thirumAlai – 29 – UrilEn kANi illai

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avathArikai (Introduction)

periya perumAL asks the AzhwAr, “you do not have the thought which the elephant had when it thought of me as a means when it was in a state of distress. If a chEthanan were born or owns land in a dhivya dhESam where I dwell such as Sri sALagramam [mukthinAth], thiruvayOdhdhi [ayOdhyA] or SrIrangam periya kOyil, then I have to necessarily protect him. Do you have anything like this?”. Azhwar responds in this pAsuram that he has nothing like this.

Let us see the pAsuram and its meanings.

UrilEn kANi illai uRavu maRRoruvar illai
pAril nin pAdhamUlam paRRilEn paramamUrthy
kAroLi vaNNanE (en)kaNNanE kadhaRuginREn
AruLar kaLaikaN ammA arangamA nagar uLAnE


Word-by-word meaning

Ur ilEn – I was not born in a dhivya dhESam where you [emperumAn] are dwelling
kANi illai – I do not have hereditary rights over land (given for carrying out kainkaryam such as reciting thiruppallANdu)
uRavu illai – do not have relatives too
maRRoruvar illai – I do not have anyone else
pAril – on this earth
nin pAdha mUlam – your divine feet (the refuge for anyone who does not have any other refuge)
paRRilEn – (as refuge) I have not embraced
parama mUrththi – the lord for all
kAroLi vaNNanE – of a hue like dark clouds
(en) kaNNanE – my krishNa (who has qualities such as simplicity)
kadhaRuginREn – I am crying out to you
ammA – my Lord
arangamA nagar uLAnE – one who is dwelling in SrIrangam
kaLai kaN Ar uLar – who else is my protector (apart from you)?

vyAkhyAnam (commentary)

Ur ilEn – the “Ur” (town) that AzhwAr refers to here is not any ordinary town. He refers to dhivya dhESams  where emperumAn constantly dwells such as SrI sAlagrAmam, SrI rAma’s birth place thiru ayOdhdhi, the root of all archAvathAra sthalams thiruvarangam [SrIrangam] periya kOyil etc. How will the term “Ur” refer to dhivya dhESam? It will, because of the strength of this particular section of thirumAlai. This particular section deals with his Akinchanyam – that he has nothing in his hands to attain emperumAn. Since he has said “UrilEn”, the term “Ur” should be a path [means] to mOksham. Since there is no chEthana who is not born in a town, if the term “Ur” were to refer to any town, then all towns will become a means to attaining mOksham. There is no authentic source to consider this meaning. Hence considering several authentic sources, one has to conclude that “Ur” refers only to dhivya dhESam. Had I been born in a dhivya dhESam, you would have tried to rescue me since I was born in a place which gives you pleasure. I do not have even that in me, says AzhwAr. Is there any proof to say that living in a dhivya dhESam will rescue a person? There are many. gAruda purANam 11 says “dhESO’yam sarvakAma dhuk” (this place confers everything); SrI rAmAyaNam AraNya kANdam 1.20 says “thE vayam bhavathA rakshyA bhavath vishaya vAsina:” (we, who are living and suffering in your place, are to be protected by you) [the rishis living in dhaNdakAraNyam inform SrI rAma when he goes there}; SrI rAmAyaNam uththara kANdam 109.22 says “nOchchvasath thadhayOdhyAyAm susUkshmamapi dhruSyathE I thiryak yOni gathASchAnyE sarvE rAmAnuvrathA: II ” (Not even a small creature alive is seen in ayOdhyA. Animals and all other creatures have followed SrI rAma [to paramapadham]). Thus there are several authentic sources confirming this,

kANi illai – “even if you were not born in a dhivya dhESam, it is possible that there is some connection with dhivya dhESam through landed property. Do you have such a connection?” asked emperumAn. AzhwAr says that he does not have even that. In olden days, for carrying out kainkaryams to emperumAn such as reciting thiruppallANdu in the temple, creating a garden for stringing flower garland to emperumAn, either as a gift or as lease, land used to be given. AzhwAr says that he does not have this connection too.

emperumAn asks, “even if you do not have a connection through birth or through landed property with a dhivya dhESam, do you have any connection through people in a dhivya dhESam to whom you may either give or accept anything or through manthram [either learning or teaching]? “ . . . .

uRavu maRRoruvarilllai – since there are no relatives there, there is no connection with dhivya dhESam, says the Azhwar. Since he says “no one” even distant relatives whom one may have seen occasionally or friends with whom one may have some connection – there is no one absolutely, says AzhwAr.

