Author Archives: T N Krishnan

thiruviruththam – 60 – mulaiyO muzhumuRRum

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsuram, she [the nAyaki] had said “thaLapperu nINmuRuval seyyavAya thadamulai vaLapperu nAdan madhusUdhan ennum”. Her mother says “What is surprising about her saying such words in her youthful state? Isn’t this how she has been thinking even in her childhood days?”

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

mulaiyO muzhumuRRum pOndhila moy pUnguzhal kuRiya
kalaiyO araiyillai nAvO kuzhaRum kadal maNNellAm
vilaiyO ena miLirum kaN ivaL paramE perumAn
malaiyO thiruvEngadam enRu kaRkinRa vAsagamE

Word-by-Word Meanings

mulaiyO – if one considers her bosom
muzhumuRRum –  even a little bit
pOndhila – have not sprouted
moy – being dense
pU – being beautiful
kuzhal – locks
kuRiya – are short
kalaiyO – if one considers her dress
araiyillai – has not been properly tied on the waist
nAvO – if one considers her tongue
kuzhaRum – will not be clear
kadal – surrounded by the ocean
maN ellAm – this entire earth
vilaiyO ena –  will it be the price (for the eyes)
kaN – the eye
miLirum – huge
perumAn – sarvESvaran’s
malaiyO – if one considers thirumalai
thiruvEngadam – it happens to be thiruvEngadam
enRu – saying so
kaRkinRa – learning
vAsagam – spoken word
ivaL paramE – is it apt for her in her state?

Simple Translation

The bosoms of this girl have not sprouted. Her locks which are dense and beautiful are short. The dress which she wears does not sit well on her waist. Her tongue has not grown out of her child-like gibberish way of speaking. However her eyes are sparkling such that one could say that even the earth, surrounded by ocean, is not equivalent in terms of compensation for them. Her words saying that sarvESvaran’s divine hill is thiruvEngadam is indeed surprising.

vyAkyAnam

mulaiyO . . . – these words are best said after reaching a certain stage [in the development of a girl’s life].

mulaiyO muzhu muRRum pOndhila – it is not that her bosoms have not grown properly; even the place from where they sprout has not been identified [she is such a young girl].

moy pUnguzhal kuRiya – the locks which are dense and beautiful.

kuRiya – they are so short that if the nAyakan wants to arrange the locks into a bun and she, not liking that arrangement, wishes to let the locks down, he will not [be able to] fall at her feet [to beg her to keep them as a bun].

kalaiyO araiyillai – she does not even know as to where to tie her dress.

nAvO kuzhaRum – if the mothers teach her a few words, she would pronounce them indistinctly, like gibberish. They would then teach her a few simple words such as “iyar {father), Achchi (mother)” Her indistinct words sound better than their clear pronunciation.

kadal . . . – when parASara bhattar was explaining this pAsuram, his disciple, nanjIyar told him “he (AzhwAr) says that all the other limbs have not developed well. But he has spoken about the greatness of eyes alone. This appears contradictory” to which bhattar responded saying “It is not that way. Even here, he has stated only the condition of under-development”. “How is that?” “At a small age, the eyes will see objects fully; at a youthful stage [adolescent age], the eyes will see through glance only. Hence, here too AzhwAr is speaking of very young age only” The splendour in her eyes is such that even if the entire earth, surrounded by ocean, is given as a compensation, it will not be a match.

miLirum – even if the waves keep pushing against the shore, they cannot cross it. This is similar to that. When united with nAyakan, a girl will look at him with tenderness and love. Unlike that, this girl would look at her mother and her beloved, equally.

ivaL paramE – Is it apt for her age? It is because of her friends, just as it has been mentioned in periyAzhwAr thirumozhi 3-7-2 “sAyvilAdha kuRundhalai” (even though they are young without any shyness or reverence, my girl is joining with a few girls and appears like one possessed).

perumAL malaiyO thiruvEngadamenRu – is it apt for her age to disregard para and vyUha forms of sarvESvaran and focus on archA form, and that too saying that thiruvEngadam is the divine hill for his residence? vEdhas set out to measure one quality, the joy of sarvESvaran, and returned empty handed. But the eminence of archAvathAram is not like that.

kaRkinRa vAsagam – the words spoken by her; alternatively, the words taught by her mothers so that they could hear them from her mouth. thiruvAimozhi 6-5-7 says “ivaL vAyanagaL thirundha” (to appear clearly from her mouth). The verse could be arranged as ivaL paramE perumAL malaiyO thiruvEngadamenRu kaRkinRa vAsagamE in which the meanings would be as given till now; alternatively, the words could be arranged as perumAL malai thiruvEngadamenRu kaRkinRa vAsagamE O ivaL paramE in which case, the sound O ivaL paramE would indicate astonishment.

svApadhEsam (distinguished meaning): Just as it has been mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam bAla kANdam 18-28 “bAlyAth prabhruthi susnigdha:” (amiable since childhood) and thiruvAimozhi 2-3-3 ”aRiyAkkAlaththuLLE” (at that age when I did not know about servitude), this pAsuram speaks about how AzhwAr’s engagement with matters relating to emperumAn has always been his sustaining force.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 59 – aLapparum thanmai

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr was joyous, praising the incarnation of thrivikrama, by saying “sarvESvaran, who is difficult to attain in SrIvaikuNtam, incarnated here and made himself easily approachable”. While his separation from sarvESvaran when he was in SrIvaikuNtam did not trouble him much, AzhwAr felt very sad due to his separation from sarvESvaran despite his coming here and taking residence. He attained the state of a pirAtti (AzhwAr in feminine form). Though there was a connection with sarvESvaran, since he did not come to see the nAyaki (AzhwAr in feminine form) during night time, which is the apt time for being together, she was unable to bear the distress of being separated from him now, after being united with him earlier. Her cry of “This night is harmful to me” is recited by her mother, in this pAsuram.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

aLapparum thanmaiyavvUzhi angangul andhaNNandhuzhAyk
kuLapperum kAdhalil nILiyavAyuLa Ongu munnIr
vaLapperu nAdan madhusUdhanan ennum valvinaiyEn
thaLapperu nINmuRuval seyyavAya thadamulaiyE

Word-by-Word Meanings

val – being cruel
vinaiyEn – as my daughter, who has sins
thaLam – like jasmine buds
peru – having greatness
nIL – without limit (being enjoyable)
muRuval – having soft smile
seyya – reddish
vAy – having lips
thadam – expansive
mulai – she, who is having bosoms
aLappa – to measure
arum – difficult
thanmai – having nature
avvUzhi – more than that kalpam (a day of brahmA)
am – beautiful
thaNNam – being cool
thuzhAykku – for divine thuLasi
uLa – formed in (my) heart
peru – huge
kAdhalil – more than desire
nILiyavAy – being bigger
uLa – is present
(ennum – she will say so)
Ongu – being well grown
munnIr – made of three types of water
vaLam – having richness
peru – being expansive
nAdan – one who has land
madhusUdhanan – destroyer of demon madhu
ennum – she will say so

Simple Translation

(The mother is speaking with reference to the state of her daughter)

My daughter has cruel sins, greatness of a soft smile similar to jasmine buds, reddish lips and expansive bosoms. She says “The night times, which are more cruel than kalpams which are very difficult to measure, are longer and bigger than my desire which is present in my mind for the cool, divine thuLasi. madhusUdhanan has the expansive earth which is surrounded by ocean, which is formed from the three types of water and which is huge”.

vyAkyAnam

aLapparum thanmaiyavvUzhiyam kangul – night times, which are as long as praLayam (deluge) are difficult to measure even for sarvESvaran who measured with his divine feet the immeasurable entities too. If it is possible for him to measure them, wouldn’t he have appeared during the night? These nights have as their nature, the quality of being immeasurable.

Uzhiyam kangulUzhik kAlam (deluge) is the proof that this night is indeed of long duration.

vyAkyAthA raises a query: Is it not possible to recite a pAsuram on that which cannot be measured? He answers that himself, saying . . .

andhaNNandhuzhAy . . . . – Just as it has been mentioned in thiruvAimozhi 10-10-10 “adhaniR periya en avA” (you, with your desire, surrounded me who has a huge desire to attain you). AzhwAr’s desire pervaded even sarvESvaran. vEdham returned empty handed, after trying to measure the joy of sarvESvaran, as mentioned in thaiththirIya upanishath “yathO vAchO nivarthanthE”. The same is true of this [measuring the length of night] also. bruhadhAraNya upanishath could only say in the negative when trying to describe sarvESvaran, saying “nEthi nEthi” (he is not like this), but could not define clearly that he is like this. andhaNNandhuzhAy – the garland on his divine shoulders. Those divine garlands have the power to control over everything in my mind. These nights are larger than the affection that I have for those garlands.

