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thirumAlai – 34 – uLLaththE uRaiyum mAlai

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antharyami

avathArikai (Introduction)

emperumAn lives in the minds of chEthanas (sentient entities). Since the mind is the gateway through which our knowledge emerges, emperumAn knows all our faults. AzhwAr feels ashamed that he, being a liar, had caused blemish to the omniscient emperumAn by approaching him. What a terrible deed have I done, exclaims AzhwAr. “Instead of bringing blemish to emperumAn, I could have stayed with samsAris (dwellers of materialistic realm), who are ignorant of my faults” says the AzhwAr, “and it would be better even if I were to die, instead of causing harm to emperumAn”. Saying so, AzhwAr leaves the divine feet of emperumAn in which he had such a strong desire.

Let us look at the pAsuram and its meanings.

உள்ளத்தே உறையும் மாலை  உள்ளுவான்  உணர்வு ஒன்று இல்லாக்
கள்ளத்தேன் நானும் தொண்டாய்த் தொண்டுக்கே கோலம் பூண்டு
உள்ளுவார் உள்ளிற்று எல்லாம் உடன் இருந்து அறிதியென்று
வெள்கிப்போய் என்னுள்ளே நான் விலவறச் சிரித்திட்டேனே.

uLLaththE uRaiyum mAlai uLLuvAn uNarvu onRu illAk
kaLLaththEn nAnum thoNdAyth thoNdukkE kOlam pUNdu
uLLuvAr uLLiRRU ellAm udan irundhu aRithiyenRu
veLgippOy ennuLLE nAn vilavaRach chiriththittEnE

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Word by word meanings

uLLaththE – inside the heart [mind]
uRaiyum – dwelling (constantly)
mAlai – emperumAn, who is omniscient
uLLuvAn uNarvu – the knowledge to meditate upon
onRu illA – without even a little bit
kaLLaththEn nAnum – I, the thief
thoNdu Ay – being subservient to you
thoNdukkE kOlam pUNdu – putting on an act of being subservient
uLLuvAr uLLiRRu ellAm – the thoughts of those who are thinking
udan irundhu – being together with
aRidhi enRu – (knowing) that you know
ennuLLE – within myself
nAn – I
veLgi – being ashamed
pOy – leaving (you)
vilavu aRa – such that the rib will break
siriththittEn – I laughed.

vyAkhyAnam (Commentary)

uLLaththE emperumAn dwells in the heart which is the spring-board for thoughts. If he were to dwell outside, he would not know anything other than whatever the eye sees. The opinion here is that since he dwells inside, it is not possible to deceive him.

uRaiyum – dwelling in the heart constantly. If he were to go out for a little while, one can behave in whichever way one wanted. But since he dwells constantly in the heart,  even that is not possible, is the opinion here.

mAlai – one who is greater than everyone else. Even though jIvAthmA dwells inside, he will not know everything which is inside. Even though cosmos pervades everything, it does not control everything that it pervades. The opinion here is that since emperumAn knows everything and controls everything, it is well nigh impossible to deceive him.

uLLuvAn uNarvu illA – without the knowledge to meditate that he resides inside me as antharyAmi (indwelling soul).  uNarvu onRu illA – it is not that there is no knowledge about paramAthmA (emperumAn); there is  no knowledge about jIvAthmA too [jIvAthmA is the soul that takes up a body and controls it]. Knowledge about self [jIvAthmA] is a prerequisite for knowledge about paramAthmA who dwells inside the jIvAthmA. onRillA – there is no knowledge about jIvAthmA. Subsequently there is no knowledge about paramAthmA. There is no knowledge about the nature of the body – “this body is very lowly; it is transient; it is different from jIvAthmA; jIvAthmA is there only to carry out kainkaryam (servitude) to paramAthmA” etc.

kaLLaththEn – I am such a thief that I put on an act to make other people not think that I do not have any knowledge. In an assembly of fools I will cheat them by saying “there is no fault in me known to myself” and in an assembly of learned people I will cheat them by saying “there is nothing good in me as known to my antharAthmA (the indwelling soul)” by putting on an act of being lowly. Thus, the learned people will think “he thinks so lowly of himself. Surely he will have very good knowledge about AthmA  as well as of paramAthmA”. Despite being the repository of all vices, I made everyone believe, in this way, that I did not have any vice. I indulged in all these acts of chicanery even while knowing that you [emperumAn] are there as a witness.

nAnum  thoNdAy – I, without having any of the good qualities, did not carry out the act of servitude that people, with knowledge of themselves, should do. Who should carry out the servitude of whom? SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 17.14 says “yaScha rAmam na paSyEththu yancha rAmO na paSyathi I nindhitha: sa vasEllOkE svAthmApyEnam vigarhathE II” (one who has not seen rAma, one who has not been seen by rAma, he lives, despised by the worldly people. His AthmA will also despise such a person). If a chaNdALa (one born in a very low caste) were to learn vEdhas, wouldn’t  the people of the world despise him? In the same way, AzhwAr despises himself, saying that he was trying to carry out kainkaryam which should be carried out by good people.

thoNdukkE kOlam pUNdu – not only did I carry out acts of deceit on you, I also made those who had very good qualities to bow down to me by indulging in falsified acts and earning good name. I wear the 12 Urdhva puNdrams [the marks worn by SrIvaishNavas on their bodies to indicate their subservience to emperumAn]; I don the five divine weapons on my body; I recite your divine names such as “achyudhA amararERE Ayar tham kozhundhE” (pAsuram 2) from the lips instead of with full, deep belief; I sing about your sweetness by saying “ichchuvai thavaira achchuvai peRinum vENdEn” (pAsuram 2); I claim that I placed my feet on the head of yamadharmarAja and his clan by singing “nAvalittu uzhi tharuginROm naman thamar thalaigaL mIdhE” and bewilder people; I counsel others thinking of myself as a learned man. How much have I done like this? How much have I babbled like this?

uLLuvAr uLLiRRellAm udan irundhu aRidhi enRu – I understood that he [emperumAn] knows every thought that one thinks of, as he dwells constantly inside the heart which is the source for thoughts to emerge. It is pertinent here to think of the words spoken by SakunthalA to dhushyantha. SakunthalA vAkhyam (bhAratham 38.29) says “EkO’hamasmIthi cha manyasE thvam na hruchchayam vEthsi munim purANam I yO vEdhithA karmaNa: pApakasya thyAnthikE thvam vrujinam karOshi II” ([Oh dhushyantha maharAja !] you think “only I am there”. You do not realise that bhagavAn, the Adhipurusha [the first entity] is dwelling constantly in the heart . You are carrying out sinful deeds at the proximity of one who knows of such sinful deeds). AzhwAr suggests here that he was indulging in improper deeds even when emperumAn, who is omniscient and who controls everything, dwells in his heart.

veLgip pOy – AzhwAr feels ahamed after realising his deceitful nature, emperumAn’s omniscience and his dwelling constantly in his heart. pOy – Once he felt ashamed, he could not stand in the presence of emperumAn, with bowed head, and leaves his presence. If one were ashamed of something, he would leave from that place and go to a place where it is not present. Without the thought that there is not a place where emperumAn is not present, AzhwAr searches for such a place.

ennuLLE nAn – samsAris cannot join hands with him for laughing off his act of foolishness, as they are totally ignorant. emperumAn also will not join him in his laughter as AzhwAr wanted to leave the presence of emperumAn. Hence AzhwAr has to laugh all by himself. Since there was none to join him in this act of laughing and since he realised his foolishness, he himself became his supporter for laughing.

vilavaRach chiriththittEnE – He laughed so much that his ribs broke, says AzhwAr. Since the deed that he carried out [of finding a place which did not have emperumAn’s presence] was in the forefront of all foolish acts, there was no limit to his laughter too. His act of trying to leave emperumAn’s presence is like a person who, wishing to commit suicide by jumping into fire, eats betel leaves and decorates himself with flowers before he jumps and he laughs at that. When arjuna heard the other paths to attain bhagavAn, before krishNa spoke to him about charama SlOkam, arjuna felt disheartened because the other paths were so very difficult to practice. He waited with the hope that krishNa would offer a solution to this. AzhwAr, since he thought that he should not approach emperumAn any more, decides to leave him without any desire. He tries to leave the presence of emperumAn, laughing to himself, just as a person, deciding to jump into fire, takes betel leaves and decorates himself with flowers.

We shall move on to the 35th pAsuram.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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thirumAlai – 33 – meyyellAm pOgavittu

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periyaperumal-art-4

avathArikai (Introduction)

Until now, in the last eight pAsurams, AzhwAr has said that he does not have any virtue in him and that he has all the vices too and that he does not bode well for emperumAn. He emphasises the same in this pAsuram too. emperumAn, on hearing his statement in the previous pAsuram that he, despite being a fool, had come to emperumAn, asks him “if this statement of yours (of being an ignorant, foolish person) came from your heart, I shall take this as accepting your state of being without anything in your hands and try to redeem you. Was the statement that you are a fool said by you sincerely?” to which AzhwAr responds, “even that is a lie”. emperumAn asks “If there is nothing in you as a means to attain me, how do I redeem you”  and AzhwAr says “is there any means other than the connection with your divine feet and your causeless mercy?”, mentioning the ultimate means for attaining emperumAn.

Let us enjoy the pAsuram and its meanings, first.

மெய்யெலாம் போகவிட்டு விரி குழலாரில் பட்டு
பொய்யெலாம் பொதிந்து கொண்ட போட்கனேன் வந்து நின்றேன்
ஐயனே அரங்கனே உன் அருள் என்னும் ஆசை தன்னால்
பொய்யனேன் வந்து நின்றேன் பொய்யனேன் பொய்யனேனே

meyyellAm pOgavittu viri kuzhalAril pattup
poyyellAm podhindhu koNda pOtkanEn vandhu ninREn
aiyanE! aranganE! un aruL ennum Asai thannAl
poyyanEn vandhu ninREn poyyanEn poyyanEnE

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Word-by-word meaning

aiyanE – Oh Lord!
aranganE – the dweller of thiruvarangam (SrIrangam)!
mey ellAm – all the true means or entities (thought, word and deed)
pOgavittu – giving them up totally
viri kuzhalAril – in the net of women with well spread locks of hair
pattu – being caught
poy ellAm – different types of lies
podhindhu koNdu – holding to the brim
pOtkanEn – I, without any place to go
un aruL ennum Asai thannAl – out of the desire kindled by your grace
vandhu ninREn , poyyanEn, poyyanEn, poyyanEn – through the three means (of thought, word and action), I stood in front of you, as a liar
vandhu ninREn – I stood in front you, the omniscient.

vyAkhyAnam (commentary)

meyyellAmmey (truth) is something which leads to good for all jIvAthmAs, and describes things as they are [without adding or removing anything]. Truth is the basis on which AzhwAr had said in the earlier pAsurams the good things that he did not have. In kaiSika mahAthmyam 32 nampAduvAn says “sathyamUlamitham sarvam lOka:sathyE prathishtitha: I nAham mithyA pravakshyAmi sathyamEva vadhAmyaham  II” (it was through sathyam (truth) that all these worlds came about; the world sustains on truth; (hence) I will not speak lie; (always) I will speak the truth). Because he had a bit of involvement with emperumAn, nampAduvAn, despite being born in a lowly caste and carrying out the deeds of that caste, told the brahmarAkshas (a demon) that came to eat him “those who are involved with emperumAn will not tell lies”. ellAm – since truth is of different types, AzhwAr says all types. In other words, thinking of something, as it is, speaking it, as it is, and doing it, as it is. The opinion here is that he does not have any of these truths in him. Alternatively, some people will speak truth to their relatives and lies to others; he implies that he does not speak truth even to his relatives.

pOgavittu – I got rid of these truths to such an extent that they did not even find a place in the country that I live in. If I speak truth to my relatives, a trace of that would be with me; I did not do even this. Since samsAris are ignorant, it is possible to speak lies to them and manage; but I spoke lies even to you, who is omniscient, laments the AzhwAr.

