Category Archives: mudhal thiruvandhAdhi

mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 90 – varaththAL vali ninaindhu

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avathArikai

In the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr pointed out to entities which are like emperumAn and how he sustained himself. In this pAsuram, he mentions about how emperumAn removed the enemy of his devotee prahlAdha through his physical form and how he gave himself to prahlAdha. AzhwAr mentions about emperumAn’s qualities of removing the enemies of his followers and showering affection on his followers.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

varaththAl vali ninaindhu mAdhava nin pAdham
siraththAl vaNangAnAm enRE uraththinAl
IrariyAy nEr valiyOnAna iraNiyanai
Or ariyAl nI idandhadhu Un

Word by Word Meanings

Ir ari Ay – being the enemy appropriate to be cut
nEr valiyOn Ana – having the strength to fight in direct combat
iraNiyanai – hiraNya kashyap’s
Un – body
Or ari Ay – unique form of narasimha (face of lion and body of human)
uraththinAl – through (your) strength
nI idandhadhu – you tore
varaththAl – through boons (granted by brahmA and other celestial entities)
vali ninaindhu – thinking of (his) huge strength
siraththAl – through his head
nin pAdham – your divine feet
vaNangAnAm enRE – was it because he did not worship? (no; it was because emperumAn could not tolerate the faults [committed by hiraNya kashyap] towards his follower prahlAdha)

vyAkyAnam

varaththAl vali ninaindhu – iraNiyan (hiraNya kashyap) thought a great deal about the boons that he had obtained from various deities, who were given that power [to grant boons] by emperumAn. He had thought a mountain out of a mole hill. With the boons obtained, he thought that he was more powerful than emperumAn himself. Alternatively, he did not know that the deities who granted him the boons were under the control of emperumAn.

mAdhava – isn’t the consort of thirumagaL (SrI mahAlakshmi), the entity to be attained by everyone!

nin pAdham siraththAl vaNangAnAm enRE – Did you kill him because he did not bow down to your divine feet? You did not kill him because he considered you as an enemy. You killed him because he considered the child prahlAdha as his enemy and tortured him. Had you ever thought that he had committed fault against you? You only thought that he had not attained the benefit that he should have and that he did not regret his actions. It could also be considered that emperumAn did not want his property (the soul of iraNiyan) to go in the wrong path and end up suffering and hence killed him.

uraththinAl – you destroyed him through your strength. Though he had obtained so many boons, even iraNiyan had to retreat after seeing your strength .

Ir ariyAy nEr valiyOnAna iraNiyanai – he was the enemy apt to be torn asunder, strong enough to engage with you in direct combat. Earlier AzhwAr had spoken of the power of his boons (varaththAl vali ninaindhu). Here he is referring to the strength of his shoulders (nEr valiyOn).

uraththinAl Ir ariyAy – an enemy fit to be broken through strength; enemy fit to be killed. Alternatively, he was the enemy whose body you had torn with your strength.

Or ariyAy – as a unique lion. AzhwAr is saying that he is the incomparable narasingam (combination of lion and human being), anywhere in the world. Another explanation – he is the narasingam that his followers will always aim to attain, thinking of the activity that he had undertaken for the sake of his follower.  In other words, this indicates the way his followers, coming after the time of prahlAdha, will rid themselves of their fear, after meditating on emperumAn’s activity in protecting prahlAdha from his enemy. Or ariyAy – unlike the other lions which were created by brahmA, this was the incarnation that emperumAn took out, of his own volition.

nI idandhadhu Un – you tore his body. You carried out this activity to benefit iraNiyan so that iraNiyan’s soul will not suffer further as he had not worshipped you, an act that was apt for iraNiyan. Isn’t worshipping emperumAn the apt activity for the soul! Several pramANams (authentic sources) have been quoted in the vyAkyAnam to substantiate this point: (a) nammAzhwAr’s thiruvAimozhi 6-5-1 “thozhum ivaL” (she who worships) (b)” prahvAnjaliputasthitha:” (he stood  in humility with folded palms) (c) mahAbhAratham SAnthi parvam 344-45 “nama: ithyEdhi vAdhina:” (those who say  nama: (I am totally dependent on you)). (Physical) Body is formed in order to make the person suffer, just as it happened in the case of kaikEyi! Did you tear apart iraNiyan’s body because he did not worship you! No. (it was only because he caused hardship to prahlAdha).