Ongu munnIr vaLapperunAdan madhusUdhanan ennum – am I distressed because I am outside his boundaries of reign? Am I distressed because he is powerless? He is the lord of the opulent land which is surrounded by ocean which contains three types of water (water from rivers, water from springs and water from rains).

madhusUdhanan – he is the destroyer of demon madhu who was like a weed for the entities which were to be protected [sarvESvaran’s followers]. Am I suffering because I am not connected to sarvESvaran? Am I suffereing because he is incapable of destroying my enemies?

valvinaiyEn – if her beauty [these are the words of nAyaki’s mother] were to be considered, there is no need for being distressed like this. The reason for her suffering, when actually it should he who should be suffering for not being together with her when she is so beautiful, is only because of my sin. This is similar to bharathAzhwAn feeling distressed about what happened in ayOdhyA which resulted in SrI rAma leaving for the forest, said that this is “math pApam Eva” (only because of my sin).

What is the reason for the mother saying that it is her sin which is the reason for the nAyaki’s suffering?

thaLapperu . . . – Is there any deficiency in the nAyaki’s physical form? thaLappu has got shortened to thaLa. thaLappu denotes something similar to the buds of jasmine, something which is difficult to obtain. Just as it has been mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam AraNya kANdam 64-77 “purEva mE chAru dhathim” (sIthAppirAtti who had a beautiful row of teeth), it is the smile which is desired by the nAyakan and which melts his heart wherever he goes.

nIL muRuval – it is not the boisterous laughter of narasimhap perumAL; it is the gentle smile of a lady. However, an entity must be available like this. The word nIL refers to the enjoyability of that smile.

seyya . . . – having reddish lips which will be suitable for that gentle smile. Alternatively, since the next word spoken about is thada mulai, referring to the hugeness of her bosoms, the word seyyavAy could be added to thadamulai to make it as seyyavAy thadamulai as a single word, in which case it would refer to the straightness of the bosom.

thadamulaiyE – due to the separation from sarvESvaran, the bosom appeared like the ear of corn which has drooped. It appeared that the time frame set by the nAyakan was insufficient.

svApadhESam (distinghished meaning) – this refers to the words of SrIvaishNavas who speak of the distress of separation caused by the incongruence of the connection and knowledge of true nature of AzhwAr with the time suitable for enjoyment.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 58 – kazhaRalam onRE

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avathArikai (Introduction)

AzhwAr now narrates an incident carried out by sarvESvaran by which the different types of fatigue experienced earlier get negated. He kept his divine feet on the heads of everyone, without discriminating between those who are favourable to him (his followers) and those who are not favourable to him (his enemies). Through this, he said that there is none who he considers as an enemy. AzhwAr mercifully mentions that after doing all these activities, sarvESvaran remained as if he had not done anything.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

kazhaRalam onRE nilam muzhudhAyiRRu oru kazhal pOy
nizhaRara ellA visumbum niRaindhadhu nINda aNdaththu
uzhaRalar gyAnach chudar viLakkAy uyarndhOrai illA
azhaRalar thAmaraikkaNNan ennO ingu aLakkinRadhE

Word-by-Word Meanings

onRu – being single
kazhal thalamE – divine foot itself
nilam muzhudhu – entire earth
AyiRRu – pervaded
oru kazhal – the other divine foot
pOy – growing
nizhal thara – as it gave shade
ellA visumbum – entire sky
niRaindhadhu – pervaded completely
nINda – expansive
aNdaththu – in the oval shaped universe
uzhaRu – roaming fully
alar – blossomed
gyAnam – knowledge
sudar – having radiance
viLakkAy – being self illuminating like a lamp
uyarndhOrai illA – not having anyone superior
azhaRu – in mud
alar – blossomed
thAmarai – like a lotus
kaNNan – sarvESvaran who has divine eyes
ingu – at this place
aLakkinRadhu – measuring
ennO – what is it?

Simple Translation

One divine foot measured such that the entire world came under it. The other divine foot grew, went up the sky such that it pervaded all the words above and gave shadow to the ones below. What is krishNa, who keeps roaming all over the universe, who has a radiant, self-illuminating knowledge and who has eyes which are like lotus flowers which have blossomed in slush, measuring in my case?

vyAkyAnam

kazhaRalamonRE nilamuzhudAyiRRu – as soon as a drop of water [from mahAbali] fell on [sarvESvaran’s] divine hand, one divine foot spread out such that the entire earth came under it. kazhaRalam – kazhal thalam (foot)

onRE –  without waiting for his thoughts on what is to be done, the foot, on its own, spread out fully [and measured the earth].

oru kazhal . . . – the other divine foot

nizhaRara ellA visumbum niRaindhadhu – even as it entered its domain, with the confidence that he is there, it gave shade so that everyone can get under it; spread out everywhere.

nizhaRara – nizhal thara; to provide shade. Just as a flood would flow towards low lying regions, it [the divine foot] went to all open spaces and pervaded. vAsudhEva tharuchchAyA – shade of the tree vAsudhEvan (sarvESvaran). It became the shade of one tree which had pervaded everywhere. nAthiSIthA . . . – it will not be too cold; it will not be too warm; it will not allow the huge fire, naragam, hell, to come near. sAkimartham nasEvyathE – even if another shade which is an exact match for this is seen, is it proper to take shelter under the other shade? Could one say that this shade is not good? periyAzhwAr thirumozhi 5-3-4 “thirumAlirunjOlai endhAy un pAdha nizhalallAl maRROr iruppidam nAn engum kANginRilEn” (Oh the lord of thirumAlirum sOlai! Other than the shade of your divine foot, I do not see any shade elsewhere) – since you are the protector of your followers and eliminator of the enemies of your followers, I have not seen a shade where I could take refuge other than the shade of your divine feet.

The vyAkyAthA explains in detail, two SlOkams from SrI rAmAyaNam kishkindhA kANdam 15-19 and 15-20 to explain how sarvESvaran’s divine feet provide comforting shade and are the only refuge for all.  thArA tells vAli that she has heard from angadhan (their son) who had gone to play in the forest, that sugrIva has got some apt companions; on being questioned, angadhan had told her that it is perumAL who has come to sugrIva, along with his brother and that perumAL has given refuge to sugrIva. vAli asks her “Will he not give us refuge?” to which she recites SlOkam 15-19 “nivAsa vruksha: sAdhUnAm ApannAnAm parA gathi: | ArthAnAm samSraya: chaiva yaSasa: cha Eka bhAjanam ||”

nivAsa vrukshassAdhUnAm: thArA tells vAli “He [SrI rAma] is like a shade for those who desire to take refuge under him. He offers to others flowers, fruits, shade etc while taking sunlight on himself. For those who stand under his shade and wish to utilise him for gaining materials, he has the quality of offering even himself. vAli asks her “I have not caused any harm to him. Is there any objection in standing under his shade?” thArA replies . . .

ApannAnAm – it is not sufficient to think that we will take refuge under him. We should be under the grip of difficulties. vAli responds “But we are in difficult condition only. The brother born with me is himself my enemy” thArA responds, saying . . .

