Monthly Archives: July 2018

nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 18 – mARAya dhAnavanai

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madhurakavi AzhwAr, ANdAL, emperumAnAr

avathArikai

After AzhwAr said “AlmEl vaLarndhAnaith thAn vaNangumARu …..uraiththAn” (as mentioned in the previous pAsuram), some people asked him “would you say that attaining emperumAn is the most superior means?”. AzhwAr responds in this pAsuram saying “attaining his followers is superior to attaining emperumAn”.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

mARAya dhAnavanai vaLLugirAl mArviraNdu
kURAkak kIRiya kOLariyai vERAga
EththiyiruppArai vellumE maRRavaraich
chAththiyiruppar thavam

Word for Word Meanings

mARu Aya – standing as an opponent
dhAnavanai – the demon hiraNya kashyap’s
mArvu – chest
vaL ugirAl – with sharp finger nails
iraNdu kURagak kIRiya – splitting it into two
kOL ariyai – narasimha mUrthy, who is very strong
vERu Aga – as a dinstinguished entity
Eththi iruppArai – those who worship him
maRRu avarai sAththi iruppAr thavam vellumE – the good deed of the ultimate devotees who attain such devotees of emperumAn [as mentioned in the previous word] will defeat.

vyAkyAnam

mARAya dhAnavanai – the demon hiraNyAsuran who opposed emperumAn ; one who thought of himself as being the supreme being and who opposed emperumAn himself.

mARAya dhAnavanai – one who remained until the end as an opponent to emperumAn. Doesn’t emperumAn annihilate only those who remain as an opponent even after he says as in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 59-114 “gachchAnujAnAmi” (you may go; I allow you) [this was said by SrI rAma to rAvaNa after destroying his chariot and weapons, allowing him to ponder in his quarters].

mARAya dhAnavanai – hiraNya kashyap who remained as an opponent with all his three faculties of mind, speech and deed. emperumAn does not kill if his opponent opposes him with only two out of the three faculties. He kills only those who oppose him with their minds. Hasn’t nammAzhwAr mentioned in his thiruvAimozhi 2-6-6unnaich chindhaiyinAl igazhndha iraNiyan agalmArvam kINda en munnaik kOLariyE ” (Oh the powerful lion! You tore the heart of hiraNya who despised you with his thoughts)! For emperumAn to accept someone, it is enough if that person displays a mere intention. But he does not give up a person unless that person hates him completely, with his heart.

mARAya dhAnavanai – the demon who slid down towards his lifeline itself. Just as emperumAn himself had said as in SrI bhagavath gIthA 7.18gyAnI thvAthmaiva mE matham” (my philosophy is that the knowledgeable person is like my soul) and in mahAbhAratham uththara parvam 24-23 “mama pRANA hi pANdavA: ” (the pANdavas are like my life), did not hiraNya kashyap carry out offence towards prahlAdha, who emperumAn considered as his life?

mARAya dhAnavanai – emperumAn does not consider someone who opposes him as his foe. But if someone opposes his followers, he considers such a person as his foe. Just as it is said in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 24-34 “krOdhamAhArayath thIvram” (SrI rAma made himself very angry), SrI rAma took on an angry makeup when arrows [from rAvaNa’s bow] fell on him. When the arrows fell on thiruvadi (hanuman), as said in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 59-136 “atha rAmO mahAthEjA rAvaNEna kruthavraNam I dhrushtva plavagaSArthdhUlam kOpasya vaSamEyivAn  II” (the radiant SrI rAma, on seeing the injuries suffered by the great monkey hanuman due to rAvaNa, became anger personified), did not emperumAn become anger personified?

vaLLugirAl kIRiya – emperumAn effortlessly carried out the task with his fingernails.

mArviraNdu kURAgak kIRiya kOLariyai – Is it required to split hiraNya kashyap’s chest into two in order to kill him? Wouldn’t an angry snort (hUnkAra) have been sufficient for this? It is said that emperumAn wanted to see if there was some wetness (indicative of affection) in hiraNya’s heart and this is why he used his fingernails to check for this. Didn’t periyAzhwAr too mercifully mention in his periyAzhwAr thirumozhi 1-6-9 “uLandhottu iraNiyan oNmArvagalam piLandhitta kai” (emperumAn touched the heart of hiraNya with his hand and tore it)!

vaLLugirAl kIRiya – emperumAn carried out the task by fulfilling brahmA’s boon that hiraNya will not be killed by weapon.

kIRiya – emperumAn tore the heart effortlessly, similar to tearing a dry blade of grass.

kOLariyai – the mightily strong narasimha.

vERAga EththiyiruppArai – those who worshipped in a distinguished manner. The distinction comes out because the one who is protected [emperumAn’s follower] meditates on the divine activities of emperumAn in earlier times, worries about what will happen, accepts the protection and praises emperumAn. These are people who are similar to the ones mentioned by periyAzhwAr in his thiruppallANdu 6andhiyam pOdhil ari uruvAgi ariyai azhiththavanai pandhanai thIrap pallANdu pallAndu enRu pAdudhumE ” (we will praise emperumAn who killed he demon hiraNya, the enemy of emperumAn’s follower prahlAdha, during the time of dusk, in the form of narasimha (lion head and human body) so that his pain will be relieved).

