Author Archives: T N Krishnan

thiruviruththam – 50 – oNNudhal mAmai

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsuram, he had mentioned about how he had not seen a long night and suffered distress like this. Just as it is said in bhagavath gIthA 10-9 “bodhayantha: parasparam” (enlightening one another), the nAyakan comes to console her. The distance which SrI rAma had covered only by walking for fourteen years, was covered by him in one afternoon time when he realised the agitation that bharathAzhwAn had. In the same way, the nAyakan is coming with a great urge. He tells the charioteer certain words then.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

oNNudhal mAmai oLi payavAmai viraindhu nam thEr
naNNudhal vENdum valava kadAginRu thEn navinRa
viNmudhal nAyagan nINmudi veN muththa vAsigaiththAy
maNmudhal sErvuRRu aruvi seyyA niRkum mAmalaikkE

Word-by-Word Meanings

valava – Oh charioteer, who is strong!
oN – beautiful
nudhalnAyaki who has a forehead, her
mAmai – complexion’s
oLi – radiance
payavAmai – before it gets discoloured
thEn – like honey
navinRa – referred to as
viN mudhal – for vibhUthis such as paramapadham
nAyakan – one who is the lord, his
nIL – long
mudi – on top of the crown
veN – white
muththam – pearls’
vAsigaiththAy – arrangement
maN mudhal – earth which is primary (for him)
sErvuRRu – to reach
aruvi – having rivers
seyyA niRkum – flowing in abundance
mA – huge
malaikku – for the thirumalai hill
viraindhu – quickly
nam thEr – our chariot
kadAginRu – conducting
naNNudhal vENdum – we should reach

Simple Translation

The nAyakan tells his charioteer “Oh charioteer who is strong! Before the complexion of nAyaki, who has a beautiful forhead, changes colour, drive the chariot fast [to her place]. We should go fast towards thirumalai hills which have the character of the whitish pearls which are present on the long crown of the lord of paramapadham and which have rivers which start from the peak and flow abundantly towards earth”

vyAkyAnam

oNNudhal mAmai oLi payavAmai – the beautiful complexion of nAyaki who has a beautifully radiant forehead. Radiance is the brightness in the complexion. Before that radiance becomes dull …

oNNudhal mAmai – the nAyakan and the nAyaki are like SrI rAma and sIthAppirAtti who had separated from each other for ten months. During the period of separation, the nAyakan was thinking about nAyaki’s beauty and sustained himself. As an example of such behaviour, the vyAkyAthA cites the words of SrI rAma in SrI rAmAyaNam chandhrakAnthAnanAm subrUma – ability to attract like the moon. The nAyakan thought that he cannot be patient should he lose that beauty and that he could not retrieve the radiance of that beauty should it become dim.

viraindhu nandhEr naNNudhal vENdum – our chariot should reach her fast. Help me in reaching her fast so that she doesn’t blame me in case she loses her complexion.

valava – the activity of the charioteer is similar to that of the charioteer in mahAbhAratha war.

kadAkinRu naNNudhal vENdum – our chariot should reach her with your ability to conduct the chariot.

thEn navinRa . . . –  the nAyakan tells the charioteer that the place where they are going to would be beneficial for the charioteer too; that place, thirumalai, will be like that. The verse could be read as either thEn navinRa mAmalaikkE or thEn navinRa viNmudhal nAyakan. In the former case, the word thEn would refer to beetles and navinRa would refer to the humming sound made by them. In other words, the beetles are singing in thirumalai after drinking honey from the flowers there. In the latter case, just as it has been mentioned in SrI vishNu sUktham vishNOr padhE paramE madhva uthsa: (honey is flowing from the divine feet of sarvESvaran), it is the viNmudhal nAyakan who has been referred to as shedding honey.

viNmudhal nAyakan – he is the lord of paramapadham which is referred to as viN. Alternatively, he is the lord of all vibhUthis including viN (paramapadham).

nINmudi . . . – you would see that the place (thirumalai) is such that it would remove all the difficulties suffered during the time of separation. SrIvaikuNtanAthan has a long crown; the crown has white pearls; thirumalai has the quality of those pearls. SrIvaikuNtam could be considered as a simile for the greatness of thirumalai. Compared to this place (thirumalai) which could be seen by the eyes, SrIvaikuNtam is a step lower. Since the greatness of thirumalai could be experienced through the eyes, its true nature will be clear to the eyes. Even though authentic texts confirm that such greatness is there in SrIvaikuNtam too, one could only hold a strong belief that the feature exists; only this [thirumalai] could be experienced through the eyes.

maNmudhal sErvuRRu – approaching down to the earth

aruvi seyyA niRkum malaikkE – all our difficulties will be removed once we reach there. nAchchiyAr thirumozohi 8-3 says kuLir aruvi vEngadam – thiruvEngadam (thirumalai) which is with cool streams.

svApadhESam (distinguished meaning): looking at the anguish of AzhwAr in separation, the followers of sarvESvaran come quickly to console him. Just as pirAtti (SrI mahAlakshmi) forgot all about mithilA after attaining SrInivAsan who is standing amidst cool streams, AzhwAr also forgot about [AzhwAr]thirunagari and the followers are rushing to see him in this state.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 49 – paNdum palapala

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avathArikai (Introduction)

Earlier, AzhwAr was wondering whether sarvESvaran had not blessed him in a distinguished way. In the previous pAsuram, he realised that he has been showered with distinguished mercy by sarvESvaran. He now wonders “Though he has showered his mercy, why is he still keeping me in samsAram which is a hurdle for enjoying him continuously?” Due to this distress of separation from sarvESvaran, he assumes the mood of pirAtti (consort of sarvESvaran). After being united with sarvESvaran and having separated from him, the nAyaki, unable to tolerate this distress, tells how she is suffering in the night time. Or, these words could be taken to have been spoken by her friend.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

paNdum palapala vIngiruL kANdum ippAyiruL pOl
kaNdum aRivadhum kEtpadhum yAmilam kALavaNNa
vaNdundhuzhAyp perumAn madhusUdhanan dhAmOdharan
uNdum umizhndhum kadAya maNNEranna oNNudhalE

Word-by-Word Meanings

kALam – dark
vaNNam – having colour
vaNdu – beetles
uN – drinking (honey)
thuzhAy – having divine thuLasi
perumAn – being a benefactor
madhusUdhanan – having annihilated the demon, madhu
dhAmOdharan – sarvESvaran who has the (scar of) the rope tied around his stomach (by yaSOdhA pirAtti)
uNdum – swallowed (during deluge)
umizhndhum – spat out (during creation)
kadAya – carried out (protected)
maN – bhUmi (earth)’s
nEr – for the beauty
anna – matching
oN – beautiful
nudhalE – Oh one who has forehead!
paNdum – earlier too
pala pala – different types
vIngu – growing
iruL – darkness
kANdum – we have seen
i – this
pAy – spreading
iruL pOl – like darkness
yAm – we
kaNdum – seen
aRindhum ilam –  have not known
kEtpadhum ilam – have not heard of

Simple Translation

sarvESvaran has the divine thuLasi garland from which dark coloured beetles are drinking honey; he killed the demon madhu and has the [scar of the] rope with which yaSOdhAppirAtti had tied him [when he stole butter during his incarnation as krishNa] on his divine stomach. Oh one who has a beautiful forehead which is as beautiful as the earth which that sarvESvaran swallowed during deluge, spat out during creation and protected! We have seen different types of nights in the past. However, have we seen or heard of or known a night which has spread out as much as this?

