Category Archives: siRiya thirumadal

siRiya thirumadal – 7 – ErAr muyal

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ErAr muyal vittuk kAkkaip pin pOvadhE                              8
ErAr iLa mulaiyIr enRanakku uRRadhudhAn

 Word by Word Meanings

Er Ar muyal vittu – leaving aside the beautiful rabbit
kAkkai pin pOvadhE – will anyone go behind (the useless) crow?
Er Ar iLa mulaiyIr – Oh women with beautiful, youthful bosoms
en thanakku uRRadhudhAn – whatever happened to me (I will tell you; listen)

vyAkyAnam

ErAr muyal vittu kAkkai pin pOvadhE – even if it (mOksham) were assumed to exist, leaving archAvathAram (emperumAn in idol form in various divine abodes) and searching for it is similar to leaving aside the great rabbit and chasing a crow. archAvathAram is like a rabbit on the ground; parathvam (supreme state of emperumAn, just as he is seen in paramapadham) is like a crow sitting on a branch. It is easy to catch a rabbit while it is difficult to catch a crow.

ErAr muyal – kAkkai – AzhwAr wonders that while the rabbit is easy to trap and is tasty to eat, would anyone go with a bow [and arrow] in hand, leaving the rabbit aside and trying to catch a crow, which doesn’t get caught easily, without any certainty that it could be caught, and even if caught, not fit for being cooked and consumed! He is asking whether it is the apt action of a wise person. archAvathAram is like rabbit – easy to approach and enjoyable while parathvam is like crow – difficult to approach and not at all enjoyable.

ErAr muyal – rabbit with the distinction of being easy to approach and being enjoyable.

ErAr iLa mulaiyIr – Oh friends with beautiful, youthful bosoms! This implies that the purpose of having a beautiful form is to enjoy the benefit of such beauty here [in samsAram] itself.  Don’t people like us say, as in nAchchiyAr thirumozhi 13-9 “kommai mulaigaL idar thIrak kOvindhaRkOr kuRREval immaip piRavi seyyAmE inippOych cheyyum thavandhAn en” (instead of carrying out kainkaryam in this world, with this form itself, thus satiating its desire, what is the purpose in carrying out penance in paramapadham after leaving this body and reaching that place?) Instead of carrying out service to SrI rAma, krishNa et al during the time of their incarnations and later to their archA forms, what is the purpose in getting any benefit with another form and in another place?

endhanakku uRRadhudhAn – She [parakAla nAyagi] says “Let all these remain. Listen to what happened to me due to the arrow of mARan (manmadhan, cupid) or the glance of thirumAL”, just as it was mentioned by ANdAL in nAchchiyAr thirumozhi 13-3 “kanjaik kAyndha karuvilli kadaikkaNennum siRaikkOlAl nenjUduruva EvuNdu nilaiyum thaLarndhu naivEnai” (having got involved with the glance of the one who killed the demon kamsan and who has eye-brows like a bow, I became ruined and suffered).

In the next article, we will discuss the next part of this prabandham.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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siRiya thirumadal – 6 – thErAr niRaikadhirOn

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thErAr niRai kadhirOn maNdalaththaik kINdu pukku
ArA amudham angeydhi adhilninRum                                                   7
vArAdhu ozhivadhonRu uNdE adhu niRka

Word by Word Meanings;

thEr Ar – one who is fitting well in the chariot
niRai kadhirOn – sun, with complete set of rays
maNdalaththai kINdu pukku – speeding away, piercing through the  sun’s orbit
angu – paramapadham which is at a long distance
ArA amudham eydhi – attaining the supreme being who is like the most enjoyable nectar
adhil ninRum vArAdhu ozhivadhu onRu uNdE – is it proper to say that one who goes to that paramapadham will remain there forever, without returning [to samsAram]?
adhu niRka – let that matter be, for the present.

vyAkyAnam

thani AzhiththEr – chariot with a single wheel. How strange! We have seen in this world, chariots which run only with two or four wheels. It seems that this chariot of sun’s is running in the sky, with one wheel. Could there be anything greater than this?

thErAr niRai kadhirOn – is it possible for this lowly jIvAthmA, who cannot look, without any strain, at a burning lamp  with his eyes, to attain sun who is full of boiling rays?

maNdalaththai kINdu pukku – it seems that this jIvAthmA, after worshipping the supreme being with devotion here, with the strength of having that King among kings as his support, goes through the sun’s orbit. When he goes like that, is the pathway covered by branches of trees on either side just as it is in thiruvarangam (Srirangam) so that he will be protected from the heat?  Is it possible to go through the solar orbit with its cruel heat?

ArA amudham angu eydhi – While thirunaRaiyUr [a divine abode], where ArAvamudham (emperumAn) has taken residence, and thiruvAyppAdi, where he runs amok, are here, it seems that one goes there to attain ArA amudham (the eternal nectar). What ignorance!

angu eydhi – while madal, the means to attain emperumAn, and thirunaRaiyUr, which nurtures and protects him, are here, what is to be attained there, and with what means?

adhil ninRum vArAdhu ozhivadhu onRu uNdE – it seems that once someone attains that place [paramapadham], he cannot return here. I believe that this is mOksham! What a laughable matter! One who goes to naragam to suffer since he is under the control of karma due to lacking in strength to act on his own, has the independence to return to this place [samsAram] but one who goes [to mOksham] on his own, to enjoy the comforts there, cannot return. Who wants such mOksham?

onRu uNdE – Does it appear to you that such a purushArtham, mOksham, which is unfit in all the ways, could exist? parakAla nAyagi (thirumangai AzhwAr, in feminine mood) tells the people to analyse this.

adhu niRka – The implied meaning is – let that mOksham exist or not exist. Why argue about it unnecessarily?

