Author Archives: T N Krishnan

thiruviruththam – 100 – nallAr navil

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avathArikai (Introduction)

AzhwAr was asked “You have the knowledge to obtain the mercy of sarvESvaran and the position to clearly state that sarvESvaran is the means to attain him, as a result of which you have been able to get rid of samsAram which is a hurdle in attaining sarvESvaran. However, what can samsAris, who do not have your knowledge and who are not fortunate to attain sarvESvaran, do?” AzhwAr responds saying “They may not have knowledge to the extent that I have; it is enough if they recite these pAsurams; they will also attain the same benefit which I attained”

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

nallAr navil kurugUr nagarAn thirumAl thiruppEr
vallAr adikkaNNi sUdiya mARan viNNapm seydha
sollAr thodaiyal innURum vallAr azhundhAr piRappAm
pollA aruvinai mAyavan sERRaLLal poynnilaththE

Word-by-Word Meanings

nallAr – distinguished people\
navil – speaking (permanently repeating what AzhwAr said)
kurugUr – known as thirukkurugUr
nagarAn – lord of thirukkurugUr
thirumAl – Sriya:pathi (consort of SrI mahAlakshmi), his
thiruppEr – divine names
vallAr – SrIvaishNavas who are qualified to recite, their
adi – divine feet
kaNNi – garland
sUdiya – one who donned on his head
mARan – nammAzhwAr
viNNappam seydha – mercifully sung
sol – through divine words
Ar – complete
thodaiyal – garland
innURum – these hundred pAsurams
vallAr – those who can recite
piRappAm – known as birth
pollA – cruel (capable of destroying AthmA)
aru – difficult (to cross over)
vinai – being the cause for good and bad deeds
mAyam – being deceitful (by creating taste)
van – being strong
aLLal sERu – pressing like a quagmire
poy – being temporary
nilaththil – in this prakruthi (primordial matter)
azhundhAr – will not be caught

Simple Translation

AzhwAr is the lord of thirukkurugUr where distinguished people keep reciting his divine words. He dons on his head the divine feet of SrIvaishNavas who keep reciting the divine names of SrIman nArAyaNan, the divine consort of SrI mahAlakshmi. Those who learn well the hundred pAsurams which are like a garland composed of fully complete words and which are divinely composed by such nammAzhwAr, will not get caught in this samsAram which perpetuates birth in it, which destroys the true nature of AthmA and which presses like a quagmire.

vyAkyAnam

nallAr navil – all the people in the world keep chanting “AzhwAr, AzhwAr” just like the people in ayOdhyA kept reciting “rAma rAma” as mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 128-103 “rAmO rAmO rAma:” (while SrI rAma ruled the kingdom, the people kept reciting rAma, rAma, rAma). SrI rAmAyaNam bAla kANdam 1-16 says “sarvadhA abhigatha: sadhbi:” (always accessible to purely good people) – just as ocean is attained by rivers, SrI rAma is attained by sages. When SrI rAma sits in a place to take rest after completing his chores, sages, who keep thinking of others’ good, would reach him. Their purpose is not to remove any shortcoming in SrI rAma – do rivers reach ocean in order to fill it up, which has been filled up already? No, they need to sustain themselves – in the same way, these sages attain SrI rAma in order to get rid of their shortcomings.

thirumAl . . . – while the people surround him, chanting his name, AzhwAr keeps praising the followers of sarvESvaran just as he had said in thiruvAimozhi 3-7-1 “payilum thiruvudaiyAr yavarElum avar kaNdIr emmai ALum paramar” (those who carry out kainkaryam permanently are my lords)

AzhwAr has as his identity the garland, also known as divine feet of SrIvaishNavas, who have the qualification to recite the divine names of SrIya:pathi (consort of SrI mahAlakshmi).

viNNappam seydha – in the first pAsuram of this prabandham AzhwAr had said “adiyEn seyyum viNNappamE” (this is my appeal) and completed the prabandham with viNNappam (the prabandham composed by him).

sollAr thodaiyal – this [prabandham] need not be cherished just because it has been composed by a well-wisher. This should be cherished for the sweetness observed in it, just as it has been said of SrI rAmAyaNam in bAla kANdam 4-8 “pAtyE gEyE cha mathuram” (it is melodious to read and sing).

innURum – unlike mahAbhAratham which is very expansive or praNavam which is very brief, this prabandham has only hundred pAsurams, indicating knowledge.

vallAr azhundhAr – first he speaks about the benefit; in what will they not get trapped?

piRappAm pollA – the cruel cycle of births. The Athmavasthu (sentient being) is full of knowledge and full of joy. He is sarvESvaran’s servitor. Such Athma comes to samsAram to be in association with achith vasthu (insentient entities) which is incongruent with it.

aruvinai – karma (effect of past deeds, both good and bad) which follows the AthmA, grows continuously and locks up the AthmA in samsAram.

mAya – creating taste and scent in samsAram

van sERu – if one falls into this quagmire, the stain made cannot be removed easily.

aLLal – if one sets foot on it, it will pull down the person further

poynnilam – this samsAram does not have a floor. If one stands atop it, the legs will keep exploring below further, searching for firm footing. Those who recite this prabandham will not get caught in such samsAram.

This brings us to the end of this prabandham.

periya pirAtti samEdha periya perumAL thiruvadigaLE SaraNam

nammAzhwAr thiruvadigaLE SaraNam

emperumAnAr thiruvadigaLE SaraNam

periyavAchchAn piLLai thiruvadigaLE SaraNam

jIyar thiruvadigaLE saraNam

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 99 – Inach chollAyinumAga

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avathArikai (Introduction)

Seeing this AzhwAr deeply involved with bhagavath vishayam (matters relating to sarvESvaran) and falling unconscious, SrIvaishNavas told him “Due to your involvement with bhagavath vishayam, we are unable to determine when you will fall unconscious and when you will be in normal state. We are unable to have complete faith in you because of that”. The vyAkyAthA narrates a few incidents about those who are deeply engaged with sarvESvaran, falling unconscious. He starts with the incident from SrI rAmAyaNam when bharatha had swooned, remaining unconscious, and kausalyA dhEvi is trying to wake him up, as it has been mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 87-9 “adhya rAja kulasya ..” (the life of this royal ikshvAku clan is dependent on you). Just as people will get perturbed when the stone used by an alchemist (one who converts iron into gold) falls on the ground, the queen mothers were worried on seeing bharathan falling down unconscious [on hearing about the departure of SrI rAma for the forest]. They tell him “We thought that we would be alive, treating you as the leader of this kingdom.  The chakravarthy (dhaSaratha, the emperor) has passed away, SrI rAma has left for the forest. We are alive because of you. We are holding on to our lives in the hope that SrI rAma and the other two will return after seeing the sorrow on your face. If you are not there, will they even look in this direction? ” Just as it has been mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 87-9 “puthra vyAdhi na thE  kaSchith SarIram paribAdhathE” they ask him “Oh child! I hope that no ailment is afflicting your body” SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 59-4 says “api vrukshA:” (even trees were withering due to the sorrow of SrI rAma leaving them) – thus, when everyone in ayOdhyA was in distress, bharathan fell down unconscious suddenly  as a result of which his mothers had to ask him “Oh son! What is your disease?” Since they have only sathva guNa (the quality of goodness) it is difficult to know as to when they will swoon and when they will be aware. AzhwAr is one who will remain unconscious for six months, just reminiscing krishNa’s quality of saulabhyam (easy to approach).

