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thirumAlali – 24 – veLLa nIr parandhu pAyum

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periyaperumal-art-2

avathArikai (Introduction)

In the 21st pAsuram, AzhwAr said “manaththinAl ninaikkalAmE” (is it possible to measure emperumAn’s beauty through the mind?). In the 22nd, he said “pEsaththAn AvadhuNdO” (is it possible to talk about emperumAn?). In the 23rd, he said “enganam maRandhu vAzhgEn?” (how will I live forgetting him?). Once periya perumAL started showing his overflowing love for him after seeing that he was trying to find ways of forgetting him, AzhwAr thinks that his love towards emperumAn was nothing compared to that which emperumAn showed towards him. He feels that his love is not congruent with the greatness of emperumAn and that the love born out of this insentient body is like the clarity that a mad person gets on occasions [in other words his love is not permanent, but only occasional] and cannot be believed. Taking pity on himself he disparagingly tells his heart “Oh heart! are you trying to play truant with your love in this matter too, like you do with worldly matters?”

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings, first.

வெள்ள நீர் பரந்து பாயும் விரிபொழில் அரங்கம் தன்னுள்
கள்ளனார் கிடந்தவாறும் கமல நன் முகமும் கண்டு
உள்ளமே வலியைப் போலும் ஒருவன் என்று உணர மாட்டாய்
கள்ளமே காதல் செய்து உன் கள்ளத்தே கழிக்கின்றாயே.

veLLa nIr parandhu pAyum viripozhil arangam thannuL
kaLvanAr kidandhavARum kamala nanmugamum kaNdum
uLLamE valiyai pOlum oruvan enRu uNara mAttAy
kaLLamE kAdhal seydhu un kaLLaththE kazhikkinRAyE

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Word-by-Word Meaning

veLLam nIr – kAvEri with huge floods
parandhu pAyum – flowing on all sides
viri pozhil – having expansive gardens
arangam thannuL – inside the temple
kaLvanAr – azhagiya maNavALan [SrI ranganAthan] who steals (the hearts of his followers)
kidandha ARum – the way that he is sleeping
kamalam nal mugamum – divine, beautiful face like a lotus
kaNdum – even after worshipping
uLLamE – Oh, heart!
valiyai pOlum – you are too hardened, it appears
oruvan enRu – that he is incomparable
uNara mAttAy – you do not realise
kaLLamE kAdhal seydhu – faking your love (in emperumAn related matter)
un kaLLaththE – in your falsified actions
kAlaththaik kazhikkinRAyE – you are wasting your time!

vyAkhyAnam (Explanatory Notes)

veLLanIr parandhu pAyum – From the source point of sahyAdhri hill where kAvEri begins her journey, her intention is only to come to SrIrangam. Displaying her intention and her desire, she comes with such a forceful flood flowing in all directions that no one can stop her by building a dam across her. Since there is no end to her desire [to come to SrIrangam and worship the Lord there] there can be no end to her flow also. Hence no one can say that she flowed [using the past tense]. Thus AzhwAr uses the word pAyum which is in the present tense. In other words, she keeps flowing continuously.

viri pozhil arangam – wherever the water [kAvEri] flows, the gardens also spread out expansively.

arangam thannuL kaLvanAr – when he enjoys with the innocent nithyasUris, he does so honestly. But when he wants to attract the crafty samsAris, he decides that he needs to be crafty himself and hence lies down as if he is sleeping inside the temple. An alternative explanation is: while it may appear superficially that he is lying down after seeing the richness of the flowing water and the gardens, in reality he is lying there only to entice the samsAris. Hence AzhwAr is using the term kaLvanAr. When confidants such as thiruppANAzhwAr go near him and worship him they will say “seyya vAy aiyyO! ennaich chindhai kavarndhadhuvE”- implying that there is a crafty look on his face. In other words it would appear that if someone approaches him, he would steal their AthmA and pocket it smoothly. In other words, emperumAn would make that person as his confidant. The person had all along been thinking that the AthmA, which actually belongs to emperumAn, is his own since time immemorial. emperumAn decides that he will make it his own without that person being aware of it. He displays his physical beauty and as said in jithanthE SlOkam “jithanthE puNdarIkAksha!  namasthE viSva bhAvana! I namasthEsthu hrushIkESa! mahApurusha! pUrvaja!” (Oh kaNNa with red coloured lotus eyes! This (Athma) vasthu (entity) has been won over by you. (this) is not mine; only yours; Oh the one who created all the worlds! Oh the one who controls the sensory organs! Oh, the magnanimous and great person! Oh the one who came ahead of everyone else! (this entity AthmA) instead of being mine, should only be yours). This AthmApahAram (coveting of AthmA) has been going on for a very long time. But when emperumAn takes this AthmA, which is always his, it appears that he is stealing it. Even submitting this AthmA to him is equivalent to stealing the AthmA. In thiruvAyppAdi (in gOkulam) along with butter, he also steals the jIvAthmAs. Our submitting this AthmA to him is equivalent to king mahAbali returning his lands to him as a gift.

kidandhavARum – what enticed me is neither his auspicious AthmaguNa (qualities of his AthmA) such as simplicity nor the lAvaNya rUpa guNa (qualities of various parts of his physical form) such as his divine eyes, but the beauty of his lying posture – kidandhadhOr kidakkai as AzhwAr mentioned in the previous pAsuram which is samudhAya SObhA (spendour of his entire physical form).

kamala nanmugamum – for the qualities of well blossomed nature, freshness, coolness and fragrance, lotus can be taken as a similie for emperumAn’s divine face to an extent. But since it cannot equal emperumAn’s divine face, AzhwAr qualifies the divine face as nanmugam. Can the prAkrutha (belonging to materialistic realm) lotus come anywhere near the sudhdha sathva (purely good) and radiantly divine face of emperumAn? Would the lotus which blossoms on seeing sun equal the divine face which blossoms on seeing ASrithars (followers)? By qualifying as nanmugam AzhwAr says that only periya perumAL’s face is a cool [comforting] face in samsAram and all the other faces are hot [repelling] ones.

kaNdum uLLamE valiyai pOlum – even after having dharSan of the beautiful lying posture of emperumAn, AzhwAr’s heart did not show any change in its appearance. AzhwAr wonders “Oh heart! are you this hardened that you are not showing any change even after looking at emperumAn?” Compared to the greatness of emperumAn, whatever changes he had shown earlier are nothing, as far as AzhwAr is concerned.

AzhwAr’s heart asked him, “what is the hardness that I have now shown?”

oruvan enRu uNaramAttAy – you are not realising that he is beyond any comparison. If you realise, you should realise his greatness and auspicious qualities such as ASritha vAthsalyam (motherly affection towards his followers) as they are. If you realise these qualities as they are, you should have matching involvement towards him.  Only because you don’t have this involvement, your heart is hardened, says the AzhwAr.

If such an involvement had not taken place, in the earlier pAsurams. what is the meaning of saying “kaNNinai kaLikkumARE” (pAsuram 17), “paniyarumbu thIrumAlO” (pAsuram 18), “udal enakku urugumAlO” (pAsuram 19)?

kaLLamE kAdhal seydhu – AzhwAr tells his heart “just as you had exhibited falsified love towards worldly matters, you had shown similar false love towards emperumAn also as a matter of habit. You did not have true love towards emperumAn”.

un kaLLaththE kazhikkinRAyE – This deceitful nature has been with you since time immemorial. Just as you had shown false love for a long time in other matters, you had shown similar false love in emperumAn’s matter also. You thought that this matter is similar to the other worldly matters. Your love does not match the greatness of emperumAn’s matter, says the AzhwAr.

We shall now take up the 25th pAsuram.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dasan

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thirumAlai – 23 – gangaiyil punidhamAya

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srirangam

avathArikai (Introduction)

Azhwar’s heart told him “if it is not possible to think and speak about this matter [emperumAn], you could forget about it and live” to which he responds “how can I, who am deeply involved in the periya perumAL’s (mUlavar at SrIrangam] lying posture, forget him and live?”

Let us look at the pAsuram and its meanings.

கங்கயில் புனிதமாய காவிரி நடுவு பாட்டு
பொங்கு நீர் பரந்து பாயும் பூம்பொழில் அரங்கம் தன்னுள்
எங்கள்மால் இறைவன் ஈசன் கிடந்ததோர் கிடக்கை கண்டும்
எங்ஙனம் மறந்து வாழ்கேன் ஏழையேன் ஏழையேனே.

gangaiyil punidhamAya kAviri naduvu pAttup
pongu nIr parandhu pAyum pUmbozhil arangam thannuL
engaLmAl iRaivan Isan kidandhadhOr kidakkai kaNdum
enganam maRandhu vAzhgEn EzhaiyEn EzhaiyEnE

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Word-by-Word Meaning

EzhaiyEn – fickle minded person like I am
gangaiyil – more than gangai [gangA]
punidham Aya – with the quality of sanctity
kAviri naduvu pAttu – in the middle of kAviri
pongu nIr – frothing flood
parandhu pAyum – flowing in all the places uniformly
pUmpozhil – having beautiful groves
arangam thannuL – in the temple
engal mAl – having affection towards his followers
iRaivan – the Lord of all
Isan – the controller of all, periya perumAL’s
kidandhadhu Or kidakkai –  unparalleled lying posture
kaNdum – after seeing and enjoying
maRandhu – forgetting (that divine posture)
enganam vAzhgEn – how can I sustain myself?
EzhaiyEnE – (caught in emperumAn’s matter) I am standing, stunned, unable to do anything

vyAkhyAnam (Explanatory Notes)

gangaiyil punidhamAya – kAviri, which is greater than gangai in sanctifying others. While it is greater than gangai in terms of beauty and sweetness of the waters, it is greater than gangai in the purifying quality of sanctifying others. SrIranga mahAthmyam states “gangAsAmyam purA prApthA dhEvadhEvaprasAdhanAth I rangAvadharaNAdhUrdhvam AdhikyanchApyavApa sA II” – kAviri, who became equal to gangai with dhEvadhEvan’s [emperumAn’s] grace, became superior to gangai after the installation of SrIranga vimAnam (turret). purANas spoke high of kAviri and said that she was superior to gangai after periya perumAL took his position there. The sanctity for gangai is because she had the link to emperumAn’s divine feet once, when brahmA cleansed his divine feet. In ISwara samhithai, brahmA says “dhravIbhUthas thadhA dharmO haribhakthyA mahAmunE! I gruhIthvA dharmapANIyam padham nathasya thushtayE II kshAlitham parayA bhakthyA pAdhyArghyAdhibhir architham I thadhambu pathitham dhrushtva dhadhAra SirasA hara: II pAvanArtham jatAmadhyE yOgyO’smIdhyavadhAra- varshAyuthAnyatha bahUn na  mumOcha thathA hara: II” – Oh, the great one among the rishis! At that time (when bhagavAn measured the worlds), dharmam (virtue), due to its devotion towards hari, became water. jagannAthan’s (Lord of the universe) divine feet were cleansed (by me) with superior devotion, with that virtue turned water, for his pleasure. He was also worshipped with pAdhyam (water used for cleaning divine feet) and argyam (water used for cleaning divine hands). Looking at the water which was falling [from emperumAn’s divine feet], Sivan affirmed that “I am qualified (to purify myself)” with that water and bore the water in the centre of his head to sanctify himself. Then for tens of thousands of years, rudhran did not let go of that water. Thus, the water, which was borne by Sivan to sanctify himself, got a fault also that it had connection with Sivan. Saivas, the followers of Siva, do not consider it appropriate to touch the garland or prasAdha (offering) of Siva since they are nirmAlyam (unfit or useless). Hence, as thirumangai AzhwAr said in thivezhukURRirukkai “ARupodhisadaiyOn” – matted hair with the weight of river, since gangai stayed on in his matted hair, she contacted the rancid smell and connectivity with the matted hair. Since kAviri did not have such flaws and since periya perumAL lies amidst her tributaries, does she not have a superior sanctity over gangai? Even though gangai has that flaw since she stayed in sankaran’s matted hair, since she became the “SrIpAdha thIrtham” (water from divine feet) of emperumAn, wherever she went, her sanctity overshadowed her fault. poygai  AzhwAr, in his mudhal thiruvandhAdhi 97 said “undhan adi sErndhu aruL peRRALanRE podi sEr anarkangaiERRAn avirsadai mERpAyndha punaRgangai ennum pErppon” – gangai, who flowed into the matted hair of rudhran to purify him, attained your divine feet and received your grace so that she could purify all those who had committed sins. kAviri’s greatness is that such an emperumAn came on his own and lay down amidst her tributaries.

