Category Archives: thiruviruththam

thiruviruththam – 64 – irukkAr mozhiyAl

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the earlier pAsuram AzhwAr had said that sarvESvaran had glanced at him with his divine eyes and showered his mercy on him. He analysed this saying “Why did he glance at me with his divine eyes instead of at his favourable ones?” He concludes saying “I had recited his divine names superficially and not even wholeheartedly. It could be because of this”

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

irukkAr mozhiyAl neRi izhukkAmai ulagaLandha
thiruththALiNai nilaththEvar vaNanguvar yAmum avA
orukkA vinaiyodum emmodum nondhu kaniyinmaiyil
karukkAy kadippavar pOl thirunAmachchol kaRRanamE

Word-by-Word Meanings

irukku – being mentioned in rig vEdham (one of the four parts of sacred texts)
Ar – completely (explaining the true nature of supreme entity)
mozhiyAl – with purusha sUktham
neRi – the supreme path of worshipping supreme entity
izhukkAmai – without mistake
nilaththEvar – SrIvaishNavas, who are referred to as the dhEvathAs (celestial entities) of earth
ulagu – world
aLandha – one  which measured
thiruththALiNai – divine feet
vaNanguvar – will worship [and attain]
yAmum – we too
avA – desire
orukkA – not allowing to reach
vinaiyodum – with sins
emmodum – and with us
(looking at these two true natures)
nondhu – grieving
kani inmaiyil – due to absence of fruit
karukkAy – unripened fruit
kadippavar pOl – those who eat
thirunAmachchol – divine names without following the meanings
kaRRanamE – learnt

Simple Translation

brAhmaNas who are referred to as celestial entities on earth, keep worshipping the two divine feet [of  sarvESvaran] which measured all the worlds, through purusha sUktham seen in rig vEdham, which explains the true nature of the supreme entity, without transgressing from the path of righteousness. We grieve at our sins and our nature which are a hurdle to realise our desire of worshipping in a similar way. Consequently, we learnt only to recite the divine names of sarvESvaran, just as those who eat only unripened fruit since ripened fruit is not available.

vyAkyAnam

irukkAr mozhiyAl – Due to the distinguished knowledge of those who had carried out prapaththi (SaraNAgathi, or act of surrendering) to SarvESvaran, through the lines mentioned in rig vEdham, the lands where crops grow to a meagre extent as well as arid lands became fully grown lands. The vyAkyAthA says that there is no need to feel bewildered that in vEdhams, terms such as Sambhu et al denote rudhra, brahmA et al as eminent entities. This is because the distinguished divine word of nArAyaNan as mentioned in places describing sarvESvaran’s svarUpam, rUpam, guNam, vibhUthi (true nature, divine form, auspicious qualities and wealth respectively) is superior to everything else. In other words, he says that in nArAyaNa anuvAkam, only sarvESvaran is spoken of. In yajur AraNyakam, the verse sarvE vEdhA yathraikambhavathi refers to the fact that only nArAyaNan is being recited in everything [including the defining names of all entities]. Since all the terms which refer to eminent entities in this nArAyaNa anuvAkam speak only about nArAyaNan, it should be considered that all the terms refer only to him.

neRi izhukkAmai – not deviating from bhagavath ArAdhanam (worshipping of sarvESvaran), which is the path of righteousness,

ulagaLandha thiruththAliNai – his nature is such that he would say “Whether these entities (both sentient and insentient) do or do not know, these are all my property; I will not let go of them”. When all the entities were not even aware of, did he not redeem them all, by measuring everyone and everything?

nilaththEvar vaNanguvar – though the brAhmaNAs are living in this samsAram  (materialistic world), just as they have been referred to in thiruviruththam 79 viNNuLArilum sIriyar (they are more eminent than nithyasUris), they are considered as dhEvathAs [celestial entities] on earth.

yAmum – I, who am not having knowledge on SAsthrams just like they have

avA orukkAvinaiyodum emmodum – my sins prevent me from engaging with matters related to sarvESvaran with the same desire which I have towards worldly matters. I am grieving about those sins and about me, who is having those sins. Grieving because of the fact that these are there and I am there, carrying on with these sins.

kani inmaiyil karukkAy kadippavar pOl – even though I do not have the qualification which they have in worshipping, without deviating from the path of righteousness, I recited only the divine names, just as one who does not have access to fruits, eats only the unripened ones.

thirunAmachchol kaRRanamE – even when I recited those divine names, I did so without knowing their meanings. I had not even known their greatness. However, sarvESvaran showered his mercy upon me, without any reason.

Alternative explanation:

avA . . . – there is a sin which enables the desire which is there for worldly matters to be diverted towards matters related to sarvESvaran. It is referred to as bhakthi [devotion]. Could bhakthi be termed as sin? Since it is the cause for suffering when one does not attain bhagavAn, it can be termed as a sin.

kani inmaiyil karukkAy kadippavar pOl – just as those who eat the unripened fruit when ripened ones are not available, AzhwAr had to make do with reciting divine names. He wanted to see sarvESvaran with his eyes and embrace him with his hands.  In such a situation, what could he do with only reciting of divine names?  There is another interpretation for the word kani inmai. Just as people would eat an unripened fruit before it becomes ripened, before nithyasUris could enjoy him [sarvESvaran], AzhwAr destroyed him by only speaking about him.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 63 – vaNNam sivandhuLa

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avathArikai (Introduction)

She had asked him whether it was correct (muRaiyO?) in the previous pAsuram. The nAyakan came immediately and looked at her with comforting eyes.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

vaNNam sivandhuLa vAnAdamarum kuLir vizhiya
thaNmen kamalaththadam pOl polindhana thAm ivaiyO
kaNNan thirumAL thirumugam thannOdum kAdhal seydhERku
eNNam pugundhu adiyEnOdu ikkAlam irukkinRavE

Word-by-Word Meanings

vaNNam – due to colour
sivandhuLa – becoming red
vAn nAdu – nithyasUris who are in paramAkASam (SrIvaikuNtam)
amarum – to sustain
kuLir – refreshing
vizhiya – having glance
thaN – being cool
mel – being soft
kamalam – lotus flowers which have blossomed
thadam pOla – like a pond
polindhana – being splendorous
ivaidham – these divine eyes
thirumAL – being SrIya:pathi (consort of SrI mahAlakshmi)
kaNNan – purushOththaman (best among all chEthanas), who is obedient to his followers
thirumugam thannOdu – with the divine face
(in that matter)
kAdhal seydhERku – one who is desirous, my
eNNam – with that intention
pugundhu –  entered [on their own]
adiyEnodu – with me, the servitor
ikkAlam – during the present time
irukkinRavE – are present

Simple Translation

The eyes [of sarvESvaran] are reddish in colour, are the sustaining force for nithyasUris who are in SrIvaikuNtam due to their refreshingly cool glance and are splendorous like cool, soft lotus flowers which have blossomed in a pond. These eyes entered my heart on their own, when I was with the intention of desiring the divine face of Sriya:pathi, the obedient kaNNan, and are present without leaving me.

vyAkyAnam

vaNNam sivandhuLa – the divine eyes of sarvESvaran are reddish as a natural corollary of not having seen AzhwAr. With this term vaNNam sivandhuLa, it is opined that these were like this even earlier. The distress of separation is similar to what SrI rAma had said in SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 66-10 “najIvEyam kshaNamapi” (I cannot live even for a moment (without sIthAppirAtti)). The implication is that the reddishness in the eyes which happened due to not seeing AzhwAr, has now gone.