The next incident involves kUraththAzhwAn (disciple of bhagavath rAmAnujar). Whenever kUraththAzhwAn starts his discourse on thiruvAimozhi, piLLai uRangAvilli dhAsar would become very emotional; shedding tears copiously, he would speak about sarvESvaran’s auspicious qualities. Seeing this, kUraththAzhwAn would tell him “Unlike us who are well versed in SAsthrams, having learnt SrI bhAshyam etc, your crumbling nature on thinking about the auspicious qualities of bhagavAn is incredible. Your birth is indeed a great one!” The same kUraththAzhwAn was once narrating periya thirumozhi pAsuram 3-7-1 “kaLvankol yAnaRiyEn”, keeping a little girl on his lap. In this pAsuram the mother of parakAla nAyaki (thirumangai AzhwAr in feminine mood) would be wailing about sarvESvaran having taken away her daughter. Just then, the husband of that little girl came there to take her home. Seeing this and reminiscing the pAsuram, kUraththAzhwAn fell unconscious. Such kUraththAzhwAn was telling piLLai uRangAvilli dhAsar that he had a strong heart while dhAsar was having a soft heart due to which he was crumbling on merely thinking of the auspicious qualities of sarvESvaran.

When nanjIyar was still an adhvaithi, thirumalaidhAsar, a SrIvaishNava, told him about the greatness of parASara bhattar and made him to attain the divine feet of parASara bhattar. One day, the two of them were sitting inside SrIrangam temple, learning thiruvAimozhi. kUraththAzhwAn happened to pass that way. Seeing him, nanjIyar started to rise. kUraththAzhwAn signalled to him to sit and asked him “While samsAris will spend their time eating, is this what you people are doing?” nanjIyar responded saying “We have learnt thiruvAimozhi at the divine feet of parASara bhattar”

emperumAnAr (bhagavadh rAmAnujar) would spend the day time in writing / teaching SrI bhAshyam. At night, before going to bed, he would ask his disciples to learn santhai of thiruvAimozhi (a mode of learning where the AchAryan (teacher) would recite a verse once and the sishyan (disciple) would repeat it twice/thrice). When he starts reciting a verse first time, he will be very much involved in it and will be elated. When he repeats it, he would crumble and shed tears continuously, requiring several towels to wipe them. When prasAdham (food offered to periya perumAL) would be taken to periya perumAL’s sannidhi, he would leave instruction with those who are offering the prasAdham to show him the prasAdham items before as well as after offering to perumAL. Not realising why he had told them this way, they would show him the prasAdham items, both before and after offering to periya perumAL. After six months had passed this way, he told periya perumAL “Oh SrIranganAthA! Would you not show me the mark of having eaten this prasAdham? “

kidAmbiyAchchAn (one of rAmAnujar’s disciples and the one who used to cook food for him) was learning thiruvAimozhi from kUraththAzhwAn. One day he came late to rAmAnujar; following is their conversation:

“Why are you late?”
“I had gone to learn thiruvAimozhi from kUraththAzhwAn”
“What did he teach today?”
“He taught thiruvAimozhi 5.10 decad piRandhavArum
“Could you say a few words from that?”
“There is no word to recount”
“What did you listen to? What did he say?”
“He started to teach. He recited the pAsuram. Then reminiscing the devotional trance of AzhwAr, he started weeping for a long time. Then he told us, ‘What an involvement this AzhwAr has! Could I, having no involvement with bhagavath vishayam, explain about AzhwAr’s involvement?’ With that he stopped”
“What a supreme entity is AzhwAn!”

The vyAkyAthA now returns to avathArikai – the SrIvaishNavas, who were with AzhwAr told him “You are now in your conscious state, without swooning. You should tell us your philosophy”. “In that case, listen to this”, said AzhwAr, mercifully explaining his philosophy. Just as mithrabhAvEna is SrI rAma’s philosophy, this pAsuram is AzhwAr’s philosophy [mithrabhAvEna refers to SrI rAma telling sugrIva and others that he would accept anyone who comes to him with a friendly appearance, even if that person has a defect].

Let us go through the pAsruam and its meanings:

InachchollAyinumAga eRithirai vaiyam muRRum
EnaththuruvAy idandha pirAn irum kaRpagam sEr
vAnaththavarkkum allAdhavarkkum maRRellAyavarkkum
gyAnappirAnai allAl illai nAn kaNda nalladhuvE

Word-by-Word Meanings

Inachchol – (my) word is without any benefit
Ayinum – even if it is
Aga – let it be
(I would still say)
eRi – throwing up
thirai – having waves
(during deluge)
vaiyam muRRum – all the worlds
Enaththu uruvAy – with the form of a wild boar
idandha – one who pierced and removed (from nether world)
pirAn – as benefactor
gyAnam – having complete knowledge
pirAnai allAl – other than SrIman nArAyaNa, the lord
irum – having the greatness (of fulfilling wishes made under it)
kaRpagam – the [celestial] wish-fulfilling tree, kaRpagam
sEr – desirous of reaching it
vAnaththavarkkum – for celestial entities
allAdavarkkum – nithyasUris, who are distinct from the celestial entities
maRRu ellAyavarkkum – other entities such as manushya (human) et al
illai – there is no other means to uplift
nAn – I
kaNda – ascertained
nalladhu – benefit (is only this)

Simple Translation

Even if my words are without any benefit, let them be so. I would still say this. There is no means other than SrIman nArayaNan, who in the form of a wild boar, pierced and protected all the worlds which have oceans with rising and agitating waves. This is true for celestial entities who are desirous of reaching the celestial tree kaRpagam; this is true for nithyasUris, who are different from the celestial entities; this is true for other creations such as humans, animals etc. This is my ascertained view.

vyAkyAnam

InachchollAyinumAga – When some people are willing to listen with interest, I will not refrain from saying it. When sarvESvaran initially saw the sorrow on the face of arjuna, he gave him all the secretive meanings and later grieved over it saying that he had brought out into the courtyard explicitly, what had been kept hidden in a corner. AzhwAr shares his misgivings at the forefront itself. Inachchol is a word which is not doing any good; in other words, which is not beneficial. It is against the true nature of a chEthana (sentient entity). It is saying something which he could not do himself. Since he has entrusted all his activities with the omnipotent sarvESvaran, this is not an impossible activity to engage with. This position is congruent with his nature of being under the control of sarvESvaran. If one were to hold on to a supreme entity, then there is no possibility for deficiency in knowledge or in strength.

AyinumAga – even if what he says does not have a benefit, instead of calling it as a good word in a humble way, since he says AyinumAga [let it be so], he feels that just as there were a few people who were there to listen to what sarvESvaran said mercifully [SrI bhagavath gIthA], there will be a few people to listen to what he has to say. Whether they accept or reject what he has to say, he is not going to step back from saying it. Even if what he says may not be correct and he is desirous of speaking about sarvESvaran even if he feels that he is in a lowly state, he is not going to step back from speaking it.

Some people who listened to AzhwAr saying this, ask him “There is a saying in the world that the money invested in flowers will not yield results. In a similar way, why do you say that what you have to say does not have benefit?” AzhwAr responds . . .

eRi thirai vaiyam muRRum EnaththuruvAy idandha pirAn – it is apt for all the chEthanas to hold on to sarvESvaran alone. But why is this so? During the time of danger [deluge] when they are unable to look after themselves, should they not hold on to someone for their protection? This is called as hEthu garbha prathigyai. This is a vow taken by sarvESvaran that during times of danger, he would protect them since he is the causative factor for them. How is he the cause?

eRi thirai vaiyam – when pralayam [deluge] comes to submerge the earth surrounded by ocean, he transforms himself [even as a wild boar] for the sake of others. For protecting others, he transforms himself.

idandha – this implies that he is omnipotent.

pirAn – apart from omnipotency, it is he who has the control to protect them; he is the lord. He has the knowledge for protecting them; he has the strength and control to match that knowledge. The chEthana, with his ignorance and lack of strength, has to hold on to sarvESvaran only. Only the one who owns will take the efforts to attain the owned [wealth]. The owned cannot take any effort. Thus, only he is necessary for all. Why should those, who do not think of asking for him but asking for wealth, hold on to him?