vyAkyAnam

paNdum palapala vIngiruL kANdum – In earlier times too, she has spent several nights in distress due to separation from him. AzhwAr says that just as sage mArkaNdEya has seen several deluges, he too has suffered in distress over several nights in the past.

vIngiruL kANdum – we have seen several nights which had extended over a long time.

ippAyiruL . . . – However, we have not seen a night which extended for such a long time as this night. We do not see a place where we can rest in this night as it has pervaded everywhere, just like deluge.  We have not heard that even the daughter of janaka maharAjar (sIthAppirAtti), who had also suffered in separation like us, would have suffered during a night like this. AzhwAr says that he had in the past, as a samsAri, seen and suffered for many nights. Even after attaining knowledge granted by sarvESvaran with causeless mercy, he had suffered for many nights. However, after being showered with distinguished mercy by sarvESvaran, he has not suffered like this ever.

kALa vaNNan – The entity which casued harm for us through this dark coloured night is one which has a dark complexion. Just as it is said in periya thiruvandhAdhi 26 “iruLanna mAmeni” (huge form which is dark), did he not manifest his dark form to make me like this? This darkness ,which is similar to the dark night when he, with a form which is as dark as this, had come in happier times and embraced me, is the reason for my sorrow.

vaNduN thuzhAy – he explains the beauty of the divine form which came through decorations.

madhusUdhanan – he is the one who removes hurdles which come about due to enjoying such beauty, just like he removed the demon madhu.

dhAmOdharan – he is obedient towards those who are happy on seeing him, such that they could even tie him down to a mortar.

uNdum . . . – engaging in activities such as swallowing, spitting etc

maNNEranna – when it is considered that she is an entity to be protected by him, she is like bhUmi (earth). If this pAsuram is considered to have been recited by the nAyaki, the meaning will be – just like bhUmippirAtti was protected by you from being annihilated during deluge, if I have to exist after being caught by this dark night, it will be with your assistance only; if it is to be considered as having been recited by the nAyaki’s friend, the meaning will be – you should understand that he is not one who will see his wealth being destroyed; he is one who will look at with consideration. Just as he had protected bhUmippirAtti from deluge, he will not leave until he protects you too from the sadness of this night.

oNNudhalE – I had cited an example (bhUmi) only to illustrate that you are his wealth. However, will that bhUmi match you? Don’t you alone have the beauty of form which will attract him?

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 48 – melliyal Akkai

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avathArikai (Introduction)

AzhwAr felt as if he was deprived of strength, wondering as to why he was being kept in samsAram. sarvESvaran thought in his divine mind “He feels that he is on fire while in samsAram because he feels that he is staying there for himself. If I tell him ‘You are here for my sake’ he will be able to sustain. Moreover, that is also the nature that he wishes to attain”. He told AzhwAr “AzhwIr! Do not feel anguished. There is no connection for you with this samsAram; you are not living here for your sake; it is only for my sake. We want to bring out a few pAsurams (hymns) through you, which will appeal to me as well as to those who are with me. We wanted to bring out our qualities such as simplicity etc through those pAsurams. Is it not for this that we kept you here?” On hearing this, AzhwAr thought “Then there is no hurdle. If it is going to be aligned to my true nature and it is the one which I am going to attain, there is no issue at all”. He is amazed that sarvESvaran is accomplishing this task through him and speaks about sarvESvaran’s quality of considering him as an object worthy of attention.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

melliyal Akkkaikkirumi kuruvil miLirdhandhAngE
selliya selgaiththu ulagai enkANum ennAlum thannaich
cholliya sUzhal thirumAl avan kavi yAdhu kaRREn
palliyin sollum sollAk koLvadhu uNdO paNdu paNdE

Word-by-Word Meanings

melliyal – being soft
Akkai – having a form
kuruvil – in a wound (i.e. in samsAram)
miLirdhandhu – being born
AngE – in that place
selliya – what is to happen
selgaiththu – having that activity
kirumi – a worm
ulagai – matters relating to the world
en kANum – what will it know?
ennAlum – through me, who has no intelligence
thannai – about him who is unlimited
solliya – explaining
sUzhal – amazing entity
thirumALavan – matter concerning Sriya:pathi (consort of SrImahAlakshmi)
kavi – sthOthrams (verses of praise)
Adhu – all of them
kaRREn – I learnt (from him)
paNdu paNdu – from time immemorial
palliyin – lizard’s
sollum – whatever it says
sollAk koLvadhu – recognising as true (whether it is favourable or unfavourable)
uNdu – has been in vogue

Simple Translation

A worm, which has a soft form, is born in this samsAram which is like a wound. What will the worm, which keeps getting tossed about inside that wound, know about the world? sarvESvaran, who has unlimited greatness, who is an amazing entity and who is the consort of SrI mahAlakshmi, made me, who has no capability in anything, to speak about his qualities. I learnt from him all those words of praise [about him]. Is it not in vogue from time immemorial to consider the sounds of a lizard as subtly hinting about the future?

vyAkyAnam

melliyal Akkaik kirumi – There is nothing among his svarUpam (true nature), rUpam (divine form), guNam (auspicious qualities), aiSvaryam (wealth) etc which is known to me. He decided to carry out the task of explaining about him through me who knows nothing about him.

melliyal Akkaik kirumi – worm with a very soft nature of physical form. It is so soft that if the air which gets expelled when the eyelids close, blows on it, it will perish. It is so lowly that it cannot even be considered as a creature.

kuruvil miLirdhandhu – being born in a wound called kranthippuN. Why did the AzhwAr say miLirndhu and not piRandhu (another word for being born)? The worm has only birth and death, with nothing called as ‘life’ in between the two. Hence he called it as miLirndhu. It could be called as piRandhu only if it takes a body and reaches an end goal, as described in panchAgni vidhyA (a set of five activities which describes the journey of a soul through five different stages in its repeated cycle of births and deaths).

AngE – in that wound

selliya selgaiththu – involved in some activity. Apart from being born and living, other activities such as being looked at with detestation by the others and death also take place in that wound itself. It thinks that it is becoming beautiful, over a period of time. It knows nothing other than the wound, just like some people will ask “Which is the tree where paddy grows?”

ualagai en kANum – what will that worm know of the world when its existence is as described above? AzhwAr says that this is his status too.

ennAlum – through me, who is the boundary for ignorance, incapability etc

thannai – did he want to convey one of his activities through me who is in the state of that worm? When Sruthi and smruthi (sacred texts and their explanatory works respectively) returned empty-handed, after trying to measure just one quality of his, bliss, as mentioned in thaiththirIya upanishath, he wanted to convey through me about him.

solliya – sarvEsvaran had intended to explain through AzhwAr. Before he could even guess if it is possible through him, he told AzhwAr about himself. What is the reason for this?

sUzhal – because he is the one with amazing activities.

thirumAL – since he is the consort of SrI mahAlakshmi, he told AzhwAr alone about about his activities and not to all.

thirumAlavan kavi – it is to compose poems on the togetherness of sarvESvaran and periya pirAtti. This mentions the distinction with SrI rAmAyaNam. While SrI rAmAyaNam started by saying sIthAyAS charitham mahath – great narrative about sIthAppirAtti, when it was sung, he alone heard it, without her presence. It is not like that here; both of them were together.