We shall take up the 91st pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 88 – nAdilum ninnadiyE

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avathArikai

In the previous (87th) pAsuram, AzhwAr said that the world has understood the greatness of emperumAn. The reason for this is that thirukkOvalUr is a part of this earth. But, despite understanding the greatness of emperumAn, the earth did not get to attain him. It appeared that yama (the deity of righteousness) had time [here], looking at the activities of samsAris (dwellers of this materialistic realm). Despite sIthAppirAtti telling rAvaNa in SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 21-20 “thEna maithrI bhavathu thE” (let friendship happen for you with SrI rAma) and Sri rAma saying, as in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 18-19 “yathi vA rAvaNasvayam” (even if it is rAvaNa himself, bring him), rAvaNa did not bow down to Sri Rama and lost his heads, did not he! Thus, AzhwAr looked at himself and said “Let the word do whatever it wants. Just as it is mentioned in thiruvAimozhi 1-2-8uLLam urai seyal uLLa immUnRaiyum” (the three faculties of mind, speech and action), I am indeed fortunate to engage with emperumAn with the three faculties of mind, speech and action!”. When everyone lost his belonging to a waylaying robber, one person alone escaped from that; in the same way while the rest of the world is engaged in worldly pursuits, I am able to involve with emperumAn and my mind, speech and actions are totally engaged with him, says the AzhwAr.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

nAdilum ninnadiyE nAduvan nAdORum
pAdilum nin pugazhE pAduvan sUdilum
pon Azhi EndhinAn ponnadiyE sUduvERku
ennAgil ennE enakku

Word by Word Meaning

nAdilum – when thinking (with the mind)
nin adiyE – only your divine feet
nAduvan – I shall think of
pAdilum – when singing (with the mouth)
nin pugazhE pAduvan – I shall sing only your praises
sUdilum – when thinking to wear (something) on the head
pon Azhi EndhinAn –  holding the divine disc, your
pon adiyE – beautiful divine feet
sUduvERku – one, wearing (on the head)
enakku – for me
en Agil en – what if something happens (to someone)?

vyAkyAnam

nAdilum nin adiyE nAduvan – when I am searching with the help of my heart, I shall search only for your divine feet.

nAdORum pAdilum nin pugazhE pAduvan – when praising every day, I shall praise only your glory. The usage of the long syllable [E] in adiyE and pugazhE implies that carrying out these is not with some other benefit in mind, but keeping the activity itself [searching or praising] as the benefit.

sUdilum pon Azhi EndhinAn pon adiyE sUduvERku – for me who would wear only the beautiful divine feet of yours, who are holding the beautiful divine disc, when I want to wear anything on my head

ennAgil ennE enakku – how does it matter to me as to what happens to the others who are in this world? Another interpretation – even if I go to SrIvaikuNtam, I will be engrossed with emperumAn with my mind, speech and action; since I have attained that here itself, what does it matter as to where I am? Yet another interpretation – what is the point in feeling sorry for the samsAris? They will attain emperumAn if they know about him and will lose, if they do not know about him. What does it matter to me? While the means [to reach emperumAn] is through his mercy, isn’t the loss due to our activities? AzhwAr says that he obtained the benefit because emperumAn is in thirukkOvalUr. Is it possible for me to correct the samsAris? He completes the pAsuram feeling happy that at least he was able to benefit.

Let us proceed to the 89th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 87 – iniyAr puguvAr

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avathArikai

AzhwAr says that after emperumAn came here [thirukkOvalUr], there will be no one to go to naragam (hell). Those in charge of naragam will have to close the gates and leave the place. AzhwAr is mercifully saying what nammAzhwAr mercifully said in thiruvAimozhi 5-2-1naliyum naragamum naindha namanukku ingu yAdhonRumillai” (hell which causes suffering, was destroyed. There is no work for yama (Lord of righteousness and the one in charge of hell) in this place.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

iniyAr puguvAr ezhu naraga vAsal
muniyAdhu mUriththAL kOmin kanisAyak
kanRu eRindha thOLAn kanai kazhalE kANbadhaRku
nangaRindha nAvalam sUzh nAdu

Word by Word Meanings

kani – the demon who was in the form of wood-apple
sAya – to fall down and perish
kanRu – demon who came in the form of a calf
eRindha – thrown
thOLAn – emperumAn who has divine shoulders
kanai kazhalE – divine feet with ornaments which make a sound
kANbadhaRku – to  see (the path)
am nAval sUzh nAdu – the living creatures in the expansive country which is beautiful and goes by the name of jambhUdhwIpam
nangu aRindhana – knew very well
ini – henceforth
ezhu naraga vAsal – at the gates of the seven types of hell
yAr puguvAr – who will enter

