thirumAlai – 31 – thavaththuLAr thammil

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avathArikai (Introduction)

emperumAn tells AzhwAr “You have said that you do not have any of the means ordained in the SAsthras for attaining mOksham (liberation) (in pAsuram 25). Even if it is not there, either to obtain swargam (heaven) or to grab money from others by cheating, if you have carried out yAgam (ritual like oblation) as mentioned in vEdhas, I can gradually turn you away from those and enable you to attain mOksham. Have you carried out such yAgams?” AzhwAr says in this pAsuram “I have done nothing like that. Instead of attaining you with the birth that you have given me, I had immersed myself in worldly pursuits. I have shown only hatred towards others and my behaviour is such that it appears that I have utilised the birth that you had given only for destroying”. The connection between the earlier pAsuram and this pAsuram is that while he was jealous of the greatness of others in the previous, in this he has become an unwanted person even to his relatives because he was immersed in matters relating Sabdha etc (giving into the five senses of sound, sight, taste, smell and touch).

Let us go thorugh the pAsuram and its meanings.

thavaththuLar thammil allEn dhanam padaiththAril allEn
uvarththa nIr pOla enRan uRRavarkku onRum illEn
thuvarththa sevvAyinArkkE thuvakkaRath thurisanAnEn
avaththamE piRavi thandhAy arangamAnagar uLAnE


Word-by-word Meaning

aranga mA nagar uLAnE – one who dwells in SrIrangam
thavaththuLAr thammil – among those who observe penance
allEn – I am not with them
dhanam padaiththAril – among those who have earned money (for conducting thadhIyArAdhanam – feeding others)
allEn – I am not with them
enRan uRRavarkku – to my relatives
uvarththa nIr pOla – like salty water
onRum allEn – I am not helpful to them for any benefit
thuvarththa sevvAyinArkkE – even for women with reddish lips
thuvakku aRa – in such a way that the connection severs
thurisan AnEn – I was like a thief

(for such a person as I)
piRavi – birth
avaththamE thandhAy – gave me wastefully

vyAkhyAnam (commentary)

thavaththuLAr thammilallEn – bruhadhAraNya upanishath 6.4.22 says “thamEtham vEdhAnu vachanEna brAhmaNA vividhishanthi I yagyEna dhAnEna thapasA’nASakEna II “ (brahma gyAnis (people with divine knowledge)  wish to know about paramAthmA through reciting of vEdhas, rituals, donations, doing penance without any desire (as benefit)). vEdhAnthams (second part of vEdhas) thus specified penance as a means for attaining mOksham. Since AzhwAr did not specify the benefit for which those who do penance carry it out, he hints here that he did not join those who carried out penance for attaining mOksham; he did not join those who carried out penance for swargam (heaven) or such benefits; not only that, he did not join those who, after starting a penance find that there is some shortcoming in that, then make atonement for it to overcome the shortcoming, thus doing penance in a half-baked manner.

dhanam padaiththAril allEn – earning money is also said to be purushArtham (benefit) if spent for good purposes. In the example quoted above from bruhadhAraNya upanishath, earning money is classified as purushArtham. SrI bhagavath gIthA 18.5 says ”yagyadhAnathapa:karma na thyAjyam kAryamEva thath I yagyOdhAnam thapaSchaiva pAvanAni manIshiNAm  II” (yagyam (ritual), dhAnam (donation), thapas (penance) are karmas which should not be given up; they are only to be observed; yagya, dhAna and thapas purify those who are immersed in bhakthi). Again gIthA explains this meaning in 17.20 “dhAthavyamithi yadhdhAnam dhIyathE’nupakAriNE I dhESE kAlE cha pAthrE cha thadhdhAnam sAthvikam smrutham II” (that donation which is given to a person with good character, who does not do anything in return, with the thought that “I am bound to donate this” is called as sAthvika (pure good) donation). thaiththirIya upanishath, bhruguvalli 10.1 says “na kanchana vasathau prathyA chakshItha thath vrtham I yayAkayAcha vidhayA bahvantham prApnuyAth II” (we should not drive away anyone who comes to our house as a guest. This is a vow. For this, through means fair or foul, he [no specific reference] is ordained to earn food). Thus upanishath says that money can be earned even in a foul way if it is to be spent for a good purpose. thirumangai AzhwAr et al followed this way. Thus, AzhwAr says that he was not in the company of those who have money for spending in bhagavath (emperumAn) and bhAgavatha (followers of emperumAn) matters. Even if he did not have penance and sAthvika donation, he was not even part of those who donate in a rAjasa or thAmasa way. gIthA 17.21 says “yaththu prathyupakArArtham palamudhdhiSya vA puna:” (that which is given in a grand manner, expecting a deed in return or some benefit is called as rAjasa dhAnam); gIthA 17.22 says “asathkruthamavagyAtham” (that which is given to undeserving people is called as thAmasa dhAnam). Thus, when asked whether he was part of those who did rAjasa donation or thAmasa donation or liberal donation to earn fame, AzhwAr says he was not part of any of these groups. Even if he did not have these two (penance and donation), did he help his relatives at least?