In the next article, we will discuss the next part of this prabandham.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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siRiya thirumadal – 5 – ArAnum uNdenbAr

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ArAnum uNdenbAr enbadhudhAn adhuvum
OrAmaiyanRE ulagaththAr sollum sol                                 5
OrAmai Am ARu adhu uraikkEn kELAmE
kArAr puravi Ezh pUNda thani Azhi                                     6

Word by Word Meaning

ArAnum – those with deficiency in knowledge
chikkena maRRu uNdu enbAr – will say that there is another stable purushArtham (of mOksham, liberation)
enbadhudhAn adhuvum – that which is mentioned (by them)
ulagaththAr sollum sol – the word and the deed which is mentioned by the worldly people
OrAmai anRE – aren’t these mentioned without analysing properly
adhu OrAmai Am ARu uraikkEn – I will clarify (to you) that it has been mentioned without analysing
kEL AmE – Could you listen to that (by lending your ears)? (Please listen!)
kAr Ar puravi Ezh pUNda thani Azhi – one which traverses the skies, reined by seven horses and having one wheel

vyAkyAnam

chikkena maRRu ArAnum uNdenbAr enbadhudhan adhuvum – some people, who are not distinguished, say that there is another purushArtham

chikkena – being firm

maRRu uNdu – there is another purushArtham which is distinct from these three purushArthams; these three are very lowly; not permanent. Giving joy, just as mentioned in thiruvAimozhi 10-9-11 “andhamil pErinbam” (unceasing bliss), this purushArtham, mOksham, is very distinguished, and, it is permanent – all these are useless talk [in the opinion of AzhwAr].

uNdu enbAr enbadhudhAn adhuvum – there is none who has seen it. Their words are similar to the sound emanating from the ocean [meaningless].

enbadhudhAn adhuvum – while they talk as if it were like a deluge of ocean, in reality it is just a mirage.

ArAnum – [some people] this implies that even their names cannot be mentioned; and that they are without knowledge. Not attaining emperumAn has taken her (AzhwAr in feminine [pirAtti] mood) to the edge of atheism.

Does the purushArtham, mOksham, really not exist?

OrAmaiyanRE ulagaththAr sollum sol – aren’t people of the world saying that it [mOksham] exists without analysing properly? In reality, it doesn’t exist at all. How could it be said that they said it without analysing?

OrAmiyAmARu adhu uraikkEn – I [pirAtti] will explain how it was said without analysing. I will describe how their words were uttered without analysing the worldly behaviour. With my words, I will destroy their authentic sources [which they would show to prove the existence of mOksham] as well as the purushArtham of mOksham.

kELAmE – All that you need to do is to lend your ears [to what I am going to say]. If you listen, you would also cross over to my side.

AzhwAr elaborates further, after they agree to listen to him. . . .

kArAr puravi – horses which move amidst clouds. You could see the clouds. Look for horses amidst those clouds.

kArAr puravi – Is it possible for horses to move amidst clouds?

puravi Ezh – It seems that sun has reined in seven horses on his chariot. What a fable is this! They are not horses with an even count such as two or four or six. It seems it is an odd number of horses, seven; what a mischief! Should only seven horses be reined in? Couldn’t they rein in two or four or six or eight or any such [even] number of horses?

In the next article, we will discuss the next part of this prabandham.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

archived in http://divyaprabandham.koyil.org

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siRiya thirumadal – 4 – ArAr ivaRRin

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ArAr ivaRRin idaiyadhanai eydhuvAr
sIrAr irugalaiyum eydhuvar – chikkenamaRRu                  4

Word by Word Meaning

ivarRRinidai – among these three purushArthams
adhanai eydhuvAr Ar Ar – who all would attain the purushArtham of kAmam (love)
sIr Ar iru kalaiyum eydhuvar – such people are considered to have attained the other two purushArthams of dharmam (righteousness) and arththam (wealth)

vyAkyAnam

ArAr ivaRRin idai adhanai eydhuvAr – In the thamizh literary work called nAladiyAr, aRaththuppAl, chapter 12, the thamizh poet says “naduvaNadhu eydha iru thalaiyum eydhum” (among the three purushArthams of aRam, poruL and inbam, the person who has attained the purushArtham in the middle, poruL, will also attain the first and last purushArthams of aRam and inbam since wealth is the means for attaining the other two). While AzhwAr’s pAsuram is similar to this poem in terms of the words, it is different from that in its meaning, since the purushArtham in AzhwAr’s mind is not wealth. avaRRinidai – among these three purushArthams, adhanai – the kAma purushArtham (which I attained), eydhuvAr – those who attain

sIrAr iru kalaiyum eydhuvar – AzhwAr’s opinion is that those who attain the middle one are considered to have attained the other two purushArthams of righteousness and wealth.

ArAr ivaRRin idai adhanai eydhuvAr – Since he is using the term Ar Ar (whosoever), he says that even if they are from lowly birth or lowly conduct, for the singular reason of having attained the kAma purushArtham, they are considered to be distinguished people. This is just like thiruvAimozhi pAsuram 3-7-1payilum thiruvudaiyAr evarElum avar kaNdIr payilum piRappidaidhORu emai ALum paramarE” (all those who are deeply engaged (with enjoying the beauty of emperumAn and are carrying out kainkaryam to him), irrespective of their lowliness of birth or character, will be my lord in all the births to come).

sIrAr iru kalaiyum eydhuvar – the great people who attain the middle goal of love, are considered to have also attained the other two goals of righteousness and wealth, which are a part of the middle one. Those who attain the possibility (love) ought to have attained the means for this possibility (namely righteousness and wealth), already. If a person sets out to reach a place and reaches it, would it not be true that he would have crossed the intervening places too?

In the next article, we will discuss the next part of this prabandham.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

archived in http://divyaprabandham.koyil.org

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siRiya thirumadal – 3 – pArOr solappatta

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pArOr solappatta mUnRanRE – am mUnRum
ArAyil thAnE aRam poruL inbam enRu                                   3

 Word by Word Meaning

ip pArOr – by the people living in this world
solappatta – the purushArthams (end goals) mentioned by them
mUnRu anRE – aren’t they three?
am mUnRum ArAyil – if one were to analyse as to which these three are
aRam poruL inbam enRu thAnE – they are dharmam (righteousness), artham (wealth) and kAmam (love)

vyAkyAnam

ippArOr solappatta mUnRanRE – aren’t the purushArthams (end goals) attained by the people of this world three in count? solappatta – being mentioned (by the people of the world) is representative of being attained too.

pArOr – without any distinction between young and old, between distinguished and lowly, the end goals attained by the people of the world are three only.

anRE – hence, AzhwAr denies the existence, apart from these three, of a  fourth purushArtham, mOksham.

am mUnRum ArAyil thAnE – if the people of this world were to analyse the three purushArthams of aRam (righteousness), poruL (wealth) and inbam (love) which they mention, it is kAmam (love) which is dear to me, which alone is the end goal. They will know that the other two, viz. righteousness and wealth, are created only to complement attaining that purushArththam of kAmam. The term thAnE is to signify that it is only kAmam which alone is there in his divine mind.

