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thiruviruththam – vyAkhyAna pravESam

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vyAkhyAna pravESam

Having mercifully decided in his divine mind to write the vyAkhyAnam (commentary) for thiruviruththam, periyavAchchAn piLLai starts to describe the greatness of nammAzhwAr who has composed this prabandham.

Some people call AzhwAr [whenever the term AzhwAr alone is mentioned, it usually refers to nammAzhwAr], as mukthar (one who had been liberated from samsAram (materialistic realm) and had attained SrIvaikuNtam). One follower of aruLALapperumAL emperumAnAr [a disciple of bhagavadh SrI rAmAnujar] would say that AzhwAr is a mukthaprAyar (one who is on par with mukthAthmAs and possibly living in SwEthadhwIpam (the land mass in which we live is called as jambudhwIpam; SwEthadhwIpam is another land mass, but in a different galaxy)). Some other people will say that emperumAn ordained someone there (in SrIvaikuNtam) to be born on earth. vangipuraththu nambi (a disciple of bhagavath SrI rAmAnujar) had said that emperumAn himself took the incarnation of nammAzhwAr. All these have been said in view of AzhwAr’s greatness.

If AzhwAr had been one among the mukthars who had been sent by emperumAn, he would have waited thinking “We (it was normal during those times to address the self in plural instead of in singular number) have been ordained to come to this earth; once our goal has been reached, we will return to SrIvaikuNtam. Hence why should we make a fuss for this?” However, since AzhwAr kept calling out to emperumAn, just as he had mercifully said (a) in thiruviruththam pAsuram 1 “inninRa nIrmai ini yAm uRamai” (We do not want to put up with this nature of being born repeatedly in this samsAram) (b) thiruvAimozhi 6-9-9 “pala nI kAttip paduppAyO” (will you display many types of worldly pursuits to me so that I get attached to them, and perish in the bargain?) (c) thiruvAimozhi 2-6-8 “mARi mARip pala piRappum piRandhu” (being born repeatedly in various births) (d) thiruvAimozhi 7-1-10 “mun paravai kadaindhu amudham koNda mUrththiyO” (Are you the one who in an earlier time churned the ocean and gave nectar to the celestial entities and helped them?) it is clear that he was one among the samsAris, having been born here repeatedly and suffered. In a country without a king, a person on whom the elephant places the garland becomes the new king. In the same way, emperumAn searched and located a samsAri on whom he showered his grace.

A question arises here. Could a person, who had been suffering for a long time in samsAram, change like this (gaining knowledge about matters related to emperumAn and becoming deeply devoted to him)? SrI vishNu purANam 5-6-28 says “brindhAvanam bhagavathA krushNEnAklishta karmaNA | SubhEna manasA dhyAtham gavAm vrudhdhim apIpsadha ||” (brindhAvan, which was like a forest of thorns got a facelift due to the incarnation of krishNa who is capable of carrying out great deeds; cows became healthy due to his divine mind). SrI vishNu purANam 5-6-37 says “uthpanna navachashbhAtyam” (Fresh grass sprouted). Thus a forest of thorns became converted into a verdant land mass due to emperumAn. In the same way, AzhwAr too got changed due to emperumAn’s grace.

In the next article, we will take up the first pAsuram.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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thiruviruththam – thaniyan

Published by:

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

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The thaniyan (special hymn) for this prabandham has been written by kidAmbi AchchAn. It is said that this thaniyan has been composed by sIrAmappiLLai (vEdha vyAsa bhattar) as well as by ALavandhAr.

avathArikai (Introduction)

This says that instead of observing the sorrows of samsAram (life in the materialistic realm) through the seven stages of life which are infirm, meditate on one line of thiruviruththam which is a divine composition, as a means of attaining SrIvaikuNtam.

karuviruththak kuzhi nIththapin kAmak kadunguzhi vIzhndhu
oru viruththam pukku uzhaluRuvIr, uyirin poruLgatku
oru viruththam pugudhAmal kurugaiyar kOn uraiththa
thiruviruththaththu Or adi kaRRu irIr thirunAttu agaththE

