nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 72 – illaRam illEl

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samsAris told AzhwAr “What purpose is served by despising others saying – mAyan anROdhiya vAkkadhanaik kallAdhAr ulagaththil EdhilarAm? Since you have learnt the teaching of emperumAn, why do you not say the meaning yourself?” AzhwAr gives the meaning of charama SlOkam in this pAsuram. Just as krishNa charama SlOkam is for mahAbhAratham, SrI rAma charama SlOkam for SrI rAmAyaNam, “mEmporuL” pAsuram (38) for thirumAlai dhivya prabandham, this pAsuram is the most important pAsuram for this thiruvandhAdhi.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

illaRam illEl thuRavaRam illennum
sollaRam allanavum sollalla nallaRam
Avanavum nAl vEdha mAththavaum nAraNanE
Avadhu anRu enbArAr

Word for Word Meanings

(for the souls who are roaming around, without knowing the means for attaining mOksham)

illaRam il ennum sollum – those authentic souces which say that karma yOgam (path of carrying out of deeds), which is the rule for gruhastham (way of life for married people) and which is accepted by SAsthras, is the means [for attaining mOksham]
sol alla – not authentic
illEl – even if it is not (means)
thuRavaRam il ennum sollum – the authentic sources which say that gyAna yOgam (path of knowledge) is the  means
sol alla – not authentic
illEl – even otherwise
allana aRam il ennum sollum – authentic souces which say that others (bhakthi yOgam (path of devotion), dhESavAsam (residing in a divine abode), thirunAma sangIrthanam (reciting divine names of emperumAn) etc) are the means
sol alla – not authentic
nal aRam Avanavum – gyAnam, bhakthi etc which are righteous paths
nAl vEdha mA thavamum – karmayOgam which has been spoken of in the four vEdhas
nAraNanE Avadhu – give results due to the grace of SrIman nArAyaNa
Idhu – this truth
anRu enbAr Ar – who is there who will say that this is not correct?


illaRam illennum sollum sollalla – those sayings which state that karmayOgam (path of carrying out deeds mentioned in SAsthras) is the means [to attain emperumAn] are not authentic. Will illaRam (life of householder) refer to karmayOgam?  AzhwAr equates this way because only gruhasthan (one who is in a familial life) has control over dhAnam (donating alms), thapam (carrying out rituals) etc which are part of karma yOgam.

illennum – Just as it is mentioned in the vAkyam “upAyE gruha rakshithrO: Sabdha: SaraNam ithyayam varththathE” (the word SaraNam is used in the context of upAyam (means), gruha (house), rakshaka (protection)),the words SaraNam and gruha are synonyms. il which refers to gruha thus refers to SaraNam, which is the means.

illaRam illennum sollum sollallaSrI bhagavath gIthA 3-20 says “karmaNaiva hi samsidhdhim AsthithA janakAdhaya:” (people like janaka et al attained mOksham through karma yOgam only); same SlOkam “asakthOhayAcharan karma paramApnOthi pUrusha:” (the sentient entity who observes karmayOgam without any attachment, attains his superior AthmA). SrI bhagavath gIthA 18-46 SlOkam “yatha: pravruththi bhUthAnAm yEna sarvaidham thatham I svakarmaNA thamabhyarchya sidhdhim vindhathi mAnava: II” (sentient entity, by carrying out karma, worships and attains me, from whom he is able to engage in activities such as creation, by whom he is pervaded and exists). All these texts which say that karmayOgam is the means for attaining mOksham are not authentic.

illEl – if karmayOgam is not the means

thuRavaRam il ennum sollum sollalla – the sayings which mention that gyAna yOgam (path of knowledge) is the means are not authentic. Will thuRavaRam (life of ascetic) refer to gyAnayOgam? Since thuRavaRam has to be undertaken after giving up illaRam (the life of householder), we can say that thuRavaRam refers to gyAnayOgam. In several SlOkas in SrI bhagavath gIthA, it has been established that gyAnayOgam is sanyAsam or karma sanyAsam.