What is the certainty after analysing . . . . .

aRam porul inbam enRu – only righteousness, wealth and love are the purushArthams [which are to be attained]. While it has been earlier emphasised that there are only three, the purpose of mentioning them explicitly as aRam, poruL and inbAm is to exclude the possibility of adding mOksham (liberation [from samsAram]) which some people may interpret as being one among the three.

In the next article, we will discuss the next part of this prabandham.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

archived in http://divyaprabandham.koyil.org

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siRiya thirumadal – 2 – pErAra mArvil

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pErAra mArvil perumA mazhaikkUndhal
nIrAra vEli nilamangai ennum ip                                          2

Word by word Meaning

pEr Aram mArvil – being one decorated with distinguished chains on her chest
peru mA mazhai kUndhal – having huge, dark clouds as her tresses
Aram nIr vEli – having the AvaraNa jalam (water around the periphery of universe) as her protection
nila mangai ennum – being called as SrI bhUmippirAtti

vyAkyAnam

perumA mazhaikkUndhal – She [pirAtti] has huge, dark clouds, as her tresses. The pageant of monsoon clouds, heavily laden with water, is her locks. For the noble woman, wouldn’t the tresses be dense, dark, decked with a variety of flowers, cool (comforting) for her husband, be such that even if the husband touches them once to dishevel them and withdraws, make all her distress to disappear? In the same way, this [cloud] also is huge and dark. indhradanush (rainbow) and lightning are like a variety of flowers. It is pleasing to the eyes and once it pours down (as rain), it removes all the distress.

perumA mazhaikkUndhal – just as it is mentioned in thiruvAimozhi 7-7-9koLginRa kOliruLaich chugirndhitta kozhunjuruLin uLkoNda neela nannUl thazhaigol anRu mAyan kuzhal” (emperumAn’s divine tresses are unlike the darkest of  tresses with a streak of bluish hued tresses on the inside), this pirAtti is an apt beauty of tresses for the kuzhalazhagar (emperumAn, who is described as one with beautiful tresses).

Noble women will have stringent protection. Does she [this pirAtti] have such protection? AzhwAr says that she does, in the next words. . .

nIrAra vEliAram nIr vEli – The AvaraNa jalam which is surrounding this universe is referred to as AranIr. Another opinion is that AvaraNa nIr has mutated into AranIr. Thus, the pirAtti has the protection of the huge moat of AvaraNa nIr.  Alternatively, (nIrAravEli) Aram nIr vEli – sandalwood is called as AramnIr is simplicity. Thus, AranIr refers to the chastity of this pirAtti, who is like the cool sandalwood. vEli refers to limit or boundary. This pirAtti has her chastity as the limit – a boundary for her greatness. Chastity for her is being vAmanan maN [earth on which emperumAn, as vAmana had trodden] – existing exclusively for emperumAn. Since her chastity is cool like sandalwood, it is clear that it does not cause any heartburns for her consort. When does chastity cause heartburns? When the lady is so beholden to her consort that she will not tolerate if her husband is affectionate towards other wives. But this pirAtti is such that when emperumAn is with periya pirAtti (SrI mahAlakshmi), she will be like garland or sandalwood and co-exist. This is the boundary for her greatness.

Who is such a pirAtti?

nilamangai – She is bhUmi dhEvi. mangai – one who is complete with all the qualities of a noble lady, mentioned earlier.

nilamangai ennum ippAr – Intending to mention about purushArthams (goals), prior to discussing about the people who follow these, AzhwAr is speaking about the abode where they inhabit. Since bhUmippirAtti is the attribute for such bhUmi, AzhwAr speaks about her.

In the next article, we will discuss the next part of this prabandham.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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siRiya thirumadal – 1 – kArAr varai

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thiruvEngadam – thirumalai

thirumAlirunjOlai – thirumalai

kArAr varaik kongai kaNNAr kadal udukkai
siRAr sudarch chuttich chengaluzhip pErARRu 

Word-by-Word meanings

kAr Ar varai kongai – Having the divine mountains (of thirumAlirunjOlai and thiruvEngadam), which are laden with clouds, as her bosoms
kaNNAr kadal udukkai – Having the expansive ocean as her sari
sIr Ar sudar sutti – having sun, with its beautiful rays, as thilakam (pattern on the forehead), a decorative ornament
sem kazhaluzhi pEr ARu – the huge river  (kAviri) which is reddish and muddled

vyAkyAnam

The description is about sri bhUmi pirAtti.

parakAla nAyagi (thirumangai AzhwAr in feminine mood) would not turn back even when her mothers and friends, saying “one should not have this much of daring”, dissuade her from engaging with madal. However bhUmippirAtti does not dissuade her. parakAla nAyagi wishes to celebrate bhUmippirAtti for supporting her. Since she desires to speak about kAma purushArtham  (the end goal of pure love),  the end benefit which she opted for, she has to explain about the different types of purushArtham (the ultimate benefits). parakAla nAyagi has to speak about chEthanas for whom these purushArthams are meant. In order to talk about them, she has to talk about bhUmi (earth) on which they dwell and thus starts describing SrI bhUmippirAtti who is the esteemed dhEvathA (deity) for earth.