vAnAdu amarum kuLir vizhiya – those in thripAdhvibhUthi (SrIvaikuNtam which is three times bigger than leelAvibhUthi, the materialistic realm) sustain themselves through these divine eyes. The divine eyes are cool, so that they [nithyasUris] could sustain themselves. Sustenance for them is through eating, dressing and living, because of the divine eyes. They are dhArakam, pOshakam and bhOgyam (water as sustaining material, food as nourishment and betel leaves as enjoyment) for nithyasUris.

 thaN . . . – the divine eyes appear like a pond whose surface is full of just blossomed lotus flowers which are cool and soft.

thAmivaiyO – just as it has been mentioned in chAndhOgya upanishath 1-6-7 “thasya yathA kapyAsam puNdarIkam Evam akshiNI”, we have heard through those who recite vEdhams that sarvESvaran’s divine eyes are like just blossomed lotus flowers. Would they be like these?

kaNNan thirumAL – should be rearranged as thirumAL kaNNan – Sriya:pathi, the consort of SrI mahAlakshmi, who is like an obedient attendant of his followers.

thirumugam thannOdum kAdhal seydhERku – for me who had desired that such nAyakan should come with his beautiful, divine face and glance at me with his cool divine eyes.

eNNam pugundhu – entering, as I had intended. Alternatively, considering my desire as his own.

adiyEnodu – AzhwAr says as in jithanthE SlOkam 1 “jitham” (success to you). The true nature of the word aham (I) appears to be adiyEn (your servitor). The term adiyEn has two meanings: AzhwAr says that he has lost out to the beauty of the divine eyes and has become a servant. adiyEn also refers to the natural servitude (of jIvAthmA). What is the pramANam (authentic source) for saying that servitude is the natural quality of jIvAthma? thaiththirIya upanishath nArAyaNavalli 5-1 says “OmithyAthmAnam yunjItha” (one should meditate on AthmA, by reciting the praNava manthram, Om) as well as in the vEdhic saying OnkArO bhagavAn vishNu – vishNu is identified by the manthram Om.

ikkAlam – I do not know if the reason for the benefit that I had attained [of his divine eyes entering me] had happened earlier.

irukkinRavE – just as it has been said in chAdhOgya upanishath 8-15 “na cha punarAvarthathE ” (those who reach SrIvaikuNtam do not return), it appears as if mOksham has been attained. It appeared that he would not separate again from her. It appeared that he had come right in front of her.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 62 – iRaiyO irakkinum

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr was reminiscing about krishNavathAram. He felt saddened that he had not been born in this world, during that time. Due to the pain of this separation, he returned to his earlier feminine mood (as nAyaki). Her mother says that the sounds of the ocean aggravated her distress of separation.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

iRaiyO irakkinum IngOr peNpAl enavum irangAdhu
aRaiyO ena ninRu adhirum karungadal IngivaL than
niRaiyO ini un thiruvaruLAl anRik kApparidhAl
muRaiyO aravaNaimEl paLLi koNda mugil vaNNanE

Word-by-Word Meanings

karum kadal ocean which has a dark complexion
irakkinum – even if beseeched
Or – without any support
peNpAl enavum – even if the person happens to be a lady
Ingu – in her matters
iRai – even a little bit
irangAdhu – is not taking pity
aRaiyO ena – like those who make a huge noise
ninRu – remaining firmly
adhirum – it is making a noise
O – Oh, how cruel!
aravaNai mEl – on top of the mattress, AdhiSEshan
paLLikoNda – one who has reclined
mugil vaNNanE – Oh lord, who has the complexion of cloud!
Ingu – at this place
ivaL than – her
niRaiyO – modesty
ini – henceforth
un thiruvaruLAl anRi – other than by your mercy (with any other entity)
kAppu aridhu – difficult to protect
muRaiyO – (is this) apt?

Simple Translation

The dark ocean, despite being beseeched by her, is not taking any pity on her, even though she is without any support. The ocean is like those who are making a war-cry, being very firm. How cruel is this! Oh lord, who is having the complexion of cloud and who is reclining on the mattress, AdhiSEshan! Her situation is such that she cannot be protected by anything other than your mercy, henceforth. Is her condition proper?

vyAkyAnam

irakkinum IngOr peNpAl enavum iRaiyO irangAdhu – this ocean is not taking even a little bit of pity on her despite her falling at its feet, saying “taking refuge is indeed a great act which manifests her state”, despite hinting “she is without any help and has no other refuge”. This is similar to revealing our weakness to those who harm us, thus giving them an opportunity to harm us even more. vyAkyAthA cites SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam SlOkam 21-8 “adhya mE maraNam vAtha tharaNam sAgarasya vA” (Sri rAma says that today either he should cross the ocean or die). Even after SrI rAma performed SaraNAgathi (surrendered) to the king of ocean, he did not come. However, the moment he strung the arrow on his bow, he came helter-skelter. Thus, the ocean will not take pity for SaraNAgathi, but will, for the arrow. It will not consider SaraNAgathi but will take pity when faced with death.

aRaiyO ena ninRu adhirum kadal – the ocean behaved like sugrIva who sounded the war-cry on vAli saying “Will you come out of your hiding to fight with me?”

karum kadal – the ocean appears as if its anger inside is visible on its surface. Just as the saying goes “sivappum karuppum sinam” (red and black colours are manifestation of anger)

Ingu . . . – the modesty of this girl who is in such a distressed state.

un thiruvaruL anRik kApparidhAl – she has lost her senses due to her deep love for you; without your mercy, which is the manifestation of your true nature, she will not revive. She has crossed the stage when she could have corrected herself, due to fear of being ridiculed by the people of the town.

muRaiyO – SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 39-30 says “thath thasya sadhruSam bhavEth” ((sIthAppirAtti tells hanuman) if SrI rAma comes here and takes me with him after destroying lankA, it will be appropriate for his valour). Instead of waiting like that for him, here, the nAyaki is calling out to him to protect her; this is her situation now.

aravaNai . . . – her beauty and the arrangement of the mattress are such that even if she had dressed herself in saffron robe (indicating renunciation) she should have been accepted.

aravaNai mEl – while she is lying on the hard floor, you are looking out for a soft mattress.

mugil vaNNanE – when a person was reading out this line, embAr (disciple and successor of ramAnujar) [sarcastically] told him “even after she has called out so much, if he is not going to turn in her direction, he should be a great sage. Hence, instead of saying mugil vaNNan, call him as mugil vaNNar (the end syllable ar in vaNNar is an honorific term, indicating respect while the end syllable an in vaNNan indicates someone who is of same status or lower status). Even if one gets hit with stick, the person who is hitting should be addressed respectfully” embAr is one who takes delight in the togetherness of perumAL and pirAtti; here, he takes the side of pirAtti when they are separated [and shows his anger on perumAL who is delaying in uniting with pirAtti].

svApadhESam (distinguished meaning): This pAsuram illustrates how the distress in separation makes one to destroy one’s svarUpam (true nature) to attain the end benefit, instead of waiting for the appropriate time, in line with one’s svarUpam.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 61 – vAsagam seyvadhu

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsuram, the nAyaki’s mother, after hearing her saying “perumAn malaiyO thiruvEngadam enRu kaRkinRa vAsagamE” elucidated it. On hearing this explanation, AzhwAr returned to his original form [from his feminine form]. Once he realises his true nature, since he is always engaged with krishNAvathAram, he is once again amazed [at the simplicity of that avathAram] .

