Author Archives: T N Krishnan

nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 7 – inRAga nALaiyEyAga

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avathArikai

AzhwAr becomes elated in this pAsuram saying “Oh emperumAn! It is certain that I would receive your grace. Let the others do whatever they want”.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

inRAga nALaiyEyAga inichchiRidhu
ninRAga ninnaruL enpAladhE nanRAga
nAnunnai anRi ilEn kANdAy nAraNanE
nI ennai anRi ilai

Word for Word Meanings

nAraNanE – Oh nArAyaNa!
inRu Aga – it could be today
nALaiyE Aga – it could be tomorrow
ini siRidhu ninRAga – it could be after sometime

(Whenever it is)
nin aruL – your grace
en pAladhE – will fall on me
nanRu Aga – it is certain
nAn unnai anRi ilEn kaNdAy – you would see that I have no refuge other than you
nI – you too
ennai anRi ilai – do not have one to take care of, other than me

vyAkyAnam

inRAga nALaiyEyAga inichchiRidhu ninRAga ninnaruL en pAladhE – whether it is today or tomorrow or after some more time, your flood of mercy is going to come down on me. It could get delayed a bit, but it is certain that your grace will fall on me.

What is the reason for saying this?

nanRAga nAn unnai anRi ilEn kaNdAy – it is a fact that I do not have a refuge other than you. Alternatively, nanRAga nAn could also mean “I, who am doing well” which would mean that I have the benefit of having only you as my means. Only if I have you and another entity as means could you avoid me saying that “this is karmayOgam, this is gyAna yOgam”, just as naLa (a king in ikshvAgu dynasty) told his wife dhamayanthi “Esha panthA vidharpAnAm Esha yAdhi hi kOsalAn ” (this is the route to reach vidharba and this is the route to reach kOsala).

When emperumAn asked AzhwAr “Is there any proof that I am the means”, AzhwAr says…

nArananE – your divine name itself is the proof that you are the means as well as the end result for the jIvas, the collection of nAras [nara means that which is not destroyed, nAra refers to a collection of such entities]. The meaning for the word nArAyaNa is taken from the verse “nAraSabdhEna jIvAnAm samUha: prOchyathE budhai I gathirAlambanam thasya thEna nArAyaNa: smrutha: II” (the word nAra indicates a collection of jIvas (sentient entities) Since he is their means as well as their goal, he is referred to as nArAyaNa )

nAn unnai anRi ilEn kaNdAy nAraNanE – just as it is said of SrI rAma “vyasanEshu manushyANAm bhrUsam bhavathi dhu:kkitha:” (when people suffer, SrI rAma suffers more than they do ), I do not have anyone as my lord other than you, who are unable to tolerate the sorrow that I suffer from. emperumAn asks him “Is there any compulsion on my part to grace you since you do not have any refuge?”. AzhwAr responds…

nAraNanE nI ennai anRi ilai – you, who are the owner, cannot attain completeness unless you accept me, your property. The magnanimous person will attain completeness only if he attains a mendicant. In the same way, you will attain completeness only if you accept me who has shortcomings.

nAraNanE – your characteristic of nArAyaNathvam (being nArAyana) will show life only if you shower your mercy on me. Thus, my saying that your grace will fall on me, today or tomorrow or after sometime, is totally true. It is pertinent to recall the verse of SrI ALavandhAr in sthOthra rathnam 51thadhaham thvadhruthE na nAthavAn madhruthE thvam dhayanIyavAn na cha I vidhi nirmitham Ethadh anvayam bhagavan pAlaya mA sma jIhapa: II” (thus, I do not have anyone other than you as my lord. You too do not have anyone other than me to shower your grace. This relationship has been created purely by your mercy. Oh the omniscient! Please protect, do not give up).

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 6 – aRiyAr samaNar

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avathArikai

After AzhwAr mentioned “nIyE aRi” in the previous pAsuram, emperumAn asked him “In this expansive world is there no one who knows about this?”. AzhwAr responds saying “in this world which is full of ignorant jainas, the confused baudhdhas and the lowly Saivas, all of whom either do not accept vEdhas or give wrong interpretation to vEdhas, who would know you truly?”. If one were to ask “There could be people similar to the mudhal AzhwArs (the first three AzhwArs) who are totally devoted to emperumAn; why then is AzhwAr saying that there is none?”, the answer would be that AzhwAr, while knowing that there would be a few such people, is disgusted that the world is full of these ignorant, confused and lowly people only. Thus there is no incongruity in saying that there is none.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

aRiyAr samaNar ayarththAr bavuththar
siRiyAr sivappattAr seppil veRiyAya
mAyavanai mAlavanai mAdhavanai EththAdhAr
InavarE AdhalAl inRu

Word for Word Meanings

samaNar – jainas [Jains]
aRiyAr – do not know the truth [that emperumAn is supreme lord]
bavuththar – baudhdhas [Budhdhists]
ayarththAr – are confused
sivappattAr – Saivas [devotees of Siva]
siRiyAr – are very lowly
seppil – if (their characteristics are to be) spoken of
veRi Aya – one who is the epitome of fragrance
mAyavanai – one who has amazing characteristics and activities
mAlavanai – one who is very affectionate (towards his followers)
mAdhavanai – one who is the consort of SrI mahAlakshmi
EththAdhAr – (these people, mentioned above) will not worship
AdhalAl – thus
inRu – for the present
InavarE – they are lowly

vyAkyAnam

aRiyAr samaNar – jainas are those who say of entities “syAdhasthi, syAdhnAsthi, syAdhasthi cha nAsthi cha, syAdhasthIthi vakthavyam, syAdhnAsthIthi vakthavyam, syAdhasthi cha nAsthi chEthi vakthavyam, sarvadhA vakthavyam cha ” – 1. It (entity) may exist. 2. It may not exist. 3. It may or may not exist. 4. It may be said that it may be present. 5. It may be said that it may not be present. 6. It may be said that it may or may not be present. 7. It can be said in any way. Thus the jainas who talk with seven possibilities about an entity do not truly know an entity. Aren’t the jainas the type of people who would say that a pot exists looking at it and would say that it does not exist [once it is removed from its place] and would say that anything can be said about anything.

aRiyAr samaNar – is it required to say that jainas do not know anything when they talk in contradictory terms similar to a son saying that his mother is sterile [childless]? It is pertinent here to recall SrI parASara bhattar’s SrI rangarAja sthavam SlOkam “angIkruthya thu sapthabangi kusruthim syAdhasthi nAsathyAthmikAm viSvam thadh vibhavam jagajjinamathE naikAnthamAchakshathE I binnAbinnam idham thathA jagadhushE vandhyA mamAmbhEdhivathnUththabrahmavidhE raha: paramidham rangEndhra! thE chakshathAm ” (Oh SrI ranganAtha! In the philosophy of jainas, who follow the wrong path which says that an entity may exist or may not exist, they say that all the worlds which are your wealth are of many types. Let those jainas instruct this most secretive message to the bhEdhAbhEdhi vAdhis (those who say that entities are different as well as not different) who are the modern brahmagyAnis (know very well about emperumAn (this is a backhanded compliment)) who say that this world is same and different, similar to saying that my mother is sterile).

ayarththAr bavuththar – baudhdhas are also without knowledge. This is because they do not accept AthmA who is the knower. They consider knowledge also as transient. Is there any possibility for such people to know about Isvaran (emperumAn)?

sivappattAr siRiyAr – those who are engaged with Siva are lowly in their knowledge. These people (followers of Siva) accepted pramANam (authentic texts such as vEdhas) in a peculiar way. Unlike the jainas and baudhdhas, they accepted the vEdhas. But since they also accepted Agamas, which are confusing texts, as authentic, they do not know the supreme entity who is manifested by the authentic texts. While all the vEdhas affirm that supreme being is the determining cause as well as the materialistic cause for creation, the Saivas say that he is only the determining cause. Even while establishing as to who is the supreme being, they considered a human instead of nArAyaNa. While the King of Kings is available, they went for a mendicant; while the one with lotus eyes is available, they went in for one with disfigured eyes. Hence these people are with lowly knowledge only.

seppil – if one were to talk about them…. Even talking about them who are lowly is disgusting. For the devotees of emperumAn, talking about these people who will make even the purely good people to become angry with their words and deeds, is a difficult task. However, if one were to talk about them in order to let the others know the truth……

veRi Aya – “sarvagandha:” (one who has all the fragrance) – emperumAn is the epitome of fragrance as praised by vEdhas. This implies his unparalleled enjoyability (having the best quality among those qualities which are fit to be enjoyed).

