thiruviruththam – 98 – thunjA munivarum

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avathArikai (Introduction)

Some people told AzhwAr “You are constantly involved with sarvESvaran and are speaking about it, you are trying to correct others through your experiences and make them to turn their heads towards sarvESvaran; you are feeling distressed due to all these. Instead of doing this, since krishNAvathAram is very dear to you, why do you not spend your time meditating on the narration of krishNa stealing butter?” They do not know the extent of his involvement in such matters. In thiruvAimozhi 1-3-1 “eththiRam” did he not remain unconscious for months together, reminiscing about sarvESvaran’s act of stealing butter and getting beaten up by yaSOdhAppirAtti, after being tied down to a mortar? AzhwAr says that one cannot even think about such an act [of sarvESvaran’s]

Let us go through the pAsuram and its meanings:

thunjA munivaraum allAdhavarum thudara ninRa
enjApppiRavi idar kadivAn imaiyOr thamakkum
than sArvilAdha thanipperu mUrththy than mAyam sevvE
nenjAl ninaipparidhAl veNNey UN ennum InachchollE

Word-by-Word Meanings

enjA – without contraction
piRavi – happened in samsAram
idar – sorrow
kadivAn – to remove
thunjA – not having contraction
(having great knowledge)
munivarum – eminent sages such as sanaka et al
allAdhavarum – others such as brahmA et al
thudara – to follow
ninRa – one who remained mercifully
than – for himself
sArvu ilAdha – one who does not have (another entity) as protection
thani – being unique
peru – without any limitation
mUrththi than – sarvESvaran, who has such a nature, his
veNNey – butter
UN – ate (by stealing)
ennum sol – word such as this
mAyam – only amazement
imaiyOr thamakkum – even for nithyasUris who do not have any contraction in their knowledge
sevvE – very well
nenjAl – through mind
ninaippu aridhu – will be impossible to think of

Simple Translation

sarvESvaran is one who is worshipped and followed by eminent sages such as sanaka et al who do not have any contraction in their knowledge as well as by other samsAris such as brahmA et al, in order to remove the sorrows which happen due to samsAram; he does not have anyone to protect him; he is unique and does not have any limitation. The amazing activity which is indicated by the words “He stole butter and ate” is impossible even for nithyasUris to think of.


enjAppiRavi idar kadivAn thunjA munivararum allAdhavarum thudara ninRathunjA munivar is one who is similar to the one mentioned in SrI bhagavath gIthA 2-69 ”nisA sarvabhUthAnAm” (when it is night time for all living beings, the enlightened will be awake). In the earlier pAsurams, AzhwAr had said “My mind will not go after anyone other than sarvESvaran” “Sleep will not befall those who are involved with matters relating to sarvESvaran” “I will make all the sAmsAris to be involved with him like I am”. Some people, who heard him, told him “Why are you getting distressed like this, thinking of others? Isn’t krishNAvathAram very dear to you? Don’t you keep reminiscing his act of steaing butter? Why don’t you continue to think about that?” AzhwAr responds saying “If I think of other activities of sarvESvaran, I might probably exist. However, I cannot think of the depth of this particular activity; I cannot sustain myself too; thus instead of thinking of this activity and getting caught, it would be better not to think of it”

thunjA munivarum – just as samsAris are immersed in worldly pursuits such as Sabdham etc (the five senses such as sound etc), eminent sages such as sanaka et al are immersed in matters related to AthmA and ISvaran, and they are without the qualities of rajas (passion) and thamas (ignorance). Just as it has been said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 2-69 yA nisA – when all the other living beings sleep during night, they will be awake. Though sarvESvaran had created them in samsAram, due to their eminent deeds over many births, they have developed detachment towards samsAram and are mumukshus (those desirous of mOksham, liberation). They are such eminent entities that looking at their nature, samsAram would decide “They are not the people for us; we will seek out those who are apt for us”

allAdhavarum – unlike such eminent entities as sanaka et al, due to variations in their virtues and vices, these people will be under the control of their karma (past deeds), being celestial entities such as brahmA et al. They will have a mixture of karmabhAvanai and brahmabhAvanai (activities based on their karma and involvement with sarvESvaran respectively). When their sathva quality comes to the fore, they will attain the mode of brahmabhAvanai  and on those few occasions they will think “samsAram is to be given up; only sarvESvaran should be attained”. They will take efforts to attain sarvESvaran during those occasions. During all the other times, they will be like samsAris only.

enjAppiRavi – in order to avoid the sorrows caused by the unending births which keep coming without any contraction

thunjA munivarum allAdhAdhavarum enjAppiRavi idar kadivAn thudara ninRa – since this sorrow cannot be cured by samsAri, since he has no strength on his own and since it has been coming from time immemorial, he has to attain an omnipotent entity at an opportune time.

than sArvilAdha – while brahmA et al attain sarvESvaran in order to get rid of their sorrows, sarvESvaran does not have an entity who he has to attain.

imaiyOr thamakkum sevvE nenjAl ninapparidhAl – those in samsAram, despite knowing that they are engaged with lowly activites, do not have the capability to give them up; but, nithyasUris are those who constantly experience and enjoy sarvESvaran. However, there is an amazing activity which even the nithyasUris cannot think of. What is that activity? sarvESvaran, who is the refuge for brahmA et al, who has no unfulfilled desire in him, treats those materials which have a connection with his followers [gOpikAs, the cowherd girls in SrI gOkulam] as his sustenance. If he cannot get such a material directly, he will obtain it even by stealing and will eat it. During the act of stealing, he will ensure that he is caught redhanded; he will allow himself to be tied down to a mortar and get beaten up for that; his divine form will get drained of its complexion and become pale and he will remain in a state of fear. Is it possible for anyone to even think of this activity? It will be a source of amazement even to sarvESvaran himself.

The vyAkyAthA narrates an incident from the life of piLLai uRangAvillidhAsar (a disciple of bhagavadh rAmAnujar). A person stole the milk kept for the king and drank it up. He was caught by the guards, tied to a tree and was being beaten up. dhAsar was going that way when he saw this incident. On enquiring, he was told as to what had happened. When he heard this, he was reminded of krishNa stealing milk, getting caught, tied to a mortar and beaten up for it. He became emotional on thinking of these incidents. He told the guards “Let him go; I will take responsibility for his action”

sevvE nenjAl – a few people, such as SiSupAlan et al could narrate a few words about sarvESvaran on the basis of their enmity with him. However, it is not possible to narrate his auspicious qualities.

The pAsuram should be rearranged to read like this to get sequential meaning:

thunjA munivarum allAdhavarm enjAppiRavi idar kadivAn thudara ninRa than sArvilAdha thanipperu mUrththi udaiya veNNey UN ennum InachchollAna mayAmaAnadhu imaiyOr thamakkum sevvE nenjAl ninaipparidhAl

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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