Category Archives: nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi

nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 56 – avar ivar enRillai

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krishna-banasura

avathArikai

After AzhwAr, with tears in his eyes, withdrew from parOpadhESam (instructing others) by telling emperumAn “nedumAlE ninnadiyai yArOdhavallAr avar” some devotees of rudhra asked him “It is alright that you are praising bhagavAn’s greatness. But rudhra should be considered on a par with vishNu. During the time of amruthamadhanam (churning of ocean for nectar) was it not Siva who swallowed the AlahAla poison which would, otherwise, have killed the dhEvas, thus protecting them?” AzhwAr responds in this pAsuram saying “would you consider as protector someone like Siva who, after having solemnly vowed to bANAsura when he approached Siva to protect him, ran away from the battlefield when war broke out with krishNa?” and brings clarity in them.

Let us go thorugh the pAsuram and its meanings:

avar ivar enRillai anangavEL thAdhaikku
evarum edhirillai kaNdIr uvarik
kadal nanjamuNdAn kadanenRu vANaRku
udaninRu thORRAn orungu

Word for Word Meanings

avar ivar enRu illai – there is no distinction between knowledgeable and ignorant people
anangavEL thAdhaikku – kaNNapirAn (krishNa), the father of manmatha (cupid)
evarum – no one
edhir illai kaNdIr – see, no capability to oppose him
uvarikkadal nanjam uNdAn – Siva, who swallowed the poison which emanated from salty ocean
vANaRku – to bANAsura
kadan enRu – saying “it is my duty to protect you”
udan ninRu – standing together with him in the battle (against emperumAn)
orungu thORRAn – lost and fled

vyAkyAnam

anangavEL thAdhaikku avar ivar enRillai evarum edhirillai kaNdIr – Have you seen that there is none, among both the knowledgeable and the ignorant without any distinction, who can be called as comparable to sarvESvaran who is praised as sAkshAth manmatha manmatha: (he is the most beautiful among all the beautiful persons) and who is the father of manmatha who is considered as the most beautiful?

anagavEL thAdhaikku evarum edhirillai – just as there is none comparable to emperumAn in beauty, have you noticed that there is none comparable to him in maniliness too?

avar ivar – the terms avar and ivar are normally used to refer to someone who is at a distance and who is closeby, respectively. Here, the term avar refers to brahmA, rudhra et al who are at a great distance compared to the ordinary chEthanas (sentient entities) in terms of knowledge and ivar refers to normal chEthanas. The meaning implied is that just as the normal chEthanas cannot be compared to emperumAn in terms of gyAna, Sakthi etc (knowledge, ability etc), in the same way brahmA, rudhra et al who have abundance of these qualities cannot be compared to emperumAn.

evarum edhirillai kaNdIr – rudhra, who you consider to be superior, as well as other deities who are under him, cannot match emperumAn, have you seen this? The implied opinion here is that in case they have not seen, they can see, even as AzhwAr shows them.

When they (the devotees of Siva) ask him “How can you say that there is none? During the churning of ocean for extracting nectar, Siva had consumed the AlahAla poison and thus protected the dhEvas; wouldn’t he be comparable?” AzhwAr mercifully explains further . . . .

uvarikkadal nanjam uNdAn – SAsthras say that it was because  of emperumAn’s significant presence at that time (as antharyAmi of Siva), that Siva was able to consume that poison.

kadan enRu vANaRku – in front of all the people in the court assembly, Siva had solemnly told bANAsura  “protecting you is my duty”

udan ninRu – standing together with bANAsura and engaging in battle against emperumAn.

udan ninRu thORRAn –  Siva lost the war, in the presence of bANAsura as the witness.

orungu thORRAn – he lost without any distinction between himself and bANAsura. Just as mentioned by thirumazhisai AzhwAr himself in thiruchchandha viruththam 53 “mOdiyOdu ilachchaiyAya sAbameydhi mukkaNAn kUdu sEnai makkaLOdu koNdu maNdi venjamaththu Oda” (rudhra ,who had a curse which wil make him feel ashamed, along with kALi (dhurgA), his children and the huge army, ran away from the battlefield) and in pAsuram 71 of thiruchchandha viruththam “muNdan nIRan makkaL veppumOdi angi Odida” (mundan nIRan – Siva; veppu – fever; mOdi – kALi; angi – agni (deity for fire); all these deities ran away from the battlefield) and as mentioned by nammAzhwAr in  thiruvAimozhi 3-10-4parivinRi vANanaikkAththumenRu anRu padiyodum vandherindha thiripuram seRRavanum maganum pinnum angiyum pOr tholaiya ” (putting Siva, who had burnt the three towns and who had taken a vow that he would protect bANAsura  without any effort, along with his son ARumugan (skandha), and agni to shame in the battlefiled), Siva lost in the battle with emperumAn, along with his family members.

We will take up the 57th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 55 – kadai ninRu amarar

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avathArikai

AzhwAr, finding that no one corrected himself even after his parOpadhESam (instructions to others), turns to emperumAn and complains to him “Oh benefactor! In this world where people fall at the feet of other deities for lowly pleasures, who is there to worship your divine feet?” In the 52nd pAsuram of this prabandham, he felt sad seeing samsAris searching for comfort in samsAram (vilaikkAtpaduvar). In this pAsuram he feels sad for those who neither engage with the readily available superior comforts in samsAram (worshipping emperumAn at various divine abodes) nor with mOksham, which even though has to be attained through some means, is a very great goal to attain but instead engage with svarga (heaven) etc which are to be attained for comforts by observing yagya (rituals) etc and falling at the feet of other deities.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

kadai ninRu amarar kazhal thozhudhu nALum
idai ninRa inbaththarAvar pudai ninRa
nIrOdha mEni nedumAlE nin adiyai
yArOdha vallAr avar

