Category Archives: mudhal thiruvandhAdhi

mudhal thiruvnadhAdhi – 67 – peyarum karum kadalE

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avathArikai

In the earlier pAsuram it was mentioned that those who have desire for mOksham (SrIvaikuNtam) and who have knowledge [about emperumAn] will praise his divine feet and recite his divine names. Why is there such a compulsion? It is because the people mentioned here are those with knowledge. AzhwAr says in this pAsuram that since there is no target for knowledge other than emperumAn, the consort of thirumagaL (SrI mahAlakshmi), only he can be praised.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

peyarum karum kadalE nOkkum ARu oNpU
uyarum kadhiravanE nOkkum uyirum
dharumanaiyE nOkkum oN thAmaraiyAL kELvan
oruvanaiyE nOkkum uNarvu

Word by Word Meanings

ARu – river
peyarum karum kadalE nOkkum – will flow only towards the dark complexioned ocean which keeps throwing out waves
oN pU – the radiant lotus flower
uyarum kadhiravanE nOkkum – will blossom only after looking at sun, who is at a high place
uyirum – AthmA (of avaishNavas (those who are not followers of vishNu, emperumAn))
dharumanaiyE nOkkum – (at the end of its life on earth) will attain only yama, the deity of righteousness

(In the same way)
uNarvu – knowledge
oN thAmaraiyAL oruvanaiyE – only nArAyaNa, consort of SrI mahAlakshmi who dwells on the radiant lotus flower
nOkkum – will know

vyAkyAnam

peyarum karum kadalE nOkkum ARu – if it is a river, it will be flowing fully and will flow only towards ocean which keeps throwing out waves. Rivers do not flow towards oceans to fill them, but because they cannot remain without joining oceans.

oN pU uyarum kadhiravanE nOkkum – beautiful lotus flower will not blossom without looking at sun, however far sun may be. It will not blossom by looking at any other entity. Even if hot embers are placed next to it, the lotus will not blossom.

uyirum dharumanaiyE nOkkum – most of the AthmAs will be under the control of only yama, the lord of righteousness. Other than SrIvaishNavas,  whom even yama will avoid going nearby saying “they are not under my control”, all the others are under his control.

oN thAmaraiyAL kELvan oruvanaiyE nOkkum uNarvu – in the same way, knowledge will be devoted only to the consort of thirumagaL (SrI mahalakshmi). SrIvishNu purANam 6-5-87 says “samgyAyathE yEna thadhasdhOsham Sudhdham param nirmalamEkarUpam, sandhruSyathE vA’pyathi gamyathE vA thath gyAnamagyAna mathO’nya dhuktham”(that knowledge with which the faultless, pure, incomparable supreme entity is known, seen and attained, that alone is gyAnam (knowledge). All the rest are agyAnam (ignorance)). For the lotus called AthmA, emperumAn and pirAtti are the sun and its rays which blossom the knowledge. Usage of the emphatic syllable “E” (oruvanaiyE) implies that AthmA does not have sustenance without emperumAn. AthmA is inseparable from emperumAn’s divine feet like the lines and shadow of the feet.

We shall move on to the 68th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 66 – kAlai ezhundhu

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avathArikai

AzhwAr asks in this pAsuram: if people have knowledge, is it possible to remain without worshipping him?

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

kAlai ezhundhu ulagam kaRpanavum kaRRuNarndha
mElaith thalaimaRaiyOr vEtpanavum vElaikkkaN
OrAzhiyAn adiyE Odhuvadhum Orppanavum
pErAzhi koNdAn peyar

Word by Word Meanings

kAlai ezhundhu – waking up in the morning (which nurtures the sathva guNam (purely good quality))
ulagam – the exalted mumukshus (those who are desirous of attaining mOksham, SrIvaikuNtam)
kaRpanavum – learning
kaRRu uNarndha mElaith thalai maRaiyOr – the well versed, great vaidhikas (learned in vEdhas, sacred texts)
vEtpanavum – desiring to see
vElaikkaN – in the thirupARkadal (milky ocean)
Or AzhiyAn adiyE – the divine feet of emperumAn who is reclining, holding the incomparable sudharSana chakkaram (divine disc)
Odhuvadhum – being listened to (by these great people)
Orppanavum – thinking of
pEr Azhi koNdAn peyar – the divine names of the entity who holds the large disc