irum kaRpagam . . . – for those who carry out good acts here, reach svargam (heaven), stand under the kaRpagam tree and seek benefits, only he is required to grant all those. When the chEthana carries out good activities, as a result of which he reaches svargam, why is sarvESvaran required? When the chEthana carries out good deeds, their benefits are not given immediately. Those benefits should not get destroyed when the chEthana leaves this place. An ISvaran is needed to estimate the deeds carried out by the chEthana as well as the chEthana himself and provide him the benefits. There are some people who say that due to the effect of kriyASakthi and due to apUrvam (these are concepts floated by some philosophies but which are not accepted by vEdhams). Instead of trying to create new concepts, it would be better to accept sarvESvaran as the provider of these benefits.

maRReLLAyavarkkum – apart from those who experience benefits which keep reducing over time, sarvESvaran is required for nithyasUris too who experience permanent benefits which do not reduce over time. Even though they are nithyasUris, their existence is essential to enjoy sarvESvaran.

ellAyavarkkum – without knowing as to when this physical form will fall (viz when will death occur), manushyas (human beings) keep saying that “I am fat” “I am slim” etc. Even for their pleasures and to bestow those pleasures, sarvESvaran is required. Since those with knowledge and without knowledge are under his control equally, the knowledge which chEthana has is considered as asath (non-existent) only. Some people claim that only through knowledge mOksham (liberation) can be attained. When such is the case, shouldn’t chEthana need knowledge to attain mOksham? It is neither that knowledge is essential nor knowledge is not essential.  The only knowledge to be sought from sarvESvaran is that which will enable the chEthana not to avoid sarvESvaran when he comes to help. The knowledge needed for providing the benefit is already with sarvESvaran.

gyAnappirAnai – the only knowledge that chEthana has is the unfavourable knowledge that he could protect himself. The knowledge for doing what is to be done to protect others is available with sarvESvaran.

allAl illai – even those who wrote false SAsthrams saying that sarvESvaran does not exist, in their last days, realised that their SAsthrams were swept aside, saying that sahaSruthi pushes out their philosophy. sahaSruthi is described by thaiththirIya upanishath Anandhavalli “sOSnuthE sarvAn kAmAn saha brahmaNA” – after attaining mOksham, the mukthAthmA (the chEthana who got liberated) enjoys with brahmam. The atheists too wonder towards the end of their lives whether they had taken the wrong path. Thus, other than sarvESvaran, neither the chEthana himself nor other means would be the means to attain sarvESvaran.

Once thirukkOttiyUr nambi had come to SrIrangam to witness a temple festival. He wanted to instruct rAmAnujar the supreme philosophy that apart from sarvESvaran, there is no other means and he wanted to instruct that confidentially. Thus, he took rAmAnujar to a secluded spot inside the temple. However, he saw a person, who was engaged in cleaning the temple, sleeping soundly there. He instructed rAmAnujar the philosophy on another occasion when there was none nearby to hear it. As soon as he heard this supreme philosophy, rAmAnuja hurried, in hot weather, to kUraththAzhwAn’s thirumALigai (divine residence), where kUraththAzhwAn was having his lunch.  He told kUraththAzhwAn “nambi had told me not to reveal this to anyone else; however I cannot refrain from instructing you this” and shared the philosophy of sahakAri nairapEkshyam (sarvESvaran not expecting any assistance in granting liberation to a chEthana). Now, only the nature of chEthana who experiences the benefit and the means which he had adopted, remain as assists. AzhwAr now removes this too …

nAn kaNda – since knowledge is composed of both virtues and vices, when virtues surface, the knowledge gets manifested clearly and when vices surface, it gets bewildered. However, this knowledge that I received as bhagavath prasAdham (blessed by sarvESvaran) is not meant to bewilder the others through any deceitful acts. I did not reveal it in order to tell others. I revealed it as an outlet for my enjoyment.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 98 – thunjA munivarum

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avathArikai (Introduction)

Some people told AzhwAr “You are constantly involved with sarvESvaran and are speaking about it, you are trying to correct others through your experiences and make them to turn their heads towards sarvESvaran; you are feeling distressed due to all these. Instead of doing this, since krishNAvathAram is very dear to you, why do you not spend your time meditating on the narration of krishNa stealing butter?” They do not know the extent of his involvement in such matters. In thiruvAimozhi 1-3-1 “eththiRam” did he not remain unconscious for months together, reminiscing about sarvESvaran’s act of stealing butter and getting beaten up by yaSOdhAppirAtti, after being tied down to a mortar? AzhwAr says that one cannot even think about such an act [of sarvESvaran’s]

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

thunjA munivaraum allAdhavarum thudara ninRa
enjApppiRavi idar kadivAn imaiyOr thamakkum
than sArvilAdha thanipperu mUrththy than mAyam sevvE
nenjAl ninaipparidhAl veNNey UN ennum InachchollE

Word-by-Word Meanings

enjA – without contraction
piRavi – happened in samsAram
idar – sorrow
kadivAn – to remove
thunjA – not having contraction
(having great knowledge)
munivarum – eminent sages such as sanaka et al
allAdhavarum – others such as brahmA et al
thudara – to follow
ninRa – one who remained mercifully
than – for himself
sArvu ilAdha – one who does not have (another entity) as protection
thani – being unique
peru – without any limitation
mUrththi than – sarvESvaran, who has such a nature, his
veNNey – butter
UN – ate (by stealing)
ennum sol – word such as this
mAyam – only amazement
imaiyOr thamakkum – even for nithyasUris who do not have any contraction in their knowledge
sevvE – very well
nenjAl – through mind
ninaippu aridhu – will be impossible to think of

Simple Translation

sarvESvaran is one who is worshipped and followed by eminent sages such as sanaka et al who do not have any contraction in their knowledge as well as by other samsAris such as brahmA et al, in order to remove the sorrows which happen due to samsAram; he does not have anyone to protect him; he is unique and does not have any limitation. The amazing activity which is indicated by the words “He stole butter and ate” is impossible even for nithyasUris to think of.

vyAkyAnam

enjAppiRavi idar kadivAn thunjA munivararum allAdhavarum thudara ninRathunjA munivar is one who is similar to the one mentioned in SrI bhagavath gIthA 2-69 ”nisA sarvabhUthAnAm” (when it is night time for all living beings, the enlightened will be awake). In the earlier pAsurams, AzhwAr had said “My mind will not go after anyone other than sarvESvaran” “Sleep will not befall those who are involved with matters relating to sarvESvaran” “I will make all the sAmsAris to be involved with him like I am”. Some people, who heard him, told him “Why are you getting distressed like this, thinking of others? Isn’t krishNAvathAram very dear to you? Don’t you keep reminiscing his act of steaing butter? Why don’t you continue to think about that?” AzhwAr responds saying “If I think of other activities of sarvESvaran, I might probably exist. However, I cannot think of the depth of this particular activity; I cannot sustain myself too; thus instead of thinking of this activity and getting caught, it would be better not to think of it”

thunjA munivarum – just as samsAris are immersed in worldly pursuits such as Sabdham etc (the five senses such as sound etc), eminent sages such as sanaka et al are immersed in matters related to AthmA and ISvaran, and they are without the qualities of rajas (passion) and thamas (ignorance). Just as it has been said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 2-69 yA nisA – when all the other living beings sleep during night, they will be awake. Though sarvESvaran had created them in samsAram, due to their eminent deeds over many births, they have developed detachment towards samsAram and are mumukshus (those desirous of mOksham, liberation). They are such eminent entities that looking at their nature, samsAram would decide “They are not the people for us; we will seek out those who are apt for us”

allAdhavarum – unlike such eminent entities as sanaka et al, due to variations in their virtues and vices, these people will be under the control of their karma (past deeds), being celestial entities such as brahmA et al. They will have a mixture of karmabhAvanai and brahmabhAvanai (activities based on their karma and involvement with sarvESvaran respectively). When their sathva quality comes to the fore, they will attain the mode of brahmabhAvanai  and on those few occasions they will think “samsAram is to be given up; only sarvESvaran should be attained”. They will take efforts to attain sarvESvaran during those occasions. During all the other times, they will be like samsAris only.

