than sriman nArAyaNan who is present inside the soul and thus acts as the “soul of the soul”. Hence, sriman nArAyaNan is the soul and the so-called soul becomes the body in which sriman nArAyaNan manifests HIMSELF and guides the soul. Hence, the soul that we know of cannot act on its own. Thus, this soul is only subservient to sriman narAyaNan only and forever. The quality of being a servant to the eternal master sriman nArAyaNan is the real nature of the soul. If one were to realize this, then there is nothing that he needs to do in order to protect himself. thiruvaLLuvar said “iyalbAgum nOnbirka onRu inmai udaimai mayalAgum maRRum peyarththu”. This means that the state of rishis are such that they realize the fact that there is no one else apart from sriman narAyaNan who can be the target of attainment. Without this, if we think that we have something else to attain, then that very thought itself becomes the cause for our rebirth.

onRu namakku uNdenRu viLLa viragiladhAi vittadhE: This phrase means that we cannot open our mouth and brag about not even one thing on our hand that can get us moksham. “viLLa” would mean “to say”. There is yet another connotation to this word as in “viLLa vilagi niRka”. This would refer to the condition of a person who cannot even say that he has his own way to protect himself and so does not need to take refuge under sriman nArAyaNan’s lotus feet. The state of this person who tries to keep himself aloof yet could not do so is what is referenced by “viLLa vilagi nirka”. The basis for this connotation stems from the fact that all the souls act as the body of sriman nArAyaNan and that HE is the actual soul who resides in the body that is made of so called souls. A body cannot function without the support of the soul.

There is a question that surfaces at this point. In our body, we know that there is soul inside. This is a simple relationship of body-soul. Going one step further, what is the soul for the soul? We saw that the soul for the soul is sriman nArAyaNan and hence, if we perceive the soul as the body, the soul of that soul is perumAL sriman nArAyaNan. We also saw earlier that a soul is full of conscience, be it the soul inside us (jIvAthmA) or the soul inside our soul (paramAthmA sriman nArAyaNan). Since it has conscience and so it can and has to do some action on its part. Since it can do action on its own, does the paramAthmA expects an action from the jIvAthmA in the form of saying, ‘Hey paramAthmA, you should protect me”, as a pre-requisite to shower HIS grace? Does it mean that only if the jIvAthmA can say

“oh paramAthmA! Please protect me”, paramAthmA can act upon this and shower HIS divine grace? If HE expects something before HE can shower HIS grace, then that by itself becomes a “fault” for HIM. In addition, we on the other hand, have nothing to give in the first place. This is explained in the ensuing paragraphs.

koLLa kuRai yEdhum illAdha yAm: The body that we have and the soul inside it are all possessions of sriman nAraAyaNan. The body and the soul does not have the ability to function independently. They do not have anything as its possession. So, HE does not expect anything from the body or the soul. This point is being illustrated with a story.

Once upon a time, there was a person who went up to sriman nArAyaNan and said, “Hey Lord! What do I give you? I do not have anything because I am your servant. Whatever things that is deemed as mine are not mine, rather it is yours. Hence, I do not have anything to offer YOU. However, I do have something that I can offer. Those are nothing but the karmAs that I have accrued for eons together. I have that and I can probably offer YOU that. Apart from that, I do not have anything. There is a chapter in SrirAmAyaNam concerning bharatha and sage vashishta that is being dealt here.

Sage vashishta told bharatha, “Hey bharatha!!! sri rAma had gone to forest. Your father dasaratha had reached heaven. So it has be you who should rule the kingdom”. Hearing this, bharatha closed his ears with his hands and uttered, “You said sri rAma had gone to forest. If so, can I take the kingdom, which is HIS possession? If one usurps other’s property, then that is a theft”. bharatha based his arguments based on the likes of scriptures that say “uLLaththAl uLLalum thIdhE piRan poruLai kaLLaththAl kaLvam enal”. Even after this, sage vashishta did not leave him. He continued, “Since sri rAma is not here now, you can take the kingdom that is HIS possession, until HE returns”. bharatha replied, “It behooves an owner to own his belongings. A belonging/possession should not take another belonging. Me and kingdom are both belongings of sri rAma. Hence, I should not take kingdom”. Even after listening to his, vashishtA did not leave him. He continued, “Kingdom is something that does not have conscience. However, you are not like that. You do have conscience and knowledge. So, you, the one who has knowledge can take over the kingdom, the one that does not have any knowledge. I shall give you an analogy to this. A person has lot of jewels. He keeps them in a box and locks it for safety. The box safely protects the jewels. However, both the jewels and the jewel box are the properties of the person. But you can see that the box protects the jewels in it. Similarly, can you, who is a property of sri rAma protect the kingdom, that is also a proprerty of sri rAma? bharatha responded, “svAmi. In the analogy that you gave, both the properties are non-living objects that does not have conscience. The box does not have the knowledge that the jewels are to be worn by the owner. Since it does not have any knowledge it is doing what it is doing. However, I do have the conscience and thus that is exactly why I cannot take control of my master sri rAma’s possessions. Both myself and the kingdom are properties of sri rAma. However the fact that I differ from the kingdom by having the knowledge that the kingdom does not have. I do have the knowledge that I am subservient to my master sri rAma that the kingdom does not have. Hence, I need to stand by that knowledge and be truthful to that and exhibit the qualities of an owned/property. vashishta could not argue after that and accepted bharatha’s argument. This goes ahead and proves the point that even though jIvAthmAs have knowledge, the knowledge is only good when the jIvAthmA realizes the true nature, that is nothing but to be servant to lord sriman nArAyaNan. After realizing the true nature, there is never a time when one can say “I” or “mine”.