maRRavaraich chAththiyiruppAr – those who hold on to such SrIvaishNavas who sing pallANdu to emperumAn (those who praise emperumAn, as seen in the previous verse), keeping them as the means as well as the object of attainment.

maRRu – just as it is mentioned by madhurakavi AzhwAr in his kaNNinuN chiRuththAmbu 2dhEvu maRRaRiyEn” (I do not know of any other God…), these people will not have emperumAn as the means. Since he is worshipped by those whom they have held on to, they will look at emperumAn. These are people who are mentioned as in ANdAL’s nAchchiyAr thirumozhi 10.10 “villi pudhuvai vittu siththar thangaL dhEvarai vallaparisu varuvipparEl adhu kANdumE” (if vittuchiththan (periyAzhwAr) calls out to emperumAn, then we will see and worship emperumAn) [this implies that on our won, we will not worship emperumAn, but will worship him if the person that we have attained, shows him to us and asks us to worship him].

EththiyiruppArai vellumE maRRavaraich chAththiyiruppAr thavam – the virtues earned by those who hold on to the followers of emperumAn will win over the virtues earned by the followers of emperumAn. If one holds on to the hands of another person and asks for help, that may be rejected; but if he holds on to the legs of the person and asks for help, can it be denied? In the same way, those who hold on to emperumAn may have doubts on the end result. But in the case of those who hold on to the followers of emperumAn, the result is guaranteed. The superior meaning of this pAsuram is that engaging with SrIvaishNavas (followers of emperumAn) is better than engaging directly with emperumAn. Here, the word thavam refers to that which is liked by emperumAn.

We will take up the 19th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruvAimozhi – 6.10.11 – adikkIzh amarndhu

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Full series >> Sixth Centum >> Tenth 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 “All those who learn this decad will reach paramapadham, be crowned for servitude and will get to engage in service”.

Highlights from vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyar‘s introduction

See nanjIyar‘s introduction.

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

adik kIzh amarndhu pugundhu adiyIr! vAzhmin enRenRaruL kodukkum
padikkEzh illAp perumAnaip pazhanak kurugUrch chatakOpan
mudippAn sonna Ayiraththuth thiruvEngadaththukkivai paththum
pidiththAr pidiththAr vIRRirundhu periya vAnuL nilAvuvarE

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

adiyIr – Oh servitors!
adik kIzh – under my divine feet
amarndhu – being ananya sAdhanar (not pursuing any means other than emperumAn) and ananya prayOjanar (not desiring for anything other than kainkaryam)
pugundhu – enter
vAzhmin – eternally enjoy!
enRu enRu – saying so

(both in the means and goal)
aruL – his mercy
kodukkum – bestowing
padi – the manner in which
kEzh – match
illA – not having
perumAnai – towards emperumAn who is greater than all
pazhanam – having invigorating water bodies
kurugUr – leader of AzhwArthirunagari
satakOpan – nammAzhwAr
mudippAn – to fulfil all his desires
sonna – mercifully spoke
Ayiraththu – among the thousand pAsurams
thiruvEngadaththukku – focussed on thirumalA
ivai – these
paththum – ten pAsurams
pidiththAr – those who hold on to the pAsurams
pidiththAr – those who hold on to the meanings of the pAsurams (all of them)
periya – having infinite greatness
vAnuL – paramapadham which is indicated by the term “parmavyOma” (great sky)
vIRRirundhu – being present in a distinguished manner (to highlight their connection with this decad)
nilAvuvar – live there with eternal enjoyment.

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

emperumAn who is greater than all is bestowing his mercy in a matchless manner saying “Oh servitors! Enter under my divine feet and eternally enjoy being ananya sAdhanar and ananya prayOjanar”; nammAzhwAr, the leader of AzhwArthirunagari which is having invigorating water bodies, mercifully spoke about such emperumAn to fulfil all his desires in these ten pAsurams among the thousand pAsurams; those who hold on to these pAsurams and their meanings, will be present in the infinitely great paramapadham which is indicated by the term “parmavyOma”, in a distinguished manner and live there with eternal enjoyment.

