Monthly Archives: June 2017

mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 5 – aran nAraNan nAmam

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avathArikai

Earlier AzhwAr had mentioned through all resources that only emperumAn is the supreme entity. He has to say that others are not emperumAn. He says that now. AzhwAr was asked, “you had mocked at sivan saying ‘aran aRivAnAm’. But there are people who consider him to be Isvaran” He responds “through their characteristic features one can know who is Isvaran and who is not”

pAsuram

aran nAraNam nAmam An vidai puL Urdhi
urai nUl maRai uRaiyum kOyil – varai nIr
karumamazhippaLippuk kaiyadhu vEl nEmi
uruvam eri kAr mEni onRu

Word by Word Meaning

nAmam – name
aran – (for one) it is haran [sivan]
nAraNan – (for one) it is nArAyaNan
Urdhi – vehicle
An vidai – (for one) bull, which has no knowledge
puL – (for one) garuda, who has vEdham as his SarIram (body)
urai – pramANam (authentic proof)
nUl – (for one) Agamam (scripture) composed by men
maRai – (for one) vEdham (sacred texts) not composed by men
uRaiyum kOyil – dwelling place
varai – (for one) hard mountain
nIr – (for one) comfortable water
karumam – profession
azhippu – (for one) destruction
aLippu – (for one) protection
kaiyadhu – weapon in one’s hand
vEl – (for one) trident
nEmi – (for one) chakkaram (chakra, divine disc)
uruvam – form
eri – (for one) like fire
kAr – (for one) like cloud
onRu mEni – (of the two) one is a body to the other

vyAkhyAnam

aran nAraNan nAmam – as per samskritham etymology, “harathIthi hara:” one who destroys is known as hara: (another name for Siva). Thus, one person has as his name what he carries out as his profession [hara: is written as aran in thamizh]. When the world, which is created, engages in wrongful deeds and tries to ruin itself, sivan carries out that task after becoming a form (body) for emperumAn. Even though he carries out that task as a subordinate of emperumAn,  he lives in samsAram (materialistic realm) which is to be destroyed. sivan’s position is like that of an official in a kingdom who has to pull down the decorative pandhal after mahAnavami [as part of navarAththiri or dussehra festival] on the orders of the King. The name of the other entity, is nArAyaNan, the emperumAn (as per etymology, he is the resting place for all indestructible entities (both sentient and insentient) and he has these entities as his dwelling place since he pervades them all). He has all the universes as his body and as his servitors and he is their Lord, ruling over them as their AthmA (in-dwelling soul of all souls). When someone gets hurt in his foot due to stepping on to a thorn, the pain is felt by the soul which dwells inside the body. In the same way, if people in this world suffer, emperumAn treats those sufferings as his own. Since he does not think that he could exist without them, he is called as nArAyaNan.

An vidai puL Urdhi – if one were to look at the vehicles for sivan and nArAyaNan, similar differences will surface. sivan, in line with his cruel characteristic [of annihilation] has the bull as his vehicle [it is common parlance to call a person without knowledge as “aRivillAdha mAdu” (vidai is mAdu) While the word vidai also denotes lion, in order to distinguish it from bull, the prefix An has been added to vidai to denote bull. emperumAn, on the other hand, has as his vehicle garuda who is the embodiment of vEdham (sacred texts). This shows his greatness.

urai nUl maRai – the authentic proofs that disclose these entities are also similar. urai is pramANam (authentic proof). This could be either nUl or maRai. Here, nUl refers to the Agamam that sivan narrated of himself when he was under thAmasa guNam (state of ignorance). For emperumAn, it is maRai (sacred text) which does not have the fault of having been written by a person and does not yield to the three guNas (thAmasa, rAjasa and sAthvika, which are ignorance, passion and purely good, respectively).

uRaiyum kOyil varai nIr – their dwelling places are also of similar nature. For sivan, in line with his cruel nature [of annihilation] the dwelling place is the hardened [kailAsa] mountain while for emperumAn, in line with his cool and merciful nature, it is thiruppARkadal (the milky ocean).

karumam azhippu aLippu – their deeds are also different. One [sivan] destroys all the worlds while the other protects the worlds by gently stroking with his divine hands.

kaiyadhu vEl nEmi – the weapons on their hands will also be different. For sivan, the weapon is the destructive trident while for emperumAn, it is the protective thiruvAzhi (divine disc). thirumangai AzhwAr says in periya thirumadal “konnavilum vEl” (the trident kills) and nammAzhwAr says in thiruvAimozhi 2-10-6aRamuyal Azhi” (the disc establishes righteousness). That emperumAn holds weapons such as the disc is brought out by an event which happened in parAsara bhattar(kUraththAzhwAn’s son)’s time. A person by name nilAththukkuRip pagavar [an adhvaithi] asked of bhattar “is there any pramANam to show that emperumAn is with four hands (along with his divine weapons) in paramapadham [SrIvaikuNtam] too?” to which bhattar quoted mandOdhari in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 114-115  “thamasa: paramO dhAthA Sanka chakra gadhAdhara:” (emperumAn is superior to thamas [thamas here refers to the end of prakruthi, the primordial nature]; he supports everything; he holds Sanka and chakra in his hands). pagavar became angry because he did not want to accept this. bhattar said “when pramANam is like this, what is the point in getting angry?”.

uruvam eri kAr mEni onRu – uruvam is form. The forms are also quite varied for the two of them. One [sivan] is a burning form like fire while the other is like rain-bearing cloud. A person who is suffering from thApathrayam  (AdhyAthmikam, Adhibhoudhikam and Adhidhaivikam) – illness caused by (a) one’s own wrong deeds, (b) by nature and c) by emperumAn – gets liberated from these but confronts such a burning form, he would think that his earlier state was better. The other is like the happiness that a person gets similar to [an agricultural] field expecting rain, which indeed receives that rain. thaiththiriya upanishath nArAyaNavalli 11 says “neelathOyatha madhyashthA vidhyullEkEva bhAsvarA” (like lightning amidst blue coloured clouds), thus describing emperumAn’s divine form. After “uruvam eri kAr”, AzhwAr says mEni onRu. One is sivan who is the SarIram (body) while the other is emperumAn who is the SarIri (the indwelling soul). yajur AraNyakam 3-11-21 says “antha:pravishtaSSAstha janAnAm sarvAthmA” (emperumAn pervades all janas (those who are born) and controls them). Thus is it clear that everyone is his body (form). Hence in the context of AzhwAr’s pAsuram, if one is body, the other has to be AthmA.

We shall take up the 6th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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thiruvAimozhi – 5.3 – mAsaRu sOdhi

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Highlights from thirukkurukaippirAn piLLAn‘s introduction

After desiring to unite with emperumAn who is with unlimited auspicious qualities such as ASritha vAthsalyam (showing motherly care towards his devotees) etc, but not achieving it, a pirAtti (parAnguSa nAyaki, AzhwAr in feminine mood) who has been in anguish for a long time, unable to bear the anguish, thinks in her mind “we should unite with him even if we have to perform madal (an act of naming and shaming the beloved in public, for refusing to accept one’s love)” and sets out to engage in madalURudhal (performing madal). Her friend tells her “does he (emperumAn) have those auspicious qualities such as beauty etc to deserve your love? Even if he has those qualities, is it correct to engage in madal towards him? Wouldn’t the whole town condemn you [for such an act]?” [and parAnguSa nAyaki replies in this decad].

Highlights from nanjIyar‘s introduction

See nampiLLai‘s introduction.

Highlights from vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyar‘s introduction

In the third decad – previously, AzhwAr having enjoyed bhagavAn‘s greatness which is the cause for bhAgavathas’ greatness, and having meditated upon the distinguished nature of his qualities, form etc, desired to witness his glance, speech etc and not having attained it,  highlights the following aspects:

  1. emperumAn‘s divine beauty which triggers AzhwAr‘s love towards him
  2. the distinguished nature of emperumAn’s divine limbs/features
  3. the childhood pastime of eliminating the enemies
  4. the desire [towards emperumAn] which keeps increasing
  5. that which causes exclusive existence [of AzhwAr for emperumAn]
  6. the captivating nature of bhagavAn
  7. his reclining in [milky] ocean to be present closer [to us]
  8. his effortless elimination of all hurdles/enemies
  9. his being present in the lofty [superior] abode [paramapadham, the spiritual realm]
  10. his being with distinguished symbols

Meditating upon these aspects, AzhwAr , due to the great love towards such sarvESvara, out of haste in thinking “even if I have to engage in self-centered act which does not fit the nature of both (emperumAn and AzhwAr), I have to do that and achieve him”, reveals her unique state through the words of some one else. That is, AzhwAr mercifully explains through the words of a girl who united with ISvara who is the nAyaka (a king), and then separated; the girl out of great anguish in not attaining emperumAn, not fitting her family heritage and her femininity says to her friend “I will destroy his character, engage in madalUrdhal  and attain him”.

Highlights from periyavAchchAn piLLai‘s introduction

See nampiLLai‘s introduction.

Highlights from nampiLLai‘s introduction

AzhwAr having meditated upon emperumAn‘s physical beauty, qualities and [specifically] saulabhyam (simplicity) as in “maliyum sudar oLi mUrththi mAyap pirAn kaNNan thannai“, thought of embracing him physically having acquired such desire towards emperumAn who is having amazing qualities and activities,  and having physical beauty that captivates everyone even if amazing qualities and activities are not present in him; with such desire he stretched his hands and emperumAn was out of reach for him; being bewildered by that AzhwAr sets out to engage in madal. Engaging in madal is like roasting paddy in fire of hay [very difficult to do]. AzhwAr who instructed others saying “do not engage in unrighteous activities” to reform them, has now become non-reformable even if some one instructs him “what you are trying to do is not righteousness, please avoid doing it”. If one tries to correct AzhwAr saying “love towards bhagavAn cannot be pursued”, it will not work as he instructed others and reformed them to have love towards bhagavAn.

