periya thiruvandhAdhi – 1 – muyaRRi sumandhu

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As soon as AzhwAr told his heart that one should carry out vAchika kainkaryam (carrying out service to emperumAn through the faculty of speech), the heart set out alone, in search of emperumAn, without taking AzhwAr with it. AzhwAr tells his heart to take him along.

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

muyaRRi sumandhu ezhundhu mundhuRRa nenjE
iyaRRuvAy emmodo nI kUdi nayappudaiya
nAvIn thodaikkiLavi utpodhivOm naRpUvaip
pUvInRa vaNNan pugazh

Word by Word Meanings

muyaRRi sumandhu – being involved enthusiastically (in carrying out service to emperumAn)
ezhundhu – rising up intensely
mudhuRRa nenjE – Oh heart who has gone ahead (of me)!
nal – superior
pUvaip pU InRa – in the flower kAyAmbU (a type of flower which has indigo like colour)
vaNNan – sarvESvaran, who has that colour, his
pugazh – auspicious qualities
nayappudaiya – having grace
nA In – being created by tongue
thodaikkiLaviyuL – words with beautiful sounds, strung beautifully
podhivOm – we will keep constantly
emmodu – along with me
nI kUdi – you too join
iyaRRuvAy – praise


muyaRRi sumandhu – being involved enthusiastically in the kainkaryam to be carried out by the faculty of speech, which is being mentioned in the latter part of the pAsuram. The word muyaRRi indicates enthusiasm. The way AzhwAr’s heart is proceeding ahead of AzhwAr is analogous to the way iLaiya perumAL (lakshmaNa) proceeded ahead of perumAL (SrI rAma), as mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 33-28 “prAgEva thu mahAbAga: saumithrir mithra nandhana: I pUrvajasyAnuyAthrArthE dhrumasIrair alankrutha: II” (in order to go behind his elder brother, lakshmaNa, who is fortunate, who makes the favourable people happy and who is sumithrA’s son, dressed himself with the wooden barks, ahead of SrI rAma). Did not kaikEyi give the dress made of wooden bark to SrI rAma first and then only to lakshmaNa? How then can it be said that lakshmaNa wore the bark ahead of SrI rAma? SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 21-17 says “dhIpthamagnimaraNyam vA yadhi rAma: pravEkshayathi I pravishtam thathra mAm dhEvi thvam pUrvamadhAraya II” ((lakshmaNa tells his mother sumithrA) Oh mother! If SrI rAma enters a raging fire or a forest, know that I would have entered it ahead of him). Thus, knowing the basic nature of lakshmaNa, it is not a fault to say that lakshmaNa wore the dress made of wooden bark ahead of SrI rAma. The opinion here is that unlike SrI rAma, who was wearing the bark in order to fulfil the words of his father, lakshmaNa wore it because SrI rAma was going to wear it and hence this is more significant.

mundhuRRa nenjE – Just as lakshmaNa told SrI rAma as in the SrI rAmAyaNa SlOkam “yadhithvam prasthidhOdhurkam vanamadhyaiva rAghava I agrathasthE gamishyAmi mruthnathI kuSakaNtakAn II” (Oh rAghava! Even if you are proceeding to the difficult-to-go-to forest today itself, I will go ahead of you, stamping on the grass and thorns and destroying them [so that it will be easier for you to walk on the cleared path]), AzhwAr tells his heart “Oh heart, who is ahead of me!”

iyaRRuvAy emmodu nI kUdi – [AzhwAr tells his heart] Wasn’t it I who instructed you about service to emperumAn? Could you go, leaving me behind, forgetting that gratitude? It is indeed good that you are enthusiastic about carrying out service ahead of me. Take me too, along with you. What will the two of us do, together, asks the heart. AzhwAr states further “We are going to carry out kainkaryam to emperumAn, together”

nayappudaiya  – having superiority. Just as nammAzhwAr has mercifully mentioned in thiruvAimozhi 7-9-10 “ennAl thannaip padhaviya inkavi pAdiya” (he [emperumAn] composed beautiful songs on himself, using me as a tool), the poem will add superiority to the one about whom it speaks. Adding superiority to the lead character is creating greatness, which was not there earlier.

nAvIn – a poem created through the tongue. AzhwAr tells his heart “Oh heart! Neither you nor I would be needed to create this poem. Tongue itself is enough for this”. AzhwAr says that his heart and he are required only to retain this poem in the heart and to enjoy it. Is it possible to create a poem without the presence of heart? The meaning implied is that emperumAn will remain in the heart and make it to compose the poem. Didn’t AzhwAr say in thiruvAimozhi “ennAl thannaip pAdiya”! (emperumAn who sang about himself through me)

thodaikkiLavi – words which have been strung beautifully. The meaning implied here is that since the poem was not composed troubling the heart, there is no harshness in the words.

utpodhivOm – thaiththirIya upanishath Anandhavalli says “yathO vAchO nivarthanthE aprApya manasA saha I Anandham brahmaNO vidhvAn na bibhEthi kuthSchanEthi  II” (The heart, with the words, set out to measure the happiness of emperumAn and returned, being unable to accomplish the task. One who knows the happiness of emperumAn will not fear anything). vEdhAntha could not measure the happiness of emperumAn and returned empty handed. AzhwAr is full of zeal to contain the auspicious qualities of that emperumAn inside his words.

naRpUvai pUvInRa pugazhAzhwAr says that the subject matter [emperumAn] cannot be contained inside words.

naRpUvai – While the colour of the flower pUvaippU (indigo coloured flower) may, to an extent, match the complexion of  emperumAn’s divine form, his fragrance and gentleness, the simile would end just there as the flower will wither away in a while. Since the normal pUvaippU will not match the perennial greatness of emperumAn, AzhwAr is qualifying the flower by calling it as narpUvai  (good flower).

pUvInRa vaNNan – it could be taken as either the flower which manifests the bluish colour of emperumAn or emperumAn who reveals the colour of the flower.  This is similar to the saying “gO sadhruSO gavaya:  gavaya sadhruSO gau:” (the animal gavaya is looking like cow and the cow is looking like the animal gavaya) in which both the simile and the object have got interchanged.

pugazh – the qualities of emperumAn’s divine form, not made of primordial matter, and qualities of emperumAn’s basic nature, full of knowledge and happiness.

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

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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