Word for Word Meanings

amarar kadai ninRu – standing at the doorsteps of other deities
nALum – everyday
kazhal thozhudhu – falling at (their) feet
idai ninRa inbaththar Avar – attaining lowly comforts  (such as svarga etc) which come in the middle (between samsAram and mOksham)
pudai ninRa nIr Odham mEni nedumAlE – Oh lord of all, who has a divine form similar to the ocean which is surrounding (earth)
nin adiyai – your divine feet
Odha vallAr avar yAr – is there anyone who will meditate? (there is none)

vyAkyAnam

amarar kadai ninRu – standing at the gates of those deities who are difficult to worship. Those deities are not like emperumAn who  is easy to worship with some flower, some water, some fragrance and some lamp [in other words, emperumAn is very easy to worship while those other deities are not]

kazhal thozhudhu nALum – falling at their feet every day. Those deities are not like emperumAn who will come running head over heels on hearing the words gOvindhA as if a great weight has been placed on his chest or seeing the anjali (worshipping with cupped palms) as if it is also a great weight on him.

kazhal thozhudhu nALum – carrying out deeds at the feet of the other deities, deeds which are to be done at emperumAn’s feet without thinking of them as means to attain him but as goals in themselves.

What is the benefit of carrying out such activities?

idai ninRa inbaththar Avar – they will attain insignificant, temporary comforts such as svarga etc which are neither like the readily available comforts in samsAram (divine abodes of emperumAn where one can worship him) nor the great mOksham which is attained through observing certain means. These people will suffer a great deal in attaining even such lowly comforts.

pudai ninRa nIrOdha mEni nedumAlE –  Oh emperumAn who has a divine form similar to the ocean surrounding earth! The implied meaning is that emperumAn’s divine form is easy to see since (1) it is neither like the lowly and temporary comforts of samsAram nor invisible like svarga and mOksha but visible to the followers since emperumAn is in archA (idol) form; (2) like the ocean it removes all types of heat from samsAram and gives great comfort.

nIrOdha mEni nedumAlE ninnadiyai yArOdhavallAr avar – who is there in this world who praises your divine form, a form which is such great that it is apt to be praised even if that praising does not yield any benefit? Are the samsAris who sell themselves for lowly comforts capable of praising you? Or, are those who attain lowly goals such as svarga etc capable of praising you?

We will take up the 56th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 54 – dhEvarAy niRkum

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avathArikai

Some people asked AzhwAr “You are abusing rudhra and other celestial entities by calling them as pollAdha dhEvarai. But SAsthras consider your emperumAn also as a dhEva, upEndhra, the brother of indhra and as one among brahmA, vishNu and rudhra, again as a dhEva among the other two primary dhEvas and as being controlled by other dhEvas. Wouldn’t these faults encumber him?” AzhwAr ridicules them saying “All the SAsthras which you people learnt are a waste since you do not know that the one who is in the form of upEndhra and as vishNu is none other than SrIman nArAyaNa who pervades everyone and everything as sarvAntharyAmi”.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

dhEvarAy niRkum aththEvum aththEvaril
mUvarAy niRkum mudhupuNarppum yAvarAy
niRkinRadhellAm nedumAl enROrAdhAr
kaRkinRadhellAm kadai

Word for Word Meanings

dhEvarAy niRkum aththEvum – among (Adhithya, indhra et al) dhEvathAs (celestial entities) standing as vishNu and as upEndhra
aththEvaril – among those dhEvas
mUvar Ay niRkum – standing as one among the three mUrthi (forms)
mudhu puNarppum – the first incarnation
yAvar Ay niRkinRadhu ellAm – standing as all chith (sentient) and achith (insentient) entities such as dhEvas et al
nedumAl enRu OrAdhAr – those who do not analyse and know that he is nArAyaNa alone
kaRkinRadhu ellAm kadai – all the education that they have had is very lowly.

vyAkyAnam

dhEvarAy niRkum aththEvum – Making the people of this world astonished saying “He (emperumAn) is one among the twelve Adhithyas and indhra”, he remained as one among the Adhithyas and as upEndhra, the younger brother of indhra (lord of celestial entities), also with the name of vAmana (dwarf). AzhwAr reminisces the way emperumAn incarnated as one among dhEvas. There are also those who construe the meaning for this as “Being the antharyAmi (indwelling soul) of dhEvas”. However, since later in the pAsuram AzhwAr is going to say “yAvarAy niRkinRadhellAm” and since mentioning about upEndhra ahead of vishNu as in the line “mUvarAy niRkum mudhupuNarppum” is more apt, and since the flow is better this way, it is better to construe this as referring to upEndhra.

aththEvaril mUvarAy niRkum mudhupuNarppum – Among the dhEvas, standing along with brahmA and rudhra, giving the impression to the people of the world that he is equal to the other two so as to be addressed as mummUrthi (the three forms) thus taking the first incarnation as vishNu.

mUvarAy niRkum – standing as one among the three. Alternatively it could be construed as – standing as three. Even though he stands between brahmA and rudhra to be thought of as one among them, did not knowledgeable people affirm, as mentioned in SrIvishNu purANam 1-2-66 “srushti sthithyanthakaraNIm brahmavishNuSivAthmikAm I sa samgyAm yAthi bhagavAnEka Eva janArdhana:  II” (it is nArAyaNa who is also known as janArdhana who creates, sustains and annihilates, attaining the names of brahmA, vishNu and Siva respectively )!

mudhu puNarppum – the ancient incarnation with the name vishNu. mudhumai – ancient; puNarppusankalpa (will or vow). (Here) It refers to the incarnation which came about out of emperumAn’s vow. Just as emperumAn had mentioned in SrI bhagavath gIthA 4.6sambhavAmyAthmamAyayA” (I am born out of the knowledge of my vow), doesn’t his birth take place out of his will rather than out of karma?  Since his birth is not lowly, AzhwAr refers to it with the word puNarppu (incarnation out of his vow).