Another explanation [of the relationship between previous decad and this] – In thiruvAimozhi 4.8ERALum iRaiyOn“, AzhwAr called out for emperumAn due to not attaining him, saying “I who am not useful for him and my belongings are not required”; in the subsequent decad, he looked around for companions to call out for emperumAn along with him, but found out that just as he is desirous of bhagavAn, the worldly people are desirous of other worldly pleasures; he felt bad for them and reformed them by explaining bhagavAn’s supremacy. Then he thought “How great of sarvESvaran to choose me who was one among them and reformed me so that I can reform them all!” and meditated upon the favours done by emperumAn to him, performed mangaLASAsanam to those SrIvaishNavas who were reformed by him. Thus, after doing everything for the well-being of others, again he got reminded about his own loss [of not being united with emperumAn] and in this decad, he ends up engaging in madal thinking that he will attain emperumAn even by pursuing forbidden ways. When some persons develop attachment towards something and are unable to attain that, and if they come to a state where they feel great urge thinking “I need it right now”, they will then enter into the place where it exists, even engage in adventurous acts like setting fire to capture the attention and will get what they want; similarly AzhwAr desiring to attain emperumAn through the adventurous method of madal thinking “even if I end up causing disrepute to him, I will make him come to me” and speaks his state through the words of another person [i.e., in a different, feminine mood].

thamizh scholars explain “one who is suffering in separation from his/her beloved  person, he/she can engage in madal”. That is, when there are two persons (a man and a woman) who are comparable in their qualities, age, great family heritage, beauty and wealth as said in SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 16.5 “thulya Seela vayO vruththAm” (perfect match in qualities, age and activities), the man having ideal qualities such as knowledge, completeness, analytical skills and ability to retain what was learned and the woman having ideal qualities such as shyness, humility, fear and modesty, and they are in the ripened youth stage;  while there was no one to unite them, by divine arrangement, the man left for hunting and the woman goes to the garden to play with the flowers, by the divine arrangement, their eyes meet there and due to not having any one to help unite them, they become separated. Since both are highly qualified in their qualities, both of them feeling the separation, started thinking that they cannot exist without each other and desired to unite with each other even at the cost of losing reputation for both.

madalURudhal is – when some one is separated from his beloved, drawing her picture in an artistic manner, seeing that picture without taking the eyes off, considering a palm leaf to be a horse, with all pleasure giving objects feeling like fire from the time of separation, being without food or sleep, not bathing, having the hair spread out without being tied, and roaming around. Seeing this unrighteous state, the king and his soldiers may say “this man has so much love so much towards this woman” and unite them; alternatively, considering his act as the reason, the relatives of both the man and woman may give them up and they unite having each other as support during such difficult times; or they may unite with the help of the friends of the woman, or they may unite due to great anguish in separation, or when the woman is a highly respected one, she may unite with the man fearing disrepute and if none of these works, he will die and be relieved of the suffering. madal is such an adventurous task. As said in tholkAppiyam, one of the ancient thamizh literatures, “kadalanna kAmaththar Agilum mAdhar madalUrAr maRRaiyAr mEl enRu” (similar statement is present in thirukkuRaL also), even if their suffering in separation is too great, women are not supposed to engage in madal; the man can engage in madal out of great separation by wondering “would anyone engage in madal if he is in separation from his beloved?”, or by informing to his beloved woman’s friends “I am going to draw her picture, I am going to engage in madal” and even if they don’t help, he will engage in madal; other than these, thamizh scholars explained that women cannot engage in madal; but here, pirAtti (AzhwAr in feminine mood) is the one engaging in madal; and how can this be reconciled when thamizh scholars say “women cannot engage in madal”? They accepted that [madal] in one side [for the man]. The reason for their acceptance in the case of the man is his great anguish. If both persons have same anguish, how can one person (the woman) be stopped from engaging in madal? [Until here, the argument of thamizh scholars, i.e., women don’t engage in madal, is rejected and counter argument is given. Now, their argument is accepted and counter argument is given] emperumAn who needs to be seen to sustain oneself even if it means to cross the limits , cannot be kept away and one cannot focus on anything else; other women who have already engaged in madal [towards worldly men], assumed such great qualities in their beloved men. Trying to curb the desire to engage in madal, is like trying to curb one’s desire; if that is the case, king’s orders should be able to stop it; or a physical fence should be able to stop it [none of this can curb one’s desire], and thus, it can be concluded that they [the scholars] do not understand the [divine] love of these persons [AzhwArs et al].

AzhwAr himself in thiruvAimozhi 1.5vaLavEzhulagu“, said “my mingling with him will lead to disrepute to him, and instead of causing disrepute for him just for my own benefit, I would rather move away from him and die, and thus will preserve his glories”, and such words will not match this act; this act will also not match his words in thiruvAimozhi 4.8 “ERALum iRaiyOn” where he said “let any of my own self or my belongings which do not exist for emperumAn‘s pleasure, be destroyed”; thus, this [engaging in madal] is not a) an act of vItha rAga (one who is free from attachment), b) it does not match his svarUpam [of SEShathvam (servitorship) and pArathanthriyam (total dependence) which are explained in thiruvAimozhi 1.5 and 4.8 respectively], c) this is not done by gyAnAdhika (one who is very wise), so what is this state of AzhwAr? the answer for all of this is the same as what was explained by parASara bhattar while mercifully explaining [siRiya/periya] thirumadal. [The three points are clarified in reverse order here] [Is this done by gyAnAdhika?] There is no one wiser than those who are born in janaka’s clan. sIthAp pirAtti who was born in that clan, as said in SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 38.8 “yAnaSakyApurAdhrashtum …” (That sIthA who could not have been seen even by those sky-dwellers, is now seen by every one in the rAjavIdhi (the main street of the kingdom)), when perumAL (SrI rAma) set out to go to the forest, since she followed him as said in periya thirumadal “mannan irAman pin vaidhEvi enRuraikkum anna nadaiya aNangu nadandhilaLE” (following king SrI rAma, the divine vaidhEhi, who walks like a swan, walked to the forest) – SishtAchAram (practice of elders) is also present. Now, since AzhwAr was divinely blessed with unblemished knowledge and devotion, his action in itself is a pramANam (bonafide proof for us to follow) . As said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 3.21yadh yadh Acharathi SrEshtas” (whatever actions performed by the best men) and “sa yath pramANam kuruthE” (in whichever manner he performs those actions), the practice of noble persons can be considered as pramANam. But, isn’t kAmam (love) prohibited? Only love in inapt (worldly) matters, is condemned, since it is temporary; love in bhagavAn‘s matters is actually ordained as in bruhadhAraNyaka upanishath “nidhidhyAsithavya:” (to be constantly meditated upon). The bhakthi which is ordained in vEdhAntham is called as kAmam here. [Does it match his svarUpam?] For the same AzhwAr who moved away from emperumAn considering that his mingling with emperumAn will bring disrepute to emperumAn, is it fitting for him to cause disrepute to emperumAn to make emperumAn appear in front of him? Yes. There he decided to move away from emperumAn to avoid causing disrepute to emperumAn; here too, he is doing the same – emperumAn will acquire disrepute of letting AzhwAr who was very attached to emperumAn, to die without having his desire fulfilled – AzhwAr is avoiding such disrepute for emperumAn. There AzhwAr moving away from emperumAn is gyAna kAryam (result of his knowledge); here AzhwAr pursuing emperumAn strongly is bhakthi kAryam (result of his devotion). If emperumAn does not cause such agitation [in the minds of his devotees], it means that there is some shortcoming in emperumAn. emperumAn mercifully bestowed as said in thiruvAimozhi 1.1.1madhi nalam” (knowledge and devotion) to AzhwAr; this [state of AzhwAr] is the effect of that; previous incident [of moving away] is the result of madhi and now it is the result of nalam. [Further explanation to see if this act matches AzhwAr’s svarUpam] Now, after pursuing sidhdhOpAyam (bhagavAn as means), if the result is not accomplished, one will understand emperumAn’s nature [of being a saviour] to be different. If his svarUpam itself is misunderstood, what to speak of one’s own svarUpam. One will think “If there is nothing to do for self and emperumAn has no incapability, what is causing the delay in between?”. AzhwAr did not take shelter of a person where AzhwAr needs to assume incapability and then shoot an arrow [explained further]. Since emperumAn is abundant with auspicious qualities, AzhwAr does not have to do anything other than saying “I will engage in madal”. When perumAL (SrI rAma) surrendered to the ocean (samudhra rAja, the king of oceans), he did not appear at first; only after shooting a few arrows, and having been hurt, he appeared; here, since none of that is required, just like SrI rAma said in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 21.22 “chApamAnaya” (Oh lakshmaNa! bring my arrows), here AzhwAr is also saying “I will engage in madal”, frighten emperumAn and make emperumAn appear in front of him. Though AzhwAr has become bewildered about his own nature, he is still fully clear about emperumAn’s qualities. When AzhwAr tried to finish himself in “ERALum iRaiyOn” citing that “self and belongings are unworthy of existence when not in use for emperumAn”, he did not die since it was not in his hands and since emperumAn existed; here, AzhwAr is trying to finish emperumAn [i.e., emperumAn’s qualities, fame etc] along with the root; he exists when emperumAn exists and he ceases to exist along with emperumAn – this is the true nature of AthmA and paramAthmA. There he said in thiruvAimozhi 4.8.10uyirinAl kuRaivilam” (there is no use of AthmA, if not used for sarvESvaran), here AzhwAr is saying “uyirkku uyirinAl kuRaivilam” (for the AthmA, there is no use of sarvESvaran [since he is not helping AthmA]). In “ERALum iRaiyOnum”, AzhwAr said “he does not need self and belongings of self which are not used for emperumAn”. Here, he says “I don’t need emperumAn and his belongings which are of no use to me”.  Some devotees asked parASara bhattar “When rAvaNa brought the mAyASiras (illusory head) of SrI rAma, why did sIthA cry like worldly women instead of giving up her life on hearing about it at once?”, bhattar mercifully explained “For survival, it is not her knowledge or ignorance about the existence [of SrI rAma], it is the existence itself which is the cause; since there is no question of ceasing to exist, she too survived”.

