Author Archives: T N Krishnan

thiruviruththam – 10 – mAyOn vadathiruvEngadam

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avathArikai (Introduction)

This pAsuram comes under the classification of madhiyudan paduththal in thamizh literature. This signifies that the leading man, who had separated the previous day, returns the next day and expresses his desire to the leading lady and her friends when they are guarding the paddy fields (from birds). The opinion is that he expresses his feelings to the friends and, bewildering them, tells them to inform his desire to the leading lady.

Let us look at the pAsuram and its meanings:

mAyOn vadathiruvEngadanAda vallikkodigAL
nOyO uraikkilum kEtkinRileer uraiyIr numadhu
vAyO adhu anRi valvinaiyEnum kiLiyum eLgum
AyO adum thoNdaiyO aRaiyO idhu aRivaridhE

Word-by-Word Meanings

mAyOn – belonging to thiruvEngadamudaiyAn (lord of thiruvEngadam), the one with amazing activities
vadathiruvEngadanAda – those who are dwellers of thirumalai which is on the northern side
valli – like a creeper plant
kodigAL – oh women!
nOy – (my) disease
uraikkilum – even if mentioned
kEtkinRileer – you are not listening
O – alas!
numadhu – your
vAyO – mouth?
adhu anRi – or else
val vinaiyEnum – me, who has the sins (to say these words)
kiLiyum – even the parrot
eLgum – to quiver (after hearing)
AyO – is it the sound “AyO”?
thoNdaiyO – is it the lips which are like the reddish fruit
adum – affected (like this)
uraiyIr – please tell the reason for this disease
aRivaridhu – unable to ascertain
The term aRaiyO refers to a battle cry.

Simple Translation

Oh women who are like the creeper plant and who are dwelling in thiruvEngadam hills which are to the northern side and for which thiruvEngadamudaiyAn, who has amazing activities, is the lord! You are not aware, on your own, of my disease of separation and are not listening to me when I reveal it to you. You should tell me as to what is troubling me. Is it your talk which is troubling me? Or am I, having lot of sins, the reason for this? Or is it the sound “AyO” which you make to drive away the parrots which are sitting on the trees? Or is it your lips which are reddish like the fruit?

vyAkhyAnam

mAyOn – one who has amazing activities. Why is he [AzhwAr] talking about amazing activities here? While emperumAn has paramapadham (SrIvaikuNtam) which is beyond one’s words and mind, he left that and took residence atop thiruvEngadam hills, as said in nAnmugam thiruvandhAdhi pAsuram 47 “gAnamum vAnaramum vEdum udai vEngadam” (thiruvEngadam which has forests, monkeys and hunter-tribe people). This simplicity, even when he is so supreme, is the reason which makes AzhwAr to address him as one with amazing activities.

vada thiruvEngadam nAda – while there are places beyond thiruvEngadam too, on the northern side, AzhwAr is calling this place as one on the northern side since this place has been sung in praise of, by most of the AzhwArs.

vallik kodigAL – both terms valli and kodi would refer to women. What is the need for using both terms? This is to affirm that they do not have any of the qualities of masculinity and are full of feminine qualities only. Since creeper plants need to cling on to a supporting pole, he is stressing on the need for holding on to emperumAn for sustaining oneself. The leading man is the only supporting pole and all the other women look up to him as their support.

nOyO – being separated from her, I am neither able to live nor give up my life.

nOy uraikkilum O kEtkinRileer – Looking at my state, shouldn’t you all have come to me and comforted me saying “Oh, your situation has become like this”? Instead of that, I, who am affected with this disease, am coming to you and, I am asking you the reason for this disease. In other words, while you should have got this disease due to separation from me, I have been afflicted with this. This is very strange. You do not have to give any treatment for getting rid of this disease. It is enough if you listen to my outpouring.

uraiyIr – he is imploring those who are not listening to his words “Please listen” thus manifesting his desire towards her. After listening to him, the leading lady’s friends tell him “You have realised on your own that you have the disease. What is there for us to say?” To this, the leading man responds saying “I do not know the reason for this disease. You should tell me that”

numadhu vAyO – is your blossomed face the reason for my disease?

adhu anRi valvinaiyEnum kiLiyum eLgum AyO – is it the sound “AyO” that you make to drive away the parrots (which have come to eat the grains in the field which you people are guarding)?

kiLiyum eLgum – the word eLgum has two meanings – to leave and to be involved. In the former case, it would refer to the parrots leaving the place on hearing their words “AyO”and in the latter case, it would refer to the parrots being involved with what they were saying and staying put in their place.

valvinaiyEnum – I did not become attracted to you, only on account of your sound (when you speak); I was engaged with you on account of your sweet voice and your beautiful forms. The implied meaning is that sarvESvaran is engaged with AzhwAr like the parrot, listening to his pAsurams while the SrIvaishNavas are engaged with AzhwAr on account of the pAsurams as well the qualities of his soul.

thoNdaiyO – is it because of your reddish lips?

adum – all these make me perish.

aRaiyO idhu aRivaridhE – I do not know as to which of these troubled  me and caused this disease. For not knowing the reason, he is saying the words aRaiyO as if he were raising a battle cry.

svApadhEsam (distinguished meaning) – SrIvaishNavas were engaged with the qualities of AzhwAr’s AthmA (soul) as well as his dhEham (physical form) such as his pAsurams, his splendour etc, without making any distinction among them.

We will take up the 11th pAsuram in the next article.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 9 – thiNpUnjudar

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avathArikai (Introduction)

The leading lady tells the leading man “You are determined to leave me and go to thirumalai”. He tells her “I did not think that way. Did you not think of going there?” Further he tells her “After reaching the stage of being together with the followers of emperumAn, is it not you (AzhwAr) who is thinking of being together with emperumAn? We have understood that you have not realised your greatness. You may not have understood about us. Would we too be like that?” An incident is cited here. Once emperumAnAr (bhagavadh rAmAnujar) had decided to go to thiruvEngadam and mentioned this to his disciples. piLLai uRangAvallidhAsar immediately went to his house. Seeing this, emperumAnAr sent a SrIvaidhNavar to see what was happening there. He returned and told emperumAnAr “He is reciting the pAsuram ‘kANginRanagaLum’ with tears in his eyes”. Immediately emperumAnAr told him “Shouldn’t you have reminded him about the pAsuram ‘vaN pU maNivalli yArE piribavardhAm’ and consoled him?”

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings.

thiNpUnjudar nudhi nEmiyam selvar viNNAdanaiya
vaNpU maNivalli yArE piribavar thAm ivaiyO
kaNpUngamalam karum sudar Adi veNmuththarumbi
vaNpUnguvaLai madamAn vizhikkinRa mAyidhazhE

Word-by-Word Meanings

thiN – being firm
pU – being beautiful
sudar – being splendorous
nudhi – being sharp
nEmi – with the divine disc
am selvar – SrIya: pathi (consort of SrI mahAlakshmi), who has beauty and wealth
viNNAdanaiya – enjoyable, similar to SrIvaikuNtam
vaN – magnanimous
maNi – renowned like a gemstone
valli – Oh leading lady, who is like a creeper plant!
pU – being beautiful
kamalam – lotus
vaN – magnanimous
pU – being beautiful
kuvaLai – blue coloured Indian water-lily
karum sudar – a bluish effulgence
Adi – having
veN muththu – having tears of white pearls
arumbi – shedding them like buds
mA idhazh – having lip similar to tender mango leaves
madamAn – you, who are like an obedient doe
vizhikkinRa – looking, by opening your eyes
ivai – are these
kaNNO – eyes!
ArE – who
piribavardhAm – will separate (from you who are like this)?