(Oh yamakinkaras!) [servitors of yama]
muniyAdhu – without getting angry (at me)
mUri thAL kOmin – close (the gates of hell) with strong latch

vyAkyAnam

ezhu naraga vAsal ini yAr puguvAr – Who will enter the gates to the seven hell henceforth? After emperumAn said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 18-66 “sarvapApEbhyO mOkshayishyAmi” (I shall liberate from all sins) what is the purpose for various types of hell where one has to experience the effects of those sins? ezhu naraga vAsal could also be construed as the gate to hell attained by those who leave from their physical forms and rise. After the incarnation of AzhwArs, there is no old samsAram (materialistic realm) [that is, the samsAram that used to be dreadful is now changed].

muniyAdhu – there is no significance for the anger of yamakinkarars (servitors of yama). AzhwAr tells them “Hence please listen to what I am saying without getting angry that I am talking of the destruction of your place”. If you get angry, you will suffer the same fate that befell the demons who came in the form of wood-apple and calf.

mUriththAL kOmin – Close the hell with a huge latch. Only if the closure is a temporary one, would one need to use a small latch. Since there is no work for hell, close it with a huge latch.

kani sAyak kanRu eRindha thOLAn kanai kazhalE kANbadhaRku – to see the divine feet, which make a sound due to ornaments [anklets], of the one who has beautiful shoulders, who threw a calf which was possessed by a demon, to kill a wood-apple which was possessed by another demon. The sound of the ornaments donned on the divine feet of emperumAn, which he changed while he targeted the wood-apple with a calf, is referred to here as kanai kazhal.

nAvalam sUzh nAdu nangu aRindha – the people in this world called jambUdhwIpam (nAvalam thIvu) knew beautifully well the divine feet of the one who has the capability to destroy enemies. They will not leave this earth which has thirukkOvalUr in it, where emperumAn has taken residence. This becomes the reason for emperumAn to protect us. Haven’t the sages of dhaNdakAraNya told SrI rAma  in SrI rAmAyaNam AraNya kANdam 1-19 “thE vayam bhavathA rakshyA bhavath vishayavAsina:” (we, who live in your country, are to be protected by you)! Mentioning of thirukkOvalUr here implies that this will be true of all dhivyadhEsams (divine abodes) where emperumAn has taken residence [as archchAvathAram, idol form]. The AzhwAr believes that the dhivyadhESams  where the aruLichcheyal (collection of all dhivyaprabandham of AzhwArs) is learnt, form the body for the country.

We shall consider the 88th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 85 – padi kaNdaRidhiyE

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avathArikai

AzhwAr tells his heart to keep enjoying further the boundless greatness of emperumAn. His heart asks him “I have been enjoying his greatness. What else should I do?“. AzhwAr says “you have only learnt to attain him after controlling your sensory perceptions. What have you seen among his qualities?”.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

padi kaNdu aRidhiyE pAmbaNaiyinAn puL
kodi kaNdu aRidhiyE kURAy vadivil
poRi aindhum uLLadakki pOdhodu nIr Endhi
neRi ninRa nenjamE nI

Word for Word Meaning

vadivil [vadivu il] – without any form
poRi aindhum – the five sensory perceptions
uL adakki – controlling them inside the body
pOdhodu nIr Endhi – taking flowers and water
neRi ninRa – standing firmly in the good path (of attaining emperumAn)
nenjamE – Oh heart!
nI – you
pAmbu aNaiyinAn – emperumAn who has thiruvananthAzhwAn (AdhiSEshan) as his mattress
padi – divine form
kaNdu aRidhiyE – have you seen and enjoyed?
puL kodi – (his) garuda flag mast
kaNdu aRidhiyE – have you worshipped?
kURAy – (you) tell

vyAkyAnam

padi kaNdu aRidhiyE – this can be construed as AzhWar asking his heart whether it has seen and known emperumAn’s qualities or it has seen and  known emperumAn’s divine form. padi can mean either quality or physical form. emperumAn’s divine physical form is a part of his qualities.

pAmbu aNaiyinAn puL kodi kaNdu aRidhiyE – have you seen the way emperumAn has given his divine form to thiruvananthAzhwAn (AdhiSEshan) and known about it? Have you seen his divine form in front of his garuda flag mast and known about it?

kURAy – you, who said that you have seen everything, please say what you have seen.