Having these in mind, aruLALa perumAL emberumAnAr says that sriman nArAyaNan is complete. HE does not need anything to make HIM complete. On top of it, the jIvAthmAs have nothing that they can call it as “theirs”. So, there is absolutely nothing that they can give HIM. So, taking these two, we can see that HE does not accept anything and we (jIvAthmAs) cannot give anything.  aruLALa perumAL emberumAnAr asks the people who are nearby, “what do you guys say of this”.  Here the word “nAm” in “iRai yEdhum illAdha yAm”  includes aruLALa perumAL emberumAnAr and the people who are before him and the rest of all others except perumAL sriman nArAyaNan. The word “iRai” above would means iota and so “iRai yEdhum” is without an iota. The usage is similar to “agalagillEn iRaiyum enRu” where it means “even for a fraction of second (an iota of time), piRatti will not leave perumAL”. If one were to examine the true nature of the soul, then the characteristic features are (a) being the property of perumAL and (b) because of owner-owned relationship with perumAL, there is nothing that needs to be done by the soul (that is the owned here). HE is complete in all aspects and so HE does not require anything from anyone to make HIM complete. A beggar has nothing to offer a wealth person who has everything. The wealthy person does not need to go to a beggar and grab his money in order to make him wealthier. So, what can a jIvAthmA give? What can paramAthmA take? The answer is no for both questions.

So, having realizing this truth, it behooves a jIvAthmA to know this truth and live by it. The jIvAthma needs to know that it is a property of perumAL and so will have nothing to offer/do on his part. The owner will take care of everything. To lead a life like this is the duty of a person. This is the essence of the second / middle phrase in thirumanthram, namely “nama:”.

At this juncture, we should think of the following chUnikais from srivachanabhUshaNam. “palaththukku Athma gyAnamum aprathishEdhamumE venduvadhu. allAdha pOdhu bandhaththukkum pUrththikkum koththaiyAm”. There are couple of chUrnikais that are “anthima kAlaththukku thanjam, ippOdhu thanjamen enRa ninaivu kulaigai enRu jIyar aruLich cheyvar” and “prApthAvum prApaganum pRapthikku ugappAnum avanE”. There is a story to go with the essence of these chUrNikais. nanjIyar went to one of his sishyas who was in his death bed. The sishya was glad to see his AchAryan nanjIyar and asked him of anything that he should tell in his last moments. nanjIyar replied, “We all are properties of perumAL sriman nArAyaNan. Only the owner should think about ways to protect HIS property and not the other way around. We should never do anything to protect ourselves, be it today or be it during the last moments of our lives. The very thought that we should do something to protect us should go off completely. Only then, sriman nArAyaNan comes to our rescue. Until that point, how much ever a person tries on his part to do something or the other, it is futile and would get him nowhere”.

In srirAmAyaNam, when the rishis met srirAma at the forest, they regarded themselves as babies that are inside the mother’s womb. The reason is that all the actions of the baby inside the womb are under the control of the mother who protects the baby. Likewise, the rishis said that they are under the protection of sriman nArAyaNan. So the activities of a jIvAthmA are not bound by itself but by paramAthmA. This is what is being referred as “pArathanthriyam”. Sometimes, it is being referred as “achithvath pArathanthriyam” to qualify it. This is nothing but the quality of a jIvathmA where by it is like a non-living entity that remains in the same position wherever we keep it. Similarly, the jIvathmA obeys and does not do anything on its own to protect it. It is completely dependent on paramAthmA and so it stays there wherever perumAL has decided to keep it at that point of time. thirukkOLUr peN piLLai ammAL says “vaiththa idaththil irundhEnO bharathAzhvAnaip pOlE”. kulasEkarAzhvAr says “padiyAik kidandhu un pavaLa vAi kANbEnE”. If a person (soul) is in this state, then perumAL out of HIS volition, comes and rescues this person. Our ancestors use the story of what happened at the seashore to corroborate this point.

