thiruvAimozhi – 3.6.9 – thanjam Agiya

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Full series >> Third Centum >> Sixth decad

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Introduction for this pAsuram

Highlights from thirukkurukaippirAn piLLAn‘s introduction

No specific introduction.

Highlights from nanjIyar‘s introduction

In ninth pAsuram – when asked “For us, emperumAn‘s presence in SrIvaikuNtam is incomprehensible. We were not favoured by him when he descended with utmost simplicity in many incarnations. How will we approach him?”, AzhwAr says “You approach him requesting him to be present in a form you desire [archA (deity) form]; since it is too easy for the devotees to approach, he likes such form as much as he likes his spiritual divine form”.

Highlights from vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyar‘s introduction

Subsequently, AzhwAr says “Instead of shying away from emperumAn thinking ‘parathvam (supremacy) and incarnations are unreachable for us’, you take shelter of archAvathAra emperumAn who is present to be easily approached by those are after the time of incarnations and who is all types of relationships for you”.

Highlights from periyavAchchAn piLLai‘s introduction

See nanjIyar‘s introduction.

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

See nanjIyar‘s introduction. This pAsuram is the main one for this decad.


thanjam Agiya thandhai thAyodu thAnumAy avai allanAy
enjalil amarar kula mudhal mUvar tham uLLum Adhiyai
anji nIr ulagaththuLLIrgaL avan ivan enRu kUzhEnmin
nenjinAl ninaippAn yavan avan Agum nIL kdal vaNNanE


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

thanjam Agiya – being the refuge (unlike biological mother and father who may abandon their child in specific situations, emperumAn who will never abandon)
thandhai thAyodu – (due to seeking for the well-being and to fulfil the desires) being father and mother, with them
thAnum Ay – being self (who will always seek out the well-being of oneself)
avai allan Ay – not just that, being all types of relation
enjal il – those who have no limit in their experience
amarar kula mudhal – being the cause for the existence of nithyasUris
mUvar tham uLLum – in the trio of primary deities namely brahmA et al
Adhiyai – to hold on to the principal one
ulagaththu uLLIrgaL – worldly people
nIr – you
anji – (looking at his supremacy) being afraid
avan – he (who is having unlimited greatness [such bhagavAn in paramapadham])
ivan – him (who assumed the [archA/deity] form which we desired)
enRu – thinking of superiority and inferiority [of these forms]
kUzhEnmin – instead of doubting (if he is to be surrendered to or not?)
nenjinAl – with the heart
ninaippAn – thought about and joyfully consecrated
yavan – that emperumAn
avan – him
kadal – like ocean
nIL – vast/boundless
vaNNan – sarvESvaran, having such nature
Agum – he is.

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

emperumAn is the refuge, father and mother, along with them, the self and not just that, he is all types of relation; he is the cause for the existence of nithyasUris who have no limit in their experience and is the principal one in the trio of primary deities namely brahmA et al; Oh worldly people! instead of doubting if he (who is the supreme person is the same in deity form) is to be surrendered unto or not due to considering them [those forms] superior [bhagavAn in paramapadham] and inferior [bhagavAn in deity form], [know that] he who is thought about and joyfully consecrated [in deity form] is the same sarvESvaran who has ocean-like vast nature.

It is to be understood that inside the deity that is worshippable, bhagavAn (in the form of paramapadhanAthan) who is the goal is present.

