Category Archives: mudhal thiruvandhAdhi

mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 100 – Oradiyum sAdudhaiththa

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avathArikai

To the question as to what should we do to attain such an entity [emperumAn], AzhwAr says “be firm that one can attain him only through his grace”

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

Oradiym sAdudhaiththa oN malarch chEvadiyum
Iradiyum kANalAm en nenjE Oradiyil
thAyavanaik kEsavanaith thaNduzhAy mAlai sEr
mAyavanaiyE manaththu vai

Word by Word Meaning

en nenjE – Oh my heart!
Oradiyil thAyavanai – one who measured all the worlds with one divine foot
kEsavanai – destroying a demon named kESi
thaN thuzhAy mAlai sEr – decorated with cool, thuLasi garland
mAyavanaiyE – only that emperumAn who has amazing activities
manaththu vai – keep in your heart

(if he is attained like this)
Or adiyum – the divine foot which measured the worlds
sAdu udhaiththa – kicked such that the wheel broke into smithereens
oN malar sEvadiyum – divine foot which is like a beautiful reddish flower
Iradiyum – both the divine feet
kANalAm – could see

vyAkyAnam

Oradiyum – divine foot which engaged everyone towards it and measured

sAdu udhaiththa oN malar sEvadiyum – the sweet foot which destroyed the demon who had entered a wheel. Was it not with the divine foot, which was soft like a flower that had just blossomed, that he destroyed the wheel!

Iradiyum kANalAm en nenjE – we can see both the divine feet. We can see those two divine feet which are apt to be attained.

en nenjE – Oh heart who is desirous of seeing. When asked as to what is the means for this, AzhwAr says that his divine feet are the means.

Or adiyil thAyavanai – as mentioned earlier, the divine feet which are so simple that all can attain

kEsavanai – the term kESava refers to destroying of enemies [demon called kESi who came in the form of a horse]. He is the one who offers his divine feet as well as destroys enemies.

than thuzhAy mAlai sEr mAyavanaiyE – Have firm belief in your heart that he is the means, who is decorated with thuLasi garland and who is having unbounded sweetness.

thaN thuzhAy mAlai sEr mAyavanaiyE – Even if he is not simple to approach and even if he does not kill enemies, is it possible to ignore when seeing his sweetness?

mAyavanaiyE – Don’t think that we need to take any effort to attain him. By using the long syllable in the word mAyavanaiyE it is implied that he is capable of making us to think only of him and of no one else. Once this firm belief is undertaken, we can see the two divine feet which are to be attained. There is no hurdle to seeing those two divine feet. If asked as to what is to be done after attaining them, AzhwAr says that we can continue to carry out kainkaryam permanently.

periya perumAL periya pirAtti thiruvadigaLE SaraNam
poygai AzhwAr thiruvadigaLE SaraNam
bhagavadh rAmAnujar thiruvadigaLE SaraNam
nampiLLai thiruvadigaLE SaraNam
periyavAchchAn piLLai thiruvadigaLE SaraNam
maNavALa mAmunigaL thiruvadigaLE SaraNam

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 99 – uLan kaNdAy

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avathArikai

AzhwAr says that emperumAn, who protects all, stays in places such as thiruppARkadal (milky ocean) only in order to take shelter inside the hearts of those who do not avoid him. AzhwAr tells his heart to make a note of this. AzhwAr’s divine mind was scared that great people in the world are bewildered into believing that chEthanas (sentient entities) who are like themselves are Isvaras (emperumAn). AzhwAr says that even if one were to tie a rope around one’s neck in order to kill himself, there is an entity who is there to cut the rope and to protect us.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

uLan kaNdAy nannenjE uththaman enRum
uLan kaNdAy uLLuvAr uLLaththu uLan kaNdAy
veLLaththin uLLAnum vEngadaththu mEyAnum
uLLaththin uLLAn enRu Or

Word by Word Meaning

nal nenjE – Oh my heart who is well disposed! [towards emperumAn]
uththaman – purushOththaman (the best among all entities)
enRum – at all times
uLan kaNdAy – exists (only to protect us)
uLLuvAr uLLaththu – those who think of him
uLan kaNdAy – resides permanently
veLLaththin uLLAnum – one who is reclining in thiruppARkadal (milky ocean)
vEngadaththu mEyAnum – one who is standing in thiruvEngadam (thirumalai)
uLLaththin uLLAn enRu – is residing inside (my) heart
Or – know

vyAkyAnam

uLan kaNdAy – Oh heart! You have seen that he is our refuge on the day that we surrendered to him. In mahAbhAratham uththara kANdam 83, dhraupadhi says “sAham kESagraham prApthA thvayi jIvathyapi prabhO” (Oh emperumAn! Even when you were existing, I was dragged by my hair by enemies).  My swAmy, when you are there, my enemies have the courage to touch my hair! Can one connect your existence and the insult that happened to me? Were you like me a woman or were you not a purushOththama (best among all entities) for me to suffer like this! AzhwAr says that he is not saying a non-existing person as uLan (exists). He is there to protect us when we destroy ourselves. His existence is to save us and our existence is to destroy ourselves. Our carrying out prapaththi (surrender) is not due to our fear of others but due to fear of ourselves. It is similar to someone telling an intelligent person “I would myself tie a rope, unknown to me, around my neck in order to kill myself. At that time, you should cut the rope and save me”. Our carrying out surrendering is like this only.

nan nenjE – Oh heart! you are present to tell me appropriately that emperumAn is there. You are capable of explaining the meanings of these words to me!

