Daily Archives: December 1, 2016

thirumAlai – 38 – mEmporuL pOgavittu – Part 1

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Note: The vyAkhyAnam for this pAsuram is a fairly lengthy one; hence we shall see this in three parts. In the first part, we shall see the avathArikai and the pAsuram, with its meanings. In the second part, we shall see the vyAkhyAnam for the first two lines of the pAsuram and in the last part, the vyAkhyAnam for the last two lines.

avathArikai (introduction)

Just as gIthA charama SlOkam  (the ultimate SlOka of SrI bhagavath gIthA) is the centrepiece of mahAbhAratham, this pAsuram is the centrepiece of this dhivya prabhandham (divine composition of thoNdaradippodi AzhwAr). mahAbhAratham is  the essence of vEdhas as could be gauged from the SlOka “mathimandhAnamAvidhya yEnAsau SruthisAgarAth I jagadhdhithAya janithO mahAbhAratha chandhramA: II” (the moon called as mahAbhAratha was created by churning the seas of vEdhas by vyAsa for the well being of this world). emperumAn churned thiruppARkadal (the ocean of milk on which he lies) and gave nectar to dhEvas (celestial people). The sage vyAsa churned vEdhas and gave mahAbhAratha, which brings forth happiness among those who read it, for the well-being of samsAram. The nectar which emperumAn gave to the dhEvas was not necessarily for their well-being since it would not even allow them to die when they are in serious trouble; it is more of a millstone to them. On the other hand, the mahAbhAratha which vyAsa gave the samsAris is capable of ridding them of samsAram. Such mahAbhAratha can be termed as chakkai (residue such as from sugarcane after the juice has been extracted) when compared to SrI bhagavath gIthA. The essence of SrI bhagavath gIthA is its charama SlOkam. gIthAchAryan (krishNa), in order to highlight the lowliness of other upAyams (means for attaining emperumAn such as karma yOga, gyAna yOga etc), explained these before reciting charama SlOkam. After reciting charama SlOkam, he recited the following SlOkam highlighting the greatness of charama SlOkam “idham thE nAthapaskAya nAbhakthAya kadhAchana I nAchASuSrUshavE vAchyam na cha mAm yO’bhyasUyathi II” (this SAsthram which was recited (by me) to you should not ever be told to one who has not done any penance, to one who does not have devotion (towards you and me), to one who is not interested in it and to one who hates me). In the same way, this entire thirumAlai was created only for reciting this 38th pAsuram, mEmporuL pOgavittu. The pAsurams coming after this highlight the greatness of those who are deeply involved in the meanings of this 38th pAsuram. Thus it will be clear that just as charama SlOkam is the essence of mahAbhAratha, this pAsuram is the essence of thirumAlai. Apart from giving the meanings of charama SlOkam, this pAsuram gives the meanings of dhvayam also [dhvayam is one among the three secretive exponents of our philosophy, the other two being thirumanthram and charama SlOkam]. [dhvayam is composed of two lines, of which the first line expounds on the upAyam (means or path) for attaining emperumAn and the second, on the purushArtham (benefit or goal on attaining him)]. In this pAsuram, the benefit is mentioned in the first two lines and the means, in the next two lines. What is the reason for this reversal (from the order in which they appear in dhvayam)?

