thirumAlai – 22 – pEsiRRE pEsalallAl

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periyaperumal-thiruppanazhwarperiya perumAL and thiruppANAzhwAr (purest at his heart)

avathArikai (Introduction)

“If it is not possible to think through the mind (heart), can you not speak through the mouth?” asked the heart. thaiththiriya samhithai 7.5.3. states “mana: pUrvO vAguththara:” – initially mind and then the mouth engage. Thus, the mouth can speak only what the mind thinks. If there is a matter which is outside the scope of mind, can the mouth speak about it? Oh my heart, who thinks that it is possible to speak, please tell, says the AzhwAr.

Let us first go through the pAsuram and its meanings.

பேசிற்றே பேசலல்லால் பெருமை ஒன்று உணரலாகாது
ஆசற்றார் தங்கட்கல்லால் அறியல் அவனுமல்லன்
மாசற்றார் மனத்துளானை வணங்கி நாம் இருப்பதல்லால்
பேசத்தான் ஆவதுண்டோ பேதை நெஞ்சே! நீ சொல்லாய்

pEsiRRE pEsalallAl perumai onRu uNaralAgAdhu
AsaRRAr thangatkallAl aRiyal AvAnumallan
mAsaRRAr manaththuLAnai vaNangi nAm iruppadhallAl
pEsaththAn AvadhuNdO pEdhai nenjE! nI sollAy


Word-for-Word Meaning

pEdhai nenjE! – Oh, ignorant mind!
pEsiRRE – whatever had been set out for speaking (by vEdhas and vaidhika purushas – those who follow vEdhas)
pEsal allAl – instead of speaking only that (by us)
perumai –in (emperumAn’s) greatness
onRu – even one
uNaral AgAdhu – it is not possible to know
Asu aRRAr thangatku allAl – other than blemishless persons (blemish is reaching out to other upAyams (as a means to attain emperumAn))
aRiyal AvAnum allan – he can not be perceived

mAsu aRRAr manaththu uLAnai – residing permanently in the minds of those blemishless persons (who have left aside other benefits)
nAm vaNangi iruppadhu allAl – other than whatever has been enjoyed by us (who have surrendered totally to him)
pEsa than Avadhu uNdO – is it possible to speak through hymns (his greatness)?
nI sollAy – you please tell

vyAkhyAnam (Explanatory Notes)

Aren’t prAkrutha matters (worldly issues) spoken by the mouth? Why then, can’t this (relating to bhagavath issues) be spoken? Worldly matters are limited to certain boundaries. But that is not the case with bhagavath vishayam which is unbounded and hence it is not possible. vishNu dharmam 1.13 says “sA jihvA yA harim sthauthi” – whatever praises hari is tongue. If the tongue is not going to speak about bhagavAn, should we leave it at that? …

pEsiRRE pEsal allAl – We can repeat only whatever the vEdhas (scriptures) and vaidhikars (those who follow vEdhas) had spoken about emperumAn’s greatness earlier. It is not possible to recite new hymns appropriate to this supreme entity. What is it that the vEdhas and those who followed these vEdhas spoke earlier?

  • nArAyaNavalli 11 says “thasya madhyE vahniSikA aNiyOrdhvA vyavasthitha: I neelathOyadha madhyasthA vidhyullEkEva bhAsvarA II” – paramAthmA’s (emperumAn’s) divine, auspicious form, agni Sika, is located in the middle of the lotus shaped heart, like a miniscule, turned upwards. It is luminous like a lightning amidst blue coloured clouds.
  • thiruviruththam 29 says “neelamuNda minnanna mEni” – his divine physical body is like lightning which has swallowed blue colour [for the flash of blue].
  • mahAbhAtham SAnthi parvam 46.118 says “athasIpushpasankASam pIthavAsasamuchyatham I yE namasyanthi gOvindham na thEshAm sidhyathE bhayam II” –  there is no fear for those who worship gOvindha, who does not ever let go of his followers, who is of the colour of kAyAmpU (purple coloured flower)  and one wears yellow coloured silken dress.
  • chAndhOgya upanishath 1.6.6 says “ya EshO’ntharAdhithyE hiraNmaya: purushO dhruSyathE I hiraNyaSmaSrur hiraNyakESa ApraNakhAth sarva Eva suvarNa: II thasya yathA kapyAsam puNdarIkamEvamakshiNI” – the parama purushan (supreme entity) who is seen in the middile of the sun, has a divine form which appears like gold, has golden moustache, has golden locks and upto his nails has golden hue. He has two divine eyes looking like lotus, just blossomed by sun.
  • manu smruhti 12.122 says “prASIthAram sarvEshAmaNIyAm samaNIyasAm I rukmAbham svapnadhIgamyam vidhyAththu purusham param II´- it should be understood that paramapurushan controls all entities, has the radiance of melted gold, can be perceived by wondrous knowledge such as svapna budhdhi [intelligence gathered through dreams]
  • thiruvAimozhi 3.1.2 says “sutturaiththa nanpon un thirumEni oLi ovvAdhu” – even purified, melted gold will not come anywhere near the radiance of your divine form.

