Daily Archives: September 15, 2018

thiruvAimozhi – 7.6 – pAmaru

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Highlights from thirukkurukaippirAn piLLAn‘s introduction

See nampiLLai’s introduction.

Highlights from nanjIyar‘s introduction

See nampiLLai’s introduction.

Highlights from vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyar‘s introduction

In the sixth decad – in this manner, after having meditated upon the great qualities of sarvESvaran who is obedient towards his devotees and is the eliminator of hurdles, due to the absence of anyone else who can eliminate the hurdles, AzhwAr highlights the following aspects:

  1. his special relationship with everyone due to his being the cause etc
  2. the resulting omnipresence
  3. his supremacy and simplicity which are specific reasons for his protection
  4. his great enjoyability which accompanies such supremacy and simplicity
  5. his being the greatly splendorous goal due to such enjoyability
  6. his greatly beautiful form which highlights his being the goal
  7. his ways of protecting both directly and indirectly
  8. the destruction of mAli et al which are part of such protection
  9. his partiality towards SrI vibhIshaNa, and
  10. his protection of his own people

Meditating upon these aspects, AzhwAr depending upon such sarvESvaran’s natural aptness and partiality. is calling out to him to attain him with great sorrow.

Highlights from periyavAchchAn piLLai‘s introduction

See nampiLLai‘s introduction.

Highlights from nampiLLai‘s introduction

As he becomes clear, subsequently he will end up calling out only; otherwise, he would be one of those bewildered persons who think “samsAram (material realm) is a good place”. AchAryas would mercifully explain “ammangi ammAL used to say – on top of hearing the recital of this thiruvAimozhi and enjoying it, we cannot explain through words, the underlying sorrow in the pAsurams”.

Previously – In thiruvAimozhi 7.4 “Azhi ezhach changum” – as sarvESvaran manifested his victories to AzhwAr, he meditated upon his activities as part of that; in relation to that, he meditated upon emperumAn’s incarnations and the qualities such as krupA [mercy] etc which are the cause for such incarnations [in thiruvAimozhi 7.5], and became amazed thinking “while these qualities are manifested, and while having the opportunity, and while they are sentient (having consciousness), these samsAris are still missing out on them!” He thought “They are losing it due to lack of desire; having desire, we won’t lose it;  let us enjoy his incarnations and physical beauty”, but did not get to enjoy immediately; hence he became very anguished, to make sarvESvaran’s presence in paramapadham intolerable for him, with great sorrow, like a troubled ocean which will rise and make noise; to make emperumAn leave that abode at once on hearing his cry and manifest himself here, he is calling out with very loud voice highlighting how he is the goal, how he is the means and how he will remove the hurdles, and to be pitied by those who heard his cry.

SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 2.26 “bahavO nrupa” – dhaSaratha chakravarthi, planned to perform coronation for perumAL (SrI rAma), thought “for sixty thousand years, we carefully ruled the kingdom in a noble manner; if I place the responsibility on a small child [young SrI rAma], will that be reasonable or not?”, and thought “let us analyse this in the people’s assembly”, gathered everyone and announced “I am planning to perform coronation for perumAL; is it acceptable for you or not?”, subsequently the assembly of people said “oh old man! leave”; SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 2.25 “kathamnu mayi dharmENa pruthivIm anuSAsathi | bhavanthOdhrashtum ichchanthi yuvarAjam mamAthmajam ||” – he became blissful thinking “our desire is fulfilled nicely; the whole assembly is so eager!”, but concealed the bliss in his heart and thought “we should listen to the reason from them directly”, and asked “Come on! While ruling over the kingdom for sixty thousand years, I have not looked out for any personal joy, and always protected you; this being the case, when asked your opinion [on my retiring], you could have said ‘what is the urgency to leave? let the succession happen naturally over time’ or you could have said ‘if that is your desire, you could do that’ and consoled yourself; instead you are accepting the proposal so quickly as if you are escaping from a murderer; what is the mistake I have committed to deserve this?”, they said as in SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 2.26 “bahavO nrupa kalyANa guNA: puthrasya santhithE” (Oh emperor! You son (SrI rAma) has many auspicious qualities) – your fame did not get destroyed by the arrows of the enemies; but we were won over by your son’s auspicious qualities. We said these words being won over by his qualities and did not say with any other intention [like to bid farewell to you]; SrI rAmAyaNam kishkindhA kANdam 15.21 “dhAthUnam iva SailEndhrO guNAnAm AkarO mahAn” (as the minerals will be valued based on the mountains they were found), if one sees a particular quality in other persons, it gets valued based on “this is a quality found on perumAL” – subsequently it is valued due to being present on SrI rAma; AzhwAr is calling out highlighting such emperumAn’s qualities.

