Daily Archives: June 27, 2018

thiruvAimozhi – 6.10.10 – agalagillEn – Part 3

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agalagillEn iRaiyum enRu alar mEl mangai uRai mArbA!
nigaril pugazhAy! ulagam mUnRudaiyAy! ennai ALvAnE!
nigaril amarar munik kaNangaL virumbum thiruvEngadaththAnE!
pugal onRillA adiyEn un adik kIzh amarndhu pugundhEnE.



Highlights from nampiLLai‘s vyAkyAnam as documented by vadakkuth thiruvIdhip piLLai (Continuation)

[nampiLLai explains the greatness of prapaththi (SaraNAgathi) in great detail to instill the taste for it in everyone, in this third explanation]

AzhwAr mercifully explains through this pAsuram that which is discussed in all SAsthrams, essence of the vEdhAntham which is the root for all of these SAsthrams, and the special principle which is supported by all our AchAryas in unison. There is special greatness due to the pursuit of this upAyam (SaraNAgathi) by nammAzhwAr, who is the first/foremost AchArya, who is having the great knowledge which was bestowed by bhagavAn himself as said in thiruvAimozhi 1.1.1mayarvaRa madhinalam aruLinan” (emperumAn mercifully bestowed unblemished knowledge and devotion). There are others who use this means to get other benefits and use other means to get emperumAn himself; unlike them, AzhwAr has the special greatness of pursuing emperumAn as both the means and goal.

When he is the goal, what is wrong in pursuing different means? That is because, they are sAdhyam (involving self effort), many, difficult to perform and contrary to the nature of the self. There are many such sAdhanams (upAyams, means).  What are they? karma yOga, gyAna yOga and bhakthi yOga.

karma yOga

With the knowledge about the understanding of the true self, as one performs the karmas (deeds) which match the varNa and ASrama of the self without expecting the result and with detachment in the doership and ownership of the karma, and as a worship of bhagavAn, the sins which are the hurdles will be eliminated and mind will be purified; further true realisation of self will occur, knowledge about bhagavAn and love towards him will occur, and finally that [love] will lead to the ultimate result [liberation] through parabhakthi (true knowledge), paragyAna (unable to bear separation from bhagavAn) and paramabhakthi (final stage before liberation).

gyAna yOga

Restraining the senses, realising the self, acquiring knowledge about bhagavAn, developing love towards him; finally that will lead to the ultimate result [liberation] through parabhakthi (true knowledge), paragyAna (unable to bear separation from bhagavAn) and paramabhakthi (final stage before liberation).

bhakthi yOga

Engaging karma and gyAna directly in matters related to bhagavAn [i.e. performing activities as worship to bhagavAn and having the thoughts fully focussed on bhagavAn], as said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 18.65manmanA bhava madhbhakthO madhyAjI mAm namaskuru” (Have your heart focussed on me constantly; (moreover) have deep love for me; (that too) become my worshipper; (moreover) become my worshipper; offer obeisances to me (with all your three faculties viz mind, speech and body)); ; finally that will lead to the ultimate result [liberation] through parabhakthi (true knowledge), paragyAna (unable to bear separation from bhagavAn) and paramabhakthi (final stage before liberation).

nAma sankIrthanam

Further, unlike these three, thirunAmam [nAma sankIrthanam] is explained as an easier means. Where? As bhIshma was explaining many different means to dharmaputhra, dharamputhra asked him as in mahAbhAratham sahasranAma adhyAyam “kO dharamas sarvadharmANAm bhavatha:paramOmatha:” (Among all the means, which one do you consider as the best?); he explained thirunAmam as his most favourite starting with “EshamE sarvadharmANAm“. Isn’t thirunAmam an ancillary aspect of other means [such as karma, gyAna, bhakthi yOgas]? Can it be an independent means? Since it performs both elimination of hurdles and bestowing the result as explained in “janma samsAra bandhanAth … muchyathE” (will liberate from the bondage in material realm) and “yAthi brahma sanAthanam”  (attains eternal, supreme lord), it is considered as an independent means too.

dhivyadhESa vAsam

As said in garuda purANam “dhESOyam sarva kAma dhuk” (this divine abode will fulfil all desires), living in dhivyadhESam [and other holy shrines] itself is explained as a means to attain all goals.

bhAgavatha sEvA

As said in “ArAdhAnAm sarvEshAm vishNO: ArAdhanam param | thasmAtha paratharam prOktham thadhIyArAdhanam param ||” (worshipping vishnu is the best among all types of worship; even better than that is worshipping his devotees), it is understood that all desires will be fulfilled by worshipping bhagavAn‘s devotees.

