Category Archives: iyaRpA

iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi – 20 -pazhi pAvam kaiyagaRRi

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avathArikai

AzhwAr says that without any distinction between those who have already praised emperumAn and those who have just begun to praise him, they have all carried out what they were expected to do. As mentioned in the earlier pAsuram, wouldn’t only those who meditate on the activities that he carried out to protect the world and attain him, flourish!

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

pazhi pAvam kaiyagaRRi pal kAlum ninnai
vazhi vAzhvAr vAzhvarAm mAdho – vazhuvinRi
nAraNan than nAmAngaL nanguNarndhu nangEththum
kAraNangam thAm udaiyar thAm

Word for Word Meaning

pazhi – blame; disrepute
pAvam – bad deeds carried out knowingly
kaiyagaRRi – removing
palgAlum – always
ninnai – you
vazhi  vAzhvAr – those who attain you through the ways ordained in SAsthram (sacred text)
nAraNan than – nArAyaNa, your
nAmangaL – divine names
nangu uNarndhu – knowing well
nangu Eththum kAraNangaL thAm udaiyAr thAm – those who have the means to worship you well

(thus the two types of people)
vAzhavarAm – they will live with happiness
mAdhO – is this any surprise!

vyAKyAnam

pazhi pAvam kaiyagaRRi – avoiding the blame which the people of the world heap on them and the sins which result out of that

pazhi pAvampazhi is that which comes because of others heaping blame when one does not do anything on his own. pAvam results when one knowingly causes harm to others. Removing these two. In other words, removing the two inimical forces: blame which comes without a cause and sin which comes with a cause. Should one suffer the result of an action which he has not carried out at all [blame]?  This is also due the result of a sin [committed earlier]. Does he have to spoil the apt position for himself due to these?

palgAlum ninnai vazhi vAzhvAr vAzhvarAm – Those who worship you as ordained in SAsthrams  (sacred texts) and attain you, will live without any trouble. The means adopted to attain him and the benefit of attaining him would be cause for happiness. Even though it is said that “na sukhAth sukham labhyathE” (one cannot attain happiness through happiness), this does not apply to emperumAn related matter. Here, both the means (the effort that one takes) and the benefit that one attains will both be happy, without any difference.

mAdhO – this word is like a conjunction. “Is it a surprise?” asks AzhwAr.

vazhuvinRi nAraNan than nAmangaL nangu Eththum – meditating well upon the divine names of emperumAn without any break. Meditating upon the divine names of emperumAn which are faultless and hence is the reason for meditating.

nAraNan than nAmangaL – it is like speaking about one’s mother.

nangu uNarndhu – knowing through devotion

nangu Eththum – worshipping such that one cannot sustain otherwise

kAraNangaL – the reason for reciting [his divine names]. That is, devotion; singing about emperumAn which is the cause for devotion; the desire which is the cause for singing; the puNya (virtue) which is the cause for desire; emperumAn’s mercy which is the cause for puNya – those who have these will live happily (those who attain puNya due to emperumAn’s mercy, due to which they have desire towards emperumAn, due to which they sing about him, due to which they develop devotion towards emperumAn, will prosper). Thus, those who worship you after removing their blame and sins and worship you for a long time and those who recite your divine names and worship you without any break, will both prosper. AzhwAr says that only those who receive his mercy will have affection towards him. If the pAtam (text) is thAraNangaL thAmudaiyAr [instead of kAraNangaL thammudaiyAr],  thAraNam will refer to sustenance. In other words it refers to having sustenance through engaging with emperumAn, not being swayed by other [worldly] pursuits.

Let us take up the 21st pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi – 19 – vazhakkanRu kaNdAy

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avathArikai

emperumAn thinks that these activities [mentioned in the previous pAsurams] are apt to be carried out. But AzhwAr, thinking of his gentle nature, says that he should not have carried out these.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

vazhakkanRu kaNdAy vali sagadam seRRAy
vazhakkenRu nI madhikka vENdA kuzhakkanRu
thIviLavin kAykkeRindha thImai thirumAlE
pAr viLangach cheydhAy pazhi

Word for Word Meaning

thirumAlE – you

(when you incarnated as kaNNan, [krishNa])
vali sagadam – the powerful wheel
seRRAy – kicked it aside and broke it
vazhakkanRu kaNdAy – this is not appropriate for you, please see
vazhakku enRu nI madhikka vENdA – you should not think that this is appropriate for you

(Instead of stopping with this daring act)
kuzha kanRu – a young calf (who is actually a demon)
thI viLavin kAykku eRindha – [which you] threw to destroy another demon who had taken the form of a wood apple
thImai – this mischievous act
pAr viLanga – to shine brightly on this earth
pazhi seydhAy – you acted wrongly

vyAKyAnam

vazhakku anRu kaNdAy vali sagadam seRRAy – Even though protection is an appropriate act, taking the form of a dwarf [vAmanAvathAram], breaking and destroying a very powerful wheel even though you are gentle, are activities which you should not have indulged in. As an infant, your destroying a wheel is not appropriate for your age,

vali sagadam seRRAy – it could also be construed that you destroyed the wheel with your strength. AzhwAr is wondering whether it was appropriate for emperumAn to act that way with his strength.

seRRAy – It is our fortune that the wheel was destroyed and you were victorious (if something had happened to you, what would we have done!)

vazhakku enRu nI madhika vENdA – accepted that you had destroyed the wheel. If you say that it was to be carried out, I say that this should not have been done at all. Though the wheel had been destroyed, you should not think that this activity was correct.

nI madhikka vENdA – you did not have a feeling of remorse that you have carried out an activity which was not appropriate for your age and your gentleness! AzhwAr is saying so because if he had also accepted what emperumAn did, he would have carried out similar mischievous acts. When a worm crawls in sand, it would appear that it had left behind some writing [patterns in sand]. In a similar way, when you stretched your leg, the wheel, per chance, broke. Since this incident happened once, should you keep doing the same type of activity repeatedly?

