thiruviruththam – 91 – surunguRi veNNey

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

Full Series


avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr had felt miserable about time not shortening [to attain sarvESvaran]. A few samsAris, on seeing this, told him “We are engaged with matters relating to samsAram and are not complaining that time is not lengthening or shortening. We are enjoying the matters relating to samsAram even if time lengthens or shortens. Why don’t you change your involvement from matters relating to bhagavAn and engage with worldly matters?”  AzhwAr says “Yes, I could do it provided I get a heart which is capable of doing that; my heart knows nothing other than bhagavAn. Even this heart I can engage with, provided he had not stolen it”

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

surunguRi veNNey thoduvuNda kaLvanai vaiyam muRRum
orunguRavuNda peruvayiRRALanai mAvali mAttu
irunguRaLAgi isaiya Or mUvadi vENdichchenRa
perungiRiyAnai allAl adiyEn nenjam pENaladhE

Word-by-Word Meanings

surungu – contracted (with the aid of deceptive ropes)
uRi – hoop like structure, hung from ceiling to keep pots etc
veNNey – butter [kept in a pot inside that hoop like structure]
thodu uNda – one who stole and ate
kaLvanai –  one who incarnated as krishNa having the quality of stealing
vaiyam muRRum – entire world
orungu – in a small corner
uRa – fitting well
uNda – swallowed
peru – huge
vayiRRALanai – having stomach
mAvalimAttu – to mAvali
iru – huge (small)
kuRaLAgi – as vAmana [dwarf]
isaiya – making (him to) accept
Or – unique
mUvadi – three steps
vENdi – seeking
senRa – one who went with a beautiful gait
perum kiRiyAnai allAl – other than the one who is a great means
adiyEn – a servitor only for him
nenjam – mind
peNaladhu – will not like

Simple Translation

My heart will not like anyone other than sarvESvaran who ate butter from the hoop by stealing, who kept all the worlds inside corner of his stomach, who went to mahAbali, seeking alms as a dwarf and made him agree to giving him three steps of land and who is a great means [for attaining himself].


surunguRi veNNey – it was a hoop made with deceptive ropes [so that its location would not be known easily].

veNNey thoduvuNda – he stole the butter and ate it, without disturbing the marks which had been made by the owners of butter.

kaLvanai – he stole the concept of stealing itself; thus some people [who had lost their butter] said “This could not have been stolen by people; did Gods steal our butter? Did we not keep butter inside that?”

vaiyam . . . – while his stomach got filled up with butter, when he swallowed all the worlds [during deluge], it did not fill up even half his stomach. The implication here is that he would be able to sustain himself with a material touched by his followers while his mind was not much enthused about protecting the worlds.

mAvali mAttu – he approached and attained a demonic entity; AzhwAr says that sarvESvaran should have attained him who desired only sarvESvaran and none else.

irunguRaLAgi – being a huge dwarf [The word iru which means huge is used as a viparIthalakshaNam here – meaning exactly the opposite]. His short stature was such that among the dwarfs of the world, the shortest dwarf would appear like thrivikraman in his presence.

isaiya – he did all the work to make mahAbali to agree to his request; making mahAbali’s acceptance to be under his control. Though there were others (sukrAchAryar) who did not want mahAbali to accede to his request, sarvESvaran made mahAbali to accept.

Or mUvadi vENdichchenRa – instead of asking for two steps and measuring with both the steps, he asked for three steps and measured with two steps so that he could imprison mahAbali with the third step.

vENdichcchenRa perungiRiyAnai allAl – he went in such a way that his quality of sarva nirapEksham – ‘not desiring anything’ was not manifested. He went such that mahAbali thought “Unless I give him what he wants, he cannot sustain himself”. He hid his quality of ISvarathvam – controlling everyone. He went asking for alms to make it appear that one who does not have any desire unfulfilled, came with a desire. He took such a form that it created mercy in mahAbali.

perungiRiyAn – a hugely clever person.

adiyEn – AzhwAr is not like mahAbali, about to give something. He is not like indhra [head of celestial entities] too, waiting to obtain one. He is one who has lost out to that activity of sarvESvaran’s and made himself as a servitor to sarvESvaran.

nenjam pENaladhE –  he will not desire even the supremacy of the supreme entity, just like hanuman did in SrI rAmAyaNam uththara kANdam 40-15 “bhAvO nAnyathra gachchathi” (my thoughts will not go to anyone other than you0

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

archived in

pramEyam (goal) –
pramANam (scriptures) –
pramAthA (preceptors) –
SrIvaishNava education/kids portal –

Leave a Comment