ArthAnAm – “It is not enough if we are in difficulties. We should also think that we need a refuge” vAli tells her “If SrI rAma is the refuge for sugrIva, we will find out another who will be our refuge” thArA tells him . . .

yaSasachchaikabhAjanam: “He is the only refuge. There is none like him”

The vyAkyAthA cites the reference of bhagavath gIthA 7-16 “Artha jigyAsu arthArthI gyAnI . . ” – one who is craving, one who is looking for knowledge, one who desires wealth and one who knows me – there are four types of people in the world. In the SrI rAmAyaNa SlOkam cited above, the term sAdhUnAm would refer to gyAni (as given above), the term ApannAnAm would refer to kaivalyArthi (one who wishes to enjoy his own AthmA) and the term ArthAnAm would refer to both types of arthArthi (one who is looking for lost wealth and one who is looking for wealth for the first time). The vyAkyAthA raises a query: Would the words of a lady (thArA) have such deep meaning? He answers this himself quoting SrI rAmAyaNam bAlakANdam 4-6 SlOkam “vEdhO’pabruhmaNArthAya” (capable of explaining the meanings of vEdhas (sacred texts)) Since SrI rAmAyaNam is capable of explaining the meanings of vEdhas, every word in it has deep meanings. bhagavath gIthA 7-17 “Eka bhakthir viSishyathE” (since he is deeply devoted to me, he attains eminence). Such a devotee is very much attached to me and I am attached to him, says krishNa. One should detest samsAram (life in the materialistic world) and break all ties with prakruthi (repeated cycle of birth and death). This holds true for AthmaprApthikAman (one who desires to attain sarvESvaran) and then to the one who is looking for lost wealth. This is true of the one who wishes to have wealth, for the first time, too.

nINda . . . – due to the reason of desiring to pervade the entire expansive universe, one who has a splendorous, well grown knowledge. He considered keeping his divine foot on the heads of all people as his benefit. The happiness which he obtained due to that act made his entire form to blossom.

uyarndhOrai illA – Since all the entities including brahmA were held under the divine feet, there was none to say “I” [he doesn’t have anyone superior to him].

azhaRalar thAmaraikkaNNan – one who has his divine eyes similar to blossomed lotus flowers standing in slush. Just as chAndOgya upanishath 1-6-7 says “thasya yathA kapyAsam puNdarIkam Evam akshiNI ” (having reddish eyes similar to inverted lotus flower)

ennO ingu aLakkinRadhE – We could not see the joy of having measured. There should be a time interval for saying that he measured. Even that time interval was not seen. Since he stood in the same place, can we say that he measured? Only if a step has been moved after keeping one step could it be said that something has been measured. Thus, none saw him measuring. Alternatively, it could be said that even as he kept his divine foot on the heads of everyone, without any reason, he stood as if he had done nothing. AzhwAr feels exhilarated in his divine mind, thinking as to what he cannot do.

ennO ingu aLakkinRadhE – Will anyone measure if the entity to be measured is extremely small and the entity, which is measuring it, is too large? Thus, the opinion here is that since the people to be protected are very small, he stood as if he has nothing to do.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 57 – pulakkuNdala

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avathArikai (Introduction)

After being united with the nAyaki, when the nAyakan separated from her, his distress became more acute. Though he had to separate from her for a reason, just as it is mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 66-10 “na jIvEyam kshaNamapi” (I cannot live even for a moment without her), his distress in separation was very difficult for him. Looking at his distress in separation and a lack of liveliness in him, the nAyakan’s friend told him “The way you are distressed about one issue, without engaging with other matters, does not fit well with your leadership qualities” and tried to bring him back to normal situation. The nAyakan tells him “You are speaking like this since you do not know how those who have been the target of her glance have suffered. If you too experience her glance, you would not speak like this” denying his accusation.

Let us go thorugh the pAsuram and its meanings:

pulakkuNdalap puNdarIgaththa pOrkkeNdai valli onRAl
vilakkuNdu ulAginRu vEl vizhikkinRana kaNNan kaiyAl
malakkuNdu amudham surandha maRikadal pOnRavaRRAl
kalakkuNda nAnRu kaNdAr emmai yArum kazhaRalarE

Word-by-Word Meanings

pulam – visible
kuNdalam – having ear-rings
puNdarIgaththa – on the face which is like a lotus flower
pOr – engaged in a war
keNdai – eyes which are like fish
valli onRAl – with the nose which looks like a creeper
vilakkuNdu – being separated
ulAginRu – are roaming
vEl – cruel, like the weapon spear
vizhikkinRana – are looking
avaRRAl – through such activities
kaNNan – krishNa’s
kaiyAl – with divine hands
malakkuNdu – being agitated
amudham – nectar
surandha – secreted
maRi – throwing up waves
kadal pOnRu – like an ocean
kalakkuNda – agitated
nAnRu – during that time
kaNdAr – those who saw
yArum – whosoever
ennai – me
kazhaRalar – will not admonish

Simple Translation

The eyes of the nAyaki which appear to be battling each other, present on her lotus-like face having beautiful ear rings, are separated by the nose, which is like a creeper. The two eyes are moving around, looking in a cruel way, like a spear. Just like the ocean which was agitated by the divine hands of krishNa and secreted the nectar, I too am bewildered. Whosoever had seen me at that time, would not find fault with me.

vyAkyAnam

pulakkuNdala . . . – The nAyakan’s friend had spoken about the condition of nAyakan without knowing the facts. The nAyakan tells him about the eyes of the nAyaki so that he will realise as to what would happen if he were to undergo a similar experience. He would then say “Oh my bad! What all did he suffer? How did he manage?” The ear rings of the nAyaki are capable of stealing all the sensory organs. They are present on her face which looks like a lotus flower. The term kuNdalam would also refer to a circular shape. If the text is polakkuNdalam, it would refer to golden ear-rings.

puNdarigaththa pOrkkeNdai – the eyes look like carp fish which appear to be fighting. The face is capable of making a person to become immobile, more than any other limb. The eyes are the most prominent part, on such a face.

valli onRAl vilakkuNdu – Just like keeping a cross-bar between two rutting elephants which are fighting, her nose is present [between the two fighting eyes]

ulAginRu – since the nose is there between them, the two eyes, which are like fish, are unable to engage in direct combat with each other. Due to the limitation set by sarvESvaran, they are unable to cross the ears too. Hence they are roaming between these two boundaries.

vEl vizhikkinRana – their glance is like a sharp spear, capable of piercing through the other side.

kaNNan . . . – the milky ocean was churned by the divine hands of krishNa such that the sand at the bottom was brought to its surface; the ocean gave him its life saving amrutham (nectar). The nAyakan’s majesty was similar to that ocean’s. The term maRikadal pOnRu is to be considered as maRikadal pOnRavaRRAl, thus bringing a distinction to the eyes (the eyes are like an agitating ocean). Once she looks at him, he too looks at her. Being engaged with his glance, she manifests her engagement with him, both inside her heart and outside, in her eyes. The nAyakan now reminisces that.

avaRRAl – those eyes create a scar in him, even now, through their glance.

kalakkuNda nAnRu kaNdAr – those who saw me that day when I was bewildered [by her glance]

emmai yArum kazhaRalarE – apart from you, a friend who knows my nature well, even those who have not known me, will not speak a word ill of me.

svApadhESam (distinguished meaning): SrIvaishNavas were fully engaged with AzhwAr’s SrIvaishNavaSrI (wealth of AzhwAr’s service). They could not be retrieved even by showing them matters relating to sarvESvaran. This pAsuram depicts such a position of SrIvaishNavas, who remained just like madhurakavi AzhwAr who said as in kaNNinuN siRuththAmbu 2 “dhEvumaRRaRiyEn” (I do not know of any deity other than nammAzhwAr). They will take a liking to matters relating to sarvESvaran only because AzhwAr liked them, just like the saying bhavatha: paramOmatha:.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 56 – viyalidam uNda

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avathArikai (Introduction)

The nAyakan, after being united with the nAyaki for some time, separated from her. The nAyaki’s friend realised that there was a delay in his returning and that the nAyaki was in distress because of that. The friend thought “Her sadness due to the separation is so harsh; there is no sign of his returning; she will decide that there is no reason for her to be alive anymore. Thus, will we lose her?” The nAyaki realised her friend’s predicament. At that time, by chance, the nAyaki felt that there was a connection with a material which had a connection with him. She tells her friend “Without your knowledge, a connection happened just now, with him. Hence, you do not have to feat about my position”. She narrates the connection that she got, to her friend.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

viyalidam uNda pirAnAr viduththa thiruvaruLAl
uyalidam peRRu uyndham anjalam thOzhi Or thaN thenRal vandhu
ayalidai yArum aRindhilar am pUndhuzhAyin in thEn
puyaludai nIrmaiyinAl thadaviRRu en pulan kalanE

Word-by-Word Meanings

am – beautiful
thOzhi – Oh friend!
viyal – amazing
idam – earth
uNda – one who ate
pirAnAr – sarvESvaran, the benefactor
viduththa – gave
thiru – praiseworthy
aruLAl – due to mercy
uyal – for being uplifted
idam peRRu – getting an opportunity
uyndham – we got our lives back
anjal – do not fear
Or – being unique
thaN – cool
thenRal – southern wind
vandhu – coming and blowing gently
am – beautiful
pU – having flowers
thuzhAyin – available in divine thuLasi
in – enjoyable
thEn – honey
puyaludai – cloud’s
nIrmaiyinAl – due to its nature
en – my
pulan – senses
kalan – ornaments
thadaviRRu – touched
ayalidai yArum – none in the vicinity
aRindhilar – knew (it)

Simple Translation

(The nAyaki tells her friend)

Oh beautiful friend! Due to a distinguished merciful act of sarvESvaran who is the benefactor of this amazing earth, I got an opportunity to uplift myself and live. Do not fear. The cool, southerly breeze, carrying honey from the flowers of divine thuLasi, and with the nature of clouds, came here and blew gently on my senses and my ornaments. None here knew it.

vyAkyAnam

The friend told nAyaki “If we have to get his mercy just as bhUmi (earth) had got, we should have something with us [which he likes]. But we do not know as to what it is” …

viyal idam uNda – whatever the earth had during deluge, we have with us now, says the nAyaki. It is enough if he thinks that we are in danger. This is the only requirement which he expects from us. During the time of deluge, he had kept earth inside his stomach and protected it. Did earth have any other recompense with her to receive his help? Whatever distressed condition that the earth was in then, is seen in the nAyaki too now.

pirAnAr – he has only the quality of bestowing benefit [to others]. All that is required of the recipient to receive his mercy is to be an apt entity for that. He does not offer a help, expecting anything in return.

