Category Archives: iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi

iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi – 6 – aRindhaindhum uLLadakki

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avathArikai

AzhwAr asked in the previous pAsuram whether it is possible to know the quality of emperumAn. This is not something similar to a non-existing entity beyond one’s knowledge. He says that It is not possible to estimate emperumAn’s quality. In that case, is it that no one can know about it and do we have to give it up? AzhwAr says that it is not like that. Those who get rid of their desires in worldly pursuits and worship him, recite his divine names, would get to see his divine feet. Those who involve themselves with emperumAn fully would be fortunate to see him. We can construe it as saying that instead of their own efforts, they will get to see him out of his mercy.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

aRindhaindhum uLLadakki Aymalar koNdu Arvam
seRindha manaththarAych chevvE – aRindhu avan than
pEr Odhi Eththum perum thavaththOr kANbarE
kAr Odha vaNNan kazhal

Word by Word Meaning

aRindhu – knowing well (the greatness of emperumAn and the lowliness of worldly pursuits)
aindhum – the five sensory perceptions
uL adakki – (preventing them from engaging in other pursuits and) engaging with bhagavath vishayam (matters relating to emperumAn) by anchoring firmly
Ay malar koNdu – analysing and taking the appropriate flowers (apt for emperumAn)
Arvan seRindha manaththaRAy – with the heart full of bhakthi (devotion)
sevvE aRindhu – knowing well (the relationship of Lord – servant between emperumAn and oneself)
avan than pEr – the divine names of that emperumAn
Odhi – constantly reciting
Eththum – worshipping
perum thavaththOr – the great, fortunate ones
kAr Odham vaNNan kazhal – the divine feet of that emperumAn who has the complexion of a dark sea
kANbar – will see and enjoy

vyAkyAnam

aRindhu – Knowing the lowly matters and the great matters. In other words, knowing well the greatness of emperumAn and the lowliness of worldly matters. Knowing well the lowliness of this physical form [one’s body].

aindhum uL adakki – ensuring they [one’s thoughts] do not go towards lowly matters relating to Sabdham etc (the five sensory perceptions starting with sound). Pointing out to the five sensory perceptions such as Sabdham etc, the emperumAn who is residing inside [one’s heart]. Not letting the sensory perceptions to graze outside but controlling them and showing emperumAn who is inside. Making the sensory perceptions to be immersed in the beauty of emperumAn just like tying a raging bull inside the house and feeding it instead of letting it to go outside.

Ay malar koNdu – carrying the apt flowers for emperumAn. Taking fresh flowers.

Arvam seRindha manaththarAy – being with affectionate mind, with involved mind.

sevvE aRindhu – knowing well the relationship that he is the Lord and we are the servitors.

avan pEr Odhi Eththum perum thavaththOr – the fortunate [or blessed] people who recite emperumAn’s divine names and worship him. Those who have it as their nature to recite emperumAn’s divine names.

kANbarE kArOdha vaNNan kazhal – they will get to see the divine feet of emperumAn who is having the form of an ocean which removes the tedium in the person who sees it and comforts him.

kANbarEAzhwAr expresses his desire to see emperumAn’s divine feet.

kAr Odha vaNNan – emperumAn’s divine form is such that even nithyasUris would enjoy and experience it.

kANbarE – by emphasising with the long syllable (kANbarE), AzhwAr is reassuring that they will certainly see [emperumAn’s divine feet]

We shall consider the 7th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi – 5 – adi mUnRil

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avathArikai

In the earlier pAsuram, AzhwAr called bhakthi as lamp and town as temple. In this pAsuram, he is talking only about bhakthi. Or, we can say that he is speaking about how emperumAn remains very simple for people with bhakthi. AzhwAr said in the previous pAsuram “nigarillAp paingamalam Endhip paNindhEn” (he carried an incomparable lotus flower and attained [emperumAn]). emperumAn asks him “Did you attain me?” AzhwAr responds “I just said a word like that. I do not know whether I attained you. Is it possible for anyone to measure you?” AzhwAr is asking in this pAsuram, whether the simplicity of emperumAn which he mentioned in the previous pAsuram could be measured by anyone. We can also say that AzhwAr is talking about the grace showered by emperumAn on those who surrendered to him. Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

adi mUnRil ivvulagam anRu aLandhAy pOlum
adi mUnRu irandhu avani koNdAy padi ninRa
nIr Odha mEni nedumAlE nin adiyai
yAr Odha vallAr aRindhu