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

vAsagam seyvadhu nam paramE thollai vAnavar tham
nAyagan nAyagar ellAm thozhumavan gyAlam muRRum
vEyagamAyinum sOrAvagai iraNdE adiyAl
thAyavan AykkulamAy vandhu thOnRiRRu nam iRaiyE

Word-by-Word Meanings

thollai vAnavar tham – for nithyasUris who have been present from time immemorial
nAyagan – as the lord
nAyagar ellAm – all entities such as brahmA et al
thozhumavan – being worshipped
gyAlam muRRum – entire world
vEy agam Ayinum – sufficient space for planting bamboo pole
sOrA vagai – not leaving [even that]
iraNdE adiyAl – with only two steps
thAyavan – one who measured
nam iRai – Sriya:pathim (consort of SrI mahAlakshmi), being our lord
AykkulamAy – in the clan of herdsfolk
vandhu thOnRiRRu – that he came and incarnated
vAsagam seyvadhu – to narrate it
nam paramE – is it possible for us?

Simple Translation

Is it possible for us to speak about the incarnation, in the clan of herdsfolk, of one who is the lord of nithyasUris who have been present from time immemorial, who is worshipped by brahmA who is the lord of celestial entities, who measured this world with just two steps without leaving space even for a bamboo pole to be planted and who is our lord?

vyAkyAnam

vAsagam seyvadhu nam paramE – apart from being unconscious, as mentioned in thiruvAimozhi 1-3-1 “eththiRam” (how amazing!), is it possible for us to praise sarvESvaran? Why can’t we praise him through pAsurams? . . .

thollai vAnavar – just as it has been mentioned in achchidhram 42 “prathamajAyEpurANA:” (they have been here from the beginning) he is the controller of nithyasUris.

AykkulamAy vandhu thOnRiRRu vAsagam seyvadhu nam paramE –  without any distinction between vEdhams (sacred texts) and those who follow the vEdhams, none can speak about him. vEdhams, which desired to speak about his quality of happiness, returned empty handed, as mentioned in thaiththirIya upanishath 6 “yathO vAchO nivarthanthE” (mind and words came back without being able to speak). purusha sUktham says “thasya dhIrA: parijAnanthi yOnim” (only those who are well versed would know about his incarnations)

thasya yOnim: sarvESvaran is without any karma (result of sin or virtue from past deeds). Yet, due to his quality of simplicity, he takes birth; the most prominent among wise will not know about it despite engaging deeply with it; they will keep coming back repeatedly, trying to immerse in it. sarvESvaran himself says, as in SrI bhagavath gIthA 4-9 “janmakarmacha mE dhivyam” (my birth and karma are divine) and in SrI bhagavath gIthA 7-24 “parambhAvam” (superior state). For AzhwAr, to remain unconsicious, being amazed at his simplicity, is a naturally occurring phenomenon.

thollai vAnavar tham nAyagan – he is superior to nithyasUris

nAyagar ellAm thozhumavan – even celestial entities such as brahmA et al, who take pride in saying “We control the fourteen worlds” will remove that pride from their minds and worship him. They, who are termed as being without a birth, will worship sarvESvaran who takes birth in this world. They, who are not visible to human beings, will come after the killing of demon rAvaNa and worship him.

gyAlam . . . – he took over the entire area of earth, without leaving space for even planting a bamboo shoot, with his two steps. Just as dhuryOdhanan had said “I will not give pAndavas, the space even for planting a bamboo shoot”, sarvESvaran, for the sake of his follower indhra, said that he will not give mahAbali even the space for planting a bamboo shoot.

iraNdE adiyAl thAyavan – he took three steps of land as alms from mahAbali and measured the entire space with two steps, keeping the third step on mahAbali’s head to imprison him.

AykkulamAy vandhu thOnRiRRu – he had taken hold of the entire earth under his divine foot and came down to earth as the child of one of the entities caught under his divine foot. Is it possible to praise this simplicity through a pAsuram?

AykkulamAy – just as bruhadhAraNyaka upanishath 5-5 says “bAlyEnathishtAsEth” (leaving aside the qualities of silence and not being silent, one becomes a brahmA gyANi (knowing about sarvESvaran)), if a samsAri gains even a little bit of wisdom, he will not manifest his expertise. When such is the case, what is surprising when sarvESvaran, who is omniscient, hides all his supreme nature etc and does not reveal about himself? SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANda, 1-7 says “jagyE vishNu: sanAthana:” (vishNu, the eternal entity, was indeed born) – when those who attained him and those who have been there from time immemorial do not take birth here, is it possible to praise him when he is born here?

vandhu thOnRiRRu – didn’t SrI vishNu purANam 5-3-2 say “AvirbhUtham” (he appeared)? [bhagavAn’s incarnations are unlike AthmAs assuming bodies, by their karma]

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 60 – mulaiyO muzhumuRRum

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsuram, she [the nAyaki] had said “thaLapperu nINmuRuval seyyavAya thadamulai vaLapperu nAdan madhusUdhan ennum”. Her mother says “What is surprising about her saying such words in her youthful state? Isn’t this how she has been thinking even in her childhood days?”

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

mulaiyO muzhumuRRum pOndhila moy pUnguzhal kuRiya
kalaiyO araiyillai nAvO kuzhaRum kadal maNNellAm
vilaiyO ena miLirum kaN ivaL paramE perumAn
malaiyO thiruvEngadam enRu kaRkinRa vAsagamE

Word-by-Word Meanings

mulaiyO – if one considers her bosom
muzhumuRRum –  even a little bit
pOndhila – have not sprouted
moy – being dense
pU – being beautiful
kuzhal – locks
kuRiya – are short
kalaiyO – if one considers her dress
araiyillai – has not been properly tied on the waist
nAvO – if one considers her tongue
kuzhaRum – will not be clear
kadal – surrounded by the ocean
maN ellAm – this entire earth
vilaiyO ena –  will it be the price (for the eyes)
kaN – the eye
miLirum – huge
perumAn – sarvESvaran’s
malaiyO – if one considers thirumalai
thiruvEngadam – it happens to be thiruvEngadam
enRu – saying so
kaRkinRa – learning
vAsagam – spoken word
ivaL paramE – is it apt for her in her state?

