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upadhEsa raththina mAlai – 1

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pAsuram – 1

enthai thiruvAimozhip piLLai innaruLAl
vandha upadhEsa mArkkaththaich chindhai seidhu
pinnavarum kaRka upadhEsamAyp pEsuginREn
manniya seer veNpAvil vaiththu                                    1


Word by word meaning

enthai – my master
thiruvAimozhip piLLai – that is, thiruvAimozhip piLLai
in(iya) aruLAl – by his sweet/kind distinguished grace,
vandha – what I got (from him)
upadhEsa mArkkaththai – (is) the history of (AchAryas’) teachings;
chindhai seidhu – in thinking of them,
pEsuginREn – I am talking about them
upadhEsamAi – as advice/instructions,
vaiththu – as constructed (in the form of)
manniya – distinguished/well known
seer – greatness
veNpAvil – of vEnpA, a form of thamizh poetry,
pinnavarum – for the generations after me
kaRka – to learn/think/follow.


First pAsuram in this – he is taking a vow to convince the minds of those who listen – I shall bring out in the form of a prabandham the exclusive meanings that came in the lineage of AzhvArs and AchAryas through the grace of my AchAryan thiruvAimozhip piLLai’s teachings, for the future generations to know and attain the goal; by starting with, enthai thiruvAimozhip piLLai’.

That is, he having the name of thirumalai AzhvAr, due to his complete devotion to thiruvAimozhi (prabandham), got the name of thiruvAimozhip piLLai as known throughout the country. mAmunigaL thought about the same and said too as ‘thirumalai AzhvAr thiruvAimozhip piLLai [Arththi prabandham – 21)”. The auspicious meanings the he gave can be fully trusted {thiruvAi?}.

innaruLAl thiruvAimozhip piLLai tries for my revival (ujjeevanam), due to his causeless mercy (nirhEthuka krupai),

pillailokacharyar-nayanar-thiruvaimozhipillai-mamunigalpiLLai lOkAcharyar, nAyanAr, thiruvAimozhip piLLai, maNavALa mAmunigaL

vandha upadhEsa mArkkaththai – the history of the advice/instructions he gave by coming to do that; combine this phrase with the phrase that comes later, ‘upadhEsamAi pEsuginREn’ (saying/passing on/repeating) those advice/instructions). This is following the words/path of what pUrvAchAryas said (sudhdha sampradhAyam – pure lineage), and not saying whatever came to mind and insisting that to be the truth, as mAmunigAL says in a later pAsuram ‘than nenjil thORRinathE solli, idhu suththa upadhEsapara vArththai enbar [71].

So based on the three aforementioned phrases (of the pAsuram?), the association for which he was the target, completeness of true knowledge, and completeness of kindness, are his (mAmunigaL‘s) shelter.

enthai thiruvAimozhip piLLai innaruLAl vandhaAs said in ‘thAyAith thanthaiyAi [thiruvAimozhi 2.3.2]’, and ‘annaiyAi aththanAi [kaNNinUNchiruththAmbu – 4]’, he is present as my mother and head. As being present as my father, like how one would squirt out into the floor the excessive breast milk, he as a father showed excessive kindness towards me. Like said in ‘eyiRRidai maN koNda enthai irAppagal Odhuviththu ennai [periyAzhvAr thirumozhi – 5.2.3] (~ emperumAn as a father taught me all the time), thinking about the ways that came in the lineage, through the blessings of his natural father-figure thiruvAimozhip piLLai, is how mAmunigAL is doing this upadhEsam (advice/instructions).

That is, as said in ‘vivasvAn manavE prAha manur ikshvAkavE abravIth – Evam paramparA prAptha [bhagavath gIthA – 4-1]’ (~ sUryan taught vaivasvatha manu; manu taught his son ikshvAku), as the pristine way of knowledge (parisudhdha gyAna mArgam) that came in the lineage, is being considered about.

mArkkaththaich chinthai seidhu – think about the ways/history

pinnavarum kaRka – for the future generation that is going to follow his ways, for them to learn to be in the correct ways; for them to learn, properly as said in ‘munnOr mozhindha muRai thappAmal kEttup pinnOrndhu [upadhEsa raththinamAlai – 71] (properly learn what the previous AchAryas have said, and follow/repeat) ’.

That is, as said in ‘neRi uLLi uraiththa [thiruvAimozhi 1.3.5] (~ thought through the correct ways/vEdhas and then explained it), everything that mAmunigaL, who knows everything, says, are like ‘sollum avidu suruthiyAm [gyAna sAram – 40]’ (~whatever is said is the vEdhas), that is, they are of higher reference (pramANa thamam), and are to be reasons for future generations to trust, learn, and follow; he has thought through that and divined this prabandham for us.

{now, the word ‘pEsuginREn’ (saying) is combined with other words of the pAsuram in different interesting ways below, and it brings out the salient thoughts of maNavALa mAmunigaL as he set out to write this prabandham}

upadhEsamAip pEsuginREn – {am saying these as advice} (this prabandham has got) it is the weight of meanings of the topic; this prabandham talks in the range – from those interested in surrendering, up to those who are interested in gaining the acceptance of an AchAryan which is the ultimate state;  these are the topics that it talks about as advice, isn’t it?

