Category Archives: thirumAlai

thirumAlai – 42 – pazhudhilA ozhugalARRu

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periyaperumal-thiruppanazhwarperiya perumAL – thiruppANAzhwAr

avathArikai (introduction)

Those who have this knowledge of mEmporuL pAsuram, even if they are born in lowly births and consequently have lowly behaviour, are qualified to be worshipped by those who are born in higher births (chathurvEdhis, those who are conversant with all the four vEdhas), on a par with sarvESvaran, and are also qualified for exchanging gyAnam (knowledge) with those born in higher births.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings.

பழுதிலா ஒழுகல் அற்றுப் பல சதுப்பேதிமார்கள்
இழி குலத்தவர்களேலும் எம்மடியார்களாகில்
தொழுமினீர் கொடுமின் கொள்மின் என்று நின்னோடும் ஒக்க
வழிபட அருளினாய் போல் மதிள் திருவரங்கத்தானே.

pazhudhilA ozhugal ARRup palasadhuppEdhimArgaL
izhi kulaththavargaLElum emmadiyArgaLAgil
thozhuminIr kodumin koLmin enRu ninnOdum okka
vazhipada aruLinAy pOl madhiL thiruvarangaththAnE

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Word-by-word Meaning

madhiL thiruvarangaththAnE – Oh one who is residing inside the temple with high walls!
ozhugal ARu – in the lengthy lineage starting with brahmA, up to themselves
pazhudhu ilA – without any blemish
pala sadhuppEdhimArgaL – those who are learned in the four vEdhas!
em adiyArgaL Agil – if they are regarded as “our servitors”
izhi kulaththavargaL Elum – even if they are born in a lowly birth
nIr – you
thozhumin – worship (them)
kodumin – teach them (the special knowledge that you have)
koLmin – learn from them (if they have special knowledge)
enRu – thus
ninnOdum  okka – as your equal
vazhipada – to worship
aruLinAy pOl – did you not divine!

vyAkhyAnam (commentary)

pazhudhilA ozhugalARRu – Starting from brahmA and reaching up to them, they come from a lineage where no blemish [transgression] could be pointed at them. ozhugal – long lineage; ARu – path. Either in their birth or in their behaviour, they do not slip from their quality of brahminhood (quality of being a brAhmaNa).

pala sadhuppEdhimArgaL – in this lineage there were many  who had studied all the four vEdhas. Just as it is said chathurvEdhA rushaya: (rishis are those who recite the four vEdhas), the people from this lineage are learned like the rishis. sadhuppEdimArgaLAzhwAr is calling out to those in this lineage, Oh! chathurvEdhimArgaLE (those who have learned the four vEdhas)!

izhi kulaththavargaLElum – even if they are born in a class below which there is no other class. Elum – as said in SrI gIthA “bahunAm janmanAm anthE” a person gets the knowledge that emperumAn is the prApyam and prApakam (goal and means) only after many [hundreds of thousands of] births. For those with such a high level of knowledge [of mEmporuL], it is unlikely that they would be born in a low birth. If they had been born in a low birth, like a vidhura or a dharmavyAdha . . .

em adiyArgaL Agil – if they know all the relationships with me [emperumAn] [it is said that there are nine types of relationships between a chEthana and emperumAn] and if they act according to that knowledge. The meaning here is that these people think that kainkaryam to emperumAn alone is beneficial and emperumAn also thinks that for them he is the upAyam and upEyam (means and goal) and all types of relationships for these people.

thozhumin nIr – you worship them. “vidhyAmadhO dhanamadhas thruthiyO’bhijanO madha: I EthE madhAvalipthAnAm Etha Eva sathAm dhama: II” (for the arrogant, being learned becomes a cause for arrogance; being wealthy is also a cause for arrogance; being born in a high lineage also becomes a cause for arrogance. These (education, wealth and lineage) become the causes for good people to be humble). Thus, you people, who feel that your education, wealth and high lineage should become reasons for humility instead of arrogance, fall at their feet [prostrate to them]. jithanthE SlOkam 1.9 says “kAlEshvapi cha sarvEshu dhikshu sarvAsu chAchyutha I SareerE cha gathau chApi varthathE mE mahath bhayam II” (Oh one who does let his followers down! In all the puNya kAlam (auspicious times), in the puNya kshEthrams (holy places) in all directions, in the physical body (which is the implement for virtuous deeds) and in the state other than physical body, I have great fear). Thus, as said in sacred texts, only emperumAn’s causeless grace gives fearlessness and all the other implements create only fear. You people, who have this belief, worship those who have the same belief. As kUraththAzhwAn, in SrIvaikuNta sthavam 77 says “ kainkarya nithya nirathair bhavathEkabhOgair nithyairanukshaNanavInarasArdhrabhAvai: I nithyA’pi vAnchithaparaspara nIcha bhAvair madhdhaivathai: parijanaisthava sangasIya II” (make me to be together with those who are your beloved ones and who are fit to be worshipped by me, who are always engaged in kainkaryams, who consider you as their greatest enjoyment, those whose hearts melt in new experienes [about you] every moment, who desire to be servitors to each other), the true nature of AthmA, which is being humble, comes naturally to those born in lower births. It is very rare for you people, born in high lineage and being learned in the four vEdhas, due to the arrogance of being born in high birth. The opinion here is that “if you people worship them, your arrogance which makes you suffer in this samsAram, will go”. Have we seen anywhere a person from lower birth protecting one from higher birth? In kaiSika vruththAntham (incident), we have seen that nampAduvAn, a person from chaNdALa class, was able to get rid of brahmarakshas (a demoniacal entity) from the body of a brAhmaNa who had lost his quality of being a brAhmaNa.

kodumin koLmin – if they desire to obtain knowledge from you, tell them supportively. If they desire to divine knowledge about emperumAn to you, seek it and enjoy it. Since those exchanges which take place because of class of birth and engaging with each other because of qualities, will not last beyond that birth, they will be like words written on the surface of water and will not last long. Relationship established with these people [having knowledge of mEmporul] through exchanging of knowledge will continue beyond this birth, into paramapadham and will last as long as AthmA lasts [forever].

enRu ninnOdum okka vazhipada aruLinAy pOl – The opinion here is that “since all the meanings until now in this pAsuram have been divined by you [emperumAn] , who grants mOkshapalam (benefit of liberation), there is no scope for any doubt in this”. enRu ninnOdum okka aruLinAy – you divined “since there is no one superior to me, fit for worshipping, worship them just as you worship me and proceed in the path of righteousness”. aruLinAy – vyAkhyAthA (commentator) quotes emperumAn who divined in gArudam 219.6…9  “madhbahakthajana vAthsalyam pUjAyAnchAnumOdhanam I svayamabhyarchananchaiva madharthE damba varjanam II mathkathASravNE bhakthi: svaranEthrAnga vikriyA I mamAnusmaraNam nithya yachcha mAm nOpajIvathi I bhakthirashtavidhA hyEshA yasmin mlEchchE’pivarththathE II sa viprEndhrO muni: SrImAn sa yathi: sa cha paNditha: I thasmai dhEyam thathO grAhyam sa cha pUjyO yathA hyayan II” ((1) motherly love towards my followers, (2) agreeing to my being worshipped, (3) the person himself worshipping me, (4) not being ostentatious in my matters, (5) showing affection in hearing my stories, (6) when thinking about me, voice faltering, eyes shedding tears and body developing goose-bumps always, (7) always thinking about me and (8) not asking for any other benefit from me [except myself] – if these eight different types of devotion are seen in a person, even if he is a lowly person, he alone is a superior brAhmaNa; he alone is a sage; he alone is a wealthy person; he alone is a scholar; he can be taught knowledge; knowledge can be obtained from him; he is fit to be worshipped like me).  aruLinAy – isn’t this secret divined by you out of your causeless mercy? nammAzhwAr in his thiruvAimozhi 7.10.11 “thIrththangaLE enRu pUsiththu nalgiyuraippar tham dhEviyarkkE ” (nithyasUris also will tell their consorts about the pure nature of those who have connection with emperumAn)

pOl – like that. We can consider that in the SlOka seen earlier on varAha avathAram (incarnation as varAha), what he divined as varAha, he carried out as periya perumAL in the case of thiruppANAzhwAr. First varAha perumAL divined the meanings for this. (thoNdaradippodi) AzhwAr composed the meanings in this pAsuram in thamizh. periya perumAL, after hearing this pAsuram, carried it out in the case of thiruppANAzhwAr. Just as SrI rAma heard SrI rAmAyanam from agasthya (a sage), periya perumAL heard these meanings from this AzhwAr.

madhiL thiruvarangaththAnE – instead of merely giving a discourse on this as varAha avathAram, did you not come to thiruvarangam (SrIrangam) and make lOka sArangamuni (a temple priest) who is from a higher birth and status to carry on his head, thiruppANAzhwAr, who is from a lower birth and status? madhiL thiruvarangaththAnE – only if it is possible to cross the temple compound wall can one cross the limit set by you.

In some texts, it is mentioned that this pAsuram extols the virtues of SrIpAdha thIrtham (divine water from the feet of emperumAn’s followers). The previous pAsuram, pOnagam seydha sEdam, mentioned about the greatness of food partaken from a follower of emperumAn. It is apt that this pAsuram mentions about the greatness of SrIpAdha thIrtham. The meaning for kodumin koLmin should be changed in keeping with this order. If the followers pray for it, provide SrIpAdha thIrtham and accept if they offer SrIpAdha thIrtham.  ninnOdum okka vazhipada aruLinAy – in SAsthram, it is mentioned that AchAryan is to be treated as emperumAn’s avathAram (incarnation). Hence, ninnOdum okka would mean treating AchAryan like emperumAn. Just as it says svAchAryamiva tham dhrushtvA (looking  (at a SrIvaishNava) (with dignity) as one’s AchAryan ….), one should worship a SrIvaishNava like one’s AchAryan. Similarly avidhyam vA sa vidhyam vA (irrespective of whether a SrIvaishNava is learned or not, he should be treated with dignity). thiruvAimozhi 7.10.11 that we had seen earlier dhEvar vaigal thIrththangaLE enRu , nithyasUris also lauded because of the connection with SrIpAdha thIrtham. nammAzhwAr in his thiruvAimozhi 10.9.10 said pAdhangaL kazhuvinar meaning that nithyasUris accepted SrIpAdha thIrtham.

We shall next take up the 43rd pAsuram.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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thirumAlai – 41 – vAnuLAr aRiyalAgA

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thyaga-mandapamemperumAnAr prayed for the remnants of thirukkachi nambi who was a beloved devotee of kAnchIpuram varadharaja bhagavAn

avathArikai (introduction)

In the previous two pAsurams, AzhwAr said that there is no shortcoming for these people [those who have knowledge about the meanings of mEmporuL pAsuram] either because of their birth or because of their behaviour. In this pAsuram, AzhwAr says that “it is not only that they do not have any shortcoming. They have the greatness that other samsAris, by having a connection with them, will become purified because of that connection itself”.

Let us enjoy the pAsuram and its meanings.