Simple Translation

Oh one who is like a beautiful creeper and who is full of enjoyment similar to the paramapadham (SrivaikuNtam) of sarvESvaran who is wealthy and has the divine disc which is firm, beautiful, fiery and sharp which are fitting together! Are your eyes, mere eyes? No! They are like lotus flower, like the beautiful water-lily, emitting a bluish splendour. Whitish pearl like tear drops are welling up in those eyes. Your eyelids are like tender mango leaves. Who will separate from you who are opening eyes slowly, like an obedient doe?

vyAkhyAnam

thiNpU – the nature of divine disc is that it will not step back when it comes to annihilating the enemies of emperumAn’s followers. The term thiN refers to firmness while pU refers to gentleness. In other words, divine disc is firm when it is a weapon and gentle when it is an ornament.

sudar – splendorous

nudhi – sharp

nEmi – divine disc, chakraththAzhwAr

am selvar – the beauty and wealth which accrue because of holding such divine disc

viNNAdu anaiya …. – paramapadham (SrIvaikuNtam) which is as said in chAndhOkya upanishath 8-15-1 “na cha punaravarthathE” (there is no returning from that place); only if someone who goes there returns would I separate from you and go to thiruvEngadam.

vaNmai – quality of being magnanimous. He [AzhwAr] was showered with faultless knowledge and devotion, in his mind, such that he could experience and enjoy. Instead of experiencing and enjoying that alone, he spread it to the whole world as thiruvAimozhi prabandham (divine collection). When he refers to himself in his prabandham, he calls himself as vaNsatakOpan (the magnanimous nammAzhwAr).

pU – one which gives enjoyment

maNivalli – being an ornament to itself. The word valli has two connotations here: she is clinging on to the neck of her beloved, just like a creeper will spread on to a supporting pole. Alternatively, while she should be holding on to a supporting pole, she is lying on the ground, being anguished in separation from her leading man.

ArE piribavardhAm – even if I do not have affection to the extent that you have, should I not be considered as one with knowledge?

ivaiyO kaN – aren’t they eyes which are so beautiful that they have to be protected from evil eyes?

pUm kamalam – eyes which are beautiful like a lotus flower.

karum sudar Adi – having an arrogance

veN muththu arumbi – just as a pearl forms in the oyster, sorrow was appearing in the beautiful eyes

vaN pUnguvaLai – the magnanimously blossomed purple coloured water lily.

madamAn vizhikkinRa – even when being united, anticipating separation, fluttering the eyes like a doe.

mA idhazhE – the word mA could refer to either black or reddish colour. If it refers to being black, it would apply to the black eyes while if it refers to being red, it would apply to the reddish lips.

svApadhESam – even when he is together with SrIvaishNavas, AzhwAr is sorrowful anticipating that they would separate from him and go away and wonders as to what will happen should they separate from him. This pAsuram is the result of their mocking at him because of his doubts.

In the next article, we will consider the 10th pAsuram

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thiruviruththam – 8 – kAnginRanagaLum

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsuram, the friend comforted the leading lady with different types of reasoning. The leading man then came there and spoke to the lady. The friend, looking at his actions, feels that they were not natural. She doubts whether these are pretences by the man in order to separate again from the lady.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

kANginRanagaLum kEtkinRanagaLum kANil innAL
pANkunRa nAdar payilginRana idhellAm aRindhOm
mANkunRam Endhi thaN mAmalai vEngadaththumbar nambum
sENkunRam senRu poruL padaippAn kaRRa thiNNanavE

Word-by-Word Meanings

innAL – at the present moment
kANginRanagaLum – activities (of yours) which are seen
kEtkinRanagaLum – words spoken (by you) which are heard
kANil – if one were to analyse
pAN – having the songs (of beetles)
kunRam – the hills of thiruvEngadam
nAdar – you, who are having that hill as your dwelling place
payilginRana – carried out in sequence
idhellAm – all these
mAN – beautiful
kunRam – gOvardhana hill
Endhi – holding it aloft
thaN – being cool
mAmalai – the huge mountain
vEngadaththu – of thiruvEngadam
umbar – nithyasUris (permanent dwellers of SrIvaikuNtam)
nambum – apt to be liked
kunRam – hill
senRu – attaining it
poruL – thiruvEngadamudaiyAn, the wealth
padaippAn – to attain
kaRRa – taking efforts
thiNNanavu – deceitful
aRindhOm – we have come to know

Simple Translation

If we analyse the activities carried out and words spoken of, by the lord of the place with mountains, they appear to be feigned. What is the purpose of doing all these? It appears that he wants to reach the cool, huge hills of thiruvEngadam, which belongs to krishNa who had lifted the distinguished gOvardhana hill, and which is apt to be attained by nithyasUris too. It appears that he is doing all these activities since he wants to remain on that hill and earn materials.

vyAkhyAnam

kANginRana – even as he is standing, he would suddenly bend and hold on to the feet; he would feign as if he is prostrating.

kEtkinRana – feigning courteous words such as “I am your servant”, “I will massage your feet”, “My mind is bewildered” etc.

kANil – if one were to analyse. periya thiruvandhAdhi pAsuram 36 says “nenjennum utkaNNEl kANum uNarndhu” (if it can be visualised through the inner eye of mind)

innAL – today

pAN – it appeared just like flattering

pANkunRa nAdar – the leading man who has thiruvEngadamalai, where beetles constantly keep humming, as his dwelling place. The lord of kurinji nilam, the land which encompasses mountains and allied lands. kurinji also refers to a meeting place. When this is the case, is it proper to separate? She (the leading lady’s friend) says that his activities do not appear to be those carried out by someone who wants to attain something.

payilginRana – the way he united with her, it appears that he is going to give her up. Just as maharAjar (sugrIvan) had made perumAL (SrI rAma), who had come to protect him, to suffer in lightning and thunder and was enjoying himself without knowing whether it was sunrise or sunset.

mAN kunRam Endhi – holding one mountain [gOvardhana] aloft and standing atop another hill [thiruvEngadam] and protecting all. mAtchi (root for mAN) – beautiful.

Endhi – lifting easily, without any effort.

thaN mAmalai vEngadaththu – just as it is said in nAchchiyAr thirumozhi 8-3 “kuLir aruvi vEngadam” it is cool, invigorating thiruvEngadam hill.

umbar nambum – just as amalanAdhipirAn pAsuram 3 says “mandhipAy vadavEngada mAmalai vAnavargaL sandhi seyya ninRAn”, thiruvEngadam is the apt place where nithyasUris come every day and carry out divine worship. nithyasUris have always worshipped him as the supreme paravAsudhEvan; now, since he is manifesting his simplicity here, contrary to his supreme nature, they like thiruvEngadam.

sENkunRam – thiruvEngadam which has tall peaks

poruL – we have seen that they stand in front of you saying “You are the greatest entity”

padaippAn – we have seen that these are readily available; we do not have to take any effort.

kaRRa – these pretences were  not seen in you earlier. From which teacher did you learn these?

thiNNanavE – from where did this harshness come in you, superseding the earlier softness?

In the next article, we will take up the 9th pAsuram.

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thiruviruththam – 7 – gyAlam panippa

