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thirunedunthANdakam – 6 – Part 1

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(sangathi -> review of/connection with previous pAsurams)

Not just seeing thirumanthram (that is, sarvESvaran) through authoritative references as said in ‘manthiraththai manthiraththAl maRavAdhenRum vAzhudhiyEl’, but to be seen by eyes and enjoyed He incarnated and kept His divine feet on everyone’s head and suggested about the relationship; thinking of that, and, of His blossoming divine feet at that time, AzhvAr became sad for not being able to enjoy that incarnation because of living later than that time;

So, emperumAn said, “It is only for getting those to experience me, those who are living at a later time than my incarnation, have I come and stood with elegance in thirukkOvalUr”, and so showed AzhvAr the place that He is fondly present (ugandhu aruLina nilam); and so AzhvAr is saying ‘Oh mind! go there to enjoy that opportunity of us’.

These ugandharuLina nilam (dhivya dhESams) are the frontier of the meaning of thirumanthram (that He is of at most saulabhyam (easy to attain / kind). When mentioning thirumanthram first (in the very first pAsuram of this AzhvAr), and when in the stage of experiencing its meaning, AzhvAr enjoyed that as only ‘sUzh punal kudanthaiyE thozhudhu [periya thirumozhi – 1.1.2]’ (~worship the dhivya dhESam of thirukkudanthai) (So the meaning of thirumanthram is dhivya dhESam).

But, would it not be sufficient to say (about the dhivya dhESam, as in) ‘pulam parandhu pon viLaikkum poigai vElip pUnkOvalUr thozhudhum?’ Why (describe emperumAn by) saying other prior words? It is saying the history of the place due to emperumAn being present with eagerness. Both supremacy (so, talks about this) and kindness are in the meaning of the word nArAyaNan.

alampurindha nedum thadakkai amarar vEndhan
  anjiraippuL thanippAgan avuNarkkenRum
salam purindhu angu aruL illAth thanmaiyALan
  thAnugandha UrellAm than thAL pAdi
nilam parandhu varum kaluzhip peNNai eerththa
  neduvEygaL padu muththam undha undhip
pulam parandhu pon viLaikkum poigai vElip
  pUnkOvalUr thozhudhum pOdhu nenjE.                        6

Word by word meaning

manamE – Oh mind!
alam purindha nedum thadakkai amarar vEndhan – One having long and huge divine hand that gives until (the one asking) saying enough, head of the nithya sUris (eternal residents of SrIvaikuNtam ),
am siRai puL thani pAgan – being the unmatched rider of garudAzhvAn having beautiful wings,
enRum salam purindhu – (and emperumAn) always creating problems
avuNarkku – for the asuras,
angu aruL illA thanmaiyALan thAn – not having any kindness towards them (angu) as His nature, such emperumAn who is sarvESvaran (lord of all),
ugandha – presiding in
Ur ellAm – all the dhivya dhESams,
than thAL pAdi – praising His divine feet
nilam parandhu vaum kaluzhi peNNai – river then-peNNai is growing spanning all of the world, and having muddled (water),
eerththa nedu vEygaL padu muththam undha – and pushing (into the fields) the  pearls that are in the bamboo sticks that it pulls along with it,
undhi – and (such pearls) are pushed aside  (as weeds, by the farmers),
pulam parandhu – spreading into the fields
pon viLaikkum – and growing gold
vEli – having wall on four sides
poigai – the water tanks,
pUnkovalUr – the beautiful thirukkOvalUr
thozhudhum – let us enjoy it,
pOdhu – you shall come (Oh mind!).


alam purindha nedum thadakkai – Arm that is long due to giving, says AzhvAr. Giving such that the receivers say ‘enough’ (alam);  giving such that one does not have to go to another person’s house seeking. By this it says – one who has taken the shelter of emperumAn, is not interested in other matters.

Or, alam purindha –  As He engages into generosity, He would take back His hand only when the receiver says ‘enough’, and not due to any limit in His generosity. He stops only because it is not possible to pour from ‘padhakku’ in to ‘uzhakku’ (these are measuring containers of different sizes; this says that He would stop only due to the limit of the receiver). When seeing His generosity, the receiver’s expectation is like the water in the sand of a foot step compared to water in the sea (kadalil kuLappadi).

puri -> giving and withdrawing the hand (after them saying enough).

Giving till saying enough is – giving such that one does not have to go to anybody else seeking more/anything.

{From SrI. u.vE. bhUvarAchAryar swami’s kAlakshEpam} – Poet kambar describes dhaSarathan’s generosity, in kamba rAmAyaNam – a person would ask for some wealth from dhaSarathan; dhaSarathan would give so much of it that have to be loaded in to several carts. When that person would return with these gifts, he would see another person who is on his way to the king asking for help. The first receiver would say that there was no need to go to the king since he himself could share from the carts. Then the 2nd receiver would do similarly to a 3rd person and so on; so ultimately, there was only one person who would have gone to dhaSarathan seeking wealth. dhaSarathan gave so much that the receiver not only would not have to go to another person’s house seeking, but he himself would be able to give enough to other people. Since rAmAn is such dhaSarathan’s son, He too got this quality of generosity – ‘piRandhu padaiththa audhAryam}.

For one who is ananya prayOjanan (one who does not ask Him for anything else), He has given Himself and His belongings, and there is no need for giving anything else. Such recipient also would not ask Him anything. Such recipient will be immersed in experience of Him, and He would stay with the eagerness of – what more shall we do for this devotee (‘en seyvan enRE [periya thiruvanthAdhi – 53]’ (what more shall I do (for my devotees)).

nedum thadakkai – arm/hand that grew watered by that generosity;  growth of protector is due to getting time/opportunity to engage in the path of protecting.  (long and wide) arm such that it is not possible to limit the generosity;  also, arm that extends up to the presence of all those seeking (other things / Himself);

thadak kai – As said in ‘bAhuchchAyAm avashtabdha:’ [SrI rAmAyaNam – sundhara kANdam 34-31] (world is under the shadow of the shoulders of supreme rAmA (says hanuman to seethA)),  shoulders having more space even if whole world is sheltered under them. Arm/hand that is for everyone,  apt to be a shelter, and being in itself the purpose;  thadak kai – hand that is wide.

amarar vEndhan – is talking about those (nithyasUris) who live based on this generosity. amarar – those who do not have death. If asking whether nithyasUris have the applicability of death: since they would lose their breath if they don’t get the experience of togetherness with emperumAn; but since there is no actual death, it says ‘amarar’. As their experience of Him is eternal, they also are being eternal.

vEndhan’He who is having heads down focused on getting their subservience to Him. vEndhan –  king. (Do they not also have the crown, as said in ‘mudi udai vAnavar [thiruvAimozhi – 10.9.8]’ (nithyasUris wearing crown)) – when He is getting them to serve Him He would be having such crown; they, as said in ‘aham sarvam karishyAmi [SrI rAmAyaNam – ayOdhyA kANdam – 31.27]’ ((iLaiyAzhwAr to perumAL) – I would do all services to you (while You are awake or asleep)), they would be having crown of subservience. Coronation is applicable for both.  It is said too, as ‘arasamarndhAn adi sUdum arasu’ [perumAL thirumozhi – 10.7]’ (~the kingdom of wearing the divine feet of perumAL in his head (for bharathan)).

anjiraippuL thanip pAgan – (AzhvAr) is talking about one nithyasUri as an example of how emperumAn accepts the subservience of all nithyasUris – unmatched rider / protector of periya thiruvadi (garudan) having beautiful wings.  Isn’t there a need for a ride/transport only when there is some war (வினை) to do? (there is no war in paramapadham) – even when there is no war, kings would carry flower bouquet in their hands and go around in a ride during festivals. It is said too, as ‘Odum puLLERi [thiruvAimozhi – 1.8.1]’ (climbing on garudAzhwAr wander around (fulfilling his desire to serve him));  since periya thiruvadi cannot sustain himself and emperumAn also cannot sustain Himself if there is no such ride, and also to give divine experience to the nithyasUris, there would be this riding (‘garuda sEvai’) in SrIvaikuNtam also.  It is said too, as ‘sezhum paRavaith thAn ERith thirivAn [thiruvAimozhi – 10.6.5]’ (~would climb on the beautiful bird (garudAzhwAn) and roam around).

am siRai – beautiful wings. When He is flying on periya thiruvadi, the wings would be a decoration like a beautifully folded 2nd cloth (angavasthram) on Him. Or, when going around with flower bouquet, for removing the tiredness, like fanning (Alavattam), he is the one having wings as fan for emperumAn. It is said too, as ‘vyajanam thrayeemaya: [sthOthra rathnam – 41]’ (periya thiruvadi performs services also as a fan). Or, we can consider him as having wings that are having the beauty of helping to bring emperumAn to His devotees.

puL – (bird) – Do nithyasUris have bad karmas due to which they could be born as a bird [It is said that when one commits an offense by speech, they are born as a bird/animal]? When pirAtti and sarvESvaran are inside the divine screen (privacy), their togetherness would be such that moon, and breeze would also have to back off in their movement;  like when emperor and queen are alone, old people and eunuchs would be allowed inside for serving them, the nithyasUris would take on appropriate form of body for performing personal services. They would take on different forms whether it is of snake, bird, or plant (Adhi SEshan, garudAzhvAn, thiruththuzhAy);  while a worldly person would take on body based on karmas, they would take on these forms for the states of services to emperumAn and pirAttiyAr.

thanip pAgan – (pAgan -> mahout) – by this it suggests that He is being under the guard of him, and he being under the guard of Him; mahout would control the elephant through his mind, and he would be serving the elephant as well; identity of sarvESvaran is to be present well in the back of periya thiruvadi and conduct him; it is ‘thani’ (matchless), because there is nowhere else this is seen (with other demi-gods, etc).

Or, thanip pAgan – unique/matchless conductor for all the nithyasUris. It is said too, as, ‘ayarvaRum amarargaL adhipathi [thiruvAimozhi – 1.1.1]’ (lord of nithyasUris).

avuNarkku, etc. – by this – since there is no question of enemies in that abode (SrIvaikuNtam), it talks about Him incarnating as rAma, krishNa, etc., for saving the devotees, and to remove their enemies. Removing the enemies is also one use of His incarnations (as said in SrI bhagavath gIthA, etc).  Why does it talk here only about removal of enemies (and not about grace to devotees, etc)? Since removal of enemies is done first (for getting  the services of devotees), it talks about that.  It is said too, as ‘sarva pApEbhyO mOkShayishyAmi [SrI bhagavath gIthA – 18-66]’ (~would liberate (you) from all sins) (where it talks about removal of the unwanted, to imply goodness that would go with it); for jeevAthmA which by nature there is sense of service, if sins are removed, then servitude would automatically flourish; removal of enemy/hurdle (sins) is the one to be achieved. That is why this is said as a representative of the subsequent result as well.

avuNar – by this – it is not talking about asuras. it is talking about those having ahankAram (ego, I) and mamakAram (possessiveness, mine) and being as said in ‘na namEyAm [SrI rAmAyaNam – yudhdha kANdam – 36-11]’ (would not prostrate in front of anyone; would rather be split into two and fall (sideways), said rAvaNan); since, while SrIprahlAdhan being in that birth (of asuras), he is praised as ‘upamAnamaSEshANam sAdhUnAm [SrI vishNu purANam – 1-15-156]’ (prahlAdhan is always being an example for noble people), and since while being a rAkShasa by birth, SrIvibheeshaNAzhvAn is praised as ‘vibheeshaNasthu dharmAthmA [SrIrAmAyaNam – AraNya kANdam – 17-23]’ (vibheeshNanan is of noble character (sUrapaNaka to SrI rAman about her family)), and while being in the birth of dhEvas, jayanthan (kAkAsuran) became the target of brahmAsthram, this is not based on caste/descent. It is based on nature of them as having asura character.  It is said too, as, “vishNu bhakthi parO dhEvO vipareethasthathA’’ura: [vishNu dharmam – 109-74]” (In this world there are two types of births, as dhEvas and asuras. One who is having devotion towards SrIman nArAyaNan is said as dhEva; one who is in other ways is said as asura).

enRum salam purindhu – like how it is a constant for them to be as ‘na namEyam’,  for Him also causing trouble to them out of anger, is a constant.   purindhu – those who go to emperumAn do not have to return empty handed, you see. It would not be void of benefit but rather they would get His grace or His anger. Is it a benefit for them if they are getting destroyed? Even though they may not consider it so, it would end up being the good thing for them – like how when someone tries to cut his head with a sword, it is beneficial to remove that sword,  it is beneficial for emperumAn to remove the body that is trouble for emperumAn and His devotees. Since all the acts of emperumAn would be regarding protection, doing those things also would be of protection. It is said too, as, ‘rAma bANA sanakShipthamAvahath paramam gathim [SrI rAmAyaNam – kishkinthA kANdam 17:8]’ (The arrow that is shot by the valiant rAmapirAn, and which would put one into paramapadham, gave to valiant vAli that paramapadham), ‘thalaiyai AngE aRuppadhE karumam kaNdAy [thirumAlai – 8]’ ((for such asura characters) such things are required (because that would be good for them));

salam purindhu –  is – doing the destruction due to anger. thamizh pundits would give meaning for ‘purindhu’ as ‘doing’.  Doing (getting) ‘salam’ (anger) – is the meaning.  Meaning of ‘purindhu’ is about doing or giving.

angu aruL illAth thanmaiyALan – Like how it is a constant for Him to show grace to His devotees, it is a constant for Him to not show grace towards those others. Anger and kindness are opposite qualities, but it can be present in one place due the difference of where they are applied. We see how the same stone (called chandhrakAntham), which is a non-sentient, is being as water in the presence of moon, and is solid in its absence (so it is not a wonder for such quality to exist in sarvESvaran). thanmaiyALan –  having His nature as being so. It is always His nature to be generous and kind towards devotees, and be angry and strict towards their enemies.

(to be continued in pAsuram 6 – part 2).

– – – – – –

Translation by raghuram SrInivAsa dAsan

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thirunedunthANdakam – 5

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In previous pAsuram AzhvAr enjoyed how emperumAn is being the root of creation of world (jagathkAraNabhUthan), and having the world as His divine body, i.e., he is the antharyAmi (jagachchareeree). Next, instead of just enjoying in the writings of vEdham (OlaippuRaththE) in nArayanANuvAkam about nArAyaNan, AzhvAr is enjoying how He could be seen by eyes and enjoyed, as He incarnated as vAmanan and spanned the worlds. The word nArAyaNan is about the relationship of lord and subservient, isn’t it?

By His being the reason for creation of world, it also talks about the relationship of AthmA to that emperumAn, isn’t it? Saying ‘kANmingaL ulageer enRu kaN mugappE nimirndha [thiruvAimozhi – 6.3.11]’ (thrivikraman growing and as if saying – Oh world! see this wonder), – He spanned all the worlds, for all in the world to see this meaning of relationship. So AzhvAr is enjoying the meaning of word nArAyaNan through the word of thrivikraman.

(In vAmana avathAram it shows His Seelam only (mingling with simpletons), why say that it is about the relationship?) AzhvAr is Not saying about how vAmanan went to the yAgasAlai (place of sacred rites) asking for land, etc., but saying about the part of how He kept his divine foot on everyone’s head – this is how we see that AzhvAr is enjoying about Lord-servant relationship (as a lord, He kept his divine foot on servants’ heads).

oNmidhiyil punaluruvi orukAl niRpa
  orukAlum kAmaruseer avuNan uLLath(thu)
eNmadhiyum kadandhu aNdameedhu pOgi
  iruvisumbin Udu pOy ezhundhu mElaith
thaNmadhiyum kathiravanum thavira Odith
  thArakaiyin puRam thadavi appAl mikku
maNmuzhudhum agappaduththu ninRa endhai
  malar puraiyum thiruvadi en thalai mElavE              5

Word by word meaning

oN midhiyil – after making the soft step
oru kAl – with one divine foot,
punal uruvi niRpa – it went all the way to AvaraNa jalam (water surrounding the aNdam (oval shaped world)),
oru kAlum – another divine foot also
kAmaru seer avuNan uLLaththu eNmadhiyum kadandhu – crossing even the extent of thought of mahAbali who is having greatness that is liked,
ezhundhu – it started
aNdam meedhu pOgi – to go even above the aNdam,
iru visumbin Udu pOy – permeating the big space (AkASam)
thavira Odi – going further by crossing
thaN madhiyum – the cool zone of moon
mElai – that is above, and
kadhiravanum – the zone of sun (that is below),
thArakaiyin puRam thadavi – permeating the zone of stars (above)
appAl mikku – permeating even beyond (that),
agappaduththu ninRa –  and stood spanning
maN muzhudhum – all the places;
vaNanginEnE – I got to experience/enjoy
malar puraiyum thiruvadiyE – the lotus flower like divine foot only
enthai – of my lord (of such glory).


oNmidhiyil … – With one divine foot He spanned all the earth, lower worlds; and with one divine foot , He spanned all the worlds above, says AzhvAr .

oNmidhiyil – If He who is the support for everything keeps His divine foot on the heads of sentient, would the world be able to bear it? Did kamsan not get squashed when His divine foot touched him? – He keeping His divine foot, that itself, is the reason for their being able to live.  Even if He / His divine foot that is the supporting/saving becomes one supported, His quality of supporting/saving them would not be lost.