There were umpteen number of monkeys at the seashore that were destined to guard sri rAma and sri lakshmaNa. They talked amongst themselves that they should guard sri rAma and sri lakshmaNa from the attack of demons. However, as the night grew old, the monkeys could not resist their sleep and dozed off gradually. It was sri rAma and sri lakshmaNa who circumambulated these sleeping monkeys, with bow and arrow in their arms and protected them. Hence, the point is that it is the duty of lord sriman nArAyaNan to protect HIS possessions. It is the duty of a jIvAthmA not to obstruct the protection that is given by the lord.

Translation by santhAnam rAmAnuja dhAsan


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pramEya sAram – 5

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Synopsis: sriman nArAyaNan, the consort of periya pirAtti srimahAlakshmi, offers a soul, a place in paramapadham. This HE does purely out of HIS grace. HE, who is characterized by the supremely intellectual, valorous and the ONE who is respite with kalyAna gunams, is someone who cannot be separated from any person in the whole universe. This is why all the acts HE does towards a person (soul) can only be an act of upliftment for the soul. Having said that there are other ways as prescribed by shAsthras that are actions performed by a person for his own betterment, that include the likes of karma yOgam, gyAna yOgam, bhakti yOgam etc. SAsthram try to test the knowledge of this soul by presenting before itself a multitude of paths to choose from. The souls (persons) who are cognizant of the fact that these aforementioned ways are not ways that can themselves fan fetch the grace of perumAL. Hence, these persons would never accept them as ways in the first place, rather accept only HIS feet as the sole refuge. In doing so, one may wonder if the act of surrender of a person to perumAL is a way to get HIS grace. The answer is that these persons while surrendering unto the lotus feet of sriman nArAyaNan, do so with the thought that their act of surrendering does not constitute as a way to reach HIM. Hence, the ultimate means to reach HIM is HIMSELF only and nothing else on one’s part. If one gets this thought, then even that thought is being fostered into the person’s mind by perumAL, says aruLALa perumAL emberumAnAr.


vazhiyAvadhu onRu enRAl maRRavai muRRum
ozhiyA, adhu onRu enRAl Om enRu izhiyAdhE
iththalaiyAl yEdhumillai enRU irundhadhu thAn
aththalaiyAl vandha aruL

Phrasal Meanings

vazhiyAvadhu = The path (means/ways) called “SaraNAgathi”,

onRu enRAl = if it is to be understood that it is the only path, then

muRRum = all the

maRRavai = other paths that includes karma, gyAna and bhakti yOgam

ozhiyA = has to be renounced without any trace

adhu = The SaraNAgathi path

onRu enRAl = having realized that it is the only path,

Om enRu = if a person accepts and acknowledge it and

izhiyAdhE = yet does not do surrender (because if it is the only path, then the act of him doing is also not a means)

iththalaiyAl = if a person thinks along these lines that

yEdhumillai – there is no good karma / deed that can be done on his own

enRU – and thinks about their “no effort” on their path

irundadhu thAn – and continues to stick by that faith

aththalaiyAl vandha aruL – then that can be possible only solely due to HIS grace


vazhiyAvadhu onRu enRAl: This phrase describes the state of mind of a person who has understood the purport of shAsthrA’s conclusion. This is nothing but realizing the futility of other established means that includes karma yOgam, gyAna yOgam, bhakthi yOgam etc., in independently granting the lotus feet of sriman nArAyaNan. Except for the total surrender approach, also known as SaraNAgathi, the other means need the support of perumAL to fructify. Hence they do not possess the power to take a person to the lotus feet of perumAL, without the help of perumAL. Hence a wise person would never follow these means but would follow the 4th way that is known as ‘prapaththi’ or SaraNAgathi approach, since it is directly connected to perumAL HIMSELF.

maRRavai muRRum ozhiyA: After realizing the futility of other approaches except SaraNAgathi, one should abandom them without any trace. The word “maRRavai” collectively refers to karma yOgam, gyAna yOgam and bhakti yOgam. The word “muRRum” denotes completely to mean that these three approaches should be renounced without any iota of attachment to it. The word “ozhiyA” is a grammatical transformation of “ozhithu”, i.e., to abandon.