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Full Series Previous avathArikai (Introduction) The leading man had told the leading lady that he will return once the monsoon starts. Since he did not return, though monsoon had set in, the lady starts feeling sorrowful. The lady’s friend, to console the lady who suffers after seeing the change of season and in order to make her sustain herself in separation, tells the lady “this is not the season that he had said that he would come by”, thus bewildering the lady into believing that it is not the monsoon time. She tells the lady that these are not clouds in the sky but they are dark coloured bulls which, due to the enmity between them, have risen to the sky since there isn’t sufficient space on the ground for them to fight with each other. The friend denies arrival of monsoon just as those [bhaudhdhas] who deny existence of world by saying that the world which we see with our eyes does not exist. They will say that neither the world nor emperumAn exists. However, the friend says that though monsoon has not arrived, emperumAn exists, as does the world. Is it appropriate to tell a lie like this [denying that monsoon has arrived]? If she had not said this, the leading lady may not live due to separation from her leading man. If she does not live, emperumAn (the leading man) too would not live and with him, the entire wealth [of both spiritual realm and materialistic realm] would become nonexistent. Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings: gyAlam panippach cheRuththu nannIrittuk kAl sidhaindhu neela vallERu poRA ninRa vAnam idhu thirumAL kOlam sumandhu pirindhAr kodumai kuzhaRu thaN pUm kAlam kolO aRiyEn vinaiyAttiyEn kANginRavE Word-by-Word Meanings idhu – this neelam – darkening val – very strong ERu – bulls gyAlam – earth panippa – to tremble seRuththu – becoming angry nal nIr – the exulting water ittu – copiously increasing kAl sidhaindhu – clawing with their feet poRA ninRa – fighting vAnam – sky (had it not been there) vinaiyAttiyEn – I, with lot of sins kANginRa – seeing idhu – this thirumAL – consort of SrI (mahAlakshmi) kOlam – decoration sumandhu – to bear pirindhAr – those who separated kodumai – the cruelty (of their sorrow) kuzhaRum – saying incoherently thaN – cool pU – beautiful kAlangolO – is it the (rainy) season aRiyEn – I am not sure  Simple Translation (Looking at the monsoon clouds) Are these the skies which appear like bulls which are raring to fight with each other with anger, such that the world trembles, letting out the water from their bodies and scratching the ground with their hoofs? (Or) Are these the cool, beautiful clouds during rainy season which have taken the bluish divine complexion of sarvESvaran, who is the consort of pirAtti, revealing his cruelty due to separation? I, having lot of sins, am unable to know this (she says that looking at the leading lady’s sorrowful state is due to her sins) vyAkhyAnam gyAlam panippach cheRuththu – the leading lady tells her friend “You could see the entire world trembling on account of the chilly wind and rain, blasting here”. The friend tells the lady “It is not like that. This isn’t the rainy season at all. The world is trembling on seeing two bulls which are fighting with each other fiercely” seRuththu – standing with anger nannIr ittu – since it had been raining for a while, all the dirt had been wiped off the ground and plenty of pure water has got collected which could be drunk. Looking at that, the lady asks her friend “What is the reason for such copious amount of water?” The friend responds saying “Since these are distinguished bulls which are fighting with each other, water gets generated out of their anger, due to their sweat” kAl sidhaindhu – this is interpreted in two ways: kAl could mean either wind or feet. The lady tells her friend that the wind has stopped and it is raining heavily. The friend tells the lady that it is not like that; since the bulls are fighting with anger, they scratch the surface of earth with their hooves and feet. neela vallERu poRA ninRa vAnam idhu – the friend tells the lady ”Don’t we see only the sky in which two bulls, which are dark and strong, are fighting with each other? If these are clouds, by now, wouldn’t they have become white in colour, after raining for such a long time?” thirumAl kOlam sumandhu neela vallERu poRA ninRa vAnam idhu – why is the friend saying this? She thinks that if she were to keep saying only false things, the friend may not believe her. Hence she feigns as if she too is doubting whether it is monsoon. It could also be taken to mean that the friend is saying this in order to convince the lady that since it is monsoon time, the leading man will come soon. thirumAL kOlam sumandhu pirindhAr kodumai kuzhaRu – the clouds, assuming the complexion of emperumAn, are telling the lady “We have come without fail, during this rainy season. But emperumAn has not come yet”. In other words, they are telling her about his faults. thaN pUm kAlangolO aRiyEn – I do not know whether it is the cool, beautiful time, implying that this is the time to be united happily with the leading man. vinaiyAttiyEn kANginRavE – what is the reason for this situation? It cannot be said that he is the type who gives up on those who desire him or those who he desires; it cannot be said that the leading lady is not desiring him; it cannot be said that this is not the time for him to come; and it cannot be said that she will not attain him. What else can be the reason? Only reason is that it is because of my (the friend’s) sins; math pApamEva nimiththam. In other words, the friend says “Seeing this sorrowful condition of my leading lady is only due to my sin”. swApadhEsam (distinguished meaning): Looking at the sorrowful condition of AzhwAr in separation from emperumAn, it becomes pertinent on the part of SrIvaishNavas to sustain him even if they have to tell lies that something doesn’t exist [in this case, saying that the monsoon season has not arrived]. In the next article, we will take up the 8th pAsuram. adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan archived in http://divyaprabandham.koyil.org pramEyam (goal) – http://koyil.org pramANam (scriptures) – http://granthams.koyil.org pramAthA (preceptors) – http://acharyas.koyil.org SrIvaishNava education/kids portal – http://pillai.koyil.org

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thiruviruththam – 6 – thadAviya ambum

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avathArikai (Introduction)

SrIvaishNavas, who were engaged with AzhwAr’s activities, tell the samsAris (dwellers of materialistic realm) “If you wish to remain in samsAram, avoid going near her”; here AzhwAr is referred to as the leading lady and SrIvaishNavas are referred to as the leading man.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

thadAviya ambum murindha silaigaLum pOgavittuk
kadAyina koNdu olgum valliyidhEnum asurarmangak
kadAviya vEgappaRavaiyin pAgan madhana sengOl
nadAviya kURRam kaNdIr uyir kAmingaL gyAlaththuLLE

Word-by-Word Meanings

kadAyina – being apt
thadAviya – being expansive
ambum – (eyes which are like) arrows
murindha – curved
silaigaLum – (eyebrows which are like) bows
pOgavittukkoNdu – controlling (inside)
olgum – hiding
valliyidhEnum – even if she were like a creeper
asurar – demonic entities
manga – to be annihilated
kadAviya – one who is conducted
vEgam – having agility
paRavai – to garuthmAn (garuda)
in – being sweet
pAgan – one who controls, the sarvESvaran
(his son)
madhanan – manmatha’s
sengOl – order
nadAviya – one who conducts
kURRam kaNdIr – beware, the death
gyAlaththuL – in the bhUlOkam (samsAram)
(if you wish to remain here)
Uyir – your vital airs
kAmingaL – protect

Simple Translation

This girl (AzhwAr in feminine pathos) has eyes which are like expansive arrows and eyebrows which are like curved like bows. However, she has hidden them. This world is conducted by the order of manmatha, who is related to sarvESvara, who in turn is sweet towards garuda whose speed can annihilate the demonic entities. Oh those who have seen this girl’s beautiful form! Hold on to your lives [if you wish to save yourselves and remain in this world].

vyAkhyAnam

thadAviya ambum – there are two interpretations for this term. thadAvudhal would refer to an arrow which has an end looking like a broad mouth. It can also mean a curved, deformed arrow. Since in the first case it is a broad-mouthed arrow, he says it has a broad end. In the second case, since it is curved and deformed, it will not be visible to our eyes initially. It can be felt only after it hits us. The implied meaning for this is that we will know the effect only after the eyes of the leading lady fall on us. We will not know those eyes until then. The eyebrows which are together with the eyes always, like the arrows which are together with the bow always, are referred to here as the bow.

thadAviya – here it refers to the crooked arrow. Crookedness would refer to the arrow not coming in the regular path. Here, the crookedness of the arrow would refer to the fact that we cannot see it coming but can feel it only after it hits us. Her glance, which is like this, cannot be dislodged once it takes hold of us. Thus, the term thadAviya has four interpretations here:

  1. arrow which has an expansive edge – the expansive eyes of the leading lady
  2. that which can be felt only after it pierces us – we can feel only after the glance of the leading lady falls on us
  3. arrow together with the bow – expansive eyes together with the eyebrows
  4. crooked arrow – the glance which hurts us in an indirect [hidden] manner

murindha silaigaLum – the term murindha would refer to being curved. Since it is bent on its own, it cannot be said that it was bent for a particular person or that it was bent by a particular person. In other words, the implied meaning is that her glance is not meant for a few specific people. Instead of saying ambugaLum silaigaLum, addressing both in plural, why has it been said as ambum silaigaLum? Since ambu refers to eyes where the vision is singular [two eyes are seeing the same entity] and silaigaL refers to eyebrows and eyes together, it has been said this way.

pOgavittuk kadAyina koNdu – she was thinking as to on whom she has to glance with her eyes. Since there was none in this world worth her glance, she controlled her glance within herself. The fact that AzhwAr did not open his divine eyes for a long time when he was in samsAram, has been brought out by this narration.

olgum valli idhEnum – just as a creeper would be in anguish without a supporting pole for leaning onto, even though she is without her leading man to lend her support, her activity is like this.

