thiruvAimozhi – 2.8.1 – aNaivadhu aravaNaimEl

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Full series >> Second Centum >> Eighth decad


Introduction for this pAsuram

Highlights from thirukkurukaippirAn piLLAn‘s introduction

No specific introduction.

Highlights from nanjIyar‘s introduction

In the first pAsuram – AzhwAr explains briefly the principles which are explained in this decad.

Highlights from vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyar‘s introduction

In the first pAsuram – AzhwAr mercifully explains briefly emperumAn‘s control over all that is explained in this decad.

Highlights from periyavAchchAn piLLai‘s introduction

See nampiLLai‘s introduction.

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

First pAsuram. AzhwAr explains the joy acquired by liberated souls. First pAsuram is the short summary of the whole decad, where each word is further explained in the subsequent pAsurams.


aNaivadhu aravaNai mEl pUm pAvai Agam
puNarvadhu iruvar avar mudhalum thAnE
iNaivanAm epporutkum vIdu mudhalAm
puNaivan piRavik kadal nIndhuvArkkE


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

aravu – thiruvananthAzhwAn (AdhiSEshan)
aNai mEl – on the bed
aNaivadhu – lovingly lie down
pU – most tender person like a budding flower
pAvai – pirAtti’s (SrI mahAlakshmi‘s)
Agam – divine body
puNarvadhu – embracing joyfully
up to this, his control over nithya vibhUthi (spiritual realm) is explained
in the leelA vibhUthi (material realm),
avar – popularly known (for their controlling ability)
iruvar – creation and sustenance of brahmA, rudhra
thAnE – himself
mudhalum – is the cause
epporutkum – all objects (in the universe which is protected)
iNaivanAm – (through his incarnations) being born in the species
vIdu – mOksham (liberation which is the top-most form of protection)
mudhalAm – is the cause
(to avoid the question of why everyone is not liberated then)
piRavi – this existence in material realm
kadal – ocean
nIndhuvArkku – to those who want to cross over
puNaivan – is the boat.

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

emperumAn lovingly lies down on thiruvananthAzhwAn (AdhiSEshan) in the form of a bed and joyfully embraces the divine body of SrI mahAlakshmi who is most tender person like a budding flower – this explains his control over nithya vibhUthi (spiritual realm). In the leelA vibhUthi (material realm), he himself is the cause for the creation and sustenance of brahmA and rudhra who are popularly known (for their controlling ability). He takes birth in the various species (through his incarnations) in the universe that is protected. He is the cause for mOksham (liberation which is the top-most form of protection). (To avoid the question of why everyone is not liberated then) He is the boat for those who want to cross over this existence in the ocean of material realm.

vyAkyAnams (commentaries)

Highlights from thirukkurukaippirAn piLLAn‘s vyAkyAnam

See vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyar‘s translation.

Highlights from nanjIyar‘s vyAkyAnam

See nampiLLai‘s vyAkyAnam.

Highlights from periyavAchchAn piLLai‘s vyAkyAnam

See nampiLLai‘s vyAkyAnam.