uththaman – magnanimous person. In other words, he does favours to others in order to benefit himself. Hence he exists in order to protect us and does that to benefit himself. thaiththiriya upanishath Anandhavalli 6 says “asannEva sa bhavathi asath brahmEthi vEdha chEth” (a person does not exist if he does not have knowledge about brahmam (supreme being)) along with “asthi brahmEthi chEth vEdha santhamEnam thathO vidhu:” (if he has knowledge about brahmam others know that he exists). emperumAn exists without any distinction between these two types of entities (one who does not know him and one who knows him).

uLLuvAr uLLaththu uLan kaNdAy – if one day chEthana (sentient entity) believes that emperumAn exists, then emperumAn will exist forever for him. He will reside inside the heart of the one that he wants to pervade, not knowing how to leave that person’s heart and be there forever.

veLlaththil uLLAnum vEngadaththu mEyAnum uLLaththil uLLAn enRu Or – Think that the one who is reclining in milky ocean and who is standing in thiruvEngadam (thirumalai) is in our heart. He resides in those places (milky ocean and thiruvEngadam) only to enter our heart. Think that the place that he desires is only our heart. Haven’t thirumazhisai AzhwAr in nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi 36 “aNaippAr karuththanAvAn” (he is there only to enter the hearts of his followers) and periyAzhwAr in periyAzhwAr thirumozhi 4-5-10 “idavagaigal igazhndhittu enpAl idavagai koNdanaiyE”(leaving aside your dwelling places [such as SrIvaikuNtam, thiruppARkadal etc], you have decided to dwell in my heart! [what a motherly affection is this!]) divinely mentioned the same!

We shall consider the 100 pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 98 – pon thigazhum mEni

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avathArikai

Why point out a fault in Siva that he took gangA which has connection with the divine feet of emperumAn on his shining matted hair? He is being called Isvaran (one who controls) and is responsible for the function of destruction. AzhwAr says that he got the quality of being Isvaran because he is the body (SarIram) of emperumAn and not of his own nature.

Let us look at the pAsuram and its meanings:

pon thigazhum mEnip purisadai am puNNiyanum
ninRu ulgam thAya nedumAlum enRum
iruvar angaththAl thirivarElum oruvan
oruvan angaththenRum uLan

Word by Word Meaning

pon thigazhum mEni – having a form which shines like gold
puri sadai – platted, matted hair
am puNNiyanum – rudhra [Siva] who has beautiful puNyam (virtuous deeds)
ninRu ulagam thAya nedumALum – sarvESvaran (lord of all) who stood and measured all the worlds
enRum – always
iruvar angaththAl thirivarElum – even if they roam around with two [different] forms
oruvan – one among them, Siva,
oruvan angaththu – holding on to the divine body of nArAyaNa
enRum – at all times
uLan – will sustain

vyAkyAnam

pon thigazhum mEnip puri sadai – having a physical form shining like gold and having platted, matted hair.

am puNNiyanum – Siva did penance beautifully and observed means by himself. emperumAn has a comfortable form resembling dark clouds [being magnanimous, ready to pour benefits on everyone]. The golden form of Siva which is like fire, indicates that his form is the exact opposite of emperumAn’s. That Siva is different from emperumAn is brought out by his matted hair, which is the exact opposite of the long crown that emperumAn has. From these two verses, it is clearly mentioned that emperumAn is superior to Siva in every way.

am puNNiyanum – mahAbhAratham SAnthi parvam 20-12 says “mahAdhEvasarvayagyE mahAthmA hUthvAthmAnam dhEvadhEvO babhUva” (rudhra, the mahAthmA (great soul) in the sarvayagya (a kind of ritual) offered himself as the havis (a material which is given as an offering during the ritual) and became a dhEvadhEvan (dhEva among the dhEvas)). Due to the grace of emperumAn, rudhra (Siva) who had carried out sinful deeds, reached an exalted state and hence AzhwAr calls him as puNNiyan (one who has done virtuous deed).

ninRu ulagam thAya nedumAlum – emperumAn had carried out many exalted deeds, as per his desires. He is also the sarvESvaran (Lord of all) who kept his divine feet on the heads of Siva and others, without any distinction.

enRum iruval angaththAL thirivarElum – even if they exist with two different forms always

oruvan oruvan angaththu enRum uLan – one (Siva) is the body of another (nArAyaNa) and exists. Or, one (Siva) would reside in a part of the divine form of the other (nArAyaNa) and have his existence. Hasn’t nammAzhwAr mercifully said in thiruvAimozhi 1-3-9valaththanan thirupuram eriththavan” (the one on the right side of emperumAn’s divine form is Siva who burnt the three towns)! Thus, hasn’t nammAzhwAr mercifully said in thiruvAimozhi 4-10-3paran thiRam anRip pallulagIr dheyvam maRRillai” (there is no other deity without being under the control of emperumAn)! [the inference is that this 98th pAsuram of poygai AzhwAr is the root for nammAzhwAr’s pAsuram in thiruvAimozhi 4-10-3].

We shall consider the 99th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 97 – pidi sEr kaliRu

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avathArikai

AzhwAr had said in the previous pAsuram that emperumAn is both the good and bad deeds (puNyam and pApam) and that he is very pure. When asked, aren’t gangA etc pure, he says, in this pAsuram, that they attained their pure state because of their connection with him. This pAsuram is like an explanation to the previous pAsuram.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

pidi sEr kaliRaLiththa pErALA un than
adi sErndhu aruL peRRAL anRE podi sEr
anaRku angai ERRAn avirsadaimEl pAyndha
punaR gangai ennum pErp pon

Word by Word Meanings

pidi sEr – roaming with female elephant
kaLiRu – gajEndhra AzhwAn [a male elephant]
aLiththa – protected
pErALA – Oh magnanimous entity!
podi sEr – applying ashes
anaRku – for fire
am kai ERRAn – one who held his hand, that rudhra’s
avir sadai mEl – on his shining matted hair
pAyndha – fell
punal – having [copious] water
gangai ennum pEr – having the name gangA
pon – great gold
un than adi sErndhu – attaining your divine feet
aruL peRRAL anRE – did she not get your grace!