kuzhakkanRu thIviLavin kAykku eRindha thImai – More than the activity carried out earlier, was it appropriate for you to throw  a calf on wood apple? Both of them [the demons inside the calf and the fruit] had the same intention of destroying you! Using a demon in the form of a young calf to kill another demon in the form of wood apple was an inappropriate act. AzhwAr is worried [much after the event] as to what would have happened if both the demons had fallen together on kaNNan.

thirumAlE – if something had happened to you, the world would have been without a Lord. As said in SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 16-21 “mangaLAnyabhidhadhyushI” (she carried benediction on SrI rAma), didn’t sIthAppirAtti , with affection, carry out benediction on you! Could such a person carry out these activities?

pAr viLangachcheydhAy pazhi – you carried out a blame that will last forever on earth.

pazhi – thinking that you are going to protect something on earth, you carried out an activity which would have made both the vibhUthis (his properties, material realm and spiritual realm) lose you. AzhwAr, out of his affection for emperumAn is terming this as blame. But emperumAn thinks that it is fame for him. This is anyathAgyAnam (mistaking one for another; i.e. considering blame as fame), feels AzhwAr.

We shall take up the 20th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi – 18 – koNdadhu ulagam

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avathArikai

AzhwAr says that though emperumAn is ISvaran (controller) for all and is attained by all, when it comes to protecting his followers, he will even transform his identity to protect them. When others protect, they will do so without any harm to their identity.  But emperumAn will be even willing to change his identity if he has to protect them.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

koNdadhu ulagam kuRaL uruvAyk kOL ariyAy
oNdiRalOn mArvaththu ugir vaiththadhu uNdadhuvum
thAn kadandha EzhulagE thAmaraikkaN mAl orunAL
vAn kadandhAn seydha vazhakku

Word by Word Meaning

kuRaL uruvAy – in the form of vAmana (dwarf)

(went to mahAbali and begged)
koNdadhu – seized
kOL ariyAy – became narasimha with strength
oN thiRalOn mArvaththu – on the chest of the might iraNiyan (hiraNyakashyap)
ugir vaiththadhu – pressed his fingernails and tore him, killing him
oru nAL – at one point of time
thAn kadandha – that which he measured
Ezh ulagE – all the worlds
uNdadhuvum – keeping in his divine stomach (so that deluge will not swallow it)

(all these activities)
vAn kadandhAn – having the greatness that  even if one were to measure the sky, he cannot be measured
thAmaraikkaN – having eyes like reddish lotus
mAl – emperumAn
seydha – mercifully carried out
vazhakku – honest activities

vyAkyAnam

koNdadhu – this mentions about emperumAn protecting the world. Even if he carries out very difficult tasks, he assumes that “I did what I am supposed to do”

koNdadhu ulagam kuRaL uruvAy – for the sake of his followers, he assumed the form of vAmana (a dwarf) to obtain the worlds. For getting back his possession, was it required to go begging? If he had to ask for alms, could he not have gone in his natural form? Did he have to take the form of a dwarf?

kOL ariyAy oNdiRalOn mArvaththu ugir vaiththadhu – In order to keep his finger nails on the chest of the mighty iraNiyan (hiraNyakashyap) did he not assume the form of narasinga (lion face and human torso) which no one else in the world assumed! kOL ari – very powerful narasimha. Could he not have destroyed the enemy iraNiyan with one form? Did he have to combine lion and man?

oN thiRalOn – very powerful iraNiyan.

mArvaththu ugi vaiththadhu – it is implied here that he, with his own hands, touched and destroyed the enemy of his followers.

ugir vaiththadhu – Could he not have killed him with his divine disc? If he had to do that [kill iraNiyan with his nails] since iraNiyan had obtained the boon that he should not die of any weapon, could he not have killed him with his sankalpam (mere thought), if he had so much of ingenuity!

uNdadhuvum thAn kadandha EzhulagE – Was it not enough that he had to assist one follower, prahlAdha? Did he have to protect the entire world?

uNdadhuvum thAn oru nAL kadandha EzhulagE – did he not protect the world which he had one day (during his incarnation as thrivikrama) kept under his divine feet! Alternatively, we have to construe the meaning for oru nAL as once upon a time when he ate up the world.

thAmaraikkaN mAL – sarvESvaran (supreme being) who is lotus-eyed (it is implied that only the one with lotus eyes can be the ISvaran (controller) for all the worlds). nammAzhwAr too has divinely mentioned in his thiruvAimozhi 6-5-10 “anaiththulagum udaiya aravindha lOchananai” (only the one with lotus eyes is the possessor of all the worlds).

Who begged as SrI vAmana for the earth, who tore the chest of iraNiyan as SrI narasimha, who ate up the world that he had measured one day?

vAn kadandhAn – one who cannot be estimated (measured). As said in thiruvAimozhi 1-3-10vAnilum periyana vallan”, one can measure even the sky but not emperumAn. Alternatively, the word vAn can be taken to imply those in the sky, and the meaning will change to: he is greater than nithyasUris in paramapadham. Or it can mean vAnai aLandhavan – one who measured heaven.

seydha vazhakku – he is the protector of the world. Hence in order to protect the worlds which are his possession, he carried out certain tasks and was contented that “I did what I was supposed to do”. He thought that he had done all these for himself and not for others. Since he is the Lord, he is responsible for protecting his possession and hence did those. Isn’t the protector protecting his possession, an apt act!

We shall take up the 19th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi – 17 – maRRAr iyalAvAr

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avathArikai

AzhwAr says that apart from emperumAn who is like this (as mentioned in the previous pAsurams) there is no one who is apt to be attained. Those deities who are well known in samsAram (materialistic realm) as being apt for being attained such as brahmA et al, themselves attain emperumAn to fulfil their desires. This being the case, the only entity for us to attain is emperumAn says the AzhwAr. As mentioned in mahA nArAyaNa upanishath 11-13 “sa brahmA sa Siva: sEndhra:” (he himself is brahmA, he himself is Siva and he himself is indhra), deities such as brahmA, Siva and indhra are part of his physical form, attain him and realise their svarUpam (basic nature). In the 12th pAsuram, AzhwAr had mentioned “pavarum sezhum kadhirOn oN malarOn kaN nudhalOn anRE” (sun, brahmA and Siva follow emperumAn and keep worshipping him everyday). In that pAsuram it was mentioned that apart from emperumAn there is no other SEshi (possessor).  In this pAsuram, it is mentioned that apart from emperumAn there is none apt to be attained. In that pAsuram, mention was made of deities in general such as sun. Here, mention is made of deities in high positions such as brahmA. Even those great entities who are occupying great positions, show their emptiness and obtain what they desire from emperumAn.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

maRRAr iyalAvAr vAnavarkOn mAmalarOn
suRRum vaNangum thozhilAnai oRRaip
piRaiyirundha senjadaiyAn pin senRu mAlaik
kuRai irundhu thAn mudiththAn koNdu

