Category Archives: thiruvAsiriyam

thiruvAsiriyam – 7 – naLir madhichchadaiyanum

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

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Previous pAsuram


In the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr said “while it is apt for all jIvAthmAs to praise emperumAn, they are attaining other deities and continuing in samsAram. What a huge loss is this to their AthmA! I am not able to tolerate this meaningless activity”. He brings the prabandham to an end in this pAsuram by happily saying “Let the others do whatever they want. It is good that we escaped from this meaninglessness”. He completes the prabandham by saying “while the people of this world fall the feet of all and sundry and pass their time, it is nice to know that we are having no connection with other deities. Isn’t this benefit sufficient? ”

AzhwAr feels happy that “emperumAn does  not look at whether a person is great or lowly. Without making any distinction, he keeps everyone inside his stomach. Is it not enough that I am without the lowliness of attaining one of those who enter his stomach and look up to them for gaining benefits!”. Since there is no further happiness for him, he brings this prabandham to an end, with the satisfaction derived, without completing the full andhAdhi style (the last word of current pAsuram becomes the first word of next pAsuram and so on till the end, where the last word of the last pAsuram becomes the first word of first pAsuram) unlike his other prabandhams such as thiruviruththam, periya thiruvandhAdhi and thiruvAimozhi. The opinion of this pAsuram is that emperumAn swallowed all sentient and insentient entities, starting with “naLirmadhich chadaiyanum” Is there any benefit in attaining one of the jIvAthmAs like oneself, who has entered his stomach and seeking benefits from them?

Let us look at the pAsuram and its meanings:

naLirmadhich chadaiyanum nAnmugak kadavuLum,
thaLir oLi imaiyavar thalaivanum mudhalA,
yAvagai ulagamum yAvarum agappada,
nilam nIr thI kAl sudar iruvisumbum,
malar sudar piRavum siRidhudan mayanga,
oru poruL puRappAdinRi muzhuvadhum
agappadak karandhu OrAlilai sErndha em
perumA mAyanai alladhu,
oru mA dheyvam maRRu udaiyamO yAmE

Word by Word Meaning

naLir madhi sadaiyanum – rudhra who has donned the cool chandra (moon) on his head
nAnmugak kadavuLum – brahmA, with four heads
thaLir oLi – having (beautiful) radiance like a tender shoot
imaiyavar thalaivanum mudhalA – indhra, the head of celestial entities et al
yAvagai ulagamum – all types of worlds
yAvarum agappada – including all the sentient entities
nilam – earth
nIr – water
thI – fire
kAl – wind
sudar – due to radiance
iru – pervaded
visumbum – sky also
malar sudar – sun and moon, having bright rays
piRavum – all other entities
udan – at the same time
siRidhu – on one side (inside the stomach)
mayanga – being together
oru poruL – even one entity
puRappAdu inRi – being unable to go out
muzhuvadhum – all
agappada – being inside
karandhu – eating and hiding (inside the stomach)
Or Alilai – on a banyan leaf
sErndha – sleeping
em – my lord
peru – being great
mA – unable to measure
mAyanai alladhu – other than SrIman nArAyaNa, who has amazing power
maRRu – anyone else
mA – great
oru dheyvam – a deity
yAm – we
udaiyamO – do we have (as fit for attaining)?


naLir madhichchdaiyanum – rudhra, despite having matted hair to show that he is carrying out penance towards someone, due to his vanity that he is ISvaran, keeps the cool chandhran (moon) on his head to show that he is in deep joy, just like people will don the fragrant pine leaf on their heads.

nAnmugakkadavuLum – the deity nAnmugan [brahmA] who created that rudhra too, and who has four faces in order to create entities in the four directions.  Aren’t these two entities involved in creation and destruction, respectively, of individual entities within the universe? Of these two, brahmA is like the potter who creates pots and rudhra is like the stick which removes the excess mud and gives shape to the pot.

thaLir oLi imaiyavar thalaivanum mudhalA yAvagai ulagamum yAvarum agappada – starting with indhra,  the lord of celestial beings in svargam (heaven) who, due to his involvement in the pleasures of heaven, enjoys the beautiful forms of apsaras (celestial women) and in keeping with that, looks after his own body such that it has radiance; including all the entities in various worlds and all the worlds, without leaving anything or anyone

nilam nIr thI kAl sudar iruvisumbum – five elements which are the cause for the existence of all the entities mentioned above within the universe, namely bhUmi (earth), jalam (water), agni (fire), vAyu (wind) and AkASam (the one with special feature, sky). Among these five, sky is the cause for the other four elements when they are formed; when they are annihilated (during deluge) it remains after the other four have been destroyed and is the last one to be destroyed; keeping these features in consideration, AzhwAr qualifies sky with the term iru sudar visumbu (the great radiant sky)

malar sudar piRavum – sun and moon, which have bright, huge number of rays, and other entities such as human beings

siRidhudan mayanga – to be within the same space inside [emperumAn’s] stomach, at the same time. After food is cooked for serving some people, if larger number of people come suddenly, the quantum of food is reduced appropriately to serve everyone. In the same way, while emperumAn was waiting impatiently to protect all the entities, the food (all entities) suddenly became too small when compared to his huge expectation. Thus, the entire food was just sufficient to fill a small space inside his stomach. The term udan refers to simultaneous time. The term siRidu mayanga refers to the small space in which all the entities were contained since they were unable to compete with his huge expectation. Alternatively, the term udan mayanga could be split as udal mayanga.  In this case, the meaning will change to: the entities mixed within the small frame which was lying on the banyan leaf [refers to emperumAn’s small form when he slept on the banyan leaf after swallowing all the entities and protecting them in his stomach, during deluge]. mayanga would refer to mixing of the entities inside emperumAn’s stomach.

oru poruL puRappAdinRi muzhuvadhum agappada – all the entities, without letting any entity to go out

karandhu – when someone in the world eats a lot, his stomach will show out, by bulging. In his (emperumAn’s) case, since all the entities were hidden in a corner of his stomach, it appeared as if he could show that despite eating all the entities, his stomach actually reduced a bit; in other words, there was no change in his appearance (nirvikAram).

Or Alilaich chErndha em perumA mAyanai alladhu – other than emperumAn who has the agadithagatanA Sakthi (ability to carry out deeds which are impossible for the others), as he lies on a little banyan leaf which had just sprouted, after swallowing all the worlds. The 69th pAsuram of mudhal thiruvandhAdhi which explains this behaviour of emperumAn is explained now:

[bAlan thanadhu uruvAy Ezhulagu uNdu]: In the form of a small child as mentioned in the pramANam “yaSOdhAsthanandhayamathyantham vimuktham” (yaSOdhA’s very beautiful infant), keeping all the worlds in the stomach

[Alilaiyin mElanRu nI vaLrandha meyyenbar]: as mentioned in periya thirumozhi 2-10-1 “Alilaiyin mEl Or iLam thaLiril kaN valarndha ISan” – on top of a just sprouting banyan leaf, with no one like yaSOdhA, who could keep you on her lap with motherly affection, not being present there, looking at the way you were lying, rishis (sages) who write only facts, wrote that it is true, in ithihAsam (epics) and purANams (ancient sacred texts). “katham nvayam SiSu: SEthE lOkE nASamupAgathE I SAkAyAm vatavrukshasya pallavE thu Suchismitha: II” is the pAsuram that they wrote, after experiencing your activity, in mahAbhAratham

[AlanRu vElai nIr uLLadhO?]: was that banyan leaf inside the water that had dissolved the soil (earth) and submerged it?

[viNNadhO?]: was it in the sky which had no support?

[maNNadhO?]: or was it on the earth which had lost its ‘effect’ status and was hidden in the ‘causative’ status?

[sOlai sUzh kunRu eduththAy sollu]: Only you, who had held the gOvardhana hill for several days with your hands, in the same position, at the age of seven, even before completing your status as a child, have to tell! Isn’t this also an amazing activity just like swallowing the world as a child! This incident should be quoted as well as that. Swallowing the worlds in the form of an infant, lying on an unsupported banyan leaf, holding a mountain for several days as a child – these are amazing activities which could not have been done by anyone else in the world. The implication here is that only he has to answer as to how he performed these activities. When parASara bhattar was asked “what was his response to AzhwAr”, he said “Since AzhwAr had asked the question to emperumAn knowing fully well the answer,  emperumAn would also have thought that he would ask AzhwAr himself to give the answer, if AzhwAr compels him for an answer”.  periyavAchchAn piLLai (the commentator for this prabandham) would quote bhattar saying “while you are the support for all entities, leaving you aside, would those entities support one another? AzhwAr feels amazed that  even during the time of deluge, he was the support for all the worlds that he swallowed as well as the banyan leaf on which he lay down”.

AzhwAr describes such an amazing entity as perumA mAyan . . . .

perumA mAyanai alladhu oru mA dheyvam maRRu udaiyamO yAmE – are we people who have assumed as Lord, apart from emperumAn, those deities who rule small portions of the world? Those other deities would tell their followers that they would protect them, accept their offerings and after some days pass, would tell them that “I too am like you all, carrying out penance towards one entity” and leave them. Thus he doesn’t have a deity who he can accept and reject later on. The quality of those deities could be seen in the life of mArkaNdEya maharishi. mArkaNdEya was a follower of Siva, who told him “I will protect you” and was accepting the offerings given by him. When markaNdEya got fed up  with the life on earth and desired mOksham, Siva, showing his form with matted hair, told him “I too am carrying out penance like you, focussing on SrIman nArAyaNa; I am also holding on to my Lord. It appears that you got bewildered when some people told you that I am the supreme being, taking it to be true. Wait a while; I will show you the place that you have to attain” and showed mArkaNdEya SrIman nArAyaNa. nammAzhwAr himself has clearly shown this incident in his thiruvAimozhi 7-5-7 “kaNdum theLindhum kaRRAr

In mahAbhAratham SAnthi parvam 350-36 it is clearly stated that other deities will not be attained by knowledgeable persons  “brahmANam neela (Sithi)kaNtam cha yASchAnyA dhEvathA: smruthA: I prathibhudhdhA na sEvanthE yasmAth parimitham palam II  ” (gyAnis (knowledgeable persons) will not worship brahmA, rudhra and other dhEvathAs; this is because there is a limit to the benefits that they can give).  In other words, knowledgeable people will not worship these dhEvathAs since they do not have the capability to grant mOksham if the followers desire that from such dhEvathAs. These dhEvathAs can only grant prAkrutha (matter relating to samsAram) benefits which are seen in samsAram (materialistic realm). Such benefits will be lowly and temporary. These benefits are such that they can be given by these knowledgeable people to those dhEvathAs. “skandharudhramahEndhrAdhyA: prathishidhdhAsthu pUjanEgyAthvaivam bhakthisAnkaryam na kuryA dhEvamEvahi II” (In the matter of worship dhEvathAs such as skandha, rudhra, indhra et al have been kept aside by gyAnis (knowledgeable persons). Knowing this, let him [chEthana] not mix up when he carries out bhakthi (devotion)). This is the reason SAsthras forbade people from worshipping such dhEvathAs. Did not thirumazhisai AzhwAr too mercifully define vaishNava lakshaNam (the identification for vaishNavas) in his nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi 68 “maRandhum puRam thozhA mAndhar” (even by mistake, people will not worship other dhEvathAs). For a wife who has a difference of opinion with her husband, her status as wife will remain so long as she does not go to another man. In the same way, even if the involvement with emperumAn takes time to set in, it does not matter. It is more important for him not go have any connection with other dhEvathAs. If this puRam thozhAmai (not worshipping others) is followed, even for a person who has forgotten emperumAn, the qualification to become his servitor will be present. Only to emphasise this, AzhwAr brings this prabandham to an end by saying “oru mA dheyvam maRRu udaiyOmOyAmE” (do we have another deity to attain?).