vyAkyAnam

pidi sEr kaLiRu aLiththaAzhwAr is referring to gajEndhra (male elephant) who was roaming with a female elephant. The implication here is that he does not know anything other than roaming with his female elephant. bruhadhArNyaka upanishath 4-4-23 says “SAnthO dhAntha uparathasthithikshu:” (SAsthras, the sacred texts, say that only that person who is able to control his external and internal sensory perceptions and who dissociates himself from worldly pursuits, is fit to reach SrIvaikuNtam). Engaging with worldly pursuits instead of with emperumAn is considered as sinful deed (however gajEndhran was habituated to roaming with his female elephant). If emperumAn had protected such an entity, sin (or virtue) should be considered as what is decided by emperumAn. While gajEndhra was thinking of his female elephant, emperumAn was thinking of gajEndhra! Did gajEndra not think of emperumAn before? Thinking of his female elephant is his status, until now, says AzhwAr. Thus, birth [whether born in a noble heritage or a lowly heritage], deed [good or bad] etc are not the apt features to be considered. emperumAn’s thought (mercy) alone gives the benefit, says AzhwAr.

aLiththa pErALA – Oh the great one, who protected that gajEndhra! It is implied here that if emperumAn protects one who is not apt, anything becomes acceptable when carried out by emperumAn.

pERALA – is your grace only this much! Hasn’t nammAzhwAr too mercifully stated in his thiruvAimozhi 3-3-5sOdhiyAgi eLLa ulagum thozhum AdhimUrththi enRAl aLavAgumO” (Is it anything great if I say that you, having a radiant divine form and being worshipped by all the people in the world, are the supreme being, and the causative factor for all the worlds?)

un than adi sErndhu aruL peRRAL anRE – did not gangA get all the greatness only after attaining your divine feet! This implies that dharmam (righteousness) is  under the control of emperumAn.  Isvara samhithai says “gruhIthvA dharmapAnIyam” (taking gangA who is the epitome of righteousness). gangA is referred to as righteousness because of her connection with emperumAn. He graces others to become pure.

podi sEr – Siva, who has applied ashes. Alternatively, Siva who is reclining on ahses.

anaRku angai ERRAn – Siva, who is holding fire in his beautiful hands. Other than carrying out such atonements, it is not possible to remove the sins of Siva. Even his thought that he is the controller of all is an exotic one. emperumAn protected such Siva only by keeping his original nature in mind.

avir sadai mEl pAyndhu – gangA who has such water which flowed through the shining matted hair of Siva.

undhan adi sErndhu aruL peRRAL anRE – despite carrying out suitable penances such as holding fire and applying ashes all over his body, Siva did not become pure. He became purified only after holding in his head gangA, who has the connection with emperumAn through his divine feet! Has it not been mercifully stated in periyAzhwAr thirumozhi 4-7-2 “nalam thigazh sadiyAn mudik konRai malarum nAraNan pAdhath thuzhAyum” (the head of Siva has become purified since he is carrying the water from emperumAn’s divine feet. The reddish konRai flower from the head of such Siva and the greenish thuLasi from the divine head of nAraNan who is the lord of that Siva…). Hasn’t ALavandhAr too mercifully stated in sthOthra rathnam 13pAdhOdhagEna sa: Siva:” (due to the water from [emperumAn’s] divine feet, he became Siva (purified))! Oh emperumAn! Whatever is not connected to your divine feet is not pure. There is no sin which can prevent your mercy. kUraththAzhwAn too has mercifully divined in athimAnushya sthavam 53 “yath thvath priyam thadhiha puNyam apuNyam anyath” (whatever is dear to you is puNyam, the rest is pApam).

We shall take up the 98th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 96 – thiRambAdhen nenjamE

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avathArikai

AzhwAr tells his heart “let the chEthanars (sentient entities) carry on with whatever they are doing. Oh my heart! Consider first what I am telling you”

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

thiRambAdhen nenjamE sengaNmAl kaNdAy
aRam pAvam enRu iraNdum AvAn puRandhAn im
maNdhAn maRi kadaldhAn mArudhandhAn vAndhAnE
kaNdAy kadaikkat pidi

Word by Word Meanings

en nenjamE – Oh my heart!
aRam pAvam enRu iraNdum AvAn – he [emperumAn] is the controller for both the types of deeds, virtuous and sinful
sengaNmAl kaNdAy – look at the emperumAn who has reddish lotus like eyes.
im maNdhAn – this earth
maRi kadaldhAn – the ocean which keeps lapping waves
mArudham thAn – the breeze
vAn – the sky also
puRandhAn – (different from all these) jIvan (all living species), mahAn (one of the essential entities in creation, known as “great”), ahankAram (ego) etc
thAne kaNdAy – look! they are all emperumAn himself!

