thirumAlai – 39 – adimaiyil kudimaiyillA

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periyaperumal-thiruppanazhwarperiya perumALthiruppANAzhwAr

avathArikai (introduction)

The greatness of those who have gyAnam (knowledge) of the meanings mentioned in the previous pAsuram is described, starting with this pAsuram, until the 44th pAsuram. nammAzhwAr spoke about the greatness of emperumAn’s followers (servitors) in thiruvAimozhi 3.7payilum sudaroLi mUrththi” and in 8.10 “nedumARkadimai”. This (thoNdaradippodi) AzhwAr does the same, in these 6 pAsurams. AzhwAr surmises that even if the followers of emperumAn are wanting in birth [not belonging to the first three varNams], practices [result of the above] and qualities, if they have knowledge of the meanings mentioned in the pAsuram “mEmporuL ” they are fit to be our prApakam and prApyam (our means and our goal). In this pAsuram, AzhwAr says that even if the followers are born in a very low clan, if they have deep knowledge in the meanings of “mEmporuL” pAsuram, they will be adorned on his divine head by emperumAn, like thiruththuzhAy (thuLasi).

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings.

adimaiyil kudimaiyillA ayal sadhuppEdhi mAril
kudimaiyil kadaimai patta kukkaril piRapparElum
mudiyinil thuLabam vaiththAy moykazhaRku anbu seyyum
adiyarai ugaththi pOlum aranga mAnagar uLAnE


Word-by-word meaning

mudiyinil – on the divine head/crown
thuLabam vaiththAy – one who has adorned the thuLasi garland (as a subtle mark of being the lord of all)
arangam mAnagar uLAnE – dwelling inside the temple at SrIrangam
adimaiyil – carrying out service (to you)
kudimai illA – even if they are not involved
ayal – being different (from being servitor)
sadhuppEdhimAril – from the vaidhikas (those who follow vEdhams) who recite the four vEdhams
kudimaiyil kadaimai patta – being lowly in terms of their birth
kukkaril – below the level of chaNdALas (of a very low birth)
piRappar Elum – even if they are born
moy kazhaRku – your close, divine feet
anbu seyyum – being affectionate
adiyarai – followers
ugaththi pOlum – don’t you enjoy!?

vyAkhyAnam (commentary)

adimaiyil kudimaiyillA – even if they do not have the thought that carrying out kainkaryam is apt for them. It is apt to think that “kainkaryam is natural to us. Just like the food that we eat and the water that we drink, we cannot live if we do not carry out kainkaryam”.  AzhwAr is referring to those who do not think this way.

ayal sadhuppEdhimAril – being different from the chathurvEdhis who are not immersed in kainkaryam. sadhuppEdhimAril – those who learn the four vEdhas. The benefit of learning vEdhas is to realise that emperumAn is the master of all the worlds,  that we are his possessions, that to carry out kainkaryam to emperumAn and his followers is the appropriate goal for us. ayal is not knowing that the purpose of learning vEdhas is to obtain this knowledge. If the chathurvEdhis do not have the knowledge that the goal of learning the four vEdhas is to know these (above mentioned) meanings, then they are of no use to anyone. pAdhmOththaram says “vishNubhakthivihInO yas sarvaSAsthrArtha vEdhyapi I brAhmaNyam thasya na bhavEth thasyOthpaththir nirUpyathAm II” (Even if a person knows the meanings of all SAsthras (sacred texts), he will not have the qualities of a brAhmaNa if he does not have devotion towards vishNu. His birth is doubtful). brahmANda purANam vihakOsam 24.11 says “ya: puthra: pitharam dhvEshti tham vidhyAdhanyarEthsam I yO vishNum sathatham dhvEshtitham vidhyAdhanyarEthasam II” (if a son hates his father, it can be surmised that he was born to another person. If a person always hates vishNu, it can be surmised that he was born to a chandALa). Thus SAsthras thundered that such people do not have brAhmaNyam (qualities of a brAhmaNa).