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

periya perumAL periya pirAttiyAr thiruvadigaLE SaraNam
AzhwAr thiruvadigaLE SaraNam
emperumAnAr thiruvadigaLE SaraNam
periyavAchchAn piLLai thiruvadigaLE SaraNam
jIyar thiruvadigaLE SaraNam

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thiruvAsiriyam – 6 – Oh Oh ulaginadhiyalvE

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

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Previous pAsuram


lakshminAthan, the consort of SrI mahAlakshmi, after creating the jIvAthmAs and giving them physical bodies and sensory perceptions, instead of remaining “Let them go whichever way they want to”, intervened when a mighty person such as mahAbali troubled a weakling such as indhra by snatching his kingdom, just as an eagle would snatch a chick. He converted himself into a mendicant, without bothering about his greatness, and protected indhra. In the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr had said ” it will be apt for jIvAthmAs, who have knowledge, to meditate on this protective act of emperumAn and carry out mangaLASasanam (act of praising emperumAn)”. After that AzhwAr looked at the samsAris (dwellers of materialistic realm) to see whether they, being knowledgeable, are indeed praising emperumAn as requested by him. But he felt saddened seeing that the samsAris are making efforts to give up on emperumAn, liking anyone other than him, being subservient to their egos and their possessions and going to dhEvathAs (other than emperumAn) for protection.

Just as it is said in the pramANam “EkasminnapyathikrAnthE muhUrthE dhyAnavarjithE dhasyubhir mushithEnEva yukthamAkrandhithum bhruSam II” (even if a time span of one muhUrtham [48 minutes] is spent without meditating on bhagavAn, one should cry out loudly just like one would if a robbery were committed by thieves), one should recite the divine names of emperumAn if there is a hurdle to meditating on him, as an atonement, and cry out loud as if a great wealth had been stolen, thinking of the hurdle. But AzhwAr, looking at the samsAris who did not even think of crying out for their loss, unable to tolerate such behaviour [of samsAris] cries out “Oh Oh” in this pAsuram.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

Oh Oh ulaginadhiyalvE, InROLirukka
maNai nIrAttip, padaiththu idandhu uNdu umizhndhu
aLandhu, thErndhu ulagaLikkum mudhaRperum
kadavuL niRpap, pudaippala thAnaRi
dheyvam pENudhal, thanAdhu
pullaRivANmai porundhakkAttik,
kolvana mudhalA allana muyalum,
inaiya seygai inbu thunbu aLith
thonmA mAyap piRaviyuL nIngAp
panmA mAyaththu azhundhumA naLirndhE

Word by Word Meaning

ulagu – this earth
padaiththu – (in the beginning) creating
idandhu – (during varAha avathAram) digging out (from the walls of the universe)
uNdu – (during deluge) eating it
umizhndhu – (at the time of intervening creation) spitting out
aLandhu – (at the time of thrivikrama avathAram) measuring
thErndhu – deeply thinking (about its protection)
aLikkum – protecting
mudhal perum kadavuL – the primary cause and supreme lord, SrIman nArAyaNan
niRpa – while he remains (as the refuge)

(leaving him aside)
pudai – (considered as his) wealth
pala – of different types
thAn aRi dheyvam – (a few) dhEvathAs (deities) known to him [jIvAthmA] (as refuge)
pENudhal – supporting them (as protectors)
thanAdhu pul aRivu – his lowly intelligence
ANmai porundhakkAtti – showing in such a way that it enters (the minds of) learned people
InROL irukka – when one’s mother is there

(not bothering about her)
maNai nIrAtti – bathing a wooden plank (which is an insentient entity)
seygai – the activities of those dhEvathAs
kolvana mudhalA – harmful acts
allana muyalum – carrying out banned activities
inaiya – having qualities like these
aLi – the strength (given by those dhEvathAs)
thunbu – together with sorrow
inbu – joyful

(Hence, taking refuge under such dhEvathAs)
thol – from time immemorial
mA – being huge
mAyam – amazing
piRaviyuL – in this samsAram (materialistic realm)
nIngA – instead of leaving
pal mA – being variegated
mAyaththu – worldly pursuits such as Sabdham etc (sound, touch etc) (lustful)
naLirndhu – very well
azhundhumA – being fully sunk
ulaginadhu iyalvu – nature of this world
Oh Oh – how is it!


Oh OhAzhwAr goes to those places inhabited by samsAris and calls them out in a loud voice so that they could hear him.

ulagiandhiyalvE – AzhwAr feels sad that emperumAn has created this samsAram with people who are full of hatred towards him, just as in nithyavibhUthi, the entities present are enjoying him without any hurdles. He says that it is really sad that world is full of people with such nature.

When asked “What did this world do that you have to cry out like this?” he says…

InROL irukka maNai nIrAtti – their activities are such that they seem similar to a person paying compliments to a plank of wood by giving it a bath etc when the mother who had given birth to him is alive. A mother is one who observes penance before conceiving him, holds him in her womb for ten months, putting up with the pains of labour, nursing and caressing him when he lies on the floor as an infant and protecting him even at the cost of her health. When the child grows up and gains knowledge, being able to recall all the help that she had rendered to him, leaving her aside, he starts giving a bath to a plank of wood which cannot even think of helping him in any way and which cannot appreciate the compliments that he is paying it. In a similar way, when emperumAn who is related to the chEthanas (sentient entities) in all ways, is very much there, these people are praising other dhEvathAs (deities) who are not related in any way, feels the AzhwAr, sorrowfully.

When asked, “Who did you assume to be like a mother?”

padaiththu idandhu uNdu umizhndhu aLandhu thErndhu ulagu aLikkum mudhaR perum kadavuL niRpa – it is the unique supreme being [emperumAn] who creates the chEthanas after seeing their condition of having integrated themselves with the mUlaprakruthi (primordial matter) which is in itself an achEthana (insentient) entity; since the chEthanas are together with mUlaprakruthi during the period of deluge, emperumAn takes pity on the chEthanas and creates them and when the world gets submerged he takes the incarnation of a boar which can enter water and muddy areas and digs out the earth; when deluge comes again, he takes the earth inside his stomach, keeping it safely; spits it out during the time of creation; when mahAbali siezes it [from indhra], he redeems all the worlds establishing that he is the possessor of all these; despite carrying out all these protective activities emperumAn feels saddened that he has not done anything for their welfare, just as a person who steals money from another person who has trusted him and slept next to him would feel sad; he looks for more avenues to protect them, and while protecting them he does not differentiate between great and lowly people; he is the supreme entity who protects everyone. In SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 59-3 sumanthran says “guhEna sArthdham thathraiva sthithO’smi dhivasAn bahUnAsayA yadhi vA rAma puna: SabdhApayEdhithi II” (I stayed with guha for several days in that place in the hope that SrI rAma would call me again). Similar to that state of sumanthran, emperumAn also waits expectantly, to see if anyone would come to attain him. AzhwAr feels saddened that even if he had not carried out any of these benefits for chEthanas, looking at his supreme nature, one would be sure that he has none equalling him. Still, even after he had done all these benefits, the chEthanas are not taking efforts to attain him. periyavAchchAn piLLai, who has written the commentary for this prabandham, states the following aidhihyam (a traditional happening which is mentioned down the generations) to state the huge difference between emperumAn and other dhEvathAs:

A king by name yayAthi, had observed many means to sit on the same seat as indhra in svargam (heaven). indhra then asked yayAthi “When you were the King, in your karmabhUmi (earth), who had carried out most puNya (virtuous acts)?”. yayAthi, thinking that he should not tell a lie in the presence of a dhEvathA, said “When I was ruling, people would say that I had carried out most puNya”. Immediately indhra cursed him saying “you praised yourself, Hence you shall fall from this world to the earth”. This story is mentioned in mahAbhAratham. When parASara bhattar (son of SrI kUraththAzhwAn) was recounting this incident, some people asked him “for explaining which meaning of vEdham did the rishi (sage vyAsa) write this incident?” bhattar replied saying “rishi wrote this only to explain the truth that it  is only emperumAn who will give a status equal to himself to his followers; it is only he who will tolerate such equal position for his followers. Hence we should attain only emperumAn. It is rare for other deities to give an equal status to those who attain them; even if they give, they cannot tolerate that for long ”

Even if chEthanas do not attain him, do they attain, in the least, someone who is somewhat equal to him and not someone too lowly?

pudaippala thAnaRi dheyvam – in SAsthras (sacred texts), in places where the great wealth of emperumAn is discussed, in order to explain his greatness, certain qualities are attributed to his possessions [possessions include both sentient and insentient entities], which are not present in them. Without knowing these , taking the sentences in the text as authentic, these chEthanas consider chEthanas who are like themselves, as deities. Even among these, one deity does not have the capability of granting all the wishes of the chEthana. It is not like the unique paramAthmA (supreme being) who grants all the purushArthams (benefits). As said in brahmANda purANam “ArOgyam bhAskarAdhichchEth dhanamichchEth huthASanAth I ISvarAth gyAnamichchEth gathimichchEth janArdhanAth” (he can desire health from sun; he can desire wealth from agni (deity for fire); he can desire knowledge from ISvaran [rudhra]; he can desire mOksham (liberation) from janArdhana), if one desires mOksham, he has to attain the supreme being only. Among other deities, if one desires wealth, he has to attain one deity; if he desires a son, he has to attain another deity; if he desires cattle, he has to attain some other deity, thus attaining several deities for getting each benefit.

thAn aRi dheyvam – the deity that he (chEthana) has attained is not the one mentioned in authentic texts as supreme entity. This deity, like him, is full of rajO guNam (passion related qualities) and thamO guNam (ignorance related qualities).

pENudhal – since these deities do not have any greatness in them by nature, it becomes the responsibility of the chEthana to get them titles and qualities of ISvaran. This is similar to a poet singing praises on a bald headed person about his hair as “paniyirum kuzhalan” (he has cool and well spread out hair)!

thanAdhu … kAtti – these deities do not become fit to be attained just because the chEthana says so. One cannot even say that he has obtained some benefits from them. The only benefit that he has got by attaining them is that he has exposed his ignorance to knowledgeable people. thanAdhu pullaRivu ANmai porundhak kAtti – he has publicised his low level of knowledge to the knowledgeable persons. The real benefit that one should get is only mOksham (SrIvaikuNtam) and that should be obtained only through emperumAn. bruhadhAraNyaka upanishath 6-5-6 says “AthmAvA arE dhrashtavya: SrOthavya: manthavyO nidhidhyAsithavya:” (the AthmA which is apt to be heard and thought of, is to be meditated upon until it is seen) [here AthmA refers to paramAthmA, the supreme entity]. purushasUktham says “vedhAhamEtham purusham mahAntham Adhithya varNam thamasa: parasthAth” (vEdhapurusha says that he knows the supreme entity and that he is beyond the world of thamas and is radiant like the sun). As per these pramANams, the entity responsible for the creation of the universes has to be attained only through worship. But the [other] deities worshipped by the chEthana are not like that.