Word by Word Meaning

padi ninRa – incarnating on earth and standing on it
nIr Odham mEni nedumAlE – Oh supreme being, with the colour of ocean!
adi mUnRu – land covered by three steps
irandhu avani koNdAy – begging (from mAvali) you got the worlds
anRu – during that time
ivvulagam – this world
adi mUnRil aLandhAy pOlum – did you measure with your divine feet? No.
nin adiyai – your divine feet
aRindhu – knowing very well
Odha vallAr yAr – who is capable of speaking? [There is none]

vyAkyAnam

adi mUnRil ivvulagam anRu aLandhAy pOlum – For the sake of those who have devotion towards you, you incarnated like vAmana. In order to manifest your bias towards them, you had already decided in your divine mind that you are going to measure the world in three steps and accordingly asked for three steps of land and measured the world. In other words, he begged as if he is not accepting his possessions but is accepting someone else’s possession.

adi mUnRu irandhu aLandhu koNdAy – In order to make the earth yours, thinking of measuring it, you sought three steps of land from mahAbali. You measured the worlds in just two steps. For this purpose, you showed your small feet [as vAmana] and said that you wanted three steps of land with those feet, ascertaining what you wanted. Since you knew what was going to happen later on, seeking three steps of land and measuring in just two steps, you kept your foot atop mahAbali’s head and imprisoned him [in pAthAla lOka, the nether word]. Did anyone know this thought process of yours?

padi ninRapadi is bhUmi (earth). Standing on earth to protect it. Or, padi is to resemble. You stood to resemble [your greatness]. Another meaning for padi is quality. You stood to manifest your quality of simplicity.

nIr Odha mEni nedumAlE –  Oh emperumAn, having a beautiful form like the ocean which is lapping with waves, you are greater than everyone else.

nedumAlEmAl – greatness. Oh, the one who had a great form during your thrivikrama incarnation! Or, mAl – affection. Having lot of affection towards your devotees.

nIr Odha mEni nedumAlE – Your form can be described as being similar to the ocean. But it is not possible to set a limit for y our affection.

nin adiyai yAr Odha vallAr aRindhu – Who can know and talk about the simplicity of your divine feet? Even after knowing that it is not possible to speak, only a few persons without any knowledge, such as I am, can speak this much. AzhwAr says that there is none who can speak about your divine feet which are indeterminate. Only if someone can determine that activity of yours when you went to mahAbali and measured the worlds after begging him for three feet, could one determine [the greatness of] your divine feet. It may be possible to set a boundary for your greatness, but no boundary can be set for your simplicity.

We shall consider the 6th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi – 4 – nagar izhaiththu

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avathArikai

In the earlier pAsuram AzhwAr mentioned about the bhakthi (devotion) that was created in him. Or, it could be construed as how emperumAn taught him to be subservient to him. In this pAsuram, he thinks of emperumAn’s simplicity and worships him without mamakAram (being possessive).

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

nagarizhaiththu niththilaththu nANmalar koNdu AngE
thigazhumaNi vayiram sErththu nigarillAp
paingamalam Endhip paNindhEn panimalarAL
angam valam koNdAnadi

Word by Word Meaning

nagar izhaiththu – making my heart as the capital for emperumAn to reside
AngE niththilaththu nAL malar koNdu – making affection (devotion), also termed as pearl, as a flower that has just blossomed that day
thigazhum maNi vayiram sErththu – keeping carbuncle and diamond as water lily and pollen respectively
nigar illA – the incomparable
paim kamalam Endhi – donning bhakthi as a cool lotus flower
panimalrAL angam valam koNdAn – emperumAn who keeps SrIdhEvi (SrI mahAlakshmi), who dwells in a lotus, on his right chest
adi – divine feet
paNindhEn – I worshipped

vyAkyAnam

niththilaththu nAL malar koNdu  AngE nagar izhaiththu – The meaning for this could be construed either as referring to flower like bhakthi or creating a flower which is as cool as pearl. Just as in the case of “anbE thagaLiyA” where AzhwAr referred to affection (devotion) as a simile for lamp, here too he is referring to bhakthi  (devotion) as a simile for flower and is attaining emperumAn with that.

nagar izhaiththu – keeping his heart as a dwelling place fit for emperumAn. nagar is town, referred here to as temple (it is pertinent to recall that periyAzhwAr has also said ‘mArvam enbadhOr kOyil amaiththu’ (setting heart as a temple)).

niththilaththu nAL malar koNdu – thinking of a cool pearl as a petal. Making a petal out of devotion.

niththilaththu nAL malar – cool, fragrant flower. As said in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam “dhvidhAbhajyEyamapyEvam na namEyam” (even if split into two, I will not worship [SrI rAma, said rAvaNa]), being unlike this is in itself cool and comfortable to the mind.

nAL malar – cool flower

AngE – in that mind

thigazhum maNi vayiram serththu – taking shining carbuncles and diamonds as being involved, and keeping them as water lilies and pollens. bhakthi is referred to as radiant carbuncle and diamond gems.