kArAr varaik kongai –  This talks about the mountains of the lady, bhUmippirAtti, as the bosoms. The phrase “kAr Arndha varai” refers to mountains which are covered with dense clouds, thus implying tall mountains. Since the bosoms of noble women are well developed and lofty, AzhwAr is describing the cloud-laden mountains as bosoms. Since they are laden with clouds, the peaks of the mountains are dark, just like the ends of bosoms. Since bosoms are two, which are the two mountains which are referred to? thirumangi AzhwAr himself has mercifully said in his periya thirumadalthennan uyar poruppum vadamalayum ennum ivayE mulayA” (the tall mountain of thirumAlinjOlai in the south and the mountain (thiruvEngadam) in the north are like bosoms) . Thus, parakAla nAyagi is referring to these two mountains [thirumAlirunjOlai and thiruvEngadam] as bhUmippirAtti’s bosoms. For a noble lady such as bhUmippirAtti, instead of comparing with very distinguished mountains such as mEru (a celestial mountain), why are these mountains considered as similes?  Since bosoms are a place of dwelling for the husband as brought out in pAsurams such as in thiruppAvai 19nappinnai kongai mEl vaiththu kidandha malar mArbA” (one with soft flower-like chest who lay on nappinnai’s bosom), mUnRAm thiruvandhAdhi 3malarAl thanathullAn” (he dwells on the bosom of SrIdhEvi), and thiruchandha viruththam 57 “sangu thangu mun kai nangai kongai thangaluRRavan” (one who dwells on the bosom of the lady who has bangles on her forearms)”, it is only apt to refer to thiruvEngadam and thirumAlirunjOla malai which are the permanent residences of emperumAn

varaik kongai Since the bosoms of noble women are hard, mountains are used for comparison.

kaNNAr kadal – An ocean is something that fills the eyes of the beholder, viz., it is an ocean which is apt to be seen. Alternatively, kaN also means “place” and so it can be construed as an ocean that is full of place.

kaNNAr kadal udukkai – The very beautiful ocean is like a blue coloured sari for bhUmippirAtti.  Since the ocean is expansive, it can be draped as mundhAnai (front portion of a sari) and koychakam (plaited folds of a sari) for bhUmippirAtti.

kadal udukkai – Ocean will be soft and cool, lending to the softness of the divine form [of bhUmippirAtti]

sIrAr sudar sutti – sun with its beautiful rays is an ornament for bhUmippirAtti.  

The term sudar refers to sun’s rays and the term siRar sudar refers to sun. sirAr is an adjective for the rays – being full of beauty. Alternatively, if the term sudar refers to sun himself. the term sIrAr would be an adjective for sun. Eminence for sun is that he is the decorative ornament on the forehead of pirAtti, who herself is a decorative ornament for emperumAn just as it is mentioned in thiruvAimozhi 10-3-5 “aNimigu thAmaraik kaiyai andhO adichchiyOm thalaimisai nI aNiyAy” (you should place your hand which is like an attractive and well decorated lotus flower, on the head of ours, servitors). Just as it is mentioned in vikramOrvaSIyam “AbharaNasyAbharaNam . . .vapusthasyA:” (it is a decorative ornament for the ornament of her divine form), aren’t pirAttimArs (all the divine consorts of emperumAn) those who add beauty to ornaments!

sengaluzhip pErARRup pErAramArvil – pirAtti’s divine bosom is the huge river here. If there is a bosom, the area below it should have been decorated with the paste of sandalwood and vermilion. Is it like that, here? Just as it is mentioned in thiruchchandhaviruththam 54 “malaiththap piRandhizhindhu vandhu numdhu sandhanam kulaiththiRiththeRindhu kungamakkuzhambinOdu alaiththozhugu kAviri “ (river kAviri originates from (sahya) mountain, flows from there rapidly, pushing sandalwood trees, damages vermilion creepers, carrying particles of vermilion which are let out from those creepers, creating waves), is this (river) too not formed atop the mountain, coming down carrying sandal, vermilion etc from the mountain and as a result, is reddish in colour? If it were a bosom, it would be decorated with chains of pearls, precious stones etc. Is it like that, here? periya thirumozhi 3-8-3 says “. . . .ALariyAl alaippuNda yAnai maruppum agilum aNimuththum veNsAmaraiyOdu ponni malaippaNdam maNdathth thiraiyundhu . . .” (waves of river kAviri carry materials such as tusks of elephants which have been thrown by courageous lions, fragrant eaglewood, beautiful pearls, white chowries as well as various materials which grow on mountains); periya thirumozhi 5-4-1 says “sandhinOdu maNiyum kozhikkum punaRkAviri” (kAviri river which has abundance of sandalwood and gems); periya thirumozhi 5-4-9 says “vEyin muththum maNiyum koNarndhAr punaRkAviri” (river kAviri has distinguished pearls and gems); SrI rangarAjasthavam 1-21 says “sanjachchAmara chandhra chandhana mahAmANikya mukthOthkarAn kAvEvi laharIkarair vidhadhathI paryEthi “ (kAviri is flowing down rapidly, carrying through its waves which act like hands materials such as chowry (fly-flapper), fragrant camphor, sandalwood trees, distinguished gems and pearls). As stated in the above references, by thirumangai AzhwAr and parASara bhattar, isn’t kAviri flowing from the mountains, carrying pearls and precious gems. Just as the bosom is expansive, so is the river, expansively covering the earth. Even though it has been said generically as a river, just as the bosom of a noble lady keeps embracing the husband always, it is kAviri, who embraces SrI ranganAthan through her two tributaries, who is referred to as the river here.