When advising the distinguished meanings, as ‘pinnavarum karka upadhEsamAyp pEsuginrEn’, unlike how thiruvAimozhip piLLAi taught him one-on-one (OrAN vazhi), he is saying that he is enriching through this prabandham for all the sentient people to learn and attain the ultimate goal.

sindhai seidhu pEsuginREn –  {am saying these after thinking through} His – ‘yadhvi manasA dhyAyathi thadh vAchA vadhathi [thaiththrIyam AraNyakam 1.23]’ (what he meditates/thinks in his mind, he says that) – is this prabandham.

pEsuginREn manniya seer veNpAvil vaiththu – {am saying these in the form of great veNpA form of thamizh poetry} when doing that (prabandham/advice), he did so in veNpA (thamizh poetry form); that is, there are many poetry forms for thamizh, like veNpa, kaliththuRai, etc. Out of this, the last prabandham (in 4000) that is rAmAnusa nURRanthAdhi is based on kaliththurai; this prabandham is based on the metric of veNpA which is simpler for learning – that is how maNavALa mAmunigaL who loves thamizh has divined this prabandham; he is advising only so that others could learn; veNpA is easy to learn in a couple of practices, that simple this form is.

To explain about the adjective ‘seer’ for the vENpA – its greatness is like said in ‘pugazh malindha pA [rAmAnusa nURRanthAdhi – 1]’; this is also full of greatness. As said in ‘eNNarum seer poigai munnOr [30]’, this greatness of this prabandham goes well with their (AzhvArs’) greatness; to match that greatness, this prabandham is in the great veNpA.

pEsuginREn – {saying} The meaning said in ‘pEsumaLavanRidhu [periya thirumozhi 2.4.9]’, not being able to tolerate the wrong ways of everyone, I am saying it openly to bring it out in the open; you may listen or avoid, but I would not be able to survive without saying it (as advice/instructions). For those who surrendered, as said in ‘prOvAchathAm thathvathO brahmavidhyAm [muNdakOpanishath 1.2.13]’ (knowledge about brahmam should be taught as is), I am saying the meanings that have to be said – so he is doing this without expecting any request from us – that is the greatness of his kindness isn’t it?

By this we conclude that, like when sarvEsvaran gave AzhvAr unblemished knowledge (mayarvaRA madhinalam), AzhvAr in turn gave that to the village, country, and world for them to be like him, and made them get unblemished knowledge and survive; here maNavALa mAmunigaL also is advising the knowledge he got due to thiruvAimozhip piLLai’s grace, and letting us reach the destiny.

– – –

English Translation: raghurAm srInivAsa dhAsan

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upadhEsa raththina mAlai – avathArikai (Introduction)

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vyAkyAna avathArikai (Introduction)

periya jIyAr is the one who,

  • as said in ‘pinnAnAr vaNangum sOdhi [thirunedunthANdakam – 10]’, is followed by future generations,
  • can be said that he is one of the nithyasUris who would naturally have (without having to strain the mind) subservience, such greatness,
  • took shelter of the divine feet of thiruvAimozhip piLLai,
  • as said in ‘thEvu maRRaRiyEn [kaNNinuN chiruththAmbu – 2 (audio)], was extremely enthusiastic in serving thiruvAimozhip piLLAi,
  • due to his teachings became well versed in thiruvAimozhi and other prabandhams and their meanings which are rahasyams, and stayed thankful,
  • that same piLLai himself told – you hold as your support the divine feet of the one who is the central gem stone of the garland of guru paramparai: that is emperumAnAr – and because of that he (mAmunigaL) possessed extreme devotion toward udaiyavar’s divine feet,
  • having AzhvArs’ and AchAryas’ grace as the potent water for his growth,
  • and so only is having in him, in collective form, the characteristics of nammAzhvAr, thirumangai AzhvAr, periyAzhvAr and others, and also of srIman nAthamunigaL, yAmunAcharyar (ALavandhAr), emperumAnAr and others,
  • is enthusiastic at all times in well-being of the world’s people,
  • due to his nature of considering his purpose as the well-being of others, he is having the greatness of including the meanings of invaluable rahasyams in his prabandhams,
  • it can be said that on his qualities of subservience etc., there is no equal to maNavALa mAmunigaL in the seven material worlds and in the other world, that is ubhaya vibhUthi,
  • having the wealth of rangamangaLam and living in thiruvarangam as ‘thiruvarangam thiruppathiyE iruppAga’,
  • and due to that is known everywhere as ‘kOyil maNavALamamuni’,

he is such a swami, isn’t it?

mamunigal-srirangamkOyil maNavALa mAmuni

jIyar, that is maNavALa mAmunigAL who is having such great qualities, due to his noble kindness, because the incarnations of AzhvArs and AchAryas were in the past, as he said in ‘theruLuRRa AzhvArgaL seermai aRivArAr aruLichcheyalai aRivArAr [upadhEsa rathinamAlai – 36]’ (who would know (not many) the greatness of Azhvars, and their dhivya prabandhams), he saw that the greatness of incarnation of AzhvArs, their words and deeds, were all becoming lesser known, and saw that during that time the devotees were having less knowledge (of sampradhAyam etc.), so he firmly decided – we shall bring out the details of purpose, etc., of incarnation of AzhvArs, what their prabandhams are, and about those who know well both of these, that is, AchAryas – their teachings and actions, starting with all these details, and through that let us get these people to attain the higher plane, and decided that if it is done just by teachings only then it may not be useful for the future generations, as he wanted current and future generations to know these, he then announces such great details through this prabandham as an upadhEsa raththinamAlai, that is, based on the lineage of teachings of prior AchAryas, like a garland; so the name of this dhivya prabandham is upadhEsa raththinamAlai.