adhu onRu enRAl: “adhu” – prapathi or SaraNAgathi . This is also known as “bhagavAn”. The word “onRu” means exclusivity that is attached with bhagavAn and so would mean “bhagavAn only”. This exclusivity is known as “pirinilai EkAram” in thamizh grammar, that means “bhagavAn only and hence no one or nothing else apart from bhagavAn”. This wise person who surrenders unto the lotus feet of sriman nArAyaNan would never even imagine that the act of him performing surrender to perumAL is a way to reach perumAL. This is because the person knows that even his act is not a means to get perumAL.  If a person has the thought that “HE is the means” and always thinks about this thought, then this very thought becomes an impediment to reach perumAL because indirectly the person thinks that this thought of his is actually going to take him to perumAL. This is not true.  In other words, anything done by a person cannot be a means to take one to perumAL. It is HE HIMSELF that can be a means to take one to HIM. HE does not accept anything else apart from HIM. Hence, the word SaraNAgathi in interchangeable with perumAL.  This is why HE is being referred as “adhu onRU”,that is typically used to denote a non-living thing. It is nothing but to illustrate that the path and perumAL are both the same and hence the usage of “adhu onRu” versus “avan onRu”. nammAzhvAr said “adhu idhu udhu edhu”. So the phrase “adhu onRu” would mean “perumAL only and nothing else”.

Om enRu izhiyAdhE: This phrase is to be understood in conjunction with the previous one namely “adhu onRu enRAl”. aruLALa perumAL emberumAnAr continues that a person realizes that only SaraNAgathi path, which is none other than sriman nArAyaNan can be the sole protector. Hence, this person surrenders to HIM with the thought that this particular act of him, namely total surrender, will take him to HIS lotus feet. In other words this person treats his performance of total surrender to HIM as means to reach HIM. SAsthram says that is also wrong and can be a bigger obstacle. The very word “total surrender” implies that one has to leave everything unto HIM, including the thought that he has surrendered to HIM. So the word “Om” in this phrase means that a person has accepted SaraNAgathi as the best path and the word “izhiyAdhE” connotes that the act of a person who does not perform SaraNAgathi with the thought that he has indeed performed it.

iththalyAl yEdhumillai enRU irundadhu thAn: So this begs the questions as to what should a person think of while doing SaraNAgathi. The answer is that the person should not do anything and remain as such with the thought that there is nothing that one can do in order to get HIS grace. The person should think about this vacuum that exists when it comes to the actions that one can take to reach HIM.

aththalayAl vandha aruL: aruLALa perumAL emberumAnAr finally says that if a person gets the aforementioned thought, then even that thought is a result of perumAL’s divine grace and nothing else. In SAsthram, it is mentioned that the only way to get liberated and reach the lotus feet of sriman nArAyaNan is “total surrender”. When one is aware of this highest meaning, he should immediately renounce all other means like karma yOgam, gyana yOgam and bhakthi yOgam. Thus, this would mean that the way to reach HIM is “SaraNAgathi” (total surrender). This implies that a person’s act of doing SaraNAgathi can be a way to reach HIM. This question is burned without any trace in our sampradhAyam and the point that HE only is the means and nothing can ever be and will be. When SAsthram says, “only sriman nArAyaNan’s grace is the means”, the word “only” removes any question that may arise in accepting other yOgams as means. This “only” is a special kind of exclusivity that is known as “pirinilai EkAram”. This EkAram not only confirms the fact that other yOgams cannot be a means, it also confirms that only sriman nArAyaNan HIMSELF can be the only means and nothing and one else. So, if sriman nArAyaNan graces a person, HE does not need anything nor expects anything from him. HE graces out of sheer compassion. This can be seen in the pAsuram “veRidhE aruL seyvar”. Hence, sriman nArAyaNan, blesses and graces a person out of HIS volition and thus there is not even an iota of activity required on a person’s part. If a person is able to understand this point, then there is an implied fact that this person did not do anything on his part to understand this phenomenon. Rather even this ability to understand this and remain idle and do nothing about it, this thought is also given to a person by sriman nArAyaNan. A question may arise here as to is it true that even to do nothing , does one require the grace of sriman nArAyaNan. The answer is “definitely yes”. To do nothing is a great challenge. It is very difficult to remain without doing anything.  So, there is definitely nothing on a person’s part that is required to earn HIS grace. This point has been talked in detail by many AzhvArs. thoNdaradipodi AzhvAr says “vAzhum sOmbar”. periyAzhvAr says “ninarulE purindhirundhEn”. “en uNarvin ullE iruthinEn” says nammAzhvAr. “un manathinAl yen ninaindhu irundhAi” says thirumangai AzhvAr. “nirandharam ninaipadhAga nI ninaika vendumE” says thirumazhisaipirAn. “siru mAnidavar nAm seyvadhen” says AndAL. thirukaNNamangai AndAn lived by this principle.

