Monthly Archives: November 2020

periya thirumozhi – 1.1.4 – venRiyE vENdi

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pAsuram

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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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.

vyAkhyAnam

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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periya thirumozhi – 1.1.3 – sEmamE vENdi

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

periya thirumozhi >> First centum >> First decad

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pAsuram

sEmamE vENdith thIvinai perukkith
therivaimAr uruvamE maruvi
UmanAr kaNda kanavilum pazhudhAy
ozhindhana kazhindha annALgaL
kAmanAr thAdhai nammudai adigaL
thammadaindhAr manaththiruppAr
nAmam nAn uyya nAn kaNdu koNdEn
nArAyaNA ennum nAmam

Word-by-Word meanings

sEmamE – well-being only
vENdi – desiring (but without not performing virtuous duties which are required for that)
thIvinai – sins
perukki – increasing
therivaimAr – of women
uruvamE – physical beauty only
maruvi – thinking about
kazhindha – wasted
annALgaL – those times
UmanAr – mute persons
kaNda – saw
kanavilum – more than the dream
pazhudhAy – being useless
ozhindhana – lost; hence
kAmanAr – for cupid
thAdhai – being the father
nammudai – for all of us
adigaL – being the lord
tham – him
adaindhAr – for those who hold as refuge
manaththu – in the heart
iruppAr – sarvESvaran who firmly remains
nAmam – word
nArAyaNA ennum – nArAyaNa
nAmam – divine name
nAn – I who was running behind worldly pleasures
uyya – to be uplifted
nAn – who is too lost for redemption
kaNdu koNdEn – realised.

Simple translation

Desiring only for the well-being, but increasing the sins, only thinking about the physical beauty of women, all those times were wasted and were more useless than the dream seen by mute persons; hence, I who was running behind worldly pleasures, got the word nArAyaNa which is the divine name of sarvESvaran who is the father of cupid, who is the lord for all of us and who firmly remains in the heart of those who hold him as refuge; I who am too lost for redemption, realised such divine name for me to be uplifted.

Highlights from vyAkyAnam (Commentary)

  • sEmamE vENdi – One will be thinking in the heart “There should be no troubles from enemies, kings et al for us; we should be protected by all”.
  • thIvinai perukki – When one looks out for the well-being, one should also engage in suitable righteous activities which lead to such well-being; but one will accumulate sins only.
  • theirvaimAr uruvamE maruvi – One will only reap the results of the sinful activities, if one does not engage in righteous activities; the sins committed will lead to engagement in worldly pleasures.
  • uruvamE maruvi – When one sees deep inside the hearts of such women, one can easily give them up. Their hearts will be poisonous with selfish motives; if one engages in the heart, one can see the ignoble qualities, one can retract; it will be easy to hide the defects in the form.
  • maruvi – Such forms will be meditated upon as SubSrayam (auspicious abode).
  • UmanAr kaNda kanavilum pazhudhAy – UmanAr – mute persons. A mute person won’t be able to reveal the dream he saw – he can only think about it; even unlike that, enjoying these worldly pleasures for a long time, one will not even be able to recollect what one enjoyed. Alternative explanation – while a mute person cannot speak about his dream, he can at least think about it; but the enjoyment of these worldly pleasures cannot even be thought about since that will only cause fear (for the repurcussions). There is nothing worthy to recollect and even if there is, that will only cause fear.
  • ozhindhana kazhindha annALgaL – SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 5.5 “na mE dhukkam priyA dhUrE na mE dhukkam hruthEthi vA | EthadhEvAnusOchAmi vayOsyA hyathivarththathE ||” (I am not feeling distressed that the one who is dear to my heart is at a far away place or that she has been abducted. I am only feeling sad that she is ageing) – I am not upset that my dear wife is far away from me, that can be remedied by traveling there; I am not upset she was abducted by a powerful demon, that can be remedied by severing his head; my only sorrow is this – “vayOsyA hyathivarththathE” – I cannot get back the lost time with my arrow!

When asked “Are these defects not present in the entity (bhagavAn) you are holding on to?” AzhwAr says,

  • kAmanAr thAdhai – His form itself is attractive; his physical beauty will add to the greatness. He is the creator of cupid who bewilders the world with his beautiful form. He goes through the same emotions on seeing emperumAn, which are observed by the world on seeing him. SrI bhAgavatham 10.32.2 “sAkshAn manmatha manmatha:” (For the cowherd girls, krishNa appeared like a cupid of cupids).
  • nammudai adigaL – Not just that he is free from the defects which are present in worldly aspects, the worldly aspects are inapt while he is apt.
  • nammudai adigaL – sarvasvAmi (lord of all).
  • thammadaindhAr manaththiruppAr – Unlike those women who would showcase their forms and attract the men, take away everything possessed by the men, not presenting themselves to the men and driving the men away, emperumAn will firmly remain in the heart of those who have even the slightest attachment towards him. He will even abandon his grand assembly in paramapadham and have the hearts of such devotees as his abode.
  • thammadaindhAr manaththiruppAr nAmam – The divine name which spells out all the aforementioned aspects. Having beautiful physical form, being the lord of all, easy approachability and motherly forbearance are revealed in this name.
  • nAn uyya nAn kaNdu koNdEn – I, who was getting destroyed as said in thaiththirIya upanishath “asannEva” (as good as matter), realised him to be uplifted.
  • nAn kaNdu koNdEn – I who had reached the stage to think “Is there no vision?” acquired the desired benefit. I who had thought as “I won’t exist anymore, there is no possibility of vision” got uplifted and also saw emperumAn’s divine name.
  • nAn uyya nAn – “nAn” (I) is repeated twice as an outlet for the joy acquired.
  • nArAyaNa ennum nAmam – I got to recite the divine name which is to be recited by those who have control over internal and external senses as said in bruhadhAraNyaka upanishath 6.4.23 “SAnthO dhAntha uparathas thithikshus samAhithO bhUthvA AthmanyEvAthmAnam paSyEth” (One who has control over internal and external senses, who has no attachment towards activities (in the context of getting the fruits), who has patience and who has undisturbed mind can see the bhagavAn who is present within the self). I who was having ignoble qualities as said in “sEmamE vENdith thIvinai perukkith therivaimAr uruvamE maruvi“, acquired the result which is acquired by those who are having noble qualities.

