Category Archives: periya thiruvandhAdhi

periya thiruvandhAdhi – 16 – sIrAl piRandhu

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avathArikai

In the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr experienced the reclining posture of emperumAn in thiruppARkadal (milky ocean), wherein emperumAn was waiting expectantly for someone (his devotees) to approach and attain him. In this pAsuram, he says “Is it only expectation that he has? Did he not incarnate as a mendicant too, in order to retrieve his possession?”

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

sIrAl piRandhu siRappAl vaLarAdhu
pEr vAmanAgAkkAl pErALA mArbArap
pulgi nI uNdumizhndha bhUmi nIr ERparidhE
sollu nI yAmaRiyach chUzhndhu

Word by Word Meanings

pErALA – Oh supreme being!
sIrAl piRandhu – being born into a wealthy family
siRappAl vaLarAdhu – not growing up in a grand manner
pEr vAman AgAkkAl – even if you had not borne the name of vAman
nI – you
mArbu Ara pulgi – (during your incarnation as varAha, the great boar) embracing with  your chest
uNdu – swallowing (during the time of deluge)
umizhndha – spitting it out (during the time of creation)
bhUmi – this world
nIr ERpu aridhE – is not possible to take it in alms?
nI – you
sUzhndhu – analyse
yAm aRiya – such that we know
sollu – please tell

vyAkyAnam

sIrAl piRandhu – Couldn’t you have been born similar to the divine son of chakravarthy (emperor) dhaSaratha who observed rituals such as puthra kAmEshti yAga using his wealth and his penance, as mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam AraNya kANdam 66-3 “mahathA thapasA rAma mahathA chApi  karmaNA I rAjyA dhaSarathEnAsi labdhO’mruthamivAmarai:  II” (Oh SrI rAma! Just as dhEvas obtained nectar, you were obtained by emperor dhaSaratha through great penance and great deeds). Couldn’t you have been like kaNNa (krishNa) who was obtained by vasudhEva after observing anantha vratha  (anantha here could mean the name of a specific ritual or innumerable rituals)?

siRappAl vaLarAdhu – Couldn’t you have been brought up by the great gyAni (one with lot of knowledge) SrI sumanthra or vaSishta who nurtured you thoroughly? Couldn’t you have grown up like kaNNa who ate up all the butter saved by his favourite devotees and who killed the unfavourable entities such as pUthanA?

pEr vAman AgAkkAl – should you have assumed the most famous name of vAmana through which you made all the dwarfs, living then, to be referred to as thrivikrama? Couldn’t you have assumed a great name such as Sriya:pathi (consort of SrI mahAlakshmi)? It was inside the hut of athithi, the consort of sage kashyapa that you were born; you grew up without having anyone to nurture you with care; your name was vAmana (dwarf).

AzhwAr says further whether he couldn’t have obtained this earth from mAvali (mahAbali) if he had not lowered himself to such an extent.

pErALA – Oh one who has great affection! Just as this AzhwAr said “eththiRam” (in thiruvAimozhi 1-3-1) even before saying about his activity, he engages with the simplicity of emperumAn by saying pErALA. He says that he cannot see the limit to emperumAn’s partiality towards his followers.

mArbArappulgi nI uNdumizhndha bhUmi nIr ERparidhE – if you didn’t manifest such simplicity, is it impossible to obtain from mahAbali this earth, which underwent as many transformations as cotton undergoes (twelve transformations, from flower stage to cloth stage) by way of being embraced by you tightly when you dug it out during your incarnation as varAha, being swallowed by you during deluge, being spat out during next cycle of creation etc?

sollu nI yAmaRIyach chUzhndhu – you must analyse the reason for incarnating with such simplicity and explain to us, so that we will know. Since AzhwAr cannot estimate such simplicity, he is asking emperumAn himself to explain this. When emperumAn speaks about his incarnations as in SrI bhagavath gIthA 4-9janma karma cha mE dhivyam Evam yO vEththi thathvatha: I thyakthvA dhEham punarjanma naithi mAmEthi sO’rjuna II” (Oh arjuna! One who knows truthfully my aprAkrutha (not related to primordial matter) birth and my activities, will not take birth again after relinquishing his body; he attains me), he only called his incarnation as dhivyam (divine) but did not elaborate on it. vEdham (sacred texts) too , when speaking about the mystery of his incarnation as in purusha sUktham, mentioned that only intelligent people will know about it “ajAyamAnO bahudhA vijAyathE thasya dhIrA: parijAnanthi yOnim” (even though he (emperumAn)  is without any birth, he incarnates many times; only the knowledgeable ones know the mysteries of his incarnations) [Hence AzhwAr is requesting emperumAn to state the reasons himself].

