periya thirumadal – thaniyan

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

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avathArikai (Introduction)

piLLai thirunaRaiyUr araiyar, who had composed this thaniyan, reflects the same opinion in his thaniyan which thirumangai AzhwAr had mentioned in the prabandham. The thaniyan says that if emperumAn, who is praised by everyone, who is complete in all respect and who harvests devotion in the leelA vibhUthi (materialistic realm), does not show his mercy on the greatness of AzhwAr who is cultivating the crop of parabhakthi, paragyAnam and paramabhakthi (three states of devotion in which the person has growing desire to be with emperumAn, envisions emperumAn and cannot sustain himself if emperumAn leaves him, respectively), AzhwAr will manifest his great affection for emperumAn. This debilitating affection which AzhwAr has for emperumAn is incidentally the manifestation that emperumAn is the means for attaining him.

The vyAkyAnam (commentary) for the thaniyan has been mercifully written by piLLailOkam jIyar.

Let us go through the thaniyan and its meanings:

ponnulagail vAnavarum pUmagaLum pORRiseyyum
nannudhaleer nambi naRaiyUrar mannulagil
en nilaimai kaNdum irangArEyAmAgil
mannu madalUrvan vandhu

Word by Word Meanings

nal nudhaleer – Oh those who have a beautiful forehead!
pon ulagil – in paramapadham (SrIvaikuNtam)
vAnavarum – nithyasUris
pUmagaLum – periya pirAttiyAr (SrI mahAlakshmi)
pORRi seyum – singing thiruppallANdu (wishing emperumAn well)
nambi naRaiyUrar – thirunaRaiyUr nambi (in archA form (deity) in the divine abode of thirunaRaiyUr) who is complete in all aspects
mannu ulagil – in the permanent bhUlOkam (earth)
en nilaimai kaNdum – even after seeing my condition
irangArE AmAgil – if he does not shower mercy
vandhu – reaching his place
mannum madal Urvan – I will surely ride madal (riding a horse made of palm leaves, dragged by children, announcing to the world how her beloved has not responded to her outpourings of love).


en nilaimai – the words should be rearranged as nannudhalIr! naRaiyUrar nambi en nilaimai kaNdum irangArEyAmAgil mannu madalUrvan vandhu.

nal nudhaleer – Oh those who have a beautiful forehead! This is calling out to other AzhwArs who are resplendent with devotion towards emperumAn, just as calling out with the words vAN mugaththIr (those who have a resplendent face!)

ponnulagil vAnavarum – Just as it is mentioned in muNdaka upanishath 2-2-10 “hiraNmayE parE lOke ” (in the upper world which is golden hued), this refers to nithyasUris who inhabit the golden hued world of SrIvaikuNtam.

pUmagaLum – periya pirAttiyAr (SrI mahAlakshmi) who resides on a lotus flower; SrIdhEvi who is the epitome of all fragrances in flowers.

pORRi seyum – singing praises on the well being of emperumAn. Just as it is mentioned in periya thirumozhi 2-3-7 “bharadhanum thambi saththurukkananum ilakkumanOdu mythiliyum iravu nan pagalum thudhi seyya ninRa rAvaNAndhagandhanai ” (SrI rAma, the conqueror of rAvaNa, continuously praised during day and night by brothers bharatha, Sathrugna, lakshmaNa and wife sIthA), naRaiyUr nambi is praised by periya pirAtti and nithyasUris. If the text is pUmaganum, this will mean – being praised by brahmA and by dhEvas such as indhra et al who dwell in svarga (heaven). Isn’t it for being praised that emperumAn had created brahmA!

nambi naRaiyUrar – the nambi (complete in all aspects) who dwells in naRaiyUr;  one who has the divine name of thirunaRaiyUr nambi; one who is complete with qualities such as simplicity, easy approachability etc after reaching thirunaRaiyUr.

en nilaimai kaNdum – even after seeing the greatness of AzhwAr, who cultivated devotion in him, and who reaped the grains of paramabhakthi etc and became complete. Just as AzhwAr himself had mentioned in thirunedundhANdagam 20 “pErALan pErOdhum peNNai maNmEl perundhavaththaL enRallAl pEsalAmE” (This girl has been reciting the divine names of emperumAn. Can we say anything other than saying that she is fortunate, staying on this earth?) he has such greatness. The word en nilaimai refers to his greatness. Alternatively, it could be construed as AzhwAr’s condition which is pitiable.

mannulagil ennilaimai kaNdum – even after seeing my pitiable condition on this everlasting earth.

mannulagil – if this world were to get destroyed soon, my troubles also would have ended. But it is not like that. This world appears to last forever.

en nilaimai kaNdum – her position is similar to that which has been mentioned in periya thirumozhi 5-5-6 “thAdhAdu vanamAlai thArAnO enRenRE thaLarndhAL” (she became enervated after repeatedly asking whether he (emperumAn) will not give her the divine garland which has pollens).

irangArEyAmAgil – even in this condition if he says as in thiruvAimozhi 2-4-5vaNdu thivaLum thaNNandhuzhAy kodIr” (you are not giving me the cool, beautiful thuLasi garland around which beetles are humming) or as mentioned in thiruvAimozhi 2-4-3irakkamezhIr” (you are not taking pity on her condition) . . . .

mannu madalUrvan vandhu – as long as he [emperumAn] exists, my madal also will certainly exist.

 madalUrvan – I will destroy all his [emperumAn’s] qualities which are celebrated everywhere, with my madal.

This prabandham ends with AzhwAr’s threat that he will engage with madal to manifest his deep affection such that emperumAn will accept him. Will this attempt be classified as AzhwAr taking efforts on his own, to attain emperumAn?  No, it will not. All these will only be classified as AzhwAr’s anguish at not attaining emperumAn, knowing the greatness of emperumAn and knowing also that only emperumAn is the means for attaining him. Only those attempts of emperumAn in attaining AzhwAr could be classified as those which belong to taking efforts.

We will take up the avathArikai (introduction) for periya thirumadal vyAkyAnam (commentary for the divine hymn periya thirumadal) next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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