In the next article we will enjoy the next pAsuram.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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thiruviruththam – vyAkhyAna pravESam

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vyAkhyAna pravESam

Having mercifully decided in his divine mind to write the vyAkhyAnam (commentary) for thiruviruththam, periyavAchchAn piLLai starts to describe the greatness of nammAzhwAr who has composed this prabandham.

Some people call AzhwAr [whenever the term AzhwAr alone is mentioned, it usually refers to nammAzhwAr], as mukthar (one who had been liberated from samsAram (materialistic realm) and had attained SrIvaikuNtam). One follower of aruLALapperumAL emperumAnAr [a disciple of bhagavadh SrI rAmAnujar] would say that AzhwAr is a mukthaprAyar (one who is on par with mukthAthmAs and possibly living in SwEthadhwIpam (the land mass in which we live is called as jambudhwIpam; SwEthadhwIpam is another land mass, but in a different galaxy)). Some other people will say that emperumAn ordained someone there (in SrIvaikuNtam) to be born on earth. vangipuraththu nambi (a disciple of bhagavath SrI rAmAnujar) had said that emperumAn himself took the incarnation of nammAzhwAr. All these have been said in view of AzhwAr’s greatness.

If AzhwAr had been one among the mukthars who had been sent by emperumAn, he would have waited thinking “We (it was normal during those times to address the self in plural instead of in singular number) have been ordained to come to this earth; once our goal has been reached, we will return to SrIvaikuNtam. Hence why should we make a fuss for this?” However, since AzhwAr kept calling out to emperumAn, just as he had mercifully said (a) in thiruviruththam pAsuram 1 “inninRa nIrmai ini yAm uRamai” (We do not want to put up with this nature of being born repeatedly in this samsAram) (b) thiruvAimozhi 6-9-9 “pala nI kAttip paduppAyO” (will you display many types of worldly pursuits to me so that I get attached to them, and perish in the bargain?) (c) thiruvAimozhi 2-6-8 “mARi mARip pala piRappum piRandhu” (being born repeatedly in various births) (d) thiruvAimozhi 7-1-10 “mun paravai kadaindhu amudham koNda mUrththiyO” (Are you the one who in an earlier time churned the ocean and gave nectar to the celestial entities and helped them?) it is clear that he was one among the samsAris, having been born here repeatedly and suffered. In a country without a king, a person on whom the elephant places the garland becomes the new king. In the same way, emperumAn searched and located a samsAri on whom he showered his grace.

A question arises here. Could a person, who had been suffering for a long time in samsAram, change like this (gaining knowledge about matters related to emperumAn and becoming deeply devoted to him)? SrI vishNu purANam 5-6-28 says “brindhAvanam bhagavathA krushNEnAklishta karmaNA | SubhEna manasA dhyAtham gavAm vrudhdhim apIpsadha ||” (brindhAvan, which was like a forest of thorns got a facelift due to the incarnation of krishNa who is capable of carrying out great deeds; cows became healthy due to his divine mind). SrI vishNu purANam 5-6-37 says “uthpanna navachashbhAtyam” (Fresh grass sprouted). Thus a forest of thorns became converted into a verdant land mass due to emperumAn. In the same way, AzhwAr too got changed due to emperumAn’s grace.

In the next article, we will take up the first pAsuram.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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periya thirumozhi – 1.1.2 – AviyE amudhE

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periya thirumozhi >> First centum >> First decad

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Highlights from avathArikai (Introduction)

Previously AzhwAr said “vAdinEn” and “iLaiyavar kalaviyE karudhi OdinEn“, without realising that there is bhagavAn, until then and with deep attachment towards worldly pleasures. Now, AzhwAr is explaining how he enjoyed those pleasures, how he wasted the time all along and how he realised the divine name to even redeem the lost time.

pAsuram

AviyE! amudhE! ena ninaindhurugi
avaravar paNaimulai thuNaiyA
pAviyEn uNarAdhu eththanai pagalum
pazhudhu pOyozhindhana nALgaL
thUvisEr annam thuNaiyodum puNarum
sUzhpunal kudainthaiyE thozhudhu en
nAvinAl uyya nAn kaNdu koNdEn
nArAyaNA ennum nAmam 

Word-by-Word meanings

AviyE – Oh my life!
amudhE – Oh one who is enjoyable for me like nectar!
ena – saying these many praises
ninaindhu – thinking about the insignificant pleasures they give
urugi – melting like ice
avaravar – of those women
paNai – large
mulai – bosoms
thuNaiyA – having as protection
pAviyEn – I who am a sinner
uNarAdhu – without knowing “sarvESvaran is the rakshaka (protector)”
eththanai pagalum – forever
nALgaLum – everyday
pazhudhupOy ozhindhana – was wasted;
thUvi – with wings
sEr – matching
annam – swan
thuNaiyodum – with its female counterpart
puNarum – living together
punal – with water
sUzh – surrounded
kudandhai – ArAvamudhAzhwAr in thirukkudandhai
thozhudhu – worshipped
nAn – I who was immersed in worldly pleasures
uyya – to get uplifted
nArAyaNA ennum nAmam – the divine name “nArAyaNa”
en nAvinAl – with my tongue
kaNdu koNdEn – praised and realised.