For any advantage or benefit, there are two different periods – one is vyuthpaththi vELai (time of origin) and the other is anushtAna vELai (time of execution). The time of origin is when one knows about the advantage and the time of execution is when he engages through some means in attaining that advantage. For example, there is a SAsthra vAkhyam (a sentence from sacred text) svargakAmO jyOthishtOmEna yajEtha (one who is desirous of svargam should carry out jyOthishtOma yagyam). Here SAsthram tells a chEthana (sentient entity) about the advantage, svargam. This is in the time of origin. This is why it first informs about the advantage, svargakAma, and later, it tells about the means of attaining that advantage, which is doing the jyOthishtOma yagyam.  However, at the time of execution, one has to first carry out jyOthishtOma yagyam (means) and only then attain svargam (goal). It is clear from this that the means and goal will be reversed during time of origin and time of execution. In this pAsuram, AzhwAr is talking about goal and means. Hence it is structured on vyuthpaththi vELai (time of origin). Thus, AzhwAr is talking about the goal first and then the means. In order to reach the goal, the observance of means, which is reciting the dhvaya manthram, is in the execution time. In dhvayam, the sAdhanam (means) is given first and the sAdhyam (the goal) is given next. nammAzhwAr in his thiruvAimozhi 6.10.10 “agalagillEn”  gave the meaning of the first part of dhvayam. ANdAL, in her thiruppAvai 29th pAsuramsiRRam siRukAlE” gave the meaning of 2nd part of dhvayam. This (thoNdaradippodi) AzhwAr alone has given the meanings of both halves of dhvayam in one pAsuram.

What is the link for this pAsuram with the previous (37th) pAsuram?

After AzhwAr had recited with lot of sorrow, the words “aLiyan nam paiyal ennAr ammavO kodiyavARE”, periya perumAL felt very happy in his divine mind that “despite staying in samsAram which incites involvement in worldly pursuits, he is praying for kainkaryam (service) to me as his purushArtham (benefit), in line with his svarUpam (true nature); for attaining that, instead of resorting to his own efforts, he is looking up to me; on top of that, he is feeling saddened that there is a delay in getting that purushArtham. What a great mahAthmA he is!  How great that I have got him!” The happiness in his divine mind manifested into happiness in his divine face, blessing AzhwAr. After seeing this happiness, AzhwAr says in this pAsuram “Oh one who has done me favours! Is this how your divine mind feels happy when someone attains you, gives the responsibility of protecting him to you and withdraws from protecting himself?” charama SlOkam ordains “hold on to me as means, with deep belief”, dhvayam is the manthram that those who are steadfast in this means, will recite. This pAsuram shows how happy emperumAn becomes with those who are fully involved in dhvayam and its meanings.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings.

மேம் பொருள் போகவிட்டு மெய்ம்மையை மிக உணர்ந்து
ஆம்பரிசறிந்து கொண்டு ஐம்புலனகத்தடக்கி
காம்பறத் தலை சிரைத்துன் கடைத்தலை இருந்து வாழும்
சோம்பரை உகத்தி போலும் சூழ் புனல் அரங்கத்தானே.

mEmporuL pOgavittu meymmaiyai miga uNarndhu
AmparisaRindhu koNdu aimpulanagaththadakki
kAmbaRath thalai siraiththun kadaiththalai irundhu vAzhum
sOmbarai ugaththi pOlum sUzh punal arangaththAnE


Word-by-word Meaning

punal sUzh – surrounded by kAvEri
arangaththAnE – one who is sleeping in the temple
mEm poruL – the worldly matters which give an impression of being great
pOgavittu – casting aside, with trace
meymmaiyai – the Athma svarUpam (true nature of AthmA, the soul)
miga uNarndhu – knowing, as it is [completely]
Am parisu – bhagavath kainkaryam (service to emperumAn) which is the purushArtham (benefit) for AthmA’s true nature
aRindhu koNdu – knowing it
aim pulan – the five senses
agaththu adakki – controlling (instead of enjoying them)
kAmbu aRa – removing the attachment (in other means)
thalai siraiththu – removing the weight from head
un thalaikkadai irundhu – standing at your door step (as a guard)
vAzhum – those who live
sOmbarai – followers who are lazy (in looking after themselves)
ugaththi pOlum – do you not enjoy them?

 We shall consider vyAkhyAnam for the first two lines of this pAsuram, in the next part.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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thiruvAimozhi – 4.2.2 – valli sEr

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

Full series >> Fourth Centum >> Second decad

Previous pAsuram


Introduction for this pAsuram

Highlights from thirukkurukaippirAn piLLAn‘s introduction

No specific introduction.

Highlights from nanjIyar‘s introduction

In second pAsuram – Mother says “parAnkuSa nAyaki desires to witness the divine activities of krishNa with the gOpikAs (cowherd girls) in rAsa leelA”.

