thirumAlai – 35 – thAvi anRu ulagamellAm

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avathArikai (introduction)

periya perumAL felt sad that AzhwAr had decided to move away from him and may even get ruined. He is worried that he may lose him. He asks AzhwAr “AzhwIr? What is the reason for your decision to leave my presence?” to which AzhwAr responds “instead of approaching you, by telling lies to an omniscient entity to you and bringing disrepute to you, it is better to move with samsAris, who do not know my intentions and with whom I have been together since time immemorial. I can remain with them from now onwards”.  periya perumAL divines “it is good that you approached me. I do not see faults in my followers. samsAris will look at all the faults of others, without exception. I look at all the good qualities of followers, without leaving anything. Hence, irrespective of the number of faults that one has, it is very apt if he leaves samsAris and comes to me”.  AzhwAr asks periya perumAL “are these mere comforting words or have you shown this in practice?” and periya perumAL replies “It is there for a very long time” and shows AzhwAr how he measured the worlds as thrivikrama. “That I measured all the worlds as thrivikrama is mentioned in vEdhas for a very long time. Have you not heard of it? By keeping my foot on both brAhmaNas, who control their sensory organs, and chaNdALas, who are of very low birth, without differentiating between them, I showed that there is none who is ill-disposed towards me” says emperumAn, showing AzhwAr his simplicity and how it is difficult for him to sustain himself should AzhwAr leave him, comforting AzhwAr in this pAsuram, who also gets comforted. AzhwAr meditates on the meanings meditated by nammAzhwAr in his thiruvAimozhi 1.5.1vaLavEzh ulagu” in the previous pAsuram and this pAsuram.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings.

thAviyanRu ulagam ellAm thalaiviLAkkoNda endhAy
sEviyEn unnaiyallAl chikkenach chengaNmAlE
AviyE! amudhE! endhan Aruyir anaiya endhAy
pAviyEn unnai allAl pAviyEn pAviyEnE


Word-by-word meaning

anRu – on that day (when the worlds were seized by mahAbali)
ulagam ellAm – all the worlds
thAvi thalaiviLAkkoNda – going across, pervading everyone’s head with divine feet
endhAy – my swAmy (lord)
unnai allAl sEviyEn – I will not worship anyone other than you
sem kaN mAlE – Oh the one with reddish eyes, being partial towards his followers!
AviyE – being my vital air
amudhE – being the nectar
endhan Ar uyir anaiya endhAy – my swAmy, being the in-dwelling soul of my life, like nectar
pAviyEn – sinner like I
chikkena – surely (at all times)
unnai allAl – other than you
pAviyEn – will not think of (others)
pAviyEnE – I have committed lot of sins

vyAkhyAnam (commentary)

thAvi – crossing. If emperumAn had given prior information that “I am going to keep my foot on your heads”, the samsAris, with huge egos, would have refused to take his divine foot on their heads and would have ordered him “don’t keep”. Just as people with sathva guNam (pure good qualities) would have ordered “thiruvANai ninnANai” (thiruvAimozhi 10.10.2) in order to ensure that emperumAn keeps his divine foot on their heads without refusing, these samsAris would have ordered that emperumAn’s divine foot should not come near them. It was only because of this that emperumAn kept his divine foot on their heads without their knowing about it, and grew rapidly, without either they [samsAris] or he, getting enervated.

anRu – on that day when the status of he being the master and samsAris being the servitors was in ruins and mahAbali had seized the worlds.

ulagamellAm – instead of being satisfied with measuring the three worlds seized by mahAbali, his divine foot went all the way to brahmalOkam, after it graced the heads of all the people, without any discrimination between the great and lowly ones, and grew in size.

thalai viLAkkoNda – AzhwAr shows that the excitement of the protector [emperumAn] was much more than the size of the entity that he protected . purusha sUktham 1 says “sahasra SIrshA purusha: sahasrAksha: sahasrapAdh I sa bhUmim viSvathO vruthvA athyathishtadhdhaSAngulam II” (nArAyaNa, who is called as purusha, has countless heads, countless eyes, countless legs; he surrounded the earth on all sides and pervaded for countless yOjanas (one yOjana is 10 miles or 16 kilometers) beyond the earth). Thus purusha sUktham also mentioned that emperumAn pervaded much beyond the earth, all the way upto nithya vibhUthi. The term thAvi thalai viLAkkoNda shows that he measured much more than what he had to measure [the three worlds seized by mahAbali].

endhAy – what is the reason for emperumAn to keep his divine feet, referred to by thirumangai AzhwAr in thirukkuRundhAndagam 6 as “amarar sennippUvinai” (the divine feet borne by nithyasUris on their heads) on the heads of samsAris, who do not have any involvement with them? AzhwAr shows that it is due to the indelible relationship between emperumAn and samsAris. AzhwAr addresses emperumAn as endhAy  since emperumAn had kept his divine foot on AzhwAr’s head too, on that day. The opinion here is that it is due to the goodwill of the effort on that day that he has reformed today. Just as a mother hugs her child while it is sleeping, emperumAn also graced the samsAris on that day by touching them with his divine foot and protecting them. On that day, AzhwAr did not know the relationship that he had with emperumAn and today, since he knows it, he calls emperumAn as endhAy (lord or master); even today, the samsAris have not realised this and AzhwAr makes himself happier for them too.