வானுளார் அறியலாகா வானவா என்பராகில்
தேனுலாம் துளப மாலைச் சென்னியாய் என்பராகில்
ஊனமாயினகள் செய்யும் ஊனகாரகர்களேலும்
போனகம் செய்த சேடம் தருவரேல் புனிதம் அன்றே.

vAnuLAr aRiyalAgA vAnavA enbarAgil
thEnulAm thuLaba mAlaich chenniyA enbarAgil
UnamAiyanagaL  seyyum UnakArakargaLElum
pOnagam seydha sEdam tharuvarEl punitham anRE

Listen

Word-by-word Meaning

Unam AyinagaL seyyum –  if they carry out lowly activities [or]
Una kArakargaLEm – if they carry out lowly activities through others
vAn uLAr aRiyalAga vAnavA – Oh one who lives in paramapadham (SrIvaikuNtam) and who cannot be known even by the dwellers of upper worlds such as brahmA et al !
enbar Agil – if they say so
thEn ulAm thuLaba mAlai senniyA – Oh one who adorns on his divine crown, the garland of thuLasi, from which honey is dripping !
enbar Agil – if they say so
pOnagam seydha sEdam – the remnants of bhagavath prasAdham (food that had been served to emperumAn) eaten (by them)
tharuvar El – if they give (with compassion)
anRE – immediately
punitham – (that ) will be very purifying

vyAkhyAnam (commentary)

vAnuLAr aRiyalAgA vAnavA – One who lives forever in paramapadham [SrIvaikuNtam], not known even to brahmA and other celestial entities. Those sitting on the loft (which is at a higher elevation than the floor) cannot know about starts because they are at a higher level. In the same way, even if they are living in sathyalOka (brahmA’s dwelling place) and other such places, these celestial entities cannot know about paramapadhanAthan. Even though they have some greatness because of  higher level of gyAna (knowledge) and Sakthi (power), they cannot reach paramapadham with that. The word AgA means “not possible” here. Alternatively, AgA can also mean “should not”. Just as a chaNdALa (person born in a low caste) should not enter a place where rituals are conducted, these celestial entities should not enter paramapadham. But we have seen that gyAnis such as AzhwArs know about paramapadhanAthan. This is not because of their efforts, but because of his [emperumAn’s] mercy. As said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 16.14, those who think that they are “God” cannot see or know about him. Just as people cross oceans with the help of ship, AzhwArs cross the ocean of samsAram with the help of ship called vishNu. But these celestial entities are like people who think that they could cross the ocean with their own efforts. Without any distinction between one who knows swimming and one who does not know, it is not possible for a person to cross the ocean by swimming. In the same way, one cannot know about emperumAn on his own efforts by anyone irrespective of the fact whether he has or does not have the strength [to know]. As per the prapaththi lakshaNa vAkhyam of bharatha muni “ananyasAdhyE svAbhIshtE mahAviSvAsa pUrvakam I thadhE gOpAyathA yAnchA prapaththi: SaraNAgathi: II” (when it is not possible through any other means as per one’s desire, beseeching him to be the means through deep faith is prapaththi. That itself is SaraNAgathi), the AzhwArs qualified as prapannars (those who surrendered) by taking refuge under him. That he is the only upAyam (means) will be clear when one looks at his greatness of being without any connection with samsAram and having aprAkrutha vigraham (his divine physical form is composed of sudhdha sathvam, purely good). When one looks at the lowliness of chEthana (sentient entity) controlled by the three qualities of sathva, rajas and thamas (purely good, passion and ignorance), emperumAn’s upAyathvam (being the means) will be evident. When one dvelves into the chEthana’s athyantha parathanthra svarUpam (having the basic nature of being completely dependent on emperumAn), emperumAn’s upAythvam will be evident.

enbarAgil – just as thaiththirIya samhithai 7.5.3 says “mana: pUrvO vAguththara:” the faculty of  speech says what the faculty of  thought thinks first. In the same way vAnuLAr aRiayalAgA vAnavA comes out of a person who has taken refuge under emperumAn through his mind. Just as ahirbudhya samhithai 37.30 states, it is evident that these people pray that emperumAn should be the upAyam for them. Agil AzhwAr indicates that it is very difficult for people to renounce their ability to protect themselves. Thus, it has been shown that these people are those who have taken emperumAn as their upAyam.

Next it shows that they have taken emperumAn himself as upEyam (goal or benefit) too.

thEnulAm thuLabamAlaich chenniyA – Oh, the one having divine crown decorated with thuLasi garland, dripping with honey! Since he is adorning with thuLasi garland, considered to be best among  flowers, it is indicated that he is the greatest among dhEvas. Since he is referred to as having thEnulAm thuLaba mAlai, it indicates that he is very sweet and enjoyable. With these two, it is indicated that he is the one to be attained above all.

enbarAgil – just as the word enbarAgil [in the earlier part] indicates the prArthanA (prayer) for emperumAn being the means, this word indicates the prayer for attaining him. Agil – it is very rare to leave aside all the other goals and consider emperumAn as the superior goal. kaNNan (krishNa) himself had indicated this in his SrI gIthA SlOka “sa mahAthmA su dhurlabha:

UnamAyinagaL seyyum – people who will torture other creatures for feeding their own stomachs. They are such dishonourable people that they would tie animals such as live goats and cows so that they can give the flesh after cutting them to pieces to those who desire to have these, even in the dead of night. Compassionate persons such as sibi chakravarthy will give their flesh for saving other creatures. These people are exact opposite of such compassionate people.

Una kArakargaL – Not only will they carry out such heinous acts themselves and become sinners, they will also engage others in such acts and make them sinners. kArakargaL – engaging others for carrying out tasks. Unam – lowly acts. Since these people would not indulge in such heinous acts after acquiring knowledge about mEmporuL, we should presume that these acts have been carried out earlier.

Elum – even if they would have done such crimes earlier, they would not do such acts after acquiring knowledge. If they see others suffer {after acquiring this knowledge], they will suffer the pangs of the others’ pain and swoon. It is pertinent to remember here that kUraththAzhwAn once heard the wailing of a frog that had been caught by a snake and thought “Oh, how terrible! Who is it calling out for who could hear it and save it in this state?” He became very agitated and swooned. If such people torture others, it will be only for their benefit, as said by this AzhwAr in the 8th pAsuram “thalaiyai AngE aRuppadhE karumam kandAy” (severing the heads of people who abuse emperumAn is the correct action), just as emperumAn poses difficulties to jIvAthmAs [for their ultimate benefit].

pOnagam – food. Since these gyAnis (knowledgeable people) are more supportive than emperumAn, just as one says “amudhu seydhu” (offer divine food) in emperumAn’s case, AzhwAr says pOnagam seydhu in these gyAnis’ case, for want of a better word.

seydha sEdam – the food remnants (after partaken by the gyAni). ALavandhAr, in his sthOthra rathnam 42 says “thvadhIya bhukthOjjithaSEshabhOjinA thvayA nisrushtAthmabharENa yath yathA   I priyENa sEnApathinA nyavEdhi thath thathA’nujAnandhamudhAra vIkshaNai: II” (one who eats the food that remains after you have eaten, one who acts as the administrator of your two vibhUthis (realms) having been appointed by you, one who is sweet (to everyone), such vishvaksEnar’s acts were carried out with divine mercy as per the way you ordained . . .). periyAzhwAr in thiruppallANdu 9 says “kalaththadhuNdu” (eating the remnants after you had eaten). Thus these terms refer to the food that remains on the (banana) leaf [which is used as a plate to eat out of, traditionally] after the food had been partaken.

tharuvarEl – if one gets such a rare offering. This is not like the bhagavath prasAdham (emperumAn’s mercy) that those, who desire other things also, get. Thus, if such a great rare benefit were to be obtained . . . It is pertinent to recall an incident here – One day, parAsara bhattar (kUraththAzwAn’s son) was discoursing on thiruviruththam (One of the works of nammAzhwAr) when he gave the meaning of the word “maippadi mEni” as – no one can know that “it is like this” – such is his thirumEni (divine form) that it will darken [blind] the eyes of the beholder. His disciple, nanjIyar, who was listening to this, told him that the pAsuram by thirumangai AzhwAr in periya thirumozhi 10.10.9 “innAr enRaRiyEn” has similar meaning to this. bhattar was overjoyed on hearing this and gave the remnants of his food (pOnagam seydha sEdam) to nanjIyar as his prasAdham (grace).

punidham anRE – if one takes the remaining portion of the food that these knowledgeable people had, it will sanctify that person who takes it, immediately, just as the kuLigai (magic lump, touchstone) called sparSavEdhi converts iron into gold as soon as it touches it. There is no need to wait for another body, another time, another place, for this effect (to sanctify). vihakOSam (a sacred text) says “nArAyaNaika nishtasya yA yA vruththis thadharchanam I yO yO jalpas sa sa japas thath dhyAnam yannirIkshaNam  II thathpAdhAmbvathulam thIrtham thadhuchchishtam su pAvanam I thadhukthimAthram manthrAgryam thathsprushtamakhilam Suchi II” (whatever activities are performed by a person who is an exclusive devotee of nArAyaNa, they are all bhagavath ArAdhanam (worship of emperumAn); whatever words are mumbled by him, they are prayers; whatever he sees, are meditation on vishNu; whichever water comes into contact with his feet, becomes incomparable thIrtham (sacred water); the food that remains after he has eaten, is sanctified; his every word becomes a manthra (vEdhic hymn); everything he touches becomes purified). Thus SAsthrams also spoke high of pOnaga sEdam. If emperumAn’s prasAdham (grace) is pAvanam (purifying), the prasAdham of his followers is supAvanam (very purifying).

We shall move on to the 42nd pAsuram.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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thirumAlai – 40 – thirumaRu mArva

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namperumal-nachiyar-serthi

avathArikai (introduction)

In the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr mentioned about the lowliness due to birth. Since it was not due to them [the birth was a result of one’s own past karma, yet, after being born, one cannot do anything about it], this could be excused. In this pAsuram, he says that if they carry out wrong deeds which would not be pardoned, they will not have to endure any punishment because of those wrong deeds, provided they have knowledge of mEmporuL pAsuram.

Let us look at the pAsuram and its meanings.

திரு மறு மார்வா! நின்னைச் சிந்தையுள் திகழ வைத்து
மருவிய மனத்தராகில் மாநிலத்து உயிர்களெல்லாம்
வெருவரக் கொன்று சுட்டிட்டு  இட்டிய வினையரேலும்
அருவினைப் பயனது உய்யார் அரங்கமா நகருளானே.

thiru maRu mArva! ninnaich chindhiiyuL thigazha vaiththu
maruviya manaththarAgil mAnilaththu uyirgaLellAm
veruvuRakk konRu suttittu Ittiya vinaiyarElum
aruvinaip payanadhu uyyAr aranga mAnagaruLAnE

Listen

Word-by-word Meaning

thiru – periya pirAtti (SrI mahAlakshmi)
maRu – mole called as SrIvathsam
mArva – one who is adorning these two (thiru and maRu) on your chest!
aranga mAnagar uLAnE – one who is dwelling in thiruvarangam temple (SrIrangam)
mAnilaththu – of this world
uyirgaL ellAm – all the creatures
veruvu uRa – to be frightened
konRu – killing (the creatures with weapons)
suttittu – burning (by fire)
Ittiya vinaiyar Elum – even if they have committed such sins
ninnai – you
sindhaiyuL – in (their) hearts
thigazha vaiththu – to hold (as upAyam, means)
maruviya manaththar Agil – if they have full faith (that you are the goal or benefit)

such persons
aruvinai – deadly sins
payan adhu – its result
uyyAr – will not enjoy

vyAkhyAnam (commentary)

thirumaRu mArva – the one who has thiru (SrI mahAlakshmi) and maRu (mole, called as SrIvathsa) on his chest! These two will signify that he is the sarvESvaran (lord of all). In SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 114.15, “SrIvathsavakshA nithyaSrI: ajayya: SASvathO dhruva:” ((SrI rAma, who has) mole called SrIvathsa on his divine right chest, inseparable periya pirAtti forever on his divine chest, one who cannot be won over, one who lives forever and one who has unchanging form,  nArAyaNan), maNdodhari describes SrI rAma through the above verse and confirms that these two identities (Sri and SrIvathsa) are unique to him. AzhwAr, towards the end of this pAsuram says “they will not experience the result of their deadly sins” by referring to the pirAtti’s quality of vAthsalyam (motherly love) and says here that such pirAtti is always present in his divine chest. Other AzhwArs also refer to her presence in his divine chest, such as nammAzhwAr’s thiruvAimozhi 6.10.10 “alarmEl mangai uRai mArbA” (one who has the divine chest where alarmEl mangai (consort of SrInivAsa) dwells constantly) and periyAzhwAr’s thiruppallANdu 2nin valamArvinil vAzhginRa mangaiyum pallANdu” (mangaLASAsanam to pirAtti who dwells in your right chest). While AzhwAr had hidden the presence of pirAtti in mEmporuL pAsuram [hinted her presence through the word un as we had seen in the vyAkhyAyam of that pAsuram], he announces her presence in the beginning itself,in this pAsuram, which speaks about the greatness of those who are fully immersed in that pAsuram [38th]. When emperumAn grants the means (upAyam) to his ASrithars (followers), it is pirAtti who functions in the recommendatory role (purushakAra bhUthai). When he performs the role of master (taking the follower’s service) (upEyam), she joins him in accepting the kainkaryam. Thus her connection is very much required, both in the upAya and in the upEya sthithis (states).

