Daily Archives: November 20, 2020

periya thirumozhi – 1.1.4 – venRiyE vENdi

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venRiyE vENdi vIzhporutkirangi
vERkaNAr kalaviyE karudhi
ninRavA nillA nenjinai udaiyEn
enseygEn? neduvisumbaNavum
panRiyAy anRu pAragangINda
pAzhiyAn AzhiyAn aruLE
nanRu nAnuyya nAn kaNdu koNdEn
nArAyaNA ennum nAmam

Word-by-Word meanings

venRiyE – Victory only
vENdi – desired
vIzh – that which will be destroyed
porutku – for wealth
irangi – worrying
vEl kaNAr – with the women whose eyes resemble spear
kalaviyE – union only
karudhi – considered
ninRavA nillA – not being firm on anything
nenjinai – heart
udaiyEn – I who am having
en seygEn – what will I do; (not having the means to reach you, I am unable to do anything)
anRu – on the day when earth was engulfed by deluge
nedu – tall
visumbu – sky
aNavum – growing to touch
panRiyAy – having the form of varAha (wild boar)
pAragam – earth
kINda – uplifted
pAzhiyAn – the strong one
AzhiyAn – sarvESvaran’s
aruLE – by mercy only
nAn – I who was attached to worldly pleasures
nanRu – properly
uyya – to be uplifted
nArAyaNA ennum nAmam – the divine name nArAyaNa
nAn – I who was prideful
kaNdu koNdEn – realised.

Simple translation

Desiring for victory only and worrying for the wealth which will be destroyed, only considering the union with the women whose eyes resemble spear, what will I, who am having the heart which is not firm on anything, do? The strong sarvESvaran having the form of varAha who grew up to the tall sky, on that day the earth was engulfed by deluge, uplifted the earth. To be properly uplifted by such sarvESvaran’s mercy only, I who was attached to worldly pleasures and was prideful, realised the divine name nArAyaNa.

Highlights from vyAkyAnam (Commentary)

  • venRiyE vENdi – He only desires for victory even over father or teacher. He always tries to push-down everyone else and become prominent. He is even desiring to win over aspects where he should remain subservient.
  • vIzh porutku irangi – Only due to having a little bit of wealth, one disrespects others. But since it is impermanent, he will lose and will cry out for that. On top of trying to win over respectable persons instead of being subservient to them, he will also remain crying due to having attachment for wealth which should not be cared for. Alternative explanation – having dhEhAthmAbimAnam (considering body as self), not just considering oneself to be greater than all, but also will think about the impermanent body to remain forever and worry for that.
  • vEl kaNAr kalaviyE karudhi – While having wealth, he will let his wife wear saffron clothes and let her go. But on losing the wealth, if he calls out for her, just as others, his wife will also look sharply with her spear like eyes and question him. At that time, he will think “I should have made ornaments with my wealth and decorated her with them”. He will try to decorate his wife with the lost wealth.
  • ninRavA nillA nenjinai udaiyEn en seygEn – When the whole world is engaged in the means for UrvasI sAlOkyam (to remain in heaven where Urvasi lives), arjuna with great detachment, worshipped her [considering her as his mother], when she approached him and tried to seduce him; such arjuna said that even the wind blowing from the opposite direction can be controlled but the heart/mind cannot be controlled as said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 6.34chanchalam hi mana: krishNa pramAthi balavadh dhrudam |thasyAham nigraham manyE vAyOr iva sudhushkaram ||” (Because , mind is (naturally) wavering, strong and hence bewildering and firm (in pulling us towards worldly pleasures). I think that it is very difficult to restrain it, like controlling a fierce storm). How can I engage my mind in a means which is apt to attain you, when my heart cannot focus on any matter for more than a fraction of a moment? It will only facilitate my loss of you.
  • en seygEn – arjuna became sorrowful after hearing from bhagavAn about many upAyams (means) in eighteen chapters of SrI bhagavath gIthA, which are impossible to practice. For AzhwAr, everything is causing fear [even without getting instructed like that].

