Monthly Archives: February 2021

thiruviruththam – 42 – van kARRaRaiya

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avathArikai (Introduction)

She said that it is difficult for her to survive the onslaught of this breeze and that she would perish. As soon as she said this, he showered his mercy on her.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

van kARRaRaiya orungE maRindhu kidandhu alarndha
menkAR kamalaththadam pOl melindhana maNNum viNNum
enkARku aLavinmai kANmin enbAn oththu vAn nimirndha
thanpAR paNindha en pAl empirAna thadangaNgaLE

Word-by-Word Meanings

maNNum – the earth
viNNum – the upper worlds
enkARku – for my divine feet
aLavinmai – are not apt
kANmin – please see
enbAn oththu – as if saying so
vAn – in the sky
nimirndha – growing
thanpAl – towards him
paNindha – worshipped
en pAl – (caused) towards me
empirAna – sarvESvaran’s
thadam – expansive
kaNgaL – divine eyes
van – bring cruel
kARRu – wind
aRaiya – to blow
orungE – towards one side
maRindhu kidandhu – having fallen
alarndha – blossoming
men – soft
kAl – having a creeper
kamalam – lotus flowers’
thadam pOl – like ponds
polindhana – were full of beauty

Simple Translation

I worshipped the divine feet of sarvESvaran’s, of which he said “See, neither the earth nor the upper words would equal my divine feet”. How were his divine eyes towards such me? They bent towards me, just like the lotus flowers with long creepers in a pond would, when a strong breeze blows, bend towards one side.

vyAkyAnam

van kARRu . . . menkAl kamalam refers to a lotus whose stem is so slender that it cannot withstand even a gently blowing breeze. van kARRu refers to a breeze which blows hard without taking into consideration the gentleness of this lotus.

orungE – on one side alone. In other words, the divine mercy of emperumAn was oriented towards her alone. If he changes his glance to some other direction, the lotus flowers (divine eyes) will lose their beauty.

maRindhu kidandhu alarndha – if a samsAri (dweller of materialistic realm) comes towards him, sarvESvaran looks at him with mercy. If he wishes to look at even pirAtti, after that, he cannot. thiruvAimozhi 2-6-2 says “engum pakkam nOkkaRiyAn” (he did not look in any other direction)

menkAl kamalam – SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 19-34 says “prakruthayA dharma Seelasya rAghavasya” (SrI rAma is one who, by his nature, treads the path of righteousness). In this SlOkam, the word dharma refers to Sri rAma being of gentle nature. SrI rAma asks the monkeys “What is the way to cross this ocean which is like a hurdle between us and lankA?” SrI vibhIshaNAzhwAn, since he had recently carried out SaraNAgathi (act of surrendering) to SrI rAma and had got the benefit of that act, since he knew that SaraNAgathi is the means for all advantages and since he knew that it grants highest benefits, told SrI rAma to surrender to the ocean. The greatness of SaraNAgathi is that even an insentient entity will grant what has been asked for, when a person performs SaraNAgathi to it. Among the various means to captivate the hearts of great people, there is nothing higher than SaraNAgathi. If it can be effective with sarvESvaran who does not have a clan or limitations, should one doubt whether it will be effective with those who are having restrictions? SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 19-31 “SaraNam … karthum arhathi” (the ocean will be inclined to do what SrI rAma had surrendered for). SrI vibhIshaNAzhwAn had seen the effectiveness of SaraNAgathi with the disciples of sage vasishta [srI rAma and lakshmaNa]. Hence he firmly believed that it will be effective with an insentient entity such as ocean too. The vyAkyAtha cites a thamizh proverb to buttress this belief – erudhu keduththArkkum EzhE kadukkAy – for the one who lost his bull, take seven gall-nuts to retrieve it. The story goes like this – a person had lost his bull; he went to another person and asked him whether he will be able to find it. The other person told him, mischievously, to eat seven gall-nuts and that he would find it. So the owner of the bull ate the gall-nuts and waited at the tank bund. The bull per chance came there. Thinking that he got the bull back because he ate the gall-nuts the person went home happily. On the way back home, a lady, who had not had a child till then, asked of him to giver her a remedy for it. This man told her to ask his friend who had suggested to him to eat the gall-nuts. That person told her too to eat seven gall-nuts. She did that and she conceived. In other words, a deed carried out with deep belief fructifies into desired action.