The vyAkyAthA narrates an incident from the life of emperumAnAr (bhagavath rAmAnujar). Some SrIvaishNavas came to offer their obeisance to emperumAnAr at the place where he had mercifully come. After falling at his divine feet, they asked him “What should we think of as our refuge if we have to come out of this ocean of samsAram and reach its shore?” vangipuraththu nambi, one of rAmAnujar’s disciples, told them to think of the words of kshathrabandhu, just as it has been mentioned in vishNu dharmam SlOkam 98-35 “mUdOyam alpamathi alpaviSEshtithOyam kalishtAm manOsya vinayair namayi prasangi | iththam krupAm kuru mayi praNathE klESa thvAm sthOthum ambuja bhavOpi hi dhEvanESa || ” (Oh the lord of everyone and everything! I have a lowly knowledge, indulging in only lowly activities; this mind of mine is looking for wrongful activities alone. My mind is refusing to obey me. Hence, you have to help me who is coming to you for help. Even nAnmukhan (brahmA) does not have the knowledge to worship you completely). emperumAnAr, after listening to this, said “It is a difficult condition to attain. The word praNathE (for me who is worshipping you) indicates that only the one who thinks that he is nirmama (nothing belongs to me) should fall at the divine feet of the omniscient sarvESvaran. If we think that we attain a benefit only by carrying out some activity, engaging in that activity will create a sorrow in us and will prevent us from getting that benefit. If we think that we have a qualification with us, that qualification will only stop him from bestowing a benefit on us without any reason. That qualification will not be the means to receive his mercy. Even though we should necessarily have the thought ‘you should be our means’ even that thought should come only from him. Even if one gets to the stage of paramabhakthi (attaining sarvESvaran), that paramabhakthi will only end in his getting the taste to enjoy sarvESvaran, but it will not, on its own, have the capability to grant him what he desires”. The SrIvaishNavas then asked emperumAnAr “What else should we think of as our refuge?” He responded, saying “Only the words of kALiyan are apt to be considered as our refuge” [kALiyan is a snake who had troubled the herd and herdsfolk at SrI gOkulam by remaining in the river yamunA]. His prayer to krishNa, who had come to drive him away from yamunA is seen in SrI vishNu purANam SlOkam 5-7-10 “sOham thE dhEva dhEvESa nArchanAthau sthuthau na cha | sAmArthyavAn krupAmAthra manOvruththi prasIdhamE || ” (Oh the lord of dhEvathAs! I am incapable of praising or worshipping you. For such a person like me, you should yourself shower your mercy; your divine mind should feel happy and show mercy on me). This SlOkam is explained in detail here, by the vyAkyAthA:

sOham – I, who had coiled myself around your divine form and indulged in activities which are not to your liking and had not freed myself from such activities; such a lowly person

dhEva dhEvEsa: your quality is such that not indulging in activities which are not to your liking alone is sufficient to qualify for your mercy. You consider our saying the words “You should shower your mercy” as “renouncing the undesired”. Just as it has been mentioned in periya thirumozhi 5-6-4 “nanju sOrvadhOr venjina aravam veruvi vandhu nin Saran enach charaNA …” (the snake sumukhan which spits poison and which is fiery and angry, out of fear for garuda, took refuge under you saying “I am surrendering to you”) Though its anger was against it, since it surrendered by merely saying the words “SaraNam” it was granted that. veruvi vandhu – it came running to him out of fear [of garuda]. The fear towards its enemy alone was with the snake

nArchanAthau sthuthaunacha sAmArthyavAn – [kAliyan tells krishNa] I am capable of doing everything for myself but incapable if I have to do even a little bit for you [that is my nature]. You are such that you do not expect anything for yourself, from me; I am without any strength to do anything. krishNa tells kALiyan “If you are capable of doing anything for yourself and incapable of doing anything for me, what is it that you want me to do?”

krupA mAthra manOvruththi – You should show your mercy on me, says kALiyan. krishNa tells him “For that you need remorse” kALiyan responds saying “But I do  not have even that remorse. Whatever you want to do for me with my feeling of remorse, you should do with your mercy itself” vyAkyAthA cites the reference from SrIrangarAjasthavam 2-97 “balibhujiSiSupAlE” (kAkAsuran and SiSupAlan) [kAkAsuran was indhra’s son who took the form of a crow in order to trouble sIthAppirAtti when she was with SrI rAma in the forest and SiSupAlan was krishNa’s cousin, who poured scorn on krishNa all the time]. Just as it is mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 38-34 “sa tham nipathitham” (that crow fell on earth and sought refuge) the crow experienced sorrow and sought refuge by falling on the earth. SiSupAlan kept reciting your names [though his intention was to abuse krishNa, that he recited the names was sufficient] to get recognised by krishNa. kALiyan continues “Your mercy was refused for them because of the initial lowly thoughts that they had. However, since no such fault can be ascribed to me, your mercy can get manifested beautifully”.

viduththa thiruvaruLAl – through the mercy showered by him; without expecting anything from us, treating our benefit as his own, and showering his mercy.

viduththa – allowed to come; given

uyalidam peRRu uyndham – the friend thought “She has no scope to live; I will not be able to see her alive”. The nAyaki tells the friend “An opportunity arose for my being uplifted. Instead of waiting for it to happen, we got it immediately and got our lives back”. Since the friend had known the nAyakan too, she had thought that she had lost both of them. Now, everyone has got uplifted.

anjal – do not fear

am thOzhiyou are the person who considers my benefit as yours. We are similar to the friendship between SrI rAma and sugrIva as mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam kishkindhA kANdam 5-17 “Ekam dhu:kham sukham cha nau” (our mirth and misery are one). Is it not enough to say thOzhi (friend)? Why address her as am thOzhi (beautiful friend)? Some people would look for same benefits in both theirs and their friends’. However, this friend is such that she does not look for any benefit for herself. She considers whatever benefit that the nAyaki gets as her own. This is why she is addressed as am thOzhi. SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 18-16 says “suhrudhO vA bhavadhvidhA:” – SrI rAma tells sugrIva “Not all friends are like you”. SrI rAma further tells sugrIva “As soon as you saw me, you considered your elder brother [vAli] as your enemy, you had more confidence in me than in your brother and you tried to get answers to your confidential problems too. Such was your friendship with me” The nAyaki tells her friend “You considered my benefit as yours and my loss as yours; you were fearful of my loss; now, you do not have to fear”

Or thaN thenRal vandhu – earlier, the southern breeze was causing me harm; now a cool southern breeze came, tells the nAyaki. Breeze will be cool only when united; the nAyaki subtly hints that union did take place. The friend too accepts that and is worried as to what will happen if others around know about it. The nAyaki says . . .

ayalidai yArum aRindhilar – None in our vicinity knew about it.

