Author Archives: T N Krishnan

periya thirumadal – 12a – ennum ivaiyE

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ennum ivaiyE nugarndhudalam thAm varundhi

Word by word meaning

ivaiyE nugarndhu – eating these two
udalam varundhi – tormenting the physical body

vyAkyAnam

ennum ivaiyE nugarndhu udalam thAm varundhi – doesn’t one observe penance by eating the dried leaves and fruits which are without any juice? Since he is using the word ivaiyE, with the long syllable E at the end, it is clear that when one penance is completed and the next is begun, during the interregnum  too, normal food is not taken. This implies that the physical body should be continuously tormented.

nugarndhu – while eating (the dried fruits and leaves), enjoying them. Since there is desire in the end benefit, one should have deep affection for the means too. As a corollary, while eating the dried leaves and juiceless fruits, he relishes them as if he were eating very tasty food items.

udalam thAm varundhi – after having seen the desired entity (archchai deity), tormenting the physical form which is to be enjoyed here.

thAm varundhi – in this world, due to one’s karma (past deeds), one could go to lowly places and torment the physical body. Alternatively, yama et al could take this body to their worlds and torment it. AzhwAr says here that this person is tormenting the body himself and that it is not the torment created by someone else.

In the next article, we will discuss the next part of this prabandham.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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periya thirumadal – 12 – thonneRiyai vENduvAr

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thonneRiyai vENduvAr vIzhkaniyum Uzhilaiyum                             12

Word by word meaning

Or thol neRiyai – that paramapadham (or archirAdhi mArga, the way to reach paramapadham) is distinguished and is existing for a very long time
vENduvAr – those who desire to attain
vIzhkaniyum Uzh ilai ennum – fruits which had ripened and had fallen on their own as well as leaves which dried up

vyAkyAnam

Or thonneRiyai vENduvAr – those who wish to get rid of samsAram (life in materialistic world) and desire the matchless joy of mOksham. Or – unique. Or thol neRiyai vENduvAr – those who desire the unique, anciently spoken of mOksham. The word neRi refers to the path as well the place that the path leads to. It will not be a mistake to consider it as referring to the path itself. If that place is desired, wouldn’t the path which takes one to the place, also be desired? vENduvAr – could there be those who desire such mOksham, considering it too as an object! When there is a fruit on hand, will anyone look up at a fruit which has to be plucked with a tool? AzhwAr is thus expressing his displeasure for that benefit (mOksham).

Next, he describes the means adopted by those who desire for attaining that benefit, mOksham.

vIzh kaniyum – the fruit which has dropped on its own. Since the fruit has fallen on its own, it is not a healthy fruit (in other words, fruit without any juice).

UzhilaiyumUzh refers to withering as well as to being ancient. This refers to a leaf which has fallen even when it was tender and has become dried up fully, as well as to an old leaf, which has withered after it has become old. The opinion in this is that here too, it is not healthy (it is a fully dried leaf, without any nourishment).

In the next article, we will discuss the next part of this prabandham.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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periya thirumadal – 11 – mannum aRam porul

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mannum aRam poruL inbam vIdu enRu ulagil
nanneRi mEmbattana nAnganRE nAnginum                        11
pinnaiyadhu pinnaip peyar tharum enbadhOr

Word by word meaning

mannum aRam poruL inbam vIdu enRu – being firmly established as righteousness, wealth, love and mOksham (attaining paramapadham or SIvaikuNtam)
ulagil nal neRi mEmbattana nAngu anRE – these are the four ultimate benefits as said in this world as being attained through correct means.
nAnginum – among these four benefits
pinnai peyar tharum enbadhu – after this physical body is gone [after death], it will get another body (as mentioned in SAsthras)

vyAkyAnam

ammaRaidhAn – those vEdhas

mannum aRam poruL inbam vIdu enRu ulagil nanneRi mEmbattana nAnganRE – in the world, the four ultimate benefits of aRam (righteousness), poruL (wealth), kAmam (love) and vIdu (mOksham) are the ones which are realised through proper means. Initially it says mannum aRam (firmly established righteousness). aRam by itself means righteousness. Why qualify it with the word mannum aRam? Righteousness is effected by poruL (wealth) and righteousness is the path for attaining kAmam and vIdu (love and mOksham). Hence it is firmly established through these two forms. poruL is the benefit which is also referred to as arththam. inbam is the benefit which is cherished by AzhwAr [here it is the love towards sarvESvaran and not the lower variety of physical love, indulged in by samsAris]. vIdu is the fourth benefit which is spoken of by others.