We will go on to the 17th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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periya thiruvandhAdhi – 15 – pArththOr edhiridhA

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avathArikai

Thinking of the lowliness of his heart, AzhwAr moved away from emperumAn in the previous pAsuram. In this pAsuram, he tells his heart “If we think of your lowly activities, it is proper that we move away from emperumAn. But if we think of emperumAn’s activities, we can approach him”.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

pArththOr edhiridhA nenjE padu thuyaram
perththOdhap pIdazhivAm pEchchillai ArththOdham
tham mEni(th)thAL thadavath thAngidandhu thammudaiya
semmEnik kaN vaLarvAr sIr

Word by Word Meanings

nenjE – Oh mind (which is leaving emperumAn due to being unsuitable)
Odham – ocean
Arththu – agitating
tham mEni thAL thadava – rubbing his divine physical form and divine feet
thAm kidandhu – lying down
thammudaiya semmEni kaN vaLarvAr – one who is closing his reddish eyes and carrying out yOganidhdhirai (a meditative posture where the body is relaxed and mind is fully alert)
sIr – his auspicious qualities
padu thuyaram pErththu – not thinking of our suffering
Odha – if we meditate
pIdu azhivAm pEchchillai – that emperumAn’s greatness will be destroyed will not happen
edhiridhA – at the very beginning
pArththu Or – knowing (this), analyse

vyAkyAnam

nenjE edhiridhA pArththu Or – Oh heart! Analyse this at the very beginning, seeing it directly.

But, what is to be analysed?

Arththu Odham tham mEni thAL thadava thAm kidandhu thammudaiya semmEnik kaN vaLarvAr sIr padu thuyaram pErththOdha pIdazhivAm pEchchillai emperumAn is lying in the roaring ocean which is gently rubbing against his divine form and divine feet. He is in yOganidhrA posture (wherein the body if fully relaxed and the mind is fully alert). If we forget our sorrows and think of his auspicious qualities, there is no possibility that such thinking will lead to destruction of his greatness. The word semmEnikkaN would refer to reddish coloured eyes. For the words tham mEnith thAL, periyavAchchAn piLLai, the commentator for this prabandham, considers the meaning as ‘his reddish divine feet’.

We will take up the 16th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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periya thiruvandhAdhi – 14 – sAyAl kariyAnai

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avathArikai

In the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr had requested emperumAn to show him his divine physical form. Once he thinks of the divine physical form of emperumAn, he starts moving away from emperumAn again, saying “Seeing such a distinguished divine form with these eyes is an inappropriate activity”. He says that his approaching emperumAn is much similar to the way pUthanA (the demon who tried to kill infant krishNa) approached emperumAn.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

sAyAl kariyAnai uLLaRiyArAy nenjE
pEyAr mulai koduththAr pEyarAy nI yAr pOyth
thEmbUN suvaiththu UNaRindhaRindhum thIvinaiyAm
pAmbAr vAy kainIttal pArththi

Word by Word Meanings

nenjE – Oh my mind!
sAyAl kariyAnai – krishNa, who is dark in complexion
uL aRiyArAy – not knowing how to enjoy, after entering
pEyAr – pUthanA, the fiend
pEyarAy mulai koduththAr – being a fiend, she offered her (poisoned) bosom
pOy – going repeatedly
thEmbu UN suvaiththu – enjoying Sabdha (sound) etc which keep eroding the AthmA (soul)
UN aRindhum aRindhum – even after knowing the result
thIvinaiyAm pAmbAr vAy – inside the mouth of the snake samsAram (materialistic realm) which nurtures only evil qualities
kai nIttal pArththi – you are trying to put out your hand
nI yAr – how lowly are you (in comparison with pUthanA)?

vyAkyAnam

sAyAl kariyAnaisAyal refers to complexion. Thus, one who is black in complexion.

uL aRiyArAy – not knowing how to enjoy, after entering; not knowing that the supreme being has come down as an infant, crying for mother’s milk and, not knowing as to how to engage with that simplicity. We can also construe this as meaning that she (pUthanA) did not know that it is actually sarvESvaran who has come down.

nenjE pEyAr mulai koduththAr pEyarAy – Oh my mind! pUthanA did not engage with deceit after taking birth as a human being. Did she not engage with that deceitful act because she was a fiend?

nI yAr – when compared to her, what a lowly entity are you [AzhwAr tells his mind]! When looking at you, who should have been engaging with SAsthras (sacred texts), hailing from the human birth but instead are harming emperumAn, pUthanA appears to be fit for being considered as a nithyasUris!