mudhu puNarppum – Just as it is mentioned in purusha sUktham “pAdhOsyEhAbhavAth puna:” (one of his incarnations anirudhdha incarnated himself again as vishNu), since the incarnation of vishNu is the first incarnation in this world, AzhwAr refers to this as mudhupuNarppu.

mUvarAy niRkum mudhu puNarppum – just as parASara bhattar had mercifully mentioned in SrI rangarAja sthavam 2-5 “madhyE virinchagiriSam prathamAvathAra: thath sAmyatha: sthagayithum thava chEth svarUpam I kim thE parathva piSunairapi rangadhAman sathvapravarthana krupAparipAlanAdhyai:  II” (Oh SrIranga! If the purpose of taking incarnation as vishNu and standing amidst brahmA and rudhra is to show equality with them and to hide your basic nature, why did you carry out the deeds of(1) exhibiting your sathva guNa (purely auspicious qualities) which manifests your supreme nature and (2) protecting brahmA and rudhra in that same incarnation?) Is it not well known that he (vishNu) is the incarnation of the supreme purusha?

Is it that he only remained as vishNu, controlling brahmA and rudhra as well as their physical forms? AzhwAr says next that he also controls all entities which are sentient . . .

yAvarAy niRkinRadhu ellAm – controlling the physical forms of dhEva (celestial), manushya (human), thiryak (animal) and sthAvara (botanical) species and all the sentients who control these forms. It is implied here that there is no insentient entity which is not controlled by a sentient entity. Has it not been mentioned in SrI bhagavath gIthA 2-17avinASi thu thath vidhdhi yEna sarvamidham thatham” (know that those AthmAs which control all these insentient entities are indestructible)!

dhEvarAy . . . . ellAm nedumAl – one of the commentators for this prabandham, SrI appiLLai construed this to mean that all the sentients such as dhEvas who are totally devoted to karma yOga, brahmA and rudhra who are considered as primary amongst them, other species such as manushya (human) etc are all the attributes of emperumAn and they are all his servitors.

yAvarAy niRkinRadhellAm nedumAl enRu OrAdhAr – those who do not know that it is only SrIman nArAyaNa, who pervades all the entities which are different from himself through sentient entities giving them physical forms and names, incarnates as upEndhra and vishNu and remains as one among dhEvas and as one among the three primary deities.

niRkinRadhellAm nedumAl – it is only nArAyaNa who stands as all entities and who stands amongs dhEvas and with brahmA and rudhra.

nedumAl enRu OrAdhAr kaRkinRadheLLam kadai – it is not only that whatever people learn goes as wasted if they do not know that it is only the supreme being who incarnates amongst dhEvas and between brahmA and rudhra; it becomes the cause for their continuing to struggle in samsAram. It is similar to what has been mentioned in SrI vishNu purANam “vidhyA’nyA SilpanaipuNam” (all learning other than about emperumAn is equivalent to repairing one’s sandals).

We will move on to the 55th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 53 – kallAdhavar ilangai

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avathArikai

Some samsAris asked AzhwAr “What is the reason for your position in saying enakkAvAr Ar oruvarE and our position vilaikkAtpaduvar? Also, please mercifully tell us the way in which we can redeem ourselves”. AzhwAr responds saying “being not connected with other deities is the reason for my greatness and the same is the reason for your lowliness. If you wish to redeem yourselves, sever your connection with other deities”.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

kallAdhavar ilangai kattazhiththa kAguththan
allAl oru dheyvam yAnilEn pollAdha
dhEvaraith thEvarallAraith thiruvillAth
thEvarai thERElmin dhEvu

Word for Word Meanings

kallAdhavar ilangai – the country of lankA populated by the ignorant demons
kattu azhiththa – destroying its fortress
kAguththan allAl – other than SrI rAma
oru dheyvam – another deity
yAn ilEn – I will not accept as a deity
pollAdha dhEvarai – deities with deformities
dhEvar allArai – (in truth) lacking in the qualities of being a deity
thiru illA dhEvarai – without having any connection with pirAtti (SrI mahAlakshmi), those who bear the name as deity
dhEvu – as deities
thERElmin – please do not think of

vyAkyAnam

kallAdhavar ilangai – lankA which is polulated like the hive of wasps, with ignorant demons. Just as sIthAppirAtti  doubted, as in SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 21-9 “iha santhO na vA santhi” (does this place not have learned people?) It is the habitat of ignorant people who could not tolerate the presence of the only intelligent person vibhIshaNa and drove him out of the country. Here, the term kalvi refers to knowledge relating to mOksham as mentioned in SrIvishNu purANam 1-19-41 “sA vidhyA yA vimukthayE” (learning is that which is used for attaining mOksham). Isn’t it well known that those in lankA lack that learning!

kattazhiththa kAguththan – the divine son of emperor dhaSaratha who destroyed the fortress of lankA.

kAguththanallAl oru dheyvam yAnilEn – I will not think of  anyone other than that benefactor who is totally devoted to the huge yAgam (a ritual with agni, fire) for protection through surrendering, as being fit enough for being attained. AzhwAr implies that this is the reason for his greatness.

yAn ilEn – AzhwAr tells samsAris that not having this quality of not worshipping other deities, even through forgetfulness, is the reason for their lowliness. This AzhwAr is similar to hanuman who said as in SrI rAmAyaNam uththara kANdam 40-15 “snEhO mE paramO rAjan thvayi nithyam prathitishtitha: bhakthiScha niyathA vIra bhAvO nAnyathra gachchathi II” (Oh emperumAn! The affection that I have towards you is huge. This affection is firmly established in you).

