Daily Archives: October 17, 2016

thirumAlai – 25 – kuLiththu mUnRu

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the last 10 pAsurams, AzhwAr recounted the great assistance that periya perumAL  provided him. In the previous pAsuram the love that he showed towards emperumAn was in line with emperumAn’s greatness as it was the love born out of the achith (insentient) body with which he is associated. That love was something similar to the clarity that a mentally ill person gets on occasions, not being credible. He wonders “What should I do?” about his heart and stands in pity. He says “I should give up my connection with this body so that I would not have to suffer like this, reach paramapadham (SrIvaikuNtam) and have permanent experience. But I do not have any means for that” and feels sad. Seeing this, periya perumAL says “Why do you feel sad? To attain me, after getting rid of this body, there are several means available in the SAsthrams (sacred texts). One can observe karma yOgam, gyAna yOgam or bhakthi yOgam (path of carrying out deeds, knowledge and devotion respectively) suited to menfolk in brAhmaNa, kshathriya and vaiSya varNas (classes). Or, carry out SaraNAgathi (surrendering) which is common for these three varNas as well as the fourth varNa (SUdhra), women, children, others born in lower castes and animals without any difference. Or recite the divine names of emperumAn. Thus you can follow any one of these means and attain me”. Azhwar responds saying that “I do not have any qualification for following any of these means” and states that he does not have anything in his hand (Akinchanyam), starting from this pAsuram, until the 34th pAsuram. But, one can ask whether this is not in contradiction with the gyAnam and bhakthi that he had shown in the earlier pAsurams. Those were granted by emperumAn’s grace to enjoy him and they will not be the means for attaining him, says AzhwAr. Whatever experience he had obtained through emperumAn’s grace should last not only in this birth, but also in paramapadham and for that he does not have any means, he says in this pAsuram. In this first pAsuram, among these 10 pAsurams, he says that he does not have involvement in karma, gyAna, bhakthi mentioned very clearly in SAsthrams for thraivarNikas (brAhmaNas, kshathriyas and vysyas).

Let us see the pAsuram and its meanings.

குளித்து மூன்று அனலை ஓம்பும் குறிக்கோள் அந்தண்மை தன்னை
ஒழித்திட்டேன் என்கண் இல்லை நின்கணும் பத்தன் அல்லேன்
களிப்பதென் கொண்டு நம்பீ கடல்வண்ணா. கதறுகின்றேன்
அளித்தெனக்கு அருள் செய் கண்டாய் அரங்கமா நகருளானே.

kuLiththu mUnRu analai Ombum kuRikoL andhaNamai thannai
oLiththittEn enkaN illai ninkaNum paththan allEn
kaLippadhen koNdu nambi kadalvaNNA kadhaRuginREn
aLiththenakku aruL sey kaNdAy arangamA nagaruLAnE


Word by Word Meanings

arangamAnaruLAnE – Oh, thiruvarangA!
kuLiththu – after having a bath
mUnRu analai – the three types of agni (the element, fire)
Ombum – to have the qualification for carrying out karma with agni
kuRikoL – that which is difficult to ward off any shortcoming due to wrong-doing with manthram (reciting Slokas)
andhaNamai thannai – being a brAhmaNa
oLiththittEn – I had driven off
en kaN illai – I do not have (the knowledge of AthmA related matters)
nin kaN paththanum allEn – I do not have love towards you

(When things are like this)
kaLippadhu enkoNdu – (the one without repentence) how can I be glad
nambI – the one who is full (with auspicious qualities such as simplicity)
kadalvaNNA – the one has form like an ocean
kadhaRuginrEn – I am calling out to you
enakku – in my matter
aLiththu aruL sey kaNdAy – you must bless me by bestowing me with everything, beginning with being qualified

vyAkhyAnam (Explanatory Notes)