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

  • aNaivadhu aravaNai mEl  – this is the joy acquired by liberated persons; As explained in paryanka vidhyA, when a jIvAthmA becomes muktha (liberated) and approaches SrI mahAlakshmi and SrIman nArAyaNan who are lying on thiruvananthAzhwAn (AdhiSeshan), he would say “aham brahmAsmi” [as explained in sAmAnAdhikaraNyam, since brahmam sustains everyone, everyone is indicated by the word “brahmam”] – I am a prince, a mode/form of brahmam; hearing that, bhagavAn would say “if that is the case, come to me” and having acknowledged, the jIvAthmA would climb on the bed like a child that would climb its parents’ bed as explained in “thamEmvamvith pAdhEnAdhyArOhathi” (knowing him thus, he sets foot on AdhiSesha and climbs there) – this result acquired by the jIvAthmA is explained here.
  • aNaivadhu – Like a jIvAthmA who is turmoiled by thApa thrayam (three types of sufferings – AdhyAthmika, Adhi baudhika and Adhi dhaivika, that is, those sufferings which are caused by self, other creatures and natural forces) would immerse in brahmam as said in mahAbhAratham mOksha dharmam 4.50 “…Esha brahma pravishtOsmi…” (like immersing in a cool pond during a hot summer day, AthmA stays satisfied on attaining bhagavAn), bhagavAn who does not have any such sufferings, still lies down on AdhiSEsha as if he had such sufferings and then feels so satisfied as if being relieved from such sufferings. Like a thirsty person would jump into a cool pond, bhagavAn would jump on AdhiSEshan to rest.
  • aravaNai mEl – Would lie down on thiruvananthAzhwAn (AdhiSEshan) who has fragrance, coolness and tenderness as natural qualities; AdhiSEsha is explained in mudhal thiruvandhAdhi 53 “pulgum aNaiyAm” (the bed that he embraces). Like a SEsha bhUtha (servant) who cannot sustain himself without rendering service, the SEshi (master) cannot sustain himself without accepting the servant’s service.
  • pUm pAvai Agam puNarvadhu – He unites and enjoys with SrI mahAlakshmi who is the embodiment of pleasure and who has natural femininity.
  • Agam puNarvadhu – Her auspicious qualities becomes irrelevant since he is too overwhelmed just by her physical beauty itself. Here we can understand that AdhiSEsha too acquires the same pleasure as perumAL and pirAtti, since the words “aNaivadhu, puNarvadhu” are used in the same manner – this is explained through “agryaprAya nyAyam“. This is masterfully explained through a SlOkam from SrI rAmAyaNam bAla kANdam 1.31 by nampiLLai. ramyamA vasatham kruthvA – the ASramam (hermitage) constructed by iLaiya perumAL (lakshmaNa) in the forest was more beautiful and fitting than the palace built by dhaSaratha with great efforts. thrayayO  ramamANA:thAyAr‘s joy is the same as her lord perumAL‘s joy; perumAL’s joy is the same as that which was acquired by pirAtti. lakshmaNa is the one who becomes greatly joyful seeing the divine couple enjoying there. vanE – they seemed to fit in so well there as if they are forest-dwellers instead of palace-dwellers. With this, it is explained that the real joy for mukthAthmA (liberated person) is to enjoy and serve bhagavAn and pirAtti joyfully being together on AdhiSEshan.
  • iruvar avar mudhalum thAnE – He is the creator of brahmA and rudhra. As known popularly from nArAyaNa sUktham “sa brahmA sa Siva:” (he is brahmA, he is Siva)
  • iruvar avarAzhwAr says both are bhagavAn (his prakAram/form, SarIram/body) only [AzhwAr is using the same method as in vEdham]. While explaining nithya vibhUthi, he explains it as “aNaivadhu puNaivadhu” – since that realm exists for his pleasure eternally. Here, he explains it as “mudhal” (cause) to highlight that there is cause (bhagavAn) – effect (material realm) relationship and that there is continuous creation/dissolution.  He also explains through this that brahmA and rudhra are materially bound in this realm and ISwara is the only one who is capable of bestowing liberation. It is also explained that bhagavAn is the only refuge and brahmA/rudhra should not be considered as refuge. This is explaind in SrIvishNu dharmam “Abrahmasthamba paryanthA jagadhantharvyavasthithA: | prANina: karmajanithasamsAravaSavarthina: ||” (From brahmA down to a worm, all entities of this realm are bound in this samsAram (material realm) which is created through [their collective] puNya/pApa (virtues/vices)).

Such bhagavAn who is having the greatness acquired due to being the cause of brahmA, rudhra,

  • epporutkum iNaivanAm – He would be born among all types of species such as dhEva (celestial) et al. That is – being born amidst brahmA and rudhra, being born as upEndhra (younger brother of indhra) [up to this is in dhEva/celestial form], being born as the son of dhaSaratha chakravarthi and SrI nandhagOpa [up to this in manushya/human form], being born as mahAvarAham [the great wild boar in animal form], being born as kupjA tree [plant form].

Why is he reducing his own glories and taking birth in these worldly species?

  • vIdu mudhalAm – to bestow liberation; wherever he took birth, he bestowed mOksham to bird (jatAyu mahArAja), piSAcha (demoniac person – gaNtA karNan].

If he is descending to bestow liberation, should everyone not become liberated?

  • piRavik kadal nIndhuvArkkup puNaivan – For those who say “This samsAram (material realm) is a great ocean and we cannot cross it on our own. You who are all powerful, should help us cross over”, he would be the one who takes responsibility for them (puNai – bailing them out and liberating them). puNai is also explained as boat; he would be the one who controls all their aspects [relieves them from their burdens]. He would help cross over this samsAram for those who think as said in jithanthE sthOthram “samsArasAgaram gOramananthaklESabhAjanam | thvAmEva SaraNam prApya ||” (Those intelligent persons surrender unto you and cross over this cruel ocean of samsAram (material realm) which has unbounded sufferings). puNaivan is also explained as boat, as explained in SrIvishNu dharmam “vishNupOtham” (the boat named vishNu); unlike the boat which is seen in this world which resides in a single place, this boat of vishNu is spread from spiritual realm to material realm [This is explained based on the root meaning for vishNu which means “all pervading”, “omnipresent”].

In the next article we will enjoy the next pAsuram.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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