ninnaich chindhaiyuL thigazha vaiththu – keeping you in their hearts [mind] as the only upAyam (means) without connection with any other upAyams [such as karma yOga etc]. During gAyathri hOmam (a ritual in which gAyathri manthram is recited) the person will recite gAyathri manthram on the one hand and will feed the agni with samith (stick), thus carrying out two jobs at a time. If a follower does anything himself to attain emperumAn as upAyam, then emperumAn’s nature as being the upAyam will dullen. Thus, AzhwAr says that apart from (1) pirAtti who recommends to emperumAn to protect the follower, (2) emperumAn himself, who is the protector, (3) the prapannan (one who surrenders to emperumAn)  and (4) AchAryan, who shows that it is emperumAn who is upAyam and upEyam, nothing else is required. By saying vaiththu we can also consider that it shows the ASritha pArathanthriyam (total dependence of followers) of the emperumAn and pirAtti since they enter the follower’s mind, taking the follower’s thought of keeping them in his mind as their hold.

maruviya manaththarAgil – this sequence emphasises the deep faith of the follower in the upEyam (goal). The meaning here is – if the follower renounces all the other goals and holds on only to SrIman nArAyaNan. By using the term Agil AzhwAr indicates that it is rare for any chEthana (sentient entity) to keep firm faith in the upAyam as seen in the sequence sindhaiyuL thigazha vaiththu and firm faith in the upEyam as seen in this sequence maruviya manaththar.

mAnilaththu uyirgaL ellAm veruvuRak konRu – Since it is almost impossible to kill all the jIvarASis (creatures), we should not combine the words mAnilaththu uyirgaLellAm with konRu (killing all the creatures in the world); instead, we should combine mAnilaththu uyirgaLellAm with veruvuRa (to be frightened). Thus if even one person is killed, all the creatures get frightened because of the dastardly act. It shows the killer’s proclivity for harming creatures.

suttittu – instead of killing them instantly with weapons, torturing them by setting them afire and killing them.

Ittiya vinaiyarElum – just as people work hard to obtain an advantage, this person is also working hard to earn sins. Elum – since he couldn’t have done such harmful deeds after obtaining knowledge in mEmporuL pAsuram, this talks about his behaviour before obtaining that knowledge. laghvathri smruthi says “janmAnthara sahasrEshu thapOgyAnasamAdhibi: I narANAm kshINapApAnAm krishnE bhakthi prajAyathE II” (after observing karma gyAna yOgams in tens of thousands of births, for those who get rid of sins (which are the hurdles for the commencement of bhakthiyOgam) , bhakthi towards krishNa begins). SrI bhagavath gIthA 7.19 says “bahUnAm janmanAmanthE gyAnavAn mAm prapadhyathe I vAsudhEvas sarvamithi sa mahAthmA sudhurlabha:  II (after several virtuous births, gyAni (knowledgeable person) worships me, saying that “vAsudhEvan is everything (to me)”. Such a mahApurusha (great person) is very rare to see). Again, SrI bhagavath gIthA 6.54 says “prayathnAth yathamAnasthu yOgI samSudhdha kilpisha: I anEka janma samsidhdhas thathO yAthi parAm gathim II” (yOgi [sage like person who meditates deeply] attains high levels after gaining puNya (good deeds) in many births, consequently ridding himself of pApa (sins) and engaging in yOga with his efforts). From all these pramANams (authentic sources) it is clear that such a knowledge and bhakthi (devotion) will come to a person only after many virtuous births. Thus, such bad behaviour [as we had seen a little while ago] will not come to a person even in previous births. Hence by using the term Elum AzhwAr says that even if such a rare event occurs . .

aruvinaip payanadhuyyAr – they will not experience the harmful result of such sinful deeds that they had earned. When SrI rAma aimed the arrow at samudhra rAjan (king of ocean), the samudhra rAjan fell at SrI rAma’s feet. Immediately SrI rAma shot the arrow against his enemies in [very far away] deserts. The opinion here is that emperumAn will make the enemies of such persons ([hat we had seen earlier, indulging in sinful deeds like killing, burning etc] to suffer the results of their deeds. SAtyAya naSAkhai says “thasya puthrA: dhAyamupayanthi: dhvishantha: pApakruthyAm suhrudhas sAdhukruthyAm II” ((when the mumukshu (one interested in mOksham) goes to paramapadham, his sons will inherit his wealth; his enemies inherit his sins and his friends, his virtues). Thus, this has been mentioned in vEdha too. Even if it does not happen that way [not experiencing result of sinful deeds], emperumAn will save them, just as he saved arjuna from the nAgASthra of karNa by making arjuna’s crown as the target. He may even experience the results of such deeds himself to save his followers, just as he took the power of bhagadhaththa’s weapon on himself and saved arjuna. Since the punishment for their sinful deeds is emperumAn’s anger, if emperumAn says that he has “tolerated” their deeds, will they [the harmful deeds] not disappear? Hence AzhwAr says that they will not experience the harmful results of such deeds.

arangamAnagar uLAnE – the purpose of your coming to thirvarangam (SrIrangam) and lying down here is only to show that you do not do all these things only during the time of avathAram (incarnation) but also to help those who come after the period of incarnation. emperumAn may desire that he gets the name of having protected such people [who commit ghastly crimes as mentioned in the earlier part], but in reality, those who have knowledge of mEmporuL” will not indulge in such acts. It will be clear, without there being a need to mention it, that these people who get scared that even an act of puNya (virtue) carried out with the thinking of upAyam (means) by oversight, will be counted as pApa (sin), will [obviously] not commit sins. In SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 116.44, pirAtti tells hanumAn “pApAnAm vA SubhAnAm vA vadhArhANAm plavangama I kAryam karuNamAryEna na kaSchinnAparAdhyathi II” (hE monkey! Whether a person has committed sin or a virtuous deed, even if he is to be killed, he should be shown mercy by a person with great qualities. There is no one who has not committed an offence). Sitting on his chest, even if such pirAtti who plays recommendatory role to emperumAn on behalf of followers, finds faults with his followers, emperumAn will say “my follower will not do that. Even if he had done that, it must be an act of good” (periyAzhwAr thirumozhi 4.9.2). If we quote this to a person who has only superficial knowledge of emperumAn, he may say “in that case they have to go on indulging in sins”. But such thoughts are incongruous, says the vyAkhyAthA (commentator).

We shall now see pAsuram 41.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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thirumAlai – 39 – adimaiyil kudimaiyillA

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periyaperumal-thiruppanazhwarperiya perumALthiruppANAzhwAr

avathArikai (introduction)

The greatness of those who have gyAnam (knowledge) of the meanings mentioned in the previous pAsuram is described, starting with this pAsuram, until the 44th pAsuram. nammAzhwAr spoke about the greatness of emperumAn’s followers (servitors) in thiruvAimozhi 3.7payilum sudaroLi mUrththi” and in 8.10 “nedumARkadimai”. This (thoNdaradippodi) AzhwAr does the same, in these 6 pAsurams. AzhwAr surmises that even if the followers of emperumAn are wanting in birth [not belonging to the first three varNams], practices [result of the above] and qualities, if they have knowledge of the meanings mentioned in the pAsuram “mEmporuL ” they are fit to be our prApakam and prApyam (our means and our goal). In this pAsuram, AzhwAr says that even if the followers are born in a very low clan, if they have deep knowledge in the meanings of “mEmporuL” pAsuram, they will be adorned on his divine head by emperumAn, like thiruththuzhAy (thuLasi).

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings.

அடிமையில் குடிமையில்லா அயல் சதுப்பேதி மாரில்
குடிமையில் கடைமை பட்ட குக்கரில் பிறப்பரேலும்
முடியினில் துளபம் வைத்தாய் மொய்கழற்கு அன்பு செய்யும்
அடியரை யுகத்தி போலும் அரங்கமா நகருளானே.

adimaiyil kudimaiyillA ayal sadhuppEdhi mAril
kudimaiyil kadaimai patta kukkaril piRapparElum
mudiyinil thuLabam vaiththAy moykazhaRku anbu seyyum
adiyarai ugaththi pOlum aranga mAnagar uLAnE

Listen

Word-by-word meaning

mudiyinil – on the divine head/crown
thuLabam vaiththAy – one who has adorned the thuLasi garland (as a subtle mark of being the lord of all)
arangam mAnagar uLAnE – dwelling inside the temple at SrIrangam
adimaiyil – carrying out service (to you)
kudimai illA – even if they are not involved
ayal – being different (from being servitor)
sadhuppEdhimAril – from the vaidhikas (those who follow vEdhams) who recite the four vEdhams
kudimaiyil kadaimai patta – being lowly in terms of their birth
kukkaril – below the level of chaNdALas (of a very low birth)
piRappar Elum – even if they are born
moy kazhaRku – your close, divine feet
anbu seyyum – being affectionate
adiyarai – followers
ugaththi pOlum – don’t you enjoy!?

vyAkhyAnam (commentary)

adimaiyil kudimaiyillA – even if they do not have the thought that carrying out kainkaryam is apt for them. It is apt to think that “kainkaryam is natural to us. Just like the food that we eat and the water that we drink, we cannot live if we do not carry out kainkaryam”.  AzhwAr is referring to those who do not think this way.

ayal sadhuppEdhimAril – being different from the chathurvEdhis who are not immersed in kainkaryam. sadhuppEdhimAril – those who learn the four vEdhas. The benefit of learning vEdhas is to realise that emperumAn is the master of all the worlds,  that we are his possessions, that to carry out kainkaryam to emperumAn and his followers is the appropriate goal for us. ayal is not knowing that the purpose of learning vEdhas is to obtain this knowledge. If the chathurvEdhis do not have the knowledge that the goal of learning the four vEdhas is to know these (above mentioned) meanings, then they are of no use to anyone. pAdhmOththaram says “vishNubhakthivihInO yas sarvaSAsthrArtha vEdhyapi I brAhmaNyam thasya na bhavEth thasyOthpaththir nirUpyathAm II” (Even if a person knows the meanings of all SAsthras (sacred texts), he will not have the qualities of a brAhmaNa if he does not have devotion towards vishNu. His birth is doubtful). brahmANda purANam vihakOsam 24.11 says “ya: puthra: pitharam dhvEshti tham vidhyAdhanyarEthsam I yO vishNum sathatham dhvEshtitham vidhyAdhanyarEthasam II” (if a son hates his father, it can be surmised that he was born to another person. If a person always hates vishNu, it can be surmised that he was born to a chandALa). Thus SAsthras thundered that such people do not have brAhmaNyam (qualities of a brAhmaNa).

