Category Archives: periya thiruvandhAdhi

periya thiruvandhAdhi – 6 – neRi kAtti

Published by:

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

Full Series

<< Previous

avathArikai

AzhwAr tried to go away from emperumAn thinking that he is not qualified to be with emperumAn even after emperumAn had created an interest in AzhwAr towards him. emperumAn had got him into his fold [as we had seen in the previous pAsuram] . AzhwAr now thinks that emperumAn has decided that AzhwAr could now take care of himself and says in frustration “If you think in your divine mind about me this way, I will surely perish”

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

neRi kAtti nIkkudhiyO ninpAl karumA
muRi mEni kAttudhiyO mEnAL aRiyOmai
en seyvAn eNNinAy kaNNanE IdhuraiyAy
en seydhAl enpadOm yAm

Word by Word Meanings

kaNNanE – Oh my swAmy (lord) who incarnated as krishNa!
neRi kAtti – showing (other) means
nin pAl nIkkudhiyO – will you remove (me) from you?
(nin pAl) karu mA muRi mEni – your blackish divine form which is like a tender mango leaf
kAttudhiyO – will you show?
mEl nAL – since time immemorial
aRiyOmai – I, who am ignorant
en seyvAN eNNinAy – what do you propose to do?
Idhu uraiyAy – tell us the words (mA Sucha:)
en seydhAl – whatever beneficial acts which you do
yAm en padOm – (if you leave the act of protecting us, to us) what troubles will we not create?

vyAkyAnam

neRi kAttu nIkkudhiyO – will you banish me from you by showing me other means in which I have to make the efforts (to attain you)? AzhwAr says that showing him, who is totally dependent on emperumAn, other means by which AzhwAr has to make efforts himself, which are contrary to his svarUpam (basic nature), is equivalent to banishing him. When krishNa instructed in SrI bhagavath gIthA 18.65 to arjuna “man manA bhava madhbhakthO ….” arjuna felt sad that emperumAn was showing him means in which he has to make efforts. That he felt sad is reflected in the very next [charama] SlOkam 18.66 when krishNa says mA Sucha: (do not grieve). Is it not clear that if a person is told “you take care of your needs” it means that it has been said with the intention of giving him up? Did not naLa tell his wife dhamayanthi “this is the way to vidharbha and this is the way to kOsala” and leave her later when they were sleeping, by cutting the cloth that they were wearing as said in “Esha panthA vidharbhANAm Esha yAthi hi kOsalAn”? In the same way, is it not to get rid of a person [AzhwAr] who has attained him [emperumAn] and who has given him [emperumAn]  the responsibility of protecting him, that emperumAn says “you have to look after what is good for you”?

ninpAl karu mA muRi mEni kAttudhiyO – Or else, will you show me, through your causeless mercy, your divine form which is blackish and which is like a tender mango leaf? The word ninpAl is added to both the previous verse and this verse to get the meaning. Did not upanishath too mention that emperumAn will show his divine form to those who are dear to him, as mentioned in kata upanishath 1-2-23?  “nAyamAthmA pravachanEna labhyO na mEdhayA na bahunA SruthEna I yamEvaisha vruNuthE thEna labhyA: thasyaisha AthmA vivruNuthE thanUm svAm  II” {(this paramAthmA) cannot be attained through hearing, committing to memory and meditating, without devotion.  Whoever is chosen by the paramAthmA only will attain him. This paramAthmA reveals his divine form to him}.

karumA muRi mEni – The word muRi refers to a tender leaf. mAmuRi – tender mango leaf. Thus, the softness of emperumAn’s divine form is spoken of by this word. Since the adjective karu (black) has been added, this refers to emperumAn’s divine form being darker than the tender mango leaf.  The commentator for this prabandham, SrI periyavAchchAn piLLai would say that karumAmuRi would refer to the glossy black pigment from which the superficial layer of dust has been removed. Thus, this refers to the glossy state of emperumAn’s divine form.

The next word mEnAL can be added to the preceding and succeeding words to get the meanings..

mEnAL karumA muRi mEni kAttudhiyO – Will you show your divine form which has been existing from time immemorial?

mEnAL aRiyOmai – I, who have been ignorant from time immemorial.

aRiyOmai en seyvAy eNNinAy – what are you proposing to do with us who have been caught up in the whirl of ignorance since time immemorial? Is it proper on a person who knows the correct path, to tell another person who has lost his way “You find the way yourself”? Or is it proper on his part to show the lost man, the correct path? AzhwAr’s situation is similar to the one expressed by SrI ALavandhAr in his sthOthra rathnam 49th SlOkamavivEkaghanAntha dhingmukE bahudhA santhatha dhu:khavarshiNi I bhagavan bhavadhurdhinE padha: skalitham mAm avalOkayAchyutha II ” (Oh one who is full of knowledge, power and auspicious qualities! Oh one who does not let go of your followers! Shower your mercy on me who has lost the correct way and is caught in the dark times of samsAram (materialistic realm) which is having darkened directions due to the clouds called as indiscretion and which keeps pouring continuous troubles).

en seyvAy eNNinAy – did you try to push me into the path of devotion as said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 18-65man manA bhava madh bhaktha ….” or did you propose to show yourself as the means, as said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 18.66sarva dharmAn parithyajya mAmEkam SaraNam vraja I aham thvA sarva pApebhyO mOkshayishyAmi mA Sucha: II” (leave aside all the righteous paths (as means of attaining mOksham) with their traces and hold on only to me as the means; I will liberate you from all your sins. Do not grieve)?

kaNNanE Idhu uraiyAy – the responsibility of telling me “Do not worry” (which you said in the just quoted charama SlOkam) and giving me refuge, rests only with you.

emperumAn says with his divine mind “But I have given you deep knowledge and devotion such that  ignorance will be got rid of”……

en seydhAl en padOm yAmAzhwAr responds to emperumAn “It is true that you created in me the ability to be free from malevolence towards you; you made me to be favourably disposed towards you;  you also gave me deep knowledge and devotion such that I can get rid of my ignorance. Apart from [providing me with] these, even if you carry out more benefits towards me and take me to paramapadham (SrIvaikuNtam), if you leave it to me to take care of myself, will I not get rid of the first mentioned quality of being without malevolence towards you and return to samsAram to become your enemy?”