menkAl kamalam – there is no need for breeze to blow to move these lotus flowers. Their stems will sway on their own; they are that soft. In other words, for sarvESvaran to shower his mercy with his divine eyes, it is not necessary that one should be an Arthaprapannan (one who craves to surrender to get mOksham immediately). sarvESvaran will do that on his own. Is it not required to surrender through one’s mind? vyAkyAthA responds to this doubt by quoting SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 18-3 “mithrabhAvEna samprAptham na thyajEyam” (I do not desert anyone who comes with a friendly appearance, even if he has a defect). Instead of analysing whether vibhIshaNAzhwAn has true friendliness or not towards him, SrI rAma says as in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 18-31 “bala vIryam vinASanam” (It is enough that he came with a friendly demeanour. If I do not accept him, my strength and valour will get devastated). If sarvESvaran demands something from one who comes to surrender to him, which he does not have, then it would result in his not being easily worshippable. sarvESvaran has the nature of accepting whatever the person who comes to surrender to him, has. SrI rAma says in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 18-28 “ArthO vA yadhivA dhruptha parESam SaraNam gatha” (whether he is oppressed or arrogant, if one comes seeking protection from others …). If a person comes saying as in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 17-16 “rAghavam SaraNam gatha” (I take refuge under SrI rAma), it is enough for sarvESvaran. When he heard such words from SrI vibhIshaNAzhwAn, SrI rAma immediately fully realised the tenderness in vibhIshaNa’s heart. sugrIva thought “These are mere words; his thoughts are otherwise. Even though SrI rAma considers him as Artha prapannan he is indeed dhrupthan only. He has something in his mind and speaks differently; he should be killed”. An Arthan is one who thinks that he should live only if he attains sarvESvaran; otherwise, he would die. dhrupthan is one who has arrogance in him and says that he has come to take refuge, not with his full heart but with an arrogance. Whether one is an Arthan or a dhrupthan the benefit is the same. This is because the benefit does not accrue out of the nature of the one who surrenders but based on the greatness of the act of surrendering and the greatness of the one to whom one surrenders. How does dhrupthi act like a means similar to Arthi? While the one who has Arthi has Akinchanyam (not having anything on his own) as a natural behaviour, in the case of one who has dhrupthi sarvESvaran thinks “Since he does not have Akinchanyam, let us go on our own and show him mercy”. Thus whether one is an Arthan or a dhrupthan, if he comes to take refuge, as said in SrI rAmAyaNam 18-28 “parESAm SaraNam gatha” (one who comes to take refuge from others), he will be protected, even if he is from the enemy side. periya thirumozhi 1-9-3 says “konREn . . . anRE vandhadaindhEn” (Oh the lord of thiruvEngadam! I killed many people and immediately, before even cleaning the blood stain, I reached you to take refuge). SrI rAma says in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 18-28 “prANAn parithyajya rakshithavya” – he should be protected even if one were to give his life, ireseptective of whether one who comes to surrender is Arthan or dhrupthan. The above mentioned SlOkam ends with the worlds “kruthAthmanA” – one who has a disciplined mind, one who stands in the path of righteousness. Thus, SrI rAma gave refuge to SrI visbhIshaNAzhwAn not only to protect him but also to safeguard his nature of being one who does not cross the path of righteousness. If one surrenders to an AchAryan (guru; teacher) in order to practice the path of righteousness, he has to do like this only.

menkAl kamalaththadam poL polindhana empirAna thadangaNgaL

Whose eyes are they?

maNNum viNNum . . . – they are of one who stands firmly saying “See that this world and the worlds above are too little to be measured by my foot”. He filled the entire ethereal layers with his divine form. If he had said that “I will keep my divine feet on your heads when I measure these”, just as rAvaNa said in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 36-11 “na namEyam” ([rAvaNa told mAlyavAn, who came to offer him good counsel that] he would not bend before anyone even if he were to be cut into two), the people of the world would have refused. Hence he said “Look at this amazing act” [and measured the worlds, keeping his divine feet on everyone’s head even before they realised it]. But why say that here? This is to illustrate the fact that sarvESvaran, on his own, without any of the worldly people asking him to or taking any efforts on their own, took incarnation as thrivikrama and kept his divine feet on his own, on their heads. In other words, he took the efforts for them to get the benefit. This brings out his quality of menkAl kamalam, viz. without the sentient entity taking any effort, sarvESvaran remains the means on his own.

vAn nimirndha than kAl paNindha enpAlAnukUlya sankalpam is the steadfastness with which one remains as favourable to sarvESvaran. For this, sarvESvaran takes the effort himself. Initially [during thrikrama avathAram] he bowed to king mahAbali, then made mahAbali to bow to him and kept his divine feet on mahAbali’s head saying “You were favourable to me” and showed his mercy.

than pAl paNindha – this is similar to van kARRu aRaiya

en pAl – this is similar to saying orungE maRindhu kidandhu alarndha

empirAna thadakkangaLE – he took the efforts for mahAbali to get the benefit. That sarvESvaran feels happy that the benefit is his, is clear from the blossoming of his divine eyes.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 41 – enRum punvAdai

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsuram, at the end, the nAyaki said “emmai nOkkuvadhu enRu kolO?” She was wondering as to who will be her protector. A northerly breeze affects such a nAyaki; wind, which is the sustaining entity for life, is harming her.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

enRum punvAdai idhu kaNdaRidhum ivvARu vemmai
onRum uruvum suvadum theriyilam Ongu asurar
ponRum vagai puLLaiyUrvAn aruL aruLAdha innAL
manRil niRai pazhi thURRi ninRemmai vankARRu adumE

Word-by-Word Meanings

enRum – always
idhu – this
punvAdai – gentle breeze
kaNdaRidhum – we have experienced
ivvARu – like this
vemmai – having cruelty
uruvum – form
suvadum – nature
onRum – any entity
theriyilam – we are not aware of
Ongu – grown well
asurar – demons
ponRum vagai – to be annihilated
puLLai – garuda
UrvAn – emperumAn who conducts
aruL aruLAdha – not showing mercy
innAL – this day
manRil – in the open
niRai – being complete
pazhi – slander
thURRi – to pervade
ninRu – without feeling tired
van – cruel
kARRu – breeze
emmai – us
adum – is harming

Simple Translation

We have experienced this northerly breeze. However, we have not known any entity like this which brings with it cruel heat, form and nature. This day, sarvESvaran, who conducts garuda who annihilates the well grown demons, is not showering his mercy. This cruel breeze is spreading slanderous words in the open and is harming me, without moving out of this place.

vyAkyAnam

enRum punvAdai idhu kaNdaRidhum – it is similar to having been born in prison and brought up only there. punvAdai is gentle breeze.

idhu kaNdaRidhum – we have not seen anything like this. In other words, we have not seen anything other than the northerly breeze which is harming. Why speak about the breeze which has been harming? Various other entities are also carrying on with what the breeze had been doing – harming her by amplifying the anguish of separation. They are all of the same species in so far as harming her is concerned.

ivvAru . . . – We have not known any other entity which is as cruel as this.