Through the remaining part of the pAsuram, it says about those who are different from these people and who are dear to emperumAn.

kudimaiyil kadaimaippatta kukkaril piRapparElum – those who spend several births, not carrying out deeds which are ordained in vEdhas and carrying out deeds which are forbidden by vEdhas, are born in very low births because of the accumulated sins in all these births. kukkar (kushka) refers to a class lower than chaNdALas. Since AzhwAr is using the term piRapparElum (even if they are born), he indicates that the superiority or inferiority of a person’s birth is not a reason for having knowledge about the meanings mentioned in the mEmporuL (previous) pAsuram. In SrI rAmAyaNam AraNya kANdam 68.24, SrI rAma tells lakshmaNa “sarvathra kalu dhruSyanthE sAdhavO dharmachAriNa: I SUrA: SaraNyAs saumithrE thiryak yOni gathEshvapi II” (hE lakshmaNa! Those who are like sages, going in the path of righteousness, dhEvas et al, fit to be surrendered to, are seen among those born as animals and other species too!). SrI rAma says this when he sees jatAyu (vulture who fought valiantly with rAvaNa when he flew after abducting sIthAppirAtti). The opinion here is that knowledge of meanings of the pAsuram mEmporuL is prevalent across species, even among animals and birds. In SrI rAmAyaNam, which came about to explain the meanings of vEdhas, people who roam around in forest such as guhan (a hunter), Sabari (again from the hunters’ tribe), primates such as hanuman, sugrIva, rAkshasa such as vibhIshaNa had this knowledge. In the other epic which came about to describe vEdhas, mahAbhAratha, vidhura, born in a lowly caste, dharmavyAdha, a butcher, ghantAkarNa, the cow herd boys and girls – all had this knowledge. In thiruviruththam 79, nammAzhwAr says “pAmbaNai mEl paLLi koNdaruLum sIdhanaiyE thozhuvAr viNNuLarilum sIriyarE” (those who worship only the lord who is lying on the serpent bed, are greater than nithyasUris). Even though nithyasUris are constantly involved with emperumAn, those born in this samsAram (which only breeds ignorance) and reformed due to the efforts of emperumAn, are considered to be greater than nithyasUris. Just as syamanthakamani (a stone which will convert even iron into gold when it touches iron) is better than pure gold, since these dwellers of samsAram are capable of converting other samsAris into followers of emperumAn due to their connection, which even nithyasUris cannot do, such samsAris are considered to be greater than nithyasUris.

mudiyinil thuLabam vaiththAy – just as emperumAn adorns thuLasi on his head, these followers are also apt to be kept on his head like thuLasi. Just as he adorns thuLasi to indicate that he is sarvESvaran (lord of all), if he keeps his followers on his head, that would also indicate his quality of being sarvESvaran.

moykazhaRku anbu seyyum – Just as in the 38th pAsuram AzhwAr had said “aimpulan agaththadakki” (controlling their sensory organs) to serve emperumAn, these people cast aside their happiness [while carrying out kainkaryam] and serve only for his happiness, with affection, similar to sEvadi sevvi thirukkAppu (thiruppallANdu 1). To them this is the only way to spend time purposefully  and they consider this as their goal. Thus they have emperumAn, who is always delightful, as their means.   Next, the means (path) is mentioned.

adiyarai – they consider his compassionate divine feet as the means. As mentioned in pAsuram 38 as sOmbar, they know that their Athma svarUpam (nature of the AthmA) is being subservient to emperumAn for ever and will not have anything to do with their protection themselves. Another interpretation is – adiyar – remaining at the feet. The feet are the goal, which are enjoyable, and the feet are also the means, which sustain. This is similar to nammAzhwAr mentioning in periya thiruvandhAdhi 31 nizhalum adithARum AnOm (we became the shadow and the lines, of the feet).

ugaththi pOlum – you enjoy these followers, who have the knowledge, not considering their lowly birth, and not those chathurvEdhis who do not have the knowledge.

aranga mAnagar uLAnE – the purpose of coming to SrIrangam and lying here is to hear these people, who have affection towards you, even if they are of lowly birth. If you wanted to hear only great people, you would have remained at SrIvaikuNtam, is the meaning here.

We shall move on to the 40th pAsuram

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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thirumAlai – 38 – mEmporuL pOgavittu – Part 3

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namperumal-thiruvadi

In this 3rd and final part of this pAsuram, we shall see the meanings of the last two lines of the pAsuram and how this pAsuram conveys the meanings of first line of dhvaya manthram as well as parts of thirumanthram and charama SlOkam.

mEmporuL pOgavittu meymmaiyai miga uNarndhu
AmparisaRindhukoNdu aimpulanagaththadakki
kAmbaRath thalai siraiththun kadaiththalai irundhu vAzhum
sOmbarai ugaththi pOlum sUzhpunal arangaththAnE

Listen

kAmbaRaththalai siraiththu – removing the hair with the root. kAmbaRa – making sure that the connection with other upAyams (other means such as karma, gyAna, bhakthi yOgams, thirunAma sankIrthanam etc) is severed; thalai siraiththu – severing connection with other instruments being carried inside the head, which are like sins because they are preventing from attaining the goal – in other words, removing the esteem that “I am my protector”. Why is there a reference to hair? Since hair is supposed to add beauty to a person and to add esteem, AzhwAr is using this as a simile for the thought that the person has, that he is his own protector. In olden days, when kings resorted to tonsuring a person, the reason was to lower his esteem. This was also the reason for sanyAsis (those who have renounced everything in this world) and EkAngis (ascetics) to tonsure their heads [they want to rid of their self-esteem themselves]. Thus, since we see people tonsuring themselves to remove their self-esteem, AzhwAr is using this metaphor to denote removal of esteem that one gets from following other upAyams (means). charama SlOkam, in its first half, states that after renouncing other means only can one hold on to emperumAn. AzhwAr denotes this meaning in the term “kAmbaRath thalai siraiththu” considering the greatness of its meanings, in an indirect manner. SAsthram referred in an indirect manner only when it spoke of “dhvA suparNA sayujA sakAyA..” (muNdakOpanishath 3.1.1) (there were two birds with beautiful wings and similar qualities, sitting on a tree (referring to jIvAthmA and paramAthmA)). Thus AzhwAr also, like SAsthram, uses simile to convey his intended meanings.

un kadaiththalai irundhu kadaiththalai can be transposed as thalaikkadai which means at the door step. In dhvayam the term charaNa refers to the divine feet of emperumAn. AzhwAr refers to that word here. Why is AzhwAr not mentioning the divine feet directly? Looking at this lowliness, he is ashamed to go near emperumAn’s divine feet; he is unable to leave emperumAn and indulge in worldly matters. Hence he is staying at the door-step of emperumAn. vyAkhyAthA mentions about an incident in the life of thirukkaNNamangai ANdAn, a disciple of  SrIman nAthamunigaL (the preceptor who received all the 4000 dhivya prabandham from nammAzhwAr). One day ANdAn saw a person killing another person with a knife because the other person troubled his pet dog. Knowing that he will be punished by the King for his act of murder, he killed himself with the same knife. thirukkaNNamangai ANdAn, on seeing this, thought “if a samsAri, who thinks that dhEham (body) is AthmA (soul), can have so much affection for his dog which stays at his door step and eats whatever he feeds it, paramachEthana (emperumAn) will never let down those who stay at his door-step and hand them over to yama (dhEvathA for justice)”. Having affirmed this, thirukkaNNamangai ANdAn left his relatives, his possessions and his wife, refrained from working for himself, and engaged fully in emperumAn’s kainkaryam and till his end, stayed at the entrance of the temple at thirukkaNNamangai. irundhu – chEthana, who, due to attraction to worldly pursuits was running around, stays like a ship which has been anchored. thaththirIya upanishath Anandhavalli 7.2 says “yathA hyEvaisha EthasminnadhruSyE anAthmE anirukthE anilayanE abhayam prathishtAm vindhathE I atha sO’bhayangathO bhavathi II” (when a person, in order to rid himself of his fear for samsAram, attains affection called as bhakthi with emperumAn who cannot be seen by others, who is without (prAkrutha) SarIram (physical form that chEthanas have), who cannot be described by words (such as dhEva, manushya etc), who is without any support (for himself), he becomes fearless of samsAram). In the same way, the samsAri attains emperuman and becomes fearless.

vAzhum – once ISvaran becomes the means (path to attain him), enjoying him becomes living in prosperity. Another interpretation is  – since it is irundhu vAzhum, having him as the means (path) itself is prosperity.

sOmbarai ugaththi pOlum – Looking at the joy in emperumAn’s divine face, AzhwAr is wondering “when you look at those who have given up the responsibility of protecting them to you and who are lazy about protecting themselves, is this how your divine mind would feel joyous!?”. The term vAzhum sOmbar refers to those who are sloth about living for themselves but who are living only for emperumAn. Those who live for themselves are termed as kedum sOmbar (ruinously lazy people). To differentiate from such people who ruin themselves, AzhwAr is using the term vAzhum sOmbar. These people will not give up their daily ritual [such as sandhyAvandhanam etc] or special ritual [such as amAvAsya tharpaNam etc] because they do not believe in SAsthras or they are lazy. They will follow such rituals as emperumAn’s order and as a kainkaryam. They will be foremost among the Asthikas (believers of God) and will hold on to emperumAn, who does not expect anything from them for being their means, enjoy him as a way of passing their time in this world, and will be lazy when it comes to protecting themselves here. ugaththi pOlum – it appears that you [emperumAn] seem to enjoy these people as you enjoy nithyasUris (permanent dwellers of SrIvaikuNtam).

emperumAn asks him, “How did you know this matter [that I enjoy those who are lazy about protecting themselves]?” . . . .

sUzhpunal arangaththAnE – the fact that you have come to thiruvarangam (SrIrangam) and are lying here, seems to denote this. For those who look superficially, it would appear that emperumAn is lying because of the nice streams and greenery around thiruvarangam. Only those who dvelve deeper would understand that he is lying here in anticipation of a vAzhum sOmbar, without feeling lazy (himself).

kAmbaRath thalaisiraiththu denotes sarvadharmAn parithyajya in the first part of charama SlOkam, as it refers to giving up all the other upAyams (means to attain emperumAn) as a prerequisite for holding on to emperumAn as the means.

sUzhpunal arangaththAnE un kadaiththalai denotes the meaning of nArAyaNa padham (word) in the first part of dhvaya mahAmanthram, facilitating taking shelter under emperumAn through his four auspicious qualities of sauSeelyam (being easily approachable), saulabhyam (being simple), vAthsalyam (considering faults as qualities) and swAmithvam (being the swAmy or master). pirAtti, being the identity for proving emperumAn’s existence and being indicated by nArAyaNa sabdham itself, is denoted by the word un [un kadaiththalai] in this pAsuram. In the next (40th) pAsuram he is going to show this clearly. It has been shown already that kadaiththalai indicates charaNau. Irundhu vAzhum refers to the deep belief in the means through the word prabadhyE (deep belief that emperumAn is the means) and that this deep belief will be very sweet to the person who surrenders. sOmbarai refers to the quality of the person who surrenders, as in the word prapadhyE. Thus, this pAsuram describes in detail the meaning of dhvayam, and also shows the meanings of several terms in thirumanthram and charama SlOkam.

We shall now go on to the 39th pAsuram.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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thirumAlai – 38 – mEmporuL pOgavittu – Part 2

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namperumal-nachiar_serthi

In the previous part of this pAsuram, we had seen the avathArikai (introduction) and meanings of the pAsuram. In this part, we shall see the meanings of the first two lines of the pAsuram and how they reflect the meanings of the uththara bhAgam (latter part) of dhvaya mahAmanthram and meanings conveyed in thirumanthram.

mEmporuL pOgavittu meymmaiyai miga uNarndhu
AmparisaRindhukoNdu aimpulanagaththadakki
kAmbaRath thalai siraiththun kadaiththalai irundhu vAzhum
sOmbarai ugaththi pOlum sUzhpunal arangaththAnE

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vyAkhyAnam (commentary)

mEmporuL – vyAkhyAthA (commentator) has given three different meanings for this word: (1) superficial object; (2) pervasive object; (3) object creating eminence. In all the three meanings, this word indicates [physical] body which in turn is representative for all materialistic objects. Let us consider each of these three meanings. (1) as a superficial object – having an unnatural relationship on account of karma and once knowledge about emperumAn is born, body becomes something that need not be bothered about. Thinking that this is sweet, when jIvAthmA (chEthana or sentient entity) starts enjoying with the help of this body, it would appear superficially that this is indeed sweet; but when looked a bit deeper, since there is nothing sweet about this, we can consider that this body is a superficial object. (2) as a pervasive object – As SrI bhagavath gIthA 7.14 says “dhaivI hyEshA guNamayI mama mAyA dhurathyaya I mAmEva yE prapadhyanthE mAyAmEthAm thanthithE II” (ordained by me, this prakruthi (primordial matter) also called as mAyA, is composed of the three qualities – sAthvic (pure good), rAjasic (passionate) and thAmasic (ignorance). It is very difficult to cross over. Only those who surrender to me cross this prakruthi), this body is intertwined with the AthmA (soul), becoming nearly inseparable. This body makes the person believe that “I am dhEva” (celestial entity) or “I am manushya” (human being) since it is so closely intertwined and hence we can say that this body is pervasive. (3) as an object creating eminence – it makes people to think that they are eminent among all the persons, who know everything. Thus the body can have any of the three connotations as we have seen above, and all the other materialistic objects with which it is connected, can be called as mEmporuL.