thEmbUN suvaiththu UNaRindhu aRindhum thIvinaiyAm pAmbAr vAy kai nIttal pArththi – you are engaging  with worldly pursuits of Sabdha, sparSa, rUpa, rasa, gandha (the five senses of sound, touch, form, taste and smell) even after knowing very well that these pursuits will keep eroding the nature of AthmA. This is similar to a person putting out his hand inside the mouth of a (poisonous) snake. How are you related to pUthanA? In this interpretation, the word nI yAr wonders whether one is related to pUthanA. The word pOy could be added to suvaiththu or to kai nIttal pArththi. The opinion here is that despite knowing that the result of engaging repeatedly with worldly pursuits is only ruinous for AthmA, you [reference here is to AzhwAr’s mind] are repeatedly putting out your hand inside the mouth of the poisonous snake, which is what samsAram is. The word thEmbUN refers to worldly pursuits which cause ruin to AthmA’s nature. Alternatively, thEmbUN could refer to bringing a bad name to emperumAn by the heart by its being unsuitable to approach emperumAn and the heart repeatedly carrying out this. Thus this will mean that the heart, knowing well that its approaching emperumAn will bring bad name to emperumAn, is repeatedly doing this, just like one puts out his hand into the mouth of a poisonous snake. In both interpretations, it is clear that you are much lowlier than pUthanA. The end letter Ar in pEyAr, pAmbAr would indicate the nature of cruelty brought about by these entities.

We will move on to the 15th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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periya thiruvandhAdhi – 13 – vazhakkodu mAru

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avathArikai

In the 11th pAsuram, AzhwAr spoke about how emperumAn allowed him to unite with himself when AzhwAr left him thinking that he is unsuitable for emperumAn. In this pAsuram he requests emperumAn “If you do not wish to allow me to leave, you must allow me to get near you, see you with my eyes and experience you”.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

vazhakkodu mARukolanRu adiyAr vENda
izhakkavum kANdum iRaiva izhappuNdE
emmAtkoNdAgilum yAn vENda en kaNgaL
thammARkAttu un mEnichchAy

Word by Word Meanings

iRaiva – Oh the supreme being!
odu – clinging (to samsAris)
vazhakku anRu – is not appropriate (for you)
mARu koL vazhakku anRu – expecting something in return (from them) is also not appropriate
adiyAr vENda – when followers beseeched
izhakkavum kANdum – we have seen (masters) losing (themselves and their possessions) while carrying out tasks (for their followers)
izhappu uNdE – could your followers lose?
Agilum – even if you have to obtain something from us
yAn vENda – as I pray
em AL koNdu – making me as a servitor
en kaNgaL thammAl – for these biological eyes of mine
un mEni chAy – the beauty of your divine form
kAttu – please manifest

vyAkyAnam

vazhakkodu mARukoLanRu – this should be split as odu vazhakkanRu and mARukoL vazhakkanRu to get the correct meanings. odu refers to connection with samsAris (dwellers of materialistic realm). odu vazhakkanRu – AzhwAr tells emperumAn that it is not appropriate for emperumAn to approach a samsAri and stand in front of him. mARukoL vazhakkanRu – unlike people (samsAris) who expect a return of compliment when one helps another, it is not appropriate for emperumAn to expect any return of favour when he gives a benefit to a samsAri. mARu – return of help (as an exchange).

emperumAn asks AzhwAr to explain what he intends saying . . . .

adiyAr vENda izhakkavum kANdum – in the world we see a leader with noble qualities losing himself and his possessions in order to fulfil the wishes of his followers when they approach him.

emperumAn counters saying that he will have such a compulsion only if AzhwAr is his (emperumAn’s) follower.

iRaiva – it does not matter whether I am a follower or not. The fact that you are the lord cannot be obliterated. When you are the lord, will it not follow as a natural corollary that I am the follower?

izhappuNdE – While it may happen in the world that followers (of others) may not have their wishes fulfilled, is there any such loss for your followers?

emperumAn asks AzhwAr “If you have to obtain whatever you desire without any loss, should you not have some connection with servitorship?” AzhwAr responds  . . .

emmAtkoNdAgilum yAn vEnda – this could be rearranged to get Agilum yAm vENda em AtkoNdu – If I say “I too want such and such” you should consider my request [my prayer to you] itself as a kainkaryam (service) and fulfil my desire.

emperumAn further asks AzhwAr “What is the desire that you wish to have fulfilled ”, AzhwAr says …

en kaNgaL thammAr kAttu un mEnichchAy – you must manifest the beauty of your divine form such that I could see that with these eyes of mine. It is not enough if you say “I will show you in paramapadham”. What is the purpose in showing it in some other place with some other form of mine when I want to see you here, with these eyes? Will a person’s hunger be sated if another person eats food? Did not sIthAppirAtti too desire to attain emperumAn with the same physical form and in the same place, as mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 40-3 “yathA tham purushavyAgram gAthrai: SOkAbhikarSithai: I samspruSEyamsakAmAham thathA kuru dhayAm mayi II ” (you should shower your mercy on me such that I, having lot of affection, would be able to touch the greatest man [SrI rAma] with these limbs which have become wizened due to grief)? Just as ANdAL had desired to carry out service in this birth itself, as mentioned in nAchchiyAr thirumozhi 13-9 “gOvindhaRkOr kuRREval immaippiRavi seyyAdhE inippOychcheyyum thavandhAnen?AzhwAr too desires to see emperumAn with these eyes.