(Where have we seen this?) – Like how for His thiruvadis (His divine feet / divine body), His paramAthma svarUpam (entity) is the support (even though He stands on His divine feet; in the same way), for the people’s heads also He is the support.

{Translator’s note: Another meaning: Taking thiruvadis as garudAzhAr and hanuman, as they are called so,  as, Like how even though He sets His feet on their palms/head (during garuda/hanumantha vAhanam), He still is the support for them}.

Supporter cannot be one supported; One supported cannot be supporter (jeevAthmA cannot become paramAthmA and vice versa). Like how even though AthmA is having a place inside the body, the body is not the supporter and AthmA is not the one supported. That the AthmA is the supporter and body is the one supported, is explained when talking about the identity of body and AthmA (SareerAthma lakShaNam in SrIbAshyam) (This is said in ‘yasya chEthanasya yadhdhravyam sarvAthmanA svArthE niyanthum dhArayithum cha Sakyam thachchEshadhaika svarUpancha thath thasya Sareeram’ (One that is object for the sentient AthmA, in all the ways be commanded by AthmA, be supported by AthmA, be only for that AthmA – then that is Sareeram.)).

(If AthmA leaves the body, the body falls off. So it shows that it is AthmA that is supporting the body).

midhiyil – (in step/trampling) (why say in this way instead of saying that His divine feet is kept as a jewel on their heads?) – Saying ‘madheeyamUrdhnAnam alankarishyathi [sthOthra rathnam – 31](~oh thrivikrama! .. when is your divine feet going to decorate my head (again)?), and ‘padikkaLavAga nimirththa nin pAdha pangayamE thalaikku aNiyAy [thiruvAimozhi – 9.2.2] (your divine feet only would be the decoration for my head), that is, saying divine feet as decoration for head is only when one understands its glory and also having interest;  since the people are dhEhAthmAbhimAni (giving importance to body and not AthmA), they would only think that some feet had pushed their head. So, AzhvAr is saying this way (midhiyil) from their point of view.

oN midhiyil – Like the breeze under moonlight He kept the divine feet amicably;  if that is not the case, they would have commanded as ‘thiruvANai [thiruvAimozhi – 10.10.2]’ (by the name of thAyAr), ((do not) keep your feet on me);

Or, the stepping on them is such that if in future one becomes desirous of emperumAn, they don’t have to back out thinking about their previous state and greatness of emperumAn, so it is ‘oN midhi’ (such a great stepping on his head);  One could say “What is there to not surrender to your divine feet now when we got the desire, while the divine feet which were present in my head when I was not caring for you?”.  When one could argue,  ‘lOkavikrAntha charaNau [vihagESvara samhithai, padalam (part) 22 ((please keep on my head) your divine feet which spanned the worlds), emperumAn would not have any opposing reply (but have to keep His feet on the head), you see!

punal aruvi – His divine feet grew downwards and extended not just till the earth, or seven seas, or the seven continents (dhveepams), or the mountain of chakravALa (mountain that surrounds the previous layers), or the great water (mahA jalam), or the covering wall of the aNdam (aNda kadAkam), but till the water covering the aNdams (AvaraNa jalam);

Why go till that extent, when the ones to be protected are within the aNdam? The protector’s eagerness is not just till the extent of the ones to be protected; As said in ‘adhanil periya en avA [thiruvAimozhi – 10.10.10]’ (my desire which is bigger than that) – His desire is like AzhvAr ’s desire, you see!

What this one’s love (prEmam) did, would His affection (vAthsalyam) not do that?

If asked – if the divine feet intruded the covering wall of the aNdam and go till the water covering aNdams, would the aNda kadAkam (covering wall) not be destructed? It does not have to be so, when the subtle one (sUkshmam) permeates the tangible/gross ones (sthUlam). Space (AkASam) (already) permeates that aNda kadAkam; the mUla prakruthi (source of material realm) is subtler than that AkASam; the divine auspicious body of emperumAn is subtler (sUkshmam) than that mUla prakruthi.

oru kAl niRpa – one divine feet standing;

later in this pAsuram he says ‘thiruvadiyE vaNanginEnE’  (worshipped only the divine feet); earlier – ‘thiruvadi en thalai mElavE [thirunedunthANdakam – 1]’ (divine feet on my head); given that, instead of saying thiruvadigaL (divine feet), his saying kAl (foot) here is from the point of view of samsAris (worldly people); other than thinking – someone’s leg is in my head – they don’t know the way of considering it as one to be attained and which is enjoyed by the nithyasUris, such lord’s divine feet.

niRpa – as He took up to use the divine feet to span (just) the earth, it showed the beauty of breaking (as it went up to the water layer of aNdam (AvaraNa jalam) and stopped (niRpa) as if by pulling the reins. His greatness is like supporting like the reins to stop the divine feet!

oru kAlum – earlier, AzhvAr enjoyed the divine feet that spanned the earth; by this phrase AzhvAr is enjoying the divine feet that spanned the upper worlds;

oru kAlum – also the other divine foot; saying ‘oru kAlum (one leg also)’ instead of ‘maRRa kAlum’ (other leg also) is – “Oh how wonderful this one is”. When AzhvAr was enjoying that divine foot, ‘There cannot be anything more enjoyable than this!’ was his state; as he saw this other divine foot, he is saying ‘There is nothing more enjoyable than this one!’ (oru -> unique/wonder)

kAmaruseer, etc. –  going beyond (the knowledge that is extent of mind of mahAbali).

kAmaruseer avuNan – mahAbali having attractive nature;  instead of censuring him as ‘one having haughtiness’, ‘thief of emperumAn’s places’, AzhvAr is saying ‘greatly fortunate’ about him. What is the reason for this? Unlike us who are here at a later time, he got to see the beauty of the form and simplicity (Seelam) of SrI vAmanan. Are there any fortunate people like him? – is the thought of AzhvAr . Oh! instead of being as ‘adiyEn’ (servant), I too should have stolen the places of emperumAn, and should have artificially taken up generosity and do yagyam (worship by sacred rites).   kAmaru -> liking.

eN madhiyum kadandhu – (crossing the limit of mahAbali’s thought in mind (eN -> eNNam -> thought)) – As He said ‘mUvadi [thiruvAimozhi – 3.8.9]’, mahAbali was like ‘rest of the places are mine only’.  After He spanned everything including the earth, he was like – there are those other worlds above for me’. As He spanned the space above, he realized he lost even the worlds above and became loser. So, AzhvAr is saying ‘kadandhu’ (going beyond the limit of thoughts of mahAbali).

aNda meedhu pOgi – One divine foot itself going beyond the wall like limit of the aNdam (aNda bhiththi). Instead of saying in the order in which He spanned, why first say about aNda meedhu pOgi? Due to his great love of the victory of SrI vAmanan, AzhvAr is setting a marker (koNdaik kOl) at the limit of emperumAn’s extent of spanning.

Like how SrI jAmbavAn mahArAjar said due to his great love for His victory, ‘jitham bhagavathA jagath [harivamSam – prathamapari – 42](jAmbavAn saying to dhEvas: all the worlds have been won by emperumAn (by incarnating as thrivikraman), (so please come back to your places)) – by going around the chakravALagiri and announcing by drum, about His victory to everyone.

Saying meedhu pOgi – shall be considered as pOga (to go), to mean, to go to it. This is similar to ‘thiruvudai adigaL tham nalam kazhal vaNangi [thiruvAimozhi – 1.3.8] (worshipping the good feet of emperumAn who is having thAyAr in His divine chest), where it is taken as ‘vaNanga’ (if you worship); There also nammAzhvAr saying that first is to set the marker (koNdaik kOl) of the full extent.

It is to be read as ‘ezhundhu – iru visumbin Udu pOy (started and went through the space).

ezhundhu – The moment water drops fell on his palm (water poured into the palm of vAmanan by mahAbali, to complete the pledge to give three steps of land), Him raising from the place of yagyam of mahAbali;

iru visumbu – the big space; since it is big when considering earth, and due to the great love in emperumAn’s growth, AzhvAr is referring to space as iru visumbu. (BIG space);

Udu pOy – (went through) He raised his divine foot such that the space that is above the earth and below heaven that is of hundred thousand kAdham (kAdham is approximately a mile or two and a half) got fully filled plump by His divine foot; creation of space became fruitful; when the divine feet had not permeated there, it was like a waste, you see.

mElai … – Sun’s place is the upper border of space, and lower border of heaven; above that, for one hundred thousand kAdham is the place of moon. But why not AzhvAr say about the place of the Sun and then about that of the Moon (mElaith thaN madhiyum (moon) kadhiravanum (sun) )? Since He kept His divine and completely delicate feet on people having self-interest and not interested in emperumAn, AzhvAr is attending to service for that divine feet by trying to make it cool down (through moon’s place); to show that, AzhvAr is saying ‘thaN madhi’ (cool moon);  (Since it is already known that moon is cool, he still specified that attribute thaN, for this purpose only. He did not specify any attribute of Sun in this pAsuram, so he does not want to think about its heat)  He did not say ‘vem kadhirOn’ , but just kadhiravan only.  mElaith (above) thaN madhiyum, implies ‘keezhai’ (below) kadhiravanum.

thavira Odi – going above that. By Odi – (running)  – having to stop it with difficulty as the divine foot is running due to haste (looking for devotees); As said in ‘thAy nAdu kanRE pOl [mudhal thiruvanthAdhi – 30]’ (like the calf seeking its mother), like how a devotee would show haste in reaching the lord, the lord would have the haste to get His devotee. For everyone, there would be haste for getting what they love, isn’t it?

thArakaiyin puRam thadavi – permeating the place of stars, and going above that; above the place of moon, there is the place of stars for one hundred thousand kAdham. Above the upper limit of the place of stars, is the place of SimSumAra prajApathi. Like the planets, he is one of the stars; he is of twelve hundred thousand kAdham.

thadavi – lord (caressing) trying to see if any devotee would be found, like how one would caress around in the floor (in the dark) searching for something that fell from self.  When going and trying to find someone and not finding anyone, AzhvAr says, kadandhu (crossed that).

As said in ‘pudaith thAn peridhE puvi [periya thiruvanthAdhi – 75]’ (Is earth like an elevated place that emperumAn‘s flood of kindness not flow through it?), what a loss this is to be not having the divine feet of thrivikraman on our head, says AzhvAr .

thadavi – (softly caressing) – since He would keep the divine feet in positive ways, that touch would be of delight.

appAl mikku – going up till the brahma lOkam (abode of brahmA); since mahAbali stole only the three worlds, why go above beyond that?  Like how the three worlds were ruined due to anyaSEshathvam (subservience to others such as indhra), the other worlds were also ruined due to feeling themselves as independent (svasvAthanthriyam); because their mind is having the state of ‘eeSvarOham’ (I am the lord); disaster of nature of AthmA due to anyaSEshathvam is not (that worse) compared to disaster due to svasvAthanthriyam. The former has (at least) accepted subservience.

{Translator’s note: This is also succinctly put by piLLai lOkAchAryar in mumukshuppadi as ‘piRarkkuriyan Ana anRu than vailakShaNyaththaik kAtti meetkalAm; thanakku ennum anRu yOgyathaiyum kUda azhiyum [mumukshuppadi – 81]’ (~When one agrees to be subservient to others, they can be retrieved back by Him showing them His greatness compared to those of others; but if being self-independent, even eligibility to retrieve would be lost)}

(The goodness for Him is based on the goodness He does for His devotees).

maN muzhudhum agappaduththu Spanning the fourteen worlds; saying about earth by the word maN’ , he says ‘muzhudhum’, thinking about the worlds above it as well;

Or, by ‘maN’ to mean place, it is talking about the places above.

Instead of saying ‘aLandhu(spanning), AzhvAr is saying ‘agappaduththu’  (capturing), which shows His falling on them with love (mEl vizhum), and their sliding away.

ninRa – stopping satisfied having done His wishes (of capturing His devotees); like how a devotee would stand satisfied, here the lord is satisfied after getting (reforming) the devotees.

enthai (my svAmi -> my lord / father) when seeing SrI vAmanan’s beauty and simplicity, proper thing to do would be to ignore the kingdom and pierce into the chest and writing that he is subservient to Him – instead indhra got his kingdom and went away; mahAbali kept him (his generosity) for himself (to consider himself great), and gave (only) his kingdom to emperumAn; (But) I gave myself to Him, says AzhvAr .

malar puraiyum, etc.  (divine feet that is like lotus flower) – I got to enjoy the boundless enjoyment that is His divine feet.  Earlier, AzhvAr said ‘thaLir puraiyum thiruvadi [thirunedunthANdakam – 1]’ (divine feet that is like a flower bud blooming); here he says ‘malar puraiyum thiruvadi’.  Reason for this, is – there, it was about emperumAn withering due to separation from this AzhvAr , and then as He kept His divine feet on AzhvAr ’s head, it started becoming fresh and blooming; here – as the ones who enjoy, as they started to enjoy, it is talking about the enjoyableness of the divine feet (like a lotus flower).

malar puraiyum – due to presence of devotees the divine feet is blossoming. (the other lotus would blossom in the present of Sun).

thiruvadi – the divine feet is the place the devotees go to for enjoyment (compared to other parts of emperumAn).

by saying ‘E’ (avadhAraNam) in thiruvadiyE, (only the divine feet), it shows the specialty/difference from/compared to other parts of emperumAn.

This divine feet is the one not having any dearth of greatness (mEnmai), kindness (neermai), and beauty of shape (vadivazhagu).  There is no dearth of greatness to the divine feet as He kept His divine feet on the heads of those who were like ‘eeSvarOham’ (I am the lord); for getting His property (devotees), He rushed eagerly, which shows there is no dearth of His kindness (neermai); attracting even the bad one like mahAbali, there is no dearth of his beauty of form. So there is no need (for devotees) to go to any part other than His divine feet, isn’t it?

vaNanginEn – I got to enjoy; this meaning is as said too in ‘nama ithyEva vAdhina: [mahAbhAratham – SAnthi parvam – 344-45] (identity of those who got liberated into SrIvaikuNtam would be to be doing salutation (anjali)) (so) they would be happy; they would be of nature of saying ‘nama:’ in their mouth), (saluting is) about enjoying Him by the liberated (mukthas);

for AzhvAr , the divine feet are the ones to surrender to (upAyam); and also ones to enjoy (upEyam);  during the time of surrendering it was said as ‘ulagam aLandha pon adiyE adaindhu uyndhEn [periya thirumozhi – 5.8.9]’ (reached and survived by the divine feet that spanned the worlds);

Is there anyone to surrender to other than the beautiful One who creates interest even in mahAbali who was disinterested?

Is there anyone to surrender to other than the one who is eager to go and get His own property (AthmAs, by pleading for it)?

Is there anyone to surrender to other than this simple One who made His divine body which cannot be seen by any senses, to be seen even by the asuras?

Is there anyone to surrender to other than the lord who spanned the fourteen worlds?

(even other incarnations of emperumAn are shunned here)

Being lord of everyone, simple, easy, and being one who creates desire in Him, is the one who is also the One we could surrender to and experience the enjoyableness in Him.

ALavandhAr said, ‘thrivikrama thvachcharaNAmbuja dhvayam madheeyamUrdhAnam alankarishyathi [sthOthra rathnam – 31](Oh emperumAn who performed incarnation as thrivikraman! When would your divine lotus feet decorate my head?).

udaiyavar said, “lOkavikrAntha charaNau SaraNam thE’vrajam vibhO [SaraNAgathi gadhyam 6th chUrNai – gadhya thrayam (quoting from vihagESvara samhithai – part 22)]’ (I surrender only to the divine feet of yours that spanned the worlds).

– – – – – –

Translation by raghuram SrInivAsa dAsan

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mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 19 – mAlum karum kadalE

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AzhwAr says “When he himself came one day [as thrivikrama] and approached all, I lost him; this earth, because he came one day and measured it, was touched by him on that day. What fortune do you [referring to thiruppARkadal] have, that you are always with emperumAn!”