In this manner, AzhwAr acquired the state of making emperumAn appear in front of him. Assuming the mood of a pirAtti (divine consort, named parAnguSa nAyaki) of emperumAn who united with him and separated subsequently, though was in great anguish, was handling herself well; seeing that, her friend thinks “she is more stable compared to what she was going through previously; if she is thinking clearly like this even in his absence, she must be setting out to do something adventurous” and tells parAnguSa nAyaki “the act [madal] you are planning to engage does not fit your and his distinguished nature, your greatness, your heritage and your limits”; parAnguSa nAyaki replies “even if I destroy my own nature, I will not stop engaging in madal” and expresses her bold decision to her friend; hearing this, sarvESvaran became frightened, unable to stay where he was,he  came and presented himself, saved his own self and made her survive also. When she engages in madal, there is no way for emperumAn, other than visiting her at once and saving his own self; he cannot survive the brahmAsthram (the greatest weapon).

Though, AzhwAr was thinking previously “our goal is achieved by emperumAn‘s grace”, there are certain stages of bhakthi such as para bhakthi [pure knowledge about emperumAn], para gyAnam [ability to visualize emperumAn inside the mind] and parama bhakthi [unable to bear separation, the final stage before reaching emperumAn] – these cannot be avoided. Both, for bhakthimAn [one who is situated in bhakthi yOgam] and prapanna [one who is pursuing emperumAn as the means], there is bhakthi – one cannot do prapaththi (surrender), without the taste for it [that taste is bhakthi]. The bhakthi of bhakthimAn is as per rules and regulations; the bhakthi of prapanna is the result of taste. For bhakthimAn, bhakthi is sAdhanam (means to attain bhagavAn), and for prapanna, bhakthi is just the way to spend the rest of his life. When bhakthimAn loses faith in the goal, he will give up bhakthi, but for prapanna, since it goes along with his true nature, it can never be given up.

Each pAsuram is discussed subsequently.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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thirunedunthANdakam – 2

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<< pAsuram – 1 – minnuruvAy munnuruvil

Introduction

In the first pAsuram – AzhvAr divined about the series of help of emperumAn to him, starting from removal of dhEhAthmAbhimAnam through giving him the destiny (divine feet); in this pAsuram – AzhvAr divines about the removal of his mistaken thought of the three lords as equals.

Is it not implied when it was said in previous pAsuram itself as ‘eNNum ponnuruvAy’, that is, about distinguished supreme quality of His nature?

Based on ‘simha avalOkana nyAyam’ (like a lion after eating its prey and walking away would turn back to look at the prey just to reconfirm), looking at all His help, even if His other help are digested, is it possible to digest the great help of breaking the doubt of equality among the three lords? – thinking of that, AzhvAr is again thinking about this particular help of emperumAn.

(How great is this particular help?)  Is this help like the (relatively less significant) help of saving me from vishayAnthara prAvaNyam, or is this help like the (relatively less significant) help of the danger of kaivalyam – says AzhvAr?

AzhvAr says that emperumAn showed me the ways of the One as the lord and the other two as subservient,  and, the other two as created and the One as creator.

pAruruvi neererikAl visumbumAgip
   palvERu samayamumAyp parandhu ninRa
Eruruvil mUvarumEyenna ninRa
   imaiyavar tham thiruvuruvEReNNum pOdhu
Oruruvam ponnuruvam onRu senthee
   onRumA kadaluruvam oththu ninRa
mUvuruvum kaNda pOdhu onRAm sOdhi
  mugiluruvam emmadigaL uruvam thAnE                          2

Word by word meaning

Er uruvil – Having beautiful bodies
mUvarumE enna ninRa – being as if all the three are equal
imaiyavar tham thiruvuru – of the form of brahmA, vishNu, and Sivan,
vEReNNumpOdhu – when seeing separately,
Oruruvam – brahmA’s form is
ponnuruvam – of the nature of gold;
onRu – rudhran’s (Sivan) form is
sem thee – of the nature of reddish fire;
onRu – form of nArAyaNan, the husband of lakShmI
mA kadal uruvam – is invigorating, like (when seeing) the big ocean;
mUvuruvum – all the three forms
oththu ninRa – standing together (with their such qualities);
kaNda pOdhu – (but) when seeing through pramANam,
pAr uruvi  neer erikAl visumbumAgi – creating the five core elements like the earth made of hard material, etc.,
palvERu samayamumAy – creating the world that is of many different paths/categories,
parandhu ninRa – and pervading everywhere, inside the AthmAs (as antharyAmi)
when reflecting upon the state based on such thathvam (truth),
Am sOdhi onRu – being said by ‘param jyOthi’ , and being the One
mugil uruvam – the form that is like the dark rainy clouds,
em adigaL uruvam – IS the form of sarvESvaran who is the lord of everyone.

vyAkyAnam

pAr uruvi – Earth that is of hard make up (pAr -> pARai -> hard rock)urvi  is in the language used by the noble learned people (Aryas), that is, samskrutha word which means earth. It got transformed into thamizh word uruvi here.

The word pAr is Not to mean earth here – its meaning is from pARai  (hard rock) that it is a hard material like a hard rock.  By this, – compared to other core elements (like air, fire, etc.), this is different and having the hardness – the earth.

When recited as pAruruvil –  (in pAr uru) – it means – From the (twenty one) elements from which aNdam  (world sphere) is created, the following, that is, pAr-> earth,  etc., that are neer -> water,  eri -> fire , kAl -> air, visumbu – space –the five elements are created – He is being these elements;

If asked – avyaktha (name of world when it was in the unmanifested state), akshara  (the material realm’s source which has not changed), mahath (the great element),  ahankAram  (ego indicating root material realm) – are these also not the sources for creating of (aNdam) spherical world? (Why are they not included in the list of creating elements, but only the five elements, by AzhvAr?)

It is since mahAn etc., are in sUkShma (subtle) form (not visible to people’s eyes), and so would be difficult for people to understand; so AzhvAr talks here only about those that are sthUlam (gross, can be perceived by the senses of the body) (they are pAr, neer, eri, kAl, etc. mentioned above), and and since these are the (immediate) direct reason for creation of the aNdam; and so this is about nithya srushti (more frequent continuous creation activities of emperumAn).

rishi (parAsarar) too said ‘bhUthEbhyONdam’ about the direct/immediate source.

(why is it saying earth etc., in reverse order of creation?)
Saying pAr mudhalA  is based on order in which they go through annihilation.

Agi – would this word indicate that creation?  (Agi is ‘becoming’, Akki would mean ‘creation (but it would also mean creator)) – Since AzhvArs are vEdhAnthis (followers of vEdhanthas), AzhvAr is divining based on the Sruthi of ‘bahusyAm’ (I shall become many things (That is, being sareeree of them (they being part of His body) and his being nirvAhakar (controller))).

But, considering ‘AkASadhvAyu:, vAyOragni:, agnErApa:, adhbhya:pruthivee’,  where it says one is the reason/source for the next one’s creation, is it correct to say that He is the reason/source for the creation of All of them?

As said in, ‘thEja: aikShantha, Apa aikShantha:’, (desire of emperumAn to create the elements) the act of creation based on intent/desire (sankalpam) cannot be by non-sentient (like space, etc.), it is clear that it is emperumAn to whom these state/entities are His body and He in the form of those respective elements creates the next ones, and so He would have to be the creator.

If this pAsuram is about removal of doubt about equivalence of the three lords, why is the meaning given above as creation of material realm? It is to show that for the One who created the core elements that are the source for creation of spherical world (aNdam), then there is no prospect of Him being considered equal to those other two lords who are present/created within that spherical world.

pal vERu samayamumAy – What it talked about above is samashti srushti (creations before formation of aNdam;  creation of and without mixing of core elements (pruthvi (earth), appu (water), etc.); creation of ingredients for further creation; without division of dhEvas, human, etc.).

Now by the current phrase, it is talking about vyashti srushti (creation of spherical worlds, their enclosures (AvaraNam), and fourteen layers in them, in clearly diversified forms by mixing of the five core elements (pancha bUthams) , twenty four thathvams (non-sentient elements); with explicit divisions as dhEvas, humans, animals, plants).

Since brahmA (badhdha chEthanar – bound soul) is present without difference in the five core elements in singular (samashti) form, it is called samashti srushti.

From such brahmA, subsequently, the other sentients are born within the spherical world in variegated forms – it is called vyashti srushti.

(In the SrIbhAshyam book published in thirunArAyaNapuram, elaborate explanation is given about samashti srushti and vyashti srusthi).

Creating the world of many and of different system/limitations (samayam), and of innumerable AthmAs, that is vyashti srusthi, is said as ‘pal‘ (many);  it is unlike samasthi srushti where it is countable (five elements in separate forms).

vERu is, being separate such that they are distinct and non-mixed, and so by their bodies they are being completely separate.  samayam is system/limitation; being with the nature as per limitation of their category of creation (man being of specific set of behaviours, dhEvas being of some other set of behaviours, etc.).

dhEvas are having the nature of being worshipped and consuming nectar; humans are having the nature of worshipping and consuming food;  nature of animals and plants are to be accessories to such worship, and being the reason for the upliftment/life of humans;

and the behavior of those other than the aforementioned categories, is to be under the loving shadow of noble men. It is said too as ‘dhAsya sukha Eka sanginAm bhavanEShvasthvapi keetajanma mE [sthOthra rathnam – 55]’ ((noble ones) are involved in your joy of servitude to you; it should occur that I be born even as a worm in such divine place of their residence).

parandhu ninRa –  Doing parandhu is permeating by following the jeevAthmA into (anupravESam) all the created bodies and being AthmA for everything (that is, without Him nobody would be able to do anything – here body includes brahmA, Siva et al).

anupravESam is – setting Himself amicable to be inside the tangible material entity (sthUlam). Similar to how He is amicably present along with (viSishta) intangible/subtle forms (sUkshmam) of sentient and non-sentient, He is also amicably present along with (viSishta) tangible/concrete forms (sUkshmam) of sentient and non-sentient.