kuLiththu mUnRu ….AzhwAr tells emperumAn “a person born as a brAhmaNa has to take bath thrice a day, worship three types of agnis [agni is dhEvathA for the element fire; agni also means fire], carry out sandhyAvandhanam” is what you have written in SAsthras. But I have not carried out any of these from the day that I was born, thus acting against your commands. kuLiththu – there are different types of baths. nithyasnAnam is what is done three times a day, morning, noon and evening. naimiththika snAnam is what is done for a specific purpose, for example on days of eclipse (both solar and lunar). prAyaSchiththa snAnam is bath taken as an angam (part) after committing a mistake and prior to carrying out atonement for it. Thus there are different types of snAnams. One cannot carry out only one among these and avoid out the rest. These are all independent. Since taking a bath is a qualification for carrying out karma (deed or action) such as sandhyAvandhana, kuLiththu as mentioned here is to be considered as being a qualification for carrying out all karmas. While it is a rarity to carry out all the karmas as mentioned in SAsthras, AzhwAr says that it is rare for him even to observe this act [of taking a bath] which is a qualification for carrying out karmas. mUnRu analai – three types of anal (fire) are mentioned: gArhapathyam, AvahanIyam and dhakshiNAgni. anal is the thamizh equivalent of the samskritha word analam. “na vidhyathE alam yasya sa: analam” is the definition for the word analam (that which does not have a state called “enough” is analam) [agni will never say “enough”. As one puts things into it, it will go on burning and consuming them]. The reason for AzhwAr using the word anal instead of agni is because it will never be satisfied with any worshipping and will keep expecting more and more worshipping.  mUnRu anal – while observing even one anal is a rarity, SAsthram has specified that a brAhmaNa should observe three anals. Ombum – just as a mother runs with food and water behind an emaciated child, a brAhmaNa has to run behind these anals with umi (husk) and samiththu (sticks) for worshipping them. kuRikoL – while observing any religious rite, there are a few faults which will entail. Some of these are: manthralOpam – mistake in pronouncing the manthra; kriyAlOpam – mistake in observing the rite; dhravyalOpam – faults in the materials used in the rite; kAlabhEdham – difference in the time when the rite is observed; dhEvathAvyathyayam – reciting the name of the wrong dhEvathA. Thus even if one of these mistakes is committed, the benefit of carrying out the rite will not be obtained. It is like taking a wrong step and falling down to one’s death and hence one has to be very careful while following these rites. Unlike emperumAn who is pleased by a mere anjali and forgets all the faults in his ASrithar (follower) this is not like that. What is this? andhaNamai – the essence of being a brAhmaNa. What happened to it? oLiththittEn – my activities were such that it is not only that I lost the essence of being a brAhmaNa, but I brought indignity to the entire community of brAhmaNas. When some people see true brAhmaNas, I had made them say “these people belong to the same community as this person who has lost the essence of brAhmaNa!”,  thus bringing disrepute to them also. The meaning hinted by AzhwAr is that when he did not even  have the quality of being a brAhmaNa, there is no possibility of his carrying out karma yOgam.

“Alright, you don’t have karma yOgam, but there is a possibility for gyAna yOgam, is it there?” asks emperumAn …

enkaN illai – there is nothing in me regarding this. The opinion here is that I do not have any knowledge about myself. Since I do not have any knowledge about AthmA, which is the basis for gyAna yOgam, there is no possibility for gyAna yOgam being in me. When it is known that there is no karma yOgam, which is a prerequisite for gyAna yOgam, why should one say separately that he has no gyAna yOgam? The reason for this is that even if he did not have karma yOgam in this birth, it is possible that he had attained completeness in karma yOgam in the previous birth, and had died at that time. Due to the benefit of this karma yOgam in the previous birth, he might have been bestowed with gyAna yOgam at the beginning of this birth. AzhwAr denies this too.

