iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi – 16 – thanakku adimaippattadhu

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

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AzhwAr asks whether we have to take efforts to attain him instead of attaining him through his efforts, when his actions are like these, toiling hard to protect his followers, as seen in the previous pAsuram. When he is like this for his followers, should it not be that the reason for our having knowledge is to make us attain him? When he is trying to attain us, should we try to attain him? AzhwAr asks whether there is any shortcoming for us when emperumAn, who has no results for his deeds (in other words no pApa or puNya), undergoes hardships which even we, who suffer from pApa and puNya, do not undergo, for protecting us.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

thanakkadimai pattadhu thAnaRiyAnElum
manaththadaiya vaippadhAm mAlai vanaththidarai
EriyAm vaNNam iyaRRum idhuvallAl
mAri yAr peygiRpAr maRRu

Word by Word Meaning

thanakku – for himself (who is a chEthana, sentient entity)
adimai – being a servitor
pattadhu – that it is being apt
thAn aRiyAn Elum – even if he is not able to know

(emperumAn, on his own)
manaththu – in the mind
adaiya – as soon as he reaches
mAlai – that emperumAn
vaippadhu – to keep him, by providing place
Am – is apt

(if the  chEthana gets this much taste, emperumAn will remove his enemy and offer himself. How is this possible?)
vanam thidarai – the high ground on which the forest has sprung up
Eri Am vaNNam iyaRRum idhu allAl – other than the activity of digging a lake in that area so that rain water will not flow elsewhere but into that lake
maRRu – other than
mAri – rain
peygiRpAr – to make it fall
yAr – who is there? (isn’t rainfall due to emperumAn’s sankalpam (vow))


thanakkadimai pattadhu than aRiyAnElum – servitorship is always ordained for jIvAthmA (soul). This has been brought out by a few illustrations such as in (1) SrI rAmAyaNam AraNya kAndam 15-7 “paravAnasmi” (I am fully dependent [on emperumAn]), (2) sthOthra rathnam-60thavAsmi” (I belong to you), (3) vishNuthathvam “svathvam Athmani sanjAtham svAmithvam brahmaNi sthitham” (it is AthmA’s characteristic to be a possession and brahmam (emperumAn)’s characteristic to be the possessor). Even if this is not known. Hasn’t it been said in vishNuthathvam “AthmadhAsyam harE: swAmyam” (AthmA’s characteristic is to be servitor and hari’s is to be the Lord).

thAn aRiyAnElum – even if he (chEthana) does not know emperumAn’s and his qualities. Even if he does not know that his quality is being a servitor. Even if he is without good knowledge.

thAn aRiyAnElum – despite pramANams (authentic texts) saying the above mentioned;  not carrying out service to his AchAryan and learning from him about these.

manaththadaiya vaippadhAm – even unknown to the chEthana, if emperumAn enters his heart  in order to claim ownership of his possession, what is required is not to shun him at that time. Is emperumAn not referred to as mAl? mAl means having affection. All that the chEthana needs to do is to provide emperumAn space when he comes head over heels to the chEthana. It is emperumAn’s responsibility to do whatever else needs to be done after that. vaduga nambi (a disciple of bhagavath SrI rAmAnujar) once said “we need not carry out any means to attain emperumAn.  When the neighbour dons thirumaN kAppu on his forehead, it is enough to tolerate that instead of making fun of him”. Hasn’t emperumAn said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 18-67 “na cha mAm abyasUyathi” (do not share this secret with one who is jealous of me)! nanjIyar (AchAryan of the vyAkyAthA of this prabandham SrI nampiLLai) once told thiruvarangapperumAL dhAsar “when someone says ‘emeprumAn’ be happy that he has given us the quality of not being jealous towards him”. It is opined here that we can only develop a desire towards emperumAn and cannot create the benefit of attaining him. An example is illustrated for this, now.

vanaththidarai EriyAm vaNNam iyaRRum idhu allAl – one can only dig a high ground in the forest and convert it into a lake so that (when rain falls) water can be prevented from going out and can be contained within the lake.

Apart from this…

mAri yAr peygiRpAr maRRu – is making rain to fall in a specific place, within the control of chEthana?  Isn’t it varuNa dhEva  who is responsible for this! AzhwAr says that when jIvAthmA,  appropriate to his being with knowledge, does not show hatred, wouldn’t emperumAn offer himself to such jIvAthmA as a benefit!

Instead of this, some persons will offer an alternative interpretation for this pAsuram.

[thanakkadimai pattadhu than aRiyAnElum] As mentioned in muNdaka upanishath 1-1-10 “ya: sarvagya: sarvavith” (whoever knows the natural character and natural disposition of all entities) and in SvEthaSvathara upanishath 6-8 “svAbhAvikI gyAnabalakriyA cha ” (it is mentioned that the paramAthmA has natural knowledge, power, deeds etc), emperumAn knows everything as his nature. It used to be said derisively that the meaning for this term is: since the jIvAthmA does not know that he is a servitor to such emperumAn and that emperumAn controls everyone, even if he does not have such knowledge, is it possible for such a jIvAthmA to keep emperumAn in his heart? While emperumAn has affection towards his followers, can the jIvAthmA keep him in his heart? Is there anything known that the jIvAthmA can, with his own efforts, know about emperumAn and attain him? While emperumAn himself will create the desire in the jIvAthmA and offer himself, is there any meaning in the jIvAthmA trying anything on his own?

vanaththidarai EriyAm vaNNam iyaRRum idhu – it is emperumAn who ordains the jIvAthmA to dig the lake.

allAl mAri yAr peygiRpAr maRRu – isn’t it he who also makes indhra (lord of celestial entities) to create downpour!

vanaththidarai EriyAm vaNNam iyaRRum idhu – emperumAn makes us avoid avidhyA (ignorance), karmam (deeds resulting from puNyam and pApam), vAsanA (impressions from innumerable births) and ruchi (taste for repeating a particular deed) in our hearts.

That too ….

mAri yAr peygiRpAr maRRu – isn’t it again he who makes his qualities to strike in the heart of the jIvAthmA! If the words are slightly rearranged to read as vanaththidarai EriyAm vaNNam iyaRRum idhuvallAl peygiRpAr maRRu yAr this will not appear to be an illustration. Instead of this, if it is taken to refer to those who have deep involvement with emperumAn, we should consider that emperumAn is only to be attained and is not an object to be spoken of in any way that one thinks of in his heart. Or, even if the chEthana does not know that he is a servitor to emperumAn, he should keep emperumAn in his heart. In other words, carrying out this as one’s appropriate deed. It can also be taken to mean that he would know that chEthana and achEthana form the body of emperumAn since he knows the meanings of vEdhAnthams (the end portions of vEdhams, dealing with emperumAn). For the term manaththadaiya vaippadhAm, there are three interpretations: attaining emperumAn after seeing how others attain him; having only the desire to attain him; and, emperumAn only will create that desire too. Of these, the first interpretation is credited to [parASara] bhattar [son of kUraththAzhwAn], the second to thirumalai nambi [one of the AchAryas of SrI rAmAnujar) and the third to AzhwAn [kUraththAzhwAn, one of the most important disciples of SrI rAmAnujar].

We shall consider the 17th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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