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

  • adik kIzh … –  Saying “Isn’t this what you desire for? Hold on to this, be fully immersed and remain as one who accomplished everything that needs to be done”.
  • aruL kodukkum padik kEzh illAp perumAnai – sarvESvara who has no match in bestowing his mercy towards his devotees. Even krishNa who said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 18.66mA Sucha:” (do not worry) is not a match for thiruvEngadamudaiyAn’s mercy.
  • pazhanak kurugUrch chatakOpannammAzhwAr, the leader of AzhwArthirunagari which has fine water bodies.
  • mudippAn … – This decad for thirumalA among the thousand pAsurams which were mercifully spoken with great enthusiasm in his divine heart to eliminate the hurdles of this samsAram (material) which were explained in thiruvAimozhi 6.9.9pala nItti kattip paduppAyO” (are you planning to finish me by revealing varieties of pleasures?). As said in “rathnahArIcha pArthiva:” (one who owns the most precious gemstone is the king).
  • pidiththAr pidiththAr – Those who hold on to the ones who hold on to emperumAn; those who surrendered to the devotees of emperumAn.
  • vIRRirundhu – Attaining the throne is not the same for both (jIvAthmA and paramAthmA) as said in chAndhOgya upanishath 7.25 “sasvarAt bhavathi” (mukthAthmA becomes independent). The liberated soul acquires bliss by being the servitor of emperumAn who has everyone other than himself as his servitors. The AthmA who becomes blissful by the mercy of emperumAn as said in thaiththirIya upanishath Anandhavalli 7 “EshahyEvAnandhayAthi” (he – emperumAn – himself makes jIvAthmA ecstatic).
  • periya vAnuL nilAvuvarE – They will get to reside in paramapadham which is known as “mahAgam” (great) and “paramAkASam” (supreme sky). This is not the heavenly sky which is inhabited by indhra et al [part of the materialistic realm]. They will enter the abode where one need not perform surrender to attain the goal and one simply will enjoy there eternally. His surrender is sufficient for all of us; we need not surrender separately; just by reciting this pAsuram, one can attain the goal. Just as a cow will provide milk on seeing a made-up calf in place of the real calf, ISvara will be delighted seeing those who learn this decad, thinking about AzhwAr. SrI vIbhIshaNAzhwAn’s surrender was sufficient for the four soldiers who accompanied him [when he went to SrI rAma to surrender]. All that is needed is to make emperumAn believe that we belong to such AzhwAr [AzhwArs, AchAryas].

In the next article we will enjoy the next centum.

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

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 17 – Ala nizhaRkIzh

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avathArikai

When some people asked AzhwAr “did not rudhra protect those who attained him?”, AzhwAr mercifully responded saying ”isn’t it by speaking about the auspicious qualities of emperumAn and telling them that he worships emperumAn, that rudhra, who is distinguished in his knowledge protects those who attain him?”.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

Ala nizhaRkIzh aRaneRiyai nAlvarkku
mElai yugaththuraiththAn meyththavaththOn gyAlam
aLandhAnai AzhikkidandhAnai AlmEl
vaLarndhAnaith thAn vaNangumARu

Word for Word Meanings

mey thavaththOn – rudhra, who has true knowledge about the methods of penance
gyAlam aLandhAnai – one who measured the worlds
Azhi kidandhAnai – one who reclined in the milky ocean (kshIrAbdhi)
Al mEl vaLarndhAnai – emperumAn who lay on the tender banyan leaf
thAn vaNangum ARu – the path by which he worships
aRam neRiyai – the righteous path
mElai yugaththu – in earlier yuga (period of time)
Ala nizhal kIzh – in the shadow of a banyan tree
nAlvarkku – to four great sages
uraiththAn – discoursed (instructed)

vyAkyAnam

AlanizhaR kIzh aRaneRiyai nAlvarkku mElai yugaththuraiththAn – rudhra gave a discourse on the path of devotion (as a means of attaining emperumAn) to four great sages, agasthya, dhaksha, pulasthiya and kaSyapa, in the shadow of a banyan tree, in a previous yuga (a period of time) and thus protected them.

meyththavaththOn – rudhra, who had observed rare to practice penances, to the extent that one would say “this is the true penance; there is no penance beyond this”

If one were to ask as to by saying what, did rudhra protect the four great sages…

AzhikkidandhAnai – one who reclined in the thiruppARkadal (milky ocean) in order to take many incarnations [to protect his devotees]

gyAlam aLandhAnai – later taking the incarnation of thrivikrama and stroking all the people of the world with his divine feet, without distinguishing between a vaSishta (a great sage) and a chaNdALa (a person belonging to a very lowly birth)

Al mEl vaLarndhAnai – the amazing entity who lay on a tender banyan leaf, after swallowing and protecting all the chEthana (sentient) and achEthana (insentient) entities during the time of deluge.

thAn vaNangumARu – rudhra instructed the four great rishis, the way he was worshipping emperumAn, and thus protected them.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruvAimozhi – 6.10.10 – agalagillEn – Part 5

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Full series >> Sixth Centum >> Tenth decad

<< Part 4

pAsuram

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.

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

[We will continue to see the third explanation for this pAsuram here.]