Ongu asurar . . . – the demons are not like those who are withering in separation from sarvESvaran, are not like those who carry out all the services to him; they are the epitome of rajas and thamas (qualities of passion and ignorance, respectively). sarvESvaran conducts garuda such that these demons are annihilated; he is not showing his mercy today so that this breeze could be harmed just like he makes the demons to perish under the hoofs of garuda.

aruL aruLAdha innAL – on this day when he did not shower his mercy, like a mother refuses to nurse her infant.

manRil niRai . . . – it is not only that the breeze did not let her unite with her nAyakan, it also brought a slander on her. It made the people say “It seems that she was suffering in separation from her nAyakan and the moment the breeze touched her, she is quivering; her qualities of shyness, fear etc are like this…”

niRai pazhi – the world did not talk slanderously about her alone. It even spoke disparagingly about the nAyakan saying “She is withering in breeze; even then, he is not coming to her rescue”.

ninRemmai van kARRu adumE – it does not leave after distressing her on one occasion or in one type. It continues to do that.

emmai –  I did not go anywhere near it so that it could make an attempt to grab me. This strong breeze came to end my life.

van kARRu – it is a breeze which did not have affability.

adumE – it is not even considering my femininity. It is not even thinking that it is torturing a lady.

svApadhESam (distinguished meaning): this pAsursm narrates as to how despite staying in samsAram for a very long time, as engagement with emperumAn starts increasing, compatibility with samsAram starts disappearing.

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thiruviruththam – 40 – kOlappagal kaLiru

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avathArikai (Introduction)

She (the nAyaki), who had spoken about the supreme being who controls everyone and everything, has reached a stage where she speaks about one noon time.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

kOlappagal kaLiRonRu kaRpuyyak kuzhAm viriththa
neelakkangul kaLiRellAm niRaindhana nErizhaiyIr
gyAlappon mAdhin maNALan thuzhAy nangaL sUzh kuzhaRkE
Elappunanindhu ennaimAr emmai nOkkuvadhu enRu kolO

Word-by-Word Meanings

kOlam – being beautiful
pagal – sUriyan (sUrya – sun)
onRu kaLiRu – an elephant
kal – in the mountain of sunset
puyya – as it entered
kuzhAm – as a herd
virindha – expansive
neelam – blue coloured
kangul – called as night
kaLiRu ellAm – all the elephants
niRaindhana – abounded
nEr – being apt
izhaiyIr – those who have ornaments
gyAlam – for bhUdhEvi
ponmAdhu – and for SrIdhEvi
maNALan – Sriya:pathi, consort’s
thuzhAy – divine thuLasi
nangaL – our
sUzh – dense
kuzhaRkE – locks
Ela – ahead
punaindhu – stringing
ennaimAr – our mothers
emmai – us
nOkkuvadhu – protect
enRu kol – when will it be

Simple Translation

A unique elephant, called as the most beautiful sUriyan, entered the western setting mountains. Immediately, a herd of elephants, called as night, with dark bluish colour, filled up the entire place. Oh my friends who are donning apt ornaments! On which day will our mothers apply the divine thuLasi garland of azhagiya maNavALan, who is the consort of SrIdhEvi and bhUdhEvi, on our dense locks and decorate us?

vyAkyAnam

kOlappagal kaLiru onRu kaRpuyya – A unique elephant called as noon, which gives happiness to those who see it, entered the setting mountains on the western side. The term noon refers to sUriyan. Why is the noon giving happiness? During noon time, each of the five senses is focussed on its work, enabling the person to sustain himself/herself since the person could bear the anguish of separation [when the senses are not united in torturing the person].

kuzhAm virindha . . . – just as a paramour enters the private quarters of the queen as soon as the king departs, night time, in large gathering, entered as soon as sUriyan left. Since the five senses now get together and torture the person, reminding her of separation from her nAyakan, AzhwAr refers to the night time as elephants. But why refer to them [elephants] in plural? Since a night extends to many kalpams, when in separation, he refers to them in plural.

nErizhaiyIr – Oh those who have donned distinguished ornaments! When the nAyaki is in distress (having been separated from her nAyakan) will her friends who have come to console her, bedeck themselves with ornaments? She is like a helpless woman who has been stomped by the elephant called as night. Her friends are coming to encourage her to sustain herself [till her nAyakan returns]; hence they dress themselves up nicely with ornaments etc.

gyAlappon mAdhin maNALan – if he were alone, I can feel distressed thinking that there is none to recommend to him about me. However, I am in a sorrowful state despite the eminent bhUdhEvi and SrIdhEvi being together with him. When someone is wealthy, they will be without fear since they have enough wealth to take care of their expenses. In the same way, the nAyakan feels that even if the nAyaki is not around, he has bhUdhEvi and SrIdhEvi with him.