In that case, where do you live? …..

pAril – if one does not have place to stay, this earth creates boundless difficulties; I am living on such an earth says the AzhwAr. mUnRam thiruvandhAdhi 51 says of SrivaikuNtam “kalangAp perunagaram” (trouble-free great abode). If one were to live in such SrIvaikuNtam, one can live without any worry as there will be no troubles due to lust, anger etc. On this earth, instead, 7 people grab the food and clothes that one person needs to eat and wear. I am living in such a horrible place.

ninpAdha mUlam paRRilEn – I do not  have connection with your divine feet which give refuge to those who do not have anywhere else to go. nin pAdhamUlam – SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 38.33 says “sa pithrA cha parithyakthas suraiScha sa maharshibhi: I thrIn lOkAn samparikramya thamEva SaraNam gatha: II” (the kAkAsuran, given up by his father (and mother) and dhEvas (celestial people) who were together with sages, went all over the three worlds and took refuge under SrI rAma himself). The opinion expressed by the AzhwAr here is that he has become unfit to seek refuge under emperumAn’s divine feet which gave refuge even to kAkAsuran, who had committed intolerable fault and became the target of his brahmAsthra.

periya perumAL then tells him “if you do not have any benefit in any way, it appears that there is no alternative except to lose the opportunity of attaining me” . . . .

parama mUrththi – I do not have anything to protect myself. But don’t you have anything to protect me? You have a lot. Aren’t you the Lord of everyone and much above everyone else? Only if you protect me too, can you become the Lord of everyone. If you do not protect a SEshabhUthan (a follower who serves emperumAn), you cannot become a SEshi (the Lord or master). For that to happen, should not a SEshabhUthan realise that he is a servitor? The opinion here is that even when chEthana, in a state of stupor, thinks that he is independent, sarvESvaran, considering that he is the owner and the chEthana is his possession, will correct the chEthana and make him realise the relationship between them.

emperumAn asks the AzhwAr, “since it is non-negotiable that you are my servitor, what is the means for you to get that servitorship?” to which AzhwAr responds that his beauty is the means.

kAroLi vaNNanE – in pAsuram 16 AzhwAr had said “Adharam perugavaiththa azhagan” (the beautiful form of emperumAn created affection). emperumAn initially creates an interest towards him in the mind of chEthana. Once the interest is created, his form (beauty) becomes the means for the chEthana to attain him. When that beauty is there in emperumAn, there is no hurdle for AzhwAr to obtain the servitorship, he says.

kaNNanE – even if the form is beautiful, instead of remaining in SrIvaikuNtam where you could not be reached, you made yourself approachable to us, by taking various incarnations and showing auspicious qualities such as saulabhyam (simplicity). Since you are parama murthi, you are incomparable Lord to us; since you are kAroLi vaNNan you create in us as upAyam (means), everything  starting with desire; since you are kaNNan you have auspicious qualities such as simplicity, affability etc; when you have all these, can I lose my goal? You are the apt Lord for us all. Even if you are not the Lord, you have such beauty that we cannot neglect you. Even if you do not have these two great qualities, you have auspicious qualities such as simplicity and affability and move with us closely. When such an entity like you is there, I do not have any shortcoming.

kadhaRuginREn – When I think of such greatness in you, I cry out to you, just as those who observe other means such as bhakthi cry out when there is a delay in attaining you.

AruLar kaLaikan – Are you delaying protecting me when I cry out to you because you think that someone else will protect me? Can I protect myself with nothing in my hands? Can someone else who does not know as much I do that I do not have anything in me, protect me?

ammA – If the possession gets destroyed, is it not a loss to you, the Owner?

arangamA nagar uLanE – even if you are the owner, if you are not near me, I might have remained calm, using that as an excuse. The meaning here is that “when you are lying at the nearby temple [at SrIrangam] expecting whether someone will come calling out to you to attain you, how can I remain quiet and not cry out to you?

We shall move on to the 30th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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