We will take up the 14th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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periya thiruvandhAdhi – 12 – nIyanRE Azhthuyaril

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avathArikai

After approaching emperumAn, AzhwAr grieves for the time that he had lost [in not being with emperumAn earlier] and loathes his heart which did not stop him [when he moved away from emperumAn].

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

nIyanRE Azhthuyaril vIzhvippAn ninRuzhanRAy
pOyonRu solliyen pO nenjE nIyenRum
kAzhththubadhEsam tharinum kaikkoLLAy kaNNan thAL
vAzhththuvadhE kaNdAy vazhakku

Word by Word Meanings

nenjE – Oh [my] mind!
Azh thuyaril – in deep sorrow
vIzhvippAn – to push (me)
ninRu uzhanRAy – one who made perennial efforts
nI anRE – was it not you?
pOy – repeatedly
onRu solli – by saying one word
en – what is the purpose?
pO – leave this
upadhEsam tharinum – even if I instruct you (about emperumAn’s simplicity)
nI – you
kAzhththu – getting angry (with me)
enRum kaikkoLLAy – you do not recognise (that instruction)
kaNNan thAL – the divine feet of krishNa
vAzhththuvadhE – to keep praising
vazhakku kaNdAy – is appropriate for us, please see

vyAkyAnam

nIyanRE Azh thuyaril vIzhvippAn ninRu uzhanRAy – the interpretation for Azh thuyar (deep sorrow) could be taken as either [AzhwAr] leaving the presence of emperumAn considering himself as being “unsuitable” or losing out on emperumAn on account of engaging with worldly matters for a very long time. AzhwAr is making his heart as the reason for not stopping him when he was engaging with worldly matters or when he was leaving emperumAn.

His heart, finding that all along AzhwAr was praising it with words such as mundhuRRa nenjE (as in the 1st pAsuram), yAmE sEyOm en nenjinAr sArndhozhindhAr (pAsuram 7) and nal nenjE (pAsuram 10), asks him as to why he was finding fault with it now for his wrong-doing. AzhwAr says . . .

pOy onRu solli en pO nenjE – I am telling you about your not stopping me when I was deep in sorrow. AzhwAr tells his heart “What is the purpose in our blaming each other? Let us leave this argument at this”. The word pO gives the meaning of “Leave it aside”.

AzhwAr tells his heart further that not listening to his instruction for a long time is also a reason for his present predicament.

upadhEsam tharinum nI enRum kAzhththuk kaikkoLLAyAzhwAr says “Did you not remain aloof and become angry with me when I instructed you, for a long time, not to think that sarvESvaran (supreme entity) has only greatness and that he has the quality of simplicity too? ”

His heart tells him “Now tell me as to what is to be done”. AzhwAr says . . .

kaNNan thAL vAzhththuvadhE vazhakku kaNdAy – We should not stand aloof when emperumAn is ready to accept us. It is appropriate for you to keep praising the divine feet of kaNNan (krishNa) who has qualities such as simplicity, affability etc.

We will go on to the 13th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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periya thiruvandhAdhi – 11 – nAzhAl amar muyanRa

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avathArikai

Looking at the greatness of emperumAn, when AzhwAr tried to move away from him thinking that he is unsuitable to be with emperumAn, emperumAn removed that thought from AzhwAr and made him to praise him again. After seeing this ability, AzhwAr wonders “For you who won over me and made me unite with you, is winning over rAvaNa a great deed?” In the interpretation where AzhwAr said a few words in frustration after being unable to see emperumAn directly, we can consider that emperumAn showed his form of ruling all the universe and his activity of destroying the demon, thus bringing clarity in AzhwAr and removing his frustration.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

nAzhAl amarmuyanRa vallarakkan innuyirai
vAzhA vagai validhal nin valiyE AzhAdha
pArunI vAnunI kAlunI thIyunI
nIrunI Ay ninRa nI

Word by Word Meanings

AzhAdha pArum nI – you are the earth which does not submerge in water and which floats
vAnum nI – you are the ethereal layer too
kAlum nI – you are wind too
thIyum nI – you are fire too
nIrum nI – you are water too
Ay ninRa nI – you are the antharAthmA (indwelling soul) for all these
nAzhAl – due to his pride
amar muyanRa – one who fought with you
val arakkan – the powerful demon rAvaNa
in uyirai – (his) dear life
vAzhA vagai validhal – hurting (that rAvaNa) such that he could not live
nin valiyE – is it any great skill (for you)?