Let us look at the pAsuram and its meanings.

mAlum karum kadalE  ennORRAy vaiyagam uNdu
Alin ilaith thuyinRa AzhiyAn kOlak
karumEnich chengaN mAl kaN padiyuL enRum
thirumEni nI thINdap peRRu

Word by Word Meanings

vaiyagam uNdu – after swallowing the world [after deluge]
Alin ilai – on the banyan leaf
thuyinRa – sleeping
AzhiyAn – one who reclines on the ocean [thiruppARkadal]
kOla karumEni –having  beautiful, black form
sem kaN – having reddish eyes
mAl – one who had affection [towards his devotees]
kaN padaiyuL – when he is reclining in a sleeping posture
enRum – at all times
thirumEni – his divine form
thINdappeRRu – feeling it
mAlum – overwhelmed (due to that happiness)
karum kadalE – Oh, black coloured ocean!
ennORRAy – what penance did you perform! [to get this fortune]


mAlum – this word means stupefied or overwhelmed or bewildered. Just as people who get intoxicated after consuming certain types of drinks, the ocean is also feeling intoxicated due to the touch of emperumAn constantly. The ocean has the same happiness that mukthars (those who are liberated from samsAram (materialistic realm) and have reached SrIvaikuNtam) have on enjoying emperumAn.

karum kadalE – wouldn’t the ocean have become pale otherwise? But, emperumAn is lying on milky ocean, which is white in colour. How is AzhwAr then referring to it as the dark coloured ocean? It is said that emperumAn lies in all oceans and hence it is called as dark coloured ocean. Alternatively, the qualities of an ocean are referred to, in all places. Hence it is called as dark coloured ocean. Another explanation is that since dark coloured emperumAn is lying on it, the ocean too has become dark and hence AzhwAr is referring to it as dark coloured ocean. Ocean and emperumAn are having the complexion of bharatha (white) and rAma (dark) respectively.

en nORRAy – what penance did you carry out to be inseparable from emperumAn? AzhwAr wants to rid his attachment toward emperumAn and carry out the same penance for a similar result.

vaiyagam uNdu Alin ilaith thuyinRa – keeping all the worlds within his divine stomach and lying on a banyan leaf which appeared at the same time.

AzhiyAn – lying atop the banyan tree with all the weapons required for protecting. Holding the sudharSana (disc) weapon on his hand, emperumAn says that he will release the disc and tear apart the deluge if it comes to swallow the earth. Alternatively, Azhi could be construed as referring to ocean and in this case it would refer to his reclining on oceans.

kOlak karumEni sem kaN mAl – eyes which are beautiful, remove the tedium of beholders and shower affection on them. His divine eyes are like those referred to in chAndhOgya upanishath 1-6-7  “yathA kapyAsam puNdarIkamEva akshiNI” (eyes like lotus flower just blossomed by sun).

mAl – if the meaning is considered as pride, this word will refer to Isvaran (one who controls). If the meaning is considered as infatuation, it will refer to one who has lot of love.

kaN padaiyuL – where he is sleeping

enRum – at all times. Even if pirAtti (mahAlakshmi) out of a rare discord with emperumAn were to leave him, the ocean has no separation from emperumAn. AzhwAr is praising the good fortune of ocean which, unlike him, has no separation from emperumAn.  For upAsakas (those who attain emperumAn through upAsana or bhakthi (devotion)), attaining emperumAn is the end result; kainkaryam is like a by-product. In the same way, for the ocean, feeling emperumAn is the end-result. Just as sweat comes out when one is pounding paddy, kainkaryam, like sweat, comes automatically when emperumAn is attained [through devotion]. If the underlying knowledge about emperumAn, who is the means for attaining him, is obtained, strong belief in him comes on its own.

thirumEni nI thINdap peRRu mAlum karum kadalE – Oh ocean! You are in a stage of stupor after attaining him. I am bewildered because I have not.

karum kadalE – He showers qualities which he himself has, on those who he wants to grace. That is why you are also dark, like him. It appears that you have carried out some penance to get this. At the same time, it appears that this has come about because he has graced you especially.

Let us go on to the 20th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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thirunedunthANdakam – 4

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By the three pAsurams, ‘arththam aRRadhirE’ (thirumanthra arththam (meaning) has been explained).

In the first pAsuram – SEshaSEshithvam (lordship, subservience) was clearly seen (as He put His divine feet on AzhvAr’s divine head (thiruvadi en thalai mElavE));

In the second pAsuram – anyaSEshathvam (subservience to others) was removed. (since the misunderstanding that the three dhEvas are equal, was cleared);

In the third pAsuram – talked about enjoyableness (of emperumAn, enjoying His divine form).

==> (So how do these three pAsurams talk about the meaning of thirumanthram?)

1st pAsuram -> Om  (SEsha SEshithvam)

2rd pAsuram -> nama:   (ananyaSEshathvam)

3nd pAsuram -> nArAyANAya  (nAra -> emperumAn’s wealth & divine form; these are enjoyable)

Then, it is a matter of finding companions for enjoying Him, together.  In that, since nithyasUris are far off, and samsAris are people indulged in worldly matters, neither of them would be of companionship. So, it is the inevitable mind of his is the one that would be a companion. So, Oh mind! Let us enjoy this together, says AzhvAr.

Please set to enjoy through thirumanthram that enlightens His true nature (manthiraththai manthiraththAl), about the glory of His having distinguished divine form/body talked about in the previous pAsuram, the One who is the source of creation of the world (kAraNathvam) – please see about doing that, says AzhvAr (to his mind).

If he is enjoying based on thirumanthram (whose main word is ‘nArAyaNa’) , isn’t the meaning of this (word ‘nArAyaNa’) mainly about his lordship over the two world realms, and about His nature of having qualities? (How come AzhvAr is using this word/thirumanthram to enjoy Him as being the source of creation of the world?). That thirumanthram (word nArAyaNa), due to many authoritative references (on the word nArAyaNa), is about Him being the source of creation of the world.

They are: ‘EkO havai nArAyaNa Aseeth [mahOpanishath – 1](Only He was present (it means He is the reason for creation)), and,

narAjjAthAni thathvAni [mahAbhAratham -anuSAsana – 13.12] (the twenty five truths (thathvams), which can undergo change/annihilation) got created from emperumAn) ,  and,

‘ApO nArA ithi prOkthA: [manu smruthi – 1.10] (water was created by emperumAn who is called naran; so the nAram indicates water; since emperumAn held water (milky ocean) as his abode during the time of creation, He is called nArAyaNan);

by these and other references, His creating the world shall be said by the word nArAyaNan.

Why is AzhvAr taking up mentioning His jagath kAraNathvam? Since residents of this world is having it upside down (where some in this world think of others as lords and as reason for creation of worlds, and emperumAn trying to prove His lordship), it is in this world where it is needed to use authoritative references.  It is only when someone else is using our land that we would have to show proof of our ownership; that is why he is saying so;

So, Oh mind! Let us enjoy the janakan (creator of births).

indhirarkkum piramarkkum mudhalvan thannai
  iru nilam kAl thee neer viN bUtham aindhAy
senthiRaththa thamizhOsai vada sollAgith
  thisai nAngumAyth thingaL nAyirAgi
antharaththil dhEvarkkum aRiyalAgA
  anthaNanai, anthaNar mAttu andhi vaiththa
manthiraththai manthiraththAl maRavAdhenRum
  vAzhudhiyEl vAzhalAm mada nenjamE.                            3

emperumAn revealing thirumanthram assuming the forms of nara (human) and nArAyaNa (superhuman)

Word by word meaning

mada nenjamEOh mind which is amicable (to me)!
indhirarkkum piramarkkum mudhalvan thannai Being the reason/source for indhra and brahmA,
iru nilam kAl thee neer viN bUtham aindhAybeing antharyAmi (inside resident) to the five core elements – the big earth, air, fire, water, space,
senthiRaththa thamizhOsai vada sollAgiHis showing the thamizh vEdham (dhivya prabandhams) (which show Him clearly), and samskrutha vEdhams,
thisai nAngumAy being antharAthmA for all the things in all the four directions,
thingaL nAyirAgi being antharyAmi for the moon and the sun,
antharaththil – when being antharyAmi in that way,
dhEvarkkum aRiyalAgA anthaNanai – being purest who cannot be known by even dhEvas,
anthaNar mAttu anthi vaiththa manthiraththai – sarvESvaran the secret entity who is kept safely in the knots of vEdhams (anthi -> end/tail -> vEdhAntham) which are the wealth of brAhmaNas (safe like in the knots of clothes worn),
manthiraththAl – by thirumanthram
maRavAdhu vAzhudhiyEl – if you enjoy without fail/forgetting,
enRum vAzhalAm – you can get good life always (in paramapadham).


indhirarkkum piramarkkum mudhalvan thannai – In ‘mU uruvum kaNda pOdhu onRAm sOdhi [thirunedunthANdakam – 2]’,  it was by squeezing the words we get the true meaning; AzhvAr is showing that it is what the meaning he means, by showing it explicitly here. You see, AzhvAr is saying ‘that is what I said earlier that He is the only one who is the lord!’.

Creator of indhra who is accepted by all as a jeevAthmA, and for brahmA who could be misunderstood as eeSvaran (controller).

While it would have been appropriate to talk first about brahmA who could be doubted as eeSvaran,  why say indhra first – it is to show that like indhra, brahmA is also one included in all that are created by emperumAn.

But, rudhran also could be doubted as eeSvaran. Why has AzhvAr not mentioned about him? As said in ‘brahmaNaSchApi sambhUtha: Siva ithyavadhAryathAm [mahAbhAratham – anuSAsana]’ (emperumAn talking to garudAzhvAr: Can say about four types of creation in another way too – hiraNya garbha that is said as lotus is first creation; brahmA who was created from it is the second creation; Siva was created from brahmA – conclude this in your mind;  this was the third creation;  from him skandha was created; this was fourth creation), and in other such references, it is famous that he is the son of brahmA, and so when having said about the main of all, that is brahmA and the ending dhEva of all that is indhra, by prathyAhara nyAyam (when first and last letters of alphabet are mentioned together, it includes the ones in between as well), it is to be concluded that rudhra is also included amidst this list.

Instead of saying indhiranukkum piramanukkum, why use ‘r’ (rEphAntham) – it is not due to having any mind of venerating them; AzhvAr is showing contempt (kShEpam);  it is even while brahmA is creatable by eeSvaran (emperumAn), he is thinking ‘I am the controller of the three worlds’, (indhran thinking)  ‘all the fourteen worlds were created by me and I am the controller of them’, and making everyone prostrate/worship him;

mudhalvan – (reason/source) – that is emperumAn who does not have a source for Himself;  Himself who is the reason/source (kAraNam) for vyashti srushti  (variegated creation of world by combining elements);

iru nilam, etc. (earth, etc.)  – The aforementioned (about brahmA, et al) phrase said about vyashti srushti; by the current phrase it says about samashti srushti  (initial creation of independent five great elements (space, air, etc.), (before vyashti srushti);

(emperumAn first created Sabdha thanmAthrai – (thanmAthrai -> like the stage between milk and curd, where it is neither milk nor curd); from Sabdha thanmAthrai, AkASam (space) is created. Then from it, sparSa thanmAthrai is created (stage in-between AkASa and vAyu); from that vAyu (air) is created;  then rUpa thanmAthrai is created (state in-between vAyu and thEjas); then from it thEjas is created; from it rasa thanmAthrai; from it water; from it gandha thanmAthrai; from that pruthvi (earth); So each creation includes cumulative qualities of earlier stages of creation; for example, pruthvi includes all the qualities of Sabdha, sparSa, rUpa, rasa, and gandha; this is also explained in ‘pUnilAya aindhumAy [thiruchchandha viruththam – 1]’.

Reason for saying vyashti srushti (which is a latter creation) first and then samasthi srushti (which is a prior creation) in this pAsuram is – since it is with brahmA et al where there may be doubt whether they are eeSvaran; there is no such doubt in core elements.

Reason for saying earth etc.,(iru nilam kAl thee neer viN bUtham aindhAy), in a different order instead of in order of annihilation in to its immediate prior source stage, or in the order of creation, is due to some other specific thinking (of AzhvAr):

Being a support for everything, being immobile, and not troublesome, AzhvAr first talked about such earth;  other  three core elements being mobile, being of both protection and disturbances, AzhvAr told about them in different order after earth; considering that space gives room for other elements, he mentioned it in the end;  if these are not considered, then there would not be an use for AzhvAr saying in this order;

earlier he said ‘mudhalvan thannai’; here he says ‘aindhAy’ (literal: emperumAn as the five elements  – which means: emperumAn being creator of five elements).  So, the association in this sAmAnAdhikaraNayam is – uthpAdhya uthpAdhaka bhAvam (the created – the creator);

senthiRaththa , etc. – For saying later in the prabandham about creation of those who are to be obedient to SAsthram (SAsthra vaSyar; humans), here he is talking about creation of SAsthram. Creating thamizh (dhrAvida), and samskrutham;

While it would be valid to say samskrutham  and then thamizh which is its changed/derived form, instead, he enumerated thamizh first because – it is eligible to be perused by everyone, being very good at conveying clear meaning, and it is his area of language usage, and also like samskrutha vEdham, thamizh vEdham (dhivya prabandhams) is also authoritative reference – hence AzhvAr mentions thamizh first.

AzhvArs’ words are not like that of vEdhas and ithihAsas and purANas. These words (in thamizh) is that of anushtAthA (who executes the words as per SrIvaishNavam), you see! AzhvArs say about shunning aiSvaryam, kaivalyam and not consider them as required (whereas vEdhas talk about those things also as means/goals).

sen thiRaththa thamizh Osai – thiRam -> its feature/capability and ways;  thamizh words enlighten in the best way the meanings they carry.  Not having need for an upabrahmaNam to explain it more.  (There ARE thirumangai AzhvAr’s six prabandhams that are called ‘Aru angam’ for thiruvAimozhi. But thiruvAimozhi does not need them for explaining itself); vEdhas require upabrahmaNam (to explain it well).

Osai  (Agi) – Osai is the name for poem, and sound. But here it is talking about the words of thamizh (lakShaNai – like: ‘house is in the ganges’ means it is in the shores of the ganges); this can also be seen in the next phrase ‘vada sol’ (words of samskrutham);

vada sol – is – talk about samskrutham. thamizhians call thirumalai as the north border for the places (in south) where thamizh is in use. samskrutham is in vogue in north of thirumalai. thamizh would not be in vogue in those places;  the greatness of this place (south) is that both the languages are in vogue here;

Agi – His creating SAsthram is about His revealing/spreading it.

thisai nAngumAy – creating all the things/people in all the four directions;  (It is by lakShaNai, it talks about the things- that is,) like saying ‘manchA: krOSanthi [mammadar’s kAvya prakASam 2nd ullAsam] (bed is crying – means – babies on the bed are crying). By this it says about creation of those who are to be obedient to SAsthram (SAsthra vaSyar; humans);

thingaL nAyirAgi – It is as said in ‘agnau prAsthAhuthis samyag AdhithyamupathishtathE | AdhithyAjjAyathE vrushti: vrushtErannam thatha: prajA: || [manu SAsthram – 3.76]’ (offering that is submitted in the fire for homam (vEdhic ritual) reached the Sun; from Sun, rain is obtained; by rain, food items are grown; using food items, humans live and are created (through father eating the food)); (Agi -> becoming) shows the completion of creation.

In previous phrases it showed the meaning of ‘nAra’ (indhran, brahmA, five core elements, etc.). Rest of the phrases of the pAsuram show the meaning of ‘ayanam’.

antharaththil – (anupravESam as part of creation) when being inside; when permeating within everything created; by ‘pruthivyA anthara: AnthanESnthara: [bruhadhAranyaka upanishath – mAdhyandhina – 5.7.72](One who is present outside and inside of land/jeevAthmA, One who is not known by the land/AthmA, One who is being inside the land/AthmA and letting it act, such paramAthmA is the AthmA that is never destroyed), so by the word anthara it talks about the permeating quality of emperumAn.

dhEvarkkum aRiyalAgA – being not known/aware about Him by all that are created (even dhEvas);  as said in ‘yamAthmA na vEdha [bruhadhAranyaka upanishath – mAdhyandhina – 5.7.72]’ (One who is not known by AthmA), the One whom the AthmA would not know, He is being inside and called as antharyAmi. To indicate that AzhvAr is saying that He is dhur-gyEyan (hard to learn about (antharyAmi));

But, by ‘dhEvarkkum’, why take up about them specially? even for those who are most knowledgeable, it would not possible to know about Him, that is why AzhvAr is considering them in the phrase.

anthaNanai(emperumAn being a) pure one (in mind; (won’t tolerate others’ suffering; won’t think trouble for others, etc.);  there is a greatness in AzhvArs using this word for implying pure one. nammAzhvAr said ‘aRavanai Azhip padai anthaNanai [thiruvAimozhi – 1.7.1]’ ( most benevolent (due to him bestowing the results); one having the sudharSana chakram (which purifies the heart); the purest eeSvarAn (supreme lord)).

(Why not give meaning to that as ‘brAhmaNa’ (in thiruvAimozhi)?) there is no brAhmaNa holding conch and disc, isn’t it? (kAnchi swami said something along the lines of ‘there IS one, and that is AchAryan’; so we could qualify as, One using them as weapons, there is no one other than emperumAn);  for kEvalan (one who is after kaivalyam (enjoying one’s own AthmA, and not emperumAn)) emperumAn is shown as the One to meditate upon as the pure one, for getting pure experience of kaivalyam, so nammAzhvAr is divining in that way, in that context.