(this meaning)
thiRambAdhu – without mistake
kadaikkaN pidi – know till the end

vyAkyAnam

thiRambAdhu kadaikkatpidi could be added in the end [of the verse] to get the meaning. Or, it can be recited together as in thiRambAdhu aRam pAvam enRu iraNdum AvAn to get the meaning. Alternatively, thiRambAdhu en nenjamE could be considered as it is and meaning can be obtained. Oh heart! You, who are carrying out whatever I tell you, without any mistake! Oh heart, who says unless I see emperumAn I will not go back!

en nenjamE – Oh heart, who keeps asking me to tell everything!

sengaNmAl kaNdAy – look at emperumAn who has lotus like eyes. chAndhOgya upanishath 1-6-7 says “thasya yathA kapyAsam puNdarIkam Evam akshiNI” (emperumAn’s eyes are like lotus just blossomed by sun); nammAzhwAr in his thiruvAimozhi 6-7-10 says “anaiththulagum udaiya aravindhalOchanan ” (the lotus eyed (emperumAn) has all the worlds). Alternatively, sengaNmAl  could be taken to mean having reddish eyes out of affection for us, his followers, and hence we can take it that AzhwAr is asking his heart to look at emperumAn who has reddish eyes due to overflowing affection for us.

aRam pAvam enRu iraNdum AvAn – he [emperumAn] himself is both puNyam (virtuous deed) and pAvam (bad or sinful deed). His anugraham (kindness or liking) is puNyam and his nigraham (disliking) is pAvam. There is nothing else apart from these two which would give the benefits [of our actions]. All are under his disposal only. kaushIthaki upanishath 3-9 says “Esha Eva sAdhu karma kArayathi” (emperumAn himself makes us perform good deeds). AzhwAr will not hold on to deeds which do not make sense as means as he avoids both action and activity as emanating from him (Isn’t he one who holds on to emperumAn as the means!). Looking superficially, it would appear that puNyam and pAvam are different from him. But if one were to look at things deeply, it would be clear that he is the one who controls everything.

How is this?

puRandhAn immaNdhAn maRikadaldhAn mArudhandhAn vAndhAnE kaNdAy – all are under the disposal of emperumAn. maN (earth), maRikadal (agitating ocean, with lapping waves), mArudham (breeze), and the entities which are outside these elements such as mahAn (great entity) etc are all his manifestations, says the AzhwAr. AzhwAr tells his heart to hold on to the fact that emperumAn is the chEthanan (sentient entity) with the body. Or, kadaikkaN – hold on to this till the end, without any error. nammAzhwAr has also mercifully said this in his thiruvAimozhi 6-9-7 “ulagil thiriyum karuma gadhiyAy ulagamAy ulagukkE OruyirumAnAy” (you are the deeds, the entities which carry out the deeds and the life of these entities)! When emperumAn’s independence is absolute without any shortcoming, how can the chEthana (sentient entity)’s thinking that he is independent be congruent? The fact is that chEthana is never independent; it is just that he thinks that he is independent. In mahAbhAratham uththara kANdam 42-35 it says “ya: anyathA santhamAnam AthmAnam anyathA prathipadhyathE” (whoever thinks that emeprumAn’s possession of AthmA is his…). Even when chEthana thinks that he is independent, due to the grace of emperumAn, the chEthana’s nature is not destroyed.

We shall consider the 97th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 95 – nAvAyil uNdE

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thirumanthra upadhESam by nArayaNa rishi to nara rish (both are incarnations of emperumAn)

avathArikai

In the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr mentioned that his tongue will not praise anyone other than emperumAn. In this pAsuram, he shows his amazement at samsAris (dwellers of this materialistic realm) who are using such parts of their body (as their tongues etc) as implements for nurturing samsAram (materialistic life).

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

nA vAyil uNdE namO nAraNA enRu
ovAdhu uraikkum urai uNdE mUvAdha
mAkkadhikkaN sellum vagai uNdE en oruvar
thIkkadhikkaN sellum thiRam

Word by Word Meanings

nA – tongue (which is the implement for praising emperumAn)
vAyil uNdE – is inside the mouth (without the need for searching for it outside)
OvAdhu – many times (without getting tired)
uraikkum – apt to say
namO nAraNA enRu urai – thirumanthram
uNdE – is available
mUvAdha – not coming back
mA gadhikkaN – in paramapadham (SrIvaikuNtam) which is the goal to be attained
sellum vagai uNdE – archirAdhi mArga, the path to go [to SrIvaikuNtam] is ready

(when things are like this)
thI gadhikkaN – in the path to naragam (hell)
oruvar – some people
sellum thiRan – why are they going?

vyAkyAnam

nA vAyil uNdE – Is there a need to search outside for the tongue which is to be used for reciting the divine names of emperumAn! ISvaran (emperumAn) has already created tongue! Just as sumithrA tells lakshmaNa in SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 40-5”srushtathva vanavAsAya” (you have been created only for dwelling in forests), hasn’t the tongue been created only for praising emperumAn?

namO nAraNA enRu OvAdhu uraikkum urai uNdE – Hasn’t emperumAn given us the manthram (incantation) which is so simple that it can be recited ten times in a breath, instead of some manthrams such as sahasrAksharImAlAmanthram (a manthram which is made up of thousands of letters) which cannot be recited even within a day! Just as the tongue has been given by emperumAn, hasn’t this manthram been given by the same emperumAn! As said in “kim thathra bahubhirmanthrai: kim thathra bahubhirvrathai: namO nArAyAnEthi manthra: sarvArtha sAdhaka: ” (what is the purpose of other manthrams and other vrathams (vows)? The incantation namO nArayaNAya will give all benefits), hasn’t it been stated that even other incantations of emperumAn are purposeless!

mUvAdha mAkkadhikkaN sellum vagai uNdE – hasn’t emperumAn created mOksham (SrIvaikuNtam) by reaching which one does not have to return again, unlike other worlds such as swargam (heaven) from where one will be toppled after enjoying for a few days!

ennoruvar thIkkadhikkaN sellum thiRam – when such entities [tongue, thirumanthram, mOksham etc] are available without any shortcoming, how strange are the ways in which the worldly people repeatedly attain samsAram (materialistic realm)! When there is an easy, straightforward path available for getting uplifted, how are people going to difficult paths for getting destroyed and attaining meaninglessness! Hasn’t it been stated in SrI vishNu purANam 6-7-11 “anAthmanyAthmabudhdhir yA cha asvE svamithi yA mathi: samsAra tharu sambhUthi bhIjamEthath dhvithA sthitham”(the thought that something (body) is AthmA (soul) when it is not, and the thought that something is one’s own when it is not, are the seed with two parts which nurture the tree called samsAram)!

