Daily Archives: July 13, 2016

thiruvAimozhi – 3.1.7 – vAzhththuvAr palarAga

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Previous pAsuram


Introduction for this pAsuram

Highlights from thirukkurukaippirAn piLLAn‘s introduction

No specific introduction.

Highlights from nanjIyar‘s introduction

In the seventh pAsuram – when asked “What if everyone praises you together, or if most intelligent rudhra et al praise you [would that be possible]?” AzhwAr replies “Because rudhra was created by brahmA who was created by you, the praise by those with narrow knowledge will only conceal your auspicious qualities”.

Highlights from vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyar‘s introduction

See nanjIyar‘s introduction.

Highlights from periyavAchchAn piLLai‘s introduction

See nanjIyar‘s introduction.

Highlights from nampiLLai‘s introduction as documented by vadakkuth thiruvIdhip piLLai

Seventh pAsuram. emperumAn says “Leave aside vEdham. There are certain individuals who are known as vaidhika purushas (well versed in vEdham such as vyAsa et al). What about their praising me?” AzhwAr replies “Even that will only minimize your glories”.


vAzththuvAr palarAga nin uLLE nAnmuganai
mUzhththa nIr ulagellAm padai enRu mudhal padaiththAy
kEzththa sIr aran mudhalAga kiLar dheyvamAyk kiLarndhu
sUzhththamarar thudhiththAl un thol pugazh mAsUNAdhE


Word-by-Word meanings (based on vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyar‘s 12000 padi)

(since emperumAn is known as sthavapriya (one who likes to be glorified))

vAzhththuvAr – those who praise you
palar – many
Aga – to exist
nin uLLE – in your will
nAnmuganai – four headed brahmA
mUzhththa nIr – in the causal ocean
ulagellAm – all the worlds
padai – you create
enRu – saying thus
mudhal – as the primary entity
padaiththavanE – oh one who created!

(being created by such brahmA)
kEzhththa – abundance
sIr – having qualities such as gyAnam etc
aran – rudhra
mudhalA – starting with
kiLar – those who are with risen divine powers
amarar – having immortality [to a limited extent]
dheyvamAy – dhEvathAs
kiLarndhu – zealously
sUzhththu – covering (the qualities which reap benefits [for them])
thudhiththAl – if they praise
un – your
thol – natural (ancient)
pugazh – radiant qualities
mAsUNAdhE – would they not become tainted?

Simple translation (based on vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyar‘s 12000 padi)

Oh one who being the primary entity, created the four headed brahmA in the causal ocean saying to him “you create all the worlds” so that many of those who praise you exist! Even if such dhEvathAs starting with rudhra et al who are having immorality [to a limited extent], who are with risen divine powers, praise you, covering those qualities which reap benefits [for them], would your naturally radiant qualities not become tainted?

vyAkyAnams (commentaries)

Highlights from thirukkurukaippirAn piLLAn‘s vyAkyAnam

See vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyar‘s translation.

Highlights from nanjIyar‘s vyAkyAnam

See nampiLLai‘s vyAkyAnam.

Highlights from periyavAchchAn piLLai‘s vyAkyAnam

See nampiLLai‘s vyAkyAnam.

Highlights from nampiLLai‘s vyAkyAnam as documented by vadakkuth thiruvIdhip piLLai

  • vAzhththuvAr palarAgabhattar explains this as “Yes, there are many who can praise emperumAn. But what greatness do they have over vEdham [which is eternal and free from blemish]?” Alternatively, this is explained as – to create many who can praise emperumAn.
  • nin … – With a very small fraction of your will, you created brahmA telling him “you create these worlds which are surrounded by water”. It can also be explained as – you created brahmA saying to him “mUzhththa nIrilE” (in the great causal ocean), “lOkangaLai uNdAkku” (you create the worlds). Is there any way for those created by brahmA, who was created by you, to praise you? [this explains bhattar‘s view point]

When asked “But apart from those (vaidhika purushas such as vyAsa et al), what if we also included dhEvathAs rudhra et al? Can they praise your glories?”, further it is explained that, even for them “it is not possible to do so”.