When emperumAn asks him as to where he learnt to speak such lies . . . .

viri kuzhalAril pattu – I moved with women, says AzhwAr. The meaning implied here is that just as it is impossible for someone to speak lies when he is close to emperumAn, it is impossible to speak truth when someone is with women. Is it not rare for someone who speaks truth to be in the company of women? virikuzhalAril – if the lady had done up her hair, the man would exclaim “how beautiful it is! How well the garland has been strung around the hair!” And, if the lady had let loose her hair, he would exclaim “what can I say about the beauty of the hair let loose, like a peacock spreads its wings!” Just as nammAzhwAr says in thiruvAimozhi 5.10.2 “adhu idhu udhu ennalAvana alla ennai un seygai naivikkum” (if one thinks of the playful activities of emperumAn he would be totally involved and lose himself in emperumAn), the person engages with women in the same way that a sAthvika (purely good) person engages with emperumAn.  pattu  – just as a fish trapped by a net cannot extricate itself, a person who gets trapped by women also cannot extricate himself. The extent to which he is trapped can be gauged from the fact that even when AchAryan (teacher) shows him the beauty of emperumAn’s thirumEni through his upadhESam (spiritual teaching), the disciple’s heart keeps thinking of the women who are sweet to him.

poyyellAm podhindhukoNda – just as he got rid of all the truths, he accumulated gradually, all the lies. AzhwAr shows that just as involvement with emperumAn would make liars to speak truth, involvement with women will make those who speak truth, to speak lies. ellAm – just as truths are of different kinds, lies are also of many types and hence he uses the word ellAm (all). He has accumulated whatever goes by the name of “lie”. podhindhu koNda – AzhwAr says that he made sure that none of the lies that he accumulated, left him. He says that he is the wholesale merchant for lies so that if someone wants to tell a lie to his lady, he would approach AzhwAr. He made sure that none of the lies escaped from his clutches.

pOtkanEn vandhu ninREn – if I think of my lowliness, I would step back saying “only those who speak truth can approach emperumAn. A liar like me should not approach him”. Since I had no other place to go to, rather shamelessly, I came and stood in front of your divine presence. ninREn – just as those who carried out certain tasks as means to attain emperumAn [such as karma yOgam, gyAna yOgam, bhakthi yOgam] stand at the doorstep of emperumAn to collect their benefit, like a servant stands for his salary, I too stood like them. pOtkanEn – one without a refuge.

emperumAn asks him “I am approached by those good people who are able to control both their external and internal sensory organs. Why are you coming to me? Why don’t you go to those women with spread locks?” . . . .

aiyanE – Since I have a natural relationship with you which cannot be severed, I came. Even children, who have caused harms to their parents, approach them through the backdoor. I have such a relationship with you.

aranganE – emperumAn asks him “was it through SAsthras (sacred texts) or through AchAryan’s upadhESam (teaching of a guru) that you came to know of this relationship?”  AzhwAr responds “it was not through these, but because you came to thiruvarangam to take rest, that I came to know” How is this possible?  emperurAn, not considering the superiority of SrIvaikuNtam, came down to samsAram, knowing very well that it is inhabited by those who hate him, only to ensure that samsAris are redeemed. That the samsAris are people who are not detested by him is clear from the way he is lying at SrIrangam after taking a vow that he will not leave this samsAram until it is fully uprooted [and shifted to SrIvaikuNtam].

emperumAn asks AzhwAr “what is it that you want from me?” . . . .

un aruL ennum Asai thannAl – vandhu ninREn – My desire is that I should get your grace; hence I came. His grace is such that even those who have harmed themselves to such an extent that they will get ruined, can desire for it. In SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 38.95, vAlmIki says “satham nipathitham bhUmau saraNya: saraNAgatham I vadhArhamapi kAkuthsa: krupyA paryapAlayath II” (even though kAkAsuran, who fell to the ground and surrendered, deserved to be killed, SrI rAma, through his grace, saved him, as he is the refuge).

emperumAn says “I am waiting for persons like you who do not have anything good in them and who have all the vices in them and who know the relationship between themselves and me. Isn’t it true that you have come after realising this?” . . . .

poyyanEnAzhwAr responds “if I look at it deeply, even this appears to be false. Can there be anything that I can claim as truth in front of you, who is omniscient?”.

poyyanEn – there is nothing that I do not have which is called as vice. I said this because, ahirbhudhnya samhithai 37.30 says “ahamasmyaparAdhAnAmAlayO’kinchanO’gathi: I thvamEvOpAyabhUthO mEbhavEthi prArthanAmathi: II SaraNAgathirithyukthA sA dhEvE’smin prayujyathAm II” (“I am repository of all vices; I do not have any means (to protect myself); I do not have a refuge (other than you); you have to be my means” – SaraNAgathi is the thought that prays like this. Let this be carried out in the matter of this bhagavAn). SAsthras say that if one says like this in your divine presence, it will yield benefit. Hence I said that, says AzhwAr. I did not say it because my lowliness hit me.

poyannEnE – I said this lie to you, who is omniscient by nature, such that even you were deluded into believing as truth what I said as lie. Thinking of the lies that he had said in the earlier pAsurams such as “Adharam peruga vaiththa azhagan” (16), “kaNNiNai kaLikkumARE” (17), “paniyarumbu udhirumAlO” (18), “udal enakku urugumAlO” (19), AzhwAr says “poyyanEn poyyanEnE” . How many lies can I say in your divine presence, where I should be speaking only truth?

Let us move on to pAsuram 34, next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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thirumAlai – 32 – Arththu vaNdalambum

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periyaperumal-art

avathArikai (Introduction)

emperumAn tells AzhwAr “samsAris do not involve themselves with me. You are a person who is not liked by samsAris. How did you come to me?”. AzhwAr says “Is it possible to ascribe reasons to actions that I carry out on impulse, like a fool? I came because I am a fool”.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings.

ஆர்த்து வண்டு அலம்பும் சோலை அணி திருவரங்கம் தன்னுள்
கார்த்திரளனைய மேனிக் கண்ணனே! உன்னைக் காணும்
மார்க்கம் ஒன்று அறியமாட்டா மனிசரில் துரிசனாய
மூர்க்கனேன் வந்து நின்றேன் மூர்க்கனேன் மூர்க்கனேனே

Arththu vaNdu alambum sOlai aNi thiruvarangam thannuL
kArththiraLanaiya mEni kaNNanE! unnaik kANum
mArkkam onRu aRiyamAttA manisaril thurisanAya
mUrkkanEn vandhu ninREn mUrkkanEn mUrkkanEnE

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Word by word meaning

vaNdu – beetles
Arththu – making a sound
alambum – moving around
sOlai – of groves
aNi – (for samsAram, materialistic world) being beautiful like an ornament
thiru arangam thannuL – inside the temple (lying down)
kAr thiraL anaiya – like dark clouds
mEni – having divine body
kaNNanE – Oh krishNa! (who gives his divine body to his followers)
unnai kANum mArkkam onRu – a path to attain you
aRiyamAttA – not knowing
manisaril – among the people
thirusan Aya – like a criminal
mUrkkanEn – a fool who will not let go of what he likes
vandhu ninREn – (unmindful of my lowliness) came and stood
mUrkkanEn kUrkkanEnE – how foolish am I !

vyAkhyAnam (commentary)

Arththu vaNdu alambum sOlai – the beetles, which came to drink honey from the flowers in the beautiful groves, drank much more than what they could hold; as a result, they were not able to remain in one place and were humming and moving around. This is very similar to the mukthars (those who had left samsAram and reached paramapadham), who, after enjoying emperumAn, start singing sAma gAnam (reciting sAma vEdham with musical tone) out of sheer joy. The sweetness of thiruvarangam (SrI rangam) is such that beetles reached the status of mukthars. In SrI rAmAyaNam, sundhara kANdam, the army of monkeys, returning after sighting sIthAp pirAtti in lankA, entered madhuvanam, the favourite garden of sugrIva. There, out of joy “gAyanthi kEchith, praNamanthi kEchith, nruthyanthi kEchith” – some of the monkeys sang, some danced, some pushed those that they were carrying. Thus, the beetles experienced what the monkeys in madhuvanam experienced. There is a difference between the calling of AzhwAr and that of the beetles, While AzhwAr is crying out for his existence, the beetles are crying out of joy of drinking honey.

vaNdalambum sOlai – Just as mArkaNdEya maharishi was caught in praLayam (deluge) and was tossed around, the beetles, entering flowers to drink honey, drank too much of it and were tossed around like the maharishi and like a garden caught in flood.

aNi arangam thannuL – thiruvarangam (SrIrangam) is like an ornament to samsAram. In SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 16.26 “bharthA nAma param nAryA bhUshaNam bhUshaNAdhapi I EshA virahithA thEna bhUshaNArhA na SObhathE II” (husband is a greater ornament than all other ornaments to a wife. This pirAtti [sIthA], who is to be decorated with all ornaments, is not bright as she is separated from her husband). Thus, when emperumAn, the consort of bhUmi, himself is an ornament to bhUmi, why mention that SrIrangam is an ornament?  The meaning hinted here is that while emperumAn is the lord of leelA vibhUthi (materialistic realm), when he is not in SrIrangam, it appears that the world is like those women who are not wearing their mAngalya sUthram [the sacred, yellow thread worn by married women]. By joining the words, one can get sOlai aNi thiruvarangam which will mean that the large temple has the groves as ornament.

kArththiraL anaiya mEni – when one looks at the lying posture of emperumAn in SrIrangam it would appear as if the clouds, mistaking the flood of honey in the groves for sea, drank honey to their brim and unable to go out, took shelter inside the turret of SrIrangam temple. emperumAn’s form is such that one can equate the clouds to him to an extent, because of the dark coloured form, coolness, helping others causelessly, without expecting anything in return and giving away everything to others, not keeping anything for self. nammAzhwAr also opined that he was reminded of emperumAn when he looked at clouds, in his thiruvAimozhi 8.5.8 “thokka mEgap palkuzhAngaL” (the mass of dense clouds).

kaNNanE – this word refers to periya perumAL’s greatness, more than the clouds’. Cloud will hover at a great distance, high above us, and help us by giving water. periya perumAL is born along with lowly people, remains close by, and helps by giving himself. How can we say that periya perumAL is kaNNan? Our pUrvAchAryas would say that “when one looks at periya perumAL, one would see the person who had stealthily eaten all the butter saved by yaSOdhaip pirAtti and roamed around all over the place like a dark bull”. thiruppANAzhwAr, in his amalanAdhipirAn 10, conveys the same meaning “koNdal vaNNanaik kOvalanAy veNNey uNda vAyan . . . . aNi arangan” (SrI ranganAthan is of dark form, with his mouth having gobbled up butter, as a cowherd).

unnaik kANum mArkkam onRu aRIyamAttA – as krishNa, in SrI bhagavath gIthA, emperumAn had prescribed certain paths to attain him, such as karma yOgam (the path of carrying out prescribed deeds), the resultant gyAna yOgam (path of knowledge), the resultant bhakthi yOgam (the path of devotion), avathAra rahasya gyAnam (knowledge of secret behind emperumAn’s incarnations) and purushOththama vidhyA (the knowledge that emperumAn is supreme). There are other paths too, which have not been mentioned in SrI bhagavath gIthA, but in other SAsthras, such as reciting his divine names, residing in puNya kshEthrams (the sacred places) etc. These have been mentioned so that chEthanas (sentient entities) could follow one of their choice and reach emperumAn. AzhwAr says that it was not that he did not follow any of these, but he did not even know any of these paths.

manisaril –Did I lose the opportunity [of attaining emperumAn] because I was born as an animal which does not have discriminating knowledge? It was as a human being, with the knowledge of discrimination, that I lost out on the path of attaining mOksham (liberation).

thurisanAya – when compared to me, other people would appear like nithyasUris (permanent dwellers of SrI vaikuNtam), says AzhwAr. I am such a thief that even the other people would give up on me. I could have comforted myself had I been born as an animal which is not qualified to know about these paths. But, being born as a human being, I had lost out, laments the AzhwAr. It is said “mAnushyam prApya lOkE’smin na mukO bhadhirO’pi vA I nApakrAmathi samsArAth sa kalu brahmahA bhavEth II” (if a person is born in this samsAram without being deaf or dumb, and does not leave it permanently, he would be considered as having committed the sin of killing a brAhmaNa). AzhwAr says that despite being born as a human being, he did not gain anything. Instead he had lived life like an animal, not belonging to either of the two species. thurisu – robbery. thurisan – thief, cheat.