We shall move on to the 96th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 94 – seRRezhundhu

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avathArikai

AzhwAr, who was thinking of the danger from iraNiyan (hiraNya kashyap) [in the previous pAsuram] now thinks of the danger from dhuryOdhana’s group. In this pAsuram, AzhwAr is mercifully saying about the viSvarUpam that emperumAn manifested before mahAbhAratha war to bhIshma and others or as an alternative explanation, how he showed to rishi (sage) mArkaNdEya, the worlds that he had swallowed during deluge. It would be appropriate to consider the first two words in this pAsuram “seRRezhundhu thIvizhiththu”  together with the incarnation as narasimha in the previous pAsuram or with emperumAn’s act as in this pAsuram.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

seRRezhundhu thIvizhiththuch chenRa indha Ezhulagum
maRRivaiyA enRu vAy angAndhu muRRum
maRaiyavarkkuk kAttiya mAmEniyanai allAl
iRaiyEnum EththAdhu en nA

Word by Word Meanings

  • first explanation when he showed his viSvarUpam to bhIshma and others

seRRu ezhundhu – getting up angrily
thI vizhiththu – looking with fiery eyes (at dhuryOdhana and others)
senRa indha Ezhu ulagaum maRRu ivai – these are the seven worlds which keep going about

(saying so)
A enRu vAy angAndhu – opening his divine mouth wide open
muRRUm – all the worlds
maRaiyavarkku – to bhIshma, dhrONa and other vaidhikas (those who believe in vEdhams)
kAttiya – showed (in his mouth)
mAyavanai allAl – other than krishNa who showed amazing power (no one else)
en Na – my tongue
iRaiyEnum – even a little bit
EththAdhu – will not praise

  • second explanation when he showed the worlds that he had swallowed to mArkaNdEya

ezhundhu – getting up angrily (to destroy the worlds)
thI vizhiththu – looking with fiery eyes
seRRu – destroying (all the worlds)
senRa indha Ezh ulagum maRRu ivai – (saying) these are the seven worlds that went (inside my stomach)
AvenRu vAy angAndhu – opening his divine mouth wide open
muRRum – all the worlds
maRaiyavarkku – to mArkaNdEya rishi (sage), a vaidhika (one who believes in vEdhams)
kAttiya – one who showed mercifully
mAyavanai allAl – other than emperumAn who has agatithagatanA sAmarthyam (the ability to bind together those which cannot be bound)

(another person)
en nA – my tongue
iRaiyEnum – even a little bit
EththAdhu – will not praise

vyAkyAnam

When the reference is to dhuryOdhana and others

[Just before the mahAbhAratha war, krishNa had gone to the court of dhritharAshtra as a messenger from yudhishtra and other pANdavas. dhuryOdhana, desiring to kill krishNa, had put a false seated throne for him when he visited the court. As soon as krishNa sat on that throne, the throne got pulled down and krishNa went down where dhuryOdhana had arranged for wrestlers to kill krishNa. But krishNa took his viSwarUpam (a form which encompasses the whole universe with all its galaxies) and showed it to bhIshma, dhrONa and such other vaidhikas, who follow vEdhams (sacred texts)]

seRRezhundhu thIvizhiththu – getting angry on dhuryOdhana et al who said “your coming here as a messenger is a mistake; pANdavas sending you as a messenger is mistake”, who laid out a false throne for him, who abused vidhura and who carried out contemptuous deeds to emperumAn and his followers, and looking at them with fiery eyes.

senRa indha Ezhulagum maRRivai A enRu vAy angAndhu – opening his divine mouth widely and telling them to see the worlds which are in the universe, inside his divine mouth

muRRum maRaiyvaRku kAttiya mAyavanai – the amazing entity [emperumAn] who showed all the worlds to vaidhikas such as bhIshma, dhrONa et al.

mAyavanai – this indicates the agatithagatanA Sakthi (the ability to bind entities which cannot be bound) of emperumAn, when he showed inside his mouth, the worlds which are floating in the universe outside.

mAyavanai allAl iRaiyEnum eththAdhu en nA – my tongue will not praise anyone other than that amazing benefactor vatathaLasAyi (one who lies on the banyan leaf). Here the reference [to not praising others is not to other dhEvathas, but] is to the other forms of emperumAn such as param (supreme being in SrIvaikuNtam), vyUha (his form in milky ocean) and other vibhava forms (incarnations).

en nA – my tongue which is unable to eat because it is not praising emperumAn.

en Na EththAdhu – since AzhwAr has said in the 64th pAsuram of this prabandham ‘thirumAlai alladhu dheyvam enrEththEn” (I will not worship anyone other than the consort of SrI mahAlakshmi) he has already confirmed that he will not praise other deities. Hence there is no need for him to convey the same message here. Instead, he is saying that he will not praise other forms of emperumAn [as mentioned above].