Simple translation

Thinking about the insignificant pleasures the women give, saying these many praises such as “Oh my life! Oh one who is enjoyable for me like nectar!”, melting like ice, considering their large bosoms as protection, without knowing “sarvESvaran is the rakshaka (protector)”, I who am a sinner, wasted everyday forever. Swan with matching wings, is living together with its female counterpart in the water surrounding thirukkudandhai. To get uplifted, I who was immersed in worldly pleasures worshipped ArAvamudhAzhwAr in such thirukkudandhai by praising the divine name “nArAyaNa” with my tongue and realised the divine name.

Highlights from vyAkyAnam (Commentary)

  • AviyE amudhE – Whatever is to be said in bhagavath vishayam as said in thiruvAimozhi 8.1.1AviyE! amudhE! alai kadal kadaindha appanE!” (you are my life; you are the most enjoyable nectar; oh great benefactor who performed difficult tasks and helped others!) and thiruvAimozhi 3.8.7AviyE! AramudhE! ennai ALudaith
    thUvi am puL udaiyAy!” (Oh one who is my prANa, one who is fully and eternally enjoyable, one who has beautifully winged periya thiruvadi (garudAzhwAr) as your vehicle to enslave me). Whatever is to be said towards the apt lord, I said those towards inapt persons. Both dhArakathva (being the support) and bhOgyathai (enjoyability) are fully present without any shortcoming only in bhagavath vishayam. These words were spoken towards those who are unfavourable rather than being a support and are disgusting rather than being enjoyable. I told as in uththara rAma charitham 3.26 “thvam jIvitham thvamasi mE hrudhayam madhIyam” (You are my life and heart).
  • ena ninaindhu – nanjIyar would mercifully explain “this is thought about in several ways in this manner”. nampiLLai humbly asked nanjIyar “Can we say AzhwAr was thinking as said in thiruvAimozhi 9.6.2ninaidhoRum sollum thoRum nenjidindhugum” (every time I think about him, every time I speak/hear about him, my heart becomes broken)?” nanjIyar mercifully responded “You are explaining this even better than AzhwAr”.
  • ena ninaindhu urugi – They will contemplate in this manner and remain like melted ice in an unconscious state.

When asked “How long did they remain in worldly pleasures in this manner?” AzhwAr says,

  • avaravar – Time is eternal, AthmA has been there forever, the bodies AthmA acquired were countless and the aspects enjoyed in each of the body are also countless; AthmA remained immersed in all of those aspects. Hence, it is said as “avaravar” (respective).
  • paNai mulai – Those [bosoms] are unlike bhagavAn who feels for the suffering AthmAs as said in SrI rAmAyaNam AraNya kANdam 10.9 “hrIrEshAhi mamAthulA” (I am feeling immensely ashamed), and SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 8.3 “nathyajEyam” (I will not abandon even if he has faults). They will grow multi-fold having the torment of the men who became attracted as the fertilizer thinking “we have trapped a lowly/helpless person; all his possessions belong to us now”. They don’t have the compassion to let the person enjoy them thinking “he is melting to get us”!
  • paNai mulai thuNaiyA – Desiring for a lump which is made of skin, flesh, fatty matter and bone, one remains as said in thiruvAimozhi 3.6.8thayaradhaRku magan thannai anRi maRRilEn thanjam AgavE” (other than such SrI rAma, who appeared as the son of dhaSaratha chakravarthi, I will not have anyone, even another form of bhagavAn, as my refuge). Having great attachment towards them, not just with the thought of “we are having bodily attachment towards them now” but thinking “these will grant us even what is to be attained in after-life”. This is because, the person has forgotten about after-life. One who should have emperumAn as protection as said in thirunedundhANdagam 16 “thunnu kuzhal karu niRaththu en thuNaiyE” (Oh my protection who is having very dark complexion of dense hair!)
  • pAviyEn – This is the insult attained by AthmA who is eternal, singular in form, identified by gyAnam (knowledge) and Anandham (bliss) and is similar to SrI kaushthubam (the crown jewel on emperumAn’s chest) for ISvara.
  • uNarAdhu – Not realising that emperumAn has the AthmA to be engaged in his service only.
  • eththanai pagalum pazhudhu pOy ozhindhana nALgaL – We have wasted all the time thus far. We have wasted forever – just as water which had overflown the dam and reached the ocean for no benefit. As perumAL felt sorrow for having lost his time with sIthA as said in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 5.5 “na mE dhukkam … vayOsyA hyathivarthathE” (My biggest sorrow is … sIthA’s age is passing by without being enjoyed [by me (SrI rAma)])
  • pazhudhu pOy ozhindhana nALgaL – The time which should have been spent as done by iLaiya perumAL (lakshmaNa) in serving sIthAp pirAtti and SrI rAma, was simply wasted. The time which should have been spent with kainkaryam in a precious manner, was wasted.
  • thUvi sEr … – Such AthmA who was going down in this manner, redeemed with the dhivyadhESams which are present in this world.  thUvi – wing. The abode where swan which has the beauty acquired by its wings, lives together with his spouse. The abode which is the refuge for all creatures. Since hamsa is fully comparable to bhagavAn, it can be said that ArAvamudhAzhwAr (bhagavAn) joyfully lives in thirukkudandhai along with periya pirAttiyAr. The abode where bhagavAn who is SaraNya (refuge) lives without any shortcoming. There is no shortcoming in this abode since pirAtti who pacifies bhagavAn when he shows anger and bhagavAn who becomes pacified [and accepts AthmAs] are residing.
  • sUzh punal – Even the insentient water (river) will go around the dhivyadhESam on approaching it. The abode which eliminates the fatigue for those who are suffering.
  • kudandhaiyE thozhudhu – As said in mahAbhAratham sabhA parvam 75 “avaSA: prathibEdhirE” (They honoured krishNa without even realising), AzhwAr saw himself worshipping bhagavAn, though he did not have any real intention to do so.
  • en nAvinAl – With my tongue which said “AviyE! amudhE!“. Just as saying “I attained fame by begetting this child” [AzhwAr feels happy for having the tongue]. Though the physical tongue is different in this birth now in comparison to previous births, as the sense of speech [subtle aspect in tongue] is carried across different bodies, there is nothing wrong in AzhwAr saying “My tongue”.

