thiruvAimozhi nURRandhAdhi – avathArikai (Introduction)

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sarvESvaran, who is Sriya:pathi (divine consort of SrI mahAlakshmi), bestowed unblemished knowledge and devotion to nammAzhwAr as said in thiruvAimozhi 8.8.11 “thirumAlAl aruLappatta SatakOpan” (nammAzhwAr, who was blessed by SrIman nArAyaNa); such AzhwAr who became the recipient of such unconditional mercy of emperumAn, mercifully sang dhivya prabandhams such as thiruvAimozhi as said in kaNNinuN chiRuth thAmbu 8aruL koNdu Ayiram in thamizh pAdinAn” (with great mercy, nammAzhwAr sang sweet thousand pAsurams); out of his great compassion, he also instructed madhurakavi AzhwAr et al as said in nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi 1andhAdhi mElittu aRiviththEn AzhporuLai sindhAmal koNminIr thErndhu” (I am singing the deep principles in this andhAdhi form of poems, you analyse and behold the same); not only that, he influenced and reformed everyone to be like himself as said in thiruvAimozhi 6.7.2Urum nAdum ulagamum thammaip pOl” (to change the residents of the town, country and the world to be like him) and in kaNNinuN chiRuth thAmbu 10seyal nanRAgath thiruththip paNi koLvAn” (AzhwAr who educates and reforms others well to improve their conduct); but subsequently, these dhivya prabandhams slowly disappeared over time; thinking about this in his divine heart, AzhwAr thought “who will rejuvenate this?” and mercifully blessed nAthamunigaL as said in upadhESa raththina mAlai 36aruL peRRa nAthamuni“, bestowed him divine knowledge, and mercifully revealed SaraNAgathi (dhvaya mahAmanthram) with the help of thiruvAimozhi which is known as dhIrga SaraNAgathi (continuous surrender) through the divine eyes [the divine vision acquired by nAthamunigaL].

In this manner, nAthamunigaL who was the recipient of AzhwAr’s divine mercy, classified these dhivya prabandhams under iyal (prose) and isai (poem) [and nAtakam (drama)] and conducted them; further, he taught these dhivya prabandhams along with the principles of prapaththi (surrender) to Asthikas (faithful disciples) such as kurugaik kAvalappan, uyyak koNdAr et al; they in turn taught these principles to nAthamunigaL’s divine grandson ALavandhAr, through maNakkAl nambi. Subsequently, ALavandhAr nurtured those principles and propagated them and by his grace emperumAnAr who is known as in rAmAnusa nURRandhAdhi 1mARan adi paNindhu uyndhavan” (one who lived gloriously by surrendering at the divine feet of nammAzhwAr) too nurtured it further as said in thiruvAimozhi thaniyanvaLarththa idhath thAy” (foster mother who nurtured); subsequently, the many AchAryas who had surrendered at the lotus feet of SrI rAmAnuja such as embAr, kUraththAzhwAn, bhattar, nanjIyar propagated these principles through brief commentaries; subsequently, by lOkAchArya who is named nampiLLai, who is considered as an incarnation of nammAzhwAr himself, thiruvAimozhi spread everywhere like a flood, in the form of elaborate commentary (eedu vyAkyAnam) and it spread further as explained in upadhESa raththina mAlai 49Angavar pAl peRRa” (as received from him, nampiLLai). To indicate that thiruvAimozhi, which is known as dhIrga SaraNAgathi, was nurtured and propagated by nAthamunigaL, yAmunamuni, rAmAnuja muni et al up to dhEvadhipa (nAlUr AchchAn piLLai), two thaniyans “nAtham pankajanEthra” and “thiruvaruL mAl” were composed (can be seen in This eedu which was propagated by the lineage of aforementioned AchAryas reached maNavALa mAmunigaL [who is like a lake which received all of these] who is praised  as “kAnthOpayanthruyamina: karuNaikasindhO:“, through thiruvAimozhip piLLai who is praised as “dhEvap perumAL kaikkoNdu aruLum thirumalai AzhwAr” (SrISailESa who was acknowledged by varadharAjap perumAL).