naduvupAttu – in the middle. Just as he lay down in the lap of yaSOdhAppirAtti, periya perymAL lay down in the middle of kAviri to rest awhile.

pongu nIr parandhu pAyum pUmpozhil arangam thannuL – due to excess flow of water and with the excessive joy of impending dharSan of periya perumAL, kAviri is coming in with lot of enthusiasm, throwing waves all over. parandhu pAyum – instead of coming in as a narrow stream, she is coming with lot of desire, touching both shores. pUm pozhil arangandhannuL – due to the copious flow of water, the gardens are always full of flowers. With water flow suiting the softness of periya perumAL , with the gardens looking as if it is always spring season, the dhivyadhEsam (divine place) removes the ennui of all persons. By saying gangaiyil punidhamAya the sancity of thiruvarangam (SrIrangam) and by saying pongunIr parandhu pAyum pUmpozhil the sweetness have been indicated.

engaL mAl – emperumAn appears as the epitome of affection towards his followers. By saying engaL [our] he takes in other AzhwArs and others who have surrendered to emperumAn and who have left their protection fully with him. By initially talking about the sanctity of the place and then its sweetness, it would appear superficially that emperumAn is lying there because of these two reasons. But if one were to delve deeper, it would be clear that he is lying there only to show his thirumEni (divine form) to his followers out of the profound affection that he has towards them. Azhwar hints that it is not only affection, but also the result of natural relationship with followers.

iRaivan – the reason for the affection is because he is their swAmy (lord).

Isan – not only is he their lord, he also has the power to control them and guide them towards virtuous ways. Thus with these three words [engaL mAl, iRaivan and Isan] he shows that emperumAn shows affection towards his followers, is their lord and controls them. Thus, preventing his followers from getting involved in worldly matters which are controlled by the three guNas [saththva, rajas and thamas], he wishes to take them to nithya vibhUthi (SrIvaikuNtam) where they can enjoy permanently and is lying here, at SrIrangam, to get ownership of his possessions [the AthmAs who are willing to come to SrIvaikuNtam) with his quality of vAthsalya (motherly affection)

kidandhadhOr kidakkai – leaving aside the three auspicious qualities just mentioned previously, Azhwar is now showing how he has been trapped by the beauty of emperumAn’s divine lying posture. Had he been in the divine standing or divine sitting posture, it might have been possible to forget that. To emphasise that it is not possible to forget his divine lying posture, AzhwAr is using the word Or (as in kidandhadhOr) which emphatically says that he is non pareil. For the beautiful people of the world, their beauty would be enhanced when they are in standing or sitting but would be totally erased when they are lying. In the case of periya perumAL, his beauty surpasses everything when he is in the lying posture. Did not pirAtti admire and enjoy this, as mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 38.25 “SrImAn sukha suptha:” – emperumAn who was lying down and looked beautiful? Or kidakkai – He is using the word Or to emphasise that he is not sure whether emperumAn is lying on one side or lying supine. It is clear that it is AzhwArs’ natue to be immersed in emperumAn’s divine postures. If he is standing, they would say as in periya thirumozhi “nilaiyAra ninRAn” – he was standing so beautifully; if he is sitting, they would say as in thiruvAimozhi “pirAn irundhamai kAttinIr” – you showed us your beauty in sitting posture, and as in this pAsuram if he is lying down.

kaNdum enganam maRandhu vAhzgEn – If this had not been enjoyed before, it might have been forgotten. But, having enjoyed this posture, how can it be forgotten? Enganam maRandhu vAzhgEn – AzhwAr says, “when this matter is like food for me, how can I forget this and subsist on worldly matters which are like sand? If I forget this, there is no way that I can sustain with other matters”

EzhaiyEn EahziyEnE – even If I approach emperumAn with greed, to enjoy him, since he cannot be enjoyed fully, I am unable to enjoy. If I separate from him, I am unable to sustain myself. Thus in both ways, I have become impoverished. EzhaiyEn EzhaiyEnE – if Ezhmai were to refer to weakness, since time immemorial, I had become weakened due to involvement in worldly pursuits. Now, getting involved in the immeasurable beauty of bhagavath vishayam (related to emperumAn), I have become weakened as I cannot go for other worldly pursuits too. Earlier, due to karma for a very long time, I had become weakened. Now, due to involvement with emperumAn, I have become weakened, is another meaning for this term.

We shall proceed to the 24th pAsuram.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dasan

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thirumAlai – 22 – pEsiRRE pEsalallAl

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periyaperumal-thiruppanazhwarperiya perumAL and thiruppANAzhwAr (purest at his heart)

avathArikai (Introduction)

“If it is not possible to think through the mind (heart), can you not speak through the mouth?” asked the heart. thaiththiriya samhithai 7.5.3. states “mana: pUrvO vAguththara:” – initially mind and then the mouth engage. Thus, the mouth can speak only what the mind thinks. If there is a matter which is outside the scope of mind, can the mouth speak about it? Oh my heart, who thinks that it is possible to speak, please tell, says the AzhwAr.

Let us first go through the pAsuram and its meanings.

பேசிற்றே பேசலல்லால் பெருமை ஒன்று உணரலாகாது
ஆசற்றார் தங்கட்கல்லால் அறியல் அவனுமல்லன்
மாசற்றார் மனத்துளானை வணங்கி நாம் இருப்பதல்லால்
பேசத்தான் ஆவதுண்டோ பேதை நெஞ்சே! நீ சொல்லாய்

pEsiRRE pEsalallAl perumai onRu uNaralAgAdhu
AsaRRAr thangatkallAl aRiyal AvAnumallan
mAsaRRAr manaththuLAnai vaNangi nAm iruppadhallAl
pEsaththAn AvadhuNdO pEdhai nenjE! nI sollAy

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Word-for-Word Meaning

pEdhai nenjE! – Oh, ignorant mind!
pEsiRRE – whatever had been set out for speaking (by vEdhas and vaidhika purushas – those who follow vEdhas)
pEsal allAl – instead of speaking only that (by us)
perumai –in (emperumAn’s) greatness
onRu – even one
uNaral AgAdhu – it is not possible to know
Asu aRRAr thangatku allAl – other than blemishless persons (blemish is reaching out to other upAyams (as a means to attain emperumAn))
aRiyal AvAnum allan – he can not be perceived

(Hence)
mAsu aRRAr manaththu uLAnai – residing permanently in the minds of those blemishless persons (who have left aside other benefits)
nAm vaNangi iruppadhu allAl – other than whatever has been enjoyed by us (who have surrendered totally to him)
pEsa than Avadhu uNdO – is it possible to speak through hymns (his greatness)?
nI sollAy – you please tell

vyAkhyAnam (Explanatory Notes)

Aren’t prAkrutha matters (worldly issues) spoken by the mouth? Why then, can’t this (relating to bhagavath issues) be spoken? Worldly matters are limited to certain boundaries. But that is not the case with bhagavath vishayam which is unbounded and hence it is not possible. vishNu dharmam 1.13 says “sA jihvA yA harim sthauthi” – whatever praises hari is tongue. If the tongue is not going to speak about bhagavAn, should we leave it at that? …

pEsiRRE pEsal allAl – We can repeat only whatever the vEdhas (scriptures) and vaidhikars (those who follow vEdhas) had spoken about emperumAn’s greatness earlier. It is not possible to recite new hymns appropriate to this supreme entity. What is it that the vEdhas and those who followed these vEdhas spoke earlier?

  • nArAyaNavalli 11 says “thasya madhyE vahniSikA aNiyOrdhvA vyavasthitha: I neelathOyadha madhyasthA vidhyullEkEva bhAsvarA II” – paramAthmA’s (emperumAn’s) divine, auspicious form, agni Sika, is located in the middle of the lotus shaped heart, like a miniscule, turned upwards. It is luminous like a lightning amidst blue coloured clouds.
  • thiruviruththam 29 says “neelamuNda minnanna mEni” – his divine physical body is like lightning which has swallowed blue colour [for the flash of blue].
  • mahAbhAtham SAnthi parvam 46.118 says “athasIpushpasankASam pIthavAsasamuchyatham I yE namasyanthi gOvindham na thEshAm sidhyathE bhayam II” –  there is no fear for those who worship gOvindha, who does not ever let go of his followers, who is of the colour of kAyAmpU (purple coloured flower)  and one wears yellow coloured silken dress.
  • chAndhOgya upanishath 1.6.6 says “ya EshO’ntharAdhithyE hiraNmaya: purushO dhruSyathE I hiraNyaSmaSrur hiraNyakESa ApraNakhAth sarva Eva suvarNa: II thasya yathA kapyAsam puNdarIkamEvamakshiNI” – the parama purushan (supreme entity) who is seen in the middile of the sun, has a divine form which appears like gold, has golden moustache, has golden locks and upto his nails has golden hue. He has two divine eyes looking like lotus, just blossomed by sun.
  • manu smruhti 12.122 says “prASIthAram sarvEshAmaNIyAm samaNIyasAm I rukmAbham svapnadhIgamyam vidhyAththu purusham param II´- it should be understood that paramapurushan controls all entities, has the radiance of melted gold, can be perceived by wondrous knowledge such as svapna budhdhi [intelligence gathered through dreams]
  • thiruvAimozhi 3.1.2 says “sutturaiththa nanpon un thirumEni oLi ovvAdhu” – even purified, melted gold will not come anywhere near the radiance of your divine form.