mAdhin maNALan – he is in a bewildered condition since he has bhUdhEvi who gives him all that he enjoys. The nAyaki feels that the he will have bewilderment towards her too, just as he has towards bhUdhEvi.

thuzhAy . . . – the nAyaki does not desire the garland which he had donned as a bachelor. She covets the divine thuLasi garland which has got fully wrinkled in the union between sarvESvaran and bhUdhEvi. She is just like a prince who would dip flowers in a fragrant material to enhance its sweet smell. chAndhOgya upanishath says of him that he is  sarvagandha: sarvarasa: (he is the repository of all that is fragrant and all that is tasty). She is referred to in thiruvAimozhi 10-10-2 as “vAsam sey pUnguzhalAL” (it is pirtAtti who gives fragrance to flowers and thuLasi). Thus the nAyaki desires the garland which has been wrinked in the union of the dhivyadhampathi (divine couple).

nangaL sUzhkuzhaRkEA Elappunaindhu – there is no other remedy for her. She wants to don that garland before her existence is destroyed.

ennaimAr – she is looking up to her mothers who are keen on separating her from her nAyakan to get her the remedy which she needs to sustain herself. It is similar to asking for water from a person who is shutting the channel which brings in water.

emmai nOkkuvadhu enRu kolO – he [AzhwAr in feminine mood] is asking as to when he will get the protection which he needs.

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periya thirumozhi – 1.2.6 – paNangaL Ayiram

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periya thirumozhi >> First centum >> Second decad

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Highlights from avathArikai (Introduction)

AzhwAr is thinking/speaking about such sarvESvaran who reclined on thiruppARkadal, mercifully coming and residing here. This pAsuram is also explained as dhEvathAs saying “You who mercifully arrived and reclined in thiruppARkadal for us, to hear our cries, leaving behind SrIvaikuNtam where you were enjoying the great assembly, have now mercifully arrived here in thiruppiridhi, to be enjoyed by all”.

pAsuram

paNangaL Ayiramudaiya nal aravaNaip
paLLikoL  paramA! enRu
iNangi vAnavar maNimudi paNidhara
irundha nal imayaththu
maNangoL mAdhavi nedungodi visumbuRa
nimirndhavai mugilpaRRip
piNangu pUmbozhil nuzhaindhu vaNdu isaisolum
piridhi senRadai nenjE !

Word-by-Word meanings

vAnavar – dhEvathAs
iNangi – gathered
Ayiram paNangaL udaiya – one who is having thousand hoods
nal – having goodness (of servitude)
aravu – thiruvanandhAzhwAn (AdhiSEsha)
aNai – on the divine mattress
paLLikoL – mercifully resting
paramA – Oh one who is greater than all!
enRu – praising in such manner
maNi – wearing crown which is studded with gems
mudi – with their heads
paNi thara – to be worshipped
irundha – mercifully residing
nal – good
imayaththu – in himavAn;
maNam koL – fragrant
mAdhavi – spring flower’s
nedu – long
kodi avai – creepers
visumbu uRa – to reach the sky
nimirndhu – grew
mugil – clouds
paRRi – climb
piNangu – due to surrounding
pU – blossoming flowers
pozhil – in the gardens
vaNdu – beetles
nuzhaindhu – entered
isai solum – humming the tunes
piridhi – in thiruppiridhi
senRu – go
nenjE – Oh mind!
adai – try to reach

Simple translation

emperumAn is mercifully residing in the good himavAn to be worshipped by dhEvathAs who are wearing gem-studded crowns on their heads and who gathered and praised saying “Oh one who is greater than all and mercifully resting on the divine mattress of thiruvanandhAzhwAn who is having goodness and thousand hoods!” There, in the gardens where the flowers are blossoming, the long creepers of fragrant mAdhavi flowers climb and surround the clouds grew to reach the sky; the beetles enter and hum their tunes. Oh mind! Go to such thiruppiridhi and try to reach.

Highlights from vyAkyAnam (Commentary)