Adhu kaRREn – it could be yAdhu kaRREn or Adhu kaRREn; if it is yAdhu kaRREn, it would imply that whatever he [AzhwAr] had learnt, it was his [sarvESvaran’s] hymns. If it is Adhu karrEN, it would imply that he had learnt every hymn about thirumAl.

kaRREn – just as it has been mentioned in thiruvAimozhi 7-9-2 “en mun sollum” (recite in front of me), sarvESvaran started reciting the santhai, I continued after him (santhai is a methof of learning in which the teacher recites a verse once and the disciple repeats twice, after the teacher). How was this completed? He responds saying . . . .

palliyin sollum . . . . – when a person with very little knowledge starts saying something, one with deep knowledge would correct it and complete it. Lizard would make some sounds such as nathu nathu which would be meaningless. However, learned people would make use of that sound for their favourable / unfavourable events. Similarly, I had said some gibberish which came to me at various points of time and he corrected them as if to refer to his auspicious qualities and accepted them.

paNdu paNdE – from time immemorial, we have seen respect for lizard’s sounds like this. sarvESvaran made that to be seen in AzhwAr’s matter, by all.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 47 – thiriginRadhu

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avathArikai (Introduction)

The nAyaki’s mother, looking at the distress of her daughter in separation (from the nAyakan) after being united with him, wonders as to what will happen to her, considering the greatness of various things which torment her as well as considering her softness.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

thiriginRadhu vadamArudham thingaL vendhImugandhu
soriginRadhu adhuvumadhu kaNNan viNNUr thozhavE
sariginRadhu angam thaNNandhuyAkku vaNNam payalai
viriginRadhu muzhu meyyum ennAngol en melliyaRkE

Word-by-Word Meanings

vadamArudham – northerly wind
thiriginRadhu – is blowing
thingaL – moon
vem – cruel
thI – fire
mugandhu – scooping a lot
soriginRadhu – is showering
adhuvum – similarly, other harmful entities such as the evil cuckoo
adhu – started harming like that moon.
kaNNan – krishNa’s
viN – in paramapadham
Ur –  SrIvaikuNtam, his dwelling place
thozha – to attain (thinking of worshipping)
sangam – bangle
sariginRadhu – is slipping
thaN – cool
am – beautiful
thuzhAykku – in the divine thuLasi (due to desire)
vaNNam – natural colour
payalai – becoming pale
muzhu meyyum – throughout the physical form
viriginRadhu – pervaded
en melliyaRku – for my soft-natured daughter
en Angol – will anything harmful happen (later)?

Simple Translation

The northerly wind is blowing everywhere. Moon is showering cruel fire. Other entities such as the evil cuckoo etc are also raining fire, just like the moon. Since my daughter is thinking of continuously enjoying SrIvaikuNtam, the dwelling place of krishNa, her bangle is slipping out of her hands since her desire is not getting fulfilled. Due to her desire for his cool, beautiful divine thuLasi garland, her natural complexion is fading and she is becoming pale. Where will all these end for my daughter?

vyAkyAnam

thiriginRadhu vada mArudham – Just like an elephant in rut would size up a man and roam around, the northerly wind was roaming here and there. Waiting for the moment when the nAyakan’s glance would move away from her face, it wanted to harm her and was roaming around. Another interpretation – normally, northerly breeze would be cool. But it changed its nature and blew hot.

thingaL . . . – moon saw the change in the nature of northerly breeze and thought “Why am I not doing anything?” Immediately, he too showered fire, on his part.

vem thI – fire and breeze joined together. The northerly breeze was like boiling water [bringing in another aspect of heat] instead of like fire.

mugandhu soriginRadhu – both of them burnt the nAyaki without any shortcoming in the heat.

adhuvum adhu – just like northerly wind and moon, there are other entities too which harm those who are in separation – the sound of ocean, the Indian love bird (anRil), breeze, sound from the bell around the bull’s neck etc. Since the harm created by these entities could not be described in words, she (nAyaki’s mother) is saying “adhuvum”. Alternatively, if we consider the meaning for thiriginRadhu as roaming, adhuvum adhu would mean that the breeze too showered fire just like the moon.

kaNNan . . . – Is it necessary to say that there are some others too who are responsible for her position [such as moon, wind etc]? If someone becomes distressed and the bangles slip out, sarvESvaran would incarnate himself and be easily approachable. She (the nAyaki) wishes to see him in his permanent residence of SrI vaikuNtam. Due to despondence, she started slimming and her bangles slipped out of her hands.

kaNNan viNNUr – Is it not sufficient to say SrIvaikuNtam? Why call it as krishNa’s SrivaikuNtam? In SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 33-17 it says “rAghavasya nivESanE” SrI rAma’s palace, to refer to the palace. This is similar to that [to give emphasis].

thaNNandhuzhAy . . . – SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 16-21 pathisammAnithA – sithA who was respected by her husband – thinking of that event when sIthAppirAtti received the garland from SrI rAma and donned it on her shoulders, the nAyikA’s physical form becomes pale.

vaNNam . . . . – her natural complexion became pale and spread throughout her form.

ennAngol . . . . – the nAyikA’s mother wonders “if even the northerly breeze could turn her complexion into a pale colour, if these things too happen (entire body becoming pale, bangles slipping out etc) what will happen to her?”

svApadhESam (distinguished meaning): AzhwAr sings through the pAsuram of those who were nearby, and who felt, on seeing his natural softness and distressed condition as well as the entity that he desired is confidential “Would we lose him forever?” seeing his condition in separation.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 46 – madanenjam enRum

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr praised his heart saying “vAzhi mada nenjamE”. His heart asked him “Why should you praise me like this? What did I do?” He replied saying “You have been here all along to explain the relationship between sarvESvaran and me. Now, you have become the target of his mercy. You have become friendly with him. Was it not because of you that I too got this fortune?” Having celebrated like this, the previous experience (between AzhwAr and sarvESvaran) became like a dream, with the experience limited to internal faculty (mind). AzhwAr desired external union and since that did not fructify, AzhwAr became upset. Looking at his distressed condition, his divine mind asked him “What should I do here?” AzhwAr told his mind “Go to the divine feet of narashimhan who tore the heart of hiraNyakasipu and inform him of my condition”. The mind too went, but did not return, which made AzhwAr to become more afflicted. While he desired to be united with perum kEzhalAr (sarvESvaran in varAhAvathAram), why is he sending his mind to narasimhAvathAram? Since both the incarnations were benevolent towards followers, he sent the messenger to the latter. In the previous pAsuram when he called his heart as mada nenjamE (Oh obedient heart!) it too, not refusing, became favourable towards him and agreed to carry out his task. Now he is disgusted with the same heart. Why did he praise it earlier and why is he disgusted with it now? The mind created deep desire in him for sarvESvaran and nurtured that desire to such an extent that AzhwAr could not sustain himself without uniting with him. Instead of fulfilling that task by being together with him, the heart deserted him. Hence he is disgusted with it. The mind [in all these vyAkyAnams, mind and heart are interchangeably used], apart from being the reason for creating a relationship with sarvESvaran, should also be the reason for attaining mOksham (uniting with sarvESvaran in paramapadham). While sarvESvaran is the reason for mOksham, why is AzhwAr saying that mind is the casue for mOksham? Just as it has been mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam kishkindhA kANdam 1-127 “raraksha dharmENa balEna cha” ((lakshmaNa vigilantly) protected (SrI rAma) (with an undespaired mind and) even by his virtue and strength), AzhwAr’s mind should have stayed with him until he attained sarvESvaran and told him “Whatever troubles you have had, I too had experienced with you”. While the words of those who say that only sarvESvaran is the means [for attaining him] are uttered after discriminating between what is apt and what is inapt, there are certain requirements from the chEthana (sentient entity) too who wishes to attain mOksham. First he should exist. Even if he exists, he should engage with the means; he should know the purushArtham (end-goal or benefit) which is apt for him and a heart which helps to develop ruchi (interest / taste) in that benefit. Moreover, he should shun the other means, carrying out activities which alone will be apt for sarvESvaran. When sarvESvaran himself is the means and readily available, the reason for the chEthana to continue in samsAram is because the requirements mentioned above have not developed in him. Thus, when the heart should have stayed with him until he attained his end-goal, since it did not do, he is upset with his heart.