nAnginum – among these four benefits

pinnaiyadhu pinnai – the benefit mentioned at the end (of the four) is referred to as pinnaiyadhu. pinnai – it will keep getting delayed, saying “later”. There is none who has attained this benefit with this physical form. Could one talk derisively of the supreme benefit which is mentioned as readily available by SAsthras (vEdhams, sacred texts)? Since AzhwAr has the desire to enjoy it with his present physical form, he is mentioning this way. Could one term an experience which he gets after giving up this physical form, going to a very faraway place and enjoying it at some distant point of time as something worthy? No. Even that experience has only been heard from vEdhas and vaidhikas (followers of vEdhas). There is none who has recounted it after seeing or experiencing it.

peyar tharum enbadhu – giving up this physical form, acquiring another and enjoying . This is similar to one person carrying out penance and another person enjoying the benefit of that penance. Alternatively, we can group the verse as pinnaip peyar tharum and the meaning will be as said before.

In the next article, we will discuss the next part of this prabandham.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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periya thirumadal – 10 – munnam thisaimuganai

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munnam thisaimuganaith thAn padaikka – maRRavanum
munnam padaiththanan nAnmaRaigaL ammaRaidhAn               10

Word by word meaning

munnam thisaimuganaith thAn padaikka – even as he created brahmA during the time of creation (after deluge)
maRRavanum – that brahmA too
munnam nAnmaRaigaL padaiththanan – he obtained the four vEdhas (from supreme being)
ammaRaidhAn – those vEdhas

vyAkyAnam

ammalarmEl munnam thisaimuganaith thAn padaikka – during the time of srushti (creation), emperumAn created brahmA, whose four heads appeared like four lotuses, from his navel which itself was like a lotus.

maRRavanum – Was it not said that once sarvESvara (lord of all) created brahmA, that brahmA wondered  about emperumAn ”Is he sarvESvara?”  and occupied the earth on the sides, above and below as mentioned in purusha sUktham 1-5 “thasmAdh virAda jAyatha I virAjO adhi pUrusha: I sa jAthO athyarichyatha I paSchAth bhUmimathO pura: II ” (brahmANdam (a huge ovoid) formed out of that vishNu; brahmA formed inside that; once he was born, that four headed brahmA occupied earth on the sides, top and bottom)?

munnam  padaiththanan nAnmaRaigaL – it would appear that brahmA created the four vEdhas. vaidhikas (followers of vEdham) have said “vEdham was not created by paramapurusha (sarvESvara); he too, just like one after awakening from sleep thinks of the earlier events, thought of the collection of vEdhas which had been there before creation and instructed such vEdhas to nAnmugan (brahmA)” thus confirming that vEdhas are not born out of the intellect of purusha (sentient entity) and that they are apaurushEyam (not by purusha). Thus, to say that brahmA created vEdhas will go against the grain of what vaidhikas have said. It will also go against the vEdha vachanam (saying of vEdha) as said in thaiththirIya upanishath nArAyaNavalli “yO brahmANam vidhadhAthi pUrvam yO vai vEdhAmScha prahiNOthi thasmai . . . ” (whosoever created brahmA initially, whosoever instructed him the vEdhas …). How to interpret this without being antagonistic to vEdha and vaidhika saying? Just as it is commonly said that a person, after his birth, inherits wealth from his father, the word padaiththa (as stated above, munnam padaiththa) could be interpreted as both created and inherited.   Thus, here the meaning is that brahmA inherited the vEdhas from sarvESvaran, after he was created.