When asked “If you remain like this, what would you consider as the means for the goal?” AzhwAr says “When the world which was engulfed by deluge, was incapable to save itself, there was the one who protected it. Such emperumAn will be my means”

  • nedu visumbu aNavum panRiyAy anRu pAr agam kINda pAzhiyAn AzhiyAn aruLE – Only when world which was engulfed by deluge could engage in protecting itself, I who am having heart which is engulfed by worldly pleasures can contemplate about my well-being. One who grew out of the space in sky, eagerly assumed a form which is much larger than what is to be protected. When the world was engulfed in the deluge and was about to be destroyed, bhagavAn assumed the form of mahAvarAham (great wild boar) which will not withdraw seeing water and mud. He assumed the form which will grow on seeing abundance of water. nAchchiyAr thirumozhi 11.8mAsudambil nIr vArA mAnamilAp panRiyAm” is explained here. While seeing his divine consort (bhUmippirAtti) where her body is not cared and is immersed in the deluge as in “pAsi thUrththu” (having moss all over), bhagavAn who is her beloved husband, not caring for his own body, acquired a divine form which had dirt on it. mAnamilA – Being free from the pride of being sarvESvara. When the demon mArIcha [rAvaNa’s uncle] assumed the form of a mystical deer, other deer came by, smelled him, realised that he is not a real deer and ran away from him. Unlike that, what is said in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 120.11 “AthmAnam mAnusham manyE” (I consider myself as a human being) is felt by him here also [to feel one among the wild boars].
  • pAr agam kINda – As the whole world was resting on the wall of the oval shaped universe, emperumAn freed the world and brought it out.
  • pAzhiyAn – One who has great strength.
  • AzhiyAn – While protecting he does not need any tool [as in the case of rescuing the world]; but if he needs a tool, he has the sudharSana chakra weapon in his hand.
  • aruLE – Considering me to be totally lost due to having pride where one should not have, worrying for that which is not worthy of worrying, desiring to enjoy worldly matters which will lead to hell and having wavering mind, due to his mercy, sarvESvaran thought “He will never be able to uplift himself” and having that only as the reason, tried to uplift me. Both aruLE or aruLAlE, are acceptable.
  • nanRu nAn uyya – I became similar to nithyasUris who are known as asprushta samsAra gandhar (those who are untouched by defects of samsAra), instead of being known as one who remained as said in “venRiyE vENdi vIzh porutkirangi vERkaNAr kalaviyE karudhi“, has become pure.
  • nAn kaNdu koNdEn nArAyaNA ennum nAmam – AzhwAr spoke about himself as having pride and greed as in “venRiyE vENdi vIzh porutkirangi“; I who was like this acquired the result which is acquired by those who are having noble qualities such as amAnithvam (being free of pride) etc.

In the next article we will enjoy the next pAsuram.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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thiruviruththam – pAsuram 1 – poy ninRa

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

Full Series


avathArikai (Introduction)

emperumAn shows to AzhwAr the greatness of his svarUpam (basic nature), rUpam (divine form), guNam (auspicious qualities) as well as his wealth of nithya vibhUthi (SrIvaikuNtam) and leelA vibhUthi (materialistic realm). AzhwAr realises the knowledge, activities and the way the nithyAthmAs (permanent dwellers of nithya vibhUthi) and mukthAthmAs (those who have reached nithya vibhUthi after being liberated from leelA vibhUthi) live there. He also thinks about his situation in samsAram which is the exact opposite of those who dwell in nithya vibhUthi and appeals to emperumAn to sever his connection with prakruthi (samsAram) which is a hurdle for his enjoying emperumAn.

AzhwAr has been granted knowledge and devotion by emperumAn without any cause. When such is the situation, why should he, like ordinary people, appeal to emperumAn to sever his hurdles, just as it is said in bhagavath gIthA SlOkam 7-29 “jarA maraNa mOkshAya mamASrithya yadhanthiyE” (those who wish to rid themselves of old age and death should attain me)? Just as a beloved would remove all the dirt from her person before uniting with her beloved and just as a prince, who is to be coronated, gets rid of his diseases, AzhwAr too wishes severance from samsAram as a prelude to enjoying emperumAn. Is this desire arising out of his love towards emperumAn or out of fear for samsAram? It is for both reasons, says the commentator, just like maharAjar (sugrIva) had love towards perumAL (SrI rAma) and fear towards vAli.

