thiruvAimozhi – 1.1.8 – surar aRivaru nilai

srImathE satakOpAya nama:
srImathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srImath varavaramunayE nama:

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Introduction for this pAsuram

Highlights from thirukkurukaippirAn piLLAn‘s introduction

This pAsuram refutes kudhrushtis (those who misinterpret vEdham) who say that such sarvEsvaran popularly being established through vEdham is one amongst the dhEvathAs like brahmA who is involved in srushti, rudhra who is involved in samhAram etc.

Highlights from nanjIyar‘s introduction

Similar to piLLAn‘s introduction.

Highlights from vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyar‘s introduction

Subsequently, nammAzhwAr says brahmA and rudhra who are responsible for vyashti srushti (creation of variegated forms) and vyashti samhAram (annihilation of variegated forms) respectively are under the full control of bhagavAn.

Highlights from periyavAchchAn piLLai‘s introduction

Similar to piLLAn‘s introduction.

Highlights from nampiLLai‘s introduction as documented by vadakkuth thiruvIdhip piLLai

Someone questions nammAzhwAr “You say that bhagavAn is established by vEdham and is the antharAthmA for every thing.  But others are also responsible for certain aspects like brahmA being responsible for creation, rudhra for annihilation etc. If you say that everything is controlled by one person, then you seem to be biased”. nammAzhwAr replies “I am not biased towards a single person, but if we analyse the pramANams (scriptures), we can understand that those dhEvathAs are not (independantly) performing their responsibilities”.


சுரர் அறிவரு நிலை விண் முதல் முழுவதும்
வரன் முதலாய அவை முழுதுண்ட பரபரன்
புரம் ஒரு மூன்றெரித்து  அமரர்க்கு அறிவு இயந்து
அரன் அயன் என உலகு அழித்து அமைத்து உளனே

surar aRivaru nilai viN muthal muzhuvadhum
varan mudhalAy avai muzhudhuNda paraparan
puram oru mUnReriththu amararkkum aRivu iyandhu
aran ayan ena ulagu azhiththu amaiththu uLanE

Word-by-Word meanings (based on vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyar‘s 12000 padi)

surar – for dhEvathAs starting with brahmA
aRivarum – difficult to know
nilai – having such position/stage
viN mudhal – AkAsam etc
muzhuvadhum – All entities in samashti rUpam (pancha bhUthams in aggregate state)
varan mudhalAy – being the largest cause
avai – those
muzhudhu – without remainder/balance
uNda – annihilating
para paran – one who is greater than great brahmA, rudhra et al who are responsible for vyashti (variegated) srushti (creation) and samhAram (annihilation)
aran – rudhra
ayan – brahmA
ena – being well-known
puram oru mUnRu – the unique 3 towns
eriththu – burnt down
amararkku – to the dhEvathAs
aRivu – gyAnam/knowledge
iyandhum – taught
ulagu – the different layers/planets of the egg shaped universe
azhiththu – annihilated
amaiththu – created them
uLan – being the antharyAmi of such brahmA, rudhra et al.

Simple transalation (based on vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyar‘s 12000 padi)

bhagavAn being the cause for mUla prakruthi etc, which cannot be comprehended by brahmA, rudhra et al, consumed (annihilated) all of the material realm being the supreme lord of such dhEvathAs, assumed the form of rudhra to destroy the 3 towns (thripura samhAram), annihilated everything, created the variegated forms (again), gave the knowledge to dhEvathAs et al. He does all of these being the antharyAmi of dhEvathAs such as brahmA, rudhra et al.

As explained in gArggi vidhyai in bruhadhAraNyaka upanishath “kasminnu kalvAkAsa Othascha prOthascha” (mUla prakruthi exists in many different forms) where AkAsa is used to indicate mUla prakruthi, here nammAzhwAr also uses viN (AkAsam) to explain mUla prakruthi. With this, kudhrushtis (those who misinterpret vEdham) who claim brahmA, rudhra et al as supreme, are refuted.

vyAkyAnams (commentaries)

Highlights from thirukkurukaippirAn piLLAn‘s vyAkyAnam

Quoting many pramANams from sAsthram to establish that brahmA was born inside the universe (aNdam – sphere that contains the 14 planetary layers) and rudhra was born as the son of brahmA (Note: There are innumerable such universes with each universe having one brahmA, one rudhra and so on), bhagavAn‘s supremacy is established.

nammAzhwAr says that those who are born inside the universe would not understand the mUla prakruthi (primordial matter – unmanifested state), mahAn (manifested matter), ahankAram (ego), etc which are beyond and outside the scope of such universes. bhagavAn directly performs the samashti srushti first (initial creation of the five elements) and the ultimate samhAram (consuming the remaining items outside the universe). Also, svEthAsvathAra upanishath says “yO brahmANam vidhadhAthi pUrvam…” (bhagavAn created brahmA and taught him vEdham) and mahAbhAratham says “vishNurAthmA bhagavathO bhavasyAmithathEjasa: …” (vishNu is the antharyAmi of siva who is most glorifiable and has great radiance). Through these pramANams, we can understand that emperumAn (who gave gyAnam to dhEvathAs, who helped in thripura dahanam (burning of 3 towns) etc) is the lord of brahmA, rudhra et al since he is the one who performs samashti srushti/samhAram (which are beyond the reach of brahmA, rudhra et al and who performs vyashti srushti/samhAram by being the antharyAmi of brahmA, rudhra et al.