With the body, which praised worldly people,

  • uyya nAn kaNdu koNdEn – I who said in periya thirumozhi 6.2.2 “maRandha madhiyin manaththAl iRandhEn eththanaiyum” (Due to forgetting you forever and not having intelligence, I lost you all along), realised myself for my being uplifted.
  • kaNdu koNdEn – Just as meditating upon thirumanthram’s meanings matches the true nature of the self, reciting it also matches the true nature of the self. Azhwar is saying that he realised what is apt and what was lost all along.
  • nArAyaNA ennum nAmam – That which is said in mudhal thiruvandhAdhi 95nA vAyil uNdE“. [pAsuram is explained here]
    • nA vAyil uNdE – One need not search for a tongue.
    • namO nArAyANA enRu OvAdhu uraikkum urai uNdE – OvAdhu does not mean “without break”; since there are only eight syllables, one can recite this without becoming tired. This is unlike sahasrAksharI mAla manthram (a thousand syllabled manthram) which makes one think “Instead of learning and reciting this, hell seems to be a better option”
  • ennum nAmam – I saw (realised) the divine name, to make the previously wasted time to become purposeful. mUnRAm thiruvandhAdhi 17senRa nAL sellAdha sengaNmAl engaLmAl enRanAL ennALum nALAgum” – The day when we realise that reddish-eyed bhagavAn is our lord, occurs; senRa nAL – ennALum nALAgum – Due to facilitating in the progress towards reciting thirumanthram, even the past times will feel auspicious and the present times will be good. By reciting thirumanthram, it can be guaranteed that there will be no disaster in the future.

In the next article we will enjoy the next pAsuram.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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thiruviruththam – thaniyan

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The thaniyan (special hymn) for this prabandham has been written by kidAmbi AchchAn. It is said that this thaniyan has been composed by sIrAmappiLLai (vEdha vyAsa bhattar) as well as by ALavandhAr.

avathArikai (Introduction)

This says that instead of observing the sorrows of samsAram (life in the materialistic realm) through the seven stages of life which are infirm, meditate on one line of thiruviruththam which is a divine composition, as a means of attaining SrIvaikuNtam.

karuviruththak kuzhi nIththapin kAmak kadunguzhi vIzhndhu
oru viruththam pukku uzhaluRuvIr, uyirin poruLgatku
oru viruththam pugudhAmal kurugaiyar kOn uraiththa
thiruviruththaththu Or adi kaRRu irIr thirunAttu agaththE

Word-by-word Meanings:

karu – womb
viruththam – faulty
kuzhi – from the pit
nIththapin – after slipping out of
kAmam – termed as lust
kadum – cruel
kuzhi – pit
vIzhndhu – falling into
(later)
oru viruththam – old age which is unfit for any activity
pukku – attaining
uzhal uRuvIr – Oh those who are roaming!
uyirin – for the  jIvAthmA (soul)
poruLgatku – for the entities
oru viruththam – any bad conduct
pugudhAmal – without attaining
kurugaiyar kOn – the lord of thirunagari, swAmy nammAzhwAr
uraiththa – mercifully composed
thiruviruththaththu – of thiruviruththam
Oradi – one line
kaRRu – learning well
thirunAttagaththu – at SrIvaikuNtam
irIr – stay (without any worry)

Simple Translation

Oh the people of this samsAram, who are without the strength to come out of it and who are repeatedly experiencing the seven stages of unending sorrows, namely dwelling in womb, birth, infancy, youthfulness, old age, death and hell! I will instruct you a good way to come out, listen to me. Get rid of the bewilderment of looking at your body as the soul, meditate on the first line of thiruviruththam, a divine prabandham mercifully composed by nammAzhwAr, live without any burden and attempt to separate the soul which is distinct from this body so as to reach SrIvaikuNtam.

vyAkhyAnam (commentary)

The vyAkhyAnam for this thaniyan has been written by piLLailOkam jIyar.

The first line shows the fault of samsAram.

karuviruththak kuzhi nIththapin – this speaks about the first stage among the seven stages of life, viz. being in the womb, being born, being an infant, being young, reaching old age, death and being punished in hell. The term karu refers to being in the womb. iruththak kuzhi refers to the pit which has been placed. Mother is like a bag which has been kept to hold the foetus. Alternatively, when considered as viruththak kuzhi, this could also refer to the repeated births in samsAram (viruththam in samskrutham refers to ring, rotating repeatedly).  kuzhi nIththapin – getting rid of the womb and entering the stage of being an infant who is without any knowledge, experiencing the sorrows of that stage (expecting assistance from mother even for taking bath, eating etc).

kAmak kadum kuzhi vIzhndhu – Just as it says in thiruvAimozhi 7-8-7 “thuyaram sey kAmangaLAy” (desires which inflict sorrows), periyAzhwAr thirumozhi 5-2-7 “vazhukki angOr muzhaiyinil pukkittu azhundhikkidandhu uzhalvEnai” (slipping into a cave called as hell (samsAram) and roaming inside it without knowing the way out), periya thirumozhi 6-3-4 “sAndhEndhu menmulaiyAr thadandhOL puNar inba veLLaththu AzhndhEn arunaragaththu azhundhum payan padaiththEn” ((in earlier days) I had immersed in the ocean of pleasures by embracing the rounded shoulders of women who had applied vermillion on their bosoms. As a result of this, I attained the result of being in the quagmire of cruel hell, called as samsAram), falling into the cruel pit of lust

oru viruththam pukku – after exhausting the phase of being engaged with worldly pursuits, entering old age which is unique. thirumangai AzhwAr mercifully described the fault in old age in his periya thirumozhi pAsuram 1-3-1 “muRRa mUththuk kOl thuNaiyA” ((being infirm) having a stick as support after attaining complete old age).

uzhaluRuvIr – calling out to those who are repeatedly suffering the pain of old age, death and punishment in hell. They keep going continuously between the mother’s womb and the lasso of yama, when he pulls the AthmA for undergoing punishment in hell.