Simple Translation

The bosoms of this girl have not sprouted. Her locks which are dense and beautiful are short. The dress which she wears does not sit well on her waist. Her tongue has not grown out of her child-like gibberish way of speaking. However her eyes are sparkling such that one could say that even the earth, surrounded by ocean, is not equivalent in terms of compensation for them. Her words saying that sarvESvaran’s divine hill is thiruvEngadam is indeed surprising.

vyAkyAnam

mulaiyO . . . – these words are best said after reaching a certain stage [in the development of a girl’s life].

mulaiyO muzhu muRRum pOndhila – it is not that her bosoms have not grown properly; even the place from where they sprout has not been identified [she is such a young girl].

moy pUnguzhal kuRiya – the locks which are dense and beautiful.

kuRiya – they are so short that if the nAyakan wants to arrange the locks into a bun and she, not liking that arrangement, wishes to let the locks down, he will not [be able to] fall at her feet [to beg her to keep them as a bun].

kalaiyO araiyillai – she does not even know as to where to tie her dress.

nAvO kuzhaRum – if the mothers teach her a few words, she would pronounce them indistinctly, like gibberish. They would then teach her a few simple words such as “iyar {father), Achchi (mother)” Her indistinct words sound better than their clear pronunciation.

kadal . . . – when parASara bhattar was explaining this pAsuram, his disciple, nanjIyar told him “he (AzhwAr) says that all the other limbs have not developed well. But he has spoken about the greatness of eyes alone. This appears contradictory” to which bhattar responded saying “It is not that way. Even here, he has stated only the condition of under-development”. “How is that?” “At a small age, the eyes will see objects fully; at a youthful stage [adolescent age], the eyes will see through glance only. Hence, here too AzhwAr is speaking of very young age only” The splendour in her eyes is such that even if the entire earth, surrounded by ocean, is given as a compensation, it will not be a match.

miLirum – even if the waves keep pushing against the shore, they cannot cross it. This is similar to that. When united with nAyakan, a girl will look at him with tenderness and love. Unlike that, this girl would look at her mother and her beloved, equally.

ivaL paramE – Is it apt for her age? It is because of her friends, just as it has been mentioned in periyAzhwAr thirumozhi 3-7-2 “sAyvilAdha kuRundhalai” (even though they are young without any shyness or reverence, my girl is joining with a few girls and appears like one possessed).

perumAL malaiyO thiruvEngadamenRu – is it apt for her age to disregard para and vyUha forms of sarvESvaran and focus on archA form, and that too saying that thiruvEngadam is the divine hill for his residence? vEdhas set out to measure one quality, the joy of sarvESvaran, and returned empty handed. But the eminence of archAvathAram is not like that.

kaRkinRa vAsagam – the words spoken by her; alternatively, the words taught by her mothers so that they could hear them from her mouth. thiruvAimozhi 6-5-7 says “ivaL vAyanagaL thirundha” (to appear clearly from her mouth). The verse could be arranged as ivaL paramE perumAL malaiyO thiruvEngadamenRu kaRkinRa vAsagamE in which the meanings would be as given till now; alternatively, the words could be arranged as perumAL malai thiruvEngadamenRu kaRkinRa vAsagamE O ivaL paramE in which case, the sound O ivaL paramE would indicate astonishment.

svApadhEsam (distinguished meaning): Just as it has been mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam bAla kANdam 18-28 “bAlyAth prabhruthi susnigdha:” (amiable since childhood) and thiruvAimozhi 2-3-3 ”aRiyAkkAlaththuLLE” (at that age when I did not know about servitude), this pAsuram speaks about how AzhwAr’s engagement with matters relating to emperumAn has always been his sustaining force.

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thiruviruththam – 59 – aLapparum thanmai

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr was joyous, praising the incarnation of thrivikrama, by saying “sarvESvaran, who is difficult to attain in SrIvaikuNtam, incarnated here and made himself easily approachable”. While his separation from sarvESvaran when he was in SrIvaikuNtam did not trouble him much, AzhwAr felt very sad due to his separation from sarvESvaran despite his coming here and taking residence. He attained the state of a pirAtti (AzhwAr in feminine form). Though there was a connection with sarvESvaran, since he did not come to see the nAyaki (AzhwAr in feminine form) during night time, which is the apt time for being together, she was unable to bear the distress of being separated from him now, after being united with him earlier. Her cry of “This night is harmful to me” is recited by her mother, in this pAsuram.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

aLapparum thanmaiyavvUzhi angangul andhaNNandhuzhAyk
kuLapperum kAdhalil nILiyavAyuLa Ongu munnIr
vaLapperu nAdan madhusUdhanan ennum valvinaiyEn
thaLapperu nINmuRuval seyyavAya thadamulaiyE

Word-by-Word Meanings

val – being cruel
vinaiyEn – as my daughter, who has sins
thaLam – like jasmine buds
peru – having greatness
nIL – without limit (being enjoyable)
muRuval – having soft smile
seyya – reddish
vAy – having lips
thadam – expansive
mulai – she, who is having bosoms
aLappa – to measure
arum – difficult
thanmai – having nature
avvUzhi – more than that kalpam (a day of brahmA)
am – beautiful
thaNNam – being cool
thuzhAykku – for divine thuLasi
uLa – formed in (my) heart
peru – huge
kAdhalil – more than desire
nILiyavAy – being bigger
uLa – is present
(ennum – she will say so)
Ongu – being well grown
munnIr – made of three types of water
vaLam – having richness
peru – being expansive
nAdan – one who has land
madhusUdhanan – destroyer of demon madhu
ennum – she will say so

Simple Translation

(The mother is speaking with reference to the state of her daughter)

My daughter has cruel sins, greatness of a soft smile similar to jasmine buds, reddish lips and expansive bosoms. She says “The night times, which are more cruel than kalpams which are very difficult to measure, are longer and bigger than my desire which is present in my mind for the cool, divine thuLasi. madhusUdhanan has the expansive earth which is surrounded by ocean, which is formed from the three types of water and which is huge”.

vyAkyAnam

aLapparum thanmaiyavvUzhiyam kangul – night times, which are as long as praLayam (deluge) are difficult to measure even for sarvESvaran who measured with his divine feet the immeasurable entities too. If it is possible for him to measure them, wouldn’t he have appeared during the night? These nights have as their nature, the quality of being immeasurable.

Uzhiyam kangulUzhik kAlam (deluge) is the proof that this night is indeed of long duration.

vyAkyAthA raises a query: Is it not possible to recite a pAsuram on that which cannot be measured? He answers that himself, saying . . .

andhaNNandhuzhAy . . . . – Just as it has been mentioned in thiruvAimozhi 10-10-10 “adhaniR periya en avA” (you, with your desire, surrounded me who has a huge desire to attain you). AzhwAr’s desire pervaded even sarvESvaran. vEdham returned empty handed, after trying to measure the joy of sarvESvaran, as mentioned in thaiththirIya upanishath “yathO vAchO nivarthanthE”. The same is true of this [measuring the length of night] also. bruhadhAraNya upanishath could only say in the negative when trying to describe sarvESvaran, saying “nEthi nEthi” (he is not like this), but could not define clearly that he is like this. andhaNNandhuzhAy – the garland on his divine shoulders. Those divine garlands have the power to control over everything in my mind. These nights are larger than the affection that I have for those garlands.

Ongu munnIr vaLapperunAdan madhusUdhanan ennum – am I distressed because I am outside his boundaries of reign? Am I distressed because he is powerless? He is the lord of the opulent land which is surrounded by ocean which contains three types of water (water from rivers, water from springs and water from rains).

madhusUdhanan – he is the destroyer of demon madhu who was like a weed for the entities which were to be protected [sarvESvaran’s followers]. Am I suffering because I am not connected to sarvESvaran? Am I suffereing because he is incapable of destroying my enemies?

valvinaiyEn – if her beauty [these are the words of nAyaki’s mother] were to be considered, there is no need for being distressed like this. The reason for her suffering, when actually it should he who should be suffering for not being together with her when she is so beautiful, is only because of my sin. This is similar to bharathAzhwAn feeling distressed about what happened in ayOdhyA which resulted in SrI rAma leaving for the forest, said that this is “math pApam Eva” (only because of my sin).