But all these means are difficult to pursue, and due to their being tinged with ahankAra (individual’s doership, ego), they are explained to be given up. prapaththi which is singular [unique], ready to deliver, easy to perform, apt and matchless as said in thaiththirIya upanishath “thasmAth nyAsam EshAm thapasAm athiriktham Ahu:” (Among the aforementioned means, surrender is explained as the best), is explained in this pAsuram.

In the previous nine pAsurams, the nature of SaraNya (emperumAn who is the refuge) and that of adhikAri (one who surrenders) were explained; in this pAsuram, the SaraNAgathi prakAram (method of surrender) is explained.

The nature of SaraNya is infinitely enjoyable, apt, one which eliminates the hurdles and easy to approach for all. Unlike other qualities, for one to surrender, his saulabhyam is a unique requirement.

  • parathvam (emperumAn‘s form in paramapadham) is in a different realm which cannot be pursued [immediately] by a chEthana [sentient entity] when he acquires the inclination towards emperumAn.
  • vyUham (emperumAn’s form in kshIrAbdhi (milky ocean)) is specifically meant for the celestial beings such as brahmA et al, it is also similar to parathvam only.
  • avathArams (emperumAn’s incarnations such as varAha, narasimha, vAmana, SrI rAma, krishNa et al) helped those fortunate ones who were present back then but cannot help those from subsequent times.

thiruvEngadamudaiyAn’s divine feet is the only abode where without both these limitations [difficulty to reach due to place/time factors], at all times, everyone can approach as said in thiruvAimozhi 3.3.2vAnavar vAnavar kOnodum” (nithyasUris, along with (their leader) sEnai mudhaliyAr (vishvaksEnar)), brahmA et al who are in this material realm, the human beings in this world, and even the animals who are considered inferior as said in nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi 47 “kAnamum vAnaramum” (forests, monkeys). As he is ajahathsvabhAvan (one who never gives up his nature), and as he has all the eight qualities such as gyAna, Sakthi etc (vAthsalya (motherly forbearance), svAmithva (lordship), sauSeelya (simplicity), saulabhya (easy approachability), gyAna (knowledge), Sakthi (power), prApthi (being the apt goal), pUrthi (perfection)), thiruvEngdamudaiyAn who is complete in all qualities, is the apt SaraNya.

The nature of the adhikAri (qualified person who surrenders) is to have ananyagathithvam (having no other refuge), prApya ruchi (inclination towards the goal) and svarUpa prakASam (self realisation). Would animals surrender [with such qualities]? We have read and heard from the scriptures [purANams which are recited in the evening times in choultries] that SrI gajEndhAzhwAn surrendered to bhagavAn; this is also explained in few other places by AzhwArs as in:

  • nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi 46 – vaippan maNiviLakkA mAmadhiyai mAlukku enRu eppOdhum kainIttum yAnaiyai – The elephant which always stretches its trunk thinking “I will place this great moon as the lamp for emperumAn“.
  • mUnRAm thiruvandhAdhi 70pugumadhaththAl vAy pUsik kIzh thAzhndhu aruvi ugumadhaththAl kAl kazhuvik kaiyAl migumadhaththEn viNda malar koNdu viRal vEngadavanaiyE kaNdu vaNangum kaLiRu – the elephant gargling its mouth with the exulting liquid which is coming from its forehead and cheeks and carrying out purification process for its mouth, washing its feet with the exulting liquid which is flowing like a river from its head towards the ground, will worship the extremely strong lord at thirumalai with its trunk, which is having blossomed flower with honey which creates exultation.
  • periyAzhwAr thirumozhi 5.3.3 – punaththinaik kiLLip pudhvavikkAtti un ponnadi vAzhga enRu inak kuRavar pudhiyadhu uNNum ezhil mAlirunjOlai endhAy – my lord in thirumAlirunjOlai where the groups of nomads would pick up grains of millet from the fields, offer them as havis [ritual offering made to emperumAn], hailing “long live emperumAn!”, and eat them.

Now, should we [who have faith in AzhwArs‘ pAsurams] not have as much faith as these [animals, nomads etc]?

Now, it is explained that, as a surrender performed towards SaraNya (emperumAn, who is complete in gyAnam etc) will lead to the expected result, only when a qualified person who is with Anukalyasya sankalpam (vowing to act favourably) etc [prAthikUlyasya varjanam (restraining from unfavourable acts), rakshishyathi ithi visvASam (faith in his protection), gOpthruthva varaNam (accepting him as the means), kArpaNyam (humility) and Athma nikshEpaNam (total submission)] surrenders, it will lead to the expected result.

With this explanation on the greatness of prapaththi/SaraNAgathi, nampiLLai’s third explanation is set to commence. We will see that in the next part of this article.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 11 – vAzhththuga vAy

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AzhwAr instructs the others to engage their sensory organs, which were given in order to carry out service for emperumAn, in the matter of that sulabhan (simple person).