Alternatively, oru viruththam pukku would also refer to engaging in improper conduct and getting entrapped in such behaviour.

Instead of getting trapped like this,

uyirin poruLgatku – Just as it is mentioned in thiruvAimozhi pAsuram 1-2-10 “annalaththu oNporuL” (jIvAthma entities (souls) which have distinguished qualities such as knowledge etc), for the jIvAthmAs who are qualified to enjoy the experience of emperumAn. If the text is uyirin poruLukku, it would refer to the benefits of jIvAthmAs instead of benefits of the physical bodies in which they reside.

oru viruththam pugudhAmal – instead of entering even a part of such avoidable obstacles. Not approaching any of such poor conducts. This AzhwAr himself (nammAzhwAr) has said in thiruviruththam pAsuram 9 “nadAviya kURRam” (the lord of death who rules over cupid; in other words, one can overcome even death, but it is almost impossible to overcome the attraction of lustful objects). nammAzhwAr has also said in (a) thiruvAimozhi 10-2-5 “ippiRappu aRukkum” (emperumAn will rid the jIvAthmA of this samsAram), (b) thiruvAimozhi 6-2-9 “azhiththAy un thiruvadiyAl” (destroyed with your divine feet), (c) thiruvAimozhi 1-7-2 “adiyarai valvinaiththuppAm pulan aindhum thunjak kodAn” (emperumAn will not let his followers to be annihilated being caught in the five senses which stroll through the strong karmas (deeds)), (d) thiruvAimozhi 3-3-9 “Oyum mUppup piRappu iRappu”((emperumAn will get rid of) old age, repeated births and deaths which create tiredness), (e) periya thiruvandhAdhi 23 “iLaikka naman thamargaL paRRi iLaippeydha nAy thandhu mOdhAmal nalguvAn” (emperumAn will shower his mercy on us such that the followers of yama (the lord of justice) will not trouble us by catching us firmly and by letting dogs on us) and (f) thirumazhisai AzhwAr in nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi 88 “uyir koNdu udal ozhiya Odum pOdhu Odi ayarvenRa thIrppAn” (when the followers of yama take the follower of emperumAn’s AthmA from the body (to punish it in hell), emperumAn runs on his own and removes the hurdles).

kurugaiyar kOn uraiththa – mercifully spoken by satakOpan, the leader of thirukkurugUr.

thiruviruththaththu Oradi kaRRu irIr – recite one line in thiruviruththam which was composed as the first prabandham (divine hymn, among the four divine hymns) by nammAzhwAr. One line is enough for uplifting yourself. Learn it through the method of “AchArya uchchAraNa anuchchAraNa” (AchArya (one’s teacher) would recite a line or phrase once; the disciple will recite the same, twice) and be firmly rooted in it.

Why should this be recited?

thirunAttagaththE – In order to reach SrIvaikuNtam. One can attain SrIvaikuNtam by meditating on one’s shortcomings such as ignorance etc. If one were fully engaged in matters relating to emperumAn, no hurdle will enter. Reciting the hymns of others will be a cause for bondage in samsAram whereas reciting the hymns of nammAzhwAr is the cause for liberation from samsAram.

Thus, by learning the good words of nammAzhwAr from one’s AchArya and reciting them, one can sustain oneself without any fear, getting rid of samsAram and attaining the distinguished paramapadham (SrIvaikuNtam).

Next, we will take up the vyAkhyAna pravESam (introduction to the commentary) mercifully written by periyavAchchAn piLLai.

adiyen krishNa ramanuja dasan

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periya thirumozhi – 1.1.1 – vAdinEn vAdi

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periya thirumozhi >> First centum >> First decad

Highlights from avathArikai (Introduction)

Just as nammAzhwAr did not realise the full impact of the benediction he received after visualising emperumAn and thought about his previous state and contemplated in thiruviruththam 1 “inninRa nIrmai ini yAmuRAmai” (I cannot tolerate these lowly aspects anymore), thirumangai AzhwAr too, after being accepted by bhagavAn, contemplated his previous states and says “vAdinEn” (I suffered).

pAsuram

vAdinEn vAdi varundhinEn manaththAl
perundhuyar idumbaiyil piRandhu
kUdinEn kUdi iLaiyavar thammOdu
avar tharum kalaviyE karudhi
OdinEn Odi uyvadhOr poruLAl
uNarvenum perumpadham therindhu
nAdinEn nAdi nAn kaNdu koNdEn
nArAyaNA ennum nAmam

Word-by-Word meanings

perum thuyar – being the recipient of great sorrow
idumbaiyil – in the body which is the cause for all sorrows
piRandhu – being born
kUdinEn – being unable to distinguish between body and soul, and remained closely together;
kUdi – having remained in this manner for a long time
iLaiyavar – young women
tharum – giving
kalaviyE – union only
karudhi – thinking about
avar thammOdu – following their foot steps
OdinEn – ran behind them;
Odi – in this manner, not remaining in any place, running around many matters seeking joy
manaththAl – with the intellect which was following the worldly pleasures
varundhinEn – experienced sorrow; further,
vAdinEn – suffered (like a support-less creeper);
vAdi – having suffered
uyvadhu – for being uplifted
Or poruLAl – a nice principle (sarvESvaran’s mercy)
uNarvu enum – gyAnam (knowledge)
perum – big
padham – state
therindhu nAdinEn – understood as it is, analysed “bhagavath vishayam (matters relating to bhagavAn) is good and samsAram (bondage in material world) is bad”;
nAdi – having analysed
nAn – I, who am unqualified to recite the divine name
nArAyaNA ennum – nArAyaNa
nAmam – the divine name
kaNdu koNdEn – got to see.