What is the reason for the mother saying that it is her sin which is the reason for the nAyaki’s suffering?

thaLapperu . . . – Is there any deficiency in the nAyaki’s physical form? thaLappu has got shortened to thaLa. thaLappu denotes something similar to the buds of jasmine, something which is difficult to obtain. Just as it has been mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam AraNya kANdam 64-77 “purEva mE chAru dhathim” (sIthAppirAtti who had a beautiful row of teeth), it is the smile which is desired by the nAyakan and which melts his heart wherever he goes.

nIL muRuval – it is not the boisterous laughter of narasimhap perumAL; it is the gentle smile of a lady. However, an entity must be available like this. The word nIL refers to the enjoyability of that smile.

seyya . . . – having reddish lips which will be suitable for that gentle smile. Alternatively, since the next word spoken about is thada mulai, referring to the hugeness of her bosoms, the word seyyavAy could be added to thadamulai to make it as seyyavAy thadamulai as a single word, in which case it would refer to the straightness of the bosom.

thadamulaiyE – due to the separation from sarvESvaran, the bosom appeared like the ear of corn which has drooped. It appeared that the time frame set by the nAyakan was insufficient.

svApadhESam (distinghished meaning) – this refers to the words of SrIvaishNavas who speak of the distress of separation caused by the incongruence of the connection and knowledge of true nature of AzhwAr with the time suitable for enjoyment.

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thiruviruththam – 58 – kazhaRalam onRE

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avathArikai (Introduction)

AzhwAr now narrates an incident carried out by sarvESvaran by which the different types of fatigue experienced earlier get negated. He kept his divine feet on the heads of everyone, without discriminating between those who are favourable to him (his followers) and those who are not favourable to him (his enemies). Through this, he said that there is none who he considers as an enemy. AzhwAr mercifully mentions that after doing all these activities, sarvESvaran remained as if he had not done anything.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

kazhaRalam onRE nilam muzhudhAyiRRu oru kazhal pOy
nizhaRara ellA visumbum niRaindhadhu nINda aNdaththu
uzhaRalar gyAnach chudar viLakkAy uyarndhOrai illA
azhaRalar thAmaraikkaNNan ennO ingu aLakkinRadhE

Word-by-Word Meanings

onRu – being single
kazhal thalamE – divine foot itself
nilam muzhudhu – entire earth
AyiRRu – pervaded
oru kazhal – the other divine foot
pOy – growing
nizhal thara – as it gave shade
ellA visumbum – entire sky
niRaindhadhu – pervaded completely
nINda – expansive
aNdaththu – in the oval shaped universe
uzhaRu – roaming fully
alar – blossomed
gyAnam – knowledge
sudar – having radiance
viLakkAy – being self illuminating like a lamp
uyarndhOrai illA – not having anyone superior
azhaRu – in mud
alar – blossomed
thAmarai – like a lotus
kaNNan – sarvESvaran who has divine eyes
ingu – at this place
aLakkinRadhu – measuring
ennO – what is it?

Simple Translation

One divine foot measured such that the entire world came under it. The other divine foot grew, went up the sky such that it pervaded all the words above and gave shadow to the ones below. What is krishNa, who keeps roaming all over the universe, who has a radiant, self-illuminating knowledge and who has eyes which are like lotus flowers which have blossomed in slush, measuring in my case?

vyAkyAnam

kazhaRalamonRE nilamuzhudAyiRRu – as soon as a drop of water [from mahAbali] fell on [sarvESvaran’s] divine hand, one divine foot spread out such that the entire earth came under it. kazhaRalam – kazhal thalam (foot)

onRE –  without waiting for his thoughts on what is to be done, the foot, on its own, spread out fully [and measured the earth].

oru kazhal . . . – the other divine foot

nizhaRara ellA visumbum niRaindhadhu – even as it entered its domain, with the confidence that he is there, it gave shade so that everyone can get under it; spread out everywhere.

nizhaRara – nizhal thara; to provide shade. Just as a flood would flow towards low lying regions, it [the divine foot] went to all open spaces and pervaded. vAsudhEva tharuchchAyA – shade of the tree vAsudhEvan (sarvESvaran). It became the shade of one tree which had pervaded everywhere. nAthiSIthA . . . – it will not be too cold; it will not be too warm; it will not allow the huge fire, naragam, hell, to come near. sAkimartham nasEvyathE – even if another shade which is an exact match for this is seen, is it proper to take shelter under the other shade? Could one say that this shade is not good? periyAzhwAr thirumozhi 5-3-4 “thirumAlirunjOlai endhAy un pAdha nizhalallAl maRROr iruppidam nAn engum kANginRilEn” (Oh the lord of thirumAlirum sOlai! Other than the shade of your divine foot, I do not see any shade elsewhere) – since you are the protector of your followers and eliminator of the enemies of your followers, I have not seen a shade where I could take refuge other than the shade of your divine feet.

The vyAkyAthA explains in detail, two SlOkams from SrI rAmAyaNam kishkindhA kANdam 15-19 and 15-20 to explain how sarvESvaran’s divine feet provide comforting shade and are the only refuge for all.  thArA tells vAli that she has heard from angadhan (their son) who had gone to play in the forest, that sugrIva has got some apt companions; on being questioned, angadhan had told her that it is perumAL who has come to sugrIva, along with his brother and that perumAL has given refuge to sugrIva. vAli asks her “Will he not give us refuge?” to which she recites SlOkam 15-19 “nivAsa vruksha: sAdhUnAm ApannAnAm parA gathi: | ArthAnAm samSraya: chaiva yaSasa: cha Eka bhAjanam ||”

nivAsa vrukshassAdhUnAm: thArA tells vAli “He [SrI rAma] is like a shade for those who desire to take refuge under him. He offers to others flowers, fruits, shade etc while taking sunlight on himself. For those who stand under his shade and wish to utilise him for gaining materials, he has the quality of offering even himself. vAli asks her “I have not caused any harm to him. Is there any objection in standing under his shade?” thArA replies . . .

ApannAnAm – it is not sufficient to think that we will take refuge under him. We should be under the grip of difficulties. vAli responds “But we are in difficult condition only. The brother born with me is himself my enemy” thArA responds, saying . . .