When the reference is to mArkaNdEya maharishi

ezhundhu – just as a mother throws out a stick that her child is playing with when the child tries to poke itself with that stick, emperumAn, desiring to put an end to the world when he sees the samsAris (dwellers of materialistic realm) utilising the sensory perceptions that he had given them in the wrong ways as this would disable them from harming themselves more and more, gets up angrily.

thI vizhiththu – looking at the samsAris with fiery eyes such that they will get annihilated by his mere look, manifesting in his eyes, the anger in his heart, at their improper deeds.

senRa indha Ezhulagum seRRu – destroying the seven worlds such that they (the inhabitants of these worlds) will be without a form and name, and keeping them within himself

Ezh ulagum – mentioning seven worlds implies all the worlds

maRRu – more than that

ivaiyAvenRu – aren’t the destroyed entities these

vAyangAndhu – opening his divine mouth widely

muRRum – as mentioned in mahAbhAratham AraNya kANdam 191-123 “yachcha kinchin mayA lOkE dhrushtam sthAvarajangamam, thatha: paSyamaham sarvam thasya kukshau mahAthmana:” (whatever entities in the world which were seen seen by me, whether mobile or immobile, I have seen them in that supreme being’s divine stomach), all the destroyed worlds

maRaiyavaRkuk kAttiya mAyavanani – the amazing emperumAn who showed to mArkaNdEya bhagavAn (great sage mArkaNdEya) all the worlds as they were before [annihilation].

mAyavanai – how amazing is this! It is amazing that even after destroying all the entities leaving them as they were for mArkaNdEya to see! It is amazing that even after removing their names and forms, leaving them as before, for mArkaNdEya to see! The opinion here is that no one else can demonstrate such an agatithagatanA Sakthi (power to bind those entities which cannot be bound together)

mAyavanai allAl iRaiyEnum EththAdhu en nA – my tongue will not praise anyone other than that amazing benefactor vatathaLasAyi (one who lies on the banyan leaf). Here the reference is to the other forms of emperumAn such as param (supreme being in SrIvaikuNtam), vyUha (his form in milky ocean) and other vibhava forms(incarnations).

en nA – my tongue which is unable to eat because it is not praising emperumAn.

en Na EththAdhu – since AzhwAr has said in the 64th pAsuram of this prabandham ‘thirumAlai alladhu dheyvam enrEththEn” (I will not worship anyone other than the consort of SrI mahAlakshmi) he has already confirmed that he will not praise other deities. Hence there is no need for him to convey the same message here. Instead, he is saying that he will not praise other forms of emperumAn [as mentioned above].

We shall take up the 95th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 93 – vayiRazhala vALuruvi

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avathArikai

The previous pAsuram mentioned about the partiality that emperumAn shows towards his followers. emperumAn asks AzhwAr “is there such a partiality in me? I have not known of such partiality within me”. AzhwAr responds through this pAsuram “if it weren’t there, did the rage that you showed against iraNiyan (hiraNya kashyap) an act?”. Did you show your anger because he was an apt enemy for you? In the previous pAsuram, emperumAn’s quality of vAthsalyam (motherly love) was mentioned. This pAsuram mentions the rage born out of that vAthsalyam.

Let us enjoy the pAsuram and its meanings:

vayiRu azhala vALuruvi vandhAnai anja
eyiRu ilaga vAy maduththadhu en nI poRi ugirAl
pU vadivai Idu azhiththa pon Azhik kaiyA nin
sEvadimEl  Idazhiyach cheRRu

Word by Word Meanings

pU vadivai – the beauty of flowers
Idu azhiththa – lowering their esteem very much
pon Azhi kaiyA – having a divine hand which holds the divine chakkaram (divine disc)
vayiRu azhala – (followers) to grieve with sorrow
vAL uruvi vandhAnai – iraNiyan who came  wielding his sword
anja – to become fearful (of your divine form)
nin sEvadimEl – (keeping) on your reddish divine feet
poRi ugirAl – with multi coloured finger nails
Idu azhiyach cheRRu – even after destroying to smithereens
eyiRu ilaga – showing brightly your teeth
nI vAy maduththadhu en – why did you fold your tongue?

vyAkyAnam

vayiRu azhala vAL uruvi vandhAnai – after seeing the way iraNiyan came wielding his sword, emeprumAn’s followers were grieving as to what harm will befall him. Just as thirumangai AzhwAr says in periya thirumozhi 5-7-5 “enganE uyvar dhAnavar ninaiththAl” (how will the demons sustain themselves when they think [of what happened to hiraNya kashyap]?), emperumAn’s followers also were afraid after seeing the divine form of narasimha (combination of lion face and human torso).

vayiRu azhala – to grieve with sorrow. Who is grieving with sorrow? It is AzhwAr. AzhwAr is thinking that iraNiyan is wielding his sword now, against narasimha, instead of thinking that he had done like that several yugas (eons) back. This is similar to periyAzhwAr saying with the emotional stance of yaSOdhA in periyAzhwAr thirumozhi 3-3-7 “enRum en piLLaikkuth thImai seyvArgaL anganam AvArgaLE” (those who harm my son (krishNa) will suffer the same way). This is also similar to sugrIva telling SrI rAma in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 17-5 “asmAn hanthum na samSaya:” (without doubt he (vibhIshaNa) has come only to kill us” [such is their fear for the safety of emperumAn].

anja eyiRu ilaga vAy maduththadhu en nI – why did you fold you tongue to display your teeth, in such a way that iraNiyan was scared? Isn’t this ostentatious laughter appearing sweet to pirAttis (consorts of emperumAn) also? This act has not been done because there was no other way! This laughter, with your teeth visible, is more liked by pirAttimArs than the gentle smile that you show when you are together with them.

poRi ugirAl – with the finger nails, made of many colours

pU vadivai Idu azhiththa pon Azhik kaiyA – Oh emperumAn who are holding in your hand, the divine disc which has won over even flowers by its softness and beauty! The word ponnAzhi could also be construed to refer to the special ring on his hand.