Simple translation

Being the recipient of great sorrow, being born in the body which is the cause for all sorrows, being unable to distinguish between body and soul, I remained closely together with the body; having remained in this manner for a long time, only thinking about the union given by young women, ran behind them, following their footsteps; in this manner, not remaining in any place, running around many matters seeking joy, with the intellect which was following the worldly pleasures, I experienced sorrow; further, I suffered like a support-less creeper; having suffered, I understood as it is, the great state of gyAnam with the help of a nice principle (sarvESvaran’s mercy) which leads to being uplifted, and analysed “bhagavath vishayam (matters relating to bhagavAn) is good and samsAram (bondage in material world) is bad”; having analysed, I, who am unqualified to recite the divine name, got to see the divine name, nArAyaNa.

Highlights from vyAkyAnam (Commentary)

  • vAdinEn – Like a shoot which lost its supporting stem; since the AthmA cannot be destroyed, AthmA is suffering (without being fully destroyed). If emperumAn decided to protect, there is qualification in the AthmA to be protected. As every AthmA is having the apt qualification to remain with bhagavAn as sIthA pirAtti said in SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 21.6 “ananyA rAghavENAham” (I always remain united with SrI rAma), once AzhwAr realised such relationship, there is nothing wrong in saying “vAdinEn” for having lost such enjoyment thus far. SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 17.4 “yaScha rAmam na paSyath thu” is explained here.
    • rAmam – The apt target for the eyes; one who is not seeing such SrI rAma. ya: – However great he may be. thu – Even if this (seeing SrI rAma) is lost. It is specifically highlighted [with thu], to say that the loss of not being seen by SrI rAma is much greater.
    • yancha rAmO napaSyathi – Even the most inferior person will not be missed by SrI rAma’s merciful glance.
    • yam – However inferior he may be. The most inferior person will be seen by SrI rAma [to be blessed by him]. thiruvAimozhi 1.3.4yArum Or nilaimaiyan ena aRivaraiya emperumAn yArum Or nilaimaiyan ena aRiveLiya emperumAn” (Such emperumAn is having a state that is not understandable by those who are not devoted to him and is understandable by those devotees even though they may be very ignorant) – he will be beyond the knowledge of brahmA et al and will be under the auspices of cowherd girl (yaSOdhA and others) and hunter (SrI guhap perumAL and others). Irrespective of one’s greatness, if he did not have the dharSan of namperumAL’s procession at least one day, he is not great; even the most inferior person will not be missed by his glance; those who are not seen by such emperumAn, will not even be considered on a par with achith (matter). He will be counted among those who are discarded – everyone will look down upon such a person. When asked “Will he be despised only by a few like vasishta et al?”
    • nindhithas sa vasEl lOkElOkE – nindhitha: There is none who does not despise such person. Those who are immersed in worldly pleasures, will be blamed now and will also go to hell in next life, yet he will think “I am doing something good”; will such a person [who was not seen by SrI rAma] think like that?
    • svAthmApyEnam vigarhathE – He will despise himself as well. When one misses out on the thirukkaiththala sEvai (namperumAL being carried by archakas in their hands), one will think “I who missed to witness today’s procession can live through death if I get camphor and lemon (as prasAdham from emperumAn]”; if these are the words of those who lost just one puRappAdu (procession) of namperumAL, the one who lost bhagavAn forever cannot say anything other than “vAdinEn“.
  • vAdinEn – What state of AzhwAr does this word represent? When he was enjoying worldly pleasures, since he remained joyfully at that state, there is no suffering then; after starting to enjoy bhagavAn, there is no suffering; hence this is the state where AzhwAr had acquired knowledge about the true nature of the self and then contemplated about his previous situation. Only while attaining the ultimate result, will the previous situations not be remembered anymore; such previous remembrance will not occur as said in chAndhOgya upanishath 8.12.3 “nOpajanam smaran idham SarIram” (AthmA will not contemplate about the material body after reaching the spiritual realm); since AzhwAr acquired true knowledge, his previous situations appear to him in front of his eyes.
  • vAdi – The repetition of this word can be combined with both the previous and subsequent words; it appears to be implying that this loss has been occurring forever and is also causing subsequent disaster; it appears to be implying that this attachment to worldly pleasures was not just occasional, but would redeem oneself after atoning, but was occurring forever; and not stopping with that, it appears to be hinting at the further disaster it is causing.

When asked “What is the subsequent disaster?”, AzhwAr says,

  • varundhinEn manaththAl – I experienced suffering in the mind too. Senses will be attached to worldly pleasures, and while trying to enjoy them, they will fail, and even if they succeed, there is no real enjoyment in these pleasures; I suffered in my mind also; since I was unable to divert the mind which is the root of all senses, to focus internally, I suffered in my mind. With this, it is explained that  being engaged in worldly pleasures like Sabdha (sound) etc [sparSa (touch), rUpa (form), rasa (taste) and gandha (fragrance)], I was unable to think about the divine feet of emperumAn.
  • perum thuyar idumbaiyil piRandhu – [This body, i.e. matter] caused taste in worldly pleasures, created impressions, increased desire and hatred, and due to the ignorance and virtuous/vicious acts being the cause for the occurrence of [another, repeated] body, I took birth. Both thuyar and idumbai mean sorrow; with this, the body is both the abode of sorrow and the cause for sorrow. Being capable of being both the abode of sorrow and the cause for subsequent countless sorrows.