thuRavaRam il ennum sollum sollalla – Texts such as SrI bhagavath gIthA 4-37 which says that gyAna yOgam is the means for attaining mOksham “yathaidhAmsi samidhdhO’gnir bhasmAth kuruthE’rjuna I gyAnAgni sarvakarmANi bhasmAth kuruthE thathA II” (Oh arjuna! Just as fire which is glowing well burns out the firewood, in the same way the fire of gyAnayOgam will burn out all the karmas) are not authentic.

allana aRam il ennum sollum sollalla – other righteous acts seen as means for mOksham are also not authentic. Which are the other righteous acts which are said to be means for mOksham? (a) SrI bhagavath gIthA 11-54 “bhakthyA thvananyayA Sakya ahamEvamvidhO’rjuna I gyAthum dhrashtum cha thaththvEna pravEshtum cha paranthapa II” (I can be known of, seen and attained only through bhakthi which is fully focussed on me) says that bhakthi yOgam is a means for attaining him. (b) The vEdha vAkyam “dhESOyam sarvakAmadhuk:” (this divine abode will grant all desires, including mOksham) says that living in a divine abode will grant mOksham. (c) vishNu sahasranAma SlOkam “kim japan muchyathE janthu:” (by worshipping whom, jIvan attains mOksham) says that reciting divine names is the means for attaining mOksham. (d) SrI bhagavath gIthA SlOkam 4-9 “janma karma cha mE dhivya mEvam yO vEththi thathvatha: I thyakthvA dhEham punar janma naithi mAmEthi sO’rjuna II” (Oh arjuna! One who knows my aprAkrutha birth (birth which does not take place due to karma) and my activities as they are, will not attain another birth once he gives up his body. He will attain me) says that knowing the secret of emperumAn’s incarnations is the means to mOksham. (e) SrI bhagavath gIthA SlOkam 15-19 “yO mAmEvamasammUdO jAnAthi purushOththamam I sa sarvavith bhajathi mAm sarva bhAvEna bhAratha II” (one who, without bewilderment, knows that I am purushOththama (the supreme being), knows all the means; he attains me through all means) says that purushOththama vidhyai(knowing that emperumAn is the supreme being) is also a means of attaning mOksham. These are referred to as allana aRam here.

While these have been referred to as means for attaining mOksham by emperumAn himself in SrI bhagavath gIthA and by various rishis in ithihAsa (epics) and purANas (ancient narrations which appear new), can AzhwAr say that these are not authentic for consideration of mOksham? Since bhagavAn himself has said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 18-66 “sarvadharmAn parithyajya” (giving up all the paths that I have shown as means for attaining mOksham), it could be said that way. In truth, that karma, gyAna and bhkthi yOgas can be said to be means is only for the sake of saying. They cannot be taken as primary. Only that which gives results (on its own) can be taken as means. karma, gyAna and bhakthi yOgams, which are evanescent and which are insentient, cannot grant results on their own. Only emperumAn, who is pleased with them, grants the results. Hence it is nArAyaNa who is primary for granting mOksha. For this reason, AzhwAr’s assertion that illaRam, thuRavaRam, allana aRam are not the means, is the essence of vEdhAnthams.

What is the reason for your (referring to AzhwAr) saying that karma, gyAna, bhakthi yOgam etc are not the means?

nallaRamAvnavumaRam refers to deeds. nallaRam refers to deeds which are carried out without any expectation in the results. In other words, karma, gyAna and bhakthi yOgams, which are exclusive for brAhmaNa, kshathriya and vaiSya menfolk are aRam. nAma sangIrththanam (reciting divine names of emperumAn) etc which can be sung by thraivarNikas (the first three classes of people) without any distinction, along with the fourth varNa people and women are called as nallaRam. The advantage of nAma sangIrththanam etc which are referred more by ithihAsa and purANa over karma, gyAna, bhakthi yOgams which are referred more by vEdhas is that they are applicable to all.

