thirumAlai – 7 – pulaiyaRamAgi ninRa

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samsAris told the AzhwAr after he had sung the 6th pAsuram “you are despising us since we are lowly persons who are not carrying out kainkaryam to emperumAn and not eating his happiness (when he receives our kainkaryam) as our food; you are also despising us that we are lying dead, being pecked by birds. Why do you find fault with us? It is the nature of the samsAram (materialistic world). You asked us to attain “thaN thuzhAy mArban” (one who is adorning the comfortable thuLasi garland). He is so far away that we cannot even reach him. There are several other hurdles for us in samsAram in reaching him. Please tell us how to overcome these hurdles and show us the person who we have to reach”. AzhwAr tells them “attain the emperumAn who came here as the divine son of chakravarthi (reference is to SrI rAma, who incarnated here as the son of dhaSaratha chakravathi) and who has as his nature, removal of all hurdles “ This is the basis for the 7th pAsuram. Let us see the pAsuram:

pulaiyaRamAgi ninRa puththodu samaNamellAm
kalaiyaRak kaRRa mAndhar kANbarO kEtparO thAm
thalaiyaRuppuNdum sAvEn saththiyam kANmin aiyA
silaiyinAl ilangai seRRa dhEvanE dhEvan avAn


word-by-word meaning

kalai – Sasthrams (vEdhas, ithihAsams etc)[all sacred texts]
aRak kaRRa mAndhar – men (and women) who had learnt well the deeper, real meanings
pulai aRam Agi ninRa – those other lowly sects such as
puththodu samaNamellAm – boudhdham, jainam etc
kANbarO – will they investigate with their hearts?
kEtparO thAm – will they listen  with their ears?

thalaiyaRuppuNdum – even if I were beheaded
sAvEn – I will not die
aiyA – Oh, the great people
kANmin – Please see (I will show you)
saththiyam – this is a fact
silaiyinAl – with his bow
ilangai seRRa – one who destroyed lankA
dhEvanE – and became famous
dhEvan AvAn – the one emperumAn who is fit to be attained.

vyAkhyAnam (Explanatory Notes)

pulaiyaRamAgi ninRa puththodu samaNamellAm – the four types of baudhdha matham (philosophy or sect) , jaina matham etc.

pulaiyaRa – lowly sects. Those who do not accept vEdhas as basis. The four types of baudhdham were headed by four disciples of budhdha namely vaibhAshikan, southrAnthikan, yOgAchAran and mAdhyamikan. Of these, vaibhAshikan’s hypothesis is that there are only two entities – knowledge and materials dependent on knowledge. There is no one called gyAthA (one who has knolwedge). Knowledge is gained through prathyaksham (what is seen by the eyes) and anumAnam (deductive logic). There is nothing called SAsthras which pass on knowledge. The second disciple, southrAnthikan’s view is that there is only knowledge. There is no gyAthA. Since knowledge is of many types, there are many kinds of materials that we know through deductive logic. yOgAchAran, the third disciple said that that there is nothing that can be gained through prathyaksham or anumAnam. There is only knowledge and no material having knowledge. These three disciples accept that whatever material they accept is of transient (lasting for fleeting moments) nature only. The fourth disciple, mAdhyamikan refused even the knowledge accepted by yOgAchAran. He said that everything is in vacuum (this is called as sarva sUnyavAdham in their parlance). The jaina matham which does not accept baudhdha matham asks “how can there be vacuum? This world which is based on cause and effect is composed of permanent and transient components. It is one and it is many. It is true and it is false” Thus the world is of many different types, says jainan. AzhwAr calls such persons and philosophies as lowly type (pulaiyaRam).