vadivil poRi aindhum uLLadakki – controlling inside the body, without letting them wander outside, the five sensory perceptions starting with ear etc. Alternatively, controlling the formless sensory perceptions. It is implied here that sensory perceptions have diversified desires, instead of converging interests. Has not thirumangai AzhwAr said in periya thirumozhi 1-6-3 “kaNdavA thirindha” (wandering as pleased)!

pOdhodu nIr Endhi neRi ninRa nenjamE nI – Oh my heart! you have controlled your senses and you are worshipping emperumAn with flowers and water. Please say what you have seen as the result of your devotion (did you see his divine form when he came in front of his flag?). Can you feel smug with the knowledge about him, before seeing him? While one should feel deeply desirous about enjoying emperumAn more and more, can you feel satisfied with mere knowledge? If one were satisfied with a little bit of enjoyment, it would not amount to really attaining emperumAn. If one were satisfied with mere knowledge, what had been attained would not be considered as knowledge at all! It would be considered as ignorance. Even nammAzhwAr, who was granted knowledge with the dimension of devotion, through “madhinalam aruLinan” (emperumAn granted knowledge and devotion), did not feel satiated with that and with the anguish of seeing that emperumAn immediately, in the thiruvAimozhi 5.3mAsaRu sOdhi”, threatened to carry out madal on emperumAn (in ancient literature, madal is a method by which the beloved girl will inform the whole town about the way the beloved boy had given hopes to her and then showed disinterest in her, with the aim of appealing to the townspeople to get them together)!

We shall consider the 86th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 84 – pirAn un perumai

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avathArikai

AzhwAr asks emperumAn whether his protective nature was such that some people could measure it! He says that emperumAn’s desire to protect was much larger than the objects which were to be protected.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

pirAn un perumai piRar Ar aRivAr
urAy ulagu aLandha  nAnRu varAgaththu
eyiRRaLavu pOdhAvARu enkolO endhai
adikkaLavu pOndha padi

Word by Word Meanings

pirAn – Oh emperumAn!
urAy – without any tiredness
ulagu aLandha nAnRu – when (you) measured the worlds
endhai – you, my swAmy
adikku – for the divine feet
aLavu pOndha – appropriate for measurement
padi – the earth
varAgaththu – in the form of varAha (incarnation as wild boar)
eyiRRu aLavu – one part of the tusk
pOdhA ArU – being insufficient
en kol – how?
un perumai  – your greatness
piRar Ar aRivAr – who can know (other than you)?

vyAkyAnam

pirAn un perumaiAzhwAr is wondering at the greatness of emperumAn. He says “One can only doubt whether you know or do not know your own greatness. No one can doubt that others are incapable of knowing your greatness” (is it not true that no one knows!).  thaiththirIya upanishath 2-8-9 says “sO angavEdha yadhi vA navEdha” (does he know or not, his own greatness).

urAy ulagu aLandha nAnRu – If we consider urAy is the same as ulAy (since the sounds ra and la are interchangeable as per grammar), it will mean wandering. In other words, emperumAn was wandering all over the place and measuring [during his incarnation as thrivikrama]. Alternatively, since celestial entities do not set their foot on earth, instead of doing like that on his own possession of earth, emperumAn kept his divine foot firmly on top of the heads of all the people. parASara bhattar would mercifully explain this as “when  he effortlessly measured, wandering”

endhai adikkaLavu pOndha padi varAgaththu eyiRRaLavu pOdhAvARu enkolo – the earth, which was sufficiently big for you to measure with your divine foot, became insignificant when you took your incarnation as varAha (wild boar) such that it appeared like a dot on the tusk of the boar. How did this happen? On one day, the earth was big enough, but on another day it was insignificant. How is this! Is it not because your desire to protect the earth is much bigger than that of the protected entity, earth! And, I am fully engrossed in such qualities of yours, says the AzhwAr.

