Category Archives: iyaRpA

mUnRAm thiruvandhAdhi – 83 – iniyavan mAyan

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avathArikai

AzhwAr says that even though emperumAn is one who cannot be seen or thought of by anyone, now he has entered my heart first and is dwelling there.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

iniyavan mAyan ena uraipparElum
iniyavan kANbariyanElum iniyavan
kaLLaththAl maN koNdu viN kadandha paingazhalAn
uLLaththinuLLE uLan

Word by Word Meanings

ini – now
avan – that supreme being
mAyan – amazing entity who is difficult to be known
ena – like this
uraippar Elum – even if they (people) say
ini – now
avan – that emperumAn
kANbu ariyan Elum – difficult to see and enjoy
kaLLaththAl – with deceit

(going to mahAbali)
maN koNdu – obtaining earth as a gift
viN kadandha pai kazhalAn avan – that emperumAn who has expansive divine feet with which he occupied sky and all the outer worlds
ini – now
uLLaththin uLLE uLan – is dwelling firmly inside my heart (not knowing other places) (this great benefit is enough for me)

vyAkyanam

ini avan mAyan ena uraipparElumemperumAn is easy to attain, say authentic texts. Even if the worldly people say that he is difficult to attain… Even if they say that he is an amazing entity…. Just as he has mentioned in SrI bhagavath gIthA 7-13mama mAyA dhurathyayA” (it is difficult to crossover my primordial matter), even if he is difficult to be seen….

iniyavan kANbariyanElum – even if he, who has unlimited sweetness, is difficult to be approached and seen… If we break the first word as ini avan, the meaning will change to – now if he is difficult to be seen or if he is difficult to be seen at the end of the birth…

iniyavan kaLLaththAl maNkoNdu – coming to earth in the form of vAmana (dwarf), hiding his original form so that none will know that he is the supreme being, and seizing the earth. One who obtained the worlds which are his possessions, from mahAbali, with a sweet form and measured them….

viN kadandha paingazhalAn – one who has expansive divine feet with which he brought all the worlds even beyond the sky, under him (alternatively, for the term paingazhalAn we can construe the meaning as one who has beautiful divine feet).

ini uLLaththin uLLe uLan – he has now taken residence in my heart. This body will remain until the ordained life span for the birth taken already remains. After that, let him (emperumAn) do whatever he wants. Can whatever I have got now (his staying inside my heart) be negated? Even though he came on his own, that he cannot be estimated has become established.

Let us take up the 84th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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mUnRAm thiruvandhAdhi – 82 – uNaril uNarvariyan

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avathArikai

AzhwAr asks if there is any advantage by getting angry with the heart. He asks if there is any way by which we can approach and know about emperumAn who cannot be known by anyone and who has unlimited sweetness.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

uNaril uNarvariyan uLLam pugundhu
puNarilum kANbariyan uNmai iNaraNaiyak
kongaNaindhu vaNdaRaiyum thaNduzhAykkOmAnai
engaNaindhu kANdum ini

Word by Word Meanings

uNaril – if we try to know (about emperumAn, on our own)
uNarvariyan – he cannot be known

(If he on his own)
uLLam pugundhu puNarilum – comes into the heart and embraces
uNmai kAnbu ariyan – difficult to know ’as he is’
ini – when things are like this
iNan aNaiya – such that bunches of flowers to be lowered
kongu – in honey
vaNdu – beetles
aNaindhu – approaching and entering (and drinking honey)
aRaiyum – humming
thaN – cool
thuzhAy – one who is donning the thuLasi garland
kOmAnai – that supreme being
ini – in this state
engu – in which place
aNaindhu – approaching
kANdum – will be able to see?

vyAkyanam

uNaril uNarvariyan – in the first place it is better not to enter in matters related to emperumAn. In other words, instead of getting in to know about him and then stepping aside realising that he cannot be known, it is better not to attempt to know about him. emperumAn will remain very difficult to know for those who attempt to know about him on their own. He cannot know about himself. nammAzhwAr too has mercifully stated in thiruvAimozhi 8-4-6 “thanakkum than thanmai aRivariyAnai ” (he cannot know about his qualities himself)! How can we know about such emperumAn?

uLLam pugundhu puNarilum kANbariyan uNmai – in order to put an end to this eminence, if he mingles with our heart on his own so that there will be no shortcoming in knowing about him, even then he cannot be known “as he is” and cannot be estimated. His true qualities cannot be known.

kANbariyan uNmai – one can wonder at his eminence, but he cannot be estimated.

iNar …. – this says that even if he cannot be known, he cannot be left out. The chEthana, even if he wants to know, cannot know about emperumAn. Even if emperumAn comes on his own and shows himself up, he cannot be known. In that case should one lose him and forget everything? His sweetness and his being the lord of all will not allow that (losing him) to happen.

iNar aNaiyak kongaNaindhu vaNdaRaiyum thaN thuzhAyk kOmAnai – emperumAn who dons thuLasi garland which will get lowered when beetles approach the flowers and drink in honey, humming with the resultant happiness ……

engaNaindhu kANdum ini – where will I approach him and see him? He cannot be seen by trying to know about him in the method of the worldly people by making attempts on their own; he cannot be seen by following the method of those who believe in SAsthras in which he comes on his own and shows himself up. In such a case, is there anything called seeing him? It is not possible not to approach him and it is not possible to approach him either.