Let us go through the pAsiuram and its meanings

madanenjam enRum thamadhenRum Or karumam karudhi
vida nenjai uRRAr vidavO amaiyum appon peyarOn
thadanenjam kINda pirAnAr thamadhikkIzh vidappOyth
thida nenjamAy emmai nIththu inRu thARum thiriginRadhE

Word-by-Word Meanings

appon peyarOn – that hiraNyakaSipu’s
thadam – broad
nenjam – chest
kINda – tore
pirAnAr thamadhu – benefactor, sarvESvaran’s
adikkIzh – under the divine feet as objective
vida – on sending (the mind)
pOy – going (there)
thidam – firmly
nenjamAy – having deep belief
emmai – us
nIththu – leaving
inRu thArum – till date
thiriginRadhu – is roaming
(Hence)
nenjam – mind
madam enRum – saying that it is obedient (to us)
thamadhu enRum – saying that it is our limb
Or karumam – an activity
karudhi – thinking (of doing)
nenjai – mind
vida – to send (on an errand)\
uRRAr – those who had planned
vida – to drop (that activity)
amaiyum – will be apt

Simple Translation

I sent my mind with the intention of taking refuge under the divine feet of narasimhan, who had torn the broad chest of hiraNyakaSipu. My mind which went like this, instead of returning to me, stayed firmly there itself, considering those divine feet as an apt place for itself. Those who think that our mind is obedient to us and is ours, and who are planning to send it on an errand, would do well to drop that firmness.

vyAkyAnam

mada nenjam enRum thamadhenRum – there is a wrong impression among many that their minds are obedient to them. The mind has been provided by sarvESvaran as an aid along with the physical form to enable the chEthana (sentient entity) to reach his end-goal. Hence they may consider the mind as theirs. Moreover, apart from the physical form and the five senses, sarvESvaran had provided the heart to propel the chEthana towards the end-goal and to create an interest in it. This being the case, there is no fault in thinking that the heart is one’s own. If one were obedient to another and the other person becomes distressed, the obedient entity should stand by that person and tell him “I am also suffering the same difficulties which you suffered”. Also, one who is a SEshan (carrying out servitude) should reveal his master’s fame and good qualities. However, AzhwAr says that the heart does not have these qualities.

Or karumam . . . – some people may be bold enough to send their hearts on errands. If their hearts leave them without carrying out that errand, it is better not to feel sorrowful about it. It is better not to have an attachment to that errand.

If this is the case, let the heart remain like that. Why search for it? . . . .

appon peyarOn  . . . – being under his control and being his slave, isn’t this the target for that mind to be engaged in?

appon peyarOn thadanenjam kINda pirAnAr thamadhu adikkIzh vida – did I leave it in a place where I cannot be successful? Did I not leave it where the one who does benefits for us, is present? AzhwAr feels that the benefit which sarvESvaran did for his follower [prahlAdhan] is as good as having done for him.

appon peyarOn – prahlAdhan, who was sired by hiraNyakaSipu, recited the divine names of sarvESvaran. Getting angry with him because of this, hiraNyan meted out punishments to his son, which he would mete out to his enemies. Thinking of those cruelties AzhwAr is referring to him as pon peyarOn.

Here, the vyAkyAthA explains a few lines from periya thirumozhi pAsuram 2-3-8 paLLiyil Odhi vandha siRuvan

paLLiyil Odhivandha – whatever the children recite, which they had learnt from their school, is always joyous.

than siRuvan – it would be joyous even if other children recite it. But if it is by one’s own child, it is more delightful.

vAyil Or Ayira nAmam oLLiyavAgippOdha – the words recited by prahlAdhan were such that even if they had been recited by an enemy, one would have fallen at the enemy’s feet!

onRum Or poRuppilanAgi – hiraNyakaSipu had carried out asahyApachAram (irreverence, being unable to bear) in the case of prahlAdhan. While he was related to prahlAdhan, being his father, not respecting that, he did to prahlAdhan what enemies would do.

piLLaiyaichchIRi – he gave up prahlAdhan saying “He is not my son” just because prahlAdhan recited the divine names of sarvESvaran.

AzhwAr is mentioning a connection that he has with him.

thada nenjam – the huge chest [of hiraNyakaSipu} which had grown to become a prey for sarvESvaran’s divine nails and divine teeth.

kINda – even when narasimhap perumAn had not torn it, the physical form of hiraNyakaSipu started melting on merely looking at that divine form and fury. Without any difficulty, narasimhap perumAn tore that chest.

pirAnAr – would narasimhap perumAn, who came running when prahlAdhan’s father himself turned inimical, be able to tolerate should AzhwAr send a messenger due to his distressed condition in separation? While he had helped for prahlAdhan’s clarity of mind, he would indeed help for AzhwAr’s distressed condition. Not only because prahlAdhan had deep devotion, as mentioned in SrI vishNu purANam 1-19-88 ”maththassarvam ahamsarvam” (Everything is mine (being a form of bhagavAn), I am everything (having bhagavAn as antharyAmi)), he has devotion with clarity.

thamadhadikkIzh vida – leaving his heart under such narasimha perumAn’s divine feet.

pOy thida nenjamAy – his heart, while going to sarvESvaran as AzhwAr’s messenger had thought “AzhwAr is in tears. Will he sustain himself until I return?” But once it reached there, it seemed to have taken his [sarvESvaran’s] nature. When sIthAppirAtti separated from SrI rAma for the second time (due to the disparaging words of a washerman), did he not sustain himself for long? Probably, the heart too took to this nature.

emmai nIththu – leaving me aside, completely.

inRu . . . – let us at the least hear that the heart felt bad saying “Now that I have left him, to whom will he cry about his distress in separation? How bad that we have left him like this?” The heart was roaming around, like this.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 45 – perum kEzhalAr

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avathArikai (Introduction)

There is no avathArikai for this pAasuram.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

perungEzhalAr tham perum kaN malarppuNdarIgam nammEl
orungE piRazha vaiththAr ivvakAlam oruvar nam pOl
varungEzhbavar uLarE thollai vAzhiyanjUzh piRappum
marungE varappeRumE sollu vAzhi mada nenjamE