In that case, is at the least bhakthi yOgam present in you? asks emperumAn

ninkaNum paththanallEn – I do not have even an iota of affection towards you, when those who see you cannot but have a deep desire for you. Since he does not have the affection which is the prerequisite for bhakthi yOgam, he denies having bhakthi yOgam in him. When he denied having karma yOgam and gyAna yOgam, which are the prerequisites for bhakthiyOgam, is it required to say that he does not have bhakthi yOgam? laghvathri smruthi says “janmAnthara sahasrEshu thapOgyAnasamAdhibi: I narANAm kshINapApAnAm krishnE bhakthi prajAyathE II” (after observing karma gyAna yOgams in tens of thousands of births, for those who get rid of sins (which are the hurdles for the commencement of bhakthi yOgam), bhakthi towards krishNa begins).  Thus, karma and gyAna yOgams could have been completed in the previous births and bhakthi yOgam could have begun at the start of this birth. AzhwAr says that even this is not the case. Also, “gyAnabhakthiyanvitham karma janakAdhishu dhruSyathE I karmabhakthyanvitham gyAnam prAyENa b harathAdhishu II karmagyAnAnvithA bhakthi: prahlAdhapramukhASrayA II” (karma yOgam, with gyAna yOgam and bhakthi yOgam as its parts, is seen in people like janaka [father of sIthAp pirAtti] as a means of attaining mOksha (liberation); gyAna yOgam, with karma yOgam and bhakthi yOgam as its parts, is seen in people like jatabharatha as a means of attaining mOksha; bhakthi yOgam, with karma yOgam and gyAna yOgam as its part, is seen in people like prahlAdha as a means of attaining mOksha). Thus it used to be said in purANas that each of karma, gyAna and bhakthi yOgams, with the other two as its parts, is a means of attaining mOksha. Hence in line with this, it could be said that AzhwAr admitted that he did not have any of the three yOgams in him. “thryaNAmapi yOgAnAm thribhiranyOnyasangama:” (in each of karma, gyAna, bhakthi yOgams, the other two are mingled well); “AthmArthdhi chEththrayO’pyathE thathkaivalyasya sAdhakA:” (if one likes AthmAnubhavam (experiencing AthmA, the self), each of karma, gyAna, bhakthi yOgams will be a means of attaining athmamAthrAnubhavam, also called as kaivalya mOksham).  ALavandhAr in his gIthArtha sangraham divined each of these three yOgams as means for attaining kaivalya mOksham. Thus, one can surmise from ALavandhAr’s SrIsUkthi  (divine composing) that for a person immersed in kaivalya mOksham, if he were to remember emperumAn in his last moments for enjoying him, each of these three yOgams will be the means for attaining paramamOksham (utmost liberation). Hence, our pUrvAchAryas also agreed with this purANa characteristics. SrI bhagavath gIthA 3.20 says “karmaNaiva samsidhdhimAsthithA janakAdhaya:” (people like janaka attained mOksha only through karma). Again, gIthA 4.32 says “SrEyAn dhravyamayAth yagyAth gyAnayagya: paranthapa! I sarvam karmAkilam pArththa! gyAnE parisamApyathE II” (Hey arjuna! In karma yOgam, supplemented with gyAnam, the part played by gyAna (knowledge) is greater than that played by dhravyam (material). All the karma, with all its means, end in gyAnam).  Again, gIthA 11.54 says “bhakthyA thvananyayA Sakya ahamEvam vidhOrjana! I gyAthum dhrashtum cha thathvEna pravEshtuncha paranthapa II” (Oh arjuna! One who roasts the enemies! Only with the assistance of bhakthi, I, like this, can be truly known, seen and attained). Thus, we can consider through gIthA that, all the three yOgams could be taken as means, individually, aligning with purANa characteristics. Thus, starting with kuLiththu mUnRu, AzhwAr showed that he has no connection with karma, gyAna, bhakthi yOgams. nammAzhwAr in “nORRa nOnbilEn”, ANdAL in “kaRavaigaL pinsenRu” and ALavandhAr in sthOthra rathnam 22 “na dhrma nishtO’smi nA chAthmavEdhI na bhakthimAmthvachcharaNAravindhE I akinchanO’nyagathi: SaraNya! thvathpAdha mUlam SaraNam prabadhyE II”  (Oh emperumAn, fit to be surrendered unto! I am not steeped in karma yOgam; I do not have Athma gyAnam too; I do not possess bhakthi in your divine feet; having no other means and no other place to go, I affirm that your divine feet are the means for reaching you), advanced their emptiness [possessing nothing] as a supplement to their means [for attaining emperumAn].

periya perumAL , as his considered opinion, divined “AzhwIr! Just as knowledgeable people do, your advancing your emptiness is a rarity. Since you are thinking of advancing your emptiness, which is a means for my grace, is there any hurdle to get the benefit?”…..

kaLippadhen koNdu – with what can I rejoice that I will attain the means? Even though I do not have karma, gyAna, bhakthi yOgams, I do not even have the repentence that I do not have them. Even if I have that repentence, as you said in gIthA 18.66 “sarvadharmAn parithyajya mAm Ekam SaraNam vraja I aham thvA sarva pApebhyO mOkshayishyAmi mA sucha: II” (leaving aside all karmas with their traces, as a means of attaining me, take refuge only under me as the means. I shall liberate you from all the sins. Do not feel sad) you could  grant me protection. When I do not have even that, with what can I console myself, asks the AshwAr. Thus he has convinced himself that he does not have even repentence that he has nothing in him. emperumAn tells him “since you do not even have repentence, I do not have any alternative other than giving you up”. AzhwAr responds “though I do not have anything with me as means for attaining you, you are full of auspicious qualities, with which you can offer me the means through your mercy”

nambI – AzhwAr asks emperumAn “Are you not complete in all the auspicious qualities just as I am complete in being without anything as a supplement for means?”  Just as ANdAL said “kuRai onRum illAdha gOvindhA” (one without any fault) soon after saying “aRivonRumillAdha Aykkulam” (we are from the cowherd clan without any gyAnam), AzhwAr also calls him “nambi” being full of auspicious qualities, soon after admitting his emptiness.