The friend asks her as to what happened further? . . . .

am pUndhuzhAyin inthEn – the fine drops of honey collected from the flowers of cool, divine thuLasi

puyaludai nIrmaiyinAl – the southerly breeze assumed the quality of the cool clouds. This talks about the help rendered by the breeze when one had not expected it.

thadaviRRu en pulan kalanE – it gently touched all my sensory organs and all my ornaments. It touched my sensory organs as if to satisfy their thirst and the ornaments so that they do not slip out of my limbs. Thus the nAyaki tells her friend as to how the nAyakan united with her.

svApadhESam (distinguished meaning): AzhwAr describes that he survived due to the knowledge of sarvESvaran’s auspicious qualities. thaiththirIya upanishath Anandhavalli says Anandham brahmaNO vidhvAn nabibhEthi kuthaSchana – one who knows about the joyfulness of brahmam (sarvESvaran) does not fear anything.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 55 – vandugaLO vammin

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avathArikai (Introduction)

The nAyakan comes and unites with the nAyaki after she sends him her errand. Subsequently the time to separate from her came. In order to make her sustain herself even in separation, he praises her so that she thinks “Oh, such a person will not delay in returning”. This comes under the classification of nalam pArAttudhal (similar to pAsuram 14). SrI rAma too praised sIthAppirAtti as mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 26-20 “kulE mahathi sambhUthE” (Oh one who was born in a great clan!)

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

vaNdugaLO vammin nIrppU nilappU maraththiloNpU
uNdu kaLiththu uzhalvIrkku onRu uraikkiyam EnamonRAy
maNdugaLAdi vaigundham annAL kuzhalvAy virai pOl
viNdugaL vArum malar uLavO num viyalidaththE

Word-by-Word Meanings

vaNdugaLO – Oh beetles!
nIrppU – among the flowers in water
nilappU – among the flowers on land
maraththil – on trees
oN – beautiful
pU­ – flowers
uNdu – drinking (honey)
kaLiththu – becoming happy
uzhalvIrkku – you, who are roaming
onRu – a word
uraikkiyam – I will say
vammin – please come
oru – unique
EnamAy – as a varAham (wild boar)
maN – earth’s
thugaL – dust
Adi – one who took it throughout his divine form
vaigundhamannAL – on this nAyaki who is like paramapadham (being very much enjoyable), her
kuzhal vAy – on her locks
virai pOl – being very fragrant
viNdu – spread well
kaL – honey
vArum – flowing copiously
malar – flower
num – your
viyal – amazing
idaththu – places
uLadhO – is it there?

Simple Translation

(This has been told by the nAyakan to the beetles)

Oh beetles! I am going to tell you all, who are drinking honey from flowers which are present on water, on land and on trees and are roaming happily. Please come and listen to me. Among the places where you keep roaming, have you seen the sweet fragrance on flowers, which you are seeing on the locks of this nAyaki who is as enjoyable as the paramapadham of sarvESvaran who incarnated as a unique wild boar and took on all the dust which is present on this earth?

vyAkyAnam

vandugaLO vammin – Oh beetles! Please come here.

nIrppU . . . – some people would say that three types of flowers are referred to here while some others would say that there are four types of flowers. In the term nilappU (flowers on land), people would say that two types of flowers are included – those on plants and those on creepers. Added to the flowers on water and flowers on trees, there are four types of flowes, according to these people. There is an old saying nalla malarppozhil nAlum nuzhaivIrgAL (may you enter all the four types of good orchards). I will say something to you, who are going around to wherever flowers are seen, being happy by drinking honey from them and having that as your main work. Please come.

Enam . . . – he incarnated as the unique, great boar, trampling the earth. When that earth attained him, due to his pride, he took its dust all over his divine form.

vaigundham annAL – this nAyaki is very much concordant with his permanent abode of vaigundham, unlike this vibhUthi (samsAram) where he comes occasionally to protect. She will not let any other enjoyment to come to her heart. She is saying just as ALavandhAr had mercifully said in his sthOthra rathnam SlOkam 5 “sarvam yadhEva niyamEna” (by whomsoever everything is controlled…)

kuzhal vAy virai pOl – just like the sweet fragrance on her locks.

vindugaL . . . – Have you seen among the flowers on the wonderful earth where you roam around fully, any fragrance like this, such that you will not bother about passage of time?

svApadhESam (distinguished meaning): SrIvaishNavas enjoy the auspicious qualities of sarvESvaran in his para, vyUha, vibhava etc forms (sarvESvaran in paramapadham, in thiruppARkadal, in incarnations etc). They are asked “Among all the qualities which you enjoy there, have you seen any quality similar to the one that AzhwAr has?” In other words, the greatness of bhAgavatha (follower of sarvESvaran) is higher than that of bhagavAn (sarvESvaran). vyAkyAthA quotes from thaiththirIya upanishath nArAyaNavalli “ambasyapArE bhuvanasya madhyE nAkasya prushtE” wherein ambasya is taken as being equivalent to vyUham, bhuvanasya is taken as being equivalent to vibhavam and archchai, and nAkasya is taken as being equivalent to param. These are the three different types of flowers mentioned in the first line.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 54 – vIsum siRagAl

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsuram, a lady who was going that side said “fan her with any material [related to emperumAn] even if it is the soil [from which his divine thuLasi had sprouted]” However, there was no need to do anything like that. It appeared that from her words and activities, one would know that she is conscious. When a person is afflicted with deep hunger, he would be able to tolerate it if he were asleep. However, it is not possible to bear that hunger if he were awake. In the same way, since she was unconscious in the previous pAsuram, it appeared to be normal. She had forgotten him for sometime. Since she is awake now, she can sustain herself only if someone comes from there [from the nAyakan] or someone goes from her side as a messenger to him and to await his arrival. It did not appear that anyone would come from there. From her side, there was none who could walk to his place. She is sending beetles which are near her, to go as her messenger to him.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

vIsum siRagAl paRaththIr viNNAdu nungatkeLidhu
pEsumbadiyanna pEsiyum pOvadhu ney thodu uNdu
Esumbadiyanna seyyum emmIsar viNNOr piRAnAr
mAsinmalaradikkIzh emmaichchErvikkum vaNdugaLE

Word-by-Word Meanings

viNNOr – for nithyasUris
pirAnAr – being their lord
ney – ghee
thodu – stealing
uNdu – eating it
Esumbadi – such that (enemies) ridicule
anna – activities like that
seyyum – one who carries out
em Isar – being  our swAmy, his
mAsu il – without any fault
malar – like a soft flower
adikkIzh – under [his] divine feet
emmai – us
sErvikkum – having the ability to take us [there]
vaNdugaLE – Oh beetles!
vIsum –  spread out
siRagAl – with wings
paRaththIr – you are flying
nungatku – for you
viNNAdu – paramapadham which is in paramAkASam
eLidhu – will be easy (and natural)
pEsumbadi – whatever is to be spoken (there)
anna – those words
pEsiyum pOvadhu – should speak (in our presence)

Simple Translation

Oh beetles! You have the capability to take us under the faultless, flower-like soft divine feet of sarvESvaran who was spoken of derisively after he stole and ate butter from the houses of those who were in thiruvAyppAdi (SrI gOkulam) and who is the lord of nithyasUris. You are flying with widespread wings. It will be easy for you to reach paramapadham where he dwells. Please tell us the words which you are going to tell there.

vyAkyAnam

vIsum siRagAl – The term vIsugai refers to swaying, speed and being widespread.

siRagAl paRaththIr – she says that she has to walk since she does not have wings. That is why she swooned, thinking of him, as in thiruvAimozhi 7-2-4 “itta kAl itta kaiyaLAy” (legs and hands are immovable)

viNNAdu nungatku eLidhu – The moment they take to the skies she thinks that they can fly all the way to paramapadham. She is firm that paramapdham is above only, just as it has been mentioned in nAchchiyAr thirumozhi 10-2 “mElulagangaLin mIdhu pOy” (going beyond the worlds above).

nungatku eLidhu – paramapadham is easy for you to reach. It is difficult only for us! She feels that all those who could fly would be able to reach paramapadham.

pEsumbadi anna pEsiyum pOvadhu – please tell us what you are going to tell him and others who are there.

ney thodu . . . – despite being the lord of the inexhaustible nithyasUris, he incarnated on this earth. He felt that he could not sustain himself without materials such as milk, curd, butter etc which have had the touch of herd-girls who were very affectionate towards him. He had to steal them since they were not easily accessible to him and ate them; he was derided by people like SiSupAlan et al who were inimical to him, because of such acts.

emmIsar – he has the eminence of being the controller of nithyasUris; at the same time, he has the simplicity to consider that he could not sustain himself without materials connected with his followers; with these qualities, he made me to exist exclusively for him.

mAsin malaradi – his divine, soft feet which are without any fault. It is not that he goes to someone only after that person sends him a messenger since he had not gone to that person, saying “Oh, I forgot completely”. Even if someone were to send him a message, he would put the words in the messenger’s mouth.