Word-by-Word Meanings

perum kEzhalAr – varAhapperumAL (divine wild boar) who has a huge form
tham – his
malar – blossomed
puNdarIgam – like a lotus flower
perum – expansive
kaN – divine eyes
nam mEl – upon us
orungE – completely
piRazha – to join
vaiththAr – kept
ivva kAlam – during this time
oruvar – anyone
nam pOl – like us
varum – that which happened
kEzhbavar – having the benefit
uLarE – is there?
thollai – for a very long time
Azhi –  cannot be crossed like the ocean
Am – beautiful (being cruel)
sUzh – surrounding
piRappum – birth
marungE – nearby (with those connected to me)
varappeRumE – will it occur?
madam – being obedient
nenjamE – oh heart!
sollu – tell
vAzhi – may you live long

Simple Translation

varAhap perumAn (Sriman nArAyaNa who incarnated as the divine wild boar) with his huge divine form,  kept his divine eyes which were like blossomed lotus flowers, completely upon me. Is there anyone else, during this time, who had got the benefit just like we had obtained? When such is the situation, could the cycle of births, which is like a huge ocean surrounding us and which cannot be crossed, come near us? Oh my mind! You please tell. May you live long.

vyAkyAnam

perum kEzhalAr – In the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr had said that we cannot attain sarvESvaran through our efforts and that he attained sarvESvaran through his mercy. Some people asked AzhwAr, who was joyous because of this “You seem happy that sarvESvaran manifested himself to us who are standing in the middle of samsAram. Would the benefit of crossing this samsAram last eternally for us?” He responds through this pAsuram saying that for those who got total mercy through him, there is no shortcoming. varAha avathAram (incarnation as divine wild boar), who protected bhUmippirAtti, the protected entity, was very huge. Just as it is mentioned in nAchchiyAr thirumozhi 11-8 “mAsudambil nIr vArA” he let all the dirt gather on his divine form [to appear as natural as a boar]. Just as SrI rAma said in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha KANdam 120-11 “AthmAnam mAnusham manyE” (I am rAma, the son of dhaSaratha and I am a human being), the radiance of this varAha was such that even the radiance of SrI vaikuntanAthan was no match for this. Just as it has been said in thiruvAimozhi 3-3-6 “en mEL pAsam vaiththa param sudar sOdhiyai ISan vAnavarkkenban enRAl adhu thEsamO” he manifested himself to many, including monkeys, who had not known him. When such is the case, is it apt to say that he manifested himself to those who knew him?

tham perum kaN malar – his huge form of wild boar was full of eyes. Alternatively, his form was like a huge ocean and that ocean was full of lotus flowers (his divine eyes). SrI vishNu purANam 1-4-26 says “mahA varAha: sputapadhmalOchana:” – he has a huge form of wild boar and has divine eyes just like blossomed lotus flowers.

tham perum kaN malar – he lifted bhUmippirAtti who was surrounded by deluge thus carrying out an apt activity for her. He looked at bhUmippirAtti with his cool eyes.

nam mEl – on us, her children.

orungE – the glance which he kept on us was not shifted to bhUmippirAtti too.

piRazha vaiththAr – he glanced towards us fully.

ivva kAlam – it was a time when trees which had shed their leaves fully, became a great foliage with fresh sprouts and flowers.

oruvar nam pOl varum kEzhbavar uLarE – Is there anyone else who has got benefitted like we had got? Since sarvESvaran is not dependent on anyone, there is no benefit for him; since mukthas and nithyasUris are near him, there is no benefit for them too; since bhakthas (those who attempt to attain him through devotion) are fully focussed on bhagavath vishayam (matters related to bhagavAn) they also do not have this benefit; SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 66-10 says “najIvEyam kshaNamapi vinAthAm asithEkshiNAm” (I cannot sustain myself without sIthA, even for a moment). Since she had this greatness, she too did not get this benefit. The opinion here is that that there is no one else, who had got such a benefit which he had attained, standing in a lowly situation [being a samsAri].

thollai . . . – when such is the situation, will the cycle of births, which is very ancient, which has grown without any shortcoming, which is full of faults and which surrounds us wherever we go, come anywhewre near those who are related to me? ALavandhAr had said in SthOthra rathnam 5 “madhanvayAnAm” (those who are related to me); AzhwAr says that no ill will befall him or those who are related to him.

sollu vAzhi mada nenjamE – Oh heart, you have been roaming around everywhere, giving your opinion on everything. Tell me on this. This AzhwAr is going to say in the 66th pAsuram of this prabandham “vaigundham annAL kuzhalvAy virai poL viNdugaL vArum malaruLavO”. Oh heart! You are obedient to me. May you live long.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 44 – niRam uyar

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avathArikai (Introduction)

Some people asked AzhwAr “You say that sarvESvaran is not an entity who could be attained as per our wish. Is it not possible to know about him?” He responds saying “It is not that way. With his mercy, we could know about him”.

Let us go thorugh the pAsuram and its meanings:

niRam uyar kOlamum pErum uruvum ivai ivai enRu
aRamuyal gyAnachchamayigaL pEsilum angangellAm
uRavuyar gyAnachchudar viLakkAy ninRadhanRi onRum
peRa muyanRAr illaiyAl empirAna perumaiyaiyE

Word-by-Word Meanings

niRam – due to the beauty (of the divine form)
uyar – wondrous
kOlamum – decorations
pErum – divine names
uruvum – auspicious divine forms
ivai ivai enRu – saying that these are of such and such type
aRam – righteously
muyal – attempting
gyAnam – having devotion
samayigaL – those who are firmly engaged in the philosophy of paths of vEdhams (sacred texts)
pEsilum – even if they instruct
angangellAm – in all those entities of beauty etc
uRa – to attain
uyar – distinguished
gyAnam – related to knowledge
sudar – splendorous
viLakkAy – having intelligence
(as people of wisdom)
ninRadhanRi – apart from being that way
empirAna – emperumAn’s
perumaiyai – greatness
onRum – in any way
peRa – to attain
muyanRArillai – they did not attempt

Simple Translation

People who are firmly established in the path of righteousness may instruct about the decorations, divine names, auspicious divine forms etc which had attained greatness due to emperumAn’s beauty. However, it cannot be said that they have splendorous knowledge about emperumAn’s beauty etc. They have not attempted to describe fully his incomparable greatness in any way.

vyAkyAnam

niRam . . . – beauty is what one gets as existence after holding on to sarvESvaran. vyAkyAthA narrates about what hanuman said after looking at SrI rAma’s beauty and becoming subservient to him. SrI rAma and lakshmaNa, searching for sIthAppirAtti, had approached the place where sugrIva and others were hiding. sugrIva was worried that they could be inimical people and sent hanuman to find out about them. hanuman came to their place, saw them, and forgetting his primary task, started singing paens on them, as mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam kishkindhA kANdam 3-14 “simhas skandhau mahOthsAhau samadhau ivagOvrishau AyathAScha suvruthASha bhAhava: parighOpamA:” (lion-shouldered, full of fortitude, vigorous like bulls, lengthy and circular shoulders, looking similar to clubs). sarvESvaran is that beautiful. hanuman realised that on merely seeing them, the purpose for which he came had become successful [to befriend sugrIva and help him in getting back his wife and kingdom]. AyathA: AjAnubhAhu – SrI rAma’s divine arms came down to his knees and extended further beyond. hanuman found that both SrI rAma and lakshmaNa, who is referred to as in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 28-24 “rAmasya dhakshiNObhAhu” (right hand of SrI rAma) had not decorated themselves with any ornament. He continues, as in SrI rAmAyaNam kishkindhA kANdam 3-15 “sarvabhUshaNa bhUshArhA: kim artham na vibhUshithA:” (while your physique is fit for being decorated with all ornaments, why have you not decorated with any ornament?) Why have you not worn the ornaments which have lost their beauty (since they are not decorating you)? Some kings would take a vow that they would not drink milk or eat betel leaves until they won over a particular king. Have you too taken a vow that you will not wear ornaments until you annihilate the enemies of sages in forests? Or are you not wearing ornaments thinking that you could attract monkeys roaming in the forest such as me with your external beauty?

