Category Archives: thiruvAsiriyam

thiruvAsiriyam – 2 – ulagu padaiththuNda

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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

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<< avathArikai (pravESam)

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.

adiyen booma ramanuja dasi

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thiruvAsiriyam – thaniyan

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

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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.

adiyen booma ramanuja dasi

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

SrIman nArAyaNan in paramapadham


All the AzhwArs are ‘mayarvaRa madhinalam aruLappeRRavar’, i.e. they  are  bestowed with
unblemished knowledge and devotion by bhagavAn himself, through  his nirhEthuka  katAksha
(unconditional graceful glance). Of  them nammAzhwAr is called prapanna jana kUtastha
(leader of surrendered devotees). He  has  written  four  prabandhams namely,

  • thiruviruththam
  • thiruvAsiriyam
  • periya thiruvandhAdhi and
  • thiruvAimozhi

These  four prabandhams are considered to be equivalent to four vEdhams in thamizh
language. Of  them thiruvAsiriyam is the yajur vEdham equiavalent. This is the 6th prabandham
in the iyaRpA.

In the first prabandham, AzhwAr requested emperumAn to cut his dhEha sambandham (bodily
connection) which is an obstacle to bhagavath anubhavam (enjoying bhagavAn). But
emperumAn’s wish  was  different. He wanted AzhwAr to stay in this world for some more time
to  correct  the  people and show them the right path to mOksha (liberation). Therefore when
AzhwAr prayed ‘poynninRa gyAnamum pollA ozhukkum azhukkudambum inninRa neermai
(I cannot tolerate the existence in this inferior world with this false knowledge, bad conduct and dirty body). He thought  ‘ivvAzhwAr indha samsAraththai vittu vilagi oru
nalamandhamilladhOr   nAttilE   pOychchEravENumenRu pArippadhu nammudaiya  guNangaLai anubhavippadharkAgavE anRi vEronRukkAhavanrE; andha guNAnubhavaththai ivarkku nAm ivvidaththilEyE vAykkachcheyvOm; ingE  thAnE  ivar  guNAnubhavam paNNik kaLiththArAy, avvanubhavam uLLadangAmal puRa veLLamittu prabhandhangaLAgap perugi lOkOpakAramum seydhAnAgattum’ (This AzhwAr wants to come to paramapadham since he desires to enjoy my qualities. He can experience them in this world itself which serves  two  purposes – 1) the enjoyment  of my qualities and 2) to correct the samsAris (worldly people). The  second  one  is  achieved through  his  prabandhams which are the outpourings of his experiences which will benefit the entire world). Hence, emperumAn revealed his rUpa, guNa, vibhUthi etc. to AzhwAr. AzhwAr’s such experiences and expressions are these prabandhams.

This prabandham thiruvAsiriyam is in the prosody called AsiriyappA. Hence it is called
thiruvAsiriyam. The AsiriyappA is of 4 types—nErisai AsiriyappA, nilamaNdila AsiriyappA etc.
pASurams 1, 2, 3, 6 are in nErisai AsirappA and the rest (4, 5, 7) are in nilamaNdila AsiriyappA.
The style is andhAdhi (where ending of one pAsuram is connected to the beginning of the next pAsuram).

AzhwAr enjoys emperumAn‘s kalyANa guNams in these 7 pAsurams.

The brief translation proceeds with:

  • In the First pAsuram, he enjoys emperumAn’s thirumEni (dhivya mangaLa vigraham, divine form).
  • In the second, one should desire to be adorn with the bhAgavath vishayam which is the
    swaroopam like the one (vivEki, wise) who wear and adorn this empermAn’s divine lotus feet. AzhwAr desires to have nithya sambandham (eternal relationship) with bhAgavathas.
  • In the third, he wants to be “adiyArku adiyAn” (servant to the bhAgavathas who are the servant of you, emperumAn).
  • In the fourth he approaches the bhAgavathas who always sing mangaLAsAsanam, as in ‘pallANDu pallANDu pallAyiraththANdu“ (long live, long live, for many thousands of years) and to follow their footsteps and desire to engage in kainkaryam only.
  • In the fifth, he experiences emperumAn’s saulabhyam (easy approachability, being very simple) and sauSeelya athiSayam (the abundance of his quality of mixing freely with others ignoring his greatness and the lowliness of others) of thrivikrama avathAram.
  • In the sixth, He cries out loud to the people that they were worshipping  kshudhra dhEvathAs (inferior gods) for inferior benefits.
  • In the seventh, he feels happy that bhagavAn has made his mind to worship emperumAn unlike others who run behind and worship other dhEvathAs.

periyavAchchAn piLLai has written a beautiful commentary for this prabandham. We will enjoy
the English translation of the same here. This commentary is further elaborately explained
by kAnchIpuram prathivAdhi bhayankaram aNNangarAcharyar swamy (in his dhivyArtha dhIpikai) and by puththur krishNamAchAryar swamy. We are grateful to these commentaries as well, which we will be using in our translation.

periyavAchchAn piLLai

With this introduction, we will proceed with the detailed translation for tiruvASiriyam.

adiyen booma ramanuja dasi

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