enjAppiRavi – in order to avoid the sorrows caused by the unending births which keep coming without any contraction

thunjA munivarum allAdhAdhavarum enjAppiRavi idar kadivAn thudara ninRa – since this sorrow cannot be cured by samsAri, since he has no strength on his own and since it has been coming from time immemorial, he has to attain an omnipotent entity at an opportune time.

than sArvilAdha – while brahmA et al attain sarvESvaran in order to get rid of their sorrows, sarvESvaran does not have an entity who he has to attain.

imaiyOr thamakkum sevvE nenjAl ninapparidhAl – those in samsAram, despite knowing that they are engaged with lowly activites, do not have the capability to give them up; but, nithyasUris are those who constantly experience and enjoy sarvESvaran. However, there is an amazing activity which even the nithyasUris cannot think of. What is that activity? sarvESvaran, who is the refuge for brahmA et al, who has no unfulfilled desire in him, treats those materials which have a connection with his followers [gOpikAs, the cowherd girls in SrI gOkulam] as his sustenance. If he cannot get such a material directly, he will obtain it even by stealing and will eat it. During the act of stealing, he will ensure that he is caught redhanded; he will allow himself to be tied down to a mortar and get beaten up for that; his divine form will get drained of its complexion and become pale and he will remain in a state of fear. Is it possible for anyone to even think of this activity? It will be a source of amazement even to sarvESvaran himself.

The vyAkyAthA narrates an incident from the life of piLLai uRangAvillidhAsar (a disciple of bhagavadh rAmAnujar). A person stole the milk kept for the king and drank it up. He was caught by the guards, tied to a tree and was being beaten up. dhAsar was going that way when he saw this incident. On enquiring, he was told as to what had happened. When he heard this, he was reminded of krishNa stealing milk, getting caught, tied to a mortar and beaten up for it. He became emotional on thinking of these incidents. He told the guards “Let him go; I will take responsibility for his action”

sevvE nenjAl – a few people, such as SiSupAlan et al could narrate a few words about sarvESvaran on the basis of their enmity with him. However, it is not possible to narrate his auspicious qualities.

The pAsuram should be rearranged to read like this to get sequential meaning:

thunjA munivarum allAdhavarm enjAppiRavi idar kadivAn thudara ninRa than sArvilAdha thanipperu mUrththi udaiya veNNey UN ennum InachchollAna mayAmaAnadhu imaiyOr thamakkum sevvE nenjAl ninaipparidhAl

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 97 – ezhuvadhum mINdE

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avathArikai (Introduction)

sarvESvaran tells AzhwAr “You had said in thiruviruththam 91 perungiRiyAnai allAl adiyEn nenjam pENaladhE and in the previous pAsuram nin kaN vEtkai ezhuvippanE, appearing very worried. If you keep meditating on these aspects, you will keep feeling distressed, unavoidably. If you look at other samsAris you would find that they are totally devoted to worldly pursuits, enjoying themselves, spending their time eating and sleeping. Could you not follow their practice, forgetting about me and engaging with worldly pursuits?” AzhwAr says “They are indulging in all these, since they do not know you”

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

ezhuvadhum mINdE paduvadhum pattu enai UzhigaL pOyk
kazhivadhum kaNdu kaNdu eLgalallAl imaiyOrgaL kuzhAm
thozhuvadhum sUzhvadhum sey thollai mAlaik kaNNArak kaNdu
kazhivadhOr kAdhal uRRArkkum uNdo kaNgaL thunjudhalE

Word-by-Word Meanings

ezhuvadhum – the way of creating
mINdE – the same way
(immediately)
paduvadhum – the way of perishing
pattu – being born
enai UzhigaL – for a very long time
pOy – passing all these
kazhivadhum – (later) perishing
kaNdu kaNdu – seeing repeatedly
eLgalallAl – other than despising
imaiyOrgaL  – nithyasUris’
kuzhAm – their gathering
thozhuvadhum – worshipping
sUzhvadhum – going in circumambulation
sey – carrying out
thollai – ancient
mAlai – sarvESvaran
kaN Ara – such that eyes get satisfied
kaNdu – worship
kazhivadhu – such that time passes
Or – being unique
kAdhal – due to desire
uRRArkkum – those who are fitting aptly
kaNgaL – their eyes
thunjudhal – closing (sleeping)
uNdO – could it happen?

Simple Translation

Other than giving up the repeated cycles of taking birth and perishing after sometime, for those who desire to see to their eyes’ content, sarvESvaran who is surrounded and worshipped by nithyasUris, will hurdles such as closing the eyes (sleeping) occur?

vyAkyAnam

ezhuvadhum . . . – there are two interpretations. First interpretation: either being born and perishing immediately or being born, living for sometime and perishing. Just as it has been mentioned in chAndhOgya upanishath 5-108 “jAyasva mriyasva” (being born and dying) some people die within moments of being born while some are born at the time of creation and die at the time of deluge. To AzhwAr, both appear identical.

kaNdu kaNdu eLgal allAl – if one were to analyse these, they will only appear to be fit to be ridiculed. Would anyone give up his/her involvement with you? [asks AzhwAr of sarvESvaran]. eLgai is despising/ridiculing. If one looks at the fault in this repeated cycle of taking birth and perishing, one would feel detachment towards them.

Second interpretation: ezhuvadhum . . . – repeated rising and setting [of the sUriyan, sun]. Even if one were to see these for many days

eLgalallAl – instead of being involved with you, is your matter such that we could move away from you? Here, eLgai refers to being involved. The implication here is that having developed desire for you and having waited for such a long time, instead of waiting patiently for the remaining time too, to attain you, could we say “We have been waiting for a long time; there is no sign of attaining sarvESvaran; hence we will move away”? If there are faults in your matters, it may be apt to give you up. When you are distinctly superior to everything and since there is a natural relationship between us, can we leave? Reference is made to thiruvAimozhi 2-5-4 “eppozhudhum nAL thingaL . . .” (sarvESvaran is new to his followers, every second, month, year, epoch etc)

imaiyOr . . . – sarvESvaran is one who has been constantly worshipped and followed by the gathering of nithyasUris who cannot keep their mind on anyone other than you, just as it has been mentioned in mahAbhAratham mOksha parvam 16-4 “nithyAnjaliputA hrushtA:” (feeling happy, with joined palms) and in SrI bhagavath gIthA 11-40 “nama: purasthAdh atha prushtathas thE” (offering salutations from the front and from the rear) and considering this to be the sole purpose of their existence.

kaNNArak kaNdu – just as it has been mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 40-3 “gAthrai: SOkAbhikarSithai:” (sIthAppirAtti tells hanuman ‘with my limbs emaciated by grief, I wish to touch that SrI rAma, the tiger among men’) the desire will be satiated only if sarvESvaran is seen. In other words, only that desire will get fulfilled on seeing him. What comes subsequently is the strong affection towards him which follows the jIvAthmA’s nature of being subservient to him.

uRRArkkum – for those who have that affection firmly.

uNdO . . . – we have heard that the fully independent perumAL (SrI rAma) had slept; however, have we ever heard that iLayaperumAL (lakshmaNa) who followed him to the forest, had ever slept? Have we ever heard before that those who are involved with sarvESvaran had closed their eyes [slept]?