nigar illAp paim kamalam Endhi – donning the incomparable meditation as flower, attained emperumAn.

paingamalam – well spread out lotus flower. In other words, I worshipped with the lotus of my heart. There is a simile for other lotuses. But since there is none for AzhwAr’s lotus like heart, he is terming it as incomparable cool lotus. In this pAsuram, AzhwAr is terming love as a metaphor for pearl and devotion as a metaphor for carbuncles and diamonds. Hasn’t been divinely mentioned as in thiruvAimozhi 1-4-9nAdAdha malar nAdi” (searching for flowers which are difficult to get) and in thiruvAimozhi 4-3-2pUsum sAndhu en nenjumE” (the sandalwood paste to be applied to emperumAn is my heart itself)! The reason for terming bhakthi as a bhAvapushpam (emotional flower) is because of the maturity of bhakthi resulting from the enjoyment of emperumAn who is always with pirAtti (SrI mahAlakshmii).

Who is AzhwAr attaining?

panimarAL angam valam koNdAn adi – I fell at the divine feet of emperumAn who is embracing the boundlessly sweet pirAtti on his right side. Thus, he is saying that the entity to be attained is only emperumAn who is with thirumagaL (SrI mahAlakshmi). The apt person to be subservient to like this is only emperumAn. The attainment, even if it is faulty, will become faultless if he is attained when she is with him. She will not allow him to analyse the good and bad deeds of the followers! She will tell him that if compassion is shown only for those with good deeds, it will create a fault in the relationship of being father and mother to the world.

We shall take up the 5th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi – 3 – parisu naRumalarAl

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avathArikai

In the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr said “vAnaththaNiyamarar Akkuvikkum” (samsAris would be made equivalent to nithyasUris). In this pAsuram, he is amazed that samsAris of this world, using the flowers available in this world and worshipping his divine feet here, would reach the SrIvaikuNtam of emperumAn, who is the Lord of the indefatigable nithyasUris. We can construe this as either AzhwAr is speaking with involvement about the activity that emperumAn is going to undertake for his followers or as AzhwAr is speaking about emperumAn’s followers reaching paramapadham even as emperumAn is waiting for his followers here.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

parisu naRumalarAl pARkadalAn pAdham
purivAr pugappeRuvar pOlAm purivArgaL
thollamar kELvith thulangoLisEr thORRaththu
nallamarar kOmAn nagar

Word by Word Meanings

pARkadalAn pAdham – the divine feet of emperumAn who is reclining in the milky ocean
naRu malaral – with fragrant flowers
parisu purivAr – those who worship him willingly through the means of devotion
purivArgaL thol amarar – the ancient dhEvas (such as brahmA et al) who are sAdhanAnushtAna parar (those who are trying to reach emperumAn through their own efforts)
kELvi – that which can only be heard of (and not be seen)
thulangu oLi sEr thORRaththu – with resplendent radiance
nal amarar kOman nagar – paramapadham which is the huge city of the head of nithyasUris
pugap peRuvar pOlAm – they will attain, it seems!

vyAkyAnam

naRu malarAl – with beautiful, fragrant flowers.

pARkadalAn pAdham – Isn’t it to enable people like us who can go and worship his divine feet that emperumAn is reclining in a simple manner at thiruppARkadal (milky ocean) which is the origin for all the incarnations of emperumAn! Among the four forms of emperumAn viz.  vAsudhEvan, sankarshaNan, pradhyumnan and anirudhdhan, he is reclining in thiruppARkadal as the junior-most, anirudhdhan. The divine feet of such emperumAn who is reclining in thiruppARkadal, who is constantly engaged in reaching samsAris to the other shore, paramapadham.

parisu purivAr – those who are trying to attain emperumAn as per the way showed by SAsthras (sacred texts) – viz. those who are trying to attain emperumAn through the path of bhakthi (devotion)

pugappeRuvar pOlAm – it appears that such people will attain him! There is no fault in the means to attain him. Only those who do not attain him will be the losers.

pugappeRuvar pOlAmAzhwAr is mentioning, in such a way as to show his displeasure that he is yet to attain paramapadham, of those who would attain paramapadham.