We will take up the 2nd part, in the next article.

adiyen santhAna rAmAnuja dhAsan

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siRiya thirumadal – Introduction

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<< thaniyan

 

thirumangai AzhwAr’s chronological sequence of works is periya thirumozhi, thirukuRuNthANdakam, thiruvezhukURRirukkai, siRiya thirumadal, periya thirumadal and thiruneduNthAndakam. In thirukuRuNthANdakam, thirumangai AzhwAr saw parama purushan (supreme being) SrIman nArAyaNan in his heart through his internal senses, as revealed by pAsurams such as thirukkuRuNdhANdagam 1 “en manaththu vandha vidhiyinaik kaNdukoNda thoNdanEn vidugilEnE” (I, the servitor of emperumAn, having seen him when he came, with compassion, on his own volition into my mind, will never let go of him). In thiruvezhukURRirukkai, he yearned for SrIman nArAyaNan and expressed his desire to enjoy him with his external senses as well. He performed SaraNAgathi (act of surrendering) at the lotus feet of the lord at thirukkudandhai. This could be seen in verses such as “selvam malgu thenthirukkudandhai aNdhaNar mandhira mozhiyudan vaNanga, AdaravamaLiyil aRithuyilamarndha parama ninadiyiNaip paNivan” (Oh supreme being! You are reclining on the bed of AdhiSAEshan with his expanded hood in the southern town of thirukkudandhai which is full of opulence and where brAhmaNas are worshipping you, reciting vEdhic scriptures. I surrender to your twin divine feet in order to get rid of the difficulties in this materialistic world). Even after this SaraNAgathi, since his desire was not fulfilled.  thirumangai AzhwAr started to explore the reason for the futility of his SaraNAgathi. parama purushan SrIman nArAyaNan is not someone who does not know the situation which thirumangai AzhwAr is confronted with. He is not someone who does not have the power to reach the place where thirumangai AzhwAr is. He is not someone who is not wanted by thirumangai AzhwAr and so all these aforementioned reasons could not be valid. thirumangai AzhwAr had just then performed SaraNAgathi and so that would  mean that there is nothing that thirumangai AzhwAr needs to do more. Hence, that is also not a reason for the delay in showing himself. The reason for the delay on the part of SrIman nArAyaNan, is neither because of thirumangai AzhwAr’s efforts nor SrIman nArAyaNan’s lack of power and knowledge. The real reason is that SrIman nArAyaNan did not have in his heart, the desire to mingle with thirumangai AzhwAr at that point in time. Therefore, thirumangai AzhwAr decides that he is going to do whatever it takes even if it means to destroy his essential nature of pAranthanthriyam (total dependence on SrIman nArAyaNan). When emperumAn incarnated as krishNa and danced with pots, a pirAtti (lady) gets deeply involved with that. Not being able to attain him otherwise, she decides to engage with madal. thirumangai AzhwAr manifests his situation through the madal of that pirAtti, in this dhivya prabandham.

What is “madal”? Just as the SrI rAmAyaNam SlOkam sundhara kANdam 16-5 says “thulyaSeela vayOvruththAm thulyAbhijanalakshaNam I rAghavOrhathi vaidhEhIm thamsEyam asithEkshaNA II ” (for sIthAppirAtti who had matching auspicious qualities, age, discipline, clan and beauty, SrI rAma is the most apt person. For SrI rAma too, only sIthAp pirAtti who has black eyes, is the most apt person) both nAyaka (male lead of a play or story) and nAyaki (female lead of the play or story) should be of matching age with the nAyaka being complete in having the (masculine) qualities of knowledge, pride, inquisitiveness and firmness and the nAyaki being complete having the (feminine) qualities of shyness, obedience, fear, paleness of skin in separation. The nAyaki goes to a garden with her friends to pluck flowers. The nAyaka also goes to the same garden for hunting. Due to the act of destiny, the nAyaki’s best friend is engaged in some other work, leaving the nAyaki alone at that point of time. nAyaka and nAyaki look at each other at first and that leads to their union. Since continued union between them, if not checked, would lead to their end ultimately, just like crop would be destroyed by excessive inundation, providence decided to separate them so that they could enjoy for a long time, with patience, in future. Their respective relatives too noticed changes in their forms subsequently, just as it is mentioned in thiruvAimozhi 9-8-5 pAsuram  “punai izhaigaLaNivum Adaiyudayum pudhukkaNippum ninaiyum nIrmaiyadhanRu” (even if we try to enjoy her greatness in the way that she is wearing her previously worn ornaments (with added beauty now), the beauty of her clothes and her freshness, it is beyond our thoughts). The relatives kept the two in their respective custody so that they could not meet. However, the separation increased their distress a hundred, thousand times more. At this juncture, the nAyaka or nAyaki, unable to get to attain the other, indulges in a daring act which is referred to as madal.

The daring act is to destroy the beloved’s characteristics such svarUpa (basic nature), rUpa (physical beauty), guNa (qualities) and vibhUthi (wealth). The person draws a picture of his or her beloved, keeps staring incessantly at the picture without eating ghee and drinking milk. He or she does not take bath either nor decorates himself (or herself). He or she would sit on top of a horse made of palm leaves and pretend that he or she is travelling on the horse all over the place with disheveled hair. He or she would cry out saying “this person has estranged from me. He or she does not have any mercy towards me. He or she is a hard-hearted and cruel person. There is no limit to the harmful acts that he or she can indulge in”. Such an act, in which the person goes all over the streets, with those who hear such laments taking pity on him or her, is termed as engaging in madal. Isn’t the act of negating the innate nature, beauty, qualities and wealth of the beloved, equivalent to destroying that person?

What is the purpose of this cruel act of engaging in madal?  The relatives of the two lovers could try to unite them. It is also possible that the king of that country could help in uniting the two. If the friends and relatives of the two give up on them, the two could unite and sustain each other, like a heap of weapons where each weapon sustains the other weapons. If none of the above happens, then there will be the pride that the nAyaka or nAyaki ended his or her life because he or she could not get his or her beloved.

