thiruviruththam – 99 – Inach chollAyinumAga

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

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avathArikai (Introduction)

Seeing this AzhwAr deeply involved with bhagavath vishayam (matters relating to sarvESvaran) and falling unconscious, SrIvaishNavas told him “Due to your involvement with bhagavath vishayam, we are unable to determine when you will fall unconscious and when you will be in normal state. We are unable to have complete faith in you because of that”. The vyAkyAthA narrates a few incidents about those who are deeply engaged with sarvESvaran, falling unconscious. He starts with the incident from SrI rAmAyaNam when bharatha had swooned, remaining unconscious, and kausalyA dhEvi is trying to wake him up, as it has been mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 87-9 “adhya rAja kulasya ..” (the life of this royal ikshvAku clan is dependent on you). Just as people will get perturbed when the stone used by an alchemist (one who converts iron into gold) falls on the ground, the queen mothers were worried on seeing bharathan falling down unconscious [on hearing about the departure of SrI rAma for the forest]. They tell him “We thought that we would be alive, treating you as the leader of this kingdom.  The chakravarthy (dhaSaratha, the emperor) has passed away, SrI rAma has left for the forest. We are alive because of you. We are holding on to our lives in the hope that SrI rAma and the other two will return after seeing the sorrow on your face. If you are not there, will they even look in this direction? ” Just as it has been mentioned in SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 87-9 “puthra vyAdhi na thE  kaSchith SarIram paribAdhathE” they ask him “Oh child! I hope that no ailment is afflicting your body” SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 59-4 says “api vrukshA:” (even trees were withering due to the sorrow of SrI rAma leaving them) – thus, when everyone in ayOdhyA was in distress, bharathan fell down unconscious suddenly  as a result of which his mothers had to ask him “Oh son! What is your disease?” Since they have only sathva guNa (the quality of goodness) it is difficult to know as to when they will swoon and when they will be aware. AzhwAr is one who will remain unconscious for six months, just reminiscing krishNa’s quality of saulabhyam (easy to approach).

The next incident involves kUraththAzhwAn (disciple of bhagavath rAmAnujar). Whenever kUraththAzhwAn starts his discourse on thiruvAimozhi, piLLai uRangAvilli dhAsar would become very emotional; shedding tears copiously, he would speak about sarvESvaran’s auspicious qualities. Seeing this, kUraththAzhwAn would tell him “Unlike us who are well versed in SAsthrams, having learnt SrI bhAshyam etc, your crumbling nature on thinking about the auspicious qualities of bhagavAn is incredible. Your birth is indeed a great one!” The same kUraththAzhwAn was once narrating periya thirumozhi pAsuram 3-7-1 “kaLvankol yAnaRiyEn”, keeping a little girl on his lap. In this pAsuram the mother of parakAla nAyaki (thirumangai AzhwAr in feminine mood) would be wailing about sarvESvaran having taken away her daughter. Just then, the husband of that little girl came there to take her home. Seeing this and reminiscing the pAsuram, kUraththAzhwAn fell unconscious. Such kUraththAzhwAn was telling piLLai uRangAvilli dhAsar that he had a strong heart while dhAsar was having a soft heart due to which he was crumbling on merely thinking of the auspicious qualities of sarvESvaran.

When nanjIyar was still an adhvaithi, thirumalaidhAsar, a SrIvaishNava, told him about the greatness of parASara bhattar and made him to attain the divine feet of parASara bhattar. One day, the two of them were sitting inside SrIrangam temple, learning thiruvAimozhi. kUraththAzhwAn happened to pass that way. Seeing him, nanjIyar started to rise. kUraththAzhwAn signalled to him to sit and asked him “While samsAris will spend their time eating, is this what you people are doing?” nanjIyar responded saying “We have learnt thiruvAimozhi at the divine feet of parASara bhattar”

emperumAnAr (bhagavadh rAmAnujar) would spend the day time in writing / teaching SrI bhAshyam. At night, before going to bed, he would ask his disciples to learn santhai of thiruvAimozhi (a mode of learning where the AchAryan (teacher) would recite a verse once and the sishyan (disciple) would repeat it twice/thrice). When he starts reciting a verse first time, he will be very much involved in it and will be elated. When he repeats it, he would crumble and shed tears continuously, requiring several towels to wipe them. When prasAdham (food offered to periya perumAL) would be taken to periya perumAL’s sannidhi, he would leave instruction with those who are offering the prasAdham to show him the prasAdham items before as well as after offering to perumAL. Not realising why he had told them this way, they would show him the prasAdham items, both before and after offering to periya perumAL. After six months had passed this way, he told periya perumAL “Oh SrIranganAthA! Would you not show me the mark of having eaten this prasAdham? “

kidAmbiyAchchAn (one of rAmAnujar’s disciples and the one who used to cook food for him) was learning thiruvAimozhi from kUraththAzhwAn. One day he came late to rAmAnujar; following is their conversation:

