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vaiyam thagaLiyA vArkadalE neyyAga
veyya kadhirOn viLakkAga – seyya
sudarAziyAn adikkE sUttinEn sol mAlai
idarAzhi nIngugavE enRu
Word by Word Meaning
vaiyam thagaLiyA – earth as holding vessel for oil
vAr kadalE neyyAga – sea, surrounding the earth, as ghee (clarified butter)
veyya kadhirOn viLakkAga – sun, with his hot rays, as lamp [wick]
seyya sudarAzhiyAn adikkE – at the divine feet of emperumAn, who has reddish coloured chakra (disc) weapon
idar Azhi nIngugavE enRu – let the ocean of sorrow (in this world) disappear
sol mAlai – garland made of words
sUttinEn – I adorned him with
By using the terms vaiyam, vArkadal and kadhirOn, AzhwAr is referring to the elements earth, water and fire through analogy, thus implying all five elements. Through these five, he thinks of the entire constellation, narrowing to earth, its hardness, the tenderness of water, the heat of fire, and thinks of the entire leelA vibhUthi (material realm). By using the term sudarAzhiyAn (divine chakra – disc of emperumAn) he refers to nithyavibhUthi (spiritual realm) and through the term adikkE he refers to the divine feet of emperumAn, thus implying that emperumAn has a divine form and controls both the vibhUthis (realms). He also implies the SEshithvam (lordship) of emperumAn as well as his own SEshathvam (servitude), carrying out service to emperumAn through his divine feet. Since emperumAn is happy with his service, AzhwAr too feels happy for having gladdened emperumAn. He says that in order to remove the lowliness of not having carried out such kainkaryam (service to emperumAn) so far, he is adorning emperumAn’s divine feet [with his verses]. Another interpretation is that since he had not got the knowledge so far to do this, he wants emperumAn to remove the hurdle of samsAram which is the cause of his continued ignorance.
vaiyam thagaLiyA – SrIvishNu purANam 1-14-28 says “kAtinyavAn yO pibharthi jagathEthadhaSEshatha: I SabdhAdhi samSrayO vyApI thasmai bhUmyAthmanE nama: II (salutations to the all pervading supreme entity who is in the form of earth with the five qualities of Sabdha etc (Sabdha, rUpa, rasa, gandha and sparSam, the five senses relating to sound, vision, taste, smell and touch respectively). Earth is a hard material and holds the world in it. Thus earth is considered as capable of holding [like a lamp] the substances which are mentioned as simile to ghee (clarified butter) and wick which are mentioned later in the pAsuram (hymn). Since the world has a form, like a lamp, it appears that it should have been created by an entity; it is being compared to the container (of lamp) to affirm the existence of supreme entity.
vAr kadalE neyyAga – ocean surrounds the earth fully and is in the form of a liquid. It obeys the order of supreme entity not to cross its border (shore) and to remain within its boundary. Due to this it is compared to ghee which will enable a lamp (which is to be lit) to keep glowing for a long time. vAr kadal – surrounding ocean (surrounding earth). It can also be construed as a completely filled up ocean. It does not overflow because of excessive flow into it by rivers. It does not shrink if water from rivers does not flow into it. It does not destroy the earth even though it is at a higher level than earth. There must be an entity to take care of all these. Just as ghee enables the lamp to glow for a long time, the oceanic waters are pulled by sun’s rays and make the rays to glow. For these reasons, ocean is compared to a lamp that reveals emperumAn. There is no significance for the long syllable in the word kadalE. This can be applied to the other words vaiyam, kadhiron also for uniformity (vaiyamE thagaLiyA, kadhirOnE viLakkAga)
veyya kadhirOn viLakkAga – sun is compared to the lamp (wick) since it has hot rays emanating from it and it is a radiant material. As thaiththiriya upanishath says “bhIshOdhEthi sUrya:” (sun rises because of his fear of emperumAn). He is seen for 30 nAzhigai (one nAzhigai is 24 minutes) and is not seen for the other 30 nAzhigai. He reveals emperumAn like a wick in a lamp.
vaiyam thagaLiyA – Just as a log of wood floats in water, the earth is also floating. Should there not be a reason for it? vAr kadalE neyyAga – instead of inundating the earth, the ocean is limiting itself within its boundary. Should there not be a reason for it? veyya kadhirOn viLakkAga – without reducing or increasing from its 30 nAzhigai, sun rises and sets every day. Should there not be a reason for it? And, should not such an entity, which is the reason for all these, be omniscient and omnipotent?
Once it is known that everything is his and he is the master of all, the hymn says what should be done further.
seyya sudarAzhiyAn adikkE – nammAzhwAr, in periya thiruvandhAdhi 26 says “iruLanna mAmEni em iRaiyAr” (my Lord’s divine form has the colour of darkness). For such a dark form, the divine chakra (disc) adds a contrasting red colour. These words negate the opinions of other philosophies which say that brahmam (supreme entity) does not exist, or that it has weapons other than chakra or that it does not have any auspicious qualities etc. These words confirm that emperumAn has all the wealth, has divine weapons such as chakra, has a divine, beautiful form etc. The reddish colour of chakra contrasts well with the black colour of his divine form. Since AzhwArs were bestowed with unblemished knowledge, the first realisation that they get is that they are servitors and they should serve the divine feet of emperumAn. pirAtti (emperumAn’s consort, mahAlakshmi) holds emperumAn’s hands. AzhwAr is not pirAtti. Hence, he holds on to emperumAn’s divine feet. Under the divine feet of such an emperumAn…..
idarAzhi nInguga enRu – my ocean of sorrow, since it has not performed any kainkaryam, should leave me.
sol mAlai sUttinEn – I adorned his divine feet with a garland of words, which will never lose its fragrance and will never fade, having been strung on his auspicious qualities and deeds. This is just like the decoration that anasUya (wife of rishi athri) made on sIthA pirAtti [garland not fading]. Just as the thiruththuzhAy (thuLasi) garland establishes the supremacy of emperumAn, this garland of words of the AzhwAr also establishes his supremacy. AzhwAr is able to know emperumAn fully and is speaking of his qualities when even vEdham had to return after failing in its attempt to measure the greatness of emperumAn (thaiththiriya upanishath 9.1 “yathO vAchO nivarththanthE apprApya manasA saha”)
idarAzhi nIngugavE enRu sUttinEn – AzhwAr indicates that he wants to rid of his thirst of not having strung a garland of verses for emperumAn till now. He also implies that he does not exist on days when he does not praise emperumAn. For AzhwAr, every object such as earth, ocean etc reminds of emperumAn. Once a person asked mARanEri nambi “how do I remember emperumAn?” mARanEri nambi asked him in return “tell me, how do I forget emperumAn?”
I strung a garland of hymns for the samsAris, who do not know anything regarding emperumAn, and who are losing their svarUpam (basic nature), who, by learning this text which explains the truths about emperumAn, would have their ocean of sins, a container for all their sorrows, dry up.
There is not a single meaning which has not been conveyed by this pAsuram [i.e., all the important meanings are present in this pAsuram itself].
We shall next take up the 2nd pAsuram.
adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan
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