Let us take up the 83rd pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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mUnRAm thiruvandhAdhi – 80 – ninRu edhirAya

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avathArikai

AzhwAr mercifully mentions as to how his heart got involved with emperumAn ahead of him. He says that his heart, without waiting for instructions, meditating on the quality of emperumAn by which he annihilates enemies, won over his [AzhwAr’s] five senses, got rid of attachment towards worldly matters and tries to meditate on emperumAn.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

ninRedhirAya niraimaNiththEr vANan thOL
onRiya IraingyURudan thuNiya venRilangum
ArpaduvAn nEmi aravaNaiyAn sEvadikkE
nErpaduvAn  thAn muyalum nenju

Word by Word Meanings

ninRu – standing in front (without any shame)
edhir Aya – one who fought as an enemy
nirai maNi thEr – one who came riding on a chariot which had gemstones studded properly
vANan onRiya IraigygyURu thOL – the thousand shoulders of the demon bANa
udan – simultaneously
thuNiya – ensuring that they [1000 shoulders] got severed
venRu – becoming victorious
ilangum – (on account of that victory) being radiant
Arpadu – having sharpness
vAn – being strong
nEmi – having the divine disc
aravu aNaiyAn – emperumAn who reclines on AdhiSEshan
sE adikkE – at the reddish divine feet
nErpaduvAN – to approach
nenju – (my) heart
thAn – on its own
muyalum – will attempt

vyAkyanam

ninRu edhirAya – one who came as an enemy and stood. Since the demon bANAsuran had attained the thAmasa (ignorant) deity Siva as his protector, not knowing that kaNNan is the supreme being, he came to fight him.

nirai maNith thEr vANan – the demon came on a chariot which was studded with rows of gemstones.

thOL onRiya IraingyURu udan thuNiya – ensuring that all the 1000 shoulders got severed simultaneously. It is implied here that the 1000 shoulders were not equal to even one shoulder. The 1000 shoulders appeared to be similar to a tree which has one root and many branches.

udan thuNiya – severing them such that all 1000 shoulders fell at the same time. This implies that emperumAn alone, who did like this, is fit to be attained and other deities (such as Siva et al who came to protect vANa) are unfit to be attained.

venRu ilangum ArpaduvAn nEmi – emperumAn who has the divine disc which, being victorious, had the resultant radiance and was also sharp (the term Arpadugai (which is the root for ArpaduvAn) would mean sharpness or having spokes).

aravaNaiyAn sEvadikkE – at the divine feet of emperumAn who is reclining on AdhiSEshan

nErpaduvAn thAn muyalum nenju – the heart, on its own, is joyously trying to attain.

We will move on to the 81st pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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mUnRAm thiruvandhAdhi – 79 – Orththa manaththinarAy

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avathArikai

In order to get rid of the sins that we have accumulated from time immemorial, don’t we need a long time? AzhwAr says that it is not needed. He says that if we meditate on emperumAn and develop hatred towards worldly pursuits, the sins will disappear at once. He says that if the people of the world carry out what he had said, they can rid themselves of their births.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

Orththa manaththarAy aindhadakki ArAyndhu
pErththAl piRappEzhum pErkkalAm kArththa
viraiyAr naRundhuzhAy vIngOdhamEni
niraiyAra mArvanaiyE ninRu

Word by Word Meanings

kArththa – having verdant colour
virai Ar – being fragrant
naRum thuzhAy – having garland of fresh thuLasi
vIngu Odha mEni – having the complexion of a full ocean
nirai Aram mArvanaiyE – only emperumAn who has donned ornaments in an orderly way
ninRu – standing firmly
Orththa manaththarAy – having a meditating mind
aindhu adakki – winning over the five senses
ArAyndhu – analysing the lowliness of samsAram (materialistic realm)
pErththAl – if one were to turn his face away [from samsAram]
piRappu Ezhum – the long line of births which keep coming one after another
pErkkalAm – one can get rid of

vyAkyanam

Orththa manaththarAy – having a mind which keeps constantly meditating on the auspicious qualities of emperumAn

aindhadakki – controlling the five senses so that they do not engage with worldly matters

ArAyndhu – then thinking about the shortcomings in worldly pursuits

pErththAl piRappu Ezhum pErkkalAm – if one could redeem the heart [from worldly pursuits] one could escape from the chain of births. If one could turn one’s mind away from worldly matters, one could easily get rid of the series of births. Reference to seven births implies the full chain of births. In other words, one can get rid of all the births. One can get rid of the series of births.

kArththa viraiyAr naRundhuzhAy vIngOdha mEni – What is to be done to get rid of the series of births? One should attain emperumAn. AzhwAr says that he is not recommending such bitter water of margosa bark for ridding oneself of all births. Should one not attain emperumAn who has verdant complexioned, fresh thuLasi garland and a beautiful form with the colour of a full ocean! Isn’t this the difficult-to-perform task!

nirai Ara mArvanaiyE ninRu – if one meditates constantly on emperumAn who has ornaments donned in an orderly way. These words describe the natural beauty and the beauty which came from decorations. This emphasises the beauty which he has and which will enable one to attain him, leaving aside the worldly pursuits.