vyAkyAnam

kAlai ezhundhu ulagam kaRpanavum – early morning [4 am] is the time when it is most appropriate for great people to wake up and learn, since sathva guNam (purely good quality) is at its peak at this time. nammAzhwAr says in thiruvAimozhi 2-10-1kiLaroLi iLamai keduvadhan munnam” (before the radiant youth gets wasted) and in thiruviruththam 93 “kAlai nangyAnaththuRai padindhAdi” (in the early hours after having a bath, approach AchAryan and learn about emperumAn). emperumAn in his varAha charamaSlOkam says “sthithE manasi susvasthE SarIrE sathi yO nara: dhAthu sAmyE sthithE smarthA viSvarUpancha mAmajam” (when the mind is calm and composed, the body is in good health, with the three constituent elements of the body in proper balance, when someone thinks of me who am having the entire universe as my body and who am having no births…) Thus in the morning hours, the body and mind are in composed state for doing sAthvik deeds].

kaRRuNarndha mElaith thalai maRaiyOr vEtpanavum – what the people, who have good knowledge about emperumAn, wish to see joyously

vElaikkaN Or AzhiyAn adiyE – is the divine [pair of] feet of emperumAn who is reclining on the milky ocean which has shore and is very expansive. [in this interpretation, the term vElai denotes shore]. If vElai  were to mean ocean itself, AzhiyAn will mean disc and the verse would refer to emperumAn who is having the disc which is used for protecting the worlds.

Odhuvadhum Orppanavum pErAzhi koNdAn peyar – the means to attain emperumAn’s divine feet and to think of him are his divine names. emperumAn has the complexion of ocean which removes all sorrows.

We shall take up the 67th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 65 -vinaiyAl adarppadAr

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avathArikai

AzhwAr says in this pAsuram that such a position [of not going after worldly pursuits] is applicable not only to him but to everyone who is his follower.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

vinaiyAL adarppadAr vennaragil sErAr
thinaiyEnum thIkkadhikkaN sellAr ninaithaR
kariyAnaich chEyAnai Ayiram pEr sengat
kariyAnaik kai thozhudhakkAl

Word by Word Meanings

ninaidhaRku ariyAnai – one who would not know (of his own effort)
sEyAnai – one who is far away
Ayiram pEr sem kaN kariyAnai – emperumAn who has a thousand divine names, has reddish, divine eyes and who has a dark divine form
kai thozhudhakkAl – if worshipped with hands
vinaiyAl adarppadAr – will not be troubled by bad deeds
vem naragil sErAr – will not go to the horrible hell
thinaiyEnum – even to a small extent [almost zero probability]
thIkkadhikkaN sellAr – will not go astray

vyAkyAnam

vinaiyAl adarppadAr – they [persons who are devoted to emperumAn] will not be troubled by deeds such as pApa (sin) or puNya (virtue)

vennaragail sErAr – for the sins committed, they will not be born in this materialistic realm. Alternatively, one can construe that vinaiyAl adarppadAr would mean that the persons will not suffer in this world and vennaragil sErAr would mean that the persons will not suffer in hell.

thinaiyEnum thIkkadhikkan sellAr – they will not go astray. dharmaputhra [eldest among the five pANdavas] had to step into hell for a few minutes because he did not believe krishNa who had asked him to tell a lie, in order to kill dhrONa, that aSvaththAma is dead and instead said that an elephant by name aSvaththAma died. Even that result will not come to these people, says AzhwAr.

When asked as to by doing what all these would happen, AzhwAr says

ninaidhaRku ariyAnai – one who is difficult to even think of, for those who want to know him through their own efforts.

sEyAnai – when asked why he is difficult to think of, AzhwAr says that it is so because he is at a very far distance from such people.

If he cannot be approached should one lose him? AzhwAr says

Ayiram pEr sengaN kariyAnaik kai thozhudhak kAl – for those who are able to enjoy emperumAn with the knowledge that he had granted them. emperumAn is like a river which has ghats at every place where one steps in to take a bath [this means that the river is not too deep in those places and one can enjoy a bath on such places]. Those who can enjoy emperumAn who has thousands of divine names for his auspicious qualities and deeds, who has reddish eyes due to deep affection for his followers and who has the form which, like an ocean, can remove the sorrows of those who are able to see him, will not be troubled by bad deeds; will not attain hell; will not go astray. Just as a disease is rid of by consuming milk, all the sins will disappear by carrying the sweet action of worshipping emperumAn.

