Daily Archives: October 8, 2017

thiruvAimozhi – 6.1 – vaigal

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Highlights from thirukkurukaippirAn piLLAn‘s introduction

A pirAtti who united and subsequently separated from emperumAn [her sending messengers is highlighted in this decad].

Highlights from nanjIyar‘s introduction

In the first decad, AzhwAr, after having surrendered in 4 decads starting from thiruvAimozhi 5.7 “nORRa nOnbu” and still not having him arrive towards him, thinks “Though emperumAn is having auspicious qualities, being sarvagya (omniscient), sarvaSakthi (omnipotent) and sarvanirvAhakshama (able to manage everything), since the richness of thiruvaNvaNdUr is making him not think of me and since he does not know my state, he has not come; if I inform him of my state, he will come”; since AzhwAr [in the mood of parAnguSa nAyaki] does not find anyone in her entourage to go as a messenger to emperumAn, she goes towards the seashore to reduce her grief; she finds some birds there, shows great love towards them and sends them as messengers to thiruvaNvaNdUr.

Highlights from vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyar‘s introduction

In first decad – since reaching bhagavAn is done through an AchArya, AzhwAr highlights the following aspects:

  1. emperumAn‘s natural lordship of manifesting his beautiful form having the combination of his hand and chakra (disc), and accepting our service
  2. his protection during dangers, due to such relationship
  3. his predominant form having both protection and enjoyability
  4. the great obedience of emperumAn towards his devotees, which makes him enjoyable
  5. his special completeness which came about due to his enjoyability and lordship
  6. his control over nithyasUris, which is an effect of his complete lordship
  7. his distinguished features which make him enjoyable
  8. his distinguished features which highlight his special predominance
  9. his great love towards his devotees which is the cause for his obedience towards them\
  10. his ability to eliminate the enemies, out of his great love [towards his devotees]

Meditating upon these aspects, AzhwAr determines that such sarvESvaran should be surrendered unto through gatakas (connectors [AchAryas]), AzhwAr explains how he expressed his state to emperumAn through the entities who have the qualities of such gataka, as a girl [parAnguSa nAyaki] would send a messenger to her beloved consort who is in separation from her.

Highlights from periyavAchchAn piLLai‘s introduction

See nampiLLai‘s introduction.

Highlights from nampiLLai‘s introduction

Previously, AzhwAr performed surrender unto emperumAn in four decads starting with thiruvAimozhi 5.7nORRa nOnbu” but did not have his desire fulfilled. Though AzhwAr pursued this means [i.e., SaraNAgathi] which is unfailing and instantaneous in producing the result, why did he not have his desire fulfilled? This is because, as ISvara is equally responsible for the well being of both AzhwAr and this universe, from ISvara’s perspective, it is reasonable to delay AzhwAr’s result [to reform the universe, emperumAn is using AzhwAr].

AzhwAr entered many dhivya dhESams where emperumAn willfully and joyfully descended and AzhwAr did not have his desire fulfilled. He then went upto avathArams (incarnations) where one can have close interactions with emperumAn, but since they are in different era, AzhwAr did not have his desire fulfilled there too; and that weakened AzhwAr further. Now, he retracted to dhivya dhESams thinking that there is eternal presence, familiarity and no lack of ability; as such thoughts immersed AzhwAr and stopped him from walking  further,  hence he falls at the feet of birds and sends them as messengers. The incarnation he meditated upon in previous decad was beyond the reach of messengers and hence he is sending his messengers to thiruvaNvaNdur where emperumAn is residing. The bhakthi AzhwAr acquired was not by his own efforts through gyAna yOgam, karma yOgam etc., but was acquired by the grace of emperumAn. Only those who have some personal abilities and who think “let me become complete on my own”, can be patient to attain the goal and such aspects cannot be attributed to AzhwAr. And the means AzhwAr pursued [i.e., SaraNAgathi] cannot tolerate any delay! There is significant difference between this upAyam (means) and other upAyams. One who pursued such upAyam will not be patient; that is why, out of great grief, he is sending a messenger to emperumAn to inform about his state. AzhwAr is not of the nature to think “After surrendering, we shall be patient until emperumAn bestows the result”. Now, AzhwAr is sending a messenger after the brahmAsthram [the ultimate weapon of SaraNAgathi] itself failed – it is not known if AzhwAr has acted in knowledge or plain desire; we cannot say AzhwAr is ignorant since he effortlessly sang pAsurams on emperumAn who was given up by Sruthi (vEdham) itself saying in thaiththirIya upanishath “yathO vAchO nivarthanthE” (the speech returned unable to measure bhagavAn‘s qualities); but since he is falling at the feet of birds, we cannot say that he is knowledgeable. So what does this mean? AzhwAr‘s act is in desire which is an effect of [real] knowledge. The effect of true knowledge is said to be detachment towards aspects other than emperumAn. And the result of such knowledge is desire towards emperumAn. It is said in sthOthra rathnam 1gyAna vairAgya rASayE” (collection of knowledge and detachment). Now, when AzhwAr sets out to send a messenger, he is not seeking an aindhra vyAkaraNa paNditha (hanuman is well known for his expansive knowledge and communication abilities). Does this imply that AzhwAr is greater than pirAtti (SrI mahAlakshmi) herself? Yes – that can also be said. sIthAp pirAtti’s state was based on her experience with SrI rAma only. But AzhwAr has the greatness of seeking to enjoy both pirAtti and perumAL. Due to such emperumAn [and pirAtti] her anguish is also more than sIthAp pirAtti’s anguish. Since for parAnguSa nAyaki there is no restriction of responding to emperumAn‘s messenger only [as in the case of sIthA] due to rAvaNa’s control of lankA, parAnguSa nAyaki just sends whoever she sees as the messenger.