And, one who wishes to get to emperumAn shall meditate upon His having all auspicious qualities, so that he would get those qualities;  The one who wishes to enjoy own AthmA (kaivalyam), shall meditate upon Him as having purity; It is because ‘jarA maraNa mOkshA’ (liberation from aging, death) that he considers;

But, here (for thirumangai AzhvAr), is purity required? AzhvAr first talked about creation (indhirar, piraman, etc.,), and then about that emperumAn permeating in all things created (being inside as antharyAmi is required for completing the creation, and for sustenance of the created ones);  then he says that the  blemishes of those things in which He is present, would not affect Him (He would stay pure (anthaNan)) – this is the point wished to be said by thirumangai AzhvAr here.

By ‘Esha sarvabhUthAntharAthmA – apahathapApmA [subAla upanishath -1]’, wherever it is talking about Him permeating, it is also talking that the blemishes of those things would not affect Him (He would remain pure); this is what is in the divine mind of this AzhvAr? The most vaidhikas are called AzhvArs, isn’t it? (parimElazhagar has shown that noble ones have a name as AzhvAr, and meaning for AzhvAr is noble one)

anthaNar mAttu anthi vaiththa manthiraththai – The matter (emperumAn) mentioned earlier is on the head of vEdhas (vEdhAntham) in mystic ways.

anthaNar mAdu – (brahmaNa’s wealth) – As said in ‘brAhmaNAnAm dhanam vEdha’ (wealth for a brAhmin is vEdham), wealth for brahmins is vEdham isn’t it? wealth is not emperumAn who is said in ‘dhanam madheeyam thava pAdhapankajam [sthOthra rathnam – 30](your divine feet is my wealth); it is vEdham – that told about emperumAn; that is the greatness of emperumAn that He is identified by vEdham; only by authoritative reference (pramANam) that one can know that the wealth is emperumAn (pramEyam) who is told by vEdham;

anthi vaiththa manthiraththai – the secret that is kept in vEdhAntham (anthi -> end/tail of vEdham); mAttu anthi – at the end of vEdham; that is, in vEdhAntham;

manthiram and sarvasmAthparan  (supreme to everyone) seems paryAyam (equivalent/alias/synonym); saying emperumAn as secret is – like the one who closes the front door and back door and then opens to see a bundle of valuables, this emperumAn is valuable so that, manthram is to be advised and implemented only among the four ears (AchAryan and disciple);

Or, ‘manthram’ is said as His divine name in SrI sahasranAmam – manthra: chandhrAmSu: bhAskaradhyuthi: [vishNu sahasranAmam 281, 282, 283]’ (protector of one who thinks about Him; One having comfortable light like moon; One who is too bright like the sun (these are some of His divine names)); by the root of the word manthram,manthAram thrAyatha ithi manthra: (since it protects the one who recites it, it is called manthram), so the word manthram is the divine name of emperumAn.

anthaNar mAdu – (why say it is the wealth of brahmaNas (and not him)) – saying so to show that he is not of such birth; even though all of it is bright in his mind, saying it out would be a damage to the respect for his eligibility was his state. Even while he is being an at most follower of vEdhas, like saying “others’ wealth”, he is saying in this way in unconnected way in order to establish the respect of the ways.

anthaNar mAtttu andhi vaiththa manthiraththai manthiraththAl – vAzhudhiyEl – Who is being said (emperumAn), and the one that is saying it (thirumanthram given by perumAn) are both being there (emperumAn);

manthiraththai – vAzhudhiyEl – if you experience/enjoy the One who is the reason/creator of the worlds (jagath kAraNa bhuthan), One who is present inside all (sarva antharyAmi), not knowable (dhurgyEyan), and not affected by the blemishes of the body He is present in;  (these qualities are mentioned in the earlier phrases of this pAsuram);

manthiraththAl – vAzhudhiyEl – When experiencing/enjoying that One, instead of trying to do that through vEdhAntham, or through ithihAsa purAnams, try to do that through in the way how I enjoyed:- try to do that through thirumanthram.  Other ways would not be delightful like enjoying through thirumanthram; As said in ‘sarvam ashtAkSharAnthasthatham [hAreetha smruthi – 3.45]’ (the meanings in the four vEdhas and in other references are all present inside the manthram of eight letters/syllables), this manthram tells all the meanings collected together;

Aren’t there innumerable manthrams. Does the word manthram indicate periya thirumanthram? As said by ‘yAni nAmAni gauNAni [mahAbhAratham – anusA 135.13]’ (names based on His qualities), other manthrams are about his qualities only; for the aforementioned meanings (creator, antharyAmi, etc.) there is no other manthram. So that is why manthram here means periya thirumanthram.

Can’t the other manthrams that indicate his permeating everywhere be considered as one said here? No, since the other two manthrams (vAsudhEvan, vishnu), need thirumanthram to complete the full meaning.

The manthram which he said with surety as ‘nAn kaNdu koNdEn [periya thirumozhi – 1.1]is this periya thirumanthram only isn’t it.

maRavAdhu vAzhudhiyEl – if you enjoy it without forgetting;

Reason for forgetting about experiencing emperumAn would be interest in material matters, so is AzhvAr saying – enjoy without interest in material matters? No, that would not suit AzhvAr; he is enjoying in his final state after sAkShAthkAram (enlightenment / seeing emperumAn (kaNdu koNdEn [periya thirumozhi – 1.1])).

So, what then would be for him the reason for forgetting?  Since having connection with the body which is having the three types of sorrows (thApams) (AdhyAthimika, Adhi baudhika, Adhi dhaivika), seeing having association with the body, seeing his old history, and seeing the greatness of emperumAn, there is the thought of him having emperumAn as the means for removal of such connection of body without seeing his prior history, and for getting the loved matter that is emperumAn;  that thought (of thinking Him as the means) would be the time of/reason for – forgetting to enjoy emperumAn!

So try to enjoy Him without getting into the pUrvArdham  (first line of dhvayam – which uses Him as means, (that our thought that He is the means, even such thought is not the means; it is His thought that would be the means) (and second line of dhvayam is about enjoying and serving Him);  AzhvAr is follower of dhvayam isn’t it?

Why explain the meaning in this way? Earlier when we have submitted our living to emperumAn, and after that now thinking about our living/upliftment  would be like interfering in the business of others (that is, of emperumAn); there is no difference in ineligibility between addressing one’s own well-being and thinking of creating/addressing well-being of the world (which we cannot not do);

vAzhudhiyEl – without involving in His purifying nature (anthaNanai), and in His being the means, if you would be involved in his enjoyableness (only),

vAzhudhiyEl – prosperity would be yours; I too am your colleague, isn’t it?

As vAzhudhiyEl – talking about his mind considering it as a sentient doer, which is his faculty, is due to seeing the predominance of mind. Till the end of life, it is the mind that is the helper for involving towards emperumAn, which is what a mumukshu (one wishing to be liberated from material world) expects from his mind, isn’t it?

enRum – vAzhalAm – can live amongst nithyasUris (in paramapadham) till the time AthmA exists (eternal). Everywhere, it is the experience/enjoyment that is there for him. vaishNavan is – a prince, isn’t it? (emperumAn is the king, and vaishNavan can live with many qualities that are equal in emperumAn, after reaching SrIvaikuNtam);

mada nenjamE – Oh mind who is obedient to me! Without any difference in the time when getting rid of vishaya prAvaNyam (interest in worldly affairs), and in the time of upliftment (experiencing emperumAn), and during the time of enjoyment, I got the mind that is following me obediently – saying so he is celebrating/appreciating his mind. It is like ‘nenjamE nallai nallai [thiruvAimozhi – 1.10.4]’ ((what you have done is) good, good.).

– – – – – –

Translation by raghuram SrInivAsa dAsan

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thirunedunthANdakam – 3

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In the first pAsuram – AzhvAr was astonished about the series of help of emperumAn to him, starting from removal of vishayAnthara prAvaNyam (interest in other things of material world) through giving him the destiny (divine feet) which is the gain for true nature of AthmA,  and He showed him all this while considering it as an honour for Himself;

(Why the astonishment of AzhvAr when emperumAn is doing these for His own benefit?) – If AzhvAr requests for it and emperumAn performs help on that request, then that would be understandable/valid; but while I am averse/turned away from Him, He Himself is eagerly performing such help, so it is astonishing).

In the second pAsuram – AzhvAr said that emperumAn cut his subservience towards others.  Mistaking due to the misunderstanding that the three deities are equivalent would be subservience to others, isn’t it?

In this pAsuram –  As said as ‘maNi uruvil bUtham aindhAy [thirunedunthANdakam – 1]’,  and ‘mugil uruvam [thirunedunthANdakam – 2]’, that which is illuminating the svarUpam (for (parama) Athma vasthu (entity)),  and for the qualities present in such vasthu (entity), and which is of unsurpassed enjoyment, and which is having the colour like that of rainy clouds – the way in which emperumAn helped by showing such divine body/form of His, to those having even a tiny affection, based on their taste, even by affecting His stature/original form (azhiya mARi), and the way in which emperumAn showed him due to His voluntary kindness His natural body/form – AzhvAr, seeing these as He showed them, says who would be able to see this like he did.

(Why enjoy His divine body instead of focusing on working for emperumAn’s excellence (athisayam) as dictated by subservience?)

Like how a virtuous woman would be focused on being in unison with her husband, if one gets subservience, and also get the state of not yielding  to others (ananyArhathai), then he would just be involved in enjoyment of Him isn’t it? His qualities are such that one would enjoy them more than His svarUpam; but one would enjoy His form more than both His svarUpam and His qualities – such is the enjoyability of His body/form, isn’t it?

By this pAsuram, AzhvAr is enjoying that form/body/beauty.

thiruvadivil karunedumAl sEyan enRum
  thirEthaikkaN vaLaiyuruvAyth thigazhndhAnenRum
peruvadivil kadal amudham koNda kAlam
   perumAnaik karuneela vaNNan thannai
oruvadivaththOruruvenRu uNaralAgA(dhu)
   Uzhi thORuzhi ninREththal allAl
karuvadiviR chenkaNNa vaNNan thannaik
  katturaiyE yAroruvar kANkiRpArE                         3

Word by word meaning

karu neela vaNNan thannaiOne naturally having blue colour among the colours,
perumAnaithat is sarvESvaran,
thiruvadivilin the matter of his divine body,
karunedumAl(like rainy clouds) emperumAn naturally having black colour, having a lot of love towards devotees,
sEyan enRumthat He is having reddish colour
thirEthaikkaNin the thrEthA yugam;
peru vadivil kadal amudham koNda kAlamin the krutha yugam when having many forms, and took nectar from the divine milky ocean
vaLai uruvAyth thigazhndhAn enRumHe was having white colour like a conch;
Uzhi thORu Uzhi ninRu EththalallAlother than being in each kalpam and praise Him (like this),
uNaral AgAdhuIt is not possible to know (Him)
oru vadivaththu Or uru enRuas having one specific form of divine body, or as having one type of colour;
katturaiyEother than (everyone) be (only) talking about
karu vadivil sem kaNNa vaNNan thannaithat emperumAn having bluish divine body, and reddish divine eyes,
yAr oruvar kANkiRpArEwho can see Him (like I did as He showed to me)?


thiruvadivil –  In the matter of divine form/body.

Like how in the first pAsuram it was about (His help in) SEshathvam (subservience), and in the second pAsuram it was about anyaSEshathva nivruththi (removal of subservience to others), now in this pAsuram it is about His (His help about) divine form, you see! says AzhvAr.

thiru vadivu – Distinguished form. periya pirAttiyAr’s form (form enjoyed by Her).

When it could have been said as (just) vadivu, saying thiru vadivu is – Like said in ‘agalakillEn iRaiyum [thiruvAimozhi – 6.10.10]’ (will not leave you even a fraction of a moment), the form is such that pirAtti’s state is like (a thirsty one saying) ‘water! water!’, it is such difficult to attain and get Him in such form, and it is such status He lowered Himself from, and showed it to the world – it is for this, that AzhvAr is saying thiru’ vadivu.

Now it talks about how emperumAn helped by giving such divine from.

karu nedu mAl – Having the form of colour like black rainy cloud (karu), having the great glory that is beyond both the worlds (nedu). By this – One who is having distinguished divine body, not needing/expecting from anyone else (having everything by Himself) (mAl), and superior to everything, is the one, you see, become like these (as shown by phrases that follow)! – says AzhvAr.

Or, by mAl – with maddening love, He is of deep (nedu) love. By this, the One who is of greatness as aforementioned, is lowering/changing himself and showing himself due to His being of deep love (vyAmOghatha).

karu -> kALa, in samskrutham, both meaning black. kALa mEgham -> black cloud.

sEyan enRum thirEthaikkaN – When considering thrEthA yugam, He would be having reddish (sEy) form. People of that time were having more quality of rajas (action/anger), so their interest would be in red colour only isn’t it? (rajas is represented as red). Based on that interest of those people, He would present himself to them in reddish colour.

rajas (anger/active) is reddish, sathvam (tranquillity) is whitish, and thamas (ignorance/laziness) is blackish.

For prakruthi (material realm) specific properties are these three qualities as said in ‘lOhitha Sukla krishNAm [SvEthasvathara Upanishadh – 4.5]’ (red, white, and black) (samsAri (worldly person) with the mind of enjoyment follows the woman that is prakruthi having red (rajas), white (sathvam), black (thamas) colours (qualities) and which can create various things equal to it; the other one that is muktha jeevan (liberated), even though enjoys the woman that is prakruthi for some period, then hates it and leaves her [gets liberated]. This prakruthi and these beings are eternal (meaning is taken from pramANath thirattu (collection of authoritative references) given along with vyAkyAnam).

Reason for talking about red first is – to show that it is in the order of word of Sruthi in ‘lOhitha Sukla krushNam’.

While it is for the subservient to set himself for the happiness of the lord, it is the lord who is changing Himself against His superiority according to the taste of His subjects.

(This can be seen in), As said in ‘thamar ugandhadhu evvuruvam [mudhal thiruvanthAdhi – 44]’ (whatever form the devotees enjoy), the ‘enRum enRum ((praise him) as, as) seen in multiple lines of this pAsuram is to be read with ‘Uzhi thORu Uzhi ninRu EththalallAl’ (other than praising him in each such yugam).

peruvadivil kadal amudham koNda kAlam – When considering krutha yugam;  not saying (explicitly) krutha yugam in the pAsuram, like saying ‘thirEthaik kaN(in previous line) , but saying about it as ‘kadal amudham koNda kAlam (time when He churned milky ocean)Saying thirEthaik kaN’ appears as barren time for AzhvAr (As SrI rAman with anger bridged on the ocean just for killing the asura and so AzhvAr is not considering that as great, whereas here He with kindness churned the ocean (and gave nectar)), and so AzhvAr is talking about the specifics of emperumAn’s glory of krutha yugam since the activities of emperumAn of this time is loved by AzhvAr;

This is similar to how those (in SrIrangam) having love towards periya thirunAL (panguni uththram day when perumAL and pirAttiyAr grace together once a year) would say ‘I will do it (some activity) after periya thirunAL’ instead of saying based on the month, as, ‘I will do after the month of panguni’, thus basing it on the activity of emperumAn. (In the same way AzhvAr is talking about the time of churning of milky ocean).

But, is it not enough to say ‘kadal amudham koNda kAlam’ why say ‘peru vadivil kadal amudham koNda kAlam’? (huge form)

kSheerAbdhi (milky ocean) is big such that it covers fourteen hundred thousand miles (14 lakh miles (kAdham -> around a mile); 

Isn’t He reclining in that ocean as said in ‘thALum thOLum mudigaLum samanilAdha pala parappi [thiruvAimozhi – 8.10.8]’, such that the whole area of the ocean swells and splashes.

With that form itself as He gets up and churns, it would look like an ocean churning an ocean, so AzhvAr is divining so (as peru vadivil (huge form));

Ocean is such that it relieves our burdens, and it is boundless; likewise, (emperumAn’s form) also relieves our burden, is boundless, and enjoyable.

Or, as peru vadivu – by the form that cannot be measured; for the manthara mountain not to drown He took the form of kUrmam (tortoise), and to control the turbulence above, the form of bruhathrUpi (brahma rUpi (as said in ’uparyAkrAnthavAn Sailam bruhadhrUpENa kESava: [SrIvishNu purANam – 1.9.90]’) (kESavan)), thus being in a form among the dhEvas and in a form among asuras, and pulling / churning amidst them, and being as strength for vAsuki the snake (used as rope for churning), and as said in ‘yanna dhrushtam surAsurai:’, thus permeating everywhere whether mountain, dhEvas, asuras, and gave strength – thus taking many forms in these ways.

kadal amudham koNda kAlam – All the dhEvas without anyone missing, who due to the curse of dhurvAsa muni became losers of wealth, losing nectar and becoming poor, and so as said in ‘SaraNam thvAmanuprApthA: samasthA dhEvathAgaNA:’ – surrendered, and the way He churned the ocean and gave nectar to them.

koNda -> having (as against ‘gave’ the nectar))-  He was thinking that it is his gain/blessing to give them nectar.

kadal amudham koNda kAlam – The time when He created nectar for the dhEvas, for Himself, and for me (AzhvAr).

dhEvas got the goods of nectar and went away; He took the nectar that is periya pirAttiyAr (who came from the ocean and settled on His divine chest);  These two, as said in ‘viNNavar amudhuNa amudhil varum peN amudhuNda [periya thirumozhi – 6.1.2](dhEvas got the nectar, emperumAn got the nectar that is thAyAr) are not enjoyment  for AzhvAr. It is as said in ‘nAl thOL amudhu [thiruvAimozhi – 6.10.9] (emperumAn the divine nectar), with his hands arms and divine conch, the One who churned the ocean is the One that is the enjoyment for him (AzhvAr).

dhEvas got what they loved; He also got His love; I also got what I love (says AzhvAr).