nAlvEdhamAththavamum – karmayOgam which is spoken of extensively in the pUrvabhAga (earlier parts) of the four vEdhas (rig, yajur, sAma and atharvaNa). This is also applicable to gyAna and bhakthi yOgas which are spoken of in the vEdhAnthams (latter parts of vEdhas). Alternatively, nAlvEdhamAththavam would refer to gruhastha and sanyAsa dharmas (paths of righteousness) which are accepted by vEdhas. nallaRamAvanavum would refer to allana aRam (bhakthi yOgam, thirunAma sangIrththanam etc) and nAlvEdhamAththavamum would refer to illaRam and thuRavaRam. Both meanings are acceptable. periyavAchchAn piLLai considered in his divine mind that thuRavaRam refers to gyAna yOgam and bhakthi yOgam while appiLLai included bhakthi yOgam in allana aRam.

nArAyanEyAvadhu – all these give results due to nArAyaNa. Hence, illaRam, thuRavaRam and allana aRam will not be means. Only nArAyaNa who is the refuge for the cluster of nArAs (souls) is the means. When he is the means, there is no need for their support.

nallaRamAvanavum nAlvEdha mAththavamum nArAyanEyAvadhu – “sarvE vEdhAs sarvavEdhyA: saSAsthrA: sarvE yagyAs sarva ijyAScha krishNa: I vidhu: krishNam brAhmaNAs thaththvathO yE thEshAm rAjan sarvayagyAs samApthA: II” (Oh King! All vEdhas, SAsthras, materials which are known (through them), all rituals, the dhEvas who are worshipped in those rituals are all only krishNa. For those brAhmaNAs who know krishNa truly, all rituals are completed).

Idhu anRu enbAr Ar – Who can refute this meaning? Has this not been felt by experts in vEdhas along with experts in bhagavath vishayam without any distinction? Has it not been said in  mahAbhAratham vana parvam 71-123 “yE cha vEdhavidhO viprA yE chAdhyAthmavidhO janA: I thE vidhanthi mahAthmAnam krishNam dharmam sanAthanam II” (brAhmaNas who know vEdhas and elders who know the basic nature of souls know that krishNa is the age-old dharma (righteousness))!

Idhu anRu enbAr Ar – there are many authentic sources to claim that paramapurusha (supreme being) is the means for mOksham. Some of these are: “nArAyaNam – pArAyaNam”, “mumukshurvai SaraNam aham prapadhyE”, “lOkAnAm thvam parOdharma” (SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam120-15), “rAmO vigravAn dharma”( SrI rAmAyaNam AraNya kANdam 37-13), “krishNam dharmam sanAthanam” (mahAbhAratham vanaparvam 71-123), “pAvanas sarvalOkAnAm thvamEva” (SrI rAmAyaNam uththara kANdam 82-9), “pavithrANAm hi gOvindha: pavithram paramuchyathE I puNyAnAmapi puNyO’sau mangaLAnAncha mangaLam II” (mahAbhAratham vanaparvam 88-27, among the pious entities, gOvindha is the most pious; among the virtuous, he is the most virtuous and among the auspicious, he is the most auspicious). “mAmEkam SaraNam vraja” (SrI bhagavath gIthA 18-66), “thamEva SaraNam gachcha”, “thamEva chAdhyam purusham prapadhya ”, “SaraNam mAm prapdhyasva”. AzhwArs too have sung several pAsurams conveying the same meaning “aRandhAnAyth thirivAy”, “nAgaNaimisai nambirAn charaNE SaraN namakku”, “neRivAsal thAnEyAy ninRAnai”, “nArAyaNanE namakkE paRai tharuvAn”, “kaLaigaN nIyE”. Is there anyone who will deny this great meaning?

How is this pAsuram expounding charamaSlOkam?

illaRamallEl thuRavaRam illenum sollaRamallanavum sollalla – sarvadharmAn paridhyajya (leaving aside all dharmams completely)

nAraNan – mAm as well as aham (me, I)

nAraNanE­ – Ekam (the long syllable E in naraNanE refers to exclusivity, viz. alone, or Ekam)

nallaRamAvanavum nAlvEdha mAththavamum – (with the meaning that getting rid of pApas (sins) is due to nArAyaNa) sarvapApEbhyO mOkshayishyAmi (I will relieve you from all sins)

IdhanRu enbAr ArmA sucha: (do not grieve)

We will move on to the 73rd pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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