Those in separation generally seek neydhal (seashore) region [this is explained in thamizh literature]; thiruvallavAzh, thiruvaNvaNdUr etc are coastal regions. Those who send messenger, will see certain qualities in their beloved consorts; those are – having the knowledge to recognize the anguish of the other person, having the compassion and care to reach out after knowing about the anguish,  and having the ability to reach out; for the one (emperumAn) who is sent messenger by parAnguSa nAyaki, there is no lacking in such qualities. For knowledge, he is capable of educating even great sages like vaSishta who taught him as said in SrI rAmAyaNam bAla kANdam 1.12 “gyAna sampanna:” (well endowed with knowledge); for compassion, he is said as in SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 21.6 “ripUNAmapi vathsala:” (one who is loving towards enemies too) and is as said in SrI rAmAyaNam kishkinthA kANdam 23.24 “samjAthapAshpa:” (with tears in eyes); for power/ability he is even praised by the enemies as said in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 16.6 “ranjanIyasyavikramamai:” (one who pleases [others] with his valour). Now, a nAyaka (leader) is some one who is endowed with knowledge, completeness, discipline and conduct. The reason for the lack of arrival of emperumAn who is with such qualities is – due to the presence of many devotees in thiruvaNvaNdUr, he focussed on them and forgot about parAnguSa nAyaki; while engaged in protection he is as said in mAlathI mAdhava play “asmithAnyabhAvam” (forgets everything else); hence she thought if she informed him about her anguish, he will come. When informing to bhagavAn, there is no one who has greater grief than she. She cannot herself go and inform him, and her relatives are more anguished than herself; so, she needs some one who can reach upto him; she then notices the birds in her vicinity, thinks “they are capable of fulfilling my desire, just due to the relationship with her which came about due to residing in the same place”, falls at their feet and sends them [to emperumAn].

Everytime while mercifully explaining this decad, nanjIyar mercifully tells “Though krishNa was with pANdavas for their sake and was being with them all along, they suffered anguish; AzhwAr too is going through same anguish; they suffered being bewildered that there are some righteous means [instead of fully following emperumAn], but AzhwAr does not even have such bewilderment and yet why should he suffer”. parAnguSa nAyaki’s state is as said by dhraupadhi in mahAbhAratham udhyOga parvam “sAham kESagraham prApthA – thvayi jIvathya prabhO” (Oh lord krishNa! Even while you were alive, I was dragged by my hair and with great anguish reached the assembly where pANdavas were present). It was great danger where she could not be protected by her husbands who are fake protectors and herself – she was told before as in mahAbhAratham udhyOga parvam “mahathyApathi samprApthE smarthavyO bhagavAn hari:” (when you are in great danger, remember lord hari). bhagavAn – Is he not complete [bhagavAn means one who is complete in all auspicious qualities]! parASara rishi thinks incomplete individuals cannot accomplish the tasks. hari: – she surrendered unto emperumAn who is naturally inclined towards eliminating the enemies of his devotees. While Sakthi is already part of the six qualities such as gyAna etc which are explained in the term “bhagavAn“, hari: (one who has Sakthi to eliminate the enemies of the devotees) is explicitly mentioned in this SlOkam to highlight that the Sakthi (power/ability) is natural for emperumAn unlike others who occassionally acquire such quality.