Why is emperumAn taking those who attain him, to paramapadham? Is it that he doesn’t have anyone who is attaining him? No, there are many dhEvas (celestial entities) who are trying to attain him. Who are these dhEvas?

purivArgaL thol amarar – those who are trying to attain emperumAn through their own efforts. The old dhEvas such as brahmA et al, who are reciting his divine names, carrying out penance and growing matted hair.

thol amarar – very old dhEvas. Those who are older than us by a few days.

kELvi – even such dhEvas would have only heard of emperumAn’s dwelling place of SrIvaikuNtam and would not have seen it. SrIvishNu purANam 1-9-55 says “yam na dhEvA munaya: nachAham na cha Sankara: jAnanthi paramESasya thadh vishNO: paramam padham” (brahmA says that “that is the supreme dwelling place of paramESvara vishNu (supreme Lord) which dhEvas, rishis (sages), Sankara and I have not been able to know a little bit about”).

thuLangu oLi sEr thORRaththu – mahAbhAratham AraNya parvam 136-18 says “athyarkkAnala dhIptham thath sthAnam” (that paramapadham is brighter than sun and fire). That paramapadham appears as such an immeasurable bright place. SvEthAsvathara upanishath 3-8 says “Adhithya varNam thamasa: parasthAth” (having the brightness of sun, located beyond the world of thamas (total darkness or ignorance)). nAchchiyAr thirumozhi 10-2 says “mElthOnRum sOdhi vEdha mudhalvar” (the supreme being who is referred to by vEdhas (sacred texts) who dwells in that place which is beyond all the other places). This is how paramapadham has been referred to [in a few examples].

nal amarar kOmAn nagar – the dwelling place of the Lord of nithyasUris such as periya thiruvadi (garudan), thiruvananthAzhwAn (AdhiSEshan) who are the naturally residing, permanent dwellers there unlike mukthars who have stayed in samsAram for some time and then due to the grace of emperumAn sever their connection with samsAram and reach there in their own order.

nal amarar kOmAn – the charateristic of emperumAn is that he is the Lord of those nithyasUris who enjoy their goal and who cannot sustain themselves if they are separated from emperumAn, unlike dhEvas who observe certain means on their own for some time. parapapadham is the dwelling place for nithyasUris who give emperumAn his characteristic quality. Instead of saying that brahmam (supreme being) does not have any significant quality, it says that there is a divine abode for him and both he and the divine entities [nithyasUris] reside there! It appears that those who carry out bhakthi at the divine feet of emperumAn with fragrant flowers would enter such paramapadham! AzhwAr says that such people will initially worship archAvathAra emperumAn (dwelling in idol form in various divine abodes in samsAram), then worship him in vibhavam (various incarnations), then vyUham (at thiruppARkadal) and finally in paramapadham (SrIvaikuNtam). It appears that saying like this is not typical of AzhwArs and they are saying this as per their engagement. It is said that if one worships the junior most form, anirudhdha in thiruppARkadal, he would certainly attain paramapadham! Hence, it is certain that if one were to worship at the divine feet of emperumAn in any one place, he is bound to get the goal [of reaching paramapadham].

Let us move on to the 4th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi – 2 – gyAnaththAl nanguNarndhu

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avathArikai

AzhwAr says in this pAsuram that those who have such bhakthi [as described in the first pAsuram], even if they recite the divine names of emperumAn in a disorderly way, and even if they are permanent samsAris (dwellers of materialistic realm), emperumAn will make them on a par with nithyasUris (permanent dwellers of SrIvaikuNtam).

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

gyAnaththAl nanguNarndhu nAraNan than nAmangaL
dhAnaththAl maRRu avan pEr sARRinAl vAnaththu
aNi amarar Akkuvikkum ahdhanRE nangaL
paNiyamarar kOmAn parisu

Word by Word Meaning

nAraNan than – SrIman nArAyaNan’s
nAmangaL – distinct divine names (which refer to his svarUpa guNam (qualities of his basic nature))
maRRu – and
avan pEr – his divine names (which refer to his expansive wealth)
gyAnaththAl – with knowledge (which is the epitome of bhakthi)
nangu uNarndhu – knowing very well
dhAnaththAl – standing in the position (of the boundary of bhakthi)
sARRinAl – if meditated upon
nangaL paNi amarar kOman parisu – the quality of emperumAn who is the lord of nithyasUris, who are our friends and who are servitors of emperumAn
vAnaththu aNi amarar Akkuvikkum ahdhenRE – will make us to be on a par with nithyasUris who are like decorations to paramapadham (SrIvaikuNtam)

vyAkyAnam

nAraNan than nAmangaL maRRu avan pEr dhAnaththAl sARRinAl – if the distinctive divine names of emperumAn which refer to the qualities of his basic nature and his divine names which refer to his aspects [wealth] are recited with bhakthi, from an exalted state

gyAnaththAl nangu uNarndhu – knowing very well through bhakthi (it is difficult to know without bhakthi). Even though both dhritharAshtra [father of the 100 kauravas starting with dhuryOdhana] and sanjaya [his charioteer] studied [in gurukula, school of learning from an AchAryan] together, only sanjaya had devotion [towards emperumAn]. dhritharAshtra learnt only the lines [in the lessons]. dhritharAshtra asked of sanjaya “while both of us studied only in the same place, what is the reason that you have knowledge while I do not have it?” sanjaya responded saying “unlike you who learnt only the lines, did I not learn with bhakthi!”