pOgavittu – to give up with all the traces (give up completely). As long as one is with this SarIram (body) it cannot be given up. Only when a person gets the knowledge that this SarIram and its connected materialistic objects cannot be the purushArtham (benefit) [on attaining emperumAn] can it be termed as giving it up will all traces. The connection [between the body and the soul] was created by emperumAn. As we had seen in the gIthA Slokam 7.14 [in the previous paragraph] this connection cannot be severed by the chEthana. SrIvishNu purANam 7.11 says “anAthmanyAthma budhdhiryA asvE svamithi yA mathi  I samsAra tharusambhUthi bIjamEthath dhvidhA sthitham  II” (the thought that this body, which is not the true self, is the self, and thinking that those objects which are not one’s, are one’s own, are the seed with dicotyledons which enable the tree called samsAram to grow). Thus, ridding of the thought that this dhEham is AthmA, that the objects in this samsAram which  are connected to this dhEham are one’s own and thinking of AthmA, which is different from dhEham, as svathanthran (one who is independent) is called as pOgavittu (giving up with trace). This is what great gyAnis (highly intelligent persons) such as janaka could do. When two trees, one good and the other, bad, are intertwined so closely that it is not possible to separate them, a person, desirous of separating them, will scratch the surface of the bad tree and apply asafoetida (an organic substance used in cooking) on it so that it will wither away. In the same way, when AthmA and the body are so closely intertwined, if someone wants to rid of the body, he has to remove the thoughts of ahankAram (thinking of body as oneself) and svAthanthriya budhdhi (thinking of oneself as being totally independent). The words which follow later in this pAsuram such as “meymmaiyai miga uNarndhu” and “AmparisaRindhu koNdu” are related to gyAna (knowledge); hence we can consider this word pOgavittu also to be related to knowledge.

meymmaiyai miga uNarndhu – the word “mey” refers to AthmA. Can mey denote AthmA? thaiththirIya upanishath Anandhavalli 6 says sathyanchA nruthancha sathyamabhavath (the paravasthu [greatest entity] was sathyam (without any change) even though it exists as sathyam (chEthana thathvam or sentient entity) and asathyam (achEthana thathvam or insentient entity). Since upanishath calls the constantly changing entity of achEthana as anrutham (false) and the one without any change to its svarUpa, the chEthana entity, as sathyam (mey or true), AzhwAr also calls AthmA as mey. The word sathyam denotes the permanent nature of AthmA, unlike adhvaithis (followers of a philosophy which says that there is no separate chith, achith and ISvaran) who define it as different from asathya, without any distinction. AzhwAr calls this permanent nature as meymmai here.

miga uNarndhu – [vyAkkhyAthA periyavAchchAn piLLai brings in here, a few philosophies and contrasts them with the philosophy of viSishtAdhvaitham]. Unlike lOkAyathan (also called as chArvAkan) who says, “only body is AthmA”; unlike pUrvamImAmsakan who says “AthmA, who is different from body and who is permanent, is independent”; unlike vaiSEshikan who says “the knowledge of AthmA is acquired [it is not natural]; when he remains like a stone, he attains mOksha (liberation)”; unlike all these philosophies, knowing AthmA as per its true nature – i.e. AthmA is self-radiant, permanent, having knowledge forever, as a quality, having a svarUpam which is like an atom [Sasthra defines the size of AthmA: take a grain of paddy, take out the sharp end, divide it into a hundred parts, take one of these parts, divide this into a hundred pieces, the size of the AthmA is less than the size of this finally divided piece], always belonging to ISvaran, being subservient to his followers also – this is knowing AthmA completely.

AmparisaRindhu koNdu – After realising that dhEham, which is the result of prakruthi (primordial matter), and those which are connected to dhEham [relatives, possessions etc] are fit to be given up, and after knowing AthmA’s true nature [as explained in the previous paragraph], the benefit that results is Amparisu  which is bhagavath kainkaryam (carrying out service to emperumAn). Amparisu (benefit) is the cause for growth. The cause for growth will vary, depending on what the AthmA thinks of itself. If the AthmA is inside the body of animals like cow, a bundle of grass is the cause for its growth. When the AthmA resides in the body of man, food is the cause for its growth. When the AthmA is inside the body of a celestial entity, amrutham (nectar) is the cause for its growth. In whichever body the AthmA resides, if it feels that it is an adiyEn (servitor), then kainkaryam (carrying out service) is the reason for its growth. Since the person’s intellect gets blunted due to the body and its connected entities [in this samsAram], this subject matter is not well known in this world. On reaching paramapadham (SrIvaikuNtam), gaining the inner knowledge and realising the true nature, AthmA’s natural servitorship will be its benefit and cause for its growth.

aRindhu koNdu – just as one says “carrying wealth”, AzhwAr explains its pre-eminence. The wealth for every chEthana is the knowledge that dhEham and its complements are to be given up, that AthmA is always dependent on emperumAn, that servitorship is its purushArtham. If this is present, there will be no need for any other means. It is emperumAn’s efforts to rid the chEthana of his bondage to samsAram and of puNya and pApa (virtue and vice) and to make him hold on to himself [emperumAn] as the means. It is pertinent to remember the following incident: A person asked nanjIyar (bhattar’s disciple) as to which is the means – renouncing [worldly desires] or holding on [to emperumAn]? nanjIyar responded “neither; the one who makes him renounce and hold on to [emperumAn himself] is the means”. While mEmporuL , meymmai and Amparisu may not directly mean  dhEham [body], Athma svarUpam [true nature of AthmA] and kainkaryam [service] respectively,  since there is a connection for each of these words to the respective meaning, AzhwAr brings forth these meanings indirectly, due to the greatness of the meanings.

aimpulan agaththadakki – keeping the sensory organs under one’s control. At the beginning of this pAsuram, AzhwAr had said mEmporuL pOgavittu  in which he said that one should keep under one’s control everything connected to dhEham (body) and its complements. This being the case, would not saying aimpulan agaththadakki now, be a repetition of the earlier one? In the previous word Amparisu aRindhu koNdu, when carrying out kainkaryam [to emperumAn], a happiness could be felt by the jIvAthmA itself [that it is carrying out the kainkaryam]. Renouncing this happiness for self is the meaning conveyed by the words aimpulan agaththadakki. Hence there is no repetition. Even while carrying kainkaryam, one thought should be removed – i.e. kainkaryam carried out for one’s happiness or kainkaryam carried out for emperumAn’s and one’s happiness will not be termed as purushArtham (goal), but the kainkaryam carried out exclusively for emperumAn’s happiness is purushArtham. AzhwAr conveys this meaning here. nammAzhwAr, in his thiruvAimozhi 2.9.4thanakkEyAga enaikkoLLumIdhE” (consider me only for your kainkaryam) and ANdAL in her thiruppAvai 29unakkE nAmAtcheyvOm” (we will be subservient only to you) conveyed the same meaning. In dhvayam, the meaning of the word nama: in the end is also the same as in this. In SrI rAmAyaNam AraNya kAndam 1.31 it says “ramyamAvasatham kruthvA ramamANA vanE thraya: I dhEvagandharvasankASAs thathra thE nyavasan sukham II” (the three of them (rAma, lakshmaNa and sIthA) who were like dhEvagandharva (celestial entities) and who were very happy in the forest, built a beautiful cottage and lived happily in it). While the SlOkam says that perumAL (SrI rAma), pirAtti (sIthA) and iLaiya perumAL (lakshmaNa) were happy, from the context it will be clear that lakshmaNa’s happiness is derived from carrying out kainkaryam to the duo of perumAL and pirAtti.

Thus, in these two lines [of this pAsuram], the meaning of prApyam (the benefit of attaining emperumAn) has been mentioned. Now we shall see how the meaning of thirumanthram [the first of the three rahasyams in our sampradhAyam] is being mentioned. In the terms memporuL pOgavittu, the meaning of Om nama: and in the terms aimpulan agaththadakki the meaning of namO nArAyanAya have been mentioned. In the words meymmaiyai miga uNarndhu which is the SEshathvam of AthmA (being subservient to emperumAn) the meaning of the word nAra in the word nArAyaNa has been mentioned. Since that SEshathvam succeeds only because of emperumAn, his SEshithvam (being the master for all) is also mentioned in this meaning. Thus the meaning of the word nArAyaNa has also been mentioned. In the term AmparisaRindhu koNdu, the meaning of the fourth case Aya [in nArAyaNAya], which is kainkaryam, has also been mentioned. Since the term uNarndhu refers to the jIvAthmA who knows [has knowledge], the meaning of praNavam (OmkAram) which includes jIvAthmA, has also been mentioned. Thus these two lines establish the meaning of thirumanthram.

Now, over the next two lines of this pAsuram, the upAyathvam (being the means of attaining emperumAn) as mentioned in the first line of dhvayam and the first part of charama SlOkam are being mentioned. We shall see this, along with the meanings of the remaining two lines, in the next part.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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thirumAlai – 38 – mEmporuL pOgavittu – Part 1

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githacharya-3

Note: The vyAkhyAnam for this pAsuram is a fairly lengthy one; hence we shall see this in three parts. In the first part, we shall see the avathArikai and the pAsuram, with its meanings. In the second part, we shall see the vyAkhyAnam for the first two lines of the pAsuram and in the last part, the vyAkhyAnam for the last two lines.

avathArikai (introduction)

Just as gIthA charama SlOkam  (the ultimate SlOka of SrI bhagavath gIthA) is the centrepiece of mahAbhAratham, this pAsuram is the centrepiece of this dhivya prabhandham (divine composition of thoNdaradippodi AzhwAr). mahAbhAratham is  the essence of vEdhas as could be gauged from the SlOka “mathimandhAnamAvidhya yEnAsau SruthisAgarAth I jagadhdhithAya janithO mahAbhAratha chandhramA: II” (the moon called as mahAbhAratha was created by churning the seas of vEdhas by vyAsa for the well being of this world). emperumAn churned thiruppARkadal (the ocean of milk on which he lies) and gave nectar to dhEvas (celestial people). The sage vyAsa churned vEdhas and gave mahAbhAratha, which brings forth happiness among those who read it, for the well-being of samsAram. The nectar which emperumAn gave to the dhEvas was not necessarily for their well-being since it would not even allow them to die when they are in serious trouble; it is more of a millstone to them. On the other hand, the mahAbhAratha which vyAsa gave the samsAris is capable of ridding them of samsAram. Such mahAbhAratha can be termed as chakkai (residue such as from sugarcane after the juice has been extracted) when compared to SrI bhagavath gIthA. The essence of SrI bhagavath gIthA is its charama SlOkam. gIthAchAryan (krishNa), in order to highlight the lowliness of other upAyams (means for attaining emperumAn such as karma yOga, gyAna yOga etc), explained these before reciting charama SlOkam. After reciting charama SlOkam, he recited the following SlOkam highlighting the greatness of charama SlOkam “idham thE nAthapaskAya nAbhakthAya kadhAchana I nAchASuSrUshavE vAchyam na cha mAm yO’bhyasUyathi II” (this SAsthram which was recited (by me) to you should not ever be told to one who has not done any penance, to one who does not have devotion (towards you and me), to one who is not interested in it and to one who hates me). In the same way, this entire thirumAlai was created only for reciting this 38th pAsuram, mEmporuL pOgavittu. The pAsurams coming after this highlight the greatness of those who are deeply involved in the meanings of this 38th pAsuram. Thus it will be clear that just as charama SlOkam is the essence of mahAbhAratha, this pAsuram is the essence of thirumAlai. Apart from giving the meanings of charama SlOkam, this pAsuram gives the meanings of dhvayam also [dhvayam is one among the three secretive exponents of our philosophy, the other two being thirumanthram and charama SlOkam]. [dhvayam is composed of two lines, of which the first line expounds on the upAyam (means or path) for attaining emperumAn and the second, on the purushArtham (benefit or goal on attaining him)]. In this pAsuram, the benefit is mentioned in the first two lines and the means, in the next two lines. What is the reason for this reversal (from the order in which they appear in dhvayam)?

