thiruvAimozhi – 1.3.1 – paththudai adiyavar

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

Full series >> First Centum >> Third decad


Introduction for this pAsuram

Highlights from thirukkurukaippirAn piLLAn‘s introduction

No specific introduction.

Highlights from nanjIyar‘s introduction

nammAzhwAr desirous to cite some examples for emperumAn‘s saulabhyam (simplicity), starts instructing based on krishNAvathAram but thinking about his act of stealing butter, AzhwAr becomes immersed in that.

Highlights from vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyar‘s introduction

Similar to nanjIyar‘s introduction.

Highlights from periyavAchchAn piLLai‘s introduction

Similar to nanjIyar‘s introduction.

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

Similar to nanjIyar‘s introduction.


பத்துடை அடியவர்க்கு எளியவன் பிரர்களுக்கு அறிய வித்தகன்
மலர் மகள் விரும்பும் நம் அரும் பெறல் அடிகள்
மத்துறு கடை வெண்ணெய் கலவினில் உறவிடை அப்புண்டு
எத்திறம் உரலினோடு இனைந்து இருந்து ஏங்கிய எளிவே

paththudai adiyavarkku eLiyavan piRargaLukku ariya viththagan
malar magaL virumbum nam arum peRal adigaL
maththuRu kadai veNNey kaLavinil uravidai AppuNdu
eththiRam uralinOdu iNaindhu irundhu Engiya eLivE

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

paththudai – having bhakthi (devotion)
adiyavarkku – for devotees
eLiyavan – easily approachable
piRargaLukku – for those others (who lack devotion)
ariya – difficult to reach
viththagan – very wise
malarmagaL – (being joyous about the two aspects of being eLiyavan and ariyavan) one who is having the lotus flower as her residence
virumbum – being desired by
peRal – to get
arum – difficult
nam adigaL – our swAmy (master)
maththu – by the churning staff
uRu – with great effort
kadai – churned
veNNey kaLavinil – while stealing of butter
uravidai – in the chest
AppuNdu – being tied/bound
uralinodu  iNaindhirundhu – staying together with the mortar tirelessly
Engiya – crying out of fear
eLivu – simplicity
eththiRam – how is it possible?

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

emperumAn is easily approachable for his devotees and most difficult to approach for others who lack devotion – because of these two aspects he is greatly liked by srI mahAlakshmi who lives in the lotus flower. This swAmy (master) of ours is the most difficult to get – yet he was caught while stealing butter which was churned with great effort using the churning staff and he was bound in the chest and was crying out of fear. How is this simplicity possible for him (who is supreme)?

bhakthi is said as “paththu” by AzhwAr , viththagan means Ascharya bhUthan (most extraordinary personality).

vyAkyAnams (commentaries)

Highlights from thirukkurukaippirAn piLLAn‘s vyAkyAnam

Such devotion (explained in previous padhigam) will not develop unless we experience bhagavAn. But such experience cannot be acquired by our limited senses since he is beyond our senses as explained in mananagam pAsuram. So, have we lost the opportunity for being uplifted? AzhwAr starts explaining that for those who have the desire to see him, he is easily approachable and for those others he is difficult to be approached. Citing an example of his act of stealing butter, from krishNAvathAram, AzhwAr starts wondering and says “Is it not enough to have appeared as a human being so everyone can approach him? Why should he be bound to a mortar and shiver at the sight of his mother for stealing butter? Why did you he this?”.

Highlights from nanjIyar‘s vyAkyAnam

Similar to piLLAn‘s vyAkyAnam.

Highlights from periyavAchchAn piLLai‘s vyAkyAnam

Similar to nampiLLai‘s vyAkyAnam.