We will move on to the 80th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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mUnRAm thiruvandhAdhi – 78 – araNam namakku enRum

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avathArikai

AzhwAr tell his heart that emperumAn alone, who has the characteristic of annihilating enemies, is our protector. Hence think of him as the refuge. Even though he is the protector for everyone, should we not think of our lowly characteristics such as our knowledge, birth, activities etc? AzhwAr says that there is no need; he will shower his grace on lowly persons too.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

araNAm namakkenRum Azhi valavan
muraNAL valam suzhindha moymban saraNAmEl
Edhu gadhi Edhu nilai Edhu piRappu ennAdhE
Odhu gadhi mAyanaiyE Orththu

Word by Word Meanings

Azhi – the divine disc
valavan –one who has on his right divine hand
muran – the demon muran
nAL – caused by the lengthy life
valam – strength
suzhindha – one who removed
moymban – emperumAn who is strong
saraN Am El – if he becomes the protector
gadhi Edhu nilai Edhu piRappu Edhu ennAdhE – instead of despising “What is our knowledge? What is our status? What is our birth?” (Instead of looking at the lowliness of these)
namakku enRum araN Am – one who is our protector at all times
mAyanaiyE – (Oh heart!) that emperumAn alone, who has amazing auspicious qualities and activities
gadhi – as means
Orththu – being steadfast
Odhu – recite his divine names.

vyAkyanam

araNAm namaku enRum Azhi valavanemperumAn who has the divine disc on his divine right hand is always our protector. During times when we face difficulties when we are looking for protection, it is only he who removes our difficulties and protects us. He alone, who is omnipotent, is the protector. Isn’t the one who has disc on his divine hand, the protector! Did he not say in SrI bhagavath gIthA 18.66 “aham thvA sarva pApEbhyO mOkshayishyAmi” (I will redeem you from all sins) by pointing to himself! AzhwAr says that his (the sentient entity’s) ego causes troubles and emperumAn’s ego removes those difficulties.

muran nAL valam suzhindha moymban – his ability to destroy enemies is mentioned here. emperumAn has the strength to negate the strength of the demon muran who obtained it as a result of his long life.

saraNAm mEl – if he becomes the protector

Azhivalavan – he will protect with his divine disc. periya thiruvandhAdhi 87 says “eppOdhum kai kazhalA nEmiyAn” (emperumAn always has the disc which will not go out of his hand)

Edhu gadhi Edhu nilai Edhu piRappu ennAdhE araNAm – emperumAn protects irrespective of the knowledge, the status, the birth etc of the chEthana, by being born in any type of birth and by carrying out any type of activity. nammAzhwAr too has mercifully mentioned in thiruvAimozhi 1-3-2nilai varambila pala piRappAy oLivaru muzhunalam” (emperumAn incarnates without looking at the status, boundary etc). We can also construe the meaning for this as AzhwAr saying – after knowing that he removes our enemies, you try and think about him instead of looking at your birth, activities, knowledge etc. Has it not been mentioned in SrI bhagavath gIthA 9-29samOham sarvabhUthEshu na mE dhvEshyOsthi na priya:” (I am equanimous to all creatures; there is none who I like nor anyone who I do not like) and “yEpi syu: pApayOnaya:” (even those who commit sins attain mOksham). nammAzhwAr too has mercifully mentioned in thiruvAimozhi 3-7-9eththanai nalandhAnillAdha chaNdALa chaNdALargaLAgilum” (even if they are lowliest among the lowliest…).

Odhu gadhi mAyanaiyE Orththu – praise him after analysing that he, who has amazing auspicious qualities and activities, is fit to be attained. Think of his divine feet as the refuge. If the text is Odhu gadhi mAdhavanai Orththu we should construe the meaning as – recite his divine names considering emperumAn who is the consort of mahAlakshmi as the means.

We will move on to the 79th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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mUnRAm thiruvandhAdhi – 77 – Ayndha aru maRaiyOn

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In the earlier pAsuram, AzhwAr had said that our sins will disappear once we attain him. In this pAsuram he says that not only the ordinary chEthanas (sentient persons), even when very knowledgeable ones, not knowing what is going to happen in the days to come, try to self-destroy themselves, it is he who does them good and protects them. In the earlier pAsuram, AzhwAr said that we do not know what is good for us, apart from him. In this pAsuram he says that not only we, even brahmA et al do not know. It is only emperumAn who knows what is good for them, AzhwAr says in this pAsuram.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

AyndhavarumaRaiyOn nAnmugaththOn nanguRangil
vAyndha kuzhaviyAy vALarakkan Eyndha
mudippOdhu mUnREzhenReNNinAn Arndha
adippOdhu nangatkaraN