For any advantage or benefit, there are two different periods – one is vyuthpaththi vELai (time of origin) and the other is anushtAna vELai (time of execution). The time of origin is when one knows about the advantage and the time of execution is when he engages through some means in attaining that advantage. For example, there is a SAsthra vAkhyam (a sentence from sacred text) svargakAmO jyOthishtOmEna yajEtha (one who is desirous of svargam should carry out jyOthishtOma yagyam). Here SAsthram tells a chEthana (sentient entity) about the advantage, svargam. This is in the time of origin. This is why it first informs about the advantage, svargakAma, and later, it tells about the means of attaining that advantage, which is doing the jyOthishtOma yagyam.  However, at the time of execution, one has to first carry out jyOthishtOma yagyam (means) and only then attain svargam (goal). It is clear from this that the means and goal will be reversed during time of origin and time of execution. In this pAsuram, AzhwAr is talking about goal and means. Hence it is structured on vyuthpaththi vELai (time of origin). Thus, AzhwAr is talking about the goal first and then the means. In order to reach the goal, the observance of means, which is reciting the dhvaya manthram, is in the execution time. In dhvayam, the sAdhanam (means) is given first and the sAdhyam (the goal) is given next. nammAzhwAr in his thiruvAimozhi 6.10.10 “agalagillEn”  gave the meaning of the first part of dhvayam. ANdAL, in her thiruppAvai 29th pAsuramsiRRam siRukAlE” gave the meaning of 2nd part of dhvayam. This (thoNdaradippodi) AzhwAr alone has given the meanings of both halves of dhvayam in one pAsuram.

What is the link for this pAsuram with the previous (37th) pAsuram?

After AzhwAr had recited with lot of sorrow, the words “aLiyan nam paiyal ennAr ammavO kodiyavARE”, periya perumAL felt very happy in his divine mind that “despite staying in samsAram which incites involvement in worldly pursuits, he is praying for kainkaryam (service) to me as his purushArtham (benefit), in line with his svarUpam (true nature); for attaining that, instead of resorting to his own efforts, he is looking up to me; on top of that, he is feeling saddened that there is a delay in getting that purushArtham. What a great mahAthmA he is!  How great that I have got him!” The happiness in his divine mind manifested into happiness in his divine face, blessing AzhwAr. After seeing this happiness, AzhwAr says in this pAsuram “Oh one who has done me favours! Is this how your divine mind feels happy when someone attains you, gives the responsibility of protecting him to you and withdraws from protecting himself?” charama SlOkam ordains “hold on to me as means, with deep belief”, dhvayam is the manthram that those who are steadfast in this means, will recite. This pAsuram shows how happy emperumAn becomes with those who are fully involved in dhvayam and its meanings.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings.

மேம் பொருள் போகவிட்டு மெய்ம்மையை மிக உணர்ந்து
ஆம்பரிசறிந்து கொண்டு ஐம்புலனகத்தடக்கி
காம்பறத் தலை சிரைத்துன் கடைத்தலை இருந்து வாழும்
சோம்பரை உகத்தி போலும் சூழ் புனல் அரங்கத்தானே.

mEmporuL pOgavittu meymmaiyai miga uNarndhu
AmparisaRindhu koNdu aimpulanagaththadakki
kAmbaRath thalai siraiththun kadaiththalai irundhu vAzhum
sOmbarai ugaththi pOlum sUzh punal arangaththAnE

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Word-by-word Meaning

punal sUzh – surrounded by kAvEri
arangaththAnE – one who is sleeping in the temple
mEm poruL – the worldly matters which give an impression of being great
pOgavittu – casting aside, with trace
meymmaiyai – the Athma svarUpam (true nature of AthmA, the soul)
miga uNarndhu – knowing, as it is [completely]
Am parisu – bhagavath kainkaryam (service to emperumAn) which is the purushArtham (benefit) for AthmA’s true nature
aRindhu koNdu – knowing it
aim pulan – the five senses
agaththu adakki – controlling (instead of enjoying them)
kAmbu aRa – removing the attachment (in other means)
thalai siraiththu – removing the weight from head
un thalaikkadai irundhu – standing at your door step (as a guard)
vAzhum – those who live
sOmbarai – followers who are lazy (in looking after themselves)
ugaththi pOlum – do you not enjoy them?

 We shall consider vyAkhyAnam for the first two lines of this pAsuram, in the next part.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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thirumAlai – 37 – theLivilAk kalangal nIr

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periyaperumal-art-2

avathArikai (introduction)

Despite AzhwAr calling out [as seen in the previous pAsuram] to periya perumAL, since periya perumAL is not saying “do not worry” with sympathy, AzhwAr feels distressed. “Is he keeping quiet because he thinks that someone else will help me, other than himself? Is he thinking that I am after some other goal in samsAram (materialistic realm)? If he says ‘he is my little fellow’, I will be able to escape from all the troubles. His divine heart has become so hardened that he is not saying even this, and he is sleeping” laments the AzhwAr.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings.

தெளிவிலாக் கலங்கல் நீர் சூழ் திருவரங்கங்கத்துள் ஓங்கும்
ஒளியுளார் தாமே அன்றே தந்தையும் தாயும் ஆவார்
எளியதோர் அருளும் அன்றே என் திறத்து எம்பிரானார்
அளியன் நம் பையல் என்னார் அம்மவோ! கொடியவாறே.

theLivilAk kalangal nIr sUzh thiruvarangaththuL Ongum
oLiyuLAr thAmE anRE thandhaiyum thAyum AvAr
eLiyadhOr aruLum anRE en thiRaththu empirAnAr
aLiyan nam paiyal ennAr ammavO! kodiayvARE

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Word-by-word Meaning

theLivu ilA – without being clear
kalangal – being muddled
nIr sUzh – surrounded by kAvEri
thiruvarangaththuL – inside the temple
Ongum – being resplendent
oLi uLAr thAmE anRE – isn’t he the radiant periya perumAL himself
thandhaiyum thAyum AvAr – is father and mother (to us)
en thiRaththu – in my matter (to be carried out)
eLiyadhu Or aruLum anRE – to glance at me with comforting eyes
em pirAnAr – one who does favours to me
nam paiyal aLiyan ennAr – he does not say (a word) “our little fellow is worthy of my grace”
amma O kodiyavARE – Oh! (his heart) is so hardened

vyAkhyAnam (commentary)

theLivilAk kalangal – if the flow of water in kAvEri eases a bit, there would be opportunity for it to become clear. But since there is more and more flood, it remains muddled constantly. This AzhwAr is also, like kAvEri, always agitated. Before attaining emperumAn he will be worried that “I have not attained him”. Once he attains emperumAn, he will be agitated because of his love for him. This river too, when it flows from the west towards the temple, will be agitated because of expectation of seeing periya perumAL and when it leaves the temple and flows towards the east it will be agitated because it is going away from him. Hence it is clear that without any distinction between chEthana (AzhwAr) and achEthana (river) entities, even those who walk near the temple would feel agitated.

nIr sUzh – Just as nammAzhwAr says in thiruvAimozhi 10.10.10 “adhanil periya en avAvarach chUzhndhAy”, periya perumAL envelops the AzhwArs with his love. In the same way, kAvEri also envelops periya perumAL because of her love for him. It is pertinent, here, to think of parASara bhattar’s SrIrangarAja sthavam 1.21 “dhugdhAbdhir janakO jananyahamiyam SrIrEva puthri vA SrIrangESvara Ethadharhamiha kim kuryAmithvAkulA I sanjachchAmara chandhra chandhana mahAmANikya mukthOthkarAn kAvErI lahareekarairvidhadhathI paryEthi sA sEvyathAm II” (kAvEri wonders “kshIrsAgara is the father; I (his wife) am the mother; this SrIranganAyaki is the daughter; SrIranganAthan is the son-in-law. What will I carry as wealth befitting them?”. It appears that she then carries bright chAmaram (whisk made out of yak tail, used as fan for emperumAn), pachchaikkaRpUram (medicated camphor used as a flavouring agent in foods), sandalwood trees, great gems, pearls etc in heaps towards you. You [emperumAn] should have a bath in that kAvEri). In the world, we see people offering gifts based on the status of the bride, bridegroom and the bride’s parents. At SrIrangam, which is the place where SrIranganAyaki wedded SrIranganAthan, the bride is the goddess of wealth, SrIdhEvi herself. The bridegroom is azhagiya maNavALan (the beautiful groom) who is superior to everyone else and the paramAthmA. The bride’s father is the repository of all gems, thiruppARkadalarasan [khIrsAgar, the king of all oceans] and the bride’s mother is his consort, the one who is more sacred than even gangA (ganges), kAvEri. When everything about this is so supreme, how to carry gifts to them, wonders kAvEri and carries all the items mentioned earlier, and comes like an elephant in exultation, exclaims bhattar.

thiruvarangaththuL ONgum oLiyuLAr – just as it is difficult to remove the floods in kAvEri, see the river bed and enter it, it is equally difficult to remove the resplendent radiance of periya perumAL, enter the space and admire the beauty of his divine form, which is the repository of his radiance. thiruvarangaththil Ongum oLi – after he entered thiruvarangam (SrIrangam), even the brightness in paramapadham got reduced, like light during daytime. The resplendent radiance at SrIrangam helps the lowly samsAris like light during night-time. Ongum oLi – emperumAn, standing amidst nithyasUris, is like a sun amidst other suns. But standing amidst samsAris, who suffer from the sorrows of samsAram, and protecting them, the radiance also acquires dominance.

oLiyuLAr thAmE anRE thandhaiyum thAyum AvAr – subAlOpanishath 16 says “mAthA pithA bhrAthA nivAsaS SaraNam suhruth gathir nArAyaNa:” (nArAyaNa is mother, he is father, he is brother, he is the dwelling place, he is the means for attaining mOksha (liberation), he is friend, he is the one attained in mOksha). AzhwAr says that for him it is not the paramapadhanAthan, who is common to all; it is not vyUha or vibhava form of perumAL who is common to a few people only; it is not other archAvathAra vigrahas (forms) common for other AzhwArs; it is only periya perumAL who is his father and mother. This is the meaning for using the term thAmE (he himself) to the exclusivity of everyone else. AzhwAr wonders whether periya  perumAL, who is everything to him, is thinking that AzhwAr has someone else (other than himself) as his relative and hence is keeping quiet. It is pertinent here to think of mahAbhAratham vana parvam 192.56 SlOkam “sarvEshAmEva lOkAnAm pithA mAthA cha mAdhava: I gachchadhvamEnam SaraNam SaraNyam purusharshabhA:II” (Oh great purushas! Only lakshminAthan is the father and mother for all worlds. Surrender to him, who is fit to be surrendered to). The story behind this SlOka is as follows: During the time that dharmaputhra (yudhishtra) was carrying out vanavAsa (living in forest) with his family, krishNa and his consort sathyabhAma came there. On hearing this, parASara maharishi and other rishis convened an assembly under the leadership of mArkaNdEya maharishi. dharmaputhra asked the assembly “I always go in the path of righteousness, yet I suffer like this. dhuryOdhana always goes in the path of evil, yet he is always happy. Please tell me, what is the reason for this and what is the remedy for this?”. Each rishi gave a remedy for this. Finally, their head, mArkaNdEya maharishi considered all their opinions as pUrvapaksha (first objection to an assertion in any discussion) and recited this SlOka as his sidhdhAntha (demonstrated conclusion of an argument). Either for suffering in sadness or enjoying in happiness, it is not the path chosen by dharmaputhra or dhuryOdhana which is the cause. It is because of this that the remedies offered by other rishis here, for dharmaputhra to come out of his troubles, will not stand scrutiny. Surrendering to mAdhava (bhagavAn), who is the natural relative to all and who is the natural means for attaining him, is the reason for real happiness. Instead of holding on to him, if someone holds on to other means, it will only lead to vicious circle in samsAram, and thus to sadness, like following the path of evil. The considered opinion here is that only SrIman nArAyaNa, who is a mother, father, everything, to all, is the refuge. Once when his brother SrIrAma bhattar fell ill, parASara bhattar recited this SlOka and divined its meaning too. thandhaiyum thAyum AvAr – it is only periya perumAL who will do nice things like a mother and good things like a father.

eLiyadhOr aruLum anRE en thiRaththu – unlike the cowherds, there is no need to carry out difficult tasks like lifting a mountain, to protect me. Are you thinking that I am asking for something other than yourself and hence you can grant it at an appropriate time? Are you keeping quiet thinking that to protect me, you have to lift a bow as you did in the case of vibhIshaNa or a whip as you did in the case of pANdavas [as a charioteer]? It is sufficient if you glance at me with your comforting eyes.

em pirAnAr – carrying out favours for me. When emperumAn is not even glancing at him, how is he saying that he is doing favours for him? AzhwAr is not the type to forget the favours already done by emperumAn. Keeping those in mind, he is beseeching emperumAn to do this favour. AzhwAr cannot deny the favours earlier done by emperumAn such as reminding him about the indelible relationship that he has with AzhwAr, reminding him that he is the means and the goal, and now, when AzhwAr is crying out to him, coming near him and listening to him.