In all the cases mentioned above, they had to use prAkrutha vasthus (materials in this world) as similes for comparing emperumAn’s physical form. But aren’t these worldly materials too lowly for such a comparison? Why should these be taken for comparison? For defining entities which are not visible to the sensory organ of eye, one has to consider only those entities which the eye has seen. This does not mean that they were able to speak fully about emperumAn.

pEsiRRe pEsal allAl – other than quoting from vEdhas, it is well nigh impossible for us to recite even one hymn about emperumAn. How did they speak about him? thaiththiriya upanishath Anandhavalli 9.1 says “yathO vAchO nivarthanthE aprApya manaSa saha: I Anandham brahmaNO vidhvAn na bibhEthi kuthaSchanEthi II´- emperumAn’s Anandham (joy) is such that words and mind cannot fathom it and return empty handed. One who knows this does not fear anyone. Thus the vEdhas confirmed that it is not possible to speak fully about emperumAn. We can also say that it is not possible to speak about him and say that he cannot be spoken about in any other way. This is another interpretation for these words. What is the reason for this?

perumai onRu uNaralAgAdhu – not even one of his greatness can be perceived. It is not possible to point out an equivalent for emperumAn related matter. It is not possible to measure its greatness either. For other worldly matters, one may show a simile – for example, one can say that the face is like the moon. In such cases, the subject of comparison [face] will not come anywhere near the object that it is compared with [moon]. In emperumAn related issues, the object that is compared with will not come anywhere near the subject of comparison. For example, if one says that emperumAn’s eyes are like lotus, the lotus can never equal the eyes in any of the parameters of assessment. By saying onRu uNaralAgAdhu, AzhwAr emphasises that emperumAn’s svarUpam (his nature), guNas (his qualities), his vigraham (physical beauty), his vibhUthi (his wealth) can not be perceived or measured. In that case, can no one know about this entity?

AsaRRAr thangatkallAl aRiyalAvAnumallan – he cannot be known by anyone other than those who are without blemish. Even though the word Asu mentioned here and the word mAsu appearing in the next line have the same meaning, blemish, we should consider that they refer to different types of blemish in the two places. Here, the word Asu refers to the blemish relating to upAyam (the means of attaining emperumAn).  The chEthana (sentient entity) instead of being completely dependent on emperumAn (athyantha parathanthran), thinks that he could indulge in some other means (path), to attain emperumAn out of his ego, in keeping with his strengths. When the chEthana tries to attain emperumAn through other means, these other means will have to look upto emperumAn’s grace for granting the desired result as they don’t have the power within themselves to grant it. When emperumAn is himself the means to attain him, he does not have to look upto anyone else or anything else. Thus it is not possible to know about [perceive] emperumAn except for those who approach emperumAn only through him.

mAsaRRAr – those without blemish. mAsu is also a blemish of the mind. Due to the effect of sins committed, going after other goals such as aiSvarya (wealth), kaivalya (AthmA enjoying itself) is called as blemish of the mind. Those who go after only emperumAn as fruit [or target or goal] of attaining him are referred to as mAsaRRAr.

manaththuLAnai – being in the minds of. Living in the minds of those who, leaving aside all other means [of attaining emperumAn] and all other goals to enjoy [except himself], leaving aside the materialistic realm, reaching paramapadham (SrIvaikuNtam) and thinking of enjoying emperumAn, leaving the responsibility of their protection with him, admitting that they have nothing in them for this. Since AzhwAr says manaththu uLAnai (being inside the mind) he indicates that emperumAn considers areas outside the minds of his followers as unfit to stay, as if a forest fire is raging. Just like fish cannot sustain itself if removed from water, emperumAn also cannot sustain himself if he is not inside the minds of such people. The purpose of emperumAn staying in all the dhivya dhESams (divine temples which have been sung by AzhwArs) is only in expectation of such a person who does not have Asu and mAsu [blemish of reaching emperumAn through other means and blemish of reaching out to other goals respectively]. Just as thirumazhisai AzhwAr sang in thiruchchandha viruththam 65 “ennilAdha munnelAm”, emperumAn has taken positions [such as standing, sitting, lying down] in various dhivya dhESams to wait for such a person.

vaNangi nAm iruppadhu allAlAzhwAr says that there is nothing else for us, who have left the responsibility of our lives to him, to do, except to enjoy him and pay our obeisance to him, once he has decided to stay put in the mind. Paying obeisance here is indicative of enjoying him through all three channels of mind, speech and action.

pEsaththAnAvadhuNdO – when one thinks of emperumAn’s greatness, was it such that one could recite a hymn about it?

pEdhai nenjEAzhwAr asks his mind [heart] whether it can talk about emperumAn the same way that it has been used to talking about worthless worldly matters  all these ages due to its ignorance.

nI sollAy – AzhwAr as imploring his mind to talk about this as it seemed to be too anxious and desirous to speak about emperumAn.

We shall next enjoy the 23rd pAsuram.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dasan

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