thiruvAsiriyam – 6 – Oh Oh ulaginadhiyalvE

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lakshminAthan, the consort of SrI mahAlakshmi, after creating the jIvAthmAs [making them realise their existence] and giving them physical bodies and sensory perceptions, instead of remaining “Let them go whichever way they want to”, intervened when a mighty person such as mahAbali troubled a weakling such as indhra by snatching his kingdom, just as an eagle would snatch a chick. He converted himself into a mendicant, without bothering about his greatness, and protected indhra. In the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr had said ” it will be apt for jIvAthmAs, who have knowledge, to meditate on this protective act of emperumAn and carry out mangaLASasanam (act of praising emperumAn)”. After that AzhwAr looked at the samsAris (dwellers of materialistic realm) to see whether they, being knowledgeable, are indeed praising emperumAn as requested by him. But he felt saddened seeing that the samsAris are making efforts to give up on emperumAn, liking anyone other than him, being subservient to their egos and their possessions and going to dhEvathAs (other than emperumAn) for protection.

Just as it is said in the pramANam “EkasminnapyathikrAnthE muhUrthE dhyAnavarjithE dhasyubhir mushithEnEva yukthamAkrandhithum bhruSam II” (even if a time span of one muhUrtham [48 minutes] is spent without meditating on bhagavAn, one should cry out loudly just like one would if a robbery were committed by thieves), one should recite the divine names of emperumAn if there is a hurdle to meditating on him, as an atonement, and cry out loud as if a great wealth had been stolen, thinking of the hurdle. But AzhwAr, looking at the samsAris who did not even think of crying out for their loss, unable to tolerate such behaviour [of samsAris] cries out “Oh Oh” in this pAsuram.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

Oh Oh ulaginadhiyalvE, InROLirukka
maNai nIrAttip, padaiththu idandhu uNdu umizhndhu
aLandhu, thErndhu ulagaLikkum mudhaRperum
kadavuL niRpap, pudaippala thAnaRi
dheyvam pENudhal, thanAdhu
pullaRivANmai porundhakkAttik,
kolvana mudhalA allana muyalum,
inaiya seygai inbu thunbu aLith
thonmA mAyap piRaviyuL nIngAp
panmA mAyaththu azhundhumA naLirndhE


Word by Word Meaning

ulagu – this earth
padaiththu – (in the beginning) creating
idandhu – (during varAha avathAram) digging out (from the walls of the universe)
uNdu – (during deluge) eating it
umizhndhu – (at the time of intervening creation) spitting out
aLandhu – (at the time of thrivikrama avathAram) measuring
thErndhu – deeply thinking (about its protection)
aLikkum – protecting
mudhal perum kadavuL – the primary cause and supreme lord, SrIman nArAyaNan
niRpa – while he remains (as the refuge)

(leaving him aside)
pudai – (considered as his) wealth
pala – of different types
thAn aRi dheyvam – (a few) dhEvathAs (deities) known to him [jIvAthmA] (as refuge)
pENudhal – supporting them (as protectors)
thanAdhu pul aRivu – his lowly intelligence
ANmai porundhakkAtti – showing in such a way that it enters (the minds of) learned people
InROL irukka – when one’s mother is there

(not bothering about her)
maNai nIrAtti – bathing a wooden plank (which is an insentient entity)
seygai – the activities of those dhEvathAs
kolvana mudhalA – harmful acts
allana muyalum – carrying out banned activities
inaiya – having qualities like these
aLi – the strength (given by those dhEvathAs)
thunbu – together with sorrow
inbu – joyful

(Hence, taking refuge under such dhEvathAs)
thol – from time immemorial
mA – being huge
mAyam – amazing
piRaviyuL – in this samsAram (materialistic realm)
nIngA – instead of leaving
pal mA – being variegated
mAyaththu – worldly pursuits such as Sabdham etc (sound, touch etc) (lustful)
naLirndhu – very well
azhundhumA – being fully sunk
ulaginadhu iyalvu – nature of this world
Oh Oh – how is it!


Oh OhAzhwAr goes to those places inhabited by samsAris and calls them out in a loud voice so that they could hear him.

ulagiandhiyalvE – AzhwAr feels sad that emperumAn has created this samsAram with people who are full of hatred towards him, just as in nithyavibhUthi, the entities present are enjoying him without any hurdles. He says that it is really sad that world is full of people with such nature.