Even flowers have sweet fragrance. What is the eminence in emperumAn having this quality?

mAyavanai – one who has amazing activities. One who has basic nature, qualities and wealth which create a feeling of wondrousness. Since he controls prakruthi  which is called as mAya due to its wondrous qualities, emperumAn is called as mAyavan. It is pertinent to recall the vEdha saying “mAyAm thu prakruthim vidhyAnmAyinam thu mahESvaram” (know that prakruthi is mAyA and emperumAn is mAyi).

Even though he is one with amazing activities, is he without empathy?

mAlavanai – one who is the epitome of affection towards his followers.

mAdhavanai – on top of all these, one who is the consort of SrI mahAlakshmi. She is the university where he learnt how to be affectionate towards followers.

EththAdhAr – these people (earlier mentioned jainas, baudhdhas, Saivas) do not worship.

AdhalAl InavarE inRu – Since they did not worship [the supreme being] they remain as lowly people.

(veRiyAya ….. EththAdhAr InavarE) – are those, who do not worship the unique enjoyable entity, great?

(mAyavanai EththAdhAr InavarE) – Are those, who do not praise the amazing entity, great in knowledge?

(mAlavanai EththAdhAr InavarE) – Do those, who do not praise the epitome of affection, have a good heart?

(mAdhavanai EththAdhAr InavarE) – Is it required to call those who do not praise even after seeing  the wealth of SrI mahAlakshmi, who is the epitome of mercy, as lowly?

inRu InavarE – Since they are qualified to become elevated as devotees of supreme being at some point of time in the future, AzhwAr says that they are lowly, as of now.

We will move on to the 7th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 5 – thoguththa varaththanAy

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avathArikai

Even after AzhwAr explained clearly the supremacy of emperumAn, the worldly people were muddled in their thinking. AzhwAr then tells emperumAn “Oh benefactor! It is very rare to find in this world those who are able to accept your supremacy. Thus, as I recite, you should mercifully listen”.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

thoguththa varaththanaAyth thOlAdhAn mArvam
vagirththa vaLaiyugirththOL mAlE ugaththil
oru nAnRu nIyuyarththi uLvAngi nIyE
arunAngum AnAy aRi

Word for Word Meanings

thoguththa varaththanAy – earning the boons (through penance)
thOlAdhAn – hiraNya kashyap who did not lose to anyone
mArvam – chest
vagirththa – splitting into two
vaLai ugir – curled up nails
thOL – and having shoulders
mAlE – Oh benefactor!
nI – you
ugaththil – during deluge
uL vAngi – keeping (the worlds) inside, after annihilating
oru nAnRu – during the time (of creation)
uyarththi – bringing (those worlds) outside
nIyE – you, with such qualities
aru nAngum AnAy – became the indwelling soul for the four types of entities (celestial, human, animal and botanical)
aRi – know this

vyAkyAnam

varaththanAy – collecting all the boons. hiraNya kashyap collected all the boons which were available in the world. AzhwAr reminisces the many boons which hiraNya kashyap earned through which he would not be killed by those who were created by brahmA (celestial, human, animal and botanical entities), during night or day, in the sky or on the earth, inside or outside the house, through weapons, those which have life and those which do not have life etc.

thOlAdhAn – due to the strength of such boons, he was such that he could not be defeated even by those who granted him the boons.

mArvam vagirththa – splitting the chest into two

vaLaiyugirth thOL – having curved nails and shoulders. Since emperumAn punctured the chest of hiraNya in deep anger, his shoulders and nails became curved. There are people who construe the word thOL as referring to divine hands; thus the meaning would change to: having divine hands with curved nails.

mAlE – one who was very affectionate towards prahlAdha even when he was in deep anger like this! nammAzhwAr too mercifully said “sIRRaththOdu aruL peRRavan” (one who is merciful even when he is angry). When asked by a follower as to whether it is possible to have affection and anger at the same time, udayavar (SrI rAmAnujar) mercifully explained “even when the lioness is fighting with elephant, she will nurse her cubs affectionately and hence this is apt”

mAlE – we can also construe this to mean supreme entity. Through this activity, while it is very clear that you are the lord for brahmA, rudhra et al, why is it that many people are befuddled!

mAlE – Is it not correct to analyse whether those who granted the boons are supreme or one who removed their difficulties?

Next AzhwAr says that it is emperumAn who, as indwelling souls of brahmA, rudhra et al, carries out the tasks of creation and annihilation. When he was asked “but there are some who say that brahmA and rudhra carry out the tasks of creation and annihilation”…….

uL vAngi nIyE ugaththil oru nAnRu nIyuyarththi – as one who keeps all the entities inside during the time of deluge and brings them out during the time of creation. This is similar to Athapadhakam by which water which is subdued by the rays of sun comes out during rainy season. In this simile, emperumAn is like the sun, brahmA, rudhra et al are like the rays of the sun and the worlds are like water. AzhwAr says that emperumAn, utilising brahmA, rudhra et al as implements, keeps the worlds inside and lets them out, at appropriate times.

Next AzhwAr says that one can know emperumAn is carrying out the three functions of creation, protection and annihilation through his sarvAthmabhAvam (pervading all souls)…

aru nAngum AnAy – did you not become the unseen jIvan (life) for the four entities of dhEva (celestial), manushya (human), thiryak (animal) and sthAvara (botanical)! By the usage of the sound um in nAngum it is inferred that he dwells inside achith (insentient) entity too. Just as it is said “kshEthragyam chApi mAm vidhdhi” (know that I am (both body and) soul) the words can be transposed to nAngum aru AnAy meaning that emperumAn is the indwelling soul of celestial, human, animal and botanical entities. This conveys that just as he carries out creation and annihilation, he also protects by being the indwelling soul.

aru nAngum AnAy – it is apt to reminisce on the sayings of upanishaths “viSvAthmAnam parAyaNam”, “anthar bahiScha thath sarvam vyApya nArAyaNa: sthitha:” (nArAyaNa pervades both inside and outside of all) “sarvabhUthAntharAthmA nArAyaNa:

nIyE aRi – there is none in this samsAram (materialistic realm) who would understand even if these meanings are instructed. AzhwAr thus says that you [emperumAn] should know and shower your grace. One can construe these verses as either nIyE aru nAngum AnAy or nIyE aRi. appiLLai (one of the commentators for this prabandham) says “those who are unable to bear your greatness will suffer the fate of hiraNya kashyap and AzhwAr is hence bringing in the reference to hiraNya”

puththUr swAmy, who has expanded on the vyAkyAnam of both periyavAchchAn piLLai and appiLLai has given another meaning for the second part of the pAsuram. This is based on another meaning for uyarththi which means incarnation. The first paragraph below is the avathArikai for the pAsuram and the words following this paragraph, are the verses from the pAsuram with new meaning:

In the previous pAsuram, after AzhwAr has spoken of emperumAn’s supremacy, some people objected saying “How can nArAyaNa be considered as supreme since he has suffered a lot during his incarnations?”, AzhwAr responds in this pAsuram saying that the incarnations that he had taken due to his partiality towards devotees will only bring greatness to him and not lowliness.