Word by Word Meanings

Ayndhu – analysing well and learning
arumaRaiyOn – having the great vEdhas (sacred texts)
nAnmugaththOn – brahmA, who has four faces; his
nanguRangil – beautiful lap
vAyndha – being seen
kuzhaviyAy – being an infant
vAl arakkan – armoured rAvaNa’s
Eyndha – fit (to be severed)
pOdhu mudi – garlanded heads
mUnru Ezh enRu eNNinAn – one who showed by counting with his divine feet that three plus seven equals ten
adi pOdhu – lotus like divine feet
nangatku – for us
Arndha araN – faultless means

vyAkyanam

Ayndha arumaRaiyOn nAnmugaththOn – the four faced brahmA, who analysed the vEdhas (sacred texts)  taught to him by emperumAn and is capable of understanding the meanings of vEdhas and vEdhAnthas (upanishaths)

nan kuRangil – on his beautiful lap

vAyndha kuzhaviyAy – as an infant, who was seen; as a beautiful child. rAvaNa approached brahmA for getting boons; at that time, in order to protect his identity, he hid his ten heads and bowed down to brahmA. brahmA, lacking in natural leadership qualities, became vain on seeing someone bowing to him, wanted to grant the boons asked for by rAvaNa, without thinking of the difficulties that they (celestial entities) would face. emperumAn, knowing that these people will come to him for succour when troubled by rAvaNa, came as an infant on the lap of brahmA and conveyed the meaning “” if you give him excessive boons, your country will be ruined; you will lose your dwelling; understand that the one who has come is the cruel rAvaNa” by scratching the ten heads of rAvaNa with his divine foot and disappeared.

vAL arakkan – rAvaNa who was armed with sword

Eyndha mudippOdhu – just as animals such as goat etc are garlanded before being decapitated, rAvaNa too had decorated his head fit to be severed, with garland.

mUnRu Ezh enRu eNNinAn – just as the act of a child, he counted the heads of rAvaNa with his divine foot.

mUnRu Ezhu– instead of counting as seven plus three, he counted as three plus seven, as an ignorant child.

Arndha adippOdhu nangatku araN – his divine feet, with unlimited sweetness, is our protection. The divine feet, which help in fulfilling what emperumAn thinks of, will be helpful like a fort for people like us who have nowhere else to go and who do not have any ulterior benefit to seek.

Arndha adippOdhu – the flower like divine feet of emperumAn which are full of sweetness.

We will take up the 78th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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mUnRAm thiruvandhAdhi – 76 – poruppidaiyE ninRum

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avathArikai

After emperumAn has taken residence at various divine abodes, one can go to such divine abodes and get salvation. People need not torture their physical forms in order to attain what they desire. AzhwAr tells the people of the world that emperumAn has taken residence in these places without bothering about his well being and is carrying out tasks for us and hence you do not have to carry out penance by harming your physical forms.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

poruppidaiyE ninRum punal kuLiththum aindhu
neruppidaiyE niRkavum nIr vENdA viruppudaiya
vehkAvE sErndhAnai meymmalar thUyk kai thozhudhAl
ahkAvE thI vinaigaL Ayndhu

Word by Word Meanings

nIr – you all (Oh people of the world!)
poruppu idaiyE – amidst the mountains
ninRum – standing
punal – in the waterways
kuLiththum – immersing in them
aindhu neruppidaiyE – amidst panchAgni (five fires)
niRkavum – doing penance, standing
vENdA – there is no need
viruppu udaiya – being desired (by all)
vehkA – at thiruvehkA (a divine abode in present day kAnchIpuram)
sErndhAnai – emperumAn who has come there and is reclining
mey – without expecting any benefit
malar thUy kai thozhudhAl – if one offers flowers and worships
thI vinaigaL – bad deeds  (sins, results of such bad deeds)
Ayndhu – analysing (that there is no place for us here) and knowing
ahkAvE – won’t they shrink? (implies that they will run away)

vyAkyanam

poruppidaiyE ninRum punal kuLiththum – standing amidst mountains during snowing winter time and taking bath in holy rivers during winter months

aindhu neruppidaiyE niRkavum nIr vENdA – lighting fires on all four sides and standing amidst them, with the sun in the sky burning down, during hot summer months (thus standing amidst five fires); there is no need to carry out any penance like this and suffer. AzhwAr is asking whether we have to get rid of our sins by suffering like this. Instead, he tells us to follow the simple method given below and get rid of our sorrows.

viruppudaiya vehkAvE sErndhAnai – going to thiruvehkA, which emperumAn and others like, where he has taken residence.

mey malar thUy kai thozhudhAl – instead of mixing up with the falsity of desiring other benefits, if we truly consider the benefit of desiring only emperumAn, offer flowers  and worship him, and attain him

ahkAvE thIvinaigaL Ayndhu – bad deeds, analysing that this is not the correct place for us, will run away. Will they stay there a moment longer? Sins will analyse that this is not the correct place for us and will flee the place. Do sins have knowledge to analyse? An old saying goes like this “vrushti prathIkshASchalAya:” (paddy field is expecting rain). In the same way we should consider this too. periyAzhwAr too has divinely mentioned in his periyAzhwAr thirumozhi  5.4.3 “summenAdhE kaivittOdith thURugaL pAyndhanavE” ((the sins) without even breathing, ran and hid themselves in the bushes).

vehkAvE sErndhAnai – while he has come to thiruvehkA as if he is carrying out a deed in order to attain you all, do you also have to perform a deed in order to attain him?  Is there need for two people to undertake two tasks for attaining the same benefit?

meymmalar thUvi Ayndhu – we can construe the meaning for this as – if we analyse his auspicious qualities, meditate on those and worship him with our hands, sins will not come anywhere near us. If the text is taken as men malar thUvi, the meaning will become – worshipping him with soft flowers.