In all the cases mentioned above, they had to use prAkrutha vasthus (materials in this world) as similes for comparing emperumAn’s physical form. But aren’t these worldly materials too lowly for such a comparison? Why should these be taken for comparison? For defining entities which are not visible to the sensory organ of eye, one has to consider only those entities which the eye has seen. This does not mean that they were able to speak fully about emperumAn.

pEsiRRe pEsal allAl – other than quoting from vEdhas, it is well nigh impossible for us to recite even one hymn about emperumAn. How did they speak about him? thaiththiriya upanishath Anandhavalli 9.1 says “yathO vAchO nivarthanthE aprApya manaSa saha: I Anandham brahmaNO vidhvAn na bibhEthi kuthaSchanEthi II´- emperumAn’s Anandham (joy) is such that words and mind cannot fathom it and return empty handed. One who knows this does not fear anyone. Thus the vEdhas confirmed that it is not possible to speak fully about emperumAn. We can also say that it is not possible to speak about him and say that he cannot be spoken about in any other way. This is another interpretation for these words. What is the reason for this?

perumai onRu uNaralAgAdhu – not even one of his greatness can be perceived. It is not possible to point out an equivalent for emperumAn related matter. It is not possible to measure its greatness either. For other worldly matters, one may show a simile – for example, one can say that the face is like the moon. In such cases, the subject of comparison [face] will not come anywhere near the object that it is compared with [moon]. In emperumAn related issues, the object that is compared with will not come anywhere near the subject of comparison. For example, if one says that emperumAn’s eyes are like lotus, the lotus can never equal the eyes in any of the parameters of assessment. By saying onRu uNaralAgAdhu, AzhwAr emphasises that emperumAn’s svarUpam (his nature), guNas (his qualities), his vigraham (physical beauty), his vibhUthi (his wealth) can not be perceived or measured. In that case, can no one know about this entity?

AsaRRAr thangatkallAl aRiyalAvAnumallan – he cannot be known by anyone other than those who are without blemish. Even though the word Asu mentioned here and the word mAsu appearing in the next line have the same meaning, blemish, we should consider that they refer to different types of blemish in the two places. Here, the word Asu refers to the blemish relating to upAyam (the means of attaining emperumAn).  The chEthana (sentient entity) instead of being completely dependent on emperumAn (athyantha parathanthran), thinks that he could indulge in some other means (path), to attain emperumAn out of his ego, in keeping with his strengths. When the chEthana tries to attain emperumAn through other means, these other means will have to look upto emperumAn’s grace for granting the desired result as they don’t have the power within themselves to grant it. When emperumAn is himself the means to attain him, he does not have to look upto anyone else or anything else. Thus it is not possible to know about [perceive] emperumAn except for those who approach emperumAn only through him.

mAsaRRAr – those without blemish. mAsu is also a blemish of the mind. Due to the effect of sins committed, going after other goals such as aiSvarya (wealth), kaivalya (AthmA enjoying itself) is called as blemish of the mind. Those who go after only emperumAn as fruit [or target or goal] of attaining him are referred to as mAsaRRAr.

manaththuLAnai – being in the minds of. Living in the minds of those who, leaving aside all other means [of attaining emperumAn] and all other goals to enjoy [except himself], leaving aside the materialistic realm, reaching paramapadham (SrIvaikuNtam) and thinking of enjoying emperumAn, leaving the responsibility of their protection with him, admitting that they have nothing in them for this. Since AzhwAr says manaththu uLAnai (being inside the mind) he indicates that emperumAn considers areas outside the minds of his followers as unfit to stay, as if a forest fire is raging. Just like fish cannot sustain itself if removed from water, emperumAn also cannot sustain himself if he is not inside the minds of such people. The purpose of emperumAn staying in all the dhivya dhESams (divine temples which have been sung by AzhwArs) is only in expectation of such a person who does not have Asu and mAsu [blemish of reaching emperumAn through other means and blemish of reaching out to other goals respectively]. Just as thirumazhisai AzhwAr sang in thiruchchandha viruththam 65 “ennilAdha munnelAm”, emperumAn has taken positions [such as standing, sitting, lying down] in various dhivya dhESams to wait for such a person.

vaNangi nAm iruppadhu allAlAzhwAr says that there is nothing else for us, who have left the responsibility of our lives to him, to do, except to enjoy him and pay our obeisance to him, once he has decided to stay put in the mind. Paying obeisance here is indicative of enjoying him through all three channels of mind, speech and action.

pEsaththAnAvadhuNdO – when one thinks of emperumAn’s greatness, was it such that one could recite a hymn about it?

pEdhai nenjEAzhwAr asks his mind [heart] whether it can talk about emperumAn the same way that it has been used to talking about worthless worldly matters  all these ages due to its ignorance.

nI sollAy – AzhwAr as imploring his mind to talk about this as it seemed to be too anxious and desirous to speak about emperumAn.

We shall next enjoy the 23rd pAsuram.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dasan

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thirumAlai – 21 – paNivinAl manamadhonRi

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avathArikai (Introduction)

AzhwAr’s heart told him “if you cannot leave periya perumAL, you can attempt to measure his beauty and enjoy that experience” to which AzhwAr responds “oh my dear heart! your idea of measuring his beauty and knowing about him is like your ignorance and the resultant loss since time immemorial when you did not have the firmness to enjoy his beauty”. Let us first enjoy the pAsuram and its meanings.

பணிவினால் மனம தொன்றிப்  பவளவாய் அரங்கனார்க்கு
துணிவினால் வாழமாட்டாத் தொல்லை நெஞ்சே! நீ சொல்லாய்
அணியனார் செம்பொன் ஆயா அருவரை அனைய கோயில்
மணியனார் கிடந்தவாற்றை மனத்தினால் நினைக்கலாமே

paNivinAL manama dhonRip pavaLavAy aranganArkku
thuNivinAl vAzhamAttath thollai nenjE! nI sollAy
aNiyinAr sempon Aya aruvarai anaiya kOyil
maNiyinAr kidandhavARRai manaththinAl ninaikkalAmE

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Word-for-Word Meanings

pavaLa vAy – having divine mouth like coral
aranganArkku – in the matter of thiruvarangan (SrI ranganAthan)
paNivinAl – being humble
manam adhu onRi – (in matter relating to emperumAn) keeping the mind in harmony
thuNivinAl – with determination, boldness
vAzhamAttA – unable to live
thollai nenjE – since time immemorial, having lost out in bhagavath vishayam (matter relating to emperumAn), Oh my heart!
aNiyin Ar – perfectly beautiful
sem pon Aya – made of reddish gold
aru varai anaiya – like the great mEru parvatha (a mountain in the higher worlds)
kOyil – in the temple
maNiyinAr – emperumAn shining like a blue diamond
kidandha ARRai – the beauty of lying down and sleeping
manaththinAl – through the mind (or heart)
ninaikkal AmE – is it possible to measure?
nI sollAy – you please tell

vyAkhyAnam (Explanatory Notes)

paNivinAl manamadhonRi – resolving that “shall bow down to periya perumAL” redeeming the mind from worldly matters and involving deeply in this [emperumAn’s] matter. onRugai – being in harmony. All that is expected of us is to indicate the resolve to remove the mind from all other matters and involve, as per the svarUpam (true nature) in bhagavath vishayam (matter relating to bhagavAn). Since AzhwAr addresses nenjE [heart] and says manamadhu onRi [with mind in harmony], he indicates to thought here, which is the activity of heart. Even if one were to bow down to anyone other than emperumAn, one cannot say for sure that they will show compassion. They may or they may not. Even if they take pity, it may not lead to good results. In SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 36.11, rAvaNa says “dhvidhA bhajyEyamapyEvam na namEyam thu kasyachith I Esha mE sahajO dhOsha: svabhAvO dhurathikrama: II” – even if I were to be split into two parts, I will not bow down to anyone like this. This is my fault which has been there since birth. Is it possible to overcome one’s basic nature?

In the case of  emperumAn, it is enough if one were to change the vow that “I will not bow” It is enough if we indicate to emperumAn who, for a very long time, is engaging in creation, incarnation etc, desiring “will the chEthana (sentient entity) not involve with me” that I have changed. Even if we bow down completely to emperumAn that act is not going to yield the result. It is emperumAn’s mercy which is going to. If what the samsAri does (bowing) is not the cause for any benefit, then how did this become a cause for emperumAn’s mercy? Just as, when a person raises his arm to hit another person, even if he does not hit him, the other person will remember for his life this act of the first mentioned person which had disgraced him. In the same way, when we bow to emperumAn, he remembers this act of the samsAri. ALavandhAr says in sthOthra rathnam 28 “thvadhanghri muthdhisya kadhApi kEnachith yathAthathA vA’pi sakruth kruthOnjali: I thadhaiva mushNAthyaSubhAnya SEshatha: SubhAni pushNAthi na jAthu hIyathE II” – if someone had at some point of time, in some way carried out anjali [folding the palms together as a mark of obeisance] towards you, his sins are removed at that time itself. The benefits grow multifold; they never reduce. In mahAbhAratham SAnthi parvam 46.163, the same meaning is conveyed “EkO’pi krishNE sukrutha: praNAmO dhaSASvamEdha avabhruthEna thulya:? I dhaSASvamEdhI punarEthi janma krishNapraNAmO na punarpbhavAya II” – can the benefit of carrying out a salutation to krishNa be compared to the benefit of carrying out ten aSvamEdha? [an aSvamEdha was a practice in olden days when a king, to prove his superiority would let his horse wander all over the place and if anyone holds the horse, the king will defeat that person and establish his rule in that place] (It should not be done, because) the one who carries out ten aSvamEdha is born again in this samsAram while there is no janma (birth) for the one who has worshipped krishNa. gAruda purANam 11.26 says “anjali: paramA mudhrA kshipram dhEvaprasAdhinI” – anjali, which makes bhagavAn very happy , is a superior identification [to show one’s humility]. Thus emperumAn is pleased with the chEthana and shows mercy on him.

pavaLavAy aranganArkku – if emperumAn gets someone who shows the initial signs of involvement with him, he comforts that person for all the loss that he had suffered all these days with his coral-like mouth. aranganArkku – “when he comes near me with involvement, I should not be too far away from him” and hence he stays permanently close-by at thiruvarangam.

thuNivinAl vAzhamAtta – it is his supreme form that creates humility in the chEthana as well as determination and stimulates him to enjoy the experience

pavaLavAy aranganArkku manamadhonRi thuNivinAl vAzhamAtta – the chEthana did not have the determination to enjoy emperumAn all along. It is only determination that is required now to enjoy. mahAbhAratham SAnthi parvam 324.47 says “vyavasAyAdhruthE brahman! nAsAdhayAthi thath param” – Oh brAmaNa! He will not attain that paravasthu (bhagavAn) if he does not have mental strength – janaka, who was clear in the path to attain emperumAn told his AchAryan vEdhavyAsa that it is only determination which is the unblemished means to attain brahmam [supreme entity].

thollai nenjE – looking at his heart, the AzhwAr says “it is only due to a lack of determination that you have lost out all along to enjoy in this matter”

nI sollAy – you can now very well say that it is due to ignorance that you had lost enjoying this, all along and now you can enjoy bhagavath vishayam (emperumAn related matters). He is hinting that this is also due to ignorance.

aNiyinAr semponAya aruvaraiyanaiya kOyil mahA mEru parvatham (the great mEru mountain) is referred to as one that is beautiful and made of reddish gold. The temple in thiruvarangam is very much like that mEru. Since this temple is like an ornament to samsAram, the term aNiyinAr will suit well. Since it looks very much like reddish golden colour, semponAya will also suit it. Since it is stable like a mountain and is the basis for the entire world, the term aruvaraiyanaiya will also suit.

maNiyanAr kidhandhavARRai – if that mEru mountain were to be pierced in the centre, and it puffs up all around, and a blue gem were to be found in the centre, it would be like periya perumAL lying in a sleeping posture under the turret of Srirangam kOyil.

kidandhavARRai manaththinAL ninaikkalAmE – looking at the beauty of his sleeping posture, is it possible to esimate his beauty with one’s heart? It may be possible to even estimate his svarUpam (basic nature) and his auspicious qualities but it is not possible to put an estimate to his physical beauty, is AzhwAr’s opinion. If it is possible to think of something other than through the mind, it may be possible to measure his beauty. [in other words, it is impossible to measure his beauty].