Er uruvil – in beautiful bodies;  Since by parandhu ninRa it says – eeSvaran who is present as AthmA for everything,  for such eeSvaran everything in the visible world are bodies for Him as said in ‘jagath sarvam SareeramthE’, by uru it refers to world. (that is, all the things (like earth, what and who are inside earth, other worldly bodies, and so on, are all bodies for Him).

Is it appropriate to refer to samsAris (people with interest in worldly things) who are to be shunned (by mumukshus), as Er uru (beautiful bodies)?

For a mumukshu (liberation seeker), samsAram would be a place to be afraid of, and also would be acceptable;  when looking at the visible body/world as attained due to being tied by karmas (and generate more karmas), mumukshus would consider it to be shunned; when looking at the world/people as being body of emperumAn as said in ‘jagath sarvam SareerathE’,  then it would be considered acceptable.

In this beautiful world (beautiful people of the world) –

mUvarumE enna ninRa – Avoiding the notion that the world is of numerous chiefs, some vEdhAnthis narrowed it down (to three).

This helped us to not have to reject individually the (numerous) chiefs who seem like ones to be worshipped, and gave us only a couple of them to be shunned (brahmA and Siva).

In pUrva kANdam (first part of vEdham), it says ‘thrimSachcha dhEva: nava chAsaparyan threeNi SathA three SahasrANyagnim’ (three thousand three hundred thirty nine dhEvathas served me, the agni) – it says three thousand three hundred thirty nine dhEvathas as to be worshipped. vEdhAnthis say that only the One who is the reason for creation of the world is to be worshipped. From this, some would say that since there are three who are the reason for creation, sustenance, and annihilation, all the three are to be worshipped.

Since saying enna ninRa – (be of stand as if (all three are equal)) – at a cursory look it appears as if all the three are equal,  they would look like ones to be worshipped; but if we analyse it, there is not even a possibility of the two being equal (to emperumAn).

As said in ‘brahma vishNu SivAthmikAm | sa samgyAm yAthi bhagavAnEka Eva janArdhana: || [SrIvishNu purANam – 1.2.23]’ (the distinct bhagavAn janArdhanan assumes 3 forms with the names of brahmA, vishNu and SivA to perform creation, sustenance, and annihilation), and so at cursory look it appears to be about equivalence, but with saying ‘janArdhana:’, as it refers to the substitute word of vishNu, it (the thought of their equivalence) is to be shunned.

imaiyavar – (dhEvas) This is also a reason for the misunderstanding.  Since they (brahmA and Siva) also do not blink their eyes, and since they are referred to with the word ‘dhEvas’, this term is being part of the misunderstanding.

Even though it is common for all the (three) dhEvas, there is no possibility of equivalence, since it is said as ‘sAkshAdhdhEva: purANOsau’ (this emperumAn who is of all ages, is the Only dhEva), the quality of dhEva is present only in Him at all times (unlike for others when it is present only from some point).

than thiruvuru vERu eNNumpOdhu – When thinking about their individual nature/activity (creation, sustenance, annihilation), it is capable of creating such misunderstanding.

Why praise the ones who are shunned, as ‘thiru uru’AzhvAr is talking so this way because like their nature/acts, their body is that of emperumAn (Sareera Sareeri bhAvam).

vEReNNumpOdhu – When thinking about the three of them together, we would consider it as Sareera Sareeri bhAvam (one (emperumAn) having the body, and the body (brahmA, Siva)), and it would be clear that the two are subservient, and One (emperumAn) is the lord. This can be seen in ‘ari ayan aran ennnum ivarai onRa num manaththu vaiththu [thiruvAimozhi – 1.3.6 & 1.3.7]’ (those who are popularly known as hari, aja (brahmA) and rudhra (Siva), these personalities who are explained in various pramANams to reveal their nature/activities, being neutral instead of taking sides of any one (to identify the chief person), contemplating in your heart/mind, analysing their svarUpa (true nature) and svabhAva (qualities) through pramANams (SAsthram));

Or uruvam etc. – This is talking about the individual nature/characteristics of them that are a reason for the misunderstand that they are equivalent.

Or uruvam pon uruvam – brahmA’s nature is that of gold;  gold is such that – all the ornaments could be made from it; in the same way (brahmA’s nature) would appear to be eligible for creating all the fourteen worlds; since he is the one from whose body all the things are created as he is the one for creation of all the bhadhdhAthmAs (sentient – bound souls).

onRu senthee – Another thathvam’s nature is that of fire, that is to destroy the world; nature of agni (fire) is that of burning everything; in the same way, if we see the nature of rudhran, it would be suitable for annihilating the world;

onRu mA kadal uruvam – being remover of sadness for those who see, the ocean’s nature is to keep within itself and save, everything from  bad things, good things, gems and such, etc., isn’t it? in the same way, if we see the nature of eeSvaran (emperumAn), He is the remover of sadness to those who surrendered to Him, and keeping them under His love and protecting them would be seen as the nature of Him.

The reason/source of the world is to be found only in the one where all these qualities are present isn’t it? Since these three nature are in these three, it is such that one could mistake that all the three are responsible for the reason/source of world (jagathkAraNam).

oththu ninRa – being together.  That is – each of their nature is together with their acts of creation, sustenance, and annihilation.

Next it talks about removal of the misunderstanding.

mu uruvum kaNda pOdhu – When knowing these three thathvams by using authoritative reference.

onRAm sOdhi – Among them, the light (which is having lustre by itself) is only One, is the point;

(Aren’t the other AthmAs also having lustre by themselves?) – the thEjas (lustre/light) that is of the creator, and being the constituent (Sareeree) of bodies,  and being lord (SEshi), is only of the One isn’t it?

The other two would be of the nature of being created, of being a body, and of subservience;  If asking where have we seen this – ‘EkOhavai nArAyaNa Aseeth’ (it is well known that only nArAyaNan was present (in a form)), that is, it is saying about the One who is the reason for the world (because He was the only one present in a form), and, ‘na brahmA nESAna: nEmE dhyAvA pruthivee’,  similar to earth, etc., that are non-sentient, brahmA and rudhran are also said as effected to go through annihilation, and, by ‘sa brahma sa Siva:’, (they are jeevAthmas only), et al, it talks about them as jeevAthmAs, and as having subservience, and, ‘Esha sarvabhuthAntharAthmA’ – by the world sarva (Everyone), it refers to everyone in which He is permeating; so, the fact that these two are among everyone, their being created (kAryathvam), they being jeevAthmas (kShethrathvam), they being subservient, and being part of body (of emperumAn) – are all well accepted by everyone (samprathipannam).

Even though jeevAthmAs also have the lustre by themselves (svayam prakASam), but by saying ‘Am sOdhi’, it differentiates Him from the other AthmAs, due to their being controlled (and Him being controller). That is why, ‘nArAyaNaparO jyOthi:’, (light means nArAyaNan) and, ‘jyOthishAm jyOthi:’ (He is light for all the lights) had to be said.

(Instead of splitting as onRu Am sOdhi,  why not take the meaning of onRAnjOthi  as – all the three would together become one (adhvaitham)) ?

Saying ‘mUvurum kaNdapOdhu onRAnjOthi’  would look to be according to those who argue there is brahmam only (and no jeevAthmAs etc). But since that is not AzhvAr’s philosophy, this is not according to their point of view. Moreover,  AzhvAr in previous pAsuram had with clear separation sang minnuruvAy, and, pinnuruvAy, and, ponnuruvAy, about the three separate thathvams (sentient, non-sentient, and eeSvaran), and in this pAsuram, saying ‘Er uru’, (beautiful form) to mean Sareera Athma bhAvam (others being bodies, and Him being AthmA for everyone),  and later (in 4th pAsuram) he is saying ‘indhirarkkum piramaRkum mudhalvan thannai‘ (lord for indhra and brahmA), there is contradiction to their point by way of other pAsurams also.

em adigaL uruvam – mugil uruvam – my lord’s form is black like that of rainy clouds; earlier where he said onRu mA kadal uruvam, as similar to the nature of ocean, it was meaning that He is protector;  Now – it is talking about His divine body; (Because) It is this form that identifies His sarvAdhikathvam (being the first of all things; being lord of/distinguished from every one).

thAnE – (But wasn’t that said as the colour of gem/diamond in pAsuram 1?) The body which was said as ‘maNi uruvil bUtham aindhAy [thirunedunthANdakam – 1]’  IS the one that is like that of dark rainy clouds, you see!

There it said ‘maNi uru’ because He is being pleasant and favourable like how one could keep a gem easily tied in the tip of their cloth, and it is bright, and extremely priceless,  and enjoyable.