This can be seen in mumukshupadi chUrNikai (230) that says “avanai ivan paRRum paRRu ahankAra garbham. Avadhyakaram. Avanudaya svIkAramE rakshakam”. An example is being talked about at this juncture. In srirAmAyaNam, sIta pirAtti did not follow any path to be united with sri rAmA. However, it was sri rAmA who did a lot of things including the likes of breaking the bow etc., It is sri rAmA who went towards the place where sIthA pirAtti was. The aforementioned concepts would be clear upon examining these incidents. This is the greatness of sage vAlmIki.

Thus, it can be seen that the concept of total surrender is a lifeless entity just like any non-living thing. It is sriman nArAyaNan’s grace that one gets this thought. In thiruvAimozhi padhigam 6.10 (ulagamunda peruvAyA), we can look at a story that is being dealt in eedu vyakhyANam for “AvAvennum” pAsuram.

nampiLLai asked nanjIyar, “svAmi, people say that there is something called the 5th means to reach perumAL”? Is it really true that there exists a 5th path? nanjIyar replied, “Adiyen does not know about it. HE, who stands as the fourth path is the final path. There is nothing more than HIM”. In arumpadham it is said “this should be carefully observed as something discussed in context of specifically establishing bhagavAn as the only path”.

Translation by santhAnam rAmAnuja dhAsan


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upadhESa raththina mAlai – 32

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pAsuram 32

mannu thirumazhisai mAdath thiruk kurugUr
minnu pugazh villipuththUr mEdhiniyil – nanneRiyOr
Eyndha paththi sArar ezhil mARan pattar pirAn
vAyndhu udhiththa UrgaL vagai                                                                      32


Word by word meaning

mEdhiniyil – In the world
nal neRiyOr – those in good AchAryAbhimAna nishtai (having AchAryan as everything)
Eyndha – being together (for)
paththisArarthirumazhisaip pirAn,
ezhil – beautiful
mARannammazhvAr, and
pattar pirAnperiyAzhvAr,
vagai – detail
UrgaL – of the places
udhiththa – they incarnated
vAyndhu – as a group, are:
mannu – the well established
thirumazhisaithirumazhisai, and
mAdam – having belvederes/balconies (mAdangaL)
thirukkurugUr – (that is) thirukkurugUr (AzhvAr thirunagari), and
minnu – (having) shining
pugazh – greatness (that is,)


mannu thirumazhisai etc. – In this pAsuram he (maNavALa mAmunigaL) is divining that these are the places of incarnation of thirumazhisaip pirAn, and of thirukkurugUr kArimARan that is, nammAzhvAr, and of SrIvillipuththUr pattar pirAn, that is, periyAzhvAr.

mannu thirumazhisai – (In this pAsuram) as he (maNavALa mAmunigaL) is divining the places of incarnation in the same order as their months of incarnation, even though (in the previous pAsuram) after thirumaNdangudi (of thoNdaradippodi AzhvAr who incarnated in the month of mArgazhi) he had not divined about thirumazhisai (thirumazhisai AzhvAr’s incarnation being next to mArgazhi that is the month of thai) (instead in that previous pAsuram he had divined next at that time about thiruvanjikkaLam of kulasEkara AzhvAr related to mAsi month that comes after thai), but here it is to be noted that the ones given are in a sequence.

Or, it can be taken in this way: as he (maNavALa mAmunigaL) had divined earlier as ‘pugazh mazhisai ayyan aruL mARan [upadhESa raththina mAlai – 4](where, after thirumazhisai Azhvar, mARan that is nammAzhvAr was mentioned for the order of incarnation) – for that togetherness also, (here he is mentioning them one after the other).

mannu thirumazhisai – This place is having the ever-present relationship of SrI jagannAthar and (thirumazhisai) AzhvAr, and is being mahIsAra kshEthram thus making the earth lighter – such thirumazhisai. (as when rishis wanted to know a place where they could do their penances etc., and when thirumazhisai was placed in one plate and rest of the places was placed in another plate in the balance, the other places were lighter compared to thirumazhisai, so thirumazhisai was the chosen place for them).