Just as nammAzhwAr had mentioned In his thiruvAimozhi 1-5 “vaLavEzh ulagil” decad, the AzhwArs are of the nature who would, thinking of their lowliness, say “If I go to such a great person (emperumAn), I would bring him lowly stature” and move away from him.  Given this nature of AzhwArs, could they be involved in engaging in madal which is a cruel act on emperumAn? They are not the ones who are going to destroy the qualities of SrIman nArAyaNan by engaging in madal till the end.  Just as namAzhwAr had threatened that he would engage in madal as said in his thiruVaimozhi 5-3-9 “ANaiyen thOzhi ulagu thOru alarthURRi, Am kONaigaL seydhu kudhiriyAi madalUrdhumE)” (Oh dear friend! We will certainly engage in madal, ridiculing emperumAn at every place, carrying out tough acts, as an uncontrollable girl) and in thiruvAimozhi 5-3-10 “yAm madalUrndhum em AzhiyangaippirAnudai, thUmadal thaNNandhuzhAi malar koNdu sUduvOm” (even if we have to engage in madal, we will do that and wear the garland of thuLasi which has sacred leaves and which is cool, offered to us by emperumAn who has the divine disc in his beautiful divine hand), this AzhwAr too threatens SrIman nArAyaNan that he would perform madal so that he would come to AzhwAr, as mentioned in siRiya thirumadal “UrAdhozhiyEn nAn vArAr pUm peNNai madal” (I will not stop from engaging in madal with the long, beautiful palm leaf) and in periya thirumadal “ulagaRiya Urvan nAn manniya pUm peNNai madal” (I will engage in madal with the great, beautiful palm leaf, with the entire world knowing about it) but did not fulfil the act of engaging in madal.

The act of performing madal is similar to what SrI rAma had said in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 21-22 “chApamAnaya saumithrE! SarAmSchAshIvishOpamAn I sAgaram SOshayishyAmi“. (“Hey lakshmaNa! Get me the bow and arrows which are venomous. I will dry up the ocean). SrI rAmA threatened the ocean [just as thirumangai AzhwAr threatened emperumAn that he will engage in madal]. AzhwArs think that if they indicate their steadfastness, SrIman nArAyaNan will come running to them. They are not the ones who will complete the task of performing a madal. The reason for their running away from SrIman nArAyaNan after thinking of their lowliness is because of the greatness of bhagavath vishayam (matters related to emperumAn). It is because they are unable to tolerate their separation from emperumAn after meditating on the greatness of his qualities and the significance of the entity [emperumAn] that they indulge in activities such as observing nOnbu (penance, religious austerities etc) and engaging in madal which are against their svarUpam (basic nature).

Is the greatness of emperumAn the only reason for their attaining him and separating from him? When they look at the significance of emperumAn and think about their lowliness, they will separate themselves from emperumAn saying “We should not attain him”. When they keep thinking of his greatness, they will attempt to enjoy him, without thinking of their lowliness. When they are enjoying ArAmudhan (insatiable nectar) their lowliness will not appear to them. Hence they fall head over heels in enjoying him.

Even then, why do AzhwArs not speak in their own nature [as a male] but speak in the nature of a pirAtti (consort of emperumAn)? Since the AthmA’s svarUpa nirUpaka dharmas (basic defining qualities) manifest themselves radiantly like the extraordinary qualities of women, especially the qualities of a pathivrathA (a female who is totally dedicated to her husband) such as (a) ananyArhaSEshathvam (the quality of not being subservient to anyone other than SrIman nArAyaNan (b) ananyaSaraNathvam (the quality of not surrendering to anyone other than SrIman nArAyaNan) and (c) ananyabhOgyathvam (the quality of not being an enjoyable object to anyone other than SrIman nArAyaNan) which the AthmA has towards emperumAn, since great people like AzhwArs can sustain themselves only if they are with emperumAN and cannot sustain themselves in separation from him, since during the moment of liberation [from the material world] their knowledge blossoms and matches that of emperumAn’s consorts, since these AzhwArs have been granted faultless knowledge and devotion even when they are in the materialistic world and are on an equal footing with the consorts of emperumAn, the AzhwArs speak in the nature of the consorts of emperumAn.

Well known thamizh literature thirukkuRaL says “kadalanna kAmaththarAgilum mAdhar madalUrAr maRRaiyAr mEl” (even if their lust is as deep as the ocean, women will not engage in madal) and “kadalanna kAmamuzhandhum madalErAp peNNir perundhakkadhil” ( no birth is considered greater than that of those women who do not engage in madal even if they are troubled by lust). When it is clearly mentioned in such thamizh scriptures that it is the hallmark of women not to engage in madal, is it proper on the part of AzhwAr to assume the mood of a pirAtti and engage in madal?  If it happens that between men and women, only males have unabated love towards their beloved and that the women’s love towards their beloved is within limits, then what has been said in thamizh literature could be correct. However, in reality it does not seem to be the case as we see instances where the love towards their beloved is unabated for both men and women.  Thus, in line with samskrutham scriptures, which say that anyone can engage in madal if their love crosses boundaries, this pirAtti (AzhwAr in feminine mood) engages in madal.

While it is natural for both men and women to have uninhibited and unconstrained love towards their beloved, why did in thamizh literature such as tholkAppiyam (earliest known thamizh literature, composed more than 5000 years ago) thamizhas draw a line against madal? We do not know the reason for this restriction, just as we do not know the reason for a king’s order restraining manifestation of one’s desire. Since this AzhwAr himself has said in periya thirumadal “mAnOkkin anna nadaiyAr alarEsa Adavar mEl, mannu madalUrAr enbadhOr vAsagamum thennuraiyil kEttaRivadhuNdu, adhanai nAm theLiyOm mannum vadaneRiyE vENdinOm” (we have heard in thamizh scriptures that women, with the look of a doe and the gait of a swan, will not engage in madal over their beloved, as they would be abused; we not consider that to be apt; we would follow the method prescribed in the great samskrutham scriptures) we should consider that restriction imposed by thamizhas on women expressing their love has been done without knowing the nature of love (that it is unabated). 

These AzhwArs who have been blessed by SrIman nArAyaNan with knowledge and devotion (towards emperumAn) without any trace of ignorance will not follow the path of lust, if they have such knowledge. How is it that they are following lust which has been proscribed by the wise people? It is not the prAkruthakAmam (lust as seen in this materialistic world) that they preach in their prabandhams. It is rather the devotion towards bhagavAn as prescribed in upanishadhs such as bhruhadhAraNya upanishadh 4-4-5 “AthmA vA arE dhashtavya: SrOthravyO manthavyO nidhidhyAsithavya: (the supreme entity who is apt to be listened about and thought about, is the one who is to be meditated upon and is verily the one who is to be seen) which is referred to as lust here.