  • pugal onRu illA adiyEn – The nature of the person who surrenders, i.e. the one identified in prapadhyE [implicitly],  is explained here. ananya gathithvam (lack of any other refuge) and ananyArha SEshathvam (exclusive servitude) which highlight the true nature are explained here. Should both “pugal onRu illA” (lack of any other refuge) and “adiyEn” (servitude) be individually highlighted? AzhwAr is doing so due to the striking reality in the material realm and due to the greatness in acquiring knowledge/devotion through bhagavAn‘s mercy.
  • un adik kIzh – The divine form which is highlighted by “charaNau” is explained here. The divine form is the auspicious abode, which instills the inclination towards him after eliminating the inclination towards worldly pleasures, which nurtures that inclination, which eliminates the hurdles for the attainment of the goal, which accepts the eternal service after reaching paramapadham, and which is the target of sadhA paSyanthi (constant vision of the residents of paramapadham). It is amazing that AzhwAr started saying to his own divine heart in thiruvAimozhi 1.1.1thuyaraRu sudaradi thozhudhezhu en mananE” and while pursuing  emperumAn, he held on to emperumAn’s divine feet as seen in thiruvAimozhi 6.10.1una pAdham kUdumARu kURAy” (tell me the means to reach your divine feet), thiruvAimozhi 6.10.2un adi sEr vaNNam aruLAy” (Bless me to reach your divine feet), thiruvAimozhi 6.10.3un adi sEra adiyERku AvA ennAyE” (Take pity upon me to reach your divine feet), thiruvAimozhi 6.10.4pUvAr kazhalgaL porundhumARu puNarAyE” (ensure that I reach your divine feet which are covered with flowers), thiruvAimozhi 6.10.5una pAdham adiyEn sErvadhu ennAL” (when will I reach your divine feet), thiruvAimozhi 6.10.6maN aLandha iNaith thAmaraigaL kANbadhaRku” (to see the divine feet which measured the world), thiruvAimozhi 6.10.6 “ennAL un adikkaN adiyEn mEvuvadhE” (when will I fully fit in your divine feet), thiruvAimozhi 6.10.7nodiyAr pozhudhum una pAdham kANa nOlAdhERRenE” (Though I have not put in any effort to see your divine feet, I cannot bear without seeing them even for a moment), thiruvAimozhi 6.10.8nOlAdhARREn una pAdham kANa” (Though I have not put in any effort to see you divine feet, I cannot bear without seeing them), thiruvAimozhi 6.10.9adiyEn una pAdham agalagillEn iRaiyum” (I cannot leave your divine feet even for a moment) and finally in thiruvAimozhi 6.10.10 “un adik kIzh amarndhu pugundhEn” (I surrendered unto your divine feet).
  • amarndhu – Does “being seated” indicate the aversion towards other goals as manifested towards other means? Since that is not relevant in this context, that is not what is said here. The meaning is – Just as “sarvadharmAn parithyajya” (give up all means) and “SaraNam vraja” (accept [me] as the means) were used, “Eka” was also spoken [indicating emperumAn only as the means, eliminating any doubt in the actual surrender being the means], this indicates how thiruvEngadamudaiyAn’s divine feet and AzhwAr‘s head were closely fitting with each other as in the case of a fastened hook and the eye (where the hook is connected) of an ornament.
  • pugundhEnE – AzhwAr who knows that emperumAn remains inseparable from him as antharyAmi (in-dwelling super soul) and having AzhwAr as his body, is saying “pugundhEn” , not considering a physical travel and entry; it is highlighting the knowledge with full faith of his being the cause for the whole universe, his being the antharyAmi of all and his being the protector of all. gathyarthA budhyarthA: – words indicating travel actually means focussing the mind.
  • pugundhEnE – The present tense in “prapadhyE” is not important; as said in “adaindhEn” (reached), [the past tense in] “pugundhEn” (entered) is the key [while SaraNAgathi must be done only once, the present tense in dhvayam is to emphasise that one repeats dhvayam due to its enjoyability].

[To highlight the greatness of pirAtti, nampiLLai quotes SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 116.44 and elaborates it beautifully]

