kaNNinuN chiRuth thAmbu – Simple Explanation

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



nammAzhwAr and madhurakavi AzhwAr

SrI maNavALa mAmunigaL reveals the greatness of kaNNinuN chiRuththAmbu in the 26th pAsuram of upadhEsa raththina mAlai.

vAyththa thirumandhiraththin madhdhimamAm padhampOl
sIrththa madhurakavi sey kalaiyai – Arththa pugazh
AriyargaL thAngaL aruLich cheyal naduvE
sErviththAr thARpariyam thErndhu

In ashtAksharam, also known as thirumanthram, which has completeness both in words and in meanings, the middle word nama: has a greatness. madhurakavi AzhwAr’s wondrous composition kaNNinuN chiRuththAmbu has the same greatness. Understanding the meaning of this, the revered AchAryas (preceptors in our sampradhAyam) added this to the aruLichcheyal (recitation of 4000 dhivyaprabandham) so that it could be recited along with the rest.

madhurakavi AzhwAr was one who did not know any deity other than nammAzhwAr. His great composition is this kaNNinuN chiRuththAmbu. This prabandham reveals well the important principle of our sampradhAyam that AchArya (guru or teacher) is God. This prabandham, which reveals the greatness of nammAzhwAr, has a unique eminence in our sampradhAyam.

The simple translation for this prabandham is written with the help of our pUrvAchAryas’ commentary.



avidhitha vishyAnthara: SatArEr upanishathAm upagAnamAthrabhOga:  I       
api cha guNavaSAth thadhEka SEshi madhurakavir hrudhayE mamAvirasthu II

Let madhurakavi AzhwAr remain in my heart – one who knew none, other than nammAzhwAr, one who considered singing the greatness of divine hymns of nammAzhwAr as giving him bliss, one who considered nammAzhwAr as his master since he was always immersed in nammAzhwAr’s qualities.

vERonRum nAn aRiyEn vEdham thamizh seydha
mARan satakOpan vaN kurugUr ERu engaL
vAzhvAm enREththum madhurakaviyAr emmai
ALvAr avarE araN

Only madhurava AzhwAr who said “I do not know anything other than nammAzhwAr who mercifully composed the meanings of vEdhas in thamizh, who is the leader of the beautiful kurugUr and who is capable of uplifting us all” rules over us. He is the refuge for prapannas (those who have surrendered) like us.


First pAsuram. madhurakavi AzhwAr who started singing about nammAzhwAr, enjoys kaNNan (SrI krishNa) who is very dear to nammAzhwAr.

kaNNi nuN chiRuththAmbinAl kattuNNap
paNNiya peru mAyan en appanil
naNNith then kurugUr nambi enRakkAl
aNNikkum amudhURum en nAvukkE

kaNNan emperumAn, who is my swAmy (lord) and the supreme entity, made himself to be tied by yaSOdhAp pirAtti, with small pieces of rope, which were thin. Instead of that emperumAn, it is very sweet and nectarean to my tongue to recite the name of nammAzhwAr who is the leader of thirukkurugUr, which is in the southern direction.

Second pAsuram. madhurakavi AzhwAr explains that nammAzhwAr’s pAsurams alone are very sweet for him and that he is sustaining himself by repeatedly reciting them.

nAvinAl naviRRu inbam eydhinEn
mEvinEn avan ponnadi meymmaiyE
dhEvu maRRu aRiyEn kurugUr nambi
pAvin innisai pAdith thirivanE

I became very blissful by reciting AzhwAr’s pAsurams with my tongue. I have surrendered well at his divine feet. I do not know of any God other than AzhwAr who is complete with auspicious qualities and who is the leader of thirukkurugUr. I will go to various places by singing AzhwAr’s pAsurams, set to music.

Third pAsuram. madhurakavi AzhwAr narrates joyfully as to how emperumAn gave him his dharSan (manifesting his divine form) because he is a servitor of nammAzhwAr.

thiri thandhAgilum dhEvapirAn udai
kariya kOlath thiru uruk kANban nAn
periya vaN kurugUr nagar nambikku AL
uriyanAy adiyEn peRRa nanmaiyE

I, who was AzhwAr’s servitor totally, slipped from that position. I saw SrIman nArAyaNa, who has a dark complexion and who is the leader of nithyasUris, as shown by AzhwAr. Look at the great benefit that I received, being the true servitor of AzhwAr, who incarnated in the magnanimous thirukkurugUr.

Fourth pAsuram. Looking at the benefit showered by nammAzhwAr on him, madhurakavi AzhwAr says that he should desire whatever nammAzhwAr liked. Further, he reveals his lowliness and how nammAzhwAr accepted him.

nanmaiyAl mikka nAnmaRaiyALargaL
punmai Agak karudhuvar Adhalil
annaiyAy aththanAy ennai ANdidum
thanmaiyAn sadagOpan en nambiyE

Those who are very learned in the four vEdhas and who have eminent activities to go with the knowledge, gave up on me since I am the epitome of lowliness. However, nammAzhwAr, took me under his refuge, as my mother and as my father. He alone is my lord.