vyAkyAnam

nAzhAl amar muyanRa vallarakkan innuyirai vAzhA vagai validhal nin valiyE – due to his arrogance that he is the king of all demons, rAvaNa, ignorant of the fact that he should not stand in fight with SrI rAma, waged a war with him. SrI rAma destroyed him in such a way that he lost his dear life. AzhwAr is asking whether this is such a great ability for emperumAn. The opinion here is that for emperumAn who was able to win over AzhwAr who was about to leave his presence considering himself to be unsuitable to be with emperumAn, the act of destruction of rAvaNa does not appear to be a patch on the former act. Thus it is clear that those who move away from emperumAn considering themselves to be ‘unsuitable’ will be on a par with rAvaNa who separated sIthAppirAtti from emperumAn.

AzhAdha pArum nI vAnum nI kAlum nI thIyum nI nIrum nI Ay ninRa nI – Contrasting elements such as soil [earth] which will dissolve in water, water which will put out fire etc are all emperumAn’s wealth. You are the indwelling soul for all these five elements which are your wealth. You unite all these elements and rule over them. For a person with such great ability (to put together contrasting entities) is making me appropriate for you such a great skilful act? For you who are the antharyAmi for these elements, who are their controller and who are referred to by any word which refers to any of these five elements, is making us, who are under your control and who cannot sustain ourselves if we do not attain you, suitable for you, such a great deed? We can also consider this to mean that just as killing rAvaNa is not a great deed, making us appropriate for you is also not a great deed.

We will move on to the 12th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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periya thiruvandhAdhi – 10 – iru nAlvar

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avathArikai

Three avathArikais were mentioned for this pAsuram [by nanjIyar]. The first avathArikai is that AzhwAr is moving away from emperumAn citing his unsuitability since he is trying to attain a means [emperumAn] who is attainable only by the thirty three dhEvas who are great in terms of knowledge, power etc. The second avathArikai relates to AzhwAr saying disgustedly to his heart “emperumAn will be attained only by dhEvas who are interested in other benefits and not by us who are totally desirous of only him”. The third avathArikai is about AzhwAr telling his heart in a dejected manner “emperumAn will be attained only by dhEvas who hold on to other means but not by us who hold on to only him as the means”.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

iru nAlvar Iraindhin mEl oruvar ettOdu
oru nAlvar Oriruvar allAl thirumARku
yAmAr vaNakkamAr EpAvam nannenjE
nAmA miga udaiyOm nAzh

Word by Word Meanings

nal nenjE – Oh mind which has goodness
iru nAlvar – the eight vasus
Iraindhin mEl oruvar – the eleven rudhras
ettOdu oru nAlvar – the twelve Adhithyas
Oriruvar – the two distinguished aSvinI dhEvathAs
allAl – apart from these entities
thirumARku – to attain the consort of mahAlakshmi
nAm Ar – in what classification do we belong?
vaNakkam Ar – to which type will the attainment that we [people with lowly power] make, belong?
E pAvam – how are (our) sins?
nAm – we
miga nAzh udaiyOm – have lot of unnecessary desires
A – a sound made in wonder [as in nAmA]

vyAkyAnam

iru nAlvar Iraindhin mEl oruvar ettOdu oru nAlvar Oriruvar – the thirty three dhEvas comprising 8 vasus, 11 rudhras, 12 Adhithyas and 2 aSvinI dhEvas. It is pertinent to recall here poygai AzhwAr who says in his mudhal thiruvandhAdhi 52eNmar padhinoruvar IraRuvar Oriruvar” and ANdAL who says in thiruppAvai 20muppaththu mUvar”. vEdha also says “thrayas thrimSadhvai dhEvA: ” (33 dhEvas)

allAl – apart from these [33 entities] who are full of knowledge and power.

thirumARku nAm Ar vaNakkam Ar – do we have the qualification to attain the consort of SrI mahAlakshmi? Couldn’t only great people attain him? Is our salutation etc, of any significance for him?

E pAvam – The reason for our losing him when he is at such close proximity is our sin only. One interpretation here is that we had to lose out on emperumAn since we went away from emperumAn considering our unsuitability. The second interpretation is that the reason for losing emperumAn and not enjoying him despite our heart seeing him is due to our sin [here, the term ‘our’ refers to AzhwAr].

nannenjE – On my good heart who remains with me irrespective of whether I attain emperumAn or lose out on him.

nAm miga nAzh udaiyOm – As mentioned in the decad “vaLavEzh ulagum” (thiruvAimozhi 1-5) , if we consider the unsuitability interpretation, it would mean “do we, the epitome of faults, have the qualification to approach the consort of SrI mahAlakshmi? Isn’t moving away from him the proper course of action? Isn’t it due to our ignorance that we approached him despite our lowliness?” If we consider the second interpretation (losing him out due to our sin), it would mean “emperumAn who carries out activities for those who have other means [to attain him] and who seek other benefits, would consider us, who have no other means and who seek no other benefit, as having sins”. The long syllable A in nAmA is indicative of the element of surprise.

