thiruvAimozhi – 1.2.2 – minnin nilaiyila

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

Full series >> First Centum >> Second decad

Previous pAsuram


Introduction for this pAsuram

Highlights from thirukkurukaippirAn piLLAn‘s introduction

Can we give up things which we are used to for a very long time?

Highlights from nanjIyar‘s introduction

Can we give up things which we are used to for a very long time? nammAzhwAr says that when we understand their defects such as impermanence, etc., they can be easily given up.

Highlights from vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyar‘s introduction

Subsequently, to facilitate the process of renunciation (giving up), nammAzhwAr identifies the impermanent nature of the aspects which are to be given up.

Highlights from periyavAchchAn piLLai‘s introduction

Similar to nanjIyar‘s introduction.

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

In the first pAsuram, nammAzhwAr instructs everyone to give up all aspects other than bhagavath vishayam and surrender unto emperumAn. When some one questions “You are asking us to give up worldly attachments. But we have been used to it since time immemorial. How we can we give them up now?”. nammAzhwAr replies through this pAsuram “when you understand the defects of the worldly aspects, they can be given up”.


மின்னின் நிலையில–மன்னுயிர் ஆக்கைகள்
என்னும் இடத்து இறை–உன்னுமின் நீரே

minnin nilaiyila mannuyir AkkaigaL
ennum idaththu iRai unnumin nIrE

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

uyir – AthmA (soul)
man – filled with likeable aspects
AkkaigaL – bodies which are the cause for bondage
minnin – more than a lightning
nilai – state of appearing and disappearing immediately
ila – not having
ennum idaththu – as explained in
nIrE – yourself
iRai – the master
unnumin – meditate upon him

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

jIvAthmA accepts many bodies (birth after birth) which are liked by him. But these bodies are so impermanent that they are not even having the permanent nature of a lightning which appears and disappears in a flash. Seeing this, you meditate upon the supreme lord who is the master.

vyAkyAnams (commentaries)

Highlights from thirukkurukaippirAn piLLAn‘s vyAkyAnam

AzhwAr says when one analyses and understands the impermanent nature of the body etc which are related to the jIvAthmA, then those impermanent aspects can be easily given up.

Highlights from nanjIyar‘s vyAkyAnam

Similar to nampiLLai‘s vyAkyAnam.

Highlights from periyavAchchAn piLLai‘s vyAkyAnam

Similar to nampiLLai‘s vyAkyAnam.

Also, for the singular usage of uyir (jIvAthmA – soul) and plural usage of AkkaigaL (sarIram – bodies), periyavAchchAn piLLai quotes bhagavath gIthA 2.22 “vAsAmsi jIrNAni” slOkam, where emperumAn explains that just as a person acquires new clothes when the old ones are unusable, the AthmA too will acquire a new body when the old one becomes unusable (at the time of death). So, the same AthmA, continually acquires a new body birth after birth.

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

  • minnin nilaiyila – In the case of lightning we, at the least, know that it exists only for a moment. It is both insignificant and impermanent. But, the body, even though impermanent, creates an illusion in the mind that it is permanent and leads to all kinds of troubles. Just like when someone places his hand on a snake thinking that it resembles sandalwood paste which has beautiful fragrance, coolness, softness etc and if he is informed that he is keeping his hand on a snake, he cannot resist taking his hand away (seeing the danger). Similarly, when the real defects of this temporary body (and material realm) such as insignificance and impermanence are highlighted, one can easily give it up.
  • mannuyir AkkaigaL – the bodies in which the AthmA is well seated; it is also explained as the different bodies pursued by the eternal jIvAthmA. nampiLLai gives a beautiful example – “thiRandhu kidandha vAsalgaL thORum nuzhaindhu thiriyum padhArththam pOlEyiRE ivan thirivadhu” (Just like a dog that will enter into any house that has an open door and come out, AthmA enters so many bodies through the cycle of birth and death). Here, the usage of singular AthmA is considered as a representative for all AthmAs which pursue many bodies.
  • ennum idaththu – the defects are so much – even more than bhagavAn‘s auspicious qualities.
  • nIrE – you can understand it just by observing yourself (since the impermanence is quite obvious). There is no need for pramANam (sAsthram, etc) or AchArya upadhEsam (instructions from an AchArya) to understand this.

In the next article we will the next pAsuram.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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