“When you are like this, why did you come to me?” asks emperumAn. . . .

mUrkkanEn vandhu ninREn – Since I am ignorant of my lowliness, I came. Had I realised my lowliness and your greatness, just as nammAzhwAr said in thiruvAimozhi 1.5.1vaLavEzhulagu” I would have realised that it would not  be proper on my part to come near you and stayed away from you. Instead of doing that, being ignorant, I came near you. Just as someone poisons the good water that is used by all the people in a town, I came near emperumAn, who is enjoyed by wise people, and spoiled him. Another explanation is that just as when one says kaNNan there is no one who is not inimical to him, I too approached emperumAn, not knowing the harm that this would cause him.

mUrkkanEn mUrkkanEnE – since he is repeating the word, he says that it is difficult to see such ignorance elsewhere in the world. Alternatively, it could be assumed that he looks at the greatness of emperumAn and his own lowliness and says ”what a fool am I” for each of the two aspects.

We shall consider the 33rd pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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thirumAlai – 31 – thavaththuLAr thammil

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srirangam

avathArikai (Introduction)

emperumAn tells AzhwAr “You have said that you do not have any of the means ordained in the SAsthras for attaining mOksham (liberation) (in pAsuram 25). Even if it is not there, either to obtain swargam (heaven) or to grab money from others by cheating, if you have carried out yAgam (ritual like oblation) as mentioned in vEdhas, I can gradually turn you away from those and enable you to attain mOksham. Have you carried out such yAgams?” AzhwAr says in this pAsuram “I have done nothing like that. Instead of attaining you with the birth that you have given me, I had immersed myself in worldly pursuits. I have shown only hatred towards others and my behaviour is such that it appears that I have utilised the birth that you had given only for destroying”. The connection between the earlier pAsuram and this pAsuram is that while he was jealous of the greatness of others in the previous, in this he has become an unwanted person even to his relatives because he was immersed in matters relating Sabdha etc (giving into the five senses of sound, sight, taste, smell and touch).

Let us go thorugh the pAsuram and its meanings.

தவத்துளார் தம்மில் அல்லேன் தனம் படைத்தாரில் அல்லேன்
உவர்த்த நீர் போல என்றான்  உற்றவர்க்கு ஒன்றும் இல்லேன்
துவர்த்த செவ்வாயினார்க்கே துவக்கறத் துரிசனானேன்
அவத்தமே பிறவி தந்தாய் அரங்கமா நகருளானே

thavaththuLar thammil allEn dhanam padaiththAril allEn
uvarththa nIr pOla enRan uRRavarkku onRum illEn
thuvarththa sevvAyinArkkE thuvakkaRath thurisanAnEn
avaththamE piRavi thandhAy arangamAnagar uLAnE

Listen

Word-by-word Meaning

aranga mA nagar uLAnE – one who dwells in SrIrangam
thavaththuLAr thammil – among those who observe penance
allEn – I am not with them
dhanam padaiththAril – among those who have earned money (for conducting thadhIyArAdhanam – feeding others)
allEn – I am not with them
enRan uRRavarkku – to my relatives
uvarththa nIr pOla – like salty water
onRum allEn – I am not helpful to them for any benefit
thuvarththa sevvAyinArkkE – even for women with reddish lips
thuvakku aRa – in such a way that the connection severs
thurisan AnEn – I was like a thief

(for such a person as I)
piRavi – birth
avaththamE thandhAy – gave me wastefully

vyAkhyAnam (commentary)

thavaththuLAr thammilallEn – bruhadhAraNya upanishath 6.4.22 says “thamEtham vEdhAnu vachanEna brAhmaNA vividhishanthi I yagyEna dhAnEna thapasA’nASakEna II “ (brahma gyAnis (people with divine knowledge)  wish to know about paramAthmA through reciting of vEdhas, rituals, donations, doing penance without any desire (as benefit)). vEdhAnthams (second part of vEdhas) thus specified penance as a means for attaining mOksham. Since AzhwAr did not specify the benefit for which those who do penance carry it out, he hints here that he did not join those who carried out penance for attaining mOksham; he did not join those who carried out penance for swargam (heaven) or such benefits; not only that, he did not join those who, after starting a penance find that there is some shortcoming in that, then make atonement for it to overcome the shortcoming, thus doing penance in a half-baked manner.

dhanam padaiththAril allEn – earning money is also said to be purushArtham (benefit) if spent for good purposes. In the example quoted above from bruhadhAraNya upanishath, earning money is classified as purushArtham. SrI bhagavath gIthA 18.5 says ”yagyadhAnathapa:karma na thyAjyam kAryamEva thath I yagyOdhAnam thapaSchaiva pAvanAni manIshiNAm  II” (yagyam (ritual), dhAnam (donation), thapas (penance) are karmas which should not be given up; they are only to be observed; yagya, dhAna and thapas purify those who are immersed in bhakthi). Again gIthA explains this meaning in 17.20 “dhAthavyamithi yadhdhAnam dhIyathE’nupakAriNE I dhESE kAlE cha pAthrE cha thadhdhAnam sAthvikam smrutham II” (that donation which is given to a person with good character, who does not do anything in return, with the thought that “I am bound to donate this” is called as sAthvika (pure good) donation). thaiththirIya upanishath, bhruguvalli 10.1 says “na kanchana vasathau prathyA chakshItha thath vrtham I yayAkayAcha vidhayA bahvantham prApnuyAth II” (we should not drive away anyone who comes to our house as a guest. This is a vow. For this, through means fair or foul, he [no specific reference] is ordained to earn food). Thus upanishath says that money can be earned even in a foul way if it is to be spent for a good purpose. thirumangai AzhwAr et al followed this way. Thus, AzhwAr says that he was not in the company of those who have money for spending in bhagavath (emperumAn) and bhAgavatha (followers of emperumAn) matters. Even if he did not have penance and sAthvika donation, he was not even part of those who donate in a rAjasa or thAmasa way. gIthA 17.21 says “yaththu prathyupakArArtham palamudhdhiSya vA puna:” (that which is given in a grand manner, expecting a deed in return or some benefit is called as rAjasa dhAnam); gIthA 17.22 says “asathkruthamavagyAtham” (that which is given to undeserving people is called as thAmasa dhAnam). Thus, when asked whether he was part of those who did rAjasa donation or thAmasa donation or liberal donation to earn fame, AzhwAr says he was not part of any of these groups. Even if he did not have these two (penance and donation), did he help his relatives at least?

uvarththa nIr pOla enRan uRRavarkku onRum allEn – just as a person cannot open his eyes when his face is splashed with salty water, I had done so many harmful actions towards my relatives that they did not want to see me at all. If per chance any relative were to come face to face with me, I used to carry out such harmful deeds towards them that they would not live through the day. If a person were related to another, he should do only sweet or good things. But I did only harmful deeds; planned and executed such deeds. Since I was constantly engaged in bringing bad reputation for myself, I was not good even to me. The opinion here is that such a person (as I) became absolutely useless to my relatives, like salty water.

Even people who are not good to his relatives, they will be good to women who are close to their hearts. Do you have this? . . . .

thuvarththa sevvAyinArkkE thuvakkaRath thurisanAnEnthuvarththa sevvAyinArkku – these women will hide their evil intentions and, displaying their reddish lips, would enslave him. He will also not know the faults in their minds. He will not even know that they do not have real affection towards him. Not going beyond the beauty of their mouths, he will get entrapped in it. Such women will utilise the beauty of their mouth to hide the faults in their minds and to separate him from his parents and other relatives. thuvakkaRath thurisanAnEn – I became a thief to even those women by doing harmful deeds even to them such that they will think “ let the relationship with him get severed” thurisan – thief. In SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 19.4, vibhIshaNa says “thEna chAmsyamAnitha:” (I was disrespected by him also). I was discarded even by the lowly rAvaNa, says vibhIshaNa. In the same say, AzhwAr says that he was not wanted even by women and was driven away by them.

avaththamE piRavi thandhAy – after all these events, it appears that the birth that you gave me has been wasted. AzhwAr reached lowliness due to his karma. Can he shift the blame to emperumAn? AzhwAr certainly knows what is karma (deeds) and what is his svarUpam (basic nature); hence he says this. karma is ISvaran’s reprimand to prevent AzhwAr from attaining the benefit appropriate to his svarUpam. His svarUpam is such that his actions and inactions are under the control of ISvaran. If the gracious emperumAn says “I have forgiven you” his karma will disappear. As SrI bhagavath gIthA 10.10 says “thEshAm sathathayukthAnAm bhajathAm prIthi pUrvakam I dhadhAmi budhdhi yOgam tham yEna mAmupayAnthi thE  II” (I grant good intelligence with deep affection to those who wish to be with me and worship me always), if emperumAn decided to grant good intelligence to this chEthana and guides him well, there is none to stop him. Since AzhwAr knows all these, he tells emperumAn “you have given me a wasted birth” If a child falls into a well and the mother is witnessing it [without doing anything], it can be said that the mother pushed the child into the well. AzhwAr says in the same manner.

aranga mA nagar uLAnEemperumAn is taking posture in SrIrangam only to correct through his beauty and auspicious qualities those who indulge in worldly pursuits following their karma, and who cannot be corrected by SAsthras. AzhwAr’s opinion is that this did not fructify in his case.

Let us take up 32nd pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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thirumAlai – 30 – manaththilOr thUymai illai

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periyaperumal-art-2

avathArikai (Introduction)

In the 25th pAsuram, AzhwAr said that he does not have karma, gyAna, bhakthi yOgams which are well known as means for attaining mOksham (liberation). Instead of these, which are being observed only by the male members in brAhmaNa, kshathriya and vaiSya kulam, there are means such as meditation and reciting of divine names which any one including women and SUdhras can observe. AzhwAr said in the 26th pAsuram that he did not have these also. In the 27th pAsuram, he said that he did not have the good thoughts that even squirrels had. In the 28th pAsuram he said that he did not have the intelligence that an elephant had as upAyam (means) to call out to emperumAn. In the previous (29th) pAsuram he said that he did not have the benefit of living in a dhivya dhESam. Thus in these 5 pAsurams he confirmed that he did not have anything in him (Akinchanyam).  emperumAn told him “even if you did not have anything good in you, if you do not have anything bad in you which will not pose any difficulty or loss to me, then I can take you under me using that as the reason and grant  you the purushArtham (benefit) that you desire. Are you without any bad qualities?”  AzhwAr says “just as I do not have anything good in me, there is no fault in me which is not present in this world” [in other words I have all the faults which are there in the world], starting with this pAsuram for the next 5 pAsurams. In the previous 5 pAsurams he had said, like nammAzhwAr said in thiruvAimozhi 3.3.4niRai onRumilEn” (I have nothing good). In the next 5 pAsurams, he says, like nammAzhwAr said in thiruvAimozhi 3.3.4 “nIchanEn” (I am a very lowly person) that he is the repository for all lowly things in the world. In this pAsuram he says that he has no AnukUlyam (being good or friendly towards others) and that he has the bad quality of being jealous of others who progress.

Let us see the pAsuram and its meanings.

