thirumAlai – 16 – sUdhanAyk kaLvanAgi

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr divined that his doubts regarding the path to attaining emperumAn and the purushArtham (goal) were clarified by emperumAn. Having got rid of the doubt, in this pAsuram, AzhwAr says that emperumAn created a flood of affection in him, towards emperumAn.

sUdhanAyk kaLvanAgith thUrththarOdu isaindha kAlam
mAdharAr kayal kaN ennum valaiyuL pattu azhundhuvEnaip
pOdharE enRu sollip pundhiyuL pugundhu thanpAl
Adharam peruga vaiththa azhagan uR arangam anRE


Word by word Meaning

sUdhan Ay – saying that there is no ISwaran (emperumAn), dharmam (virtuous ways) and adharmam (evil ways)
kaLvan Agi – claiming that AthmA (soul) is mine and not ISwaran’s
dhUrththarOdu isaindha kAlam – during the time of being together with those who are engaged in worldly pursuits.
mAdharAr – women’s
kayal kaN ennum – in the beautiful fish-like eyes
valaiyuL pattu – caught in the net
azundhuvEnai – I, who am sinking
pOdhu arE enRu solli – calling out “come here”
pundhiyuL pugundhu – entering my heart
thanpAl Adharam peruga vaiththa azhagan – emperumAn, who created a flood of affection towards him
Ur – dwelling place
arangam anRE – is it not thiruvarangam?

vyAkhyAnam (Explanatory Notes)

sUdhanAyk kaLvanAgiAzhwAr describes his earlier status. sUdhu (deception) is stealing someone else’s belongings even as the other person is watching. kaLavu (theft) is taking someone else’s belonging, thinking it’s one’s own. In the context of this pAsuram, these two words indicate the negation of meanings as propounded in pramANams (evidence). For example, the deadly act of considering the AthmA (soul) which is the property of emperumAn as one’s own is kaLavu. People with good behaviour would think that AthmA is a servitor to emperumAn, that emperumAn is the master of AthmA, that any act which makes emperumAn happy is puNya (virtuous deed) and that which makes emperumAn unhappy is pApa (sin). But people with fallacious reasoning will object to all these and call these as false. Such an act on the part of the illogical persons to cause delusion in the minds of the others and convert them as atheists [here atheism is that which does not believe in vEdhas] similar to themselves is sUdhu. The sUdhu and kaLavu mentioned in this pAsuram are more dangerous than the definitions that we had seen at the beginning of this paragraph with regard to worldly issues. vyAkhyAthA explains this through examples. The crime committed by a person stealing a gem is far higher than that committed by a person stealing a stick. Similarly stealing an article from a vaidhika (one practising vEdhas) brAhmaNa is more serious than stealing the same article from a chaNdALan (one who is below the 4th varNa). Here (in this pAsuram), the stolen entity AthmA is very dear to emperumAn, like his kousthubha maNi [an ornament adorning his chest]. Thus the sin committed in stealing this invaluable entity AthmA from the lord of all, emperumAn, is unbounded.

If what the samsAri indulges in is deception and theft, he would be moving with other samsAris with similar bent of mind. AzhwAr says that in the next phrase…..

dhUrththarOdu isaindha kAlam – the time spent, instead of with emperumAn who is our ordained lord, with those who are fully engaged in worldly pursuits, and who are not congruous with our basic nature.  isaindha kAlam – since AzhwAr is unable to bring himself to even think about that period, he feels saddened that he spent his life this way. He is unable to put a time frame for the number of years that he had spent in the company of such people. While the svarUpam of the AthmA is to be with other SrIvaishNavas, he had gone astray by being with those who cause incalculable harm, AzhwAr laments. While being with bhAgavathas (followers of bhagavAn) will enable one to get involved with matters relating to emperumAn, being with people going after worldly pursuits will only push us into the quagmire of worldly matters.

mAdharAr kayaRkaN ennum valaiyuL pattu azhundhuvEnai – I, who gets caught in the net of fish-like eyes of women, and unable to extricate from it.  mAdharAr – the samsAri immersed in worldly pursuits will look at a woman merely as a woman and will not bother about her lineage or practices. kayaRkaN – the women, though sharp like a knife in their hearts, will enslave the samsAri with their mere glance, by making him believe that they cannot sustain themselves if he leaves. valaiyuL pattu – while it goes by the name of eye, it is actually a net which is used for catching samsAri, just as nets are used to catch animals. pattu azhundhuvEnai – just like an animal which gets caught in a net will not be able to escape, the samsAri also gets trapped by the net in the form of eye, unable to extricate himself. Just as the person who laid the net to catch the animal will not come near the net, these women, who had laid a trap for him, will not make themselves easily available to him. They know the lowliness of the so called enjoyment since at the end of the act, they have to go in search of water to purify themselves and hence keep themselves at a distance.  azhundhuvEnai – since the samsAri does not know their inner thoughts, he gets trapped by the outer net like eyes and suffers.  valaiyutpattu azhundhuvEnai – the term pattu denotes that it is impossible to extricate; valaiyuL indicates that there is nothing to enjoy and only sorrow will remain; azhundhuvEnai  indicates that this sorrow is made to appear as if it were a pleasure.

