thiruviruththam – 48 – melliyal Akkai

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avathArikai (Introduction)

AzhwAr felt as if he was deprived of strength, wondering as to why he was being kept in samsAram. sarvESvaran thought in his divine mind “He feels that he is on fire while in samsAram because he feels that he is staying there for himself. If I tell him ‘You are here for my sake’ he will be able to sustain. Moreover, that is also the nature that he wishes to attain”. He told AzhwAr “AzhwIr! Do not feel anguished. There is no connection for you with this samsAram; you are not living here for your sake; it is only for my sake. We want to bring out a few pAsurams (hymns) through you, which will appeal to me as well as to those who are with me. We wanted to bring out our qualities such as simplicity etc through those pAsurams. Is it not for this that we kept you here?” On hearing this, AzhwAr thought “Then there is no hurdle. If it is going to be aligned to my true nature and it is the one which I am going to attain, there is no issue at all”. He is amazed that sarvESvaran is accomplishing this task through him and speaks about sarvESvaran’s quality of considering him as an object worthy of attention.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

melliyal Akkkaikkirumi kuruvil miLirdhandhAngE
selliya selgaiththu ulagai enkANum ennAlum thannaich
cholliya sUzhal thirumAl avan kavi yAdhu kaRREn
palliyin sollum sollAk koLvadhu uNdO paNdu paNdE

Word-by-Word Meanings

melliyal – being soft
Akkai – having a form
kuruvil – in a wound (i.e. in samsAram)
miLirdhandhu – being born
AngE – in that place
selliya – what is to happen
selgaiththu – having that activity
kirumi – a worm
ulagai – matters relating to the world
en kANum – what will it know?
ennAlum – through me, who has no intelligence
thannai – about him who is unlimited
solliya – explaining
sUzhal – amazing entity
thirumALavan – matter concerning Sriya:pathi (consort of SrImahAlakshmi)
kavi – sthOthrams (verses of praise)
Adhu – all of them
kaRREn – I learnt (from him)
paNdu paNdu – from time immemorial
palliyin – lizard’s
sollum – whatever it says
sollAk koLvadhu – recognising as true (whether it is favourable or unfavourable)
uNdu – has been in vogue

Simple Translation

A worm, which has a soft form, is born in this samsAram which is like a wound. What will the worm, which keeps getting tossed about inside that wound, know about the world? sarvESvaran, who has unlimited greatness, who is an amazing entity and who is the consort of SrI mahAlakshmi, made me, who has no capability in anything, to speak about his qualities. I learnt from him all those words of praise [about him]. Is it not in vogue from time immemorial to consider the sounds of a lizard as subtly hinting about the future?


melliyal Akkaik kirumi – There is nothing among his svarUpam (true nature), rUpam (divine form), guNam (auspicious qualities), aiSvaryam (wealth) etc which is known to me. He decided to carry out the task of explaining about him through me who knows nothing about him.

melliyal Akkaik kirumi – worm with a very soft nature of physical form. It is so soft that if the air which gets expelled when the eyelids close, blows on it, it will perish. It is so lowly that it cannot even be considered as a creature.

kuruvil miLirdhandhu – being born in a wound called kranthippuN. Why did the AzhwAr say miLirndhu and not piRandhu (another word for being born)? The worm has only birth and death, with nothing called as ‘life’ in between the two. Hence he called it as miLirndhu. It could be called as piRandhu only if it takes a body and reaches an end goal, as described in panchAgni vidhyA (a set of five activities which describes the journey of a soul through five different stages in its repeated cycle of births and deaths).

AngE – in that wound

selliya selgaiththu – involved in some activity. Apart from being born and living, other activities such as being looked at with detestation by the others and death also take place in that wound itself. It thinks that it is becoming beautiful, over a period of time. It knows nothing other than the wound, just like some people will ask “Which is the tree where paddy grows?”

ualagai en kANum – what will that worm know of the world when its existence is as described above? AzhwAr says that this is his status too.

ennAlum – through me, who is the boundary for ignorance, incapability etc

thannai – did he want to convey one of his activities through me who is in the state of that worm? When Sruthi and smruthi (sacred texts and their explanatory works respectively) returned empty-handed, after trying to measure just one quality of his, bliss, as mentioned in thaiththirIya upanishath, he wanted to convey through me about him.

solliya – sarvEsvaran had intended to explain through AzhwAr. Before he could even guess if it is possible through him, he told AzhwAr about himself. What is the reason for this?

sUzhal – because he is the one with amazing activities.

thirumAL – since he is the consort of SrI mahAlakshmi, he told AzhwAr alone about about his activities and not to all.

thirumAlavan kavi – it is to compose poems on the togetherness of sarvESvaran and periya pirAtti. This mentions the distinction with SrI rAmAyaNam. While SrI rAmAyaNam started by saying sIthAyAS charitham mahath – great narrative about sIthAppirAtti, when it was sung, he alone heard it, without her presence. It is not like that here; both of them were together.

Adhu kaRREn – it could be yAdhu kaRREn or Adhu kaRREn; if it is yAdhu kaRREn, it would imply that whatever he [AzhwAr] had learnt, it was his [sarvESvaran’s] hymns. If it is Adhu karrEN, it would imply that he had learnt every hymn about thirumAl.

kaRREn – just as it has been mentioned in thiruvAimozhi 7-9-2 “en mun sollum” (recite in front of me), sarvESvaran started reciting the santhai, I continued after him (santhai is a methof of learning in which the teacher recites a verse once and the disciple repeats twice, after the teacher). How was this completed? He responds saying . . . .

palliyin sollum . . . . – when a person with very little knowledge starts saying something, one with deep knowledge would correct it and complete it. Lizard would make some sounds such as nathu nathu which would be meaningless. However, learned people would make use of that sound for their favourable / unfavourable events. Similarly, I had said some gibberish which came to me at various points of time and he corrected them as if to refer to his auspicious qualities and accepted them.

paNdu paNdE – from time immemorial, we have seen respect for lizard’s sounds like this. sarvESvaran made that to be seen in AzhwAr’s matter, by all.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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