மனத்திலோர் தூய்மை இல்லை வாயிலோர் இன்சொல் இல்லை
சினத்தினால் செற்றம் நோக்கித் தீவிளி விளிவன் வாளா
புனத்துழாய் மாலையானே பொன்னி சூழ் திருவரங்கா
எனக்கினிக் கதியென் சொல்லாய் என்னை ஆளுடைய கோவே.

manaththilOr thUymai illai vAyilOr insol illai
sinaththinAl seRRam nOkkith theeviLi viLivan vALA
punaththuzhAy mAlaiyAnE ponni sUzh thiruvarangA
enakkinikkadhiyEn sollAy ennai ALudaiya kOvE

Listen

Word-by-word Meaning

punam thuzhAy – thuLasi which blossoms as if it is in its own land
mAlaiyAnE – having as a garland
ponni sUzh – surrounded by kAvEri
thiruvarangA – sleeping in the temple
ennai AL udaiya kOvE – swAmy who has made me your servitor
manaththil – in my mind
Or thUymai illai – no purity at all (without lust, anger etc)
vAyil – in my mouth
Or in sol illai – not even one word with affection
vALA – without any benefit
sinaththinAl – due to anger
seRRam nOkki – looking inimically
thee viLi viLivan – I would speak harsh words full of fire
enakku – for me (with such faults)
ini – after surrendering to you
en gadhi – what refuge
sollAy – you must divine

vyAkhyAnam (commentary)

manaththilOr thUymaiyillai – “na chakshusha gruhyathE nApi vAchA manasA thu viSudhdhEna” ((paramaAthmA ) can not be realised by eyes or speech; only through pure mind is he realised). SrIvishNu purANam 1.4.41 says “yE thu gyAnavidha: Sudhdha chEthasasthE’kilan jagath I gyAnAthmakam prapaSyanthi thvadh rUpam paramESvara! II” (hEy paramESvara! Those who realise that AthmA is gyAnasvarUpam (full of gyAnam) and are having purified mind  know that world is full of gyAnam and it is your SarIram (physical body)). Thus, SAsthras say that purity of mind is considered as a means for enjoying paramAthmagyAnam (knowledge on emperumAn). AzhwAr says that he does not have that purity of mind. Since he says Or thUymai, he shows that the little bit of purity that one would get if even one of the faults of mind such as kAmam (lust), kOpam (anger), lObham (greed), bhayam (fear) dhvEsham (hatred), madham (arrogance), mOham (foolish passion), mAthsaryam (malice) is lessened, is not there. Since he says thUymai illai he says that it is not that at some point of time the mind is muddled and some point of time it is pure. He says that always he is without purity of mind.

vAyilOr insol illai – There is no purity of mind, accepted. At least, through the mouth, is there the good quality of speaking sweet words?  He says that he does not have even that. By saying Or insol illai he says that he has never enquired about the well being of anyone, which could be pleasing to the ears of the other person. He hints that even if someone else enquires about his well being, he has not responded in a nice way. Just as thirumangai AzhwAr had said in periya thirumozhi 1.6.5 “nedum chollAl maRuththa nIchanEn” (I am a lowly person who denied with harsh words), AzhwAr also says the same. By saying Or he hints that even he converses with women who he loves, he uses harsh words only which will singe their ears. Thus with these two sets of words, he has said briefly what he had said expansively in the earlier 5 pAsurams.

From now on, for the remainder of the pAsuram, he talks about his bad qualities.

sinaththinAl seRRam nOkki – even if did not have purity of mind and sweetness of words, others could move away from him and sustain themselves. But he will not leave at that. He will voluntarily go to a person who has some greatness in him and create harm for that person without any reason. Initially he will show all the anger in his mind and look at them inimically. seRRam nOkki – to look inimically. Alternatively, since both seRRam and sinam both indicate anger, and both have been used here, it shows deep anger. The considered opinion in this case is that by looking at the other person with a fiery look, the other person would almost fall down, drooping under the onslaught of his anger.

thee viLi viLivan – it is not only by look; even the words that he uses would appear like cinders to the other person and he will disappear completely.  Is the purpose of doing all this to gain anything? . . .

vALA – these are not done anticipating any benefit. Looking at someone with anger, scolding the person with harsh words are done so that these actions become the source of enjoyment. There is no other benefit needed for such actions. The opinion here is that just as good persons think that doing good to others is in itself a benefit, AzhwAr thinks that harming others is in itself a benefit to him.

periya perumAL says that since he is such a bad person, there was no benefit if he compels him. Azhwar responds . . . .

punam thuzhAy mAlaiyAnEchEthanas cannot leave him and go after seeing their lowliness because he has pledged to protect them if they desire him. He wears a garland of thuLasi to show this quality openly. The meaning here is that since you are the ordained Lord and after seeing the sweetness in you, how can I let go of you? punam refers to the land in which thuLasi plant flourishes. The thuLasi on his chest is in a flourishing state as it does in its own land and he wears such a garland.

ponni sUzh thiruvarangA – even if you are a protector, if you are not near me it will not be beneficial to me. Only to ensure that even lowly persons can attain you, you have come to SrIrangam and taken a lying posture here. This is my fortune, feels AzhwAr. ponnisUzh – on top of thuLasi garland, the holy kAvEri surrounding him is like another garland.

enakku –  to me, with all the lowliness that has been spoken about so far.

ini – considering my lowliness, I cannot protect myself and after giving the responsibility of protecting me to you,

gadhi en sollAy – please show me the way for my salvation. Even after accumulating all the harm such that it is not possible to uplift himself, AzhwAr could still plead for his case with him for uplifting him because emperumAn is the ordained Lord.

What is the compulsion for me to tell you the way for your salvation, asks emperumAn  . . .

ennai ALudaiya kOvE – you being the swAmy (Lord) and I being the servitor are states that will last for ever. Hence who else can protect me? If my Athmavasthu (the entity called AthmA) were to get degraded, isn’t the shortcoming due to that, yours?

We shall proceed to the 31st pAsuram, next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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thirumAlai – 29 – UrilEn kANi illai

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avathArikai (Introduction)

periya perumAL asks the AzhwAr, “you do not have the thought which the elephant had when it thought of me as a means when it was in a state of distress. If a chEthanan were born or owns land in a dhivya dhESam where I dwell such as Sri sALagramam [mukthinAth], thiruvayOdhdhi [ayOdhyA] or SrIrangam periya kOyil, then I have to necessarily protect him. Do you have anything like this?”. Azhwar responds in this pAsuram that he has nothing like this.

Let us see the pAsuram and its meanings.

ஊரிலேன் காணி இல்லை உறவு மற்றொருவர் இல்லை
பாரில் நின் பாத மூலம் பற்றிலேன் பரம மூர்த்தி
காரொளி வண்ணனே (என்) கண்ணனே கதறுகின்றேன்
ஆருளர் களைகண் அம்மா அரங்கமா நகருளானே.

UrilEn kANi illai uRavu maRRoruvar illai
pAril nin pAdha mUlam paRRilEn parama mUrthy
kAroLi vaNNanE (en)kaNNanE kadhaRuginREn
AruLar kaLaikaN ammA arangamA nagar uLAnE

Listen

Word-by-word meaning

Ur ilEn – I was not born in a dhivya dhESam where you [emperumAn] are dwelling
kANi illai – I do not have hereditary rights over land (given for carrying out kainkaryam such as reciting thiruppallANdu)
uRavu illai – do not have relatives too
maRRoruvar illai – I do not have anyone else
pAril – on this earth
nin pAdha mUlam – your divine feet (the refuge for anyone who does not have any other refuge)
paRRilEn – (as refuge) I have not embraced
parama mUrththi – the lord for all
kAroLi vaNNanE – of a hue like dark clouds
(en) kaNNanE – my krishNa (who has qualities such as simplicity)
kadhaRuginREn – I am crying out to you
ammA – my Lord
arangamA nagar uLAnE – one who is dwelling in SrIrangam
kaLai kaN Ar uLar – who else is my protector (apart from you)?

vyAkhyAnam (commentary)

Ur ilEn – the “Ur” (town) that AzhwAr refers to here is not any ordinary town. He refers to dhivya dhESams  where emperumAn constantly dwells such as SrI sAlagrAmam, SrI rAma’s birth place thiru ayOdhdhi, the root of all archAvathAra sthalams thiruvarangam [SrIrangam] periya kOyil etc. How will the term “Ur” refer to dhivya dhESam? It will, because of the strength of this particular section of thirumAlai. This particular section deals with his Akinchanyam – that he has nothing in his hands to attain emperumAn. Since he has said “UrilEn”, the term “Ur” should be a path [means] to mOksham. Since there is no chEthana who is not born in a town, if the term “Ur” were to refer to any town, then all towns will become a means to attaining mOksham. There is no authentic source to consider this meaning. Hence considering several authentic sources, one has to conclude that “Ur” refers only to dhivya dhESam. Had I been born in a dhivya dhESam, you would have tried to rescue me since I was born in a place which gives you pleasure. I do not have even that in me, says AzhwAr. Is there any proof to say that living in a dhivya dhESam will rescue a person? There are many. gAruda purANam 11 says “dhESO’yam sarvakAma dhuk” (this place confers everything); SrI rAmAyaNam AraNya kANdam 1.20 says “thE vayam bhavathA rakshyA bhavath vishaya vAsina:” (we, who are living and suffering in your place, are to be protected by you) [the rishis living in dhaNdakAraNyam inform SrI rAma when he goes there}; SrI rAmAyaNam uththara kANdam 109.22 says “nOchchvasath thadhayOdhyAyAm susUkshmamapi dhruSyathE I thiryak yOni gathASchAnyE sarvE rAmAnuvrathA: II ” (Not even a small creature alive is seen in ayOdhyA. Animals and all other creatures have followed SrI rAma [to paramapadham]). Thus there are several authentic sources confirming this,

kANi illai – “even if you were not born in a dhivya dhESam, it is possible that there is some connection with dhivya dhESam through landed property. Do you have such a connection?” asked emperumAn. AzhwAr says that he does not have even that. In olden days, for carrying out kainkaryams to emperumAn such as reciting thiruppallANdu in the temple, creating a garden for stringing flower garland to emperumAn, either as a gift or as lease, land used to be given. AzhwAr says that he does not have this connection too.

emperumAn asks, “even if you do not have a connection through birth or through landed property with a dhivya dhESam, do you have any connection through people in a dhivya dhESam to whom you may either give or accept anything or through manthram [either learning or teaching]? “ . . . .

uRavu maRRoruvarilllai – since there are no relatives there, there is no connection with dhivya dhESam, says the Azhwar. Since he says “no one” even distant relatives whom one may have seen occasionally or friends with whom one may have some connection – there is no one absolutely, says AzhwAr.