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

vAzhthuga vAy kANga kaN kEtka sevi magudam
thAzhththi vaNangumingaL thaNmalarAl sUzhththa
thuzhAy mannu nINmudi en thollai mAl thannai
vazhA vaN kai kUppi madhiththu

Word for Word Meanings

sUzhththa – encircling
thuzhAy – divine thuLasi garland
mannu – aptly fitting
nIL mudi – one who has the long divine crown
en thollai mAL thannai – sarvESvaran (supreme being) who has been having affection towards me for a long time
vazhA – without even a moment’s break
vaN kai kUppi madhiththu – joining the hands together in salutation and meditating
magudam thAzhththi – bowing the head down
thaN malarAl – with cool flowers
vaNangumin – attain him
vAy – (your) mouth
vAzhththuga – let it praise (emperumAn)
kaN – eyes
kANga – let them see( only him)
sevi – ears
kEtka – let them hear (only his narratives)


vAzhththuga vAy – praise him with the mouth which has been created only for praising him, as mentioned in the saying “sA jihvA yA harIm sthauthi” (only that which praises hari (emperumAn) is termed as tongue)

kANga kaN – see him with the eyes which have been created only for seeing his divine form.

kEtka sevi – hear his divine qualities, names and activities with the ears which have been created only for hearing his auspicious qualities.

magudam thAzhththi vaNangumingaL – lower the head which has been created to bow down to his divine feet, at his divine feet and worship him.

vaNangumingaL thaNmalarAl – worship him with the apt flowers which are cool enough for his soft divine form.

malarAl – among flowers, there is no rule that only such and such flowers are apt for him and others are not. Has he not mercifully mentioned in SrI bhagavath gIthA 9.26pathram palam pushpam thOyam yO mE bhakthyA prayachchathi I thadhaham bhakthyupahrutham aSnAmi prayathAthmana:  II” (I take with full happiness with whatever leaf or flower or fruit or water has been offered to me by one with devotion) and hasn’t AzhwAr too mercifully mentioned in his thiruvAimozhi 1.6.1purivadhum pugai pUvE” (whatever fragrance or flower is offered to emperumAn…)!

AzhwAr next describes the distinguished feature of emperumAn for our bowing our head to him.

sUzhththa thuzhAy mannu – donning thuLasi garland in itself is a distinguished feature for his being the supreme entity.

sUzhththa thuzhAy mannu – decorated with the coiled thuLasi garland.

thuzhAy mannu nINmudi – isn’t he the entity who has “thOLiNai mElum nanmArbin mElum sudar mudi mElum thALiNai mElum punaindha thaNNandhuzhAyudai ammAn  ” (the lord who is decorated with cool thuLasi garland on his divine shoulders, on the great chest, on the radiant lock and on his divine feet)! Didn’t kUraththAzhwAn (a primary disciple of bhagavath SrI rAmAnuja) also mercifully say in athimAnusha sthavam “AdhirAjyamadhikam bhuvanAnAm Isa! thE piSunayan kila mauli:” (Oh Lord! That you are the controller of all the worlds is indicated by your divine crown)!

en thollai mAl thannai – we can construe this as one who has showered his affection on me from time immemorial. mAl – an affectionate person.

vazhA – unchanged.

vaN kai kUppi – joining the magnanimous hands together. AzhwAr quotes the adjective (vaN) based on emperumAn’s recitation in SrI bhagavath gIthA 7.18udhArAs sarva EvaithE” (those who worship me are magnanimous persons). It can also be taken as AzhwAr celebrating since those who bow down to emperumAn in samsAram (materialistic realm) are indeed rare.

thollai mAL thannai madhiththu vaNangumingaL – worship the supreme being with the heart which thinks of him. Since periyavAchchAN piLLai has said in his vyAkyAnam for this pAsuram “thinking, without a break, of the divine names of supreme being ” it could be construed that the words in the text could also be thollai mAl nAmam.

magudam thAzhththi vaNangumingaL – since you are thinking in vain that you are someone great, get rid of that vanity and worship emperumAn with bowed head.

vAzhththuga vAy…..vaNangumingaLAzhwAr is recalling the verse of rishis who said “vichithrA dhEhasampaththirISvarAya nivEdhithum I pUrvamEva kruthA brahmaN hasthapAdhAdhi samyuthA II” (Oh brahmaNa! This body with its strange hands and legs has been created at the beginning only for offering to the supreme being) and the divine hymn of mudhal AzhwAr (poygai AzhwAr) who mercifully said in mudhal thiruvandhAdhi 11vAy avanai alladhu vAzhthAdhu kaiyulagam thAyavanai alladhu thAm thozhA…” (the mouth will not praise anyone except emperumAn and the hands will not worship anyone other than emperumAn who is like a mother to the worlds..).

We will go on to the 12th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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