Each pAsuram is discussed subsequently.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 88 – uyir koNdu

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AzhwAr continues with the benefits that emperumAn carries out for his followers who are without any means, in  this pAasuram.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

uyir koNdu udalozhiya OdumpOdhOdi
ayarvenRa thIrppAn pEr pAdi seyal thIrach
chindhiththu vAzhvArE vAzhvAr siRu samayap
pandhanaiyAr vAzhvEl pazhudhu

Word for Word Meanings

udal ozhiya – leaving the body behind
uyir koNdu – taking the prANa (vital air)
Odum pOdhu – when (this AthmA) runs
Odi – (emperumAn himself) runs
ayarvu enRa – everything which is considered as a difficulty
thIrppAn – emperumAn who removes
pEr – divine names
pAdi – reciting heartily
seyal thIra – there is nothing that we need to do (pravruththi) as means
sindhiththu – understanding the basic nature
vAzhvArE – only those who comtemplate to live
vAzhvAr – will prosper
siRu samayam pandhanaiyAr – those who hold on to means which are lowly, which are conditional and which are the reason for being bound to samsAram (materialistic realm)
vAzhvu El – any prosperity that it may beget
pazhudhu – is useless


uyir koNdu udal azhiya OdumpOdhu – when this AthmA, propelled by the messengers of yama (deity of righteousness), runs with its vital airs, after shedding the body

Odi – there is an entity [emperumAn] who will be witnessing the troubles of his followers. Instead of sending his servitors to remove the troubles (just like a person appoints a representative to carry out deeds ordained by SAsthram such as sandhyAvandhanam etc), this entity will run to remove the troubles of his followers, himself.

Odi – his (that entity’s) deed will be one with which his followers will be involved, as mentioned by SrI paraSAra bhattar in SrI rangarAjasthavam 2-57 “bhagavathas thvarAyai nama:” (I salute the speed of emperumAn) [reference here is to the act of emperumAn who came running to save the life of his follower gajEndhra (an elephant) who was troubled by a crocodile].

ayarvenRa thIrppAn – he will remove all the troubles of his follower who is under the control of messengers of yama. He removes the trouble undergone by his follower when he is shivering at the mere sight of yama’s messengers, when he is dragged out of his body by yama’s messengers etc.

ayarvenRa – The opinion here is that , in reality, only that which is experienced by the follower at the hands of messengers of yama is apt to be termed as trouble. All the others are joyous experience only, when compared to this.

thIrppAn pEr pAdi – heartily reciting the divine names of the entity who removes the trouble.

seyal thIrach chidhiththu vAzhvArE vAzhvAr – only those who live considering emperumAn himself as the means [for attaining him], rejecting all other means which are to be carried out by them, will prosper.

seyal thIrach chindhiththu vAzhvAr – these are the people who think that there is nothing that they can do in order to get rid of their troubles and to experience utmost happiness. These are the people who think that only emperumAn, who comes running to protect them when they are at the hands of yama’s messengers, is the means. These are the people who have been referred to by thoNdaradippodi AzhwAr in his thirumAlai 38 as “kadaiththalaiyirundhu vAzhum sOmbar” (those who have given the responsibility of looking after them to emperumAn).