  • paNangaL Ayiram udaiya nal aravaNaip paLLi koL paramA enRu – Just as rivers and ponds will have many outlets to let out the extra water when they become filled, thiruvanandhAzhwAn has many heads to let out the enjoyment of experiencing bhagavAn. They (dhEvathAs) will say “Oh supreme lord who is resting in contact with such AdhiSEsha!” The main identity of supreme lord is to claim SrI mahAlakshmi as his own and to have AdhiSEsha as his mattress. By his inhalation and exhalation, AdhiSEsha will sway and facilitate comfortable sleep like a soft mattress. Just as yaSOdhAp pirAtti will have krishNa on her lap and sway him back and forth, AdhiSEsha will have sarvESvaran in his lap and praise him. bhattar’s merciful words “thiruvanandhAzhwAn madiyilum, thiruvadi siRagin kIzhum, SrIsEnApadhiyAzhwAn pirambinuLLum kAN iththathvam vaLarvadhu” (this entity, bhagavAn grows in the lap of AdhiSEsha, under the shade of the wings of garudAzhwAn and in the control of vishvaksEna’s sceptre). Just as elderly ministers will carefully take care of a young prince, they will care for emperumAn. He remains at their disposal; he is known as said in periyAzhwAr thirumozhi 3.6.3 “vAniLavarasu” (prince of paramapadham). sthOthra rathnam 39 “prakrushta vigyAna balaika dhAmani” (AdhiSEsha is the abode of great knowledge and strength). He is having great knowledge to adjust himself as per the intentions of sarvESvaran and pirAtti when they recline on him, and is having the ability to bear when they jump around ignoring the fact that AdhiSEsha is a chEthana (sentient being). Similar to iLaiyaperumAL (lakshmaNa), AdhiSEsha who is SEshabhUtha (servitor) would have all his activities for the sake of bhagavAn who is SEshi (lord), just as bhagavAn places himself subservient towards his servitors even though he is greater than all.
  • nal aravaNai – Goodness is in existing for bhagavAn exclusively. The goodness for a servitor is to remain for his lord exclusively. SrI rAmAyaNam AraNya kANdam 15.29 is explained here. “bhAvagyEna kruthagyEna dharmagyEna cha lakshmaNa | thvayA puthrENa dharmAthmA na samvruththa: pithA mama ||” (Oh lakshmaNa! You know what is in my heart. You know what our father did for me. Our father who gave birth to you, who considers your elder brother’s (my) joy as your dharma, has not died).
    • bhAvagyEna – iLaiya perumAL is the one who would say as in SrI rAmAyaNam AraNya kANdam 15.7 “kriyathAm” (you order it). SrI rAma said “Why did you ask me for instructions when you can build the hermitage according to my expectation?” These words were uttered after the hermitage was built.
    • bhAvagyEna – Though perumAL (SrI rAma) would explain about other aspects, [out of shyness] he would not explain about the private quarters where he would stay with pirAtti; he would only think about it in his heart; iLaiya perumAL understood that and executed it well.
    • kruthagyEna – Not just that, he knew and did as per dhaSaratha’s deeds. Since dhaSaratha lacked progeny for 60000 years and finally begot perumAL, he would always analyse “What is SrI rAma thinking?” and would aptly act thinking “What will cause problems to him?” – iLaiya perumAL knew all of that.
    • dharmagyEna – Even if iLaiya perumAL knows perumAL’s thoughts, and even if he knows how dhaSaratha cared for perumaL, since he is also a prince, if he thinks “Should I now have my own place?” he cannot do everything for perumAL; instead of that, he thinks “since my true nature is to remain for perumAL, it is apt for me to act for his sake only” and consider that working for perumAL is his duty.
    • thvayA … – perumAL is saying “dhaSaratha cared for him until he remained and subsequently placed you to care for me!”
    • puthrENa – “puth” is a particular hell, and because a son protects the father from entering there, he is known as puthra; for our father, there is no greater hell than my desires going unfulfilled; you are the one who ensures that he does not get that.
    • dharmAthmA – As he mentioned about dhaSaratha chakravarthi, he praises him saying “Is there any match for our father? He is the one! While he was alive he fulfilled all my desires, and he begot you to take care of me subsequently and arranged you like a water-booth [which will help the needy]!”
    • mama – Though dhaSaratha is father to both perumAL and iLaiya perumAL, here perumAL is saying “mama” (my) because of the thought “Since whatever will be done by him are done by you for me, I have not lost him, but you have lost him”. In SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 31.25 “aham sarvam karishyAmi” (iLaiya perumAL – I will serve you both (perumAL and pirAtti) in all the ways), if the acts of SEsha (lord, i.e. dhaSaratha here) are not applicable, he would not have said “sarvam” (all).
  • aravaNai – Fragrance, coolness etc which are natural for the serpent species will be present.
  • paramA – The one who reclines on this mattress becomes greater than all.
  • iNangi – They are like village heads (who never agree with each other); they are those who blame others (indhra) for killing a brAhmaNa, those who sever heads (like rudhra), those who have their heads severed (like brahmA) et al; such dhEvathAs would unite together and surrender to bhagavAn as those who would jointly enter into floods. All the dhEvathAs will gather around and give up their pride of not worshipping anyone and bow their head at the divine feet of sarvESvaran. sarvESvaran is mercifully present there in such state. This is the abode where all of them who did not worship him seeing his supremacy, are worshipping him seeing his simplicity.
  • maNangOL … – One has to imagine the presence of the flower as it is abundant with the fragrance. kuRukkaththi is the mAdhavi flower with fragrance. The tall creeper which grew to uphold the fragrance.
  • visumbuRa nimirndhu – It spreads through the sky fully and reaches up to the clouds and covers them as well.
  • avai … – When it reaches the top of the sky, it would seek a supporting pole. There would be no one to give a supporting pole in that situation. There they will meet the clouds. The creeper will hold on to those clouds. Those clouds will start moving by the force of wind. The creeper will pull back the clouds. Due to that fatigue, the flowers will blossom. The beetles who thought of drinking the honey from those flowers, will enter through the clouds and the creeper and drink the honey. Becoming joyful, and to let out the joy, they will start humming tunes. All over the garden, the tumultuous sounds of the humming beetles will be heard. This is similar to – periya pirAttiyAr, the creeper pulling back bhagavAn the cloud saying “we should protect the people” and he pulls back saying “I am doing it”, and in between the tumultuous prayers of dhEvathAs would be heard.