When asked “What did this world do that you have to cry out like this?” he says…

InROL irukka maNai nIrAtti – their activities are such that they seem similar to a person paying compliments to a plank of wood by giving it a bath etc when the mother who had given birth to him is alive. A mother is one who observes penance before conceiving him, holds him in her womb for ten months, putting up with the pains of labour, nursing and caressing him when he lies on the floor as an infant and protecting him even at the cost of her health. When the child grows up and gains knowledge, being able to recall all the help that she had rendered to him, leaving her aside, he starts giving a bath to a plank of wood which cannot even think of helping him in any way and which cannot appreciate the compliments that he is paying it. In a similar way, when emperumAn who is related to the chEthanas (sentient entities) in all ways, is very much there, these people are praising other dhEvathAs (deities) who are not related in any way, feels the AzhwAr, sorrowfully.

When asked, “Who did you assume to be like a mother?”

padaiththu idandhu uNdu umizhndhu aLandhu thErndhu ulagu aLikkum mudhaR perum kadavuL niRpa – it is the unique supreme being [emperumAn] who creates the chEthanas after seeing their condition of having integrated themselves with the mUlaprakruthi (primordial matter) which is in itself an achEthana (insentient) entity; since the chEthanas are together with mUlaprakruthi during the period of deluge, emperumAn takes pity on the chEthanas and creates them and when the world gets submerged he takes the incarnation of a boar which can enter water and muddy areas and digs out the earth; when deluge comes again, he takes the earth inside his stomach, keeping it safely; spits it out during the time of creation; when mahAbali siezes it [from indhra], he redeems all the worlds establishing that he is the possessor of all these; despite carrying out all these protective activities emperumAn feels saddened that he has not done anything for their welfare, just as a person who steals money from another person who has trusted him and slept next to him would feel sad; he looks for more avenues to protect them, and while protecting them he does not differentiate between great and lowly people; he is the supreme entity who protects everyone. In SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 59-3 sumanthran says “guhEna sArthdham thathraiva sthithO’smi dhivasAn bahUnAsayA yadhi vA rAma puna: SabdhApayEdhithi II” (I stayed with guha for several days in that place in the hope that SrI rAma would call me again). Similar to that state of sumanthran, emperumAn also waits expectantly, to see if anyone would come to attain him. AzhwAr feels saddened that even if he had not carried out any of these benefits for chEthanas, looking at his supreme nature, one would be sure that he has none equalling him. Still, even after he had done all these benefits, the chEthanas are not taking efforts to attain him. periyavAchchAn piLLai, who has written the commentary for this prabandham, states the following aidhihyam (a traditional happening which is mentioned down the generations) to state the huge difference between emperumAn and other dhEvathAs:

A king by name yayAthi, had observed many means to sit on the same seat as indhra in svargam (heaven). indhra then asked yayAthi “When you were the King, in your karmabhUmi (earth), who had carried out most puNya (virtuous acts)?”. yayAthi, thinking that he should not tell a lie in the presence of a dhEvathA, said “When I was ruling, people would say that I had carried out most puNya”. Immediately indhra cursed him saying “you praised yourself, Hence you shall fall from this world to the earth”. This story is mentioned in mahAbhAratham. When parASara bhattar (son of SrI kUraththAzhwAn) was recounting this incident, some people asked him “for explaining which meaning of vEdham did the rishi (sage vyAsa) write this incident?” bhattar replied saying “rishi wrote this only to explain the truth that it  is only emperumAn who will give a status equal to himself to his followers; it is only he who will tolerate such equal position for his followers. Hence we should attain only emperumAn. It is rare for other deities to give an equal status to those who attain them; even if they give, they cannot tolerate that for long ”

Even if chEthanas do not attain him, do they attain, in the least, someone who is somewhat equal to him and not someone too lowly?