We will move on to the 7th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

archived in http://divyaprabandham.koyil.org

pramEyam (goal) – http://koyil.org
pramANam (scriptures) – http://granthams.koyil.org
pramAthA (preceptors) – http://acharyas.koyil.org
SrIvaishNava education/kids portal – http://pillai.koyil.org

periya thiruvandhAdhi – 5 – peRRa thAy

Published by:

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

Full Series

<< Previous

avathArikai

AzhwAr tried to move away from emperumAn after thinking that he does not have the qualification to approach him. Just as it is mentioned in thaiththirIya upanishath Anandhavalli 6 “asannEva bhavathi I asath brahmEthi vEdehachEth I asthi brahmEthi chEdh vEdha I santhamEnam thathO vidhu: II” (when he (a sentient being) realises that brahmam (emperumAn) does not exist, he (the sentient entity) does not exist; when he realises that brahmam exists, for that reason alone, (good people) know that he (sentient entity) exists), AzhwAr was about to lose his svarUpam (basic nature) when he tried to move away from emperumAn. However, emperumAn showers his mercy on AzhwAr and gives him his svarUpam. In this pAsuram, AzhwAr expresses his gratitude to emperumAn.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

peRRa thAy nIyE piRappiththa thandhai nI
maRRaiyAr AvArum nI pEsil eRREyO
mAya mA mAyavaLai mAya mulai vAy vaiththa
nIyammA kAttum neRi

 Word by Word Meanings

mAya – Oh one who has amazing activities!
ammA – Oh my Lord!
pEsil – if we have to speak (about the beneficial activities that you carry out)
peRRa thAy nIyE – you are the only one who carries out sweet activities for me, like a mother
piRappiththa thandhai nI – you are the only one who carries out beneficial activities like the father who created
maRRaiyAr AvArum nI – you are the other AchAryas (teachers) who do good by the AthmA (soul)
mA mAyavaLai mAya – ensuring that the huge demon pUthanA perishes
mulai vAy vaiththa – taking (her) bosom in your mouth
nI – you, the lord of all
kAttum neRi – the path that you showed (to remove my enemy)
eRREyO – how wonderful it is!

vyAkyAnam

peRRa thAy nIyE – only you are the mother who, even before the child is conceived, observes fast, [and as the child grows inside the womb] adjusts her intake of food and sleeping hours according to the needs of the foetus when carrying it for ten months in her womb, takes care of cleaning the child, after it is born and discharges waste fluids, and keeps doing only sweet things for the child always.

piRappiththa thandhai nI – you are the father who, just as it is mentioned in SAsthras (religious treatises) “mAthA bhasthrA pithu: puthra:” (mother is like a vessel holding the child for ten months, the son belongs to the father), has rights over the child in many ways, one who creates the child, doing what is beneficial for the child unlike the mother who does only sweet things for the child.

maRRaiyAvArum nI – just as it is mentioned in Apasthamba sUthra 1-1-6 “SarIramEva mAtha pithA janathaya: I sa hi vidhyAthas tham janayathi thach chrEshtam janma  II” (mother and father create only the physical form for the child; it is AchAryan alone who creates AthmA through knowledge; it is this AthmA which is the superior birth), the parents create only the physical body for the child. They do not carry out any beneficial activity for the AthmA. AzhwAr tells emperumAn that it is emperumAn who is his AchAryan, always thinking of doing beneficial acts for the AthmA. The term marraiyAr refers to great AchAryars (teachers) who are different from mother and father.

pEsil – is it not impossible to speak about the benefits that you carry out? If one attempts to speak about these to an extent . . .

eRReyO – All that one can say is “How amazing!”

mAya – Oh one who has amazing power! The opinion is that emperumAn can carry out what others cannot. AzhwAr is speaking about how emperumAn accepted him after he decided to leave emperumAn.

mAyavaLai mAya mulai vAy vaiththa – keeping his (emperumAn’s) mouth on the poisoned bosom of the huge demon pUthana to kill her when she came deceptively in order to kill him [during his incarnation as krishNa]. By the term mAyavaL AzhwAr shows how the demon pUthanA came deceptively, in the guise of krishNa’s mother, in an amazing way. The word mAya refers to her perishing in the process.

nIyammA kAttum neRi eRREyO – When one looks at the way you removed my hurdle when I decided to move away from you feeling unqualified to be with you, does it not look similar to the way you removed pUthanA! The usage of the word ammA emphasises that you [emperumAn] did this since you possess me.

We will move on to the 6th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

archived in http://divyaprabandham.koyil.org

pramEyam (goal) – http://koyil.org
pramANam (scriptures) – http://granthams.koyil.org
pramAthA (preceptors) – http://acharyas.koyil.org
SrIvaishNava education/kids portal – http://pillai.koyil.org

periya thiruvandhAdhi – 4 – ennil migu pugazhAr

Published by:

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

Full Series

<< Previous

avathArikai

emperumAn mercifully tells AzhwAr “You have not noticed an important aspect when you say ‘If I start praising emperumAn, it becomes a fault. If I stay away from praising him, it has a special distinction’. While looking at what you said superficially may appear correct, if one were to analyse deeply at what you said, it will be clear that one should follow the exact opposite of what you had said. If you stay away from praising me, others will think ‘only those who are greater than AzhwAr can attain matters related to emperumAn’ and will not come anywhere near me. If you praise me, others will think ‘everyone can hold on to the matter that AzhwAr has held on to’ and come to me. Hence, I will attain greatness only if you praise me”. Hearing this, AzhwAr becomes very pleased and starts praising emperumAn.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

ennil migu pugazhAr yAvarE pinnaiyum maRRu
eNNil migu pugazhEn yAn allAl enna
karunjOdhik kaNNan kadal puraiyum seela
perunjOthikku ennenju AtpeRRu

Word by Word Meanings

enna – being mine
karum sOdhi kaNNan – krishNa with black complexion
kadal puraiyum seelam – having the inherent quality of ocean
perum sOdhikku – to you who are having great radiance
en nenju – my mind
AL peRRu – became a servitor
maRRu eNNil – if one were to analyse
migu pugazhEn yAn allAl – only I have great fame and none else
pinnaiyum – more than that
ennil – more than I
migu pugazhAr – having more fame
yAvarE – who else is there?

vyAkyAnam

ennil migu pugazhAr yAvarE – this could be construed to mean (1) who else is there who has more fame than I do? (2) Just as bhUthaththAzhwAr mercifully said in the 100th pAsuram of iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhienRanaLavanRAl yAnudaiya anbu” (my affection [for emperumAn] became much larger than I), my fame has grown bulky, much larger than my basic form which is atomic. Who else  has this much of fame?