ugaththil – in every yuga (age). Hasn’t emperumAn himself mentioned mercifully in SrI bhagavath gIthA 4.8sambhavAmi yugE yugE” (I incarnate in every age)?

oru nAnRu – on various occasions. As mentioned in SrI bhagavath gIthA 4.9yadhA yadhA hi dharmasya glAnil bhavathy bhAratha abyuththAnam adharmasya thadhAthmAnam srujAmyaham ” (whenever righteousness is threatened and evil is nurtured (I incarnate myself)), on such occasions.

nI uyarththi – you incarnate. For his nature etc, incarnation becomes a greatness. It is said “sa u SrEyAn bhavathi jAyamAna:” (he attains greatness only after being born); “pala piRappAy oLivaru muzhu nalam” (he attains completeness on being born radiantly in many births)

uyarththi arunAngum AnAy – when incarnating, you are born in all types of creations such as celestial, human, animal and botanical.

uL vAngi – once the purpose of incarnation has been achieved, he returns to his paramapadham.

nIyE aRi – as mentioned in authentic texts “nA vEdhavinmanuthE” (one who does not know vEdhas will not know the greatness of his births) “avajAnanthi mAm mUdA:” (the foolish persons denigrate emperumAn who is in human form), those who speak such lowly words do not know this meaning. Those who are said as in “thasyA dhIrA: parijAnanthi yOnim” (only the brave understand his incarnations) are indeed rare. Hence AzhwAr tells emperumAn that only he should understand the meaning of this.  The first interpretation explains his supremacy and this interpretation explains his simplicity.

We will take up the 6th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 4 – ARu sadaikkarandhAn

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avathArikai

In the first pAsuram, AzhwAr ascertained that it is nArAyaNa who is the cause for the birth of brahmA, rudhra et al. In the second pAsuram he said that since there is only one supreme being, three cannot become causative factor for the worlds. In the third pAsuram he said that only he knows the greatness as well as the simplicity of emperumAn. At this point of time, devotees of Siva asked him:

  • EkO hi rudhrO na dhvIthIyAya thasthu: – rudhra is only one; there is no one else
  • yO dhEvAnAm prabavaS chOdhbhayaScha viSvAdhikO rudhrO maharshi: I hiraNyagarbham janayAmAsa pUrvam sa nObhudhdhyA SubayA samyunakthu II – let that rudhra who is the causative factor for all dhEvas (celestial entities), who is the cause for their development, who is the lord for the universe, who is omniscient and who initially gave birth to brahmA, grant us good knowledge
  • thasmAth sarva gatha: Siva: – thus Siva is the refuge for all
  • sarvasya prabhum ISAnam – Siva who is the lord of all…
  • mAyinam thu mahESvaram – know that mahESvaran is amazing
  • gyAthvA Sivam SAnthimadhyanthamEthi – he attains peace after knowing Siva
  • Sivamsarva bhUthEshu gUdam – Siva who is hidden in all creations…
  • Siva Eva kEvala: – only Siva was there
  • ISas sarvAdhipathyam kuruthE – ISan is the master of all
  • bhAvAbhAvakaram Sivam – Siva who carries out creation and destruction…
  • thamISvarANAm paramam mahESvaram – he who is the mahESvara (great controller) of all ISvaras..
  • Siva EkO dhyEya: – Siva alone is apt to be meditated upon
  • ahamEka prathamamAsam varththAmi cha bhavishyAmi cha nAnya: kaSchin maththO vyathiriktha: – (I, Siva alone, was there at the beginning; am present now; will be there in future. There is no one other than myself)

These followers of Siva asked AzhwAr “While vEdhas, at many instances, proclaim loudly that Siva is the causative factor for all the worlds and that he is the indwelling soul for all, could you say that nArAyaNa alone is the causative factor for all the worlds? Since nArAyaNa has been proclaimed in the vEdhas in a few instances as the causative factor for the worlds and since all the above mentioned instances, quoted from vEdhas, mention that Siva is the supreme being, it will be apt to consider that both are supreme beings. This being the case, how can your words ‘only I know his (nArAyaNa’s) supremacy’ be taken at face value?”. AzhwAr tells them in this pAsuram the way by which he knew that nArAyaNa is the supreme being.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

ARu sadaik karandhAn aNdarkOn thannOdum
kURudaiyan enbadhuvum koLgaiththE vERoruvan
illAmai ninRAnai emmAnai epporutkum
sollAnaich chonnEn thoguththu

Word for Word Meanings

ARu – the river gangA (Ganges)
sadai – in his matted hair
karandhAn – rudhra is bearing it (gangA) in a hidden fashion
aNdar kOn thannOdum – with bhagavAn who is the lord of all dhEvas
kURu udaiyan enbadhuvum – the words spoken (by ignorant people) that he is equal
koLgaiththE – could it be approved? (No)
vERu oruvar illAmai ninRAnai – one who excels in not having anyone to compare with
epporutkum sollAnai – one who has every word used for referring to all the things as referring to himself (this is called as sarvaSabdha vAchyan – all sounds referring to him)
emmAnai – emperumAn
thoguththuch chonnEn – I mentioned briefly

vyAkyAnam

AzhwAr says while that there are authentic proofs in vEdhas that Siva is the causative factor, he is asking the followers of Siva as to why they are not analysing whether this word Siva refers to the one on whom they have lot of affection.

ARu sadaikkarandhAn – Siva bore the river gangA, when brahmA washed the divine feet of emperumAn [during thrivikrama avathAram] with it, in order to remove the impurities in himself. It is apt to recall what brahmA had said in ISvara samhithai “dhravibhUthas thadhA dharmO haribhakthyA mahAmunE I gruhIthvA dharma pAnIyam padham nAthasya thushtayE II kshAlitham parayA bhakthyA pAdhyArghyAdhibhir Architham I thadhambu pathitham dhrushtvA dhadhAra SirasA hara:  II pAvanArththam jatA madhyE yOgyOsmIthya vadhAraNAth I varshAyuthAnyatha bahUn na mumOcha thadhA hara: II” (Oh the great rishi!  During that time (when emperumAn measured the worlds) dharmam (righteousness) out of devotion to hari (emperumAn) became a flowing water. Using that divine water, which is dharma, in order to make jagannAtha (lord of the worlds, emperumAn) happy, his divine feet were washed by me (brahmA).  He was worshipped with pAdhyam (washing the divine feet), argyam (washing the divine hands) etc. Looking at the water which was falling off emperumAn’s divine feet, Siva determined that he is apt (to be purified) and bore that water on his head in order to purify himself. After that, for ten thousand years, rudhra did not let go of that water).

ARu sadaikkarandhAnAzhwAr is asking whether it is not proper to enquire whether rudhra had the purity which is denoted by the word Siva.

sadai – the word sadai (matted hair) denotes a person who is observing penance towards a goal and hence it clearly points out that rudhra is not the supreme entity.

sadaik karandhAn – he bore the water from (emperumAn’s) divine feet on his matted hair.

karandhAn – just as people hide huge treasure inside trunks, Siva hid the water from emperumAn’s divine feet in his matted hair.

aNdarkOn thannOdum – along with nArAyaNa who stood as the lord of dhEvas due to this act of measuring the worlds.

kURudaiyan enbadhuvum koLgaiththE – is it apt to accept that gangAdhara (one who bore gangA) is equivalent to kESava in terms of qualities such as being a SEshi (one who accepts services from his followers), being the causative factor for all the worlds, having the ability to pervade all entities, having the ability to grant mOksham (liberating souls from samsAram and enabling them to ascend to SrIvaikuNtam) etc? Did not vEdha say “Eka: prAsIsarath pAdham Eka: prAchIkshalan mudhA I aparO’pyadharan mUrdhnA kOdhikas thEshugaNyathAm  II” (one raised his divine feet to high levels; one washed he divine feet; one bore the water falling from the divine feet on his head; you think and decide on who, among these three, is supreme).