The vyAkyAthA explains the SlOkam 40-3 in SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam “yathA tham purusha vyAgram gAthrai: SOka abhikarSithai: | samspriSEyam sakAmA aham thathA kuru dhayAm mayi ||” (due to grief, my form has become very enervated. I wish to embrace that tiger among men, SrI rAma. Show mercy on me and fulfil my desire) [this SlOkam tells how sIthAppirAtti informs hanuman about her condition and her desire, so that he could take that message to SrI rAma]

yathA tham purusha vyAgram – I don’t have to think that time has passed and that I have to tell him something to make him do it. He is like a male tiger who is capable of carrying out whatever he thinks of, the moment he thinks about it.

gAthrai: – You could see that my physical form is becoming emaciated. It is not that I wish to get rid of this form, attain a new form and then go to him. I want to embrace him with this emaciated form itself.

sa kAmAham – I will not remain like him uttering words such as “If you come to the forest, I will not go; if you are lost, I will not search for you”

thathA kuru dhayAm mayi – even when there is no reduction in his power, I have not seen it coming up to me. With your mercy, you should make it happen for me

emmaich chErvikkum vaNdugaLE – Aren’t you the beetles who feel that you would realise your svarUpam (true nature) only if you unite me with him?

svApadhESam (distinguished meaning): AzhwAr is conveying his distress in separation to sarvESvaran’s divine heart through the mode of sending messengers.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 53 – vArAyina mulaiyAL

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avathArikai (Introduction)

Though the friend had said that it is not the rainy season, in the previous pAsuram, it was raining steadily like a true rainy season. Since the nAyakan who had promised to return before the rains had not returned, the nAyaki fell down unconsciously. Her relatives who had seen this were bewildered, not knowing the reason for her behaviour. They thought that this must be the act of a lowly deity and started engaging in activities to remedy the situation. An old, knowledgeable woman, who was passing that way and who knew her real condition, told them “The remedies which you are trying to carry out will not revive her. Carry out the remedy which I am going to tell you”

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

vArAyina mulaiyALivaL vAnOr thalaimaganAm
sIrAyina dheyva nal nOy idhu dheyvaththaNNandhuzhAyth
thArAyinum thazhaiyAyinum thaNkombadhAyinum kIzh
vErAyinum ninRa maNNAyinum koNdu vIsuminE

Word-by-Word Meanings

ivaL – this nAyaki
vAr Ayina – apt bodice with which to tie
mulayAL – having bosom
idhu – this disease
vAnOr – for nithyasUris
thalaimaganAm – being the lord
sIr Ayina – having auspicious qualities
dheyvam – caused due to the deity
nal – distinguished
nOy – resulted as disease
(Hence)
dheyvam – being related to that deity, SrIman nArAyaNan
thaN – being cool
am – being beautiful
thuzhAy – divine thuLasi’s
thAr Ayinum – whether it is a bunch of flowers
thazhaiyAyinum – whether it is the petals
thaN – cool
kombadhAyinum – whether it is the stem
kIzh – seen below it
vEr Ayinum – whether it is the root
ninRa –  from which that divine thuLasi plant sprouted
maNNAyium – whether it is the soil
koNdu – bringing that
vIsumin – blow it such that the wind from that [object] falls on her

Simple Translation

The nAyaki’s bosoms are apt to be tied with a bodice. The disease that she has is a distinguished one, caused by SrIman nArAyaNan, the lord of nithyasUris and the one who has auspicious qualities. Obtain the cool, beautiful flower of thuLasi plant or its petals or its stem or its root or the soil from which the plant sprouted and blow it on her such that the wind from that falls on her.

vyAkyAnam

vArAyina mulayAL ivaL – she is not in a position to accept the harsh remedies which you are carrying out towards a lowly deity. Isn’t her position such that without wasting time, you have to carry out a remedy immediately?

vArAyina mulayAL ivaL – bosom tied by a bodice; bosom sustained by a bodice. Her bosom could be sustained either by a bodice or by the nAyakan; it cannot be sustained by her. The vyAkyAthA explains a few verses from thirumangai AzhWar’s periya thirumadal “ennivai thAn vALA enakkE poRaiyAgi” (what is the use of these bosoms? They have become an unwanted load for me) starting with the verse

kal navilum kAttagaththu – in the forest which is full of stones

Or vallik kadi malarin – in a fragrant flower on a creeper

nal naRu vAsam – with great fragrance

maRRArAnum eydhAmE – without anyone enjoying that fragrance

mannum vaRu nilaththu vALAnguguththadhu pOl – withering on the ground from which it blossomed, without being of use to anyone; similar to that

ennudaiya peNmaiyum ennalanum enmulaiyum – my femininity, my qualities and my bosoms are [wasted] like those creeper, flowers and fragrance respectively.

mannu malar mangai maindhan – sarvESvaran who has been attained by periya pirAtti, who resides on a flower

kaNapuraththup ponmalai pOl ninRavan than – sarvESvaran should come to thirukkaNNapuram, instead of being in SrIvaikuNtam, along with periya pirAtti

ponnagalam thOyAvEl – if I am not embraced by his valorous chest and if my distress is not removed

ennivaidhAn vALA – should there not be a purpose for their [bosoms’] creation?

enakkE poRaiyAgi – when two people are required to sustain them, what is the purpose in my sustaining them alone? They become unbearable for me. Had they been on my back, I would not have to see them losing their beauty.

mUvAmaik kAppadhOr marundhu aRivIr illaiyE – there is none who can give a remedy to prevent them from aging and losing their beauty.

parASara bhattar, on hearing this, said “He is asking whether there is no AndharALikar in this land” (AndharALikar is one who is an intermediary, helping the nAyakan and the nAyaki in sorting out their love-quarrel. nanjIyar would say that piLLai thirunaRaiyUr araiyar and others who were listening to this explanation by bhattar would praise bhattar’s sharpness for four to five nAzhigais (about two hours), without speaking about any other subject. piLLai thirunaRaiyUr araiyar thought that when he is much older than bhattar and has more knowledge too, others may wonder whether it is apt to praise parASara bhattar like this. Hence he said “Oh child, earlier too AchAryars (teachers) have praised their Sishyars (disciples). In the thirunedundhANdagam pAsuram 14 vaLarththadhanAl payan peRREn for which you gave certain explanations, the nAyaki had nurtured a parrot, taught it the divine names  of emperumAn; when the parrot recited those divine names, did she not fall at its feet?” bhattar told him “Oh swAmy! You could praise me by keeping me in whatever position that you desire; but please do not deny us the opportunity of having you in our midst and enjoying your presence”.

The vyAkyAthA narrates another incident to show how sarvESvaran becomes elated when someone who is totally devoted to him is praised. Once emperumAnAr (rAmAnujar) was sitting near a punnai tree close to chandhira pushkaraNi inside SrIrangam temple. thirvarangan [SrI ranganAthan] had mercifully reached that place as a part of temple festivity. A few people who came there fell at the divine feet of emperumAnAr and worshipped him. An officer of the kingdom, udaiyAr subrahmaNya  bhattar, saw this incident. Given below is the conversation between this officer and emperumAnAr:

He asked emperumAnAr “I want to ask you a question. Can I?”

“What is it?”

“In the presence of SrI ranganAthar, a few persons fell at your feet. They were ignorant. But I did not hear you telling them not to do that. Why is it?”

“Others may ask this question. But your asking this question is not apt”

“What is the difference between others and me?”

“Are you not one who is carrying out service to the King? When someone comes to the court of the King to ask for some help, you would have seen him taking the sandals of the King and keeping them on his head. Would the sandals tell that man ‘Do not keep us on your head’? Is that man truly celebrating the sandals? No. Even if he praises the sandals, are they capable of helping that man? However, doesn’t the King, who is seeing this, feel happy and help the man?” [In the same way, SrI ranganAthan feels happy and helps the people who had fallen at emperumAnAr’s feet].

vArAyina mulayAL ivaL – her bosoms are such that the bodice, through its connection with them, realises its true nature. Even the nAyakan realises his nature through embracing them. The nAyaki too cannot sustain herself without him, just as it has been mentioned in thiruvAimozhi 6-10-10 “agalagillEn iRaiyum” (I cannot leave even for a moment) and in Sri rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 53-31 “na cha sIthA thvayA hinA” ((lakshmaNa tells SrI rAma) sithAppirAtti will not survive without you).