nangu uNarndhu – when reciting his divine names, we should know very well the relationship between emperumAn and us. In other worlds, we should know his qualities and our qualities; that he is the lord and we are his servitors.

nAraNan than nAmangaL – (nArAyaNa is also a divine name. Why then say “nArANan than nAmangaL?”) the divine name nArAyaNa is distinct from other divine names. Just as emperumAn’s gyAna, Anandha etc (knowledge, bliss etc) are considered as identities of his basic nature, and other characteristics such as gyana, Sakthi etc (knowledge, power etc) as identities of his qualities, thirumanthram (nArAyaNa) is considered as an identity of his basic nature while other names are considered as divine names. Haven’t nammAzhwAr in his thiruvAimozhi 9-3-1 “pEr Ayiram koNdadhOr pIdudaiyan” (the strong one with a thousand names) and pEyAzhwAr in his mUnRAm thiruvandhAdhi “nAmam pala solli nArAyaNa” (reciting multitude names) divinely mentioned the same!

nAraNan than nAmangaL – the divine names of the apt Lord, emperumAn

dhAnaththAl –  with bhakthi. Reciting for obtaining other benefits [than emperumAn himself]. Even if there is no need for other benefits, unless these are recited, it will not be possible to sustain oneself, hence reciting these names. That it is not possible to sustain oneself without reciting the names indicates the boundary of bhakthi. The next stage to this is reciting emperumAn’s divine names with ecstasy.

maRRu – this could be considered either as a metrical syllable or as reciting the divine name above the position of bhakthi.

avan pEremperumAn’s divine names which refer to his wealth and qualities.

avan pEr – since it has been mentioned as pEr (name) instead of mentioning as thirunAmam (divine name) this implies that there is no need for any specific propriety or ritual to recite these names and that they can be recited in any manner (even if it is not orderly). Hasn’t nammAzhwAr too divinely mentioned in his thiruvAimozhi 3-5-8pEr pala sollip pidhaRRi” (babbling the names)! nangu uNarndhu sARRudhal refers to realising with the heart and reciting the divine names through the mouth.

sARRinAl – reciting the divine names such that emperumAn’s enemies will become disgusted and his followers will become very happy on hearing these divine names.

What will emperumAn do if the divine names are recited?

vAnaththu aNiyamarar Akkuvikkum ahdhenRE – emperumAn will make paramapadham to feel proud due to association with such a samsAri [who recites the divine names of emperumAn] and keeping the samsAri as an equal to nithyasUris. An alternative explanation – taking such samsAris to paramapadham and making them as decorative objects for those who reside there (nithyasUris). Hasn’t nammAzhwAr too divinely mentioned in his thiruvAimozhi 4-2-1malipugazh vAnavarkkAvar naRkOvaiyE” (they will complement nithyasUris)! Even when AzhwArs are worshipping emperumAn don’t they say as said by kulaSEkara AzhwAr in perumAL thirumozhi 2-3-10 “adiyArgaL kuzhAngaLai – udan kUduvadhu enRukolO” (when will I ever be with the group of nithyasUris!).

vAnaththu aNi amarar – the greatness of paramapadham is that it has nithyasUris who are faultless. We can consider the meaning as: Reciting the divine names will take the samsAris to paramapadham which has nithyasUris as decorative objects. nammAzhwAr too has divinely mentioned in thiruvAimozhi 10-5-8 “pEr Ar OdhuvAr ArAr amararE” (whoever recites the divine names of emperumAn will be considered as equivalent to nithyasUris irrespective of their birth, clan etc).

Is emperumAn giving such a high status to those who recite his divine names only because he does not have anyone who attains him?

nangaL paNiyamarar kOmAn parisu – this is the quality of emperumAn who is the lord of nithyasUris such as AdhiSEshan, garudan et al who are naturally related to us [all are servitors of emperumAn] and who, as mentioned in mahAbhAratham Santhi parvam 344-45 “nithyAnjaliputA hrushtA: nama ithyEva vAdhina:”(always worshipping emperumAn with folded hands and becoming happy on account of that, and always saying nama: (I am not for me [ I am only for emperumAn])).

paNiyamarar – doing service is natural to them [nithyasUris]. It is not that they carry out service one day and refrain from doing that the next day. Being subservient to emperumAn is their nature.

paNiyamarar – unlike mukthars (those who were samsAris once upon a time, and after being liberated, reached paramapadham) and mumUkshus (those who are desirous of reaching paramapadham) who were subservient to others for some time and then falling at the divine feet of emperumAn, saying  as in thirukkuRundhANdagam 12 “azhukkudambu echchil vAyAl” (those with dirty forms and disgusting mouths) and as in iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi 10 “kAvadiyEn patta kadai ”(you have to rid me of all the lowliness that I suffered before becoming your servitor), these nithyasUris do not have to say such things.

