thiruvAimozhi – 3.9.1 – sonnAl virOdham

SrI:  SrImathE SatakOpAya nama:  SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama:  SrImath varavaramunayE nama:

Full series >> Third Centum >> Ninth decad


Introduction for this pAsuram

Highlights from thirukkurukaippirAn piLLAn‘s introduction

No specific introduction.

Highlights from nanjIyar‘s introduction

In first pAsuram – AzhwAr who set out to give advice for their well-being to those who praise others, explains his own philosophy to develop the taste in them.

Highlights from vAdhi kEsari azhagiya maNavALa jIyar‘s introduction

In first pAsuram – AzhwAr explains his own philosophy saying “I will not praise any one other than the upakAraka (benefactor) who is present in thirumalA to accept my praises”.

Highlights from periyavAchchAn piLLai‘s introduction

See nampiLLai‘s introduction.

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

In first pAsuram – AzhwAr who set out to advice “it is not good for you to praise petty persons”, to develop the taste in them, mercifully explains his own philosophy saying “See my stature”.


sonnAl virOdham idhu Agilum solluvan kENminO
en nAvil in kavi yAn oruvarkkum kodukkilEn
thennA thenA enRu vaNdu mural thiruvEnkataththu
en Anai en appan emperumAn uLan AgavE


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

idhu – this good advice (which is focussed on eliminating your praising of others)
sonnAl – when spoken
virOdham – inimical (to your desire);
Agilum – in spite of that
solluvan – I will say (unable to bear your disastrous situation);
kENmin – (you) listen;
vaNdu – beetles
thennA thenA enRu – (being joyful as a result of consuming honey) sweet humming
mural – making sound
thiruvEnkataththu – being present in thirumalA (thiruvEnkatam)
en Anai – being eligible to be praised by me
en appan – being the benefactor who gives himself (as the prize for the pAsuram in his praise)
emperumAn – the apt lord
uLan Aga – sustaining himself (by these pAsurams in praise)
en nAvil – fulfilling the purpose of my tongue
in kavi – sweet pAsurams (to ISvara who accepts these pAsurams)
yAn – I (who is exclusive servitor of him)
oruvarkkum – to anyone else
kodukkilEn – unable to submit

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

When spoken, this good advice (which is focussed on eliminating your praising of others) is inimical (to your desire); in spite of that I will say (unable to bear your disastrous situation); (you) listen; the apt lord who is eligible to be praised by me, the benefactor who gives himself (as the prize for the pAsuram in his praise), who is present in thirumalA (thiruvEnkatam) where the beetles are making sweet humming sound, is sustaining himself (by these pAsurams in praise); I am unable to submit the sweet pAsurams coming out of tongue fulfilling its (tongue’s purpose) to anyone else (other than thiruvEnkatamudaiyAn).