It is due to the connection between the cause of her disease [sarvESvaran] and her disease that AzhwAr says vAnOr thalaimaganAm sIrAyina.

sIr Ayina – widespread disease. It is such a rare disease that no one could say that (s)he will be able to cure her from the disease.

dheyva nOy – it is a disease which has not been caused by any entity in this world.

nal nOy – a disease which one has to accept by even making lot of efforts. Alternatively, a disease caused by the supreme entity who is the lord of nithyasUris, due to his greatness and auspicious qualities.

dheyvaththaNNandhuzhAy . . . – make sure that you find a remedy such that it is aligned with your nature as well as the nature of the disease which is afflicting her. Just as it is said “dhEvathAnthara katAksha kauleenA:” (grace from other dhEvathAs (deities) will create major fault for the clan), do not approach other deities.

dheyvam . . . – try to save her by bringing a material which, through its contact with the supreme entity, has his true nature, such as the leaves of thuLasi, or its stem or its root or the soil from which the thuLasi plant sprouted. With other medicines (obtained through the grace of other deities), only harm will result while medicines which are connected with sarvESvaran, even if they are far removed from sarvESvaran, will be the apt remedy. Just as it has been mentioned in thiruvAimozhi 3-7-9 “endhai pirAn thanakku adiyAr adiyAr tham adiyAr adiyAr….” it is enough if someone has direct contact with sarvESvaran or contact through several of his followers in a lineage. That alone will do.

svApadhESam (distinguished meaning): This pAsuram brings out AzhwAr’s belief that contact with other deities will be the cause of destruction of one’s existence and contact with any material which has even a remote connection with sarvESvaran will be the cause for one’s existence

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 52 – azhaikkum karum

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avathArikai (Introduction)

This is in the classification of kAla mayakkuth thuRai (similar to pAsurams 7 and 18) which occurs due to bewilderment regarding time. nAyakan who had promised to return by monsoon time, is delaying his return. With the monsoon having arrived, nAyaki is in distress since he has not returned yet. Her friend tells her “This is not rainy season.  What you are seeing now is not rain, but the tears of bhUmippirAtti (bhUdhEvi)”, thus bewildering the nAyaki into thinking that it is not rainy season.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

azhaikkum karum kadal veN thiraikkE koNdu pOy alarvAy
mazhaikkaN madandhai aravaNai ERa maN mAdhar viN vAy
azhaiththup pulambi mulai malai mEl ninRum ARugaLAy
mazhaik kaNNa nIr thirumAl kodiyAn enRu vArginRadhE

Word-by-Word Meanings

alarvAy – having been born in a lotus flower
mazhaikkaN – having a cool glance, just like rain [in terms of coolness]
madandhai – periya pirAtti [SrI mahAlakshmi]
azahikkum – calling out loudly
karu – bluish coloured
kadal – in the ocean
veN – whitish
thiraikkE – through the waves
koNdu pOy – inviting (the nAyakan)
aravaNai – on the mattress of thiruvananthAzhwAn (AdhiSEshan)
ERa – on climbing
maNmAdhar – bhUmippirAtti
thirumAl – Sriya: pathi (consort of SrI mahAlakshmi)
kodiyAn – cruel entity
enRu – saying so
viN vAy – through the mouth of sky
azhaiththu – loudly calling
pulambi – wailing
malai – mountains
mulai mEl ninRum – standing atop the bosoms
mazhaik kaNNIr – tears like rainfall
ARugaLAy – like rivers
vArginRadhu –  created copiously

Simple Translation

The bluish ocean invited periya pirAtti who was born in a lotus flower and who has a glance, as cool as the rain. Taking hold of the whitish waves of that ocean, periya pirAtti, along with her lord, sarvESvaran, started mercifully to ascend the mattress of AdhiSEshan. At that time, bhUmippirAtti, standing atop the mountains which are like her bosoms, calling out loudly from the sky, started wailing saying “The consort of SrI mahAlakshmi is a cruel entity” and started letting down her tears of rainfall copiously, like rivers.

vyAkyAnam

azhaikkum karum kadal – in line with the saying “apAm api Suklam” – the colour of water is white. However, when it is in abundance, it would appear to be dark. With the bottom portion of the ocean appearing dark and the top portion appearing white (because of the white coloured waves), it appeared like a place made with bluish gems having whitish steps. When SrI rAma was on the mAlyavAn mountain along with lakshmaNa, he told lakshmaNa looking at the clouds, as in SrI rAmAyaNam kishkindhA kANdam 28-4 “Sakyam ambaram Aruhya mEgha sOpAna pankthibhi: | kutaja arjuna mAlAbhir alankarthum dhivAkara: ||” (it appears that it is possible to decorate the supreme entity, who is at the centre of sUryamaNdala, through the steps of clouds, with wild jasmine and other flowers). He said that there is a deficiency in this. While garlanding the supreme entity, it is necessary to go with one’s wife, just as it is mentioned in Sri rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 6-1 “saha pathnyA viSAlAkshyA nArAyaNamupAgatham” (SrI rAma meditated on SrIman nArAyaNa along with sIthAppirAtti, who has wide eyes). While sIthA was with us then, she is not here now to help us. This is the deficiency.

veN thiraikkE koNdu pOy –  with the help of those waves which were like hands, taking sarvESvaran along

alarvAyalar – lotus; periya pirAtti has divine lips similar to lotus flower. She was born in the lotus flower.

mazhaikkaN madandhai – after looking at the place of sleeping (AdhiSEshan mattress) and periya pirAtti, he has to follow her. When she looks, it is with cool eyes, just like rain falling on a dry place makes it cool. If he considers her divine mind, he has to follow her.

aravaNai Era – getting atop AdhiSEshan, along with periya pirAtti.

maN mAdhar – bhUmippirAtti (SrI bhUdhEvi)

viN vAy azhaiththu – calling through sky, which is lke the mouth; alternatively, calling, standing in the sky. When the waves came up to the sky in agitation, it appeared that the earth was calling out.

pulambi – wailing, as if reciting several pAsurams

mulai mEl ninRum – standing on top of mountains, which were like bosoms. Since earth is bhUmippirAtti’s wealth, the mountains can be considered to be her bosoms, just as it has been said in siRiya thirumadal “kArAr varaikkongai” (completely dark mountains which were like bosoms).

ARugaLAy – when it rained, the water coming down from the mountains appeared like rivers which were full.

mazhaik kaNNa nIr – tears which were like rain water. In normal times, it would appear like rain water; now it appeared like her tears.

thirumAL kodiyAn enRu – we thought that if we see sarvESvaran and periya pirAtti united, it would be a great fortune; however, it is now distressing us. When he manifests his simplicity, it appears like cruelness to us.

enRu vArginRadhE – as she wails mentioning his cruelty, her tears appear like abundant flow of water.

While it is the normal rainy season, the nAyaki’s friend tells her “While sarvESvaran and periya pirAtti united, SrI bhUmippirAtti, unable to bear that, is shedding copious amount of tears which appear like rainfall”, making her bewildered into thinking that it is  not the rainy season but tears shed by bhUmippirAtti.

When sarvESvaran is united with periya pirAtti, both bhUdhEvii and neeLAdhEvi would think that he has united with their soul and when he is united with bhUdhEvi and neeLAdhEvi, periya pirAtti would think that he has united with her bosoms and shoulders. Thinking like this is their true nature. Since he is without any limit, everyone has to enjoy him together. When such is their true nature, how is it said that bhUdhEvi is wailing on seeing sarvESvaran being united with periya pirAtti? Our pUrvAchAryars prior to ALavandhAr would explain this saying “bhUdhEvi is in tears because when sarvESvaran and periya pirAtti are together, we are unable to help them by bringing them flowers, sandalwood paste etc” ALavandhAr explained it by quoting thiruvAimozhi 9-2-10 “vadiviNai illA malarmagaL”- I have made such periya pirAtti who is unparalleled in her beauty and soft nature to shiver in the cool water and being carried away by the ocean even as I remained as a mattress for her – and wept because of that. parASara bhattar on hearing this would say “There is no need for all these explanations. The nAyaki on hearing such inapt explanation from her friend would have thought ‘How is this possible?’ By the time she analyses this and decides on it, the nAyakan would have returned. AzhwAr would have mercifully said this, for this position”

svApadhESam (distinguished meaning): Since AzhwAr cannot sustain himself without attaining sarvESvaran, he has to be consoled by pointing to events which take place nearby, which may not be true.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 51 – malai koNdu

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avathArikai (Introduction)