When asked by the samsAris as to the way by which they can redeem themselves, AzhwAr tells them the nature of other deities and tells the samsAris to sever their connection with such deities…..

pollAdha dhevarai – unlike emperumAn who attracts the heart and eyes of his followers through his divine form, nature, qualities and activities, these other deities do not have the kind of form to see or fame which is sweet to hear or do not have the capability to grant boons which will be everlasting. Their forms will be crude and grotesque with deformed eyes, eyes which emit fire and with matted hair, with powdered ash applied all over the body, unlike the lotus like eyes of emperumAn who is like a mother to the world. Their activities too will be crude such as plucking the head of one’s own father, begging all over the world in order to remove the curse that got stuck on removing the head of father, destroying holy rituals, running away out of fear from a demon called basmAsura and helping another demon bANAsura and getting defeated in the battle in the bargain etc. These are in direct contrast to the sweet activities of emperumAn who killed the wicked ones, protected the good ones, redeemed dead sons and granted mOksham to bird, demon and pot. Instead of asking for pathram pushpam … (SrI bhagavath gIthA 9.26) for worshipping, these deities will ask for the flesh of devotee’s son. Thus their qualities will also be crude. Since they are crude in various ways, AzhwAr calls them as crude deities.

Next AzhwAr realises that he has called them as dhEva by mistake….

dhEvarallArai –  if one were to disregard such cruelties in them and analyse their basic nature in order to worship them they will be such that they will look up to emperumAn for alms for their sustenance and be without any greatness. In other words, they will not be apt to be worshipped.

dhEvarallArai – just as it is mentioned in nAchchiyAr thirumozhi “ayanmudhalAththandha naLirmA malarundhi vIttaippaNNi viLaiyAdum vimalan”, is it correct to call those who were created by emperumAn for his pastime, as deities? Is it apt to call those who run away from battlefield (in the war with bANAsura which they indulged in and lost) or those who borrow radiance and decorate themselves or those who learn vEdhas from emperumAn or those who carry a skull in their hands in order to get rid of a curse or those who run away when troubled by demons? With what feature or quality in them can they be called as dhEvas?

What is the reason for their not being dhEvas? …

thiruvillAththEvarai – since they do not have the grace of SrI mahAlakshmi, they are not dhEvas. Since they do not have the connection with periya pirAtti (SrI mahAlakshmi) who even the vEdhas praised by saying “SradhdhayA dhEvO dhEvathvamaSnuthE” (only due to periya pirAtti, even SrIman nArAyaNa qualifies to be a dhEva), they do not qualify to be dhEvas.

thiruvaillAththEvarai – when referring to lowly persons in the world, they are called as thiruvilAr (lacking in wealth).

thiruvillAththEvarai – did not purusha sUktham which spoke about emperumAn “uthAmruthathvasya ISAna:” as the one who grants mOksham, say “hrIScha thE lakshmIScha pathnyau… sarvam manishANa” (SrIdhEvi and bhUdhEvi are your consorts… we will obtain everything from you) concluding that it is due to his being SrImAn that he grants mOksham!

pollAdhadhEvarai dhEvarallArai thiruvillAththEvarai – since they do not have any connection with pirAtti, even though they are not really dhEvas, they are called as dhEvas as they carry the name dhEvas. Hence AzhwAr is calling them as pollAdha dhEvar and thiruvillAththEvar.

thEREnmin dhEvu – AzhwAr tells us not to respect them as deities. If you follow this [instruction] you can also say “enakkAvAr Ar oruvarE” (who is equal to me, as AzhwAr had sung in the earlier pAsuram).

thEREnmin dhEvu – since these deities also grant materials such as son, cow, food etc they may be called as deities. Hence you may also think that these deities are fit to be attained. Since the materials which they give are transient (they do not last long), are lowly and are granted ultimately by emperumAn as mentioned in SrI bhagavath gIthA 7.22mayaiva vihithAn hi thAn” through these deities, AzhwAr tells us not to think of them as deities.

We will take up the 54th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 52 – vilaikkAtpaduvar

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avathArikai

AzhwAr was asked “Could you say that there is none who is equal to you in this world?” he responds in this pAsuram that world is full of these types of people (as explained in the vyAkyAnam).

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

vilaikkAtpaduvar visAdhiyERRuNbar
thalaikkAtbali thirivar thakkOr mulaikkAl
vidamuNda vEndhanaiyE vERA EththAdhAr
kadamuNdAr kallAdhavar

Word for Word Meanings

thakkOr – lowly people
vilaikku AL paduvar – they will become slaves in order to eke out a living
visAdhi ERRu uNbar – willingly take on others diseases and enjoy them (as part of accepting mruthyudhAn (donation of death)
thalaiiku AL bali thirivar – they will roam around offering their heads for someone else to live, indulging in human sacrifice.
mulaikkAl vidam uNda vEndhanaiyE – kaNNan (krishNa who drank the poisonous milk from pUthanA’s bosom
vERu A EththAdhAr – not worshipping pointedly
kallAdhavar – being without knowledge
kadam uNdAr – enjoying only sins

vyAkyAnam

vilaikkAtpaduvar – people who will sell their souls to others for very low values. Their souls are expected to be servitors only to emperumAn, which are only his possession and which are sweet to him like SrI kausthubam [SrI kausthubam is a divine jewel decorating the divine chest of emperumAn and is said to represent all AthmAs (souls)]

viSadhiyERRuNbar – when an affluent person suffers from a disease, for the sake of money that he offers, these people will not hesitate to take on his disease and will be willing to enjoy that too. visAdhi – vyAdhi (disease)

uNbar – while they enjoy the money that the affluent person offers, these people will be willing to enjoy his disease too.

Is it only this much?  …..

thalaikkAt bali thirivar – when a person who is suffering from terminal disease escapes from it, these people will be willing to offer their heads as a sacrifice to lowly deities; they will go around town, looking for such ‘diseased’ people.

thakkOr – very intelligent people [mentioned with sarcasm]. What sort of knowledge do these people have that they will be willing to sell themselves or take up someone else’s disease or offer their heads, all for the sake of money, without realising that one can but paint only if the canvas is there!