We shall take up the 85th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 83 – varai kudai thOL

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avathArikai

emperumAn asks AzhwAr “how do you know that I am at the disposal of my followers and would engage in activities desired by them?”. AzhwAr responds, saying “you are holding the disc that killed the demons madhu and kaitabha. You also held the mountain gOvardhana as an umbrella and you also controlled the seven bulls. All these activities were  carried out for the sake of your followers and not without any reason ”

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

varai kudai thOL kAmbAga Anirai kAththu Ayar
nirai viadai Ezh seRRavAru ennE uravudaiya
nIrAzhi uL kidandhu nErA nisAsarar mEl
pErAzhi koNda pirAn

Word by Word Meanings

uravu udaiya – having strength
nIr AzhiyuL kidandhu – in the thiruppARkadal (milky ocean) containing water, where you were reclining
nEr Am – those who came as enemies
nisAsarar mEl – on the demons (madhu and kaitabha)
pEr Azhi koNda – striking the huge chakrAyudham (divine disc)
pirAn – Oh benefactor!
varai kudai (Aga) – holding the mountain (gOvardhana) as umbrella
thOL kAmbu Aga – making shoulders as the handle of umbrella
Anirai kAththu – protecting the herds of cows
Ayar – belonging to the cowherds
nirai vidai Ezh – the seven fat bulls
seRRa ARu – the way you killed them
ennE – how was it?

vyAkyAnam

varai kudai thOL kAmbAga Anirai kAththu – you  held the mountain (gOvardhana) which could not be shaken by anything, as an umbrella, keeping your shoulder as the handle for that mountain, in order to protect cows.

Ayar nirai vidai Ezh seRRavARu ennE – why did you kill the seven huge bulls which came as a hurdle to your marrying nappinnai pirAtti [incarnation of nILA dhEvi during krishNAvathAram]? Was it to demonstrate your omnipotent nature? It was to offer yourself to your followers, who have no other refuge,  by removing their enemies. Instead of hurling your divine disc at indhra [who ordained hailstorm to trouble the cowherds] you protected the cows and cowherds by lifting the gOvardhana hill, hurting your shoulders!

uravudaiya nIr AzhiyuL kidandhuuragam means snake and uravudaiya nIr would refer to ocean having snake. Here reference to snake implies all the wild species in the ocean. Alternatively uram also means midukku which is strength. Here it would refer to ocean which is deep. You were reclining on such thiruppARkadal (milky ocean).

nErA nisAsarar mEl – even during the time that you were resting, reclining on thiruppARkadal, you powdered to pieces the demons madhu and kataibha with your divine disc, when they came as enemies. What sort of activities have you indulged in – killing demons even when you were resting, holding the mountain which would have pained your shoulders, killing the well grown bulls risking your divine form! Thus, when his followers face trouble from their enemies, instead of killing them through his sankalp (will), emperumAn comes in person and removes their hurdles, suffering pain to his divine form.

We shall move on to the 84th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 82 – padaiyArum vAL kaNNAr

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When we have to recite the name of the one who churned the ocean, should we not see him in person and then recite? For those who say that only dhEvas (celestial people) can see and attain him, AzhwAr says that in order to remove their grief and to enable them to attain him emperumAn  has taken residence in thirumalai.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

padaiyArum vAL kaNNAr pArasinAL paimpUm
thodaiyalOdu Endhiya dhUpam idaiyidaiyil
mIn mAya mAsUNum vEngadamE mEl orunAL
mAn mAya eydhAn varai

Word by Word Meanings

padai Arum – like a sword
vAL kaNNar – women with radiant eyes
pArasi nAL – on the day of dhvAdhaSi (12th day of new moon or full moon)
pai – beautiful
pUm thodaiyalOdu – with garlands made of flowers
Endhiya – carrying
dhUpam – smoke
idaiyidaiyil mIn – stars which appear in between
mAya – to be hidden
mAsUNum – to become stained
vEngadamE – Oh thirumalai!
mEl oru nAL – once upon a time
mAn – mArIcha (a demon related to rAvaNa) who came in the form of deer
mAya – to die
eydhAn – one who shot the arrow
varai – (his) hill

vyAkyAnam

padaiyArum vAL kaNNAr – women with eyes like a [sharp] spear and having a bright radiance. The word padai refers to sword; hence it can also be construed as women with eyes sharp like a sword. The opinion here is that these women, whose beauty is such that others would desirously come and attain them, are attaining thirumalai (the divine hills) themselves.

pArasi nAL – on the 12th day of moon (either new or full)

paim pUm thodaiyalOdu Endhiya dhUpam – since these are young girls, their focus could shift to worldly pursuits. thiruvEngadam (thirumalai) has such a quality that instead of their straying into worldly pursuits, it is making them come to thirumalai and worship emperumAn. The beautiful garlands that these girls have strung are to be offered to emperumAn. They are also carrying fragrant smoke with them for worshipping emperumAn.

idai idaiyil mAsUNum vEngadamE – The smoke carried by these girls causes stain on the sky [over the thirumalai]. The garlands that they are carrying hide the starts that keep coming now and then in the sky.