Why did AzhwAr say “vAdinEn” first instead of saying “perum thuyar idumbaiyil piRandhu kUdi, vAdinEn“? As the relationship with karma is beginning-less and connection with achith (matter) is also pravAha rUpENa nithyam (it is eternal in a continuous stream of births), AzhwAr is just picking something in the middle and is starting with that.

  • piRandhu – Though AthmA has no birth and death, he is said to be born and dead, in prevalent terms as spoken by everyone. [It is really, acquiring body and relinquishing the same]
  • kUdinEn – AthmA who is eternal, in a singular form and is identified by his knowledge and bliss, and is subservient to bhagavAn, is said as celestial being, human being and so on.
  • kUdinEn – AthmA remained so closely united with the body, that one thinks that the AthmA cannot exist without the body.
  • kUdinEn – By saying kUdinEn – it appears that, this [material body] is not natural for the AthmA, is acquired due to a reason and is extraneous. When Iron is heated, the fire sparks subtly enter the iron and due to the close connection, iron acquires the heat and colour of the fire. Similarly, this AthmA too, due to being together with achith, has become like achith to be called as achith. Just as the iron loses the colour but remains hot for a long time, even after fire sparks leave the iron, AthmA considers self to body for sometime even after acquiring knowledge.
  • kUdi – Remaining together to be unable to tolerate the separation from body. After acquiring knowledge, one will pray hard to have the body removed. In this “kUdi“, it appears that the togetherness of AthmA and achith is forever and so is the subsequent disaster which occurred.

When asked “What is the subsequent disaster?”, AzhwAr says,

  • iLaiyavar thammOdu avar tharum kalaviyE karudhi OdinEniLaiyavar (youth) – To be unable to analyse that attachment towards worldly pleasures is disaster, and to be unable to understand the greatness of bhagavath vishayam and engage in it, the young girls will show their youth and attract.
  • thammOdu – Whatever is said in mUla samhithA “chAyAvA sathvam anugachchEth” (like a shadow following its owner), is all observed towards these young women; when they find a nice garland, instead of decorating themselves with that or considering themselves as respectable, they will offer it to the women. Whatever is said in parama samhithA “yEna yEna dhAthA gachchathi thEna thEna saha gachchathi” (wherever the lord goes, the servitor follows), is observed towards these young women.
  • avar tharum kalavi – While initially being approached, they will speak sweet words, but once the person is trapped, they will move away, to increase the longing in the person.
  • kalaviyE karudhi – Here the usage of the word “karudhi” (contemplating) is significant. Only if they could enjoy, could that be highlighted. Here, only the man is desiring for such union. Since the man has committed sins, he can only desire and the enjoyment will not occur. When there is no scope for enjoyment, the man should withdraw from the efforts. But as they keep moving away, the man’s desires will increase further considering “there is some enjoyment”. This is due to his own sins.

When the man understands that there is nothing enjoyable in a woman, he should withdraw from further efforts to get her. Instead of doing that, the man will seek the next woman and keep on doing the same thing.

