mudhal thiruvandhAdhi – 60 – charaNA maRai payandha

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AzhwAr was asked “the benefit of attaining mOksham (SrIvaikuNtam) is with chEthana (sentient entity (jIvAthmA). When this is the case, the chEthana only should observe the means for attaining mOksham. What is the reason for saying that emperumAn is the means?” AzhwAr responds in this pAsuram “Only the person who knows everything can perform the means and not one who does not know anything”

chEthanas do not know what happened in the past; they do not know what they are suffering now; and they do not know what is going to happen in the future. Only emperumAn knows these. AzhwAr says, as mentioned in nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 22 “pazhagiyAn” (he is our protector from time immemorial), he is omniscient and has the knowledge as well as the power to remove the troubles that the chEthana has suffered in the past, is suffering now and will suffer in future.  Hence he is the means. Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

charaNA maRai payandha thAmaraiyAnOdu
maraNAya mannuyigatkellAm araNAya
pErAzhi koNda pirAn anRi maRRu aRiyAdhu
OrAzhi sUzhndha ulagu

Word by Word Meanings

charaNa – being the means for all the four purushArthams (benefits) [righteousness, wealth, lust and liberation]
maRai  – vEdham (sacred texts)
payandha – one who was taught
thAmaraiyAnOdu  – along with brahmA, who was born in the lotus, shooting from emperumAn’s navel
maraNAya – those who have death as a natural phenomenon
man uyirgatku ellAm – for all the jivAthmAs
araN Aya – those which are protective devices
pErAzhi koNda pirAn anRi – other than emperumAn who has the large sudharSana chakkaram (divine disc)
maRRu – being different (from emperumAn)
Or Azhi sUzhndha  – surrounded by the unique ocean
ulagu – those who live in this world
aRIyAdhu – will not know.


charaNA maRai payandha thAmaraiyAnOdu –  SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 120-3 says “brahmA brahmavidhAm vara:” (brahmA is the greatest among those who know brahmam (supreme entity)) since he revealed to the world, the means for obtaining whatever they needed among the four purushArthams (benefits) as mentioned in the vEdhas (sacred texts). brahmA feels very proud that he gave vEdhas to the world [he thinks] as mentioned in the usage of the term “manthra kruthbhyO nama:” (salutations to the one who composed manthrams) and he thinks that he is very knowledgeable. Along with such brahmA…

maraNAya mannuyirgatku ellAm – Even though AthmA (soul) is permanent, since the body dies, chEthanas are referred to as “they died” “they were born” Along with brahmA, who appears at the beginning of a kalpam (this is a period of time extending over several crores of years covering mahApraLayam, or the total deluge) and dies at the end of that kalpam, all the species of life including those which are referred to as “jAyathE mriyanthE ” (born and die instantaneously), without any difference among them, have ignorance and powerlessness in them.

araNAya –  their protection

pErAzhi koNda pirAn anRi – other than emperumAn who has the large sudharSana disc, with which he protects

maRRU aRiyAdhu OrAzhi sUzhndha ulagu – the earth, surrounded by ocean, does not know anything else. Irrespective of whether they are great people or ordinary people, they will not know what protects them. By rearranging the words of the verse to get “ulagu pirAnaiyanRi maRRu aRiyAdhu” if we can say that world does not know anything other than emperumAn, it will not be correct. This is because, as per lexicon “ulagam enbadhu uyarndhOr mAtte”(world is the place for  knowledgeable people). But, since the term “OrAzhi sUzhndha ulagu” (world surrounded by ocean) is used here, it would refer to all the people without any distinction between the great and the lowly people. Hence we cannot take it that the term world refers only to great people. Thus, we can say that irrespective of whether they are great or lowly, only emperumAn knows the means of protecting all. The chEthanas only know how to develop this samsAram (material realm) and the means for causing them harm; only emperumAn knows the means that they must adopt in order to reach mOksham (SrIvaikuNtam). As said in the saying “mUda: ayam nApi jAnAthi” (the ignorant will not know) these chEthanas do not know the means.

Once a SrIvaishNava by name AppAn enquired of nanjIyar (disciple of parAsara bhattar) the meaning for this pAsuram. nanjIyar sought clarification from his teacher, bhattar who gave the aforementioned meanings for the pAsuram. Alternatively, combining with the previous pAsuram where SrI rAma was mentioned, one could say for “pErAzhi koNda pirAn” the meaning “the benefactor who threatened the ocean and built the dam to lankA”

We shall move on to the 61st pAsuram.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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