We shall move on to the 3rd pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi – 1 – anbE thagaLiyA

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avathArikai

AzhwAr is mercifully mentioning about his servitorship born out of the affection and other qualities that he had towards emperumAn, who is apt to be attained, and also about emperumAn’s role as the Lord. Just as was mentioned in the mudhal thiruvandhAdhi, here too AzhwAr is establishing emperumAn through deduction.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

anbE thagaLiyA ArvamE neyyAga
inburugu sindhai idu thiriyA nanburugi
gyAnach chudar viLakku ERRinEn nAraNaRku
gyAnath thamizh purindha nAn

Word by Word Meaning

gyAnam thamizh – the thamizh work which gives knowledge
purindha – one who composed
nAn – adiyEn (servitor)
anbE – bhakthi (devotion)
thagaLiyA – as container (lamp, for ghee)
ArvamE – parabhakthi (a stage of devotion wherein one gains knowledge about emperumAn)
neyyAga – as ghee (clarified butter)
inbu urugu sindhai – the mind which melts due to happiness
idu thiriyA – as the wick which is placed in the container for holding ghee
nanbu – AthmA (soul) which is gyAnasvarUpi (the epitome of knowledge)
urugi – being melted
gyAnam – paragyAna (ability to have dharSan (vision) of emperumAn)
sudar viLakku – the radiant lamp
nAraNaRku – for nArayaNa
ERRinEn – I lit

vyAkyAnam

anbE thagaLiyA – in mudhal thiruvandhAdhi, poygai AzhwAr had mercifully said “vaiyam thagaLiyA” (entire expanse of the world as holding vessel). bhUdhaththAzhwAr thinks of the entire expanse of the earth through his devotion and makes that devotion itself as the container. Since he has already heard the pAsuram “vaiyam thagaLiyA” [sung by poygai AzhwAr] he is transforming his devotion towards emperumAn as the container and is lighting it. Doesn’t the oil [ghee] need a base [for holding it]? [the word snEham means both oil and devotion in samskrutham]. Hence he is terming devotion [anbu also means snEham] as the base [container] for oil. Devotion which cannot be destroyed by anything became container. This is the base for other things which follow. The knowledge, mentioned earlier [previous prabandham], fructifies fully into devotion. Isn’t knowledge lending itself to mature into devotion! Isn’t that the reason why nammAzhwAr mercifully said in thiruvAimozhi 1-1-1mayarvaRa madhinalam aruLinan ” (madhinalam is knowledge matured into bhakthi).

ArvamE neyyAga – Once that bhakthi matures, keeping that bhakthi as the causative factor for enjoying emperumAn, without which AzhwAr cannot sustain himself,  his parabhakthi (knowledge about emperumAn) became the base [container] for ghee. Arvam (parabhakthi) is the second stage of devotion. Affection is taken as being involved with emperumAn due to snEham. parabhakthi  is that stage where one is constantly thinking of emperumAn and will be unable to move away from him. Alternatively, affection is having compassion towards emperumAn and parabhakthi is the involvement with emperumAn as a result of that compassion. Hasn’t ANdAL mercifully said in nAchchiyAr thirumozhi 4-8 “Aval anbudaiyAr tham manaththanRi mEvalan” (emperumAn cannot tolerate anything other than the hearts of those who have compassion and involvement)!

inburugu idu sindhai idu thiriyA – the mind which transforms because of enjoyment  of bhagavath vishayam (relating to emperumAn) on account of affection and involvement, became the wick for that lamp. Since emperumAn is apt to be attained and has auspicious qualities, the mind keeps meditating on him constantly, melts and being sweet, the mind became the wick.  Isn’t mind the reason for thinking!

nanburugi – nanbu refers to the dharmabhUtha gyAnam of AthmA [dharma bhUtha gyAnam is knowledge of AthmA by which it is able to sense everything which happens in all parts of the body even though AthmA is infinitesimally small and is located inside the heart]. brahma sUthram 2-3-29 says “thadhguNasArathvAth thadhvyapadhESa: prAgyavath” (for AthmA, since gyAnam (knowledge) as a characteristic is the essence, it is referred to as gyAnam itself, just as a person is called gyAnavAn (one with knowledge)). Alternatively, that which has a benefit is called nanbu and nanbu can refer to AthmA. The benefit to AthmA is that it is distinct from achEthana entity which is fickle and unsteady, it is identified by knowledge and joyousness, it is always present, and it is a servitor to emperumAn. When it is said that it (AthmA) melts, it means that it cannot be cut, it cannot be burnt, it cannot be wet, yet when it comes to matter relating to emperumAn it melts and becomes a liquid like material. Since AthmA, which is always present, melts, it means that it involves totally with emperumAn and sinks.  Has it not been said in SrIvishNu purANam 1-7-39 “na vivEdha AnmanO gAthram thath smruthyAhlAdha samsthitha:” (prahlAdha did not realise that his body was being bitten by snakes as he was thinking about emperumAn and was joyful)! Thus, with all these, the different stages of devotion to emperumAn have been mentioned. The order of these states is that initially it is parabhakthi, then paragyAnam and then paramabhakthi.