Before the nAyakan could reach her, the nAyaki heard the noise from ocean and reveals how it distressed her. SrI rAma wanted to cover the distance, which he had travelled over fourteen years by foot, within an afternoon. Knowing that bharthAzhwAn would not be able to tolerate even that, he sent hanuman as his messenger to tell bharathan that he was on his way. Until someone is sent as a messenger to her, all the things which she sees appear to cause her harm. SrI rAma tells hanuman as in SrIrAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam SlOkam 125-17 “sangathyA bharatha: SrImAn rAjyEnArthi svayam bhavEth l praSAsthum vasudhAm sarvAmakhilAm raghunandhana: ll” (bharathAan who is full of the wealth of servitude and devotion, could continue to rule over ayOdhyA should he wish to do so, since he has been ruling it for many years). There are two interpretations for this SlOkam – some learned people, looking at it superficially, would say that since bharathan has been ruling for a long time, he would have developed a desire and a hold on the kingdom. Thus, if bharathan wishes to continue to rule over the kingdom, SrI rAma would not wish to go to ayOdhyA and would rather stay at sage bharathwAja’s ASram (hermitage) itself. Since he thought this way, he sent hanuman ahead of him on an errand. Our pUrvAchAryars (preceptors) considered that this opinion did not gel with SrI rAma’s greatness. The correct meaning of this SlOkam, in our pUrvAchAryas’ opinion, is this [given as the reasoning of SrI rAma]: as per dhaSarathan’s order and due to the boon which kaikEyi had obtained, we had given the kingdom to bharathan. bharathan followed us to the forest and said “Oh rAma! If you delay returning to ayOdhyA even by a day, I will not be able to sustain my life”. We are now returning after fourteen years. When he is in a state of bliss upon seeing us, we will tell him “You get ready for the coronation”. In the supreme happiness of seeing us, due to bewilderment, he would accept it instead of saying “I will not”. dhaSarathan wanted to see us being coronated. But he could not live to see that. To reverse that, we will be ecstatic to see our child bharathan being coronated. Hence you go ahead, he told hanuman and sent him.

What is the reason for some learned people interpreting in one way and our pUrvAchAryars interpreting in the other? This is explained through SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam SlOkam 19-31 “shanair jagAma sApEksha:” (SrI rAma, before leaving for the forest, circumambulated all the materials which had been kept for his coronation, saw them respectfully …) In this SlOkam, those learned people saw the word sApEksha: as sAvEksha: which means glancing from the corner of the eye. The meaning for this would then be that SrI rAma had a desire in being the King and made it known in his eyes. On hearing this, parASara bhattar said “It is not to be considered that way. It should be considered as SrI rAma looking at them with despondence since he would not be present to see bharatha’s coronation”,

Before such sarvESvaran could reach the place where the nAyaki was present, the ocean troubled her.

Let us go thorugh the pAsuram and its meanings:

malai koNdu maththA aravAl suzhaRRiya mAyappirAn
alai kaNdu koNda amudham koLLAdhu kadal baradhar
vilai koNdu thandha sangam ivai vEriththuzhAyth thuNaiyAth
thulai koNdu thAyam kiLarndhu koLvAn oththu azhaikkinRadhE

Word-by-Word Meanings

kadal – ocean
malai – manthara hill
maththA – as the churning shaft
koNdu – making it
aravAl –  through vAsuki, the snake
suzhaRRiya – one who churned
mAyam – one with amazing activity
pirAn – sarvESvaran, the benefactor
alai kaNdu – making the waves to rise up
koNda – taken (from the ocean)
amudham – nectar
koLLadhu – without accepting
baradhar – pearl traders
vilai koNdu – taking money
thandha – offered
ivai sangam – these bangles
vEri – fragrant
thuzhAy – divine thuLasi
thuNaiyA – as support
thulai koNdu – searching a way for destroying
thAyam – share of relatives
koLvAn oththu – as if taking
kiLarndhu – agitatingly
azhaikkinRadhu – makes a noise

Simple Translation

sarvESvaran had done great benefits such as keeping the manthara mountain as the churning shaft, the snake vAsuki as the churning rope and churned the ocean to obtain nectar. The ocean did not accept that nectar which was taken from it in such a way that its waves rose up. Traders in pearl had taken payment from me (nAyaki) and given me bangles. The ocean, with the support of divine thuLasi garland, with the thought of destroying me, is making huge noise in order to take these bangles from me, just like relatives would partake of their share in a property.

vyAkyAnam

malai koNdu maththA – sarvESvaran made the immovable mountain to move.

aravAl – he took the snake vAsuki, who has a gentle form, as the churning rope.

suzhaRRiya – the cleverness with which he used these. These entities (mountain and snake) kept churning on their own until nectar came out. This is similar to a potter rotating his wheel once, after which it keeps rotating on its own with that momentum. Since it is sarvESvaran himself who rotated the mountain once, it kept rotating until the work was completed. Thus all the active and inactive states of all entities are under his control.

mAyappirAn – he has amazing activities. periya thirumozhi 5-7-4 “mAyirungunRam ….” – keeping  the manthara mountain which was broad and tall, as the churning staff, keeping the snake vAsuki as the churning rope, he churned the ocean such that it made a noise like the trumpeting of an elephant and its waves rose to hide the sky.He churned in such a way that the garlands and the dress which he wore kept swinging from one side to the other.

pirAn – he benefited me by manifesting the beauty of his divine form to me. He is AzhwAr’s nectar.

alai kaNdu . . . – he churned he ocean in such a way that the sand at the bottom rose to the top and the sand at the top sank to the bottom, by planting the mountain manthara at the centre of the ocean’s heart like a mammoth pestle. He took away the nectar from the ocean. The ocean did not have the courage to go to him to retrieve its nectar from him. Just as it has been mentioned in nAchchiyAr thirumozhi 10-9  “kadalE kadalE unnaik kadaindhu kalakkuRuththu..” the ocean did not go to him to trouble him; instead it is creating distress for me. In this world, it has become natural for strong people to show their strength towards the weak ones.

baradhar – the ocean is attempting to take the bangles which I had bought from the pearl traders after payment of money. Did we go near the ocean on our own?

vErith thuzhAy thuNaiyA – it is torturing me by keeping the fragrant divine thuLasi, which it received from sarvESvaran, as a support. Just as sugrIva took SrI rAma’s support and challenged vAli, the ocean took divine thuLasi’s support to torture me. SrI rAmAyaNam kishkindhA kANdam SlOkam “thath garjath harivara: sugrIvO hEmapingala: thEna nAthEna mahathA nirjagAma haRiSvara: anumAnya thathA dhArAm sugrIvEna samAgatha:” (sugrIva, who was with a reddish yellow hue, similar to gold, stood near the entrance to vAli’s cave and roared. When his wife thArA tried to prevent him from going, vAli comforted her and came out). mahathA – sugrIva displayed his valour; nirjagAma – he came out of his cave; anumAnya – vali told thAra who tried to dissuade him from going out to fight with sugrIva “Will you not unite with a person like me only if I win over him?” As an example of this, the vyAkyAthA cites SrI rAmAyaNam 30-39 “tham dhrushtvA Sathru hanthAram maharshINAm sukhAvaham | babhUva hrushtA vaidhEhi bharthAram parishasvajE ||” (becoming happy after seeing SrI rAma annihilating the enemies of the rishis, sIthAppirAtti embraced him well).

thulai koNdu – to destroy her, ocean took the support of divine thuLasi.

thAyam . . . – even after a land had got changed hands four or five times, the relatives of the original owner of the property would stake their claim on that land. In the same way, the ocean, on seeing the bangles on nAyaki’s hands, claimed that these bangles came from it (from conches which are in the ocean), and is trying to take them away.

azhaikkinRadhE – it is calling like a waylaying robber. When the omnipotent entity immersed a huge pestle inside it, churned it with the power of his shoulders and took away nectar from it, this ocean did not have the capability to challenge him and retrieve that nectar. Since I am a helpless lady, it is trying to harm me. The vyAkyAtha cites an example of how the sounds made by the ocean troubled the nAyaki, from a SlOkam in SrI rAmAyaNam kishkindhA kANdam “nisvanam chakravAkAnAm niSamya sahachArinAm puNdarIka visAlAkshI kathamEshA bhavishyathi” (on merely hearing the noise made by chakravAka birds when they fly, sIthAppirAtti will be joyous; what sort of difficulty is she in, who has eyes like lotus flower?) Just as the noise made by the birds brought memories of sIthAppirAtti to SrI rAma and troubled him, the sound made by the ocean troubled the nAyaki.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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