Since this prabandham announces the greatness of AzhvArs, AchAryas, and their dhivya prabandhams, it is great among the prabandhams. What is announced in this prabandham is about what thirumanthram says – not being subservient to others but being subservient to emperumAn only, holding emperumAn only as the support, and being enjoyable only by emperumAn – about those having these three qualities. So the base of this prabandham is thirumanthram.

Those who live according to the meanings of thirumanthram is explained in detail in ‘payilum sudaroLi [thiruvAimozhi 3.7]’, ‘nedumArkkadimai [thiruvAimozhi 8.10]’. Following along the same lines is the prabandham ‘kaNNinuN chiruth thAmbu’. Following along the same lines is the prabandham ‘rAmAnusa nURRanthAdhi’. The ways of these two prabandhams is explained in this prabandham, since it shows the glory of AzhvArs and of emperumAnAr. So this prabandham is the ultimate stage in the ultimate stage.


Now, an analysis of the reason/justification for this prabandham to follow the thirunakshathrams (birth stars) of the AzhvArs among the noble ones mentioned in this prabandham is:

As emperumAn wished to get the quality of being an AchAryan, he provided bhagavath gIthA and abhaya pradhAnam (shelter/refuge) and he is considered as the first guru; to save the samsAris, what He incarnates in other sects in stars such as rOhiNi, punarvasu (punarpUsam), what in the months of chaithra (chiththirai), bhadra (purattAsi), etc., what in places like vada (north) mathurA, ayOdhyA that are near the rivers yamunA and sarayU; starting with these the details are mentioned in ithihAsam etc.; In the same vain, here too, the AzhvArs who incarnated to save the people, and got unblemished knowledge due to His causeless mercy, their birth stars and months which are great ones like sravaNa (thiruvONam), etc., and months of ashvina (aippasi) etc., in places like kAnchi that are talked as equivalent of ayOdhyA, mathurA, and near their places are rivers like kAviri (cauvEry) – all these are indicated in those ithihAsams as ‘kalaukalu bhavishyanthi’(would incarnate in kali yugam),and as ‘kvachith kvachith [bhAgavatham 11-5.38] (in there and there (places));

moreover, due to the greatness of getting unblemished knowledge AzhvArs were immersed in devotion and performed saraNAgathy (surrender), due to His wish they incarnated as 10 of them as an aspect of emperumAn and with full of devotion; as He is present in the dhivya dhEsams in archA form out of his love, they have also taken the befitting form, and are having dharsan of Him; and are giving dharsan to others; due to our connection with them, they are able to make us reach the destiny;

so these AzhvArs’ thirunakshathrams also can be celebrated equally;

Now, starting from ‘AzhvAr thirumagaLAr ANdAL [upadhEsa raththinamAlai]’, since the other three (ANdAL, madhurakavi AzhvAr, and emperumAnAr) are subservient to the other AzhvArs, and since they are much more glorious than other AzhvArs, it goes well to enumerate these nobles ones’ incarnation details along with the other AzhvArs. Since AchAryas understand and celebrate the glory of the aforementioned, they too are celebrated.

Now, the prabandham talks about the glories of those who are in the first stage of devotion like ‘vERAga Eththi iruppAr [nAnmugan thiruvanthAdhi 18]’ (those who praise emperumAn in amazing distinguished ways), that is, devotion towards emperumAn; and about the glories of those who are in the pinnacle stage of devotion like ‘maRRavaraich chARRi iruppAr [nAnmugan thiruvanthAdhi 18]’(~ those who depend on devotees), that is, devotion towards AchAryan, and about the greatness of their prabandhams, and about the ways of the rahasya granthams which provide the essence of the above two categories, and about the anushtAnams (deeds/actions) explained in such granthams, and ways of being firmly positioned under the divine feet of AchAryan, that is, charama parva nishtai; this prabandham also explains how those who are involved in the prabandham reached the goal of srIvaikuNtam by the grace of those who spread the path of prapaththi by advices and corresponding actions;

and so this prabandham completes the exclusive meanings, which are shown firmly, and by advising others; and by talking about the glory of this guru paramparai, the head of gurus that is maNavALa mAmunigaL helps by making everyone have connection with the guru paramparai to reach the ultimate state.

– – – –

English Translation: raghurAm srInivAsa dhAsan

archived in http://divyaprabandham.koyil.org

pramEyam (goal) – http://koyil.org
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srIvaishNava education/kids portal – http://pillai.koyil.org