It is because of this reason, maNavALa mAmunigaL was hailed as:

  • AryAchchrISailanAthAdhigatha Satajith SUkthi bhAshOmahimnA yOgIndhrasyavathArO’yamithihi kathitha:
  • thiruvAimozhip piLLai thiruththAL sErndhu angu urai koL thamizh maRaikkum maRai veLLaththukkum OdamAy AriyargaL itta nUlai uLLuNarndhu (Taking shelter of the divine feet of thiruvAimozhip piLLai, mAmunigaL, fully understood thiruvAimozhi and its commentaries)
  • thamizh vEdhamAgiya Odha veLLam karai kaNda kOyil maNavALa mAmuni (SrIrangam maNavALa mAmunigaL who saw the boundary of the flood of thiruvAimozhi)

Since mAmunigaL is known as eettup perukkar (one who nurtured eedu vyAkyAnam), perumAL desired in his divine heart to hear the meanings of thiruvAimozhi which is on himself as said in thiruvAimozhi thaniyanmadhiL arangar vaN pugazh mEl AnRa thamizh maRaigaL” (the thiruvAimozhi pAsurams which are sung on the great qualities of SrI ranganatha who is the fortified SrIrangam) and heard the same from him.

Only after this, through the AchAryas starting with SrI bhattanAtha muni (paravasthu pattarpirAn jIyar), SrI vAnamahAdhri yOgi (ponnadikkAl jIyar) et al who were like canals, thiruvAimozhi’s meanings reached all the places by maNavALa mAmunigaL’s speech which attracted everyone, starting from emperumAn himself, to everyone else. This is why mAmunigaL‘s importance is highlighted in both affirmation and negation, as in “maNavALa mAmuni thORRiya pinnallavO thamizh vEdham thulangiyadhu” (only after mAmunigaL’s appearance, thamizh vEdham, i.e. thiruvAimozhi became well known) and “maNavALA mAmuni vandhilanEl ARRil karaiththa puLi allavO thamizh AraNamE” (had mAmunigaL not appeared, thiruvAimozhi would have disappeared like tamarind which was dissolved in a river). mAmunigaL himself highlighted [the source of his knowledge and greatness of thiruvAymozhi] saying in upadhESa raththina mAlai 1endhai thiruvAimozhip piLLai in aruLAl vandha upadhESa mArgam” (the instructions which I received from my lord, thiruvAimozhip piLLai), Arththi prabandham 55 “mAran kalai uNavAgap peRROm” (I was blessed to have nammAzhwAr‘s prabandhams as my food) and “vakuLAbhUshaNa vAgAmruthASanam” (the food of nectarean words of nammAzhwAr).

mAmunigaL, who has such greatness, mercifully sings the meanings of thiruvAimozhi with utmost ease of learning and clarity, in this prabandham, as an outlet for his internal experience of thiruvAimozhi and to reveal the meanings of thiruvAimozhi which are difficult to grasp for everyone. The connection between each padhigam (dhaSakam, decad) is briefly explained by mAmunigaL in this prabandham.

There are many restrictions in this prabandham. They are:

  • It should be in veNbA chandhas (meter) [a type of poem in thamizh, which makes it easy to read and understand, but difficult to compose].
  • In the first half of each pAsuram, the essence of a padhigam should be present.
  • The connection between padhigams should be highlighted [as shown in the introduction section of each padhigam in eedu vyAkyAnam].
  • AzhwAr‘s divine name should be present in every pAsuram.
  • The essence of AzhwAr’s name should be reflected [i.e. usage of AzhwAr’s name which is apt for the context of the pAsuram].
  • pAsurams should be in andhAdhi style [ending of a pAsuram should relate to the beginning of the next pAsuram].

As this is the essence of the nectarean thiruvAimozhi as said in the thaniyan “thiruvAimozhi nURRandhAdhiyAm thEnai” (the honey named thiruvAimozhi nURRandhAdhi), as this has hundred pAsurams where each pAsuram brings out the essence of each padhigam, and as this is most relishable in day and night for those who have the desire for it as seen in the thaniyan “allum pagalum anubavippAr thangaLukku“, and not just that, as AzhwAr nURRandhAdhi (this prabandham) is as desirable as udaiyavar nURRandhAdhi (rAmAnusa nURRandhAdhi), for those who have attachment towards AzhwAr‘s divine feet, this will always be the object of meditation and recital.

In this prabandham, AzhwAr’s divine feet which are the charama parvam (ultimate state), are determined as the prApyam (goal) and prApagam (means); that will naturally stretch up to SrI rAmAnuja who is hailed as “parAnguSa pAdha bhaktha” (yathirAja vimSathi 1 – devotee of the divine feet of nammAzhwAr) and “satakOpar thEmalarth thAtkEyndhiniya pAdhugamAm endhai irAmAnusan” (the divine, apt sandals of honey-laden lotus feet of nammAzhwAr). udaiyavar was deeply immersed in AzhwAr since AzhwAr had the qualities of the divine consorts of emperumAn, nithyasUris, mukthAthmAs and mumukshus.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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