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

  • thanjam Agiya thandhai thAyodu thAnumAy – Those who claim to be mother and father, would abandon him when there is a danger [like indhra abandoned his own son jayantha who offended sIthA pirAtti and SrI rAma]; even when he is in danger, it is emperumAn alone who protects him. There are some parents who consider “the time of his birth is inauspicious” and abandon him in a four road junction [public place] due to that [as seen in the life of jarAsandha]; some would sell their children during difficult times [as seen in the life of SunaSSEpa, the nephew of viSwAmithra]; unlike them [emperumAn would be like ] those parents who would protect their children even at the cost of self-sacrifices. Second explanation – since the bondage with worldly parents are based on karma, when the karma is exhausted, the bondage with them will also be cut off; in emperumAn’s case, as he is the cause for everyone’s existence, he will be the father for everyone as said in mahAbhAratham – SrIvishNu sahasranAmam “bhUthAnAm yO’vyaya:pithA” (the imperishable father for all creatures) and in mahAbhAratham “sarvEshAmEva lOkAnAm pithA mAthA cha mAdhava:” (for all creatures of the world, Sriya:pathi (husband of SrI mahAlakshmi) is the mother and father); That too, he is the father for whom one need not cry for his departure [since he is indestructible].
  • thAnumAy – Father cannot be mother; mother cannot be father; both of them cannot be himself; he cannot be both his parents [each has his/her own role]; bhagavAn will assume all these roles [in caring for him].
  • thAnumAy – When mother and father abandon him, one would think “I need to survive; Something good should happen to me”. bhagavAn is such that he would always look out for the well-being. “thanjam” (refuge) is applicable for all of these – “thanjamAgiya thandhai“, “thanjamAgiya thAy“, “thanjamAgiya thAn“. Mother and father may not be true refuge; but would oneself not be true refuge [looking out for the true well-being of self]? No. Not even self is true refuge. This is because even though bhagavAn blesses one with body and senses as said in SrI vishNu dharmam “vichithrA dhEhasampaththir ISwarAya nivEdhithum | pUrvamEva kruthA brahman hasthapAdhAdhisamyuthA ||” (Oh brAhmaNa! To offer oneself and other materials, AthmA previously got connected to the amazing body with hands and legs), the individual engages in useless activities as said in thiruvAimozhi 3.2.1annAL nI thandha Akkaiyin vazhi uzhalvEn” (I will go in the ways of the body that was given by you); thus one is not one’s own refuge.
  • avai allanAy – Not just father, mother and self, but he is the only one who bestows all types of upakAram (favour) and is the one who is all types of bandhu (relation) as said in subhAla upanishath “mAthA pithA brAthA nivAsa: SaraNam suhrudh gathir nArAyaNa:” (nArAyaNa is Mother, Father, Brother, residence, refuge, well-wisher, goal) and “pithru mAthru sutha bhrAthrudhAramithrAdhayOpi vA| EkaikapalalAbhAya sarvalAbhAya kESava: ||” (When attaining father, mother, etc., they fulfil one particular purpose; When attaining kEsava, all purposes are fulfilled).
  • enjalil amarar … – Who is such a person? AzhwAr says that he is the cause of the existence for nithyasUris. enjal – contraction. il – not having. There is a clan of nithyasUris who have no contraction in experiencing bhagavAn – he is the leader/controller of them.
  • mUvar tham uLLum Adhiyai – When written as “mUvarthAm uLLum Adhiyai” (one who is meditated by the trio of primary deities), this is explained as emperumAn being the antharyAmi of brahmA, rudhra and indhra and is meditated upon by them as said in chAndhOgya upanishath “kAraNam thu dhyEya:” (meditate upon the one who is the cause). Adhi – dhyEya vasthu (object of meditation). Second explanation – “the antharyAmi (in-dwelling soul) and controller of brahmA, rudhra and indhra”. Third explanation – the principal one among the trio of primary deities. In this case, indhra needs to be replaced with vishNu. Here mUvar means trio (count of three). It means one who is the cause among the three dhEvathAs.
  • anji – All these aforementioned aspects are reason to be afraid. Can we approach the one who is all types of relation to the entire creation? Can we approach the one who is the cause for existence for the nithyasUris? Can we approach the controller of brahmA and rudhra? – fearing in this manner.
  • nIr ulagaththuLLIrgaL – you who are worldly people.
  • avan ivan enRu kUzhEnmin – avan (he who is in a distant place) – bhagavAn who is not limited by dhESa (place), kAla (time) and vasthu (objects), who is having distinguished form and who is being enjoyed by nithyasUris [in paramapadham]. ivan (he who is in close proximity to us) – emperumAn who is in a specific place, time and object, who accepted as divine form that which is made by materials that we desired [for him], and is dependent on our thoughts. [That avan is the same as ivan.] This being the case, don’t be bewildered that avan is aparichchinna (unlimited) and ivan is parichchinna (limited).
  • nenjinAl ninaippAn yavan – what you desired as his divine form in your mind.
  • avan Agum nIL kadal vaNNanE – sarvESvara who has unlimited greatness, would accept that with great desire as his divine form. Unable to spell out like rishis who said “… prathimAsvaprabudhdhAnAm” (for the ignorant, he appears in deity form), AzhwAr says “avan ivan” (that bhagavAn is in this deity form). mudhaliyANdAn used to say “Do not think that these dhiyva dhESams/kshEthrams are wealth of paramapadhanAthan; instead you think that paramapadham is the wealth of archAvathAra emperumAn“. This is explained in SrI bhagavath gIthA 4.11 “yE yathA mAm prapadhyanthE” (whichever individuals pray to me to assume any forms, I will present to them in such forms to be pursued by them), thaiththirya nArAyaNa upanishath “manasAbhikluptha:” (even one can worship through their mind), SrI vishNu purANam 5.17 “smrutham sankalpanAmayam” (vishNu who is considered based on one’s desires/will) and SrI vishNu dharmam “suvarNa rajathAdhibhi:” (one can worship the deity of vishNu in gold, silver etc in the manner that pleases oneself). Even his asAdhAraNa vigraham (his divine distinguished form in paramapadham) is worshipped by us due to “his accepting it as his form”; similarly, even his archA (deity) forms, if he accepts them, there is nothing limiting us from worshipping them. Primarily, his acceptance of a divine form is for the purpose of his devotees as said in jithanthE sthOthram 5 “bhakthAnAm” (Your everything (nature, form, ornaments etc) is for your devotees). It shines well where it can have full impact (in material realm, in deity form). Hence, he is nIL kadal vaNNan (one who is of the vast ocean-like nature).

In the next article we will enjoy the next pAsuram.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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