We shall take up the 66th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 64 – nayavEn piRar poruLai

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avathArikai

When asked as to how he could so boldly say that he will not desire worldly pursuits and what he would do if they come on their own and beseech him, AzhwAr explains his position and says “when this is my position how can worldly pursuits beseech me? Appropriating AthmA which is emperumAn’s possession as my own, associating with non-followers [of emperumAn], not associating with followers, reducing engagement with emperumAn, losing faith in pirAtti [SrI mahAlakshmi]’s recommendatory nature etc are the causative factors for accruing sins. When I do not have any of these, how will the worldly pursuits chase me?”

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

nayavEn piRar poruLai naLLEn kIzhArOdu
uyavEn uyarndhavarOdu allAl viyavEn
thirumAlai alladhu dheyvam enRu EththEn
varumARu en enmEl vinai

Word by Word Meanings

piRar poruLai – AthmA, which is the possession of distinguished emperumAn
nayavEn – I will not desire as mine
kIzhArOdu – with samsAris (dwellers of materialistic realm who think that AthmAs are their own)
naLLEn – I will not move closely
uyarndhavarOdu allAl uyavEn – I will not speak to anyone other than SrIvaishNavas (who are servitors of emperumAn)
thirumAlai alladhu – other than SrI mahAlakshmi’s consort
dheyvam enRu EththEn – I will not respect as deity
en mEl – on me (having qualities as mentioned above)
vinai varum ARu en – how will sins come?

vyAkyAnam

nayavEn piRar poruLai – I will not desire other’s possession as mine. Has it not been said in mahAbhAratham udhyAna parvam 42-35 “yO(a)nyathA santhamAthmAnam anyathA prathipadhyathE, kim thEna na krutham pApam chOrENa AthmApahAriNA” (what sin has not been committed by the one who thinks that AthmA (soul), which is the property of emperumAn, is his own and steals such AthmA?)! It is said that if the material which is stolen is of high value and is stolen from an exalted person such as brAhmaNa, the sin which accrues due to that will also be very grave. Here, when the object which is stolen happens to be AthmA, and the person from whom it is stolen happens to be emperumAn, will not the resultant sin be very grave? Hence, I will not think of emeprumAn’s possession of AthmA as mine, says AzhwAr.

naLLEn kIzhArOdu – I will not get close to people who think that of others’ properties as their own.

uyavEn uyarndhavrOdu allAl – I will not speak to anyone other than those who think that great objects are indeed great. When AzhwArs talk about followers of emperumAn, they will refer to them as great persons only. They will refer to samsAris as lowly persons only. Isn’t this the real reason for distinction between great and lowly persons!

viyavEn thirumAlai alladhu – I will not wonder at the greatness of anyone other than the consort of thirumagaL (SrI mahAlakshmi)

thirumAlai alladhu dheyvam enRu EththEn – I will not think of anyone other than the consort of thirumagaL as being appropriate for holding on to and worshipping. How can sins come to such a person as I am, described above; sins which have to be got rid of, only by experiencing their results? brahmavaivartham, prakruthi kANdam 26-70 says “avaSyam anubhOkthavyam krutham karma SubhASubham, nAbhuktham kshIyathE kalpakOti Sathairapi ” (one has to experience the results of good and bad deeds. These results will not get negated if not experienced, even after hundreds of kalpa kAlams (one kalpa kAlam is the lifetime of brahmA which runs to millions of years)). The bad deed carried out by a jIvAthmA creates anger in emperumAn’s divine mind and that results in sin for that AthmA; there is no separate ability for the deeds carried out by the jIvAthmA. If for any reason emperumAn becomes happy with this jIvAthmA, there will be no place for these deeds [they will disappear]. These deeds cannot attain him again for other reasons too.

varumARu en enmEL vinai – just as a person who has antidote for poison has the courage to thrust his hand into a snake’s mouth, wouldn’t those who have knowledge about emperumAn not have the courage not to be scared of sins?

varumARu en enmEL vinaiAzhwAr asks if an ignorant act would befall him when he has attained an omnipotent entity such as emperumAn. Only if others have rights over him would he himself have rights over him! In the same way, just as being a servitor to others (than emperumAn) is removed, being totally independent to the extent of saying that one is one’s own [and not dependent on emperumAn] is also removed. Since emperumAn forgets the sins committed by us in the past [after we have surrendered to him], our previous sins get destroyed. Since he is unaware [he chooses to be] of our sins in future, such sins will also not stick to us. Hence both the past sins and the future ones will not affect us. These words were mercifully explained by nanjIyar to thiruvAykkulaththu AzhwAn.