When asked as to what is the reason for emphasising that Siva is not equivalent to emperumAn on qualities such as being the lord etc, AzhwAr says…

vERoruvar illAmai ninRAnai – isn’t he (emperumAn) one who does not have anyone equal or superior to him? emperumAn himself says in SrI bhagavath gIthA 7.6aham kruthsnasya jagatha: prabhava: praLayas thathA I maththa: paratharam nAnyath kinchithasthi dhanajaya: II” (I stand as the causative factor for the creation and destruction of the worlds; there is none superior to me) and SrI bhagavath gIthA 15.18yasmAth ksharamathIthO’hamaksharAdhapi chOththama: I athO’smi lOkE vEdhE cha prathitha: purushOththama: II” (being superior to kshara purusha (insentient entities) and akshara purusha (sentient entities) I am proclaimed as purushOththama (best among all entities) in vEdhas, epics and ancient histories). rishis (sages) say “na dhaivam kESavAth param” (there is none superior to kESava) and “na param puNdarIkAkshAth” (there is none superior to puNdarIksha (one with lotus like eyes)). vEdhas say “paramam prabhum nArAyaNam” (nArAyaNa who is without anyone superior to him) and “na thath samaSchAbhyadhigaScha dhruSyathE” (there is none who is seen to be equivalent or superior to him).When asked who is such an entity, AzhwAr responds …

emmAnai – one who is my lord. This is in keeping with thirumazhisai AzhwAr’s nature of not worshipping any other deity even by mistake. We can consider this as “one who made me, who is very lowly, as his servitor”

When AzhwAr was asked “While it is mentioned in different places [in vEdhas] that paramAthmA is denoted by the sounds “Siva, rudhra, ISan, ISvaran, mahESvaran et al” how is it that you are saying that only nArAyaNa is the supreme being?” he responds saying

epporutkum sollAnai – one who is denoted by all the sounds (words). AzhwAr says “Isn’t he referred to in vEdhas as the supreme being with words such as AkASam, jyOthi, indhra, rudhra, Siva, Esa, ISvara, mahESvara, purusha, purushOththama, uththama purusha, vishNu, hari, achyutha, anantha, nArAyana, thrivikrama, vAmana et al?”

epporutkum sollAnai – he is the direct reference for all sounds and the in dwelling soul for the meanings of all such sounds.  Let us consider the sound Siva. Since the purity which is referred to by this word is naturally present in nArAyaNa, in words such as Siva Eva kEvala: (only Siva was there), nArAyaNa is directly indicated by the word Siva. In upanishaths such as atharvaSiras, in identities which are related to rudhra, the word Siva refers to rudhra and to his antharyAmi (indwelling soul) nArAyaNa. Thus, in both ways (directly and through the status of being antharyAmi) nArAyaNa is the meaning for all sounds.

epporutkum sollAnai – similar to sounds such as rudhra, Siva etc, emperumAn is also referred to by sounds such as AkASa, prANa, indhra etc. If one were to make Siva as supreme based on the sound Siva, one has to make AkASa etc as supreme based on the sound AkASa etc. If one were to say that sounds such as AkASa etc have impurities in them, the same has to be said of ARu sadaikkarandhAn also. Hence it will be correct to identify names such as AkASa along with names such as Siva without any distinction with nArAyaNa. If one were to ask as to why sounds such as nArAyaNa cannot be imputed to Siva, the reason will be that names such as nArAyaNa are more famous than Siva, both in terms of sound and meaning. In other words, vEdhas mention Siva, well known in the world, as having been born, as having his sins not removed and having several lowliness in him. Hence, names such as nArAyaNa cannot be imputed for Siva. Only names such as Siva are to be ascribed to nArAyaNa. Thus in vEdhas we have verses such as “SAsvatham Sivam achyutham”, “viSvAksham viSva Sambhuvam”, “UrdhvarEtham virUpAksham” “ya: paras sa mahESvara:” and in SrI vishNu sahasranAmam verses such as “ISAna prANadha: prANa:”, “sarva Sarva Siva: sthANu:”, “Adi dhEvO mahAdhEva:”, “rudhrO bahu SirA bhabhru:” to substantiate that names of Siva are imputed to nArAyaNa. Hence only nArAyaNa can be taken as being referred to as sarvaSabdha vAchya (being referred to by all sounds)

thoguththuch chonnEn – I condensed his greatness and simplicity and said it in a simple way. If one desires to see the expanded way, one could see that in the pAsurams to come as well as in AzhwAr’s other work, thiruchchandha viruththam.

We will take up the 5th pAsuram next.

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nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 3 – pAlil kidandhadhuvum

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avathArikai

AzhwAr was asked “Is it apt on your part to say that Arum aRiyAr – (no one knows his [emperumAn’s] greatness) as this implies that you know about him. He responds saying “Arum aRiyAr meant that no one has fully estimated his greatness. There are many who know a little bit of his greatness. But there is none among them who knows as much as I do. Those who attempt to know him through their efforts would know a little bit about his supremacy. Since he, with causeless mercy, showed himself to me, I alone know his great qualities such as simplicity etc”. Alternatively, it can be construed that he is saying “When it comes to the question of those who are carrying out means on their own to attain him, is it possible for them to know about as much as I do, who had seen him when he chose to show himself?”

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

pAlil kidandhadhuvum paNdarangam mEyadhuvum
Alil thuyinRadhuvum AraRivAr gyAlath
thoruporuLai vAnavar tham meypporuLai appil
aruporuLai yAn aRindhavARu

Word for Word Meanings

pAlil kidandhadhuvum – reclining on thiruppARkadal, the milky ocean
paNdu arangam mEyadhuvuam – at an earlier point of time, dwelling in thiruvarangam (SrIrangam)
Alil thuyinRadhuvum – sleeping on a tender banyan leaf
gyAlaththu oruporuLai – one who is the only causative factor for the worlds
vAnavar tham meypporuLai – one who is shining radiantly to the nithyasUris (permanent dwellers of SrivaikuNtam)
appil aru poruLai – (during the time of creation) the rare entity, emperumAn, who is lying on water
yAn aRindhavARu – as I know him to be
Ar aRivAr – who knows?

vyAkyAnam

pAlil kidandhadhuvum – being the controller of nithyasUris and the causative factor for the worlds, emperumAn, in order to uplift some chEthanas (jIvAthmAs) from samsAram, thinking of taking several incarnations, lies in the milky ocean in a meditative posture.

paNdarangam mEyadhuvum – dwelling aptly at thrivarangam which is considered as the upper limit for emperumAn’s incarnations.

paNdu – at a time when the entire area was like a forest and there was none expecting him, emperumAn had reclined there with the desire “will not someone at some point of time attain me?” – the anguish of the protector more than that of the protected.

arangam mEyadhuvum – fitting into arangam better than at SrIvaikuNtam. Thinking of the troubles faced by samsAris in this world, emperumAn feels for them in his divine heart and with that warmth, comes and dwells here. When paraSAra bhattar was mercifully explaining this, he was asked by a follower “is it apt for someone who is full of happiness in SrIvaikuNtam to feel sorrowful?” to which bhattar responded quoting SrI rAmAyaNa SlOkam “vyasanEshu manushyANAm bhruSam bhavathi dhukkitha:” (when people (of his kingdom) suffer, SrI rAma suffers more than they). nampiLLai, in his Idu commentary for thiruvAimozhi 4.10.2 has mercifully mentioned “if there is no way of showering his mercy, emperumAn wouldn’t have created chEthanas (sentient entities – the jIvAthmAs) [creating chEthanas implies giving them bodies], as he had already negated any happening for himself out of karmas (virtuous and sinful deeds) ; has it not been said ‘sa EkAkI na ramEtha’ – nArAyaNa was not happy at the beginning, when he was alone, even when the nithyavibhUthi and all his auspicious qualities were already present!”