What is the favour to be done now?

aLiyan nam paiyal ennAr – the word aLi means grace or mercy. aLiyan means one on whom mercy should be shown. AzhwAr’s desire now is that emperumAn should say “he has something  good in him to be shown my mercy. He is my little fellow”. Instead of addressing him as “my little fellow!”, AzhwAr feels uncomfortable being addressed as “AzhwIr!” by emperumAn. When I am his servitor, is it not enough if I think that I am his little fellow? Should I be called in that manner by him? AzhwAr thinks that it is not enough. Only if emperumAn, who is the master, calls him that way and confirms that he is the master and AzhwAr, his servitor, will AzhwAr’s servitorship last. It is pertinent here to think of incidents in pUrvAchAryAs‘ lives which have similar connection. In the first, when maNakkAl nambi (ALavandhAr’s AchAryar) was closeted with his disciples while giving a discourse on secretive meanings of SAsthram, one of his disciples, thirumagizhmArban, knocked on the door. maNakkAl nambi told his disciples “open the door for my son thirumagizhmArban”. In the second incident, appiLLaiyAzhwAn quoted his AchAryan piLLaippiLLaiyAzhwAn saying “little brother appiLLaiyAzhwAn is my little fellow”.

ammmavO kodiyavARE – when I am crying out to him in sorrow, should he not get up? How can he sleep even after hearing my voice? Has his divine heart become so hardened? How is his nature! exclaims the AzhwAr. The word amma indicates deep anguish.

Let us proceed to the 38th pAsuram.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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thirumAlai – 36 – mazhaikkanRu varaimun Endhum

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krishna-Govardhan

avathArikai (introduction)

AzhwAr said in the previous pAsuram that emperumAn showed his simplicity and took him under his wings, after AzhwAr tried to go away from him thinking that he is not qualified to approach emperumAn. After coming out of the “unqualified” tag, his craving for attaining emperumAn increased manifold. He desired that emperumAn should take him to paramapadham and make him a servitor, as he usually does with followers who crave for him. But emperumAn did not do it. This is because emperumAn had struggled to keep AzhwAr with him after he decided to leave and he felt that only after increasing AzhwAr’s craving for him, which is like his hunger to enjoy him, would AzhwAr be able to enjoy him without any indigestion. Hence he kept quiet. Azhwar got scared whether he would remain in this samsAram which is ruled by worldly pursuits such as Sabdham etc (the five sensory perceptions such as sound, touch etc) and suffer.   Due to his craving desire to attain emperumAn and his hatred for the worldly pursuits, he cries out such that periya perumAL cannot sleep peacefully and those who hear him would melt.

Let us first go through the pAsuram and its meanings.

மழைக்கன்று வரை முன் ஏந்தும் மைந்தனே! மதுரவாறே!
உழைக்கன்றே போல நோக்கம் உடையவர் வலையுள் பட்டு
உழைக்கின்றேற்கு என்னை நோக்காது ஒழிவதே உன்னையன்றே
அழைக்கின்றேன் ஆதி மூர்த்தி அரங்கமா நகருளானே.

mazhaikkanRu varai mun Endhum maindhanE! madhuravARE!
uzhaikkanRE pOla nOkkamudaiyavar valaiyuL pattu
uzhaikkinRERku ennai nOkkAdhu ozhivadhE unnaiyanRE
azhaikkinREn AdhimUrththi! aranga mAnagaruLAnE

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Word-by-word Meaning

anRu – at that time (when indhra created a shower of hailstones)
mazhaikku – to stop the shower
varai – a mountain (that could be laid hands on)
mun – before (cows and other creatures could get harmed)
Endhum – bearing (effortlessly)
maindhanE – Oh one who has tremendous strength!
madhura ARE – Oh one who is like a most enjoyable river!
uzhai kanRu pOla nOkkam udaiyavar – women with eyes like a fawn’s
valaiyuL pattu – getting trapped in the net (of their eyes)
uzhaikkinRERku ennai – quivering person like me
nOkkadhu ozhivadhE – is it correct not to look at me comfortingly?
Adhi mUrththi –  the primordial cause
aranga mAnagar uLAnE – Oh, one who dwells inside the huge thiruvarangam (SrIrangam)!
unnai anRE – only you (who is looking for protecting others)
azhaikkinREn – I am calling out to

vyAkhyAnam (commentary)

mazhaikku – among AzhwArs, whenever they use the term “mazhai” [rain], it always refers to the hailstones that indhra [lord of celestial entities] showered when krishNa lifted the gOvardhan mountain, just as the word “Anai” [elephant] would always refer to gajEndhrAzhwAn [the elephant which was caught by the crocodile when it entered the pond to pluck a flower and offer it to emperumAn]. Why is AzhwAr now referring to preventing hailstones by lifting gOvardhana mountain? It is only to attain him and overcome the sorrows that he is having in samsAram (materialistic realm). He is recalling how the cowherds overcame the dangers posed by indhra by attaining him. Just as people who are hungry call out to wealthy people “Oh Lord! Please remove our hunger”, AzhwAr is calling out to emperumAn “Oh one, who rids people of dangers! Please remove my danger”

anRu – SrIvishNu purANam 5.11.13 says “thathasthath gOkulam sarvam gOgOpIjanasankulam I athIvArththam harir dhrushtvA maithrEyAchinthayath thadhA II” (Oh maithrEya! After seeing how the entire gOkulam, full of cows and gopIkAs (cowherd girls), was sorrowful, [krishNa] started thinking immediately). anRu refers to the day when the calves, cows and cowherds were quivering on seeing the hailstones showered by indhra. AzhwAr says that the danger that he faces today is the same as that faced by calves, cows and cowherds. Just as emperumAn protected them that day from the hailstones, he wants emperumAn to protect him from the shower of sorrow. AzhwAr asks emperumAn “is there any compulsion that one should suffer from hailstone to be protected by you? Will you not protect someone from shower of sorrow? Will you protect only if the entire village suffers? When I am suffering to the same extent as the entire AyppAdi (gOkulam) will you not protect me?

varai – When indhra ordered that all the clouds open up, they showered with such an intensity that it looked as if it was the deluge. On seeing this action of indhra because he was denied food by AyppAdi, not having the time to think of sudharSana chakra (the divine weapon, disc), krishNa picked up a mountain that he could lay his hand on. It is clear from this that it is not necessary for emperumAn to use a particular type of weapon to protect a particular type of people. The opinion of AzhwAr here is that emperumAn cannot say that he does not have a suitable weapon to protect him.

mun – since he had already used the term “anRu” to denote a specific time, the word “mun” cannot denote ‘earlier time’. Hence, we have to consider the meaning for this word as “before the cows got harmed”. AzhwAr shows here that emperumAn did not wait for harm to come the way of cows and cowherds, as they had no other refuge, but protected them before they were harmed. ALavandhAr, in his sthOthra rathnam 49 says “avivEkaghanAndhadhingmukhE  bahudhA santhathadhu:kha varshiNibhagavan! bhavadhurthdhinE padha: skalitham mAmavalOkayAchutha!II” (Oh one who is full of auspicious qualities such as gyAna (omniscience), Sakthi (power) etc! Oh one who does not let go of his followers! Show mercy on me who has fallen from the good path due to lack of discriminating ability in this samsAram, which is darkened from all sides by clouds and which is continuously buffeted by different types of sorrows by the darkness of monsoon ). AzhwAr is asking as to why emperumAn is not protecting him when he is calling out to him in pain.

Endhum – AzhwAr shows how krishNa lifted the mountain effortlessly, when he was only 7 years old, as if it were a ball of flowers. AzhwAr is asking whether he is not being protected because emperumAn will feel tired if he were to protect AzhwAr. Just as nithyasUris were holding garlands to adorn him, as said in thiruviruththam 21 “sUttu nanmAlaigaL Endhi”, emperumAn held the mountain for protecting his followers.

maindhanE – Oh one who has huge strength to lift a mountain! The word maindhu indicates strength. Alternatively, maindhan also indicates a young person. Thus, we can also consider the meaning as one who becomes young in age since he feels happy on seeing followers who come to him for protection. When a person gets the food that sustains him, he appears younger. The food that sustains a person varies for each person. For emperumAn, who is the protector of all, protecting his followers is the food that sustains him. Hence once he gets a person to be protected, he becomes younger. AzhwAr laments that while protecting him is for the benefit of emperumAn, he has to call out to him for protection.

madhura ARE – Oh one who is like a river which has taken the form of sweetness! Even if you are not the protector, as mentioned before, but one who is going to beat up and swallow the follower, your beauty is such that no one will leave you. madhura ARE – why call him as river instead of sea? Since sea water is brackish, it cannot be used for anything. River water, on the other hand, would be useful for taking a bath on a hot day, for washing the face, for drinking when thirsty. Even when it is not hot, it would be useful for removing dirt. Sea will not come to the spot where he is, while river will. Just as a flowing river, during floods, will break dams and come fiercely, this loving river [emperumAn] also gushes in, breaking the dam that AzhwAr had built around himself, feeling  “unfit”. Just as the river comes to the place of the person who uses it, this loving river, in its incarnation, comes to his place. AzhwAr thinks of how emperumAn took birth in the dwelling of cowherds, after leaving his paramapadham (SrIvaikuNtam).

emperumAn asks AzhwAr “that day, I removed the danger when indhra showered hailstones. Through whom are you facing danger, today?” AzhwAr responds . . . . .

uzhaikkanRE pOla nOkkam udaiyavar valaiyuL pattu uzhaikkinRERku – I am suffering, being trapped in the net of eyes of women, which are like the eyes of a fawn. While these women do not have any affection in their hearts, they will feign as if they consider him as everything and they have no other refuge. I am caught in the trap laid by their eyes, which are like the eyes of a beautiful deer. uzhai refers to a deer and uzhaikkanRu, to a fawn. A net is one which will trap an animal, ensure that the animal cannot escape and, by itself, will be of no use to the animal. The vision-like net of these women also traps a person, making it very rare for someone to escape from it; prevents the person from getting involved with emperumAn who is there as sustaining force and nurturing; and, it is also not having any sweetness within it.

ennai – me, who, unlike the cows in gOkulam which were protected, knows that I have fallen in deep sorrow, knows that only you can protect me from this sorrow and who is praying to you to protect me.

nOkkAdhu ozhivadhE – when the danger came through stones, you protected with stones [mountain]; when the danger is through the glance [of women], should you not glance at me (protect me)? There is no trouble for you in protecting me, as you do not have to lift a mountain. It is enough if you just glance at me, to comfort my heart. Instead of praying to him to “look at me”, why is he telling emperumAn, with sadness, “why are not looking at me?” This is because, his closeness to emperumAn and emperumAn’s firm affability and simplicity make him say these words with sadness. Even after AzhwAr speaks these words, why is emperumAn keeping quiet? “If I take him under me, he will again try to leave me, thinking  that he is unfit to be with me”. Hence, just as a mother waits for her child’s indigestion to be cured fully and the child feels hungry, before feeding it, emperumAn also decides to wait for AzhwAr’s craving to increase further before giving himself to AzhwAr for him to enjoy. Just as a sick child’s wailing to his mother “give me food”, after he is cured, makes the mother pleased, emperumAn also keeps lying down, listening to AzhwAr’s cry.

unnaiyanRE azhaikkinREn – am I calling at the door of any lowly person? When I am calling out “please protect me” to you, who is searching for someone to be protected, why is it not falling in your ears? Are you having some other work? You cannot say that you are involved in the work of controlling the world. Even that work appears to be done only for me.

emperumAn asks him “what is the compulsion for me to carry out your work at your bidding?” ..

AdhimUrththi – when these chEthana entities were mingled together with achEthana entities without any difference during deluge, without their asking, you only gave them an opportunity and hence it is your responsibility to protect them. chAndhOgya upanishath 6.2.9 says “thadhaikshatha bahu syAm prajAyEyEthi thath thEjO’srujatha” (that brahmam took a vow “l will multiply myself’ for that “I will create myself”. It created radiance). Since you created these, you are responsible for their protection. It is the parents’ responsibility to protect their child. When a child trips and falls, it cries out “ammA” only.

aranga mAnagar uLAnE – to make you protect me, do I need to go to the origin of creation, just like one tries to clean an old well? Is it not enough that you left paramapadham and came to SrIrangam for sleeping? Is there any benefit for your being in SrIrangam other than protecting me? Based on each person’s deeds (good or bad) you could have protected from paramapadham itself. There was no need for you to come to SrIrangam.

arangamAnagar uLAnE unnaiyanRE azhaikkinREn – I cannot call you at paramapadham. After you came to SrIrangam to create a ruchi (taste for only good things), and after I acquired that taste, should I lose it?