pErum – he has divine names, befitting this beauty, such as mentioned in thiruvAimozhi 7-3-10 “magaranedum kuzhaikkAdhar” (one who has ears similar to long fish).  The vyAkyAthA narrates a few incidents from the lives of our pUrvAchAryars (preceptors). thirumalai nambi, the son of periya thirumalai nambi (who was bhagavath rAmAnuja’s AchArya) was in his final days. He called kaNiyanUr siRiyAththAn, the disciple of parASara bhattar, and asked him “Could you tell me the divine name which parASara bhattar used to constantly meditate on, as his refuge?” siRiyAththAn hesitated since he wasn’t sure about the specific divine name which he should recount. thirumalai nambi egged him on, saying “dhASarathy! This is not the time to keep quiet.” Immediately, siRiyAththAn responded saying “He used to recount many divine names, including nArAyaNan. However, the one divine name in which he was much engaged with is azhagiya maNavALapperumAL” Hearing this, thirumalai nambi said “Instead of saying namperumAL, he has said azhagiya maNavALapperumAL, just like a dharmapathni (wife who walks in the path of righteousness) refers to her husband. In any case, other than this divine name which bhattar used to meditate on, there is no refuge for adiyEn” and reiciting “azhayagiyamaNavALapperumALE SaraNam” (I take refuge under azhagiya maNavALapperumAL) he breathed his last and ascended to paramapadham. Another preceptor, Achchimagan, disciple of parASara bhattar, was lying unconsciously, in his final days. bhattar went to his house and recited in his ears “azhayagiyamaNavALapperumALE SaraNam”. On hearing this, previous memories came flooding to Achchimagan; he recited the same and ascended to paramapadham.

uruvum – it is not only the divine name, even the auspicious divine form has similar effect, says the vyAkyAthA. ALavandhAr’s son, sottai nambi, was in his last days. His disciples came to see him and asked of him “What are you constantly thinking about?” sottai nambi said “I will go to SrI vaikuNtam and have dharSan of (audience with) SrI vaikuNtanAthan. If his divine face is not as cool as namperumAL’s, I will pierce through SrIvaikuNtam and come back running to namperumAL”. Once, parASara bhattar was near namperumAL who had mercifully come for taking thirumanjanam (divine bath). namperumAL asked him “What do you wish to have?” bhattar said “You should remove your divine vasthram (dress) and show your divine thigh”. There was belief that if one were to have EkAntha sEvai (having dharSan of namperumAL in private), he would ascend to paramapadham. On hearing this, namperumAL asked him “Are you worried whether you would get such a benefit?” bhattar responded saying “nAyanthE (my swAmy (lord))! We are not worried about that. We are worried that we might lose your cool divine face and the beauty of the scar of kasthUri thilakam (divine mark applied on namperumAL) [i.e. We may not see these in paramapadham]”

uruvum – divine form.

ivai ivai enRu – saying in amazement, “This is such a decoration! This is such a divine name! This is such a beauty!”

aRamuyal – those who are constantly engaged with the path of righteousness

gyAnachchamayigaL – those who constantly meditate on dhaharavidhyA, chAndilyavidhyA, sathvidhyA etc (these are different modes mentioned in upanishaths for meditating on sarvESvaran); due to that devotion and affection, they will focus on any one alone, such as beauty or divine name or divine auspicious form etc, not going to the others.

pEsilum – experiencing only one mode this way, and even if they narrate about it

angangellAm – among those decoration, divine name, divine form etc

uRa – what they had attained

uyar gyAnachchudar viLakkAy ninRadhanRi – they will get distinguished knowledge about that one mode alone. Apart from that . . .

perumaiyai onRum peRa muyanRArillaiyAl – they had not attempted to attain the knowledge about emperumAn’s greatness. They could not say anything in full about his greatness other than what he had manifested to them out of his mercy.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 43 – kaNNum sendhAmarai

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avathArikai (Introduction)

There is no avathArikai written by the vyAkyAthA for this pAsuram.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

kaNNum sendhAmarai kaiyum avai adiyO avaiyE
vaNNam kariyadhOr mAl varai pOnRu madhi vigaRpAl
viNNum kadandhu umbar appal mikku maRReppAl yavarkkum
eNNum idaththadhuvO empirAnadhu ezhil niRamE

Word-by-Word Meanings

kaNNum – divine eyes too
sendhAmarai – are like reddish coloured lotus flower
kaiyum – divine hands too
avai – are like that lotus
adi – divine feet too
avai – are like that lotus
vaNNam – divine form
kariyadhu – being black
Or – unique
mAl – huge
varai pOnRu – like a mountain
empirAnadhu – sarvESvaran, our benefactor, his
ezhil – beautiful
niRam – complexion
madhi vigaRpAl – due to differences in intellect
viNNum – dwellers of svargam (heaven)
kadandhu – going past
umbar – brahmA et al, who live beyond these people
appAl – going further
mikku – going wondrously
maRRu – further
eppAl – pervading everywhere (through their knowledge)
yavarkkum – for nithyasUris too
eNNum – for thinking
idaththadhuvO – is it a matter?

Simple Translation

His divine eyes are like a reddish coloured lotus flower; his divine hands and divine feet are also like the lotus flower. His divine form is like a dark, huge mountain which is without any parallel. The beauty of such sarvESvaran, who is a benefactor for us all, is past the entities who are dwelling in svargam, past brahmA et al, who live beyond them, and is also past the knowledge of nithyasUris who pervade everywhere through their knowledge. Is his beauty a matter for them to think about!

vyAkyAnam

In the previous pAsuram, he enjoyed the divine eyes of sarvESvaran by speaking of them as empirAna thadangangaLE. The beauty of those eyes took him to the other limbs.

kaNNum sendhAmarai – He had enjoyed his eyes separately. However, he wants to enjoy the eyes along with the other limbs and hence is speaking about them. Earlier he was fully absorbed in the eyes alone. Now, he is enjoying sarvESvaran’s motherly forbearance and beauty.

kaiyum avai – being attracted by sarvESvaran’s divine eyes, AzhwAr wants to touch his divine form. Knowing this, sarvESvaran embraces him with his divine hands. Sri vishNu purANam 5-18-2 says “samspruSya Akrushyacha  prIthyA sugAdam parishasvajE” (krishNa lifted akrUrar [kamsan’s minister] who fell at his feet and embraced him tightly) – such divine hands.

adiyO avaiyE – The act of embracing  him leads to a feeling of intoxication. Due to this, on swooning, the place where he falls is the divine feet. jithanthE SlOkam 1 says “puNdarIkAksha nama:” (salutations to sarvESvaran who has lotus like eyes). In other words, don’t those who lose out to his eyes, fall at his feet!