  • pApAnAm vA –  This is pirAtti‘s abhaya pradhAnam [Just as SrI rama offers protection to those who surrender unto him, sIthAp pirAtti also does the same]. thiruvadi (hanuman) informed the joyful news to pirAtti saying “rAvaNa was killed and perumAL became victorious”. pirAtti being overjoyed, remained speechless with hiccups and sobbing. hanuman asked her “why is your highness not replying me who informed the most joyful news?” as in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 116.15 “kimnu chinthayasE dhEvi kim thvam mAm nAbibhAshasE“. pirAtti said “as I cannot pay you back in a fitting manner [for the favour you have done], I remain speechless”. hanuman, thinking “let me request my desire to be fulfilled” said “these rAkshasis (demoniac ladies) are so cruel to have tortured you previously; they should have been killed before rAvaNa; even he is not as bad as they; now they remain humble as a snake which has its hoods contracted. I want to torture them fully. I want to do as said in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 116.33 ‘mushti:pANibiSchaiva’, punching them with my fists, kicking them with my feet, tearing them with my nails, biting them with my teeth and as said in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 94.22 ‘chinnam binnam Sarair dhagdham’ (cut, blown away, burnt and destroyed by the arrows of SrI rAma)). I am desiring to punish them as those who commit offences towards bhagavAn and bhagavathas are punished; when I was here previously, since the opportunity was no there, I let them go. If you let me do these, you would have shown me complete gratitude; so kindly give your divine order to do this”. Hearing this she mercifully said “pApAnAm vA“.
  • pApAnAm vA SubhAnAm vA – sIthAp pirAtti said “Let them be sinners in your view or noble persons in my view, that [being sinner] itself will be desirable; as said in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 18.3 ‘dhOshO yadhyapi thasya syAth’ (Even if faults are there in him, let them be). Only the one who is dirty deserves to bathe; only when they are sinners, my acceptance is needed for them. If they are already virtuous, would they need your tail [they would already have the option to hold on to the tail of the cow which will help the virtuous soul to cross over the river of urine, stool, dirt etc after death]; their pious deeds will help them; only for those who are helpless, our help is required”.
  • vadhArhANAm – hanuman asked “Is your highness suggesting to discard the dharma SAsthram (the portion of SAsthram which highlights our conduct) which suggests that the offenders should be punished and others should be let off?”, and pirAtti responded “Are you suggesting the viSEsha SAsthram (special case) which suggests that those who are surrendered must be protected?”. She further asked “Are the words spoken by SrI rAma’s on the seashore saying in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 8.3 ‘nathyajEyam‘ (I will not abandon even if he has faults) to SrI vibhIshaNAzhwAn who surrendered, like the noise of the sea [i.e incohesive and insignificant]”.
  • plavangama – Since hanuman was still not convinced, she says “hari! hari!” (hari means monkey). She is saying plavangama to indicate hanuman having the nature of monkey’s mind which keeps changing desires. You are not born in the ikshvAku dynasty which consults with vaSishta et al; you are not born in janaka dynasty which has many yOgis; aren’t you born in the clan of monkeys which jump from branch to branch! She is saying that the greatness of SaraNAgathi is not known for such persons. [Is calling hanuman as plavangama an insult?] The same pirAtti who previously called him “vAnarOththama!” (best among monkeys) is now calling him “hari! hari!” and plavangama. Even SrI rAma who is among the great kings and is supremely independent, dare not manifest such anger in front of us; yet, can you being born in monkey clan, be so angry?
  • kAryam karuNam AryENa – Leave aside their puNya (virtues) and pApa (sins); see their helpless state now. See how frightened they are thinking “what are we going to suffer in hanuman’s hands?”. They have no other saviour. We should now show compassion!
  • AryENa – Why am I placed in this difficult situation to teach you all these! [i.e. You know these already]
  • AryENa – Is it false that you are aindhra vyAkaraNa paNditha [most scholarly person]? While you have studied and heard all of these, it is your involvement in SrI rAma’s entourage which made you speak you like this. She implies that, after her departure from there, they have become devoid of compassion.
  • na kaSchin nAparAdhyathi – Who does not have faults in this material realm! Can anyone wait for the waves to stop, before bathing in the sea? Is SrI the matchless [and prideful] perumAL (SrI rAma) faultless? Am I faultless? Are you faultless?
    • What is the fault of perumAL? He decided to go to the forest; iLaiyaperumAL (lakshmaNa) followed him like those who engage in madal; I too followed him to be in seclusion with him with great eagerness; [but] he remained separated from me for ten months; even if he did not come, he could have sent his arrow towards lankA [to destroy it]; the fault lies in him to be able to remain separated for such a long period.
    • My fault lies in speaking like this to you, instead of remaining totally at his disposal.
    • Your fault – When you try to punish those servants who simply obeyed the orders of their master, you should be punished first for following divine orders of perumAL, before punishing these rAkshasis who obeyed the orders of rAvaNa; so, you too are at fault! I thought that when perumAL remains steadfast to punish someone, I am there to pacify him; when I am forced to follow him, you [in the position of an AchArya] are there to pacify [both of us]. But even if you act like this, who will save those who committed mistakes?

We will see the next pAsuram in the next article.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 16 – nilai mannum

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avathArikai

In the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr spoke about those, who, when someone attains them, instead of protecting them, point them out to another entity (emperumAn) who will protect them [the incidence of mArkaNdEya with rudhra]. In this pAsuram, AzhwAr speaks about the one who would protect his followers, even if he has to change his basic nature.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

nilai mannum en nenjam annAnRu dhEvar
thalai mannar thAmE mARRAga pala mannar
pOrmALa vengadhirOn mAyappozhil maRaiya
thErAzhiyAl maRaiththArAl