Through the remaining part of the pAsuram, it says about those who are different from these people and who are dear to emperumAn.

kudimaiyil kadaimaippatta kukkaril piRapparElum – those who spend several births, not carrying out deeds which are ordained in vEdhas and carrying out deeds which are forbidden by vEdhas, are born in very low births because of the accumulated sins in all these births. kukkar (kushka) refers to a class lower than chaNdALas. Since AzhwAr is using the term piRapparElum (even if they are born), he indicates that the superiority or inferiority of a person’s birth is not a reason for having knowledge about the meanings mentioned in the mEmporuL (previous) pAsuram. In SrI rAmAyaNam AraNya kANdam 68.24, SrI rAma tells lakshmaNa “sarvathra kalu dhruSyanthE sAdhavO dharmachAriNa: I SUrA: SaraNyAs saumithrE thiryak yOni gathEshvapi II” (hE lakshmaNa! Those who are like sages, going in the path of righteousness, dhEvas et al, fit to be surrendered to, are seen among those born as animals and other species too!). SrI rAma says this when he sees jatAyu (vulture who fought valiantly with rAvaNa when he flew after abducting sIthAppirAtti). The opinion here is that knowledge of meanings of the pAsuram mEmporuL is prevalent across species, even among animals and birds. In SrI rAmAyaNam, which came about to explain the meanings of vEdhas, people who roam around in forest such as guhan (a hunter), Sabari (again from the hunters’ tribe), primates such as hanuman, sugrIva, rAkshasa such as vibhIshaNa had this knowledge. In the other epic which came about to describe vEdhas, mahAbhAratha, vidhura, born in a lowly caste, dharmavyAdha, a butcher, ghantAkarNa, the cow herd boys and girls – all had this knowledge. In thiruviruththam 79, nammAzhwAr says “pAmbaNai mEl paLLi koNdaruLum sIdhanaiyE thozhuvAr viNNuLarilum sIriyarE” (those who worship only the lord who is lying on the serpent bed, are greater than nithyasUris). Even though nithyasUris are constantly involved with emperumAn, those born in this samsAram (which only breeds ignorance) and reformed due to the efforts of emperumAn, are considered to be greater than nithyasUris. Just as syamanthakamani (a stone which will convert even iron into gold when it touches iron) is better than pure gold, since these dwellers of samsAram are capable of converting other samsAris into followers of emperumAn due to their connection, which even nithyasUris cannot do, such samsAris are considered to be greater than nithyasUris.

mudiyinil thuLabam vaiththAy – just as emperumAn adorns thuLasi on his head, these followers are also apt to be kept on his head like thuLasi. Just as he adorns thuLasi to indicate that he is sarvESvaran (lord of all), if he keeps his followers on his head, that would also indicate his quality of being sarvESvaran.

moykazhaRku anbu seyyum – Just as in the 38th pAsuram AzhwAr had said “aimpulan agaththadakki” (controlling their sensory organs) to serve emperumAn, these people cast aside their happiness [while carrying out kainkaryam] and serve only for his happiness, with affection, similar to sEvadi sevvi thirukkAppu (thiruppallANdu 1). To them this is the only way to spend time purposefully  and they consider this as their goal. Thus they have emperumAn, who is always delightful, as their means.   Next, the means (path) is mentioned.

adiyarai – they consider his compassionate divine feet as the means. As mentioned in pAsuram 38 as sOmbar, they know that their Athma svarUpam (nature of the AthmA) is being subservient to emperumAn for ever and will not have anything to do with their protection themselves. Another interpretation is – adiyar – remaining at the feet. The feet are the goal, which are enjoyable, and the feet are also the means, which sustain. This is similar to nammAzhwAr mentioning in periya thiruvandhAdhi 31 nizhalum adithARum AnOm (we became the shadow and the lines, of the feet).

ugaththi pOlum – you enjoy these followers, who have the knowledge, not considering their lowly birth, and not those chathurvEdhis who do not have the knowledge.

aranga mAnagar uLAnE – the purpose of coming to SrIrangam and lying here is to hear these people, who have affection towards you, even if they are of lowly birth. If you wanted to hear only great people, you would have remained at SrIvaikuNtam, is the meaning here.

We shall move on to the 40th pAsuram

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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