nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi – 2 – thErungAl dhEvan

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After AzhwAr mentioned in the previous pAsuram that brahmA, rudhra et al were created by nArAyaNa, he was asked by some samsAris “It is well known in the world that brahmA, vishNu and Siva are the three deities for creation, protection and annihilation respectively; thus, while it is apt to accept that all three are supreme beings, could you say that only nArAyaNa is the supreme being?”. AzhwAr responds in this pAsuram through the path of ithihAsams (epics).

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

thErungAl dhEvan oruvanE enRuraippar
Arum aRiyAr avan perumai Orum
poruL mudivum iththanaiyE eththavam seydhArkkum
aruL mudivadhu AzhiyAn pAl

Word for Word Meanings

thErungAl – if one were to analyse
dhEvan – supreme being
oruvanE enRu uraippar – (wise men) will say that there is only one
avan perumai – the greatness of that sarvESvaran
Arum aRiyAr – no one knows
Orum poruL mudivum iththanaiyE – the meaning established by analysing (vEdhas and ithihAsas) is only this much
eththavam seydhArkkum – for all who have carried out penance to whatever extent
aruL mudivadhu – the final benefit of mercy
AzhiyAn pAl – from emperumAn who has divine disc


therungAl dhEvan oruvanE enRu uraippar – if one were to analyse with the assistance of pramAnas (authentic texts) the wise sages will say that the supreme being is only one and that he is SrIman nArAyaNa. The wise sages established that “thathvam jigyAsamAnAnAm hEthubis sarvathOmukhai: I thathvamEkO mahAyOgI harir nArAyaNa smrutha: II” (those who desire to know the supreme being think that it is only nArAyaNa who is a mahA yOgi and is known by the name hari, who is the only supreme being, for a variety of reasons). Thus AzhwAr says that the claim of samsAris that there are three supreme beings is incorrect.

Arum aRiyAr avan perumai – no one can estimate his greatness

Orum poruL mudivum iththanaiyE – the established meaning of all that has been mentioned in Sruthis (vEdhas or sacred texts) and smruthis (ithihAsas and purANas or epics and ancient histories) is only this much. Many quotations have been given to establish this statement, as detailed below:

vEdha vAkyas: (quotations from sacred texts)

  • dhivyO dhEva EkO nArAyaNa – nArAyaNa is the only divine dhEva
  • ISathE dhEva Eka: – dhEva alone controls chith (sentient) and achith (insentient) entities
  • EkO dhEvas sarvabhUthEshu gUda: – there is only one dhEva who is hidden in all creations
  • Eka svathanthrO jagathO babhUva: – there is only one independent lord for the entire universe
  • bhUthasya jAtha: pathirEka AsIth – he was the only lord for all creations
  • EkO ha vai nArAyaNa AsIth – only nArAyaNa was there at the beginning

smruthi vAkyas (quotations from ithihAsas and purANas)

  • Eka SAsthA na dhvithIyO’sthi kaSchith – there is only one lord; no one else
  • Ekas thishtathi viSvAthmA sa cha nArAyaNa: – only nArAyaNa who is the AthmA for the entire universe, remains at the end
  • Eka Eva janArdhana: – it is only janArdhana who carries out all the three primary functions

Arum aRiyAr avan perumai Orum poruL mudivum iththanaiyE – Has it not been mentioned that the greatness of supreme being is not known to brahmA, rudhra, great sages such as sanaka et al and to himself [emperumAn] who is the controller of all, in various authentic texts!

 vEdhas (sacred texts) say:

  • ka iththA vEdha yathra sa: – who knows his basic nature and qualities
  • sO anga vEdha yadhi vA na vEdha – does he know or not know (his own greatness)
  • yasyAmatham thasya matham – one who does not know brahmam (supreme being) knows brahmam
  • yathO vAchO nivarththanthE – after not attaining whom, the words returned
  • I thE vishNO jAyamAnO na jAthO dhEva mahimna: paramanthamApa – Oh vishNu!  No one among those who is taking birth, who has been born (and who is going to be born) knows the limit of your greatness
  • EthAvA nasya mahimA athO jyAyAmScha pUrusha: – is this all his greatness? Is that supreme being not greater than these!