What is the reason for their knowledge to get blunted like this?

mulaikkAl vidamuNda vEndhanaiyE vERA EththEdhAr kallAdhavar – not worshipping with their intelligence, emperumAn, who drank not  only the poison that the demon pUthanA who came in the guise of yaSOdhA had applied on her bosom, but also the poison of her deceit and killed her. The implied meaning is that since they are not knowingly worshipping emperumAn, who removes enemies of his followers as his profession, their enemy of ignorance is still around.

vEndhanaiyE vERA EththAdhAr – those who do not worship emperumAn specifically. Since they are people who will do anything for money, there will be no shortcoming in their praising the dogs and ghosts of this word as indhra and chandhra (i.e. as great people). But they seem to have taken a vow that they will not worship emperumAn even once, due to their ignorance.

vERA EththEdhArvERA  would mean pointing out specifically. There are some who would construe the meaning of vERA EththEdhAr as those who do not worship in a special way.

kadamuNdAr – they swallow their sins, just as it has been mentioned in SrI bhagavath gIthA SlOkam 3-13thE thvagham bhunjathe pApA:” (those sinners eat their sins). kadam – sin.

vEndhanaiyE vERA EththEdhAr kadamuNdAr kallAdhavar – this follows the meaning expressed in SrI bhagavath gIthA SlOkam 7-15na mAm dhukrithinO mUdA: prapadhyanthE narAdhamA: I mAyayA’pahrutha gyAnA: Asuram bhAvamASrithA: II” (fools, lowest among men, those with their knowledge blunted by illusion and demonic people do not attain me as they are all sinners). If the text is taken as kadanuNdAr the meaning will be that those who keep borrowing in order to sustain themselves.

kallAdhavar – even after knowing that they cannot repay, these people will go on borrowing due to their blunted knowledge.

We will move on to the 53rd pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 51 – enakkAvAr Ar oruvarE

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avathArikai

In the previous pAsuram AzhwAr said that he has no ills. In this pAsuram he says that he has no equal.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

enakkAvAr Ar oruvarE emperumAn
thanakkAvAn thAnE maRRallAl punakkAyA
vaNNanE unnaip piRar aRiyAr enmadhikku
viNNellAm uNdo vilai

Word for Word Meanings

punam – growing on its own land
kAyA – the flower kAyAmpU’s (a purple coloured flower from the plant kAyA)
vaNNanE – Oh emperumAn who has the same complexion!
enakku – for me who remains that you are the only protector
AvAr Ar oruvarE – is there anyone who is an equal? (There is none)
emperumAn – the sarvESvaran (lord of all)
thAnE thankkAvAn allAl – will be equivalent to himself. There is nothing else.
maRRu – will you be my equal?
unnai piRar aRiyAr – other than me, no one else knows about you
en madhikku – for my intellect (which knows you fully)
vinnellAm uNdO vilai – even if all entities in SrIvaikuNtam get together, can they compare with me?

vyAkyAnam

enakkAvAr Ar oruvarE – Oh benefactor! In both vibhUthis (nithyavibhUthi – SrIvaikuNtam and leelA vibhUthi – materialistic realm) is there anyone who is comparable to me?

All the vEdhas and those who follow these vEdhas uniformly say that he (emperumAn) is the most superior and that there is none anywhere near him, as brought out by (1)  svEthasvathara upanishath “na thvathsamaSchApyadhigaScha dhruSyathE” (there is none who is equivalent or superior to that paramapurusha (superior entity)) 2) SrI bhagavath gIthA 11.43na thvathsamOsthyabhyadhika kuthOnyO lOkathrayE’pyaprathimaprabhAva” (Oh the incomparable entity! There is none in the three worlds who is your equivalent. Could there be one who is superior to you?) sarvESvaran says “When such is the case, why are you proclaiming about yourself?”

emperumAn thanakkAvAn thAnE maRRallAl – you, the sarvESvaran, are equivalent to yourself. Even you cannot be my equivalent. Just as yourself, I am also without anyone comparable to me. Just as there is none who is your equivalent in protecting others, there is none who is my equivalent among those who are protected. You, who would say “there is none who protects me”, cannot be compared to me who would say “only emperumAn is the protector”

Let it be so. There are others in this world who are in your state, who consider only me as the protector. Will those people not be comparable to you?

punakkAyA vaNNanE unnaip piRar aRiyAr – there is none who knows you other than me, who will not leave your beautiful divine form even if you turn out to be one who tortures instead of one who protects.

punakkAyAvaNNanE – Oh one who has the complexion of kAyAmpU (a type of flower with purple colour) which blossoms in its own land and who has its qualities of softness, coolness, fragrance etc!

punakkAyAvaNNanE! unnaip piRar aRiyAr – will those who consider their physical forms as their souls, know you? Will those who feel that they are totally independent, know you? Will those who worship other deities, know you? Will those who worship you for obtaining other benefits, know you? Will those who observe other means to attain you, know you? Or will rishis, who meditate on your basic nature, know you?

emperumAn then asks him “in nithyavibhUthi, there are great entities such as vishvaksEnar, ananthAzhwAn, garudan et al who know me. Will they, at the least, be comparable to you?”

en madhikku viNNellAl uNdO vilai – in this samsAram where everyone puts in his efforts to attain anything, I am worshipping your divine feet as the means for attaining you. Do all the entities in SrIvaikuNtam (vishvasksEnar et al) have the total belief that my intellect has in you? The implied meaning here is that since they (entities in SrIvaikuNtam) have already attained the goal, the firmness that AzhwAr has in emperumAn as the means will be lacking in them. AzhwAr says “I have no objection to the fact that they will know your svarUpam, rUpam etc (basic nature, divine form etc). But even if they all get together, they cannot equal me. They dwell in a place where enemy (karma, deeds from past) is non-existent whereas I am staying in samsAram where karma rules in a cruel way with the firm belief that ‘you are the protector’. Will they be comparable to me? Could the lotus in pond be compared to one which blossoms from a clay oven? Could daylight be comparaed to lamp in the night?” Hasn’t nammAzhwAr too mercifully mentioned in thiruviruththam 79 “sIdhanaiyE thozhuvAr viNNuLArilum sIriyarE” (those who worship the cool emperumAn without any break are superior to those in SrIvaikuNtam)!

enakkAvAr Ar oruvarE – thus, since there is no one in both vibhUthis who could be compared to me, who is there who could be compared to me? Since this pride comes not out of ahankAram (vanity) but due to connection with emperumAn, this is not considered as a fault but is acceptable completely.