Word by Word Meaning

vAnavar kOn – indhra, the head of all celestial entities
mA malarOn – brahmA, who dwells on the lotus flower, shooting  out of emperumAn’s navel
suRRum vaNangum thozhilAnai – one who has activities such that he is surrounded on the sides and worshipped [by the above-mentioned entities]
mAlai – emperumAn
koNdu – keeping (in the heart)
oRRai piRai irundha senjadaiyAn – rudhra who is having reddish matted hair and who dons moon with single kalA (phase of the moon)
pin senRu – following [emperumAn]
irandhu – begging him
kuRai – his shortcoming (of brahmahaththi dhOsham, the fault of removing one of brahmA’s heads)
thAn mudiththAn – he completed his task

(this being the case)
iyal AvAr – apt to be attained
maRRu Ar – who else is there, apart from sarvESvaran (supreme being)?

vyAkyAnam

maRRAr iyalAvAr – is there anyone other than sarvESvaran (supreme being) emperumAn who is known? There is no one other than emperumAn and only he is apt to be attained.

vAnavarkOn mAmalarOn – indhra, the lord of dhEvas (celestial entities) and brahmA, who has as his dwelling place the lotus flower growing out of emperumAn’s navel

suRRum vaNangum thozhilAnai – indhra and brahmA instead of going directly to emperumAn, will go a little bit away on the side and attain him. emperumAn, who has such a quality (of being worshipped). Or, one who carries out favourable activities. Or, we can interpret it as one whose activities are worshipped by entities such as indhra, brahmA et al. Don’t even such deities attain emperumAn and fulfil their needs!

thozhilAnai – one who is attained in this way.

While brahmA, indhra et al strive hard to attain emperumAn

maRRar iyalAvAr – who are the others striving? nammAzhwAr, in his thiruvAimozhi 6-10-8 conveys the same meaning “nOlAdhARREn una pAdham kANa ennum nuNNuNarvin nIlAr kaNdaththu ammAnum niRai nAnmuganum indhiranum ” (one with fine emotions such as Siva, one with supreme knowledge such as brahmA and indhra – these entities come and worship emperumAn saying that they will not adopt any means to attain his divine feet).

oRRaippiRai irundha sem sadaiyAnoRRaippiRai here refers to single phase of the moon. In other words, it refers to a unique phase. Siva, who has reddish matted hair, who dons moon with such a unique phase, and is comfortable.

pin senRu mAlaik koNdu – having affection (mAl) in his heart; having emperumAn (mAl) in his heart.

pin senRu – following emperumAn

kuRai irandhu – and then humbly appealing about his fault

thAn mudiththAn – completed that task and fulfilled his desires. Thus AzhwAr says that even entities in high positions such as brahmA, Siva and indhra attain emperumAn and have their desires fulfilled. This being the case, AzhwAr asks whether there is anyone other than emperumAn who is fit to be attained.

We shall take up the 18th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi – 16 – thanakku adimaippattadhu

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avathArikai

AzhwAr asks whether we have to take efforts to attain him instead of attaining him through his efforts, when his actions are like these, toiling hard to protect his followers, as seen in the previous pAsuram. When he is like this for his followers, should it not be that the reason for our having knowledge is to make us attain him? When he is trying to attain us, should we try to attain him? AzhwAr asks whether there is any shortcoming for us when emperumAn, who has no results for his deeds (in other words no pApa or puNya), undergoes hardships which even we, who suffer from pApa and puNya, do not undergo, for protecting us.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

thanakkadimai pattadhu thAnaRiyAnElum
manaththadaiya vaippadhAm mAlai vanaththidarai
EriyAm vaNNam iyaRRum idhuvallAl
mAri yAr peygiRpAr maRRu

Word by Word Meaning

thanakku – for himself (who is a chEthana, sentient entity)
adimai – being a servitor
pattadhu – that it is being apt
thAn aRiyAn Elum – even if he is not able to know

(emperumAn, on his own)
manaththu – in the mind
adaiya – as soon as he reaches
mAlai – that emperumAn
vaippadhu – to keep him, by providing place
Am – is apt

(if the  chEthana gets this much taste, emperumAn will remove his enemy and offer himself. How is this possible?)
vanam thidarai – the high ground on which the forest has sprung up
Eri Am vaNNam iyaRRum idhu allAl – other than the activity of digging a lake in that area so that rain water will not flow elsewhere but into that lake
maRRu – other than
mAri – rain
peygiRpAr – to make it fall
yAr – who is there? (isn’t rainfall due to emperumAn’s sankalpam (vow))

vyAkyAnam

thanakkadimai pattadhu than aRiyAnElum – servitorship is always ordained for jIvAthmA (soul). This has been brought out by a few illustrations such as in (1) SrI rAmAyaNam AraNya kAndam 15-7 “paravAnasmi” (I am fully dependent [on emperumAn]), (2) sthOthra rathnam-60thavAsmi” (I belong to you), (3) vishNuthathvam “svathvam Athmani sanjAtham svAmithvam brahmaNi sthitham” (it is AthmA’s characteristic to be a possession and brahmam (emperumAn)’s characteristic to be the possessor). Even if this is not known. Hasn’t it been said in vishNuthathvam “AthmadhAsyam harE: swAmyam” (AthmA’s characteristic is to be servitor and hari’s is to be the Lord).

thAn aRiyAnElum – even if he (chEthana) does not know emperumAn’s and his qualities. Even if he does not know that his quality is being a servitor. Even if he is without good knowledge.