As said in ‘paSyathAm SarvadhEvAnAm yayau vakSa:sthalam harE:’, as all dhEvas where witnessing it, stepping her feet on His divine flower of navel, climbed into His divine chest. Why climb so without giving importance to those witnessing? It is only when One gets Her love would She be able to shower love on others.

Or, thinking – only due to His grace I would be able show my grace, and looked at His face (for His grace/approval).

(aithihyam) ­- (nan)jeeyar asked (parASara) bhattar, ‘Is it appropriate for womanhood to climb on His chest when so many dhEvathAs are present watching?’;  bhattar divined his reply, ‘While being with husband, is it required to be shy in front of those who are doing personal services to them?’.

Even though all the dhEvathAs were thinking that they were all powerful as ‘eeSvarOham’ , the true nature of subservience is to serve towards the togetherness of emperumAn and pirAtti.

amudham koNda kAlam – Oh what a wonderful time it was! – says AzhvAr.

{similar to ‘madhi niRaindha nannALAl [thiruppAvai – 1]’}.

Not only showing Himself to ananya prayOjanar (devotees not expecting anything else), even for prayOjanAntharaparar (those seeking some other thing from Him) it is a time of good life as he was available for them too.

Time when His supremacy, simplicity, and enjoyability shined!  Since all the deities came and surrendered, supremacy shined;   since not enforcing His supremacy against the prayOjanAntharaparar who are arrogant and think ‘eeSvarOham’ (I am the controller/supreme), and as He performs what is required to help them, His simplicity is highlighted; due to the togetherness of Him and pirAtti enjoyability shined.

(at the time when He incarnated and churned the ocean..)

vaLai uruvAyth thigazhndhAn enRum – (.. He was white in colour)Since the ones in krutha yugam are high in sathva guNam (tranquillity), it is white that they are joyous about. So as per their taste, He was in the form having white colour. vaLai uruvAy – in the colour of conch. (uru -> colour, as a facet of beauty). It is said too, ‘SaSi varNam chathur bhujam’.

If asking what the authoritative reference is for the time of churning ocean was krutha yugam;- Since it is said as He was ‘SvEtha varNan’ (white in colour), – it shows that it is krutha yugam. The great one (thirumazhisai AzhvAr) divined ‘pAlineermai – niRaindha kAlam nAngumAy [thiruchchandha viruththam – 44]’ (among the four yugams, He having simplicity like milk (white)), showing as four colours for the four yugams.

thigazhndhAn enRum – Lowering His state and showing to them, instead of them becoming bright/satiated, He becomes bright/satiated; since He shows/attends even by lowering His state, His simplicity is obviously highlighted.

perumAnai – (supreme / lord); Not having any count of the forms He takes in these ways for devotees. If yugams are four, would His forms also be just four? Since there is no count for each of the yugams (since they repeat), obviously His forms also would be countless.

Since those in dhvApara yugam people were with the mix of rajas and thamas, He was having the form having colour as per their taste thus not having just red or blue (respectively) – since this is not said explicitly in the pAsuram, this word includes that form/colour as well (bluish black). It is said too as ‘pAsiyin pasum puRam pOlum neermai  [thiruchchandha viruththam – 44]’ (~like the outside blackish colour of moss outside, He being with simplicity).

karu neela vaNNan thannai – In the time of kali, since people shun him and are not having any taste about the colour of his form – He would be having his natural form (of colour) (bluish black). From ‘kalau jagathpathim [SrIvishNu purANam]– etc., (parASara muni saying to maithrEya – people of kali yugam would not worship vishNu the supreme) – “Oh maithrEya! See the trouble emperumAn went through! You are the only one who is not affected by this period! (since parASara in dhvApara yugam can see the future kali yugam, he is talking as ‘this period’)”

karumai – is the name for black; it is also the general name for colours; when it comes to His colour it would be black.

oru vadivaththu Or uru enRu uNaral AgA – Not just lowers himself in colour, but also lowers himself in his form; since in this way for the devotees he lowers himself in his form and colour, it is not possible for anyone to measure it and say that such and such is His form, such and such is His colour; as said in ‘sura nara thiraSchAm [varadharAja sthavam – 17]’, (when incarnating as dhEva, human, or animal, He hid His original nature and took respective characteristics of those births), (Or,  sura nara thiraSchAm [SrIvishNu purANam] (even though you are of no birth and do not go through any change, you are incarnating with the characteristics of dhEvas, human, and animals, for your leelai (play/enjoyment)), since He comes and incarnates in different types of births, He lowered His original form too; 

The adolescent age as said in ‘yuvAkumAra:’  (emperumAn is of such young age), and His colour of dark clouds would be His natural state  – could we not limit/determine His form and colour in this way? Since we also see Him as being a son (growing to different ages), it is not possible to determine the limit of Him based on age.  And, it is not possible to determine the limit of colour since He takes upon the colour based on the taste of devotees.

But what is wrong in determining/limiting by saying, how He is in SrivaikuNtam is the natural colour and form, and the colour and form in these incarnations as incidental (temporary)? When looking at the forms and colours that He took for the devotees, the one in SrivaikuNtam would look incidental/temporary, and the ones He took up for His incarnations are the ones that would be well set for Him (as actual nature); It is ‘ichchAgruheetha’ (He does that out of love for those forms/colours (due to the interest in such forms/colours by devotees), isn’t it?

uNaral AgA – Not only one cannot talk about it with words/songs; it cannot even be thought by the mind (about His many forms/colours).

Uzhi thORu Uzhi ninRu Eththal allAl – (other than praising Him in each eon);  we can only do this – says AzhvAr. If we see His ways of many forms and many colours, other than praising Him till there is time (eternal), it is not possible to determine/limit them.

karu vadivil sem kaNNa vaNNan thannai – (AzhvAr) divines about the form emperumAn showed to him. Only if there is any interest towards Him would He show as per his interest in any specific form or colour.  Since he is not interested in emperumAn and interested in material affairs, He showed, based on His own interest, He showed me His natural form; He showed Himself of dark cloud-like colour and as its accompaniment, the divine (red) eyes – the ones which shower the nectar that is the love (represented as red) which  is inside His mind; (like the love (rain) that is inside rainy clouds);  these too define his superiority similar to His being the husband of periya pirAttiyAr.

katturaiyE yAr oruvar kANkiRpArE – by voluntary blessing of emperumAn I saw Him and talked to Him – is it possible for anyone else to see and talk to Him? (katturaiyE – who can say? Or, they can only talk based on imagination).

Is there anyone who can see Him like I saw Him? Is there anyone who can talk to Him like I talked to Him?

Or, katturaiyE – everyone can only stay far and talk about it; is there anyone who can see Him?

(Aren’t there vEdhams, and AzhvArs who have done that?)

vEdhams too talked about the form of emperumAn as ‘neelathOyadhamadhyasthA’ (nArAyaNan is like the dark rainy cloud with lightning in the middle), thus seeing Him from afar and said approximately so, and went away.

Even those (other AzhvArs) who said ‘neelamuNda min anna mEnip perumAn [thiruviruththam – 29]’ (emperumAn of form like black clouds with lightning) – did they see Him in the way I saw Him? They saw Him only by their innate indifference (to worldly matters), and innate love (towards Him);  Is there any equal to the ways in which I, who is having innate indifference to emperumAn and love towards material matters, saw Him, in compromising ways? Since such is the case, has the vEdham or have the AzhvArs seen the scene that I saw?

Ar oruvar kANkiRpArE – who can see by their own accord? Like the worshippers (sAdhakar (rishis)), did I see Him by my own efforts? Like the prapannas (Arththa prapannas (those who wish to be liberated immediately and reach SrIvaikuNtam), did I see Him by being fearful of this material world? I saw while I was roaming around with interest in worldly aspects, isn’t it? (so I am the main one eligible for paragatha sveekAram (emperumAn voluntarily pursuing me)).

– – – – –

Translation by raghuram SrInivAsa dAsan

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thirunedunthANdakam – 2

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<< pAsuram – 1 – minnuruvAy munnuruvil


In the first pAsuram – AzhvAr divined about the series of help of emperumAn to him, starting from removal of dhEhAthmAbhimAnam through giving him the destiny (divine feet); in this pAsuram – AzhvAr divines about the removal of his mistaken thought of the three lords as equals.

Is it not implied when it was said in previous pAsuram itself as ‘eNNum ponnuruvAy’, that is, about distinguished supreme quality of His nature?

Based on ‘simha avalOkana nyAyam’ (like a lion after eating its prey and walking away would turn back to look at the prey just to reconfirm), looking at all His help, even if His other help are digested, is it possible to digest the great help of breaking the doubt of equality among the three lords? – thinking of that, AzhvAr is again thinking about this particular help of emperumAn.

(How great is this particular help?)  Is this help like the (relatively less significant) help of saving me from vishayAnthara prAvaNyam, or is this help like the (relatively less significant) help of the danger of kaivalyam – says AzhvAr?

AzhvAr says that emperumAn showed me the ways of the One as the lord and the other two as subservient,  and, the other two as created and the One as creator.

pAruruvi neererikAl visumbumAgip
   palvERu samayamumAyp parandhu ninRa
Eruruvil mUvarumEyenna ninRa
   imaiyavar tham thiruvuruvEReNNum pOdhu
Oruruvam ponnuruvam onRu senthee
   onRumA kadaluruvam oththu ninRa
mUvuruvum kaNda pOdhu onRAm sOdhi
  mugiluruvam emmadigaL uruvam thAnE                          2

Word by word meaning

Er uruvil – Having beautiful bodies
mUvarumE enna ninRa – being as if all the three are equal
imaiyavar tham thiruvuru – of the form of brahmA, vishNu, and Sivan,
vEReNNumpOdhu – when seeing separately,
Oruruvam – brahmA’s form is
ponnuruvam – of the nature of gold;
onRu – rudhran’s (Sivan) form is
sem thee – of the nature of reddish fire;
onRu – form of nArAyaNan, the husband of lakShmI
mA kadal uruvam – is invigorating, like (when seeing) the big ocean;
mUvuruvum – all the three forms
oththu ninRa – standing together (with their such qualities);
kaNda pOdhu – (but) when seeing through pramANam,
pAr uruvi  neer erikAl visumbumAgi – creating the five core elements like the earth made of hard material, etc.,
palvERu samayamumAy – creating the world that is of many different paths/categories,
parandhu ninRa – and pervading everywhere, inside the AthmAs (as antharyAmi)
when reflecting upon the state based on such thathvam (truth),
Am sOdhi onRu – being said by ‘param jyOthi’ , and being the One
mugil uruvam – the form that is like the dark rainy clouds,
em adigaL uruvam – IS the form of sarvESvaran who is the lord of everyone.


pAr uruvi – Earth that is of hard make up (pAr -> pARai -> hard rock)urvi  is in the language used by the noble learned people (Aryas), that is, samskrutha word which means earth. It got transformed into thamizh word uruvi here.

The word pAr is Not to mean earth here – its meaning is from pARai  (hard rock) that it is a hard material like a hard rock.  By this, – compared to other core elements (like air, fire, etc.), this is different and having the hardness – the earth.

When recited as pAruruvil –  (in pAr uru) – it means – From the (twenty one) elements from which aNdam  (world sphere) is created, the following, that is, pAr-> earth,  etc., that are neer -> water,  eri -> fire , kAl -> air, visumbu – space –the five elements are created – He is being these elements;

If asked – avyaktha (name of world when it was in the unmanifested state), akshara  (the material realm’s source which has not changed), mahath (the great element),  ahankAram  (ego indicating root material realm) – are these also not the sources for creating of (aNdam) spherical world? (Why are they not included in the list of creating elements, but only the five elements, by AzhvAr?)

It is since mahAn etc., are in sUkShma (subtle) form (not visible to people’s eyes), and so would be difficult for people to understand; so AzhvAr talks here only about those that are sthUlam (gross, can be perceived by the senses of the body) (they are pAr, neer, eri, kAl, etc. mentioned above), and and since these are the (immediate) direct reason for creation of the aNdam; and so this is about nithya srushti (more frequent continuous creation activities of emperumAn).

rishi (parAsarar) too said ‘bhUthEbhyONdam’ about the direct/immediate source.

(why is it saying earth etc., in reverse order of creation?)
Saying pAr mudhalA  is based on order in which they go through annihilation.

Agi – would this word indicate that creation?  (Agi is ‘becoming’, Akki would mean ‘creation (but it would also mean creator)) – Since AzhvArs are vEdhAnthis (followers of vEdhanthas), AzhvAr is divining based on the Sruthi of ‘bahusyAm’ (I shall become many things (That is, being sareeree of them (they being part of His body) and his being nirvAhakar (controller))).

But, considering ‘AkASadhvAyu:, vAyOragni:, agnErApa:, adhbhya:pruthivee’,  where it says one is the reason/source for the next one’s creation, is it correct to say that He is the reason/source for the creation of All of them?

As said in, ‘thEja: aikShantha, Apa aikShantha:’, (desire of emperumAn to create the elements) the act of creation based on intent/desire (sankalpam) cannot be by non-sentient (like space, etc.), it is clear that it is emperumAn to whom these state/entities are His body and He in the form of those respective elements creates the next ones, and so He would have to be the creator.

If this pAsuram is about removal of doubt about equivalence of the three lords, why is the meaning given above as creation of material realm? It is to show that for the One who created the core elements that are the source for creation of spherical world (aNdam), then there is no prospect of Him being considered equal to those other two lords who are present/created within that spherical world.

pal vERu samayamumAy – What it talked about above is samashti srushti (creations before formation of aNdam;  creation of and without mixing of core elements (pruthvi (earth), appu (water), etc.); creation of ingredients for further creation; without division of dhEvas, human, etc.).

Now by the current phrase, it is talking about vyashti srushti (creation of spherical worlds, their enclosures (AvaraNam), and fourteen layers in them, in clearly diversified forms by mixing of the five core elements (pancha bUthams) , twenty four thathvams (non-sentient elements); with explicit divisions as dhEvas, humans, animals, plants).

Since brahmA (badhdha chEthanar – bound soul) is present without difference in the five core elements in singular (samashti) form, it is called samashti srushti.

From such brahmA, subsequently, the other sentients are born within the spherical world in variegated forms – it is called vyashti srushti.

(In the SrIbhAshyam book published in thirunArAyaNapuram, elaborate explanation is given about samashti srushti and vyashti srusthi).

Creating the world of many and of different system/limitations (samayam), and of innumerable AthmAs, that is vyashti srusthi, is said as ‘pal‘ (many);  it is unlike samasthi srushti where it is countable (five elements in separate forms).

vERu is, being separate such that they are distinct and non-mixed, and so by their bodies they are being completely separate.  samayam is system/limitation; being with the nature as per limitation of their category of creation (man being of specific set of behaviours, dhEvas being of some other set of behaviours, etc.).

dhEvas are having the nature of being worshipped and consuming nectar; humans are having the nature of worshipping and consuming food;  nature of animals and plants are to be accessories to such worship, and being the reason for the upliftment/life of humans;

and the behavior of those other than the aforementioned categories, is to be under the loving shadow of noble men. It is said too as ‘dhAsya sukha Eka sanginAm bhavanEShvasthvapi keetajanma mE [sthOthra rathnam – 55]’ ((noble ones) are involved in your joy of servitude to you; it should occur that I be born even as a worm in such divine place of their residence).

parandhu ninRa –  Doing parandhu is permeating by following the jeevAthmA into (anupravESam) all the created bodies and being AthmA for everything (that is, without Him nobody would be able to do anything – here body includes brahmA, Siva et al).

anupravESam is – setting Himself amicable to be inside the tangible material entity (sthUlam). Similar to how He is amicably present along with (viSishta) intangible/subtle forms (sUkshmam) of sentient and non-sentient, He is also amicably present along with (viSishta) tangible/concrete forms (sUkshmam) of sentient and non-sentient.

Er uruvil – in beautiful bodies;  Since by parandhu ninRa it says – eeSvaran who is present as AthmA for everything,  for such eeSvaran everything in the visible world are bodies for Him as said in ‘jagath sarvam SareeramthE’, by uru it refers to world. (that is, all the things (like earth, what and who are inside earth, other worldly bodies, and so on, are all bodies for Him).

Is it appropriate to refer to samsAris (people with interest in worldly things) who are to be shunned (by mumukshus), as Er uru (beautiful bodies)?