asurar mangak kadAviya vEgap paRavaiyin pAgan – the lord who conducts garuda who gains speed on looking at the armies of demons in order to annihilate them. If demons come to witness such a fight, even if they were not willing to fight with sarvESvaran, garudan will destroy them on his own. Through the term paRavaiyin pAgan he refers to the superior quality of emperumAn.

madhana sengOl nadAviya – Just as emperumAn has rukmiNi pirAttiyAr (SrI mahAlakshmi), he treats AzhwAr too, who is like a creeper, as his dear consort. She herself (AzhwAr in feminine pathos) is here to carry out the orders of manmatha (cupid). The implied meaning is that AzhwAr conducts the devotion towards the lord of garuda. Instead of bewildering us with the arrows of cupid, she unites us with emperumAn and ends our miseries.

uyir kANmingaL gyAlaththuLLE – thus, if you wish to be immersed in this samsAram, escape from her glance.

svApadhEsam (distinguished meaning): If you wish to remain in this samsAram forever, worrying about your consort and children, do not go to AzhwAr thirunagari and see this AzhwAr who is sitting under a tamarind tree there. If AzhwAr sees you, he would aim the arrows of devotion, towards emperumAn, on you and make you lose your lives.

In the next article, we will take up the 7th pAsuram.

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thiruviruththam – 5 – panippiyalvAga

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Full Series Previous avathArikai (Introduction) All the materials in this world are present to remind us about emperumAn. But these thoughts are also hurtful. As said in chAndhOgya upanishath “na cha punarAvarthathe” (one does not return again), one can reach that land of no return only after getting rid of all the contractions to knowledge. It is only after reaching that place could one know about him and entities connected to him, fully. Wouldn’t those entities, which are connected to him, remind about him, only after that? How is it then that it was possible for AzhwAr to be reminded of these entities, even while he was living in this world? The knowledge which AzhwAr had, was not obtained due to his effort. That was granted to him by emperumAn through his causeless mercy. Since he was granted faultless knowledge and devotion by emperumAn, it was possible for him to attain the states of parabhakthi (knowledge about emperumAn), paragyAnam (inability to sustain self when separated from emperumAn) and paramabhakthi (attaining emperumAn) simultaneously, even while living here. Thus, the entities connected with emperumAn are capable of reminding him about emperumAn even when he is still here and they are capable of hurting him, too. This is the nature of his knowledge. Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings: panippiyalvAga udaiya thaNvAdai ikkAlam ivvUrp panippiyalvellAm thavirndhu erivIsum andhaNNandhuzhAy panippuyal sOrum thadangaNNi mAmaith thiRaththuk kolAm panippuyal vaNNan sengOl orunAnRu thadAviyadhE Word-by-Word Meanings panippu – creating chillness iyalvAga udaiya – having as its nature thaN – being cool vAdai – northerly wind ikkAlam – at the present time ivvUril – in this place panippu – making it cold iyalvellAm – all its basic nature thavirndhu – leaving aside eri vIsum – started to emit fire am – beautiful thaNNam – having coolness thuzhAy – for the sake of divine thuLasi pani – cold puyal – tears, like a rainfall sOrum – shedding thadam – expansive kaNNi – this girl with eyes mAmai thiRaththukkolAm – for the sake of beauty pani – cool puyal – like a cloud vaNNan – sarvESvaran, who has such a complexion sengOl – order oru nAnRu – today thadAviyadhu – became bent Simple Translation Making things cool is the nature of northerly wind. But even that wind, in this place and at this time, discarding its nature, is emitting fire everywhere. Why did the sceptre of sarvESvaran, who has the quality of a cool, rain-bearing cloud, bend like this? Was it to destroy the complexion of this lady, who desired his beautiful, cool thuLasi and who sheds tears like rain-bearing clouds? vyAkhyAnam panippu iyalvAga udaiya thaN vAdai – the northerly wind which has chillness alone as its basic nature. ikkAlam ivvUr panippu iyalvu ellAm thavirndhu eri vIsum – Since it is emperumAn who changes the basic nature of the wind, at that place and during that time, the wind is bewildered because of him. Many entities stood there, determined to destroy her, by changing their form and nature. When the form and nature of sarvESvaran could change in her case, should one say anything about the entities which follow him! Protection is emperumAn’s basic form and mercy is his basic nature. He changed his basic form from being protective to causing harm and his basic nature from being merciful to being cruel. Thus the wind also sheds its basic nature of being cool and emits fire. am thaNNandhuzhAy panippuyal sOrum thadam kaNNi – She stood there, shedding tears copiously, after desiring sarvESvaran’s cool and beautiful thuLasi. Is desiring his divine thuLasi a crime? Even if it were, should one, who has committed such a crime, suffer to this extent? Her eyes are pouring out tears, just like a rain-bearing cloud would let out water that it is bearing. If the tears in her eyes dry up, all the water in the ocean would not be sufficient to fill the eyes again. mAmaith thiRaththuk kolAm – Was it not for changing her complexion that emperumAn and his entities changed their basic form and nature so arduously? panippuyal . . . – there are two interpretations for these terms. pani would refer to coolness; puyal is cloud and vaNNan is one who has that complexion. Thus, this combination would refer to emperumAn who removes the three types of anguish (thApathrayam which would refer to anguish brought on by self (by indulging in forbidden activities); anguish brought on by nature (floods, cyclone, drought etc); anguish brought on by emperumAn based on our karma) that samsAris suffer from. Alternatively, the term vaNNan could be taken as referring to nature; then this would mean emperumAn who showers mercy without any reason, just like cloud showers rain without expecting anything in return. sengOl – we suffer due to his orders. Let it be so. We may suffer, but nothing untoward should occur to his sceptre (his orders). In other words, even if the cool wind starts emitting fire, if it had been done under his orders, let me suffer because of that; however, his order should not be crossed. oru nAnRu thadAviyadhE – to attain her, his sceptre bent a little, today. The lady’s mother laments that it should not bend any further. svApadhEsam (distinguished meaning): While for all the people, in samsAram (materialistic realm), while outside entities (those which are not connected with emperumAn) are favourable, for AzhwAr who cannot sustain himself without emperumAn, even the entities which are close to emperumAn are creating trouble. adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan archived in http://divyaprabandham.koyil.org pramEyam (goal) – http://koyil.org pramANam (scriptures) – http://granthams.koyil.org pramAthA (preceptors) – http://acharyas.koyil.org SrIvaishNava education/kids portal – http://pillai.koyil.org

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thiruviruththam – 4 – thani nenjam

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avathArikai (Introduction)

Just as AzhwAr had addressed emperumAn in the first pAsuram as “imaiyOr thalaivA” (lord of nithyasUris), he had mentioned about how garudan, thuLasi and others, who reside in nithyavibhUthi, had troubled her (AzhwAr in feminine mood) further, so far. Wind joined them now. All these kindled memories of emperumAn more. Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

thani nenjam munnavar puLLE kavarndhadhu thaNNandhuzhAykku
ini nenjam inguk kavarvadhu yAm ilam nI naduvE
muni vanjap pEychchi mulai suvaiththAn mudi sUdu thuzhAyp
pani nanja mArudhamE emmadhAvi panippiyalvE

Word-by-Word Meanings

thani – distinguished
nenjam – heart
mun – already
avar – that sarvESvaran’s
puLLE – the bird garuda himself (emperumAn’s vehicle)
kavarndhadhu – had stolen
ini – further
yAm – we
ingu – in this place
thaN – being cool
am – beautiful
thuzhAykku – for the divine thuLasi
kavarvadhu – for stealing
nenjam – heart
ilam – do not have
muni – having anger
vanjam – having deceit
pEychchi – the demon pUthanA
mulai – bosom
suvaiththAn – krishNa who drank
mudi – in his crown
sUdum – proffered
thuzhAy – divine thuLasi
pani – having coolness
nanjam – being poisonous
(being hurtful)
mArudhamE – Oh wind!
nI – you
naduvE – amidst these
emmadhu – our
Avi – prANan (life)
panippu – shivering
iyalvE – is it its nature? (is it correct?)