We will take up the 77th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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siRiya thirumadal – Introduction

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thirumangai AzhvAr’s chronological sequence of works is periya thirumozhi, thirukuRuNthANdakam, thiruvezhukURRirukkai, siRiya thirumadal, periya thirumadal and thiruneduNthAndakam. In his second work namely thirukuRuNthANdakam, thirumangai AzhvAr saw parama purushan SrIman nArAyaNan in his heart via his internal senses, as revealed by pAsurams like “en manaththu vandha vidhiyinaik kaNdukoNda thoNdanEn vidugilEnE (thirukuRuNthANdakam 1)”. In his third work namely “thiruvezhukURRirukkai”, he yearned for SrIman nArAyaNan and expressed his desire to enjoy HIM with his exterior senses as well. He performed SaraNAgathi at the lotus feet of the lord at thirukkudandhai. This could be seen in verses like “selvam malgu thenthirukkudandhai aNdhaNar mandhira mozhiyudan vaNanga, AdaravamaLiyil aRithuyilamarndha parama ninadiyiNaip paNivan”. Even after this SaraNAgathi, his desire was not fulfilled.  thirumangai AzhvAr started to explore the reason for the futility of his SaraNAgathi. parama purushan SrIman nArAyaNan is not someone who does not know the situation in which thirumangai AzhvAr is confronted with. HE is not someone who does not have the power to reach the place where thirumangai AzhvAr is. HE is not someone who is not wanted by thirumangai AzhvAr and so all these aforementioned reasons could not be the reason. thirumangai AzhvAr had just then performed SaraNAgathi and so that would  mean that there is nothing that thirumangai AzhvAr needs to do more. So, that is also not a reason for HIS “no-show” or “late show”. The reason for the delay on the part of SrIman nArAyaNan, is neither because of thirumangai AzhvAr’s efforts nor SrIman nArAyaNan’s lack of power and knowledge. The real reason is that SrIman nArAyaNan did not have in HIS heart, the desire to mingle with thirumangai AzhvAr at that point in time. Therefore, thirumangai AzhvAr decided that he is going to do whatever it takes even if it means to destroy his essential nature of “pAranthanthriyam”. (Simple definition of “pArathanthiryam: The quality by which an entity is what the master SrIman nArAyaNan wants it to be”.  The entity (it can be a living or non-living) does not do anything on its own volition rather SrIman nArAyaNan chooses what it needs to be). thirumangai AzhvAr decided that he wanted to see his master SrIman nArAyaNan and for that he is going to go the distance, whatever that entails. He thought of SrIman nArAyaNan’s incarnation as krishNa. Specifically, he was reminded of a gOpikA who was thinking incessantly about the glorious pot dance of krishNa yet could not get to be united with HIM at that time. She started to lament her pangs of separation thereupon. In a similar vein, thirumangai AzhvAr laments in this dhivya prabandham.

We should understand what a “madal” is. Here is a brief background about it. There is a SrI rAmAyaNam SlOkam that goes “thulyaseela vayOvruththAm thulyAbhijanalakshaNam! rAghavOrhathi vaidhEhIm thamsEyam asithEkshaNA (suNdhara kANdam 16.5)”. The meaning of this SlOkam is that SrI rAma was the ideal match for sIthAp pirAtti in terms of everything including good character, age, discipline and beauty. sIthAp pirAtti who has black eyes, would find the ideal match in only SrI rAma who also has the exact same complexion as sIthAp pirAtti.  This SlOkam explains the qualities of a nAyakan (male lover) and a nAyaki (female lover). A true nAyakan is one replete with masculine qualities of intelligence, wisdom, respect, inquisitiveness, eagerness to learn and determination. A true nAyaki is one that is full of feminine qualities of nANam (shyness), madam (being humble and disciplined), achcham (fear) and payirppu (quality where her skin becomes pale due to inability to bear the separation from her nAyakan). Let us say that there exists a couple in the world with all these qualities. The nAyaki goes to garden with her friends to pluck flowers. The nAyakan starts to go hunting and ends up in this same garden where the nAyaki is currently. This meeting / arrangement is pre-determined by fate. nAyaki’s best friend  was also doing some other things when nAyakan and nAyaki met each other. Their eyes met first that ended up in unison.  God thought “if I let them be like this forever, because of excessive joy, they may end up risking their lives ultimately, just like how crops get destroyed by the onslaught of excessive floods. I should make sure that they get separated at a timely fashion and then make them unite again until the final moment where ‘nothing could separate them’ moment arrives. This is the only way out for them to live and be in a relationship”. God decided to separate these lovers and did it. Relatives of the lovers did observe a marked difference in their bodies as seen in “punai izhaigaLaNivum Adaiyudayum pudhukkaNippum ninaiyum nIrmaiyadhanRu (thiruvAimozhi 9.8.5)”. They maintained a tight vigil on the lovers so that they can be safe. However, it back fired and in fact increased the lover’s pangs of separation 100,000 times more. At this juncture, a lover who is not able to be with his or her lover, does something valiant known as “performing a madal”.

