thiruvAimozhi – 1.2.4 – illathum uLLathum

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Full series >> First Centum >> Second decad

Previous pAsuram

vibishana_saranagathivibhIshaNa gave up everything and approached srI rAma

Introduction for this pAsuram

Highlights from thirukkurukaippirAn piLLAn‘s introduction

No specific introduction.

Highlights from nanjIyar‘s introduction

nammAzhwAr explains the glories of emperumAn who is being approached.

Highlights from vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyar‘s introduction

Subsequently, nammAzhwAr explains the distinct nature of emperumAn who is worshipped after giving up worldly attachments.

Highlights from periyavAchchAn piLLai‘s introduction

Same as nanjIyar‘s introduction.

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

nammAzhwAr explains the most enjoyable nature of emperumAn who is approached which is contrary to the not-so enjoyable nature and defective nature of worldly pleasures which are given up.


இல்லதும் உள்ளதும்–அல்லது அவன் உரு
எல்லையில் அந்நலம்–புல்கு பற்று அற்றே

illadhum uLLadhum alladhu avan uru
ellaiyil annalam pulgu paRRu aRRE

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

illadhum – non-existing, due to constant transformation of the entity itself, achith (matter) is indicated using the word “asath”
uLLadhum – existing, due to unchanging nature, chith (soul) is indicated using the word “sath”
alladhu – not,  different from
avan – his
uru – svarUpam (nature)
ellaiyil – unlimited
annalam – having (the previously explained) quality of bliss
paRRu aRRu – giving up attachment towards other worldly pleasures
pullu (pulgu) – approach him with devotion

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

bhagavAn is distinct from chith (sentients) which are unchanging by nature and achith (insentients) which constantly change into different forms. So, after giving up attachment towards other aspects, approach with devotion, such bhagavAn who is filled with bliss.

As “pullu” indicates abundance of friendliness, it highlights the loving nature of this devotion.

vyAkyAnams (commentaries)

Highlights from thirukkurukaippirAn piLLAn‘s vyAkyAnam

If someone says “We can pursue bhagavAn only if he is distinct from and more glorious than the worldly pleasures which are to be given up”, AzhwAr explains to them that bhagavAn is devoid of any defects, filled with all auspicious qualities, being distinct from chith and achith and because of all of these, he is most enjoyable. Thus, give up attachment to these faulty aspects and approach him.

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

  • illadhum – non-existing – It is not said as non-existing because of lack of pramANam (authentic explanation) of achith or because of achith being an  illusory aspect (as explained by adhvaitha/mAyAvAdha philosophers). It is due to the fact that achith is perishable (has total transformation of itself) that it is said as “illadhu“.
  • uLLadhum – existing – due to the distinction from “illadhu“, i.e., chith does not change itself ever, it is called “uLLadhu“.
  • illadhum uLLadhumchith and achith are explained as sath and asath in srIvishNu purANam “yadhasthi yannAsthi” (existing and non-existing)  and thaiththirIya upanishadh “sathyanchcha anruthancha” (truth and false). It can also be explained as achith which is the abode of AthmA and AthmA which resides in achith – in this context “il” in thamizh is explained as house and “uL” is explained as “that which is inside”.
  • alladhu avanuru – his nature is different from achith which is perishable and AthmA which becomes bound in achith (body) and considers “I am enjoying, I am suffering, etc”.
  • ellaiyil annalam – Many pramANams are highlighted to explain bhagavAn‘s blissful nature. He is explained as such in thaiththirIya upanishath “Anandhamaya:” (filled with bliss), thiruvAimozhi 1.1.2 “uNar muzhu nalam” (filled with gyAnam and Anandham), srIvishNu purANam 6.5.84 “samasthakalyANaguNAthmakOsau” (naturally having all auspicious qualities) etc.
  • pulgu – For one who fully knows the auspicious qualities, bhagavAn who is filled with such auspicious qualities is most enjoyable, similar to embracing a beautiful woman for some one who is desiring worldly pleasure.
  • paRRu aRRE – One should give up other attachments and then pursue emperumAn. One cannot be “iru karaiyan” – i.e., one who holds on to both vishayAntharam (worldly pleasures) and bhagavath vishayam (devotion towards bhagavAn). As explained in thiruvAimozhi 7.2.7, “paRRilAr paRRa ninRAnE“, bhagavAn is pursued by the ones who have given up all attachments to vishayAntharam (worldly pleasures) and sAdhanAntharam (other means to attain him).

In the next article we will the next pAsuram.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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0 thoughts on “thiruvAimozhi – 1.2.4 – illathum uLLathum”

  1. Dear Sarathy Swamy,

    Srimathe Ramanujaya Namah,

    Thank you very much for the vyakhyana translation of the above delightful paasuram.

    In very last point, as per highlights from Nampillai Vyakhyanam, devareer has written that -> ‘One should give up other attachments and then pursue emperumAn. One cannot be “iru karaiyan” ‘.

    adiyen has heard one Ithikyam where in there is a discussion between Koorathazhwan and Mudaliyandan on whether one should pursue Emperuman after completely giving up worldly attachments or as we develop taste and ruchi for Bhagavad Vishayam, worldly attachments would start reducing automatically. In this, Koorathazhwan was of opinion that one should totally give up worldly desires and then approach Bhagavan wholeheartedly whereas Mudaliyandan was of the latter opinion. Mudaliyandan argued that the former path as told by Azhwan was very very difficult and was only possible by Big Mahans like Azhwan only. Whereas for general people like us who are immersed in worldly desires since time immemorial , the latter path is only possible. Then Azhwan also agreed to Mudaliyandan’s explanation.

    Swamy, as per above ithikyam, does Nammazhwar ask to completely give up all attachments and then approach Emperumaan or try developing prathipatti towards Emperumaan sincerely, thereby reducing the attachments worldly?

    Thanking you,
    adiyen Ramanuja dasan

    • Thanks for the feedback swamy.

      AzhwAn/ANdAn aidhihyam is very much valid. But here nampiLLai is explaining based on the context of the pAsuram. There are several instances like this where a specific aspect is highlighted in context of the pAsuram. And, philosophically, this is the apt view (sarva dharmAn parithyajya mAm Ekam saraNam vraja) – that one should give up everything and approach emperumAn – but practically only the reverse (mARpAl manam suzhippa mangaiyar thOL kaivittu) may be possible for common persons like us as indicated in AzhwAn/ANdAn incident – both aspect have adequate pramANams.
      adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan


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