  • kEzhththa … – If we leave aside these helpless group, is it possible for greatly powerful personalities to comprehensively glorify you? kiLarndha sIr – qualities such as gyAnam etc; if each of those dhEvathAs starting with rudhra, who are at times confused to be supreme, who have such great knowledge, who have a very long life, attempts to praise different qualities which reap different benefits, would such praising cause disgrace to your naturally auspicious qualities? [yes they will, in the sense that] “his  qualities are only as great as they are able to praise [while in reality the greatness of his qualities are unlimited]”. In that sense, will their praising you not become a disgrace for you (emperumAn)?

In the next article we will enjoy the next pAsuram.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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rAmAnusa nURRanthAdhi – 31

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Introduction (given by maNavALa mAmunigaL)

From time immemorial we who had been born in numerous ways have now without any effort from us have got the divine feet of emperumAnAr – with the intense love due to this, he (amudhanAr) is addressing his mind in this way.

Introduction (given by piLLailOkam jIyar)

Like in general, when some one would tell only his close ones when he gets some treasure, he (amudhanAr) is also telling his mind that is common for bondage and liberation: for various types of times (days, months, etc.) we had been coming living in various forms like dhEvas, (manushyas,) etc., and have come to this stage; now without any means from our side, we have joined emperumAnAr whose love towards the divine feet of the one with beautiful shoulders that is pEraruLALan (kAncheepuram), that love is like an ornament; we have joined such emperumAnAr and got the true state, you see! Saying so to his mind amudhanAr is very joyful.

ANdugAL nAL thingaLAy nigazh kAlamellAm manamE
eeNdu pal yOnigaL thoRuzhalvOm inRor eN inRiyE
kAN thagu thOL aNNal then aththiyUrar kazhal iNaik keezh
pUNda anbALan irAmAnusanaip porundhinamE                    31


Word by word meaning (given by maNavALa mAmunigaL)

manamE – Oh the mind which is together with me in both the times of bondage and liberation (bandham and mOksham)
nALay – by days
thingaLAy – by months
ANdugaLAy – by years
nigazh kAlam ellAm – been here, life running in all such times,
as dhEvas, manushyas etc., types of categories, and as countless sub types within them
eeNdu – gathered in various such times/forms (lived as humans etc., where we lived in years, months, days, and innumerable such births; Or, like being born in life forms that live for a few days only, few months only, etc., )
pal – in various different
yOnigaL thORum – birth categories, in each such manner,
uzhalvOm – we, who take on various bodies (births) repeatedly
inRu Or eN inRiyE – (eN -> thoughts) today when not having any (better) thoughts in the mind (to do something to break the cycle of birth, etc., or try some means for that, etc.); was doing same things as before; there was not something that I could do;
thOL – having such divine shoulders, so is desirable by the quality of beauty as well,
kAN thagu – which befit seeing,
aNNal – our master as spelled out (in the vEdhas etc.)
then – who is beautiful to see
aththiyUrar  – who is named based on aththiyUr (hasthigiri – kAncheepuram), as aththiyUrar, that is, pEraruLALap perumAL (varadharAjap perumAL); his –
iNai – (each divine foot) which can be compared only to each other;
kazhal keezh – under such divine feet
pUNda – having attachment
anbALan – and having friendship/love
irAmAnusanai  – that is emperumAnAr;
porundhinamE  – we (the mind and me) got to reach such emperumAnAr.

dhEvapperumAL_DSC_1033_1then aththiyUrar


ANdugaL nAL thingaLAy nigazh kAlamellAmAs said in ‘kalA muhUrthA: kAshtAScha ahOrAthrAScha sarvaSa:, ardha mAsA mAsArithavath samvathsaraScha kalpathAm’ (~ ), and in ‘nimEshO mAnushO yOsau mAthrAmAthrapramANatha: | thairashtAdhasabhi: kAshtA thrimSath kAshtA:kalAsmruthA|| nAdikAthu pramANena kalAdhaSasapanchacha | nAdi gApyAmathadhvAbhyAm muhUrththOdhvijasaththama || ahOrAthra muhUrththAmsthu thrimSanmAsasthuthaisthathA | mAsairdhvAdhasabhir varsha mahOrAthramthuthathdhivi’  (~ 1 blink of eye is called nimishA (not ‘minute’); 15 blinks of eye = one kAshtA; 30 kAshtA = one kalA;  30 kalA = 1 mUhurtha; also 15 kalA =  1 nAzhigai; 2 nAzhigai = 1 muhUrtha; and 30 muhUrtha = 1 nAL (day);  15 nAL = 1 paksha; 2 paksha = 1 mAsa (month); 12 mAsa = 1 samvathsara (year) ) – in all such categories of times (as we have lost time doing other things, by all these categories of times).