In that case, where do you live? …..

pAril – if one does not have place to stay, this earth creates boundless difficulties; I am living on such an earth says the AzhwAr. mUnRam thiruvandhAdhi 51 says of SrivaikuNtam “kalangAp perunagaram” (trouble-free great abode). If one were to live in such SrIvaikuNtam, one can live without any worry as there will be no troubles due to lust, anger etc. On this earth, instead, 7 people grab the food and clothes that one person needs to eat and wear. I am living in such a horrible place.

ninpAdha mUlam paRRilEn – I do not  have connection with your divine feet which give refuge to those who do not have anywhere else to go. nin pAdhamUlam – SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 38.33 says “sa pithrA cha parithyakthas suraiScha sa maharshibhi: I thrIn lOkAn samparikramya thamEva SaraNam gatha: II” (the kAkAsuran, given up by his father (and mother) and dhEvas (celestial people) who were together with sages, went all over the three worlds and took refuge under SrI rAma himself). The opinion expressed by the AzhwAr here is that he has become unfit to seek refuge under emperumAn’s divine feet which gave refuge even to kAkAsuran, who had committed intolerable fault and became the target of his brahmAsthra.

periya perumAL then tells him “if you do not have any benefit in any way, it appears that there is no alternative except to lose the opportunity of attaining me” . . . .

parama mUrththi – I do not have anything to protect myself. But don’t you have anything to protect me? You have a lot. Aren’t you the Lord of everyone and much above everyone else? Only if you protect me too, can you become the Lord of everyone. If you do not protect a SEshabhUthan (a follower who serves emperumAn), you cannot become a SEshi (the Lord or master). For that to happen, should not a SEshabhUthan realise that he is a servitor? The opinion here is that even when chEthana, in a state of stupor, thinks that he is independent, sarvESvaran, considering that he is the owner and the chEthana is his possession, will correct the chEthana and make him realise the relationship between them.

emperumAn asks the AzhwAr, “since it is non-negotiable that you are my servitor, what is the means for you to get that servitorship?” to which AzhwAr responds that his beauty is the means.

kAroLi vaNNanE – in pAsuram 16 AzhwAr had said “Adharam perugavaiththa azhagan” (the beautiful form of emperumAn created affection). emperumAn initially creates an interest towards him in the mind of chEthana. Once the interest is created, his form (beauty) becomes the means for the chEthana to attain him. When that beauty is there in emperumAn, there is no hurdle for AzhwAr to obtain the servitorship, he says.

kaNNanE – even if the form is beautiful, instead of remaining in SrIvaikuNtam where you could not be reached, you made yourself approachable to us, by taking various incarnations and showing auspicious qualities such as saulabhyam (simplicity). Since you are parama murthi, you are incomparable Lord to us; since you are kAroLi vaNNan you create in us as upAyam (means), everything  starting with desire; since you are kaNNan you have auspicious qualities such as simplicity, affability etc; when you have all these, can I lose my goal? You are the apt Lord for us all. Even if you are not the Lord, you have such beauty that we cannot neglect you. Even if you do not have these two great qualities, you have auspicious qualities such as simplicity and affability and move with us closely. When such an entity like you is there, I do not have any shortcoming.

kadhaRuginREn – When I think of such greatness in you, I cry out to you, just as those who observe other means such as bhakthi cry out when there is a delay in attaining you.

AruLar kaLaikan – Are you delaying protecting me when I cry out to you because you think that someone else will protect me? Can I protect myself with nothing in my hands? Can someone else who does not know as much I do that I do not have anything in me, protect me?

ammA – If the possession gets destroyed, is it not a loss to you, the Owner?

arangamA nagar uLanE – even if you are the owner, if you are not near me, I might have remained calm, using that as an excuse. The meaning here is that “when you are lying at the nearby temple [at SrIrangam] expecting whether someone will come calling out to you to attain you, how can I remain quiet and not cry out to you?

We shall move on to the 30th pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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thirumAlai – 28 – umbarAl aRiyalAgA

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gajendramoksham

avathArikai (Introduction)

periya perumAL told AzhwAr “even though squirrels are animals, they took efforts to carry out kainkaryam for me. Even though such a good thought was not with you, did you at least have a thought to look up to me as the protector, just as SrI gajEndhrAzhwAn called out to me to protect him when he was caught by the crocodile when he stepped into the pond?”. AzhwAr responded “No, even that was not there with me”

Let us see the pAsuram and its meanings.

உம்பரால் அறியலாகா ஒளியுளார் ஆனைக்காகிச்
செம்புலால் உண்டு வாழும் முதலை மேல் சீறி வந்தார்
நம் பரமாயதுண்டே நாய்களோம் சிறுமை யோரா
எம்பிராற்கு ஆட் செய்யாதே என் செய்வான் தோன்றினேனே.

umbarAl aRiyalAgA oLiyuLAr AnaikkAgich
chempulAl uNdu vAzhum mudhalai mEl sIRi vandhAr
nam paramAyadhuNdE nAygaLOm siRumai OrA
empirARku AtcheyyAdhE en seyvAn thOnRinEnE

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Word-by-word meaning

umbarAl – (starting with brahmA) celestial entities
aRiyal AgA – unable to know (that it is this much, as per a measure)
oLi uLAr – emperumAn who is in the radiant paramapadham (SrI vaikuNtam)
AnaikkAgi – for gajEndhrAzhwAn
sem pulAl – red meat
uNdu vAzhum – eating for sustenance
mudhalai mEl sIRi – getting angry with crocodile
vandhAr – came (to the bank of the pond)
nam param Ayadhu uNdE – (when he is biased towards his followers as a protector) is there any responsibility for us in our protection?
nAygaLOm – being lowly creatures like dogs
siRumai OrA – not considering our faults
em pirARku – for my emperumAn
AL seyyAdhE – instead of being a servitor
en seyvAn – for what
thOnRinEn – was I born?

vyAkhyAnam (commentary)

umbarAl aRiyalAgA oLiyuLAr – the  word umbar refers to celestial people such as brahmA in the upper worlds upto sathyalOkam. oLi  refers to SrIvaikuNtam which cannot be understood by those such as brahmA and oLiyuLAr refers to paramapadhanAthan (emperumAn) who dwells in SrIvaikuNtam. chAndhOkya upanishath 3.13.7 says “atha yathatha: parO dhivO jyOthir dhIpthyathE viSvatha: prushtEshu sarvatha: prushtEshu anuththamEshUththamEshu lOkEshu” (in paramapadham, that which is superior to individual and collective entities, that which is without anything superior to it, that which emits radiance in higher reaches). mahAbhAratham AraNya kANdam 136.18,23 says “athyarkAnaladhIptham thath sthAnam vishNOr mahAthmana: I svayaiva prabhayA rAjan! dhushprEksham dhEvathAnavai:II thahtra gathvA punarnemam lOkamAyAnthi bhAratha! II “ (Oh king! That place belonging to mahAthmA vishNu is more radiant than sun and agni [god of fire]; because of its radiance, it cannot be seen by celestial and demoniac entities; Oh, one who was born in the clan of bharatha! No one, who has ever gone there, has returned). Thus, mahAbhAratham also mentions that SrIvaikuNtam cannot be seen by celestial people.

aRiyalAgA – even people who have high levels of gyAna (knowledge), as said in bhagavath gIthA 16.14 “ISvarO’hamaham bhOgI sidhdhO’ham bhalavAn sukhI “ (I am ISvaran (one who controls everything and everyone), only I attain all enjoyment, I am endowed with supernatural faculties (by nature); only I am endowed with strength and I enjoy all comforts (by nature)), such as brahmA and Sivan, who think that they are ISvaran cannot attain paramapadham. Not only can they not attain it, they cannot know about it. Such is paramapadham. SrIvishNu purANam 1.9.55 says “yanna dhEvA na munayO na chAham na cha Samkara: I jAnanthi paramESasya thath vishNO: paramam padham II “ (the one place which celestial entities, sages, I (brahmA) and Sankara do not know of, that is vishNu’s paramapadham). Thus, brahmA also spoke about this supreme place.

oLiyuLAr – mUnRam thiruvandhAdhi 51 says “kalangAp perunagaram” (the calm, supreme place). One who is enjoying nithyasUris (permanent dwellers of paramapadham) constantly, came to samsAram to protect a suffering person such as I.

AnaikkAgi – such an emperumAn, with unbounded eminence, came with dress astray and hair dishevelled in great hurry. Did he come for pirAtti or thiruvadi (garudan) or thiruvananthAzhwAn (AdhiSEshan) or such great entity? No, he took so much of effort for an animal. If one looks at the difference between the suffering elephant and the helping emperumAn, it is something between a pond and a mountain. If he has to protect a follower, he does not look at his greatness or the lowliness of the follower. He only looks at the danger that his follower is in and the inseparable relationship between him and his follower, is the considered opinion here.

Let him not see the lowliness of the follower. Was the enemy befitting the stature of emperumAn? Who was it, who created such an anger in emperumAn?

sem pulAl uNdu vAzhum mudhalai mEl Siri vandhAr – the one which gobbles up different types of fish which are much lower than itself, as a result of which it thinks that it has got a fullness equivalent to emperumAn, as mentioned by nammAzhwAr in thiruvAimozhi 4.5.1 ”vIRRirundhu Ezhulagum thanikkOl seyya “ (ruling all the worlds, sitting in paramapadham) – it was a worm in the water [that is how vyAkhyAthA describes the crocodile] on which he came with a rage. SrIvishNu purANam 1.9.25 says “yadhAvath kathithO dhEvair brahmA prAha thatha: surAn I parAvarESam SaraNam vrajadh vamasurArdhanam  II” (brahmA, who was informed of the sufferings of the celestial entities, told them that the one who is ISvaran to all without any difference between the great and lowly people, the one who is the opponent of demons, take refuge under him, the emperumAn). If emperumAn had destroyed demons in order to protect brahmA et al who came to surrender to him to protect them from their enemies, it would not have been considered as anything wondrous. What is wondrous is that he came with a rage to protect an elephant which called out to him, to kill its enemy with his dress and hair in dishevelled condition considering it as a great enemy. SrI rAmAyaNam AraNya kANdam 24.34 says “krOdha mAhArayath thIvram vathArtham sarvarakshasAm I dhushprEksha: sO’bhavathkrudhdhO yugAnthAgniriva jvalan  II “ ((SrI rAma) brought on himself deep anger to kill all the demons. He appeared like a huge ball of fire, a rare sight to behold). When someone commits an irreverent act on emperumAn,  emperumAn remains calm, as said in SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 1.10 “sa cha nithyam praSAnthAthmA “ (perumAL is always peaceful). But he changes his nature and brings on anger when he sees that his follower is put to difficulty by an irreverent act, as seen in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 59.136 “atha rAmO mahA thEjA rAvaNEna kruthvraNam I dhrushtvA pravaga SArdhUlam kOpasya vaSamEyivAth II “ (after that, SrI rAma, the splendrous person, became angry on seeing hanumAn, the greatest among monkey warriors, who was injured by rAvaNa). When he is this angry, he will not care whether the enemy is a lowly person or not and hence there is nothing wondrous in this. Just as thirumangai AzhwAr says in periya thirumozhi 5.8.3 “kodiyavAi vilangin uyir malangakkoNda sIRRam onRu uNdu” (there is a rage which killed the animal with cruel mouth), it is this great quality that people consider as their refuge.

vandhAr – while he could have destroyed the crocodile from his place through his sankalpa (will), how wondrous that he came to the pond, with dishevelled dress and hair! If he wanted to annihilate the world, he could have done that with his will. To protect his follower, if he does not come in person and destroy the enemy with his own hands his anger will not subside, is the opinion here. It appears to AzhwAr that emperumAn, by coming that day to help the elephant, helped AzhwAr himself. Didn’t thirumangai AzhwAr describe the crocodile as “kodiya vAy vilangu” in periya thirumozhi 5.8.3, as if he himself had been caught in its jaws? The surmise here is that if we don’t think that emperumAn coming to help a follower is like helping ourselves, then we do not have vaiNavathvam (the fundamental nature of being a SrI vaishNavan).

nam param AyadhuNdE – when emperumAn comes to protect his follower due to his bias towards his follower, is there any responsibility for us in our protection? If emperumAn looks at his greatness or at our lowliness or gets angry with the excessive sins that we have committed and decides “let this type of person suffer for some more time”, we can attempt to protect ourselves. When he is not like this, we have no basis for protecting ourselves.

nAygaLOm – our lowliness is such that the elephant gajEndhran is at the level of rishis such as sanakar (mAnasa puthra of brahmA). Even if we enter houses where the doors are open, we are being driven out like unwelcome dogs; we are without a recourse. Even if the person who brings up a dog touches us, he has to take a bath [to get rid of dirt etc], such is our lowliness.

siRumai OrA empirARku –  however lowly we are, those who are unable to see our lowliness. Just as SrI vishNu sahasranAmam says “avigyAtha sahasrAmSu” (even with thousands of eyes, he is ignorant [of  his followers’ faults]) he is ignorant of and blind to our faults and multiplies our [good] qualities with his thousands of eyes. muNdakOpanishath 1.1.10 says “yassarvagyas sarvavith yasya gyAnamayam thapa:” (which paramapurushan [supreme being] knows the true character and inherent nature of all entities,  whose will is gyanamayam (full of knowledge)) – when emperumAn is praised as omniscient, what is the meaning of saying that he does not see our faults? He does not judge the extent to which he should help after seeing the faults in his followers. He ignores the faults and even considers the faults as good qualities. empirARku – thus, not looking at our faults and protecting us considering the danger that we are in, being our ordained Lord, AzhwAr refers to him as empirARku. Alternatively, em  would refer to being his swAmy and pirARku would refer to emperumAn helping him.

