periya thirumozhi – 1.3.1 – muRRa mUththu

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periya thirumozhi >> First centum >> Third decad

Highlights from avathArikai (Introduction)

AzhwAr instructed his divine heart to go to thiruppiridhi in himavAn (Himalayan mountain range); but instead of matching the urge of AzhwAr, it remained prideful without approaching; as said in SrI vishNu purANam 6.7.28 “mana Eva manushyANAm” (mind is the main reason for a man’s bondage and liberation), it is the reason for bondage and liberation. The heart is not overenthusiastic about bhagavAn; now we are back to materialistic situation; but he has arrived in badharikASramam in this samsAram, to facilitate our reaching him with this body which is the hurdle to reach him; now this prakruthi (matter) which is a hurdle, is in the form of body, senses and worldly pleasures such as Sabdham (sound) etc; among the enjoyable aspects, the primary entity is women [context is about those women who intentionally promote themselves in this way to attract men] ; they would show themselves in an enjoyable way, but make it difficult to attain them, will grab all the wealth of the man who desires them, not present themselves to him, and even when they present themselves to him, the enjoyment will be insignificant, impermanent, will lead to disaster and will be difficult to maintain; now, as the body does not remain the same forever, the enjoyability lasts only for certain period of time, and subsequently will even lose such enjoyability; when we analyse the senses, as said in thaiththirIya upanishath “AnandhayAdhi” (bhagavAn is the one who gives enjoyment to AthmA), instead of being the cause to enjoy bhagavath vishayam which gives ultimate bliss for the AthmA, they will lead the AthmA to lowly enjoyment and cause sorrow, and subsequently while they are present, they will become useless to even engage in worldly pleasures; due to this reason, when the body is stable, one should surrender to bhagavAn and eliminate the body – there is a way for that; bhagavAn himself has arrived in SrIbadhari to be surrendered to by the AthmA; hence, thinking to surrender unto him when the body is favourable, and to eliminate the body, AzhwAr is engaging in that.

A merchant asked parASara bhattar “Some think that this body is insignificant and impermanent, and consider it to be abandoned; others consider that there is nothing beyond the body and consider it to be the enjoyable aspect; how is it possible to have two different views on the same body?” bhattar mercifully responded “emperumAn arranged it in such a way based on the individual’s karma, viz puNya (virtues) and pApa (sins), to see it with different perspective; a greatly fortunate person would see the defects of the body and abandon it; one who is unfortunate would see the enjoyability of the body and end up with disaster”.

As said in SrIvishNu purANam 1.17.75 “bAlyE krIdanakAsakthA:” (Engaging in playing during childhood), it is explained that, in childhood one would be engaged in playing with toys; while attaining a little bit of knowledge, one will be consumed by sensual pleasures; on becoming old, even those sensual pleasures could not be engaged; hence while the body is in good condition, as SrI badharikASramam is a little bit closer in comparison to thiruppiridhi, one should surrender to bhagavAn there.


muRRa mUththuk kOlthuNaiyA munnadi nOkki vaLaindhu
iRRa kAl pOl thaLLi meLLa irundhu angu iLaiyAmun
peRRa thAypOl vandha pEychchi perumulaiyUdu uyirai
vaRRavAngi uNda vAyAn vadhari vaNangudhumE

Word-by-Word meanings

muRRa mUththu – becoming very old
kOl – stick
thuNaiyA – having as help
mun adi – step to place forward
vaLaindhu nOkki – looking down by bowing the head
iRRa kAl pOl – like a broken leg
thaLLi – stumble
angu – in a place
meLLa – softly
irundhu – being seated
iLaiyAmun – before giving up on getting tired, in this manner,
peRRa thAy pOl vandha – one who came in the form of the mother
pEychchi – pUthanA’s
peru mulaiyUdu – through the large bosom
uyirai – her life
vaRRa – to become dry
vAngi – sucked
uNda – mercifully consumed
vAyAn – the abode of sarvESvaran who has such beautiful lips
vadhari – SrI badhari
vaNanguvOm – let us worship

Simple translation

Becoming very old, with the help of the stick, placing the step forward in a stumbling way, by bowing the head down and looking down, becoming seated softly and giving up on getting tired in this manner, let us worship SrI badhari which is the abode of sarvESvaran who has such beautiful lips with which he sucked the life of pUthanA who came in the form of his mother, to become dry through her large bosom, and mercifully consumed it.

Highlights from vyAkyAnam (Commentary)

  • muRRa mUththu – The [insentient] entity which changes, cannot avoid going through various transformation; now one has reached the peak of old-age, from where, it cannot get any worse.
  • kOl thuNaiyA – Previously this person would have thought himself to be the support/refuge for all. Now, he is not holding on to parama chEthana (supreme lord). When nanjIyar was accepting sanyAsASramam, he had to recite the manthram which is “sakA mE gOpAya” (Please be my companion and protect me), while accepting the thridhaNdam (the three sticks which are held by sanyAsis always). Hearing that, he mercifully would mercifully say “I said ‘After saying this towards sarvESvaran who is omniscient, omnipotent and supreme sentient, in the presence of an AchArya, what is with this sanyAsASramam where I have to say this to this thridhaNdam!’ while accepting sanyAsASramam”.
  • munnadi nOkki vaLaindhu – Earlier, the same person would pridefully walk without seeing the ground. chOLas (chOLa kings) would consume betel leaves on their own, without accepting the same from someone else [if they had some servants to give the betel leaves, they have to lean forward and accept that], due to their pride which makes them think “if we lean forward towards someone that will be equal to bowing to them”. When one has strength, one would say as in SrI rAmAyaNa yudhdha kANdam 36.117 “dhvidhA bhajyEyam apyEvan na namEyam thu kasyachith” (Even if I were to be split into two, I won’t fall at anyone’s feet); but when one becomes weak, nothing will be in his control.
  • iRRa kAl pOl thaLLi – Stumbling as if having a broken leg.
  • meLLa irundhu – Due to inability to stand for too long, he will try to sit. It will take the duration of mahAbhAratham for him to carefully sit once.
  • angu iLaiyA mun – Being unable to bear the fatigue of sitting, he will become weaker. Before reaching such sorrowful state.
  • peRRa thAy … – One who sucked the milk and life completely through the big bosom of pUthanA who came in the disguise of his mother – his. Alternative explanation – The one who has the divine mouth which sucked the life to wither pUthanA. [How can the life be sucked through the bosom?] Just as the milk was considered suitable for him to be consumed, the life could be sucked through the bosom.

With this, AzhwAr is saying – while trying to eliminate the prakruthi (matter – body) which looks favourable but really unfavourable, one should hold on to the divine feet of the one who destroyed pUthanA, who is an enemy who  came in the disguise of his mother who is favourable for him.

In the next article we will enjoy the next pAsuram.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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