Alil thuyinRadhuvum – sleeping on a tender banyan leaf after keeping all the worlds in his stomach and protecting them at the time of deluge and the chEthanas were threatened

AraRivAr – who will know that emperumAn has such soft qualities? One may comprehend, to an extent, his greatness. It is not possible to understand his simplicity.

yAn aRindhavARu AraRivAr – would anyone know, out of his own efforts, the qualities such as simplicity etc of emperumAn’s as much as I, who had been manifested these by emperumAn himself, would know?

When asked whether emperumAn has only simplicity, AzhwAr says next that even his greatness has no limits. Only if simplicity and greatness are together would it shine radiantly like a gemstone studded in gold.

gyAlaththu oru poruLai – the unique entity which is the causative factor for the creation of the worlds as mentioned in the upanishaths such as “sadhEva sOmyEdhamagra AsIth EkamEva adhvathIyam” (Oh sOmadhEva! There was only one entity at the beginning and none else) and “EkO ha vai nArAyaNa AsIth na brahmA nESAna:” (only nArAyaNa was there at the beginning; not brahmA, not Siva)

gyAlaththu oru poruLai – the only entity who stood as the entire worlds – as being joined with subtle forms in the beginning (during deluge when all the entities, both sentient and insentient, were part of his form, with no form or name of their own) and being joined with gross entities later on (during creation when the sentient and insentient had forms and names of their own)

appil aru poruLai – the causative factor for the worlds, who created the element appu (water) initially, and reclined on it.

yAn aRindhavARu yAr aRivArAzhwAr asks as to who knows such emperumAn as much as he knows. Those who know his greatness do not know his simplicity and those who know his simplicity do not know his greatness. AzhwAr says that he is the only one who knows both. Those who attain him on their own do not know of his simplicity. Those who worship other deities do not know of his greatness. AzhwAr says that he alone knows both the qualities of emperumAn.

We will move on to the 4th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 2 – thErungAl dhEvan

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avathArikai

After AzhwAr mentioned in the previous pAsuram that brahmA, rudhra et al were created by nArAyaNa, he was asked by some samsAris “It is well known in the world that brahmA, vishNu and Siva are the three deities for creation, protection and annihilation respectively; thus, while it is apt to accept that all three are supreme beings, could you say that only nArAyaNa is the supreme being?”. AzhwAr responds in this pAsuram through the path of ithihAsams (epics).

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

thErungAl dhEvan oruvanE enRuraippar
Arum aRiyAr avan perumai Orum
poruL mudivum iththanaiyE eththavam seydhArkkum
aruL mudivadhu AzhiyAn pAl

Word for Word Meanings

thErungAl – if one were to analyse
dhEvan – supreme being
oruvanE enRu uraippar – (wise men) will say that there is only one
avan perumai – the greatness of that sarvESvaran
Arum aRiyAr – no one knows
Orum poruL mudivum iththanaiyE – the meaning established by analysing (vEdhas and ithihAsas) is only this much
eththavam seydhArkkum – for all who have carried out penance to whatever extent
aruL mudivadhu – the final benefit of mercy
AzhiyAn pAl – from emperumAn who has divine disc

vyAkyAnam

therungAl dhEvan oruvanE enRu uraippar – if one were to analyse with the assistance of pramAnas (authentic texts) the wise sages will say that the supreme being is only one and that he is SrIman nArAyaNa. The wise sages established that “thathvam jigyAsamAnAnAm hEthubis sarvathOmukhai: I thathvamEkO mahAyOgI harir nArAyaNa smrutha: II” (those who desire to know the supreme being think that it is only nArAyaNa who is a mahA yOgi and is known by the name hari, who is the only supreme being, for a variety of reasons). Thus AzhwAr says that the claim of samsAris that there are three supreme beings is incorrect.

Arum aRiyAr avan perumai – no one can estimate his greatness

Orum poruL mudivum iththanaiyE – the established meaning of all that has been mentioned in Sruthis (vEdhas or sacred texts) and smruthis (ithihAsas and purANas or epics and ancient histories) is only this much. Many quotations have been given to establish this statement, as detailed below:

vEdha vAkyas: (quotations from sacred texts)

  • dhivyO dhEva EkO nArAyaNa – nArAyaNa is the only divine dhEva
  • ISathE dhEva Eka: – dhEva alone controls chith (sentient) and achith (insentient) entities
  • EkO dhEvas sarvabhUthEshu gUda: – there is only one dhEva who is hidden in all creations
  • Eka svathanthrO jagathO babhUva: – there is only one independent lord for the entire universe
  • bhUthasya jAtha: pathirEka AsIth – he was the only lord for all creations
  • EkO ha vai nArAyaNa AsIth – only nArAyaNa was there at the beginning

smruthi vAkyas (quotations from ithihAsas and purANas)

  • Eka SAsthA na dhvithIyO’sthi kaSchith – there is only one lord; no one else
  • Ekas thishtathi viSvAthmA sa cha nArAyaNa: – only nArAyaNa who is the AthmA for the entire universe, remains at the end
  • Eka Eva janArdhana: – it is only janArdhana who carries out all the three primary functions

Arum aRiyAr avan perumai Orum poruL mudivum iththanaiyE – Has it not been mentioned that the greatness of supreme being is not known to brahmA, rudhra, great sages such as sanaka et al and to himself [emperumAn] who is the controller of all, in various authentic texts!

 vEdhas (sacred texts) say:

  • ka iththA vEdha yathra sa: – who knows his basic nature and qualities
  • sO anga vEdha yadhi vA na vEdha – does he know or not know (his own greatness)
  • yasyAmatham thasya matham – one who does not know brahmam (supreme being) knows brahmam
  • yathO vAchO nivarththanthE – after not attaining whom, the words returned
  • I thE vishNO jAyamAnO na jAthO dhEva mahimna: paramanthamApa – Oh vishNu!  No one among those who is taking birth, who has been born (and who is going to be born) knows the limit of your greatness
  • EthAvA nasya mahimA athO jyAyAmScha pUrusha: – is this all his greatness? Is that supreme being not greater than these!

SrI rAmAyaNam

  • thvam hi lOka gathirdhEva na thvAm kEsana jAnathE – Oh dhEva! You are the refuge for the world,; none knows you

mahAbhAratham mOksha dharmam

  • prajApathincha rudhranchApyahamEva srujAmi vai I thau cha mAm na vijAnIthO mama mAyAprahamOthau – only I create brahmA and rudhra. They too, who are bewildered by my mAyA (prakruthi or primordial matter) do not know me
  • na sa Sakyas thvayA dhrashtum mayAnyair vApi saththama I sarvEshAm sAkshibhUthO’sau na grAhya: kEnachith kvachith – Oh child rudhra! That supreme being is not apt to be known by you or by me (brahmA) or by anyone else. He knows everything, being the witness to everything. This supreme being is not capable of being known by anyone at any point of time.

vishNusdharmam says “na yasya rUpam na balaprabhAvau na cha svabhAva: paramasya pumsa: I vigyAyathE sarvapithAmahAdhyais tham vAsudhEvam praNamAmyachinthyam” – I salute that vAsudhEva whose divine form and basic nature are not known to brahmA, rudhra et al and who cannot be known.

vishNu purANam

  • yannAyam bhagavAn brahmA jAnAthi paramam padham thannathA: sma jagadhdhAma thava sarvagathAchyutha II – Oh achyutha! We salute that divine form of yours, being the final refuge and sustenance for the entire universe, which bhagavAn brahmA doesn’t know.
  • yan na dhEvA na munayO nachAham na cha Sankara:jAnanthi paramESasya thadh vishNOr paramam padham II – we salute that vishNu who, being the final refuge and supreme lord, who is not known by dhEvas (celestial entities), sages, me (brahmA) and Sankara.

