iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi – 1 – anbE thagaLiyA

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AzhwAr is mercifully mentioning about his servitorship born out of the affection and other qualities that he had towards emperumAn, who is apt to be attained, and also about emperumAn’s role as the Lord. Just as was mentioned in the mudhal thiruvandhAdhi, here too AzhwAr is establishing emperumAn through deduction.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

anbE thagaLiyA ArvamE neyyAga
inburugu sindhai idu thiriyA nanburugi
gyAnach chudar viLakku ERRinEn nAraNaRku
gyAnath thamizh purindha nAn

Word by Word Meaning

gyAnam thamizh – the thamizh work which gives knowledge
purindha – one who composed
nAn – adiyEn (servitor)
anbE – bhakthi (devotion)
thagaLiyA – as container (lamp, for ghee)
ArvamE – parabhakthi (a stage of devotion wherein one gains knowledge about emperumAn)
neyyAga – as ghee (clarified butter)
inbu urugu sindhai – the mind which melts due to happiness
idu thiriyA – as the wick which is placed in the container for holding ghee
nanbu – AthmA (soul) which is gyAnasvarUpi (the epitome of knowledge)
urugi – being melted
gyAnam – paragyAna (ability to have dharSan (vision) of emperumAn)
sudar viLakku – the radiant lamp
nAraNaRku – for nArayaNa
ERRinEn – I lit


anbE thagaLiyA – in mudhal thiruvandhAdhi, poygai AzhwAr had mercifully said “vaiyam thagaLiyA” (entire expanse of the world as holding vessel). bhUdhaththAzhwAr thinks of the entire expanse of the earth through his devotion and makes that devotion itself as the container. Since he has already heard the pAsuram “vaiyam thagaLiyA” [sung by poygai AzhwAr] he is transforming his devotion towards emperumAn as the container and is lighting it. Doesn’t the oil [ghee] need a base [for holding it]? [the word snEham means both oil and devotion in samskrutham]. Hence he is terming devotion [anbu also means snEham] as the base [container] for oil. Devotion which cannot be destroyed by anything became container. This is the base for other things which follow. The knowledge, mentioned earlier [previous prabandham], fructifies fully into devotion. Isn’t knowledge lending itself to mature into devotion! Isn’t that the reason why nammAzhwAr mercifully said in thiruvAimozhi 1-1-1mayarvaRa madhinalam aruLinan ” (madhinalam is knowledge matured into bhakthi).

ArvamE neyyAga – Once that bhakthi matures, keeping that bhakthi as the causative factor for enjoying emperumAn, without which AzhwAr cannot sustain himself,  his parabhakthi (knowledge about emperumAn) became the base [container] for ghee. Arvam (parabhakthi) is the second stage of devotion. Affection is taken as being involved with emperumAn due to snEham. parabhakthi  is that stage where one is constantly thinking of emperumAn and will be unable to move away from him. Alternatively, affection is having compassion towards emperumAn and parabhakthi is the involvement with emperumAn as a result of that compassion. Hasn’t ANdAL mercifully said in nAchchiyAr thirumozhi 4-8 “Aval anbudaiyAr tham manaththanRi mEvalan” (emperumAn cannot tolerate anything other than the hearts of those who have compassion and involvement)!

inburugu idu sindhai idu thiriyA – the mind which transforms because of enjoyment  of bhagavath vishayam (relating to emperumAn) on account of affection and involvement, became the wick for that lamp. Since emperumAn is apt to be attained and has auspicious qualities, the mind keeps meditating on him constantly, melts and being sweet, the mind became the wick.  Isn’t mind the reason for thinking!

nanburugi – nanbu refers to the dharmabhUtha gyAnam of AthmA [dharma bhUtha gyAnam is knowledge of AthmA by which it is able to sense everything which happens in all parts of the body even though AthmA is infinitesimally small and is located inside the heart]. brahma sUthram 2-3-29 says “thadhguNasArathvAth thadhvyapadhESa: prAgyavath” (for AthmA, since gyAnam (knowledge) as a characteristic is the essence, it is referred to as gyAnam itself, just as a person is called gyAnavAn (one with knowledge)). Alternatively, that which has a benefit is called nanbu and nanbu can refer to AthmA. The benefit to AthmA is that it is distinct from achEthana entity which is fickle and unsteady, it is identified by knowledge and joyousness, it is always present, and it is a servitor to emperumAn. When it is said that it (AthmA) melts, it means that it cannot be cut, it cannot be burnt, it cannot be wet, yet when it comes to matter relating to emperumAn it melts and becomes a liquid like material. Since AthmA, which is always present, melts, it means that it involves totally with emperumAn and sinks.  Has it not been said in SrIvishNu purANam 1-7-39 “na vivEdha AnmanO gAthram thath smruthyAhlAdha samsthitha:” (prahlAdha did not realise that his body was being bitten by snakes as he was thinking about emperumAn and was joyful)! Thus, with all these, the different stages of devotion to emperumAn have been mentioned. The order of these states is that initially it is parabhakthi, then paragyAnam and then paramabhakthi.

gyAnach chudal viLakku ERRinEn – with the mercy of emperumAn I lit the lamp which is brightly burning paragyAnam. Lamp will show itself and will also show other objects. In the same way, bhakthi, which is matured knowledge, will show its SEshathvam (being a servitor) and the SEshithvam of emperumAn (being the master).

viLakku ERRinEn – Once the servitorship is known, since only kainkaryam (service) is to be carried out, I carried out service in this manner.

nAraNaRku – to nArAyaNnan who is the Lord of all. Through this, it is mentioned that carrying out service to any inapt entity is avoided.

gyAnath thamizh purindha nAn –  I who composed the thamizh prabandham which is the personification of knowledge. As mentioned in vEdhArtha sangraham  “bhakthiScha gyAnaviSEsha:” (bhakthi is a classification of knowledge), the prabandham, created by me, gives gyanam which matures into devotion.

gyAnath thamizh purindha nAn –  the prabandham that I had composed, apart from being without any mistake in thamizh grammar, is also capable of granting mOksham.

gyAnath thamizh purindha nAn gyAnach chuddar viLakku ERRinEn – I who can be trusted, said, just as nammAzhwAr said of himself as being with lot of desire, in thiruvAimozhi 2-1-11kAdhal kurugUrch chatakOpan sonna”. As said in SrI rAmAyaNam 2-40 “SOka: SlOkAthvamAgatha:” (sorrow was brought out as SlOkam (hymn)), knowledge was brought out as knowledgeable thamizh. I composed this pAsuram so that bhakthi will manifest itself resplendently to all the people of this world, instead of ending with me. AzhwAr is divinely saying this prabandham so that the sAkshAthkAram (ability to see emperumAn) that he obtained, will be available to those who learn this prabandham. Here onward, he is mentioning about his bhakthi, his involvement, the sweetness of emperumAn which is the cause for those two, the aptness with which the AthmA was to think of his servitorship, the servitorship that he had towards emperumAn etc.

We shall move on to the 2nd pAsuram, next.

adiyEn krishNa ramanuja dhAsan

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