vaNNam . . . – the divine form is the means for those who swoon and fall at his divine feet to get back to life. piLLaippiLLai AzhwAn (one of the disciples of kUraththAzhwAn) would say “Just like an infant which is suckling looks at the mother’s face keenly, those who fall at his divine feet look at his divine form”

viNNum kadandhu umbar appal mikku maRReppAl yavarkkum madhi vigaRpAl eNNum idaththadhuvO empirAnadhezhil niRam

madhi vigaRpAl – due to differences in the level of intellect. Even though there is difference in the intelligence levels of samsAris and dhEvAs (celestial entities), it is not possible to know. What is not possible to know? …

viNNum . . . – starting with brahmA who is the cause of samsAris and who has his place of birth at sarvESvaran and who got his knowledge through sarvESvaran, and extending to nithyasUris, is it possible to know the beauty of sarvESvaran, who is my benefactor?

empirAn – AzhwAr celebrates how sarvESvaran manifested his beauty to him, as described in

  • mahAbhAratham mOksha dharmam (187-4) nagrAhya kEnachith kvachith – he cannot be estimated by anyone, in any way
  • kEnOpanishath 1-2 yasyAmatham thasya matham – one who thinks that he does not know (about emperumAn), knows; one who thinks that he knows, does not know.
  • SrI rAmAyaNam AraNya kANdam 1-12 rUpasamhananam lakshmIm saukumAryam suvESathAm dhadhru vismithAkArA rAmasya vanavAsina: – the sages dwelling in [dhandakAraNya] forest saw the physical build, its augustness and softness, and the fine arrangement of limbs, remaining in wondrous form. Sri rAma’s softness of divine form is such that even if sIthappirAtti or lakshmaNa looks at his form, it will wither away. Such a dharSan (sight) which even the dwellers of his kingdom ayOdhyA could not get, was manifested to these sages who dwell in forests.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 42 – van kARRaRaiya

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avathArikai (Introduction)

She said that it is difficult for her to survive the onslaught of this breeze and that she would perish. As soon as she said this, he showered his mercy on her.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

van kARRaRaiya orungE maRindhu kidandhu alarndha
menkAR kamalaththadam pOl melindhana maNNum viNNum
enkARku aLavinmai kANmin enbAn oththu vAn nimirndha
thanpAR paNindha en pAl empirAna thadangaNgaLE

Word-by-Word Meanings

maNNum – the earth
viNNum – the upper worlds
enkARku – for my divine feet
aLavinmai – are not apt
kANmin – please see
enbAn oththu – as if saying so
vAn – in the sky
nimirndha – growing
thanpAl – towards him
paNindha – worshipped
en pAl – (caused) towards me
empirAna – sarvESvaran’s
thadam – expansive
kaNgaL – divine eyes
van – bring cruel
kARRu – wind
aRaiya – to blow
orungE – towards one side
maRindhu kidandhu – having fallen
alarndha – blossoming
men – soft
kAl – having a creeper
kamalam – lotus flowers’
thadam pOl – like ponds
polindhana – were full of beauty

Simple Translation

I worshipped the divine feet of sarvESvaran’s, of which he said “See, neither the earth nor the upper words would equal my divine feet”. How were his divine eyes towards such me? They bent towards me, just like the lotus flowers with long creepers in a pond would, when a strong breeze blows, bend towards one side.

vyAkyAnam

van kARRu . . . menkAl kamalam refers to a lotus whose stem is so slender that it cannot withstand even a gently blowing breeze. van kARRu refers to a breeze which blows hard without taking into consideration the gentleness of this lotus.

orungE – on one side alone. In other words, the divine mercy of emperumAn was oriented towards her alone. If he changes his glance to some other direction, the lotus flowers (divine eyes) will lose their beauty.

maRindhu kidandhu alarndha – if a samsAri (dweller of materialistic realm) comes towards him, sarvESvaran looks at him with mercy. If he wishes to look at even pirAtti, after that, he cannot. thiruvAimozhi 2-6-2 says “engum pakkam nOkkaRiyAn” (he did not look in any other direction)

menkAl kamalam – SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 19-34 says “prakruthayA dharma Seelasya rAghavasya” (SrI rAma is one who, by his nature, treads the path of righteousness). In this SlOkam, the word dharma refers to Sri rAma being of gentle nature. SrI rAma asks the monkeys “What is the way to cross this ocean which is like a hurdle between us and lankA?” SrI vibhIshaNAzhwAn, since he had recently carried out SaraNAgathi (act of surrendering) to SrI rAma and had got the benefit of that act, since he knew that SaraNAgathi is the means for all advantages and since he knew that it grants highest benefits, told SrI rAma to surrender to the ocean. The greatness of SaraNAgathi is that even an insentient entity will grant what has been asked for, when a person performs SaraNAgathi to it. Among the various means to captivate the hearts of great people, there is nothing higher than SaraNAgathi. If it can be effective with sarvESvaran who does not have a clan or limitations, should one doubt whether it will be effective with those who are having restrictions? SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 19-31 “SaraNam … karthum arhathi” (the ocean will be inclined to do what SrI rAma had surrendered for). SrI vibhIshaNAzhwAn had seen the effectiveness of SaraNAgathi with the disciples of sage vasishta [srI rAma and lakshmaNa]. Hence he firmly believed that it will be effective with an insentient entity such as ocean too. The vyAkyAtha cites a thamizh proverb to buttress this belief – erudhu keduththArkkum EzhE kadukkAy – for the one who lost his bull, take seven gall-nuts to retrieve it. The story goes like this – a person had lost his bull; he went to another person and asked him whether he will be able to find it. The other person told him, mischievously, to eat seven gall-nuts and that he would find it. So the owner of the bull ate the gall-nuts and waited at the tank bund. The bull per chance came there. Thinking that he got the bull back because he ate the gall-nuts the person went home happily. On the way back home, a lady, who had not had a child till then, asked of him to giver her a remedy for it. This man told her to ask his friend who had suggested to him to eat the gall-nuts. That person told her too to eat seven gall-nuts. She did that and she conceived. In other words, a deed carried out with deep belief fructifies into desired action.