eeNdu pal yOnigaL thORu uzhalvOmAs there are numerous sub-types within each of species of dhEva, manushya, etc., we enter into each such sub-types many times, and go in cycles; as said in ‘mARi mArip pala piRappum piRandhu [thiruvAimozhi – 2.6.8]’ (being born time and again in many types of beings, that is, this cycle of birth and death), we have been around in this cycle, time eternal; eeNdu – (be born in groups of these births);

manamE Oh mind who is common for both bondage and liberation, and who is the way for knowledge to be routed! You have known about the aforementioned ways of us – saying so, amudhanAr is conversing with his close associate, his mind. As said in ’Evam samsruthi chakrasthE bhrAmyamANE svakarmabhi: jeevE dhu:kAkulE’ (~ due to his karma he keeps being born), we have been through all of these births.


Or eN inRiyE – without my thinking about anything (for getting out of the cycle); without my doing any service, which I could based on true knowledge, to the divine feet of emperumAnAr,

kAN thagu thOL aNNalAs said in ‘AyadhAScha suvrthAScha bhAhava:parikOpamA: sarva bhUshaNa bhUshArhA:’, having the divine shoulders, and who came as emperumAnAr‘s companion from vindhyA forest all the way to kAncheepuram (anishta nivruththi), and being a great helper who conveyed through thirukkachchi nambiaham Eva param thathvam’ (ishta prApthi); (that is, He is the protector).

ARu_vArthaidhEvap perumAL’s six answers to emperumAnAr          

then aththiyUrarbeing beautiful to see, and as said in ‘nagarEshu kAnchee’ – such city of kAnchee, and he himself (hearsay, this is said by emperumAnAr🙂 said:‘SrI hasthiSaila SikarOjvala pArijAtham’, in such a place of hasthigiri, such pEraruLALap perumAL who is the lord (as shown by vEdhas);

kazhal iNaik keezh – They are purifying and for enjoyment – the two divine feet are equal only to each other; under such divine feet –

pUNda anbALansuch dhEvapperumAL’s is decorated by emperumAnArs’ intensity of devotion;

irAmAnusanaithat is, such emperumAnAr

porundhinamEAs said in  ‘un adik keezh amarndhu pugundhenE [thiruvAimozhi – 6.10.10]’ (~ I am well set under your divine feet), and ‘rAmAnuja padhachchAyA’ (shadow of emperumAnAr‘s feet), we have got set in emperumAnAr’s divine feet, you see! Thus, saying so to his mind, amudhanAr is being very happy for the good life he has been bestowed.

From AzhwAr thirunagari SrI U.Ve. vidhwAn thirumalai nallAn chakravarththi rAmakrishNa iyengAr’s ‘amudha virundhu’:

kANdagu thOL  .. pUNda anbALan – thiruvadi (hanuman) immersed in the beauty of shoulders of chakravarthi thirumagan in the forest when they first met; when pEraruLALan returns from procession and then removes the divine garlands, emperumAnAr enjoyed looking at the beauty of His shoulders; in the forest of vindhya mountains  pEraruLALan in the form of hunter showed the strength of His shoulders and brought emperumAnAr safely to aththiyUr – due to this emperumAnAr is fond of those shoulders.

then aththiyUrarthe place of mountain where dhEvapperumAL resides is called aththigiri (hasthigiri). aththi -> elephant. (giri -> mountain). Since the dhig gajangaL (protectors of the directions) worshiped this place, it is called aththigiri.

bhUthaththAzhvAr also said about this place – ‘aththiyUrAn puLLaiyUrvAn [iraNdAm thiruvanthAdhi – 96]’ (He is presiding in aththiyUr, having periya thiruvadi (garudan) as His carrier).  What is referred as ‘perumAL kOil’ is also this aththiyUr.

