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
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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