AzhwAr explains their qualities now.

kolvana mudhalA allana muyalum inaiya seygai – there are deities which demand “get me the meat of goat; get me the meat of your son” etc, thus desiring killing of other jIvAthmAs. There are other deities which desire lowly materials such as alcohol, meat etc. Their activities are like these! Attaining such deities is similar to attaining narakam (hell).

AzhwAr further says that the benefits that one would obtain through attaining these deities would be such that it would be better not to obtain any benefit at all.

inbu thunbu aLi – these deities give benefits wherein joy is mixed with sorrow. They are not capable of granting mOksham which is pure joy without any sorrow.

Thus, if one were to ask as to what benefit the chEthana gets in attaining such deities, the only benefit of attaining such deities who are also chEthanas like himself, who also help in nurturing samsAram and who have been in the quagmire of samsAram from time immemorial, is that he continues to remain in samsAram.

thonmA mAyap piRaviyuL nIngAp pan mAmAyaththu azhundhumA naLirndhe – mUlaprakruthi (primordial matter) which has been existing since time immemorial and which is responsible for samsAram, is referred to as mAmAyam. SrI bhagavath gIthA 7-14 says “dhaivI hyEshA guNamayI mama mAyA dhurathyayA “ (it is difficult for one to cross the mUlaprakruthi which has been created by me and which is composed of three qualities). However hard one tries to get out of, one sinks deeper and deeper into repeated births in this samsAram, due to the connection that he has with physical body which is a dimension of mUlaprakruthi which has amazing power, leading to Sabdha, sparSa, rUpa, rasa, gandha etc (the five sensory perceptions of sound, touch, form, taste and smell). The word mAyam refers to any object which has amazing nature. Here, the first mAmayam refers to the amazing prakruthi and the second mAmayam refers to the five sensory perceptions of sound etc.

ulaginadhiyalvEAzhwAr says that instead of obtaining eternal joy in keeping with their svarUpam (nature), the jIvAthmAs in this world are attaining deities which are contrary to their [jIvAthmAs’] nature and are trying to obtain meaningless benefits! What an utter loss is this for the AthmA!

We shall take up the last pAsuram in this prabandham, next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruvAsiriyam – 5 – mAmudhal adi

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

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In the previous pAsuram AzhwAr expressed his desire to perform mangaLASAsanam to emperumAn’s divine feet as “mAmudhaladiyE vAzhiyavenRu yAm thozha isaiyum kol”. Here, emperumAn asks “what for are you performing mangaLASAsanam like this?”, AzhwAr thinks of replying “even though your great favour (which is like a mother who takes care of her sleeping baby, i.e., the motherly forbearance) is not understood by anyone, you still created jIvAthmAs who were without a physical form [at the time of deluge], appointed dhikpAlakas (guardians for the eight directions) to protect the jIvAthmas, and then appointed indhra as the protector for the three lOkam to ensure that the strong persons do not persecute the meek persons. When indhra lost his kingdom to the demonic mahAbali and was in tears, being incapcitated, instead of being indifferent to his difficulties thinking “I created jIvAthmas, and protected them by appointing dhikpAlakas; let them handle the situation”, you being the SrIya:pathi (divine consort of SrI mahAlakshmi who is the deity for all wealth) changed yourself as a mendicant, and begged on behalf of indhra with the hands which had only been giving to others constantly. Thinking about how you accomplished the task for indhra, who else can be offered mangaLASAnam other than you?”. Since AzhwAr had to tell about emperumAn measuring the worlds with his divine feet while replying to emperumAn, he speaks about that and enjoys the experience.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

mAmudhal adip pOdhu onRu kavizhththalarththi,
maN muzhudhum agappaduththu, oN sudar adip pOdhu
onRu viN seleei, nAnmugap puththEL
nAdu viyandhuvappa, vAnavar muRai muRai
vazhipada neReei, thAmaraik kAdu
malark kaNNodu kani vAy udaiyadhu
mAy, irunAyiRu Ayiram malarndhanna ,
kaRpagak kAvu paRpalavanna ,
mudi thOL Ayiram thazhaiththa ,
nediyOykku alladhum adiyadhO ulagE

Word by Word Meaning

mA mudhalemperumAn who is the supreme cause, your
adi – divine foot
onRu pOdhu – a (red lotus) flower
kavizhththu alarththi – overturned and spread out
maN muzhudhum agappaduththu – captured the whole surface of the earth
oN – beautiful
sudar – shining
pOdhu – like a flower
onRu adi – the other divine foot
nAnmugan puththEL – for the dhEvathA brahmA
nAdu viyandhu uvappa – to the amazement and delight of the world
vAnavar – and the dhEvathAs in that world
neReei – to walk in the right path
muRai – ordain
muRai – as said in SAsthras
vazhipada – to worship
viN – in the sky
seleei – sending upwards
thAmarai kAdu – forest filled with lotus flowers
malar – blossoming
kaNNOdu – with divine eyes
kanivAi udaiyadhumAy – having (reddish) divine lips like a fruit
iru  – vast (with many rays)
Ayiram nAyiRu – thousand suns
malarndhanna – like rising
mudi paRpala – many crowns
kaRpagakkAvu anna – like a forest with kaRpaga (celestial, wish-fulfilling) trees
thazhaiththa – grown up tall
Ayiram thOL – having thousand divine shoulders
nediyOykku alladhum – for any one except emperumAn who is supreme
ulagu – this world
adiyadhO – is it subservient?


mA mudhal adi pOdhu onRu kavizhththalarththi – As said in irandAm thiruvandhAdhi – 61ninRadhOr pAdham nilam pudhaippa” – emperumAn’s one divine foot covered the entire earth; and while measuring the world, the divine foot went all the way to AvaraNa jalam (water surrounding the aNdam (oval shaped world)) and covered all under it – thirunedunthAndakam – 5oNmidhiyil punaluruvi orukAl niRpa [after making the soft step with one divine foot it went all the way to AvaraNa jalam]. People will say that the huge divine shoulders permeated and measured all the directions. [anRu karumANiyAy irandha kaLvanE! unnaip piramANiththAr peRRa pERu] You, the consort of SrI mahAlakshmi, went about asking for alms, with happiness, without distinction between the time when people gave you and did not give you alms. Did you not hide your greatness when you took the form of vAmana having scars due to seeking alms!  You did not carry out this act only for indhra. Was this act not done for the sake of all your followers who would meditate on your simplicity of lowering your esteem and carrying out their tasks so that they could sleep without a worry!

mA mudhal adip pOdhu – As said in previous pAsuram [4th] “mAyakkadavuL mAmudhaladiyE” since emperumAn is the supreme primordial cause, it can be explained as the divine feet (mAmudhaladi) of the supreme lord. Alternatively, mAmudhal could be considered as an adjective for the divine feet themselves, and in this case the meaning could be construed as: since all his followers  attain his divine feet, the divine feet are the apt goal for the followers. adipOthu – divine foot which is like a lotus flower that had blossomed that day.

What did he do with the divine foot which was like a flower which blossomed on that day?

kavizhththalarthi – When emperumAn spread his divine foot to pervade and measure all the places, the smaller entities when pressed under the larger ones could get trampled.

Did not the entities which were under the divine foot suffer?

The entities did not suffer in any way, similar to the situation when a lotus flower, that had blossomed that day, is inverted and its petals are spread out, the pollen inside the flower would have so much of space that they will not get trampled. Did not thirumangai AzhwAr say in thirunedunthAndakam – 5oN midhiyil” (the step that did not trample on the entities under it)!

maN muzhudhum agapaduththu – As said in thirunedunthAndangam – 5punal aruvi (it went all the way to AvaraNa jalam)” his divine foot extended till the water surrounding the aNdams (AvaraNa jalam).

If the planted foot did all these, what did the other divine foot, which was stretched, do?

oNsudar adi – Starting with the verse mentioned in thirunedunthAndangam – 5orukAlum kAmaRu seer avuNan uLLaththu eNmadhiyum kadandhu aNdamIdhupOgi iruvisumbinUdupOy ezhundhu” (the other foot, going past the thoughts of the great mahAbali in his heart, rose to go over the aNdam, piercing the expansive sky…) and ending with the verse “maNmuzhdhum agappadhuththu” (measuring all the places) it measured all the worlds above.

oNsudar adippOdhu onRu – the divine foot which is like a flower that had blossomed on that day, and being very radiant. AzhwAr terms the divine foot as being radiant because it removed the arrogance of all the dhEvathAs (celestial entities), each of whom, starting with indhra (lord of all dhEvathAs) had ego equivalent to the sum of egos of all the people in samsAram (materialistic realm) and bringing them under it.

viNseleei – pervaded the entire sky.

Till which place did it permeate?

nAnmuga puththEl nAdu viyandhuvappa – The people in sathyalOkam (abode of nAnmugan or brahmA) were amazed at the divine foot which extended up to their abode. viyandhu uvappa – they were amazed saying “we came in search of this abode where emperumAn‘s auspicious qualities of saulabhyam (easy to attain), sauseelyam (simplicity) etc would not reach but these qualities are flowing into this place! How wonderful it is this! It seems that there is no one who is not desired by this divine foot. When emperumAn came to keep his divine foot on our head in order to establish our svarUpam (basic nature), we shunned it since we didn’t need it. But it appears that this divine foot will not leave us! We have got a benefit which we would have never obtained”. They were extremely delighted at this.

thirumazhisai AzhwAr describes what brahmA, the head of sathyalOkam, did then, in the 9th pAsuram in nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi:

kuRaikoNdu nAnmugan kuNdigai nIr peydhu
maRaikoNda mandhiraththAl vAzhththi kaRaikoNda
kaNdaththAn senni mElErak kazhuvinAn
aNdaththAn seEvadiyai Angu

emperumAn‘s divine foot settled on brahmA’s hand when he hadn’t thought of that. Having been blessed to get this fortune, brahmA looked around in a perplexed way, wondering how to pay compliment to the divine foot. At the same time, the entity dharmam (righteousness) looking at the divine foot melted like a liquid and entered brahmA’s kamaNdalam (a vessel for holding sanctified water). brahmA washed emperumAn’s divine foot with that water. As soon as he saw this, Siva felt that this was the right moment to purify himself and put out his head under the flow of water, coming from emperumAn’s divine foot. Isvara samhithai describes this as follows:

dhravIbhUthas thadhA dharmOharibhakthyA mahAmunE
gruhIthvA dharmapAnIyam padham nAthasya thushtayE
kshALitham parayA bhakthyA pAdhyArghyAdhirarchitham
thadhambu pathitham dhrustvA dhadhAra SirasA hara:
pAvanArtham jatAmadhyE yOgyOsmIthyavadhArANAth
varshAyuthAnyatha bahUn na mumOcha thathA hara:

(Oh great sage! At that time (when bhagavAn measured the worlds) dharmam (righteousness) turned into liquid due to its devotion towards hari. With that dharmam in the form of water, for the happiness of jagannAthan (emperumAn), (his) divine foot was washed (by me [brahmA]) with great devotion; it was worshipped with pAdhyam and argyam (water used for washing feet and hands respectively); looking at the water falling (from emperumAn’s divine foot) Siva affirmed that he is qualified (to purify) himself and took the water in the centre of his matted hair to purify himself. After that, for several tens of thousands of years, rudhra did not let go of that water). Thus, affirming that people who are lowly are also qualified for these divine feet, to get rid of the sin of having severed the head of his father [brahmA], rudhra carried the SrIpAdhathIrtham (purified water from the divine feet of emperumAn) on his head. When someone gets a good article, would he let go of it? In the same, way, since he obtained the impossible-to-get SrIpAdhathIrtham of emperumAn’s divine foot, Siva held that water, which is river gangA, on his head for a very long time. Did not periyAzhwAr, in his periyAzhwAr thirumozhi 4-7-3 mercifully say “chathumukan kaiyil sathuppuyan thALil sankaran sadaiyinil” describing the history of gangA – initially at the hands of brahmA, then dwelt on the divine feet of the supreme being emperumAn and then fell on the head of rudhran. The benefit which brahmA accrued out of this was mentioned in the 78th pAsuram of iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi “dharaNi nivandhaLappa nIttiya poRpAdham sivandha than kaiyanaiththum Arak kazhuvinAn” – to realise the benefit of getting eight hands, brahmA washed the divine foot of emperumAn. The 9th pAsuram of nanmugan thiruvandhAdhi describes the benefit that brahmA obtained – (kuRai koNdu) – brahmA, displaying his emptiness (Akinchanyam). The meaning implied is that even though brahmA has high levels of knowledge and strength, he thought “there is nothing that I have to honour the divine foot” (kuNdigai nIr peydhu maRai koNda mandhiraththAl vAzhththi) – offering mangaLASAsanam (praising emperumAn) through manthras (incantations or vEdhic hymns) such as purusha sUktham etc which are mentioned in vEdhas (sacred texts) directly referring to emperumAn, he poured the dharmajalam (the deity for righteousness in the form of water) on the divine foot of emperumAn. (kaRai koNda kaNdaththAn senni mElERak kazhuvinAn) – Just as a father sprinkles sanctified water on his mischievous child to purify him, thinking “being without the power to distinguish [between right and wrong] he is carrying out wrongful deeds without realising their effects. Henceforth at least, let not inauspicious incidents come his way” [reference here is to the act of Siva severing brahmA’s head and suffering due to that], brahmA let the SrIpAdhathIrtham fall on his son rudhra’s matted hair.

What did the other deities in various lOkams (worlds in the upper reaches) do when brahmA was carrying out this act?

vAnavar muRai muRai vazhipada nereei – they worshipped emperumAn together, in the proper ways mentioned in SAsthras. It is implied here that just as people worship the divine feet of periya perumAL in SrIrangam by gathering near the thiruvaNukkan divine entrance near the thirumaNaththUN (two divine pillars) inside SrIrangam temple, the dhEvathAs also worshipped emperumAn as per the thiruvArAdhanam way (method of worshipping emperumAn) mentioned in SAsthras.

AzhwAr explains what emperumAn did when the dhEvathAs worshipped him.

thAmarai kAdu malarkkaNNOdu kanivAi udaiyadhumAi – emperumAn’s divine eyes will blossom when someone, whoever he may be, places his head on his divine feet, just as a lotus will blossom on seeing the sun. Thus, even if they are arrogant, when the dhEvathAs worshipped [his divine feet], emperumAn’s eyes blossomed like a forest of lotus.

iru nAyiru Ayiram malarndhanna – just as a thousand suns blossomed with their great rays. Unlike the sun which we see in this world, a thousand suns, with all their greatness mentioned earlier, rose together, with their thousands of rays.

kaRpagakkAvu paRpalavanna – like many orchards of kaRpaga trees (a celestial wish-fulfilling tree)

What was like this?

mudi thOL Ayiram thazhaiththa
– The crown of the emperumAn looked like  thousand suns which rose at once. The thousands of divine shoulders looked like kaRpaga orchards.

nediyOykku – one who has long memory, thinking “I haven’t done anything for him [his follower]; what can I do further for him?” Even after changing himself into a mendicant and taking alms for the sake of indhra and accomplishing his task, he feels sorry for the dhEvathAs just like a person robs money from another who had trusted him, thinking “I have not protected him [indhra] before he was troubled by mahAbali. I have lost my sense of righteousness as I have delayed”. The term nediyOn refers to one who, feeling ashamed for not having done anything and feeling his shortcoming, thinks about it for a very long time.

nediyOykkallathum adiyathOvulagEAzhwAr is asking “was this world under the feet of someone else, to offer that deity mangaLASAsanam (praise) , other than emperumAn who protects everyone? Which is correct – offering worship to you who kept your divine foot on those deities who are trying to convince other people to fall at their feet and worship them or to those other deities who were trampled under your divine foot?” Here the term nediyOn refers to thrivikrama, the greatest among all.

Let’s see the 6th pAsuram next.

adiyEn boomA rAmAnuja dhAsi

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thiruvAsiriyam – 4 – UzhithORUzhi

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In the third pAsuram when asked “what is the limit for the bhagavath bhakthi?”, AzhwAr replies it starts from bhagavath SEshathvam (having servitude towards emperumAn) and goes up to bhAgavatha SEshathvam (having servitude to his devotees). When asked “what will these bhAgavathas do together?”, AzhwAr says that they will be singing mangaLASAsanam (UzhithORUzhiyOvAdhu, vAzhiya enRu) to emperumAn as in thiruppallANdu 2 “adiyOmOdum ninnOdum pirivinRi Ayiram pallANdu” (I should be with you forever). periyAzhwar in his thiruppallAndu, performs mangaLASAsanam by placing “pallANdu” (many years) as the base year, and finally multiplies that by many (countless) crores of years; here AzhwAr not satisfied at that level, starts with “Uzhi” (kalpa, a day of brahmA which contains 1000 four yuga cycle) and then multiplies that by many times.

Let us look at the pAsuram and its meanings.

UzhithORUzhi OvAdhu vAzhiya
enRu yAm thozha isaiyum kol,
yAvagai ulagamum yAvarum illA
mElvarum perum pAzh kAlaththu, irum porutku
ellAm arumpeRal thani viththu, oruthAn
Agith theyva nAnmugak kozhumuLai
InRu, mukkaN IsanOdu dhEvupala
nudhali mU ulagam viLaiththa undhi,
mAyak kadavuL mAmudhal adiyE

Word by Word Meaning

yAvagai ulagamum – all the categories of the world
yAvarum illA – all kinds of living beings
illA – without
mElvarum – the past times
perum pAzh kAlaththu – very long
irum porutku ellAm – for the countless living beings
peRal arum – emperuman who is difficult to attain
thani oru viththu – He is the distinct, independent primordial cause.
thAn Agi – emperumAn himself (alone)
dheyvam nAnmugan – the dhEvathA, brahmA
kozhu muLai – perfect sprout
mukkaN IsanOdu – along with the three-eyed rudhra
pala dhEvu – several dhEvathAs
InRu – creates
nudhali – and make sankalpam (vow them to be the incharge for creation, destruction etc)
mU ulagam – the three worlds
viLaiththa – creates
undhi – He who has divine navel
mAyan – He who has amazing ability
kadavul – being the supreme god.
mA mudhal – emperumAn who is the supreme primordial cause, his
adi – divine feet
UzhithORUzhi – during every kalpa (eon)
Ovadhu – incessantly
vAzhiya – to live
enRu – that
yAm – us
thozha – to praise (by performing mangaLASAsanam)
isaiyum kol – will it be possible?


UzhithORUzhi –  Every kalpam. It is unlike “nithya agni hOthram” [which is done at specific times every day]. [When asked “can we do mangaLASAsanam during every kalpa at a particular time?”, AzhwAr replies,]

Ovadhu – It should be done incessantly every second (without even a momentary break), and when asked “what are the things to be done further?”, he replies,

vAzhiyavenRu – one should always perform mangaLASAsanam to emperumAn as “pallAndu (long live)”. AzhwAr starts describing about emperumAn’s SEshithvam (lordship) in first pAsuram, and in third pAsuram he says that it goes upto his devotees, and here in this pAsuram he says that those who attain the bhAgavatha SEshathvam (having servitude to bhAgavathas) should always perform mangaLASAsanam to emperumAn.

yAm – We who were thinking for self as said in yajur ashtakam3.5 “AyurASAsthE” (praying for long life) until now; leaving that state,

thozha – thozhugai (worship) means performing mangaLASAsanam.

isayum kol –there is a lot of difference between living for oneself and living for bhagavAn;

when asked “which act of emperumAn is meditated upon by those who desire to attain this impossible state?”, AzhwAr says,

yAvagai ….. mUvulagam viLaiththa undhi – Instead of just bestowing specific qualities for an existing entity, for the great favour of creating the entire universe from scratch and facilitating us.

yAvagai ulagamum – unlike the deluge where just up to the three lOkas [bhU:, bhuvar and suvar] are destroyed and the jana lOkam becomes uninhabitable leading the residents to shift upto the mahar lOkam, here AzhwAr is talking about the total deluge [where everything is destroyed].

Alternative explanation :

yAvarumillA – unlike the deluge where at least rishis such as mArkaNdEya et al who are present, the deluge where no one exists.

mEl varum – In the past times. Here “mEl“ means past and “varum” means “gone” [implying the past times which are gone].

perum pAzh kAlaththu – Just as a farmer would spend a long time draining the salt from the field [to make it fertile] by filling it with water, emperumAn makes the AthmA stay attached with primordial matter for the whole life span of brahmA, to eliminate the evil interests of the AthmA.

irum porutkellAm – for jIvAthmAs who are all connected with infinite forms such as dhEva (celestial), manushya (human), thiryak (animal) and sthAvara (plant).

arum peRal – since there is none other than emperumAn who shows them compassion even at this state, he cannot be attained easily (with self effort).

thani viththu oru thAnAgi bhagavAn himself being all the three causes [for creation] viz nimiththa kAraNam (efficient cause), upAdhAna kAraNam (material cause) and sahakAri kAraNam (instrumental/ancillary cause). Since AzhwAr said “viththu” (seed), he is the upAdhAna kAranam. Since AzhwAr says “thani” (singular), as said in mahA upanishath 1 “EkO ha vai nArAyaNa (During creation only nArAyaNa was there and there was no brahmA, no Siva, no water, no fire, no moon, no stars in the sky, no sun), he adhvithIya (there is no other nimiththa kAraNam). Alternatively, AzhwAr is saying there is no one desiring to create us. Since AzhwAr says “oru”, it implies that there is no other sahakAri kAraNam.

thAnAgiemperumAn being the cause for everything that is effected. In this manner emperumAn performs samashti srushti and let brahmA perform vyashti srushti as  emperumAnAr appoints SrI madhurakavi dhAsar to take care of the SrIrangam temple activities.

dheyva nAnmugan – Four-headed brahmA who is one among the AthmAs

kozhu muLai InRu – It is said that emperumAn who created brahma who has great abilities to perform the entire creation of the universe.