ArthAnAm – “It is not enough if we are in difficulties. We should also think that we need a refuge” vAli tells her “If SrI rAma is the refuge for sugrIva, we will find out another who will be our refuge” thArA tells him . . .

yaSasachchaikabhAjanam: “He is the only refuge. There is none like him”

The vyAkyAthA cites the reference of bhagavath gIthA 7-16 “Artha jigyAsu arthArthI gyAnI . . ” – one who is craving, one who is looking for knowledge, one who desires wealth and one who knows me – there are four types of people in the world. In the SrI rAmAyaNa SlOkam cited above, the term sAdhUnAm would refer to gyAni (as given above), the term ApannAnAm would refer to kaivalyArthi (one who wishes to enjoy his own AthmA) and the term ArthAnAm would refer to both types of arthArthi (one who is looking for lost wealth and one who is looking for wealth for the first time). The vyAkyAthA raises a query: Would the words of a lady (thArA) have such deep meaning? He answers this himself quoting SrI rAmAyaNam bAlakANdam 4-6 SlOkam “vEdhO’pabruhmaNArthAya” (capable of explaining the meanings of vEdhas (sacred texts)) Since SrI rAmAyaNam is capable of explaining the meanings of vEdhas, every word in it has deep meanings. bhagavath gIthA 7-17 “Eka bhakthir viSishyathE” (since he is deeply devoted to me, he attains eminence). Such a devotee is very much attached to me and I am attached to him, says krishNa. One should detest samsAram (life in the materialistic world) and break all ties with prakruthi (repeated cycle of birth and death). This holds true for AthmaprApthikAman (one who desires to attain sarvESvaran) and then to the one who is looking for lost wealth. This is true of the one who wishes to have wealth, for the first time, too.

nINda . . . – due to the reason of desiring to pervade the entire expansive universe, one who has a splendorous, well grown knowledge. He considered keeping his divine foot on the heads of all people as his benefit. The happiness which he obtained due to that act made his entire form to blossom.

uyarndhOrai illA – Since all the entities including brahmA were held under the divine feet, there was none to say “I” [he doesn’t have anyone superior to him].

azhaRalar thAmaraikkaNNan – one who has his divine eyes similar to blossomed lotus flowers standing in slush. Just as chAndOgya upanishath 1-6-7 says “thasya yathA kapyAsam puNdarIkam Evam akshiNI ” (having reddish eyes similar to inverted lotus flower)

ennO ingu aLakkinRadhE – We could not see the joy of having measured. There should be a time interval for saying that he measured. Even that time interval was not seen. Since he stood in the same place, can we say that he measured? Only if a step has been moved after keeping one step could it be said that something has been measured. Thus, none saw him measuring. Alternatively, it could be said that even as he kept his divine foot on the heads of everyone, without any reason, he stood as if he had done nothing. AzhwAr feels exhilarated in his divine mind, thinking as to what he cannot do.

ennO ingu aLakkinRadhE – Will anyone measure if the entity to be measured is extremely small and the entity, which is measuring it, is too large? Thus, the opinion here is that since the people to be protected are very small, he stood as if he has nothing to do.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 57 – pulakkuNdala

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avathArikai (Introduction)

After being united with the nAyaki, when the nAyakan separated from her, his distress became more acute. Though he had to separate from her for a reason, just as it is mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 66-10 “na jIvEyam kshaNamapi” (I cannot live even for a moment without her), his distress in separation was very difficult for him. Looking at his distress in separation and a lack of liveliness in him, the nAyakan’s friend told him “The way you are distressed about one issue, without engaging with other matters, does not fit well with your leadership qualities” and tried to bring him back to normal situation. The nAyakan tells him “You are speaking like this since you do not know how those who have been the target of her glance have suffered. If you too experience her glance, you would not speak like this” denying his accusation.

Let us go thorugh the pAsuram and its meanings:

pulakkuNdalap puNdarIgaththa pOrkkeNdai valli onRAl
vilakkuNdu ulAginRu vEl vizhikkinRana kaNNan kaiyAl
malakkuNdu amudham surandha maRikadal pOnRavaRRAl
kalakkuNda nAnRu kaNdAr emmai yArum kazhaRalarE

Word-by-Word Meanings

pulam – visible
kuNdalam – having ear-rings
puNdarIgaththa – on the face which is like a lotus flower
pOr – engaged in a war
keNdai – eyes which are like fish
valli onRAl – with the nose which looks like a creeper
vilakkuNdu – being separated
ulAginRu – are roaming
vEl – cruel, like the weapon spear
vizhikkinRana – are looking
avaRRAl – through such activities
kaNNan – krishNa’s
kaiyAl – with divine hands
malakkuNdu – being agitated
amudham – nectar
surandha – secreted
maRi – throwing up waves
kadal pOnRu – like an ocean
kalakkuNda – agitated
nAnRu – during that time
kaNdAr – those who saw
yArum – whosoever
ennai – me
kazhaRalar – will not admonish

Simple Translation

The eyes of the nAyaki which appear to be battling each other, present on her lotus-like face having beautiful ear rings, are separated by the nose, which is like a creeper. The two eyes are moving around, looking in a cruel way, like a spear. Just like the ocean which was agitated by the divine hands of krishNa and secreted the nectar, I too am bewildered. Whosoever had seen me at that time, would not find fault with me.

vyAkyAnam

pulakkuNdala . . . – The nAyakan’s friend had spoken about the condition of nAyakan without knowing the facts. The nAyakan tells him about the eyes of the nAyaki so that he will realise as to what would happen if he were to undergo a similar experience. He would then say “Oh my bad! What all did he suffer? How did he manage?” The ear rings of the nAyaki are capable of stealing all the sensory organs. They are present on her face which looks like a lotus flower. The term kuNdalam would also refer to a circular shape. If the text is polakkuNdalam, it would refer to golden ear-rings.

puNdarigaththa pOrkkeNdai – the eyes look like carp fish which appear to be fighting. The face is capable of making a person to become immobile, more than any other limb. The eyes are the most prominent part, on such a face.

valli onRAl vilakkuNdu – Just like keeping a cross-bar between two rutting elephants which are fighting, her nose is present [between the two fighting eyes]

ulAginRu – since the nose is there between them, the two eyes, which are like fish, are unable to engage in direct combat with each other. Due to the limitation set by sarvESvaran, they are unable to cross the ears too. Hence they are roaming between these two boundaries.

vEl vizhikkinRana – their glance is like a sharp spear, capable of piercing through the other side.

kaNNan . . . – the milky ocean was churned by the divine hands of krishNa such that the sand at the bottom was brought to its surface; the ocean gave him its life saving amrutham (nectar). The nAyakan’s majesty was similar to that ocean’s. The term maRikadal pOnRu is to be considered as maRikadal pOnRavaRRAl, thus bringing a distinction to the eyes (the eyes are like an agitating ocean). Once she looks at him, he too looks at her. Being engaged with his glance, she manifests her engagement with him, both inside her heart and outside, in her eyes. The nAyakan now reminisces that.

avaRRAl – those eyes create a scar in him, even now, through their glance.

kalakkuNda nAnRu kaNdAr – those who saw me that day when I was bewildered [by her glance]

emmai yArum kazhaRalarE – apart from you, a friend who knows my nature well, even those who have not known me, will not speak a word ill of me.

svApadhESam (distinguished meaning): SrIvaishNavas were fully engaged with AzhwAr’s SrIvaishNavaSrI (wealth of AzhwAr’s service). They could not be retrieved even by showing them matters relating to sarvESvaran. This pAsuram depicts such a position of SrIvaishNavas, who remained just like madhurakavi AzhwAr who said as in kaNNinuN siRuththAmbu 2 “dhEvumaRRaRiyEn” (I do not know of any deity other than nammAzhwAr). They will take a liking to matters relating to sarvESvaran only because AzhwAr liked them, just like the saying bhavatha: paramOmatha:.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 56 – viyalidam uNda

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avathArikai (Introduction)