mEl oru nAL mAn mAya eydhAn varai – in an earlier time, emperumAn engaged in an activity for sIthAppirAtti  in SrI rAmAyaNam. She desired to have a deer that came near their hermitage. SrI rAma, to fulfil her desire, went after the deer, and had to kill it. It is said that emperumAn will help these girls who have come to thirumalai to worship him. thirumalai is the residence of emperumAn who engages in activities for the sake of his followers, being at their disposal [as evident from the above mentioned incident]. It is mentioned in this pAsuram that this hill is the residence of emperumAn, who has no shortcoming in the qualities of being simple, being at the disposal of his followers, being sweet and capable of disposing of the enemies of his followers.

We shall move on to the 83rd pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 81 – ALamar venRi

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avathArikai

AzhwAr asks whether samsAris (those living in materialistic realm) can get rid of their samsAram by doing beneficial activities themselves. He is asking whether there is any way other than reciting emperumAn‘s divine names to survive. He says that there is no way to protect ourselves other than reciting the divine names of emperumAn, who churned the oceans, unmindful of his strain, while giving the elixir to those who were after other benefits [dhEvas, the celestial entities].

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

ALamar venRi adu kaLaththuL agyAnRu
vALamar vENdi varai nattu nILaravaich
chuRRik kadaindhAn peyar enRE thol nagaraip
paRRIk kadaththum padai

Word by Word Meanings

AL amar venRi adu kaLaththuL – in the battlefield which contains warriors and victory
agyAnRu – during that time (when the demons troubled dhEvas, the celestial entities)
vAL amar vENdi – desiring the war which carries respect
varai nattu – keeping the mantharagiri (a divine mountain) as (as agitator, to churn the ocean)
nIL aravaich chuRRi – coiling the long snake (vAsuki) as rope (for churning)
kadaindhAn – one who churned (the milky ocean)
peyar – divine names
paRRi – scooping (the chEthanas, the sentient entities)
thol naragai – the ancient hellish regions
kadaththum – will enable to cross
padai anRE – is it not an upAyam (means)!

vyAkyAnam

AL mar venRi adu kaLaththuL – being full of warriors, close to each other, having victory

adu kaLaththu – battlefield in which lives are lost

agyAnRu – that day when the demons troubled dhEvas and ate them up

vALamar vENdivAL – radiance. Desiring a war which will have radiance. When demons and celestial persons were engaged in the war, when the demons became very powerful and celestial persons started losing their strength, in order to create a war which will bring esteem for celestials who are friendly towards him and who are his followers, emperumAn waited.

varai nattu nIL aravaich chuRRik kadaindhAn peyar anrE – but that needs a means. In deep waters [of the ocean] keeping a mountain which can sink, coiling the soft snake vAsuki, emperumAn churned the huge ocean.

thol naragaip paRRik kadaththum padai –  is it not the divine name of emperumAn who is capable of measuring the ocean and churning it, which is capable of making us to cross the ancient hell of samsAram (materialistic realm) and to keep us in mOksham (SrIvaikuNtam)!

paRRik kadaththum padai – is it not the divine name of emperumAn which will sweep us from samsAram and keep us in paramapadham (SrIvaikuNtam)! Just as emperumAn gave elixir to those who desired other benefits [dhEvas], just as svayamprabhai (a lady character in SrI rAmAyaNam) through the power of her penance, placed the army of monkeys who went in search of sIthAppirAtti on the shores of the ocean, the divine name of emperumAn will, by itself, take us to paramapadham and uplift us by giving us dhAsyAmrutham (the nectar of servitorship). jithanthE SlOkam 4 says “thvAmEva SaraNam prApya nistharanthi manIshiNa:” (those people who surrender to you cross samsAram).