In the next article we will enjoy the next pAsuram.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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thiruviruththam – 39 – neelath thadavaraimEl

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsuram, the blue coloured objects appeared like the divine form of sarvESvaran and tortured her. The divine form established itself in a superior part, the divine eyes. AzhwAr describes as to how the divine eyes tortured him such that he could not move away from them. As an example of how each part reminded of another and finally the whole, the vyAkyAthA cites SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 36-4 “gruhIthvA prEkshamAnA” (taking hold [of that ring] and looking at it, sIthAppirAtti thought of the finger over which the ring had been placed, and felt as if she had reached her husband).

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

neelaththadavarai mEl puNdarIga nedum thadangaL
pOlap polindhu emakku ellAvidaththavum pongu munnIr
gyAlappirAn visumbukkum pirAn maRRum nallOr pirAn
kOlangariya pirAn  empirAn kaNNin kOlangaLE

Word-by-Word Meanings

pongu – agitating
munnIr – composed of water from three sources, viz from river, from spring and from rain
gyAlam – for earth
pirAn – being the benefactor
visumbukkum – for the people in the upper worlds too
pirAn – being the benefactor
maRRum – further
nallOr – for mukthAthmAs and nithyasUris, who enjoy sarvESvaran’s guNas (auspicious qualities)
pirAn – being the benefactor
kariya – having a dark bluish complexion
kOlam – having a divine form
pirAn – being the benefactor
empirAn – being the benefactor for me, his
thadam – huge
kaNNin – eyes’
kOlangaL – beauty
neelam – like a bluish gem
varai mEl – on top of the mountain
puNdarIgam – of lotus
nedum – expansive
thadangaL pOla – like ponds
polindhu – full of beauty
emakku – for us
ellAvidaththavum – at all places
(were gleaming)

Simple Translation

He is the benefactor of earth which has three types of agitating water – water from river, water from spring and water from rain; he is the benefactor of brahmA et al who are in the upper worlds; he is the benefactor of nithyasUris and mukthAthmAs; he has a dark bluish complexion; he is the benefactor for people like me. Such empeurmAn’s beautiful eyes are like a huge pond filled with lotus flowers atop a huge mountain of bluish gem, shining in all the places.

vyAkyAnam

neelaththadavarai mEl – just as it is said in thirumAlai 2 “pachchai mAmalai pOL mEni” (the divine form is like a mountain made of emerald), his divine form is described here as a hill made of bluish gem.

puNdarIga . . .  – his eyes were like huge ponds of lotus flowers which had occupied his entire divine form; his divine form appeared to be full of eyes. The eyes of the beholder would focus on only on those eyes and will not see any other limb. This is something similar to SrI rangarAjasthavam 1-98 “krupayA parayA karishyamANE sakalAngam” (the divine eyes of periya perumAL wanted to shower mercy; hence they attempted to change all the limbs of periya perumAL into divine eyes). Those eyes were similar to the ones mentioned in chAndhOgya upanishath 16-7 “thasyayathA kapyAsam puNdarIksham EvamakshiNI” (they eyes were similar to lotus flower which has just then blossomed on seeing sUriyan (sUrya)).

emakku ellAvidaththavum – those eyes followed everywhere in such a way that there is no place on earth which had not been visited upon. If one were to close the eyes so that one need not see those eyes which torment the beholder, those eyes will enter the beholder’s eyes; they will pervade everywhere. They have come to win me over, in this way. This could be compared with thiruvAimozhi 7-7-1 “sUzhavum thAmarai nANmalar pOl vandhu thOnRum kaNdIr” (they will appear from all sides, like just then blossomed lotus flower) as well as thiruvAimozhi 8-9-1 “karumANikka malaimEl maNiththadandhAmaraikkAdugaL pOl” (like huge forest of lotus flowers atop a hill of dark carbuncle).

pongu munnIr gyAlappirAn – he is one who keeps rendering help to those who are on this earth which is surrounded by agitating oceans which are made up of three types of water – from rivers, from springs and from rain. As an example of rendering help, the vyAkyAthA cites the instance when he kept the worlds inside his stomach during the time of deluge and protected all.

visumbukkum pirAn – he is also the controller of dhEvathAs (celestial entities) such as brahmA who had given birth to these worlds.

maRRum nallOr pirAn – he is the controller of nithyasUris too.

kOlam kariya pirAn – the divine form of emperumAn is totally subservient to those divine eyes. It is with the divine form that emperumAn subjugates the nithyasUris and makes them bewildered always.

empirAn – just as he is their lord, he is my lord too.

kaNNin kOlangaLE – the distinguished eyes of one who is my benefactor. Just as lotus ponds have occupied the entire mountain of bluish gems, these eyes shine in all the places that I see.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 38 – kadamAyinagaL

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avathArikai (Introduction)

When yOgis (those who are meditating) are in meditation for a very long time, they will turn their attention towards worldly matters for a short time, in order to engage more deeply in meditation once they resume it. In the same way, he too [nammAzhwAr] turned his attention towards worldly objects in order to enhance his experience with matters relating to emperumAn. However, since he has been showered with  knowledge and devotion without any illusion, even the worldly objects which he saw reminded him of emperumAn and tortured him further. It is as difficult to turn the AzhwArs away from the path of vEdhas, and towards worldly matters just as it is difficult to turn us away from worldly matters, and towards the path of vEdhas. Just as it is difficult to turn us away from materialistic pursuit and towards matters relating to bhagavAn, it is equally difficult to turn AzhwArs away from matters relating to bhagavAn and towards materialistic pursuits. embAr, the disciple of rAmAnujar, mercifully mentioned these two.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

kadamAyinagaL kazhiththuth than kAl vanmaiyAl palanAL
thadamAyina pukku nIr nilai ninRa thavam idhu kol
kudamAdiya maNNum viNNum kulunga ulagaLandha
nadamAdiya perumAn uruvoththana neelangaLE