Till now, AzhwAr has been talking about the greatness of those who are without any means. Now he talks about the lowliness of those who attempt to attain emperumAn on their own.

siRu samayap pandhaniyAr vAzhvEl pazhudhu – there is no benefit to those who attempt to follow the lowly means of karma yOgam (path of carrying out ordained deeds), gyAna yOgam (path of knowledge leading to carrying out those deeds), bhakthi yOgam (path of devotion towards emperumAn) which are to be observed over very long periods of time, referred to as “janmAnthara sahasrEshu” (thousands of successive births) and which lead to cultivation of ego in the mind of samsAri. This is opposite of his svabhAvam (basic quality) of being a dependent servitor.

siRusamayam – lowly means unlike SrIman nArAyaNa as mentioned in nArAyaNa sUktham  “nArAyaNam pArAyaNam” (nArAyaNa who is the superior means).

samayap pandhanai – the opinion here is that these are means which bind the jIvAthmA (soul) to samsAram (materialistic realm) but which go in the name of being the means for attaining mOksham; in reality, these means take the jIvAthmA far away from matters relating to emperumAn for a very long time, just as nammAzhwAr mentioned in periya thiruvandhAdhi 6 “neRi kAtti nIkkudhiyO” (will you reject me by showing me other means?)

vAzhvEl pazhudhu – if one analyses, it would be clear that there is no benefit for these jIvAthmAs by following such means.

samayamAzhwAr refers to these means as samayam since they have been classified based on the interest of each jIvAthmA. It should be understood here that these jIvAthmAs, who are siRusamayap pandhanaiyAr, are firmly engaged with pravruththi mArgam (the path of carrying out deeds on one’s own efforts to attain emperumAn) as opposed to nivruththi mArgam (in which the jIvAthmA entrusts the responsibility of making him attain emperumAn with emperumAn himself) which is indicated by the words seyal thIrach chindhiththu vAzhvAr. It should not be taken here that AzhwAr is talking about jivAthmAs who are following other philosophies since AzhwAr has already corrected these jIvAthmAs who are following other philosophies through his instructions and there is no need to talk ill of them now. One of the vyAkyAthas for this prabandham, SrI appiLLai, says here that through the verse pandhanaiyAr vAzhvEl pazhudhu AzhwAr is rejecting the other means since even for those who follow karmayOgam etc, unless emperumAn is convinced, he will not grant mOksham and also due to the fact that many persons such as kshathrabandhu, gantAkarNan et al reached mOksham without carrying out any karmayOgam.

We will move on to the 89th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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SrIvishNu sahasranAmam – pUrva pItikA – Part 3

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“vEdhanam or knowledge refers to upAsanam or worship, as discussed in previous part 2. Just like upAsanam (worship), result of bhakthi is also ‘mOksha’ .  As it is said, “His form cannot be beheld with our vision; none can see him with these naked eyes. Those who know him from their heart with full of devotion and knowledge will only attain immortality”.

‘hrudhA’  (हृदा मनीषा मनसाsभिक्लृप्तः) – refers to bhakthi. Not just the vEdhas, but also the smrithis begin by saying “His form cannot be beheld with our limited vision”, and proceed to declare thus: “Only he who has a composed mind with true devotion and equanimity  shall see the Supreme Self, who is the form of knowledge”. bhagavAn also declares in the bhagavadh-geethA thus: “Oh pArtha! That supreme brahman – purusha – is known only by true devotion, and nothing else”, “He can be reached by bhakthi alone, and not by any other means”, and “He knows me by true devotion”.

The angirasa smrithi declares “Only constant uninterrupted devotion leads to salvation”. Similarly, the vaishNava Dharma declares “Pure devotion towards the Supreme Soul gOvindha bestows upon men the Supreme Abode of salvation, let there be no doubt about it”. The rAmayaNa also says “Devotees of You – the Supreme Soul – who are firmly rooted in devotion shall attain all their desires, both in this world as well as the nether”, “Those who are devoted to you shall be invincible”.

The vAmana purANa says thus: “To whom vishNu is ever loveable, and those who are ever loveable to Vishnu, they shall never be born again, and shall attain Him forever”.

The form or object of meditation in both worship as well as devotion (upAsana and bhakthi) should be the Lotus eyed Supreme Brahman alone. That is also a command, as it is said “upAsva (worship)”, “bhajasva (serve)” Both the verbs ‘upAsthi’ and ‘bhajathi’ are two variants, which both mean “service”. For the same reason, the dictionaries refer to ‘service, devotion and worship’ as equivalents (सॆवा-भक्तः-उपास्तिः).