We shall now take up the 22nd pAsuram.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dasan

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thirumAlai – 20 – pAyu nIr arangam thannuL

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsuram when the samsAris heard AzhwAr’s involvement with periya perumAL and his resultant suffering [his tears preventing him from seeing the wonderful form of periya perumAL], they told AzhwAr “who don’t you keep aside this involvement with emperumAn and enjoy like us, taking care of food and clothing so that you will not have to bother about the body melting and you can be steady and firm like us?” AzhwAr responds saying “we realise after seeing periya perumAL in this sleeping posture that he is doing this for our sake. We know our svarUpam (basic nature); how can we be like you, not being involved with emperumAn related matter, and exhibit our ahankAram and mamakAram (ego and possessiveness) like you?”

Let us look at the pAsuram and its meanings.

பாயு நீர் அரங்கம் தன்னுள் பாம்பணைப் பள்ளி கொண்ட
மாயனார் திரு நன் மார்வும் மரகத உருவும் தோளும்
தூய தாமரைக் கண்களும் துவரிதழ்ப் பவள வாயும்
ஆயசீர் முடியும் தேசும் அடியரோர்க்கு அகலலாமே.

pAyu nIr arangam thannuL pAmbaNaip paLLi koNda
mAyanAr thiru nan mArvum maradhaga uruvum thOLum
thUya thAmaraik kaNgaLum thuvaridhazhp pavaLa vAyum
AyasIr mudiyum thEsum adiyarOrkku agalalAmE

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Meanings of Words

pAyu nIr – surrounded by [the river] kAviri in which water is flowing
arangam thannuL – in  thiruvarangam [SrI rangam]
pAmbu aNai – in the bed of thiruvananthAzhwAn [AdhiSEsha]
paLLi koNda – lying, asleep
mAyanAr – emperumAn’s, with wondrous activities
thiru nal mArvum – the supremely great chest where pirAtti [SrI mahAlakshmi] resides
maradhagam uruvum – colour of thirumEni [divine form] like emerald stone
thOLum – divine shoulders
thuvar idhazh – red-coloured divine lips
pavaLam vAyum – coral like divine mouth
Aya sIr mudiyum – crown with unparalleled greatness, for a very long time
thEsum – the radiance (as a result of all the aforementioned aspects)
adiyarOrkku – for his followers (who know their svarUpam, basic nature)
agalalAmE – can they be lost?

vyAkhyAnam (Explanatory Notes)

pAyu nIr arangam – instead of being at an elevation, requiring construction of a dam and forcing water to go up, thiruvarangam (SrIrangam) is at a lower level so that water will flow naturally. Water is used as a metaphor to denote all substances that purify and which are clear. This temple is the repository for such substances. As mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam bAla kANdam 2.5 “agarthdhamidham thIrtham bharathwAja! niSAmaya I ramaNIyam prasannAmbu sanmanushyamanO yathA II´- hEy bharathwAja! Look at this river which is without mud, beautiful, and clear like the minds of good people. Thus water is taken as a simile for good people.

thannuL pAmbaNai – in order to prevent any irritation to his divine body, which is softer than a flower, by the water, he has spread AdhiSEshan as a mattress on top of the water. periyAzhwAr said the same in periyAzhwAr thirumozhi 5.1.7 “veLLai veLLaththin mEl oru pAmbai meththiyAga viriththu” – spread AdhiSEsha on top of the white water, as a mattress.

paLLikoNda mAyanAr – his way of sleeping is wondrous. sIthA pirAtti tells hanuman in SrI rAmAnyaNam yudhdha kANdam 28.25 “vAyasEna thathasthEna balavathkliSyamAnayA I sa mayA bOdhitha: SrImAn sukhasuptha: paranthapa: II – SrI rAmapirAn, who was sleeping comfortably, (due to which) who was so handsome, and who burns his enemies, was woken up since that kAkAsuran kept troubling me.  Thus pirAtti enjoyed his sleeping posture. The word mAyA denotes something wonderful. The word mAyanAr [used here by AzhwAr] denotes emperumAn who is wondrously beautiful.  paLLikoNda mAyanAr …… agalalAmE – if emperumAn were in standing posture or sitting posture, it would have been possible for one to leave that place. nammAzhwAr says in thiruvAimozhi 5.8.1  “ErAr kOlam thigazhakkidanthAy” displaying such a beautiful form, you were lying, and kulaSEkarap perumAL says in perumAL thirumozhi 7.2 “AnaiyiRkidantha kidakkai kaNdidappeRRilEn”  – I have not been fortunate to see you lying as an elephant;  when he is in lying posture is it possible for anyone to leave him and go?

thirunal mArbum – his chest, made greater by the presence of pirAtti. What was the greatness due to pirAtti, to his chest? The marks left by her feet with sempanju [ a paste prepared from red cotton, used to dye women’s feet] and the garlands discarded by her were always there on his chest and this was essential in deciding emphatically that he is the paramporuL [supreme being]. parASara bhattar says in SrI guNa rathna kOSam 4 “vEdhAnthAs thathvachinthAm murabhi dhurasi yathpAdha chihnais tharanthi” – by looking at which pirAtti’s marks of divine feet on the chest of emperumAn, the vEdhAnthams bring to an end the discussion on who is the supreme being … Another explanation is: as nammAzhwAr said in 6.10.10 “agalagillEn iRaiyum enRu” – I [pirAtti] will not leave his chest even for a moment, his chest becomes great because pirAtti will not leave it even for a moment.

maradhaga uruvum – his form which has the radiance of emerald green, bathing the eyes of the beholder with a coolness.

thOLum – unlike his chest and form which needed adjectives to bring out their greatness, his shoulders are great, by nature. His shoulders provide a float to those who were sinking after seeing the beauty of his chest and form.

thUya thAmaraikkaNgaLum – the divine eyes which cast a gracious look on both pirAtti and demons such as  hiraNyan without any difference. The reason for this is the causeless mercy in emperumAn’s eyes. In SrI bhagavath gIthA 5.29, krishNa says “bhOkthAram yagyathapasAm sarvalOkamahESwaram I suhrutham sarvabhUthAnAm gyAthvA mAm SAnthimruchchathi II” – the one who accepts rituals and penances, the one who is the lord of all the worlds, the one who is the friend of all living creatures – knowing such a person [emperumAn] everyone attains peace. Thus irrespective of whether the person is a friend or a foe, emperumAn remains friendly with everyone. In jithanthE SlOkam 1.2 it says “dhEvAnAm dhAnavAnAmcha sAmAnyamadhidhaivatham I sarvadhA charaNadhvanthvam vrajAmi SaraNam thava II” – I take refuge under your divine feet which are available for holding on to , by both devotees of SrI vishNu and those who do not have any devotion towards him. Thus for both celestial and demoniac persons, the relationship with him is the same. Despite this, the reason for the troubles faced by demons is entirely due to their faults. The wind, which is beneficial to everyone, dries up lotus. Since AzhwAr has used the adjective thUya thAmarai (pure lotus) for his divine eyes, the lotus would equal emperumAn’s divine eyes only in terms of softness, coolness and fragrance. But when one looks at the flood of grace which is there in emperumAn’s divine eyes, the lotus can never equal that.

thuvaridhazhp pavaLa vAyum – with reddlish lips and mouth with coral-like row of teeth. The colour of the teeth is due to the reflection from the reddish lips. chAndhOgya upanishath 3.14.2 says “avAkya nAdhara:” (due to profundity) not talking to anyone and not regarding anyone. It appears that from such a state of supreme being, periya perumAL losing his profound state, gives words of comfort to those who attain him. Another interpretation is that thuvaridhazh refers to the petals of drum-stick flower and hence his lips are like the petals of drumstick flower and coral. His lips smile at the chEthanas (sentient entities) who, thinking about their faults, are afraid to approach him and tell them “do not fear”.

Aya sIr mudiyum – crown, being ready and with greatness for a very long time. Aya refers to being ready for a long time. sIr refers to great wealth. Starting from thirunan mArbum up to Aya sIr mudiyum the gracefulness of periya perumAL’s different divine parts of the body was highlighted.

thEsum – with this word, samudhAya SObhA, the grace of his total divine form, is highlighted.

adiyarOrkku agalalAmEAzhwAr asks, “when we look at the greatness of the physical form of periya perumAL, is it possible for people like us with svarUpa gyAnam (knowledge about the true nature of AthmA) to leave? “Only those who have carried out such terrible sins that they cannot enjoy this, and those who are enslaved by ego and possessiveness can leave. By using the term AmE in the end, he is emphasising that even samsAris will say “yes, it is not possible for you people to leave”, highlighting the greatness of emperumAn’s physical beauty and the involvement of AzhwAr in enjoying that beauty.

In the previous word Aya sIr mudiyum, the vyAkhyAthA says that “Ayam” means gold and with a shortened phoneme, it becomes Aya and Aya sIr mudiyum thus refers to emperumAn’s golden locks which are great.

We shall now go on to the 21st pAsuram.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dasan

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thirumAlai – 19 – kudadhisai mudiyai vaiththu

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periyaperumal

avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsauram AzhwAr mentioned about the issue caused by the sensory organ eyes. In this pAsuram he mentions about how all the organs in his body are melting.

குடதிசை முடியை வைத்துக் குணதிசை பாதம் நீட்டி
வடதிசை பின்பு காட்டித் தென்திசை இலங்கை நோக்கி
கடல் நிறக் கடவுள் எந்தை அரவணைத் துயிலுமா கண்டு
உடல் எனக்கு உருகுமாலோ எஞ்செய்கேன் உலகத்தீரே.

kudadhisai mudiyai vaiththuk kuNadhisai pAdham nItti
vadadhisai pinbukAttith thendhisai ilangai nOkki
kadal niRak kadavuL endhai aravaNai thuyilumA kaNdu
udal enakku urugumAlO enseygEn ulaaththIrE

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Word for Word meaning

ulagaththIrE – those who are in this world
kadal niRam kadavuL – sarvESvaran who is of the colour of ocean
endhai – my swAmy (my Lord)
kudadhisai – in the western direction
mudiyai vaiththu – keeping the divine head (as an indication of his being the Lord)
kuNadhisai – in the eastern direction
pAdham nItti – stretching (to reach me) his divine feet (which are the refuge for all sentient entities)
vadadhisai – for the people in the northern direction
pinbu kAtti – showing the beautiful form of his back
then dhisai – in the southern side
ilangai nOkki – looking (affectionately) at lankA (where vibhIshaNa dwells)
aravu aNai – on the bed of thiruvananthAzhwAn [the serpent AdhiSEsha]
thuyilum A kaNdu – after looking at the beauty of his sleeping
enakku udal urugum – my body will melt
AlO – Oh!
en seygEn – what will I do?

vyAkhyAnam (Explanatory Notes)

kudadhisai  etc – in two lines AzhwAr shows what is the entity that melted him. emperumAn had created bhUmi (earth) for enabling chEthanas who have done a mixture of puNya (virtues) and pApa (sins), thiryak (animals) and sthAvara (plants) who have done more pApa than puNya, to live. He created heaven for enabling dhEvas (celestial entities) who have done more puNya than pApa to live. AzhwAr thought all along that there was no purpose for the four directions east, west, north and south. Now he has realised the reason for creating these four directions. He has realised that the purpose of creating chEthanas is only to make them long for mOksham (liberation), the purpose of creating the worlds is to enable jIvAthmAs to live and the purpose of creating the directions is for keeping his divine head and divine feet so that the chEthanas get a taste for mOksham.