Word-by-Word Meanings

neelangaL – blue Indian water lilies
immaNNum – this earth
viNNum – upper worlds
kulunga – to move in amazement
kudamAdi – dancing with pots (in krishNAvathAram)
ulagu – worlds
aLandha – measured (in thrivikrmAvathAram)
nadamAdiya – one who roamed
perumAn – sarvESvaran’s
uru – with divine form
oththana – are equivalent
idhu – the reason for this
kadamAyinagaL – three debts owed to celestial entities, forefathers and sages
kazhiththu – fulfilling them
than – one’s
kAlvanmaiyAl – strength of legs
palanAL – for a long time
thadamAyina – known as ponds
pukku – entering
nIr – in water
nilai ninRa – residing for a long time
thavangol – could be the penance

Simple Translation

In krishNAvatharam he danced with pots such that this earth and the upper worlds shook with amazement; in thrivikramAvathAram, he measured all the worlds. The blue lilies are having a complexion much similar to the sarvESvaran who roamed like this. The reason for this could be that they paid back their three types of debts, entered water bodies with the strength of their legs, stayed there for a very long time and carried out penance.

vyAkyAnam

kadamAyinagal kazhiththu –  just as it is mentioned in manusmrithi 6-35 “ruNAnithrINyabAkruthya” – after fulfilling the three debts owed. yajUshi kANdam says “brahmacharyENa rushibhya: yagyEna dhEvEbhya prajayApithrubhya” – through brhamacharyam (observing the tenets of being a bachelor), one pays back the debt owed to rishis (sages); through yAgams (rituals involving agni, fire) one pays back the celestial entities and through siring children, one pays back the forefathers. Similarly, the blue lilies pay back their debts through the distress caused to their bodies in hot season, at the hottest time. Here, the body, hot season and hot time are the debts owed.

than kAl vanmai …. – through their efforts (strength of their legs), through their penance, considering only their existence, even during cold times, whether it is water formed under the hoof of a cow or in large water bodies like ocean etc, they stay up to their neck and carry out penance. Did you get a similarity with the complexion of sarvESvaran due to the strength of that penance?

kudamAdi – dancing with pots in the courtyard such that everyone could steal his beauty [with their eyes], snipping the pride of cowherd folk.

immaNNum – instead of benefitting some people or people in a street, he danced such that all the world could enjoy,

kulunga – if rudhra (Sivan) dances, the world trembles in fear since he is the celestial entity for annihilation. But if sarvESvaran dances, the word forgets itself and rejoices.

ulagaLandhu nadamAdiya – when sarvESvaran incarnated as thrivikrama and measured the worlds, indhra accepted his lands which he had lost to mahAbali; mahAbali felt happy that he had magnanimously donated the lands [which were not his in the first place]; sarvESvaran felt that he had carried out the act of retrieval as a benefit for himself.

uruvoththana neelangaLE – was it through paying back the debts, entering water bodies through the strength of your legs and carrying out penance over long periods that you attained equality with emperumAn in all aspects of his divine form?

The vyAkyAthA says that the knowledge that AzhwAr had was such that even if he wanted to look at worldly objects due to separation from emperumAn, even those objects remind him of emperumAn only.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 37 – kodungAl silaiyar

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avathArikai (Introduction)

The nAyaki who was distressed after being separated from her nAyakan, could not wait till he returned and left on her own [in search of him]. She went through a cruel forest which had animals and people, capable of harming, sounds which caused fear in one, and paths which were dangerous. Her mother found out that her daughter was not in her bed and gets bewildered thinking “Alas! She has gone through a dangerous path. What is she doing?” In the case of the daughter in thirukkOLUr (thiruvAimozhi 6-7) decad, the mother knew as to where her daughter had gone. But in the case of this mother, she did not know as to where her daughter had gone and feels distressed.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

kodungAl silaiyar niRaikOL uzhavar kolaiyil veyya
kadungAl iLaigyar thudipadum kavvaiththu aruvinaiyEn
nedungAlamum kaNNan nINmalarppAdham paravippeRRa
thodungAl osiyumidai iLamAn senRa sUzh kadamE

Word-by-Word Meanings

aruvinaiyEn – I, having cruel sins
nedungAlamum – for a long time
kaNNan – krishNa’s
nIL – being long
malar – like a flower
pAdham – divine feet
paravi­ – after praying
peRRa – got as a daughter
thodungAl – merely on touching
osiyum – quivering
idai – having a waist
iLamAn – this girl who is like a youthful deer
senRa – the place that she went to
sUzh – surrounded (by heat)
kadam – the path
kodum – curved
kAl – having leg
silaiyar – having bow
nirai – cows
kOL – those who steal
uzhavar – farmers
kolaiyil – in harming
veyya – being cruel
kadungAl – having legs which will move fast
iLaigyar – youthful hunters
thudi –  small drum (tambourine)
padum – created from
kavvaiththu – had a sound