varAha purANam says “adhyApi mAm na jAnanthi rudhrEndhrAs sapithAmahA:” (brahmA, rudhra, indhra et al do not know me even today)

SrI bhagavath gIthA

  • nAham prkASas sarvasya yOgamAyAsamAvrutha:mUdO’yam nAbi jAnAthi lOkO mAmajamavyayam II – I, covered by the yOgamAyA (primordial matter), will not be visible to all. This ignorant world will not know me, the birthless and indelible entity)
  • mAm thu vEdha na kaSchana – no one knows me

AzhwAr was asked “We hear that brahmA, rudhra et al grant great benefits to those who carry out penance towards them; hence, can we not take it that they are also supreme beings?” He responds..

eththavam seydhArkkum aruL mudivadhu AzhiyAn pAl – irrespective of the extent of penance carried out by anyone, the final benefit is granted by the one who carries the divine disc. AzhwAr says that even if one carries out penance towards brahmA, rudhra et al, the benefit is granted by SrIman nArAyaNa, as the indwelling soul of brahmA, rudhra et al.

aruL mudivu adhu – those benefits which are accrued through (emperumAn’s) mercy.

eththavam …. Orum poruL mudivum iththanaiyE – if one were to examine the vEdhas and smruthis, it would be clear that for those who carry out means (for attaining emperumAn) the benefit is attained through nArAyaNa only. In bhavrucha Sruthi it is said “asya dhEvasya mIdushO vayA vishNOrEsha pravruthE  havirbhI: vidhEhi rudhrOrudhriyam mahaththvam” (rudhra attained his greatness only after carrying out penance towards vishNu). The same meaning has been quoted in mahAbhAratha which says “mayA srushta: purA brahmA math yagyamayajath svayam I thathas thasmai varAn prIthO thadhAMyahamanuththamAn II mathputhrathvancha kalpAdhau lOkAdhyakshathvamEva cha II ” (once upon a time, brahmA, who was created by me, carried out a ritual relating to me. Being pleased by that, I granted him the superior boons of being my son and being the head of universe) and “mahAdhEvas sarvamEdhE mahAthmA hUthvAthmAnam dhEvadhEvO babhUva” (in the sarvamEdha yagya (ritual), mahAdhEva (rudhra) offered himself as the sacrificial material and became dhEvadhEva)

Thus, AzhwAr, in this pAsuram, established that nArAyaNa is the supreme lord and brahmA, rudhra et al get their benefits granted by nArAyaNa only.

We will take up the 3rd pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 1 – nAnmuganai

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avathArikai

In the first pAsuram, AzhwAr instructs others (samsAris or dwellers in materialistic realm) that brahmA and Siva were described by vEdhas (spiritual texts) as  created entities and that just as they were primary entities for the expansion of samsAram (materialistic realm), he (AzhwAr) is determined to instruct the samsAris the rare meanings, asking them to uplift themselves through this instruction.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

nAnmuganai nArAyaNan padaiththAn nAnmuganum
thAnmugamAy sankaranaiththAn padaiththAn yANmugamAy
andhAdhi mElittu aRiviththEn AzhporuLai
sindhAmal koNminIr thErndhu

Word for Word Meanings

nArAyaNan – SrIman nArAyaNa (nArAyaNa, consort of SrI mahAlakshmi)
nAnmuganai padaiththAn – created brahmA who has four faces
nAnmuganum – that brahmA too
thAN mugamAy – keeping himself as the primary entity
sankaranai – rudhra
thAn padaiththAn – created himself
yAn mugamAy – I, keeping myself as primary entity
Azh poruLai – these meanings which are difficult to know
andhAdhi mElittu – in the form of andhAdhi (antha + Adhi – a form of poetry wherein the last letter/word/line of one verse becomes the first letter/word/line of next verse)
aRiviththEn – instructed
nIr – you (who are listening to this)
thErndhu – analysing
sindhAmal – ensuring that these meanings do not slip out
koLmin – retain in your mind

vyAkyAnam

nAnmuganai nAyAyaNan padaiththAnsarvESvaran (supreme being) is called by the unique name of nArAyaNa since he is the refuge for the nAra samUha (nArA: – collection of all the jIvAthmAs and achEthana objects) and has the nArA: as his refuge; also, he is the means as well as the end benefit for the jIvAthmAs. Such nArAyaNa created nAnmugan (brahmA) with four heads to pervade in all four directions and carry out creation and to keep reciting simultaneously the four vEdhas which aid in the creation.

nArAyaNan – this is the unique name for supreme being which manifests his all pervading quality, his being the sustenance for all, his being the means for SrIvaikuNtam and his being the final benefit for those who attain him.

nAnmuganai – this is the name for the one who has creation alone as his responsibility and who is controlled by his senses.

padaiththAn – created all the primary entities of universe as well as the creator [brahmA]. nArAyaNOpanishath says “nArAyaNAdh brahmA jAyathE” (brahmA was born out of nArAyaNa); subhAlOpanishath says “thathra brahmA chathurmukhOjAyathE” (there, brahmA, with four faces, was born); nArAyaNavalli says “yO brahmANam vidhadhAdhipUrvam” (…one who created brahmA earlier…); muNdakOpanishath says “brahmA dhEvAnAm prathamas sambhabhUva” (bhramA was born ahead of all dhEvas); mahOpanishath says “yannAbhipadhmAdhabhavan mahAthmA prajApathi:” (from whose navel like lotus the great AthmA brahmA was born); at the end of vEdhas it says “sa prajApathirEka: pushkaraparNE sambhavath” (prajApathi [brahmA] was born on a lotus). AzhwAr mercifully mentions about such brahmA as having been created by nArAyaNa.

nAnmuganum thAn mugamAy sankaranaiththAn padaiththAn – that brahmA, keeping himself as the primary entity, created Siva. AzhwAr reminisces the words mentioned in vEdhas such as “virUpAkshAya brahmaNa: puthrAya jyEshtAya” (to virUpAksha [rudhra] who is the first son of brahmA), “thryaksha: SUlabhANi: purushO’jAyatha” (having trident, the purusha (jIvAthmA) with three eyes was born), “samvathsarE kumArO’jAyatha” (in a year (at one point of time) rudhra was born as a son to brahmA) etc.

thAnmugamAyp padaiththAn – after receiving instruction about vEdhas from emperumAn, without having the need to approach emperumAn for any clarification, brahmA made himself as the primary entity and created Siva. We can also construe this as “lalAtAth krOdhajO rudhra:” (rudhra was born out of the forehead of brahmA).

yAn mugamAy andhAdhi mElittu aRiviththEn AzhporuLai – just as brahmA, as the primary entity, created for the expansion of samsAram, AzhwAr says that he is going to instruct these difficult-to-know meanings for its annihilation, on his own, without  the jIvAthmAs asking his for it.

andhAdhi mElittu aRiviththEn – just as one engraves on copper plate and stones, AzhwAr says that he is writing these meanings in the form of an andhAdhi (a classification of poems).

AzhporuLai aRiviththEn – AzhwAr says that he magnanimously gave these meanings which are similar to gemstones in the ocean of Sruthi (vEdhas) and smruthi (purANas and ithihAsas), being unable to bear the sorrows of samsAris.

AzhporuLai andhAdhi mElittu aRiviththEn – this is like embedding ruby stones in gold.

