periya thirumozhi – 1.1.8 – kaRRilEn kalaigaL

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periya thirumozhi >> First centum >> First decad

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Highlights from avathArikai (Introduction)

The poets who were invited in previous pAsuram asked “If you look at our previous conduct, how can we become experts in the principle you are explaining?” AzhwAr responds “What an ignorance! I who was worse than you have now become qualified to advice you in this subject; hence is there anyone who is unqualified for this?”


kaRRilEn kalaigaL aimpulan karudhum
karuththuLE thiruththinEn manaththai
peRRilEn adhanAl pEdhaiyEn nanmai
seRRamE vENdith thiritharuvEn thavirndhEn
nalthuNaiyAgap paRRinEn adiyEn
nArAyaNA ennum nAmam

Word-by-Word meanings

kalaigaL – SAsthrams
kaRRilEn – I have not learned (from an AchArya);
aim pulan – five senses
karudhum – sought out
karuththuL – in matters
manaththai – mind
thiruththinEn – intentionally engaged;
adhanAl – due to this
pEdhaiyEn – I who am ignorant
nanmai – good thoughts
peRRilEn – did not have;
peru – vast
nilaththu – earth
Ar – filled
uyirkku ellAm – for all creatures
seRRamE – ways to harm
vENdi – thinking
thiritharuvEn – roaming around;

(though I was roaming around for a long time, due to his merciful glance)
thavirndhEn – I was freed from all of that;
selgadhikku – to go to paramapadham which is the apt destination (through archirAdhi mArgam)
uyyum ARu – path to be uplifted
eNNi – considering
adiyEn – I who am a servitor
nArAyaNA ennum nAmam – the divine name, nArAyaNa
nal thuNaiyAga – as good help
paRRinEn – held on.

Simple translation

I have not learned SAsthrams. I intentionally engaged in the matters which are sought out by the five senses. Due to this, I, who am ignorant, did not have any good thoughts. I was roaming around the vast earth which is filled with creatures thinking about ways to harm them. I was freed from all of that. Considering to go to paramapadham which is the apt destination, as the path to be uplifted, I, who am a servitor, held on to the divine name, nArAyaNa as good help.

Highlights from vyAkyAnam (Commentary)

  • kaRRilEn kalaigaL – Since I did not follow an AchArya and learn from him by repeating the words he uttered, I have not acquired knowledge in SAsthram.
  • aim pulan karudhum karuththuLE – thiruththinEn manaththai – Had I focussed my mind on emperumAn and withdrawn the senses which were attached to worldly pleasures, from those pleasures at least sometimes, and made them focus internally, that would have led to pursuing a noble path; as the senses such as hearing etc were engaged in worldly pleasures and took me in the path which were pleasing to them, I facilitated the mind to follow them.
  • thiruththinEn manaththai – Those who are attached to worldly pleasures, will take up medication to increase the pleasure. Similarly, I forcefully engaged my mind in worldly pleasures.
  • peRRilEn adhanAl pEdhaiyEn nanmai – Due to lacking knowledge in SAsthram and being engaged in worldly pleasures, I became ignorant and did not think about my [real] well-being.
  • peru nilaththu Ar uyirkku ellAm seRRamE vENdith thiritharuvEn – Not only was I not doing anything good for the self, but was also constantly thinking about ways to harm others. I was looking for ways to harm all others and survive happily. nanjIyar would frequently say “One can know whether one has bhagavath sambandham (relationship with bhagavAn) oneself”. When one sees someone suffering, if one feels compassionate and says “Alas!”, one can understand “We have bhagavath sambandham”; if one thinks “he should suffer more”, then one can understand “We don’t have bhagavath sambandham”. This can be split as “peru nilaththu Ar uyirkku ellAm” (for the creatures who are filling this vast world) or “perunilaththAr uyirkku ellAm” (for the life of all the people of this world).
  • thavirndhEn – I don’t know the reason. I just observed that I am freed from all of the aforementioned aspects. He himself said previously in 1st pAsuram “uyvadhOr poruL” (the principle which helped me to be uplifted), 5th pAsuram “AzhiyAn aruL” (the mercy of sarvESvaran, who has the chakra) and 5th pAsuram “sikkenath thiruvaruL peRREn” (firmly got his divine mercy).
  • sel gadhikku uyyum ARu eNNi – There is a destination to be reached – paramapadham. Contemplating the travel to that abode and being uplifted there.
  • nal thuNaiyAgap paRRinEn adiyEn – Unlike tying oneself to a rock and jumping into a river, holding on to what is said in garuda purANam 220.16 “pAdhEyam puNdarikAksha nAma sankIrthanAmrutham” (Chanting of the divine names of the lotus-eyed lord is the food/pastime during the journey), I held on to the one which will help us reach the shore.
  • nArAyaNA ennum nAmam – The divine name of the entity who helps us reach the shore. It is said in varAha charama SlOkam “nayAmi paramAm gathim” (I carry my devotees to the highest abode).

In the next article we will enjoy the next pAsuram.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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