We shall take up the 65th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 63 – thOL avanai allAl thozhA

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avathArikai

AzhwAr says that his sensory perceptions as well as himself are now fully engrossed with emperumAn who, not minding his soft nature, transforms himself completely, in order to carry out tasks for his followers.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

thOL avanai allAl thozhA en sevi iraNdum
kEL avanadhu inmozhiyE kEttirukkum nAnALum
kONAgaNaiyAn kurai kazhalE kURuvadhE
nANAmai naLLEn nayam

Word by Word Meanings

thOL – (my) hands
avanai allAl thozhA – will not worship anyone other than him [emperumAn]
en sevi iraNdum – my two ears
kEL avanadhu – his, who is all relationships (to me)
in mozhiyE – sweet words
kEttu irukkum – will hear and sustain themselves
nA – my tongue
nALum – everyday
kOL nAgaNaiyAn – one who has his mattress, the radiant AdhiSEshan
kurai kazhalE – (due to the sounds of ornaments) resounding divine feet
kURuvadhE – will keep saying
nayam – the matters desired (by samsAris)
nANAmai naLLEn – (I) will not approach, without any shame

vyAkyAnam

thOL avanai allAl thozhA – my shoulders, even if told to worship someone else, will not worship anyone other than emperumAn. It does not matter whether emperumAn protects or does not protect, my shoulders will not worship anybody other than emperumAn.

en sevi iraNdum kEL avanadhu inmozhiyE kEttirukkum – my ears will listen only to emperumAn‘s sweet words since he is naturally related to me, and will sustain themselves due to this.

nA nALum – my tongue, will always

kOL nAgaNaiyAn kurai – emperumAn who has AdhiSEshan, who has strength and radiance, as his mattress. AdhiSEshan has the skill to sustain the union of emperumAn and pirAtti (SrI mahAlakshmi). ALavandhAr says of AdhiSEshan in his sthOthra rathnam – 39prakrushta vigyAna balaikadhAmani” (thiruvananthAazhwAn who is the repository of both sharp intelligence and strength). He gets the radiance due to his connection with emperumAn. AzhwAr says that his tongue will sing the praises of the divine feet of emperumAn who has such AdhiSEshan as his mattress.

nANAmai naLLEn nayam – the people of this world shamelessly desire worldly pursuits! AzhwAr says that he will not, so shamelessly, desire such objects. These objects are such that one has to withdraw from them with shame, once true knowledge has been obtained [about emperumAn]. Following the worldly pursuits is much similar to following a eunuch, who is much inferior to a male, thinking that it is a female, in the darkness of the moon.

We shall  take up the 64th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 62 – puNar marudhinUdu

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avathArikai

AzhwAr responding to the query whether these entities, who are created by emperumAn, take care of further activities themselves, says in this pAsuram that this is not the case; emperumAn himself removes their enemies and protects them.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

puNar marudhinUdu pOyp pUngurundham sAyththu
maNam maruva mAl vidai Ezh seRRu kaNam veruva
Ezhulagam thAyanavum eNdhisaiyum pOyinavum
sUzharavap pongaNaiyAn thOL

Word by Word Meanings

puNar marudhin  – two marudham trees [a species of trees] which are joined (together) without any gap
Udu pOy – crawling between them
pUm kurundham sAyththu – pushing a beautiful kurundham tree [another species of trees, with beautiful flowers]
maNam maruva – in order to marry (nappinnaip pirAtti) [krishNa’s maternal uncle’s daughter]
mAl vidai Ezh seRRu – killing seven huge bulls
kaNam veruva – making the dhEvas (celestial persons) and asuras (demons) get scared as to what would follow
Ezh ulagum thAyanavum – going past seven worlds
eN dhisaiyum pOyinavum – pervading all 8 directions
sUzh arava – thiruvananthAzhvAn (AdhiSEshan) who has spread himself expansively
pongu aNaiyAn – having resplendent mattress
thOL – divine shoulders

vyAkyAnam

puNar marudhuin Udu pOy – going between two marudham trees which have grown such that they appear to be one tree, without any gap between them [this was to kill two demons who had entered the trees]

pUm kurundham sAyththu – pushing a kurundham tree which was full of flowers from top to ground level [here again, a demon had entered the tree. All these demons were waiting for an opportune moment to kill krishNa, on the orders of kamsa]

