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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