AzhporuLai – from the fact that brahmA, Siva et al were created, it is clear that they will get destroyed one day. AzhporuL refers to the fact that they get destroyed. AzhwAr says that he is mentioning that brahmA, Siva et al are entities who get destroyed and it is this meaning that he wants to convey.

nIr thErndhu sidnhAmal koNmin – AzhwAr tells samsAris to analyse the lowliness of samsAram and the greatness of what he is saying, and being intelligent, think about which is more apt for themselves, without getting distracted.

sindhAmal koNmin – do not let go of the gemstone that I have donated and hold it firmly! He is praying to samsAris in a way which is similar to one falling at the feet of another to take milk.

An interesting meaning is given by vaikuNtavAsi SrI prathivAdhi bhayankaram aNNangarAchAryar swAmy for the usage of the past tense in AzhwAr’s last line: aRiviththEn AzhporuLai – AzhwAr says that he has announced the inner meanings even before he starts conveying them. This is because he feels that emperumAn, being sathya sankalpan (one who fulfils what he sets out to do), wants to convey the meanings through him and also because he is firm in his mind that through his pAsurams (hymns) he is going to establish the supremacy of emperumAn and hence he has decided that he has already conveyed the meanings. In thamizh grammar, this is referred to as kAlavazhuvamaidhi (due to one’s clarity of mind, conveying what is going to happen as having already happened).

We will go on to the 2nd pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – avathArikai

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

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This prabandham (divine hymn) was mercifully composed by thirumazhisai AzhwAr. Since it starts with the words nAnmugan and is in the form of andhAdhi (antha + Adhi – the last letter/word/line of one poem is the first letter / word / line of the next poem) it is called as nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi. The other divine hymn of this AzhwAr’s is thiruchchandha viruththam. This AzhwAr is rooted in establishing that SrIman nArAyaNa is the supreme lord. His pAsurams carry all the inner meanings of all vEdhas (sacred texts). There are three vyAkyAthas (commentators) for this thiruvandhAdhi – nampiLLai, periyavAchchAn piLLai and appiLLai. These vyAkyAnams (commentaries) are very brief. It is said that periyavAchchAn piLLai wrote the commentary for the andhAdhis in his later years.

While the first two AzhwArs (poygai AzhwAr and bhUthaththAzhwAr) mercifully sang “vaiyam thagaLiyA” and “anbE thagaLiyA… gyAnachchudar viLakkERRinEn” respectively and lit lamps, pEyAzhwAr mercifully sang “thirukkaNdEn ponmEni kaNdEn” about how the three of them experienced emperumAn. The three andhAdhis of the first three AzhwArs would be about their experience of emperumAn. By experiencing nArAyaNa, they showed that it is he who is fit to be experienced. This AzhwAr (thirumazhisai AzhwAr) removes the weeds from the field of experiencing emperumAn. What is the weed for experiencing emperumAn?

It is the act of praising other deities as supreme being. Since there is no vaishNavathvam (the love for vishNu) for those who do not consider vishNu as the supreme being, such people will not be worthy of experiencing bhagavAn. Those who worship emperumAn for other benefits (and not for himself) will be worthy of experiencing emperumAn. For those worshipping other deities, until they sever their worshipping of such deities, such worthiness will not occur to them. Thus, worshipping other deities becomes the primary weed to be removed for enjoying emperumAn. nammAzhwAr refers to this as “Or Unam” (a unique fault). In this divine hymn, thirumazhisai AzhwAr removes that weed. Isn’t thirumazhisai AzhwAr one who does not put his sword in its sheath [unrelenting and unforgiving] and is ever ready to cut out such weed (of worshipping other deities)!

We will take up the 1st pAsuram of this thiruvandhAdhi next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – thaniyan

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

nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi

emperumAnAr-thirumazhisai AzhwAremperumAnAr with thirumazhisai AzhvAr

The thaniyan for this dhivya prabandham (divine composition) was composed by SrIrAmappiLLai (twin brother of parASara bhattar and son of kUraththAzhwAn). In this thaniyan he says “Oh heart! Meditate on the divine feet of thirumazhisai AzhwAr who had established the supremacy of SrIman nArAyaNa and who had given this divine composition [called as nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi] and praise his divine feet”

Let us go through the thaniyan and its meanings:

nArayaNan padaiththAn nAnmuganai nAnmuganukku
ErAr Sivan piRandhAn ennum sol sIrAr
mozhi seppi vAzhalAm nenjamE moy pU
mazhisaip parAn adiyE vAzhththu

Word by Word Meanings

nArAyaNan – SrIman nArAyaNa
padaiththAn – created
nAnmuganai – the four-headed brahmA
nAnmuganukku – for that nAnmugan (brahmA)
Er Ar Sivan piRandhAn – Siva, who became complete by following prescribed means, was born
ennum sol – the pAsuram (hymn) which says this
sIr Ar – one which has greatness
mozhi seppi – reciting this prabandham (divine hymn)
vAzhalAm – we can attain redemption
nenjamE – Oh my heart!
moy pU mazhisai paran adiyE – the divine feet of thirumazhisaip pirAn, filled with flowers
vAzhththu – praise

vyAkyAnam

nArAyaNan padaiththAn nAnmuganai ….. ennum sol – references from authentic texts have been quoted to prove that SrIman nArAyaNa is the supreme lord:

  1. mahOpanishath “EkO havai nArAyaNa AsIth I na brahmA nESAna: II” (only nArAyaNa was there (at the beginning); not brahmA, not Siva)
  2. nArAyaNa sUktham “nArAyaNa parO jyOthi:” (nArAyaNa is the supreme radiance)
  3. nArAyaNa upanishath “nArAyaNE praLIyanthE” (everything attains nArAyaNa in the end)
  4. mahAbhAratha “Ekasthishtathi viSvAthmA sa cha nArAyaNa: prabhu:” (only paramAthmA (supreme being) who is viSvAthmA (soul for all the creations) remains (at the end, during deluge) and he is the supreme being nArAyaNa)
  5. vishNu purANam “srushti sthithyantha karaNIm brahmA vishNu SivAthmikAm I sa samgyAmyAdhi bhagavAnEka Eva janArdhana: II” (that bhagavAn janArdhana himself takes the names of brahmA vishNu and Siva to carry out the tasks of creation, protection and destruction)
  6. upabrahmaNams such as mahAbhAratham and vishNu purANam “Eka Eva jagathswAmI SakthimAnachyuthaprabhu: ” (achyuthan, who is omnipotent, indestructible and who controls everything, is the lord of the world )
  7. mahOpanishath “yannAbhi padhmAdha bhavan mahAthmA prajApathir viSvasrut viSvarUpa: I thamEva vidhithvAthimruthyumEthi nAnya: panthA vidhyathE’yanAya II” (one who knows him, from whose divine navel the mahAthmA (great soul) prajApathi ,who is the creator of universe, was created, crosses samsAram (materialistic realm); there is no other path to attain mOksham (SrIvaikuNtam ))
  8. nArAyaNOpanishath “nArAyaNadh brahmA jAyathE nArAyaNAdh rudhrO jAyathE” (brahmA was born from nArAyaNa; rudhra was born from nArAyaNa)
  9. sAmavEdham “virUpAkshAya brahmaNa: puthrAya jyEshtAya SrEshtAya” (virUpAksha, who is the son of brahmA and who is great)
  10. mahAbhAratha “yath thath padhmamabhUth pUrvam thathra brahmA vyajAyatha I brahmaNaSchApi sambhUtha: Siva ithyavadhAryathAm II” (brahmA was born out of the lotus (which came from bhagavAn’s navel); it should be known that Siva was born out of brahmA only)