Fifth pAsuram. Explaining his lowliness that he had mentioned in the previous pAsuram, madhurakavi AzhwAr reveals how he has now become rectified due to the causeless mercy of nammAzhwAr and thanks him.

nambinEn piRar nanporuL thannaiyum
nambinEn madavAraiyum munnelAm
sem pon mAdath thukkurugUr nambikku
anbanAy adiyEn sadhirththEn inRE

In days gone by, I used to covet others’ wealth and women. However, now, I have attained eminence since I have been corrected by nammAzhwAr, and have become his servitor. Such nammAzhwAr is the leader of thirukkurugUr which has golden mansions

Sixth pAsuram. When asked “How did you attain such eminence?” he says that he attained it because of the grace of nammAzhwAr. There is no scope for falling from this position.

inRu thottum ezhumaiyum empirAn
ninRu than pugazh Eththa aruLinAn
kunRa mAdath thirukkurugUr nambi
enRum ennai igazhvu ilan kANminE

Being the leader of thirukkurugUr, my swAmy (lord) nammAzhwAr showered his mercy on me such that I will sing his greatness. You can see that he will never ever let go of me.

Seventh pAsuram. madhurakavi AzhwAr says that having been graced by nammAzhwAr, he will explain the greatness of nammAzhwAr to all those who are suffering since they have not known about nammAzhwAr and have not been showered with his grace, and get them too prosperity.

kaNdu koNdu ennaik kArimARap pirAn
paNdai valvinai pARRi aruLinAn
eN thisaiyum aRiya iyambugEn
oN thamizh sadagOpan aruLaiyE

nammAzhwAr, also known as kArimARan, being the son of poRkAri, showered his grace on me and took me under him in his service. He removed my sins which have been there from time immemorial. I will explain the greatness of the mercy of such AzhwAr who had composed wondrous thamizh pAsurams, to the people in all eight directions.

Eighth pAsuram. He explains in this pAsuram that AzhwAr’s mercy is greater than emperumAn’s. He says that AzhwAr’s merciful composition of thiruvAimozhi is more eminent than emperumAn’s merciful composition of bhagavath gIthA.

aruL koNdAdum adiyavar inbuRa
aruLinAn avvarumaRaiyin poruL
aruL koNdu Ayiram in thamizh pAdinAn
aruL kaNdIr iv vulaginil mikkadhE

nammAzhwAr mercifully composed the thousand pAsurams of thiruvAimozhi as the essence of vEdhas, for the joy of emperumAn’s servitors, who praise emperumAn. This mercy of nammAzhwAr’s is greater than anything else.

Ninth pAsuram. madhurakavi AzhwAr says that nammAzhwAr, without minding madhurakavi AzhwAr’s lowliness, revealed to him the essence of vEdhas which is that one should be a servitor to emperumAn’s servitor. I will be forever indebted to him, he says.

mikka vEdhiyar vEdhaththin utporuL
niRkap pAdi en nenjuL niRuththinAn
thakka sIrch chatakOpan en nambikku At
pukka kAdhal adimaip payan anRE

nammAzhwAr mercifully told me the essence of vEdham which is recited by great scholars, such that it would firmly remain in my heart. As a result of this, I realised this eminent state of being his servitor.

Tenth pAsuram. In this madhurakavi AzhwAr says that nammAzhwAr has showered very eminent benefits on him which he could not repay appropriately and develops great affection towards nammAzhwAr’s divine feet.

payan anRu Agilum pAngu allar Agilum
seyal nanRAgath thiruththip paNi koLvAn
kuyil ninRu Ar pozhil sUzh kurugUr nambi
muyalginREn un than moy kazhaRku anbaiyE

Oh nammAzhwAr who resides in thirukkurugUr which is surrounded by gardens in which the sounds of cuckoo birds reverberate! You are involving people of this world in servitude [to emperumAn] by correcting them through your instructions and activities even though there is no benefit for you from them. I am trying to develop affection towards one such as you.

Eleventh pAsuram. In this, madhurakavi AzhwAr says that those who learn this prabandham will [reach and] reside in SrIvaikuNtam which is under nammAzhwAr’s control. The implied meaning is that while in AzhwAr thirunagari both AdhinAdhar (the presiding deity in the temple) and nammAzhwAr are leaders, it is only nammAzhwAr who is the leader in SrIvaikuNtam.

anban thannai adaindhavargatku ellAm
anban then kurugUr nagar nambikku
anbanAy madhurakavi sonna sol
nambuvAr padhi vaikundham kANminE

emperumAn is one who is affectionate towards everyone (especially towards his servitors). nammAzhwAr is one who is affectionate towards such servitors of emperumAn. I (madhurakavi AzhwAr) am one who is affectionate towards such nammAzhwAr. Those who recite these pAsurams which have been sung with devotion by me, will reach the divine abode of SrIvaikuNtam and live there.

Source: http://divyaprabandham.koyil.org/index.php/2020/03/kanninun-chiruth-thambu-tamil-simple/

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