The valiant act is nothing but to destroy the lover’s characteristics like the basic innate qualities (svarUpam), beauty (rUpam), guNam (qualities) and wealth (vibhUthi). A lover draws a picture of his or her lover. He or she stares incessantly at the picture without eating ghee and drinking milk. He or she does not take bath either nor do they decorate themselves. There is a horse shaped toy called madal and the lover imagines himself or herself to travel the globe in that madal with shabby hair with shouts of “this person has estranged me. He or she does not have any soft corner towards me. He or she is a person who is so fast at the task in which he or she has a stake in it. If the task is accomplished, he or she forgets the other person and leaves just like that without having any feelings whatsoever towards the other lover. There is no bounds to the list of harm that this person can do”. The lover goes about all the streets trying to echo similar sentiments all the time. Any person who hears these lamentations would be greatly perturbed and would involve themselves in finding the person who had estranged his or her lover. This act is known as “performing a madal” that is literally nothing but negating all positive attributes of a lover that includes the likes of wealth, qualities, beauty and innate qualities.

What is the use of this cruel act of performing a madal?  The hope is that the friends and relatives of the lovers go in all directions in pursuit of the lover and try to unite them. It is also possible that the king in that area could help the lover in getting his or her separated soulmate. If the friends and family does not pay any heed in their cause, then the lovers could get united and be the source of sustenance. If nothing happens, then there is one final glory that awaits the lovers. The glory is nothing but the pride that the lover ended his or her life because he or she could not get their counterpart and so had to choose a tragic life eventually.

In his thiruvAimozhi, specifically “vazhavEl uzhagil”, nammAzhvAr compared and contrasted his lowliness with SrIman nArAyaNan’s loftiness. He thought to himself, “if I go to such a great person, will I not be casting a low image on HIM? Yes. It definitely would and hence I should not go towards HIM. I should stay away from HIM”. This is the character of AzhvArs.  Given this nature of AzhvArs, can they be involved in performing a madal? They are not the ones who are going to destroy the qualities of their lover who is none other than SrIman nArAyaNan.  namAzhvAr in his thiruVaimozhi 5.3 (mAsaru sOdhi), mentions “ANaiyen thOzhi ulagu thOru alarthURRi, Am kONaigaL seydhu kudhiriyAi madalUrdhumE (thiruvAimozhi 5.3.9)”. He also says “yAm madalUrndhum yem AzhiyangaippirAnudan, thUmadal thaNNanthuzhAi malar koNdu sUduvOm (thiruvAimozhi 5.3.10)”. In these, he just threatens SrIman nArAyaNan that he would perform a madal. Likewise, thirumangai AzhvAr, tries to threaten SrIman nArAyaNan that can be seen in phrases like “UrAdhozhiyEn nAn vArAr pUm peNNai madal (siRiya thirumadal conclusory note)”.

In SrI rAmAyaNam, SrI rAma said “chApamAnaya saumithrE! AshIvishOpamAn sAgaram SOshayishyAmi (SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 21-22). This translates into “hey lakshmaNa! Get me the bow and arrows that are powerful and venomous. I will empty this entire ocean”. SrI rAmA threaterned the ocean so that the latter comes running to help him.  The act of performing madal is also something similar to it. AzhvArs opine that if they show their steadfastness, SrIman nArAyaNan will come running unto them. They are not the ones who will perform a madal and will ever complete it, let alone finish themselves at the end of it. The reason they tried to run away from SrIman nArAyaNan in the first place is when they saw their lowliness and the former’s glorious qualities. When in separation, these AzhvAr’s always thought about the greatness and significance of SrIman nArAyaNan’s qualities. This thought made them to be with HIM again by hook or crook. This is exactly why they tried to perform acts such as madal.

Now there emerges another question. The reason for these AzhvArs to get estranged from SrIman nArAyaNan is the latter’s unparalleled greatness. Is this the only reason? If they thought so low about themselves, then what made them to want to be with SrIman nArAyaNan again? The answer is this. Initially, they got separated from SrIman nArAyaNan with the thought that “He is Supreme, great, omnipotent and the like”.  While they were separated, the very same aforementioned qualities made them to forget their lowliness and urged them to unite with HIM. HE is known by the name of “ArAvamudhan” or the one who cannot be enjoyed fully to satiety. While enjoying such ArAvamudhan, one’s lowliness never steps in.

There is another question that pops up. Why do AzhvArs not talk as themselves? Rather why do they sing in “nAyikA” bhAvam or imagine themselves to be the female lover for SrIman nArAyaNan and sing?  There are some defining qualities of a jIvAthmA (soul) that are similar to the defining qualities of a female. Specifically, there are three that includes (a) ananyArhaSEshathvam (the quality of not being subservient to anyone else except SrIman nArAyaNan (b) ananyaSaraNathvam (the quality of recognizing SrIman nArAyaNan as the sole refuge and protector and (c) ananyabhOgyathvam (the quality of being an enjoyable object to SrIman nArAyaNan and no one else). These three qualities are common for a female who is subservient to her husband, as well as to a jIvAthmA (soul) who is sub-servient to its eternal master in SrIman nArAyaNan.  When talking about a mortal husband and wife, the wife exhibits these three qualities towards her husband. While talking about the parama purushan SrIman nArAyaNan, a soul exhibits these three qualities. However, these three qualities are not expressed or revealed by all female towards their husbands nor by all souls towards SrIman nArAyaNan. It is only true that specially blessed souls like AzhvArs (mayaRvaRa madhinalam aruLappeRRavargal) exhibit these defining qualities of a soul in its true splendor. This manifests itself in them being able to sustain if they are with SrIman nArAyaNan and not able to live any longer should they be separated from HIM. At the time of liberation, these AzhvArs are akin to pirAttis.  Furthermore, it is because these AzhvArs who were specially blessed by none other than SrIman nArAyaNan, they were able to have all the qualities of pirAtti, while they were in this earth itself. This is why they speak in the tone of a female, true to the defining spirit of a soul.