From these aforementioned references it is clear that brahmA and rudhra were created by supreme being nArAyaNa only. Even though it is said that rudhra was created by brahmA, since bhagavAn created brahmA and as the indwelling soul of brahmA, he created rudhra, there is nothing wrong in saying that rudhra came from nArAyaNa. It is also known that during one kalpa (denotes a passage of time equivalent to one day for brahmA) rudhra was born out of brahmA and during the other kalpA, he was born out of nArAyaNa. To make sure that everyone knows these meanings of vEdhas (sacred texts) thirumazhisai AzhwAr mercifully mentioned in the first verse of this divine hymn “nAnmuganai nArAyaNan padaiththAn” (brahmA was created by nArAyaNa) and in the last verse “ISaRkum nAnmugaRkum dheyvam naRkirisai nArANan nee” (you are the beneficial deity for Siva and nAnmugan). This is the meaning for the two lines “nAnmugan ……. ennum sol” The word ennum refers to all the quotations taken above from vEdhams and smruthis.

sol sIr Ar mozhi – one meaning is that the words are aligned to the metrics used in the poems (poetic grammar). Another meaning is that these are words with auspicious qualities, as mentioned by nammAzhwAr in periya thiruvandhAdhi 86 “sIr kalandha sol

mozhi seppi – reciting such nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi

vAzalAm – one can redeem oneself. One can attain higher levels of existence.

nenjamE – Oh heart! You have to help me

How to ‘help’ in this?

moy pU mazhisaip paran adiyE vAzhththu – keep worshipping the divine feet of thirumazhisai AzhwAr who composed this divine hymn. Just as thiruvarangaththu amudhanAr (a disciple of bhagavadh SrI rAmAnuja) had mercifully mentioned in his irAmAnusa nURRandhAdhi 12idam koNda kIrththi mazhisaikkiRaivan iNaiyadippOdhu ” (on the two divine lotus like feet of the lord of thirumazhisai, which is a very famous place), you should also be devout towards the two divine feet which are sweet. The words moy pU could be taken as adjectives for the divine feet of thirumazhisai AzhwAr as well as to the place thirumazhisai. When they are used as adjectives for the divine feet, these two words moy pU would mean dense (tightly packed) flower and beautiful flower. The word moy would refer to both denseness and beauty.  Thus the words would mean divine feet which are like beautiful and dense flower. If they are taken as adjectives for thirumazhisai, they would mean thirumazhisai which is beautiful or thirumazhisai which has beautiful and densely packed flowers.

adiyE vAzhthtu – praise the divine feet of thirumazhisai AzhwAr who has such greatness. While he has praised emperumAn (SrIman nArAyaNa) in his thiruchchandha viruththam 61 “vAzhi kEsanE”  (long live, kESava!) and thiruchchandha viruththam 68 “mAlai vAzhththi vAzhminO” (live by praising thirumAl), you keep praising the divine feet of thirumazhisai AzhwAr without any break.

paran adiyE vAzhththu – while thirumazhisai AzhwAr had accepted emperumAn as supreme being in his verses “ISaRkum nAnmugaRkum dheyvam” (SrIman nArAyaNa is the worshippable deity for Siva and brahmA) and “guNapparanE” (Oh one with supreme qualities!), you accept thirumazhisai AzhwAr as supreme and praise him.

We shall next take up the avathArikai (introduction) for this divine hymn.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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mUnRAm thiruvandhAdhi – 100 – sArvu namakkenRum

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

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avathArikai

AzhwAr says that emperumAn will be the refuge only for those who attain periya pirAttiyAr’s divine feet as the refuge.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

sArvu namakkenRum chakkaraththAn thanduzhAyth
thArvAzh varaimArvan thAn muyangum kArArndha
vAnamaruminnimaikkum vaNdAmarai nedungaN
thEnamarum pUmEl thiru

Word by Word Meanings

chakkaraththAn – one who has sudharSanam [divine disc] in his divine hand
thaN thuzhAy thAr vAzh – one who has the cool thuLasi garland
varai mArvan thAn – by emperumAn, who has mountain-like chest
muyangum – one who is together with him
kAr Arndha vAn – in the sky full of dark clouds
amarum – one which is established well
min – like lightning
imaikkum – being resplendent
vaN thAmarai – like a beautiful lotus
nedu – wide
kaN – having divine eyes
thEn amarum pU mEl – one who lives atop a lotus which is full of honey
thiru – periya pirAttiyAr (SrI mahAlakshmi)
namakku enRum sArvu – is our refuge for all times

vyAkyanam

sArvu namakku enRum – when we are in danger, our refuge is emperumAn. Whether we are in danger or not, the refuge always is periya pirAttiyAr. Just as it is mentioned in SrI bhagavath gIthA 6-5Athmaivaripur Athmana:” (for AthmA, mind is enemy), when we cannot be refuge to ourselves, emperumAn remains as our refuge. When he too, out of his total independence, is angry towards us, only periya pirAttiyAr is our refuge. The difference between emperumAn and periya pirAtti is the same as the difference between us and emperumAn. We only keep looking for whatever is advantageous to us. emperumAn is one who gets very angry with us, looking at our sins. Has it not been said in SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 27 – 45 “rAgavAdhdhi bhayam gOram” (due to the severe fear towards SrI rAma)! But, if he is angry, it is pirAtti who lowers it. Since she is his consort, he cannot but do what she likes.

chakkaraththAn – the supreme being who has chakkaram (divine disc). He has the divine disc as a symbol of protection. nammAzhwAr too has mercifully said in periya thiruvandhAdhi 87 “eppozhudhum kai kazhalA nEmiyAn nam mEl vinai kadivAn” (one from whose hand the divine disc will never disappear, will remove our sins).

thanduzhAyth thArvAzh varai mArban – one who has the divine thuLasi garland on his divine shoulders.

thanduzhAyth thArvAzh varai marban thAn – donning the divine thuLasi garland as the symbol of being the head of all wealth. emperumAn himself, who has mountain-like chest.

thAn muyangum – one who is donning the divine thuLasi garland as the symbol of sweetness, will himself embrace.  muyangudhal – embracing. In other words, he will be happy with pirAtti. She will offer herself to him. emperumAn who is like this, will make her [say] “agalagillEn” (inseparable) from him. He will say that he feels agalagillEn from her. The reason for a mother being very affectionate towards her husband is the cause of good things happening to the child. The simile for this is given ahead.

kArArndha vAnamarum minnimaikkum – just as lightning flashes across the sky with dark clouds, [SrI mahAlakshmi is] shining with a complexion contrary to the dark colour [of emperumAn].

vaNdAmarai nedungaN – one who has wide lotus-like eyes which look at followers with affection and magnanimity. SrI vishNu purANam 1-9-105 says “paSyathAm sarvadhEvAnAm yayau vakshasthalam harE: ” (even as the celestial entities were watching, thirumagaL (SrI mahAlakshmi) attained the divine chest of emperumAn). That she did not bother about the celestial entities watching is indicated here by the 6th case. Just as mentioned in SrI vishNu purANam 1-9-106 “thayA vilOkithA dhEvA: harivakshasthalasthayA lakshmyA maithrEya sahasA parAm nirvruthimAgathA:” (the celestial entities who were graced by lakshmi dhEvi from the divine chest of hari (emperumAn) were very joyous), residing in the divine chest of emperumAn, pirAtti graces the chEthanas who travel far and wide in search of wealth so that the swelling in their soles would disappear.

thEnamarum pUmEl thiruperiya pirAttiyAr, who is sitting atop a lotus which is full of honey, is our refuge at all times.

thEnamarum pUmEl thiru – periya pirAttiyAr who has unlimited sweetness, is our refuge.

This completes the translation of mUnRAm thiruvandhAdhi.

periya pirAtti samEdha periya perumAL thiruvadigaLE SaraNam
pEyAzhwAr thiruvadigaLE SaraNam
emperumAnAr thiruvadigaLE SaraNam
nampiLLai thiruvadigaLE SaraNam
perivAchchAn piLLai thiruvadigaLE SaraNam
jIyar thirivadigaLE SaraNam
appiLLai thiruvadigaLE SaraNam

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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