AzhwAr further affirms the meaning brought out by both these meanings.

pinnaiyum maRReNNil migu pugazhEn yAn allAl – if one were to analyse, there is none who has fame which is not limited by the basic form. How is it that this AzhwAr, who praises himself to this extent in this pAsuram, said in thiruvAimozhi 4-7-1seelamillAch chiRiyanElum seyvinaiyO peridhAl” (even though I am lowly person without any knowledge, my sins are huge)? When he does not attain emperumAn, AzhwAr says that there is none who has sinned more than he. In the same way, when he attains emperumAn and he says that there is none who is his equal, there is no shortcoming in that.

AzhwAr now says the reason for this.

enna karunjOdhikkaNNan kadal puraiyum seelan perunjOdhikku ennenju AtpeRRu – praising kaNNan (krishNa) who has black complexion, who gave his divine form to me for me to enjoy completely as my right and thus showed his simplicity, who has the inherent quality of ocean and who is supremely radiant, being the sarvESvaran, added to his greatness. This verse should be read along with the previous part “ennil migu pugazhAr yAvarE ”. By referring to ennudaiya karunjOdhik kaNNan, emperumAn’s quality of simplicity by which he gives his divine form for AzhwAr to enjoy has been brought out. seelan refers to the quality of great person mingling with lowly person without any inhibition. Such a person is referred to in vEdhas (sacred texts) as paranjOdhi (supremely radiant), the sarvESvaran and AzhwAr refers to him here as perunjOdhi (great radiance). Alternatively, it can be construed that he is referring to emperumAn as perumjOdhi because of the deep affection that emperumAn has for AzhwAr as mentioned by AzhwAr himself in thiruvAimozhi 3-3-4Isan vAnavarkkenban enRal adhu thEsamO thiruvEngadaththAnukku nIsanEn niRaivonRumilEn enkaN pAsam vaiththa paranjudar sOdhikke” (Is it a great quality for thiruvEngadaththAn  (emperumAn) to be the controller of nithyasUris? He showed affection towards me, who is lowly and who has no great quality in him and he is supremely radiant).

We will move on to the 5th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

archived in http://divyaprabandham.koyil.org

pramEyam (goal) – http://koyil.org
pramANam (scriptures) – http://granthams.koyil.org
pramAthA (preceptors) – http://acharyas.koyil.org
SrIvaishNava education/kids portal – http://pillai.koyil.org

periya thiruvandhAdhi – 3 – ivaiyanRE nalla

Published by:

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

Full Series

<< Previous

avathArikai

In the first pAsuram, AzhwAr started praising emperumAn after seeing the greatness of matters related to him. In the second pAsuram, seeing the inestimable nature of these matters, he stepped back from praising saying that he is not qualified to start praising such matters. Seeing the anger that this caused in emperumAn, he said that his acts of praising and stepping back from praising are due to his bewilderment. In the first pAsuram, he started to praise emperumAn after seeing his greatness and not because of any bewilderment. Shouldn’t he have stepped back from praising emperumAn at that time itself saying “It is not proper on my part, who is a lowly person, to praise such a great entity”? The response for this would be – since emperumAn has given me [reference here is to AzhwAr] the knowledge which the insentient do not possess and since I am capable of analysing virtues and vices, I know that “it is better for us, who are very lowly, not to praise emperumAn both in terms of mind and in terms of speech. Praising him would end up as insulting him and is bad”. However, since I [AzhwAr] have a connection with physical form, and taking or rejecting something is not under my control since I am totally subservient to emperumAn, since I cannot sustain without praising matters relating to emperumAn, I am incapable of remaining aloof from praising emperumAn. Thus, AzhwAr resumes praising emperumAn in this pAsuram.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

ivaiyanRE nalla ivaiyanRE thIya
ivaiyenRu ivai aRiyanElum ivaiyellAm
ennAl adaippu nIkku oNNAdhu iRaiyavanE
ennAl seyaRpAladhu en

Word by Word Meanings

ivaiyanRE nalla – isn’t not thinking of emperumAn good?
ivaiyanRE thIya – isn’t thinking of emperumAn bad?
enRu – saying so
ivai ivai – these qualities
aRivanElum – even though I know
ivaiyellAm – all these entities which are bad and good
ennAl – by me
adaippu nIkku – to hold on to or to reject
oNNAdhu – is not possible
iRaiyavanE – Oh emperumAn!
ennAl – by me, this servitor
seyaRpAladhu en – what is there to carry out

vyAkyAnam

ivaiyanRE nalla – It is good not to praise through mind or speech as said in “pugazhOm pazhiyOm, madhiyOm igazhOm” (2nd pAsuram)

ivaiyanRE thIya – praising emperumAn wholeheartedly through mind or speech is bad, as said in the verse “pugazhvOm pazhippOm madhippOm igazhvOm” (2nd pAsuram)

ivai enRu ivai aRivanElum – even though I know that these are good and these are bad, by analysing.

ivai ellAm – all these, by which I give up praising and accept not praising

ennAl adaippu nIkku oNNAdhu – it is not possible for me to accept not praising which I know to be correct and to give up praising which I know to be bad.

iRaiyavanE – Do I have the independence to accept something and to give up something? Shouldn’t you, who are my lord, do this?

ennAl seyaRpAladhu en – Is it possible for me to give up praising you when you have mercifully said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 2-47karmaNyEvAdhikArasthE mA palEshu kadhAchana” (you, who are a mukukshu (one who is desirous of attaining mOksham) have a right over carrying out daily and ceremonial deeds and never over the results) and in SrI bhagavath gIthA 18-65manmanA bhava madhbhakthO madhyAjI mAm namaskuru I mAmEvaishyasi sathyam thE prathijAnEpriyO’si mE II” (you be one who keeps his mind on me, one who is my devotee and one who worships me; you offer your salutations to me; you will attain me; this is the truth; I make a vow to you; are you not dear to me!)