Simple Translation

garuda had already stolen my mind completely such that there is no connection between me and my mind. I do not have another mind with me so that his cool thuLasi garland could steal from me. Oh wind which is coming with coolness resulting from pervading through the thuLasi garland which adorns the beautiful crown of krishNa who had drunk milk from the bosom of demon pUthanA who was full of anger and deceit! When I am already struggling like this, is it proper for you to come in between and make me to shiver further?

vyAkhyAnam

thani nenjam – AzhwAr had only his mind; but there are several entities such as garudan, thuLasi, wind etc who were attempting to steal it. Thus, the implication is that those who create hurdles are more in number.

mun avar puLLE  kavarndhadhu – Looking at the majestic way in which emperumAn was seated on garuda, I wanted to hug him with the garland on his shoulder. Before I could do it, didn’t garuda steal my mind!

avar puL – Because of  his distinguished connection with emperumAn, did garudan steal it?

puLLE – gaurdan did not give scope to others in SrIvaikuNtam such as thuLasi et al to steal my mind. He did that himself.

kavarndhadhu – my mind was insufficient for that garudan too, filling up only half of his stomach.

mun – garuda preceded thuLasi, in stealing my mind.

thaN andhuzhAykku – for that cool thuLasi garland.

ini nenjam – she tells thuLasi “Even if you remain here firm like a tree, in order to steal my mind, what is going to happen? There is no purpose in staying here saying that you will not leave this place without taking her mind. Your desire will not be fulfilled”.

ingu – she states her position clearly.

yAm ilam – my mind has already gone behind garudan. I, a sinner, am not endowed with several minds so that all of you could steal one mind each. I do not have another mind for thuLasi garland to steal.

nI naduvE – Seeing that the divine thuLasi, after coming to steal my mind, was standing like a tree, it appears that the wind came very fast. While thuLasi, who too is connected to emperumAn, is waiting, what is your urgency? While garudan, thuLasi et al have direct connection with emperumAn, your connection with emperumAn is through them. In other words, you have connection with thuLasi who has direct contact with his divine form.

muni vanjap pEychchi – the demon pUthanA who came with lot of anger and with deceit.

mulai suvaiththAn – he was taking in her milk with plenty of saliva. periya thirumozhi 1-3-1 says “peRRa thAy pOl vandha pEychchi perumulai Udu uyirai vaRRa vAngi uNda vAyAn” (he drank, without leaving anything behind, including her life, through the bosom of the demon pUthanA, who came in the form of his mother yaSOdhA).

mudi sUdu thuzhAy – this wind is bringing the fragrance of thuLasi from the crown of that krishNa. Just as clouds imbibe the waters of ocean and precipitate that as rain everywhere, this wind is also carrying fragrance of thuLasi and spreading it everywhere. He donned the thuLasi garland as easily as he put an end to pUthana.

How did she (AzhwAr in feminine mood) know that emperumAn had thuLasi on his crown?

pani nanjam mArudhamE – the wind which is cool, is now blowing like poison. Just as pUthanA smeared poison on her bosom, the wind has come carrying thuLasi’s fragrance [when in separation, even thuLasi is not welcome]

emmadhu Avi – my prANan (vital air) which is in distress due to garuda, thuLasi, wind et al.        

panippu iyalvE – It is natural for my prANan to be in shivers. She asks the wind “Could you, who would cause distress to his enemies, cause distress to his followers too?”

svApadhESam (distinguished/internal meaning): Since AzhwAr had earlier enjoyed sarvESvaran through the faculty of his mind, all the materials which are connected with emperumAn are now reminding him about emperumAn. Since he is in separation from emperumAn, he is in distress and he is speaking about how the cool breeze is troubling the leading lady who is separated from her beloved.

We will take up the 5th pAsuram in the next article.

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thiruviruththam – 3 – kuzhaRkOvalar

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsuram, unable to bear the pain of separation from emperumAn, the leading lady had assumed the pathos of her friend; she assumed the shyness typical of a girl and mentioned about her sorrows. Since she is sure that she can sustain herself only if she speaks to her friend, she asks her “My heart has gone behind him. Will it return or will it stay there itself?”

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

kuzhaRkOvalar madappAvaiyum maNmagaLum thiruvum
nizhaRpOlvanar kaNdu niRkungol meeLungol thaNNandhuzhAy
azhaRpOladum chakkaraththaNNal viNNOr thozhak kadavum
thazhaRpOl sinaththa appuLLin pOna thani nenjamE

Word-by-Word Meanings

thaN – being cool
am – being beautiful
thuzhAy – divine thuLasi
azhal pOl – like hot
adum – roasting
chakkaram – having sudharSana disc in his hand
aNNal –  sarvESvaran, who is the lord
viNNOr – nithyasUris (permanent dwellers of SrIvaikuNtam)
thozha – to be worshipped
kadavum – conducting
thazhal pOl – like fire
sinaththa – having anger
appuLLin – behind that garuthmAn (garuda)
pin – following
pOna – one who followed
thani – without any support
nenjam – mind
kuzhal – having locks
kOvalar – born in cow-herd clan
madam – being obedient
pAvaiyum – nappinnai pirAtti (neeLA dhEvi)
maNmagaLum – SrI bhUmi pirAtti
thiruvum – and periya pirAtti (SrI mahAlakshmi)
nizhal pOlvanar – being like shadow (to followers) (and invigorating)
these three pirAttimArs,
kaNdu – after seeing them
niRkungol – will it stay there itself?
meeLungol – will it return?

Simple Translation

One who dons the cool and beautiful divine thuLasi garland, one who has the chakrAyudham (weapon in the form of disc) which roasts enemies like fire, is worshipped by nithyasUris. garuda is conducted by such emperumAn and his anger is like fire. My mind went behind such garuda. After seeing nappinnaip pirAtti who has beautiful locks and who incarnated in the clan of cowherds, bhUmippirAtti and periya pirAtti, will my mind stay there itself or will it return to me?

vyAkhyAnam

kuzhaR kOvalar madappAvai – cowherds with flutes. Just like brAhmaNas will carryout sandhyAvandanam (worshipping the conjunction of day and night) as their norm, this (playing of flutes) is typical of cowherds. Alternatively, this term would refer to nappinnaip pirAtti, who has beautiful locks and was obedient towards them.

maNmagal – SrI bhUmip pirAtti

thiru – periya pirAtti.

periya pirAtti will condone the faults of those who attain her. SrI bhUmippirAtti will say “Why should one look at the faults and then condone them? It is better not to look at the faults”; nappinnaip pirAtti will be the epitome of forbearance and forgiveness. She will make emperumAn not to look at our faults. periya pirAtti is the repository of all of emperumAn’s wealth.  bhUmippirAtti is the land where this wealth is nurtured. nappinnaip pirAtti is the one who makes emperumAn to enjoy the wealth.

nizhaR pOlvanar – these three pirAttis are like shadow for emperumAn, never separating from him. Alternatively, they will be shadow for one another; another interpretation – they will be shadow (a source of invigoration) for their followers.

kaNdu niRkungol meeLungol – After looking at emperumAn and his consorts in this condition, will my mind stay there permanently, taking them as its refuge? After looking at their greatness etc, will be mind be tossed about, just like a piece of crumb is tossed about by the waters of an ocean?

thaN am thuzhAy azhaRpOl adum chakkaraththu aNNal – one who has the divine thuLasi which emits coolness and sweet fragrance and who also has the divine disc which emits hot winds like fire. Due to her separation from emperumAn, even the cool thuLasi appears like fire, burning her. As an example for the emission of heat from thuLasi, she cites the divine disc which is fiery. In other words, even while citing an example, she could only think of entities which are closely connected to emperumAn. She cannot think of anything other than matters related to him. The divine disc does not distinguish between followers and enemies. While it will be a decoration for followers, it would be a weapon for enemies, hurting both, one through its beauty and the other, through its state of weaponry. In the case of divine thuLasi, it will be apt for followers. The lady says that even thuLasi is hurting her, like the divine disc.