AL seyyAdhE – It is apt to serve such a Lord. Once emperumAn takes up our work as his responsibility, it is apt to submit our physical body and five senses to his service, as per our svarUpam (basic characteristics). Instead, AzhwAr laments that he is not doing that.

En seyvAn thOnRinEnE – my birth has become wasted, says the AzhwAr. Just as sumithrA tells her son lakshmaNa that the purpose of giving birth to him was to help SrI rAma in forest, while the purpose of one’s birth is to carry out kainkaryam to emperumAn, AzhwAr says that since he did not do this, his birth is wasted. Instead of saying “piRandhEn” (was born), AzhwAr is using the term “thOnRinEn” to indicate that he appeared, like an achEthana (insentient) entity. While lakshmaNa was born to carry out all kainkaryams to perumAL, AzhwAr says that he “appeared” since he was not useful in carrying out any kainkaryam.

We shall take up pAsuram 29, next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dasan

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thirumAlai – 27 – kurangugaL malaiyai nUkka

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rama-squirrel

avathArikai (Introduction)

periya perumAL opined divinely, “as mentioned in the previous two pAsurams, even if you had not done anything good as a chEthana (sentient entity), I had taken an incarnation as SrI rAma in order to get kainkaryam (services) from animals, similar to the services carried out by ananthAzhwAn (AdhiSEshan), garudan, vishvaksEnar et al in SrIvaikuNtam. At that time, when monkeys had rendered service befitting their strength, squirrels too, with good hearts, carried out services appropriate to their strengths. It is enough if you had carried out a service similar to those”. AzhwAr responds “not even that”

Let us read the pAsauram and the meanings of words.

குரங்குகள் மலையை நூக்கக் குளித்துத் தாம் புரண்டிட்டோடித்
தரங்க நீரடைக்கலுற்ற சலமிலா அணிலம் போலேன்
மரங்கள் போல் வலிய நெஞ்சம் வஞ்சனேன் நெஞ்சு தன்னால்
அரங்கனார்க்காட் செய்யாதே அளியத்தேன் அயர்க்கின்றேனே.

kurangugaL malaiyai nUkkak kuLiththuth thAm puraNdittOdith
tharanga nIradaikkaluRRa salamilA aNilum pOlEn
marangaL poL valiya nenjam vanjanEn nenju thannAl
aranganArkkAtcheyyAdhE aLiyaththEn ayarkkinREnE

Listen

Word-by-Word Meaning

kurangugaL – monkey warriors (to carry out a little bit of kainkaryam to prove their basic nature of servitorship)
malaiyai – mountains
nUkka – pushing them
thAm – they
kuLiththu – immersing in water
puraNdittu – (after that) rolling in the sand on the shore
Odi – running
tharangam nIr – ocean frothing with waves
adaikkal uRRa – engaged in blocking
salam ilA – without deceit
aNilum pOlEn – (I am) not like the squirrels
marangaL pOl – like the trees
valiya nenjam – having hardened mind
vanjanEn – engaged in deceit
aLiyaththEn – (qualified for all services) me, having eminence
aranganArkku – to thiruvarangan (SrI ranganAthan)
nenju thannAl – wholeheartedly
AL seyyAdhE – not carrying out service
ayarkkinREnE – standing foolishly, forgetting

vyAkhyAnam (Commentary)

kurangugaL malaiyai nUkkaAzhwAr has used the plural number for monkeys and singular number for mountain to indicate that monkeys were thousands of times more than mountains and each mountain was touched and lifted by many monkeys to build a path to cross the ocean. In a school, if the teacher asks the students to fetch his cane, many students, anxious to serve the teacher, would touch the cane and bring it to the teacher. In the same way, there were fewer mountains and many monkeys. Each of the monkey warriors is capable of lifting a mountain as if it were a small stone. However, all the monkey warriors wanted to take part in the rAma kainkaryam to prove their svarUpam (carrying out kainkaryam to emperumAn is the basic nature of AthmA) and hence many monkey warriors moved one mountain. Is it possible for animals to get such a desire (to carry out kainkaryam)? Since the person who is getting the service done is the ordained Lord, and looking at the way he is standing with the bow and arrows in his hand, without any distinction between those with and without svarUpa gyAnam, even a small piece of twig would carryout kainkaryam and hence it is possible for animals to get such a desire.

malaiyai nUkka – the term nUkka indicates being pushed. Instead of saying the mountains were put in the ocean, why is AzhwAr using the term nUkka [pushed]? Each group of monkey warriors would push the mountain for some distance. Then the next group will take over the mountain from the first group and push it for some distance. Thus, the mountain was being pushed from one group to the next till it reached the ocean. In SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam, 5.9, SrI rAma tells lakshmaNa “avagAhyArNavam svapsyE saumithrE! bhavathA vinA I kadhanchith prajvalan kAma: sa mAm suptham jalE dahEth II” (lakshmaNa! (since I am reminded of sIthA when I look at you) I am going into the waters to sleep, leaving you. The burning kAmAgni (warmth of lust) will warm me inside the ocean, only with difficulty). The monkey warriors who have been seeing the difficulty of perumAL, due to his separation from pirAtti, want to participate in this kainkaryam of blocking the ocean and this shows in the eagerness with which they were involved in the service. They wanted to reach the shore on the other side of the ocean, after blocking the ocean and that anxiety is shown in their speed.

kuLiththu . . . . . salamilA aNilum –  the opinion of AzhwAr regarding this incident is as follows: Some squirrels were witnessing the work done by monkey warriors in blocking the ocean. It appears to the squirrels that the speed of the monkeys is not sufficient in blocking the ocean. The squirrels thought “when perumAL is very anxious to retrieve pirAtti, these monkeys are blocking the ocean very slowly. Moreover, they do not have the strength to block the ocean. It is clear that they do not have sufficient manpower to fill the gaps between the mountains with sand. Only because of this, they are not carrying sand to fill the gap between the mountains”. In order to overcome this deficit, the squirrels entered the waters to wet their bodies. Then they ran to the shore and rolled in the sand to enable the sand to adhere to their bodies. Then they went over the mountains and reached the gaps between the mountains to shake their bodies so that sand would fall off their bodies to fill the gaps between mountains. By repeating these steps they helped in building the bridge across the ocean. The squirrels, keen on involving themselves in rAma kainkaryam, thought that by repeatedly wetting their bodies with water, the ocean will also start drying up soon and by bringing in sand from shore, the gap between the mountains would also get filled up this way.

thAm – Due to the anxiety to carry out kainkaryam and the resultant agitation in their minds, the squirrels did not know that by immersing in the ocean, only a few drops of water would come out and that the ocean will not dry up due to this. They also did not know that the few grains of sand carried by them would not help in filling up the gaps between the mountains.  AzhwAr uses the word “thAm” here to indicate the smallness of their bodies. Alternatively, it could be thought that the squirrels felt proud that they were able to carry out tasks which were beyond the capability of the monkeys and the word “thAm” indicates that pride.

puraNdittOdi – rolling themselves in the sand near the mountains, they thought that the sand was  not sufficient to fill the gaps between the mountains. Hence they ran some distance to enable more sand to stick to them. They did not know that by running that fast, whatever sand had originally stuck to them, would wither away. Looking at the speed with which they were running here and there, the monkey warriors stopped them to find out why they were running. The squirrels responded “we are running because we feel that perumAL should reach the northern gate of lankA by noon today for having his lunch there. You do not seem to have this speed”. Their involvement in emperumAn’s kainkaryam did not allow them to think whether they were upto the difficult task that they had undertaken.

tharanga nIr adaikkal uRRaAzhwAr is amazed that these little squirrels are trying to block the ocean  which is full of lashing waves. uRRa – the squirrels think that only they are working in blocking the ocean and that the monkeys are only carrying out a supporting role by feeding them the stones [mountains] like a female worker would carry stones at a construction site so that they [squirrels] could complete the construction like a mason.

salam ilA aNilum pOlEn – the word salam denotes the benefit obtained out of a cause. salam ilA  denotes that the squirrels are doing this as a service and do not expect any benefit out of it. While it is a fact that whatever these squirrels do cannot help even an iota in blocking the ocean, how can this be a kainkaryam? For emperumAn who is taking the service, it is enough if the person who carries out the service has purity of thought that he is not expecting anything in return (salamilA) for the service rendered. perumAL sees the anxiety in these squirrels that “the ocean should be blocked and emperumAn should reach the shore on the other side soon”. He sees the suhruth (the good thoughts) in these squirrels, without any shortcoming in them. He does not have any necessity to see if they have achieved the impossible task. The word salam could be construed to mean salanam (disturbance) and thus the word salam ilA could be taken to mean remaining steadfast in the work undertaken. These squirrels are unlike human beings who are under the control of SAsthram. They do not have any compulsion for varNASrama duties (carrying out tasks ordained by SAsthras for each varNa (class of people) and each ASrama (state such as brahmachAri – bachelor, gruhastha – married, sanyAsi – one who has renounced everything and vAnaprastha – one who has entered forest towards the end of his life). They do not even have limbs to perform kainkaryams like human beings. Yet, by immersing in water, running, rolling in the sand and carrying out kainkaryam, they show their good thoughts which I, who should be carrying out the daily ordained rituals as kainkaryam to bhagavAn, do not have, laments the AzhwAr, citing the previous pAsuram (kuLiththu mUnRanalai Ombum) and this pAsuram. emperumAn, who has no unfulfilled desire, does not expect anything other than these good thoughts from chEthanas (sentient entities). Those who think that “for the completely fulfilled emperumAn, what is it that these unfulfilled entities can do” and refrain from doing any kainkaryam, are unfortunate people. Those who think that since emperumAn is completely fulfilled, he will be satisfied even if we do an iota of kainkaryam, and thus carry out kainkaryam, without expecting any benefit are the fortunate ones. This is why AzhwAr feels that the kainkaryam carried out by squirrels is salam ilA kainkaryam and laments that he does not have even this.

marangaL poL valiya nenja vanjanEn – AzhwAr is citing trees as a simile for being without involvement in emperumAn’s matters. In pAsuram 17, he had said irumbu pOl valiya nenjam (mind as hard as iron). Why is he now talking about trees when they are weaker than iron? While iron can be beaten, drawn or shaped up to any desired object when it is put in fire, trees will get burnt and be of no use to anyone when put in fire. Hence utilising this property of trees he says that his heart is as hard as trees.

vanjanEn – while my heart [mind] is as hard as trees, I put on an act of deceit and make even you [emperumAn] to wonder whether this person is so soft like a liquid. While I do not have any involvement in your matters and am more interested in worldly pursuits, people would say “there is none like him when it comes to showing love towards emperumAn” by believing my act of deceit, hiding my real intentions. He emphasises here that his earlier statement iRai iRai urugum vaNNam (pAsuram 17, softening gradually) was also false. That was also an act of deceit.

nenju thannAl arangarkku AL seyyAdhEAzhwAr says that he did not carry out kainkaryam to emperumAn with the heart given by him, unlike the squirrels who carried out kainkaryam with good thoughts. AL seydhal is carrying out kainkaryam like a slave. While it refers to total kainkaryam with utmost devotion, can it denote a small involvement? When it is seen that emperumAn values this highly when done with good thought, this does not matter.

aLiyaththEn – just as lakshmaNa said “aham sarvam karishyAmi” (I will carry out all kainkaryam), this AthmA is expected to carry out all kainkaryam. But instead of doing continuous service without any break, the Athma vasthu (the entity called AthmA) has come to this pass…

ayarkkinREnE – I have forgotten emperumAn and am standing here, being of no use. I have not become useless because I am far removed from emperumAn or because I am not qualified to carryout servitorship to emperumAn. Just as thirumangai AzhwAr says in periya thirumozhi 6.2.2. “maRandhEn unnai munnam” (I have forgotten about you), I have become useless because I have forgotten all about emperumAn.