We will move on to the 4th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

archived in http://divyaprabandham.koyil.org

pramEyam (goal) – http://koyil.org
pramANam (scriptures) – http://granthams.koyil.org
pramAthA (preceptors) – http://acharyas.koyil.org
SrIvaishNava education/kids portal – http://pillai.koyil.org

periya thiruvandhAdhi – 2 – pugazhvOm pazhippOm

Published by:

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

Full Series

<< Previous

avathArikai

In the first pAsuram, AzhwAr said that he will speak about the auspicious qualities of emperumAn with the words “nAvIn thodaikkiLavi utpodhivOm”. However, just as vEdhas came back empty handed when they set out to measure the qualities of emperumAn as mentioned in the thaiththirIya upanishath SlOkam “yathO vAchO nivarthanthE …  ” AzhwAr too steps back saying that this is not a matter that he could speak about [describing the auspicious qualities of emperumAn]. This is similar to ALavandhAr (one of our principal preceptors) saying in his sthOthra rathnam 7thathvEna yasya mahimArNavaSIkarANu: SakyO na mAthumapi SarvapithAmahAdhyai: I karthum thadhIya mahimasthuthimudhyathAya mahyam namO’sthu kavayE nirapathrapAya II ” (I started praising about emperumAn, in whose ocean of greatness, even a drop could not be estimated by Siva, brahmA et al; I must salute myself, who am shameless and who earned the name of being a poet). The opinion indicated here for stepping back from praising emperumAn is – singing paeans about a matter is to mention about all the greatness regarding that matter and to further praise the matter with greatness which it does not possess. In the case of emperumAn, even listing out his greatness in the first place is an impossible task. This is why SrI ALavandhAr spoke disparagingly of himself when he started singing the greatness of emperumAn. What is the reason for nammAzhwAr to praise emperumAn in the first pAsuram and to step back in the second pAsuram by saying that praising emperumAn is similar to ridiculing him? Both acts (of praising and stepping back) are due to the greatness of matter related to emperumAn. When one sees something great, it is apt to enjoy it for himself. In the same way, when one starts praising emperumAn and finds that it impossible to do so as the greatness of emperumAn is beyond one’s faculties of mind and speech, it is apt to step back, thinking “my attempt to praise emperumAn and create a greatness for him is ending up as a ridicule for him”

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

pugazhvOm pazhippOm pugazhOm pazhiyOm
igazhvOm madhippOm igazhOm madhiyOm maRRu
engaNmAl sengaNmAl seeRal nee thIvinaiyOm
engaL mAl kaNdAy ivai

Word by Word Meanings

pugazhvOm – if we are to praise (you)
pazhippOm – (since it won’t be apt for your auspicious qualities) we will end up ridiculing you
pugazhOm – if we do not praise
pazhiyOm – we will refrain from ridiculing (since my faulty words will not come anywhere near your auspicious qualities)
maRRu – moreover
madhippOm – if we think (about you)
igazhvOm – we will end up insulting you
madhiyOm – if we do not think (of you)
igazhOm – we will not end up insulting you
engaL mAl – having affection towards us
sem kaN mAl – having reddish, divine eyes
nee – you (who cannot be estimated)
seeRal – do not be angry
ivai – engaging in praising you and refraining from praising you
thIvinaiyOm – horrible sinners
engaL – our
mAl kaNdAy – bewilderment, please see.

vyAkyAnam

pugazhvOm pazhippOm – If we praise matters related to emperumAn, we will actually end up ridiculing him.

pugazhOm pazhiyOm – If we refrain from praising him, that itself will be equivalent to not ridiculing  him. But will this meaning not be derived in the earlier verse itself (pugazhvOm pazhippOm)? It is more strongly emphasised in this negative assertion (vyathirEkam) than in the positive assertion (anvayam) there.  Thus, AzhwAr has shown that it is better not to indulge with the faculty of speech, in matter related to emperumAn. Next, he shows the same with the faculty of mind.

igazhvOm madhippOm – We should change the order of the verse to madhippOm igazhvOm. The opinion here is that if we think of emperumAn through our heart, we will end up insulting him. Just as it is mentioned in thaiththirIya samhithA 7-5-3 “mana: pUrvO vaguththara:” (it is the mind which precedes speech), we speak through our faculty of speech whatever the faculty of mind thinks. But, will it not be construed here that whatever has been mentioned in pugazhvOm pazhippOm is being repeated here? This is not correct since even though we have to carry out atonement for the sins committed through the faculty of thinking, AzhwAr is bringing this up here in order to show that we would have committed the sin of insulting matters relating to emperumAn even if we think of them.

madhiyOm igazhOm – If we do not think of matters relating to emperumAn we would not have insulted them.

maRRu – this shows that the activity of saying something through the faculty of speech is different from thinking of the same through the faculty of mind. Thus the word maRRu should be brought forward to get the verse maRRu igazhvOm madhippOm and the meaning should be taken accordingly. It is by combining the meanings in these two lines and the meaning in kEnOpanishath which starts with the verse yasyA matham that SrI parASara bhattar mercifully composed in his SrI rangarAja sthavam 1-13 the SlOkam “amatham matham mathamathAmatham sthutham parinindhitham bhavathi nindhitham sthutham I ithi rangarAjamudhajughushath thrayI sthumahE vayam nimithi tham na Saknuma: II ” (The thamizh and samskrutha vEdhas say “when it is thought that the supreme being cannot be known, it becomes known. And, if it is thought that the supreme being is known, it becomes unknown. When it is thought that the supreme being is praised, it becomes insulted. If it is thought that it cannot be praised, it becomes praised”. How are we, the ignorant people, engaging in praising that supreme being, SrI ranganAtha? We are not capable of praising him).

engaL mAlemperumAn who is very affectionate towards us so that we do not ridicule him.

sengaN mAl engaL mAl – one who is proclaimed by vEdhas as the supreme being because he has eyes described as in chAndhOgya upanishath 1-6-7 “thasya yathA puNdarIkam EvamakshiNI ” (that supreme being (who is at the centre of the solar system) has two eyes which are like lotus blossomed by sun) and one who cannot be estimated by anyone, developed deep affection for me. The word mAl which occurs at the beginning denotes one who is a great person and the second mAl denotes one who has affection.

nee seeRal – do not get angry with us and shower your mercy on us.

sengaNmAl seeRal – thinking that emperumAn’s eyes have become reddish because he is angry on account of his praising him without knowing his greatness, AzhwAr tells emperumAn not to get angry. Alternatively, it can be construed that after hearing AzhwAr’s first pAsuram when he set out to praise emperumAn, like a famished person taking a large leaf to take the food offered which will satiate his hunger, emperumAn was very anxious to hear what AzhwAr had to say. When AzhwAr stepped back in the second pAsuram since he would end up ridiculing emperumAn if he set out to praise him, emperumAn might have become angry and hence AzhwAr is requesting him not to get angry.

thIvinaiyOm – While you are anxious to hear being praised, we are not fortunate to praise you due to our sins. This meaning would gel with the second meaning for the world seeRal (emperumAn was waiting to hear AzhwAr praise when he stated as much in the first pAsuram and became angry when AzhwAr stepped back since he would end up ridiculing him). Alternatively, this can be construed as referring to the sins due to which, without knowing emperumAn’s greatness, AzhwAr set out to start praising emperumAn.

engaL mAl kaNdAy ivai – setting out to praise you in the first place after seeing your greatness and stepping back from that as it would be inappropriate, are both borne out of our bewilderment. mAl here refers to bewilderment.