gyAnach chudal viLakku ERRinEn – with the mercy of emperumAn I lit the lamp which is brightly burning paragyAnam. Lamp will show itself and will also show other objects. In the same way, bhakthi, which is matured knowledge, will show its SEshathvam (being a servitor) and the SEshithvam of emperumAn (being the master).

viLakku ERRinEn – Once the servitorship is known, since only kainkaryam (service) is to be carried out, I carried out service in this manner.

nAraNaRku – to nArAyaNnan who is the Lord of all. Through this, it is mentioned that carrying out service to any inapt entity is avoided.

gyAnath thamizh purindha nAn –  I who composed the thamizh prabandham which is the personification of knowledge. As mentioned in vEdhArtha sangraham  “bhakthiScha gyAnaviSEsha:” (bhakthi is a classification of knowledge), the prabandham, created by me, gives gyanam which matures into devotion.

gyAnath thamizh purindha nAn –  the prabandham that I had composed, apart from being without any mistake in thamizh grammar, is also capable of granting mOksham.

gyAnath thamizh purindha nAn gyAnach chuddar viLakku ERRinEn – I who can be trusted, said, just as nammAzhwAr said of himself as being with lot of desire, in thiruvAimozhi 2-1-11kAdhal kurugUrch chatakOpan sonna”. As said in SrI rAmAyaNam 2-40 “SOka: SlOkAthvamAgatha:” (sorrow was brought out as SlOkam (hymn)), knowledge was brought out as knowledgeable thamizh. I composed this pAsuram so that bhakthi will manifest itself resplendently to all the people of this world, instead of ending with me. AzhwAr is divinely saying this prabandham so that the sAkshAthkAram (ability to see emperumAn) that he obtained, will be available to those who learn this prabandham. Here onward, he is mentioning about his bhakthi, his involvement, the sweetness of emperumAn which is the cause for those two, the aptness with which the AthmA was to think of his servitorship, the servitorship that he had towards emperumAn etc.

We shall move on to the 2nd pAsuram, next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi – pravEsam (Introduction)

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In the mudhal thiruvandhAdhi (first thiruvandhAdhi), poygai AzhwAr had said that emperumAn is the Lord of both nithya vibhUthi (spiritual realm) and leelA vibhUthi (material realm). When it was made known to poygai AzhwAr that both these realms are subservient to emperumAn, that knowledge took the form of bhakthi (devotion). poygai AzhwAr’s mudhal thiruvandhAdhi is related to gyAnam (knowledge). bhUthaththAzhwAr’s iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi (second thiruvandhAdhi) is related to bhakthi. The second thiruvandhAdhi is nothing but the words that flowed out of this bhakthi. In that case, did poygai AzhwAr not have bhakthi? The response will be that he did have bhakthi. (when clay is converted into pot, clay is termed cause and pot is termed effect. In the same way) gyAnam is the causative factor of poygai AzhwAr’s while bhakthi is the resultant (effect) factor of bhUthaththAzhwAr’s outpouring. The knowledge that came about after thinking about nithya vibhUthi and leelA vibhUthi is due to poygai AzhwAr. bhUthaththAzhwAr’s  position came about when that knowledge matured and became bhakthi. When bhUthaththAzhwAr reflected on the meditation of poygai AzhwAr on the vibhUthis of emperumAn and their expanse, the words that came out of the manifestation of that bhakthi became this prabhandham (iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi).

In the mudhal thiruvandhAdhi, the knowledge about emperumAn that he is the Lord of the world and that the world is his possession was mentioned. That knowledge is the upAyam (means) to attain him. In the world, the path to attain anything and the benefit of attaining that entity are different. When such is the case, how will it be apt to say that emperumAn is himself the path and the benefit? This is so because, emperumAn being  omnipotent, it will be correct to say that he is the path and he is the benefit. For the objects seen in the world, the nimiththa kAraNam (assertive reason), the sahakAri kAraNam (the collaborative reason) and the upadhAna kAraNam (material reason) are found to be different, whereas in the case of this world, emperumAn himself becomes all three reasons due to his omnipotence. In the same way, it will be correct to say that he is both the means and the benefit.