Each pAsuram is discussed subsequently.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi – 8 – ugandhu unnai vAngi

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AzhwAr tells his mind that when taking refuge under emperumAn, make sure that enmity is not lurking behind. It is implied here that taking refuge with falsity will be harmful. When asked whether there are hurdles in taking refuge under him, AzhwAr says that when you take refuge under him, he would destroy the enemy just as he did in the case of pUthanA [a demonic woman sent by kamsan to kill the infant krishNa]. Since he mentioned about namuchi in the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr thought of pUthanA also and hence mercifully mentions about her in this pAsuram.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

ugandhu unnai vAngi oLi niRangoL kongai
agam kuLira  uN enRAL Avi  ugandhu
mulai uNbAy pOlE munindhu uNdAy nIyum
alai paNbAl AnamaiyAl anRu

Word by Word Meaning

ugandhu – playacting as if she is full of affection, just like yaSOdhA pirAtti
unnai vAngi – lifting you (when you were sleeping)
oLi niRam koL kongai – beautifully radiant bosom (since it was full of milk)
agam kuLira uN enRAL – she said “drink” to make the infant happy in its mind
AnamaiyAl – hence
anRu – during that time when she offered her bosom to you
nIyum – you too, as an infant
alai paNbAl – due to your [excessive] childishness
mulai uNbAy pOlE – as if you are really suckling
ugandhu – (showing outwardly) your happiness (as if you have attained an impossible gift)
munindhu – becoming very angry (in your mind)
Avi – (that pUthanA”s) life
uNdAy – you swallowed (along with her milk)


ugandhu – since pUthanA came in the guise of a mother, she came with the affection [put on, in her case] like a mother would have towards her child. She came with the same affection that yaSOdhA would have towards her child, but a feigned one. Even as she had anger towards kaNNan (krishNa) she hid it and came as if she had love. If she did not have love, milk would not have secreted! If she did not have the thought of having love towards her infant, milk will not secrete!

unnai vAngi – lifting you gently even as you were sleeping, just as yaSOdhA pirAtti will lift you gently with love.

oLi niRam koL kongai – the bosom which is shining radiantly with milk, similar to yaSOdhA pirAtti’s milk laden bosom.

agam kuLira uN enRAL – mothers, before nursing their children, would say a few loving words which would bring out their love for the children as well as remove any tiredness that the children may have.  pUthanA said similar words [to krishNa]. She spoke a few words to comfort krishNa’s heart, making it clear that he has to drink her milk. She spoke so sweetly that his stomach would get filled up with her words themselves, even without the need for drinking her milk.

Avi – her life

nIyum ugandhu mulai uNbAy pOlE munindhu uNdAy – you also became happy and like an infant wishing to drink milk, drank her life with anger, as if you were drinking her milk. Just as she came with feigned love to kill you, you too feigned happiness while drinking her milk and, becoming angry, killed her. He [emperumAn] too did not show his anger and killed her. pUthanA gave her milk to him as if she could not have survived had she not given her milk. He also drank her milk as if he could not have survived had he not taken that milk. The term being angry while suckling is explained this way – when infants are hungry they would like to have milk immediately. If there is any delay, they will start wailing in anger. In the same way, he too was angry. The qualities of devotion and act of surrendering to him that we have would also look feigned like the feeling that pUthanA had when she came to nurse him.

alai paNbAl AnamaiyAl anRu – the way you did when pUthanA came that day to kill you, who are the beginning of this world. alai paNbal – the simplicity which a great person has. alai paNbAl – since you are an ocean of qualities. While the feigned quality of being a friend is enough to protect, you killed pUthanA and protected yourself, Lord of the world. Isn’t this because of your great qualities! Isn’t it because of the partiality that you have towards your followers that you killed pUthanA and gave yourself! AzhwAr says that emperumAn is carrying out such deeds only to sustain them. Alternatively alai paNbAl could also refer to the destructive quality of pUthanA.

We shall take up the 9th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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