We will take up the 3rd pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

archived in http://divyaprabandham.koyil.org

pramEyam (goal) – http://koyil.org
pramANam (scriptures) – http://granthams.koyil.org
pramAthA (preceptors) – http://acharyas.koyil.org
SrIvaishNava education/kids portal – http://pillai.koyil.org

periya thiruvandhAdhi – 1 – muyaRRi sumandhu

Published by:

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

Full Series

<< Previous

avathArikai

As soon as AzhwAr told his heart that one should carry out vAchika kainkaryam (carrying out service to emperumAn through the faculty of speech), the heart set out alone, in search of emperumAn, without taking AzhwAr with it. AzhwAr tells his heart to take him along.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

muyaRRi sumandhu ezhundhu mundhuRRa nenjE
iyaRRuvAy emmodo nI kUdi nayappudaiya
nAvIn thodaikkiLavi utpodhivOm naRpUvaip
pUvInRa vaNNan pugazh

Word by Word Meanings

muyaRRi sumandhu – being involved enthusiastically (in carrying out service to emperumAn)
ezhundhu – rising up intensely
mudhuRRa nenjE – Oh heart who has gone ahead (of me)!
nal – superior
pUvaip pU InRa – in the flower kAyAmbU (a type of flower which has indigo like colour)
vaNNan – sarvESvaran, who has that colour, his
pugazh – auspicious qualities
nayappudaiya – having grace
nA In – being created by tongue
thodaikkiLaviyuL – words with beautiful sounds, strung beautifully
podhivOm – we will keep constantly
emmodu – along with me
nI kUdi – you too join
iyaRRuvAy – praise

vyAkyAnam

muyaRRi sumandhu – being involved enthusiastically in the kainkaryam to be carried out by the faculty of speech, which is being mentioned in the latter part of the pAsuram. The word muyaRRi indicates enthusiasm. The way AzhwAr’s heart is proceeding ahead of AzhwAr is analogous to the way iLaiya perumAL (lakshmaNa) proceeded ahead of perumAL (SrI rAma), as mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 33-28 “prAgEva thu mahAbAga: saumithrir mithra nandhana: I pUrvajasyAnuyAthrArthE dhrumasIrair alankrutha: II” (in order to go behind his elder brother, lakshmaNa, who is fortunate, who makes the favourable people happy and who is sumithrA’s son, dressed himself with the wooden barks, ahead of SrI rAma). Did not kaikEyi give the dress made of wooden bark to SrI rAma first and then only to lakshmaNa? How then can it be said that lakshmaNa wore the bark ahead of SrI rAma? SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 21-17 says “dhIpthamagnimaraNyam vA yadhi rAma: pravEkshayathi I pravishtam thathra mAm dhEvi thvam pUrvamadhAraya II” ((lakshmaNa tells his mother sumithrA) Oh mother! If SrI rAma enters a raging fire or a forest, know that I would have entered it ahead of him). Thus, knowing the basic nature of lakshmaNa, it is not a fault to say that lakshmaNa wore the dress made of wooden bark ahead of SrI rAma. The opinion here is that unlike SrI rAma, who was wearing the bark in order to fulfil the words of his father, lakshmaNa wore it because SrI rAma was going to wear it and hence this is more significant.

mundhuRRa nenjE – Just as lakshmaNa told SrI rAma as in the SrI rAmAyaNa SlOkam “yadhithvam prasthidhOdhurkam vanamadhyaiva rAghava I agrathasthE gamishyAmi mruthnathI kuSakaNtakAn II” (Oh rAghava! Even if you are proceeding to the difficult-to-go-to forest today itself, I will go ahead of you, stamping on the grass and thorns and destroying them [so that it will be easier for you to walk on the cleared path]), AzhwAr tells his heart “Oh heart, who is ahead of me!”

iyaRRuvAy emmodu nI kUdi – [AzhwAr tells his heart] Wasn’t it I who instructed you about service to emperumAn? Could you go, leaving me behind, forgetting that gratitude? It is indeed good that you are enthusiastic about carrying out service ahead of me. Take me too, along with you. What will the two of us do, together, asks the heart. AzhwAr states further “We are going to carry out kainkaryam to emperumAn, together”

nayappudaiya  – having superiority. Just as nammAzhwAr has mercifully mentioned in thiruvAimozhi 7-9-10 “ennAl thannaip padhaviya inkavi pAdiya” (he [emperumAn] composed beautiful songs on himself, using me as a tool), the poem will add superiority to the one about whom it speaks. Adding superiority to the lead character is creating greatness, which was not there earlier.

nAvIn – a poem created through the tongue. AzhwAr tells his heart “Oh heart! Neither you nor I would be needed to create this poem. Tongue itself is enough for this”. AzhwAr says that his heart and he are required only to retain this poem in the heart and to enjoy it. Is it possible to create a poem without the presence of heart? The meaning implied is that emperumAn will remain in the heart and make it to compose the poem. Didn’t AzhwAr say in thiruvAimozhi “ennAl thannaip pAdiya”! (emperumAn who sang about himself through me)

thodaikkiLavi – words which have been strung beautifully. The meaning implied here is that since the poem was not composed troubling the heart, there is no harshness in the words.

utpodhivOm – thaiththirIya upanishath Anandhavalli says “yathO vAchO nivarthanthE aprApya manasA saha I Anandham brahmaNO vidhvAn na bibhEthi kuthSchanEthi  II” (The heart, with the words, set out to measure the happiness of emperumAn and returned, being unable to accomplish the task. One who knows the happiness of emperumAn will not fear anything). vEdhAntha could not measure the happiness of emperumAn and returned empty handed. AzhwAr is full of zeal to contain the auspicious qualities of that emperumAn inside his words.

naRpUvai pUvInRa pugazhAzhwAr says that the subject matter [emperumAn] cannot be contained inside words.

naRpUvai – While the colour of the flower pUvaippU (indigo coloured flower) may, to an extent, match the complexion of  emperumAn’s divine form, his fragrance and gentleness, the simile would end just there as the flower will wither away in a while. Since the normal pUvaippU will not match the perennial greatness of emperumAn, AzhwAr is qualifying the flower by calling it as narpUvai  (good flower).

pUvInRa vaNNan – it could be taken as either the flower which manifests the bluish colour of emperumAn or emperumAn who reveals the colour of the flower.  This is similar to the saying “gO sadhruSO gavaya:  gavaya sadhruSO gau:” (the animal gavaya is looking like cow and the cow is looking like the animal gavaya) in which both the simile and the object have got interchanged.

pugazh – the qualities of emperumAn’s divine form, not made of primordial matter, and qualities of emperumAn’s basic nature, full of knowledge and happiness.