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

  • sonnAl virOdham idhu – Three explanations:
    • Towards you who are interested in ulterior benefits , me telling “do not praise [others]” implies I am blocking the benefits you desire for; you will develop hatred towards me thinking “he is speaking contrary to our objectives”. Still, I am saying this [out of great compassion unable to bear your pathetic situation].
    • Alternatively – As said in “… yO’vasAdhassa uchyathAm” (Let the defects of those who recite bhagavAn‘s names during morning, noon, evening be revealed [implies, there is no defects for such person]), prahlAdha said to the asura children recite the divine names of bhagavAn either by saying “if we say the divine name, thunder will strike” [i.e., reciting the divine names even in a negative connotation] or by saying the divine names themselves [either way, one should recite the divine names]; similarly, even if you think this to be meaningless, I will tell you.
    • Another explanation – As said in SrIvishNu purANam 3.7.14 “svapurusham … karNamUlE …” (yama tells his servitor secretly in his ears “I am the master for all common people but not for the vaishNavas, leave those who are surrendered to devotees of bhagavAn”), like “some one who is desiring for the queen” should not be discussed in public [as both the speaker and the person who is being discussed will be in trouble]. AzhwAr feels disgusted to even say “it is very lowly to serve undeserving persons”; this being the case, you are so pathetic that I have to advice you; thus, if I say something now, it will be bad for me as well [as explained in the example].
  • Agilum solluvan – Still I am telling you. Why are you telling us even in this situation? AzhwAr says “I am not telling you since you have come with internal/external sense control, with samith (sticks that are used in yagyas) [as dedicated brahmachAris (students) would have]; but I am telling you looking at your pathetic situation; thus, I will not stop until you are relieved from this suffering.  Like you are not retracting from worldly desires, I will not retract from giving you good advice”.
  • kENminO – [listen] Don’t think that after listening to me you have to follow the instructions fully; just listening to me is sufficient; no need to follow. [Why is AzhwAr not telling them to put the advice in practice?] On hearing the good advice, since they are chEthanas (sentient beings), they will like it very much; for that which happens out of natural attachment, we need not specifically tell them to do; thus AzhwAr says “what is the point in forcing them to follow the instructions? just listen”. One would not close their ears when hearing the sound of the ocean; at least hear like that. By the plural in “kENmin“, AzhwAr implies that the pathetic situation is common for everyone and thus he is telling everyone. His pain [in seeing them suffer] is so much that, he is falling at the feet of everyone and requesting them to worship bhagavAn like falling at someone’s feet to make them drink sweet milk.
  • en nAvil … – If you are truly a chEthana (sentient – knowledgable person), as you are going in the wrong path, when you see someone who is going on the right path, should you not say “I should also go in the same path”? So, you have seen my conduct; why don’t you also follow the same conduct?
  • en nA – As said in mahAbhAratham udhyOga parvam “yasyaithE thasya thadhdhanam” (to the one who owns a person, his property also belongs to the same owner), as I am a servitor of bhagavAn, my tongue which is a faculty for me, is a servitor of him too – such tongue. AzhwAr says “Is there any one who has used his tongue in a better manner than me?”; my tongue is as said in thiruvAimozhi 3.8.2vanjanE ennum eppOdhum en vAsagam” (my speech will always say “Oh mischeivous one!”).
  • in kaviISvara hears his pAsurams of praise, becomes pleased and cheerful, and AzhwAr in turn becomes cheerful. In whichever way SEshi (lord) becomes pleased, the SEshabhUtha (servitor) also becomes pleased. Whatever pleasure is acquired when SrIman nArAyaNan and SrI mahAlakshmi are united as a couple, the same pleasure is acquired when SEshi (bhagavAn – lord) and SEsha (AthmA – servitor) unite. The unique aspect of SEshabhUtha is to be pleased by the same thing that pleases the lord.
  • yAn – me who is considering myself as exclusively devoted to bhagavAn. With this thought only, previously “yasyaithE” was explained.
  • oruvarkkum kodukkilEn – This [phrase] is not in line with the previously explained athyantha pArathanthriyam [total dependence]. When one says “I will not give to any one else”, it implies “I will give to bhagavAn“; will it fit the true nature of AthmA to consider owning something, giving to others and accepting from others? If emperumAn himself has bestowed the ability to think, act and withdraw from actions, one can say “I have submitted mine”. The relationship of AthmA with bhagavAn is very deep that one can say “I have submitted mine”. Like during gOdhAnam (donating a cow) a father will pour water for the offering in the hands of his son, give his own cow to his son and accept that back from him [as if the cow was owned by the son]; [similarly,] AzhwAr explains this from ISvara‘s view point, where the AthmA presents something as if it’s one’s own property, emperumAn will accept it as if the AthmA has given everything.  As said in thiruvAimozhi 7.9.1 “ennAl thannai in thamizh pAdiya” (emperumAn sung about himself in beautiful pAsurams through me), emperumAn is of the nature that he made AzhwAr sing about him and then considered “AzhwAr sung about me”. Since worldly people praise other worldly people, AzhwAr is emphasising that he will not praise others.
  • thennA … – This is how he composed his pAsurams in praise of emperumAn. That is  – like the humming noise made by the beetles out of the joy of drinking honey fell in line with musical note, AzhwAr’s divine experience of bhagavAn which leads to the great joy was released as the pAsurams. thiryak [insects – beetles], mumukshus (liberation seekers) and bhagavAn himself – everyone is blissfully enjoying the music/pAsurams. If those who are close to bhagavAn sing these pAsurams, it is natural that emperumAn is also attached to them; he is said as “thennA ennum en ammAn” (my lord who is enjoying).
  • thiruvEnkataththu en Anai – Like SrI rAmAyaNam is glorified greater than vEdham, AzhwAr highlights the greatness of the target of his praises [thiruvEnkatamudaiyAn – archAvathAram] in comparison to the target of SrI vAlmIki bhagavAn’s praises [SrI rAma – vibhavAvathAram].
  • thiruvEnkataththu en Anai – AzhwAr is so great that he gets an elephant as prize for singing praises; thiruvEnkatamudaiyAn, the elephant acquired fame by AzhwAr’s praises [in his pAsurams]. AzhwAr enjoys as sagOthri [belonging to the same gOthra – here gOthra means hill/mountain] for the beetles [who are residents of thirumalA]. emperumAn is unlike others, who would give a different elephant for those who praise them [as prize]. emperumAn is a pleasure to watch [like an elephant which is always watched with great joy] and deserves to be praised at all times. emperumAn who is enjoyable for me like an elephant and is residing in thirumalA where beetles out of joy due to drinking honey make sound like those who perform elaborate vocal musical rendering.
  • en appan – My great benefactor who made me capable of advising others, while the people of this world are busy in glorifying others.
  • emperumAn – Even if he caused harm [instead of doing favour as explained previously], he has the apt relationship [of being my lord].
  • uLan AgavEemperumAn is said to sustain others by his arrival as said in SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 59.3 “… ASayA yadhivA rAma: …” (sumanthra says – hoping that SrI rAma will return, I stayed with guha for many days) – when such emperumAn sustains himself by hearing my pAsurams, will I sing any one else? Like it is said in thaiththiriya upanishath “asannEva” (similar to achith) – when a samsAri AthmA (bound soul) does not reach bhagavAn, it is as good as achith (insentient), emperumAn considers himself to be non-existing when he is not with me – thus he arrived here [to accept me]. What will happen to him who descended here to make me sing his praises, if I go and praise some one else? That being the case, it is apt for you to be like me.

In the next article we will enjoy the next pAsuram.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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