Since he cannot perform all three primary tasks viz srushti (creation), sthithi (sustenance) and samhAra (annihilation), for that,

mukkaN IsanOdu dhEvu pala InRuemperumAn created rudhra who is capable of performing samhAram and other dhEvathAs for various purposes.

When asked “what did he do to create all these dhEvathAs”?, AzhwAr replies,

nudhaliemperumAn vowed as said in chAndhOgya upanishath “bahusyAm” (let me become many). Here “nudhali” means “to consider”.

mUvulagam vilaiththa undhi – It is the emperumAn’s divine navel which created the three worlds (lower, upper and middle). It is his divine navel which is the independent cause for the entire creation; the divine navel is like a lotus and is the origin for the entire leelA vibhUthi (material realm).

mAyak kadavuLemperumAn who is the supreme lord with amazing abilities.

mAmudhal – Also explained as emperumAn who is the supreme primordial cause. Alternative explanation – the divine feet (mAmudhaladi) of the supreme lord who is the supreme cause and is with amazing abilities; or it can be explained as – the divine feet of the amazing lord, which are the apt goal.

adiyE vazhiyavenRu yAm thozha isaiyum kolAzhwAr out his desire asks “will I be fortunate to perform mangaLAsAsanam to emperumAn’s lotus divine feet?”, similar to how periyAzhwAr performs mangaLAsAsanam in thiruppallAndu – 1 “un chEvadi chevvith thirukkAppu (long live! emperumAn’s reddish lotus divine feet)“.

Let us see 5th pAsuram next.

adiyen boomA rAmAnuja dAsi

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thiruvAsiriyam – 3 – kuRippil koNdu

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In the first pAsuram AzhwAr describes and celebrates emperumAn’s saundharyam (bodily beauty); and in the second pAsuram he says that the devotion towards emperumAn (which emerges from these auspicious qualities of Him) is so sweet , since this can be enjoyed here itself with this current body itself (instead of experiencing bhagavath anubhavam by reaching paramapadham with a different body); but when asked “what could be the measure for this devotion (towards Him)?”, AzhwAr replies that it begins with Him (servitude towards bhagavAn) and will be up to His devotees [servitude towards bhAgavathas].

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

kuRippil koNdu neRippada, ulagam
mUnRudan vaNangu thOnRu pugazh ANai
meypeRa nadAya dheyvam mUvaril
mudhalvanAgich chudar viLangagalaththu
varaipurai thiraiporu peruvarai veruvara,
urumural olimali naLirkadaR padavara
varasu udal thadavarai suzhaRRiya, thanimAth
theyvaththadiyavarkkininAm ALAgavE
isaiyum kol, UzhithOR uzhi OvAdhE

Word by Word Meanings

mUnRru ulagam – the three worlds
neRi pada – to live in the path of righteousness (dharma)
kuRippil koNdu – (bhagavAn) who make sankalpam (divine will) in his divine heart
udan vaNangu – worshipped by all the people of the three worlds
thOnRu pugazh – having renowned fame
ANai mey pera nadAya – conducts his divine rules (Sruthi) in right way.
dheyvam mUvaril – among the three gods brahmA, rudhra and indhra
mudhalvan Agi – He is the foremost of the three gods.
sudar viLangu agalaththu – having shining bejeweled divine chest.
varai purai thirai – the waves as large as mountain
poru – to collide
peru varai veruvu uRa – to tremble even the giant mountain
urumu ural oli mali – roars like thunderclap
naLir kadal – the cool ocean
padam aravu arasu – with vAsuki (the king of serpents with expanded hoods).
udal – body
thadam varai suzhaRRiya – winding round the great mountain (mandhara) and churned the ocean
thani mAth theyvam – emperumAn who is distinctly supreme
adiyavarkku – to the bhAgavathas
ini nAm – here after ourselves
UzhithORuzhi – during every kalpa (eon).
OvAdhu – incessantly
ALAga – to become servitors
isaiyum kol – will it be possible (being servitors to His devotees)?


kuRippil koNdu neRippada ulagam mUnRudan vaNangu thOnRu pugazh ANai meypeRa nadAya dheyvam mUvaril mudhalvan – In this pAsuram starting from kuRippil koNdu till dheyvam mUvaril mudhalvan, AzhwAr describes emperumAn’s true nature and his auspicious qualities.

neRippadak kuRippil koNdu
– As said in chAndhOgya upanishadh “thadhaikshatha – bahusyAm prajAyEyEthi“ (he vowed to become many forms and then creates the entire world), bhagavAn (in many forms) creates the entire universe with his own sankalpam (divine will); also explained said as – emperumAn desires that all other beings (sentient and insentient, except Him) should live in the path of righteousness (dharma) – to worship Him.

When asked “will there be some righteous people and some unrighteous (not worshipping Him)?”, AzhwAr replies,

ulagam mUnRu – To have everyone else other than emperumAn himself to surrender unto him. Though there are those who surrender and who give refuge [in this world], in the case of bhagavAn, all other beings (other than Him) should surrender at the holy feet of emperumAn.

udan vaNangu – Though the group of dhEvathAs are being worshiped by people, they don’t have the fame of being worshipped by everybody united together, but in the case of emperumAn and since He is distinctly unique (having renowned fame), everybody will gather together and worship Him.

When asked “ will this fame lie in a corner unknowable to anyone?” AzhwAr says,

thOnRu pugazh – It is popular that it is said even in the Sruthi (vEdham).

ANai meypeRa nadAya – unlike the others who have fault in executing the commandments, emperumAn is the one who makes his commandments perfectly.

“When asked who is He (who has renowned fame and perfectly executes his commandments)?”, AzhwAr says

dheyvam mUvaril mudhalvanAgi – He is the foremost of all the three dhEvathAs (Siva, brahmA and indhra), since he is the one who creates them from his divine navel and protects them by placing in his stomach during praLayam (deluge).

nadAya dheyvam mUvar – If the other dhEvathAs like rudhra, brahmA et al who are at times confused to be supreme, it is only because of His generous act.

mUvaril mudhalvanAgiemperumAn who is distinctly unique from other two dhEvathAs (Siva, brahmA), rules their SarIram (body) and SarIri (AthmA) with his aprAkrutha thirumEni (divine body). Alternative explanation – Since brahmA, rudhra and indhra all together are said as three dhEvathAs in pramANam (authentic texts) and here emperumAn is said as the foremost (creator) of these three dhEvathAs.

sudar viLangagalaththuemperumAn who has the divine chest which shines with the ornamental beauty. Alternative explanation – the rising waves like mountain which are filling the open space in the sky which shines with the light of the moon and sun.

varai purai … – Is this eloquent act of churning the milky ocean for nectar among other actions not enough to show that he is the worthy refuge?

varai purai thirai – The waves like the mountain.

thirai poru – when the waves collide with one another, it looks like two mountains are colliding with each other.

peru varai veruvuRa – To have the giant mountains tremble.

urumural oli – At that time, the noise which resembles the noise of thunder increases.

naLir kadal – [The cool milky ocean] Even though sparks flew while churning the ocean, it cooled down because of His merciful glance; implies that the ocean trembled without being agitated.

pada aravu arasu – The king of serpents, vAsuki – though it is a sentient being and is used for churning, due to being in contact with emperumAn, he did not feel any strain and hence expanded it’s hoods with joy while churning.

thadavarai – Placing the great mandhara mountain (which appears to cover the entire ocean) as the mortar.

suzhaRRiya – The ocean got so agitated to have the bottom soil rise up to the top, until the elixir is fetched (while churning), and moreover the mountain is placed in the middle and rotated up and down to make everyone who participated to claim “I churned it” [actually it was emperumAn who appeared with thousand hands and churned the ocean].

thanimAth theyvamemperumAn is the distinct unique lord.

And when asked “are you desiring to surrender unto such emperumAn?”, AzhwAr replies,

adiyavarkku – emperumAn troubled himself for the purpose of those other dhEvathAs who desired for other benefits and gave them the elixir. SrIvaishNavas become overwhelmed by such greatly generous acts of emperumAn and present themselves to be fully existing for him. To such devotees.

ini nAm – While the jIvAthmA should have been the servant since its existence, due to karma (virtues/vices), we were occupied by the ahamkAra (ego) and mamakAra (possessiveness) until now; now that emperrumAn has shown our true nature of being servitors to such SrIvaishNavas, we who have seen it with his blessings.

When asked “ shall we desire to be in the similar grade/level of these bhAgavathas?”, AzhwAr replies,

ALAga – As their servitors.

When asked “should we be both servitors to them and at the same time be with ahankAram and mamakAram?“, AzhwAr replies,

ALAgavE – Only as a servitor being an embodiment of such servitude.

isaiyum kol – As said in nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi 60 “ALpArththuzhi tharuvAy kaNdu” (Oh! lord you are in search of a person who has surrendered unto your divine feet), emperumAn is already seeking for such persons who will be ready to serve bhAgavathas, so no need to convince him; AzhwAr too is already convinced since he is always looking to serve bhAgavathas; so, what is the need for “isaiyum kol”? Since bhAgavatha SEShathvam (servitude towards bhAgavathas) is rare to achieve, AzhwAr is eagerly asking “if he will get it now”.

And this is not for a short time, but

UzhithORUzhi – It should happen in every kalpa (forever).\

And moreover,

OvAthE – Without even a momentary break. As SiSupAla et al were annihilated unable to bear the presence of bhagavAn when he incarnated here for the protection of samsAris even though he is avAptha samastha kAman (one who has no unfulfilled desires), SrIya:pathi (divine consort of SrI mahAlakshmi) and the lord of nithyasUris in paramapadham, now samsAris, without understanding the greatness of bhAgavathas, are failing due to considering them to be similar to self in thinking “as they too are walking around sustaining themselves by eating, drinking etc, just as we do, what is their distinction from us?”. Only when emperumAn can be considered as one amongst the created beings, a bhAgavatha can also be considered as one amongst samsAris.

Let us proceed to the 4th pAsuram next.

adiyEn booma ramanuja dhAsi

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thiruvAsiriyam – 2 – ulagu padaiththuNda

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

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As said in purusha sUktham “AdhithyavarNam thamasa: parasthAth” (The parama purusha shines brightly like sun and is beyond the primordial matter) , AzhwAr explained about the greatness of bhagavAn’s (dhyEya vasthu – object of meditation) distinct form (vigraha vailakshaNyam) in his first pAsuram. And in the second pAsuram he says that the devotion to emperumAn only is required for him, since parabhakthi (the growing desire to be with bhagavAn) etc on bhagavAn, are all part of the ultimate goal. In the first pAsuram he explained emperumAn’s auspicious qualitites like saundharyam (bodily beauty), parathvam (supremacy) and sauseelyam (magnanimity); and in the second pAsuram he says that these qualities of emperumAn act like karma, gyAna, bhakthi yOgams for AzhwAr and subsequently lead to AzhwAr’s para bhakthi, para gyAna and parama bhakthi which are considered as part of the ultimate goal. These para bhakthi etc are explained as desirable. Now, AzhwAr repeats those qualities of emperumAn which acts as gyAna, bhakthi yOgams in this pAsuram starting with “ulagu padaiththuNda endhai aRai kazhal sudarp pUm thAmarai“.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

ulagupadaiththuNda endhai aRai kazhal
sudar pUm thAmarai sUdudhaRku avAvAr
uyirurugi ukka, nEriya kAdhal
anbilinbIn thERal amudha
veLLath thAnAm siRappu vittu oru porutku
asaivOr asaiga, thiruvodu maruviya
iyaRkai, mAyAp peru viRal ulagam
mUnRinOdu nal vIdu peRinum
koLvadheNNumO theLLiyOr kuRippE?