aNNal – by holding the divine disc such that it does not slip out of his hands, he made me submit to him totally.

thazhaRpOl sinaththa – having an anger which appears like a raging fire

viNNOr thozhak kadavum – emperumAn conducts periya thiruvadi (garuda) such that they [nithyasUris] worship him (emperumAn). They are the ones who worship and he is the one who is worshipped. Their sustenance is through worshipping emperumAn.

appuLLin pOna – she is not worried about her difficulties. She is celebrating the fact that there are those who are concerned about emperumAn. She says that her mind went behind that garudan rather than behind emperumAn himself, since he is loving towards emperumAn. The commentator cites reference to periya thirumozhi pAsuram 11-1-9 “keNdai oN” whose meaning is as follows: My eyes which are like carp (a kind of fish) will sleep and my complexion will be healthy only when beetles blow on me, the fragrance of thuLasi from the garland submitted by SrIvaishNavas who are ananyaprayOjanars. The term ananyaprayOjanar refers to those who carry out activities without expecting any benefit or those who do not know what benefit they will attain. Why should this term be brought in here? This is to emphasise that while there are many who are loving towards her beloved [emperumAn], there are those, like the beetle, who are caring towards her without expecting any benefit.

thani nenjam – independent mind. Even when she tells it “Do not go behind emperumAn” it goes behind him and does not return.

svApadhEsam (distinguished/internal meaning of the pAsuram): By referring to pirAttimArs and nithyasUris, she [AzhwAr in feminine pathos] affirms the superiority of emperumAn and says that affection towards SrIvaikuNtanAthan (the lord of SrIvaikuNtam) was created in her.

In the next article, we will see the 4th pAsuram.

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thiruviruththam – 2 – sezhu nIr

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr had called out to emperumAn as “imaiyOr thalaivA” (lord of nithyasUris), referring to emperumAn’s quality of supreme masculinity. He wanted to attain emperumAn immediately. Since that did not fructify, he assumed the pathos of a lady. Is it possible for a man to assume the mental make-up of a lady? SrI rAmAyaNa ayOdhyA kANdam SlOkam 3-79 says “pumsAm dhrushti chiththApahAriNam” (SrI rAma would steal the eyes and minds of men). Since that was possible, this also is possible. While it is possible, how is it that AzhwAr donned the role of a noble damsel instead of a normal lady? This is so because AzhwAr felt supremely happy when united with emperumAn, felt very dejected when separated from him and wanted to enjoy and perform service to emperumAn with all his faculties [of mind, body and speech]. While this is acceptable, how is it that he also assumed the conduct of the mother as well as friend of the damsel? Just as excess water during severe flood breaches river and flows into its tributaries and canals before reaching the ocean, since the matter which AzhwAr is experiencing (viz., emperumAn) is without any limit, his supreme affection makes it possible for him to don various roles (of the damsel, her friend and her mother).

How did AzhwAr reach such a situation? emperumAn had shown him the hurdles (inimical entities to be avoided) in samsAram, had prevented any taste for these in AzhwAr and had also shown him his nithyavibhUthi (SrIvaikuNtam). After seeing the profound knowledge which those who dwell in nithyavibhUthi have as well as the exchanges between them and emperumAn and the distinction which that place has, a craving developed in AzhwAr which will not allow him to rest until he attained that place. Even after he developed a desire towards SrIvaikuNtam and prayed to emperumAn to grant him that, why did emperumAn not grant him his wish? emperumAn delayed granting AzhwAr his wish immediately, thinking in his divine mind “Let us create a distinction between AzhwAr and other samsAris, make him unaware of anything other than us. We will make him not expect anything from us (other than ourselves), and to make him call out to us constantly, even if without any reason. We will then grant him servitude towards us, which is his basic nature. Then we will enable him to attain us. We will do all these when he remains steadfast that we alone matter”. After AzhwAr was granted faultless knowledge about emperumAn in the previous pAsuram, he now craves that he should attain emperumAn immediately.

Why should emperumAn make him wait? When guests come to a house, they are provided food, keeping the inmates of the house hungry. In the same way, one can see that emperumAn keeps those who are totally devoted to him, waiting, while granting the wishes of others who are not that devoted to him. We could see this (a) in the way he fulfilled kaikEyi’s wishes (of denying him the crown and sending him to forest) while making bharatha to wait for fourteen years and (b) in the way he made sIthAppirAtti to wait while fulfilling the desire of maharAjar (sugrIvan). What is the reason for fulfilling desires of those who are not that devoted to him, immediately? This is because the wishes of others last only for a short while. Will he not help those who are totally devoted to him? He does that as we could see from the way he helped bharatha to carry only his sandals on his head and not the crown.

While the nAyaki (leading lady) and her friend go to the garden to pluck flowers, the nAyaka (leading man) also, by chance, reaches that place. The friend, again by chance, leaves the garden, leaving the leading lady and man to be together. They unite with each other and separate too. The leading lady thought that separation is also a form of union only. Due to separation from her beloved, the lady is in distress. The friend, who returns, finds out all these and resolves that she should help the lady to regain her existence. She wishes her well saying “What situation is she in! This condition should continue like this” (meaning that the leading lady should continue to be affectionate towards her beloved).

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings.

sezhunIr thadaththuk kayal miLirndhAloppach chEyarikkaN
azhunIr thuLumba alamaruginRana vAzhiyarO
muzhunIr mugilvaNNan kaNNan viNNAttavar mUdhuvarAm
thozhunIr adiyiNaikkE anbu sUttiya sUzhkuzhaRkE

Word-by-Word Meanings

muzhu – replete
nIr – having imbibed water
mugil – like a cloud
vaNNan – one who has the complexion
kaNNan – krishNa, who is obedient (to his followers)
mUdhuvarAm – being ahead of all others in terms of time
viNNAttavar – nithyasUris who dwell in paramapadham
thozhum – apt to be attained [and worshipped]
nIr – having it as the basic nature
iNai – being together
adikkE – at the divine feet
anbu – garland of love
sUttiya – one who offered
sUzh – being curled
kuzhaRku – she, who has locks
sezhum – beautiful
nIr – having water
thadaththu – in the pond
kayal – fish
miLirndhAl oppa – like rolling
sE – reddish
ari – having lines
kaN – the eyes
azhu – crying
nIr – tears
thuLumba – to be agitated
alamaruginRana – to be bewildered

Simple Translation

The divine feet of krishNa who is having the complexion of a cloud replete with water, are constantly worshipped by nithyasUris, who came ahead of all others. A girl with curly hair and whose eyes roam around here and there like fish in a beautiful, water-filled pond, offers her garland of love to such divine feet. Her eyes which have reddish lines, are shedding tears and are bewildered since she is separated from emperumAn. Let her condition, in which her love is blooming, remain forever.

vyAkhyAnam

sezhunIrth thadaththuk kayal miLirndhAl oppa – (her eyes) are like fish which keep moving from left to right and back to left, in a pond which has pure water. The greatness of what is being compared with is so high that the simile needs a correction. In other words, the fish will not equal her eyes in all ways; they could, to an extent be like her eyes. The eyes are having such greatness.

sEyarikkaN azhunIr thuLumba – her eyes, which are similar to the ones mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 16-5 “asithEkshaNa” (sIthA with black eyes), are shedding tears copiously. While it is the leading man [here, it is emperumAn] who should shed tears after looking at her beautiful eyes, she is shedding tears. The condition in which the eyes shed tears due to separation from emperumAn is the basic nature of an AthmA (soul). Seeing such a sight is what is acceptable to her friends. Her friend thought “My desire has been fulfilled (of seeing her condition like this); her desire too should be fulfilled”. Even emperumAn does not witness such a situation [where those who separate from him shed tears and wail], as brought out in SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 33-4 “kim artham” (looking at the tears in the eyes of sIthAppirAtti, hanumAn asked her “What is the reason for the tears in your eyes?”) SrI rAma learnt the reason for the tears through hanumAn and did not directly know from her. Looking at the tears, the friend asks the leading lady “What is the reason for your tears? Thinking of whom are you in this condition?”