In thamizh, the sequence of pAsuram words that would form the sentence for the whole meaning is as follows: Er uruvil mUvarumE enna ninRa imaiyavar tham thiru uru vEReNNumpOdhu, or uruvam pon uruvam, onRu senthee, onRu mAkadal uruvam; oththu ninRa muvurum kaNda pOdhu – pAr uruvi neer eri kAl visumbumAgip palvERu samayamumAyp parandhu ninRa – onRAm sOdhi mugil uruvam em adigaL uruvam thAnE’

{In the beautiful (AthmAs of the) world, the three stood as those to be worshipped as dhEvas, when considering their activities separately, one is like gold, one is like world-ending fire, and one is like the mighty ocean; (but) when seeing such matching nature (through the eyes of SAsthram) –  creating the hard-surfaced earth, and other core elements (separately), and permeating in various categories of things/lives (created by combining the elements) – (are due to emperumAn being the reason); such emperumAn who was the only self-illuminating light present, such emperumAn of mine is of the colour of rainy clouds, you see. }

– – – – –

Translation by raghuram SrInivAsa dAsan

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mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 4 – neRi vAsal

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avathArikai

AzhwAr says that despite emperumAn bestowing unblemished knowledge on him, he was finding it difficult to know him, while Siva, by carrying out some penance holding on to his breath, is trying through his own efforts to know emperumAn. How ignorant is this action!

Why is AzhwAr struggling to know emperumAn fully? What is the hurdle? Even though hurdles which contract knowledge have been removed and there is no shortage of implements for gaining knowledge, it is impossible to measure those entities which cannot be measured. Thus, it is not possible to measure (know) emperumAn with the knowledge granted by him. vEdhas, which set out to measure him, returned, saying that he is “mahAntham” (he is great)[thaiththirIya upanishath].  One can keep seeing the same features again and again, but not the full picture. Even if a person stands near the sea (at the shore), isn’t it true that he cannot see the whole ocean!

Let us look at the pAsuram.

neRivAsal thanE Ay ninRAnai aindhu
poRivAsal pOrkkadhavam sAththi – aRivAnAm
Ala mara nIzhal aRam nAlvarkku anRu uraiththa
Alam amar kaNdaththu aran

Word by Word Meaning

anRu aLamara nIzhal – on that day [once upon a time], under the shade of the banyan tree
nAlvarkku aRam uraiththa – one who gave a discourse to four rishis on dharma (righteousness)
Alam amar kaNdaththu aran – Siva, who has poison in his throat
aindhu poRi vAsal – among the five sensory organs
pOrkkadhavam sAththi – closing the door, which is difficult to close
neRi vAsan thAnEyAy ninRAnai – emperumAn who is both the path and the goal
aRivAn Am – would he know?

vyAkhyAnam

nerivAsal thAnEyAy ninRAnaineri refers to upAyam (the path to attain) and vAsal refers to prApyam (that which is attained or in other words, the goal). Thus, through these words it is clearly stated that emperumAn himself is both the path (to attain him) and the goal. The purpose of stating this is to understand that knowledge about something else will come only if the object to be attained is something (or somebody) else and not emperumAn [instead of knowing this, Siva tried to give discourse to others]. Moreover, even if a person’s attempts at realising knowledge were to succeed, that would require emperumAn’s mercy. Thus AzhwAr says emphatically that it is only emperumAn who is the path to attain him. This is the path suited to jIvAthmA’s svarUpam (basic nature)

Ay ninRa – unlike other upAyams (paths) emperumAn is readily available [while the others are to be attempted by jIvAthmA].

aindhu poRivAsal pOrkkadhavam sAththi – is it possible to know such an emperumAn by controlling one’s senses? [not possible, is the opinion here]

aindhu poRi vAsal – the five sensory organs viz. ears, mouth, eyes, nose and skin. Any one among these five is enough to prevent a person from carrying out attempts on his own as means [to attain emperumAn]. Since these are capable of pulling a person towards them through some deceit or the other, AzhwAr refers to these senses as “poRi” (trap). The word “pOrkkadhavam” refers to the fact that these sensory organs are waging a battle against the jIvAthmA (pOr means war and kadhavam means door). While the jIvathmA tries to control his senses, these senses slip out of his hands making it difficult for him to control them and they wander all over the place.

sAththi – even if one were to close the door [to the senses] shut, it is almost impossible. If one tries to control one sense, the others will break free and pull him. When one attempts to plug water, which is flowing rapidly, it will create a hole elsewhere and run forcefully again. Senses are similar to this phenomenon. Hasn’t arjuna said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 6-34chanchalam hi mana:” (mind is restless)! If one does not feed the senses, they will tear up the person.  As SrI bhagavath gIthA says in 2-59param dhrushtvA nivarthathE” (only after seeing the superior entity (emperumAn) will desires exit). Thus, is there any way to control the senses other than seeing emperumAn? The opinion here is that while it is possible to control the senses to an extent by carrying out certain deeds, it is virtually impossible to control them such that they do not go after vishayam (pleasures).

arivAnAmAzhwAr is saying sarcastically “Oh, doesn’t Siva, who has controlled his senses, not know emperumAn!” (when Siva started doing his penance, he fell for pArvathi and spent time with her; the opinion expressed here is: could that Siva control his senses?)

Alamara nIzhal – under the shade of the banyan tree where he [siva] was performing his penance.

aram nAlvarkku anRu uraiththa – aRam here refers to the path to attain emperumAn. Siva preached four rishis agasthyar, dhakshar, pulasthyar and mArkaNdeyar about knowledge on emperumAn.

anRu uraiththa – Siva preached others even before he had heard fully about emperumAn. Just as a person, by name bAlAgi, who did not know about brahmam (supreme entity) preached the most learned ajAtha Sathru about brahmam, Siva also preached. This is similar to a person trying to enjoy the goal even before carrying out the deeds to reach it. Siva had consumed poison due to his thAmasa guNa (the quality of being ignorant). SrI bhagavath gIthA 14-27 says “sathvAth sanjAyathE gyAnam” (one gets knowledge through sathva guNa (purely good quality)). But, here, Siva desired to gain knowledge through his thAmasa guNa.

Alam amar kaNdaththu aran – when emperumAn churned the milky ocean, “hAlahAla visha” (a poisonous substance) came out first. emperumAn ordered Siva to consume it and Siva did the same, keeping it in his throat. His pride comes out of this act of taking the poison. Just because he had preached a few persons who had slightly inferior knowledge to his own, and because he was able to hold poison in his throat (with the mercy of emperumAn) could he measure (know) emperumAn? While bAlAgi had not known brahmam, he pointed out whatever he saw to ajAtha Sathru and said “this is brahmam, hold on to this”. In the same way, while Siva had not fully realised brahmam, he preached others about brahmam. Is it possible to preach others merely because one had the power to consume poison and the power to destroy others? sIrAmap piLLai (twin brother of parAsara bhattar, both being the sons of kUraththAzhwAn, prime disciple of SrI rAmAnuja) spoke ill of Siva because he was proud and called himself as Lord. parAsara bhattar told him “Siva, by nature, is a good person. Only because of his thamO guNa (quality of being ignorant) he is proud. Hence, do not vilify him”.

We shall enjoy the 5th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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thiruvAimozhi – 5.2.11 – kaliyugam

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Full series >> Fifth Centum >> Second decad

Previous pAsuram

Introduction for this pAsuram

Highlights from thirukkurukaippirAn piLLAn‘s introduction

No specific introduction.

Highlights from nanjIyar‘s introduction

In the end, AzhwAr says “For those who learned this decad, the defect of considering dhEvathAntharams to be supreme and the defect in mind of seeking out ulterior motives from emperumAn, will be gone”.

Highlights from vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyar‘s introduction

Subsequently, AzhwAr explains the result of this decad which is the removal of all impurities in the heart.

Highlights from periyavAchchAn piLLai‘s introduction

See nanjIyar‘s introduction.

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

See nanjIyar‘s introduction.

pAsuram

kaliyugam onRum inRikkE than adiyArkkaruL seyyum
maliyum sudar oLi mUrththi mAyap pirAn kaNNan thannaik
kalivayal thennan kurugUrk kArimARan satakOpan
oli pugazh Ayiraththippathu uLLaththai mAsaRukkumE

Listen

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

than – his
adiyArkku – for distinguished servitors
kali yugam – the defects of kali yugam
onRum – anything
inRikkE – to be affected

(knowledge, devotion etc in his matters)
aruL – out of his grace
seyyum – due to bestowing
maliyum – abundant
sudar – having radiance
oLi mUrththi – having splendorous form
mAyam – having amazing qualities and activities
pirAn – one who lets them [those servitors] enjoy him
kaNNan thannai – on krishNa
kali – abundant
vayal – having fertile farm lands
then – for south direction
nan – worthy
kurugUr – leader of AzhwArthirunagari
kAri – distinguished birth
mARan – having distinguished family heritage
satakOpan – nammAzhwAr‘s
oli – very famous
pugazh – speaking about bhagavAn’s qualities
Ayiraththu – among the thousand pAsurams
ippaththu – this decad
uLLaththai – the heart of those who meditate upon
mAsu – dirt (considering bhAgavathas to be equal to oneself, doubt in greatness of bhagavAn, considering dhEvathAntharams to be supreme and attachment towards worldly pleasures)
aRukkum – will eliminate.

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

Due to emperumAn‘s bestowing [of his grace] for his distinguished servitors, for them to be not affected by the defects of kali yugam, nammAzhwAr, the leader of AzhwArthirunagari which is having fertile farm lands and is a worthy town for the south direction, [such nammAzhwAr] who is having distinguished birth and family heritage, compiled this very famous  decad among the thousand pAsurams which are speaking about bhagavAn’s qualities, and are on krishNa, who is having radiant splendorous form, amazing qualities and activities. For those who meditate upon such decad, the dirt in their heart will be eliminated.