We will move on to the 11th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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periya thiruvandhAdhi – 9 – numakkadiyOm

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

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avathArikai

Since his desire to see emperumAn directly was not realised, AzhwAr tells his heart “Oh heart! What is the purpose in our showing twelve teeth to emperumAn and beseeching him? It does not appear at all that he is going to show himself to us”. After analysing this a little, he feels that he cannot go away from emperumAn due to this and tells his heart “Whether he showers his grace or despises us, keep thinking of something or the other about emperumAn”.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

numakkadiyOm enRenRu nondhu uraiththu en mAlAr
thamakkavar thAm sArvariyarAnAl emakkini
yAdhAnum AgidukAN nenjE avar thiRaththE
yAdhAnum sindhiththiru

Word by Word Meanings

nenjE – Oh mind!
avar thAm – he, the supreme entity
sArvu ariyar AnAl – if he is not attainable
“numakku adiyOm – are we not servitors to you, the lord?”
enRu enRu – saying this many times
nondhu – feeling anguished
mAlAr thamakku – for such a great entity
uraiththu en – what is the purpose in saying?
emakku – for us (who are his possession)
ini – from now onwards
yAdhAnum Agidu kAN – let whatever happen
avar thiRaththE – towards him
yAdhAnum – something or the other
sindhiththu iru – keep meditating on

vyAkyAnam

numakkadiyOm enRenRu – It is enough to say only once “I am your servitor” to get his mercy, since he is naturally related to us. When this is the case, to say this many times will be a reason for hurting his divine mind.

nondhuraiththu en – due to the craving to see him directly, isn’t saying this many times, purposeless! Whatever emperumAn had said in  SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 18-28 “ArthO vA yadhi vA dhruptha:parEshAm SaraNAgatha:  I arI: prANAn parithyajya rakshithavya: kruthAthmanA II” (among the enemy warriors, one who has surrendered due to craving (due to feeling apologetic) or one who has surrendered due to patience (half-heartedly) should be protected by a person with well disciplined mind, even if he has to give up his life) has become false!

mAlAr thamakku nondhu uraiththu enmAlAr – one who is great; the opinion here is that when we were together with emperumAn he said that he is our servitor, he said a few words in anguish and showed his happiness, but now there is no point in saying these things to him, who is such a great person.

avar thAm sArvu ariyar AnAl – when he was with us, he was obedient to us and showed that he was dependent on us, but now he is beyond approach for us. My desire to see him in person would have fructified on the day he had thought “we will do” [show himself to AzhwAr]; however, when he is not thinking of us now, there is no purpose in saying repeatedly in anguish, that “we are your servitors”.

This is the meaning of the first half of the pAsuram. In the second half of the pAsuram, AzhwAr mercifully describes how he tells his heart “if this is the case, we can leave him”.

emakku ini yAdhAnum AgidukAN nenjE – for me who had desired to embrace him with this physical form, once it is clear that it will not happen, there is no difference between attaining him and losing him. What is the point in getting food later when it was not available when one was hungry? This is similar to ANdAL saying in nAchchiyAr thirumozhi 13-9 “kommai mulaigaL idar thIra gOvindhaRku Or kuRREval immaippiRavi  seyyAdhE inippOychcheyyum thavandhAnen” (What is the purpose in carrying out service to gOvindha (emperumAn) later when I cannot carry it out for him in this birth?)

When asked, “Let him come when he wants to. Until then, can you not wait patiently?” AzhwAr says that it is possible for those who can sustain themselves in separation but not for him who cannot sustain himself in separation. Did not sIthAppirAtti tell that she cannot live if separated from emperumAn, as said in SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 27-8 “IrshyA rOshau bahishkruthya bhukthaSEsham iva udhakam I naya mAm vIra visrabhdha: pApam mayi na vidhyathE II ”  (Oh brave man! Getting rid of jealousy and anger, just as one gets rid of excess water after drinking what is required, take me, believing (my words); I do not have the sin (which is the reason for my  separation from you)). This SlOkam is explained in detail now, in the vyAkyAnam. This SlOkam has been recited by sIthAppirAtti in anger which came out of affection, after SrI rAma had told her “There are wild animals and demons in the forest; I cannot take a gentle person such as you to the forest”.