kadal vaNNA – Are dhEvarIr’s (your highness) auspicious qualities such as simplicity etc required for completeness? dhEvarIr’s mere beauty of physical form is sufficient for me as a means, says AzhwAr. kamba rAmAyaNam says “karuNaiyangadal kidandhanan karungadal nOkki” (the beautiful, merciful ocean [emperumAn] laydown, looking at the black ocean). In the same way, periya perumAL is lying at SrIrangam. As said earlier “aiyappAdu aRuththuththOnRum azhagan” (pAsuram 15) “Adharam perugavaiththa azhagan” (pAsuram 16) AzhwAr had mentioned this physical form only as his means. Thus, the meaning indicated [by AzhwAr] here is that even though he does not have anything with him, the SaranyAn (one who offers refuge) emperumAn has auspicious qualities and physical beauty and hence he does not have to lose.

periya perumAL  divines “since you have known that you have nothing with you and also that I am complete in auspicious qualities, there is nothing beyond this for you to get the means”…

kadhaRuginREn – was I patient with firm belief in the means? Just as those who follow karma, gyAna, bhakthi yOgams cry out that there has been no benefit for their efforts, I am also wailing till the ears of those who listen to this, get ruptured. After I had rid myself of protecting self, it should have been my pastime to sing praises on you, looking at the beauty of your lying posture. Instead of that, I had brought bad name to you by making people say “when emperumAn blesses even those who show a little bit of affection, why is he not coming to the aid of AzhwAr who is wailing like this?” emperumAn asks of the AzhwAr “If you do not have anything beneficial with you, what do you want me to do?”

aLiththenakkU aruL sey kaNdAy – you should create repentence in me after making me an object of your causeless mercy. emperumAn asks, “what is the compulsion that I should do good to you, starting with creating repentence?”

arangamA nagar uLAnE – the purpose of your coming to this place and lying down like this is only to protect people like me who do not have anything in them. If you wanted to protect only those who do not have any shortcoming, there was no need for you to come here. You could have stayed back in paramapadham and protected nithyasUris and mukthas. Isn’t it your purpose of showing the beauty of your lying posture and showing your simplicity by being under the control of archakars (priests who carryout kainkaryam to emperumAn), only to create everything for samsAris starting with taste [in your matters] and to protect them?

We shall proceed to the 26th pAsuram.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dasan

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thiruvAimozhi – 3.8.9 – koLvan nAn

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SrI:  SrImathE SatakOpAya nama:  SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama:  SrImath varavaramunayE nama:

Full series >> Third Centum >> Eighth decad

Previous pAsuram


Introduction for this pAsuram

Highlights from thirukkurukaippirAn piLLAn‘s introduction

No specific introduction.

Highlights from nanjIyar‘s introduction

In ninth pAsuram – AzhwAr says “When will I unite with you who knows how to protect his devotees and how to eliminate their hurdles?”.

Highlights from vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyar‘s introduction

Subsequently, AzhwAr says “When will reach you who is the eliminator of all hurdles?”.

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.


koLvan nAn mAvali! mUvadi thA enRa
kaLvanE! kanjanai vanjiththu vANanai
uL vanmai thIra Or Ayiram thOL thuNiththa
puL vallAy! unnai engyAnRu porundhuvanE?


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

mAvali – ‘Oh mahAbali!
nAn – I
mUvadi koLvan – will accept three feet [of land]
thA – give’
enRa – saying so (attracted him by his childish speech)
kaLvanE – being mischievous
kanjanai vanjiththu – cheating kamsa so that his mischievous thoughts will die with him
vANanai – bANa
uL vanmai thIra – to destroy his inner strength
Or thOL Ayiram – unparalleled thousand shoulders/hands
thuNiththa – cut off
puL vallAy – Oh rider of garuda!
unnai – you (who is able to eliminate the enemies of your devotees)
engyAnRu porundhuvan – when will I reach?

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

Oh rider of garuda who mischievously said to mahAbali “Oh mahAbali! I will accept three feet [of land]; give”, who was cheating kamsa so that his mischievous thoughts will die with him, who cut off the unparalleled thousand shoulders/hands of bANa to destroy his inner strength! When will reach you?