kudadhisai mudiyai vaiththu – in order to benefit the western direction, he kept his divine head adorned with the crown that indicates that he is the Lord of both nithyavibhUthi (spiritual realm) and leelAvibhUthi (materialistic realm). Just as nammAzhwAr had called out in thiruvAimozhi 3.8.1 “mudiyAnE” – one with the divine crown, keeping his quality of being the Lord, he kept his divine head in the west direction so that those in the west direction would prosper.

kuNadhisai pAdham nItti – nammAzhwAr had called his divine feet in thiruvAimozhi 3.8.1 as “mUvulagum thozhudhEththum sIradiyAn” – one with the beautiful divine feet which are worshipped by people in all the worlds. He stretched such divine feet, which are the refuge for all worlds to prosper, in the eastern direction. AzhwAr points out that emperumAn stretched his divine feet all the way to thirumaNdangudi (AzhwAr’s place of birth) in order to attract him. When the western direction, which was the direction in which dhuryOdhana sat [in krishNavathAram, when dhuryOdhana went to seek help of krishNa, he sat near his head] itself prospers, is it required to say that the eastern direction in which he stretched his divine feet, where arjuna sat, will also prosper? It is pertinent to note here that parAsara bhattar [SrI kUraththAzhwAn’s son] used to tell his disciples “whenever ALavandhAr [one of our important preceptors]went to worship periya perumAL, he would never stand near his divine head which he used to call as dhuryOdhana’s position. There was not a spot on the eastern side, towards emperumAn’s divine feet, where ALavandhAr had not stood while worshipping him”

vadadhisai pinbu kAtti – the northern direction is inhabited by people who are proficient in tough samskritham (Sanskrit language) and where AzhwArs’ bhakthi (devotion) laden words are not much heard of. To correct the people in this direction, he wanted to show his back side rather than the front as his back is considered to be more beautiful than the front. As said in these words ”pUrvAngAdhadhikaparAnkhakalaham” – the back side of emperumAn is more beautiful than his front side…

thendhisai ilangai nOkki – Until now, in each of the directions he kept one part of his dhivya thirumEni (divine physical body) in order to remove the purposelessness in those directions. He looked at the southern direction to remove the shortcoming in him. The others were the help that he rendered out of his mercy. This (looking in the southern direction) is the help that he rendered himself to overcome his powerless state. kulaSEkara AzhwAr in his perumAL thirumozhi 1.10 said “anbodu thendhisai nOkkippaLLikoLLum” – lying down, looking at the southern direction with affection. emperumAn looks at the southern direction which is the dwelling place of his protector vibhIshaNa. periyAzhwAr in his periyAzhwAr thirumozhi 4.9.2 says “mannudaiya vibIdaNarkA madhiLilangaith thisai nOkki malar kaN vaiththa ennudaiya thiruvarangaRku” – after removing the hurdles for vibhIshaNa, emperumAn gave the kingdom to him and lying at SrIrangam, he is looking at the way in which vibhIshaNa is ably ruling lankA. This is similar to how a mother who is nursing her infant, looks at the infant’s cheerful face. thirumangai AzhwAr said in periya thirumozhi 6.8.5 “selva vibIdaNaRku vERAga nallAnai” – emperumAn has special affection towards vibhIshaNa who was blessed by pirAtiti. When sugrIva threatened to walk out with his army of monkeys should SrI rAma accept vibhIshaNa, SrI rAma said “even if I have to forego you and your army, I will not let down vibhIshaNa”. This is similar to a cow, in order to protect its calf that it gave birth to that day, pushes aside the calf which is older, with its horns and hoofs. When that sugrIva did something which could have resulted in harm to him, SrI rAma said “thvayi kinchith samApannE kim kAryam sIthAyA mama I bharathEna mahAbhAhO! lakshmaNEna yavIyasA  SathrugnEna cha Sathrugna! svaSarIrEna vA puna: II” – Oh, sugrIva with long arms! If something shameful had befallen you, what benefit would I get through sIthA or bharatha or lakshmaNa or Sathrugna? Oh warrior who kills enemies, what benefit would I get out of my own body? Such was rAma’s affection towards sugrIva. But his affection for vibhishaNa was greater than that which he had towards sugrIva and hence he is lying in SrIrangam, looking in the direction of vibhIshaNa.

kadal niRak kadavuLemperumAn, who is constantly desired by nithyasUris, is lying in wait for a samsAri chEthanan (a sentient entity in samsAram). Since his physical form removes the ennui of beholders like an ocean, AzhwAr refers to him as “kadal niRakkadavuL” In a way the ocean may match his physical form, but his aprAkrutha thirumEni (his divine physical form composed of upanishaths and not the 5 elements that our bodies are composed of) goes beyond the ocean. Hence he says “kadavuL” [in thamizh language, kada means beyond]

endhai – he displayed such a form and enslaved me. When a new well is ready, the old well is cleaned up for maintenance. When I have been enslaved by this form, there is no need to talk about his taking under control the nithyasUris, displaying this form. His form has enslaved someone like me who is totally under the control of body and senses and who is the epitome of all that is low.

aravaNaith thuyilumA kaNdu – Just as a gemstone’s value goes many times higher after being fixed on a gold ornament, emperumAn’s form became incomparable after lying on AdhiSEsha.

udal enakku urugumAlO – after seeing emperumAn’s thirumEni (divine physical form) lying on AdhiSEsha, instead of enjoying that, AzhwAr’s body is melting. rAmAnujar in SaraNAgathi gadhyam 12 says “bhagavath svarUpa thirOdhANakarIm” – the body hides the basic nature of bhagavAn. Such a body, which hides emperumAn’s svarUpam is now melting after seeing his divine form. brahma sUthram 3.2.5 says “dhEhayOgAdhvA sO’pi” – the reason for chEthana’s svarUpam being hidden is because of its connection with the( gross and subtle forms of) the body. Thus, the body which is supposed to hide the knowledge of AthmA, is not only enjoying the divine form of emperumAn but is melting as a result of that joy. When samsAris who came with AzhwAr to worship periya perumAL said that their bodies are not melting, AzhwAr responds enakku urugumAlO – see, it is melting for me.

enseygEn ulagaththIrE – looking at the samsAris who, without showing any difference, are leaving in a firm manner after looking at the beauty of periya perumAL, AzhwAr asks them “will you not tell me the way to be steady like yourselves?” He cannot ask the other AzhwArs for a remedy as they too are like him when it comes to having dharSan of periya perumAL (they are also like a leaking boat which sinks along with another boat which came to its rescue since the second boat had a bigger hole). He cannot ask this of periya perumAL as it will expose his weakness to the person who is the reason for his discomposure. It may also be the reason for periya perumAL to feel proud that “I have been able to conquer him” Hence he is asking the samsAris who are so steady even after seeing the wonderful form of periya perumAL “you people are keeping your body so taut as if affected by rheumatism. Why don’t you give me a little bit of the medicine that you are taking [so that I will also be steady like you all]?”

We shall now move on to the 20th pAsuram.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dasan

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thirumAlai – 18 – inidhiraiththivalai mOdha

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namperumal-6

avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr spoke about his eyes enjoying on their own. Due to this, there were tears of joy in his eyes which became a flood.  AzhwAr feels sad that “this is acting like a wall and is preventing me from enjoying emperumAn

Let us see the pAsuram and its meaning.

இனிது திரைத் திவலை மோத எறியும் தண் பரவை மீதே
தனிகிடந்து அரசு செய்யும் தாமரைக் கண்ணன் எம்மான்
கனியிருந்தனைய செவ்வாய்க் கண்ணணைக் கண்ட கண்கள்
பனி அரும்பு உதிருமலோ என் செய்கேன் பாவியேனே.

inidhithu thiraith thivalai mOdha eRiyum thaN paravai mIdhE
thanikidanthu arasu seyyum thAmaraik kaNNan emmAn
kaniyirundhanaiya sevvAyk kaNNanaiak kaNda kaNgaL
pani arumbu udhirumAlO en seygEn pAviyEnE

Listen

Word for Word Meaning

inidhu – being sweet
thirai thivalai mOdha – droplets from the waves, beating
eRiyum thaN paravai mIdhu – (waves) agitating atop kAvEri which is like a cold ocean
thani kidhandhu – sleeping alone
arasu seyyum – ruling over (destroying the ego of chEthanars (sentient entities))
thAmaraik kaNNan – krishNa with red-lotus like eyes
emmAn – my swAmy (lord)
kani irundhu anaiya sevvAy  kaNNanai – Sri krishNa with reddish lips like a fruit
kaNda kaNgaL – the eyes which saw him
pani arumbu – cool, tears of joy
udhirum – will flow copiously
pAviyEn – (one who could not properly worship) sinner like me
en seygEn – what will I do?

vyAkhyAnam

inidhiraiththivalai mOdha – delightful droplets emanating from waves touched [periya perumAL]. Similar to “oNsangadhai vALAzhiyAn” in thiruvAimozhi 8.8.1 where oN sangu gadhai morphed into oNsangadhai with the last letter of sangu getting shortened, here the words iniya and thirai morphed into inidhirai with the last word in iniya getting shortened. Initially huge droplets came from the waves; these mountain-like droplets broke into smaller droplets. These smaller droplets touched the thirumEni (the divine body) of emperumAn, lulling him to sleep (similar to sleep induced by massaging the thighs). Even though the droplets only touched him gently, keeping in mind the soft nature of emperumAn’s divine body, AzhwAr is using the term mOdha – to hit hard against.  In pAsuram 11, AzhwAr divined “arakkar kOnaich cheRRa nam sEvaganAr” speaking about his strength when he took refuge under him. Now, at the time of enjoying emperumAn, he speaks about the softness of emperumAn.

eRiyum thaN paravai mIdhE – waves breaking out from the ocean. Refers to emperumAn who, to get rid of his tiredness, is lying on kAvEri in which waves are breaking out like in an ocean. Alternatively, it also means that due to its expanse and water flow, kAvEri is like an ocean.

thani kidandhu – lying all alone. The entity who has a retinue of servitors in paramapadham to serve him by merely following his thoughts, is lying here all alone. While he is lying here, instead of engaging in deeds which will uplift themselves, the samsAris are engaging in pursuits which deface the AthmA, while they think that they are enjoying unparalleled ecstasy. emperumAn is lying here so that samsAris will have an opportunity to get him when he is alone, without any disturbance just as nammAzhwAr says in thiruvAimozhi 10.10.1 “thaniyEn vAzhmudhalE

What has been done to get him here like this? …..

arasu seyyum – to rule means avoiding dual rule. When emperumAn says “thvam mE” – you are mine, the samsAri says “aham mE” – I am mine. This is called dual rule. Avoiding this is ruling. Making the samsAris to say “nama:” – I am not mine, is taken as ruling. In mahAbhAratham SAnthiparvam 344.45 it says “mukthAnAm lakshaNam hyEthath yachchvEthadhvIpavASeenAm I nithyAnjaliputA hrushtA nama ithyEva vAdhina: II – whatever is the identity of svEthadhvIpavAsis is also the identity of mukthars (the AthmAs which liberated from samsAram and reached SrIvaikuNtam). Hence they will always be applying anjali (folding the palms together) to emperumAn. They will be happy. They will be capable of reciting “nama:”. Thus emperumAn is lying here, waiting for samsAris to be like nithyasUris, without ahankAram and mamakAram [egoistic and possessiveness respectively].