This is south of thiruninRavUr, and near to that place.

thirumazhisai_azhvar_at_thirumazhisai_editedthirumazhisai AzhvAr – thirumazhisai

mAdath thirukkurugUr – As said in ‘mAda mALigai sUzhndhu azhagAya thirukkurugUr [thiruvAimozhi 4.4.11]’ (beautiful thirukkurugUr that surrounds us with palatial galleries), having the decorations and setup as a beautiful city of (AzhvAr) thirunagari.

nammazhvar_bavishyadhAcharnammAzhvAr with nAthamunigaL

minnu pugazh villipuththUr – that is – since ‘pArAr thol pugazhAn pattar pirAn [periyAzhvAr thirumozhi 2.3.13]’ divined his incarnation here, SrIvillipuththUr is having bright (significant) greatness in all directions;


medhiniyil – in the world. As said in ‘SrInagaryAm mahApuryAm thAmraparaNi uththarE thadE | SrIthintriNI mUladhAmnE SatakOpAya mangaLam(we prostrate to satakOpar (nammAzhvAr) under the tamarind tree in thirunagari (AzhvAr thirunagari) situated on the northern banks of river thAmraparaNi), these are the kind of places where these ‘SrImAn’s incarnated;

If asking who they are –

nanneRiyOr Eyndha paththi sArar – (followed by those having good ways)  – ‘nanneRi’ (good ways) is – AchArya abhimAnam – that is, steadfast in those ways, thirumazhisai AzhvAr is followed lovingly by those like kaNikaNNar and perumpuliyUr adigaL who have surrendered to the AzhvAr who knows the correct path.

In this way, it is paththi sArar (bhakthi sAra), that is, thirumazhisaip pirAn who is worshiped by these ananya prayOjanars (not expecting any benefit other than AchAryan);

Or ‘nanneRiyOr’ could also be applied to the mentioned list of AzhvArs. Then it would be (kaNikaNNar, perumpuliyUr adigaL, and)  madhurakavi AzhvAr and ANdAL (respectively). It is they who worshiped in fitting ways to the counterpart (AchAryan?) like proper disciples.

ezhil mARan – (nammAzhvAr) – It is – jagadhAbharaNar that is vakuLabharaNar. ezhil – beauty

pattar pirAn – SrI bhatta nAthar – that is periyAzhvAr.

These three AzhvArs are such that it is very difficult/rare to get them in this earth, and they incarnated for the protection of the sentient, and this is the detail of the places of their incarnation.

These places are in the west, north, and south of SrIrangam which is in the east.

– – – – – – – – – –

Translation: raghurAm SrInivAsa dhAsan

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upadhESa raththina mAlai – 31

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pAsuram 31

thoNdaradip podiyAr thOnRiya Ur thol pugazh sEr
maNdangudi enbar maNNulagil – eN thisaiyum
Eththum kulasEkaran Ur ena uraippar
vAyththa thiruvanchikkaLam                                                                         31


Word by word meaning

maNNulagil – In the earth,
thOnRiya Ur – the city of incarnation (of)
thoNdaradippodiyArthoNdaradippodi AzhvAr
thol – (is the) ancient
maNdankudi – thirumaNdangudi city
sEr – (which is) having
pugazh – greatness,
enbar – say the learned ones;
eN thisaiyum – those in all the eight directions
Eththum – revere (the)
kulasEkaran Ur – city of incarnation of kulasEkarAzhvAr
vAiththa – (which is) suitable for the svarUpam (true nature)
thiru – (is the) beautiful
vanjikkaLam – city named vanjikkaLam,
enRu uraippar – say the learned ones.


In this pAsuram, he is divining about thoNdaradippodi AzhvAr’s and kulasEkarap perumAL’s places of incarnations.

thoNdaraip podiyAr thOnRiya Ur thol pugazh sEr maNdangkudi enbar maNNulagil – In this earth the place of incarnation of thoNdaradippodi AzhvAr is ‘thol pugazh sEr maNdangudi enbar’ – thirumandangudi which is having natural greatness and suitable, is the place of incarnation of thoNdaradippodi AzhvAr who is an expert of the vEdhas, say the learned ones. Staunch vaidhikas who nurture that greatness of (his) incarnation would be according to ‘maNdangudi enbar mAmaRaiyOr thoNdaradippodi thonnagaram [thiruppaLLiezhuchchi thaniyan] ’ (same meaning as this phrase).

Since it is an ancient city, it has got well established greatness. Also this is very close to thiruppuLLam bhUthangudi dhivyadhEsam isn’t it?

Mandangudi Thondaradipodi Azhwar-003thoNdaradippodi AzhvAr with his flower basket, at thirumandankudi

eN thisaiyum Eththum kulasEkaran Ur ena uraippar vAyththa thiruvanjikkaLamHis (kulasEkarap perumAL’s) bhakthi (devotion) towards bhagavAn and bhAgavathas (devotees) is such that it is revered by everyone in all the eight directions; such kulasEkarap perumAL who is ‘mudi vEndhar SikAmaNi [perumAL thirumozhi thaniyan]’ (crest jewel on the heads of the emperors) incarnated in the place of thiruvanjikkaLam which is a suitable one.

kulasekarazhvar_thiruvanjikkalam_2012_DSC01809kulasEkarap perumAL as divining from thiruvanjikkaLam

vAyththa – coming together.