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

  • kali yugam onRum inRikkE – As said in “kalau krutha yugam thasya” (For the one who has gOvindha in his heart, kali yugam feels like krutha yugam), emperumAn will grace his servitors so that they are not affected by the defects of kali yugam. The wealth allocated for the kingdom will not be the same as what is allocated for the queen’s private quarters [even if the kingdom is struggling, the king will ensure proper care for his queen; similarly even though worldly people may be suffering in kali yugam, devotees of emperumAn will not suffer].
  • maliyum sudar oLi mUrththi – His bodily beauty is such that, even if does not show his mercy, we will not leave him [just for his beauty]. Since sudar and oLi are synonymous, the abundant nature of his radiance is highlighted by those two words. malidhal means abundance, indicating, emperumAn‘s form is filled with great radiance.
  • mAyam … – AzhwAr has sung the glories of krishNa who is having amazing qualities and activities.
  • kali vayal … – kali means midukku (pride) and AravAram (joyful noise). This implies a) pUchAram (growth); also implies the noise while planting seeds, cutting the crop, ploughing the field etc. This decad, among the thousand pAsurams which have well known fame, which is mercifully compiled by nammAzhwAr, who is residing in AzhwArthirunagari which has such fertile fields; such decad will eliminate the defects of heart/mind such as having doubt that dhEvathAntharams are supreme; considering other SrIvaishNavas to be equal to oneself, considering “relationship with abhAgavathas” is good and desiring for worldly pleasures.

AzhwAr thiruvadigaLE SaraNam
emperumAnAr thiruvadigaLE SaraNam
piLLAn thiruvadigaLE SaraNam
nanjIyar thiruvadigaLE SaraNam
nampiLLai thiruvadigaLE SaraNam
vadakkuth thiruvIdhip piLLai thiruvadigaLE SaraNam
periyavAchchAn piLLai thiruvadigaLE SaraNam
vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyar thiruvadigaLE SaraNam
jIyar thiruvadigaLE SaraNam

In the next article we will enjoy the next decad.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 3 – pAr aLavum Oradi

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avathArikai

AzhwAr says “do we need all these deeds to prove that emperumAn is superior to everyone else? Through this one deed (of measuring the worlds) which is beyond the capabilities of human race, is it not enough to remind everyone of his supreme nature?”

pAsuram

pAraLavum Oradi vaiththu Oradiyum pAruduththa
nIraLavum sella nimirndhadhE – sUruruvin
pEyaLavu kaNda perumAn aRigilEn
nI aLavu kaNda neRi

Word by Word Meaning

pAraLavum Oradi vaiththu – keeping one divine foot till the end of this world [to measure it]
Or adiyum pAr uduththa – the other divine foot surrounding the entire universe
nIr aLavum sella nimirndhadhu – it rose to reach the waters covering the universe
sUr uruvin pEy – a demon who came in the garb of a celestial person
aLavu kaNda perumAn – Oh benefactor, who determined the boundary (of life)
nI aLavu kaNda neRi aRigilEn – I am not able to know the extent of the deeds carried out by you

vyAkhyAnam

pAraLavum Oradi vaiththu – keeping a divine foot to reach the end of the world

Oradiyum pAruduththa nIr aLavum sella nimirndhadhu – if a person asked another, “tell me an equivalent of emperumAn’s divine foot”, the other person will say “emperumAn’s other foot”. His other divine foot rose all the way to the waters surrounding the universe as a cover (here pAr is taken to mean universe). This is similar to thirumangai AzhwAr’s periya thirumozhi 10-6-3 “pavva nIr udai AdaiyAgach chuRRi” (water circling the earth like its dress). If pAr were taken to be earth, the other divine foot rose till the waters surrounding earth.

sUr uruvil … aRigilEnAzhwAr says “since one divine foot spread all over the world and there was no space to keep the other divine foot, I am not able to understand how you measured this world”.  emperumAn asks him back “why could you not understand?”

sUr uruvil pEyaLavu kaNda perumAn – isn’t this (the trouble that pUthanA had to undergo) what people who set out to measure you, have to suffer? AzhwAr asks emperumAn “are you in a state where someone could measure you?”

sUr uruvil – as per the thamizh lexicon “sUrum aNangum dheyvappeNNE” – sUr refers to a divine person. Here, this term actually refers to the demon pUthanA, but since she took the form of yaSOdhA, she is referred to as divine person. In perumAL thirumoizhi 7-5, kulaSEkara AzhwAr refers to yaSOdhA as “dheyva nangai yasOdhai” (the divine lady yaSOdhA). One can also consider sUr as a demon with a beautiful form. This is because demons are considered as belonging to the class of dhEvas as per the saying “piSAsO dhEva yOnaya:” in amara kOsam 1-1-11.

pEyaLavu kaNda – considering [measuring / estimating] her as a demon. Measuring is also killing. She [pUthanA] came to kill emperumAn, who, knowing her intention, killed her instead. Oh emerpumAn! When you measure someone, you don’t have any sorrow [difficulty]; but when someone comes to measure you, (s)he get killed, like pUthanA.

perumAn – by killing her, you removed your enemy and gave yourself to the world as its Lord. AzhwAr points, out through this word, to harivamSam 65 which says “sthanyam thath vishasammiSram rasyamAsIth jagadhgurO” (the poisoned milk of pUthanA’s bosom was like a sweet juice to kaNNan, the Lord of the world).

aRigilEn nI aLavu kaNda neRi – I do not know what you are thinking of. I do not know whether you are enabling me or not, to know you. Another interpretation – AzhwAr cannot estimate each and every deed of emperumAn’s. Just as you took the earth, which was snatched by mahAbali, under your feet, you had taken me under your feet and removed by enemies just as you removed pUthanA. We can take it that AzhwAr does not know this.

We shall  next take up the 4th pAsuram.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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SrIvishNu sahasranAmam

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maNavALa mAmunigaL who is considered as yathi punaravathAram (re-incarnation of emperumAnAr (SrI rAmAnuja)) glorifies nammAzhwAr as “vEdham seydha mARan” in upadhESa raththina mAlai 14th pAsuram, explaining that nammAzhwAr presents the essence of vEdham in simple and beautiful thamizh language.

nammAzhwAr, emperumAnAr, mAmunigaL

Such nammAzhwAr highlights in thiruvAimozhi 2.5.6pala palavE AbharaNam pErum pala palavE pala palavE sOdhi vadivu paNbeNNil” (emperumAn has many many ornaments, many many names, many many forms and qualities), in thiruvAimozhi 8.1.10 “thOLgaL AyiraththAy! mudigaLAyiraththAy! thuNai malark kaNgaL AyiraththAy! thALgaLAyiraththAy! pErgaLAyiraththAy!” (Oh one with thousand shoulders! Oh one with thousand heads! Oh one with thousand lotus like pair of eyes! Oh one with thousand divine feet! Oh one with thousand names!”) and in thiruvAimozhi 9.3.1 “pErAyiram koNdadhOr pIdudaiyan” (the one who is having the unique greatness of having thousand names). This is in line with how bhagavAn is explained in the most important hymn of vEdham which is purusha sUktham, where bhagavAn is described as “sahasra SIrshA purusha: | sahasrAksha sahasra pAdh |” (the supreme lord is with thousand heads, thousand eyes and thousand feet). Here thousand indicates the countless nature of his limbs, features etc. The whole of thiruvAimozhi is focussed on emperumAn and his auspicious qualities. Each name of emperumAn is reflective of a particular quality. For example, achyutha indicates the quality of not abandoning his devotees, anantha indicates the quality of being infinite and so on.

SrIvishNu sahasranAmam is a divine hymn which is part of mahAbhAratham. bhIshma pithAmaha, laying down on the arrow bed, instructs to pANdavas, the highest principle of meditating upon bhagavAn’s auspicious qualities through his divine names.

AzhwAn, bhattar

parASara bhattar, the celebrated son of kUraththAzhwAn, one of the most important among the direct disciples of emperumAnAr, compiled an elaborate commentary for SrIvishNu sahasranAmam. This divine treatise is named as “bhagavath guNa dharpaNam” (A mirror revealing the auspicious qualities of bhagavAn). It is our desire to explore the wonderful meanings of this treatise and present an english translation of the same for the benefit of the devotees of SrIman nArAyaNa.

We pray unto the divine feet of Sriya:pathi, AzhwArs and AchAryas and begin this effort as a humble offering at their divine feet.

Translation by SrInivAsarAja rAmAnuja dhAsan

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 2 – enRu kadal kadaindhadhu

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avathArikai

AzhwAr says “what have I done? Do I need to prove through conjecture that emperumAn is there because there are effects and hence there should be a cause? Through his athimAnusha deeds (deeds that are beyond the capabilities of human beings), we can easily know his presence”

Let us look at the pAsuram and its meanings, first.

enrU kadal kadaindhadhu evvulagum nIrERRadhu
onRum adhanai uNarEn nAn – anRu
adhu adaiththu udaiththuk kaN paduththa Azhi idhu nI
padaiththu idandhu uNdu umizhndha pAr

Word by Word Meaning

kadal kadaindhadhu enRu – when was the ocean (of milk) churned?
nIrERRadhu evvulagam – for which world did you accept water
adhanai onRum uNarEn nAn – I do not know anything at all about that
adhu anRu adaiththu udaiththu – dam was built on that ocean (by SrI rAma) and was broken
kaN paduthta Azhi – ocean on which [you are] reclining
idhu nI padaiththu – this world was recovered (after accepting water)
idandhu, uNdu – [as varAha avathAram] dug up and eaten [during deluge]
umizhndha pAr – [after deluge] the world that was spat out

vyAkhyAnam

enRu kadal kadaindhadhu – when was the ocean churned? The implied answer is that it was churned today. Have the waves and the agitation of the ocean stopped after he churned it? Do they not remain as they were? emperumAn has blessed AzhwAr such that he could see all that happened, is happening and will happen, all at the same time right before him! Thus, the great task that he had undertaken [of churning the milky ocean] appears to AzhwAr as if it has been carried out today.

evvulagam nIrERRadhu – which world did he measure after accepting water? (Here too, the implication is that it is this world). Is there a world other than ours that he measured after accepting water? Is it not to protect this world that he went seeking alms, concealing his identity totally [as vAmana]? AzhwAr says that his foot print that he set out to measure the world has not disappeared. Is this world suffering because of mahAbali? (No) As said in thiruvAimozhi 4-4-1vAmanan maN” (the world measured by vAmana) it appears that this world is only his.