Word for Word Meanings

annAnRu – during the period when the mahAbhAratha war was being fought
dhEvar thalaimannar thAmE – (emperumAn) himself, who is the head of all celestial entities
mARRu Aga – positioning as an enemy
pala mannar – many kings
pOr – in the battlefield
mALa – to be killed
vem kadhirOn – sUriya (sun)
mAya – to get set (at an unnatural time)
pozhil maRaiya – the entire earth to be engulfed in darkness
thEr AzhiyAl – with the divine disc
maRaiththArAl – by emperumAn who hid (sUrya)
en nenjam – my mind (which is fickle)
nilai mannum – will hold on in a steadfast manner

vyAkyAnam

nilai mannum en nenjam – just as arjuna told krishNa in SrI bhagavath gIthA 6-34chanchalam hi mana: krishNa pramAdhi bhavath dhrudam I thasyAham nigraham manyE vAyOriva sudhushkaram II ” (Oh krishNa! The  mind (in good matters) is unstable, makes me to grieve, and is very strong; it is (in lowly matters) very stable. I feel that it is very difficult to control it, similar to controlling wind) and as mentioned by thirumangai AzhwAr in periya thirumozhi 1.1.4 “ninRavA nillA nenjam” (the mind keeps shifting), my mind, which is very unstable, became stable, says the AzhwAr.

thErAzhiyAl maRaiththArAl … nilai mannum en nenjam – just as jithanthE SlOkam 5 says “na thE rUpam na chAkArO nAyuthAni na chAspatham I thathApi purushAkArO bhakthAnAm thvam prakASasE II ” (your divine basic nature, divine form, divine weapons and divine place (SrIvaikuNtam) are not meant for you; they are meant for your devotees. Thus, even though you are completely under the control of your followers, you shine radiantly as the supreme being) and as mentioned by kUraththAzhwAn in varadharAja sthavam “parijana paribarhA bhUshaNAnyAyudhAni pravara guNagaNAScha gyAnaSakthyA dhayasthE I paramapadhamadhANdAnyAthmadhEhas thadhathmA varadha! sakalamEthath samSrithArtham chakartha: II” (Oh varadha! You created your servitors (such as vishvaksEnar, AdhiSEshan et al), your attendants (such as the divine umbrella etc), ornaments, weapons, auspicious qualities such as knowledge, power etc, SrIvaikuNtam, the egg-shaped universe, your divine form and your divine nature etc only for your followers), once my heart knew that emperumAn has created his divine nature, divine form, auspicious qualities and wealth for the sake of his followers, it became very steady, just like a floating cotton flower gets stabilised once a weight is kept over it.

nilai mannum en nenjam – the status which comes on reaching paramapadham (SrIvaikuNtam) was acquired while being in this world itself, says AzhwAr.

AzhwAr explains the reason for this, in the lines to follow.

annAnRu – during the time of mahAbhAratha war. AzhwAr celebrates that period saying that emperumAn came as a sulabhan (an easy-to-approach person) who could be seen by even simple-minded women and ignorant people.

dhEvar thalai mannar thAmE – wasn’t it the Lord of nithyasUris who did this! AzhwAr melts down thinking of the supreme being , who is praised by vEdhas and mahAbhAratham and who came down as a very simple person, and wonders at this simplicity.

thAmE mARRAgaemperumAn did not consider dhuryOdhana et al as the enemies of pANdavas. He considered them as his enemies. In mahAbhAratham uththara parvam 24-27, krishNa tells dhuryOdhana “dhvishadhannam na bhOkthavyam dhvishantham naiva bhOjayEth I pANdavAn dhvishasE rAjan mama prANA hi pANdavA: II” (it is not apt to consume the food offered by one who hates; it is not correct to offer food to one who hates. Oh King! You hate the pANdavas. Aren’t pANdavas my life-line!)

thAmE mARRAga – isn’t the one who hates the body, an enemy to the one who occupies (pervades) that body too? [here the reference is to pANdavas and to krishNa who has pervaded their bodies and soul]. Hasn’t emperumAn mentioned mercifully in SrI bhagavath gIthA 7.18gyAni thvAthmaiva mEmatham ” (gyAni (knowledgeable person) is my sustenance; this is my opinion) implying that they are his followers.

pala mannar pOr mALa – ensuring that the egoistical kings died in the war.

vengadhirOn mAya – even sUrya, who cannot be hidden by any object due to his powerful rays, was hidden.

venga dhirOn mAya – sUrya, who carries out the task of rising and setting as per emperumAn’s orders, as mentioned by thaiththirIya upanishath Anandhavalli 7 “bhIshOdhEthi sUrya:” (sUrya rises out of fear of emperumAn), disappeared at an unnatural time.

pozhil maRaiya – ensuring that the entire earth was in darkness. In normal times, when sun sets in one place, he may be still shining in some other place on earth. In order to prevent jayadhradha’s (a King and staunch supporter of dhuryOdhana) friends from claiming that sun had not set in the place where they were hiding, emperumAn made the entire earth dark by making the sun set.

thErAzhiyAl maRaiththArAlAzhwAr says that his heart will get stabilised by the one who hid sUrya with his divine disc which has thousand times the resplendence of sUrya. thErAzhi – a part of chariot; here it refers to the wheel [and thus to emperumAn’s divine disc]. pUrvAchAryars (preceptors in our philosophy) will aver that the divine disc, being thousand times brighter than sUrya, blunted the eyes and hid sUrya.