What is the implement that he has with him, to rid the samsAris of their ego? ….

thAmaraik kaNNan – when one has brahmAsthram [a highly potent weapon] there is no enemy who cannot be defeated. It is the same beautiful eyes with which he won over nithyasUris that emperumAn is employing here to win over samsAris too. As nammAzhwAr says in thiruvAimozhi 2.6.4thAmaraikkaNNanai viNNOr paravum thalaimaganai” – even nithyasUris lost out to his lotus-like eyes. It is with the same eyes that he destroys the ego and possessiveness of samsAris.

Who became the target of this brahmAsthram? ….

emmAn – I lost out to these eyes and gave in writing my being a servitor to him, says AzhwAr.   ”Is there any other samsAri who cannot be won over by these eyes which have won over me, the lowest among all samsAris?” says the AzhwAr.

kani irundhanaiya sevvAy – Reddish lips similar to a fruit. For those whose possessiveness was cut off by emperumAn, this is the object to be enjoyed. The lips are so sweet that they create an urge in the person who sees them to immediately eat them up like a fruit. Unlike the fruits in the world which will dry up over a period of time, these lips remain fresh always, as said in SrIvishNu purANam “sadhaika rUpa rUpAya” – always with the same form.

kaNNanai – If one worships periya perumAL, he would think that it is kaNNan (krishNa) who is lying there to help those who had missed out during the time of his incarnation. It is pertinent to note here that parAsara bhattar [son of kUraththAzhwAvn] would say “when one looks at periya perumAL, the eagerness with which yaSOdhA pirAtti brought him up without faulting him for all the mischief that he engaged in, would appear” and that “when one looks at namperumAL (uthsasvar), one would think of chakravarthith thirumagan (SrI rAma, son of dhaSaratha chkaravarthi), well brought up by vaSishta and other rishis and showing the well mannered behaviour”

kaNda kaNgaL – the eyes [of AzhwAr], which had lost a great deal since time immemorial, and are seeing now

pani arumbu udhirumAlO – because of the enjoyment in the eyes that resulted in happiness, there was a flood of tears of joy. paniyarumbu – since the tears were the result of happiness borne out of enjoyment, they were cold such that even fried lentil would germinate if immersed in the tears, says the vyAkhyAthA. The tears would be warm only if they had been shed due to separation from emperumAn. SrI vishNu thathvam says “AhlAdha SIthanEthrAm bU: puLakIkrutha gAthravAn I sadhA paraguNAvishtO dhrashtavya: sarva dhEhibhI: II” – the bhagavath bhaktha (devotee of bhagavAn) who has cold tears of joy due to elation, who has goose pimples all over his body and who has been enslaved by the qualities of bhagavAn, is fit to be seen by all jIvAthmAs” Here too it says that tears of joy are cold.

en seygEn pAviyEnE – since the tears of joy appear like a wall, he is unable to worship periya perumAL and AzhwAr laments “what will I do?” He feels saddened that while he should be enjoying the rare dharSan (sight) of periya perumAL, the tears are preventing him from seeing, by drawing a curtain over his eyes and he feels like a sinner. The sound “AlO”[in the previous word] denotes the extremity of sadness. Since there is no limit to the greatness of emperumAn, there is no limit to the elation that one would get out of enjoying that greatness and it is impossible for one not to shed tears of joy. AzhwAr feels sad that he has sinned so much that he cannot even atone for it and wonders what he can do. If there is a gap in the formation of tears, he could see periya perumAL in that gap. But the tears are coming copiously without any gap. All along, due to his ignorance, he could not enjoy periya perumAL. But now when he knows about periya perumAL, he is unable to enjoy because of the tears. The implied meaning is that his experience has become one of flood and drought. So far the meanings were given considering the world pAviyEn (sinner) to denote sadness. This word is also used in conjunction with musical concert when audience will exclaim “pAviyEn” and “aiyyO” which are uttered due to excessive joy. Some people will say that AzhwAr is using the term “pAviyEnE” out of joy [in line with the second meaning given above].

We shall now move on to the 19th pAsuram.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dasan

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thirumAlai – 17 – virumbi ninREththa

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periyaperumal-art-2

avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsurm, AzhwAr said that there was a flood of affection in his heart. In this pAsuram he says “unlike samsAris who, despite having affection in their hearts, will not display it, emperumAn made even insentient entities such as my eyes to rejoice exceedingly upon seeing him, like sentient entities”.

Let us look at the pAsuram

விரும்பி நின்றேத்த மாட்டேன் விதியிலேன் மதியொன்றில்லை
இரும்பு போல் வலிய நெஞ்சம் இறை இறை உருகும் வண்ணம்
சுரும்பு அமர் சோலை சூழ்ந்த அரங்கமா கோயில் கொண்ட
கரும்பினைக் கண்டுகொண்டு என் கண்ணினை களிக்குமாறே!

virumbi ninREththa mAttEn vidhiyilEn madhiyonRillai
irumbu pOl valiya nenjam iRai iRai urugum vaNNam
surumbu amar sOlai sUzhndha arangamA kOyil koNda
karumbinaik kaNdukoNdu en kaNNiNai kaLikkumARE!

Listen

Meanings of words

virumbi ninRu – standing with lot of affection
Eththa mAttEn – I will not praise [emperumAn]
vidhiyilEn – did not carry out any kainkaryam physically  (such as folding  the palms together or praising through the mouth)
madhi onRu illai – the knowledge (that there is an emperumAn) is not there (for me)

(for such a person)
irumbu pOl valiya nenjam – a mind [heart] as hardened as iron
iRai iRai urugum vaNNam – softening gradually
surumbu amar – occupied by bees
sOlai sUzhndha – surrounded by gardens
mA arangam – great thiruvarangam [SrIrangam]
kOyil koNda – taken as a dwelling place
karumbinai – periya perumAL who is an object of enjoyment, like sugarcane
en kaN iNai – my two eyes
kaNdu koNdu – seeing and enjoying
kaLikkum ARE – how they enjoy!

vyAkhyAnam (Explanatory Notes)

virumbi ninRu Eththa mAtten – in the first line, AzhwAr gives the previous states of the three parts – his mind, speech and body. If a great object is seen, should it not be praised with the mouth, with total desire and force? SrIvishNu purANam 5.7.70 says “sO’ham thE dhEva dhEvESa nArchanAdhou sthuthau na cha I sAmarthyavAn krupAmAthra manOvruththi praSIdha mE II” – Oh, the Lord of nithyasUris and celestial persons! A person such as I, am not capable of praising or adoring you. Please show mercy on me with your benevolent mind.

In the same way AzhwAr’s tongue was without any strength when it came to speaking on matters related to emperumAn. But it had all the enthusiasm and strength to speak about matters other than emepeumAn.  emperumAn asks AzhwAr “the tongue may have been going around on matters other than myself. But, has the body done anything for me?” AzhwAr says …

vidhiyilEn – as per amarakOSam 2534; 3.3.100 “vidhir vidhAnE” – the word vidhi is associated with bodily function.  Since time immemorial, I have not done anything with my hands which is beneficial towards you. vishNu dharmam 1.13 says “sA jihvA yA harim sthauthi thachchiththam yaththadharpitham I thAvEva cha karau SlAghyau yau thathpUjAkarau karau II” – that which praises hari (emperumAn) is tongue; that which is proffered to him is heart; only those which carry out pUjA (worship or veneration) to him are great. Thus, even if hands and tongue were involved with worldly matters, did you at least think of me with your heart, asks emperumAn….

madhi onRu illai – it is not even that it (heart) did not know of your greatness. It did not even know of your existence, responds the AzhwAr. While I knew the nature and purpose of everything other than you, in matter related to you, I did not even have the knowledge that “you are there”  As per this statement, even though AzhwAr had useless knowledge about all the other things, he considers such a knowledge as “not knowledge” at all,

emperumAn says that even though he had allowed AzhwAr’s mind, speech and bodily functions to engage with worldly matters, he would rectify AzhwAr’s mind and take it under his wings…

irumbu pOl valiya nenjamAzhwAr says that his mind is unfit to be rectified. One can bring even iron under one’s control by melting it, but his mind is hard and cannot be rectified at all. Up to this, AzhwAr states the status that he was in, earlier. He now states the greatness of emperumAn who changed that state.

iRai iRai urugum vaNNam – Though hard like iron, instead of destroying his mind, emperumAn softened it gradually. Just as rainfall softens a hardened land, emperumAn was able to soften his mind which had been grazing on worldly matters, through his beauty.

AzhwAr next describes the entity that changed his mind….

surumbu amar sOlai sUzhndha aranga mA kOyil koNda karumbinaisurumbu amar sOlai – garden  occupied by bees. Just as sweet smell emanates from a garden and stays with it, the bees were also born in these gardens and stayed put there. Wouldn’t the bees go out? Why should they, when the gardens are always fresh and the honey is always available. Since honey does not dry up, bees do not have a reason for going out. It is as if it is always spring season. sOlai sUzhndha arangamA kOyil koNda – the sweetness of the temple is so great that the sweetness of the gardens described above appears lowly in comparison. To affirm this, AzhwAr uses the adjective “mA” – great. Another meaning given is that emperumAn considered this temple as paramapadham (SrIvaikuNtam).

karumbinai – sugarcane. Instead of saying sugarcane juice which would feel sticky on the hands, he says sugarcane itself, which is enjoyable. Unlike sugar which is obtained by boiling the juice and made in an unnatural way, this [sugarcane] is natural and sweet. thaiththirIya upanishath says “rasO vai sa: rasa hyEvAyam labhdhvA nandhI bhavathi” – rasa (greatly joyous) personality is emperumAn. After attaining him, (the jIvAthmA) becomes joyous. Thus upanishath also claims that emerpumAn is naturally sweet.

kaNdukoNduemperumAn is like sugarcane drunk by the eyes. SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 19.7 says “lOchanAbhyam pibanniva “ – SrI rAma looked at SrI vibhIshanAzhwAn and drank him with his eyes. In the same way, AzhwAr drinks in emperumAn.

En kaNNiNai kaLikkumARE – my eyes, which were all along engaged with worldly pursuits, ultimately leading to narakam (hell), are now enjoying this great emperumAn. iNai – two. One eye is comparable to the other eye. There is no other comparison. mukthars (those who have got liberated from samsAram and have subsequently reached SrIvaikuNtam) also enjoy him. But the joy of AzhwAr is much higher than that of mukthars. There is no comparison at all. kaNNiNai kaLikkumARE – the eyes are not waiting for the owner, but are enjoying on their own. Instead of being conduits for sensory perceptions, these eyes are themselves enjoying like a chEthanan (sentient entity). dhaSaratha chakravarthy tells kausalyA (SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 42.24) “rAmam mE’nugathA dhrushtiradhyApi na nivarthathE I na thvA paSyAmi kausalyE! sAdhu mA pANinA spruSa II”  – my eyes went behind rAma and have not returned till now. Oh kausalyE! Touch me with your hands (so that I can see if at least the sensory perception of touch is active). Thus due to emperumAn’s sweetness, the sensory organs get elated when they see him and get sad when they are separated from him.