maNam maruva mAl vidai Ezh seRRu – killing seven huge, cruel bulls in order to marry his maternal uncle’s daughter nappinnai [nILA dhEvi as per our sampradhAyam]

kaNam veruva Ezhulagum thAyanavum – vishNu dharmam says “sangaissurANAm dhivi bhUthalai: thathA manushyai: gaganE kE charai:, sthutha: ya: prakAra sarvadhA mamAsthu mAngaLya vivrudhdhayE hari: ” (let that hari, who kept his divine feet and blessed the worlds, who was worshipped by the celestial persons in swargam (heaven), by the human beings on earth and by appropriate persons in the sky, bless me for the improvement of my auspicious life!). Thus, the celestial persons who are well disposed towards emperumAn, were scared as to what will befall emperumAn when he measured the worlds effortlessly. By mentioning about the trees being broken or pushed, the way he removed danger to himself was mentioned. By mentioning about the bulls, the danger to nappinnaip pirAtti was mentioned. In a similar vein, the way the danger that fell on indhra (head of celestial entities) was removed, is being mentioned next.

eN dhisaiyum pOyinavum – spreading in the eight directions

sUzh aravap pongu aNaiyAn thOLemperumAn who is supposed to sleep on the soft mattress provided by thiruvananthAzhwAn (AdhiSEshan)  who, by himself has qualities such as strength, fragrance, comfort and softness, carried out all the above-mentioned activities! His divine shoulders did all these! emperumAn, who has such softness that his divine body cannot tolerate that, even if he lies on such soft mattress, carried out all these activities! AzhwAr is desolate that instead of lying comfortably on his mattress, he is carrying out all these deeds. In SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 2-5, dhaSaratha chakravarthy says “pANdurasya Athapathrasya chAyAyAm jariratham mayA” (my physical body has withered under the royal umbrella). Since he was constantly moving about to protect his country, he had no time to rest on his throne. Only when he sits on his throne could his servants hold the pearl umbrella for him. He did not have time even for that and was busy protecting his kingdom. AzhwAr says that in the same way, emperumAn, without any time for resting on AdhiSEshan, was busy removing the enemies of his followers.

Let us consider the 63rd pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 61 -ulagum ulagiRandha Uzhiyum

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avathArikai

In the earlier pAsuram, AzhwAr said that samsAris (jIvAthmAs who inhabit the materialistic realm) do not know what benefits they need and only emperumAn knows those. In this pAsuram, to the question as to why emperumAn should protect them, AzhwAr says that since emperuman sired them, he has to protect them. Other than the one who fathered them, is there anyone who can nurture them? He says that these people not only do not know what is good for them, they do not even know their births.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

ulagum ulagiRandha Uzhiyum oNkEzh
vilagu karungadalum veRpum ulaginil
sendhIyum mArudhamum vAnum thirumAlthan
pundhiyilAya puNarppu

Word by Word Meanings

ulagum – all the worlds
ulagu iRandha Uzhiyum – time which remains when the world is destroyed [during deluge]
oN kEzh vilagu karum kadalum – ocean which is beautiful, throws waves and is black in colour
veRpum – mountains (which are the supports for the world)
ulaginil – seen in the world
sem thIyum – reddish fire
mArudhamum – breeze
vAnum – sky [ethereal layer]
thirumAl than – emperumAn’s, who is with mahAlakshmi
pundhiyil Aya – due to his sankalpa (vow or will)
puNarppu – creation

vyAkyAnam

ulagum – worlds or the substances in the worlds

ulagu iRandha Uzhiyum – time which does not get destroyed and remains when the entire worlds are destroyed during deluge. Alternatively, during deluge, those substances which are in subtle form indicated by time.

oN kEzh vilagu karum kadalum – ocean which has beautiful colour, which throws out waves and which is invigorating.

veRpum – the mountains which appear to be holding (sustaining) earth

ulaginil sem thIyum mArudhamum vAnum – all the reddish coloured objects in the world related to light, breeze and sky (ether). AzhwAr mentions the causative factors by stating these 5 elements.  Alternatively, he is mentioning a few resultant objects.