Whatever is there in the “whole” will also be there in the “parts”. If it is said in a general sense that emperumAn is the head of all the worlds, is it necessary to say that he is also the head of an individual! When the path to attain him is with him and not with oneself, should one not look up to him till the path matures? Once paramEsvara mangalaththu ANdAn asked of kurugaikkAvalappan (a disciple of SrIman nAthamunigaL) “what is the connection between emperumAn and the world?” kurugaikkAvalappan responded saying “between which emperumAn and which world?” (implication is that there is no separate world and no separate emperumAn). ANdAn was satisfied with this response. pramANam (authentic texts) say that AthmA is ISvaran (soul is Lord). Just as body is (subservient) to soul, the world is (body) to emperumAn. poygai AzhwAr experienced the saying of thaiththirIya upanishath nArAyaNavalli 11 “pathim viSvasya” (Lord of world). Since bhUthaththAzuwAr is one entity among the entities in the world, this will be applicable to him too. Hence, bhUthaththAzhwAr experiences that emperumAn is Lord to him too.

When knowledge matured into bhakthi, shouldn’t the two thiruvandhAdhis (the first and the second) be the product of one? Isn’t it seen that the first thiruvandhAdhi is one AzhwAr’s and second, another AzhwAr’s! Even though written by three sages, since vyAkaraNam (grammar) has been the subject matter of all three, isn’t it considered as one text! In mImAmsA SAsthram, though jaimini has written twelve chapters and vyAsar, four chapters, since the subject matter is the same, are they not considered as one SAsthra! Here too, the same consideration holds good.

That the creator of universe (emperumAn) has unlimited knowledge and power and that he holds Sankam (divine conch) and chakkaram (divine disc) were mentioned in the mudhal thiruvandhAdhi. This is also due to bhakthi. Since the knowledge about these has come about now only (and not earlier) it has been said in this manner. Since emperumAn is the means (path to attain him), it was he who created bhakthi. poygai AzhwAr thinks (in the mudhal thiruvandhAdhi) that it is amazing that emperumAn corrected him as much as it is wondrous that emperumAn controls this amazing world. If one were to ask whether it was only knowledge about emperumAn that poygai AzhwAr had, it should be said that all the AzhwArs had both knowledge about and devotion towards emperumAn. Based on the main subject that they handled, it could be said that poygai AzhwAr’s main subject was knowledge and bhUthaththAzhwAr’s was bhakthi. Even though all the AzhwArs knew the divine mind of one another, did they not mercifully say [whatever they had to say] in the same voice (in the same way)! Isn’t this similar to AdhiSEshan having multitude of heads but one throat!

Let us take up thaniyan for this prabandham next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi – thaniyan

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en piRavi thIra iRainjinEn innamudhA
anbE thagaLiyaLiththAnai nan pugazh sEr
sIdhaththAr muththukkaL sErum kadal mallaip
pUdhaththAr ponnangazhal

Word by Word Meaning

in – sweet
amudhA – like nectar
anbE thagaLi – the second thiruvandhAdhi, which starts with the words anbE thagaLi (devotion as container)
aLiththAnai – one who mercifully gave
nal – great
pugazh – fame
sEr – having joined
sIdhaththu Ar – full of coolness
muththukkaL –pearls
sErum – having joined
kadal mallai – one who was born in the divine abode of thirukkadanmallai [modern day mahAbalipuram]
bhUdhaththAr – bhUdhaththAr’s
pon am kazhal – the desirous, beautiful divine feet
en – my
piRavi – births
thIra – to be removed
iranjinEn – worshipped

It was bhagavadh SrI rAmAnujar’s affectionate disciple thirukkurugaippirAn piLLan who mercifully divined this thaniyan. In this, piLLan is saying that he is worshipping at the desirous, divine feet of bhUdhaththAzhwAr, who mercifully gave this prabandham for removing the difficulties of this world [the repeated births that those who live in this world have to undergo], and who was born in the divine abode thirukkadalmallai.

We shall take up the 1st pAsuram of this prabandham next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi

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bhUthaththAzhwAr, the second among the mudhalAzhwArgaL (first 3 AzhwArs namely poygai AzhwAr, bhUthaththAzhwAr and pEyAzhwAr) divined a beautiful prabandham named iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi. This is part of the iyaRpA section of the dhivya prabandham. iyaRpA is generally recited during puRappAdu (ceremonial procession of uthsava deity of emperumAn).

With this introduction, we will proceed with the translation for iraNdAm thiuvandhAdhi. The commentary for this prabandham has been written by nampiLLai and by periyavAchchAn piLLai (which has been explained by appiLLai, one of the ashtadhik gajangaLs of maNavALa mAmunigaL).

periyavAchchAn piLLai (sEnganUr) – nampiLLai (thiruvallikkENi)

Translation by krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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