Word-by-word Meanings:

karu – womb
viruththam – faulty
kuzhi – from the pit
nIththapin – after slipping out of
kAmam – termed as lust
kadum – cruel
kuzhi – pit
vIzhndhu – falling into
oru viruththam – old age which is unfit for any activity
pukku – attaining
uzhal uRuvIr – Oh those who are roaming!
uyirin – for the  jIvAthmA (soul)
poruLgatku – for the entities
oru viruththam – any bad conduct
pugudhAmal – without attaining
kurugaiyar kOn – the lord of thirunagari, swAmy nammAzhwAr
uraiththa – mercifully composed
thiruviruththaththu – of thiruviruththam
Oradi – one line
kaRRu – learning well
thirunAttagaththu – at SrIvaikuNtam
irIr – stay (without any worry)

Simple Translation

Oh the people of this samsAram, who are without the strength to come out of it and who are repeatedly experiencing the seven stages of unending sorrows, namely dwelling in womb, birth, infancy, youthfulness, old age, death and hell! I will instruct you a good way to come out, listen to me. Get rid of the bewilderment of looking at your body as the soul, meditate on the first line of thiruviruththam, a divine prabandham mercifully composed by nammAzhwAr, live without any burden and attempt to separate the soul which is distinct from this body so as to reach SrIvaikuNtam.

vyAkhyAnam (commentary)

The vyAkhyAnam for this thaniyan has been written by piLLailOkam jIyar.

The first line shows the fault of samsAram.

karuviruththak kuzhi nIththapin – this speaks about the first stage among the seven stages of life, viz. being in the womb, being born, being an infant, being young, reaching old age, death and being punished in hell. The term karu refers to being in the womb. iruththak kuzhi refers to the pit which has been placed. Mother is like a bag which has been kept to hold the foetus. Alternatively, when considered as viruththak kuzhi, this could also refer to the repeated births in samsAram (viruththam in samskrutham refers to ring, rotating repeatedly).  kuzhi nIththapin – getting rid of the womb and entering the stage of being an infant who is without any knowledge, experiencing the sorrows of that stage (expecting assistance from mother even for taking bath, eating etc).

kAmak kadum kuzhi vIzhndhu – Just as it says in thiruvAimozhi 7-8-7 “thuyaram sey kAmangaLAy” (desires which inflict sorrows), periyAzhwAr thirumozhi 5-2-7 “vazhukki angOr muzhaiyinil pukkittu azhundhikkidandhu uzhalvEnai” (slipping into a cave called as hell (samsAram) and roaming inside it without knowing the way out), periya thirumozhi 6-3-4 “sAndhEndhu menmulaiyAr thadandhOL puNar inba veLLaththu AzhndhEn arunaragaththu azhundhum payan padaiththEn” ((in earlier days) I had immersed in the ocean of pleasures by embracing the rounded shoulders of women who had applied vermillion on their bosoms. As a result of this, I attained the result of being in the quagmire of cruel hell, called as samsAram), falling into the cruel pit of lust

oru viruththam pukku – after exhausting the phase of being engaged with worldly pursuits, entering old age which is unique. thirumangai AzhwAr mercifully described the fault in old age in his periya thirumozhi pAsuram 1-3-1 “muRRa mUththuk kOl thuNaiyA” ((being infirm) having a stick as support after attaining complete old age).

uzhaluRuvIr – calling out to those who are repeatedly suffering the pain of old age, death and punishment in hell. They keep going continuously between the mother’s womb and the lasso of yama, when he pulls the AthmA for undergoing punishment in hell.

Alternatively, oru viruththam pukku would also refer to engaging in improper conduct and getting entrapped in such behaviour.

