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