iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi – pravEsam (Introduction)

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In the mudhal thiruvandhAdhi (first thiruvandhAdhi), poygai AzhwAr had said that emperumAn is the Lord of both nithya vibhUthi (spiritual realm) and leelA vibhUthi (material realm). When it was made known to poygai AzhwAr that both these realms are subservient to emperumAn, that knowledge took the form of bhakthi (devotion). poygai AzhwAr’s mudhal thiruvandhAdhi is related to gyAnam (knowledge). bhUthaththAzhwAr’s iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi (second thiruvandhAdhi) is related to bhakthi. The second thiruvandhAdhi is nothing but the words that flowed out of this bhakthi. In that case, did poygai AzhwAr not have bhakthi? The response will be that he did have bhakthi. (when clay is converted into pot, clay is termed cause and pot is termed effect. In the same way) gyAnam is the causative factor of poygai AzhwAr’s while bhakthi is the resultant (effect) factor of bhUthaththAzhwAr’s outpouring. The knowledge that came about after thinking about nithya vibhUthi and leelA vibhUthi is due to poygai AzhwAr. bhUthaththAzhwAr’s  position came about when that knowledge matured and became bhakthi. When bhUthaththAzhwAr reflected on the meditation of poygai AzhwAr on the vibhUthis of emperumAn and their expanse, the words that came out of the manifestation of that bhakthi became this prabhandham (iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi).

In the mudhal thiruvandhAdhi, the knowledge about emperumAn that he is the Lord of the world and that the world is his possession was mentioned. That knowledge is the upAyam (means) to attain him. In the world, the path to attain anything and the benefit of attaining that entity are different. When such is the case, how will it be apt to say that emperumAn is himself the path and the benefit? This is so because, emperumAn being  omnipotent, it will be correct to say that he is the path and he is the benefit. For the objects seen in the world, the nimiththa kAraNam (assertive reason), the sahakAri kAraNam (the collaborative reason) and the upadhAna kAraNam (material reason) are found to be different, whereas in the case of this world, emperumAn himself becomes all three reasons due to his omnipotence. In the same way, it will be correct to say that he is both the means and the benefit.

Whatever is there in the “whole” will also be there in the “parts”. If it is said in a general sense that emperumAn is the head of all the worlds, is it necessary to say that he is also the head of an individual! When the path to attain him is with him and not with oneself, should one not look up to him till the path matures? Once paramEsvara mangalaththu ANdAn asked of kurugaikkAvalappan (a disciple of SrIman nAthamunigaL) “what is the connection between emperumAn and the world?” kurugaikkAvalappan responded saying “between which emperumAn and which world?” (implication is that there is no separate world and no separate emperumAn). ANdAn was satisfied with this response. pramANam (authentic texts) say that AthmA is ISvaran (soul is Lord). Just as body is (subservient) to soul, the world is (body) to emperumAn. poygai AzhwAr experienced the saying of thaiththirIya upanishath nArAyaNavalli 11 “pathim viSvasya” (Lord of world). Since bhUthaththAzuwAr is one entity among the entities in the world, this will be applicable to him too. Hence, bhUthaththAzhwAr experiences that emperumAn is Lord to him too.

When knowledge matured into bhakthi, shouldn’t the two thiruvandhAdhis (the first and the second) be the product of one? Isn’t it seen that the first thiruvandhAdhi is one AzhwAr’s and second, another AzhwAr’s! Even though written by three sages, since vyAkaraNam (grammar) has been the subject matter of all three, isn’t it considered as one text! In mImAmsA SAsthram, though jaimini has written twelve chapters and vyAsar, four chapters, since the subject matter is the same, are they not considered as one SAsthra! Here too, the same consideration holds good.

That the creator of universe (emperumAn) has unlimited knowledge and power and that he holds Sankam (divine conch) and chakkaram (divine disc) were mentioned in the mudhal thiruvandhAdhi. This is also due to bhakthi. Since the knowledge about these has come about now only (and not earlier) it has been said in this manner. Since emperumAn is the means (path to attain him), it was he who created bhakthi. poygai AzhwAr thinks (in the mudhal thiruvandhAdhi) that it is amazing that emperumAn corrected him as much as it is wondrous that emperumAn controls this amazing world. If one were to ask whether it was only knowledge about emperumAn that poygai AzhwAr had, it should be said that all the AzhwArs had both knowledge about and devotion towards emperumAn. Based on the main subject that they handled, it could be said that poygai AzhwAr’s main subject was knowledge and bhUthaththAzhwAr’s was bhakthi. Even though all the AzhwArs knew the divine mind of one another, did they not mercifully say [whatever they had to say] in the same voice (in the same way)! Isn’t this similar to AdhiSEshan having multitude of heads but one throat!

Let us take up thaniyan for this prabandham next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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