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 96 – vaNangum thuRaigaL

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr had submitted the AthmA which belongs to sarvESvaran back to him since he could not match the benefit that sarvESvaran had carried out for him. The benefit that sarvESvaran had done for AzhwAr was that he had stopped the interest in worldly pursuits and created interest in matters related to him, when AzhwAr was unable to seclude himself without speaking about it or could not remain without speaking either (about these two – refraining from worldly pursuits and engaging with matters relating to bhagavAn). In this pAsuram, he says that all the ingredients to attain sarvESvaran are not available here. Since you [refers to sarvESvaran] have given up, does it mean that I too [refers to AzhwAr], who am capable of carrying out your tasks, should give them up? When all the chEthanas [sentient entities] were lying like achEthana entities during the time of deluge, you had granted the qualities which are exclusive to chEthanas and the knowledge to choose between what is to be acquired and what is to be discarded. The reason for granting them this was for them to decide as to what is the end goal for them and how to attain that. However, since that knowledge is common with engaging with worldly pursuits and being firmly rooted in them, due to their association with karmas (deeds, both good and bad) since time immemorial, with that knowledge these chEthanas have been engaging with worldly pursuits. Thus, since you made them engage with worldly pursuits, your situation has become similar to a mother who was unable to prevent her child from falling into the well and was accused of having pushed that child into the well.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

vaNangum thuRai palapalavAkki madhivigaRpAl
piNangum samayangaL palapalavAkki avai avaidhORu
ANangum palapalavAkki nin mUrththi parappi vaiththAy
iNangu ninnOrai illAy ninkaN vEtkai ezhuvippanE

Word-by-Word Meanings

vaNangum – to attain (other deities)
pala pala – many
thuRaigaL – various deities who instruct
Akki – created
madhi vigaRpAl – due to difference in intellect
piNangum – disagreeing
palapala – of many types
samayam – philosophies
Akki – created
avaiyavaidhORu – among all those philosophies
ninmUrththi – as your forms
palapala – of many types
aNangum – deities
Akki – created as being apt to be attained
parappi vaiththAy – you created expansively
iNangu – (with those deities) appearing to be a match
ninnOrai – those who are an equal to you
illAy – Oh, one who doesn’t have!
ninkaN – towards you
vEtkai – desire
ezhuvippanE –  I will create

Simple Translation

You have created many different paths for people to attain their goals; you created many different philosophies due to differences in the levels of intellect and deities, who are all part of your form, for those philosophies. Even though those deities are a part of you, you have none who is equal to you. I will create desire in the minds of samsAris, towards you.

vyAkyAnam

sarvESvaran asked AzhwAr “You are saying that I had pushed these chEthanas in samsAram. What can I do for it?” AzhwAr responds . .

vaNangum thuRai . . . – samsAris have the qualities of rajas (passion) and thamas (ignorance) in them.  When they get an involvement based on these qualities, they would be told to attain the deity which is predominant for those qualities, by instructors who were created by you. The word thuRai refers to sacred water and through that, it refers to celestial entities.

madhi . . . – due to bewilderment in their knowledge as well as differences with one another, when one person enunciates his philosophy, another person takes it as something which opposes his philosophy. You created many such philosophies to cater to such feelings of mistrust and misunderstanding.

avai avai . . . – you created many deities who are spoken of highly in those philosophies.

nin mUrthy parappi vaiththAy – just as you had mentioned in bhagavath gIthA 7-21 “yOyO yAmyAm thanumbhakthyA” (for whatever reasons someone worships whichever deities …), you created many deities who realise their powers from you. Just as the saying goes “paisal kaisunOy mukkaisu” (even the small sufferings of a child are serious diseases), you had created lack of knowledge in these chEthanas, you created those who tell such chEthanas that attaining only lowly deities are apt for them and you also created pAsurams (hymns) in those SAsthras (sacred texts) extolling those deities and you created the deities too.

iNangu ninnOrai illAy – if you create a maze of such philosophies and deities for those philosophies, there is none through whom these could be  avoided. There is none who could stand equalling you, none who is like you. On hearing this, sarvESvaran asked AzhwAr “That may be. What are you going to do now?”

nin kaN vEtkai ezhuvippanE – I will stop these activities of yours which you are carrying out due to your unlimited independence; I will stop them [samsAris] from experiencing the results of their activities which they are indulging in due to the faults in their knowledge; I will make them run towards you with desire, just like me. This has arisen out of AzhwAr getting faultless knowledge even while he was in samsAram.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 95 – yAdhAnum Or Akkaiyil

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avathArikai (Introduction)

Instead of leaving sarvESvaran showing his inadequacy in either his devotional trance or inaptness in meditating on him, he bowed down to the divine feet of sarvESvaran since he created engagement in AzhwAr to be fully devoted to matters relating to him and distaste in worldly matters. vyAkyAthA narrates an event regarding nanjIyar with reference to this pAsuram. When parASara bhattar was in thirukkOttiyUr, one SrIvaishNava, rAmAnujadhAsar, approached him and asked him to mercifully explain thiruviruththam to him. bhattar told him “Due to my separation from perumAL (periya perumAL, SrI ranganAthan, at SrIrangam) I am in a state of distress and I am not in a frame of mind to say anything”. Turning to nanjIyar, bhattar told him “You please explain to him”. nanjIyar also started explaining thiruviruththam to him. Another person, vaLavan pallavatharaiyan, joined them in this. He was a follower of thirukkOttiyUr nambi (one of the AchAryars of SrI rAmAnujar).  When this pAsuram was about to be explained, vaLavan pallavatharaiyar was in tears. Looking at this, nanjIyar asked him “I have not started explaining this pAsuram. Why are you in this state already?” pallavatharaiyar replied “When thirukkOttiyUr nambi was instructing me about thiruviruththam, he had mercifully told me to recite this pAsuram in front of sarvESvaran everyday. I was reminiscing that”.  Hearing this, nanjIyar asked him “Could you recollect a few words which thirukkOttiyUr nambi had mercifully told you about this pAsuram?” pallavatharaiyar said “I do not remember that. All that I remember is reciting this pAsuram” nanjIyar felt very happy that thirukkOttiyUr nambi liked this pAsuram so much and spoke in praise of that for a few hours.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

yAdhAnum Or Akkaiyil pukku angAppuNdum Appavizhndhum
mUdhAviyil thadumARum uyir munnamE adhanAl
yAdhAnum paRRi nIngum viradhaththai nal vIdu seyyum
mAthAvinaip pithuvai thirumAlai vaNanguvanE

Word-by-Word Meanings

uyir – jIvAthmA (soul)
munnamE – from time immemorial
yAdhAnum Or – in something or other
Akkaiyil – physical form
pukku – entering
angu – in that form
Appu uNdum – getting tied down to it (due to prArabdha karma (past deed which has started yielding result))
Appu avizhndhum – getting liberated from it (due to destruction of prArabdha karma)
mUdhu – being ancient
Aviyil – in the subtle form
(staying in svargam and naragam (heaven and hell))
thadumARum – will keep fluctuating
adhanAl – due to that repeated act
yAdhAnum – some matter (related to prAkrutham, the causative matter)
paRRi – holding on to
nIngum – moving away (from matter related to sarvESvaran)
viradhaththai – (my) vow
nal vIdu seyyum – one who liberated me
mAthAvinai – being affectionate like mother
pithuvai – being well-intentioned like father
thirumAlai – the consort of SrI mahAlakshmi
vaNanguvan – I will attain

Simple Translation

jIvAthmA (soul) has been, from time immemorial, entering some physical form, getting tied down to it, and at one point of time, getting liberated from it. It would then enter a subtle form and keep going to svargam and naragam. With that bondage (to that form) as the reason, it has been holding on to some matter or the other related to worldly pursuits and leaving matters related to sarvEScvaran. However, sarvESvaran made me give up my firm vow (to keep vacillating among these sates, mentioned here); he has been like a mother to me, being affectionate, and he has been like a father to me, being well-intentioned about me. I will attain such sarvESvaran.

vyAkyAnam

yAdhAnum Or Akkaiyil pukku – entering some SarIram (physical form), and praising it as mamAyam dhEha: (this is an amazing form), even if it is a lowly form. Having taken such a form, due to firm bondage with it, an inability to leave that form and getting involved with it fully. Since it is referred to as Akkai, as per the root of the word dhEham which is dhiha upachayE, dhEham attains upachayam or growth. Thus, it keeps growing.

pukku – for chEthana (sentient entity), attachment to an insentient entity is not his own nature but comes out of karma (previous deeds). Thus, AthmA, a chEthana entity, enters a physical form which is achEtha entity.

angAppuNdum – due to his [chEthana’s] association with previous deeds and being habituated to it, he will get bonded to the physical forms. Despite knowing through the words of an AchAryan (teacher) or through SAsthras (religious texts) and through direct experience, that these [the physical forms) are lowly, wondering as to what he will do if he were to give up his forms, he will be unable to give them up.

