thiruviruththam – 44 – niRam uyar

SrI:  SrImathE SatakOpAya nama:  SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama:  SrImath varavaramunayE nama:

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avathArikai (Introduction)

Some people asked AzhwAr “You say that sarvESvaran is not an entity who could be attained as per our wish. Is it not possible to know about him?” He responds saying “It is not that way. With his mercy, we could know about him”.

Let us go thorugh the pAsuram and its meanings:

niRam uyar kOlamum pErum uruvum ivai ivai enRu
aRamuyal gyAnachchamayigaL pEsilum angangellAm
uRavuyar gyAnachchudar viLakkAy ninRadhanRi onRum
peRa muyanRAr illaiyAl empirAna perumaiyaiyE

Word-by-Word Meanings

niRam – due to the beauty (of the divine form)
uyar – wondrous
kOlamum – decorations
pErum – divine names
uruvum – auspicious divine forms
ivai ivai enRu – saying that these are of such and such type
aRam – righteously
muyal – attempting
gyAnam – having devotion
samayigaL – those who are firmly engaged in the philosophy of paths of vEdhams (sacred texts)
pEsilum – even if they instruct
angangellAm – in all those entities of beauty etc
uRa – to attain
uyar – distinguished
gyAnam – related to knowledge
sudar – splendorous
viLakkAy – having intelligence
(as people of wisdom)
ninRadhanRi – apart from being that way
empirAna – emperumAn’s
perumaiyai – greatness
onRum – in any way
peRa – to attain
muyanRArillai – they did not attempt

Simple Translation

People who are firmly established in the path of righteousness may instruct about the decorations, divine names, auspicious divine forms etc which had attained greatness due to emperumAn’s beauty. However, it cannot be said that they have splendorous knowledge about emperumAn’s beauty etc. They have not attempted to describe fully his incomparable greatness in any way.


niRam . . . – beauty is what one gets as existence after holding on to sarvESvaran. vyAkyAthA narrates about what hanuman said after looking at SrI rAma’s beauty and becoming subservient to him. SrI rAma and lakshmaNa, searching for sIthAppirAtti, had approached the place where sugrIva and others were hiding. sugrIva was worried that they could be inimical people and sent hanuman to find out about them. hanuman came to their place, saw them, and forgetting his primary task, started singing paens on them, as mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam kishkindhA kANdam 3-14 “simhas skandhau mahOthsAhau samadhau ivagOvrishau AyathAScha suvruthASha bhAhava: parighOpamA:” (lion-shouldered, full of fortitude, vigorous like bulls, lengthy and circular shoulders, looking similar to clubs). sarvESvaran is that beautiful. hanuman realised that on merely seeing them, the purpose for which he came had become successful [to befriend sugrIva and help him in getting back his wife and kingdom]. AyathA: AjAnubhAhu – SrI rAma’s divine arms came down to his knees and extended further beyond. hanuman found that both SrI rAma and lakshmaNa, who is referred to as in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 28-24 “rAmasya dhakshiNObhAhu” (right hand of SrI rAma) had not decorated themselves with any ornament. He continues, as in SrI rAmAyaNam kishkindhA kANdam 3-15 “sarvabhUshaNa bhUshArhA: kim artham na vibhUshithA:” (while your physique is fit for being decorated with all ornaments, why have you not decorated with any ornament?) Why have you not worn the ornaments which have lost their beauty (since they are not decorating you)? Some kings would take a vow that they would not drink milk or eat betel leaves until they won over a particular king. Have you too taken a vow that you will not wear ornaments until you annihilate the enemies of sages in forests? Or are you not wearing ornaments thinking that you could attract monkeys roaming in the forest such as me with your external beauty?

pErum – he has divine names, befitting this beauty, such as mentioned in thiruvAimozhi 7-3-10 “magaranedum kuzhaikkAdhar” (one who has ears similar to long fish).  The vyAkyAthA narrates a few incidents from the lives of our pUrvAchAryars (preceptors). thirumalai nambi, the son of periya thirumalai nambi (who was bhagavath rAmAnuja’s AchArya) was in his final days. He called kaNiyanUr siRiyAththAn, the disciple of parASara bhattar, and asked him “Could you tell me the divine name which parASara bhattar used to constantly meditate on, as his refuge?” siRiyAththAn hesitated since he wasn’t sure about the specific divine name which he should recount. thirumalai nambi egged him on, saying “dhASarathy! This is not the time to keep quiet.” Immediately, siRiyAththAn responded saying “He used to recount many divine names, including nArAyaNan. However, the one divine name in which he was much engaged with is azhagiya maNavALapperumAL” Hearing this, thirumalai nambi said “Instead of saying namperumAL, he has said azhagiya maNavALapperumAL, just like a dharmapathni (wife who walks in the path of righteousness) refers to her husband. In any case, other than this divine name which bhattar used to meditate on, there is no refuge for adiyEn” and reiciting “azhayagiyamaNavALapperumALE SaraNam” (I take refuge under azhagiya maNavALapperumAL) he breathed his last and ascended to paramapadham. Another preceptor, Achchimagan, disciple of parASara bhattar, was lying unconsciously, in his final days. bhattar went to his house and recited in his ears “azhayagiyamaNavALapperumALE SaraNam”. On hearing this, previous memories came flooding to Achchimagan; he recited the same and ascended to paramapadham.

uruvum – it is not only the divine name, even the auspicious divine form has similar effect, says the vyAkyAthA. ALavandhAr’s son, sottai nambi, was in his last days. His disciples came to see him and asked of him “What are you constantly thinking about?” sottai nambi said “I will go to SrI vaikuNtam and have dharSan of (audience with) SrI vaikuNtanAthan. If his divine face is not as cool as namperumAL’s, I will pierce through SrIvaikuNtam and come back running to namperumAL”. Once, parASara bhattar was near namperumAL who had mercifully come for taking thirumanjanam (divine bath). namperumAL asked him “What do you wish to have?” bhattar said “You should remove your divine vasthram (dress) and show your divine thigh”. There was belief that if one were to have EkAntha sEvai (having dharSan of namperumAL in private), he would ascend to paramapadham. On hearing this, namperumAL asked him “Are you worried whether you would get such a benefit?” bhattar responded saying “nAyanthE (my swAmy (lord))! We are not worried about that. We are worried that we might lose your cool divine face and the beauty of the scar of kasthUri thilakam (divine mark applied on namperumAL) [i.e. We may not see these in paramapadham]”

uruvum – divine form.

ivai ivai enRu – saying in amazement, “This is such a decoration! This is such a divine name! This is such a beauty!”

aRamuyal – those who are constantly engaged with the path of righteousness

gyAnachchamayigaL – those who constantly meditate on dhaharavidhyA, chAndilyavidhyA, sathvidhyA etc (these are different modes mentioned in upanishaths for meditating on sarvESvaran); due to that devotion and affection, they will focus on any one alone, such as beauty or divine name or divine auspicious form etc, not going to the others.

pEsilum – experiencing only one mode this way, and even if they narrate about it

angangellAm – among those decoration, divine name, divine form etc

uRa – what they had attained

uyar gyAnachchudar viLakkAy ninRadhanRi – they will get distinguished knowledge about that one mode alone. Apart from that . . .

perumaiyai onRum peRa muyanRArillaiyAl – they had not attempted to attain the knowledge about emperumAn’s greatness. They could not say anything in full about his greatness other than what he had manifested to them out of his mercy.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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