For a mumukshu (liberation seeker), samsAram would be a place to be afraid of, and also would be acceptable;  when looking at the visible body/world as attained due to being tied by karmas (and generate more karmas), mumukshus would consider it to be shunned; when looking at the world/people as being body of emperumAn as said in ‘jagath sarvam SareerathE’,  then it would be considered acceptable.

In this beautiful world (beautiful people of the world) –

mUvarumE enna ninRa – Avoiding the notion that the world is of numerous chiefs, some vEdhAnthis narrowed it down (to three).

This helped us to not have to reject individually the (numerous) chiefs who seem like ones to be worshipped, and gave us only a couple of them to be shunned (brahmA and Siva).

In pUrva kANdam (first part of vEdham), it says ‘thrimSachcha dhEva: nava chAsaparyan threeNi SathA three SahasrANyagnim’ (three thousand three hundred thirty nine dhEvathas served me, the agni) – it says three thousand three hundred thirty nine dhEvathas as to be worshipped. vEdhAnthis say that only the One who is the reason for creation of the world is to be worshipped. From this, some would say that since there are three who are the reason for creation, sustenance, and annihilation, all the three are to be worshipped.

Since saying enna ninRa – (be of stand as if (all three are equal)) – at a cursory look it appears as if all the three are equal,  they would look like ones to be worshipped; but if we analyse it, there is not even a possibility of the two being equal (to emperumAn).

As said in ‘brahma vishNu SivAthmikAm | sa samgyAm yAthi bhagavAnEka Eva janArdhana: || [SrIvishNu purANam – 1.2.23]’ (the distinct bhagavAn janArdhanan assumes 3 forms with the names of brahmA, vishNu and SivA to perform creation, sustenance, and annihilation), and so at cursory look it appears to be about equivalence, but with saying ‘janArdhana:’, as it refers to the substitute word of vishNu, it (the thought of their equivalence) is to be shunned.

imaiyavar – (dhEvas) This is also a reason for the misunderstanding.  Since they (brahmA and Siva) also do not blink their eyes, and since they are referred to with the word ‘dhEvas’, this term is being part of the misunderstanding.

Even though it is common for all the (three) dhEvas, there is no possibility of equivalence, since it is said as ‘sAkshAdhdhEva: purANOsau’ (this emperumAn who is of all ages, is the Only dhEva), the quality of dhEva is present only in Him at all times (unlike for others when it is present only from some point).

than thiruvuru vERu eNNumpOdhu – When thinking about their individual nature/activity (creation, sustenance, annihilation), it is capable of creating such misunderstanding.

Why praise the ones who are shunned, as ‘thiru uru’AzhvAr is talking so this way because like their nature/acts, their body is that of emperumAn (Sareera Sareeri bhAvam).

vEReNNumpOdhu – When thinking about the three of them together, we would consider it as Sareera Sareeri bhAvam (one (emperumAn) having the body, and the body (brahmA, Siva)), and it would be clear that the two are subservient, and One (emperumAn) is the lord. This can be seen in ‘ari ayan aran ennnum ivarai onRa num manaththu vaiththu [thiruvAimozhi – 1.3.6 & 1.3.7]’ (those who are popularly known as hari, aja (brahmA) and rudhra (Siva), these personalities who are explained in various pramANams to reveal their nature/activities, being neutral instead of taking sides of any one (to identify the chief person), contemplating in your heart/mind, analysing their svarUpa (true nature) and svabhAva (qualities) through pramANams (SAsthram));

Or uruvam etc. – This is talking about the individual nature/characteristics of them that are a reason for the misunderstand that they are equivalent.

Or uruvam pon uruvam – brahmA’s nature is that of gold;  gold is such that – all the ornaments could be made from it; in the same way (brahmA’s nature) would appear to be eligible for creating all the fourteen worlds; since he is the one from whose body all the things are created as he is the one for creation of all the bhadhdhAthmAs (sentient – bound souls).

onRu senthee – Another thathvam’s nature is that of fire, that is to destroy the world; nature of agni (fire) is that of burning everything; in the same way, if we see the nature of rudhran, it would be suitable for annihilating the world;

onRu mA kadal uruvam – being remover of sadness for those who see, the ocean’s nature is to keep within itself and save, everything from  bad things, good things, gems and such, etc., isn’t it? in the same way, if we see the nature of eeSvaran (emperumAn), He is the remover of sadness to those who surrendered to Him, and keeping them under His love and protecting them would be seen as the nature of Him.

The reason/source of the world is to be found only in the one where all these qualities are present isn’t it? Since these three nature are in these three, it is such that one could mistake that all the three are responsible for the reason/source of world (jagathkAraNam).

oththu ninRa – being together.  That is – each of their nature is together with their acts of creation, sustenance, and annihilation.

Next it talks about removal of the misunderstanding.

mu uruvum kaNda pOdhu – When knowing these three thathvams by using authoritative reference.

onRAm sOdhi – Among them, the light (which is having lustre by itself) is only One, is the point;

(Aren’t the other AthmAs also having lustre by themselves?) – the thEjas (lustre/light) that is of the creator, and being the constituent (Sareeree) of bodies,  and being lord (SEshi), is only of the One isn’t it?

The other two would be of the nature of being created, of being a body, and of subservience;  If asking where have we seen this – ‘EkOhavai nArAyaNa Aseeth’ (it is well known that only nArAyaNan was present (in a form)), that is, it is saying about the One who is the reason for the world (because He was the only one present in a form), and, ‘na brahmA nESAna: nEmE dhyAvA pruthivee’,  similar to earth, etc., that are non-sentient, brahmA and rudhran are also said as effected to go through annihilation, and, by ‘sa brahma sa Siva:’, (they are jeevAthmas only), et al, it talks about them as jeevAthmAs, and as having subservience, and, ‘Esha sarvabhuthAntharAthmA’ – by the world sarva (Everyone), it refers to everyone in which He is permeating; so, the fact that these two are among everyone, their being created (kAryathvam), they being jeevAthmas (kShethrathvam), they being subservient, and being part of body (of emperumAn) – are all well accepted by everyone (samprathipannam).

Even though jeevAthmAs also have the lustre by themselves (svayam prakASam), but by saying ‘Am sOdhi’, it differentiates Him from the other AthmAs, due to their being controlled (and Him being controller). That is why, ‘nArAyaNaparO jyOthi:’, (light means nArAyaNan) and, ‘jyOthishAm jyOthi:’ (He is light for all the lights) had to be said.

(Instead of splitting as onRu Am sOdhi,  why not take the meaning of onRAnjOthi  as – all the three would together become one (adhvaitham)) ?

Saying ‘mUvurum kaNdapOdhu onRAnjOthi’  would look to be according to those who argue there is brahmam only (and no jeevAthmAs etc). But since that is not AzhvAr’s philosophy, this is not according to their point of view. Moreover,  AzhvAr in previous pAsuram had with clear separation sang minnuruvAy, and, pinnuruvAy, and, ponnuruvAy, about the three separate thathvams (sentient, non-sentient, and eeSvaran), and in this pAsuram, saying ‘Er uru’, (beautiful form) to mean Sareera Athma bhAvam (others being bodies, and Him being AthmA for everyone),  and later (in 4th pAsuram) he is saying ‘indhirarkkum piramaRkum mudhalvan thannai‘ (lord for indhra and brahmA), there is contradiction to their point by way of other pAsurams also.

em adigaL uruvam – mugil uruvam – my lord’s form is black like that of rainy clouds; earlier where he said onRu mA kadal uruvam, as similar to the nature of ocean, it was meaning that He is protector;  Now – it is talking about His divine body; (Because) It is this form that identifies His sarvAdhikathvam (being the first of all things; being lord of/distinguished from every one).

thAnE – (But wasn’t that said as the colour of gem/diamond in pAsuram 1?) The body which was said as ‘maNi uruvil bUtham aindhAy [thirunedunthANdakam – 1]’  IS the one that is like that of dark rainy clouds, you see!

There it said ‘maNi uru’ because He is being pleasant and favourable like how one could keep a gem easily tied in the tip of their cloth, and it is bright, and extremely priceless,  and enjoyable.

In thamizh, the sequence of pAsuram words that would form the sentence for the whole meaning is as follows: Er uruvil mUvarumE enna ninRa imaiyavar tham thiru uru vEReNNumpOdhu, or uruvam pon uruvam, onRu senthee, onRu mAkadal uruvam; oththu ninRa muvurum kaNda pOdhu – pAr uruvi neer eri kAl visumbumAgip palvERu samayamumAyp parandhu ninRa – onRAm sOdhi mugil uruvam em adigaL uruvam thAnE’

{In the beautiful (AthmAs of the) world, the three stood as those to be worshipped as dhEvas, when considering their activities separately, one is like gold, one is like world-ending fire, and one is like the mighty ocean; (but) when seeing such matching nature (through the eyes of SAsthram) –  creating the hard-surfaced earth, and other core elements (separately), and permeating in various categories of things/lives (created by combining the elements) – (are due to emperumAn being the reason); such emperumAn who was the only self-illuminating light present, such emperumAn of mine is of the colour of rainy clouds, you see. }

– – – – –

Translation by raghuram SrInivAsa dAsan

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thirunedunthANdakam – 1

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<< thaniyans


In this pAsuram AzhvAr is divining about the series of help of emperumAn, starting from removing dhEhathmAbhimAnam (giving importance to body than AthmA; thinking of body itself as AthmA that is to be taken care of) (minnuruvAy), up to His giving association towards emperumAn’s divine feet (thiruvadi en thalai mElavE).

minnuruvAy munnuruvil vEdham nAngAy
  viLakkoLiyAy muLaiththezhundha thingaL thAnAy
pinnuruvAy munnuruvil piNi mUppillAp
  piRappiliyAy iRappadhaRkE eNNAdhu eNNum
ponnuruvAy maNiyuruvil bhUtham aindhAy
  punaluruvAy analuruvil thigazhum sOdhi
thannuruvAy ennuruvil ninRa endhai
  thaLir puraiyum thiruvadi en thalai mElavE.                            1

Word by word meaning

mun uruvil – Things that can be seen by eyes (non-sentient)
minnuruvAy – He is being one who enlightens about the nature of them (like the temporary nature of) lightning,
vEdham nAngAy – He is being talked about by all the four vEdhas;
viLakkoLiyAy – Like how light would remove darkness, He removes the inner darkness that is ignorance (of true nature of AthmA, etc.), and enlightens about His true nature/form,
muLaiththu ezhundha – appearing in the mountain, and rising up in the sky,
thingaL thAnAy – like the moon, He is being of delight,
pinnuruvAy – being behind that non-sentient, that  thathvam (truth/existence) (which is jeevAthmA)
munnuruvil – unlike the aforementioned shining lamp and moon,
piNi mUppillAp piRappiliyAy – He is being the matter of (parama)AthmA which does not have ignorance, weakness, the six changes of body, or birth,
iRappadhaRkE eNNAdhu – and without thinking about death (kaivalyam (eternal self enjoyment) which is considered as death of AthmA)
eNNum – and He is eligible for always to meditate upon
ponnuruvAy – having the nature of gold (brightness, desirable, etc)
maNiyuruvil – in the form (body) having the nature of gem
bhUtham aindhAy – and being made of five primary elements (pancha bhUtham) (different from the five elements of this world)
punal uruvAy – and being very easy to approach like the water that everyone could fetch and drink,
analuruvil thigazhum – and having the form (body) of not able to approach like fire,
sOdhi thannuruvAy – and being one who illuminates those things that are having light,
en uruvil ninRa – He being set in my body;
thiruvadi – divine feet  (soft, etc.)
endhai – of the sarvESvaran who is my lord,
en thalai mElavE – are being set on my head
thaLir puraiyum – due to which His feet freshens (sprouts)
– saying so, AzhvAr is immersed in it.


munnuruvil – pinnuruvAy  In the things that are seen around before the eyes (this is about non-sentient things since they are seen by eyes), and in those that are learned, He showed them to be having the nature of lightning. That is, He showed the unstable nature of material realm and related things (‘minnin nilaiyila [thiruvAimozhi 1.2.2]’);

When the reasons for bondage of AthmA with prakruthi (material realm / achith / non-sentient) are different, (that is, either due to (a) the good and bad deeds of earlier births, or due to (b) kindness of emperumAn; the latter being the cause of incarnation of AzhvArs and AchAryas); (this is by jAyamAna kAla katAksham (giving His grace at the time of birth, like he gave to prahlAdhan, dhruvan, thiruppANAzhvAr) to those of good deeds; and by giving ‘mayaRvaRa mathi nalam [thiruvAimozhi 1.1.1]’ to AzhvArs),

then the understanding of nature of AthmA is also different (for different sentient).

That is, when AthmA is bound to a body due to karmas, the knowledge of nature of AthmA and paramAthmA would stay hidden from the person; and such bondage would hide the nature of the body which is impermanent and incapable, and make it appear to have permanence and enjoyability;

but, when bound to the body based on emperumAn’s grace, it would enlighten about the impermanence and lack of enjoyability in one’s own body and own things, and would enlighten about the true nature of AthmA and paramAthmA (that AthmA is subservient to paramAthmA (emperumAn), etc).

So, here (for AzhvAr), since it is based on grace of emperumAn, it shined light on the impermanence of prakruthi and things based on prakruthi, and AzhvAr got the understanding that such non-sentient things are to be shunned.

But, the prakruthi (body, and related things) are said as ‘vichithrA dhEha sampaththi: eeSvarAya nivEdhithum | pUrvamEvakruthA’ (emperumAn gave the wealth that is the body of multi-faceted capabilities, to worship emperumAn), and,  as ‘SareeramAdhyam kalu dharma sAdhanam’ (first instrument that is the means for doing dharma is the body), and as ‘purushArtha sAdhanam’ (is an instrument to attain the destiny); so is it correct to say that prakruthi etc., are to be shunned?

Like the vessel/plantain leaf that is used for holding food becomes untouchable after eating of that food, and, like after completing the rites, things like pole where animals used for the rites were tied, that pole etc., are not to be touched be the performer,  this body etc., are also to be shunned after the birth of knowledge about AthmA and paramAthmA.

The sAmAnAdhikaraNyam (condition of a property in same object (example: ‘that man is happiness’ implies that he always exhibits happiness, so, that man himself could be called as happiness)) that is said in minnuruvAy  is upakArya upakAra bhAva sambhandha nibhandhanam – that is, one who helped us understand the nature of lightning is emperumAn; the nature He showed us of is the lightning. By this connection, emperumAn is talked about as minnuruvAy (emperumAn helped by showing the transient nature of prakruthi as similar to lightning).

In these ways as these other things are impermanent, the knowledge shall be directed towards the AthmA which is of permanent nature.

aham – (me) – (is the thought that happens by perceiving self) – which is AthmA – some would say that AthmA is body, or senses (can’t be because for example, if eyes are lost, one still continues activities/knowledge etc.), or mind, or breath, or intellect – for such mis-assertions to be removed, and for true knowledge to be born, it is required to have SAsthram (vEdham), so He gave SAsthram – so says AzhvAr now –

vEdham nAngAy – vEdhas which are four, the aim of which is to show the essence of knowledge about AthmA (not just about intellect, but showing up to the level that AthmA is subservient and obedient to paramAthmA);

(If there is only knowledge in someone (gyAthruthvam), then one would tend to do actions on their own (karthruthvam), and would seek enjoyment (bhOkthruthvam);  (these three in such form are to be carefully shunned); when there is subservience and obedience (pArathanthriyam) then one would depend on others (devotees/AchAryan) and do according to such people’s acts/commands).

Is vEdham just only about explaining AthmA (and not non-sentient, or paramAthmA)?  The other two are talked about only for AthmA to know what is to be shunned (non-sentient) and what is to be accepted (paramAthmA), (that is, vivEkam) so yes, vEdham is only mainly about explaining the nature of AthmA.

If so, is it not enough to only talk about what is to be rejected and accepted, why talk about true nature of AthmA?  Since it is the true nature (being subservient/obedient to devotees/AchAryan) that determines what are to be shunned or accepted, (so) when learning about what is to be shunned as appropriate for the true nature, and what is to be accepted as appropriate for the true nature, one would have to learn about true nature (of AthmA), isn’t it?

When not having knowledge about true nature of AthmA, one would think that only the body is to be shunned, but would think that sons, cows (wealth), food, etc., are to be accepted/enjoyed; or, if understanding is only that AthmA is different from body, then one would think that sons, cows (wealth), food, etc., are to be shunned but the enjoyment of heaven is to be pursued (for AthmA’s enjoyment);

Since SAsthram is given for the sentient, it is about the sentient; Since eeSvaran (paramAthmA) by Himself is all-knowing, and since the reality of non-sentience is unintelligent, SAsthram is not required for these two. Thus, SAsthram shall appear only for the sentient as one is expectant of and obedient to SAsthram and, as he applies the knowledge gained (gyAthA).