Even after hearing this from AzhwAr, why is emperumAn keeping quiet? emperumAn has heard such calls from paramapadham after they have enjoyed him and calling out to him. He has heard samsAris calling out to him for granting them worldly wishes. He knows that AzhwAr’s calling out is not one such. The efforts that emperumAn had taken since time immemorial are now fructifying and this call of AzhwAr is due to that. Since he has not heard this in a long time, he wants to hear this for some more time. Hence he is keeping quiet.

Let us next take up the 37th pAsuram.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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thirumAlai – 35 – thAvi anRu ulagamellAm

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thrivikraman-thirukkovalur

avathArikai (introduction)

periya perumAL felt sad that AzhwAr had decided to move away from him and may even get ruined. He is worried that he may lose him. He asks AzhwAr “AzhwIr? What is the reason for your decision to leave my presence?” to which AzhwAr responds “instead of approaching you, by telling lies to an omniscient entity to you and bringing disrepute to you, it is better to move with samsAris, who do not know my intentions and with whom I have been together since time immemorial. I can remain with them from now onwards”.  periya perumAL divines “it is good that you approached me. I do not see faults in my followers. samsAris will look at all the faults of others, without exception. I look at all the good qualities of followers, without leaving anything. Hence, irrespective of the number of faults that one has, it is very apt if he leaves samsAris and comes to me”.  AzhwAr asks periya perumAL “are these mere comforting words or have you shown this in practice?” and periya perumAL replies “It is there for a very long time” and shows AzhwAr how he measured the worlds as thrivikrama. “That I measured all the worlds as thrivikrama is mentioned in vEdhas for a very long time. Have you not heard of it? By keeping my foot on both brAhmaNas, who control their sensory organs, and chaNdALas, who are of very low birth, without differentiating between them, I showed that there is none who is ill-disposed towards me” says emperumAn, showing AzhwAr his simplicity and how it is difficult for him to sustain himself should AzhwAr leave him, comforting AzhwAr in this pAsuram, who also gets comforted. AzhwAr meditates on the meanings meditated by nammAzhwAr in his thiruvAimozhi 1.5.1vaLavEzh ulagu” in the previous pAsuram and this pAsuram.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings.

தாவியன்று உலக எல்லாம் தலை விளாக் கொண்ட எந்தாய்
சேவியேன் உன்னையல்லால் சிக்கெனைச் செங்கண் மாலே
ஆவியே! அமுதே! என்றன் ஆருயிர் அனைய எந்தாய்
பாவியேன் உன்னை அல்லால் பாவியேன் பாவியேனே.

thAviyanRu ulagam ellAm thalai viLAk koNda endhAy
sEviyEn unnaiyallAl chikkenach chengaN mAlE
AviyE! amudhE! endhan Aruyir anaiya endhAy
pAviyEn unnai allAl pAviyEn pAviyEnE

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Word-by-word meaning

anRu – on that day (when the worlds were seized by mahAbali)
ulagam ellAm – all the worlds
thAvi thalaiviLAkkoNda – going across, pervading everyone’s head with divine feet
endhAy – my swAmy (lord)
unnai allAl sEviyEn – I will not worship anyone other than you
sem kaN mAlE – Oh the one with reddish eyes, being partial towards his followers!
AviyE – being my vital air
amudhE – being the nectar
endhan Ar uyir anaiya endhAy – my swAmy, being the in-dwelling soul of my life, like nectar
pAviyEn – sinner like I
chikkena – surely (at all times)
unnai allAl – other than you
pAviyEn – will not think of (others)
pAviyEnE – I have committed lot of sins

vyAkhyAnam (commentary)

thAvi – crossing. If emperumAn had given prior information that “I am going to keep my foot on your heads”, the samsAris, with huge egos, would have refused to take his divine foot on their heads and would have ordered him “don’t keep”. Just as people with sathva guNam (pure good qualities) would have ordered “thiruvANai ninnANai” (thiruvAimozhi 10.10.2) in order to ensure that emperumAn keeps his divine foot on their heads without refusing, these samsAris would have ordered that emperumAn’s divine foot should not come near them. It was only because of this that emperumAn kept his divine foot on their heads without their knowing about it, and grew rapidly, without either they [samsAris] or he, getting enervated.

anRu – on that day when the status of he being the master and samsAris being the servitors was in ruins and mahAbali had seized the worlds.

ulagamellAm – instead of being satisfied with measuring the three worlds seized by mahAbali, his divine foot went all the way to brahmalOkam, after it graced the heads of all the people, without any discrimination between the great and lowly ones, and grew in size.

thalai viLAkkoNda – AzhwAr shows that the excitement of the protector [emperumAn] was much more than the size of the entity that he protected . purusha sUktham 1 says “sahasra SIrshA purusha: sahasrAksha: sahasrapAdh I sa bhUmim viSvathO vruthvA athyathishtadhdhaSAngulam II” (nArAyaNa, who is called as purusha, has countless heads, countless eyes, countless legs; he surrounded the earth on all sides and pervaded for countless yOjanas (one yOjana is 10 miles or 16 kilometers) beyond the earth). Thus purusha sUktham also mentioned that emperumAn pervaded much beyond the earth, all the way upto nithya vibhUthi. The term thAvi thalai viLAkkoNda shows that he measured much more than what he had to measure [the three worlds seized by mahAbali].

endhAy – what is the reason for emperumAn to keep his divine feet, referred to by thirumangai AzhwAr in thirukkuRundhAndagam 6 as “amarar sennippUvinai” (the divine feet borne by nithyasUris on their heads) on the heads of samsAris, who do not have any involvement with them? AzhwAr shows that it is due to the indelible relationship between emperumAn and samsAris. AzhwAr addresses emperumAn as endhAy  since emperumAn had kept his divine foot on AzhwAr’s head too, on that day. The opinion here is that it is due to the goodwill of the effort on that day that he has reformed today. Just as a mother hugs her child while it is sleeping, emperumAn also graced the samsAris on that day by touching them with his divine foot and protecting them. On that day, AzhwAr did not know the relationship that he had with emperumAn and today, since he knows it, he calls emperumAn as endhAy (lord or master); even today, the samsAris have not realised this and AzhwAr makes himself happier for them too.

sEviyEn unnai allAl – emperumAn asks AzhwAr “why then did you think of moving away from me?” AzhwAr responds “I thought of leaving you because I did not know your simplicity. Having known this, I will not leave you hereafter and will not hold on to something else” “If I leave you, I should either be independent like a king or be a servitor to someone else. Such shortcomings will not come to me hereafter” says the AzhwAr. In thirumanthram [ashtAksharam], the first word, praNavam negated being servitor to others and the second word, nama, negated being independent like a king. AzhwAr shows these two aspects in his words sEviyEn unnai allAl. Is it correct to say that he will not worship others? Since being a servitor to emerpumAn is considered to be equivalent to worshipping him, by force of habit, AzhwAr uses the same word (worshipping) when it comes to talking about others.

emperumAn asks him “for how long will you have this determination?” . . . .

chikkena – this will last forever. It will last till my AthmA lasts [i.e. forever]. Just as nammAzhwAr says in thiruvAimozhi 2.6.1pidhiththEn koL chikkenavE” (I held on to you forever), AzhwAr gives refuge to emperumAn who is in grief that AzhwAr would leave him. It is AzhwAr’s turn to tell emperumAn “mA sucha:” (don’t feel saddened), just as emperumAn told arjuna in bhagavath gIthA.

sengaNmAlE – this word does not reflect the natural reddishness in emperumAn’s eyes. It denotes the unique reddishness acquired by emperumAn’s eyes on hearing the word “chikkena” from AzhwAr. After hearing AzhwAr say “sEviyEn unnaiyallAl chikkena”, the fear that emperumAn felt after hearing AzhwAr say in the previous pAsuram “veLgippOy” (I am leaving you out of shame) disappeared; the uncontrollable love that emerpumAn felt towards AzhwAr  manifested as radiance in his eyes. Another interpretation for sengaNmAlE is – In SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 17.29, sugrIva tells SrI rAma when vibhIshaNa comes to take refuge under SrI rAma “vadhyathAmEsha dhaNdEna thIvrENa sachivais saha I rAvaNasya nruSamsasya bhrAthA hyEsha vibhIshaNa:  II” (let this vibhIshaNa, with his ministers, be tormented, through harsh punishment. Is not this vibhIshaNa the brother of the cruel rAvaNa?). On hearing this, the heart of SrI rAma was in tatters. It was similar to that of periya perumAL when he heard from AzhwAr in the previous pAsuram “vilavarachchiriththittEnE”. When hanuman responded with this SlOka (yudhdha kANdam 18.1) “atha: rAma prasannAthmA SruthvA vAtu suthasya ha I prathyabhAshatha dhurthdharsha: SruthavAnAthmani sthitham II” (later, one who cannot be won over (by words), one who had learnt about various matters (from vasishta and others), SrI rAma, after hearing vAyu’s son (vAyu is the dhEvathA for wind) hanuman’s sweet words, became clear in his mind and started speaking from his divine mind). rAma came back to existence after hearing hanuman. In the same way, periya perumAL, after hearing AzhwAr say chikkena  came back to existence. Just as hanuman told SrI rAma in rAmAvathAram “mA sucha:” (do not feel sad), AzhwAr offers refuge to periya perumAL in archAvathAram. sengaNmAlE — unnaiyallAl sEviyEn – the opinion here is that AzhwAr canot go from perumAL when perumAL’s face blossoms out of love, on getting AzhwAr.

Is that all? . . . . .

AviyE – where else can I go from you, who is like my breath [vital air]? AzhwAr does not consider that air [which is breathed] is a state of vAyu (wind), as mentioned in SAsthras. Just as nammAzhwAr says in thiruvAimozhi 7.2.9 “en thirumagaL sErmArvanE ennum ennudaiya AviyE ennum” (one who is the repository for pirAtti (SrI mahAlakshmi) and who is the breath of nammAzhwAr), this AzhwAr considers Sriman nArAyaNa as his breath.

amudhE – apart from being the sustaining force like breath, emperumAn is also like nectar, which is infinitely sweet, and which is like a medicine for saving AzhwAr’s AthmA from death.

Is that all? . . . .

en Aruyiranaiya – aren’t you my AthmA? The opinion here is that the body cannot go outside and live, without the AthmA.

endhAy – aren’t you the swAmy (master) who took me back when I tried to leave you and ruin myself, thinking that I am not fit to approach you? The view here is that AzhwAr has no place to go to, leaving emperumAn, who is (1) like sengaNmAl to AzhwAr, showing motherly love through his lotus like eyes; (2) AzhwAr’s breath; (3) like a sweet nectar to AzhwAr; (4) AzhwAr’s AthmA, guiding him properly like his swAmy.

emperumAn asks the AzhwAr “the words that you speak are beautiful. Are these also lies like you said earlier in the 33rd pAsuramaiyanE aranganE” and 30th pAsuramennai ALudaiya kOvE”? . . .

pAviyEn unnaiyallAl – AzhwAr says “the reason why I decided to leave you (as being unapproachable), who graced the heads of all samsAris with your divine feet, is because of my sins”

pAviyEn pAviyEnE – The meaning of first pAviyEn  is that he has lot of  sins; the meaning of the second pAviyEn is that he will not think of anyone else other than emperumAn. Another interpretation for pAviyEn pAviyEnE – both the terms mean the word pAvi, showing the excessive sin that he has committed. The opinion here is that his sins are the reason for his trying to leave emperumAn, who, not only does not mind the faults in followers, but who also does not hate samsAris who hate him. Yet another interpretation is that through the first pAviyEn he talks about the sin that he would have committed by leaving emperumAn and ruining himself and the second pAviyEn would indicate the sin that he would have committed by leaving emperumAn, who is the cause for existence of all, by ruining emperumAn himself and consequently all the others.

We shall take up the 36th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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