thiruvAimozhi – 2.3.2 – oththAr mikkArai

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Previous pAsuram


Introduction for this pAsuram

Highlights from thirukkurukaippirAn piLLAn‘s introduction

After praising his heart, AzhwAr relishes emperumAn’s merciful favours towards him by informing emperumAn about that.

Highlights from nanjIyar‘s introduction

In the second pAsuram – AzhwAr says to emperumAn “I cannot count the number of favours you, who are without any expectations, have done to me with much expectations towards me, reforming my heart to be favourable towards you and so on”.

Highlights from vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyar‘s introduction

Subsequently, AzhwAr says that such tasteful emperumAn has done countless favours towards him.

Highlights from periyavAchchAn piLLai‘s introduction

See nampiLLai‘s introduction.

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

Second pAsuram. When this pAsuram was discussed once in the assembly of embAr, a question was asked “Who is the prathamaguru (first guru) for the AthmA?” Some SrIvaishNavas said “it must be the AchArya”; others said “that would be the SrIvaishNava who led the AthmA to the AchArya”; at that time embAr said “No! It is bhagavAn only; even when a SrIvaishNava invites an AthmA to approach an AchArya, it is sarvESvaran who ensures that the AthmA accepts the proposal without rejecting it. In previous pAsuram, AzhwAr praised his heart saying that it was his heart which united him with emperumAn. At that time the heart asks “Why are you praising a passer-by without knowing the root cause?” AzhwAr then says “if I contemplate deeper, I understand that emperumAn is the cause for my heart leading me to emperumAn and without realising that I simply praised my heart” and starts praising sarvESvaran.


ஒத்தார் மிக்காரை இலையாய மா மாய
ஒத்தாய் எப் பொருட்கும் உயிர் ஆய் என்னைப் பெற்ற
அத் தாய் ஆய் தந்தை ஆய் அறியாதன அறிவித்து
அத்தா! நீ செய்தன அடியேன் அறியேனே

oththAr mikkArai ilaiyAya mA mAya!
oththAy ep poruktum uyir Ay ennaip peRRa
ath thAy Ay thandhai Ay aRiyadhana aRiviththu

aththA! nI seydhana adiyEn aRiyEnE


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

oththAr mikkArai ilaiyAya – not having anyone equal or greater (for such tasteful nature)
mAmAya – being very spectacular (even if enjoyed every moment, each moment being so new and relishable)
oththAy epporutkum – descending in all forms to give joy
uyirAy – being the bearer of everything (like the AthmA bearing the body)
ennai – me
peRRa – created
a – having such distinct relationship
thAyAy – being mother who looks after the desires of the child
a – being the cause for such creation
thandhaiyAy – being father who looks after the well-being of the child
aRiyAdhana – those experiences which one is ignorant about
aRiviththu – taught
aththA! – Oh one who has the natural relationship (to do such favours)!
nI – you (who have natural relationship unlike the mother/father of this world who have a relationship due to specific reason of being born to them due to karma)
seydhana – favours done
adiyEn – being a servitor
aRiyEn – would not know fully

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

Oh one who has natural relationship with me! You have none equal or greater than you (in your tasteful nature) and are most spectacular every moment; you descend in all forms to give joy to us and you are the bearer of all entities; you are the mother who cares for my desires and the father who cares for my well-being; you are the AchArya (teacher) who taught what I don’t know; Even though I am your servitor, I don’t fully know the limitless favours done by you.

vyAkyAnams (commentaries)

Highlights from thirukkurukaippirAn piLLAn‘s vyAkyAnam

See vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyar‘s translation.

Highlights from nanjIyar‘s vyAkyAnam

See nampiLLai‘s vhlights from periyavAchchAn piLLai‘s vyAkyAnam

See nampiLLai‘s vyAkyAnam.

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

  • oththAr mikkArai ilaiyAya mAmAya! – Did you accept me because you are lacking in something? Even for the master of SrI mahAlakshmi, there is one dhAridhryam (poorness/poverty) – as explained in SvEthASvathara upanishath “na thathsamaSchyAbhyadhikaScha dhruSyathE” (for that paramAthmA, no one equal or greater is seen) – he too is lacking in having someone equal or greater.
  • mAmAya – this is so spectacular!
  • oththAy epporutkum – You are so great, but what did you go through? One who has no one equal or greater, takes birth in different forms.
  • epporutkum oththAy – you descended as vishNu amidst brahmA and rudhra; you became the brother of indhra (as vAmana); you descended as humans in rAma, krishNa avathArams; you were born in animal species as mahAvarAha (great boar); you descended in plant species as kubjAmaram (dwarf mango tree). Even while taking a plant form, he assumes to be a dwarf tree so that even women and ignorant can climb (reach out easily). Why is he assuming these forms? If he takes birth maintaining his supremacy, they will leave him out of fear; if he makes himself too lowly, they will ignore him; so he assumes many different species to attract them. kUraththAzhwAn‘s athimAnusha sthavam 15th SlOkam is quoted here which reflects this meaning.

What did he do by assuming such incarnations?

  • uyirAy – emperumAn will care for the jIvAthmA as the AthmA himself cares; it is also explained as emperumAn being the dhAraka (bearer).
  • ennaip peRRa aththAyAy – instead of just being foster mother, being real mother who longs for a child, gives birth from her own body and cares for all his desires.
  • thandhaiyAy – the mother is just the one who carries the child; but the father is the seed-giver and one who cares for his well-being.

not only that;

  • aRiyAdhana aRiviththu – As explained in Apasthamba dharma sUthram, “SarIramEva mAthApitharau janayatha:” (the mother and father only give birth to the body), not just being mother/father, but also being the AchArya who nurtures knowledge; “sa hi vidhyAstham janayathi thathSrEshtam janma” (that AchArya triggers the (second) birth of the Sishya through knowledge). He has vowed to help jIvAthmAs as in SrI rAmAyNam “Ethath vrathtam mama” (this is my vow) and bhagavath gIthAmAmEkam SaraNam vraja” (surrender unto me only).
  • aththA – Oh the one who has done great favours! Since he is the owner, he is bound to help us in these ways. AzhwAr says as said in subAla upanishath “mAthA pithA bhrAthA nivAsaSSaraNam suhrudhgathirnArAyaNa:” (SrIman nArAyaNan is mother, father, brother, abode, refuge, friend, goal). He himself said in periya thiruvanthAdhi 5 “peRRa thAy nIyE piRappiththa thanthai nI maRRaiyArAvArum nI” (you are my mother, father and every relationship).
  • nI seydhana – if it is one or two favours, we can list them out; since there are too many, he just says “favours done by you”. Those favours done by svAmi (master) to me who is SEshabhUtha (servitor).
  • adiyEn aRiyEnE – you who bestowed such favours may know what was done by you; I can only experience the bliss and be submerged into it instead of counting those favours.

In the next article we will enjoy the next pAsuram.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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