Appavizhndhum – not knowing that his bondage with the physical form is due to his karma, he will be unable to get rid of it; once karma gets destroyed, the physical form will get annihilated.

mUdhAviyil – through this, he is reminiscing early times. The term Avi refers to prANan – vital  air. Since prANan is distinct from achith, the subtle form is now referred to as Avi. This is considered as an activity of prakruthi (primordial matter) and also as a part of prakruthi. This will keep following until liberation. It will help the chEthana in his movements and non-movements.

thadumARum – as described in panchAgni vidhyai (the journey of AthmA through five stages in its repeated cyle of births), the jIvAthmA will enter clouds [after svargam/naragam], enter earth through rains, enter foodfrains,  enter a chEthana’s form through intake of food and enter the womb of a lady during their union. In all these states, he keeps stumbling without being able to stay firmly in any place. During his journey, there will be places which are known as well as unknown to him.

uyir – the AthmA, which is full of knowledge and full of joy, and is permanent, suffers like this.

From when has this stumbling and existing been like this?

munnamE – this has been there from time immemorial.

adhanAl – since the association (with achEthana) has been there for a very long time, he thinks that the achEthana entity is his guide.

yAdhAnum paRRi – thinking that only matters other than those related to sarvESvaran should be attained; accepting all such matters without analysing their virtues and faults.

nIngum – only matters relating to bhagavAN are to be given up.

viradhaththai – even if some people instruct “Whatever you are holding on to are faulty. Only matters related to bhagavAn are apt to be held on to” and even if what they say are correct, I have taken a vow that I will give them up [matters relating to bhagavAn]. Just as sarvESvaran has taken a vow, as mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 18-33 “Ethath vratham mama” (even if the person who comes to me is my enemy, I will not give him up; this is my vow), the jIvAthmA has taken a vow that he will give up sarvESvaran; just as rAvaNa had said in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 36-11 “na namEyam” (even if I am split into two, I will not bow to someone; my body will only fall backward).

nal vIdu seyyum – removing the present situation and making me pray, as in thiruviruththam 1 inninRa nIrmai inyAm uRAmai – holding his divine feet and asking him to relieve me from this samsAram. Before developing an involvement with him, severing my interest in matters related to wordly pursuits.

mAthAvinaip pithuvai – the mother and father, who are not really our mother and father, are responsible for this physical form and for our being involved with samsAram. However, sarvESvaran is the one who relieves us from this. What is the need to mention both?

thirumAlai – since he is the consort of SrI mahAlakshmi,  as said in mahAbhAratham pithA mAthA cha mAdhava: – both father and mother are mAdhavan, the consort of SrI mahAlakshmi, he is mentioning both.

vaNanguvanE – it is not possible for us to carry out a beneficial act to sarvESvaran matching  his beneficial act towards us in creating a distaste in us for worldly matters and affection towards him. The only action that we can do is to submit the entity which was his, always (AthmA).

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 94 – maippadi mEniyum

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sarvESvaran asked AzhwAr “You say that since celestial entities have a pride that they are eminent and since samsAris are ignorant, they lose out on bhagavath vishayam (matters relating to sarvEsvaran). Do you have any deficiency?” AzhwAr responds “You have created a deficiency in me. You had showered faultless knowledge as well as devotion. You showered that knowledge with devotion. Due to the devotional trance, in my state of bewilderment, I did not praise you”. In thiruvAimozhi decad 1-5 vaLavEzh, AzhwAr had said that due to his being without any qualification, he would not say anything. This is similar to that.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings.

maippadi mEniyum sendhAmaraikkaNNum vaidhikarE
meyppadiyAl un thiruvadi sUdum thagaimiyinAr
eppadi UrAmilaikkak kuruttAmilaikkum ennum
appadi yAnum sonnEn adiyEn maRRu yAdhu enbanE

Word-by-Word Meanings

vaidhikarE – those devotees who know your true nature as mentioned in vEdhas (sacred texts)
mai – black pigment
padi – having its nature
mEniyum – divine form
sem – reddish
thAmarai – like lotus flower
kaNNum – having eyes
un – your
thiruvadi – divine feet
sUdum – to be donned on their heads
thagaimiyinAr – have the nature
Ur – approaching the town
A – cows
eppadi – how
milaikka – moo (sound made by cows; also called as ‘low’)
(hearing that)
kuruttu A – blind cow
milaikkum – will also moo (like the former)
ennum appadi – just like the idiom used in the world
yAnum – I too
sonnEn – said (about you)
adiyEn – I, in a devotional trance
maRRu – beyond that
yAdhenban – what will I say?

Simple Translation

You have a divine form which is dark in complexion like black pigment and reddish, divine eyes which are like lotus flower. Only those people who know your true nature as mentioned in vEdhas, are qualified to don your divine feet truly on their heads. When cows return home after grazing during the day, the cows will moo [in anticipation of seeing their calves]. Hearing this, a blind cow too will moo. In the same way, I too said a few words about you. What else can I, who am in devotional trance, say beyond this?

vyAkyAnam

maippadimEniyum – divine form which is like black pigment. The divine form which is soothing on the eyes of the beholder. vyAkyAthA narrates an incident which occurred during the time of bhattar (son of kUraththAzhwAn). bhattar was explaining this pAsuram. piLLai vizhuppararaiyar and AppAn thiruvazhundhUraraiyar were in the audience. bhattar said for this verse “The divine form which causes infatuation in the hearts of those who think about sarvESvaran” nanjIyar, bhattar’s disciple quoted periya thirumozhi 10-10-9 “innAr enRu aRiyEn” (I do not who this entity is, who is holding the divine disc and divine conch). bhattar asked as to who made that remark. The araiyars said that it was nanjIyar who made the remark. bhattar prasied him, saying “We did not think of that. You were born in a place which is hundreds of miles away from here and you are explaining this to us so well!”

sendhAmaraikkaNNum – the divine eyes which bring out the inner, hidden, auspicious qualities.

vaidhikar . . . – here, the term vaidhikar refers to one who is firmly immersed in the first part of vEdhas [the first part of vEdhas deals with deeds to be carried out and the second or end part of vEdhas deals with the supreme entity]; they will involve with the cluster of deeds to be carried out for various purposes and will not meditate on sarvESvaran’s svarUpam (true nature), rUpam (divine form), aiSvaryam (wealth) etc. Alternatively, just as bruhadhAraNyaka upanishath 4-4-5 says “nidhithyAsithavya:”(constantly meditating on the auspicious qualities of sarvESvaran, without a break) – those who are with unchanged devotion towards sarvESvaran.Unlike those who are involved with carrying out deeds and are clear in their minds, these people will be in a state of bewilderment since they keep thinking constantly of sarvESvaran’s auspicious qualities. Only such people have the ability of holding on to your divine feet, truly.

sarvESvaran asks of AzhwAr “That may be so. If only such people are apt to attain our divine feet, how did you speak about us?” As a response to that, AzhwAr says

eppadi . . . – when cows return home in the evening, after grazing, they will make a loud noise, called as mooing. Not knowing as to why they are mooing, even a blind cow will make a similar noise.

appadi yAnum sonnEn – without thinking “Who am I to speak about sarvESvaran when only knowledgeable people can speak about him” I too spoke a few words about you, like those blind cows.

adiyEn maRRu yAdhu enbanE – am I, in a state of devotional trance towards you, capable of speaking clearly about you and completing it? Alternatively, am I, leaving you after speaking in an inapt way about you, capable of speaking anything matching your auspicious qualities and completing it?