alamaruginRana – her (the leading lady’s) eyes are bewildered.

vAzhiyarO – She tells the leading lady “Let this disheartening condition of yours sustain” (since the leading lady is pining for emperumAn’s love). Is there anyone who complimented on seeing the disheartening condition of someone else? SrI rAmAyaNam AraNya kANdam 67-15 “yAmOshadhivAyushman” jatAyu praised SrI rAma “May you live long” even though SrI rAma was in distress [searching for sIthAppirAtti].

muzhu nIr mugil vaNNan kaNNan – Unlike the clouds which are mentioned in mEghasandhESam 1-5 “dhUmajyOthis salilamaruthAm sannipAdha” (a mixture of fire and smoke), the complexion of kaNNan (krishNa) was that of a cloud which did not have smoke but had only water. It appeared as if the cloud had imbibed entire water from the ocean, making the floor of the ocean visible. Such a dark cloud. emperumAn who has such a complexion, totally enticed her. She was enticed not only by his complexion, but by his simplicity too. When a sarpayAgam (a ritual to bring all the snakes to one place) is held, just as all the snakes gather at that place, while everyone goes to krishNa, he comes to her, falling for her. She got caught by such a person!

viNNAttavar mUdhuvar – Just as it is said in purusha sUktham “yathra pUrvE sAdhyAs santhi dhEvA:” and in yajur vEdham “yathra rushaya: prathamajAyE purANA:” the nithyasUris are far ahead of all others, in terms of time; they are ancient. Their sustenance is only through worshipping emperumAn’s divine feet.

thozhu nIr – they remain with worshipping as their basic nature. It is just as it has been said in mahAbharatham mausala parvam 166-40 “nama ithyEvAdhina:” (they constantly say “Our salutations to you”)

iNai adikkE – the two divine feet where each is an exact match for the other. If a person is very beautiful in one limb of his physical form he may think “Who is as beautiful as I am?” When a person is obedient (servitude) towards one person alone, he may think “Who is as obedient as I?” and when a person is controlling a few persons he may think “Who controls as much as I do?” parathathvam (being supreme) is a combination of all these, without any shortcoming. Did this leading lady not fall for such a supreme entity!

adikkE anbu sUttiya – wouldn’t the others, who have been won over by a person’s sheer simplicity, fall at the feet of that person! Why use the term sUttiya (to adorn)? It is similar to thiruvAimozhi 4-3-2 “vAsagam sey mAlaiyE”(garland strung with words).

sUzh kuzhaRkE – locks which are curled; alternatively, locks which attract others and make them to follow.

In the next article, we shall take up the 3rd pAsuram.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – pAsuram 1 – poy ninRa

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

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avathArikai (Introduction)

emperumAn shows to AzhwAr the greatness of his svarUpam (basic nature), rUpam (divine form), guNam (auspicious qualities) as well as his wealth of nithya vibhUthi (SrIvaikuNtam) and leelA vibhUthi (materialistic realm). AzhwAr realises the knowledge, activities and the way the nithyAthmAs (permanent dwellers of nithya vibhUthi) and mukthAthmAs (those who have reached nithya vibhUthi after being liberated from leelA vibhUthi) live there. He also thinks about his situation in samsAram which is the exact opposite of those who dwell in nithya vibhUthi and appeals to emperumAn to sever his connection with prakruthi (samsAram) which is a hurdle for his enjoying emperumAn.

AzhwAr has been granted knowledge and devotion by emperumAn without any cause. When such is the situation, why should he, like ordinary people, appeal to emperumAn to sever his hurdles, just as it is said in bhagavath gIthA SlOkam 7-29 “jarA maraNa mOkshAya mamASrithya yadhanthiyE” (those who wish to rid themselves of old age and death should attain me)? Just as a beloved would remove all the dirt from her person before uniting with her beloved and just as a prince, who is to be coronated, gets rid of his diseases, AzhwAr too wishes severance from samsAram as a prelude to enjoying emperumAn. Is this desire arising out of his love towards emperumAn or out of fear for samsAram? It is for both reasons, says the commentator, just like maharAjar (sugrIva) had love towards perumAL (SrI rAma) and fear towards vAli.

Why is the AzhwAr projecting emperumAn’s followers in the forefront in many pAsurams in this prabandham? When a creeper plant starts growing, it needs the support of poles before it can be taken on to a pandhal (broad network of sticks). Followers of emperumAn serve a similar purpose. Just as it is said in (a) thiruviruththam 1 “imaiyOr thalaivA” (Oh the lord of nithyasUris), (b) thiruvAimozhi 3-7-10 “adiyAr adiyAr tham adiyAr” ((we are the servitors of) the followers of the followers of emperumAn’s followers), (3) thiruvAimozhi 2-3-10 “adiyArgal kuzhAngaLai udan kUduvadhu enRukolO” (when will I unite with the groups of emperumAn’s followers?) (d) thiruvAimozhi 10-9-11 “andhamil pErinbaththu adiyarOdu irundhamai” (being united with nithyasUris who are present in the great hall of SrIvaikuNtam which has unending happiness), they serve the role of AchAryan (teacher who guides) when attaining emperumAn’s divine feet. They are also required to console when there is Udal (love-quarrel) with emperumAn. Since both in the first pAsuram “inninRa nIrmai” (the nature of sorrow arising out of repeated births) and in the final pAsuram “azundhAr piRappAm” (will not get drowned in the reason for being born in samsAram), the meaning is similar, it could be taken that the entire prabandham is centred around AzhwAr requesting emperumAn to rid him [AzhwAr] of his hurdles which prevent him from enjoying emperumAn.

poy ninRa gyAnamum pollA ozhukkum azhukkudambum
inninRa nIrmai iniyAm uRAmai  uyir aLippAn
enninRa yOniyumAyp piRandhAy imaiyOr thalaiva
meynninRu kEttaruLAy adiyEn seyyum viNNappamE

Word-by-Word Meanings

uyir – all the created entities
aLippAn – to protect
enninRa – many different types
yOniyumAy – births
piRandhAy – Oh one who incarnated!
imaiyOr – for nithyasUris (permanent dwellers of SrIvaikuNtam)
thalaivA – Oh one who is the Lord!
poynninRa – not being truthful
(considering body as the soul)
gyAnamum – knowledge
pollA ozhukkum – bad conduct
azhukku – deficient
udambum – body
(being like this)
inninRa – of this nature
nIrmai – quality
ini – from now onwards
yAm – we
uRAmai – such that we do not attain
adiyEn – I, who am your servitor
seyyum – make
mey – reality
viNNappam – appeal
ninRu – remaining firm
kEttaruLAy – please listen to, mercifully

Simple Translation

Oh one who incarnated in many births in order to protect all the creatures! Oh the lord of nithyasUris (permanent dwellers of SrIvaikuNtam)! We should be without these births which are the cause for our sorrow and which are with knowledge which is the opposite of truth (we should be without faulty knowledge), with wrongful deeds, physical forms which are full of impurity etc. You should stand firmly and hear my appeal to you from me, your servitor, for the sake of this.

vyAkhyAnam

poy ninRa gyAnamum – this term refers to the knowledge which considers that which is not self as the self, viz. considers body which is not the soul, as the soul. This is called as anyathA gyAnam (inaccurate or erroneous knowledge); it is erroneous knowledge because it is about prakruthi (primordial matter which is the raw material for all creations) and prAkrutham (those which are derived from prakruthi); instead of knowledge about true meanings, it is knowledge about untruths.  SrI vishNu purANam 6-5-87 says “thathgyAnam agyAnamanthOnyadhuktham” (that by which we know emperumAn is knowledge; all the rest are only false knowledge). How can we say that whatever is seen by the eyes in prakruthi is false knowledge? It is not the way that baudhdha follower says as false or mAyAvAdhi (one who is a follower of adhvaitham) says as thuchcham (non-existing). The opinion is that whatever is seen in prakruthi is not like AthmA (soul). Just as it is said in SrI vishNu purANam 2-13-100 “yaththu kAlAntharENApi nAnyasamgyAmupaithivai pariNAmAdhi sambhUthAn thadhvasthu nrupadhachchakim” (that for which this world which keeps changing is present and that which does not change at all, though in the grip of time) AthmA does not change unlike the other objects. This remains the same all the time. Since the other objects keep changing constantly, AzhwAr refers to them as false knowledge. ninRa refers to the fact that these objects have been existing in this samsAram from time immemorial. gyAnamum – the state where one who sees prakruthi, which is insentient, as something great, leading to the state where self becomes equally insentient. The erroneous knowledge which results from such a state, including mistaking body for AthmA.