The linga and mArkaNdEya purANas  declare thus: “The root ‘bhaj’ is known to mean servitude. Thus, the learned have inferred the word bhakthi as service to the Lord”.

If a soul develops taste only in being of eternal servitude to the Supreme Soul due to His unlimited divine auspicious qualities and boundless affection towards the souls,as also in His unconditional ownership of the entire world, it is called ‘upAsana’. Another name given to it is ‘bhakthi’.

bhagavAn declares “I am the most loveable to all learned men”, “They serve me with all their love”, “They are ever satisfied with their minds firmly fixed in me”. The vishNu purANa refers to parahlAdha as the best among demons who filled his heart with bliss born out of constant contemplation, and who was exalted by chanting the divine names of the lord .

The vishNu thathva also says thus: “The service done unto the Supreme Soul with the exertion of knowledge is called bhakthi. When such bhakthi is born in the mind, the love towards God automatically develops”.

The bArhaspathya smrithi says “the one who is attached to the Supreme Soul and totally detached from the world shall be freed from all bondage and shall enjoy the eternal bliss enjoyed by the Supreme brahman”.

The thaiththirIya nArAyaNIyam  prays thus “May that Lord engage us in good thoughts”.

anusmaraN – “Repeated remembrance of krishNa is the best” indicate to us the importance of developing taste only in eternal servitude to the Supreme Self alone. The word ‘anu‘  is inferred to mean lowliness by the scholars. The lowliness refers to the natural servitude of the soul to
the Supreme Self. Serving the Supreme Soul with conscious remembrance of the natural servitude is upAsana. That itself is called ‘anusmaraNam’ – remembrance of eternal natural servitude.

Display of simple means such as meditation to those who know no way out :

In response to third question bhIshma shows the simple means  of ‘praising Him and singing His glory’, in response to the third question ‘sthuvantha: kam’. He replied to this question in three SlOkas, starting with ‘thamEva’ and ended with ‘sarvabhUtha-bhavOdhbhavam’. bhIshma proceeded to uniquely demarcate the qualities exclusive to bhagavAn, as against the other lowly demigods. He explained with His characteristic of being eternal, and continued with ten such unique qualities:

अनादिनिधनं विष्णुं सर्वलॊकमहॆश्वरम्
लॊकाध्यक्षं स्तुवन् नित्यं सर्वदुःखातिगॊ भवॆत् ॥ ६ ॥
ब्रह्मण्यं सर्वधर्मज्ञम् लॊकानां कीर्तिवर्धनम्
लॊकनाथं महद्भूतं सर्वभूतभवॊद्भवम् ॥ ७ ॥

‘anAdhinidhanam’ – the One who factors everything without Himself being bound by time .

‘vishNum’ – the One who is not bound by place .

‘sarvalOka-mahESvaram’ – the One who possesses all the wealth required to grant all wishes of all seekers .

‘lOkAdhyaksham’ – the One who is represented by the property of being boundless in any way .

‘brahmaNyam’ – the One who confers wellness upon brahmA by being propounded by the unlimited branches of the vEdhas; for the same reason, the One who is the subject of prayers by everyone .

‘sarvadharmagyam’ – thus, being the knower of all dharmas that glorify Him .

‘lOkAnAm kIrthivardhanam’ – the One who becomes the cause for all the inmates of all worlds who pray sincerely to Him in attaining unsurpassed glory, as spoken in the numerous scriptures and vEdhas, such as in the statement “Having praised whom he shall also attain the glory that should be praised by everyone”.

‘lOkanAtham’ – the master of all worlds, and hence the recipient most eligible for being praised and served by all .

‘mahadhbhUtham’ – the One who is with all the glorious wealth by nature; thus, the One who is very easily worshipped by one and all with just a simple prayer. Great people are only the ones who are most satisfied even with just the signal of people approaching them for their blessings. They do not expect much from the seekers.