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 93 – kAlai veyyORku mun

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avathArikai (Introduction)

Celestial entities, due to their pride of calling themselves as ISvaran (one who controls everything) have forgotten sarvESvaran. Are the others worshipping him? Without making any distinction between one and the other, for everyone, it is only the worldly matters which are of interest.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

kAlai veyyORkumun Ottuk koduththa kangul kuRumbar
mAlai veyyOn pada vaiyagam paravuvar anna kaNdum
kAlai nangyAnaththuRai padhindhAdik kaNpOdhu seydhu
mAlai nannAvil koLLAr ninaiyAr avan maippadiyE

Word-by-Word Meanings

kAlai – during dawn
veyyORku – for sUriyan (sun)
(being fearful)
mun – earlier itself
Ottukkoduththa – one who ran away
kangul – called as night
kuRumbar – mischievous person
mAlai – during dusk
veyyOn – sUriyan
pada – as he sets
vaiyagam – on earth
paravuvar – will spread
anna – at that type of change in time
kaNdum – even after seeing
kAlai – during sunrise
nal – (related to bhagavAn) being distinguished
gyAnam – knowledge
thuRai – on the banks
padindhu – fitting well
Adi – taking a bath
kaN – (sensory organs such as) eye
pOdhu seydhu – blossoming well (such that they do not engage with worldly matters)
mAlai – sarvESvaran who is bewildered (with his followers)
nal – eminent (in being devoted to praising sarvESvaran)
nAvil – tongue
koLLAr – those who do not accept
avan – that sarvESvaran’s
mai – being black like pigment
padi – divine form
ninaiyAr – will not keep in their hearts

Simple Translation

The mischievous person, called as night, runs before sUriyan rises in the morning. But he returns in the dusk time, once sun sets. Despite seeing time flying away like this, every day, there are people who do not think of sarvESvaran alone, in the morning, which is when knowledge about sarvESvaran is full, who do not take a bath on the bank of that knowledge and who do not keep away from engaging with worldly matters through their eyes and other sensory organs. Such people, who do not recite the divine names of sarvESvaran from their tongue, cannot keep the divine form of that sarvESvaran, which is dark like a black pigment, in their hearts.

vyAkyAnam

kAlai . . . – when sUriyan rises in the morning with his powerful rays, he drives away darkness; during night, darkness overpowers sUriyan. Despite seeing this activity, just as it has been mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 105-24 “nandhanthi udhitha AdhithyE nandhanthi asthamithE ravau” (people are delighted when the sun rises and are happy when the sun sets), they feel happy when it dawns so that they could go in search of worldly matters to feed their sensory organs; they are again happy when sun sets since the time has come to experience worldly matters without others knowing about them.

kAlai . . . – it is the time of dawn. The mischievous people such as night will run away from sUriyan who rises at that time, since his rays fall on them. When it is dusk, they will destroy the mighty and powerful sUriyan and take away his expansive kingdom. They will make earth to be ecstatic since the time to sleep arrives.

anna kaNdum – Despite seeing this happen every day, since bhagavath vishayam (matters relating to sarvESvaran) does not yield itself to sensory organs, they become ignorant of it and perish. Even though bhagavath vishyam is not visible to the eyes etc, it is strange that they are not able to perceive it with their minds too.

kAlai – it is that time of the day when sathva (good) matters rise to the surface.

nan gyAnam – if it is knowledge, it cannot be related to anything other than bhagavath vishayam. The vyAkyAthA cites the following references to stress this:

mudhal thiruvandhAdhi 67 “oNdAmaraiyAL kELvan oruvanaiyE nOkkum uNarvu” – one’s mind will look at the consort of SrI mahAlakshmi alone.

SrI vishNu purANam 6-5-87 “thath gyAnam agyAnamathOnyadhu:kam ” – only that which leads to knowing about sarvESvaran is referred to as knowledge. All the rest are ignorance only.

SrI vishNu purANam 1-9-41 “vidhyAnyASilpanaipuNam” – faculties other than knowledge do not bestow mOksham (liberation from samsAram) on AthmA.

There is no distinction between knowing other [worldly] matters and sewing rag clothes.

thuRai padindhAdi – entering this water called as gyAnam (knowledge) and taking a bath

kaN pOdhu seydhupOdhu seydhal  refers to closing like buds as well as blossoming. When worldly mattes are seen, the eyes will close like buds.They will blossom when the matters are related to sarvESvaran are seen.

mAlai – All that is required to be done is to keep constantly meditating on sarvESvaran; once this is done, sarvESvaran will come on his own and fall on us head over heels; he is to that extent infatuated with us.

nal nAvil –  nal nA refers to avoiding all the unwanted worldly matters and talking about matters relating to sarvESvaran. AzhwAr says that despite being provided with a tongue which is apt to speak about sarvESvaran, the samsAris are going for outside [worldly] matters. SrI vishNu dharmam – 1 says sA jihvA – tongue is there only to speak about him.

ninaiyAr avan meyppadiyE – no one thinks about the divine form [of sarvESvaran’s] which cannot be given up even if he does only harmful activities towards us instead of being infatuated with us and carrying out benevolent activities. sUrppaNakA says in SrI rAmAyaNam, after looking at the divine form of SrI rAma [and lakshmaNa} tharuNau – youthful entities;  despite being severed of her nose and ears by SrI rAma, this is how she described to rAvaNa of their physical beauty. Other than being filled with happiness on seeing their divine forms, for what did she have to describe them this way, despite being harmed by them?

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 92 – pENalamillA arakkar

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avathArikai (Introduction)

AzhwAr had said in the previous pAsuram “perungiRiyAnai allAl adiyEn nenjam pENaladhE”. Here he says that dhEvas (celestial entities) who are limited [by their abilities] but are higher than samsAris, are not involved even to this extent with sarvESvaran. Their deficiency is that while we attempt to attain sarvESvaran by destroying our sense of possessiveness, they try to gain advantages for themselves even if they have to make him transform himself.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

pENalamillA arakkar munnIra perum padhi vAy
nINagar nILeri vaiththu aruLAy enRu ninnai viNNOr
kAnilam thOyndhu thozhuvar nin mUrththi pal kURRil onRum
kANalumAngol enRE vaigal mAlaiyum kAlaiyumE

Word-by-Word Meanings

munnIra – surrounded by ocean
perum – expansive
padhi – vibhUthi (materialistic realm)
pEN – protecting
nalam illA – not having the benefit
arakaar – inhabited by demons
nIL – having the greatness of not being able to be destroyed by anyone
nagar – in lankA
nIL – not being burnt by any other entity
eri – fire
vaiththu – making use of
aruLAy – protect (us)
enRu – beseeching
ninnai – you
viNNOr – celestial entities
nilam – on earth
kAl thOyndhu – keeping their legs firmly
vaigal – every day
kAlaiyum mAlaiyum – during dawn and dusk
thozhuvar – will worship
nin mUrthy – in the beauty of your divine form
pal kURRil – among the many forms
onRu – at the least one form
kANulAmAngol enRE – is to see (that they worship)? (No)