There is a variant in the vyAkhyAnam, “salamilA marangaL pOl” which means that a tree can be shaken with the help of an implement while my mind cannot be shaken by anything.

We shall move on to the 28th pAsuram, next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dasan

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thirumAlai – 26 – pOdhellAm pOdhu koNdu

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namperumal

avathArikai (Introduction)

periya perumAL divines to AzhwAr “even if you did not have karma, gyAna, bhakthi yOgams which are prescribed for brAhmaNa, kshathriya and vaiSya men, you could still carry out worshipping and praising of me, as prescribed for all chEthanas”. AzhwAr responds “I did not have these also”.

Let us look at the pAsuram and its meanings.

போதெல்லாம் போது கொண்டு  உன் பொன்னடி புனைய மாட்டேன்
தீதிலா மொழிகள் கொண்டு  உன் திருக்குணம் செப்ப மாட்டேன்
காதலால் நெஞ்சம் அன்பு  கலந்திலேன் அது தன்னாலே
ஏதிலேன் அரங்கர்க்கு எல்லே எஞ்செய்வான் தோன்றினேனே.

pOdhellAm pOdhu koNdu un ponnadi punaiya mAttEn
thIdhila mozhigaL koNdu un thirukkuNam seppa mAttEn
kAdhalAl nenjam anbu kalandhilEn adhu thannAlE
EdhilEn arangaRku ellE enseyvAn thOnRinEnE

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Word-by-word Meanings

pOdhu ellAm – at all times
pOdhu koNdu – with flowers
un ponnadi – at your beautiful divine feet
punaiya mAttEn – am without strength to offer
thIdhu ilA – without faults
mozhigaL koNdu – with words
un thirukkuNam – your auspicious qualities
seppa mAttEn – am unable to recite
kadhAlAl anbu – the affection which comes out of love
nenjam – in my heart
kalandhilEn – have not made
adhu thannAlE – due to that
arangaRku – you, SrI ranganAthan
EdhilEn – did not enjoy through any part of the body
ellE – Oh!
en seyvAn – for what
thOnRinEnE – was I born?

vyAkhyAnam (commentary)

pOdhellAm pOdhu koNdu un ponnadi punaiya mAttEn – It is proper to decorate your gold-like divine feet, with beautiful, fresh flowers, at all times. It is not that I was not eager in doing that. I did not have even the strength for doing that, says AzhwAr. While engaging in matters other than you, I had both the eagerness and the strength, but not in matters relating to you, is the opinion expressed here. vishNu dharmam 1.13 says “yau thath pUja karau karau” (only those are hands which worship hari). With the hands which were meant to worship you, I was worshipping inappropriate things which would cause harm to me both in this samsAram and in SrivaikuNtam. Among the two instances of usage of the word pOdhu, the first one refers to time and the second, to flower. pOdhellAm punaiya mAttEn – the opinion here is not that he is not able to worship all the time and could worship only at some of the times. He is not able to worship at any time at all, is the meaning here. vishNu dharmam, haryashtakam 70.84 says “sakruthuchcharitham yEna haririthyaksharadhvayam I badhdha: parikarasthEna mOkshAya gamanam prathi II” (through whomsoever the two syllable word hari has been pronounced, all the deeds which are to be done for going to mOksham have been done by him). Again, “sakruth smruthO’pi  gOvindhO nruNAm janma Sathai: krutham I pAparASim dhahathyASu thUlarASimivAnala: II” (gOvindhan, even if thought of once, will remove the swarm of sins committed in hundreds of births, just as fire destroys a huge heap of cotton). SrI rAma says in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 18.33 “sakrudhEva prapannAya thavAsmIthi  cha yAchathE I abhayam sarvabhUthEbhyO dhadhAmyEthath vratham mama  II“ (I offer protection from all other creations to one who surrenders to me and one who prays to me after saying that he is my servitor. This is my oath). Thus in all the above-mentioned quotes, emperumAn’s greatness is such that if a person were connected to him even once in his lifetime, emperumAn ensures that the person attains the path [to reach him]. AzhwAr laments that he was unable to worship him even once. emperumAn tells him “even if you have not been able to worship me with your body, but indulged instead in worldly matters, you could have praised me with your faculty of speech, at least”. . . . .

thIdhilA mozhigaL koNdu un thirukkuNam seppa mAttEn – even if my words are faultless and beautiful, I am not able to talk about your auspicious qualities. vishNu dharmam 1.13 says “sA jihvA yA harIm sthauthi …” (that is tongue which praises hari); unlike this, my tongue, which was meant to praise you,  does not roll when it comes to talking about you. However, when it comes to talking about lowly matters with lowly qualities, it is able to talk like an implement “vAchchi” which cuts across a palm leaf. emperumAn then says “even if your body and tongue are involved in worldly matters, at least with your heart [mind], you could show affection towards me” . . . .

kAdhalAl nenjam anbu kalandhilEn – in one particular matter, my heart has not exhibited affection borne out of love. As bhagavath gIthA 2.62 says “sangAth sanjAyathE kAma: kAmAth krOdhO’pi jAyathE” (desire results out of involvement in worldly matters. Anger results out of desire), if desire results out of involvement with worldly pursuits, it is possible to divert it towards your matter. Earlier, when I had shown affection towards women, it was with the ulterior motive of stealing their possessions. I did not have affection to truly love them. It is apt to think of the following authentic sources as proof of the above: 1) ALavandhAr says in sthOthra rathnam 62 “smaraparavaSO vanchanapara: “ (I am lecherous and cheat the women who  respond to my lust); 2) vishNu purANam 3.7.30 says “paramasuhrudhi bAndhavE kaLathrE sutha thanayA pithrumAthru bhruthruthyavarkkE  I SadamathrupyAthi yO’rththathrushNAm thamadhamachEshtamavEhi nAsya bhaktham  II“ (the person with depraved intelligence who runs after the possessions of close friend, relative, wife, children, parents, servants –know that such a mean person is not a devotee of emperumAn).

adhu thannAlE EdhilEn – while I should be involved with at least one among the three channels of manam, vAkku, mey (mind, speech and body) to attain the benefit that great people attain by geting involved with, I do not have even that. Hence I have nothing. arangarku EdhilEn – as said in bhagavath gIthA 5.29 “suhrutham sarvabhUthAnAm” (exhibiting good thoughts towards all beings) and as said in sthOthra rathnam 18 “vaSi vadhAnyO guNavAn ruju: Suchi: mrudhur dhayALur madhura: sthiras sama: I kruthi kruthagyas thvamaSi svabhAvathas samastha kalyANaguNAmruthOdhadhi II “ (one who is under the charge of his followers; gifting himself to his followers; being harmonious[with his mind, speech and action]; having purity [to shower on followers without any reason]; unable to bear separation from followers; unable to tolerate (their) sorrow; being sweet; being steadfast (in his followers’ goals); being equal (to all those who take refuge under him); carrying out followers’ deeds as his own; magnifying even the smallest good deed of his followers; you are by nature, the repository, as an ocean of nectar, of all auspicious qualities), you have the honesty of being in harmony through your mind, speech and action in matters concerning your followers. I am without anything towards such an entity as you, who has come to SrIrangam so that people can see you for themselves instead of merely hearing about you through SAsthras.

ellE – oh, how terrible! I have not lost you because you are not near me; I have not lost you because you are not appropriate; I have not lost you because you are having a habit of finding faults with me; I lost you only because of my sin. This entity called AthmA became wasted instead of being a part of the kausthubamaNi (a pendant worn by emperumAn on his chest) that you like so much. I have gone too far away from you, who is referred to by thirumangai AzhwAr in his periya thirumozhi 3.7.6 “arangaththuRaiyum inthuNaivan” (sweet companion who dwells in SrIrangam). Have I lost out because you are like a medicine, which is good for the body but bitter to taste? No, just as milk itself doubles up as medicine, you are the sweet person who also grants mOksham; yet I lost you.

en seyvAn thOnRinEnE – vishNu thathvam says “vichithrA dhEha sampaththi” (this wondrous body has been gifted to worship emperumAn) – instead of putting to use the limbs that emperumAn gifted in worshipping him, I had wasted them; why was I born? My birth, instead of benefitting anyone, has become the cause for many bad deeds for others as well as for myself, says the AzhwAr.

Let us now move on to the 27th pAsuram.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dasan

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thirumAlai – 25 – kuLiththu mUnRu

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periyaperumal

avathArikai (Introduction)

In the last 10 pAsurams, AzhwAr recounted the great assistance that periya perumAL  provided him. In the previous pAsuram the love that he showed towards emperumAn was in line with emperumAn’s greatness as it was the love born out of the achith (insentient) body with which he is associated. That love was something similar to the clarity that a mentally ill person gets on occasions, not being credible. He wonders “What should I do?” about his heart and stands in pity. He says “I should give up my connection with this body so that I would not have to suffer like this, reach paramapadham (SrIvaikuNtam) and have permanent experience. But I do not have any means for that” and feels sad. Seeing this, periya perumAL says “Why do you feel sad? To attain me, after getting rid of this body, there are several means available in the SAsthrams (sacred texts). One can observe karma yOgam, gyAna yOgam or bhakthi yOgam (path of carrying out deeds, knowledge and devotion respectively) suited to menfolk in brAhmaNa, kshathriya and vaiSya varNas (classes). Or, carry out SaraNAgathi (surrendering) which is common for these three varNas as well as the fourth varNa (SUdhra), women, children, others born in lower castes and animals without any difference. Or recite the divine names of emperumAn. Thus you can follow any one of these means and attain me”. Azhwar responds saying that “I do not have any qualification for following any of these means” and states that he does not have anything in his hand (Akinchanyam), starting from this pAsuram, until the 34th pAsuram. But, one can ask whether this is not in contradiction with the gyAnam and bhakthi that he had shown in the earlier pAsurams. Those were granted by emperumAn’s grace to enjoy him and they will not be the means for attaining him, says AzhwAr. Whatever experience he had obtained through emperumAn’s grace should last not only in this birth, but also in paramapadham and for that he does not have any means, he says in this pAsuram. In this first pAsuram, among these 10 pAsurams, he says that he does not have involvement in karma, gyAna, bhakthi mentioned very clearly in SAsthrams for thraivarNikas (brAhmaNas, kshathriyas and vysyas).

Let us see the pAsuram and its meanings.