thirumAl than pundhiyil Aya puNarppu –  all these have been created for the pastime of perumAL and pirAtti (SrI mahAlakshmi). AzhwAr says that emperumAn created these to make pirAtti happy, through his sankalpa (vow).Just as SrI parASara bhattar says in SrI rangarAja sthavam 2-88 “upAyOpEyathvE thadhiha ” (both the means of attaining you and the resultant benefit that you grant are natural to you), emperumAn himself is the means and the benefit! He needs our assistance in protecting us only if he needs our assistance when creating us! [in other words he does not need our assistance]. emperumAn who creates the worlds for pirAtti’s enjoyment remains the means for knowing their protection too. nammAzhwAr in his thiruvAimozhi 3-7-8 says that the one who creates the worlds is emperumAn himself “nambanai gyAlam padaiththavanai thirumArvanai

We shall take up 62nd pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 60 – charaNA maRai payandha

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

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avathArikai

AzhwAr was asked “the benefit of attaining mOksham (SrIvaikuNtam) is with chEthana (sentient entity (jIvAthmA). When this is the case, the chEthana only should observe the means for attaining mOksham. What is the reason for saying that emperumAn is the means?” AzhwAr responds in this pAsuram “Only the person who knows everything can perform the means and not one who does not know anything”

chEthanas do not know what happened in the past; they do not know what they are suffering now; and they do not know what is going to happen in the future. Only emperumAn knows these. AzhwAr says, as mentioned in nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 22 “pazhagiyAn” (he is our protector from time immemorial), he is omniscient and has the knowledge as well as the power to remove the troubles that the chEthana has suffered in the past, is suffering now and will suffer in future.  Hence he is the means. Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

charaNA maRai payandha thAmaraiyAnOdu
maraNAya mannuyigatkellAm araNAya
pErAzhi koNda pirAn anRi maRRu aRiyAdhu
OrAzhi sUzhndha ulagu

Word by Word Meanings

charaNa – being the means for all the four purushArthams (benefits) [righteousness, wealth, lust and liberation]
maRai  – vEdham (sacred texts)
payandha – one who was taught
thAmaraiyAnOdu  – along with brahmA, who was born in the lotus, shooting from emperumAn’s navel
maraNAya – those who have death as a natural phenomenon
man uyirgatku ellAm – for all the jivAthmAs
araN Aya – those which are protective devices
pErAzhi koNda pirAn anRi – other than emperumAn who has the large sudharSana chakkaram (divine disc)
maRRu – being different (from emperumAn)
Or Azhi sUzhndha  – surrounded by the unique ocean
ulagu – those who live in this world
aRIyAdhu – will not know.

vyAkyAnam

charaNA maRai payandha thAmaraiyAnOdu –  SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 120-3 says “brahmA brahmavidhAm vara:” (brahmA is the greatest among those who know brahmam (supreme entity)) since he revealed to the world, the means for obtaining whatever they needed among the four purushArthams (benefits) as mentioned in the vEdhas (sacred texts). brahmA feels very proud that he gave vEdhas to the world [he thinks] as mentioned in the usage of the term “manthra kruthbhyO nama:” (salutations to the one who composed manthrams) and he thinks that he is very knowledgeable. Along with such brahmA…

maraNAya mannuyirgatku ellAm – Even though AthmA (soul) is permanent, since the body dies, chEthanas are referred to as “they died” “they were born” Along with brahmA, who appears at the beginning of a kalpam (this is a period of time extending over several crores of years covering mahApraLayam, or the total deluge) and dies at the end of that kalpam, all the species of life including those which are referred to as “jAyathE mriyanthE ” (born and die instantaneously), without any difference among them, have ignorance and powerlessness in them.

araNAya –  their protection

pErAzhi koNda pirAn anRi – other than emperumAn who has the large sudharSana disc, with which he protects

maRRU aRiyAdhu OrAzhi sUzhndha ulagu – the earth, surrounded by ocean, does not know anything else. Irrespective of whether they are great people or ordinary people, they will not know what protects them. By rearranging the words of the verse to get “ulagu pirAnaiyanRi maRRu aRiyAdhu” if we can say that world does not know anything other than emperumAn, it will not be correct. This is because, as per lexicon “ulagam enbadhu uyarndhOr mAtte”(world is the place for  knowledgeable people). But, since the term “OrAzhi sUzhndha ulagu” (world surrounded by ocean) is used here, it would refer to all the people without any distinction between the great and the lowly people. Hence we cannot take it that the term world refers only to great people. Thus, we can say that irrespective of whether they are great or lowly, only emperumAn knows the means of protecting all. The chEthanas only know how to develop this samsAram (material realm) and the means for causing them harm; only emperumAn knows the means that they must adopt in order to reach mOksham (SrIvaikuNtam). As said in the saying “mUda: ayam nApi jAnAthi” (the ignorant will not know) these chEthanas do not know the means.