Simple Translation

The celestial entities worship you everyday, both during dawn and dusk, planting their feet firmly on earth, asking you to save them by setting fire to lankA which is inhabited by demons. lankA is a small part of the expansive earth, surrounded by ocean. The demons, who do not have the quality of protection, inhabit it. Are they doing this considering that they would like to see one form among your many divine, beautiful forms? (No, they are doing this to serve their own interests).

vyAkyAnam

pENalam . . . (munnIra perum padhiyaip pENalamillA arakkar) –  your realm, composed of many different parts, which is surrounded by ocean.

nINagar . . . – they will request you to destroy a small part of your realm. Since they know that harming anyone or anything is against the grain of your divine mind, in order to show pity on them, they will use apt words. They will say “Your vibhUthi will not survive if they survive”. They will tell sarvESvaran “They are harming rishis (sages) who are meditating on your divine auspicious qualities, dwelling in one place and celestial entities”.

pENalamillA – sarvESvaran considers that protecting others is his benefit. The demons will not think that others should live, as they do.

pENalam . . . – demons who do not have the benefit of protecting sarvESvaran’s realm.

munnIra perum padhi vAy nINagar – since that place [lankA] is like a refuge for those who fear for their safety, it became the refuge for the entire cruel clan of demons. Since it is well surrounded by ocean on all sides, it is impossible for some to enter it. It is a huge island with the ocean serving as a moat.

nINagar – the place has been reinforced by the benefits of boons granted by celestial entities.

nILeri vaiththaruLAy – the celestial entities will beseech sarvESvaran to use his arrows which are capable of destroying the power granted through their boons. Just as it has been mentioned in thiruvAimozhi 4-2-8 “ilangai nagar ambu eri uyththavar” (fire which was shot off the arrows from SrI rAma), they prayed to sarvESvaran to burn the entire place.

ninnai – you are one who is deeply engrossed in protecting all the worlds. They will shed tears of distress through their eyes to change your mind when you are against destroying a place in your realm.

viNNOr – these celestial entities do not dwell in the place where nithyasUris [who dwell in paramapadham] constantly experience sarvESvaran; they do not dwell on earth where sarvESvaran comes down, manifesting his simplicity amidst his greatness. They dwell somewhere in between, in svaragam, like an attic.

kAl nilam thOyndhu – aren’t they the people who will come here, degrading themselves, since this is the place where they do not like to place their feet.

thozhuvAr – unlike rAvaNa who said as in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 36-11 “na namEyam . .” (Even if I am broken into two pieces, I will not bend before anyone), the celestial entities will stand before you, worshipping you.

nin . . . – are they worshipping you to get the benefit desired by those who worship you? It is certainly not to experience the divine form that they are worshipping you. Are they worshipping you to see the procession of your beautiful form [as during a festival in temples] which is one part among the many parts of your divine form?

anRiRE – they are not like the great people mentioned in sthOthra rathnam 56 “sakruth thvadhAkAra vilOkanASayA thriNikruthAn uththama bhukthi mukthibi:” (the followers who consider their great qualilties as inferior to a blade of grass if they could see your divine form once).

vaigal mAlaiyum kAlaiyumE –  the worshipping carried out by celestial entities is not for the purpose of seeing your divine form which your followers will worship for; yet they will keep worshipping you incessantly, for a much longer time  [in order to destroy the demons and enable them to live peacefully].

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 91 – surunguRi veNNey

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr had felt miserable about time not shortening [to attain sarvESvaran]. A few samsAris, on seeing this, told him “We are engaged with matters relating to samsAram and are not complaining that time is not lengthening or shortening. We are enjoying the matters relating to samsAram even if time lengthens or shortens. Why don’t you change your involvement from matters relating to bhagavAn and engage with worldly matters?”  AzhwAr says “Yes, I could do it provided I get a heart which is capable of doing that; my heart knows nothing other than bhagavAn. Even this heart I can engage with, provided he had not stolen it”

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

surunguRi veNNey thoduvuNda kaLvanai vaiyam muRRum
orunguRavuNda peruvayiRRALanai mAvali mAttu
irunguRaLAgi isaiya Or mUvadi vENdichchenRa
perungiRiyAnai allAl adiyEn nenjam pENaladhE

Word-by-Word Meanings

surungu – contracted (with the aid of deceptive ropes)
uRi – hoop like structure, hung from ceiling to keep pots etc
veNNey – butter [kept in a pot inside that hoop like structure]
thodu uNda – one who stole and ate
kaLvanai –  one who incarnated as krishNa having the quality of stealing
vaiyam muRRum – entire world
orungu – in a small corner
uRa – fitting well
uNda – swallowed
peru – huge
vayiRRALanai – having stomach
mAvalimAttu – to mAvali
iru – huge (small)
kuRaLAgi – as vAmana [dwarf]
(went)
isaiya – making (him to) accept
Or – unique
mUvadi – three steps
vENdi – seeking
senRa – one who went with a beautiful gait
perum kiRiyAnai allAl – other than the one who is a great means
(another)
adiyEn – a servitor only for him
nenjam – mind
peNaladhu – will not like

Simple Translation

My heart will not like anyone other than sarvESvaran who ate butter from the hoop by stealing, who kept all the worlds inside corner of his stomach, who went to mahAbali, seeking alms as a dwarf and made him agree to giving him three steps of land and who is a great means [for attaining himself].

vyAkyAnam

surunguRi veNNey – it was a hoop made with deceptive ropes [so that its location would not be known easily].

veNNey thoduvuNda – he stole the butter and ate it, without disturbing the marks which had been made by the owners of butter.

kaLvanai – he stole the concept of stealing itself; thus some people [who had lost their butter] said “This could not have been stolen by people; did Gods steal our butter? Did we not keep butter inside that?”

vaiyam . . . – while his stomach got filled up with butter, when he swallowed all the worlds [during deluge], it did not fill up even half his stomach. The implication here is that he would be able to sustain himself with a material touched by his followers while his mind was not much enthused about protecting the worlds.

mAvali mAttu – he approached and attained a demonic entity; AzhwAr says that sarvESvaran should have attained him who desired only sarvESvaran and none else.

irunguRaLAgi – being a huge dwarf [The word iru which means huge is used as a viparIthalakshaNam here – meaning exactly the opposite]. His short stature was such that among the dwarfs of the world, the shortest dwarf would appear like thrivikraman in his presence.

isaiya – he did all the work to make mahAbali to agree to his request; making mahAbali’s acceptance to be under his control. Though there were others (sukrAchAryar) who did not want mahAbali to accede to his request, sarvESvaran made mahAbali to accept.

Or mUvadi vENdichchenRa – instead of asking for two steps and measuring with both the steps, he asked for three steps and measured with two steps so that he could imprison mahAbali with the third step.

vENdichcchenRa perungiRiyAnai allAl – he went in such a way that his quality of sarva nirapEksham – ‘not desiring anything’ was not manifested. He went such that mahAbali thought “Unless I give him what he wants, he cannot sustain himself”. He hid his quality of ISvarathvam – controlling everyone. He went asking for alms to make it appear that one who does not have any desire unfulfilled, came with a desire. He took such a form that it created mercy in mahAbali.

perungiRiyAn – a hugely clever person.

adiyEn – AzhwAr is not like mahAbali, about to give something. He is not like indhra [head of celestial entities] too, waiting to obtain one. He is one who has lost out to that activity of sarvESvaran’s and made himself as a servitor to sarvESvaran.

nenjam pENaladhE –  he will not desire even the supremacy of the supreme entity, just like hanuman did in SrI rAmAyaNam uththara kANdam 40-15 “bhAvO nAnyathra gachchathi” (my thoughts will not go to anyone other than you0

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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