IrshyA rOshau bahishkruthya – (Leaving aside jealousy and anger) Do you need so much of jealousy and anger since I will get a name with people saying ‘when SrI rAma went to forest, sIthA also followed him’. Just as you would get a name since ‘rAma took the words of his father [emperor dhaSaratha] and went to the forest’ should I not get a name ‘sIthA went to the forest following her husband’? Will the greatness ‘he followed the instructions of elders’ be appropriate only for you? Will it not be suitable for me?

IrshyArOshau bahishkruthya bhukthaSEsham ivOdhakam – the opinion here is ‘you are a disciple of vaSishta. You are very knowledgeable. That being the case, just as excess water, after quenching thirst is got rid of, should you not get rid of your jealousy and anger?’

naya mAm – (take me with you) Once you get rid of jealousy and anger, you would strive for the benefits of others. Hence, please take me too along with you.

vIra – You may hesitate to take me if there is any shortcoming in your valour, having taken the responsibility for others’ wellbeing. Since you are great warrior, there is no possibility for this doubt.

visrabdha – (having faith in my words) You know yourself that you have the capability to protect me in the forest too. My words ‘take me along with you’ were not said for the sake of saying. These were said whole heartedly. Hence, keeping faith in my words, please take me.

sIthAppirAtti says further, thinking that perumAL (SrI rAma) may be of the opinion that ‘it would be better to live in the city [of ayOdhyA] without any hardship than living in forest, facing many the hardships’

pApam mayi na vidhyathE  – Since I will not live if separated from you, there is no possibility that I will suffer in separation from you. The opinion is that due to this fact, there will be no sin for her, as a result of that.

Now, we get back to the main pAsuram.

avar thiRaththE yAdhAnum sindhiththu iru – [AzhwAr’s heart is asking him] ”Could you think that both attaining emperumAn and losing him are the same? He is very much required for our existence” AzhwAr responds “It is not required to attain him for our existence. Since we are a part of his physical form, when he exists, we also will exist. Now, in order to spend time purposefully, keep thinking of something or the other about him”. The opinion here is that even if emperumAn says “you are not needed for me”, AzhwAr could sustain himself by thinking about this.

We will move on to the 10th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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periya thiruvandhAdhi – 8 – arugum suvadum

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

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avathArikai

AzhwAr asks emperumAn in this pAsuram, the reason for being close enough as seen through heart while at the same time being far enough that he could not be hugged when he tried to see him with his eyes.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

arugum suvadum therivuNarOm anbE
perugum migu idhu en pEsIr parugalAm
paNbudaiyIr pAraLandhIr pAviyEn kaN kANbariya
nuNbudaiyIr nummai numakku

Word by Word Meanings

parugaLAm paNbu uadiyIr – Oh emperumAn who has qualities which could be drunk (like a liquid)!
pAr aLandhIr – Oh one who measured the worlds!
pAviyEn – we, who have lot of cruel sins
kaN kANbu ariya – not being able to see through eyes
nuNbu udaiyIr – Oh one who has subtle form of quality !
nummai – you
arugum suvadum – approaching and the means (for approaching)
therivu uNarOm – we do not analyse and do not know
numakku – in your matter
anbu – affection (from us)
miga perugum – will grow hugely
idhu en – what is the reason for this
pEsIr – please tell (yourself)

vyAkyAnam

arugum suvadum therivuNarOm  – The opinion here is that “we are not able to come near you. We are not able to enjoy well your sweetness too. We do not have the fortune of being near you for twelve years in ayOdhyA, like sIthAppirAtti and know the means of enjoying your sweetness”. Alternatively, suvadu could be taken to refer to “the means” and hence the meaning would change to – we do not know getting near you and the means for achieving it.

anbE perugum miga idhu en pEsIr – however, affection in your matter kept growing in me. Please tell me the reason for this.

parugalAm paNbudaiyIr – Just as it is mentioned in thiruvAimozhi 2-3-1thEnum pAlum neyyum kannalum amudhumoththE ” (being equivalent to mixing honey, milk,  ghee , candy and nectar) since the resultant mix of liquid substances which are sweet by themselves, is very sweet, AzhwAr says that emperumAn’s qualities can be consumed like a sweet juice. AzhwAr tells emperumAn “When looking at your sweetness, you appeared to be like a fluid which could be consumed by the mouth”. paNbu refers to emperumAn’s quality being simple to be tasted.

pAraLandhIr – by measuring the earth, you made everyone experience the quality mentioned above. By referring to these two calls (paNbudaiyIr and pAraLandhIr) AzhwAr states the reason for affection growing in him so that his mind could experience emperumAn.

pAviyEm kaN kANbriya nuNbudaiyIr – you have such a subtle form that you cannot be seen with eyes by us, who have accumulated lot of sins. Since only his heart was able to see emperumAn’s form, AzhwAr says kaN kANbariya nuNbudaiyIr (emperumAn is so subtle that he cannot be seen by the eyes). Through this call, AzhwAr explains the reason for the first line arugum suvadum therivuNarOm.

nummai numakku – once nanjIyar (one of the preceptors in the lineage of our pUrvAchAryas) asked piLLai thirunaRaiyUr araiyar as to how the words nummai and numakku are connected. araiyar responded saying “nummai arugum suvadum therivuNarOm” (we do not now approaching you and the means for carrying out this) and “numakku anbE perugum miga; idhu en pEsIr” (lot of affection overflows for you; please explain how this happens).