Once a SrIvaishNava by name AppAn enquired of nanjIyar (disciple of parAsara bhattar) the meaning for this pAsuram. nanjIyar sought clarification from his teacher, bhattar who gave the aforementioned meanings for the pAsuram. Alternatively, combining with the previous pAsuram where SrI rAma was mentioned, one could say for “pErAzhi koNda pirAn” the meaning “the benefactor who threatened the ocean and built the dam to lankA”

We shall move on to the 61st pAsuram.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 59 – adaindha aruvinaiyOdu

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

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avathArikai

AzhwAr says in this pAsuram that to enjoy emperumAn, do as mentioned in the previous pAsuram. In order to get rid of the sins which are hurdles to this experience, approach SrI rAma, the son of emperor dhaSaratha.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings.

adaindha aruvinaiyOdu allal nOy pAvam
midaindhu avai mINdozhiya vENdil nudangidaiyai
munnilangai vaiththAn muraN azhiya munnoru nAL
thanvilangai vaiththAn charaN

Word by Word Meanings

adaindha –  that which came in-between [not part of one’s nature]
aru vinaiyOdu – dangerous entities such as ignorance
allal – sorrows [disease] of the mind
nOy – disease of the SarIram (physical body)
pAvam – bad deeds
midaindhavai – sins which are the causative factor for getting the physical body
mINdu ozhiya vENdil – to make them go back
nudangu idaiyai – sIthAp pirAtti who had slender waist
mun – once
ilangai vaiththAn – rAvaNa who had kept her in ilangai (lankA)
muraN azhiya – to annihilate his strength
mun oru nAL – when he incarnated as SrI rAma
than vil am kai vaiththAn – the one who adorned the bow in his beautiful hands
charaN – he is the means (path to attain)

vyAkyAnam

adaindha aruvinai – these are entities [sins] which came in between [and not part of the soul as its nature]. AthmA (soul) is the epitome of knowledge and happiness; it is unchanging. Since these sins have been following the soul for a long time, it would appear as if these are also a part of soul. Souls are such that they do not allow lowly entities such as sins to stick to them; hence these are called vandhERi (something which came in between). Even though paramAthmA (supreme entity) also dwells within the AthmA, these sins will not affect him.

allal – sorrows of the mind called Adhi resulting from these sins

nOy – diseases of the physical body

pAvam – the lowly deeds carried out because of assuming the physical body

midaindhavai – all of these aforementioned aspects encircle the soul such that it cannot manifest its true nature. Just as the worm samithaiyidAmANi (silkworm) and spider create webs around them so tightly that they themselves cannot extricate from such webs, these sins also encircle the soul tightly. However, since these are not part of the soul, it is possible to get rid of the aforementioned entities.

mINdu ozhiya vENdil – in order to extricate from them. This is similar to making a snake which is chasing a person to turn back and escape. AzhwAr says further that that one has to surrender to emperumAn in order to get rid of these entities, just as emperumAn himself said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 18-66 “mAm Ekam SaraNam vraja – sarva pApEbhyO mOkshayishyAmi ” (surrender only to me. I shall rid you of all your sins). If these are not to trouble oneself again, one has to take the help of the omnipotent emperumAn, just as connection with the royal clan (in those days) would ensure total security for a person.

nudangu idaiyai mun ilangai vaiththAn – rAvaNa imprisoned sIthAppirAtti who is always inseparable from emperumAn and who has a slender waist. Just as one breaks a single entity into two, rAvaNa separated SrI rAma and sIthAppirAtti.