thAn aRiyAnElum – despite pramANams (authentic texts) saying the above mentioned;  not carrying out service to his AchAryan and learning from him about these.

manaththadaiya vaippadhAm – even unknown to the chEthana, if emperumAn enters his heart  in order to claim ownership of his possession, what is required is not to shun him at that time. Is emperumAn not referred to as mAl? mAl means having affection. All that the chEthana needs to do is to provide emperumAn space when he comes head over heels to the chEthana. It is emperumAn’s responsibility to do whatever else needs to be done after that. vaduga nambi (a disciple of bhagavath SrI rAmAnujar) once said “we need not carry out any means to attain emperumAn.  When the neighbour dons thirumaN kAppu on his forehead, it is enough to tolerate that instead of making fun of him”. Hasn’t emperumAn said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 18-67 “na cha mAm abyasUyathi” (do not share this secret with one who is jealous of me)! nanjIyar (AchAryan of the vyAkyAthA of this prabandham SrI nampiLLai) once told thiruvarangapperumAL dhAsar “when someone says ‘emeprumAn’ be happy that he has given us the quality of not being jealous towards him”. It is opined here that we can only develop a desire towards emperumAn and cannot create the benefit of attaining him. An example is illustrated for this, now.

vanaththidarai EriyAm vaNNam iyaRRum idhu allAl – one can only dig a high ground in the forest and convert it into a lake so that (when rain falls) water can be prevented from going out and can be contained within the lake.

Apart from this…

mAri yAr peygiRpAr maRRu – is making rain to fall in a specific place, within the control of chEthana?  Isn’t it varuNa dhEva  who is responsible for this! AzhwAr says that when jIvAthmA,  appropriate to his being with knowledge, does not show hatred, wouldn’t emperumAn offer himself to such jIvAthmA as a benefit!

Instead of this, some persons will offer an alternative interpretation for this pAsuram.

[thanakkadimai pattadhu than aRiyAnElum] As mentioned in muNdaka upanishath 1-1-10 “ya: sarvagya: sarvavith” (whoever knows the natural character and natural disposition of all entities) and in SvEthaSvathara upanishath 6-8 “svAbhAvikI gyAnabalakriyA cha ” (it is mentioned that the paramAthmA has natural knowledge, power, deeds etc), emperumAn knows everything as his nature. It used to be said derisively that the meaning for this term is: since the jIvAthmA does not know that he is a servitor to such emperumAn and that emperumAn controls everyone, even if he does not have such knowledge, is it possible for such a jIvAthmA to keep emperumAn in his heart? While emperumAn has affection towards his followers, can the jIvAthmA keep him in his heart? Is there anything known that the jIvAthmA can, with his own efforts, know about emperumAn and attain him? While emperumAn himself will create the desire in the jIvAthmA and offer himself, is there any meaning in the jIvAthmA trying anything on his own?

vanaththidarai EriyAm vaNNam iyaRRum idhu – it is emperumAn who ordains the jIvAthmA to dig the lake.

allAl mAri yAr peygiRpAr maRRu – isn’t it he who also makes indhra (lord of celestial entities) to create downpour!

vanaththidarai EriyAm vaNNam iyaRRum idhu – emperumAn makes us avoid avidhyA (ignorance), karmam (deeds resulting from puNyam and pApam), vAsanA (impressions from innumerable births) and ruchi (taste for repeating a particular deed) in our hearts.

That too ….

mAri yAr peygiRpAr maRRu – isn’t it again he who makes his qualities to strike in the heart of the jIvAthmA! If the words are slightly rearranged to read as vanaththidarai EriyAm vaNNam iyaRRum idhuvallAl peygiRpAr maRRu yAr this will not appear to be an illustration. Instead of this, if it is taken to refer to those who have deep involvement with emperumAn, we should consider that emperumAn is only to be attained and is not an object to be spoken of in any way that one thinks of in his heart. Or, even if the chEthana does not know that he is a servitor to emperumAn, he should keep emperumAn in his heart. In other words, carrying out this as one’s appropriate deed. It can also be taken to mean that he would know that chEthana and achEthana form the body of emperumAn since he knows the meanings of vEdhAnthams (the end portions of vEdhams, dealing with emperumAn). For the term manaththadaiya vaippadhAm, there are three interpretations: attaining emperumAn after seeing how others attain him; having only the desire to attain him; and, emperumAn only will create that desire too. Of these, the first interpretation is credited to [parASara] bhattar [son of kUraththAzhwAn], the second to thirumalai nambi [one of the AchAryas of SrI rAmAnujar) and the third to AzhwAn [kUraththAzhwAn, one of the most important disciples of SrI rAmAnujar].

We shall consider the 17th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi – 15 – thirindhadhu venjamaththu

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avathArikai

Even as he thought of emperumAn’s vAmana avathAram, AzhwAr thinks of how he [emperumAn] changed his identity to incarnate as SrI rAma and as krishNa, in order to protect such followers, and had to put up with much suffering. He is disgusted that such a gentle and soft entity as emperumAn had to suffer so much while people of this world protect only their physical forms and ensure that no harm comes to their forms.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

thirindhadhu venjamaththuth thEr kadavi anRu
pirindhadhu sIthaiyai mAn pin pOy purindhadhuvum
kaN paLLi koLLa azhagiyadhE nAgaththin
thaNpaLLi koLvAn thanakku

Word by Word Meaning

vem samaththu – in the deadly (bhAratha) war (when he incarnated as krishNa)
thEr kadavi – (as pArthasArathy, the charioteer) conducting the chariot, fore and back
thirindhadhu – wandered
anRu – when incarnated as SrI rAma
mAn pin pOy – went behind the demon mArIchan who came as a deceptive deer
sIthaiyai pirindhadhu – suffered after being separated from pirAtti (sIthA pirAtti, mahAlakshmi)
kaN – on the ground
paLLi koLLa – to sleep
purindhadhuvum – desired

(thus, all these activities)
nAgaththin thaN paLLi koLvAn thanakku – for emperumAn  who is reclining on the cool mattress of AdhiSEshan
azhagiyadhE – are these apt?