pudaippala thAnaRi dheyvam – in SAsthras (sacred texts), in places where the great wealth of emperumAn is discussed, in order to explain his greatness, certain qualities are attributed to his possessions [possessions include both sentient and insentient entities], which are not present in them. Without knowing these , taking the sentences in the text as authentic, these chEthanas consider chEthanas who are like themselves, as deities. Even among these, one deity does not have the capability of granting all the wishes of the chEthana. It is not like the unique paramAthmA (supreme being) who grants all the purushArthams (benefits). As said in brahmANda purANam “ArOgyam bhAskarAdhichchEth dhanamichchEth huthASanAth I ISvarAth gyAnamichchEth gathimichchEth janArdhanAth” (he can desire health from sun; he can desire wealth from agni (deity for fire); he can desire knowledge from ISvaran [rudhra]; he can desire mOksham (liberation) from janArdhana), if one desires mOksham, he has to attain the supreme being only. Among other deities, if one desires wealth, he has to attain one deity; if he desires a son, he has to attain another deity; if he desires cattle, he has to attain some other deity, thus attaining several deities for getting each benefit.

thAn aRi dheyvam – the deity that he (chEthana) has attained is not the one mentioned in authentic texts as supreme entity. This deity, like him, is full of rajO guNam (passion related qualities) and thamO guNam (ignorance related qualities).

pENudhal – since these deities do not have any greatness in them by nature, it becomes the responsibility of the chEthana to get them titles and qualities of ISvaran. This is similar to a poet singing praises on a bald headed person about his hair as “paniyirum kuzhalan” (he has cool and well spread out hair)!

thanAdhu … kAtti – these deities do not become fit to be attained just because the chEthana says so. One cannot even say that he has obtained some benefits from them. The only benefit that he has got by attaining them is that he has exposed his ignorance to knowledgeable people. thanAdhu pullaRivu ANmai porundhak kAtti – he has publicised his low level of knowledge to the knowledgeable persons. The real benefit that one should get is only mOksham (SrIvaikuNtam) and that should be obtained only through emperumAn. bruhadhAraNyaka upanishath 6-5-6 says “AthmAvA arE dhrashtavya: SrOthavya: manthavyO nidhidhyAsithavya:” (the AthmA which is apt to be heard and thought of, is to be meditated upon until it is seen) [here AthmA refers to paramAthmA, the supreme entity]. purushasUktham says “vedhAhamEtham purusham mahAntham Adhithya varNam thamasa: parasthAth” (vEdhapurusha says that he knows the supreme entity and that he is beyond the world of thamas and is radiant like the sun). As per these pramANams, the entity responsible for the creation of the universes has to be attained only through worship. But the [other] deities worshipped by the chEthana are not like that.

AzhwAr explains their qualities now.

kolvana mudhalA allana muyalum inaiya seygai – there are deities which demand “get me the meat of goat; get me the meat of your son” etc, thus desiring killing of other jIvAthmAs. There are other deities which desire lowly materials such as alcohol, meat etc. Their activities are like these! Attaining such deities is similar to attaining narakam (hell).

AzhwAr further says that the benefits that one would obtain through attaining these deities would be such that it would be better not to obtain any benefit at all.

inbu thunbu aLi – these deities give benefits wherein joy is mixed with sorrow. They are not capable of granting mOksham which is pure joy without any sorrow.

Thus, if one were to ask as to what benefit the chEthana gets in attaining such deities, the only benefit of attaining such deities who are also chEthanas like himself, who also help in nurturing samsAram and who have been in the quagmire of samsAram from time immemorial, is that he continues to remain in samsAram.

thonmA mAyap piRaviyuL nIngAp pan mAmAyaththu azhundhumA naLirndhe – mUlaprakruthi (primordial matter) which has been existing since time immemorial and which is responsible for samsAram, is referred to as mAmAyam. SrI bhagavath gIthA 7-14 says “dhaivI hyEshA guNamayI mama mAyA dhurathyayA “ (it is difficult for one to cross the mUlaprakruthi which has been created by me and which is composed of three qualities). However hard one tries to get out of, one sinks deeper and deeper into repeated births in this samsAram, due to the connection that he has with physical body which is a dimension of mUlaprakruthi which has amazing power, leading to Sabdha, sparSa, rUpa, rasa, gandha etc (the five sensory perceptions of sound, touch, form, taste and smell). The word mAyam refers to any object which has amazing nature. Here, the first mAmayam refers to the amazing prakruthi and the second mAmayam refers to the five sensory perceptions of sound etc.

ulaginadhiyalvEAzhwAr says that instead of obtaining eternal joy in keeping with their svarUpam (nature), the jIvAthmAs in this world are attaining deities which are contrary to their [jIvAthmAs’] nature and are trying to obtain meaningless benefits! What an utter loss is this for the AthmA!

We shall take up the last pAsuram in this prabandham, next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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