We shall go on to the 18th pAsuram, next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dasan

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thirumAlai – 16 – sUdhanAyk kaLvanAgi

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periyaperumal-art-4

avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr divined that his doubts regarding the path to attaining emperumAn and the purushArtham (goal) were clarified by emperumAn. Having got rid of the doubt, in this pAsuram, AzhwAr says that emperumAn created a flood of affection in him, towards emperumAn.

சூதனாய்க் கள்வனாகித் தூர்த்தரோடு இசைந்த காலம்
மாதரார் கயல் கண் என்னும் வலையில் பட்டு அழுந்துவேனைப்
போதரே என்று சொல்லிப் புந்தியில் புகுந்து தன்பால்
ஆதரம் பெருக வைத்த அழகன் ஊர் அரங்கம் அன்றே.

sUdhanAyk kaLvanAgith thUrththarOdu isaindha kAlam
mAdharAr kayal kaN ennum valaiyuL pattu azhundhuvEnaip
pOdharE enRu sollip pundhiyuL pugundhu thanpAl
Adharam peruga vaiththa azhagan uR arangam anRE

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Word by word Meaning

sUdhan Ay – saying that there is no ISwaran (emperumAn), dharmam (virtuous ways) and adharmam (evil ways)
kaLvan Agi – claiming that AthmA (soul) is mine and not ISwaran’s
dhUrththarOdu isaindha kAlam – during the time of being together with those who are engaged in worldly pursuits.
mAdharAr – women’s
kayal kaN ennum – in the beautiful fish-like eyes
valaiyuL pattu – caught in the net
azundhuvEnai – I, who am sinking
pOdhu arE enRu solli – calling out “come here”
pundhiyuL pugundhu – entering my heart
thanpAl Adharam peruga vaiththa azhagan – emperumAn, who created a flood of affection towards him
Ur – dwelling place
arangam anRE – is it not thiruvarangam?

vyAkhyAnam (Explanatory Notes)

sUdhanAyk kaLvanAgiAzhwAr describes his earlier status. sUdhu (deception) is stealing someone else’s belongings even as the other person is watching. kaLavu (theft) is taking someone else’s belonging, thinking it’s one’s own. In the context of this pAsuram, these two words indicate the negation of meanings as propounded in pramANams (evidence). For example, the deadly act of considering the AthmA (soul) which is the property of emperumAn as one’s own is kaLavu. People with good behaviour would think that AthmA is a servitor to emperumAn, that emperumAn is the master of AthmA, that any act which makes emperumAn happy is puNya (virtuous deed) and that which makes emperumAn unhappy is pApa (sin). But people with fallacious reasoning will object to all these and call these as false. Such an act on the part of the illogical persons to cause delusion in the minds of the others and convert them as atheists [here atheism is that which does not believe in vEdhas] similar to themselves is sUdhu. The sUdhu and kaLavu mentioned in this pAsuram are more dangerous than the definitions that we had seen at the beginning of this paragraph with regard to worldly issues. vyAkhyAthA explains this through examples. The crime committed by a person stealing a gem is far higher than that committed by a person stealing a stick. Similarly stealing an article from a vaidhika (one practising vEdhas) brAhmaNa is more serious than stealing the same article from a chaNdALan (one who is below the 4th varNa). Here (in this pAsuram), the stolen entity AthmA is very dear to emperumAn, like his kousthubha maNi [an ornament adorning his chest]. Thus the sin committed in stealing this invaluable entity AthmA from the lord of all, emperumAn, is unbounded.

If what the samsAri indulges in is deception and theft, he would be moving with other samsAris with similar bent of mind. AzhwAr says that in the next phrase…..

dhUrththarOdu isaindha kAlam – the time spent, instead of with emperumAn who is our ordained lord, with those who are fully engaged in worldly pursuits, and who are not congruous with our basic nature.  isaindha kAlam – since AzhwAr is unable to bring himself to even think about that period, he feels saddened that he spent his life this way. He is unable to put a time frame for the number of years that he had spent in the company of such people. While the svarUpam of the AthmA is to be with other SrIvaishNavas, he had gone astray by being with those who cause incalculable harm, AzhwAr laments. While being with bhAgavathas (followers of bhagavAn) will enable one to get involved with matters relating to emperumAn, being with people going after worldly pursuits will only push us into the quagmire of worldly matters.

mAdharAr kayaRkaN ennum valaiyuL pattu azhundhuvEnai – I, who gets caught in the net of fish-like eyes of women, and unable to extricate from it.  mAdharAr – the samsAri immersed in worldly pursuits will look at a woman merely as a woman and will not bother about her lineage or practices. kayaRkaN – the women, though sharp like a knife in their hearts, will enslave the samsAri with their mere glance, by making him believe that they cannot sustain themselves if he leaves. valaiyuL pattu – while it goes by the name of eye, it is actually a net which is used for catching samsAri, just as nets are used to catch animals. pattu azhundhuvEnai – just like an animal which gets caught in a net will not be able to escape, the samsAri also gets trapped by the net in the form of eye, unable to extricate himself. Just as the person who laid the net to catch the animal will not come near the net, these women, who had laid a trap for him, will not make themselves easily available to him. They know the lowliness of the so called enjoyment since at the end of the act, they have to go in search of water to purify themselves and hence keep themselves at a distance.  azhundhuvEnai – since the samsAri does not know their inner thoughts, he gets trapped by the outer net like eyes and suffers.  valaiyutpattu azhundhuvEnai – the term pattu denotes that it is impossible to extricate; valaiyuL indicates that there is nothing to enjoy and only sorrow will remain; azhundhuvEnai  indicates that this sorrow is made to appear as if it were a pleasure.

Now AzhwAr explains how periya perumAL (SrI ranganAthan) redeemed him from the sorrowful state that he had got sunk in…

pOdharE enRu – periya perumAL asks the AzhwAr “AzhwIr! (Oh, AzhwAr) desiring what, have you sunk yourself in?” AzhwAr responds “due to my poor taste, despite knowing that it is not proper, I have sunk myself in the eyes which engaged me. If a virtuous person were to show his beautiful eyes befitting his nature, I would engage with those eyes and enjoy that virtuous person” periya perumAL decides that he would redeem AzhwAr from the lowly eyes of women by showing his eyes. Removing the screen between them, he shows AzhwAr his divine eyes. thirumangai AzhwAr in periya thirumozhi 7.1.9 says “uyirkkellAm thAyAyaLikkinRa thaNdAmaraikkaN” – the comforting eyes which shower motherly affection on all creatures. periya perumAL tells AzhwAr “AzhwIr! Look at the person who has the eyes that you like so much! See here!” AzhwAr wonders at the beauty of emperumAn’s divine eyes and compares with the eyes that he had seen earlier (women’s) and decides that these eyes [of emperumAn] are befitting his svarUpam and is able to redeem his heart from the fishnet-like eyes of women. hanuman tells sIthApirAtti “rAma: kamalapathrAksha: sarvasathva manOhara: I rUpa dhAkshiNyasampanna: prasUthO janakAthmajE! II” – Oh sIthapirAtti! rAma has lotus-petal like divine eyes. He attracts all creatures (including a monkey like me) with those beautiful eyes. He is full of qualities such as beauty of the physical form and kindness of his AthmA. Thus even a sworn bachelor such as hanuman, was attracted to and got engaged with those divine eyes.

pundhiyuL pugundhu – the word pundhi is normally used with thoughts [memory]. Here it refers to the heart from where thoughts emanate. The meaning conveyed here is “he entered the heart as antharyAmi (indwelling soul) of AzhwAr. The reason for Azhwar moving away from emperumAn from time immemorial is his heart. When emperumAn wanted to enter his heart, AzhwAr did not oppose it and hence he entered his heart.

What did he do after entering his heart? ………

thanpAl Adharam peruga vaiththa – he made AzhwAr to show his affection, which he had been showing all along towards worldly matters, now towards him. Just as water is diverted from fallow land to the field, emperumAn made AzhwAr’s affection beneficial. peruga – he made the affection grow very big, bigger than chith (sentient) entity, bigger than ISwara entity (himself) just as nammAzhwAr says in thiruvAimozhi 10.10.10 “adhanil periya” – bigger than everything. vaiththu – AzhwAr had nothing in him for emperumAn to do this. It was due to emperumAn’s causeless mercy, similar to those keeping water pots in summer for all people.

By displaying what, did emperumAn make AzhwAr to show affection?  ……

azhagan – he showed his unparalleled divine beauty, just as nammAzhwAr says in thiruvAimozhi 5.3.4 “pEramar kAdhal kadal pruaiya viLaiviththa kAramar mEni nam kaNNan” – the physical beauty of krishNa was such that the love that it created in the eyes of the beholder was much bigger than the ocean. For upAsakas (those who are immersed in bhakthi yOga), karma yOga and gyAna yOga would complement bhakthi yOga. In the same way, for AzhwAr, emperumAn’s beauty took the place of karma gyAna yOga and complemented his bhakthi. emperumAn’s beauty removed his doubt “aiyyappAdu aRuththuth thOnRum azhagan” [previous pAsuram] and developed his affection “Adharam perugavaiththa azhagan” – this pAsuram. azhagan also means one who has beauty as his identity.

Ur arangamanRE – the place of dwelling of emperumAn, who was waiting for the right moment to enter his heart, is thiruvarangam, says the AzhwAr. By saying arangamanRe (it is only thiruvarangam) AzhwAr implies that paramapadham (SrIvaikuNtam) is there only for convening his court, thus making it as a place to stay from time to time, whereas thiruvarangam is his permanent dwelling place. Unlike paramapadham which is unapproachable for samsAris, this place (thiruvarangam) is one which they can enter and enjoy whenever they acquire the taste in emperumAn related matters.

We shall next see the 17th pAsuram.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dasan

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thirumAlai – 15 – meyyarkkE meyyanAgum

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the first three pAsurams (hymns), AzhwAr spoke about the good fortune that he had in reciting emperumAn’s divine names. In the next eleven pAsurams he spoke to the samsAris and counselled them to extol the divine names of emperumAn. Since they did not pay heed, he stepped back a little in the previous pAsuram. From this pAsuram [15th] until the 24th pAsuram, for 10 pAsurams, he speaks about how he benefitted from the causeless mercy of emperumAn. From being one among samsAris, emperumAn made him to counsel the other samsAris, in the bargain removing his doubts at the beginning and showering him with paramabhakthi (final stage in devotion in which the jIvAthmA cannot sustain himself even for a moment if separated from emperumAn) at the end. All these were done by emperumAn himself, says the AzhwAr. nammAzhwAr, in his thiruvAimozhi 2.7.8 says “ennaith thImanam keduththAy unakku en seygEn’ – you diverted me from vices; can I ever repay you? In this pAsuram AzhwAr says that once we remove the feeling of hatred towards emperumAn, he shows all his greatness and that once a person realises that emperumAn is there, he removes all the doubts from that person’s mind. He affirms in his case that once he got rid of his hatred towards emperumAn, he showed his greatness which the AzhwAr enjoyed.

Let us look at the pAsuram.