Simple Translation

I, who am having cruel sins, prayed to the long, lotus-like divine feet of krishNa and got this daughter. She has a waist which will quiver by merely being touched and she jumps around like a youthful deer. This girl has, however, left me. The place that she went to is a cruel forest – which has people having curved bows, who steal cows as their profession, young people who kill others and who have legs which will carry them fast and from whose drums (tambourines) a sound is created.

vyAkyAnam

kodum kAl silaiyar – just as it has been mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam bAla kANdam 6-21 “yOdhAnAm agni kalpAnAm pESAlAnAm mAhEshuNAm” which describes those who are guarding the city of ayOdhyA (firebrand like skilful warriors), these people always carry their curved bows. The term kodum kAl silaiyar has two interpretations – it could refer to those who have bows with curved legs or it could refer to those who carry bows and who have cruel legs. In the former case, it would mean that they are constantly ready with drawn bow in order to harm others. For the bow, cruelty refers to its nature of sending another entity (arrow) to cause harm and does not go by itself to harm someone.

silaiyar – they keep carrying their bows, whether it is during the time of taking food or when they are in privacy with their wives. The nAyaki is one who has known sarvESvaran who, just as it is mentioned in periya thiruvandhAdhi 86 “kai kazhalA nEmiyAn” always has the divine disc on his hand. This is his authenticity. Since she has moved with him, she is not afraid of anything. That divine disc is one which sustains everyone while this (the bow carried by these people in the cruel forest) is a harmful entity. Just as it is said in SrI rAmAyaNam adyOdhyA kANdam 60-20 “nAhArayathi santhrAsam bAhU rAmasya samSrithA” (sIthAppirAtti does not fear the wild animals in the forest since she is protected by the broad shoulders of SrI rAma), those who are under the protection of his divine disc and divine shoulders need not fear anything. However, that is not the case here.

nirai kOL uzhavar – for these people, stealing cows is a profession. However she is someone who has known sarvESvaran for whom, as it is said in SrI vishNu purANam “gO brAhmaNa hithAyacha” – protecting cows and brAhmaNas is normal.

kolaiyil veyya – these people exhibit anger when killing others. They kill just to see how their victims tremble when being killed. Alternatively they will torture their victims, ask them to work for them till they die. periya thirumozhi 11-8-6 says “idaiyan eRindha maram” (the tree cut down by the shepherds for their sheep would be fresh at one place and dry at another). These people will harm their victims similarly, by making them half dead and half alive, with pain. In the case of sarvESvaran, though he also aims his arrows at his victims, it is only to carry out a beneficial act for them, just as it is said in SrI rAmAyaNam kishkindhA kANdam 24-24 “sanjAtha bhAshpa paravIra hanthA rAmO muhUrtham vimanA babhUva” ((on hearing sugrIva’s words) SrI rAma had moist eyes and was for a moment perturbed), after he killed vAli.

kadungAl iLaigyar – if they were to harm someone, they will run a hundred miles and return a hundred miles, running. Such is the strength and speed of their legs. One would be fearful of them on just seeing them; there is no need for them to act. Through AyurvEdha medicines, they will keep themselves youthful, always.

thudipadum kavvaiththu – having the sound of drums (similar to tambourine). If she (nAyaki) goes to such a place, only her physical form will get destroyed. But if she stays in her place, her AthmA will get destroyed through the words of her mother.

aruvinaiyEn – it is not that he is not keen on coming to her; it is also not that she doesn’t have the desire to be united with him. They are not uniting with each other only because of my cruel sins [says the nAyaki’s mother]. This is similar to the SrI rAmAyaNa SlOkam “math pApamEva athra nimiththam AsIth” – it is only due to my sin.

nedungAlam . . . . – I had worshipped krishNa who would not tolerate any delay in surrendering to him [vyAkyAthA says that the word sakruth in SrI rAma charaka SlOkam (ultimate hymn) sakrudhEva prapannAya is to be considered as immediately; krishNa doesn’t want even this delay]. Just as dhEvaki had carried out lot of penance to give birth to krishNa, I had done lot of penance to beget her. However, not realising about herself or about my penance to beget her, she has gone. SrI rAmAyaNam AraNya kANdam 66-3 speaks of the penance carried out by dhaSaratha to beget SrI rAma “mahathA thapasA rAma mahathA cha api karmaNa” (Oh rAma, you were born because of the great penance and great acts carried out by dhaSaratha).

nINmalarppAdham – his divine feet are such that they will go towards the place where his followers are present. They are so easily approachable. Those divine feet considered attaining his followers as their [the divine feet’s] benefit.

malar – soft; beautiful.

paravippeRRa – obtained after offering prayers of various types. It is similar to attaining a treasure after lot of efforts.

thodungAL osiyum idai – her waist was such that it would snap if touched. The nAyakan enjoyed that waist merely by looking at it and not by touching it after realising its greatness. thiruvAimozhi 6-7-8 “osindha nuNNidai mEl kaiyai vaiththu nondhu nondhu” (keeping the hand on the already quivering slender waist (out of tiredness) and hurting it more and more). Her waist was such that one would doubt its existence. By looking at the form above and below the waist, one could surmise that waist should be there in between. If one were to keep the hand as a support for that waist, the hand would like a mountain in comparison with the wait; it was that slender.

iLamAn senRa – she could not tolerate any of the difficulties which lay in that path

sUzh kadam – the forest which had pervaded in a cruel way.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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