This is in kEraLa dhESam, under the name of nisuLA which is a big city. This is near what is presently called as thiruviththuvakkOdu that is the dhivya dhESam of thiruviRRuvakkOdu.

– – – – – – – – – –

Translation: raghurAm SrInivAsa dhAsan

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upadhESa raththina mAlai – 30

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pAsuram 30

eNNarum seerp poigai munnOr ivvulagil thOnRiya Ur
vaNmai migu kachchi mallai mAmayilai – maNNiyil neer
thEngum kuRaiyalUr seerk kaliyan thOnRiya Ur
Ongum uRaiyUr pANan Ur                                                                              30


Word by word meaning

seer – greatness
eNNa arumthat is hard to fully count/comprehend; (such)
poigai munnOrpoigai AzhvAr, bhUthaththAzhvAr, pEyAzhvar
thOnRiya – divined their incarnations
ivvulagil – in this world
vaNmai migu – bountiful / generous
Ur – cities / places of
kachchi – thirukkachchi (kAncheepuram)
mallai – thirukkadanmallai (thiruk kadal mallai)
mA mayilai – and great thiru mayilai (mylApore / thiruvallikkENi)
seer – Great
kaliyanthirumangai AzhvAr
thOnRiya – divined his incarnation
Ur – in the city / place, (where)
maNNiyil – river maNNi
thEngum – is full of
neer – water, (that is),
kuRaiyalUr – thiruk kuRaiyalUr.
pANanthiruppANAzhvAr (divined his incarnation in the)
Ur – city / place of
uRaiyUr – thiru uRaiyUr.


Starting with ‘anthamizhAl naRkalaigaL Ayndhu uraiththa AzhvArgaL [upadhEsa raththina mAlai – 5]’, till now, he (maNavALa mAmunigaL) explained in detail for everyone to know, about the divine name, month and star day of divine incarnation of AzhvArs, and their divine prabandhams as said in ‘vAzhvAna thirumozhigaL’.

After this, he divined in his mind that since AzhvArs’ places of incarnation are also of importance to us similar to ayOdhyA, mathurA, etc., he starts to divine about them through four pAsurams; in this first one of that series, starting with poigaiyAr, he is divining about five of the AzhvArs’ divine places of incarnation, starting the pAsuram with ‘eNNarum seer’.

That is, the first three AzhvArs, that is mudhalAzhvArs, whose auspicious qualities could not be counted / comprehended as said in ‘eN il thol pugazh [thiruvAimozhi 3.3.3]’ (~  (emperumAn) having uncountable greatness). He (maNavALa mAmunigaL) is showing that these are the places in which incarnations were divined by such AzhvArs whose qualities are of big uncountable groups, saying – vaNmai migu kachchi mallai mA maiyilai

That is, big cities like kachchi (kAncheepuram), etc., are the aforementioned three AzhvArs’ places of incarnation.

vaNmai (bountiful / prosperity) for kachchi is – as said in ‘niRaindha seermai neeL kachchi [periya thirumozhi – 2.9]’ (~ kachchi with full of greatness), it is filled with dhivya dhESams, and is also beautiful having decorations of a city as said in ‘azhagAya kachchi [periya thirumozhi 2.9.1]’ (beautiful kachchi). It is to be said as ‘ninRan irundhAn kidandhAn [periya thirumozhi 2.4.1]’ (standing, sitting, and lying poses of emperumAn), and ‘idhuvanRO manRAr pozhiR kachchi mANbu’.

Or, the greatness of helping the samsAris to have true life by seeing the sarvESvaran lying down in kachchi vekkA, and see poigai AzhvAr who came and rose (incarnated) in kachchi.

mallai – After saying ‘mallai kachchik kidandhavan Ur [periya thirumozhi 2.6.5], he said ‘kadal mallaith thala sayanam [periya thirumozhi 2.6.6.]’ (~ thirukkadal mallai dhivya dhESam, with sthala sayana perumAL), isn’t it? So kadal mallai that is equal to kachchi. It is said as ‘vangaththAl mAmaNi vandhu udhu munneer mallaiyAy! [thirunedunthANdakam – 9]’ (~ thirukkadal mallai dhivya dhEsam where priceless gems are washed to the shore by the sea of boats/ships). This place is having priceless jeevAthmA and Isvaran, isn’t it?