nin sEvadi mEl Idazhiyach cheRRu – keeping iraNiyan on his divine feet which is used by his pirAttimArs (consorts) to recline; keeping iraNiyan on his divine feet which his followers, like ourselves, desire; blowing iraNiyan to smithereens such that he cannot be stuck together again, and then…

eyiRu ilaga vAy madiththadhu en nI – why did you fold your tongue and remain angry without controlling it, even after killing iraNiyan with your divine nails, instead of killing him either through your vow or through your divine disc? Isn’t the reason for this due to your love for your devotee prahlAdha! Even after killing iraNiyan, didn’t you take your own time to reduce your rage! emperumAn himself remains in a way similar to that mentioned by SrI rAma in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 114-10 “maraNAnthAni vairANi” (enmity ceases with the occurrence of death). When a danger befell his follower sugrIva in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kAndam 41-4 did he not say “thvayi kinchith samApannE kim kAryam sIthayA mama” (what is the benefit for me with sIthA if any danger comes your way)? The term vAthsalyam does not refer to the cow suckling its calf. It is pushing out its earlier born calf with its horn, in order to protect the calf that it gave birth to on that day! Just as thirumangai AzhwAr mentioned in periya thirumozhi 5-8-3 “koNda sIRRam  uNduLadhu” (there is an anger that you took upon yourself), it is this rage that he takes against his enemies which provides the refuge to his followers when his followers are threatened. Is there any limit to the rage that SrI rAma had when his devotee hanuman was injured by rAvaNa when rAvaNa shot his arrows? SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam describes this in its SlOka 59-136 “thathO rAmO mahA thEjA:” (SrI rAma was radiant then). rAvaNa who was looking at this could not look SrI rAma in his face. Is it possible to control an ocean if it starts burning? “rAvaNEna krutham vraNam” (the injury created by rAvaNa) – rAvaNa created an insignificant problem for hanuman as much as a mosquito will create for a lion. Is this injury (created by rAvaNa) anywhere near that which hanuman experienced when he tried to pluck sun thinking that it was a fruit, when he was wandering in the sky? SrI rAma became angry because he could not tolerate even this small injury to his follower hanuman. “dhrustvA kOpasya vaSamEyivAn” (on seeing, he came under the control of anger). After seeing the injury to hanuman, SrI rAma could not be seen. He forgot himself. He forgot hanuman. hanuman had earlier said “na rAvaNa sahasram mE” (even if a thousand rAvaNas come, they cannot equal me). But rAma thought of hanuman as a monkey [and not as a mighty warrior when rAvaNa showered his arrows on hanuman]. “kOpaysa vaSamEyivAn” (he came under the control of anger). Just as hanuman appeared to lose to someone who is not his equal, SrI rAma lost to his anger which was not up to his standard. It was that SrI rAma who became enraged who was described as in SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 20-4 “nakrudhyathyapiSabdhOpi krOdhanIyAni varjayan” (since he avoids giving space for anger, even if he is abused he does not become angry) and as said in SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam  1-10 “sa cha nithyam prASAnthAthmA mrudhupUrvam cha bhAshathE uchyamAnOpi parusham nOththaram prathipadhyathE ” (always having a soft heart, he talks softly. Even if others use harsh words, he does not respond to that)!

We shall take up the 94th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 92 – vAnAgith thIyAy

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avathArikai

The earlier pAsuram mentioned about emperumAn protecting his followers. In this pAsuram, it is mentioned that  even though emperumAn has attained everything, he still considers those materials which have been touched by his followers as the ones sustaining him. In each of his incarnations, he considers whatever materials sustain those who are born in that species as those which sustain him. As examples, when he incarnated as varAha (boar), the tuber kOraikkizhangu was his sustaining foodstuff and when he incarnated as krishNa (in the clan of cowherds), butter sustained him.

Let us look at the pAsuram and its meanings:

vAnAgith thIyAy maRi kadalAy mArudhamAy
thEnAgip pAlAm thirumAlE AnAychchi
veNNey vizhunga niRaiyumE munnorunAL
maNNai umizhndha vayiRu

Word by Word Meanings

vAn Agi – taking the form of ether (sky)
thI Ay – taking the form of agni (fire)
maRi kadal Ay – taking the form of ocean
mArudham Ay – taking the form of wind

(thus, being the controller of universe)
thEn Agi – (for nithyars and mukthars, permanent dwellers of SrIvaikuNtam and those who have got liberated from samsAram and have reached SrIVaikuNtam respectively) being sweet, like honey
pAl Am – he will be enjoyable, similar to milk
thirumAlE – Oh the consort of mahAlakshmi!
An Aychchi – when born in the clan of cowherds who tend to cows
veNNey vizhunga – when swallowing butter
mun oru nAL – once upon a time
maNNai – all the worlds
umizhndha – spat out
vayiRu – the divine stomach
niRaiyumE – will it get filled-up?

vyAkyAnam

vAn Agith thIyAy maRi kadalAy mArudhamAy – being the controller of all those who are living in the worlds, made of the five elements (sky, fire, water, wind and earth)

thEnAgip pAlAm thirumAlE – chAndhOgya upanishath 3-14-2 says “sarvarasa:” (emperumAn is sweet so that those who are in paramapadham (SrIvaikuNtam) can enjoy him). nampiLLai, with lot of involvement, will mercifully say that it is impossible to match the beauty of the way in which nanjIyar (his AchArya) would explain the line thEnAgip pAlAm thirumAlE. Thus, by the words vAnAgi and thEnAgi both nithya vibhUthi (spiritual realm) and leelA vibhUthi (materialistic realm) have been referred to. His status as the consort of SrI mahAlakshmi is superior to these two, in terms of his wealth.

An Aychchi vNNey vizhunga niRaiyumE – this line implies that even though he has no unfulfilled desires, there are still certain materials that he desires. Butter is more desirable to emperumAn than pirAtti’s (SrI mahAlakshmi’s) divine bosom. pirAtti’s bosom is for his enjoyment whereas butter is for his sustenance. Hasn’t nammAzhwAr mercifully said in thiruvAimozhi 1-3-1malar magaL virumbum nam arumpeRaladigaL – uralinOdu iNaindhirundhu Engiya eLivu – eththiRam”(how simple and amazing is the quality of our swAmy (lord) who is very much desired by pirAtti and is very rare to attain, who was tied down to a mortar and had a forlorn look!)