Word by Word Meanings

ulagupadaiththu – emperumAn who created all the worlds
uNda – and ate them up (during praLayam (deluge))
endhai – emperumAn is my lord
aRaikazhal – holy feet of the lord resounding with the ankle bells
sudar pU thAmarai – glittering lotus flower
sUdudhaRku – to wear it (beautiful lotus like thiruvadi to wear it on head)
avA – with desire
Ar – filled with
uyir urugi ukka – the soul that melts and fall
nEriya kAdhal – the love/affection (in the form of bhakthi) which resulted from it
anbil – in the the desire (to reach emperumAn)
inbu – that produces the bliss
In thERal amudha veLLaththAnAm – submerging into nectar-like ocean which is great in sweetness.
siRappu vittu – renouncing the pride
oru porutku – for the meagre goals of life
asaivOr – those who get afflicted
asaiga – wanders
thiruvodu maruviya – in association with the wealth/opulence
iyaRkai – true nature
mAyA peru viRal – with imperishable immense strength
ulagam mUnRinOdu – along with the three worlds
nal vIdu peRinum – even if attaining mOksham (which is the ultimate goal of life) also
theLLiyOr – the vivEki’s who have clear wisdom
kuRippu – opinion
koLvadhu – to obtain all these
eNNumO – will think?


ulagu padaiththunda – As said in chAndhOgya upanishadh “thadhaikshatha – bahusyAm prajAyEyEthi (he vowed to become many forms and then creates the entire world), bhagavAn (in many forms) with his sankalpam (divine will) creates all the the entities apart from him; and when danger like praLaya (dissolution) occurs for these entities , he protects all these by placing them inside His stomach; and because of these acts of emperumAn, his undiminished supremacy (parathvam) is established.

endhai AzhwAr says that even though emperumAn is distinctly supreme (being lord to everyone – sarva swAmi), he himself came forth and accepted AzhwAr; since AzhwAr thinks himself as the most inferior person in all the three worlds; and because of this acceptance of emperumAn, AzhwAr highlights his magnanimity. As said in first pAsuram “mUvulagaLandha” (which states His magnanimity), AzhwAr thinks himself as the lowest person in these three worlds.

aRai – emperumAn’s thiruvadi (the sacred feet) is wearing ornaments that make jingling sound, are radiant and most enjoyable; with this emperumAn’s saundharyam (bodily beauty) is explained.

thAmarai sUdudhaRku – As soon as his sacred feet are said to be resembling the lotus flower, one would naturally desire to place them on his/her head as said in sthOthra rathnam 31kadhA punaS SankharathAngakalpaka dhvajAravaindhAnkuSa vajralAnchanam | thrivikrama! (oh thrivikrama! When will my head be decorated with your two divine feet which are having [the marks of] Sankha , chakra , et al?) [here AzhwAr highlights his desire to place emperumAn’s lotus-like sacred feet on his head].

sUdudhaRku avAvAruyir – When the jIvAthmA meditates upon the distinguished nature of emperumAn, it is impossible for him to give up the yearning for Him.

sUdudhaRku avAvAruyir – The desire on wearing it.

Aruyir– The soul that desires it.

urugi ukka– The soul which cannot be split or melted, attained a liquid state [due to melting] such that it can never be seen as AthmA again.

nERiya kAdhal – And that desire lead to a distinguished involvement/attachment [in emperumAn];  SrI bhagavath gIthA 2-62sangAth sanjAyathE kAma: (While contemplating on the objects of the senses, one develops attachment to them and that attachment leads to desire, and from that desire arises the anger); and in chAndhOgya upanishath 7-26-2 “dhruvA smrithi:” (from purity of food comes purity of mind, and from that comes constant remembrance of God); here AzhwAr says that attachment (which arise out of desire towards Him) resulted in love/devotion on bhagavAn.

anbil inbu – As said in SrI bhagavad gIthA 9-2susukham karthum avyayam(knowledge is the king of wisdom and is most confidential. It can be perceived by self realization, and it is joyous to perform and is everlasting); here AzhwAr says that since the love/devotion is on emperumAn who is filled auspicious qualities, it is so sweet; because of the sweetness of emperumAn, the meditation upon him would also be sweet.

When asked how sweet this love is? AzhwAr says – It is like the nectar.

In thERal – Due to emperumAn’s sweet nature, it will taste like the concentrated nectar which is churned of an ocean of nectar. It is like an ocean of nectar since it is towards emperumAn who is said as in thaiththirIya upanishath – 5 “Anandhamaya: (He is filled with bliss); and due to emperumAn’s distinguished nature and the devotee’s attachment towards him, it will be like an individual falling into an ocean [of nectar] and enjoying it immensely.

amudha veLLaththAnAm– drowning into the flood of joy.

siRappu vitu – leaving the parabhakthi, paragyAna and paramabhakthi which is the greatest wealth [Implies the person who leaves this prosperity is known as foolish person].

oru porutku – If a person leaves the above said greatest wealth, he will have to think obtaining the purushArthams (goals) such as dharma (righteousness), artha (wealth), kAma (desire) and mOksha (salvation) only; and here AzhwAr says that he doesn’t even consider these goals as worthy; and due to his disregard for them, he calls these goals as “oru porutku(just another thing)”.

asaivOr asaiga – Unlike the greatest wealth like parabhakthi etc., the purushArtham (dharma etc.) will be very hard for one to obtain; and even if they are attained, the significance and the benefit of them will be very meagre; and those people who are attached to them will have much greater tribulation. Though it is said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 12-5klESO’dhikatharas(greatly troublesome); and when asked “why many people desire for them?”, AzhwAr says here “am I talking about foolish people? Would the intelligent ones ever think about these goals?“.

thiruvodu maruviya iyaRkai mAyAp peruviRal ulagam mUnRinOduemperumAn is always with the eternal wealth/opulence; and though one may possess such  wealth but if he doesn’t have power/energy to enjoy it, there will be not be any use of it; unlike those emperumAn possess everlasting majestic potency; his wealth is not limited to particular location but spread over all three worlds.


nalvIdu perinum – As nalvIdu indicates uththama purushArtham (top most goal of enjoying and serving bhagavAn), here [vIdu] the inferior goal of kaivalyam (eternally enjoying oneself) should also be included.

perinum – it is not only about desiring for these goals, but attaining them.

koLvadheNNumO AzhwAr asks “Can one even think about attaining them?”, and he himself replies “No”; since worldly wealth is temporary, it is discarded; since AthmAnubhavam is insignificant [though permanent], it is discarded; since bhagavath anubhavam is enjoyed only with a different body [which is attained in paramapadham[, and not the current body, it is discarded too. he says “do we even need to think about these goals which are incomparable with the greatest wealth – parabhakthi , paragyAnam and parama bhakthi, which are enjoyed in the current body itself?”.

But when asked “Still, why are some people are desiring for these goals?“, AzhwAr replies,

theLLiyOr kurippu ennumO – AzhwAr says that the vivEki (intelligent person) who can distinguish between the sAra (essence) and asAra (residue) will not even mind to think about anything other than parama bhakthi (total devotion towards lord); and these viveki’s are born with the ability to differentiate between good and bad. As explained by emperumAnar in his vEdhArtha sangraham – 3 “sArAsAravivEkagyA garIyamsa: (the intellectual can differentiate between the sAra and asAra), and by thirumazhisaip pirAn in his thiruchchantha viruththam – 108 “kEdil sIr varaththanAyk kedum … kUdum Asai alladhonRu koLvanO kuRippilE (even though obtaining the wealth of brahmA, Siva and indhra and reaching the highest state of liberation, he will never ever entertain any desire other than being with the lord)” [AzhwAr concludes at the end that the experience of the divine and service to emperumAn is the ultimate supreme bliss].

Let us move on to the 3rd pAsuram.

adiyEn booma ramanuja dhAsi

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thiruvAsiriyam – 1 – sekkar mA mugil

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

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avathArikai (Introduction)

The proper sequence of enjoying emperumAn is to enjoy his svarUpam (true nature), rUpam (form) and guNam (qualities); however AzhwAr leaves aside the svarUpam and instructs us to enjoy His rUpam directly;and the reason for this is – his attachment towards the same. When AzhwAr started experiencing emperumAn’s rUpam, that itself blocks him from enjoying it directly like an ocean pushing its waves on those who want to enjoy it; so, just as someone desiring to step in to a flood will use a boat to do so, AzhwAr too sets to enjoy emperumAn through an example. Since bhagavAn is distinctly unique, there is no exact match for bhagavath vishayam; but at least one should compare an object which has some minor similarity; [hence] AzhwAr is highlighting an emerald mountain as example. Since the emerald mountain lacks the exact qualities of emperumAn, AzhwAr starts with decorating it [to make it look more comparable to emperumAn]. Just as he left aside svarUpam and started engaging in the rUpam, here, he leaves aside the rUpam and starts engaging in the object which is cited as example and decorating it.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

sekkarmA mugiluduththu mikka senjudarp
paridhisUdi * anjudar madhiyam pUNdu *
pala sudar punaindha pavaLach chevvAy*
thigazh pasunjOdhi maragadhak kunRam *
kadalOn kaimisaik kaN vaLarvadhupOl *
pIthagavAdai mudi pUN mudhalA *
mEthagu palkalan aNindhu * sOdhi
vAyavum kaNNavum sivappa * mIdhittup
pachchai mEni migap pagaippa *
nachchu vinaik kavarthalai aravinamaLi ERi *
eRikadal naduvuL aRithuyil amarndhu *
sivan ayan indhiran ivar mudhal anaiththOr *
dheyvak kuzhAngaL kaithozhak kidandha *
thAmarai undhi thanip peru nAyaga! *
mUvulagaLandha sEvadiyOyE!