(vEdhayathi ithi vEdha: ) Since it explains clearly about itself it is called vEdham.  vEdham shows its meanings to those who believe it and wish to learn it; (bhOdhdhum ichchcu: – bubuthsu: -> one having interest in understanding vEdham);  it would hide its meanings to those who do not follow it, as said in ‘maRaiyAya nAl vEdham [thiruvAimozhi 3.1.10]’.  The nature of pramEyam (who is talked about; emperumAn) who is said as ‘paththudai adiyavarkku eLiyavan; piRargaLukku ariya viththagan [thiruvAimozhi 1.3.1]’  – such nature would be present for pramANam too.  (pramANam -> what talks about (Him)).

Here the sAmAnAdhikaraNyam (equivalence) said in vEdhan nAngAy,  equating vEdham to emperumAn, is Not based on association of what talks (vEdham) and what is talked about (emperumAn) that is said in ‘vEdhaiScha sarvairahamEva vEdhya: [SrI bhagavath gIthA – 15.15](it is I who is known by all the vEdhas (sacred texts)).

It is based on what is said in ‘mAnam pradheepamiva kAruNikO dhadhAthi’  (emperumAn who is of utmost mercy gave the lamp (that shows things that are to be shunned or accepted/followed)) – this association mentioned as vEdham nAngAy is based on giver/what is given (vEdham), that is, helper/helped through vEdham (pradhAthru  pradhEya nibandhanam).

Next, AzhvAr says that He created in me the knowledge born from hearing SAsthram (vEdham) from AchAryan.

viLAkkoLiyAy – Since it is having the nature of light of lamp viLAkkOLi  implies knowledge born out of SAsthram. That is, lamp is, one that removes darkness and shows things (as is), SAsthram removes ignorance and shows true nature;

As said in ‘andham thamaiva agyAnam dheepavachcha indhriyOthbhavam’ (having no knowledge is like darkness that renders one blind/ignorant; knowledge obtained out of senses (the five cognitive senses – smelling, tasting, seeing, touching, and hearing) (gyAnEndhriyam) are like the lamp (that remove darkness (lack of knowledge)), knowledge based on hearing (from AchAryan) is said as a lamp (here, the sense of hearing is talked about because of previous phrase vEdham nAngAy, vEdham which is learned by hearing).  (The knowledge is obtained  through karmEndhriyams also but it does not get understood; it requires gyAnEndhriyams for one to gain the knowledge).

Also, ‘harthum thama: sath asath eecha vivEkthumeeSO mAnam pradheepamiva kAruNikO dhadhAthi’ (to remove the darkness, and to show what is true and what is false, emperumAn with kindness comes with eagerness like the light from a lamp, and gives SAsthram).

By this, ‘viLakkoLiyAyis about ‘SrOthavya:’ (listen to (about AthmA)), that is SravaNam (hearing (from AchAryan)). (Knowledge gained by hearing – this level of knowledge is like a moon just about rising – a small part of it is visible/known).

By mULaiththu ezhundha thingaL thAnAy’  – it says about  manthavya: (reflect up on it (mananam) so that what is heard becomes clearer),

and about nidhidhyAsithavya:  (meditate upon its meanings so that its true delicate meanings and implications are understood well),

and about dhrashtavya: (get visualization in mind about  nature of jeevAthmA (sAkShAthkAram)).

muLaiththuLike the moon seen at the tip of a mountain, the knowledge that comes from stage of mananam is brighter than the lamp shown above as example for SravaNam (hearing).

ezhundhu – Like the moon which has risen above the tip of a mountain into the sky would be even brighter, compared to the stage of mananam this talks about the next stage of nidhithyASam.

thingaL thAnAy – This is talking about sAkShAthkAram.  How so is – by ‘thAnAna thingaL’ (moon by itself) – is about moon considered by itself and not considering the blemish that came due to association with earth (earth’s shadow on the moon is considered the blemish on the moon, but by itself moon is considered pure), so it is about the matter of AthmA when considered without direct association with prakruthi (material realm), and which is distinct from such prakruthisAkshAthkAram can occur only when we see the pure nature of AthmA, isn’t it? (so this is about sAkShAthkAram). (He who gave such sAkshAthkAram) (sAkshAthkArAm – also about paramAthma sAkshAthkAram).

By giving example of moon as example – it shows the svayam prakASathvam of AthmA (being self-illuminous), and, as moon (chandhra) is having the root wording as ‘chadhi AhlAdhE’ (where chadhi means happiness, chadhi becomes chandhra by Samskrutha grammar rules),  and so implies one that gives/having happiness, which is applicable for AthmA;

and since the knowledge gained (by AzhvArs) is by the grace of emperumAn, that is, gained easily without difficulty, he (thirumangai AzhvAr) is taking moon as example. In ‘yathA sUryas thathA gyAnam’  where knowledge is compared to Sun, is about the knowledge gained with great difficulty by own efforts by upAsakan (one who tries by own efforts).

pin uRuvAy – the thathvam (reality) that comes after that (after the non-sentient / material realm (prakruthi) talked about earlier).

As said in ‘pancha vimSOyam purusha:’ (jeevAthmA is twenty fifth thathvam (after the twenty four thathvams related to material non-sentient realm), ‘panchavimSa AthmA bhavathi’ (After the twenty four thathvams comes the twenty fifth which is AthmA), such AthmA which is twenty fifth thathvam (reality) is clearly seen by (mind’s) eyes, it is beyond and different from the twenty four thathvams of material realm.

It is said too ‘dhEhEndhriya mana: prANa dheebhya: anya: ananya sAdhana: | nithya: vyApee prathi kShEthram AthmA bhinna: svathassukhee’  (AthmA is different from body, senses, mind, breath, intellect, and it does not have any other means (than emperumAn);  AthmA is eternal,  AthmA is pervasive in each body, separate AthmA is present in individual bodies (kShEthram is land/field; it is used for growing grains; this body is also called kShEthram which is used for growing the effects of good and bad deeds); AthmA is happy by itself.  (But AthmA is a holder of intellect; that is why it is affected by good and bad that happens through the body. When AthmA leaves the body, the body would not have intellect and so would not react to pain, etc.).

AzhvAr says next that such AthmA would not be affected by the blemishes of body that is pervaded by AthmA  (blemishes are change in shape, death, sorrow, happiness, etc).

mun uruvil piNi mUppillAp piRappiliyAy – mun uru is reference to the aforementioned prakruthi prAkrutham (material realm/element, and items derived from it (like body, house, etc.)) that was explained as those which are seen before the eyes or perceived.  The entity that is AthmA (by nature) is not related to sadness/sickness, aging, birth, etc.  By this, it talks about ignorance (which leads to sadness), etc., as well. By ageing and birth, it talks about all the six changes that occur to a body (garbha (in womb), janma (birth), bAlya (toddler), yauvana (youth), vArdhdhakya (old age), maraNa (death)).

Ascertaining the nature of AthmA in ‘nirvANamayaEvAyam AthmA gyAnamaya: amala:’ (AthmA is full of happiness, full of intellect, and does not have any blemishes), and it is said in ‘dhu:ka agyAna malAdharmA: prakruthESthE: na cha Athmana: [SrIvishNu purANam](sadness, ignorance, blemishes, etc. are due to material realm only and these are not for AthmA), that is sadness etc., are the nature of material realm, and not have it inherent in AthmA.

Like how for AthmA which is by itself is in the state of happiness by its nature would not be having sadness, ignorance etc.,  it is for material realm which is unintelligent also, there would not be sadness, ignorance, etc. But, like how with consumption of Umaththai fruit (medicinal herb – datura) the mind would become insane (though insanity is not present in the fruit itself), since AthmA gets sadness etc., due to association of material realm, these sadness etc., are the properties of material realm (prakruthi) only.

(Knowledge that something seems as per our wish, is happiness; knowledge that something seems against our wish, is sadness).

(till now it was about Athma svarUpam; now it is about kaivalyam).

iRappaadhRkE eNNAdhu – iRappu is dying. (emperumAn) not thinking about (my) dying. Earlier – it talked about death that is one of six states related to body; here, it talks about death related to nature of AthmA. That, is, kaivalyam (being in the state of enjoying one’s own AthmA after getting liberated from the cycle of births in this world).

Is it correct to say the state of kaivalyam which does not have rebirth and which is a separate destiny, and which has the nature of experiencing by (own) AthmA that is happy by itself, as death?

Death is – seen in the world as removal of AthmA from body. This other death is also in the same way, since AthmA is removing the effect of paramAthmA from it for enjoying on own, and so this also shall be considered as death at AthmA level.

But unlike how a dead body deteriorates, AthmA does not deteriorate due to this; so is it correct to call it as its death for AthmA? Since it does not have the enjoyment according to its true nature (being for enjoyment of emperumAn), in the mind of nithyar/mukhthar this kaivalyam also shall be death (for AthmA).

In ‘mruthOdharidhra: purusha:’, the wealthy one who enjoys everything  would consider poor as a dead person, this kaivalyam state of AthmA appears as death for them (for annAdha (the nithyasUris for whom emperumAn is food), kaivailayam is said as death for AthmA.

eNNAdhu – emperumAn avoided thinking about giving this kind of death (kaivalyam) to me.

(Will He think of giving that?) As said in ‘jarA maraNa mOkShAyamAmAchrithya yadhanthi yE  [SrI bhagavath gIthA] (those wishing (only) to liberate from body, which is the cause of birth and death, and wishing to enjoy just the AthmA, I shall give them that kaivalyam), He who could give this as my destiny, now, did not think about giving it to me, and avoided my falling into abyss.

(Why not say ‘tharAdhu’ (not giving) instead of ‘eNNAdhu’ (not thinking of giving)?)

Since his being is based on emperumAn’s thinking, AzhvAr is saying eNNAdhu (Him not thinking in such ways).

(Place where AthmAs are present in state of kaivalyam is in between virajA river and paramapadham (authoritative references for this include SrIvishNu purANam, and many places in vEdham). This means one cannot return to this world after going there. In thAthparya chandhrikai vEdhAnthAchArya discusses that it is possible to return from there to this world for another birth).

After doing this help of avoiding such danger for me, He enlightened about His true nature (parathvam (supremacy), etc.), form (divine body), and qualities (intellect, strength, wealth, valor, simplicity, and so on), says AzhvAr next, in ‘eNNum pon uruvAy’ –  (pon-> gold) –  He enlightened (me) about true nature of divine (parama)AthmA, says AzhvAr.

eNNum  –  (could keep thinking about emperumAn) –  Due to eminence of enjoyment, as said in ‘nEthi nEthi’ (not like this, not like this – emperumAn cannot be understood in any such specific ways), other than saying ‘adhu, adhu’ (that, that, …), emperumAn cannot be set in a boundary by saying ‘idham’ (this; (which is seen by eyes)).

As said in ‘Ekaika guNAvadheebhsayA sadhAsthithA:’ (being with the wish to know the bounds of each and every quality of emperumAn, did not leave from the attempt to do that), since each and every quality of His is boundless, does it even require mentioning that it is not possible to determine fully the true nature in which such sort of countless auspicious qualities are present?

pon uruvAy – Since emperumAn is having the nature (uru) of gold (pon), this talks about true nature. That is, He and gold are similar: in being desirable, when said that as being existing then life would be sustained, using it can achieve all the wishes, and all of the world would fall in the feet of one having this.

maNi uruvil bUtham aindhAy – (this is Not about the five core elements (earth, water, fire, air, and ether)  related to material realm (prAkrutham)).  The core cause elements (by which emperumAn’s form is made of), that are five (paramEshti, pumAn, viSvam,  nivruththa:, sarva:, which are specified in SrI pAncharAthram).  (maNi -> gem).  maNi uruvil – Having the nature (uru) of gem (maNi),  being lustrous in form (uru stands for this also);

like gold that is set in a ruby container (mANikkam, which implies divine body)  (that is, ruby would clearly show the brightness of gold), it shows the nature of AthmA that is formed from the five core elements (bhUtham).  That is, the elements would show the nature of (parama)AthmA that supports it, and it would show the qualities of that (parama)AthmA since that form is suddha sathvam (purely tranquil), and His divine form (body) is more enjoyable than His nature and qualities.

The core elements that are cause of such divine form (body) are five upanishath.

In that special place (SrIvaikuNtam), the divine bodies of all present are made of non-material realm, and of five core elements that are pancha upanishath.

These five elements are said in ‘paramEshtee pumAn viSvOnivruththa: sarva Evasa:’.

As ‘maNi uruvil bUtham aindhAy’it differentiates the five core elements of material realm that make up our body, from the ones which hide the true nature of our AthmA and that of emperumAn inside it.

That is, emperumAn is capable of being present in such form like quality of gem (in auspicious divine body, in SrIvaikuNtam), and also capable of being present in the body that are made of core elements of this material realm.

By this, like the extraordinary divine body, these material realm based ones are also dependent (vidhEyan) on emperumAn.   (vidhEyan – who acts according to His wishes)

Without any difference between devotees (in this world) and the material realm that which binds them in this world, they are under the control of the liberator (emperumAn), isn’t it?

It is said too, ‘pradhAna purusha eeSvara:’ (For the core elements of material realm, and for the AthmAs, He is the controller).

Now, would such a distinguished One be hard to access? AzhvAr answers:

punal uruvAy – (punal -> water);  Like the water in which any one without differentiation among any ranging from sages like vaSishtar to a person of very lowly stature could bathe in the same area,

emperumAn would be easiest for everyone to access. (sarva sulabhan).

Even though He is very easy to approach, one does not have to be scared as to what danger might happen to Him – this would not be necessary because like how He is easy for His devotees,  He is like fire for the opposing ones; that is He cannot be overcome/affected – says AzhvAr now:

anal uruvil thigazhum – (anal -> fire) As said in ‘abhitha: bhAvakOpamam [SrI rAmAyaNam – AraNya kANdam – 99.26]’ (perumAL appeared) like fire on all the sides (for bharathAzhvAn when he approached perumAL to request Him to return to ayOdhyA immediately), when He cannot be attained even for the close ones when He does not wish to honor their request, it goes without saying that He cannot be overcome for those who oppose Him, isn’t it?

sOdhi than uruvAy –  (sOdhi -> jyOthi: -> light) Earlier, by pon uruvAy, it said that by His nature He is bright by himself based on Him being desirable.   (Here it talks about the behavior of His nature). In the world, for the things that emit light, that light is based on their association with Him; this is as said in ‘thasyabAsA sarvam idham vibhAthi’ (By the light of that sarvESvaran, these things of light are being bright).

en uruvil ninRa  – (Here uru stands for body (of AzhvAr)) – Whereas when He comes and be present even in AthmA it would be a blemish for Him, now He came and made Himself present standing in my body which is the form that is to be shunned (body that is shunned by Himself and by others);

ninRa – (stood) –  As he (AzhvAr) took madal (going around town and complaining that his lover (emperumAn) is not showing up for him, which is to say there is no emperumAn), emperumAn’s perturbance (where AzhvAr might establish) that He may be considered not present in the world –  such perturbance got removed and He came standing and His existence (saththai) prevailed.

endhai –  (father/master) – Like his existence (saththai), His sEShithvam (lordship) also prevailed.

thaLir puraiyum thiruvadi en thalai mElavE – read as – en thalai mElavE – thaLir puraiyum thiruvadi  per formation of phrase in thamizh After keeping His divine feet on his head, His feet sprouted (That is, got the life back – became happy).

When not doing that, His divine feet was like dry leaves (His mind was unhappy);

Like how AzhvAr’s svarUpam (true nature of self) was despondent when for a long time he was after vishaya prAvaNyam (inclined towards material aspects of world), His divine feet was like so too due to not having association with AzhvAr (chEthana lAbham  (when a sentient and emperumAn come together, it is mainly a gain and happiness for emperumAn (as opposed to for the sentient), when a sentient finally agrees to accept the ever-present grace of emperumAn)).

(thiru also implies pirAtti, which represents emperumAn’s divine chest (where She resides), to say that the nithyasUris serve to such emperumAn’s divine feet).

en thalai mElavE – The divine feet that is a decoration in the head of nithyasUris (amarar chennip pU []’ ()), is the one that has become ornament in my head, you see!

Whose feet were in this head earlier, which is holding His divine feet now..

ninRa endhai thiruvadi –  That is, after keeping  the divine feet in his head, He got His existence (ninRa), lordship (endhai), and body (thiruvadi (which identifies His body)).

So, (in summary), AzhvAr thinks – is it not enough that emperumAn highlighted the impermanence of material realm and related things? is it not enough that He highlighted the true nature (svasvarUpam)? is it not enough that he ensured (my) not going into kaivalyam? After that, He showed His true nature and the bright nature of His divine body, is that not enough? Oh! beyond that, He came and stood in my body that is to be shunned by (even) me! Even beyond that, Oh!, He kept His divine feet well set on my head! – and so thirumangai AzhvAr becomes very happy thinking about all such Help that emperumAn has done for him.

So, by this pAsuram, it said about the true nature of the three thathvams (truth;  viz. sentient, non-sentient, and emperumAn), and that all the three may be destiny (for different types of people), and that only one among them is the true destiny based on true nature (of jeevAthmA) ,  and that the others are lowly destinies,  and about distinguished characteristics of that important destiny, that is, emperumAn’s nature, form, and qualities,  and that when emperumAn shows them to the sentient He does so with the view that it is He who is honored by that.