An Aychchi veNNey vizhunga niRaiyumE mun oru nAL maNNai umizhndha vayiRu – once upon a time, when there was deluge, you had saved the earth by keeping it in your stomach and later spat it out so that it could see other spatial bodies. Did you eat butter to fill up such a stomach (which held the entire earth within itself)?

An Aychchi veNNey –  cowherd women’s butter is just a material. It appears that kaNNan (SrI krishNa) would not eat the butter if the strength of smell of the cowherd clan is reduced even a little bit in the butter!

niRaiyumE – will it fill? Is it not required to stuff the entire expansive space inside the stomach with butter? Just as the samsAris will suffer because of deluge, kaNNan will also suffer if he does not get butter. It is said that piLLai uRangA villi dhAsar (a disciple of SrI rAmAnuja) would say that the space inside kaNNan’s stomach, which will not get filled up however much butter he eats, could be let out to washermen [the meaning implied here is that kaNNan’s stomach is similar to the washerman’s pot which will never get filled up however much clothes are filled in it for applying starch].

Let us take up the 93rd pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 91 – Unak kurumbaiyin

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AzhwAr says that even though emperumAn is such that he would grant whatever we ask of him, other than those who get rid of their desire for worldly pursuits and surrender to his divine feet, it is very difficult to attain paramapadham (SrIvaikuNtam). In order to attain the goal, shouldn’t one get an inkling about lowly matters that they are lowly and attainable matters that they are to be attained? In the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr mentioned about the help that emperumAn rendered to one (prahlAdha) who had desire towards him. In this pAsuram, he says that desire is the only one which is required.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

Unak kurumbaiyin uL pukku iruL nIkki
gyAnach chudar koLIi nAL dhORum Enaththu
uruvAy ulagu idandha UzhiyAn pAdham
maruvAdhArkku uNdAmO vAn

Word by Word Meaning

Unak kurumbaiyin – in the hut called body made of flesh
uL pukku – entering (analysing)
iruL  – ignorance (which considers the body as sweet)
nIkki – removing
gyAnam sudar – lamp of true knowledge
koLIi – lighting
Enaththu uru Ay – incarnating as varAha form (wild boar)
ulagu idandha – one who separated the world from the shell of the universe
UzhiyAn – one who was present during deluge, that emperumAn’s
pAdham – divine feet
nAL dhORum – every day
maruvAdhArkku – those who do not worship
vAn – paramapadham (SrIvaikuNtam)
uNdAmO – will it be available?

vyAkyAnam

Unak kurumbaiyin uL pukku – reaching up to the point where faults are located inside the body which is having abundance of faults. Isn’t the body made of flesh! Doesn’t body, looking at it superficially, appear to be good to look at, hiding its qualities of being lowly, mean, unstable, worthless, disgusting, covered with a layer of skin to hide the inner features! Body is referred to as a hut since the body is like a hut for AthmA (soul).

iruL nIkki – removing the ignorance which considers body as pleasurable

gyAnach chudal koLIi – lighting the lamp of knowledge. Knowing the characteristics of AthmA (soul) as they are, enabling knowledge about emperumAn, forgetting about self which is an attribute and focussing on emperumAn who is the substrate [holding the attribute]. The characteristic of AthmA is not something which is formed at one point of time and removed at another. It is there always. If it is hidden, thoughts seeking other benefits [instead of service to emperumAn] and about other means [instead of emperumAn’s divine feet] will come on their own.

nAL dhORum maruvAdhArkku uNdAmO vAn – will paramapadham (SrIvaikuNtam) fructify for those who do not worship at the divine feet of emperumAn who transformed himself in order to protect his possessions (when he protected earth by transforming himself as varAha, the boar) unlike those who try to save themselves when their possessions are being destroyed?

nAL dhORum – would SrIvaikuNtam be attainable for those who do not think everyday ,with total focus, of the divine feet of emperumAn who dug out the earth during his incarnation as varAha?

UzhiyAn – he protects us even during deluge, when we are not there and he is present. An incident is quoted here about periya kOyil dhAsar, who was a disciple of nanjIyar (AchAryan of nampiLLai, who is the commentator for this prabandham). periya kOyil dhAsar, who had surrendered to the divine feet of nanjIyar, did not come to nanjIyar for many days. One day he came to nanjIyar and heard a few good words. One of the persons present there at that time, told dhAsar “it has been a long time since you came here” to which dhAsar responded saying “isn’t my goal a certainty when I attained the divine feet of nanjIyar? My loss is a few days when I did not see him in-between” The person (who spoke to him first) realised that dhAsar has given up the habit (and the faith due to that) of coming to his AchAryan everyday and listening to his good words. He asked dhAsar “has not AzhwAr mercifully sung the pAsuram ‘nAL dhORum maruvAdhArkku uNdAmO vAn?’. Have you not heard of this pAsuram?’ You do not speak like someone who has seen the difference of having worshipped at the divine feet of nanjIyar for a few days”. While atonement has been mentioned [in sacred texts] for those who, out of ignorance, miss a step when carrying out their karma (deeds, both good and bad), has it been stated that emperumAn can be attained even by those who do not have a desire in attaining him? Would a person, who has once surrendered to emperumAn but who goes about his usual ways in pursuing worldly matters in samsAram [after this act of surrendering], get his desired benefit? He had missed out on the benefit [of carrying out service to emperumAn] not because he had no qualification for it but because he had not desired it. In order to enjoy emperumAn, it is not that only chEthana (sentient entity) is required; the desire [by chEthana] is also required. When obtaining such a huge benefit, shouldn’t at least desire be there?

Let us consider the 92nd pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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