Note that instead of saying ‘kachchi’ which refers to kAncheepuram, amudhanAr has mentioned ‘aththiyUr’.  ‘kachchi’ also includes other dhivya dhEsams like Urakam, pAdakam, etc., so aththiyUr refers specifically to the place where dhEvapperumAL resides.

pUNda anbALan -> pUNda -> very strong;  even when residing in thiruvarangam, emperumAnAr was having ‘then aththiyUrar’ for his thiruvArAdhanam.

kAN thagu thOL aNNal – could be applied as adjective to emperumAnAr. By this, the quality of his divine body is mentioned; by anbALan (having love towards), the quality of his Athma is mentioned.

irAmAnusanaip porundhinamE – have got attached to emperumAnAr‘s divine feet in here and in the other world as well, without any separation ever.

– – – – –

Translation: raghurAm SrInivAsa dasan

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Arththi Prabandham – 11

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vaduganambi-avatharasthalamvaduga nambi


In this pAsuram, maNavALa mAmunigaL assumes that SrI rAmAnuja asks him a question. The question is “hey!!! maNavALa mAmunigaL! As per the phrases ‘nizhalum adithArumAnOm (periya thiruvandhAdhi 31)’, ‘mEvinEn avan ponnadi (kaNNinuN chiRuth thAmbu 2)” and ‘rAmAnuja padhachchAyA (embAr’s thaniyan), you yearned for the state of those devotees who are the embodiment of pArathanthriyam”. (pArathanthriyam is a quality by which the servant (owned) is completely dependent on the master(owner). The master uses the servant at his will and the servant because of his true nature does not voice any concern at any time.) SrI rAmAnuja continues, “this kind of connection with me is only possible for the likes of vaduga nambi”. maNavALa mAmunigaL answers to this by saying that “hey SrI rAmAnuja!!! Please give me the state of vaduga nambi who knew no god apart from you. Please inculcate that state in me. After doing that, please use me in whatever way you want to for how much ever time you desire”.

unnaiyozhiya oru dheivam maRRaRiyA
mannupugazhsEr vaduga nambi than nilayai
enRanakku nI thandhu ethirAsA ennALum
unRanakkE AtkoL ugandhu


thirumAlai – avathArikai (Introduction) – Part 1

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periyavAchchAn piLLai, the vyAkhyAthA (commentator) for thirumAlai, has written a very detailed avathArikai for it. It is a fairly lengthy one and we shall see it in two parts.

emperumAn SrIman nArAyaNan is the purushArtham (ultimate goal) for all AthmAs, whether they are in nithya vibhUthi (SrIvaikuNtam or spiritual realm) or in leelA vibhUthi (samsAram or materialistic realm). The nithyasUris (those who are in nithya vibhUthi) know this fully well and enjoy emperumAn. samsAris (those who are in materialistic realm), on the other hand, mistake physical body for AthmA and spend their time in satisfying its needs by feeding on sensory perceptions. This goes on from time immemorial. thoNdaradippodi AzhwAr, before he became AzhwAr, was in such a frame of mind. emperumAn, desiring to bring  the AzhwAr into his fold, mercifully shows the greatness of his thirunAmam (exalted name). His thirunAmam, in turn, explains the features of his svarUpam (basic nature), rUpam (his thirumEni or exalted physical form), guNam (his auspicious qualities) and his vibhUthi (his wealth). AzhwAr immerses himself in the greatness of emperumAn’s thirunAmam in the first 3 pAsurams (hymns) of thirumAlai . In the next 11 pAsurams, he shows this greatness to all the samsAris (people like us) so that they could also move away from samsAram and move towards the path to liberation. Finally he makes emperumAn himself very pleased, in the 45th (final) pAsuram.

[periyavAchchAn piLLai next writes about samsAram and who a samsAri is. When we read it, we would start wondering whether we should stay in this samsAram any more. Even if it is not possible to leave it immediately, as we age (grow old), we should at least show some sense of detestation towards it; otherwise, all the works of AzhwArs, SAsthras, purANas, ithihAsas, upanishadhs etc will go waste. We should read this wonderful avathArikai of periyavAchchAn piLLai every few months, to affirm to ourselves that we will not indulge in worldly pursuits ad infinitum.]