To the relatives of parakAla nAyaki (thirumangai AzvhAr in feminine mood) who tell her “The act of performing madal does not suit your feminine character that is made of total dependence towards SrIman nArAyaNan. Nor does it complement his supreme masculine qualities. What is apt for your feminine character is to wait for him to come on his own” parakAla nAyaki replies “I lost out my heart by getting engaged with the activities of that supreme entity which are attractive towards the heart. I had even remained steadfast saying ‘Let him come on his own. I will not engage in prohibited activities such as madal which will bring disrepute to his auspicious qualities’. Even then, he is not coming. I am unable to sustain myself in separation. Unless I engage in madal and attain him, I cannot sustain my life”. madal is stating one’s resolve like this. 

Instead of actually performing a madal, why should she express her resolve in performing the madal and procrastinate thereby?  It is because parakAla nAyaki has to (a) list out the reasons for engaging in madal, (b) make her relatives to agree to her action, (c) ensure that she does not destroy him who has great, auspicious qualities in a hurry and (d) allow time for him to come.

We will see the first part of this prabandham in the next article.

adiyen santhAna rAmAnuja dhAsan

 

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siRiya tirumadal – thaniyan

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muLLichezhumalarO(r) thArAn muLaimadhiyam
koLLikenuLLam kodhiyAmE – vaLLal
thiruvALan sIrkkaliyan kArkkaliyai vetti
maruvALan thandhAn madal

The thaniyan was composed by piLLai thirunaRaiyUr araiyar. The commentary to the thaniyan was written by piLLai lOkam jIyar. We will first see the preface to the thaniyan followed by the explanation of thaniyan itself.

Preface to thaniyan

There are two interpretations for the preface to thaniyan.

Interpretation 1

This would be when the first phrase is treated as “muLLi chezhu malarOr thArAn”. There are five entities which are collectively known as “SabdhAdhi vishayangaL”. These are Sabdha, sparSa, rUpa, rasa and gandham. Sabdham is sound; sparSa is touch; rUpa is form, rasa is taste and gandham is smell. These five are primarily responsible for controlling one’s heart. piLLAi thirunaRaiyUr araiyar celebrates thirumangai AzhwAr who gave us this work called “siRiya thirumadal”. With the help of “siRiya thirumadal”, piLLAi thirunarayiUr araiyar says that devotees who are at the service of the lotus feet of thirumangai AzhwAr, are able to control the unwanted desires which emanate because of “SabdhAdhi vishayangaL” and consequently they are able to focus their mind and heart towards SrIman nArAyaNan. In this interpretation, the purport is that the prabandham (set of verses) called “siRiya thirumadal” acts as sustenance for devotees who would otherwise destroy themselves due to pain of separation from SrIman nArAyaNan.

Interpretation 2

This would be when the first phrase is treated as “muLLi chezhu malarO thArAn”. There are devotees of thirumangai AzhwAr who cannot live by separating themselves from their beloved AzhwAr. thirumangai AzhwAr gave this work called “siRiya thirumadal” so that these devotees are able to sustain themselves and not indulge in materialistic pleasures which are controlled by “SabdhAdhi vishayangaL”. thirumangai AzvhAr used to wear a garland that was made of “muLLi” flowers. However, he did not give his devotees “muLLi” garland. Rather he gave them something that is even more spectacular which is nothing but the garland of verses called “siRiya thirumadal”.

Word-by-Word Meanings

sIrkkaliyan – thirumangai AzhwAr who is also known as “kali kanRi” is full of auspicious qualities
thArAn – someone who is decorated with garland
chezhum – fertile 
Or- unparalleled
muLLi malar – muLLi flowers
thiruvALan – having enormous wealth called “service to SrIman nArAyaNan”.
vaLLal – magnanimous
maruvALan – having a sword, fitting (in his hand)
vetti – obliterated
kArkkaliyai – the black and evil effects of kali (4th of the four yugas or ages).
madal thandhAn – gave the dhivya prabandham called “siRiya thirumadal”.
enuLLam – my heart
kodhiyAmE – without any suffering
muLai madhiyam koLLikku – for the beautiful fire which is the rising moon.

Explanation

muLLich chezhu malarO(r) thArAnthirumangai AzhwAr, the king of “thirumangai” , is one who is seen adorned with unparalleled muLLi flowers which seem to have blossomed exclusively for him. Just as nammAzhwAr is celebrated as “vaguLaththArAnai” (thiruviruththam thaniyan) (one who wears the garland made of vaguLa (or magizhampU) flowers), thirumangai AzhwAr is referred to as “Or thArAn”. The reason for using the word “unparalleled”  as an adjective for the “muLLi” flowers is because even in separation, the thuLasi garland (which adorns emperumAn and) which torments the devotee in separation is no match for AzhwAr’s garland. The above description fits in line with the first interpretation of preface to thaniyan. Now, we will explore the meanings of the second interpretation of preface to thaniyan in which the phrase is “muLLich chezumalarO thArAn”. We are devotees of thirumangai AzhwAr. He does not give us the great muLLi flowers which he wears. Since thirumangai AzhwAr considers himself to be a servitor for us (because we are SrIvaishNavas), he gives us an even more spectacular gift – the garland of his verses known as “siRiya thirumadal”.

Why is he giving the madal?

muLaimadhiyam koLLikkenuLLam kodhiyAmE – The moon which has just risen will appear to scorch those people who are in love but are separated. So the moon that is usually connected with coolness, is now referred to as an object that scorches, similar to “koLLik kattai” (burning wood). Did not this AzhwAr too say in periya thirumozhi 2.7.3 “pOndha veN thiNgaL kadhir suda meliyum”? (the moon is similar to sun in that it scorches him throughout the night when he is separated from SrIman nArAyaNan).  Just as it is mentioned in the saying “chandhras chaNda kArayathE” moon becomes sun with singing (burning) action for other people in samsAram (who are separated).