Now that AzhvArs tried to perform madal, as a female has been established, there arises yet another question. According to thamizh scriptures, it is only appropriate that men can perform madal and not females. If that is so, what is the justification for AzvhvArs to perform madal with a feminine mood? There is a couple of lines in thirukkuraL that says “kadalanna kAmaththarAgilum mAdhar madalUrAr maRRaiyAr mEl” and “kadalanna kAmamuzhandhum madalErAp peNNir perunthakkanil (thirukkuraL 1137)”. The answer is below. If it is true that between male and female, only males have unabated love towards their female counterpart and that the female’s love towards her male lover is constrained and restricted, then the thamizh scripture’s thought that “only males can perform madal and not females” can be honoured. However, in reality it does not seem to be the case as we do see countless instances where the love towards their loves is unbounded and unconstrained for both genders and not just restricted to males. Therefore, AzhvArs adhere to the fact that “anyone who has uninhibited love towards their lover can perform madal”. This view is supported by the samskritham scriptures. Thirumangai AzvhAr performs madal as “parakAla nAyaki”.

It is only natural that both genders do have uninhibited and unconstrained love towards their lover. Another question surfaces now. Why did thamizh scriptures like tholkAppiyam restrict the love expressed by the females? The answer to this question is unknown as to what is the real reason for the thamizh scriptures to advocate exhibiting suppressed love for female towards their male counterpart. If a king orders that people should suppress their love, will the feelings of love obey his words, even though he is a king. Pure love feelings cannot be controlled by anyone. Hence, the answer is unknown. thirumangai AzhvAr himself has said in his periya thirumadal “mAnOkkin anna nadaiyAr alarEsa Adavar mEl, mannu madalUrAr enbadhOr vAsagamum thennurayil kEtaRivadhuNdu, adhanai yAm theLiyOm mannum vadaneRiyE vENdiNOm (periya thirumadal 38-39). In this pAsuram, thirumangai AzhvAr says that he is cognizant of the thamizh practice of prohibiting women from performing madal. However, this prohibition was done without knowing the real nature of love. He says “vENdAdhAr thennan podhiyil sezhunchandhanak kuzhambin annadhOr thanmai aRiyAdhAr (periya thirumadal 40). A lover who is estranged from his counterpart, during this time of separation, if he or she tries to apply sandalwood paste and thinks that the sandalwood paste is too comforting for their burning heat of separation, then they are to be deemed as people ignorant of the nature of true love. During the times of separation, even the coolest of the coolest things should have a burning sensation on the body, should the love and the

There is another question that pops in. All AzhvArs are blessed by SrIman nArAyaNan and so they should be full of wisdom. So they should not go behind “love” that is connoted with lust in this materialistic earth. Why are they running madly behind this love while it has condemned by all the intelligent people unanimously? This in fact is an easy question as the love that is being referenced in AzhvArs’ scriptures is not the earthly love and lust that is being prohibited by the intellectuals and wise. upanishadhs say “AthmA vA arE dhashtavya: SrOthravyO manthavyO nidhidhyAsithavya: (bruhudAraNya Upanishad 4-4-5)”. SrIman nArAyaNan who is the person who is to be listened to, who is to be thought of, is the one who is to be meditated upon and is verily the one who is to be seen with devout and pious heart. This pious love towards him is represented as love and not the earthly mundane love by any measure.

The relatives of parakAla nAyaki (who is none other than thirumangai AzvhAr in nAyaki bhAvam) tell her “The act of performing madal does not suit your womanly character that is made of total dependence towards SrIman nArAyaNan. Nor does it complement or reward HIS masculine qualities”. parakAla nAyaki replies, “Well! I lost my heart in all those pranks and acts that HE does that would make one to lose their heart. I thought to myself. “ok. Let HIM come on HIS own accord. Let me not do anything on my own and cause blasphemy to HIS fame. However HE did not show up. I could not live anymore and so I decided that I would perform madal and make HIM come unto me and subsequently would sustain because of that”. The bold act of saying that “I would perform madal” in order to be united with HIM is called “trying to perform a madal”.

