periya thirumozhi – 1.1.9 – kulandhaRum

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Highlights from avathArikai (Introduction)

  • In the first pAsuram, AzhwAr explained “I was engaged in worldly pleasures since time immemorial, and was facing away from bhagavath vishayam; when I realised the limit of worldly pleasures, I retracted and sarvESvaran due to his mercy accepted me by saying ‘uyvadhOr poruLAl’ “.
  • In the second pAsuram, he explained that he wasted the whole time in worldly pleasures.
  • In the third pAsuram, he explained “I, who desired protection, engaged in sinful actions which are contrary to such result, and wasted my time in a useless manner by engaging in worldly pleasures, got to see sarvESvaran who is enjoyable and apt, and the divine name which indicates him”.
  • In the fourth pAsuram, he explained “Being prideful, worrying for the aspects which are not worthy to be worried for, being attached to worldly pleasures, I, who am filled with ignoble qualities, got the result which is attained by those who have noble qualities such as amAnithvam (without feeling proud)”.
  • In the fifth pAsuram, he explained “I had stolen my AthmA which is owned by bhagavAn in a day-light robbery, and on seeing those who speak about the existence of bhagavAn, I convinced them to think otherwise by my superficial arguments; but I got the result which is attained by those who are fully surrendered and are engaged in him always”.
  • In the sixth pAsuram, when asked “What is the meaning for this divine name? How did you get it?” he explained its meaning and said “while the samsAris (worldly people) are suffering like this, I got this benefit”.
  • In the seventh pAsuram, he said “Let others lose emperumAn; you who are intelligent poets like me who are singing and roaming around, don’t lose such emperumAn”.
  • In the eighth pAsuram, when asked “Can we become experts in this principle?” he said “Oh ignorant one! Have I not become an expert and advising you now? In such case, no one is barred from become bhagavAn’s servitor”.
  • In this pAsuram, when asked “you are greatly celebrating the divine name; what fruits can it bestow?” he is explaining the benefits granted by thirunAmam [divine name].


kulandharum selvam thandhidum
adiyAr padu thuyar AyinavellAm
nilandharam seyyum nIL visumbaruLum
aruLodu perunilam aLikkum
valandharum maRRum thandhidum
peRRa thAyinum Ayina seyyum
nalandharum sollai nAn kaNdu koNdEn
nArAyaNA ennum nAmam

Word-by-Word meanings

nArAyaNA ennum nAmam – the divine name, nArAyaNa
kulam – (for those who meditate upon it) birth in great family
tharum – will grant;
selvam – wealth
tharum – will grant;
adiyAr – servitors
padu – the sins to be experienced and exhausted
thuyar Ayina ellAm – everything which is known as dhu:kham (sorrow)
nilam tharam seyyum – will completely flatten;
nIL visumbu – paramapadham
aruLum – will grant
aruLodu – with mercy
peru nilam – the great position of kainkaryam
aLikkum – will grant;
valam – strength (to enjoy him)
tharum – will grant;
maRRum – all other aspects of well-being
thandhidum – will facilitate;
peRRa thAyinum – more than the mother who gave the body
Ayina – expansion of true knowledge which is good
seyyum – will cause;
nalam tharum – giving kainkaryaSrI (wealth of servitude)
sollai – divine name
nAn – I who had no knowledge about the existence of such wealth
kaNdu koNdEn – got to realise.

Simple translation

The divine name, nArAyaNa will grant birth in a great clan; will grant wealth; will completely flatten everything which is known as sorrow and the sins which are to be experienced and exhausted for the servitors; will grant paramapadham and the great position of kainkaryam; will grant strength; will facilitate all other aspects of well-being; more than the mother who gave the body, the divine name will cause the expansion of true knowledge which is good; I who had no knowledge about the existence of kainkaryaSrI (wealth of servitude), got to realise the divine name which gives such wealth of servitude.

Highlights from vyAkyAnam (Commentary)