That is, it is having both bhuthaththAzvhAr as said in ‘seethaththAr muththukkaL sErum kadal mallai bhUthathAr [iraNdAm thiruvanthAdhi thaniyan]’ ((with the inner meaning of) bhUthaththAzhvAr the priceless pearl of thirukkadal mallai), and the emperumAn as said in ‘kadal mallaith thala sayanaththu uRaivAr [periya thirumozhi 2.6.1] (~ sthala sayana perumAL in lying position at thirukkadal mallai)’.

mA mayilai – As said in ‘neeLOdham vandhalaikkum mA mayilai [nAnmugan thiruvanthAdhi – 35] (~ great city of mayilai where the waves rush to gently touch the feet of emperumAn)’, it is suitable for pEyAzhvAr to come and incarnate in this place that is a big city. Same is said in ‘vandhu udhaiththa veN thirigaL [mUnRam thiruvanthAdhi – 16], etc. That (place) is also being in the same (great) way.


seerk kaliyan thOnRiya Ur maNNiyil neer thEngum kuRaiyalUr – That is, as said in ‘koNda seerth thoNdan [periya thirumozhi 8.10.10]’, having auspicious qualities like gyAnam (knowledge), bhakthi (devotion), etc., and due to that, as said in ‘arumpeRal anbu pukkittu adimai pUNdu uyndhu [thirunedunthANdakam – 5]’, having the wealth of kainkaryam (subservience) through speech and body – such thirumangai AzhvAr.

Or, ‘seerk kaliyan’ to call as kaliyan (having strength) as he grabbed the ring from divine feet, and other things like anguLiyam, dresses, jewels, and then stole His whole wealth that is thirumanthram – such greatness.

It is said, ‘avaLukkuth thiruvadigaL koduththa thiruvAzhi modhirathO pAdhi ivanukku AchAryan prasAdhiththa thirumanthramum’. (Like the ring that thiruvadi (hanuman) gave to seetha pirAtti, Acharyan has divined him (us) the thirumanthram).

kaliyan_uthsavam_thiruvali_thirunagari_thirumangai_azhvar (Large)thirumangai AzhvAr at thiruvAli thirunagari

AzhvAr having such divine wealth, and his place of birth is having the wealth of water in the rivers similar to that in thirunagari, as said in ‘pongu punal maNNi [periya thirumozhi 4.1.4, and iyal sARRu](Rich water resources of maNNi river).

Due to this wealth it is said ‘kali mikka sennel kazhani [rAmAnusa nURRanthAdhi – 88]’ (paddies with bustling and rich grains). This is also like ‘kali vayal thennan kurugUr [thiruvAimozhi 5.2.11]’ (paddy fields of AzhvAr thirunagari that are constantly planted and reaped).

That thirukkuRaiyalUr is such that it can be said as a part of thirunagari (in wealth of water, paddy fields, etc).

kuRaiyalUr seerk kaliyan thOnRiya Ur, Ongum uRaiyUr pANan Ur There is togetherness of month and star days for them (both AzhvArs (thirumangai AzhvAr and thiruppANAzhvAr) incarnated in the month of kArththigai, and star days of kArththigai and rOhiNi).

pANan Ur Ongum uRaiyUrEminence of uRaiyUr is – due to the incarnation of him who is in the clan that is eminent due to being amicable to subservience.

{ SrIvachana bhUshaNam explains that those in the last varNams naturally have subservience and so it is a great birth – naichyam janma sidhdham; AgaiyAl uthkrushta janmamE srEshtam – 216,217}

Also, as said in ‘kOzhiyum kUdalum kOyil koNda kOvalar [periya thirumozhi 9.2.5]’ ( (emperumAn) like a gOpalakrishNan who is having the place of stay as uRaiyUr, and kUdal (then madhurai)), sarvEsvaran is happily present in this dhivyadEsam (uRaiyUr), and with pirAtti being identified with the name of the dhivyadhEsam as ‘thiruvAzh uRanthai’, and ‘uRaiyUr valliyAr’, as this is the place of her birth – the greatness due to these, for uRaiyUr.

So it says that the place having such greatness is the avathAra sthalam (place of incarnation) of thiruppANAzhvAr.

thiruppANAzhwarthiruppANAzhvAr – uRaiyUr

This (uRaiyUr) is the area (thuRai) that is opposite to ‘thirumugath thuRai’ (emperumAnAr’s usual place of bathing (guruparamparA prabhAvam – page 262]); so a place suitable to have mutual reciprocation between bhagavAn and his devotees due to the emperumAnAr’s relationship in this place (edhir vizhi kodukkaikku pAngAna dhESam AyiRRu).

– – – – –

Translation: raghurAm SrInivAsa dhAsan

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srIvaishNava education/kids portal –