SamsAris earn pApa and puNya in this materialistic realm by carrying out various deeds (one earns a puNya when he/she does what is prescribed in SAsthras and avoiding what is forbidden by it; he/she earns pApa by doing what is forbidden by SAsthras and not doing what is prescribed). They then reach naraka or swarga (hell or heaven) to get rid of the accumulated pApa or puNya and return to leelA vibhUthi (materialistic realm) in another form, repeatedly. SAsthra describes this journey of Athma in panchAgni vidhyA prakaraNa (chapter called panchAgni vidhyA) in chAndhOgya upanishath.

After getting rid of pApa in naraka (hell) and puNya in swarga (heaven), the AthmA is thrown into ethereal layers (vettaveLi, in thamizh) where it takes a subtle form. Sun, with his warm rays, melts the snow atop himavAn (himAlaya mountains) and converts it into moisture laden cloud and enables the AthmA to enter the cloud. At the appropriate time, the moisture laden cloud opens out as rain drops and falls on land, with the AthmA. Thus AthmA reaches land with rain water. The rain water flows into the fields to help paddy crops. AthmA enters paddy grain (paddy is taken as an example here; AthmA could enter wheat or pulses or vegetables or any other material equally). At the right time, when the paddy grains mature, the farmer harvests the field and the AthmA with the paddy (or any other grain or vegetable) enters a house where the grain is cooked as food. That food eaten by a male, carries the AthmA into the reproductory organ of the male. At the appropriate time the AthmA enters a female’s womb and takes a form there. Now the AthmA is called as “purusha” as he takes a human form. Not every AthmA which was thrown out from hell or heaven will enter a womb of a female and become “purusha”. There are a number of obstacles to it as it could fall into the sea instead of land. On land, it could fall in a forest, enter the fruit of a forest tree which could be eaten by insect or bird or animals. Even if it enters a grain [as we had seen earlier], the grain may fall on the floor at the time of cooking, by mistake, instead of into the cooking pot. Thus, based  on emperumAn’s will, the AthmA could turn out to be a “purusha”. Inside the mother’s womb, the AthmA suffers due to the eating habits of the mother. If she takes excessive salt or spicy food or sweet or sour materials, the AthmA suffers the effects of all these materials as they reach the “purusha” through the umbilical cord. He feels as if he is inside a pot containing molten lead when he is inside the womb. As the foetus grows inside the womb, it  is unable even to stretch its limbs freely and grows in a crouched form. Around the 7th month inside the womb, the AthmA prays to bhagavAn to spare him all these troubles and to grant him mOksham. But bhagavAn sends a type of vAyu (gas) called “Satam” which presses against the foetus’ bones and makes it ignorant completely (ignorance of SAsthra, hence of bhagavAn) and comes out of the womb, with lot of pain, upside down (head first and legs finally), the same way he was pushed out of hell or heaven in the first instance.

Once he is born, as an infant, he cannot even look after his needs and is dependent on others for cleaning him, feeding him, moving him etc. He cannot scratch himself if it itches. As time passes by, he starts looking after himself. Till the age of 15, he spends time playing and not thinking about bhagavAn. After that, as a youth, he starts engaging in worldly pleasures, still not thinking of bhagavAn. He gets married, gets children and struggles for their welfare. By the time he realises that he has spent the better part of his time in worldly pursuits only and has not bothered to do anything for his after-life, old age sets in. His mind is now turned towards bhagavAn, but physically he is unable to do any kainkaryam (service) for bhagavAn. At young age, the body was willing, but the mind wasn’t and at old age, it is the reverse. Death catches up with him at last and the cycle repeats itself with journey to hell or heaven and back to panchAgni vidhyA states that we have seen earlier. Thus he comes out of his mother’s womb in pain and leaves the world in pain, to suffer in hell.