Did not SrIrAmApirAn say in SrI rAmAyaNam kishkindhA kANdam 1-70 “yAni sma ramaNIyAni thayA saha bhAvanthi mE I thAnyEvAramaNIyAni jAyanthE mE thayA vinA II”? (all those places or objects which were pleasant to me when she (sIthAp pirAtti) was with me have become unpleasant when she is not with me)

The verse  “muLai madhiyam koLLi” could be considered either as muLai madhiyam koLLi or as muLai madhi am koLLimuLai madhiyam koLLi would mean rising moon which is like a burning wood. muLai madhi am koLLi would mean rising moon which is like a  beautiful burning wood. am – beautiful. madhiyam – moon. Mentioning moon here is representative of the five entities which torment those who are in separation – moon, jasmine flowers, poetry in kurunji rAgam, wind that blows from the northern direction and a bed made of flowers. Did not nammAzhwAr say in thiruvAimozhi 9.9.1 “malligai kamazh thendRal IrumAlO vaN kuRunji isai thavarumAlO” (the southerly wind, with the fragrance of jasmine flower, appears to be cutting like a sword and the sweet kurinji musical tone appears to be drilling the skin) and in thiruvAimozhi 9.9.4  “vAdai thaN vAdai vevvAdai AlO mEvu thaN madhiyam vem madhiyamAlO men malarppaLLi vempaLLyAlO” (the northerly wind which is supposed to be cool appears to be spitting fire; moon, which is cool and is looked at desirously, appears to be with hot rays; the soft bed of flowers appears to be a bed of embers), thus bringing out all five entities mentioned above which torment those who are separated? Earlier, we saw that there are collectively five entities, known as “SabdhAdhi vishayangaL” which torture one’s heart. Similarly there is this set of five entities which torment people who are separated from their beloved.

The phrase muLai madhiyam koLLikku ennuLLam kodhiyAme is key to the two interpretations which were discussed in the preface to the thaniyan. This verse has to be set properly as mentioned below to get the meanings which had been explained earlier. 

Interpretation 1

The phrase muLai madhiyam koLLikku ennuLLam kodhiyAme should be set with muLLich chezhu malarO thArAn and so should be read as muLai madhiyam koLLikku ennuLLam kodhiyAmE muLLich chezhu malarO thArAn. This would mean, thirumangai AzhwAr gave “siRiya thirumadal” to us who are separated from SrIman nArAyaNan and are consequentially tormented and tortured by “SabdhAdhi vishayangaL”.

Interpretation 2

The phrase muLai madhiyam koLLi ennuLLam kodhiyAme should be joined with thandhAn madal and so should be read as muLAi madhiyam koLLikku ennuLLam kodhiyAmE thandhAn madal. thirumangai AzhwAr gave “siRiya thirumadal” to us, who are thirumangai AzhwAr’s devotees. He did not give the muLLi flowers which he decorated himself with. Instead he gave the garland of verses known as “siRiya thirumadal” with which we can continue to exist.

muLaimadhiyam koLLikkennuLLam kodhiyAmE thandhAn madal – What a great benefit did AzhwAr carry out for me so that my mind will not be singed by the rising moon which appeared like a burning wood for me!

Who gave such a benefit?

vaLLal thiruvALanvaLLal – great, magnanimous person. Even when emperumAn did not help him, AzhwAr helped him. Hence he is magnanimous. thiruvALan – one who has the wealth of kainkaryam (service) to emperumAn.

vaLLal thiruvALan – In order to be called as vaLLal, one needs to have wealth. The composer of this thaniyan, piLLai thirunaRayUr araiyar, says that AzhwAr has wealth too. Even if one has wealth, one needs to have the quality of compassion in order to give. Even that quality is there, says the composer. 

sIrkkaliyan – If kalikanRi (thirumangai AzhwAr) who has qualities such as compassion etc, has to give the madal (leaf of palm tree), the surrounding thorns have to be snipped. The pAsuram says that he snipped the thorn of dark kali (kali is the last of four yugas, signifying ignorance). Darkness here refers to ignorance. Thus the opinion is that AzhwAr cut out kali which gives ignorance, since he is called as kalikanRi (one who cut out kali). To cut the thorns, one needs a sword. Does AzhwAr have this too?

maruvALan – one who has a drawn sword. One who has a sword, fitting well in his hand. When explained as a single word, the term vAL would refer to knowledge. The implied meaning is that AzhwAr cut the darkness of ignorance with the sword of true knowledge.

maruvALan – maru also refers to fragrance. AzhwAr enabled us to smell the fragrance of bhagavadh anubhavam (enjoying matters related to emperumAn). As a support for this, reference is made to thiruvAimozhi 8.9.10 “ivaL andhaNdhuzhAy kamazhdhal” (the reason for this nAyaki (leading lady) to acquire the fragrance of thiruththuzhAy (thuLasi) ….).

maruvALanmaru also refers to attaining. Thus, this would refer to AzhwAr attaining parama purushan (supreme being) as a natural quality in him. Alternatively, it could be said that he attained chEthanas (sentient entities). He fell head over heels, of his own volition, on chEthanas and ruled over them. Thus he gave the chEthanas madal in order to make them like himself. In the second interpretation discussed above, it could be assumed  that AzhwAr gave madal instead of mAlai (garland).  The significance of this is that while AzhwAr’s followers desire the garland which he had worn and removed, since AzhwAr considers himself to be a servitor to his followers, as mentioned in periya thirumozhi 3.7.7 “annaiyum aththanum enRu adiyOmukku irangiRRilan” (she is  not having pity on us who are her parents) he gave them the madal prabandham itself instead of the garland which he had worn.

We will go through the pravESam (introduction) for this prabandham in the next article.

adiyEn santhAna rAmAnuja dhAsan

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siRiya thirumadal

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

vayalAli maNavALan with thAyAr

thirumangai AzhwAr with kumudhavalli nAchchiyAr

thirumangai AzhwAr has composed a beautiful prabandham named siRiya thirumadal. In this prabandham, he is feeling the separation from emperumAn and due to the great sorrow in separation, he assumes a feminine mood (as parakAla nAyaki) and performs madal [madal is an activity where the man/woman would hurl accusations on his/her beloved in the hopes to convince the other person for marriage].

periyavAchchAn piLLai

periyavAchchAn piLLai has composed a beautiful commentary for this prabandham. Let us enjoy this wonderful prabandham with the help of this commentary,

Translation by santhAna 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