onRum adhanai uNarEn nAn – AzhwAr says that from the day that emperumAn measured this world, we should have realised that and should have been talking this only. Instead of that, we are constantly engaged in and wasting our time in eating, dressing up and similar activities. Another interpretation is that instead of knowing such wondrous deeds of emperumAn, we are trying to establish emperumAn through conjecture. Another interpretation is that just as nammAzhwAr swooned and did not regain his consciousness for 6 months after reciting the verse “eththiRam” in thiruvAimozhi 1-3-1, poygai AzhwAr too goes into a trance after seeing his wondrous deeds. Reference to churning of ocean and accepting water [to recover the world] are pointers to all his deeds.

anRu – did emperumAn not churn the ocean today? To AzhwAr, it appears that he has been churning the ocean from that day and is still at it. Though time keeps moving, to AzhwAr it appears that what was done yugams (ages) back is being done right now, due to his deep knowledge. Since thiruppARkadal is a little distance away from where he is, AzhwAr is calling it as adhu (that).

adaiththu udaiththuk kaN paduththa Azhi – he built a bridge across the ocean with stone. He broke it with his bow (after killing rAvaNan). He reclined in that ocean. udaiththu also means destroy.

idhu nI padaiththu idandhu uNdu umizhndha pAr – since AzhwAr is in samsAram, he calls the world which is near him as idhu (this). emperumAn created this world when it was not there; when it got drowned during praLayam (deluge) he dug it out; before the onset of praLayam, he kept it in inside his stomach to protect it; after praLayam ends, he spat it out this earth so that it could see all the galaxies. This earth has suffered a similar destiny that cotton suffers from the time it comes out as a flower till it gets converted into a cloth (paruththi patta panniraNdum is an old saying in thamizh which means the twelve processes that cotton undergoes before it becomes useful. Earth suffers like this at his hands). While other dhEvathAs call themselves as “Isvaran” (one who controls), if they are really Isvaran, would they not have taken the steps that he had taken to retrieve this earth? This alone is enough to understand that they are not Isvaran. Also, if this earth were indeed not his [emperumAn’s] would he have carried out all these actions? As nammAzhwAr says in thiruvAimozhi  4-5-10kaNdavARRAl thanadhE ulagena ninRAn” (he establishes that the world is his due to all his deeds).

We shall see the 3rd pAsuram in this thiruvandhAdhi, next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 1 – vaiyam thagaLiyA

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vaiyam thagaLiyA vArkadalE neyyAga
veyya kadhirOn viLakkAga – seyya
sudarAziyAn adikkE sUttinEn sol mAlai
idarAzhi nIngugavE enRu

Word by Word Meaning

vaiyam thagaLiyA – earth as holding vessel for oil
vAr kadalE neyyAga –  sea, surrounding the earth, as ghee (clarified butter)
veyya kadhirOn viLakkAga –  sun, with his hot rays, as lamp [wick]
seyya sudarAzhiyAn adikkE – at the divine feet of emperumAn, who has reddish coloured chakra (disc) weapon
idar Azhi nIngugavE enRu – let the ocean of sorrow (in this world) disappear
sol mAlai – garland made of words
sUttinEn – I adorned him with

avathArikai

By using the terms vaiyam, vArkadal and kadhirOn, AzhwAr is referring to the elements earth, water and fire through analogy, thus implying all five elements. Through these five, he thinks of the entire constellation, narrowing to earth, its hardness, the tenderness of water, the heat of fire, and thinks of the entire leelA vibhUthi (material realm). By using the term sudarAzhiyAn (divine chakra – disc of emperumAn) he refers to nithyavibhUthi  (spiritual realm) and through the term adikkE he refers to the divine feet of emperumAn, thus implying that emperumAn has a divine form and controls both the vibhUthis (realms). He also implies the SEshithvam (lordship) of emperumAn as well as his own SEshathvam (servitude), carrying out service to emperumAn through his divine feet. Since emperumAn is happy with his service, AzhwAr too feels happy for having gladdened emperumAn. He says that in order to remove the lowliness of not having carried out such kainkaryam (service to emperumAn) so far, he is adorning emperumAn’s divine feet [with his verses]. Another interpretation is that since he had not got the knowledge so far to do this, he wants emperumAn to remove the hurdle of samsAram which is the cause of his continued ignorance.

vyAkhyAnam

vaiyam thagaLiyA – SrIvishNu purANam 1-14-28 says “kAtinyavAn yO pibharthi jagathEthadhaSEshatha: I SabdhAdhi samSrayO vyApI thasmai bhUmyAthmanE nama: II (salutations to the all pervading supreme entity who is in the form of earth with the five qualities of Sabdha etc (Sabdha, rUpa, rasa, gandha and sparSam, the five senses relating to sound, vision, taste, smell and touch respectively). Earth is a hard material and holds the world in it. Thus earth is considered as capable of holding [like a lamp] the substances which are mentioned as simile to ghee (clarified butter) and wick which are mentioned later in the pAsuram (hymn). Since the world has a form, like a lamp, it appears that it should have been created by an entity; it is being compared to the container (of lamp) to affirm the existence of supreme entity.

vAr kadalE neyyAga – ocean surrounds the earth fully and is in the form of a liquid. It obeys the order of supreme entity not to cross its border (shore) and to remain within its boundary. Due to this it is compared to ghee which will enable a lamp (which is to be lit) to keep glowing for a long time. vAr kadal – surrounding ocean (surrounding earth). It can also be construed as a completely filled up ocean. It does not overflow because of excessive flow into it by rivers. It does not shrink if water from rivers does not flow into it.  It does not destroy the earth even though it is at a higher level than earth. There must be an entity to take care of all these. Just as ghee enables the lamp to glow for a long time, the oceanic waters are pulled by sun’s rays and make the rays to glow. For these reasons, ocean is compared to a lamp that reveals emperumAn. There is no significance for the long syllable in the word kadalE. This can be applied to the other words vaiyam, kadhiron  also for uniformity (vaiyamE thagaLiyA, kadhirOnE viLakkAga)

veyya kadhirOn viLakkAga – sun is compared to the lamp (wick) since it has hot rays emanating from it and it is a radiant material. As thaiththiriya upanishath says “bhIshOdhEthi sUrya:” (sun rises because of his fear of emperumAn). He is seen for 30 nAzhigai (one nAzhigai is 24 minutes) and is not seen for the other 30 nAzhigai. He reveals emperumAn like a wick in a lamp.

vaiyam thagaLiyA – Just as a log of wood floats in water, the earth is also floating. Should there not be a reason for it? vAr kadalE neyyAga – instead of inundating the earth, the ocean is limiting itself within its boundary. Should there not be a reason for it? veyya kadhirOn viLakkAga – without reducing or increasing from its 30 nAzhigai, sun rises and sets every day. Should there not be a reason for it? And, should not such an entity, which is the reason for all these, be omniscient and omnipotent?

Once it is known that everything is his and he is the master of all, the hymn says what should be done further.

seyya sudarAzhiyAn adikkEnammAzhwAr, in periya thiruvandhAdhi 26 says “iruLanna mAmEni em iRaiyAr” (my Lord’s divine form has the colour of darkness). For such a dark form, the divine chakra (disc) adds a contrasting red colour. These words negate the opinions of other philosophies which say that brahmam (supreme entity) does not exist, or that it has weapons other than chakra or that it does not have any auspicious qualities etc. These words confirm that emperumAn has all the wealth, has divine weapons such as chakra, has a divine, beautiful form etc.  The reddish colour of chakra contrasts well with the black colour of his divine form. Since AzhwArs were bestowed with unblemished knowledge, the first realisation that they get is that they are servitors and they should serve the divine feet of emperumAn. pirAtti (emperumAn’s consort, mahAlakshmi) holds emperumAn’s hands. AzhwAr is not pirAtti. Hence, he holds on to emperumAn’s divine feet. Under the divine feet of such an emperumAn…..

idarAzhi nInguga enRu – my ocean of sorrow, since it has not performed any kainkaryam, should leave me.

sol mAlai sUttinEn – I adorned his divine feet with a garland of words, which will never lose its fragrance and will never fade, having been strung on his auspicious qualities and deeds. This is just like the decoration that anasUya (wife of rishi athri) made on sIthA pirAtti [garland not fading]. Just as the thiruththuzhAy (thuLasi) garland establishes the supremacy of emperumAn, this garland of words of the AzhwAr also establishes his supremacy. AzhwAr is able to know emperumAn fully and is speaking of his qualities when even vEdham had to return after failing in its attempt to measure the greatness of emperumAn (thaiththiriya upanishath 9.1 “yathO vAchO nivarththanthE apprApya manasA saha”)

idarAzhi nIngugavE enRu sUttinEn – AzhwAr indicates that he wants to rid of his thirst of not having strung a garland of verses for emperumAn till now.  He also implies that he does not exist on days when he does not praise emperumAn. For AzhwAr, every object such as earth, ocean etc reminds of emperumAn. Once a person asked mARanEri nambi “how do I remember emperumAn?” mARanEri nambi asked him in return “tell me, how do I forget emperumAn?”

I strung a garland of hymns for the samsAris, who do not know anything regarding emperumAn, and who are losing their svarUpam (basic nature), who, by learning this text which explains the truths about emperumAn, would have their ocean of sins, a container for all their sorrows, dry up.

There is not a single meaning which has not been conveyed by this pAsuram [i.e., all the important meanings are present in this pAsuram itself].