The narrative here is that arjuna had avowed that he would kill jayadhratha, who had killed arjuna’s son abhimanyu, before the sun set that day and if he did not carry out his vow, he would kill himself by entering a pyre. dhuryOdhana et al hid jayadhratha so that arjuna would not be able to kill him and thus face death himself, as he had avowed. It is very famously mentioned in mahAbhAratham that krishNa, who had given his word that he will not take to arms (take part in the war with his weapons) had taken out his divine disc, thus falsifying his word, and hidden sUrya to enable arjuna to kill jayadhratha.

dhEvar thalai mannar thAmE thErAzhiyAl maRaiththArAl – nilai mannum en nenjamAzhwAr says that his mind calmed down after knowing that emperumAn, who is described by vEdhas (sacred texts) as sathyakAma (one who has truthful qualities) and sathyasankalpa (one whose vows are always fulfilled), broke his world in order to fulfil the words of his follower [arjuna]. After knowing that emperumAn, who speaks only truth, broke his word in order to protect his follower, AzhwAr’s mind which was lamenting that it did not have means such as truthfulness, penance, control of self (both internal and external), ability to donate, follow dharma (righteous path) diligently etc which are mentioned in the vEdhas as apt for reaching paramapadham, calmed down and became stable.

We will go on to the 17th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 15 – pala dhEvar Eththa

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In the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr said that many people (in samsAram, the materialistic realm) get into the muddle of samsAram repeatedly. Instead of suffering like that, AzhwAr asks people to know that emperumAn is the apt entity to be attained. Many deities, who are attained by samsAris, carry out kainkaryam (service) to him and there are some people who carry out such kainkaryam directly to emperumAn. AzhwAr tells samsAris to be like these people and carry out kainkaryam directly to emperumAn.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

pala dhEvar Eththap padi kadandhAn pAdham
malarERa vittiRainji vAzhththa valar Agil
mArkkaNdan kaNda vagaiyE varum kaNdIr
nIrkkaNdan kaNda nilai

Word for Word Meanings

pala dhEvar – many dhEvathAs (deities who are attained by samsAris)
Eththa – to be praised
padi – earth
kadandhAn – emperumAn who measured, his
pAdham – divine feet
malar – flowers
Era vittu – offering
iRainji – worshipping
vAzhththa valar Agil – if you are able to praise him
nIrkkaNdan kaNda nilai – the position of rudhra who has poisoned neck
mArkkaNdan kaNda vagaiyE – the way (sage) mArkkaNdEya saw directly
varum kaNdIr – you would see that this happens

vyAkyAnam

pala dhEvar Eththap padi kadandhAnemperumAn measured the worlds in such a way that all the celestial entities praised him. Hasn’t it been celebrated in the mAngaLyasthavam of SrI vishNu dharmam “Sanghais surANAm dhivi bhUthalasthais thathA manushyair kaganE cha kEcharai: I sthutha: kramAn ya: prachkAra sarvadhA mamAsthu mAngaLya vivruthdhayE hari:  II ” (let that hari (emperumAn) who was praised when he kept his divine feet (during thrivikrama incarnation) by the celestial entities in heaven, by the people on earth and by those who keep wandering in the skies, enlarge my auspiciousness)!

pala dhEvar Eththa – when pithAmaha (grandfather) brahmA himself praised emperumAn with apt hymns from vEdhas and washed the divine feet of emperumAn when he took the incarnation of thrivikrama, is it required to tell about other celestial entities!

pala dhEvar Eththap padi kadandhAn – even those who considered themselves as ISvarOham (they were the Lords), praised emperumAn after coming under his divine feet.

pAdham malar ERa vittiRainji vAzhththa valarAgil – if you are capable of praising him after offering thuLasi, water lily, lotus, bael (a type of citrus flower) etc on his divine lotus feet.

padi kadandhAN pAdham ….. vAzhththa valarAgilAzhwAr says “you are doing this even now, but not at the divine feet of emperumAn”.  You are doing this at the feet of those celestial entities who praised emperumAn earlier (during his thrivikrama incarnation). Instead of praising SarIri (one who dwells inside the soul), you are praising other SarIrabhUthas (those who are a part of his divine body).

pala dhEvar Eththap padikadandhAn pAdham vAzhththa valarAgil – why don’t you people carry out the service at the divine feet of emperumAn instead of at the feet of those entities who are serving emperumAn?

valar AgilAzhwAr feels that people of this type are rare. While in the previous pAsuram he said AzhwAr palar (those who repeatedly get entrenched in samsAram are many), here he says that those who carry out service directly to emperumAn are very few.

mArkkaNdan….. – the words should be rephrased as nIrkkaNdan kaNda nilai mArkkaNdan kaNda vagaiyE varum kaNdIryou can also see the way that mArkkaNdEya (sage) saw in rudhra’s position. When mArkkaNdEya asked rudhra for lengthy longevity and mOksham thereafter, rudhra showed him that it is only janArdhana (emperumAn) who is capable of granting mOksha.  AzhwAr says that we can also see the same situation that mArkkandEya saw in rudhra.