menkAl kamalam – there is no need for breeze to blow to move these lotus flowers. Their stems will sway on their own; they are that soft. In other words, for sarvESvaran to shower his mercy with his divine eyes, it is not necessary that one should be an Arthaprapannan (one who craves to surrender to get mOksham immediately). sarvESvaran will do that on his own. Is it not required to surrender through one’s mind? vyAkyAthA responds to this doubt by quoting SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 18-3 “mithrabhAvEna samprAptham na thyajEyam” (I do not desert anyone who comes with a friendly appearance, even if he has a defect). Instead of analysing whether vibhIshaNAzhwAn has true friendliness or not towards him, SrI rAma says as in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 18-31 “bala vIryam vinASanam” (It is enough that he came with a friendly demeanour. If I do not accept him, my strength and valour will get devastated). If sarvESvaran demands something from one who comes to surrender to him, which he does not have, then it would result in his not being easily worshippable. sarvESvaran has the nature of accepting whatever the person who comes to surrender to him, has. SrI rAma says in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 18-28 “ArthO vA yadhivA dhruptha parESam SaraNam gatha” (whether he is oppressed or arrogant, if one comes seeking protection from others …). If a person comes saying as in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 17-16 “rAghavam SaraNam gatha” (I take refuge under SrI rAma), it is enough for sarvESvaran. When he heard such words from SrI vibhIshaNAzhwAn, SrI rAma immediately fully realised the tenderness in vibhIshaNa’s heart. sugrIva thought “These are mere words; his thoughts are otherwise. Even though SrI rAma considers him as Artha prapannan he is indeed dhrupthan only. He has something in his mind and speaks differently; he should be killed”. An Arthan is one who thinks that he should live only if he attains sarvESvaran; otherwise, he would die. dhrupthan is one who has arrogance in him and says that he has come to take refuge, not with his full heart but with an arrogance. Whether one is an Arthan or a dhrupthan the benefit is the same. This is because the benefit does not accrue out of the nature of the one who surrenders but based on the greatness of the act of surrendering and the greatness of the one to whom one surrenders. How does dhrupthi act like a means similar to Arthi? While the one who has Arthi has Akinchanyam (not having anything on his own) as a natural behaviour, in the case of one who has dhrupthi sarvESvaran thinks “Since he does not have Akinchanyam, let us go on our own and show him mercy”. Thus whether one is an Arthan or a dhrupthan, if he comes to take refuge, as said in SrI rAmAyaNam 18-28 “parESAm SaraNam gatha” (one who comes to take refuge from others), he will be protected, even if he is from the enemy side. periya thirumozhi 1-9-3 says “konREn . . . anRE vandhadaindhEn” (Oh the lord of thiruvEngadam! I killed many people and immediately, before even cleaning the blood stain, I reached you to take refuge). SrI rAma says in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 18-28 “prANAn parithyajya rakshithavya” – he should be protected even if one were to give his life, ireseptective of whether one who comes to surrender is Arthan or dhrupthan. The above mentioned SlOkam ends with the worlds “kruthAthmanA” – one who has a disciplined mind, one who stands in the path of righteousness. Thus, SrI rAma gave refuge to SrI visbhIshaNAzhwAn not only to protect him but also to safeguard his nature of being one who does not cross the path of righteousness. If one surrenders to an AchAryan (guru; teacher) in order to practice the path of righteousness, he has to do like this only.

menkAl kamalaththadam poL polindhana empirAna thadangaNgaL

Whose eyes are they?

maNNum viNNum . . . – they are of one who stands firmly saying “See that this world and the worlds above are too little to be measured by my foot”. He filled the entire ethereal layers with his divine form. If he had said that “I will keep my divine feet on your heads when I measure these”, just as rAvaNa said in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 36-11 “na namEyam” ([rAvaNa told mAlyavAn, who came to offer him good counsel that] he would not bend before anyone even if he were to be cut into two), the people of the world would have refused. Hence he said “Look at this amazing act” [and measured the worlds, keeping his divine feet on everyone’s head even before they realised it]. But why say that here? This is to illustrate the fact that sarvESvaran, on his own, without any of the worldly people asking him to or taking any efforts on their own, took incarnation as thrivikrama and kept his divine feet on his own, on their heads. In other words, he took the efforts for them to get the benefit. This brings out his quality of menkAl kamalam, viz. without the sentient entity taking any effort, sarvESvaran remains the means on his own.

vAn nimirndha than kAl paNindha enpAlAnukUlya sankalpam is the steadfastness with which one remains as favourable to sarvESvaran. For this, sarvESvaran takes the effort himself. Initially [during thrikrama avathAram] he bowed to king mahAbali, then made mahAbali to bow to him and kept his divine feet on mahAbali’s head saying “You were favourable to me” and showed his mercy.

than pAl paNindha – this is similar to van kARRu aRaiya

en pAl – this is similar to saying orungE maRindhu kidandhu alarndha

empirAna thadakkangaLE – he took the efforts for mahAbali to get the benefit. That sarvESvaran feels happy that the benefit is his, is clear from the blossoming of his divine eyes.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 41 – enRum punvAdai

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

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsuram, at the end, the nAyaki said “emmai nOkkuvadhu enRu kolO?” She was wondering as to who will be her protector. A northerly breeze affects such a nAyaki; wind, which is the sustaining entity for life, is harming her.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

enRum punvAdai idhu kaNdaRidhum ivvARu vemmai
onRum uruvum suvadum theriyilam Ongu asurar
ponRum vagai puLLaiyUrvAn aruL aruLAdha innAL
manRil niRai pazhi thURRi ninRemmai vankARRu adumE

Word-by-Word Meanings

enRum – always
idhu – this
punvAdai – gentle breeze
kaNdaRidhum – we have experienced
ivvARu – like this
vemmai – having cruelty
uruvum – form
suvadum – nature
onRum – any entity
theriyilam – we are not aware of
Ongu – grown well
asurar – demons
ponRum vagai – to be annihilated
puLLai – garuda
UrvAn – emperumAn who conducts
aruL aruLAdha – not showing mercy
innAL – this day
manRil – in the open
niRai – being complete
pazhi – slander
thURRi – to pervade
ninRu – without feeling tired
van – cruel
kARRu – breeze
emmai – us
adum – is harming

Simple Translation

We have experienced this northerly breeze. However, we have not known any entity like this which brings with it cruel heat, form and nature. This day, sarvESvaran, who conducts garuda who annihilates the well grown demons, is not showering his mercy. This cruel breeze is spreading slanderous words in the open and is harming me, without moving out of this place.

vyAkyAnam

enRum punvAdai idhu kaNdaRidhum – it is similar to having been born in prison and brought up only there. punvAdai is gentle breeze.

idhu kaNdaRidhum – we have not seen anything like this. In other words, we have not seen anything other than the northerly breeze which is harming. Why speak about the breeze which has been harming? Various other entities are also carrying on with what the breeze had been doing – harming her by amplifying the anguish of separation. They are all of the same species in so far as harming her is concerned.

ivvAru . . . – We have not known any other entity which is as cruel as this.

Ongu asurar . . . – the demons are not like those who are withering in separation from sarvESvaran, are not like those who carry out all the services to him; they are the epitome of rajas and thamas (qualities of passion and ignorance, respectively). sarvESvaran conducts garuda such that these demons are annihilated; he is not showing his mercy today so that this breeze could be harmed just like he makes the demons to perish under the hoofs of garuda.

aruL aruLAdha innAL – on this day when he did not shower his mercy, like a mother refuses to nurse her infant.

manRil niRai . . . – it is not only that the breeze did not let her unite with her nAyakan, it also brought a slander on her. It made the people say “It seems that she was suffering in separation from her nAyakan and the moment the breeze touched her, she is quivering; her qualities of shyness, fear etc are like this…”

niRai pazhi – the world did not talk slanderously about her alone. It even spoke disparagingly about the nAyakan saying “She is withering in breeze; even then, he is not coming to her rescue”.

ninRemmai van kARRu adumE – it does not leave after distressing her on one occasion or in one type. It continues to do that.

emmai –  I did not go anywhere near it so that it could make an attempt to grab me. This strong breeze came to end my life.

van kARRu – it is a breeze which did not have affability.

adumE – it is not even considering my femininity. It is not even thinking that it is torturing a lady.

svApadhESam (distinguished meaning): this pAsursm narrates as to how despite staying in samsAram for a very long time, as engagement with emperumAn starts increasing, compatibility with samsAram starts disappearing.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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