vyAkyAnam

thirindhadhu venjamaththuth thEr kadavi – [emperumAn during his incarnation as krishNa ] wandered in the cruel mahAbhAratha war as charioteer, clashing with armies. Even there, was he the chief, getting jobs done through others? He was a mere charioteer for arjuna, crediting arjuna for all the victories and taking the arrows directed at arjuna on himself, by being in the forefront. In battles, usually, the warriors on chariots will first direct their anger on the charioteer [of enemy] and incapacitate him so that it would be easier to tackle the enemy on his chariot. krishNa sat as charioteer under the feet of arjuna, without any armour to protect him when the opponents came at him with their weapons.

venjamaththuth thEr kadavi thirindhadhu – [emperumAn] made the armies clash with each other. Did not the arrows shot by one bhagadhaththan fall on krishNa! Has it not been said in mahAbhAratham dhrONa parvam 29-18 “urasA prathi jagrAha pArtham sanchAdhya mAdhava: ” (kaNNan hid arjuna and took the arrows on his chest)! It appears that while kaNNan thrust his chest to take the arrows which were directed at arjuna, pirAtti (sitting on the chest of emperumAn) took the arrows on herself. Did not pirAtti say in SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 27-7 “agrathas thE gamishyAmi” (I shall precede you, in protecting our followers)!

anRu pirindhadhu sIthaiyai mAn pin pOy – going behind the deceptive deer, did he not get separated from sIthai! Hasn’t thirumangai AzhwAr mercifully mentioned in his periya thirumozhi 2-5-6 “kiLar poRiya maRithiriya adhanin pinnE padarndhAnai ” (he went behind the deceptive deer which had spots all over its body and which was wandering in their presence)! The deceptive deer had spots on its body to attract sIthAppirAtti. As it was moving about in their presence, sIthAppirAtti requested SrI rAma to secure it for her. SrI rAma went chasing it. However since it was a cruel deer, it did not yield itself to him and tried to escape from him and he also kept chasing it. This chase went so far that ultimately it led to his separation from pirAtti.

mAn pin pOy pirindhadhu sIthaiyai – were we fortunate to have emperumAn and pirAtti together when they came to protect us? (Did they not separate from each other to protect dhEvas (celestial entities))! They are together, to protect others. They get separated, also to protect others!

sIthaiyai – SrI rAma had mentioned about sIthAppirAtti in SrI rAmAyaNam AraNya kAndam 10-21 “prANEbhyO garIyasI” (you are greater than my life). He had to get separated from such pirAtti.

purindhadhuvum kaN paLLi koLLa – what he did or what he desired. kaN paLLi koLLakaN refers to place. Here it refers to the hard ground. In his younger days, SrI rAma had slept on grass as mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam bAla kANdam 22-23 “thruNaSayanE anuchithE” (it was not apt for him to sleep on grass). While he [dhaSaratha] wept uncontrollably at this, SrI rAma had to sleep on the hard ground, without even grass. He had to wander in the forests, without even a village in sight. How cruel it was! Did not dhaSaratha cry out, as mentioned in perumAL thirumozhi 9-3 “kallaNaimEl kaN thuyilak kaRRanaiyO kAguththA” (Oh kAguththA! [another name for SrI rAma] did you learn how to sleep on stone-bed? I, who had sent him to the forest, did not train him to sleep on stone-bed too, cries dhaSaratha).

kaN paLLi koLLa – while lakshmaNa spread out a bed of leaves for SrI rAma to sleep on, because of his separation from sIthAppirAtti, without knowing that, he slept on hard ground.

azhagiyadhE nAgaththin thaN paLLi koLvAn thanakku – for one who, when he sleeps on the mattress of AdhiSEshan, his followers will fear as to what will happen to his soft divine form, is sleeping like this [on hard ground] apt? Hasn’t periyAzhwAr mercifully said in thiruppallANdu 9paduththa painnAgaNaip paLLi koNdAnukku” (to emperumAn who sleeps on the mattress of AdhiSEshan who has well spread hood)! thirumazhisai AzhwAr too has mercifully said in nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi 35 “thALAl ulagam aLandha asaivE kol vALA kidandhu aruLum vAy thiRavAn nILOdham vandhalaikkum mAmayilai mAvallikkENiyAn aindhalai vAy nAgaththaNai” (Is it that emperumAn is tired of measuring all the worlds with his divine feet that he is silently lying on the bed of AdhiSEshan in mayilaiththiruvallikkENi which is lapped by the waves from ocean!). He has thought that the reason for lying in such a cool place is because he is probably tired.

azhagiyadhE – does it not appear that protecting the world like this (wandering in the forest in search of sIthAppirAtti and driving the chariot for arjuna, taking all the arrows aimed at arjuna on himself] is not apt for his divine form!

azhagiyadhE nAgaththin thaN paLLi koLvAn thanakku – AzhwAr feels very sad that he had to lie down on hard ground, when he has such a soft divine form with which he normally reclines on AdhiSEshan; that he had to wander around in search of sIthAppirAtti; that he had to wander in the battle field being ridiculed by the others. He asks whether it is apt for him to protect the world after doing all these? Does he have to protect his followers only by doing all these? AzhwAr mercifully asks with sadness whether he, the primary entity, has to destroy himself like this and protect his followers.

We shall take up the 16th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi – 14 – paNdip perum padhiyai

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avathArikai

AzhwAr says that once it is known that emperumAn can be attained by everyone, don’t praise lowly persons who nurture only the life in this materialistic realm but praise emperumAn and make the entire world a purified one through your sojourns. Once knowing the nature of emperumAn, worship at the divine feet of emperumAn, recite his names and through your connection, purify the world.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

paNdip perum padhiyai Akkip pazhipAvam
koNdingu vAzhvAraik kURAdhE eNdhisaiyum
pErththa karam nAngudaiyAn pErOdhip pEdhaigAL
thIrththa kararAmin thirindhu

