thirumAlai – 17 – virumbi ninREththa

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsurm, AzhwAr said that there was a flood of affection in his heart. In this pAsuram he says “unlike samsAris who, despite having affection in their hearts, will not display it, emperumAn made even insentient entities such as my eyes to rejoice exceedingly upon seeing him, like sentient entities”.

Let us look at the pAsuram

virumbi ninREththa mAttEn vidhiyilEn madhiyonRillai
irumbu pOl valiya nenjam iRai iRai urugum vaNNam
surumbu amar sOlai sUzhndha arangamA kOyil koNda
karumbinaik kaNdukoNdu en kaNNiNai kaLikkumARE!

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Meanings of words

virumbi ninRu – standing with lot of affection
Eththa mAttEn – I will not praise [emperumAn]
vidhiyilEn – did not carry out any kainkaryam physically  (such as folding  the palms together or praising through the mouth)
madhi onRu illai – the knowledge (that there is an emperumAn) is not there (for me)

(for such a person)
irumbu pOl valiya nenjam – a mind [heart] as hardened as iron
iRai iRai urugum vaNNam – softening gradually
surumbu amar – occupied by bees
sOlai sUzhndha – surrounded by gardens
mA arangam – great thiruvarangam [SrIrangam]
kOyil koNda – taken as a dwelling place
karumbinai – periya perumAL who is an object of enjoyment, like sugarcane
en kaN iNai – my two eyes
kaNdu koNdu – seeing and enjoying
kaLikkum ARE – how they enjoy!

vyAkhyAnam (Explanatory Notes)

virumbi ninRu Eththa mAtten – in the first line, AzhwAr gives the previous states of the three parts – his mind, speech and body. If a great object is seen, should it not be praised with the mouth, with total desire and force? SrIvishNu purANam 5.7.70 says “sO’ham thE dhEva dhEvESa nArchanAdhou sthuthau na cha I sAmarthyavAn krupAmAthra manOvruththi praSIdha mE II” – Oh, the Lord of nithyasUris and celestial persons! A person such as I, am not capable of praising or adoring you. Please show mercy on me with your benevolent mind.

In the same way AzhwAr’s tongue was without any strength when it came to speaking on matters related to emperumAn. But it had all the enthusiasm and strength to speak about matters other than emepeumAn.  emperumAn asks AzhwAr “the tongue may have been going around on matters other than myself. But, has the body done anything for me?” AzhwAr says …

vidhiyilEn – as per amarakOSam 2534; 3.3.100 “vidhir vidhAnE” – the word vidhi is associated with bodily function.  Since time immemorial, I have not done anything with my hands which is beneficial towards you. vishNu dharmam 1.13 says “sA jihvA yA harim sthauthi thachchiththam yaththadharpitham I thAvEva cha karau SlAghyau yau thathpUjAkarau karau II” – that which praises hari (emperumAn) is tongue; that which is proffered to him is heart; only those which carry out pUjA (worship or veneration) to him are great. Thus, even if hands and tongue were involved with worldly matters, did you at least think of me with your heart, asks emperumAn….

madhi onRu illai – it is not even that it (heart) did not know of your greatness. It did not even know of your existence, responds the AzhwAr. While I knew the nature and purpose of everything other than you, in matter related to you, I did not even have the knowledge that “you are there”  As per this statement, even though AzhwAr had useless knowledge about all the other things, he considers such a knowledge as “not knowledge” at all,

emperumAn says that even though he had allowed AzhwAr’s mind, speech and bodily functions to engage with worldly matters, he would rectify AzhwAr’s mind and take it under his wings…

irumbu pOl valiya nenjamAzhwAr says that his mind is unfit to be rectified. One can bring even iron under one’s control by melting it, but his mind is hard and cannot be rectified at all. Up to this, AzhwAr states the status that he was in, earlier. He now states the greatness of emperumAn who changed that state.

iRai iRai urugum vaNNam – Though hard like iron, instead of destroying his mind, emperumAn softened it gradually. Just as rainfall softens a hardened land, emperumAn was able to soften his mind which had been grazing on worldly matters, through his beauty.

AzhwAr next describes the entity that changed his mind….

surumbu amar sOlai sUzhndha aranga mA kOyil koNda karumbinaisurumbu amar sOlai – garden  occupied by bees. Just as sweet smell emanates from a garden and stays with it, the bees were also born in these gardens and stayed put there. Wouldn’t the bees go out? Why should they, when the gardens are always fresh and the honey is always available. Since honey does not dry up, bees do not have a reason for going out. It is as if it is always spring season. sOlai sUzhndha arangamA kOyil koNda – the sweetness of the temple is so great that the sweetness of the gardens described above appears lowly in comparison. To affirm this, AzhwAr uses the adjective “mA” – great. Another meaning given is that emperumAn considered this temple as paramapadham (SrIvaikuNtam).

karumbinai – sugarcane. Instead of saying sugarcane juice which would feel sticky on the hands, he says sugarcane itself, which is enjoyable. Unlike sugar which is obtained by boiling the juice and made in an unnatural way, this [sugarcane] is natural and sweet. thaiththirIya upanishath says “rasO vai sa: rasa hyEvAyam labhdhvA nandhI bhavathi” – rasa (greatly joyous) personality is emperumAn. After attaining him, (the jIvAthmA) becomes joyous. Thus upanishath also claims that emerpumAn is naturally sweet.

kaNdukoNduemperumAn is like sugarcane drunk by the eyes. SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 19.7 says “lOchanAbhyam pibanniva “ – SrI rAma looked at SrI vibhIshanAzhwAn and drank him with his eyes. In the same way, AzhwAr drinks in emperumAn.

En kaNNiNai kaLikkumARE – my eyes, which were all along engaged with worldly pursuits, ultimately leading to narakam (hell), are now enjoying this great emperumAn. iNai – two. One eye is comparable to the other eye. There is no other comparison. mukthars (those who have got liberated from samsAram and have subsequently reached SrIvaikuNtam) also enjoy him. But the joy of AzhwAr is much higher than that of mukthars. There is no comparison at all. kaNNiNai kaLikkumARE – the eyes are not waiting for the owner, but are enjoying on their own. Instead of being conduits for sensory perceptions, these eyes are themselves enjoying like a chEthanan (sentient entity). dhaSaratha chakravarthy tells kausalyA (SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 42.24) “rAmam mE’nugathA dhrushtiradhyApi na nivarthathE I na thvA paSyAmi kausalyE! sAdhu mA pANinA spruSa II”  – my eyes went behind rAma and have not returned till now. Oh kausalyE! Touch me with your hands (so that I can see if at least the sensory perception of touch is active). Thus due to emperumAn’s sweetness, the sensory organs get elated when they see him and get sad when they are separated from him.

We shall go on to the 18th pAsuram, next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dasan

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