We shall next take up the 2nd pAsuram.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – avathArikai (Introduction)

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The vyAkhyAnam for mudhal thiruvandhAdhi was divined first by nampiLLai and later on, by parama kArunIkar (the most compassionate) periyavAchchAn piLLai. appiLLai, one of the ashtadhikgajangaLs (eight protectors, like elephants, in the eight directions) of maNavALa mAmunigaL  wrote arumpadha urai (explaining the meanings of difficult terms) based on periyavAchchAn piLLai’s vyAkhyAnam, in order to bring out the meanings more clearly. This translation takes into account both these pUrvAchAryas’ vyAkhyAnams. nampiLLai’s vyAkyAnam had not been known to many until Dr. M. A. vEnkatakrishNan swAmy located the copy of the manuscript for the first thiruvandhAdhi at the Government Oriental Manuscript Library and later found a copy of all the four thiruvandhAdhis (of the mudhal AzhwArs and thirumazhisai AzhwAr) at the Academy of Sanskrit Research at thirunArAyaNapuram. We are deeply indebted to him for bringing out a book of these vyAkhyAnams along with his lucid explanation.

vyAkhyAna avathArikai

emperumAn, the consort of SrI [mahAlakshmi], who is unbiased and is an ocean of all auspicious qualities, resides in nithyavibhUthi (paramapadham or SrIvaikuNtam), constantly served by nithyasUris (the permanent dwellers of nithyavibhUthi), whose knowledge never shrinks [blessed with deep knowledge about bhagavath vishayam (knowledge about emperumAn) and their own servitorship]. While he should feel happy and contented with all these, emperumAn wishes to reform the jIvas (bound souls) in samsAram (materialistic world) who are the exact opposite of nithyasUris, being ignorant, not knowing that they are equally qualified to serve emperumAn, constantly engaging with samsAram with their deeds. Though emperumAn  gave them [after deluge] physical forms and SAsthrams so that they could know about him and approach him, they ignored SAsthrams and went about in their own ways, getting deeper and deeper into the quagmire called samsAram. emperumAn then incarnated himself as various avathArams such as SrIrAma, krishNa et al and tried to correct them with his physical form [beauty], deeds, upadhEsam (spiritual discourse) etc. But they did not bother about these and went about their engagement with worldly pleasures. Just as hunters use deer to catch deer, emeprumAn then decided to send the first three AzhwArs after his avathArams to correct the jIvAthmAs.

What is the greatness of these three AzhwArs? Due to the causeless mercy of emperumAn, they were endowed with deep knowledge of and devotion towards emperumAn; similar to nithyasUris, they were having profound experience of emperumAn from the time they were born; it is as if mukthars (another class of jIvAthmAs who had got liberated from samsAram and had attained mOksham or SrIvaikuNtam) with their profound knowledge of emperumAn had come to samsAram to live here; these three AzhwArs did not turn towards samsAram at all; they were celebrated by nammAzhwAr as in thiruvAimozhi 7-9-6 “inkavi pAdum paramakavigaL” (the great poets who composed sweet verses) and by thirumangai AzhwAr as in periya thirumozhi 2-8-2 “senthamizh pAduvAr” (those who sing in pristine thamizh). Just as an ocean is spread equally everywhere, these AzhwArs had the knowledge to enjoy simultaneously and equally all the five forms of emperumAn viz. param, vyUham, vibhavam, antharyAmi and archchai (supreme form in SrIvaikuNtam worshipped by nithyasUris and mukthars, his form in thiruppARkadal worshipped by celestial persons, his form when he incarnated as SrIrAma, krishNa et al, his pervading form inside all AthmAs and his physical archA (deity) form in various dhivyadhEsams respectively). Just like a river in spate flows ferociously everywhere, but still stagnates in a few places which are deeper, these three AzhwArs, enjoying emperumAn in all his five states, were greatly engaged with the experience of thrivikraman (the form of emperumAn when he measured all the worlds) among the vibhavAthArams and thiruvEnkatamudaiyAn (in thirumalai) among archchai forms.

They could not engage with samsAris, who, despite having the knowledge of emperumAn, did not bother about going towards him for succour. thirumangai AzhwAr says in his periya thirumozhi 11-8-9 “Anvidai Ezh anRadarththArkku ALAnAr allAdhAr mAnidavar allar enRu enmaththE vaiththEn” (I did not deem as humans in my heart, those who were not devotees of krishNa who subdued seven bulls). These AzhwArs also did not consider such persons as ones with knowledge of emperumAn. kulasEkarAzhwAr in his perumAL thirumozhi 3-8 says “pEyarE enakku yAvarum yAnumOr pEyanE yavarkkum” (those who do not believe in emperumAn and submit to him are fools to me and I am a fool to them). bhUdhaththAzhwAr, in his iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi 44 says “siRandhArkku ezhu thuNaiyAm sengaNmAl nAmam maRandhArai mAnidamA vaiyEn” (the divine name of emperumAn is a source of huge support to jIvAthmAs who believe in him; I do not consider those who forget this, as human beings). Thus these AzhwArs avoided being with samsAris who are inimical to emperumAn and stayed mostly in forests among plants and trees, remaining for the night at the place where they reach in any given evening and were going about their lives, without meeting each other.

One day, by chance, all three of these mudhal AzhwArs reached thirukkOvalUr. Since it was raining heavily, with strong breeze, poygai AzhwAr entered the veranda space of mrugaNdu maharishi’s ASram and lay down there. After sometime, the second, bhUdhaththAzhwAr knocked on the door. poygai AzhwAr replied that there is space for only one person to lie down. bhUdhaththAzhwAr responded saying, “if there is space for one to lie down, there would be enough space for two to sit; please open”. poygai AzhwAr thought that samsAris do not like another person’s breath on them and hence the person who is knocking cannot be a kEvalar (one who believes in kaivalyam, enjoying his own soul) . He must be someone special, and hence he opened the door. Both of them sat down in that space. The third AzhwAr, pEyAzhwAr, knocked on the door now, asking for letting him in. The first two AzhwArs said that two of them are sitting and there is no further space to accommodate a third person. pEyAzhwAr said that in the space where two persons are sitting, three can stand. The first two AzhwArs thought that the third person is no ordinary person as ordinary persons do not like to jostle with other samsAris. All three AzhwArs now stood in that small space. Seeing the three AzhwArs together, emperumAn, who wished to remove his tiredness of having to follow each of them separately in their journey through forests etc, now decided to come amidst them with his consort, SrIdhEvi. This was in line with poygai AzhwAr’s 86th verse in mudhal thiruvandhAdhi (neeyum thirumagaLum ninRAyAl …….pUngOval idaikazhiyE paRRi ini”.  The three AzhwArs realised that suddenly two more people had come amidst them and wanted to see who they are.

poygai AzhwAr, found out through his knowledge of parabhakthi (knowledge of emperumAn) that all the chith and achith (the sentients and the insentients) in the world are under the control of emperumAn. Utilising the earth (with its cause and effect relationship) as lamp, he divined the first thiruvandhAdhai starting with the words “vaiyam thagaLiyA”. The next AzhwAr, bhUdhaththAzhwAr, utilising his paragyAna knowledge (gyAnam / knowledge matures into bhakthi / devotion) divined the next thiruvandhAdhi, “anbE thagaLiyA”. The third AzhwAr, pEyAzhwAr, then divined the third thiruvandhAdhi, “thirukkaNdEn” using his paramabhakthi knowledge (devotion maturing into sAkshAthkAram or ability to see emperumAn). Since these three states of gyAna, bhakthi and sAkshAthkAram (knowledge, devotion and ability to see emperumAn) develop in the same person, in succession, we can say that the three thiruvandhAdhis (composed by the three AzhwArs) were indeed one composition. This is similar to our considering the vyAkarNa sUthram, vruththi and bhAshyam of pANiNi, vararuchi and pathanjali respectively, to be one work though composed by the three persons, since they talk of the same subject, grammar. All the objects (chith and achith, the sentient and insentient) belong to emperumAn and he is their lord. Thus the first AzhwAr lit the lamp of knowledge. With the help of devotion that he attained with this knowledge, bhUdhaththAzhwAr lit a lamp. With the help of sAkshAthkAram (ability to see) which resulted from this bhakthi, pEyAzhwAr was able to have the vision of emperumAn, Apart from enjoying whatever they had seen, the three AzhwArs composed their experience as three prabandhams so that the world can also enjoy what they had experienced and enjoyed.

The reason for their using terms such as thagaLi (lamp holder), ney (ghee, i.e. clarified butter), viLakku (lamp wick) is to establish that the world is made of different components and thus establishing that the world is a created object. If it is created there must be a creator behind it and if it is variegated then the creator should have wondrous abilities. Here it says that emperumAn, holding Sankam (conch) and chakram (disc) is the creator. While explaining brahmasUthram 1-1-3 “SAsthrayOnithvAth”, SrI rAmAnuja has condemned those who establish emperumAn through anumAnam (conjecture). That being the case, why is it that emperumAn has been established through conjecture here? manusmruthi in 12-106 says “Arsham dharmOpadhESancha vEdhASAsthrA’virOdhi nA I yastharkENAnusandhaththE sa dharmam vEdha nEthara:  II” (only the one who inquires about vEdhas which have been seen by rishis (sages) and about smruthis which instruct about dharmam (virtuous deeds) through logical arguments without being at variance with vEdha SAsthrams, knows about dharmam; the others do not). Thus, since maharishis (great sages) such as manu et al have mentioned that one can use non-contrarian logic to know the meanings of vEdha SAsthrams but not contrarian logic (contrary to vEdham), and this is also accepted by sUthrakArar (sage vyAsa), there is nothing contrary to brahma sUthram in AzhwAr using conjecture which is not  at variance with vEdha SAsthrams, to establish emperumAn. bhAshyakArar (bhagavath SrI rAmAnujar) in his SrIbhAshyArambam says “nyAyAthukruhIthasya vAkyasyArthaniSchAyakathvarath” (only that sentence which has been blessed by nyAya (propriety, fairness etc) has the capacity to establish meaning).

We shall next enjoy the first pAsuram of mudhal thiruvandhAdhi.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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