Instead of getting trapped like this,

uyirin poruLgatku – Just as it is mentioned in thiruvAimozhi pAsuram 1-2-10 “annalaththu oNporuL” (jIvAthma entities (souls) which have distinguished qualities such as knowledge etc), for the jIvAthmAs who are qualified to enjoy the experience of emperumAn. If the text is uyirin poruLukku, it would refer to the benefits of jIvAthmAs instead of benefits of the physical bodies in which they reside.

oru viruththam pugudhAmal – instead of entering even a part of such avoidable obstacles. Not approaching any of such poor conducts. This AzhwAr himself (nammAzhwAr) has said in thiruviruththam pAsuram 9 “nadAviya kURRam” (the lord of death who rules over cupid; in other words, one can overcome even death, but it is almost impossible to overcome the attraction of lustful objects). nammAzhwAr has also said in (a) thiruvAimozhi 10-2-5 “ippiRappu aRukkum” (emperumAn will rid the jIvAthmA of this samsAram), (b) thiruvAimozhi 6-2-9 “azhiththAy un thiruvadiyAl” (destroyed with your divine feet), (c) thiruvAimozhi 1-7-2 “adiyarai valvinaiththuppAm pulan aindhum thunjak kodAn” (emperumAn will not let his followers to be annihilated being caught in the five senses which stroll through the strong karmas (deeds)), (d) thiruvAimozhi 3-3-9 “Oyum mUppup piRappu iRappu”((emperumAn will get rid of) old age, repeated births and deaths which create tiredness), (e) periya thiruvandhAdhi 23 “iLaikka naman thamargaL paRRi iLaippeydha nAy thandhu mOdhAmal nalguvAn” (emperumAn will shower his mercy on us such that the followers of yama (the lord of justice) will not trouble us by catching us firmly and by letting dogs on us) and (f) thirumazhisai AzhwAr in nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi 88 “uyir koNdu udal ozhiya Odum pOdhu Odi ayarvenRa thIrppAn” (when the followers of yama take the follower of emperumAn’s AthmA from the body (to punish it in hell), emperumAn runs on his own and removes the hurdles).

kurugaiyar kOn uraiththa – mercifully spoken by satakOpan, the leader of thirukkurugUr.

thiruviruththaththu Oradi kaRRu irIr – recite one line in thiruviruththam which was composed as the first prabandham (divine hymn, among the four divine hymns) by nammAzhwAr. One line is enough for uplifting yourself. Learn it through the method of “AchArya uchchAraNa anuchchAraNa” (AchArya (one’s teacher) would recite a line or phrase once; the disciple will recite the same, twice) and be firmly rooted in it.

Why should this be recited?

thirunAttagaththE – In order to reach SrIvaikuNtam. One can attain SrIvaikuNtam by meditating on one’s shortcomings such as ignorance etc. If one were fully engaged in matters relating to emperumAn, no hurdle will enter. Reciting the hymns of others will be a cause for bondage in samsAram whereas reciting the hymns of nammAzhwAr is the cause for liberation from samsAram.

Thus, by learning the good words of nammAzhwAr from one’s AchArya and reciting them, one can sustain oneself without any fear, getting rid of samsAram and attaining the distinguished paramapadham (SrIvaikuNtam).

Next, we will take up the vyAkhyAna pravESam (introduction to the commentary) mercifully written by periyavAchchAn piLLai.

adiyen krishNa ramanuja dasan

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Published by:

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


thiruviruththam forms the fifth prabandham (divine composition) in the third thousand “iyaRpA” among the four thousand pAsurams of nAlAyira dhivya prabandham (divine compositions). This was composed by nammAzhwAr who was blessed by emperumAn with divine knowledge and devotion without any fault. This is the first prabandham of the four prabandhams composed by swAmy nammAzhwAr. It is the essence of rig vEdham (first among the four vEdhams, sacred texts, namely rig, yajur, sAma and atharvaNa). This is composed of one hundred pAsurams. periyavAchchAn piLLai has written the commentary for this divine composition. There have been others too who have written commentaries for this prabandham, including nampiLLai who had mercifully written Idu, special meanings mercifully given by azhagiya maNavALa jIyar, commentary written by parakAla jIyar. appiLLai (a disciple of maNavALa mAmunigaL) too has written explanatory notes for this prabandham. It is said that pUrvAchAryars (early preceptors) such as bhattar, had written commentary for this prabandham, but these are not available now.

We will explore the meanings of this prabandham with the commentary of periya vAchchAn piLLai.

In the next article, we will go through the thaniyan for this prabandham.

adiyen krishNa ramanuja dasan

archived in

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