Why is the AzhwAr projecting emperumAn’s followers in the forefront in many pAsurams in this prabandham? When a creeper plant starts growing, it needs the support of poles before it can be taken on to a pandhal (broad network of sticks). Followers of emperumAn serve a similar purpose. Just as it is said in (a) thiruviruththam 1 “imaiyOr thalaivA” (Oh the lord of nithyasUris), (b) thiruvAimozhi 3-7-10 “adiyAr adiyAr tham adiyAr” ((we are the servitors of) the followers of the followers of emperumAn’s followers), (3) thiruvAimozhi 2-3-10 “adiyArgal kuzhAngaLai udan kUduvadhu enRukolO” (when will I unite with the groups of emperumAn’s followers?) (d) thiruvAimozhi 10-9-11 “andhamil pErinbaththu adiyarOdu irundhamai” (being united with nithyasUris who are present in the great hall of SrIvaikuNtam which has unending happiness), they serve the role of AchAryan (teacher who guides) when attaining emperumAn’s divine feet. They are also required to console when there is Udal (love-quarrel) with emperumAn. Since both in the first pAsuram “inninRa nIrmai” (the nature of sorrow arising out of repeated births) and in the final pAsuram “azundhAr piRappAm” (will not get drowned in the reason for being born in samsAram), the meaning is similar, it could be taken that the entire prabandham is centred around AzhwAr requesting emperumAn to rid him [AzhwAr] of his hurdles which prevent him from enjoying emperumAn.

poy ninRa gyAnamum pollA ozhukkum azhukkudambum
inninRa nIrmai iniyAm uRAmai  uyir aLippAn
enninRa yOniyumAyp piRandhAy imaiyOr thalaiva
meynninRu kEttaruLAy adiyEn seyyum viNNappamE

Word-by-Word Meanings

uyir – all the created entities
aLippAn – to protect
enninRa – many different types
yOniyumAy – births
piRandhAy – Oh one who incarnated!
imaiyOr – for nithyasUris (permanent dwellers of SrIvaikuNtam)
thalaivA – Oh one who is the Lord!
poynninRa – not being truthful
(considering body as the soul)
gyAnamum – knowledge
pollA ozhukkum – bad conduct
azhukku – deficient
udambum – body
(being like this)
inninRa – of this nature
nIrmai – quality
ini – from now onwards
yAm – we
uRAmai – such that we do not attain
adiyEn – I, who am your servitor
seyyum – make
mey – reality
viNNappam – appeal
ninRu – remaining firm
kEttaruLAy – please listen to, mercifully

Simple Translation

Oh one who incarnated in many births in order to protect all the creatures! Oh the lord of nithyasUris (permanent dwellers of SrIvaikuNtam)! We should be without these births which are the cause for our sorrow and which are with knowledge which is the opposite of truth (we should be without faulty knowledge), with wrongful deeds, physical forms which are full of impurity etc. You should stand firmly and hear my appeal to you from me, your servitor, for the sake of this.


poy ninRa gyAnamum – this term refers to the knowledge which considers that which is not self as the self, viz. considers body which is not the soul, as the soul. This is called as anyathA gyAnam (inaccurate or erroneous knowledge); it is erroneous knowledge because it is about prakruthi (primordial matter which is the raw material for all creations) and prAkrutham (those which are derived from prakruthi); instead of knowledge about true meanings, it is knowledge about untruths.  SrI vishNu purANam 6-5-87 says “thathgyAnam agyAnamanthOnyadhuktham” (that by which we know emperumAn is knowledge; all the rest are only false knowledge). How can we say that whatever is seen by the eyes in prakruthi is false knowledge? It is not the way that baudhdha follower says as false or mAyAvAdhi (one who is a follower of adhvaitham) says as thuchcham (non-existing). The opinion is that whatever is seen in prakruthi is not like AthmA (soul). Just as it is said in SrI vishNu purANam 2-13-100 “yaththu kAlAntharENApi nAnyasamgyAmupaithivai pariNAmAdhi sambhUthAn thadhvasthu nrupadhachchakim” (that for which this world which keeps changing is present and that which does not change at all, though in the grip of time) AthmA does not change unlike the other objects. This remains the same all the time. Since the other objects keep changing constantly, AzhwAr refers to them as false knowledge. ninRa refers to the fact that these objects have been existing in this samsAram from time immemorial. gyAnamum – the state where one who sees prakruthi, which is insentient, as something great, leading to the state where self becomes equally insentient. The erroneous knowledge which results from such a state, including mistaking body for AthmA.