Word by Word Meanings

sekkar mA mugil uduththu – wearing a huge red cloud around his waist
mikka sem sudar – with the highly effulgent red rays
paridhi sUdi – sun on his head
am sudar – beautiful cool rays
madhiyam pUNdu – wearing the moon
pala sudar – (stars) with many glitters
punaindha – wearing it
pavaLam sem vAi – red coral like lips
thigazh pasum sOdhi – bright green color
maragadha kunRam – an emerald mountain
kadalOn kai misai – on the hands (waves) of the ocean king (varuNa)
kaN vaLarvadhu pol – just like sleeping
pIthaga Adai – pIthAmbaram (yellow garment)
mudi – crown
pUN – necklace
mudhalA – etc
mEthagu palkalan aNindhu – wearing a variety of worthy jewellery
sOdhi vAyavum – glowing coral red lips
kaNNavum – eyes
sivappa – being red in color
mIdhittu – being victorious (competition)
pachchai mEni miga pagaippa – green color becomes more visible
nachchu vinai – (while destroying enemies) he who has poisonous acts
kavar thalai – having fallen heads
aravu amaLi – on the cozy bed of thiruvanandhAzhwAn (AdhiSEshan)
ERi – climbing
kadal naduvul – in the midst of sea full of waves
aRi thuyil amarndhu – engaged in yOga nidhrA (meditation) to protect the world
Sivan ayan indhiran ivar mudhal – like Siva, brahmA, indhra
anaiththOr dheyva kuzhAngal – all the group of dhEvathAs
kai thozha – to worship with the joined palms
kidandha – lying down
thAmarai undhi – having the nAbhIkamalam (lotus in the navel, which is the origin for all creation)
thani peru nAyaga – Oh emperumAn who is greater than all!
mU ulagu aLandha – measured the three world
sEvadiyOyE – Oh one who is having the divine feet!


sekkar mA mugil uduththu – Like those who saw an elephant would chant incessantly “elephant, elephant”, AzhwAr praises emperumAn being unable to control the love out of enjoyment. The garment which is (sekkar) red in colour which is a contrasting colour to his blackish complexion; (mA) the garment is having vastness to have folds and fleets; (mugil) the garment is cool like a cloud, matching his tender body; adorning such garment as if it naturally grew out of his waist [such perfect fit].

mikka sem sudarp paridhi sUdi – As said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 11.12dhivi sUrya sahasrasya bhavEdhyugapadhuththithA | yadhi bhA: sadhruSI sA syAdh bhAsas thasya mahAthmana: ||” (If the splendour of a thousand suns were to blaze out at once (simultaneously) in the sky,that would be the effulgence of the mighty lord) – it is said that the sun has 1000 rays, but for the crown of this emerald mountain (emperumAn) appears to be having many thousands of rays; [the emerald mountain] wearing the sun which is having reddish rays.

am sudar madhiyam pUNdu – The emerald mountain is wearing the moon which possess cool rays and is unlike the sun which does not allow anyone to approach it because of its fiery nature; further it is unlike the worldly moon which goes through waxing and waning and having taints, and having beauty to be viewed forever without taking one’s eyes off.

thigazh pasum sOdhi maragadhak kunRam kadalOn kaimisaik kaN vaLarvadhu pOl – The emerald mountain which appears to be lofty with its shining green color which leaves everything else inferior, appears to be sleeping on the hands (waves) of the ocean king (varuNan). Though AzhwAr is talking about the emerald mountain, the example for emperumAn, he is saying “kaN vaLarvadhu pOl” (like divinely resting) instead of saying “like sleeping”, as he feels that it will only cause insult to emperumAn’s greatness. thirumalai nambi when identifying a person to emperumAnAr, says “do you know the person who cannot wear on his ears, even if he were given golden ear-rings?”, instead of saying the “person with delicate ears”.

pIthagavAdai – This (yellow garment) is what is explained by “sekkar mA mugil uduththu“.

mudi – This (crown) is what is explained by “sem sudar paridhi sUdi“.

pUN – This (necklace) is what is explained by “am sudar madhiyam pUndu“.

Starting with this,

mEthagu palkalanaNindhu – These (ornaments) are explained by “pala sudar punaindha“.

mEthagu – These ornaments are said to be matching for his svarUpam (true nature); or it can be said to be perfectly suited to His thirumEni (divine form). He is wearing many worthy ornaments like necklace etc as explained previously. Even if emperumAn’s wealth can be measured, His divine ornaments cannot be measured at all. As bhAshyakArar explains “nUpurAdhyaparimitha dhivya bhUshaNa” in his SaraNAgadhi gadhyam listing the ornaments such kirIta, makuta, chUdA, avathamsa, makara kuNdala, graivEyaka, hAra, kEyUra, kataka, SrIvathsa, kausthuba, mukthAdhAma, udhara bhandhana, pIthAmbara, kAnchIguNa, nUpur and then ends with “Adhi” (starting with), here too AzhwAr enlists many ornaments and say “palkalan“.

sOdhi vAyavum kaNNavum sivappa – While in the example, only a single entity “red coral like lips” is shown, why is the mouth and eyes are highlighted here? It is for this reason only, there it was explained as “(many) reddish spots on the mountain”.

pachchai mEni mIdhittu migap pagaippa – The divine ornaments and the emperumAn‘s thirumEni which possess all of those ornaments, compete with each other; his thirumEni wins the competition and shine with blackish complexion.

nachchu vinai – As said in mUnRAm thiruvandhAdhi 66 “vAyndha madhu kaidaparum vayiRurugi mANdAr” (the powerful madhu and kaitapa died); thiruvanandhAzhwAn (AdhiSEshan) will single handedly destroy the enemies with his poisonous acts.

kavarthalai – thiruvanandhAzhwAn having several hoods; also said as his acquiring many hoods as a result of coming in contact with emperumAn. Like a mother who keeps child in her lap, here thiruvanandhAzhwAn (AdhiSEshan) keeps periya perumAL on his lap and shows motherly love to Him. When ananthAzhwAn (disciple of emperumAnAr) went to thirukkOshtiyUr and he held bhattar (who is the revered son of kUraththAzhwAn) on his lap and manifested motherly affection towards bhattar. ANdAL, the consort of kUraththAlwAn had a child first but he died at a very young age. When bhattar was born to them, emperumAnAr thinks that “we should not let this child suffer the same fate and he should live long” and so he performs thirumanjanam (sacred bathing) to periya pirAtti and feed that holy water to him and offers him in adoption to periya pirAtti and periya perumAL. And because of this ananthAzhwAn would call bhattar as “periya pirattiyAr’s son”.

aravin amaLi ERi – Climbing on the cozy bed of thiruvanandhAzhwAn which has nice fragrance, coolness and softness. Here amaLi refers the bed.

Eri – Since emperumAn considers climbing on thiruvanandhAzhwAn as his own gain/pleasure, he climbs on him with great desire, as nampermAL (uthsava deity in SrIrangam) would climb the six legged palanquin with great desire.

eRi kadal naduvuL – in the [milky] ocean which is throwing up the waves, being [favourably/happily] agitated by the presence of emperumAn.

aRi thuyil amarndhu – Being engaged in sleep which is an embodiment of wisdom; for the others, there will be darkness in their heart when they close their eyes; they will enjoy by worldly aspects through their senses such as eyes etc. But if their eyes are closed both the inner mind and their external vision becomes dark for them. Here when emperumAn reclines on thiruvanandhAzhwAn closing his divine eyes, it implies that he is contemplating about protecting the world and meditating upon himself since there is none higher to him.

sivan ayan indhiran ivar mudhal anaiththOr dheyvak kuzhAngkaL kai thozhak kidandha – Those who are popularly known as gods in this world, will themselves give up their pride and worship emperumAn. dhEvathAs such as brahmA et al, give up their pride and worship him being captivated his beauty while reclining.

When asked “And what will emperumAn do when these dhEvathAs worship Him?”, AzhwAr says

kidandha – When a flock of cranes enter the sea (to catch fish) and produce cheerful noise, it will not affect the sea; similarly even if the dhEvathAs like Siva etc. and the hordes of gods worship him (who is distinctly unique) in his lying down posture, due to his greatness, he remains undisturbed. AzhwAr too considers both of these aspects [emperumAn‘s tranquil sleep and the dhEvathAs worshipping him] as natural actions [without giving any specific importance].

thAmarai undhi – He who has the divine lotus navel which is the cause for the entire creation;

When asked “Is there any one like him?”, AzhwAr says

thanipperu nAyaga – There is no one who is superior to emperumAn. If there is no one superior than Him (above Him), is there any one who is equivalent to Him? No, he is distinctly unique; Though other dhEvathAs are referred as supreme in the scriptures, it is only done as a courteous act. It is said in mahAbhAratham “rudhram samASrithA dhEvA rudhrO brahmANamAsritha: | brahmA mAmASrithO rAjan nAham kanchithupASritha:||” (dhEvathAs are surrendered to rudhra; rudhra is surrendered to his father, brahmA; brahmA is surrendered to me; but, Oh king! I am not surrendered to any one) – all these dhEvathAs expect something from others. Unlike everyone who is controlled of him, he is the distinct supreme lord who has none to control him; it is explaining that he is all the three causes [for creation]  viz nimiththa kAraNam (efficient cause), upAdhAna kAraNam (material cause) and sahakAri kAraNam (instrumental/ancillary cause).

mUvulagaLantha – For those people who cannot come to him and enjoy emperumAn, He himself goes to wherever they reside [and graces them by touching them with His holy feet].

sEvadiyOyE – The sweetness of his divine feet is such that, we cannot leave him, even if he is so cruel that he does not help us.

Thus, in this pAsuram, AzhwAr celebrates emperumAn‘s saundharyam (flawless beauty) and other auspicious qualities.

Let us enjoy the 2nd pAsuram next.

adiyen booma ramanuja dasi

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mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 40 – peru vil pagazhi

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AzhwAr says that the purpose of dwelling permanently at thirumalai, as thought by emperumAn, is to destroy the enemies of followers and be joyful.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

peruvil pagazhik kuRavar kaichchendhI
veruvip punam thuRandha vEzham iruvisumbil
mIn vIzhak kaNdu anjum vEnkatEmE mEl asurar
kOn vIzhak kaNdu ugandhAn kunRu

Word by Word Meanings

peru vil – with a large bow
pagazhi – and arrows
kuRavar – hunters’
kai – held in the hand
sem thI – to the red hot fire
veruvi – being fearful
punam thuRandha – leaving the fields
vEzham – elephant
iru visumbil – from the expansive sky
mIn vIzha – with the shooting star falling
kaNdu – seeing that
anjum – fearful place (that it is the burning firewood thrown by the hunters)
vEnkatamE – Oh thirumalai!
mEl – in earlier time
asurar kOn vIzha – hiraNyan, the leader of demons, falling down
kaNdu – seeing (that)
ugandhAn – one who felt joyful
kunRu – is thirumalai


peru vil – the hunters hold a large bow like SrI rAma, as mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 100-12 “sa dhadharSa thathO rAmam thishtanthamaparAjitham | AliganthamivAkASam avashtabhya mahadh thanu: ||” (rAvaNa saw SrI rAma, who is unconquered and who is holding a large bow that reaches up to the sky).

pagazhiAzhwArs and AchAryars take heart from the sharp arrows of SrI rAma and get rid of their fear as mentioned by thirumazhisai AzhwAr in nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi 8 “ilai thuNai maRRu en nenjE kUr amban allAl” (Oh my heart! There is none to support other than the one with sharp arrows). In the same way, this AzhwAr [poygai AzhwAr] also talks about the sharpness of the hunters’ arrows. The way the hunters of thirumalai are holding the bow is similar to the way SrI rAma and lakshmaNa are holding! The hunters who are holding the bow and sharp arrows in one hand are holding torches [burning firewood] in the other, in order to remove the darkness, while going to their fields for protecting them.

veruvip punam thuRandha vEzham – elephants which foray into the fields for food, on looking at the torches and the bow / sharp arrows that the hunters are holding, will become fearful and will run away, thinking that they should never ever come to these fields.

iru visumbil mIn vIzhak kaNdu anjum vEnkatamE – even as the elephants are running away from the fields fearing the torches, they see shooting starts falling from the expansive sky towards the earth. Thinking that these are the torches being thrown at them by the hunters, they stand transfixed, unable to go further. It appears to them that it was better in the fields as the torches would have been brought by the hunters for some other purpose whereas here, the shooting stars [which they think are torches] are being aimed at them by the hunters and they become more fearful.

mEl asurar kOn vIzhak kaNdu ugandhAn kunRuAzhwAr, on seeing the fear that the elephants have is reminded of the fear that hiraNyan had on seeing narasimha. thirumalai is the place that emperumAn came to, after destroying hiraNyan and feeling happy that he was able to destroy the enemy of his child devotee prahlAdha. He stands in thirumalai in order to eliminate enemies of his followers in future too.