Agi ninRa – just as weeds grow opposing the growth of paddy, these lowly sects have been opposing the vaidhika dharmam (philosophy based on vEdhas) for a long time. Usage of the word ellAm refers to other philosophies such as sAnkhyam, vaiSEshikam, pAsupatham etc. The reason for AzhwAr terming these as lowly secs is because in emperumAn’s leelA vibhUthi (material realm), if a person harms another  (by thought or by words or by action) he accrues sin and these sects harm both emperumAn and his chEthanars / achEthanams (sentient and insentient entities) using the sword of agyAnam (ignorance). They are the types who try to destroy the indestructible.

kalaiyaRak kaRRa mAndhar – those who firmly believe in Sruthi (vEdhas), smruthi (the works of manu et al which came to explain vEdhas), ithihAsa (epics such as SrI rAmAyaNam and mahAbhAratham) and purANas (the 18 primary purANas such as SrIvishNu purANam etc) and know the deep meanings of vEdhas. They are people such as kUraththAzhwAn et al.

kANbarO kEtparO thAm – will they delve into such sects with their hearts or hear them with their ears? Once kUraththAzhwAn came home late after listening to the works of a lowly sect. His father, kUraththAzhwAr, gave him SrIpAdha thIrtham (the divine water of a SrIvaishNava’s lotus feet) to purify him and told him “should you listen to the works of a lowly sect? You should remember AzhwAr’s pAsuram – pulaiyaRa kaRRa mAndhar kANbarO kEtparO thAm...  ”. It is not necessary for the bAhyars (those who do not accept vEdhas) and kudhrushtis (those who give wrong interpretation to vEdhas) to do any harmful act for us to get worried. Their mere existence is enough worry for us. This is similar to bhagavath bhAgavathas’ (devotees of emperumAn) mere existence being good for us even if they do not do anything good to us.

thalaiyaRappuNdum sAvEn saththiyam kANminAzhwAr says ”for those who do not have belief in the words of faultless vEdham (SAsthram or Sruthi), I shall prove, without any doubt, through prathyaksham (direct evidence seen by the eye). You can see that”.  In olden days, to prove a statement that someone makes, that person will hold a red hot weapon (called mazhu or axe) and say that the red hot iron will not scald him if what he says is true. In the same way AzhwAr takes an oath saying that even if he were beheaded, he will not die and the onlookers can get convinced that the supreme entity to be attained is the divine son of dhaSarathan, SrI rAman. vyAkhyAthA periyavAchchAn piLLai quotes the words of lakshmaNa from SrI rAmAyaNam “dharmAthmA sathyasanthaScha rAmO dhASarathir yathi I paurushE chAprathidhvanthva: Sarainam jahi rAvaNim II” (If it is true that dhaSaratha’s son SrI rAma is a righteous person, speaks only truth, has no equal in his valour, let this arrow destroy rAvaNa’s son indhrajith). It is a fact that the arrow killed indhrajith, who could not be killed by anybody. In the same way, AzhwAr wishes to establish the supremacy of emperumAn by taking an oath that even if he were beheaded, he will not die. Could such a thing happen? wonder samsAris…

saththiyam kANmin – why do you doubt an event that you are going to witness right in front of your eyes? See what I am going to do now and learn the truth, says AzhwAr.

aiyA – when the samsAris hesitated to see what he was going to do, he pleads with them calling them ”aiyA” (elderly person). samsAris said “please do not carry out such difficult acts. We believe your oath. Please let us know who the person is that we have to attain”……..

silaiyinAl ilangai seRRa dhEvanE dhEvan AvAn – To ensure that those who granted boons to rAvaNan (brahmA et al) do not lose face, emperumAn came down to earth as the son of dhaSarathan. With the help of the bow in his hand, he destroyed lankA. Such emperumAn, SrI rAman is the object [goal] for you to reach, avers the AzhwAr. What would have happened if he had destroyed rAvaNan with his will power (sankalpam) sitting in SrIvaikuNtam? In that case, the boons which were acting as a protective cover for lankA would have gone waste. Since the boons were granted by his followers (brahmA, rudhra et al) he had to keep their words. Hence he took an incarnation as SrI rAma and with the help of the bow in his hand, he destroyed lankA.

dhEvanE dhEvan AvAn – there are two roots for the word dhEvan – in the first it means “dhivu – kAnthi“ (radiance) and in the second it means “dhivu – gathi” (refuge). AzhwAr says that SrI rAma, who was resplendent with radiance, holding the bow in his hand near the fallen body of rAvaNa is the supreme entity in whom all have to take refuge.

We shall move on to the 8th pAsuram.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dasan

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