– – – – –

Translation by raghuram SrInivAsa dAsan

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thirunedunthANdakam – thaniyans

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

Full Series

<< Introduction

First thaniyan

This thaniyan is divined by thirukkOshtiyUr nambi.

kalayAmi kalidhvamsam kavim lOka dhivAkaram
yasya gObi: prakASAbir Avidhyam nihatham thama:

Word-by-word meaning

kalayAmi – I meditate upon him,
yasya – by whose
prakASAbi: – shining
gObi: – rays of light (words)
Avidhyam – the ignorance
thama:  – that is darkness
nihatham: – was removed,
(tham – He being of such stature),
kali dhvamsam – being one who destroys the blemishes of kali yugam
lOka dhivAkaram – being the sun for the people of the world (who shines light on the meanings)
kavim – that is, the poet, parakAlan (thirumangai AzhvAr).

vyAkyAnam (divined by piLLai lOkam jeeyar)

Introduction to vyAkyAnam of thaniyan

kalayAmi kalidhdhvamsam, … It asks to prostrate at the divine feet of thirumangai AzhvAr for his help of (bestowing) thirumozhi and other prabandhams.

vyAkyAnam of thaniyan

kalayAmi kalidhdhvamsam – It is asking to worship the poet parakAlan, one having his  identity as kali kanRi (remover of kali’s effects).

kavim lOka dhivAkaram – The sun would remove the darkness of outside. This AzhvAr would remove both the inner and outer darkness of the people of the world.

yasyagObi – Whose (such AzhvAr‘s) thousand maRai (vEdham) as said by yathgOsahasram,

they would be
prakASabi: – would be of beautiful garland of thamizh poems, and would be a light that removes darkness of the mind;

by such words that shine,
Avidhyam thama nihatham – the ignorance that is darkness got removed.
So worship him, says the thaniyan.

Second thaniyan

piLLai lOkam jIyar’s vyAkyanam of this thaniyan in maNipravALam (a writing style in which thamizh and samskrutham are mixed) is being translated here.

This thaniyan sings pallANdu (mangaLAsAsanam/well-wishes) to thirumangai AzhwAr who sang the six prabandhams that provide protective walls to emperumAn, like the compound walls that protect our temples.

Acharyas are to be praised directly in front of them. AzhvAr is present in archA thirumEni (in the form of divine deity) in many dhivya dhEsasms. This thaniyan sings pallANdu to such an AzhvAr.

thUyOn sudar mAna vElthUyOn sudar mAna vEl


thaniyan blessed by emperumAnAr

vAzhi parakAlan vAzhi kalikanRi
vAzhi kuRaiyalUr vAzh vEndhan
vAzhiyarO mAyOnai vAL valiyAl mandhiram koL mangaiyarkOn
thUyOn sudarmAna vEl

Word-by-word meaning

vAzhi – long live (pallANdu to)
parakAlan – thirumangai AzhwAr who is like yama for people of other mathams (philosophies);
vAzhi – long live
kali kanRi – thirumangai AzhwAr who destroyed (the illness of) kali yuga;
vAzhi – long live
vEndhan – the king thirumangai AzhwAr
kuRaiyalUr – (of) thirukkuRaiyalUr,
vAzh – the place that flourished (because of him);
vAzhi – long live
sudar – the bright
mAnam – and great
vEl – spear
mangaiyarkOn – (of) thirumangai AzhwAr,
thUyOn – the one who has both inner and outer purity
vAL valiyAl – and who with the strength of his sword
mandhiram koL – received thirumanthra rahasyam
mAyOnai – from emperumAn.
(vazhiy)arO – ‘asai’ as part of thamizh grammar).

vyAkyAnam (meanings)

vAzhi parakAlan – pallANdu to AzhwAr who got the name of parakAlan. ‘para[r]’ (others) refers to those who deny emperumAn.  AzhwAr is a strong force like yama for such people. So AzhwAr is parakAlan.

vAzhi kali kanRi – pallANdu to AzhwAr known as kali kanRi (one who can rid of illness of kali yuga).

kuRaiyalUr vAzh vEndhan vAzhi – pallANdu to the king of, the one who was born in, and the one who protected, the town of thiruk kuRaiyalUr.

Now emperumAnAr sings pallANdu to both AzhwAr and his spear by saying

mAyOnai vAL valiyAl mandhiram koL mangaiyar kOn thUyOn sudarmAna vEl.

mAyOnai – AzhwAr got the thirumanthram by threatening emperumAn using the strength of his sword, the ‘mAyon’ who is in thiruvarangam (SrIrangam) reclining on the Adhi sEshan.

As it says ‘mAyOn’ in “kadi arangathu aravANaiyil paLLi koLLum mAyOnai [perumAL thirumozhi 1-2], and as it says “vAzhi suzhi poriththa nIr ponnith then arangan thannai vazhi pariththa vALan vali”, it was arangan from whom AzhwAr got thirumanthram using the strength of his sword.

AzhwAr stole thirumanthram from the mAyOn who steals all the belongings of those devotees who love Him!! (kai poruLgaL munnamE kaikkoNdAr kAviri nIr sey puraLa Odum thiruvarangach chelvanAr’ [nAchchiyAr thirumozhi 11-6])

AzhvAr got thirumanthram from the emperumAn who is mandhiram (manthram), like it is said in ‘andhaNar mAttu andhi vaiththa mandhiram’ [thirunedunthANdakam 4].

mangaiyar kOn – AzhwAr is king of thirumangai, isn’t it?

thUyOn – AzhwAr is having both inner and outer purity.

ananyArha SEshathvam (no subservience to anyone else), ananya SaraNathvam (not using anything other than emperumAn as the means to attain Him), ananya bhOgyathvam (not considering anything other than emperumAn as enjoyable, not being enjoyed by anyone other than emperumAn) are some of the inner purities of AzhwAr.

Having undergone pancha samskAram, etc., are part of his outer purity.

AzhwAr also gave all of his names in one pAsuram, and those names also show us his inner and outer purity: angamalath thada vayal sUzh Ali nAdan, aruL mAri, arattamukki, adaiyAr seeyam kongu malar kuzhaliyar vEL mangai vEndhan, kORRavEl parakAlan, kaliyan [periya thirumozhi 3-4-10].

sudar mAna vEl big spear that is made of brightness; well qualified to be held by thirumangai mannan who is bright and great.

thUyOn vEl vAzhiyarO – thaniyan says that like AzhwAr his spear is also worthy of being sung pallaNdu. Didn’t ANdAL also sing in thiruppAvai [24], ‘nin kaiyil vEl pORRi’? When singing pallANdu to kaNNan, they too sang pallANdu to his spear also. AzhwAr also says ‘koRRa vEl [periya thirumozhi 3-4-10] about his spear – so unlike other spears which see losses, the one he carries always sees victory; but still because of his [AzhwAr’s, or the one who wrote the thaniyan, that is, emperumAnAr’s] love towards AzhwAr’s spear, pallANdu is being sung for it also.

Translation by raghuram SrInivAsa dAsan

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thirunedunthANdakam – avathArikai (introduction)

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Full series

(vakthru vailakShaNyam – about the greatness of the Author)

AzhvAr, thirumangai AzhvAr is – As said in ‘venRiyE vENdi veezh porutku irangi  vERkaNAr kalaviyE karudhi [periya thirumozhi – 1.1.4]’ (going after victories, and longing for perishable things, and wishing for union with women of spear-like-eyes),  he was of extreme haughtiness that one had to wonder whether everything including the worlds of sarvESvaran are under his thighs, and having the dhEhAthmAbhimAnam (considering body to be non-different from soul) as the reason for it, and so due to that, as said in ‘sAndhEndhu menmulaiyAr thandanthOL puNarinba veLLathAzhndhEn [periya thirumozhi – 6.3.4]’ (I got immersed in the ocean that is ecstasy of embracing the big shoulders of women wearing kumkum (red powder) who are having tender bosoms), he was being a vishaya pravaNar (interest in worldly pleasures) such that he was not eligible to gain any knowledge about AthmA or any knowledge about emperumAn.

emperumAn seeing his association to such matters, looking for a way to uplift him from this situation, thought – we cannot get him by showing him SAsthram since he is interested in other matters, so we should get by him by showing him our beauty – He considered his interest in those matters itself as the means and showed His beauty to him; seeing this, AzhvAr, as said in ‘vEmbin puzhu vEmbanRi uNNAdhu, adiyEn nAn pinnum un sEvadi anRi nayavEn [periya thirumozhi – 11.8.7]’ (the worm living in margo tree would not eat anything other than enjoying the leaves etc., from the margo tree; I who am subservient to you, even if you reject me, would not like anything other than your reddish divine feet), became involved in emperumAn considering it as result of His distinguished beauty;

emperumAn seeing him getting immersed towards Him, thought ‘the love that he got towards me should not be like his interest towards worldly matters (where it is not ever-present and changes constantly), but instead it should be with the understanding of the relationship between us’, and so like how one would give money along with the bag holding it, He showed him thirumanthram that highlights all the meanings, and His qualities like sauSeelyam, and the divine abodes of His temples that are ultimate for the meaning of thirumanthram;

seeing this, AzhvAr, starting from ‘vAdinEn vAdi [periya thirumozhi – 1st centum]’ through ‘oru nal suRRam [periya thirumozhi – 10th centum]’, got immersed in the divine abodes of emperumAn, considering them as ones to be surrendered to, as the means, and as ones to be enjoyed.

Seeing AzhvAr being set at all times in the divine abodes, emperumAn thought – We should take AzhvAr to the special abode where this experience would continue uninterrupted for him; so we should first show him the cruelty of this material world’, and so showed him that;

Seeing this, he became extremely terrified of it, and in ‘mARRamuLa [periya thirumozhi – 11.8]’, he called emperumAn saying ‘iru pAduRu koLLiyin uL eRumbE pOl [periya thirumozhi – 11.8.4]’ (like the ant suffering, being caught between two ends of fire), and ‘ARRankarai vAzh maram pOl  [periya thirumozhi – 11.8.1]’ (like the tree near the shore of a river, am always fearful of what might happen in the future), and, ‘pAmbodoru kUraiyilE payinRAR pOl  [periya thirumozhi – 11.8.3]’ (like living and associating with a snake under one roof), and show such many situations as examples about his fear;

even when he called emperumAn in these ways, like how a mother hearing her child cry would not feed till its indigestion is resolved and there is hunger, emperumAn did not show up till AzhvAr gets the longing that is apt for enjoying emperumAnAzhvAr could not tolerate this even for a moment and so suffered so much;

like how an extremely thirsty one might jump into the water, pour water on himself, etc., AzhvAr thought of sustaining himself by talking about Him by mouth, prostrating Him by his head, thinking about Him by his mind,  and so got into doing that – that was in thirukkurunthANdakam.

Like how water that is drunk for quenching great thirst would itself create thirst due to hurrying, that singing became an instigator for the existing love towards Him, and so in thiruvezhukURRirukkai , he, with great love, surrendered to him, as in ‘nin adiyiNai paNivan varum idar agala mARRO vinaiyE [thiruvezhukURRirukkai]’ (am surrendering to your two divine feet  for the removal of hurdles that may come in the way (of reaching You);  please remove those hurdles by your mercy).

After that, since he did not get what he wanted, he with scared eyes, like how when perumAL surrendered to the ocean and when the ocean-king did not show up, as perumAL said in ‘chApAmAnaya saumithrE [SrI rAmAyaNam – yudhdha kANdam – 21.21]’ (bring the bow, Oh lakshmaNa! (I shall drain the ocean of its water)),  like saying bring the one that would work, AzhvAr went in not-so-apt ways,  he performed madal (going around town announcing about one’s love to her man), thinking that somehow we should get Him to show up even if it meant going against the true nature of either of them;

Out of that, in siRiya thirumadal, he said he would destroy emperumAn’s supremacy, destroy the neermai (staunchness, simplicity), that is, He considering His form of incarnations as Himself, which is as said in ‘thEvum thannaiyum [thiruvAimozhi – 2.7.4]’ (supremacy (which is the cause for simplicity), and his special aspect of simplicity);

He did not show up even for that; AzhvAr thought that emperumAn is thinking that there are these temples which stand for the ultimate level of neermai which are as if that is the real abode of emperumAn; and so AzhvAr said the he would destroy that neermai that is in the temples which are the desired abodes for both of them – this was in periya thirumadal.

emperumAn thought that if He does not show up even then, then the world would be considered as not having any eeSvaran  (controller),  (as AzhvAr might try to erase that if He does not show up), and so showed Himself to him like He did for prahlAdhan et al, and so made Himself, AzhvAr and the world to be truly existing (per nature).

(prathipAdhya vailakShaNyam – greatness of what is talked about in this prabandham)

Saints like sukhar and mudhal AzhvArs would be immersed in emperumAn’s parathvam (supremacy).  Those like sanakar and thirumazhisaip pirAn would be immersed in the nature of His being antharAthmA (being present in side our AthmAs); those like parASara, pArASarya (vyAsa) and nammAzhvAr, periyAzhvAr, ANdAL would be immersed in krishNa avathAram (incarnation);  those like nAradha and SrI thoNdaradippodi AzhvAr, thiruppANAzhvAr would be immersed in kOyil (SrI rangam) (It is included along with others that show his supremacy since emperumAn’s status got formed by itself, and since this abode is the root for every other abode); SrI Saunaka bhagavAn and this thirumangai AzhvAr would be immersed in archAvathAram (emperumAn in the form of deity – ultimate form of emperumAn’s quality of simplicity);

Unlike the other AzhvArs, and unlike the divine daughter of king janaka (seethai), this AzhvAr would be having intolerable delicateness (of mind) when having separation from emperumAn;  that is, when separated,  as said in ‘um adiyAr ellArOdum okka eNNi irundheer adiyEnai  [periya thirumozhi – 4.9.6]’ (You are considering me to be at the same level as your other devotees), can you consider me who cannot tolerate separation for even one moment, along with other AzhvArs who can enjoy like malaiyALar Uttu (those in the place of malayALam (kEraLA) can eat food of four days, and can also stay without food for four days), and can tolerate for some days  when separated, and along with divine daughter of king janakar who was separated from Him for ten months?

and, during the time of union with Him, as said in ‘Azhiyodum ponnAr sArngam udaiya adigaLai innAr enRu aRiyEn [periya thirumozhi – 10.10.9]’ (I do not clearly see who it is that is with divine conch and disc), due to the taste of experience of being together, this AzhvAr is not able to see clearly, and so even when He is present with His extra-ordinary aspect of identifications, AzhvAr is not sure, due to the experience;

So,  he enjoyed as emperumAn showed him the aspects of chith, achith, and eeSvaran, and as said in ‘adhanil periyavennavA [thiruvAimozhi – 10.10.10]’ (my love which is greater than chith (sentient beings), achith (insentient beings) and eeSwara (supreme lord)), not getting enough of it to match his devotion, he calls with a great desire, and then, he concludes by talking about him getting satisfied by attaining SrIvaikuNtam as said in ‘avAvaRRu veedu peRRa [thiruvAimozhi – 10.10.11]’ – in this prabandham.


Translation: raghuram srInivAsa dhAsan

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Published by:

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

SrI paramapadhanAthan in paramapadham (spiritual realm)

thirunedunthaNdakam is written by thirumangai AzhvAr . It is said to be his last prabandham before he ascended to paramapadham but is considered as one of the most important ones among dhivya prabandhams.

thirumangai AzhvAr with kumudhavalli nAchchiyAr at thiruvAli thirunagari

thirumangai AzhvAr’s avathAra thirunakshathram is ‘kArththigaiyil kArththigai’, and he was born in thirukkuraiyalUr.

thirunedunthANdakam is mentioned in the glorious vaibhavam of SrI parAsara bhattar and nanjeeyar, as the topic that started the wonder in nanjeeyar about who this bhattar might be.

periyavAchchAn piLLai has written vyAkyAnam (commentary) for this prabandham of thirunedunthANdakam.

thANdakam’ is a type of thamizh poetry in which this prabandham is set.

nedum’ indicates longer one (as opposed to thirukkurunthANdakam which is a shorter one).

vaibhavam (Glories)

About the translation

An attempt is made here to translate in English the vyAkyAnam of thirunedunthANdakam – or at least parts of vyAkyAnam of each pAsuram.

For this translation, adiyOngaL (we) will be perusing the following invaluable sources.

  1. periyavAchchAn piLLai‘s vyAkyAnam in maNipravALam style, and puththUr swami’s explanations of it.
  2. kAlakshEpam recordings of great scholars, on this prabandham.

With the blessings of asmadhAchAryan, AzhwAr, emperumAnAr, and jIyar we shall proceed with the translation. We invite you to come in and immerse yourself in the divine meanings of this wonderful and essential prabandham.

Translation by raghuram SrInivAsa dAsan

archived in

pramEyam (goal) –
pramANam (scriptures) –
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