The nAyakan, after being united with the nAyaki for some time, separated from her. The nAyaki’s friend realised that there was a delay in his returning and that the nAyaki was in distress because of that. The friend thought “Her sadness due to the separation is so harsh; there is no sign of his returning; she will decide that there is no reason for her to be alive anymore. Thus, will we lose her?” The nAyaki realised her friend’s predicament. At that time, by chance, the nAyaki felt that there was a connection with a material which had a connection with him. She tells her friend “Without your knowledge, a connection happened just now, with him. Hence, you do not have to feat about my position”. She narrates the connection that she got, to her friend.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

viyalidam uNda pirAnAr viduththa thiruvaruLAl
uyalidam peRRu uyndham anjalam thOzhi Or thaN thenRal vandhu
ayalidai yArum aRindhilar am pUndhuzhAyin in thEn
puyaludai nIrmaiyinAl thadaviRRu en pulan kalanE

Word-by-Word Meanings

am – beautiful
thOzhi – Oh friend!
viyal – amazing
idam – earth
uNda – one who ate
pirAnAr – sarvESvaran, the benefactor
viduththa – gave
thiru – praiseworthy
aruLAl – due to mercy
uyal – for being uplifted
idam peRRu – getting an opportunity
uyndham – we got our lives back
anjal – do not fear
Or – being unique
thaN – cool
thenRal – southern wind
vandhu – coming and blowing gently
am – beautiful
pU – having flowers
thuzhAyin – available in divine thuLasi
in – enjoyable
thEn – honey
puyaludai – cloud’s
nIrmaiyinAl – due to its nature
en – my
pulan – senses
kalan – ornaments
thadaviRRu – touched
ayalidai yArum – none in the vicinity
aRindhilar – knew (it)

Simple Translation

(The nAyaki tells her friend)

Oh beautiful friend! Due to a distinguished merciful act of sarvESvaran who is the benefactor of this amazing earth, I got an opportunity to uplift myself and live. Do not fear. The cool, southerly breeze, carrying honey from the flowers of divine thuLasi, and with the nature of clouds, came here and blew gently on my senses and my ornaments. None here knew it.

vyAkyAnam

The friend told nAyaki “If we have to get his mercy just as bhUmi (earth) had got, we should have something with us [which he likes]. But we do not know as to what it is” …

viyal idam uNda – whatever the earth had during deluge, we have with us now, says the nAyaki. It is enough if he thinks that we are in danger. This is the only requirement which he expects from us. During the time of deluge, he had kept earth inside his stomach and protected it. Did earth have any other recompense with her to receive his help? Whatever distressed condition that the earth was in then, is seen in the nAyaki too now.

pirAnAr – he has only the quality of bestowing benefit [to others]. All that is required of the recipient to receive his mercy is to be an apt entity for that. He does not offer a help, expecting anything in return.

The vyAkyAthA narrates an incident from the life of emperumAnAr (bhagavath rAmAnujar). Some SrIvaishNavas came to offer their obeisance to emperumAnAr at the place where he had mercifully come. After falling at his divine feet, they asked him “What should we think of as our refuge if we have to come out of this ocean of samsAram and reach its shore?” vangipuraththu nambi, one of rAmAnujar’s disciples, told them to think of the words of kshathrabandhu, just as it has been mentioned in vishNu dharmam SlOkam 98-35 “mUdOyam alpamathi alpaviSEshtithOyam kalishtAm manOsya vinayair namayi prasangi | iththam krupAm kuru mayi praNathE klESa thvAm sthOthum ambuja bhavOpi hi dhEvanESa || ” (Oh the lord of everyone and everything! I have a lowly knowledge, indulging in only lowly activities; this mind of mine is looking for wrongful activities alone. My mind is refusing to obey me. Hence, you have to help me who is coming to you for help. Even nAnmukhan (brahmA) does not have the knowledge to worship you completely). emperumAnAr, after listening to this, said “It is a difficult condition to attain. The word praNathE (for me who is worshipping you) indicates that only the one who thinks that he is nirmama (nothing belongs to me) should fall at the divine feet of the omniscient sarvESvaran. If we think that we attain a benefit only by carrying out some activity, engaging in that activity will create a sorrow in us and will prevent us from getting that benefit. If we think that we have a qualification with us, that qualification will only stop him from bestowing a benefit on us without any reason. That qualification will not be the means to receive his mercy. Even though we should necessarily have the thought ‘you should be our means’ even that thought should come only from him. Even if one gets to the stage of paramabhakthi (attaining sarvESvaran), that paramabhakthi will only end in his getting the taste to enjoy sarvESvaran, but it will not, on its own, have the capability to grant him what he desires”. The SrIvaishNavas then asked emperumAnAr “What else should we think of as our refuge?” He responded, saying “Only the words of kALiyan are apt to be considered as our refuge” [kALiyan is a snake who had troubled the herd and herdsfolk at SrI gOkulam by remaining in the river yamunA]. His prayer to krishNa, who had come to drive him away from yamunA is seen in SrI vishNu purANam SlOkam 5-7-10 “sOham thE dhEva dhEvESa nArchanAthau sthuthau na cha | sAmArthyavAn krupAmAthra manOvruththi prasIdhamE || ” (Oh the lord of dhEvathAs! I am incapable of praising or worshipping you. For such a person like me, you should yourself shower your mercy; your divine mind should feel happy and show mercy on me). This SlOkam is explained in detail here, by the vyAkyAthA:

sOham – I, who had coiled myself around your divine form and indulged in activities which are not to your liking and had not freed myself from such activities; such a lowly person

dhEva dhEvEsa: your quality is such that not indulging in activities which are not to your liking alone is sufficient to qualify for your mercy. You consider our saying the words “You should shower your mercy” as “renouncing the undesired”. Just as it has been mentioned in periya thirumozhi 5-6-4 “nanju sOrvadhOr venjina aravam veruvi vandhu nin Saran enach charaNA …” (the snake sumukhan which spits poison and which is fiery and angry, out of fear for garuda, took refuge under you saying “I am surrendering to you”) Though its anger was against it, since it surrendered by merely saying the words “SaraNam” it was granted that. veruvi vandhu – it came running to him out of fear [of garuda]. The fear towards its enemy alone was with the snake

nArchanAthau sthuthaunacha sAmArthyavAn – [kAliyan tells krishNa] I am capable of doing everything for myself but incapable if I have to do even a little bit for you [that is my nature]. You are such that you do not expect anything for yourself, from me; I am without any strength to do anything. krishNa tells kALiyan “If you are capable of doing anything for yourself and incapable of doing anything for me, what is it that you want me to do?”

krupA mAthra manOvruththi – You should show your mercy on me, says kALiyan. krishNa tells him “For that you need remorse” kALiyan responds saying “But I do  not have even that remorse. Whatever you want to do for me with my feeling of remorse, you should do with your mercy itself” vyAkyAthA cites the reference from SrIrangarAjasthavam 2-97 “balibhujiSiSupAlE” (kAkAsuran and SiSupAlan) [kAkAsuran was indhra’s son who took the form of a crow in order to trouble sIthAppirAtti when she was with SrI rAma in the forest and SiSupAlan was krishNa’s cousin, who poured scorn on krishNa all the time]. Just as it is mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 38-34 “sa tham nipathitham” (that crow fell on earth and sought refuge) the crow experienced sorrow and sought refuge by falling on the earth. SiSupAlan kept reciting your names [though his intention was to abuse krishNa, that he recited the names was sufficient] to get recognised by krishNa. kALiyan continues “Your mercy was refused for them because of the initial lowly thoughts that they had. However, since no such fault can be ascribed to me, your mercy can get manifested beautifully”.