This narrative (the discourse between rudhra and mArkkaNdEya) is explained in the 12th skandha (volume) of Srimadh bhAgavatham (treatise on the incarnations of emperumAn) as well as in the AraNya parvam of mahAbhAratham. It has been widely quoted by many AzhwArs, in praise of emperumAn.

We will take up the 16th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 14 – nArAyaNan ennai ALi

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AzhwAr was asked “You say that nArAyaNa is both the means and object of attainment. But many in the world do not believe this. What is the reason for this?”. AzhwAr responds “This is the handiwork of people who belong to contrary philosophies who are unfit even to talk about him”.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

nArAyanan ennai ALi naragaththuch
chErAmal kAkkum thirumAL than pErAnA
pEsappeRAdha piNachchamayar pEsakkEttu
AsaippattAzhwAr palar

Word for Word Meanings

nArAyaNan – one who has the divine name of nArAyaNa
ennai ALi – one who has made me as his servitor
naragaththu sErAmal kAKkum – one who protects (his followers) from coming to samsAram (materialistic realm)
thirumAL than – thirumAl’s
pEr Ana – divine names
pEsa peRAdha – those who are unfortunate in not reciting (such divine names)
piNam – walking like a corpse
samayar – those who do not believe in vEdhas or who misinterpret vEdhas
pEsa – babbling
kEttu – hearing such words
palar – many people
Asaippattu – desiring to be such disbelievers or misinterpreters of vEdhas
AzhwAr – they will also fall into that rut.

vyAkyAnam

nArayaNan ennai ALiAzhwAr says that he is not bothered about the others. SrIman nArayaNa has made him his servitor.

nArayaNan ennai ALiemperumAn, who is the lord of all the worlds, has such deep affection for AzhwAr that he kept AzhwAr on one side of a weighing balance and all the others on the other side. When such is the case, why should AzhwAr bother about the others!

nArAyaNan ennai ALiemperumAnAr (bhagavath rAmAnujar) in line with this verse, wrote in his SaraNAgathi gadhyamakila jagath swAmin asmath swAmin” (emperumAn is the lord of all the worlds; he is also my lord)

When asked as to how emperumAn protected him, AzhwAr says..

naragaththuch chErAmal kAkkum – by ensuring that I do not get involved with samsAram (materialistic realm) which is like cruel hell, emperumAn protected me. This samsAram is more cruel than the other hells such as rUru, etc. Those hells are very well known for their cruelty and hence one would be wary of them. In the case of samsAram, superficially it would appear that it is very good and hence people would think that they need not fear it and indulge in their desires. Thus this samsAram is very cruel. Both in the previous pAsuram and in this pAsuram, it has been mentioned that nArAyaNa is both the means and the object of attainment. There is a small difference between the two pAsurams. Means would mean both granting of what is desired and removal of hurdles. The previous pAsuram stressed on granting of what is desired in the verse vIdAkkum meypporuLdhAn nArAyaNan while in this pAsuram the stress is on the removal of hurdle nArAyaNan ennai ALi naragaththuch chErAmal kAkkum.

AzhwAr was asked as to why emperumAn is coming now to protect him from hell when he had allowed AzhwAr to be in this hell from time immemorial. AzhwAr says..

thirumAL – since he is the consort of purushakArabhUthai (one who is playing the recommendatory role) SrI mahAlakshmi, due to that relationship he has made AzhwAr as his servitor.

thirumAL – one who is infatuated with SrI mahAlakshmi. Even though he is nArAyaNa [supreme being] since he is also totally affectionate towards her, could he bear if she frowns? How can he look up her face if he disregards AzhwAr who is her servitor?

nArAyaNan than pErAna – the divine names of emperumAn which denote his supremacy and his infatuation with her.

pErAna – his thousand names as denoted by the verses “dhEvO nAmasahasravAn” (lord with a thousand names), “pErAyiram koNdadhOr pIdudaiyan nArAyaNan” (nArAyaNa who has a thousand names due to which he has greatness), “pErum OrAyiram piRa pala udaiya nArAyaNan” (nArAyaNa who has a thousand names and many other qualities).

pEsappeRAdha piNachchamayar – those belonging to other philosophies, who do not have the good fortune as a result of which they are like corpses.

piNachchamayar – this could be construed as those belonging to decaying philosophies (like a corpse)

nArAyaNan …..pErAna pEsappeRAdha piNachchamayar –  isn’t it apt to call those who do not know him who is the only life for all the worlds and those philosophies which they belong to, as being like corpse!

pEsakkEttu – hearing that whatever has been said in vEdhas is not correct and what has been said outside the vEdhas only is true.

Asaippattu – being drawn towards them [who speak against vEdhas], thinking that only these are true

AzhwAr palar – There are many who get drawn towards the samsAram, in this way.

We will move on to the 15th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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