  • OdinEn – This worldly enjoyment is not of a nature to retain the enjoyer for more than a fraction of a moment; union with woman is such that, one will have to carry the tools for enjoyment with her, and after enjoyment, one should bathe to purify oneself. Knowing well the defects of such union, to cover it up, one carries perfumes and so on and tries to enjoy with her. Even what is perceivable by the senses (i.e. the defects) are unable to help [in stopping from the indulgence]. Though one does not need SAsthram to understand the defects of these aspects and can perceive directly with one’s own senses, they remain irresistible! Attachment for worldly pleasures is similar to a snake with open hoods. While it is waiting to swallow the prey, the prey will go and hide under the shade of its hoods. The joy acquired in this worldly pleasures is similar to a person who is about to be hanged, but feeling thirsty, becomes satisfied on quenching his thirst. One is perceiving that among the many sorrows, a particular aspect is joyful. The real bliss is explained in SrIvishNu purANam 6.5.59 “sukhabhAvaika lakshaNA” (bhagavath vishayam is the real bliss).
  • Odi – It appears that even though this has been the routine forever, somehow, it has led to some goodness. I ran away escaping the helping hands of sarvESvaran himself who comes saying “I will protect”.
  • uyvadhu Or poruLAl – When I ran behind the worldly pleasures being immersed in them and fell down out of fatigue, emperumAn protected me due to his mercy having that as the reason saying “Now, he will not be able to withdraw from this on his own”. With the good principle which leads to being uplifted. Good principle is bhagavath krupai. Due to respect, AzhwAr is indicating it in a concealed manner; in the fourth pAsuram, he will explicitly identify it as “AzhiyAn aruL” (mercy of one who carries sudharSana chakra). nammAzhwAr, being unable to wait any further, explicitly mentioned in thiruvAimozhi 1.1.1 “mayarvaRa madhi nalam aruLinan” (emperumAn granted me knowledge which is well-matured as devotion). I got an opportunity for being uplifted while I was engaged in sinful activities which lead to self-destruction as said in periya thirumozhi 1.9.2 “nAnE nAnAvidha naragam pugum pAvam seydhEn” (I committed many sins which will lead me to many hell) and thiruvAimozhi 6.9.9 “pala nI kAttip paduppAyO” (Will you keep me in this samsAram, showing many of these worldly aspects?). While I remained as said in thaithtirIya upanishath “asannEva bhavathi” (he is as good as non-existing), a good principle to make me as said in thaiththirIya upanishath “santhamEnam thathOvidhu:” (he is known to be existing), occurred.
  • uNarvenum perum padham – jithanthE sthOthram 1-11 “vigyAnam yadhidham” (this great knowledge). Just as flood enters the place where one is sleeping on a mat [unexpectedly].
  • perum padham – The greatness of this is such that we can say “Even he is not required, knowledge about him is sufficient”.
  • thirindhu – Since worldly pleasures are with boundary, I returned after realising that there is nothing to enjoy in them.
  • therindhu – Alternative for thirindhu. In this case, once knowledge dawned, everything was understood clearly. It appears that hence, previous situations were considered as darkness.
  • nAdinEn – As the knowledge dawned, I started analysing “What did I go through previously? What am I going to suffer in future?”
  • nAdi – In the worldly pleasures, even when I consciously tried to get them, since it only leads to disaster, there is no result; but when I set out to engage in bhagavath vishayam, it leads to result.
  • nAn – I who said “OdinEn“. Just as the one (SrI vibhIshaNAzhwAn) who ate the remnants of rAvaNa in his palace for a long time, became part of rAma gOshti (SrIrAma’s team), even without taking a bath. vElvetti nambiyAr (A SrIvaishNava), once on a thirukkArthigai day, sent a message through a person to nampiLLai who was mercifully stationed in a village which was located east of SrIrangam. The message read “If I asked this question to anyone, they will think that I am ignorant and that there is none who can clarify this doubt; you should clarify this doubt”. The question is “When perumAL (SrI rAma) surrendered to the ocean,he followed proper rules such as facing east etc and surrendered; is this prapaththi (surrender) also having prerequisites, like rest of the upAyams (means)?” nampiLLai mercifully explained – this is not a prerequisite for prapaththi, this happened due to the nature of those who pursued the means; as the rAkshasa clan is lowly and unqualified, SrI vibhIshaNAzhwAn who is one among the clan advised SrI rAma as said in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 19.31 “samudhram rAghavO rAjA SaraNam gandhumarhathi” (SrI rAma should surrender to the king of ocean); we did not see SrI vibhIshaNAzhwAn following any rules and we saw SrI rAma following the rules”. With this, it is explained that, for prapaththi, an unqualified person need not earn qualification and a qualified person need not give up his qualification. Everyone is qualified as (s)he is. That is, this prapaththi can be pursued by everyone.
  • kaNdu koNdEn – AzhwAr says so since it feels as if a wealth-less person is acquiring wealth and as if that wealth is hereditary.
  • nAn kaNdu koNdEn – Feels as if the one who lost it himself found it.
  • nArAyaNA – Since there is no praNavam, nama: and chathurthi (to make it complete ashtAksharam), just accepting that we are part of his wealth (which is indicated by the divine name, nArAyaNa) is sufficient; implies that, to acquire the result, the limbs of the manthram are not required.
  • ennum nAmam – “ennum” highlights the renowned nature of this divine name which is revealed in nArAyaNa anuvAkam (sUktham)  which does not speak about anyone else. “nAmam” implies that it is desirable as it is, the right time is when the person acquires desire and the person who sets out to recite the name is the qualified person. nanjIyar asked parASara bhattar “Should one be pure while reciting thirumanthram or is that not required?” bhattar mercifully explained “Not required. When one goes to take sacred bath in gangA, should he first take bath in a water-body before? When it is ready to bestow great benefits now, will it also not bestow the qualifications which are required?”

In the next article we will enjoy the next pAsuram.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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thiruviruththam

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

iyaRpA

thiruviruththam forms the fifth prabandham (divine composition) in the third thousand “iyaRpA” among the four thousand pAsurams of nAlAyira dhivya prabandham (divine compositions). This was composed by nammAzhwAr who was blessed by emperumAn with divine knowledge and devotion without any fault. This is the first prabandham of the four prabandhams composed by swAmy nammAzhwAr. It is the essence of rig vEdham (first among the four vEdhams, sacred texts, namely rig, yajur, sAma and atharvaNa). This is composed of one hundred pAsurams. periyavAchchAn piLLai has written the commentary for this divine composition. There have been others too who have written commentaries for this prabandham, including nampiLLai who had mercifully written Idu, special meanings mercifully given by azhagiya maNavALa jIyar, commentary written by parakAla jIyar. appiLLai (a disciple of maNavALa mAmunigaL) too has written explanatory notes for this prabandham. It is said that pUrvAchAryars (early preceptors) such as bhattar, had written commentary for this prabandham, but these are not available now.

We will explore the meanings of this prabandham with the commentary of periya vAchchAn piLLai.

In the next article, we will go through the thaniyan for this prabandham.

adiyen krishNa ramanuja dasan

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periya thirumozhi – 1.1 – vAdinEn

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

periya thirumozhi >> First Centum

AzhwAr only had two qualities – adhvEsham (non-hatred) and understanding of worldly pleasures to be lowly. Also, emperumAn considered AzhwAr’s rasikathvam (being one who relishes enjoyable aspects) as the reason, thought “Let me make all his sins since time immemorial, to be a target of my mercy”. To make AzhwAr understand emperumAn’s greatness in comparison to the lowly nature of the worldly pleasures, just as some generous ones will grant wealth along with the silk cloth which contains the wealth, emperumAn fully manifested his svarUpa (true nature), rUpa (forms), guNa (qualities) and vibhUthi (wealth), by first bestowing the thirumanthram (SrI ashtAksharam). AzhwAr enjoyed the same and became grateful thinking “emperumAn accepted me who is unqualified considering such disqualification as the reason” and hence repeated the divine name “nArAyaNa” (which is the anchor of thirumanthram) which was shown to him once, nine times and called out emperumAn. One cannot do anything in return for bhagavAn’s help and need not do as well [as bhagavAn does not expect anything from the AthmAs]; one should simply remain grateful for the favour bestowed upon the self, to distinguish oneself from achith (matter).

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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periya thirumozhi – First centum

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

periya thirumozhi

thirumangai AzhwAr with kumudhavalli nAchchiyAr

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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