We will take up the 52nd pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 50 – kURRamum sArA

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avathArikai

In the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr instructed others to recite the divine names of sarvESvaran (lord of all) to reap the benefit of having been given a tongue. In this pAsuram he says that he has no ills since he has taken the divine names of emperumAn in his heart and sheds all his worries.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

kURRamum sArA kodu vinaiyum sAra thI
mARRamum sArA vagai aRindhEn ARRang
karaikkidakkum kaNNan kadal kidakkum mAyan
uraikkidakkum uLLaththenakku

Word for Word Meanings

kadal – in thiruppARkadal (milky ocean)
kidakkum – reclining
mAyan – amazing entity
ARu karai – at kapisthalam on the banks of river kAvEri
kidakkum – reclining
kaNNan – krishNa’s
urai – the divine charama SlOka (ultimate hymn)
enakku – for me
uLLaththu – heart
kidakkum – is registered

Hence
kURRamum sArA – fear of yama (deity of righteousness) not approaching
kodu vinaiyum sArA – cruel sins not approaching
thI mArRamum sArA  – bad reputation not approaching
vagai – means
aRindhEn – I knew

vyAkyAnam

kURRamum sArA vagai aRindhEn – I knew the means by which yama will not come near me. It is apt to recall here some pAsurams from dhivya prabandham such as nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi 68 “thiRambEnmin kaNdIr” (yama tells his messengers “What I now instruct you, do not go against”), thiruvAimozhi 10-2-1 “kedum idarAyavellAm kEsavA enna nALum koduvinai seyyum kURRin thamargaLum kuRugakillAr” (by reciting the divine name kESava, all the hurdles will disappear; the messengers of yama who indulge in cruel punishments every moment, will not come anywhere near and will run away), thirumalai 1nAvalittu uzhitharuginROm namanthamar thalaigaLmIdhE ” (we are walking on top of the heads of yama’s messengers, raising svictorious slogans), periya thirumozhi 8-10-7 “vaLLalE! un thamarkkenRum namanthamar kaLLarpOl” (Oh the magnanimous one! the messengers of  yama will hide from your followers just as thieves would hide themselves ) and SrIvishNu purANam SlOkam 3-7-14 “svapurushamabivIkshya” (having observed the supreme being).

koduvinaiyum sArA vagai aRindhEn – I also knew the means by which terrible sins, which cause yama to come near me, will not approach me.

thI mARRamum sArA vagai aRindhEn – I also knew the means by which ill reputation such as “he is a dhEhAbhimAni (one who mistakes physical body for soul); he is a svathanthrAbhimAni (he thinks that he is independent); he is a dhEvathaNthara paran (he worships other deities); he is vishayAntharaparan (he is after worldly pursuits); he is upAyAntharaparan (he goes after other means to attain emperumAn))” will not approach me. thImARRam – calamity; evil

What is the basis for knowing such means?

kadal kidakkum mAyan ARRangaraik kidakkum kaNNan uraikkidakkum uLLaththu enakku – kaNNam (krishNa) lies in kapisthalam on the shores of the river kAvEri in order to be accessible to all those who cannot approach him at thiruppARkadal (milky ocean) where he normally reclines as an amazing entity who is approached by brahmA et al; such krishNa, during the mahAbhAratha war had said, as mentioned in SrI bhagavath gIthA 18-66sarva dharmAn parithyajya mAmEkam SaraNam vraja I aham thvA sarva pApEbhyO mOkshayishyAmi mA Sucha: II” (leaving aside all the means for attaining mOksham, along with their traces, hold on to me alone, as the means; I will liberate you from all sins; don’t feel sad). These words will always be in my heart. Thus I knew the means by which yama, cruel sins and ill reputation will not approach me.

kadal kidakkum mAyan – he is an amazing entity who reclines in the milky ocean where he can be approached only by a few people such as those living in SvEthadhvIpam (another planet like ours).

ARRangaraikkidakkum kaNNan – just as in a town, when a person goes in search of another and doesn’t find him easily, he goes to the riverfront and waits for him there (since everyone comes to the river for their needs), emperumAn also reclines near the river bed, waiting for those who have desire in him to come there to worship him.

kaNNan – krishNa, who becomes the matter for everyone’s eyes.

kaNNan urai – the charama SlOkam recited by krishNa. Alternatively, we can construe this as emperumAn’s divine names which refer to his svarUpa (basic nature), rUpa (divine form), vibhUthi (wealth) and chEshtitha (divine activities).

uraikkidakkum – the heart where his divine names rest. In other words, to me who has the knowledge about him.

kaNNan uraikkidakkum uLLaththenakku kURRamum sArA – for me, who has his instructions “sarva dharmAn parithyajya” (letting go of all means) in my heart, there is no fear about yama which haunts those who are engaged only in their varNASrama dharmam (doing whatever is ordained in the vEdhas for one’s classification and status).

kaNNan uraikkidakkum ….. koduvinaiyum sArA – there is no scope for me who is fully engaged in krishNa’s instructions, to have any connection with pApa / puNya (vice / virtue) which would befall those who observe certain deeds desirous of end results, which those deeds would give them.

ARRangaraikkidakkum – this implies certain qualities such as simplicity which are referred to in emperumAn’s utterance of the word mAm (in the charama SlOkam), which are known as ASrayaNa saukaryApAthaka guNas (those which facilitate his followers to attain him).

kadal kidakkum mAyan – this implies certain qualities such as gyAna sakthi which are referred to in his utterance of the word aham (in the charama SlOkam) which are known as ASrithakAryApAthaka guNas (qualities which facilitate his carrying out the activities of his followers).