pollA ozhukkumbhagavath kainkaryam (carrying out service to emperumAn) will result from having truthful knowledge. When knowledge is erroneous, activities also become erroneous, and would result in not carrying out service to emperumAn. The basic nature of AthmA is to carry out service to emperumAn, just as lakshmaNa had told SrI rAma in SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 31-25 “aham sarvam kariyshyAmi” (I will carry out all services to you) and 31-22 “kurushva mAm anucharaNam” (you should order me to carry out service to you). Instead of being like this, one thinks “I am doing” and indulges in all activities other than carrying out service to emperumAn.

azhukkudambum – the insentient prakruthi which is the cause for the above two mentioned characteristics. We can also consider this term to refer to the physical form which is misconstrued as AthmA (ahankAram or ego) and those which are considered as one’s own, even though they are not (mamakAram or possessiveness). Even mahAbhAratham could not state clearly the difference between prakruthi and purusha (body and AthmA) just as one cannot clearly separate hay from jackfruit with which it is stuck. However, AzhwAr, since he has been showered with faultless knowledge and devotion by emperumAn, differentiates between prakruthi and purusha through these three terms:

  1. poy ninRa gyAnam – by terming prakruthi as false, the correctness of AthmA has been established.
  2. pollA ozhukku – due to the connection with physical form, one thinks “I am doing”; however, carrying out service to emperumAn is always the basic nature of AthmA.
  3. azhukkudambu – if there is no connection between AthmA and the physical form (which is the effect of prakruthi), AthmA is full of true knowledge.

inninRa nIrmai – the nature which has got destabilised like this. ammangi ammAL would say that AzhwAr is explaining his position as well that of the people of the world through these words just like a person, who has been hurt badly, would display his blood stained clothes. swAmy ALavandhAr would say – just like the sages of dhaNdakAraNyam who had been hurt by demons would show their scars to SrI rAma, as mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNa AraNya kANdam SlOkam 6-16 “Ehi paSya SarIrANi” (look at our forms), AzhwAr is showing his AthmA which has been tortured by samsAram. poy ninRa gyAnam . . . . – just like a person who has injuries on his physical form would display them, AzhwAr says “look at this injury; look at this hurt”, displaying the injuries inflicted on his AthmA.

inninRa nIrmai – this is remaining in a situation when one does not listen to AchArya’s instructions and neither does he listen to the instructions of SAsthras (sacred texts) which are authentic.

ini – The time when one thought “I am capable of taking care of myself; why should I depend on emperumAn?” has gone. The situation now is “I do not want anything other than what has been given by you”

yAm – AzhwAr is making the appeal on behalf of all the people since he is able to feel the worthless situation of others and hence is stating this in plural.

uRAmai – incongruent; not affected. Just as it is said in pUrvamImAmsai “SAsthra palam prayOkthari” (only the person who is going to get benefitted should take efforts to attain it), emperumAn asks of AzhwAr “Since I am considering attaining you as my benefit, I have created several paths such as karmayOgam, gyAnayOgam, bhakthiyOgam etc (the paths of carrying out deeds, gaining knowledge and devotion respectively); why don’t you attain me choosing one of those paths?” AzhwAr responds saying “Please state the purpose of your taking various incarnations” periya thiruvandhAdhi pAsuram 56 says “oruvARu oruvan pugAvARu uRumARum Ayavar thAm” (in order to ensure that no sentient entity enters some path [which may not lead to liberation from samsAram] emperumAn incarnated as the cowherd boy, krishNa). If emperumAn takes such care of us, why should anyone follow any other path?