viduththa thiruvaruLAl – through the mercy showered by him; without expecting anything from us, treating our benefit as his own, and showering his mercy.

viduththa – allowed to come; given

uyalidam peRRu uyndham – the friend thought “She has no scope to live; I will not be able to see her alive”. The nAyaki tells the friend “An opportunity arose for my being uplifted. Instead of waiting for it to happen, we got it immediately and got our lives back”. Since the friend had known the nAyakan too, she had thought that she had lost both of them. Now, everyone has got uplifted.

anjal – do not fear

am thOzhiyou are the person who considers my benefit as yours. We are similar to the friendship between SrI rAma and sugrIva as mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam kishkindhA kANdam 5-17 “Ekam dhu:kham sukham cha nau” (our mirth and misery are one). Is it not enough to say thOzhi (friend)? Why address her as am thOzhi (beautiful friend)? Some people would look for same benefits in both theirs and their friends’. However, this friend is such that she does not look for any benefit for herself. She considers whatever benefit that the nAyaki gets as her own. This is why she is addressed as am thOzhi. SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 18-16 says “suhrudhO vA bhavadhvidhA:” – SrI rAma tells sugrIva “Not all friends are like you”. SrI rAma further tells sugrIva “As soon as you saw me, you considered your elder brother [vAli] as your enemy, you had more confidence in me than in your brother and you tried to get answers to your confidential problems too. Such was your friendship with me” The nAyaki tells her friend “You considered my benefit as yours and my loss as yours; you were fearful of my loss; now, you do not have to fear”

Or thaN thenRal vandhu – earlier, the southern breeze was causing me harm; now a cool southern breeze came, tells the nAyaki. Breeze will be cool only when united; the nAyaki subtly hints that union did take place. The friend too accepts that and is worried as to what will happen if others around know about it. The nAyaki says . . .

ayalidai yArum aRindhilar – None in our vicinity knew about it.

The friend asks her as to what happened further? . . . .

am pUndhuzhAyin inthEn – the fine drops of honey collected from the flowers of cool, divine thuLasi

puyaludai nIrmaiyinAl – the southerly breeze assumed the quality of the cool clouds. This talks about the help rendered by the breeze when one had not expected it.

thadaviRRu en pulan kalanE – it gently touched all my sensory organs and all my ornaments. It touched my sensory organs as if to satisfy their thirst and the ornaments so that they do not slip out of my limbs. Thus the nAyaki tells her friend as to how the nAyakan united with her.

svApadhESam (distinguished meaning): AzhwAr describes that he survived due to the knowledge of sarvESvaran’s auspicious qualities. thaiththirIya upanishath Anandhavalli says Anandham brahmaNO vidhvAn nabibhEthi kuthaSchana – one who knows about the joyfulness of brahmam (sarvESvaran) does not fear anything.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – 55 – vandugaLO vammin

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

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avathArikai (Introduction)

The nAyakan comes and unites with the nAyaki after she sends him her errand. Subsequently the time to separate from her came. In order to make her sustain herself even in separation, he praises her so that she thinks “Oh, such a person will not delay in returning”. This comes under the classification of nalam pArAttudhal (similar to pAsuram 14). SrI rAma too praised sIthAppirAtti as mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 26-20 “kulE mahathi sambhUthE” (Oh one who was born in a great clan!)

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

vaNdugaLO vammin nIrppU nilappU maraththiloNpU
uNdu kaLiththu uzhalvIrkku onRu uraikkiyam EnamonRAy
maNdugaLAdi vaigundham annAL kuzhalvAy virai pOl
viNdugaL vArum malar uLavO num viyalidaththE

Word-by-Word Meanings

vaNdugaLO – Oh beetles!
nIrppU – among the flowers in water
nilappU – among the flowers on land
maraththil – on trees
oN – beautiful
pU­ – flowers
uNdu – drinking (honey)
kaLiththu – becoming happy
uzhalvIrkku – you, who are roaming
onRu – a word
uraikkiyam – I will say
vammin – please come
oru – unique
EnamAy – as a varAham (wild boar)
maN – earth’s
thugaL – dust
Adi – one who took it throughout his divine form
vaigundhamannAL – on this nAyaki who is like paramapadham (being very much enjoyable), her
kuzhal vAy – on her locks
virai pOl – being very fragrant
viNdu – spread well
kaL – honey
vArum – flowing copiously
malar – flower
num – your
viyal – amazing
idaththu – places
uLadhO – is it there?

Simple Translation

(This has been told by the nAyakan to the beetles)

Oh beetles! I am going to tell you all, who are drinking honey from flowers which are present on water, on land and on trees and are roaming happily. Please come and listen to me. Among the places where you keep roaming, have you seen the sweet fragrance on flowers, which you are seeing on the locks of this nAyaki who is as enjoyable as the paramapadham of sarvESvaran who incarnated as a unique wild boar and took on all the dust which is present on this earth?

vyAkyAnam

vandugaLO vammin – Oh beetles! Please come here.

nIrppU . . . – some people would say that three types of flowers are referred to here while some others would say that there are four types of flowers. In the term nilappU (flowers on land), people would say that two types of flowers are included – those on plants and those on creepers. Added to the flowers on water and flowers on trees, there are four types of flowes, according to these people. There is an old saying nalla malarppozhil nAlum nuzhaivIrgAL (may you enter all the four types of good orchards). I will say something to you, who are going around to wherever flowers are seen, being happy by drinking honey from them and having that as your main work. Please come.

Enam . . . – he incarnated as the unique, great boar, trampling the earth. When that earth attained him, due to his pride, he took its dust all over his divine form.

vaigundham annAL – this nAyaki is very much concordant with his permanent abode of vaigundham, unlike this vibhUthi (samsAram) where he comes occasionally to protect. She will not let any other enjoyment to come to her heart. She is saying just as ALavandhAr had mercifully said in his sthOthra rathnam SlOkam 5 “sarvam yadhEva niyamEna” (by whomsoever everything is controlled…)

kuzhal vAy virai pOl – just like the sweet fragrance on her locks.

vindugaL . . . – Have you seen among the flowers on the wonderful earth where you roam around fully, any fragrance like this, such that you will not bother about passage of time?

svApadhESam (distinguished meaning): SrIvaishNavas enjoy the auspicious qualities of sarvESvaran in his para, vyUha, vibhava etc forms (sarvESvaran in paramapadham, in thiruppARkadal, in incarnations etc). They are asked “Among all the qualities which you enjoy there, have you seen any quality similar to the one that AzhwAr has?” In other words, the greatness of bhAgavatha (follower of sarvESvaran) is higher than that of bhagavAn (sarvESvaran). vyAkyAthA quotes from thaiththirIya upanishath nArAyaNavalli “ambasyapArE bhuvanasya madhyE nAkasya prushtE” wherein ambasya is taken as being equivalent to vyUham, bhuvanasya is taken as being equivalent to vibhavam and archchai, and nAkasya is taken as being equivalent to param. These are the three different types of flowers mentioned in the first line.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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