muraN azhiya – to destroy the pride of rAvaNa, who separated the mother and father [of all the worlds]

mun oru nAl than vil angai vaiththAn – he who once kept his beautiful hand on his bow, is the appropriate entity to surrender to. Alternatively, it can be considered that AzhwAr is saying that he attained such an entity. emperumAn takes several attempts to protect us. All that is required is to have firm faith in him. Just as sIthAppirAtti said in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 30-30 “Saraisthu sankulAm kruthvA lankAm parabalAthdhana:, mAm nayEdhyadhi kAkuthstha: thath thasya sadhruSam bhavEth” (it will be appropriate for SrI rAma, who is capable of annihilating enemies, to agitate lankA with his arrows and redeem me), we have to trust his sharp arrows. If we do this, he will also carry out deeds with affection towards us just as he did towards sIthAppirAtti. Only if sIthAppirAtti showers arrows and protects herself does AthmA too needs to carry out one deed. (In other words, just as sIthAppirAtti did not make any attempt to protect herself, the AthmA also should not attempt to carry out any deed). pirAtti herself would take the role of purushakArabhUthai (recommendatory role) and enable us to attain our desires. Those who think that the AthmA is theirs will suffer the fate of rAvaNa who tried to make his own, the property of emperumAn. The sangathi [connection] between the earlier pAsurams and this pAsuram is that in the earlier pAsurams AzhwAr mercifully told us to worship emperumAn [58], recite his divine names [51], meditate on him [41] etc. In this pAsuram, he tells us that these are not the means to attain him and that emperumAn himself is the means. Whatever he had mentioned in the earlier pAsurams are descriptive of the characteristics of the jIvAthmA, similar to the ones mentioned in the three shatkam (group of 6 chapters) in SrI bhagavath gIthA, viz. explaining the means such as karma, gyAna and bhkthi yOgams  (the paths of deeds, knowledge and devotion respectively). What he has mentioned in this pAsuram is the divine instruction of emperumAn in SrI bhagavath gIthA 18-66 when he says that whatever he had mentioned earlier in the gIthA are not the means but that he himself is the means to attain him. The day the jIvAthmA realises his true nature, he would know that there is no means other than emperumAn. This is the essence of this pAsuram and this is the essence of this prabandham.

Let us move on to the 60th pAsuram.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 58 – thozhudhu malar koNdu

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

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avathArikai

AzhwAr tells his heart, in this pAsuram, that there is no time to waste and that it should approach emperumAn without any further delay.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

thozudhu malar koNdu dhUpam kai Endhi
ezhudhum ezhu vAzhi nanjE pazhudhinRi
mandhirangaL kaRpanavum mAladiyE kai thozhuvAn
andharam onRu illai adai

Word by Word Meanings

nenjE – Oh [my] heart!
vAzhi – let benefits happen (to you)
malar koNdu – taking fragrant flowers
dhUpam kai Endhi – holding the fragrant smoke stand in the hand
thozhudhu – worship
ezhudhum – let us get uplifted
ezhu – please get up
pazhudhinRi – without any defect
mandhirangaL – SlOkas (hymns about emperumAn)
kaRpanavum – to learn
mAl adiyE kai thozhvAn – to worship the divine feet of emperumAn with hands
andharam onRu illai – there is no reason for delaying this
adai – approach (emperumAn)

vyAkyAnam

thozhudhu – folding the hands together as anjali (worshipping by keeping palms together)

malar koNdu – with beautiful, fresh flowers

dhUpam kai Endhi – holding the stand for developing fragrant smoke, in the hand [This implies taking other materials also for performing thiruvArAdhanam (worshipping of emperumAn) such as lamp, sandal paste etc].

ezhudhum – [we will] get uplifted

ezhu – get up fast

vAzhi nenjEAzhwAr blesses his heart saying that this benefit will stay with it forever.

pazhudhinRi mandhirangaL kaRpanavum – learning hymns on emperumAn, without any defect, is to carry out gurukulavAsam with an AchAryan and obtaining the hymns from him as spiritual instruction [gurukulavAsam is a concept practised in the past when the student would stay with the teacher for about 12 years and learn from him all the teachings of various sacred texts in order to prepare him to lead a righteous life]. Learning the hymns on his own instead of through gurukulavAsam will be considered as a faulty method of learning. It is similar to mounting an elephant which is sleeping on one’s own instead of mounting it with the help of the mahout, as the lying elephant will throw him and stamp him out with his trunk. Hymns should be learnt through an AchAryan in the method of santhai [in this method, the AchAryan will recite each word / line of the hymn once and the disciple will recite it thrice. This process will be repeated until the disciple is able to recite the entire hymn on his own, without faltering].

mAl adiyE kai thozhuvAn – the purpose of learning the hymns is to worship the divine feet of emperumAn without any fault. It is to carry out continuous service at the divine feet of emperumAn.

andharam onRillai adai – hence, there is no time to lose. AzhwAr implores his heart to go fast and approach emperumAn.

We shall consider the 59th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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