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

  • paththu – Is AzhwAr talking about bhakthi (devotion) or para bhakthi (the ultimate/full devotion? Here AzhwAr is talking about very basic desire or even the act of not stopping emperumAn‘s mercy. This is because, AzhwAr is talking about emperumAn‘s saulabhyam (simplicity) here and not parathvam (supremacy). As bhagavAn himself says in srI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 18.3 “mithra bhAvEna samprAptham na thyajEyam kathanchana…” (When one approaches me with adhvEsham (no hatred), Abimukhyam (being friendly towards me), I will never give up such persons …). He is seeking out everyone to shower his mercy on that person- all he expects is that desire (which is a natural quality) from the jIvAthmA.
  • udai – having. Having such adhvEsham, Abimukhyam itself is considered as a great trait. This is the greatest wealth – emperumAn considers such persons who engage in bhagavath vishayam in this world to be greater than nithyasUris. He takes on their responsibilities as his own burden. srI vibhishaNAzhwAn was glorified as anthariksha gathas srImAn (the most wealthy person who has started his airborne journey towards srI rAma) after giving up the wealth of lankA. iLaiya perumAL (srI lakshmaNa) was glorified as “lakshmaNO lakshmI sampanna:” (lakshmaNa who has abundance of kainkarya srI).
  • adiyavarkku – for the devotees. this is also per emperumAn‘s consideration – he considers even those who have basic desire as equivalent to srI mahAlakshmi et al.
  • eLiyavan – he presents himself completely under their control. When arjuna asked krishNa “Why you are attached to your devotees even though I have heard about you as “param brahma param dhAma…” (supreme brahmam, the supreme abode, etc)?” kaNNan emperumAn replies “This is natural for me”. Unlike princes who give some commitments during difficult times to others but will take back their commitment when they become princely again, bhagavAn always shows his simplicity towards his devotees – he would even go as a messenger for them.
  • piRargaLukku ariya viththagan – viththagan in thamizh is the same as vismanIya (astonishing) in samskrutham. Here piRar (others) are those who want to use emperumAn for their personal benefits. He is uncontrollable for them. Here the astonishing aspect is that though he is totally under the control of yasOdhA et al he was uncontrollable by pUthanA et al. When krishNa was resting before the kurukshEthra battle began, arjuna and dhuryOdhana came to him – he gave himself to arjuna and gave pangaLam (his soldiers – worthless in comparison to him) to dhuryOdhana. Just like our AchAryas accepted only emperumAn as upAyam (as in the case of arjuna) and others held other achEthanams (insentient – karma, gyAna, bhakthi yOgams etc) as upAyam (as in the case of dhuryOdhana). When srI lakshmaNa got hurt and fainted in the battlefield, rAvaNa came along with his soldiers and tried to carry him – but he could not lift him due to the hatred he had. But hanuman came and lifted lakshmANa most casually since he was greatly devoted. It is not that lakshmaNa tricked rAvaNa – it was just natural that hanuman could lift him. Note: Whatever is said for lakshmaNa applies to srI rAma as well.
  • malarmagaL virumbum – His supremacy and simplicity are due to his connection with srI mahAlakshmi.
  • nam arum peRal adigaL – nam (our) highlights his established supremacy as in purusha sUktham etc. Here lakshmI sambandham (connection to srI mahAlakshmI) is also established by vEdham.  Being dear to srI mahAlakshmi is the main criterion for being the supreme lord.
  • maththuRu kadai veNNeyAzhwAr further explains the simplicity which was highlighted in the beginning of the pAsuram. Its the same valiant bhagavAn with great shoulders which churned the milk ocean – now being caught for stealing butter in this cow-herd community. “kadai veNNey” indicates past, present and future tenses. piLLAn explains that when the curd is being churned (even before butter fully forms), kaNNan emperumAn grabs it and eats it just like a hungry person would even grab half-boiled rice.
  • uravidai AppuNdu – bound in the chest area. He was bound where srI mahAlakshmi resides. Or it can also be said as “the one who is majestic like bull is bound now”. It can also be considered as “udharam” being said as “uram” – udharam means waist as one of his names is dhAmOdharan (one who is bound by rope in the waist area). When caught stealing butter, yasOdhA mAtha binds him with the mortar and threatens him “if capable you can release yourself”.
    • That brahmam which is hailed in svEthasvathAra upanishath as “…parAsya sakthir vividhaiva srUyathE…” – that supreme bhagavAn’s who has full ability is being bound here.
    • The one who is the cause for everything (being bound in samsAram, sustenance and liberation) is being bound here.
    • The one who controls brahmA et al merely by his will is being bound by a simple cow-herd girl.
    • As explained in bhagavath gIthA 4.10 “…thyakthvA dhEham punar janma naithE mAmEthi…” – one who said “you will reach me and never be bound in this samsAram” again is being bound here to relieve us from the samsAram.
  • uralinOdu iNaindhirundhu – he stood just like the mortar without any movement (out of fear).
  • Engiya – the stage before crying – seeing helplessly, lips quivering, etc.  This is the only difference between krishNa and the mortar now.
  • eththiRam – One who was said in thiruvAimozhi 1.1.1 as “uyarvaRa uyarnalam udaiyavan” is like this. He is glorified in thaiththiriya upanishath as “yathO vAchO nivarththanthE” (beyond the reach of words) for his supremacy – now we are seeing that in his simplicity. AzhwAr cannot comprehend as to how emperumAn presents himself as such helpless child even after being the most supreme lord.

In the next article we will the next pAsuram.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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