pollA ozhukkumbhagavath kainkaryam (carrying out service to emperumAn) will result from having truthful knowledge. When knowledge is erroneous, activities also become erroneous, and would result in not carrying out service to emperumAn. The basic nature of AthmA is to carry out service to emperumAn, just as lakshmaNa had told SrI rAma in SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 31-25 “aham sarvam kariyshyAmi” (I will carry out all services to you) and 31-22 “kurushva mAm anucharaNam” (you should order me to carry out service to you). Instead of being like this, one thinks “I am doing” and indulges in all activities other than carrying out service to emperumAn.

azhukkudambum – the insentient prakruthi which is the cause for the above two mentioned characteristics. We can also consider this term to refer to the physical form which is misconstrued as AthmA (ahankAram or ego) and those which are considered as one’s own, even though they are not (mamakAram or possessiveness). Even mahAbhAratham could not state clearly the difference between prakruthi and purusha (body and AthmA) just as one cannot clearly separate hay from jackfruit with which it is stuck. However, AzhwAr, since he has been showered with faultless knowledge and devotion by emperumAn, differentiates between prakruthi and purusha through these three terms:

  1. poy ninRa gyAnam – by terming prakruthi as false, the correctness of AthmA has been established.
  2. pollA ozhukku – due to the connection with physical form, one thinks “I am doing”; however, carrying out service to emperumAn is always the basic nature of AthmA.
  3. azhukkudambu – if there is no connection between AthmA and the physical form (which is the effect of prakruthi), AthmA is full of true knowledge.

inninRa nIrmai – the nature which has got destabilised like this. ammangi ammAL would say that AzhwAr is explaining his position as well that of the people of the world through these words just like a person, who has been hurt badly, would display his blood stained clothes. swAmy ALavandhAr would say – just like the sages of dhaNdakAraNyam who had been hurt by demons would show their scars to SrI rAma, as mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNa AraNya kANdam SlOkam 6-16 “Ehi paSya SarIrANi” (look at our forms), AzhwAr is showing his AthmA which has been tortured by samsAram. poy ninRa gyAnam . . . . – just like a person who has injuries on his physical form would display them, AzhwAr says “look at this injury; look at this hurt”, displaying the injuries inflicted on his AthmA.

inninRa nIrmai – this is remaining in a situation when one does not listen to AchArya’s instructions and neither does he listen to the instructions of SAsthras (sacred texts) which are authentic.

ini – The time when one thought “I am capable of taking care of myself; why should I depend on emperumAn?” has gone. The situation now is “I do not want anything other than what has been given by you”

yAm – AzhwAr is making the appeal on behalf of all the people since he is able to feel the worthless situation of others and hence is stating this in plural.

uRAmai – incongruent; not affected. Just as it is said in pUrvamImAmsai “SAsthra palam prayOkthari” (only the person who is going to get benefitted should take efforts to attain it), emperumAn asks of AzhwAr “Since I am considering attaining you as my benefit, I have created several paths such as karmayOgam, gyAnayOgam, bhakthiyOgam etc (the paths of carrying out deeds, gaining knowledge and devotion respectively); why don’t you attain me choosing one of those paths?” AzhwAr responds saying “Please state the purpose of your taking various incarnations” periya thiruvandhAdhi pAsuram 56 says “oruvARu oruvan pugAvARu uRumARum Ayavar thAm” (in order to ensure that no sentient entity enters some path [which may not lead to liberation from samsAram] emperumAn incarnated as the cowherd boy, krishNa). If emperumAn takes such care of us, why should anyone follow any other path?

uyir – did you come here for the sake of pirAttimArs (consorts), thiruvadi (garudan), ananthan (AdhiSEshan) et al?

aLippAn – did anyone request you to come and incarnate as a human being? Was it not out of your mercy that your incarnations took place? emperumAn himself says in bhagavath gIthA 4-5 “bahUni” (many incarnations), confirming that he had taken up many incarnations.

enninRa yOniyumAy – just as it is said in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam “AthmAnam mAnusham manyE” (I consider myself as a mere man), emperumAn takes incarnations as per his wish.

piRandhAy – emperumAn also takes a birth similar to other human beings, unlike his other incarnations such as narasimha when he appeared suddenly from a pillar or when he came to help the elephant gajEndhran when the elephant called out to him. SrI rAmAyaNam bAla kANdam SlOkam says ”thathaScha dhvAdhaSEmAsE”(he remained in his mother kauSalyA dhEvi’s womb for twelve months instead of the normal ten months that we all remain for). periyAzhwAr thirumozhi 3-2-8 also reflects the same meaning “panniru thingaL” (twelve months in mother’s womb).

imaiyOr thalaivA –  Just as it is said in thiruviruththam pAsuram 21 “sUttu nan mAlaigaL” (holding nice garlands ready for adorning emperumAn with …), isn’t emperumAn one who is having nithyasUris in paramapadham as those who are “Dear to me”? Did he incarnate here since he was not satisfied with nithyasUris alone and wanted to invite those who have shortcomings in their knowledge here? When he became the controller for us too, he became one without any shortcoming.

sarvESwaran told AzhwAr “If nithyasUris make an appeal to me like this, I would consider that to be a statement of fact. But how can I take your words, when you have been in samsAram from time immemorial, to be true? For how long will these words remain truthful? If I go to people thinking that they are truly calling out to me, they may ask for benefits other than me”. To which AzhwAr responds saying . . . .

mey – it is not that way. Our appeal is indeed truthful. Just as sthOthra rathnam SlOkam 57 says “vigyApanam idham sathyam” (this is a truthful appeal), our appeal too, to you, is truthful.

ninRu – AzhwAr started his appeal with the first pAsuram in thiruviruththam and ended with thiruvAimozhi 10.7.10 “mangavottu un mAmAyai” (rid us of this bondage in samsAram).

kEttaryLAy – to listen to this is apt for emperumAn. It is only till such time that AzhwAr makes the appeal that AzhwAr has any shortcoming. Once he has enunciated it, if emperumAn does not initiate any action on it, the resulting lowliness is his and not AzhwAr’s.

emperumAn is puzzled that someone, who is in samsAram, is making an appeal without expecting any worldly benefit, which is much against the normal behaviour of a samsAri. His words are totally contrary to those of a samsAri. He wonders as to who it is, who is making such an appeal . . . .

adiyEn – AzhwAr says that he is emperumAn’s servitor. Had he said, “I”, it would have been at loggerheads with the words spoken thus far. Hence he says “Servitor”

seyyum viNNappam – Had he said “I” in the previous verse, he would have said “Words spoken” here. However, since he said “Servitor” he hays “Appeal made”.

vyAkyAthA (commentator for this pAsuram) periyavAchchAn piLLai shows further that this pAsuram explains artha panchakam (five meanings) – svasvarUpam (nature of self, the jIvAthmA), parasvarUpam (nature of paramAthmA, emperumAn), upAya svarUpam (nature of means, the path which leads us to our goal), upEya svarUpam (nature of goal) and virOdhi svarUpam (nature of hurdle). The words poyninRa gyAnam and inninRa nIrmai explain the nature of hurdles. The words enninRa yOniyumAyp piRandhAy reveal the nature of means. The words imaiyOr thalaivA explain the nature of goal. The word adiyEn explains the nature of self. The words seyym viNNappam reveal that kainkaryam (to emperumAn) is the benefit that one gets on attaining the goal.

We will take up the second pAsuram in the next article.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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