Highlights from vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyar‘s introduction

Subsequently, mother says “She (my daughter) is constantly and incoherently reciting [about] the thiruththuzhAy at the divine feet of krishNa who performed rAsa leelA”.

Highlights from periyavAchchAn piLLai‘s introduction

See nanjIyar‘s introduction.

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

Second pAsuram. Mother says – When she [my daughter] was asked “if sarvESvaran who is sarva rakshaka (protector of all), protected his own wealth [the material realm] during total deluge, would that be a reason for [me to have faith in] me attaining the goal [with his help]?”, she replies “that may not be the reason, but since he helped [the cowherd] girls of my age, why should he not help me?”.


valli sEr nuNNidai Aychchiyar thammodum
kollaimai seydhu kuravai piNaindhavar
nalladi mElaNi nARu thuzhAy enRE
sollumAl sUzh vinai AttinEn pAvaiyE


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

valli – creeper
sEr – like
nuN – thin
idai – having waist
Aychchiyar thammodum – with the cowherd girls, mingling freely

(to rid their limits of shyness etc)
kollaimai – actions which cross the limits
seydhu – performed
kuravai – rAsa leelA [divine interactions between krishNa and gOpikAs]
piNaindhavar – the one who engaged, his
nal – beautiful (having steps that follow the dance)
adimEl – on the divine feet
aNi – worn
nARu – very fragrant
thuzhAy enRE – “thiruththuzhAy” (thuLasi) only
sollum – tells/recites;
sUzh – surrounded (to see her without any escape route)
vinaiyAttiyEn – I am having sins, my
pAvai – daughter.

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

krishNa engaged in rAsa leelA mingling with the cowherd girls who have creeper like thin waist, performing actions which cross the limits; my daughter keeps reciting the very fragrant thuLasi which were on the beautiful divine feet of such emperumAn; I am having sins which have surrounded me to make me witness such state of my daughter.

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

  • valli sEr nuN idai – As said in periya thirumozhi 3.7.1 “vaLLi marungul” (having creeper-like thin waist), the girls who are having “vaLLi” (a type of creeper) like thin waist; Having a form like valli (creeper) and since there is no exact example for their waist, AzhwAr is saying “nuN idai” (very thin waist).
  • Aychchiyar thammodum – My daughter said – if he can help many girls of my age, why can’t he help me who has all their cravings put together? In thirvAyppAdi (SrI gOkulam), emperumAn helped many girls of her age.
    • kollaimai seydhu – engaging in activities that cross the limits of decency; ridding of their limits by manifesting his beauty etc.
  • kuravai piNaindhavar – he strung himself in between them.
  • nalladi – My daughter is desiring to get the thuLasi which were repeatedly trampled by the cowherd girls and krishNa. She is not of the nature of desiring for the thuLasi from the divine feet of brahmachAri emperumAn.
  • nARu thuzhAy – By smelling the fragrance of the thuLasi, she can tell whether it was trampled by both of them or not. [How does she know?] “kalambagan” (a term to identify a garland made of two different flowers] has a unique fragrance [That is, when thuLasi comes in contact with lotus feet of the girls and the lotus feet of krishNa, it will have a special fragrance].
  • enRE sollumAl – Chaste women would think about their dear consort but will not speak out their emotions. What happened to such chastity?
  • sUzh vinaiyAttiyEn – I have sins which will surely keep me entrapped in this situation. It is due to my sin, I am revealing the words of her who is as said in SrI rAmAyaNam 58.85 “naivamAm kinchith abhravIth” (sumanthra’s words after leaving perumaL (SrI rAma), pirAtti (sIthA) and iLaiya perumAL (lakshmaNa) – sIthAp pirAtti was overwhelmed with grief and could not speak a word).
  • pAvaiyE – My daughter who has the nirupAdhika sthrIthvam (top-most, unconditional chastity) who will never reveal her mind, is not in a situation where she needs to express herself vocally to attain her goal.

In the next article we will enjoy the next pAsuram.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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