Word by Word Meaning

pEdhaigAL – Oh ignorant people!
paNdiyai – stomach
perum padhi Akki – filling it up [stomach] with everything as if it were a huge town
pazhi pAvam koNdu – going on accumulating sins through faulty activities carried out knowingly and unknowingly
ingu – in this world
vAzhvArai – those who dwell in this materialistic realm
kURAdhE – instead of praising them
eN dhisaiyum pErththa karam nAngu udaiyAn – thrivikrama’s puffed up divine shoulders which blew to smithereens the eight directions (when he measured the worlds)
pEr – divine names
Odhi – reciting continuously without expecting any gain in return
thirindhu – taking a sojourn all over the world
thIrththakarar Amin – purify all the lands (through your connection)

vyAkyAnam

paNdu ip perum padhiyai Akki – nurturing this old materialistic realm. Alternatively, paNdi also means stomach. Hence, nurturing the stomach to make it like a huge town. Earlier one person (nanjIyar?) mercifully said that “this body is a mobile celestial vehicle” (since emperumAn has pervaded the physical body, this body becomes a celestial vehicle for emperumAn). AzhwAr feels sad that this body is being nurtured without knowing emperumAn and AthmA (his SarIram) are being destroyed.

pazhi pAvam koNdu – Gathering ridicules and sins in order to nurture the body. People of this world, without realising that they are the repository for the ridicules which come without a reason and the sins which come with a reason, will gather the results of those [activities] which they do unknowingly and those which they do knowingly. Ridicule is something which is thrust on us by others and sin is the result of lowly acts which we carry out ourselves. Ridicule results  because we are beholden to someone else and sin, because of our own independence and thinking that “I am my Lord”.

ingu vAzhvAraik kURAdhE – instead of praising the people of this world who are like this [those who gather ridicule and sins]. Unless one thinks that there is something called as soul which is different from the body, he will not know that there is a world [SrIvaikuNtam] above and that one has to enjoy the happiness there. Since those who live here are people who think that there is nothing other than what is seen in this world, they will think that there is nothing other than living their lives for sometime here. It is better not to praise such people. It would be better not to praise them saying “can anyone ridicule you! can you accumulate any sin!”

ingu vAzhvArai – those who think that they are living here, while there is nothing called prosperity. One should not praise someone who thinks that sorrow is pleasure.

pEdhaigAL – Oh ignorant people! Those who think that there is nothing other than what is being seen with eyes. Those ignorant people who think that wealth which is seen by the eyes, is also a benefit!

eNdhisaiyum pErththa karam nAngu udaiyAn pEr Odhi – with the divine hands puffing up and growing in all the eight directions. The hands puffed up such that they wanted to destroy the existing directions and make new, larger directions. AzhwAr tells us to recite the divine names of emperumAn who measured the worlds to protect them.

thIrththakarar Amin thirindhu – go all over the world to make them auspicious. Has it not been divinely mentioned in perumAL thirumozhi 10-5 “thiridhalAl thavam udaiththu iththaraNidhAnE” (this world is fortunate because of those who go all over the place, with their hands folded and head bowed) and in perumAL thirumozhi 2-6 “thIdhil nanneRi kAtti engum thirundhu” (going to all places, manifesting their activities which are free from any faults)! Correct this world which cannot be set right by emperumAn himself, with his divine names. Just as people of this world spoil the others apart from spoiling themselves, those who recite emperumAn’s divine names will have noble activities themselves and will also make others to have noble activities. Has it not been mentioned in manu smirithi 8-92 “yamO vaivasvathO rAjA yasthavaiva hruthi sthitha: thEna chEdha vivAdhasthE mA gangAm mA kurUn gama:” (there is no need for you to go to gangA or kurukshEthram if emperumAn, who is the King residing amidst the solar galaxy, controlling everyone, stays in your heart and you do not have any argument with him [in other words, if you accept him and are well disposed towards him]).

thirindhu thIrththakarar Amin – make the world sanctimonious by your sojourns (according to tradition, there is an anecdote mentioned about people sanctifying the world – once dhEvappiLLai, elder (son?) to piLLAn had to go to a different town. He was very sad about it and told bhattar (elder son of kUraththAzhwAn) “while relatives like all of you are here, only I have to go outside. After reaching there, whose face shall I see when I wake up (meaning that they are all strangers)? bhattar responded by divinely saying “rAmapirAn (SrI rAma) gave mOksham (SrIvaikuNtam) even to grass. Yet, he left behind his sons lava and kuSa even though he had no difficulty in granting them mOksham, so that they could protect this world. In the same way, aren’t you going outside only to enable those who live there to get uplifted?”

We shall move on to the 15th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi – 13 – thodar eduththa

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avathArikai

Could only those with authority attain emperumAn? Could only dhEvas, with limitations, attain him and should others lose out being unable to attain him? AzhwAr says that there is no such compulsion. Even an animal, with a lowly birth and lowly activities, such as gajEndhran [an elephant] was able to attain his divine feet and also had his enemy removed by emperumAn, and ultimately reached paramapadham. Wasn’t he [emperumAn] such a simple entity even for an elephant! Thus, anyone can attain him, says AzhwAr. In the earlier pAsuram, it was mentioned that emperumAn gives what had been desired by those who attain him for other benefits. In this pAsuram, it says that emperumAn gives himself to those who worship him and desire to see him.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

thodar eduththa mAl yAnai sUzhkayam pukku anji
padar eduththa paim kamalam koNdu anRu idaradukka
AzhiyAn pAdham paNindhanrE vAnavar kOn
pAzhidhAn eydhiRRu paNdu

Word by Word Meaning

thodar eduththa mAl yAnai – an elephant in exultation, breaking free from its chains and running with the chain in its trunk
sUzhkayam pukku – entered an expansive pond
padar eduththa paim kamalam koNdu – taking lotus flowers which have blossomed well (in order to lay them at the divine feet of emperumAn)
anRu idar adukka – after getting into a deep hurdle (getting caught by a crocodile and unable to free itself from the crocodile)
anji – trembling with fear in its mind (whether it would be able to offer the flowers to emperumAn before they wither away)
AzhiyAn pAdham – at the divine feet of emperumAn who is holding in his hand the divine disc (the implement for killing the crocodile)
paNindhanRE – because of worshipping (after surrendering)
thAn – that gajEndhra AzhwAn [in our sampradhAyam certain people (and other entities) are referred to as AzhwAn to indicate their exalted status]
paNdu – in ancient time
vAnavar kOn pAzhi – the dwelling place of the Lord of nithyasUris (permanent dweller of SrivaikuNtam), paramapadham
eydhiRRu – attained

vyAkyAnam

thodar eduththa mAl yAnai – an elephant which, in exultation, pulling aside the creepers bearing flowers, went about as it pleased. It could also be construed as a huge elephant which removed its chain (used for tying it) and went about as it pleased.