மெய்யர்க்கே மெய்யனாகும் விதியிலா என்னைப் போலப்
பொய்யர்க்கே பொய்யனாகும் புட்கொடி யுடைய கோமான்
உய்யப்போம் உணர்வினார்கட்கு ஒருவன் என்று உணர்ந்த பின்னை
ஐயப்பாடு அறுத்துத் தோன்றும் அழகனுர் அரங்கமன்றே

meyyarkkE meyyanAgum vidhiyilA ennaippOlap
poyyarkkE poyyanAgum putkodi udaiya kOman
uyyappOm uNarvinArgatku oruvan enRu uNarndha pinnai
aiyappAdu aRuththuth thOnRum azhaganUr arangamanrE

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Meanings of Words

puL kodi udaiya kOman – the lord who has garuda as his flag
vidhiyilA ennaip pOla – an unfortunate person such as I am (who for a long time did not get involved with matters related to emperumAn)
meyyarkku – those who do not have hatred (towards emperumAn)
meyyan Agum – displays his svarUpam (his basic nature)
poyyarkku – for those who are interested in matters (other than emperumAn)
poyyan Agum – will display falseness (without displaying his true self)
uyyappOm uNarvinArgatku – those who have the knowledge that they should know how to uplift themselves
oruvan enRu uNarndha pinnai – after they know that there is “ISwaran”
aiyappAdu aRuththu – removing the (remaining) doubts
thOnRum – displaying himself
azhagan – emperumAn who enslaves the entire world by his beauty
Ur – dwelling place
arangam anrE – would be thiruvarangam

vyAkhyAnam

meyyarkkE meyyanAgum – the “mey” (truth) that is referred to here is the adhvEsham (non-hatred) without any admixture which lies on the part of chEthanan (sentient entity). For a very long time, the chEthanan had been living life only for himself. Since it had not yielded lasting benefit, it is called as false. Avoiding that life (of living for himself), to live for emperumAn from now onwards is termed as “mey” (truth). If it is only the non-hatred feeling that is now with the chEthanan, how is paramachEthanan (emperumAn) disposed towards him? meyyanAgum – he behaves towards the chEthanan who has only non-hatred feeling towards him, in the same way that he behaves with his mind, body and speech towards the great AthmAs who live their lives totally for him; i.e. he displays his svarUpam (basic nature), rUpam (physical form) and vibhUthi (wealth) to the chEthanan. The same word “mey” has been used with two totally varied meanings in the two words seen above – in the first, it means showing non-hatred towards emperumAn and in the second, it means emperumAn behaving with equanimity with his mind, body and speech. How can this fit, asks the vyAkhyAthA and responds to the query himself saying that this particular section [the 3rd section as we have seen in the avathArikai] deals with emperumAn’s qualities and hence it is apt to consider that with his mind, body and speech, he is truthful. emperumAn is full of auspicious qualities and hence the meaning of non-hatred cannot be taken as a quality for him when defining the second “mey” Since emperumAn and chEthanan are strongly bound by the “father-son” relationship, emperumAn has  to protect the chEthanan considering his non-hatred feeling towards him as a quality. Since emperumAn is avAthpthasamasthakAman (with no desire unfulfilled) there is no need for emperumAn to expect more than this from chEthanan. For someone who has been all through living his life only for himself, to show non-hatred towards emperumAn to get out of this vortex is acceptable. It is not easy for the chEthanan to suddenly change himself and live only for emperumAn. To protect the chEthanan based on this adhvEsham alone is a glorious aspect for emperumAn and not  a shortcoming. For these reasons we take different meanings for the two versions of “mey”. Moreover, only nithyasUris can display unadulterated truthfulness to emperumAn and it is not possible for samsAris to display this quality and samsAris can attain mOksham (SrIvaikuNtam) with whatever quality they have. In SrI rAmAyaNa yudhdha kANdam, SrI rAma tells his army chieftains on vibhIshaNa’s surrender “mithrabhAvEna samprAptham na thyajEyam kathanchana I dhOshO yathyapi thasya syAth sathAm Ethadhagarhitham II” – I shall never let down this vibhIshaNa who has approached us in the mask of a friend; even if he has any dhOsham (fault), let it be; good people will not treat him with irreverance. Thus we have to take only the meaning that emperumAn displays truthfulness to the samsAri with his mind, body and speech in harmony. The non-hatred quality displayed by the samsAri, leaving aside his goal of living only for himself all along, cannot be a path for mOksham. It is only for the knowledgeable that it will be part of their svarUpam (basic nature) to live life only for emperumAn. This desire will be there during the time of enjoying emperumAn in SrIvaikuNtam too. Hence it will not be a path to mOksham.

poyyarkke poyyanAgumemperumAn gives up on the samsAri and punishes him only when  he finds that there is no way that the samsAri will even put on an act of showing no hatred towards him. emperumAn can do something good to the samsAri, taking this falsified non-hatred as truth. This is when emepurmAn becomes “poyyan” (being false). In olden days when a person is bitten by a snake, they will scratch the person’s forehead and consider him ad dead and give him up when they find that there is no wetness [no blood flow]. In the same way, emperumAn gives up on the samsAri and retires when he finds that there is no way he can uplift the samsAri. The long syllable in meyyarkkE denotes non-hatred feeling. The long syllable in poyyarkkE denotes that the samsAri does not even put on an act of showing non-hatred feeling towards emperumAn. “mey” refers to truth, leading to beneficiary knowledge about emperumAn. “poy” refers to worldly matters which are different from emperumAn, very lowly and uncertain.

Where have we seen that emperumAn is true to those who do not show hatred towards him and punishes those who are unfaithful to him? …………

ennaippOla – like me. AzhwAr quotes himself as the example for the above. AzhwAr says “for a long time I was indifferent towards him and he did not come anywhere near me. From the day that I showed no hatred towards him, he fell head over heels on me and took me under his wings”

vidhiyilA ennaippOla – unfortunate like me. When he is so simple, I was engaging myself in worldly pursuits, forgetting about him. AzhwAr feels sorry that he had lost emperumAn’s grace all along and hates himself. poygai AzhwAr, in the first thiruvandhAdhi 16 says “pazhudhE pala pagalum pOyina enRu anji azhudhEn…” – I cried bitterly for all that I had lost all along by not engaging with emperumAn. In SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 17.14, vAlmIki says “yaScha rAmam na paSyEththu yaScha rAmO na paSyathi I nidhitha: sa vasEllOkE svAthmApyEnam vigarhathE II” – the one who has not seen rAma or the one who has not been seen by rAma, such a person lives in the world reproached even by his AthmA.

Is it that emperumAn doesn’t have anyone else whom he can take under his wings other than this chEthanan who puts on an act of not showing hatred towards him? ……

putkodi udiya kOman – the Lord who has garuda as his flag. Mentioning garuda is equivalent to mentioning all the nithyasUris. ALavandhAr, in  his sthOthra rathnam 41 says “dhAsas sakhA vAhanam Asanam dhvaja: yasthE vidhAnam  vyajanam thrayImaya: I upasthitham thEna purO garuthmathA thvadhanghrisammardha kiNangasOyinA II” – the garudAzhwAn who is having vEdhas as his body is your servitor, friend, vehicle, throne, flag, roof, flag. He has as his identification the scar formed by your divine feet constantly touching his body, due to which he gains brilliance. In his presence, I have worshipped you, says ALavandhAr. This garudan is taken as an example by AzhwAr for referring to all nithyasUris who are there for emperumAn. What surprises AzhwAr is that such an emperumAn, who has nithyasUris , each of whom is capable of carrying out service which can be done only by many of his true servitors, has taken him [AzhwAr] under his wings, based on his non-hatred quality. vyAkhyAthA quotes another nithyasUri’s servitorship from sthOthrathnam 40 “nivAsa SayyAsana pAdhukAmSukOpadhAna varshAdhapavAraNadhibhi:I SarIrabhEdhais thava SEshathAm gathair yathOchitham SEsha ithIrithE janai: II” – AdhiSEshan serves emperumAn as his divine palace, mattress, throne, sandals, divine dress, divine cushion, umbrella and so many other services; serving him at various points of time in various forms, appropriately. Thus each of emperumAn’s nithyasUris is capable of serving him in varied ways which are difficult to match even by an assembly of servitors. kOmAnnammAzhwAr says in thiruvAimozhi 1.1.1ayarvaRum amarargaL athipathi” – he is the Lord of tireless nithyasUris. Why is such a great person, who has an army of servitors, longing for a samsAri to take him under his wings? Just as even a crorepathi would still look for a coin that had fallen from his hand because that is his, emperumAn also looks for every samsAri, since every samsAri is his property.

uyyappOm uNarvinArgatku – for all those who have been living a falsified life and have extricated themselves from that life  and thinking what is the way to redeem themselves. For those who do not have this feeling it means an end to their lives. bhagavath gIthA 2.63 says “smruthi bhramsAth budhdhi nASO budhdhi nASAth praNaSyathi” – intelligence gets ruined because his memory fades. Since intelligence is ruined, he gets immersed further in samsAram and gets ruined. Thus krishNa also shows what happens when the samsAri  gets the feeling of things getting ruined. What is the feeling of uyyappOm uNarvu? It is a feeling  when, by accident, one does  a puNya (virtuous deed) due to which he realises the position that he was in, thinks about his svarUpam (basic nature) and  finds out how he can get out of this position and get to a stage where he can redeem himself.

oruvan enRu uNarndhapinnai – after getting the knowledge that there is someone called ISwaran. For those who know that the body is not the only entity existing, that there is another entity called AthmA , different from and superior to the body, which exists and that there is an ISwaran who is the Lord of the AthmA. There are many samsAris who accept that there are 24 achith (insentient) entities and that there is a 25th entity called AthmA but many among them do not accept that there is a 26th entity called ISwaran.

aiyappAdu aRuththuththOnRum – only when the samsAri does not accept the entity of sarvESwaran,  he has the doubt. Once he accepts sarvESwaran’s existence, ISwaran himself tells him “I am the object to be attained; I remove your hurdles and enemies” and removes his doubts. How does he remove these doubts? ……

azhagan – arjuna tells krishNa (bhagavath gIthA 2.7) “kArppaNya dhOshOpahathasvbhAva: pruchchAmi thvA dharmasammUda chEthA: I yachchrEya: syAnniSchithambrUhi thanmE Sishyas thE’ham SAdhi mAm thvAm prapannam II” – not knowing what is to be done, confused on seeing different types of dharmams (virtuous ways), I ask you; whatever you decide as to what is good and what is bad for me, please tell me that. I am your disciple. Direct me, who has surrendered to you, correctly. krishNa removed the doubt of arjuna through discourse. For those who do not have such knowledge, he removes their doubts through his physical beauty. nammAzhwAr in his thriuvAimozhi 9.7.3 says “sengamalaththalar pOlum kaN kai kAl senganivAi angamalaththilai pOlum thirumEniadigaLukkE” [his divine eyes, divine arms, divine legs and divine mouth are like just blossomed reddish lotus; and the divine feet are like the leaves of the beautiful lotus] In thiruvAimozhi 4.5.10, he says “kaNdavRRAl thanadhE ulagena ninRAn” [by looking at the way he is standing, it is evident that the entire world is his i.e. it is under his control]. His beauty is such that, that he is paramporuL (highest entity) will be known to everyone who looks at him.

A doubt arises that this beauty can be enjoyed only at paramapadham. AzhwAr responds saying

Ur arangamanrE – There is  no need to go to paramapadham to enjoy his beauty. This can be enjoyed in this samsAram, in thiruvarangam itself, he says. If paramapadham is his court hall, fit for an emperor, once the court sitting is over, the palace where he takes rest is thiruvarangam. This is why he rests permanently in SrIrangam.

We shall move on to the 16th pAsuram.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dasan

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