We will move on to the 51st pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 49 – malaiyAmaimEl

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avathArikai

AzhwAr spoke about the simplicity of emperumAn in standing atop the hill and welcoming his followers. In this pAsuram, he speaks and feels joyous about the simplicity of emperumAn in lying below the hill and sustaining it.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

malaiyAmaimEl vaiththu vAsugiyaichchuRRi
thalaiyAmai thAnoru kai paRRi alaiyAmal
pIRak kadaindha perumAL thirunAmam
kURuvadhE yAvarkkum kURRu

Word for Word Meanings

malai – manthara parvam (the mountain manthara, a celestial mountain)
Amai mEl vaiththu – atop the form of kUrma (tortoise ) i.e. on himself when he took incarnation in the form of tortoise
vAsugiyai – the serpent vAsuki
suRRi – coiling around the mountain (like a rope for churning)
Amai thAn – he himself, who incarnated as kUrmAvathAram
thalai oro kai paRRI – pressing the top of the mountain with one hand
alaiyAmal – ensuring that the water did not go out
pIRa – (nectar) to come out
kadaindha – churning (the ocean)
perumAn – emperumAn’s
thirunAmam – divine names
kURuvadhE – reciting aloud
yAvarkkum – for all
kURRu – let it become the norm for speaking

vyAkyAnam

malai Amai mEl vaiththu – keeping the mountain manthara atop himself, in the form of kUrma (tortoise). In order to protect the celestial entities who were without strength, emperumAn wanted to give them nectar by churning the milky ocean, thiruppARkadal. For this, he uprooted the mountain manthara and planted it in the ocean as churning staff and started churning. When it appeared that due to the churning motion, the mountain would sink in the ocean, emperumAn took the incarnation of kUrma (tortoise) and positioned himself below the mountain. AzhwAr is referring to this.

vAsugiyaich chuRRi – coiling the huge snake vAsuki as the rope for chunring the ocean through the mountain.

Amai thAn oru kai paRRi – while the mountain was supported from sinking in the ocean, during the process of churning, it would move sideways or go to the top. To prevent such motions, emperumAn held the top of the mountain with his own hand.

alaiyAmal pIRak kadaindha – even after doing all these, dhEvas (celestial entities) and asuras (demonic entities) were not capable of churning the ocean. Hence emperumAn carried out this task too, himself.

alaiyAmal pIRak kadaindha – ensuring that the ocean did not become rageful, as well  as ensuring that the waters of the ocean did not spill over since a huge mountain was dropped into  it as the churning staff, emperumAn churned the ocean such that nectar came out of the ocean as its essence. By this act of churning the inner sides of the ocean, emperumAn proved that he is the Lord of dhEvas too.

kadaindha perumAn – we can say that by this one act, emperumAn made the celestial entities as his servitors.

perumAL thirunAmam kURuvadhE yAvarkkum kURRu – reciting the divine names of emperumAn who transformed himself in order to carry out the task for anyaprayOjanars (those who seek him for other benefits) is the most apt act for both anyaprayOjanars and ananyaprayOjanars (those who seek emperumAn himself as the benefit), without any distinction.

We will take up the 50th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 48 – vEngadamE

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avathArikai

AzhwAr says that it is thirumalai alone which nithyasUris worship and which removes the ills of samsAris.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

vEngadamE viNNOr thozhuvadhuvum meymmaiyAl
vEngadamE mey vinai nOy thIrppadhuvum vEngadamE
dhAnavarai  vIzhath thannAzhip padai thottu
vAnavaraik kAppAn malai

Word for Word Meanings

viNNOr – nithyasUris (permanent dwellers of SrIvaikuNtam)
meymmaiyAl – with true devotion
thozhuvadhuvum – worship
vEngadamE – only thirumalai
mey vinai – indelible sins (which cannot be got rid of, without experiencing)
mey nOy – ills of the body
thIrppadhuvum – gets rid of
vEngadamE – only thirumalai
dhAnavar vIzha – to destroy the demons
than Azhi padai thottu – wielding his chakrAyudham (the weapon of divine disc)
vAnavarai – dhEvas (celestial entities)
kAppAn – emperumAn who protects, his
malai – thirumalai
vEngadamE – it is only thiruvEngadam

vyAkyAnam

vEngadamE viNNOr thozhuvadhuvum meymmaiyAl – Since AzhwAr says “meymmaiyAl thozhuvadhuvum” and later in the pAsuram says “vAnavraikkAppAn”, the term viNNOr here refers to nithyasUris.

meymmaiyAl thozhuvadhuvum – it appears that there are two different types of worship – a true worship and a false one. When dhEvas (including brahmA) worship him on account of their karma (effect of past deeds) as mentioned in the 42nd pAsuram of this prabandham “kadikkamala nAnmuganum kaNmUnRaththAnum adikkamalam ittEththum angu”, even though they consider emperumAn as the means, they will worship him with their position, wealth etc as their goal. This is falsified worship. On the other hand, nithyasUris will consider thirumalai, his dwelling place, as the means and goal and worship him. This is true worship. For those who worship him without a purity of mind, since their goal is different, the worship is false while for those who worship him considering him as everything, this natural worship becomes true worship.

vEngadamE meyvinai nOy thIrppadhuvum – apart from being the goal for nithyasUris, thirumalai also removes the undesirables of samsAris (dwellers of materialistic world).

meyvinai – strong sins which cannot be got rid of, without experiencing. Just as it is mentioned in brahmavaivarththam prakruthi kaNdam 26-70 “avaSyanubOkthavyam krutham karma SubhASubham  I nAbhuktham kshIyathE karma kalpakOtiSathairapi  II” (jIvan (sentient entity) has to experience the results of virtuous and viceful sins. Even if it takes a hundred crore kalpam (one kalpam is brahmA’s one day), the karmas will not disappear without experiencing), it is only thirumalai which removes sins.

nOy thIrppadhuvum vEngadamE – it  is only thirumalai which removes the ills which result as a consequence of such sins.

meyvinai nOy … – it is only thirumalai which removes sins and ills which come due to  connection with SarIra (physical form).

vEngadamE meyvinai nOy thirppadhuvum – doesn’t the word vEngadam, which means  “burning sins” indicate that it is capable of removing bodily ills? vinai would refer to sins and nOy would refer to the physical ills which come as a result of the sins.

vEngadamE dhAnavarai vIzhath …… vAnavarai kAppAn malai – it is only thirumalai which is the residence of the one who dons the divine disc to annihilate the demons and provide dwelling place for celestial entities, thus protecting them.