In the next article, we will discuss the next part of this prabandham.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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periya thirumadal – 9 – pinnaith than nAbi

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pinnaith than nAbi valayaththup pEroLisEr
manniya thAmarai mAmalarpUththammalar mEl       9

Word by word meaning

than nAbi valayaththu – in the region of his navel
pEr oLi sEr – being with great radiance
manniya thAmarai mAmalar pUththu – making the forever indestructible lotus flower to blossom
a malar mEl – atop that lotus flower

vyAkyAnam

than nAbi valayaththu – just as bhUmaNdalam (earth) is referred to as bhUvalayam (the region of earth), the region of navel present in emperumAn’s divine form is referred to as nAbhivalayam to signify its greatness.

pEroLi sEr manniya thAmarai mAmalar pUththu – the great radiance of such lotus (navel) which is far greater than the radiance of the entire world created by it.

manniya thAmarai mAmalar pUththu – in the world, when the potter starts making pots from mud, the quantum of mud, which is the cause for the pots, will start decreasing as he goes on making pots, which are the effect. Ultimately, when all the pots have been made, there will be no mud at all. However, this lotus, which is the cause for creation of all the worlds, will remain without getting lessened, without getting destroyed and be present forever, when the worlds created by it start growing more and more.  When the word manniya (firmly, forever) is used as the adjective for lotus, this is the meaning which we get. Instead of this, if we rearrange the verse to get manniya pEroLi sEr thAmari mAmalar pUththu it would mean that the great radiance of this lotus is permanent (forever).

In the next article, we will discuss the next part of this prabandham.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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periya thirumadal – 8 – thannudaiya angaigaLAl

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thannudaiya angaigaLAl thAn thadavath thAn kidandhOr
unniya yOgaththu uRakkam thalaikkoNda                                      8

Word by word meaning

thannudaiya am kaikgaLAl adiyiNaiyai thadava – gently massaging the divine feet [of emperumAn] with her beautiful hands

(thus, with all these greatness)

kidandhu – reclining eminently

Or unniya yOgaththu uRakkam thalaikkoNda pinnai – after assuming the posture of reclining where he is thinking about protecting the world

vyAkyAnam

adiyiNaiyai – the soft, divine feet which even she (bhUmippirAtti) who is  extraordinary, would hesitate to touch

thannudaiya am kaikaLAl – with her beautiful and great, divine hands which even sarvESvaran (lord of all) has to obtain by carrying out penance

thAn thadava – is it possible to sustain by asking someone else to drink for self? Is it possible to live by asking someone else to breath for self? Hence, pirAtti is carrying out the service (of massaging emperumAn’s divine feet) with her own hands. She will sustain herself if she massages his divine feet by herself or else she will perish. Thus, sarvESvaran is sleeping, with the ocean fanning him with chowry (fan whisk) and bhUmippirAtti massaging his divine feet.

thAn kidandhu – being omniscient by his nature, being without any bewilderment for any reason, he is now sleeping because of her mere touch, forgetting even that the ocean is fanning him and that she is massaging his divine feet.

Or unniya yOgaththu uRakkam thalaikkoNda pinnai – after sleeping through his yOgam which is unique since he is fully aware even when he is sleeping. For people like us, the heart is already very dark. When we are awake, the external entities will be seen to an extent; once we close our eyes, even they will disappear and everything will become dark. For him (emperumAn), this is not the case. He is not one who sees with his eyes “paSyathachakshu:” (seeing with eyes). His closing his eyes, thus, is to enable his thoughts to develop further. The meaning of the term unnuvadhu is to meditate. yOgaththu uRakkam is to be aware while one is sleeping. yOgaththuRakkam – he does not sleep like people like us who would sleep when rajasthamO guNas (qualities related to passion and ignorance) overtake us. He is similar to what nammAzhwAr had mercifully said in thiruvAimozhi 5.4.11uRanguvAn pOle yOgu seyginRa perumAn” (emperumAn who is thinking about the well-being of all even as he is sleeping). He is sleeping with the thought “what is the way in which these chEthanas (sentient entities) would be able to come out of the ocean of samsAram?”

thalaikkoNda pinnai – the pAsuram now starts talking about entities who are created, now that the time for creation has arrived, just like flowers which are ready to bloom in their season.