Now AzhwAr explains how periya perumAL (SrI ranganAthan) redeemed him from the sorrowful state that he had got sunk in…

pOdharE enRu – periya perumAL asks the AzhwAr “AzhwIr! (Oh, AzhwAr) desiring what, have you sunk yourself in?” AzhwAr responds “due to my poor taste, despite knowing that it is not proper, I have sunk myself in the eyes which engaged me. If a virtuous person were to show his beautiful eyes befitting his nature, I would engage with those eyes and enjoy that virtuous person” periya perumAL decides that he would redeem AzhwAr from the lowly eyes of women by showing his eyes. Removing the screen between them, he shows AzhwAr his divine eyes. thirumangai AzhwAr in periya thirumozhi 7.1.9 says “uyirkkellAm thAyAyaLikkinRa thaNdAmaraikkaN” – the comforting eyes which shower motherly affection on all creatures. periya perumAL tells AzhwAr “AzhwIr! Look at the person who has the eyes that you like so much! See here!” AzhwAr wonders at the beauty of emperumAn’s divine eyes and compares with the eyes that he had seen earlier (women’s) and decides that these eyes [of emperumAn] are befitting his svarUpam and is able to redeem his heart from the fishnet-like eyes of women. hanuman tells sIthApirAtti “rAma: kamalapathrAksha: sarvasathva manOhara: I rUpa dhAkshiNyasampanna: prasUthO janakAthmajE! II” – Oh sIthapirAtti! rAma has lotus-petal like divine eyes. He attracts all creatures (including a monkey like me) with those beautiful eyes. He is full of qualities such as beauty of the physical form and kindness of his AthmA. Thus even a sworn bachelor such as hanuman, was attracted to and got engaged with those divine eyes.

pundhiyuL pugundhu – the word pundhi is normally used with thoughts [memory]. Here it refers to the heart from where thoughts emanate. The meaning conveyed here is “he entered the heart as antharyAmi (indwelling soul) of AzhwAr. The reason for Azhwar moving away from emperumAn from time immemorial is his heart. When emperumAn wanted to enter his heart, AzhwAr did not oppose it and hence he entered his heart.

What did he do after entering his heart? ………

thanpAl Adharam peruga vaiththa – he made AzhwAr to show his affection, which he had been showing all along towards worldly matters, now towards him. Just as water is diverted from fallow land to the field, emperumAn made AzhwAr’s affection beneficial. peruga – he made the affection grow very big, bigger than chith (sentient) entity, bigger than ISwara entity (himself) just as nammAzhwAr says in thiruvAimozhi 10.10.10 “adhanil periya” – bigger than everything. vaiththu – AzhwAr had nothing in him for emperumAn to do this. It was due to emperumAn’s causeless mercy, similar to those keeping water pots in summer for all people.

By displaying what, did emperumAn make AzhwAr to show affection?  ……

azhagan – he showed his unparalleled divine beauty, just as nammAzhwAr says in thiruvAimozhi 5.3.4 “pEramar kAdhal kadal pruaiya viLaiviththa kAramar mEni nam kaNNan” – the physical beauty of krishNa was such that the love that it created in the eyes of the beholder was much bigger than the ocean. For upAsakas (those who are immersed in bhakthi yOga), karma yOga and gyAna yOga would complement bhakthi yOga. In the same way, for AzhwAr, emperumAn’s beauty took the place of karma gyAna yOga and complemented his bhakthi. emperumAn’s beauty removed his doubt “aiyyappAdu aRuththuth thOnRum azhagan” [previous pAsuram] and developed his affection “Adharam perugavaiththa azhagan” – this pAsuram. azhagan also means one who has beauty as his identity.

Ur arangamanRE – the place of dwelling of emperumAn, who was waiting for the right moment to enter his heart, is thiruvarangam, says the AzhwAr. By saying arangamanRe (it is only thiruvarangam) AzhwAr implies that paramapadham (SrIvaikuNtam) is there only for convening his court, thus making it as a place to stay from time to time, whereas thiruvarangam is his permanent dwelling place. Unlike paramapadham which is unapproachable for samsAris, this place (thiruvarangam) is one which they can enter and enjoy whenever they acquire the taste in emperumAn related matters.

We shall next see the 17th pAsuram.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dasan

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