uyir – did you come here for the sake of pirAttimArs (consorts), thiruvadi (garudan), ananthan (AdhiSEshan) et al?

aLippAn – did anyone request you to come and incarnate as a human being? Was it not out of your mercy that your incarnations took place? emperumAn himself says in bhagavath gIthA 4-5 “bahUni” (many incarnations), confirming that he had taken up many incarnations.

enninRa yOniyumAy – just as it is said in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam “AthmAnam mAnusham manyE” (I consider myself as a mere man), emperumAn takes incarnations as per his wish.

piRandhAy – emperumAn also takes a birth similar to other human beings, unlike his other incarnations such as narasimha when he appeared suddenly from a pillar or when he came to help the elephant gajEndhran when the elephant called out to him. SrI rAmAyaNam bAla kANdam SlOkam says ”thathaScha dhvAdhaSEmAsE”(he remained in his mother kauSalyA dhEvi’s womb for twelve months instead of the normal ten months that we all remain for). periyAzhwAr thirumozhi 3-2-8 also reflects the same meaning “panniru thingaL” (twelve months in mother’s womb).

imaiyOr thalaivA –  Just as it is said in thiruviruththam pAsuram 21 “sUttu nan mAlaigaL” (holding nice garlands ready for adorning emperumAn with …), isn’t emperumAn one who is having nithyasUris in paramapadham as those who are “Dear to me”? Did he incarnate here since he was not satisfied with nithyasUris alone and wanted to invite those who have shortcomings in their knowledge here? When he became the controller for us too, he became one without any shortcoming.

sarvESwaran told AzhwAr “If nithyasUris make an appeal to me like this, I would consider that to be a statement of fact. But how can I take your words, when you have been in samsAram from time immemorial, to be true? For how long will these words remain truthful? If I go to people thinking that they are truly calling out to me, they may ask for benefits other than me”. To which AzhwAr responds saying . . . .

mey – it is not that way. Our appeal is indeed truthful. Just as sthOthra rathnam SlOkam 57 says “vigyApanam idham sathyam” (this is a truthful appeal), our appeal too, to you, is truthful.

ninRu – AzhwAr started his appeal with the first pAsuram in thiruviruththam and ended with thiruvAimozhi 10.7.10 “mangavottu un mAmAyai” (rid us of this bondage in samsAram).

kEttaryLAy – to listen to this is apt for emperumAn. It is only till such time that AzhwAr makes the appeal that AzhwAr has any shortcoming. Once he has enunciated it, if emperumAn does not initiate any action on it, the resulting lowliness is his and not AzhwAr’s.

emperumAn is puzzled that someone, who is in samsAram, is making an appeal without expecting any worldly benefit, which is much against the normal behaviour of a samsAri. His words are totally contrary to those of a samsAri. He wonders as to who it is, who is making such an appeal . . . .

adiyEn – AzhwAr says that he is emperumAn’s servitor. Had he said, “I”, it would have been at loggerheads with the words spoken thus far. Hence he says “Servitor”

seyyum viNNappam – Had he said “I” in the previous verse, he would have said “Words spoken” here. However, since he said “Servitor” he hays “Appeal made”.

vyAkyAthA (commentator for this pAsuram) periyavAchchAn piLLai shows further that this pAsuram explains artha panchakam (five meanings) – svasvarUpam (nature of self, the jIvAthmA), parasvarUpam (nature of paramAthmA, emperumAn), upAya svarUpam (nature of means, the path which leads us to our goal), upEya svarUpam (nature of goal) and virOdhi svarUpam (nature of hurdle). The words poyninRa gyAnam and inninRa nIrmai explain the nature of hurdles. The words enninRa yOniyumAyp piRandhAy reveal the nature of means. The words imaiyOr thalaivA explain the nature of goal. The word adiyEn explains the nature of self. The words seyym viNNappam reveal that kainkaryam (to emperumAn) is the benefit that one gets on attaining the goal.

We will take up the second pAsuram in the next article.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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