We will move on to the 2nd pAsuram, next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

archived in http://divyaprabandham.koyil.org

pramEyam (goal) – http://koyil.org
pramANam (scriptures) – http://granthams.koyil.org
pramAthA (preceptors) – http://acharyas.koyil.org
SrIvaishNava education/kids portal – http://pillai.koyil.org

periya thiruvandhAdhi – avathArikai (Introduction)

Published by:

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

Full Series

<< Previous

When nammAzhwAr started composing thiruviruththam, his first dhivya prabandham (divine hymn) with the verse “imaiyOr thalaivA” (leader of nithyasUris, the permanent dwellers of SrIvaikuNtam), emperumAn, who is the repository of all auspicious qualities, through his causeless mercy, revealed to AzhwAr his svarUpam (basic natue), rUpam (divine form), guNam (auspicious qualities) and his wealth of nithya vibhUthi (spiritual realm, SrIvaikuNtam) and leelA vibhUthi (materialistic realm, samsAram). Seeing these, AzhwAr realised that while he has the same entitlement as the nithyasUris to enjoy the experience of emperumAn, he is not able to enjoy it as he was in samsAram, with hurdles such as knowledge [limited knowledge, due to being in samsAram], demeanour [shortcomings in his conduct], physical form [made of five elements which are perishable] etc.  He, therefore, appealed to emperumAn to sever his connection with the physical form which was a major hurdle in experiencing emperumAn. This meaning was mentioned in the first pAsuram (hymn) of thiruviruththam “poyninRa gyAnamum pollA ozhukkum azhukkudambum inninRa nIrmai iniyAm uRAmai” (I do not want to get any more of this false knowledge [that this body is Athma, the soul], bad conduct and the dirty body).  While AzhwAr had mentioned this in the first pAsuram, is this meaning expressed in all the 100 pAsurams of thiruviruththam? In the 100th pAsuram, which gives the benefits to those who learn this prabandham, AzhwAr had stated “azhundhAr piRappAm pollA aruvinai mAya van sERRaLLal poynnilaththE” ((those who learn this prabandham) will not drown in this samsAram which is the reason for accumulation of sins and virtues, is deceitful, and is like a quagmire). Since AzhwAr had started saying about the ills of samsAram in the first pAsuram and spoke of the same in the 100th pAsuram, and since he said in the first pAsuram that he was making an appeal to emperumAn (adiyEN seyyum viNNappamE) and said in the 100th pAsuram that this was his appeal (mARan viNNappam seydha), it is clear that this is the meaning for all 100 pAsurams. After he had made the appeal to emperumAn in the first pAsuram to sever his connection with his physical form, since emperumAn did not accede to his request, the pAsurams in between were all expression of his distress.

Why did emperumAn not accede to AzhwAr’s request in the first pAsuram? To know this, we should look at what he did when bhIshma (the grandfather of pANdavas and kauravas) was lying in the bed of arrows [in mahAbhAratha war]. In order to re-establish the righteousness which he had put in place on earth, emperumAn  had made bhIshma to pronounce the same to yudhishtra [the first son of kunthi] and other pANdavas. In the same way, emperumAn made AzhwAr to compose all the four prabandhams [thiruviruththam, thiruvAsiriyam, periya thiruvandhAdhi and thiruvAimozhi] so that the world, at large, would be benefitted and the people will get uplifted, by keeping AzhwAr for a long time, in leelA vibhUthi.

While emperumAn is the Lord and AzhwAr is the servitor, and it is emperumAn who can remove the hurdles of AzhwAr which prevented AzhwAr from attaining emperumAn, AzhwAr should have made emperumAn the main character in his first prabandham, thiruviruththam. Instead, he gave that honour to SrIvaishNavas. Why did he do like this? This was because, AzhwAr felt that only SrIvaishNavas can help him in uniting with emperumAn and because SrIvaishNavas only should be attained in both this realm and in the spiritual realm, as mentioned in periya thirumozhi 7-4-4 “pErALan pErOdhum periyOrai oru nALum pirigilEn” (I cannot sever myself from those great people who constantly recite the divine names of the emperumAn who is the head of nithyasUris). Also, just  as mentioned in SrI bhagavath gIthai 10-9machchiththA madhgathaprANA bhOdhayantha: parasparamkathayanthaScha mAm nithyam thushyanthi cha ramanthi cha  II” (keeping their minds firmly established in me, keeping their lives in me, constantly telling one another about my auspicious qualities, my devotees are always happy and enjoying), AzhwAr made the SrIvaishNavas, who help each other in experiencing emperumAn, as the main character in his first prabandham.

What did emperumAn do for AzhwAr in the second prabandham of thiruvAsiriyam? He knew that AzhwAr cannot sustain himself if emperumAn, even if he does not sever AzhwAr’s connection with his body, does not create any enhancement in his state compared to the earlier state. Hence, he brought about a clarity in AzhwAr’s knowledge so that AzhwAr could experience and enjoy emperumAn’s svarUpa, rUpa, guNa and vibhUthi  in samsAram itself, in the same way that nithyasUris enjoyed these in SrIvaikuNtam. Thus AzhwAr enjoyed these in thiruvAsiriyam.

What is it that AzhwAr mercifully declares in the third prabandham, periya thiruvandhAdhi? The worldly matters of Sabdham etc (five sensory perceptions), when experienced, will not be such that they could be termed as great when they are being experienced. The person who experiences these cannot state clearly as to what he had experienced (they will be so lowly). On the other hand, matters related to emperumAn will be such that what has been experienced will be beyond description and what is left to be experienced will be still huge [it is not possible to experience emperumAn completely]. Hence, just as he started the first pAsuram with the verse “muyaRRi sumandhu” (being involved enthusiastically), he sang the last verse “moy kazhalE Eththa muyal” (try and praise the divine feet of emperumAn), thus signifying that his enthusiasm for experiencing matters related to emperumAn increases proportionately to the greatness of emperumAn.