We shall take up the 82nd pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 80 – aduththa kadum

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avathArikai

AzhwAr says that it is not that emperumAn redeemed the worlds from mahAbali. If a person surrenders to him and if there is enmity between this person and his follower, not withstanding his own words “na kshamAmi” (I will not forgive the enemies of my followers) emperumAn will unite the person who has surrendered with his followers. There was once a snake by name sumukan. While garuda, a nithyasUri (permanent dweller of SrIvaikuNtam) and emperumAn’s vehicle, wanted sumukan as his food. sumukan, upon hearing this, got frightened. He went to indhra lOkam (the world of indhra, who is the head of celestial entities) and surrendered to emperumAn who was sitting on a throne there at that time, by coiling himself on the leg of the throne. This is all that is required for one who wants to surrender. Just as the rishis told SrI rAmA in SrI rAmAyaNam AraNya kANdam 1-20 “thE vayam bhavathA rakshyA: bhavadhvishayavAsina:” (we, who are living in your country, are to be protected by you), all that is required is to be within the boundary of the place where emperumAn blesses his followers. garuda, who went in search of sumukan, saw him near the throne of emperumAn and asked him to give sumukan as his food. emperumAn responded saying that he cannot give up one who has surrendered to him. garuda, becoming angry, let out a few harsh words typical of confidential servants (such as “is this the gift you are offering to someone who has been bearing you all along?”). emperumAn calmed him down and gave garuda the responsibility of protecting sumukan. garuda wore sumukan around his neck like an ornament and protected him.

Let us enjoy the pAsuram and its meanings:

aduththa kadum pagaigyaRku ARREn enROdi
paduththa perum pAzhi sUzhndha vidaththaravai
vallALan kai koduththa mAmEni mAyavanukku
allAdhum AvArO AL

Word by Word Meanings

aduththa kadum pagaigyaRku – against garuda, who is a natural enemy
ARREn enRu – I cannot survive (in a direct contest)
Odi – moving rapidly
paduththa perum pAzhi – the large cot on which (emperumAn) reclines
sUzhndha – coiling (around its leg)
vidaththu aravai – a poisonous snake (by name sumukan)
vallALan – garuda who is powerful
kai koduththa – mercifully handing over to him for protection
mA mEni mAyavanukku  allAdhum – other than emperumAn who has great divine form and is a wondrous entity
AvArO AL – will they become servitors?

vyAkyAnam

aduththa kadum pagai – enmity which is very closely related. Starting from their birth, there has been enmity between garuda and snakes. The fight started between garuda’s mother vinathai and snakes’ mother kathru.

kadum pagai – the enmity is such severe that if the name of one person is mentioned to a person on the other side, the other person will end his life.

ARREn enRu Odi – sumukan, fearful of such garuda, ran away saying that he cannot stand against garuda in a fight.

paduththa perum pAzhi sUzhndha – sumukan coiled around the leg of emperumAn’s cot which was appropriate for emperumAn. Words such as pAyal, pAzhi, pAsi refer to cot.

vidaththu aravai – emperumAn saved that sumukan who is poisonous. Did sumukan have any qualities such as samam (controlling mind) or dhamam (controlling the external senses)? Even among enemies one may across one with good qualities (such as vibhIshaNa). But sumukan is not like that. SrIvishNu purANam 5-7-72 says “sarpajAthiriyam krUrA:” (the species of snakes are cruel). This implies that sumukan is not one on whom emperumAn would shower his grace.

vallALan kai koduththa – there is none as skillful as emperumAn when it comes to protecting those who have surrendered. emperumAn told the person who sumukan was scared of and came running to him, to protect him after giving sumukan to him. Just as people remove the poison through the snake which injected the poison in the first place, emperumAn made the enemy of sumukan (garuda) to protect him. Did  not emperumAn [as SrI rAma] make sugrIva mahArAja who said in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 17-29 “vadhyathAm” (let vibhIshaNan be killed) to say “asmAbhi: thulyO bhavathu” (let vibhIshaNa be equal to us)! By handing over sumukan to garuda and protecting him through garuda, emperumAn ensured that his words in varAha purANam “na kshamAmi” (I will not tolerate the enemies of followers) and in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 18-3 “na thyajEyam” (I will not give up on those who surrendered) rang true.

mA mEni – this refers to the greatness in the divine physical form of emperumAn after protecting sumukan. In SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 1-83 it says “kruthakruthya: thadhA rAma:” (only after coronating vibhIshaNa  SrI rAma felt that he had carried what he had intended to)!

mAyavanukku – emperumAn is most wondrous.  he cannot detect himself, the boundary for the bias that he has towards his followers.

allAdhum AvArO AL – can one become a servitor to anyone other than emperumAn? Those who are servitors to other deities have to look after their protection themselves. Isn’t it only emperumAn, who takes it upon himself to take charge of the protection of a person who has surrendered to him, who should be attained! Hasn’t nammAzhwAr mercifully said in thiruviruththam 27 “sEmam sengOn aruLE” (our protection is only through the mercy of emperumAn)!