  • kulam tharum – emperumAn’s greatness is such that when a person who has low birth and inferior conduct, acquires bhagavath sambandham [through this divine name], another person who has high birth and superior conduct, will not dare to think “the other person is inferior to me and I am superior to him”. Still, they don’t marry within such families, due to birth based restrictions [ordained in SAsthram]. The greatness is due to the quality [of being a devotee]; it is said in SrIvishNu purANam 1.9.131 “sa SlAgyas saguNI dhanya: sa kuleena:”  (He is best; he is filled with good qualities; he has good conduct; he is born in noble family). dharmaputhra (yudhishtira) who analyses every aspect to confirm if it is righteous or not, before engaging in it, performed brahmamEdha samskAram (final rites) for vidhura based on vidhura’s close friendship with krishNa and based on the divine command from aSarIrI (voice from the formless entity); rishis (sages) would wait outside the meat shop of dharmavyAdha (meat seller) until he completes his duty and then would get their doubts clarified. If this (greatness based on being bhAgavathas) is not true, these incidents would not have been documented in mahAbhAratha which is known as panchama vEdha (fifth vEdham). As seen in the kaiSika purANa history, a distinguished brAhmaNa who became a demon due to mistakes committed in his yAgams, was freed from his curse by a pAduvAn (singer) who has true knowledge about bhagavAn. When SrI vibhIshaNAzhwAn advised rAvaNan “surrender unto perumAL (SrI rAma)”, rAvaNan said to him that he was not fit to be in the rAkshasa clan as said in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 16.15 “thvAm thu dhik kulapAmsanam” (you are an outcast from our rAkshasa clan). When advising rAvaNan, he said in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 16.26 “niSAchara“, implying that rAvaNan is a demon while he (vibhIshaNAzhwAn) is not. perumAL too said in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 19.7 “rAkshasAnAm balAbalam” (You tell me about the strengths and weaknesses of rAkshasas). Hence, bhagavath sambandham is like a sparSavEdhi (touchstone).
  • selvam thandhidum – When the relationship with rAvaNa was severed,  as said in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 16.17 “antharikshagatha: SrImAn” (vibhIshaNa, who went through the path of sky and who is wealthy), attained the wealth due to rAma sambandham (relationship with SrI rAma). Alternatively – it could mean the wealth of lankA itself. As said in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 19.5 “parithyakthA mayA lankA” (wealth of lankA has been given up by me), though he gave up, as the relationship with rAvaNa was severed, due to the relationship with SrI rAma, he attained the wealth of lankA and the throne. It is said in perumAL thirumozhi 5.9 “ninnaiyE thAn vENdi nIL selvam vENdAdhAn thannaiyE thAn vENdum selvam” (for those who are desiring for you only and not desiring for the permanent wealth, the wealth will come to them). kulaSEkarAzhwAr is saying – when one is desirous towards you only and not desiring for the impermanent wealth [the “nIL – permanent” in the pAsuram, is sarcasm], the wealth will not abandon such person. Alternative explanation – when one desires for you even ignoring the permanent wealth [of mOksham – liberation], mOksham will not abandon such a person.
  • adiyAr padu thuyar Ayina ellAm – adiyAr – those who fully exist for him; padu thuyar – the sufferings they go through as said in brahma vaivairtham prakruthi kANdam 26.70 “avaSyam anubhOkthavyam” (must be experienced), the fruits of actions which need to be experienced to exhaust them; all of those,
  • nilam tharam seyyum – Will totally flatten/eradicate them. Alternatively – nilam indicates the abode of the person who is having the sins, tharam – a variation of tharaNam which means elimination; the divine name will make the sins run away from the person thinking “this is not my abode”. nAradhIya purANam 1.20 “yathra ashtAkshara samsidhdhO mahAbhAgO mahIyathE | na thathra sancharishyanthi vyAdhi dhurbhiksha thaskarA: ||” (Where the person who learnt ashtAksharam and lives by that, is praised, there will be no disease, famine and robbery). periyAzhwAr thirumozhi 5.4.3 “summenAdhE kaivittOdith thURugaL pAyndhanavE” (ran away being unable to breathe and went hiding into the bushes). periyAzhwAr thirumozhi 5.4.4 “kOlAdi kuRugappeRA” (he cannot come close to where I rule) . Another explanation – nilam indicates the body which originated from pancha bhUthams (five elements) starting with pruthivI (earth), all the sins will end with this body. For bhakthimAn (bhakthi yOga practitioner), liberation will be at the end of prArabdha karma; for the one who has become prapanna by meditating upon the meanings of the divine name, liberation will be at the end of this (present) body.
  • nIL visumbu aruLum – virOdhi nivruththi (elimination of hurdles) is ending of this body. Not stopping with that, divine name will grant paramapadham also.
  • aruLodu peru nilam aLikkum – The great position – kainkaryam. The divine name will grant that.
  • varam tharum – It will grant the kainkaryam which is prayed by the individual as said in thiruvAimozhi 3.3.1 “ozhivil kAlam” (without any break, I should serve).
  • valam tharum – Also means the same as in varam tharum. Alternatively,
  • valam tharum – valam means balam (strength). As said in krishNa yajur 7.5.36 “ya AthmadhA baladhA:” (one who gives himself and the strength to enjoy him), the divine name will grant itself and the strength to enjoy itself. For the one who has been nithya samsAri (have been in samsAram until now), it will grant the strength of the nithyasUris (eternal associates of emperumAn) who enjoy him eternally. Alternatively,
  • aruLodu peru nilam aLikkum valam tharum – Not stopping with those who pursued the divine name, it will shower the mercy to make them grant paramapadham even for those who are related to them.
  • maRRum thandhidum – Whatever is good for the individual, even if he does not know about that, the divine name will grant on its own; it will grant thinking “does he know what is good for him? I should do it for him”. When gOvindhaswAmi saw emperumAn, he said “I will come with you”; emperumAn knew his heart and said “You remain here enjoying worldly pleasures for sometime and then come to me” and left [this incident is explained in periya thirumozhi 5.8.5].
  • peRRa thAyinum Ayina seyyum – The mother gives birth to the body only; AchAryan (through the thirumanthram) is the one who will grant true knowledge for the AthmA. As said in Apastham dharma sUthram 1.1.6 “SarIram Eva mAthA pitharau janayatha:” (the body is given by the mother and the father), the parents create the body which is a hurdle; but AchAryan grants gyAnam (knowledge) as said in the same sUthram “sa hi vidhyAtha: tham janayathi thath SrEshtam janma” (AchArya is the one who gives true knowledge and gives him real birth).
  • nalam tharum sollai – The recitation of the word itself (even without meditation on the meaning) will grant bhakthi; altenatively, nalam – activity; it will grant kainkaryam. Thus, it will grant the ruchi (taste) for kainkaryam or kainkaryam itself.
  • nAn kaNdu koNdEn – I who had no prior knowledge about this, got to realise it.
  • nArAyaNA ennum nAmam – That which is said in brahma purANam 57.24 – nAradhIya kalpam – ashtAkshara brahma vidhyA “namO nArAyaNAyEthi manthra: savArtha sAdhaka:” (This single ashtAkshara manthram itself can grant all benefits).

In the next article we will enjoy the next pAsuram.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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