We will take up the 1st pAsuram of this prabandham, next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

archived in http://divyaprabandham.koyil.org

pramEyam (goal) – http://koyil.org
pramANam (scriptures) – http://granthams.koyil.org
pramAthA (preceptors) – http://acharyas.koyil.org
SrIvaishNava education/kids portal – http://pillai.koyil.org

periya thiruvandhAdhi – thaniyan

Published by:

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

Full Series

avathArikai

This thaniyan, composed by bhagavadh SrI rAmAnujar, is considered by our preceptors as having been composed for the prabandham periya thiruvandhAdhi. Certain words, found in the first pAsuram of periya thiruvandhAdhi have been used in the thaniyan. muyaRRi sumandhu ezhundhu mundhuRRa nenjE [which are present in the first pAsuram of the prabandham] have been slightly rearranged  for the first line of the thaniyan to read mundhuRRa nenjE muyaRRi dhariththu uraiththu.

Let us go through the thaniyan and its meanings:

mundhuRRa nenjE muyaRRi dhariththuraiththu
vandhiththu vAyAra vAzhththi sandham
murugUrum sOlai sUzh moymbUm porunal
kurugUr mARan pEr kURu

Word by Word meaning:

mundhuRRa nenjE – Oh mind which is going ahead of me, (to attain AzhwAr)
muyaRRi – the dhivya prabandham (divine composition) which starts with the word muyaRRi
dhariththu – sustaining (in the mind)
uraiththu – reciting (through the mouth)
vandhiththu – worshipping (AzhwAr)
vAyAra vAzhththi – praising (AzhwAr) until the mouth hurts
murugu Urum – overflowing with honey
sandham sOlai – in the grove with sandalwood trees
sUzh – being surrounded by
moy – with water bodies
pU – being beautiful
porunal – having the river thAmirabaraNi
kurugUran – the lord of (AzhwAr) thirunagari
mARan pEr kURu – keep reciting the divine name of AzhwAr

vyAkyAnam

mundhuRRa nenjE – Oh mind, which is ahead of me in the matters related to AzhwAr! swAmy rAmAnujar has mercifully spoken about AzhwAr in the same way by which AzhwAr has mercifully spoken about emperumAn. Isn’t the divine mind of AzhwAr involved with the divine feet of emperumAn, more than AzhwAr himself! At several places, AzhwAr has mentioned about his mind/heart having gone ahead of him in matters relating to emperumAn. A few examples have been cited:

thiruvAimozhi 8-2-10 “ennenjennai ninnidaiyEnallEnenRu nIngi nANmalarp pAdham adaindhadhu

thiruvAimozhi 7-3-4ennenjinArum angE ozhindhAr

thiruviruththam 30 “ennenjinAraik kaNdAl ennaichcholli

periya thiruvandhAdhi 49 “kAruruvam kANdORum nenjOdum kaNNanAr pEruruvam enRemmaip pirindhu

periya thiruvandhAdhi 50 “thammudaiya pinnE thirundhuzhalum sindhanaiyAr

periya thiruvandhAdhi 7 “ennenjinAr thAme aNukkarAich chArndhozhindhAr

In the same way, the minds of mahAthmAs (distinguished souls) such as madhurakavi AzhwAr would have tried to go ahead of the mahAthmAs themselves in matters relating to AzhwAr.

muyaRRi dhariththu – having great enthusiasm as mentioned in kaNNinuN siRuththAmbu 10muyalginREn undhan moy kazhaRku anbaiyE” (I am making effort to have affection towards your great, divine feet). While AzhwAr has mercifully mentioned muyaRRi sumandhu, swAmy rAmAnuja has mercifully mentioned muyaRRi dhariththu. muyaRRienthusiasm.

muyaRRi dhariththu uraiththu – Alternatively, muyaRRI  could be taken to mean periya thiruvandhAdhi itself, which starts with the word muyaRRi. In this case, the meaning would change to – keeping the prabandham periya thiruvandhAdhi which starts with the word muyarri in the mind and then reciting it through the mouth. uraiththu – just as it is mentioned in thiruvAimozhi 6-8-1en nilaimai uraiththu” (revealing my state) and as mentioned by AzhwAr himself about his forlorn state in separation, this could be construed as speaking about his [reference here is to swAmy rAmAnujar’s] sorrow in separation.

vandhiththu – worshipping at the divine feet of AzhwAr.

muyaRRI dhariththu uraiththu vandhiththu – meditating upon the relationship of Lord and servitor which exists between AzhwAr and us and worshipping him.

vandhiththu – worshipping one who mercifully composed the divine prabandham periya thiruvandhAdhi.

muyaRRi . . . vandhiththu – initially worshipping the divine chest, the lotus like hands with the gyAna mudhrA (impression (sign) of knowledge), the divine feet of AzhwAr which are in padhmAsana (posture of lotus) just as AzhwAr himself had spoken of the divine limbs of emperumAn through various pAsurams such as thiruvAimozhi 6-1-7karuvaNNam seyya vAy, seyya kaN, seyya kai, seyya kAl seruvoN chakkaram sangu adaiyALam thirundhakkaNdE”, thiruvAimozhi 6-1-3iRangi nIr thozhudhu paNiyIr” and as he said of himself in thiruvAimozhi 4-10-11nAtkamazh magizh mAlai mArbinan”; then praising him [AzhwAr] handsomely, just as AzhwAr praised emperumAn in pAsurams such as periya thiruvandhAdhi 39 “avan pugazhE vAyupakAram koNda vAyppu”, periya thiruvandhAdhi 12 “kaNNan thAL vAzhththuvadhE kaNdAy vazhakku”, periya thiruvandhAdhi 84 “vAzhththi avan adiyai”, thiruvAimozhi 6-1-5adiyEnukkum pORRuminE”. Praising AzhwAr just as madhurakavi AzhwAr praised him in kaNNinuN siRuth thAmbu 2nAvinAl naviRRu inbam eydhinEn“  and in the pramANam “prathyakshE gurava: sthuthyA:”, justifying the benefit obtained by having mouth.