In the next article, we will discuss the next part of this prabandham.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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periya thirumadal – 7a – anna nadaiya aNangE

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anna nadaiya aNangE(y) adiyiNaiyai                         7

Word by word meaning

anna nadaiya – having a gait similar to that of a swan

aNangu thAn – bhUmippirAtti who is a divine lady

vyAkyAnam

anna nadaiya – having a gait resembling swan’s, if she walks four steps ahead of him, as a prelude to their union, he will become a slave only to her style of walking and will not think of anything else with his heart. The gait is such that the attention will be only on it, until time lasts (forever).

aNangE – Just like the old saying “gurumaNangum dheyvappeNNE” since the word refers to a celestial lady, it implies that she will have a behaviour which is aprAkrutham (different from normal; special, spiritual). Instead of referring to lowly states of pleasure derived from bosom and union, this refers to higher state of pleasure which is extraordinary. Alternatively, so far the pAsuram had spoken of her (bhUmippirAtti’s) characteristics which are sweet for emperumAn while now, the word aNangE refers to her divine characteristics which makes us, her children, to attain her. Just as vAlmIki had mercifully said in SrI rAmAyaNam bAlakANdam 77-30 “dhEvathAbhi samA” (sItha is identical to dhEvathAs (deities)) and in SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 55-26 “thrayANAm bharathAdhInAm bhrAthrUNAm dhEvathA cha yA rAmasya cha manakAnthA: ” (one who was like a deity for his three younger brothers and who was sweet to rAma’s mind), with hanumAn saying that sIthAppirAtti was fit to be attained by all four of them, AzhwAr too mercifully states similar context here [being sweet to emperumAn and fit to be attained by us, her children].

In the next article, we will discuss the next part of this prabandham, along with the meaning for the term adiyiNaniyai.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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periya thirumadal – 7 – thennan uyar poruppum

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thiruvEngadam – thirumalai

thirumAliurunjOlai

thennan uyar poruppum dheyva vadamalaiyum

ennum ivaiyE mulaiyA vadivamaindha

Word by word meaning

thennanuyar poruppum dheyva vadamalaiyum ennum ivaiyE mulai A – the mountain of thirumAlirum sOlai and thiruvEngadamalai (thirumalai hill) as her bosom
vadivu amaindha – having a fitting form

vyAkyAnam

thennan uyar poruppum dheyva vadamalaiyum ennum ivaiyE mulaiyA – thirumAlirunjOlai, which was enthusiastically claimed by chEra, chOzha and pANdiya kings of the south as theirs, even as south was abused by the ancient vaidhikas (those who follow vEdham, sacred texts) and thiruvEngadamalai (thirumalai) which is the epitome of the greatness of simplicity such that even samsAris could attain it; it is emphatically said that these two mountains are spoken of as the tall, expansive and firm bosom of this great lady. While there are mountains such as mEru and himAlaya which are taller, more expansive and firmer than these two mountains, why are these two mountains being spoken of as her bosom and not those greater mountains? emperumAn has taken permanent residence only in thirumALirunjOlai and thiruvEngatam and hence these are mentioned as her bosom. thiruvAimozhi 10.7.4 says “then koL thisaikkuth thiladhamAy ninRa  thirumAlirunjOlai” (thirumAlirunjOlai stands as the identifying mark for the southern direction) and thiruvAimozhi 3.3.7 says “paran senRu sEr thiruvEngadam” (thirumalai where emperumAn has reached), thus identifying these two mountains as divine abodes of emperumAn. A SlOkam from SrI rAmAyaNam has been explained here by periyavAchchAn piLLai to bring out the greatness of thirumAlirunjOlai:

It is only because of the greatness of thirumAlirunjOlai that vAlmIki bhagavAn too cited this as a simile for chithrakUta mountain in SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 98-12  “subhagaS chithrakUtO’sau girirAjOpamO giri”. girirAja is an alternative name for thirumAlirunjOlai. chithrakUta is very beautiful like thirumAlirunjOlai. subhaga:  – very beautiful. Even if it is beautiful, it may not be liked by its beloved. Is it like that? girirAjOpamO giri: – it matches thirumAlirunjOlai which is considered as bhUmippirAtti’s bosom. Does its beloved reside in it just as thirumAlirunjOlai’s beloved does? yasmin vasathi kAkustha: – SrI rAma has taken a liking to this  [chithrakUta] since it is similar to the bosom of bhUmippirAtti. yadhadhyAsthE mahAthEjA: – kubEra iva nandhathE – just as kubEra (one of the celestial entities, protector of northern direction) lives continuously in his chaithraratham (chariot) with happiness, the greatly radiant SrI rAma too lives continuously in this chithrakUta mountain which is inhabited by wild animals. asau chithrakUta: subhaga: – there is nothing greater than such chithraUta.

vadivamaindha – the divine form of bhUmippirAtti is matching the mountains which are like her bosom.