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

  • koLvan – Like the intelligent ways of people of kEraLa, emperumAn (going in to that region) said “I will not leave without accepting from you”. Alternatively – Looking at vAmana’s humble appearance, mahAbali thought “It will be nice if he accepts something from me” and knowing mahAbali’s thought, vAmana said “I will accept”. Another explanation – Looking at vAmana’s appearance which manifested nairapEkshyam (disregard, not expecting anything), mahAbali thought “Would he not accept something from me?” and vAmana said “Don’t think like that. I am expecting something from you”.
  • nAn – Me who will not leave without accepting from you.
  • mAvali – Since he came to beg for alms on the same day he was born, vAmana does not know how to address benevolent kings [so he calls out “mAvali” by name]. Before his birth, [since there is no one greater than him] there is no reason for him to glorify others; after taking birth, since he immediately arrived here for alms, he did not have time to learn [so he called the king just by his name]. As mahAbali was only praised by others and never called by name, hearing his name, he noticed the beautiful child, and joyfully asked “What do you need?”.
  • mUvadi – [three feet of land] Since those who accept from him never asked for such insignificant gift, he remained indifferent; vAmana said “Don’t be like that. Give me now”.
  • enRa kaLvanE – indhra surrendered to bhagavAn. A generous person have snatched his kingdom; thinking “I cannot destroy him like I destroyed rAvaNa et al since he is having some pseudo virtue [of being generous]. But indhra is begging for my help; how can we solve this issue?”, he assumed the form of a needy person, and attracted mahAbali by his beautiful appearance and sweet talks, even though mahAbali advised by sukrAchArya et al saying “he has arrived to fulfil the desire of dhEvas” – AzhwAr is saying “kaLvanE” due to all these mischievous activities.
  • kanjanai vanjiththu – kamsa being krishNa’s maternal uncle, placed the kuvalayApIda elephant and the wrestlers at the gates as if they stood there by mistake, and stood there pretending to be crying for krishNa; destroying all of those and such kamsa so that his evil thoughts are buried with him.
  • vANan … – emperumAn who arrived for vaiyALi (a joy ride) on periya thiruvadi (garudAzhwAr) and eliminated the inner strength immediately for bANa who held on to a kshudhra dhEvathA [petty deity – rudhra, the subordinate deity of emperumAn for annihilation]; bANAsura remained fearless after surrendering to rudhra as pure devotees would be fearless after surrendering to bhagavAn as said in thaiththiriya upanishath “atha sO’bhayangathO bhavathi” (jIvAthmA remains fearless after attaining paramAthmA).
  • Ayiram thOL thuNiththa – Since bANa became prideful, emperumAn abandoned him [and thereby his hands were cut off].
  • puL vallAy – Like vAL vallAy (expert in using the sword), thOL vallAy (expert in using the shoulder strength) etc., puL vallAy means one who is expert in riding the garuda.
  • unnai engyAnRu porundhuvanE – After acquiring knowledge about the true nature of the self, it appears that we [were once united with him and now we] have separated from him. After acquiring true knowledge about self, being with the material body is like pirAtti (sIthA) remained in separation in aSOka vana (forest) as said in SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 21.15 “ananyA rAgavENAham” (I am not different from SrI rAma, like the rays of the sun). After acquiring true knowledge, the state of being in this material world since time eternal, looks like something which occurred accidentally. One should not lose this opportunity looking at your nature of being omniscient, omnipotent and having many auspicious qualities; and my nature is such that I should not lose you; in this case, please tell me “when will I unite with you?”. While servitude is inseparably present in all AthmAs, they are categorized as nithya (eternally free), muktha (once bound, now liberated) and badhdha (bound in the material relam) – similarly there is categorization in the divine consorts of emperumAn also. “ananyA” (not different) can be said to all AthmAs when the true nature of self is realized.  Once, he [nanjIyar/nampiLLai] casually explained this – [When SrI mahAlakshmi is explained as part of bhagavAn in some parts of SASthram, why is she identified as part of jIvAthmAs?] When bhEdham (difference) is explained between ISvara and his consorts, it explains that like all jIvAthmAs who are different from bhagavAn, the consorts are also different; where aikyam (unity/similarity) is explained, the ultimate state of pArathanthriyam (total dependence) is explained [i.e., their thoughts/speech/actions are perfectly harmonious with emperumAn that there is no difference between them].
  • Ayiram thOL … – bANAsura was bewildered and considered himself very strong due to having thousand hands. Oh emperumAn who removed those extraneous hands and left him with just the apt (two) hands!”. He is said in thiruchchandha viruththam as “Ayiram karam kazhiththa Aadhi mAl” (the primordial lord who eliminated the thousand hands).
  • unnai engyAnRu porundhuvanE – When will I reach you who eliminated the hands of bANa and made him helpless?

In the next article we will enjoy the next pAsuram.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

archived in http://divyaprabandham.koyil.org

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