sEviyEn unnai allAl – emperumAn asks AzhwAr “why then did you think of moving away from me?” AzhwAr responds “I thought of leaving you because I did not know your simplicity. Having known this, I will not leave you hereafter and will not hold on to something else” “If I leave you, I should either be independent like a king or be a servitor to someone else. Such shortcomings will not come to me hereafter” says the AzhwAr. In thirumanthram [ashtAksharam], the first word, praNavam negated being servitor to others and the second word, nama, negated being independent like a king. AzhwAr shows these two aspects in his words sEviyEn unnai allAl. Is it correct to say that he will not worship others? Since being a servitor to emerpumAn is considered to be equivalent to worshipping him, by force of habit, AzhwAr uses the same word (worshipping) when it comes to talking about others.

emperumAn asks him “for how long will you have this determination?” . . . .

chikkena – this will last forever. It will last till my AthmA lasts [i.e. forever]. Just as nammAzhwAr says in thiruvAimozhi 2.6.1pidhiththEn koL chikkenavE” (I held on to you forever), AzhwAr gives refuge to emperumAn who is in grief that AzhwAr would leave him. It is AzhwAr’s turn to tell emperumAn “mA sucha:” (don’t feel saddened), just as emperumAn told arjuna in bhagavath gIthA.

sengaNmAlE – this word does not reflect the natural reddishness in emperumAn’s eyes. It denotes the unique reddishness acquired by emperumAn’s eyes on hearing the word “chikkena” from AzhwAr. After hearing AzhwAr say “sEviyEn unnaiyallAl chikkena”, the fear that emperumAn felt after hearing AzhwAr say in the previous pAsuram “veLgippOy” (I am leaving you out of shame) disappeared; the uncontrollable love that emerpumAn felt towards AzhwAr  manifested as radiance in his eyes. Another interpretation for sengaNmAlE is – In SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 17.29, sugrIva tells SrI rAma when vibhIshaNa comes to take refuge under SrI rAma “vadhyathAmEsha dhaNdEna thIvrENa sachivais saha I rAvaNasya nruSamsasya bhrAthA hyEsha vibhIshaNa:  II” (let this vibhIshaNa, with his ministers, be tormented, through harsh punishment. Is not this vibhIshaNa the brother of the cruel rAvaNa?). On hearing this, the heart of SrI rAma was in tatters. It was similar to that of periya perumAL when he heard from AzhwAr in the previous pAsuram “vilavarachchiriththittEnE”. When hanuman responded with this SlOka (yudhdha kANdam 18.1) “atha: rAma prasannAthmA SruthvA vAtu suthasya ha I prathyabhAshatha dhurthdharsha: SruthavAnAthmani sthitham II” (later, one who cannot be won over (by words), one who had learnt about various matters (from vasishta and others), SrI rAma, after hearing vAyu’s son (vAyu is the dhEvathA for wind) hanuman’s sweet words, became clear in his mind and started speaking from his divine mind). rAma came back to existence after hearing hanuman. In the same way, periya perumAL, after hearing AzhwAr say chikkena  came back to existence. Just as hanuman told SrI rAma in rAmAvathAram “mA sucha:” (do not feel sad), AzhwAr offers refuge to periya perumAL in archAvathAram. sengaNmAlE — unnaiyallAl sEviyEn – the opinion here is that AzhwAr canot go from perumAL when perumAL’s face blossoms out of love, on getting AzhwAr.

Is that all? . . . . .

AviyE – where else can I go from you, who is like my breath [vital air]? AzhwAr does not consider that air [which is breathed] is a state of vAyu (wind), as mentioned in SAsthras. Just as nammAzhwAr says in thiruvAimozhi 7.2.9 “en thirumagaL sErmArvanE ennum ennudaiya AviyE ennum” (one who is the repository for pirAtti (SrI mahAlakshmi) and who is the breath of nammAzhwAr), this AzhwAr considers Sriman nArAyaNa as his breath.

amudhE – apart from being the sustaining force like breath, emperumAn is also like nectar, which is infinitely sweet, and which is like a medicine for saving AzhwAr’s AthmA from death.

Is that all? . . . .

en Aruyiranaiya – aren’t you my AthmA? The opinion here is that the body cannot go outside and live, without the AthmA.

endhAy – aren’t you the swAmy (master) who took me back when I tried to leave you and ruin myself, thinking that I am not fit to approach you? The view here is that AzhwAr has no place to go to, leaving emperumAn, who is (1) like sengaNmAl to AzhwAr, showing motherly love through his lotus like eyes; (2) AzhwAr’s breath; (3) like a sweet nectar to AzhwAr; (4) AzhwAr’s AthmA, guiding him properly like his swAmy.

emperumAn asks the AzhwAr “the words that you speak are beautiful. Are these also lies like you said earlier in the 33rd pAsuramaiyanE aranganE” and 30th pAsuramennai ALudaiya kOvE”? . . .

pAviyEn unnaiyallAl – AzhwAr says “the reason why I decided to leave you (as being unapproachable), who graced the heads of all samsAris with your divine feet, is because of my sins”

pAviyEn pAviyEnE – The meaning of first pAviyEn  is that he has lot of  sins; the meaning of the second pAviyEn is that he will not think of anyone else other than emperumAn. Another interpretation for pAviyEn pAviyEnE – both the terms mean the word pAvi, showing the excessive sin that he has committed. The opinion here is that his sins are the reason for his trying to leave emperumAn, who, not only does not mind the faults in followers, but who also does not hate samsAris who hate him. Yet another interpretation is that through the first pAviyEn he talks about the sin that he would have committed by leaving emperumAn and ruining himself and the second pAviyEn would indicate the sin that he would have committed by leaving emperumAn, who is the cause for existence of all, by ruining emperumAn himself and consequently all the others.

We shall take up the 36th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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