SrI rAmAyaNam

  • thvam hi lOka gathirdhEva na thvAm kEsana jAnathE – Oh dhEva! You are the refuge for the world,; none knows you

mahAbhAratham mOksha dharmam

  • prajApathincha rudhranchApyahamEva srujAmi vai I thau cha mAm na vijAnIthO mama mAyAprahamOthau – only I create brahmA and rudhra. They too, who are bewildered by my mAyA (prakruthi or primordial matter) do not know me
  • na sa Sakyas thvayA dhrashtum mayAnyair vApi saththama I sarvEshAm sAkshibhUthO’sau na grAhya: kEnachith kvachith – Oh child rudhra! That supreme being is not apt to be known by you or by me (brahmA) or by anyone else. He knows everything, being the witness to everything. This supreme being is not capable of being known by anyone at any point of time.

vishNusdharmam says “na yasya rUpam na balaprabhAvau na cha svabhAva: paramasya pumsa: I vigyAyathE sarvapithAmahAdhyais tham vAsudhEvam praNamAmyachinthyam” – I salute that vAsudhEva whose divine form and basic nature are not known to brahmA, rudhra et al and who cannot be known.

vishNu purANam

  • yannAyam bhagavAn brahmA jAnAthi paramam padham thannathA: sma jagadhdhAma thava sarvagathAchyutha II – Oh achyutha! We salute that divine form of yours, being the final refuge and sustenance for the entire universe, which bhagavAn brahmA doesn’t know.
  • yan na dhEvA na munayO nachAham na cha Sankara:jAnanthi paramESasya thadh vishNOr paramam padham II – we salute that vishNu who, being the final refuge and supreme lord, who is not known by dhEvas (celestial entities), sages, me (brahmA) and Sankara.

varAha purANam says “adhyApi mAm na jAnanthi rudhrEndhrAs sapithAmahA:” (brahmA, rudhra, indhra et al do not know me even today)

SrI bhagavath gIthA

  • nAham prkASas sarvasya yOgamAyAsamAvrutha:mUdO’yam nAbi jAnAthi lOkO mAmajamavyayam II – I, covered by the yOgamAyA (primordial matter), will not be visible to all. This ignorant world will not know me, the birthless and indelible entity)
  • mAm thu vEdha na kaSchana – no one knows me

AzhwAr was asked “We hear that brahmA, rudhra et al grant great benefits to those who carry out penance towards them; hence, can we not take it that they are also supreme beings?” He responds..

eththavam seydhArkkum aruL mudivadhu AzhiyAn pAl – irrespective of the extent of penance carried out by anyone, the final benefit is granted by the one who carries the divine disc. AzhwAr says that even if one carries out penance towards brahmA, rudhra et al, the benefit is granted by SrIman nArAyaNa, as the indwelling soul of brahmA, rudhra et al.

aruL mudivu adhu – those benefits which are accrued through (emperumAn’s) mercy.

eththavam …. Orum poruL mudivum iththanaiyE – if one were to examine the vEdhas and smruthis, it would be clear that for those who carry out means (for attaining emperumAn) the benefit is attained through nArAyaNa only. In bhavrucha Sruthi it is said “asya dhEvasya mIdushO vayA vishNOrEsha pravruthE  havirbhI: vidhEhi rudhrOrudhriyam mahaththvam” (rudhra attained his greatness only after carrying out penance towards vishNu). The same meaning has been quoted in mahAbhAratha which says “mayA srushta: purA brahmA math yagyamayajath svayam I thathas thasmai varAn prIthO thadhAMyahamanuththamAn II mathputhrathvancha kalpAdhau lOkAdhyakshathvamEva cha II ” (once upon a time, brahmA, who was created by me, carried out a ritual relating to me. Being pleased by that, I granted him the superior boons of being my son and being the head of universe) and “mahAdhEvas sarvamEdhE mahAthmA hUthvAthmAnam dhEvadhEvO babhUva” (in the sarvamEdha yagya (ritual), mahAdhEva (rudhra) offered himself as the sacrificial material and became dhEvadhEva)

Thus, AzhwAr, in this pAsuram, established that nArAyaNa is the supreme lord and brahmA, rudhra et al get their benefits granted by nArAyaNa only.

We will take up the 3rd pAsuram next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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