குளித்து மூன்று அனலை ஓம்பும் குறிக்கோள் அந்தண்மை தன்னை
ஒழித்திட்டேன் என்கண் இல்லை நின்கணும் பத்தன் அல்லேன்
களிப்பதென் கொண்டு நம்பீ கடல்வண்ணா. கதறுகின்றேன்
அளித்தெனக்கு அருள் செய் கண்டாய் அரங்கமா நகருளானே.

kuLiththu mUnRu analai Ombum kuRikoL andhaNamai thannai
oLiththittEn enkaN illai ninkaNum paththan allEn
kaLippadhen koNdu nambi kadalvaNNA kadhaRuginREn
aLiththenakku aruL sey kaNdAy arangamA nagaruLAnE

Listen

Word by Word Meanings

arangamAnaruLAnE – Oh, thiruvarangA!
kuLiththu – after having a bath
mUnRu analai – the three types of agni (the element, fire)
Ombum – to have the qualification for carrying out karma with agni
kuRikoL – that which is difficult to ward off any shortcoming due to wrong-doing with manthram (reciting Slokas)
andhaNamai thannai – being a brAhmaNa
oLiththittEn – I had driven off
en kaN illai – I do not have (the knowledge of AthmA related matters)
nin kaN paththanum allEn – I do not have love towards you

(When things are like this)
kaLippadhu enkoNdu – (the one without repentence) how can I be glad
nambI – the one who is full (with auspicious qualities such as simplicity)
kadalvaNNA – the one has form like an ocean
kadhaRuginrEn – I am calling out to you
enakku – in my matter
aLiththu aruL sey kaNdAy – you must bless me by bestowing me with everything, beginning with being qualified

vyAkhyAnam (Explanatory Notes)

kuLiththu mUnRu ….AzhwAr tells emperumAn “a person born as a brAhmaNa has to take bath thrice a day, worship three types of agnis [agni is dhEvathA for the element fire; agni also means fire], carry out sandhyAvandhanam” is what you have written in SAsthras. But I have not carried out any of these from the day that I was born, thus acting against your commands. kuLiththu – there are different types of baths. nithyasnAnam is what is done three times a day, morning, noon and evening. naimiththika snAnam is what is done for a specific purpose, for example on days of eclipse (both solar and lunar). prAyaSchiththa snAnam is bath taken as an angam (part) after committing a mistake and prior to carrying out atonement for it. Thus there are different types of snAnams. One cannot carry out only one among these and avoid out the rest. These are all independent. Since taking a bath is a qualification for carrying out karma (deed or action) such as sandhyAvandhana, kuLiththu as mentioned here is to be considered as being a qualification for carrying out all karmas. While it is a rarity to carry out all the karmas as mentioned in SAsthras, AzhwAr says that it is rare for him even to observe this act [of taking a bath] which is a qualification for carrying out karmas. mUnRu analai – three types of anal (fire) are mentioned: gArhapathyam, AvahanIyam and dhakshiNAgni. anal is the thamizh equivalent of the samskritha word analam. “na vidhyathE alam yasya sa: analam” is the definition for the word analam (that which does not have a state called “enough” is analam) [agni will never say “enough”. As one puts things into it, it will go on burning and consuming them]. The reason for AzhwAr using the word anal instead of agni is because it will never be satisfied with any worshipping and will keep expecting more and more worshipping.  mUnRu anal – while observing even one anal is a rarity, SAsthram has specified that a brAhmaNa should observe three anals. Ombum – just as a mother runs with food and water behind an emaciated child, a brAhmaNa has to run behind these anals with umi (husk) and samiththu (sticks) for worshipping them. kuRikoL – while observing any religious rite, there are a few faults which will entail. Some of these are: manthralOpam – mistake in pronouncing the manthra; kriyAlOpam – mistake in observing the rite; dhravyalOpam – faults in the materials used in the rite; kAlabhEdham – difference in the time when the rite is observed; dhEvathAvyathyayam – reciting the name of the wrong dhEvathA. Thus even if one of these mistakes is committed, the benefit of carrying out the rite will not be obtained. It is like taking a wrong step and falling down to one’s death and hence one has to be very careful while following these rites. Unlike emperumAn who is pleased by a mere anjali and forgets all the faults in his ASrithar (follower) this is not like that. What is this? andhaNamai – the essence of being a brAhmaNa. What happened to it? oLiththittEn – my activities were such that it is not only that I lost the essence of being a brAhmaNa, but I brought indignity to the entire community of brAhmaNas. When some people see true brAhmaNas, I had made them say “these people belong to the same community as this person who has lost the essence of brAhmaNa!”,  thus bringing disrepute to them also. The meaning hinted by AzhwAr is that when he did not even  have the quality of being a brAhmaNa, there is no possibility of his carrying out karma yOgam.

“Alright, you don’t have karma yOgam, but there is a possibility for gyAna yOgam, is it there?” asks emperumAn …

enkaN illai – there is nothing in me regarding this. The opinion here is that I do not have any knowledge about myself. Since I do not have any knowledge about AthmA, which is the basis for gyAna yOgam, there is no possibility for gyAna yOgam being in me. When it is known that there is no karma yOgam, which is a prerequisite for gyAna yOgam, why should one say separately that he has no gyAna yOgam? The reason for this is that even if he did not have karma yOgam in this birth, it is possible that he had attained completeness in karma yOgam in the previous birth, and had died at that time. Due to the benefit of this karma yOgam in the previous birth, he might have been bestowed with gyAna yOgam at the beginning of this birth. AzhwAr denies this too.

In that case, is at the least bhakthi yOgam present in you? asks emperumAn

ninkaNum paththanallEn – I do not have even an iota of affection towards you, when those who see you cannot but have a deep desire for you. Since he does not have the affection which is the prerequisite for bhakthi yOgam, he denies having bhakthi yOgam in him. When he denied having karma yOgam and gyAna yOgam, which are the prerequisites for bhakthiyOgam, is it required to say that he does not have bhakthi yOgam? 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 bhakthi yOgam), bhakthi towards krishNa begins).  Thus, karma and gyAna yOgams could have been completed in the previous births and bhakthi yOgam could have begun at the start of this birth. AzhwAr says that even this is not the case. Also, “gyAnabhakthiyanvitham karma janakAdhishu dhruSyathE I karmabhakthyanvitham gyAnam prAyENa b harathAdhishu II karmagyAnAnvithA bhakthi: prahlAdhapramukhASrayA II” (karma yOgam, with gyAna yOgam and bhakthi yOgam as its parts, is seen in people like janaka [father of sIthAp pirAtti] as a means of attaining mOksha (liberation); gyAna yOgam, with karma yOgam and bhakthi yOgam as its parts, is seen in people like jatabharatha as a means of attaining mOksha; bhakthi yOgam, with karma yOgam and gyAna yOgam as its part, is seen in people like prahlAdha as a means of attaining mOksha). Thus it used to be said in purANas that each of karma, gyAna and bhakthi yOgams, with the other two as its parts, is a means of attaining mOksha. Hence in line with this, it could be said that AzhwAr admitted that he did not have any of the three yOgams in him. “thryaNAmapi yOgAnAm thribhiranyOnyasangama:” (in each of karma, gyAna, bhakthi yOgams, the other two are mingled well); “AthmArthdhi chEththrayO’pyathE thathkaivalyasya sAdhakA:” (if one likes AthmAnubhavam (experiencing AthmA, the self), each of karma, gyAna, bhakthi yOgams will be a means of attaining athmamAthrAnubhavam, also called as kaivalya mOksham).  ALavandhAr in his gIthArtha sangraham divined each of these three yOgams as means for attaining kaivalya mOksham. Thus, one can surmise from ALavandhAr’s SrIsUkthi  (divine composing) that for a person immersed in kaivalya mOksham, if he were to remember emperumAn in his last moments for enjoying him, each of these three yOgams will be the means for attaining paramamOksham (utmost liberation). Hence, our pUrvAchAryas also agreed with this purANa characteristics. SrI bhagavath gIthA 3.20 says “karmaNaiva samsidhdhimAsthithA janakAdhaya:” (people like janaka attained mOksha only through karma). Again, gIthA 4.32 says “SrEyAn dhravyamayAth yagyAth gyAnayagya: paranthapa! I sarvam karmAkilam pArththa! gyAnE parisamApyathE II” (Hey arjuna! In karma yOgam, supplemented with gyAnam, the part played by gyAna (knowledge) is greater than that played by dhravyam (material). All the karma, with all its means, end in gyAnam).  Again, gIthA 11.54 says “bhakthyA thvananyayA Sakya ahamEvam vidhOrjana! I gyAthum dhrashtum cha thathvEna pravEshtuncha paranthapa II” (Oh arjuna! One who roasts the enemies! Only with the assistance of bhakthi, I, like this, can be truly known, seen and attained). Thus, we can consider through gIthA that, all the three yOgams could be taken as means, individually, aligning with purANa characteristics. Thus, starting with kuLiththu mUnRu, AzhwAr showed that he has no connection with karma, gyAna, bhakthi yOgams. nammAzhwAr in “nORRa nOnbilEn”, ANdAL in “kaRavaigaL pinsenRu” and ALavandhAr in sthOthra rathnam 22 “na dhrma nishtO’smi nA chAthmavEdhI na bhakthimAmthvachcharaNAravindhE I akinchanO’nyagathi: SaraNya! thvathpAdha mUlam SaraNam prabadhyE II”  (Oh emperumAn, fit to be surrendered unto! I am not steeped in karma yOgam; I do not have Athma gyAnam too; I do not possess bhakthi in your divine feet; having no other means and no other place to go, I affirm that your divine feet are the means for reaching you), advanced their emptiness [possessing nothing] as a supplement to their means [for attaining emperumAn].

periya perumAL , as his considered opinion, divined “AzhwIr! Just as knowledgeable people do, your advancing your emptiness is a rarity. Since you are thinking of advancing your emptiness, which is a means for my grace, is there any hurdle to get the benefit?”…..

kaLippadhen koNdu – with what can I rejoice that I will attain the means? Even though I do not have karma, gyAna, bhakthi yOgams, I do not even have the repentence that I do not have them. Even if I have that repentence, as you said in gIthA 18.66 “sarvadharmAn parithyajya mAm Ekam SaraNam vraja I aham thvA sarva pApebhyO mOkshayishyAmi mA sucha: II” (leaving aside all karmas with their traces, as a means of attaining me, take refuge only under me as the means. I shall liberate you from all the sins. Do not feel sad) you could  grant me protection. When I do not have even that, with what can I console myself, asks the AshwAr. Thus he has convinced himself that he does not have even repentence that he has nothing in him. emperumAn tells him “since you do not even have repentence, I do not have any alternative other than giving you up”. AzhwAr responds “though I do not have anything with me as means for attaining you, you are full of auspicious qualities, with which you can offer me the means through your mercy”

nambI – AzhwAr asks emperumAn “Are you not complete in all the auspicious qualities just as I am complete in being without anything as a supplement for means?”  Just as ANdAL said “kuRai onRum illAdha gOvindhA” (one without any fault) soon after saying “aRivonRumillAdha Aykkulam” (we are from the cowherd clan without any gyAnam), AzhwAr also calls him “nambi” being full of auspicious qualities, soon after admitting his emptiness.

kadal vaNNA – Are dhEvarIr’s (your highness) auspicious qualities such as simplicity etc required for completeness? dhEvarIr’s mere beauty of physical form is sufficient for me as a means, says AzhwAr. kamba rAmAyaNam says “karuNaiyangadal kidandhanan karungadal nOkki” (the beautiful, merciful ocean [emperumAn] laydown, looking at the black ocean). In the same way, periya perumAL is lying at SrIrangam. As said earlier “aiyappAdu aRuththuththOnRum azhagan” (pAsuram 15) “Adharam perugavaiththa azhagan” (pAsuram 16) AzhwAr had mentioned this physical form only as his means. Thus, the meaning indicated [by AzhwAr] here is that even though he does not have anything with him, the SaranyAn (one who offers refuge) emperumAn has auspicious qualities and physical beauty and hence he does not have to lose.

periya perumAL  divines “since you have known that you have nothing with you and also that I am complete in auspicious qualities, there is nothing beyond this for you to get the means”…

kadhaRuginREn – was I patient with firm belief in the means? Just as those who follow karma, gyAna, bhakthi yOgams cry out that there has been no benefit for their efforts, I am also wailing till the ears of those who listen to this, get ruptured. After I had rid myself of protecting self, it should have been my pastime to sing praises on you, looking at the beauty of your lying posture. Instead of that, I had brought bad name to you by making people say “when emperumAn blesses even those who show a little bit of affection, why is he not coming to the aid of AzhwAr who is wailing like this?” emperumAn asks of the AzhwAr “If you do not have anything beneficial with you, what do you want me to do?”

aLiththenakkU aruL sey kaNdAy – you should create repentence in me after making me an object of your causeless mercy. emperumAn asks, “what is the compulsion that I should do good to you, starting with creating repentence?”

arangamA nagar uLAnE – the purpose of your coming to this place and lying down like this is only to protect people like me who do not have anything in them. If you wanted to protect only those who do not have any shortcoming, there was no need for you to come here. You could have stayed back in paramapadham and protected nithyasUris and mukthas. Isn’t it your purpose of showing the beauty of your lying posture and showing your simplicity by being under the control of archakars (priests who carryout kainkaryam to emperumAn), only to create everything for samsAris starting with taste [in your matters] and to protect them?

We shall proceed to the 26th pAsuram.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dasan

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