With the rest of the pAsuram, SrI rAmAnujar tells his heart to recite the divine name of nammAzhwAr, apart from praising him as mentioned above, either staying in the same place where he [SrI rAmAnuja] is presently staying or by going to AzhwAr thirunagari.

sandham murugUrum sOlai sUzh – the words could be rearranged to read as murugUrum sandham sOlai sUzh. murugu refers to honey and sandham to sandalwood. Thus, the meaning for this will be – surrounded by grove of sandalwood trees flooded by honey, just as it is mentioned in rAmAnusa nURRandhAdhi 20Arappozhil then kurugai” (AzhwAr thirunagari with sandalwood groves).

moypUm porunal – having the river thAmirabaraNi with copious amount of water and being beautiful.

moypUm porunal kurugUran mARan pEr kURu – recite the divine name of AzhwAr so that you can exist. How is kurugUr? It is on the banks of river thAmirabaraNi, which has copious amount of water which is clear and sweet.

kurugUr mARan pEr kURu – recite the name ‘kurugUr sadagOpan’ just as nammAzhwAr himself had mercifully mentioned in thiruviruththam 100 “nallAr navil kurugUr nagarAn thirumAL thiruppEr vallAr adikkaNNi sUdiya mARan” and in thiruvAimozhi 4-5-11paimpozhil sUzh kurugUr nagar kArimARan sadagOpan”.

kurugUran mARan pEr kURu – recite the names of nammAzhwAr just as he had referred to himself as “kurugUrch chadagOpan”  in thiruvAimozhi 2-5-11 and just as he recited the divine names of emperumAn in various pAsurams such as in periya thiruvandhAdhi 46 “nAn kURum kURRAvadhu iththanaiyE”, thiruvAimozhi 2-5-11kudakkUththa ammAnaik kURudhalE mEvi”, ending with thiruvAimozhi 5-9-11sadagOpan therindhuraiththa nAmangaL Ayiram ” and thiruvAimozhi 5-9-10nArAyaNan nAmangaLE”. Recite the names of nammAzhwAr just as the (thamizh sanga) poets had sung about him as “nAmam parAngusanO

If the text is kurugUr nam mARan the meaning will change as ‘our nammAzhwAr who is in thirukkurugUr’.

pEr kURu – recite the name of nammAzhwAr which he himself mentioned in thiruvAimozhi 5-4-5 “pEr ennai”. Recite the name “kurugUr sadagOpan” such that the entire place, on hearing this, will raise its hands (in other words, all the people living in the place will raise their hands) and salute nammAzhwAr. Recite his name as mentioned in kaNNInuN siRuth thAmbu 7eNdhisaiyum aRiya iyambugEn” such that his name will spread in all eight directions.

Through this thaniyan, it has been mentioned that prior to reciting AzhwAr’s divine prabandham, it is apt to recite his divine name as mentioned in prapanchasAram “gurupAdhAmbujam dhyAyEth gurOr nAma sadhA japEth I gurusEvAm sadhA kuryAth sO’mruthathvAya kalpathE  II ” (one should constantly meditate on the divine feet of AchArya (guru / teacher); one should constantly recite his divine name; one should constantly carry out kainkaryam (service) to him; one who does this is considered as fit for mOksham).

We will now move on to the avathArikai (introduction) for this prabandham.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

archived in http://divyaprabandham.koyil.org

pramEyam (goal) – http://koyil.org
pramANam (scriptures) – http://granthams.koyil.org
pramAthA (preceptors) – http://acharyas.koyil.org
SrIvaishNava education/kids portal – http://pillai.koyil.org

periya thiruvandhAdhi

Published by:

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

e-book – https://1drv.ms/b/s!AoGdjdhgJ8HehSey51036woa2fEg

This prabandham (collection of hymns) is the third among the four prabandhams composed by SrI nammAzhwAr, who is the leader among the AzhwArs who have been granted unblemished knowledge and devotion by emperumAn, and who is the leader among those who have surrendered to emperumAn. thiruviruththam, thiruvAsiriyam, periya thiruvandhAdhi and thiruvAimozhi are the four divine compositions of nammAzhwAr. These four prabandhams are the essence of the four vEdhas. This prabandham is the essence of atharvaNa vEdham and is the 7th prabandham in the third thousand, called as iyaRpA, among the four thousand hymns composed by all the AzhwArs.

periya thiruvandhAdhi means thiruvandhAdhi which is considered great. andhAdhi is a classification of poems in which the last word or line or syllable of one hymn forms the first word or line or syllable of the next hymn. When the last word of the last hymn becomes the first word of the first hymn, it is called as maNdaliththal. andhAdhi forms one of 96 types of prabandhams. There are internal classifications among andhAdhis such as padhiRRandhAdhi (andhAdhi with ten pAsurams), nURRandhAdhi (andhAdhi with hundred pAsurams). This prabandham (periya thiruvandhAdhi) is composed of 87 pAsurams, less than 100. While the andhAdhis compiled by the first three AzhwArs had 100 pAsurams each, this andhAdhi (compiled by nammAzhwAr), which is less in terms of number, is termed as periya thiruvandhAdhi. The reason for this is that the term periya (or peridhu) would refer to greatness in form [big or huge] as well as to greatness in terms of qualities. Thus if someone is referred to as periya manidhar (great person) it would be because of the greatness of his qualities only and not to hugeness in form.

Since this prabandham, while being smaller than the other thiruvandhAdhi prabandhams in terms of number of pAsurams, has sweetness of words and sweetness of meanings, our pUrvAchAryas (preceptors) gave it the title of periya thiruvandhAdhi. One need not ask whether the other thiruvandhAdhis composed by the first three AzhwArs are siRiya thiruvandhAdhi (small thiruvandhAdhi). What is to be kept in mind at this juncture is that this prabandham has a greatness and not about any comparison with other thiruvandhAdhis.

Another reason can also be attributed for naming this prabandham as periya thiruvandhAdhi. There is a pAsuram in this prabandham (pAsuram 75) in which AzhwAr tells emperumAnpuviyum iruvisumbum ninnagaththa nI en seviyin vazhi pugundhu ennuLLAy avivinRi yAn periyan nI periyai enbadhanai yAr aRivAr Un parugu nEmiyAy uLLu” (Oh emperumAn! Both materialistic and spiritualistic realms are under your control. Are you, the one who is controlling these two realms, the bigger entity or am I, holding you inside me, after receiving you through my ears, the bigger entity? You please analyse). vEdhas state that you [emperumAn] are mahathO mahIyAn (larger than the largest entities). Is this appropriate? I am bearing you inside a corner of my form. Am I not then the bigger entity, between the two of us? AzhwAr mercifully states that this has to be analysed. Thus, since AzhwAr spoke about his greatness in this prabandham, this came to be called as periya thiruvandhAdhi!

The vyAkyAnam (commentary) for this prabandham has been written by periyavAchchAn piLLai. We have taken liberal assistance from puththUr swAmy’s explanatory notes on periyavAchchAn piLLai’s vyAkyAnam.

Note – this section is written in English based on kAnchIpuram P B aNNangarAchAryar swamy’s dhivyArtha dhIpikai vyAkyAnam for periya thiruvandhAdhi.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

archived in http://divyaprabandham.koyil.org

pramEyam (goal) – http://koyil.org
pramANam (scriptures) – http://granthams.koyil.org
pramAthA (preceptors) – http://acharyas.koyil.org
SrIvaishNava education/kids portal – http://pillai.koyil.org