‘sarvabhUtha-bhavOdhbavam’ – the One who is indeed the cause of knowledge among the ‘sath’ or knowledgeable entities (individual souls), and who is thus inseparable from those knowledgeable entities, and hence the One who grants them all that they want .

‘sthuvan’ – although lacking in complete devotion, singing the glories of such a Supreme Master.

‘sarvadhu:khAthigO bhavEth’ – one should cross the fires caused by three heats (thApa-thrayam) and attain the Supreme, Blissful, and Pacific hearted bhagavAn. Finally the above two SlOkas explains the simple means of worship, namely prayer .

The loftiness of Remembrance, Praising, Prostration :

bhIshma then proceeds to reply to the fifth question (which – of all dharmas – is the highest?) with the SlOka beginning with ‘Esha mE’

ऎष मॆ सर्वधर्माणां धर्मॊsधिकतमॊ मतः
यद्भक्त्या पुण्डरीकाक्षं स्तवैरर्चॆन्नरस्सदा

‘Esha:’ – The various forms of pleasing the Lord – as detailed before – namely worship, prayers, etc, as per the scriptural prescription with the necessary authorities, and also considering the various ranks of complexities attached to each of them .

‘sarvadharmANAm madhyE adhikathamO matha:’ – is the most superior among all the dharmas.

The word ‘dharmas’ mostly refers to the following four forms: (a) material benefits such as cattle, progeny, wealth,(b) the spiritual benefits such as the attainment of swarga, (c) the salvation characterized by complete knowledge of the Supreme Entity and its enjoyment, with the knowledge being born out of detached worship of the Lord and contentment, (d) worshipping bhagavAn in various forms such as affectionately thinking about Him, singing His praise and prostrating before Him, and thus performing extraordinary service unto Him.Out of these four categories, the fourth category of unconditional servitude to bhagavAn stands as the
supreme dharmA.

‘yadhbhakthyA’ – The unconditional servitude to bhagavAn is the supreme
form of dharmA, because it is filled with the most desirable qualities such as true devotion .

‘bhakthyA’ – bhagavadh-geethA refer ‘bhakthyA’  as ‘the easiest and happiest job to do’ . This is indeed comprehensible, because it is well known that the unrelenting contemplation about a loveable husband is always the  sweetest and most desirable task for a spouse. Thus, bhIshma differentiates the happiness of performing unconditional servitude to bhagavAn from the onus of engaging in similar activities with the servile demigods – which on the contrary is akin to drinking a bitter concoction.

‘puNdarIkAksham’ – The servitude to multi-fold beauty of the Lord with lotus eyes from the servitude to other ugly, horrific and lowly entities.

‘sthavai:’ – intends to differentiate the simplicity of accomplishing the task of pleasing the Lord by words alone, from the complexity of performing the multitude of vows such as viSwajith, chandhrAyana .

bhagavAn vyAsa also says thus: “May the people who are desperate, downcast, flaccid, afraid, and are stuck amidst horrible diseases be freed from all their sorrows and difficulties and lead a happy life, with the chanting of the word’ nArAyaNa’.

The vaishNava dharma says in various instances, thus:

“Irrespective of whether one chants the names of vAsudhEva and sings his glories with or without knowledge, all his sins shall disappear just like the salt put in water.”

“The tools required to reach mOksham are easily acquired by that person who utters the two lettered name ‘hari’ just once”. “All diseases shall be cured with the medicine of chanting the names achyutha, anantha and gOvindha” . “Sing the glories of jagannAtha – the master of the worlds. If not, at least study the Vedas”

The vishNu sUktha says: “Those who sing His glory shall reach His divine abode from where there is no return” (ध्रुवासॊ अस्य कीरयॊ जनासः)

‘asya kIraya:’ – those who sing His glories

‘dhruvAsa:’ – shall reach His divine abode from where they do not return any more .

The word ‘archEth’ indicates the duty of happily worshipping the manifest form of the Supreme Lord. This is also indicated in the bhagavadh-geethA  as ‘understood to be manifest’. Pleasing the Supreme Lord by such worship is not just blandly prescribed by the scriptures like penance and pilgrimage, but it can really be experienced.

(to be continued…)

adiyen srinivasa raja ramanuja dasan

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