uvarththa nIr pOla enRan uRRavarkku onRum allEn – just as a person cannot open his eyes when his face is splashed with salty water, I had done so many harmful actions towards my relatives that they did not want to see me at all. If per chance any relative were to come face to face with me, I used to carry out such harmful deeds towards them that they would not live through the day. If a person were related to another, he should do only sweet or good things. But I did only harmful deeds; planned and executed such deeds. Since I was constantly engaged in bringing bad reputation for myself, I was not good even to me. The opinion here is that such a person (as I) became absolutely useless to my relatives, like salty water.

Even people who are not good to his relatives, they will be good to women who are close to their hearts. Do you have this? . . . .

thuvarththa sevvAyinArkkE thuvakkaRath thurisanAnEnthuvarththa sevvAyinArkku – these women will hide their evil intentions and, displaying their reddish lips, would enslave him. He will also not know the faults in their minds. He will not even know that they do not have real affection towards him. Not going beyond the beauty of their mouths, he will get entrapped in it. Such women will utilise the beauty of their mouth to hide the faults in their minds and to separate him from his parents and other relatives. thuvakkaRath thurisanAnEn – I became a thief to even those women by doing harmful deeds even to them such that they will think “ let the relationship with him get severed” thurisan – thief. In SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 19.4, vibhIshaNa says “thEna chAmsyamAnitha:” (I was disrespected by him also). I was discarded even by the lowly rAvaNa, says vibhIshaNa. In the same say, AzhwAr says that he was not wanted even by women and was driven away by them.

avaththamE piRavi thandhAy – after all these events, it appears that the birth that you gave me has been wasted. AzhwAr reached lowliness due to his karma. Can he shift the blame to emperumAn? AzhwAr certainly knows what is karma (deeds) and what is his svarUpam (basic nature); hence he says this. karma is ISvaran’s reprimand to prevent AzhwAr from attaining the benefit appropriate to his svarUpam. His svarUpam is such that his actions and inactions are under the control of ISvaran. If the gracious emperumAn says “I have forgiven you” his karma will disappear. As SrI bhagavath gIthA 10.10 says “thEshAm sathathayukthAnAm bhajathAm prIthi pUrvakam I dhadhAmi budhdhi yOgam tham yEna mAmupayAnthi thE  II” (I grant good intelligence with deep affection to those who wish to be with me and worship me always), if emperumAn decided to grant good intelligence to this chEthana and guides him well, there is none to stop him. Since AzhwAr knows all these, he tells emperumAn “you have given me a wasted birth” If a child falls into a well and the mother is witnessing it [without doing anything], it can be said that the mother pushed the child into the well. AzhwAr says in the same manner.

aranga mA nagar uLAnEemperumAn is taking posture in SrIrangam only to correct through his beauty and auspicious qualities those who indulge in worldly pursuits following their karma, and who cannot be corrected by SAsthras. AzhwAr’s opinion is that this did not fructify in his case.

Let us take up 32nd pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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