Highlights from nanjIyar‘s vyAkyAnam

Similar to nampiLLai‘s vyAkyAnam.

Highlights from periyavAchchAn piLLai‘s vyAkyAnam

Similar to nampiLLai‘s vyAkyAnam.

Highlights from nampiLLai‘s vyAkyAnam as documented by vadakkuth thiruvIdhip piLLai

  • surar aRivaru nilai – As explained in brahma sUthram 1.3.9 “aksharam ambarAnthadhruthE:” (aksharam indicates paramAthmA only, since mUla prakruthi which is the source of AkAsam is held by him) and  gArggi vidhyai in bruhadhAraNyaka upanishath says “kasminnu kalvAkAsa Othascha prOthascha” (mUla prakruthi exists in many different forms), AkAsa indicates mUla prakruthi here based on kAraNa-kArya bhAvam (cause-effect relationship where mUla prakruthi is the cause and AkAsam is the effect). dhEvathAs starting with brahmA do not understand the true nature of mUIa prakruthi etc.
  • varan mudhalAybhagavAn pervades everything in the subtle state of mUla prakruthi (primordial nature) and the gross state of mahAn (manifested matter), ahankAram  etc – as part of srushti. Since he controls everything by pervading everything, he is explained as the ultimate cause of everything.
  • avai muzhudhuNda – In samhAram too, he is the one who consumes everything. In katavallI 1.2, it is explained that “yasya brahma cha kshthrancha ubhE bhavatha Odhana: | mruthyur yasya upasEchanam | ka iththA vEdha yathra sa: ||” (one who has all brAhmaNas, kshathriyas (indicating all entities) as his food, one who has yama (the lord of death) himself as upasEchanam (like curd, pickle etc which are used as side-dish and eaten in the end as well). Who will know the greatness of that great person?).
  • paraparan – brahmA,etc al who are qualified (in some ways) are greater than general population. bhagavAn is much greater than such dhevathAs. This is explained in vishNu purANam 1.2.10 “para: parANAm …” – Different from the great brahmA, rudhra et al and greater than they. nammAzhwAr himself says in thiruvAimozhi 8.7.5 “manisarkkuth thEvar pOlath thEvarkkum dhEvA” (Just like dhEvas are superior to humans, you are superior to such dhEvas).
  • puram oru mUnREriththu amararkku aRivy iyandhu – It is popularly known that rudhra performed thripura samhAram (destroying the 3 towns) and brahmA gave gyAnam (knowledge) to dhEvas. But if we analyse that, we will understand that, srIman nArAyaNa is the one who creates these dhEvathAs and gives them the ability to perform various tasks.
    • In mahAbhAratham karNa parvam, learned scholars such as vyAsa said “vishNurAthmA bhagavathO bhavasyAmithathEjasa: | thasmAdhdhanurgyAsam sparsam sa vishEhE mahEsvara: ||” (vishNu is the antharyAmi for siva who is most courageous and worshippable. It is because of bhagavAn‘s presence as antharyAmi that siva managed to tie the string and launch the bow during thripura samhAram). thirumangai AzhwAr (who is one among the AzhwArs who were blessed by bhagavAn himself with blemishless knowledge) declared in periya thirumozhi 6.1.3 “naNNAr nagaram vizha nanimalai silai vaLaivu seydhu angazhal niRa ambu adhu AnavanE” (emperumAn who became the arrow in the huge bow which is fiery, to knock down the 3 towns).
    • In svEthAsvathAra upanishath, it is said “yO brahmANam vidhdhAthi pUrvam yOvai vEdhAmscha prahiNOthi thasmai” (that bhagavAn who created brahmA first, that bhagavAn who taught vEdham to him).
  • aran ayan ena ulagu azhiththu amaiththu uLAn – In mahAbhAratham sAnthi parvam 169, it is said that “Ethau dhvau vibudhasrEshtau prasAdhakrOdhajau smruthau | thadhAdharsithapanthAnau srushtisamhArakArakau ||” (brahmA and rudhra are best among dhEvathAs who were born out of srIman nArAyaNa‘s mercy and anger (respectively). They are explained in smruthi as the ones who perform creation and annihilation as learnt from srIman nArAyaNan himself). So, as per pramANam (scriptures), they have involvement in creation and annihilation. Since it is emperumAn who performs srushti and samhAram being the antharyAmi of brahmA and rudhra, I (nammAzhwAr) told that bhagavAn is the real creator/annihilator and not because of my bias towards srIman nArAyaNa. Thus, nammAzhwAr refutes the kudhrushtis (ones who misinterpret vEdham) in this pAsuram.

In the next article we will the next pAsuram.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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