We will take up the 9th pAsuram, next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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periya thiruvandhAdhi – 7 – yAmE aruvinaiyOm

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

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avathArikai

In the fifth pAsuram, AzhwAr mentioned about how emperumAn took him when he tried to move away from emperumAn. In the sixth pAsuram he expressed his desire to see emperumAn’s divine form by saying “karumAmuRi mEni kAttudhiyO”. As a means of fulfilling AzhwAr’s desire, emperumAn showed his divine form to AzhwAr’s heart. Not satisfied with this mAnasa sAkshAthkAram (seeing through the mind), AzhwAr expresses his sorrow in this pAsuram saying “I am not fortunate to see his divine form and being embraced by him. The difference between what I desired and what I got is similar to that between a mountain and a molehill. I did not get the experience which my heart obtained”.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

yAmE aruvinaiyOm sEyOm en nenjinAr
thAmE aNukkarAych chArndhozhindhAr pUmEya
semmAdhai nin mArbil sErviththup pAridandha
ammA nin pAdhadhdharugu

Word by Word Meanings

pU mEya sem mAdhai – periya pirAttiyAr (SrI mahAlakshmi) who was born in a lotus flower and who has a reddish complexion
nin mArbil – on your divine chest
sEriviththu – making her unite (during the time of churning of milky ocean for nectar)
pAr idandha – digging out earth (during the time of deluge)
ammA – Oh my swAmy!
nin –  your, being the lord
pAdhaththu arugu – near the divine feet
en nenjinAr – my mind
thAmE – on his own (without my permission)
aNukkarAy – being a confidante (to emperumAn)
sArndhu ozhindhAr – attained
aruvinaiyOm – having cruel sins
yAmE – we
sEyOm – are at a far distance

vyAkyAnam

yAmE aruvinaiyOm sEyOm – I, having great sins such that I cannot see you and embrace you, am at a very far distance from you. Could emperumAn be attained by a samsAri (dweller in this materialistic realm) like me that easily?

en nenjinAr thAmE aNuakkarAych chArndhozhindhAr – My mind, without my permission, had reached at close proximity with emperumAn, on its own. Due to this, I too, though did not get what I desired, could get the benefit of enjoying [emperumAn] with my heart. Unlike me who decided to go away from emperumAn since I am not qualified to experience him, my heart, which went ahead of me towards emperumAn, fell head over heels and enjoyed him, thus carrying out the benefit for me, of seeing emperumAn through the mind. Since the heart carried out such benefit for him, AzhwAr is referring to his heart as “nenjinAr” (a respectable term).

Through the rest of the pAsuram, AzhwAr gives the reason for his leaving emperumAn and for his heart falling head over heels on emperumAn.

pU mEya sem mAdhai nin mArbil sErviththu – having periya pirAtti (SrI mahAlakshmi) who is residing on a lotus flower, who is of reddish complexion and who has great qualities, to unite with his chest during the time of churning the milky ocean for obtaining nectar. The meaning for this could also be construed as mentioned in thiruvAimozhi 6-10-10agalagillEn iRaiyum enRu” (not leaving emperumAn even for a moment), of having pirAtti always on the divine chest. The reason for mentioning that emperumAn is the consort of pirAtti is to justify his leaving emperumAn who is such a great entity and he, assuming of himself as a lowly entity. At the same time, his heart thinks “Should I lose out on emperumAn when pirAtti is always dwelling on his chest” and hence approaches emperumAn.

pAridandha – this refers to emperumAn’s taking the incarnation as a great boar during deluge and digging out the earth. The opinion here is that this activity is the reason for his leaving emperumAn thinking “Is it appropriate on my part to approach someone who has carried out a super human task?” and, at the same time, for his heart to approach him saying “When he is there to uplift lowly people, should I lose out on him?”

ammA – this would refer to his being the supreme entity as well to his being the ordained lord. Here too, the opinion is that this is the reason for AzhwAr leaving emperumAn since he is the supreme entity and for his heart to approach emperumAn as he is the ordained lord.

The lines should be rearranged to read ammA nin pAdhaththarugu – en nenjinAr thAmE aNukkarAych chArndhozhindhAr – yAmE aruvinaiyOm sEyOm.

We will take up the 8th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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