In the next article, we will discuss the next part of this prabandham.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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periya thirumadal – 6 – ennum malarppiNaiyal

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

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vAniyangu thAragai mIn ennum malarppiNaiyal Eyndha mazhaik kUndhal

Word by word meaning

vAn iyangu thAragai mIn ennum – the stars which roam around in the sky

malar piNaiyal Eyndha – decorated with kadhamba mAlai (garland strung with a medley of flowers)

mazhaik kUndhal – having a flowing tress similar to clouds

vyAkyAnam

vAniyangu thAragai mIn ennum malarp piNaiyal Eyndha mazhaik kUndhal – being the greatest among women, she needs to have black, long tress and a garland made with different types of flowers to decorate that tress. Does she have them? Her garland is made of thAragai (thArakA, stars) and various other stars. Her tress is nothing but the dark clouds which are invigorating, removing the ennui of the beholder, and containing within itself the garland mentioned above. If she unties and lets down her tresses once, her beloved will have all sorts of enjoyments to all his senses. thAragai – the primary twenty seven stars starting with aSvini and ending with rEvathy. mIn – all the other stars.

For women, the most important parts are head and bosom. Head has been spoken of, above. Now, the pAsuram talks about her bosom…

In the next article, we will discuss the next part of this prabandham.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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periya thirumadal – 4 and 5 – pannu thiraikkavari

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

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pannu thiraikkavari veesa nila mangai             4
thannai muna nAL aLavitta thAmarai pOl
manniya sEvadiyai vAniyangu thAragai mIn    5

Word by word meaning

maRi kadalum pannu thiraikkavari veesa – the king of ocean fanning with the chowry (fly-whisk) of agitating waves
nilamangai thannai munanAL aLavitta – measuring earth at an earlier time [as thrivikrama]
thAmarai pOl manniya sEvadiyai – towards the lotus-like divine feet

vyAkyAnam

maRi kadalum pannu thiraik kavari veesa – looking at the beauty of emperumAn who is reclining on ananthAzhwAn [AdhiSEshan], samudhra rAjan (king of oceans) is very happy and throws up the sand from ocean floor to its surface. This appears as if he is fanning emperumAn with a chowry (this is an implement used in temples for fanning emperumAn during processions either inside or outside the temple). To emperumAn it appears as if the huge waves are breaking up into smaller waves and these small waves gently massage his divine feet, thus inducing him to sleep. What is the reason for the ocean to fan him? We should rearrange the words of the verse as follows: manniya sEvadiyaip pannu thiraik kavari veesa – the ocean is fanning his divine feet. How are those divine feet?

nilamangai thannai muna nAL aLavitta thAmarai pOl – it is the earth, which has been praised in bhUsUktham as “bhUmir bhUmnA” (she is referred to as bhUmi because of her greatness), which cannot be measured. Didn’t emperumAn measure such inestimable earth with his divine, just then blossomed lotus-like feet! Lotus is taken as the simile here for emperumAn’s divine feet on account of its softness, coolness, complexion, fragrance, beauty etc.

muna nAL – once upon a time; even though emperumAn had measured the earth many yugas (ages) back, AzhwAr is saying nAL (day) due to his ecstasy on thinking about it.

aLavitta thAmarai pOl – it appears that it could be proved that his divine feet, because they had measured the earth earlier, had become sore and are reddish in colour.

manniya sEvadiyai – lotus was taken as a simile only because of a few qualities such as softness etc. After the lapse of a few hours lotus will lose all its qualities of softness, fragrance, complexion etc while the divine feet have their qualities lasting forever (manniya).

Now, the pAsuram discusses the way bhUmippirAtti (bhUdhEvi) massaged the divine feet.

We will see the next part of this prabandham, along with the meaning for the term vAniyangu thAragai mIn ennum in the next article.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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