mAl yAnai – elephant in exultation. Alternative meaning: one which cannot be controlled.

sUzh kayam pukku – entering an expansive pond whose bank could not be seen with one’s eyes [so huge]

sUzh kayam – a pond which could drive away those who entered it, with the help of wild creatures such as crocodile etc.

kayam pukku – entering an area which is not its [elephant’s].

anji – fearful of the hurdle caused by crocodile. The elephant would have felt stronger on land than in water. It would have been with huge ego similar to that of entities such as brahmA et al. vishNu dharmam 69-47 says “paramApadhamApanna:” (got into a huge difficulty). A difficulty which was huger than such an elephant. It was such a difficulty that emperumAn had to come hurriedly to overcome it.

padar eduththa paingamalam koNdupadar – being an expansive lotus flower which blossomed. eduththa – a lotus which has grown tall. paingamalam – a beautiful lotus. Alternatively, a cool lotus. Plucking that lotus with lot of desire.

anRu idar adukka – a difficulty which occurred there due to crocodile. idar – it was such a difficulty that there was no remedy for it other than emperumAn himself coming there.

anji – fearing whether he [gajEndhra] would be able to offer that lotus to the divine feet of emperumAn before the flower withered.

As a remedy to it…

AzhiyAn pAdham paNindhanRE – is it not by worshipping at the divine feet of emperumAn who is donning the chakrAyudham (divine disc as a weapon)!

AzhiyAn – one who is donning the divine disc. Hasn’t vishNu dharmam 69-81 said “graham chakrENa mAdhava:” (mAdhavan (emperumAn) killed the crocodile with his weapon disc). It is mentioned that emperumAn offers himself to those who desire only himself and no other benefit from him.

paingamalam – it is conveyed here that gajEndhran plucked a very soft lotus in an easy manner.

AzhiyAn – it is conveyed here that emperumAn has weapon in his hand to remove the difficulties of his followers.

vAnavar kOn pAzhidhAn eydhiRRup paNdu – once upon a time, the elephant ascended the mattress of emperumAn, who is the lord of tireless nithyasUris, at his dwelling place of paramapadham (this takes into consideration that the meaning for the word pAzhi could be either place or bed). When such is the quality of emperumAn, is there any boundary for saying that so and so is dear to emperumAn and so and so is not dear to emperumAn? AzhwAr says that everyone is qualified to attain him.

We shall move on to the 14th pAsuram, next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi – 12 – avar ivar enRillai

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

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avathArikai

Can’t we hold on to other deities? Why talk ill of them? AzhwAr says that these other deities approach emperumAn and obtain the authority that they need and the [limited] ability to fulfil their followers’ wishes. Hence, it is appropriate for us for the remainder of our lives to hold on to emperumAn’s divine feet only (in the second explanation for the earlier pAsuram it was said that the other deities worship emperumAn. In the same way, they get their authority for administrative purposes).

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

avar ivar enRillai aravaNaiyAN pAdham
evar vaNangi EththAdhAr eNNil pavarum
sezhum kadhirOn oNmalarOn kaNNudhalOn enRE
thozhum thagaiyAr nALum thodarndhu

Word by Word Meaning

eNNil – if we analyse (who all get their sustenance from emperumAn)
avar ivar enRu illai – there is no distinction between one person and the other when it comes to attaining him [for getting favours]
aravu aNaiyAN pAdham – the divine feet of emperumAn who has AdhiSEshan as his mattress
vaNangi – worship
EththAdhAr – those who do not praise
evar – who? (there is none)
pavarum sezhum kadhirOn – sun who has well spread out rays in thousands
oNmalarOn – brahmA who has the beautiful lotus (growing out of emperumAn’s navel) as his seat
kaN nudhalOn – rudhra who has an eye in his forehead

(all these deities)
nALum – every day
thodarndhu thozhum thagaiyAr anRE – aren’t they having the quality of seeking out the place where emperumAn is dwelling and worshipping him?

vyAkyAnam

avar ivar enRillai – There is no difference between lowly people or great people. (emperumAn is attained, without any distinction, by all entities, including the dhEvars such as brahmA, rudhra et al who are famous for being attained by others, and the people who attain such dhEvas . Is there any child who is not liked by its mother? (thus all the entities attain emperumAn).

Who do they attain?

aravaNaiyAn pAdham – the divine feet of emperumAn who is reclining on the mattress of AdhiSEshan in thiruppARkadal (milky ocean). Isn’t reclining on AdhiSEshan a unique identification for emperumAn! AdhiSEshan is there with him in order to speak on our behalf and carry out purushakAram (recommend us to emperumAn). Hasn’t it been said in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 17-1 “yathra rAmassa lakshmaNa:” (where rAma is together with lakshmaNa) – vibhIshaNa came to that place where the two were together (that vibhIshaNa came to surrender to SrI rAma who was with lakshmaNa (an incarnation of AdhiSEshan) to play the role of recommending, is mentioned here). When nammAzhwAr surrendered to emperumAn he did so in the presence of AdhiSEshan as in thiruvAimozhi 5-10-11nAgaNai misai nambirAn charaNE SaraN”. ANdAL too said the same in her nAchchiyAr thirumozhi 10-9 “nAgaNaiikE senRu” (going to the mattress of AdhiSEshan)

evar vaNangi EththAdhAr – who does not hold on to emperumAn? Everyone attains him. This is because one has to attain the divine feet of one who does not have to hold on to someone else (that particular quality is present only with emperumAn)

eNNil – if one were to analyse; or, if one were to think.

pavarum sezhum kadhirOn oN malarOn kan nudhalOn anRE – these people are famous for being attained by others. But even these people attain emperumAn.

pavarum sezhum kadhirOn – sun with spread out, infinite number of rays.

oN malarOn – brahmA who is in the lotus shooting out of emperumAn’s navel.

kaN nudhalOn – rudhra who has an eye in his forehead.