Looking at this continuous suffering of the jIvAthmA, emperumAn taking pity on him, and being a suhruth (good at heart) gave the jIvAthmAs,  SAsthram which is like a bright lamp in the darkness of samsAram. In SAsthram (SvEthASvara upanishath), he explains the three thathvams (entities) namely chith (sentient entity), achith (insentient entity) and ISwara (bhagavAn himself) so that jIvAthmAs can learn the difference between the body and the inner residing soul and about paramAthmA. Further bhagavAn explained in antharyAmi brAhmaNam (subhAlOpanishath) that paramAthmA pervades all jIvAthmAs and that he is apahathapApmA (not touched by sins or virtues (pApa/puNya)) of the jIvAthmAs, the only Lord and that he is nArAyaNa. jIvAthmAs should forget about enjoying achith and take efforts to reach ISwara so that they can finally come out of the vicious cycles of birth and death.  This was similar to giving vision to a person blind from birth and lighting a lamp in a dark room. He showed that both chith and achith are his servitors; that he is the soul and the other two are like his body. In muNdakOpanishath he showed that it is due to karma only that chith is bound to achith and that if he gets rid of karma (getting rid of pApa and puNya) completely, he will reach SrIvaikuNtam and enjoy paramAthmA in ways similar to how nithyasUris (permanent dwellers of SrIvaikuNtam such as viSvaksEnar, ananthAzhwAn, garudan et al) are enjoying him there.

But the jIvAthmAs, instead of leading their lives as stated by SAsthram (vEdham) and reaching bhagavAn, either did not accept vEdham (vEdha bAhyar) or interpreted vEdham wrongly (vEdha kudhrushti). bhagavAn then decided to take incarnations as one among jIvAthmAs so that they will rectify their wrong doings at least after seeing him. However, this did not happen and he had to only fight people such as hiraNyAksha, rAvaNa et al. Before he could get one vibhIshNa, there were lakhs of rAkshasa who were bent on opposing him. Same was the case with one vidhura. However, just as the owner will not let go of his possession, bhagavAn could not give up his attempts at correcting the jIvAthmAs.

bhagavAn, through his goodwill, creates a change of heart in the jIvAthmA, as a result of which he blesses him. This in turn makes the jIvAthmA not to oppose bhagavAn, leading to further grace from bhagavAn. Now the jIvAthmA goes towards bhagavAn. He gets interested in SAsthras and with his AchArya’s (guru or teacher) upadhESam (instructions about bhagavAn), the jIvAthmA realises that bhagavAn is the supreme master and that he is a totally dependent servitor to bhagavAn. Once he realises that he is a servitor, he understands that bhagavAn is the purushArtham (ultimate goal) for him and that he should reach bhagavAn, as that becomes his svarUpam (basic nature). Then he gets the desire to find a way to reach bhagavAn. SAsthram tells us that one can reach bhagavAn through karma yOgam, gyAna yOgam and bhakthi yOgam (thorugh deeds, knowledge and devotion to bhagavAn, respectively). But he realises that these are difficult paths for reaching bhagavAn as any shortcoming while observing these could lead to further delay in attaining the goal. Due to these reasons, bhagavAn shows the way through upanishaths (the end part of vEdham) to reach him by surrendering to him.

The first one (through karma, gyAna, bhakthi yOgam) is called as sAdhyOpAyam (where we have to take effort to reach bhagavAn) and the second one, where we reach bhagavAn through bhagavAn himself, is called sidhdhOpAyam (readily available path). This path (surrendering or prapaththi as it is called) has one important requirement. The prapannan (one who carries out prapaththi) should have unshakeable faith that bhagavAn would free him from samsAram (materialistic world) and would take him to SrIvaikuNtam and that we need not take any effort. This is called as mahAviSvAsam (deep faith). It is not easy to get this mahAviSvAsam [because we feel that we do not have to take any efforts and bhagavAn himself would take us at the appropriate time].

Hence for such jIvAthmAs, bhagavAn shows another way. This is called as thirunAma sankIrthanam (singing the divine names of bhagavAn). This will not take us to mOksham directly, but will create the mahAviSvAsam when surrendering later to bhagavAn. Thus reciting bhagavAn’s divine names will enable us to get rid of our sins and induce us into either karma, gyAna, bhakthi yOgams or induce us into prapraththi (surrendering to bhagavAn) with the mahAviSvAsam required for it or it will by itself be a goal for us to recite it. i.e. instead of looking for a path by singing bhagavAn nAmams (the divine names of bhagavAn), singing his name itself will be the purushArtham (goal) for us.

We shall see the remainder of avathArikai in the next part.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dasan

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