There is a final question. parakAla nAyaki, instead of actually performing a madal, why should she express her boldness in performing a madal. Why does she procrastinate thereby?  It is because (a) parakAla nAyaki has to first list out the reasons for her madal (b) make her relatives to be in accord with her efforts (c) to defame HIM and HIS glorious qualities, via the act of madal, not so suddenly and finally to allow some time for HIM to come.

adiyen santhAna rAmAnuja dhAsan

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mUnRAm thiruvandhAdhi – 75 – sArndhu agadu thEyppa

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

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avathArikai

AzhwAr enjoys an event that takes place in thirumalai where kaNNapirAn (emperumAn) who has the characteristic of annihilating enemies, dwells.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

sarndhagadu thEyppath thadAviya kOttuchchi vAy
Urndhiyangum veNmadhiyin oNmuyalai sErndhu
sinavEngai pArkkum thirumalaiyE Ayan
punavEngai nARum poruppu

Word by Word Meanings

thadAviya – expansive
kOdu – peaks
uchchi vAy – on top
agadu thEyppa – rubbing the lower part of the stomach
sArndhu – approaching
Urndhu iyangum – moving slowly
veN madhiyin – on the white coloured moon’s
oN muyalai – beautiful rabbit
sinam vEngai – an angry tiger
sErndhu – approaching
pArkkum – will keep looking at the rabbit (without catching it or leaving it)
thirumalaiyE – only thirumalai
Ayan – kaNNapirAn’s (krishNa’s)
punam vEngai nARum – with the sweet fragrance of vEngai trees (a type of tropical tree) which grow well on its land
veRpu – mountain

vyAkyanam

sArndhu agadu thEyppath thadAviya kOttuchchi vAy – approaching the top of the expansive peaks and rubbing its lower stomach

Urndhu iyangum veN madhiyin – moon which is slowly moving. Since it is rubbing against the peak, due to the sharpness gained, the light emitted by the moon is bright (this implies that the peaks of thiruvEngadam rise up to the moon)

Urndhu iyangum – the white coloured moon is looking for a resting place to rid of its tiredness and is moving slowly.

oN muyalai – the beautiful rabbit which is on moon (the craters on the moon appear like rabbit and hence it used to be said that there are rabbits on moon).

sErndhu sina vEngai pArkkum – an angry tiger, looking at the rabbit will approach the moon in order to eat the rabbit, and will keep looking at it constantly. Since rabbit is a natural prey for tiger, it will keep looking at it. Since it is not real rabbit and since it cannot approach it easily, the tiger cannot catch it. It cannot leave it either, since it has a great desire for the meat. Hence it will keep looking at it.

Ayan puna vEngai nARum poruppu – it is the place which kaNNapirAn, the cowherd, determines to be his and where the tropical vEngai trees will emit a sweet fragrance since they are growing on their lands.

Ayan – he becomes very happy if he sees forests and mountains. For the cowherds who live in forests, the sweet fragrance of trees in the forest will be very dear. Hence, will not the sweet fragrance emitted by the trees in thirumalai be liked by the one who has taken residence there!

We will take up the 76th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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mUnRAm thiruvandhAdhi – 74 – nalamE validhu kol

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

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avathArikai

AzhwAr says that among those who are affectionate towards emperumAn there is none who is as affectionate as yaSOdhAp pirAtti. For us, involvement with emperumAn is something that we have to create in ourselves with effort. For AzhwAr, due to the knowledge that he had been showered with (by emperumAn) and the deep affection on emperumAn, these become the reasons for bewilderment.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

nalamE validhu kol nanju Uttu van pEy
nilamE puraNdu pOy vIzha salamEdhAn
vengongai uNdAnai mIttAychchi UttuvAn
thangongai vAy vaiththAL sArndhu

Word by Word Meanings

salamE – with deceitfulness
nanju – poison
Uttu – having come to feed
van pEy – the cruel demon pUthanA
nilamE – on earth
puraNdu pOy vIzha – to fall down (as a corpse)
thAn salamE – he [emperumAn] also, with deceit
vem kongai – the bosom which was cruel
uNdAnai – kaNNan (krishNa) who suckled it
mIttu – drawing him away (from that pUthanA)
UttuvAn – in order to feed him (her milk)
sArndhu – approaching him
than kongai – her bosom
vAy vaiththAL – kept it in his mouth for him to feed
nalamE validhu kol – it appears that this affection is very strong

vyAkyanam

nalamE validhu kol – Isn’t affection stronger than knowledge! For yaSOdhA, affection towards kaNNan (krishNa) was stronger than fear which is natural for a woman.

salamE thAn nanju Uttu van pEy nilamE puraNdu pOy vIzha – making pUthaNa, who has a strong heart and who came in a deceitful form of a mother to give poisoned milk to kaNNa, to fall on the earth

vengongai uNdAnai – one who suckled the cruel bosom (of pUthanA)

mIttu Aychchi UttuvAn – to redeem kaNNan from pUthanA and as a remedy for that, to make him drink milk from her bosom

UttuvAn – in order to feed him

sArndhu than kongai vAy vaiththAL – as a remedy for the poisoned milk which he drank, yaSOdhA pirAtti offered him her nectar-like milk. As soon as she heard that he has taken milk from pUthanA’s bosom, instead of falling down unconsciously due to fear, she walked all the way to where pUthanA lay on the ground [with krishNa on her bosom] and offered her bosom to him (If yaSOdhA’s knowledge had gained primacy, she would have swooned out of fear. However, since affection towards krishNa was in the forefront, instead of swooning, she offered her bosom to krishNa). Hence, affection is probably stronger than knowledge!

We will take up the 75th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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