Azhippadai thottu – there is no need even to release chakraththAzhwAn (divine disc). It is enough if emperumAn just touches the disc in order to annihilate the gang of demons.

We will move on to the 49th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 47 – nanmaNi vaNNanUr

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avathArikai

In the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr spoke about an elephant. In this pAsuram, he mentions about many different types of materials which have no knowledge at all, getting knowledge similar to nithyasUris and carrying out service to emperumAn.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

nanmaNi vaNNanUr ALiyum kOLariyum
ponmaNiyum muththamum pUmaramum
panmaNi nIrodu porudhuruLum kAnamum vAnaramum
vEdumudai vEngadam

Word for Word Meanings

ALiyum – yALis (an extinct animal which is like a lion, with an additional trunk)
kOL ariyum – the powerful lions
pon – gold
maNi – carbuncles
muththamum – pearls
pU maaramum – trees with blossomed flowers
pal maNi nIrodu porudhu uruLum kAnamum – forests with streams wherein many different types of gemstones will mix together and roll down
vAnaramum – monkeys
vEdum – hunters’ tribes
udai – having (all the aforementioned entities)
vEngadam – thirumalai
nal maNivaNNan Ur – residing place of sarvESvaran (lord of all) who has the form of a blue coloured good gemstone

vyAkyAnam

nanmaNi vaNNanUr –  residential place of one who has a complexion and basic nature similar to a good, blue gemstone. vaNNamcomplexion; basic nature. In terms of his complexion, he is invaluable like a gemstone. emperumAn has a simplicity which is similar to folding the gemstone in a piece of cloth and putting it inside a pocket. If it is lost, life will be worthless and if it is present, one can sustain oneself. Since emperumAn has qualities seeing which everyone will fall at his divine feet, he is compared to the gemstone and hence is called as maNivaNNan.

nanmaNivaNNan – actually, the gemstones which are seen in samsAram are not even a patch on emperumAn. Hence AzhwAr calls him as nanmaNivaNNan thus qualifying the gemstone; emperumAn doesn’t have the faults of gemstones such as being hard, being small etc.

Ur – When AzhwAr is subsequently going to say “kAnamum vAnaramum vEdum udai vEngadam”, is it apt to refer to thirumalai as Ur (town)? Isn’t it apt to be referred to as mountain or forest? Ur is defined as one which is fit for protection by the king. SrI rAma left ayOdhyA and went to the forest only because the sages living in the forest were to be saved from the fear of demons. Thus forest became country. sumithrA tells lakshmaNa even as he is leaving for the forest along with SrI rAma and sIthAppirAtti, as in SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 40-8 “ayOdhyA adavIm vidhdhi” (know the forest as ayOdhyA). Thus whatever is to be protected becomes Ur. As per this description, thirumalai which welcomes lowly people too and gives them protection is fit to be called as Ur.

The pAsuram talks now about those who are protected . . .

ALiyum kOLariyum – yALis and lions, which are always inimical to each other, forget their enmity and carry out service to emperumAn together at thirumalai.

ponnum maNiyum muththamum pUmaramum panmaNi nIrodu porudhuruLum kAnamum vAnaramum vEdum udai vEngadam – even achEthana (insentient) entities such as gold, carbuncles etc which have no knowledge, acquire knowledge due to the greatness of emperumAn and carry out service to him. The pride of this place is that even those with knowledge pray that they would like to be born as a stork in the pond at thiruvEngadam or as a fish in the river there or a flower or a pillar there (reference here is to kulaSEkara AzhwAr).

ponnum ….vEdumudai vEngadam nanmaNi vaNNanUr – This is the place which welcomes even those who have lower levels of knowledge and protects them, where emperumAn resides with joy. Isn’t this place, which makes even samsAris to become nithyasUris, better than paramapadham where he protects nithyasUris (eternal residents of paramapadham) and mukthas (liberated souls who have attained paramapadham)!

ALiyUm …. – periyavAchchAn piLLai, the commentator for this dhivyaprabandham, has written “thirumalaiyil varththikkum nithyasUrigaLaich chollugiRadhu” ((ALiyum) refers to nithyasUris who dwell in thirumalai). There are two ways in which this could be interpreted. One is that the animals etc which live in thirumalai, after getting an interest in emperumAn related matters, carry out service to emperumAn similar to the way nithyasUris carry out. Another is that nithyasUris, in order to enjoy the simplicity of emperumAn at thirumalai, take the forms of achEthana as well as chEthana entities (insentient and sentient) such as gold, carbuncles, yALis, lions etc and carry out service to him here. This second interpretation is based on SrI parASara bhattar’s SrI rangarAja sthavam 1-33 SlOkam “ahruthasahajagAsyAs sUraya: srasthabandhA: vimalacharamadhEhA ithyamI rangadhAma:  I mahitha manujathiryak sthAvarathvA: SrayanthE sunIyathamithi ha sma prAhUrEbyO nama: sthAth II ” (elders have said that nithyasUris who do not ever let go of their basic nature of carrying out service to emperumAn, mukthas who have severed their connection with samsAram and mumukshus who have got rid of their sins and are having their final physical form , willingly take the forms of human species, animal species such as cows and birds and botanical species and attain SrIrangam always. My salutations to them!)

We will go on to the 48th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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