Let us consider the 41st pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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thiruvAsiriyam – avathArikai (Introduction)

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In thiruviruththam, sarvESvaran (emperumAn) shows his svarUpam (true nature), rUpam (form), guNam (auspicious quality) and the vibhUthi (wealth of both the nithya vibhUthi (paramapadham/SrIvaikuntam – spiritual realm) and the leelA vibhUthi (samsAram – material realm where we live currently)) [and blessed AzhwAr as said in thiruvAimozhi 1.1.1mayarvaRa madhinalam aruLinan” (blessed with unblemished gyAnam enriched with bhakthi)]; having meditated upon his togetherness with nithya and leelA vibhUthis, AzhwAr sees that the residents of nithya vibhUthi are having eternal experience with bhagavAn and have the health/ability to sustain such uninterrupted experience and the residents or leelA vibhUthi are being bound  by karma, engaged in worldly pleasures and are focused on the inferior bodily enjoyments; as in the case of one among a set of brothers who is having a troubled life while other brothers are living happily, will be anguished, AzhwAr too thinks “while I have the same right as nithyasUris who are living happily with emperumAn, I have lost it” and observes that his bodily connection is the cause for his such condition; now, seeing that he does not have the ability to eliminate such bondage himself, he prays at the divine feet of emperumAn in the first pAsuram of thiruviruththam 1 [“poynninRa njAnamum pollA ozhukkum… viNNappamE”] saying “you should eradicate the connection with material world and objects in this material world” and identifies his condition. Is this not what is highlighted by AzhwAr in the first pAsuram? Yes – and since AzhwAr highlights the same principle in the last pAsuram as said in “vallArazhundhAr piRappAm pollA aruvinai” (those who are well versed in these principles, will not be submerged in this ocean of nescience), as the upakrama (beginning) and upasamhAra (ending) matches, it can be said as the essence of this prabandham [thiruviruththam]. As AzhwAr’s desire is not fulfilled immediately [after the first pAsuram], his anguish is expressed in the pAsurams between the first and the last pAsuram.

sarvESvaran did not elimiinate AzhwAr‘s dhEha sambandham (connection with body) immediately as he desired. The reason for that is – He wants AzhwAr to set right this samsAram through AzhwAr’s dhivya prabandhams; this is similar to how emperumAn made bhIshma to enlighten the world while he was lying in the bed of arrows. AzhwAr’s anguish is so unbearable that he cannot stay in this world. emperumAn thinks “AzhwAr is forcing me to bring him to paramapadham to enjoy my qualities; let me make him enjoy the same” and manifests his svarUpam, rUpam, guNam and vibhUthi; though he manifested the same aspects to AzhwAr before making AzhwAr realise the inferior nature of this body, here he is giving an elaborate experience of the same to make AzhwAr think “there is nothing more to go and experience in paramapadham” and thus AzhwAr starts enjoying them now [in this prabandham, thiruvAsiriyam].

Let us enjoy the 1st pasuram next.

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thiruvAsiriyam – thaniyan

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aruLALa perumAL emperumAnAr

aruLALap perumAL emperumAnAr

thaniyan for thiruvAsiriyam was divined by aruLALap perumAL emperumAnAr.


kAsiniyOr thAmvAzha – This thaniyan says “you should keep the dhESika (AchArya) who visualized/compiled thiruvAsiriyam in your pure heart and eternally perform mangaLASAsanam to him without forgetting”.


kAsiniyOr thAm vAzhak kali yugaththE vandhudhiththu
Asiriyap pAvadhanAl arumaRai nUl viriththAnaith  
thEsikanaip parAngusanaith thigazh vaguLath thArAnai
mAsadaiyA manaththu vaiththu maRavAmal vAzhththudhumE

The vyAkhyAnam for this thaniyan was divined by SrI piLLai lOkam jIyar.

Word by word meaning

kAsiniyOr thAm – the people of this world
vAzha – to prosper
kali yugthathE – in this kali yuga
vandhu udhiththu – incarnated
Asiriyap pA adhanAl – through this prabandham called thiruvAsiriyam
arumaRai nUl viriththAnai – he has explained vEdha SAsthram, which is difficult to understand
dhEsikanai – dhESika (AchArya)
thigazh vakuLam thArAnai – who wears the garland of magizham pU (flower)
parAngusanai – nammAzhwAr
mAsadaiyA manaththu vaiththu – placing in the pure mind bereft of impurities like ahankAra and mamakAra
maRavAmal – without forgetting him
vazhththudhumE – let us glorify him by doing mangaLASAsanam to him.


kAsiniyOr thAm vAzha kali yugaththE vandhudhiththu, dhEsikanai parAngusanai – this describes the greatness of AzhwAr’s birth (avathAram).

kAsiniyOr thAm vAzha – For the prosperity of the people in this earth who do not know anything beyond the earth which they have seen. [“kAsathE ithi kAsinE (because of the visible brightness, the earth is called kAsinE). The thamizh word “kAsini” came from the samskritham word “kASin” (shining) which indicates the earth (bhUmI). kAsiniyOr – the one who cannot see anything beyond earth]

kali yugaththE vandhu udhiththu – In every yuga, emperumAn appears in different varNam. In this kali yuga, nammAzhwAr incarnated to uplift us all from the mire of samsAra – “kalau puna: pAparathAbhibhUthE bhakthAthmana sa udhbabhUva” (bhagavAn appeared in the form of his devotee in this kali yuga where people involved in the sinful activities). (In the krutha yugam, bhagavAn incarnated as dhaththAthrEya and paraSurAma in brAhmaNa varnam. In threthA yugam, he incarnated as SrI rAma (chakravarthi thirumagan) in kshathriya varNam. In dhvApara yugam, he incarnated as kaNNan for vasudhEva and dhEvakI in vaiSya varNam. In this last and fourth kali yugam, empermAn kaNNan himself has incarnated as AzhwAr (SatakOpa) for udaiyanangai and kAriyAr in SUdhra varnam).

vandhu udhiththu – It appears that Azhwar incarnated in this earth from another world (nithya vibhUthi – paramapadham). maNavALa mAmunigaL says in his upadhEsa raththina mAlai 7th pAsurammaRRuLLa AzhvArgaLukku munnE vandhu udhiththu”. azhagiya maNavALap perumAL nAyanAr, the author of AchArya hrudhayam also said following the words in SatakOpAshtakam “vagulabUshana bAskarOdhayaththilE” (the appearance the vakuLa bhUshaNa, the radiant sun). In this thaniyan also AzhwAr is called “vagulaththArAnai (who wears magizham pU garland)”. [He is our prathamAchArya (primary AchArya) as said in sthOthra rathnam 5 “Adhyasya na: kulapathE: vakuLAbhirAmam”. He is also called SrIvaiShNava kula pathi and prapanna jana kUtastha (leader of the vaiShNava clan)]

His actions, after incarnating, are explained further:

Asiriyap pA adhanAl – In thamizh grammar there are different types of “pA” (poems) and among them AzhwAr mercifully chose Asiriyap pA for this prabandham. The style followed here is andhAdhi (ending of one pAsuram is the beginning of the other).

arumaRai nUl viriththAnai – The one who explained the very rare “SAsthras” in a detailed manner and was famously known for that; he is one who made the very rare principles to be in easily understandable thamizh. [This is highlighted in thiruvAimozhi 4.5.10vaN thamizh nURka“; this is praised by madhurakavi AzhwAr also in his kaNNinun siRuth thAmbu 8th pAsuram as “aruLinAn avvarumaRaiyin poruL aruL koNdu Ayiram in thamizh pAdinAn” (AzhwAr mercifully explained the worthy vEdham’s meanings in sweet thamizh language)]

dhEsikanaip parAngusanai – parAnguSa dhESika who is the seer of the principles of vEdham.

[He is called as parAngusa due to two reasons:

  1. AzhwAr is the anguSam for the paras (kudhrushti matham followers – those who accept SAsthram but misinterpret that to their convenience) who propagated the idea that bhagavAn has no parathvam. AzhwAr has goaded and controlled such persons who don’t accept emperumAn and vEdham.
  2. AzhwAr is the anguSam for the parAthparan (paramapurushan) himself. AzhwAr himself says so in thiruvAimozhi 6.4.9 “valakkaiyAzhi idakkaich changam ivaiyudai mAl vaNNanai malakku nAvudaiyErkku”. He proudly says about his special relation with emperumAn and states that he can be like anguSam for the lord to respond to him. Hence AzhwAr is called parAngusan]

thigazh vakuLath thArAnai – nammAzhwAr is called “vakuLAbaraNan” as he wears magizham pU garland on his chest. It is said in a well known poem about nammAzhwAr “thAmam thuLavO vaguLamO” (Is he wearing thuLasi garland or magizham garland, i.e., is he SrIman nArAyaNa or AzhwAr) ,”thandulabaththArAnai” (adorned by thuLasi garland)”.

mASadaiyA manaththu vaiththu – One should place in his/her pure/clean heart as said in thirumAlai 22mAsaRRAr manaththuLAnai” (one who is residing permanently in the minds of those blemishless persons who have left aside other benefits), thiruvAimozhi 9.2.4 “theLintha en chindhai agam kazhiyAmE” (to reside in one’s pure and clean mind); placing in one’s heart as said in “van kurugaik kOnArum nammudaik kudi vIRRirunthAr” (to place AzhwAr, the leader of AzhwArthirunagari, in one’s heart). Since he is paramahamsa (a superior swan, indicating his most pure nature), he sits in the flower of heart; “vakulaththArAnai mAsadaiya mannaththu vaiththu” – One has to do bhakthi by placing AzhwAr in the heart as the SubASrayam (auspicious target) as said in rAmAnusa nURRanthAdhi 18 “Ayiram in thamizhAl seydhaRku ulagil varum SatakOpanaich chinthai uLLE peydhaRku isaiyum periyavar seerai” (The glories of great madhurakavi AzhwAr who kept in his heart – nammAzhwAr who came to compile thiruvAimozhi in sweet thamizh) ; that is, AzhwAr who is known as in thiruvAimozhi 4.10.11 “nAtkamazh magizh mAlai mArbinan mARan satakOpan” (nammAzhwAr who is known mARan and SatakOpan who is wearing fresh mgaizham pU garland on his chest).

maravAmal vazhththudumE – one should do mangaLASAsanam and meditate upon him in his/her mind always, to not forget AzhwAr ever. He too said in thiruvAsiriyam 4th pAsuram “UzhithORUzhi OvAdhu vAzhiya enRu yAm thozha isaiyum kol?” (Will I be fortunate to remember emperumAn always and to glorify Him?).

So with this thaniyan – it is explained that AzhwAr’s divine form is SubASrayam (auspicious target) and is the target of our mangaLASAsanam.

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