We shall take up the 81st pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 79 – koNdArai allAl

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It has been mentioned in the previous pAsurams that emperumAn transforms himself and is capable of carrying out the tasks for the sake of his followers. To the query where he did like this, AzhwAr says in this pAsuram that he made himself as one asking for alms for the sake of indhra (head of celestials).

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

koNdArai allAl koduththArai yAr pazhippAr
maN thA ena irandhu mAvaliyai oN thArai
nIr am kai thOya nimirndhilaiyE nIL visumbil
Ar am kai thOya aduththu

Word by Word Meanings

“maN thA” ena – give (three footsteps of) earth
mAvaliyai irandhu – begging mahAbali
oN thArai nIr – radiant stream of water (poured by him)
am kai thOya – once it fell on (your) beautiful hands
nIL visumbilAr – the dhEvas (celestial entities) in the expansive sky
am kai – beautiful hands
thOya – to wash (your) divine feet
aduththu nimirndhilaiyE – did you not grow immediately?
koNdAnai – one who made (his property)  as his own
(pazhippAr) allAl – blaming only him
koduththArai – one who gave (what was not his, but presumed to be his)
yAr pazhippAr – there is no one to blame!

vyAkyAnam

AzhwAr is asking emperumAn whether he carried out an activity which the people of this world praised (the people are blaming emperumAn). This world is full of people who consider virtue as vice and vice as virtue! While this world already belonged to emperumAn, mahAbali thought that it belonged to him. While he thought that he was giving it to emperumAn as a gift, emperumAn also agreed with his perception and accepted it as a gift. But, the people are blaming emperumAn for pushing mahAbali into pAthALam (nether world).

koNdAnai allAl koduththArai yAr pazhippAr – the demon mahAbali seized the wealth of emperumAn as if it were his. He had the quality of being a magnanimous person, as a result of which he could not be killed. If the world became his, emperumAn‘s followers will suffer. If he became happy because he was gifting it, emperumAn did not mind taking it from him by begging for it and hence begged mahAbali. Instead of thinking on these lines, the people of the world would blame emperumAn and say that he cheated mahAbali and got the three worlds from him. In reality, mahAbali should have been punished (like a weed is plucked along with paddy grain)! Just as rAvaNa, who abducted sIthAppirAtti, was killed, mahAbali, who seized the three worlds should have been killed. Could a person who does not own a property, gift that property to another! Did not ALavandhAr say in sthOthra rathnam 53athavA kinnu samarppayAmi thE” (what could I offer to you!) upon submitting his AthmA to emperumAn and then realising that the AthmA is emperumAn’s property only and felt remorseful! But mahAbali gifted the worlds belonging to emperumAn to emperumAn himself and even after that thought that he had gifted his own properties to emperumAn. There is a variation in this verse, with the word koNdArai used instead of koNdAnai. In this case, the meaning could be construed as referring to the benefit.

maN thA ena irandhu mAvaliyai – did emperumAn not go to mahAbali and begged him for gifting the world, which is a part of his properties!

oNthArai nIr angai thOya nimirndhilaiyE – emperumAn rose rapidly into the skies the moment that stream of water poured by mahAbali touched his hand, wondering what if mahAbali changes his mind. It appeared as if emperumAn got something which he had never before obtained. In SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 29-6, it is said “varshENa bIjam prathisanjaharsha” (the seed feels happy due to rains). In the same way, emperumAn grew as soon as the stream of water touched  his hands.

nIL visumbil Arangai thOya aduththu – this could be construed as either (1) reaching up to the sky so that his [emperumAn‘s] necklace and beautiful hands touched each other or (2) reaching so that dhEvas (celestial entities) could touch him with their hands. Did not bhUdhaththAzhwAr mention in his iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi 78 “dharaNi nivandhaLappa nIttiya poRpAdham sivandha than kai anaiththum Arak kazhuvinAn” (when emperumAn stretched his divine feet at the time of measuring the worlds, brahmA washed his divine feet with his hands). Another explanation – did you not rise up so that the sky could touch  your divine hands!

nIr angai thOya nimirndhilaiyE – the water which mahAbali poured on emperumAn’s hands and the water that brahmA poured to wash emperumAn’s divine feet when he stretched them in the sky, fell onto the earth together (he grew up that fast). We may not have our svarUpa gyAnam (the knowledge of our true selves [which is that we are servitors to emperumAn]) but we would benefit from our sensory perceptions if we could see or hear about such divine activities of emperumAn‘s.

We shall next consider the 80th pAsuram.

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