Don’t these people…

thozhum thagaiyAr nALum thodarndhu – have the quality of following emperumAn wherever he goes, compel him and attain him.

nALum thozhum thagaiyAr – every day they are worshipping emperumAn. Just as a rope will lose its strength if it is untwisted, these people also think that they will lose all their power if they do not worship emperumAn and hence keep following him. Instead of worshipping him because this is what has been ordained, they worship him in order to get some benefits [and lose the more important benefit of enjoying him]. How unjustified is this that they are treating their worshipping of emperumAn as a wage for getting some benefits instead of treating the act of worshipping itself as the benefit!

We shall move on to the 13th pAsuram.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi – 11 – kadai ninRu

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avathArikai

emperumAn asks AzhwAr “you are saying ‘protect me’ and putting all the responsibility on my head. Shouldn’t there be some benefit or the other with you also?” to which AzhwAr responds saying “one can attain other deities and ask for very low benefits only such as swargam (heaven); is it possible for one to know about you, who are absolutely unquantifiable, and attain you?  Who can know about your divine feet and attain you, who can remove the sorrows of having attained other deities? Who can attain you, after knowing your simplicity?”

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

kadai ninRu amarar kazhal thozhudhu nALum
idai ninRa inbaththarAvar pudai ninRa
nIrOdha mEni nedumAlE nin adiyai
yArOdha vallAr avar

Word by Word Meaning

(samsAris (dwellers of materialistic realm))
amarar kadai ninRu – standing at the doorstep of other deities
nALum – at all times
kazhal thozhudhu – falling at (their) feet

(without realising salvation)
idai ninRa inbaththar Avar – they will realise the pleasures lying in-between (such as heaven etc)
pudai ninRa nIr Odham mEni nedumAlE – Oh the supreme being who is having the form of ocean which is surrounding this world!
nin adiyai – your divine feet
Odha vallAr avar yAr – is there anyone who can think of? (there is no one)

vyAkyAnam

kadai ninRu – standing at the door step of various deities at the places of their dwelling. kadai  – door step.

amarar – these deities are called as amarar (immortals) as they live for a few years longer [than we]. vEdham says “na brahmA nESAna:…” (not brahmA, not ISan [the deity for creation and destruction as ordained by emperumAn] have seen SrIvaikuNtam). Not realising that these deities also get destroyed one day, the samsAri [dweller of materialistic realm] thinks that they are immortals.

amarar kazhal thozhudhu – the samsAri keeps falling at the feet of such deities, one after another. These deities, unlike emperumAn, are not capable of granting all wishes of a samsAri. Hence the samsAri keeps falling at the feet of each of these deities to get each wish granted.

nALum thozhudhu – these deities keep asking for various things to satisfy themselves such as infant or goat or rooster etc and are difficult to worship. Thus, until they grant him his wish, the samsAri has to keep holding on to their feet, for a long time. These deities are unlike emperumAn who had mercifully said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 9-26pathram pushpam palam thOyam…” (worship me with a leaf, or a flower or a fruit or water). Even after worshipping them in such a hard way, what can these deities grant?

idai ninRa inbaththar Avar – they [those who worship these deities] will get to experience comfort in swargam (heaven) which is neither here nor there, and is more of a hurdle. They do not enjoy you as in paramapadham (SrIvaikuNtam) like mukthars and nithyars. They do not stay here (on earth) like us, worshipping you and expecting to reach SrIvaikuNtam soon. Since it [heaven] is a place full of egotists and they stay for a long time, as said in mudhal thiruvandhAdhi 56kadikkamalaththil uLLirundhum kANgilAn kaNNan adikkamalam thannai ayan” (even though brahmA is residing in the fragrant lotus flower which grows out of emperumAn’s navel, he does not get to worship the divine feet of emperumAn) they do not worship you to get uplifted and merely enjoy the mediocre comforts such as swargam etc. How ignorant is this!

But why do they carry out such a foolish act? It is because they do not know your greatness, says the AzhwAr

pudai ninRa nIrOdha mEni – AzhwAr mercifully describes about the divine form of emperumAn which removes the ennui of those who have dharSan (audience) of his divine form. His divine form has the complexion of the ocean which surrounds the earth. Is it only the divine form?

nedumAlE – Oh one who has immeasurable greatness of AthmasvarUpam (nature of emperumAn’s soul)!

nin adiyai OdhavallAr avar yAr – Is there anyone here who, knowing that you are greater than everyone else, attains your divine feet as the ultimate benefit through worship etc? There are many in this world who attain other deities for lowly benefits. The opinion here is that even among those who worship emperumAn, there are very few who consider him as both the means and the benefit. Hasn’t emperumAn himself said in bhagavath gIthA 7-19 “vAsudhEvas sarvam ithi sa mahAthmA sudhurlabha:” (those great souls who consider emperumAn as everything are very rare)!

There is another interpretation to this pAsuram.

amarar – other deities such as brahmA, rudhra et al

kadai ninRu – holding on to the door of your temple

kazhal thozhudhu – worshipping your divine feet

nALum idai ninRa inbaththar Avar – instead of enjoying you as the ultimate goal, they will seek positions such as brahmA, rudhra, indhra etc, similar to asking for loin cloth from a wish fulfilling tree such as kaRpakam (a celestial tree). AzhwAr feels sad about the ignorance of such people. Hasn’t nammAzhwAr too divinely mentioned in his thiruviruththam 92 “ninnai viNNOr thAL nilam thOyndhu thozhuvar nin mUrththi pal kURRil onRum kANalum aNgol enRE vaigal mAlaiyum kAlaiyumE” (the celestial entities will worship you everyday both in the morning and in the evening, with their feet firmly rooted to the ground [so that you would get rid of their enemies and] not because they wish to see one of your varied forms)! nammAzhwAr conveyed the same meaning in bhUdhaththAzhwAr’s verse “nin adiyai yAr Odha vallAr” in his verse “nin mUrththi pal kURRil onRum kANalum Angol enRE

We shall take up the 12th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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