“Why are you late?”
“I had gone to learn thiruvAimozhi from kUraththAzhwAn”
“What did he teach today?”
“He taught thiruvAimozhi 5.10 decad piRandhavArum
“Could you say a few words from that?”
“There is no word to recount”
“What did you listen to? What did he say?”
“He started to teach. He recited the pAsuram. Then reminiscing the devotional trance of AzhwAr, he started weeping for a long time. Then he told us, ‘What an involvement this AzhwAr has! Could I, having no involvement with bhagavath vishayam, explain about AzhwAr’s involvement?’ With that he stopped”
“What a supreme entity is AzhwAn!”

The vyAkyAthA now returns to avathArikai – the SrIvaishNavas, who were with AzhwAr told him “You are now in your conscious state, without swooning. You should tell us your philosophy”. “In that case, listen to this”, said AzhwAr, mercifully explaining his philosophy. Just as mithrabhAvEna is SrI rAma’s philosophy, this pAsuram is AzhwAr’s philosophy [mithrabhAvEna refers to SrI rAma telling sugrIva and others that he would accept anyone who comes to him with a friendly appearance, even if that person has a defect].

Let us go through the pAsruam and its meanings:

InachchollAyinumAga eRithirai vaiyam muRRum
EnaththuruvAy idandha pirAn irum kaRpagam sEr
vAnaththavarkkum allAdhavarkkum maRRellAyavarkkum
gyAnappirAnai allAl illai nAn kaNda nalladhuvE

Word-by-Word Meanings

Inachchol – (my) word is without any benefit
Ayinum – even if it is
Aga – let it be
(I would still say)
eRi – throwing up
thirai – having waves
(during deluge)
vaiyam muRRum – all the worlds
Enaththu uruvAy – with the form of a wild boar
idandha – one who pierced and removed (from nether world)
pirAn – as benefactor
gyAnam – having complete knowledge
pirAnai allAl – other than SrIman nArAyaNa, the lord
irum – having the greatness (of fulfilling wishes made under it)
kaRpagam – the [celestial] wish-fulfilling tree, kaRpagam
sEr – desirous of reaching it
vAnaththavarkkum – for celestial entities
allAdavarkkum – nithyasUris, who are distinct from the celestial entities
maRRu ellAyavarkkum – other entities such as manushya (human) et al
illai – there is no other means to uplift
nAn – I
kaNda – ascertained
nalladhu – benefit (is only this)

Simple Translation

Even if my words are without any benefit, let them be so. I would still say this. There is no means other than SrIman nArayaNan, who in the form of a wild boar, pierced and protected all the worlds which have oceans with rising and agitating waves. This is true for celestial entities who are desirous of reaching the celestial tree kaRpagam; this is true for nithyasUris, who are different from the celestial entities; this is true for other creations such as humans, animals etc. This is my ascertained view.


InachchollAyinumAga – When some people are willing to listen with interest, I will not refrain from saying it. When sarvESvaran initially saw the sorrow on the face of arjuna, he gave him all the secretive meanings and later grieved over it saying that he had brought out into the courtyard explicitly, what had been kept hidden in a corner. AzhwAr shares his misgivings at the forefront itself. Inachchol is a word which is not doing any good; in other words, which is not beneficial. It is against the true nature of a chEthana (sentient entity). It is saying something which he could not do himself. Since he has entrusted all his activities with the omnipotent sarvESvaran, this is not an impossible activity to engage with. This position is congruent with his nature of being under the control of sarvESvaran. If one were to hold on to a supreme entity, then there is no possibility for deficiency in knowledge or in strength.

AyinumAga – even if what he says does not have a benefit, instead of calling it as a good word in a humble way, since he says AyinumAga [let it be so], he feels that just as there were a few people who were there to listen to what sarvESvaran said mercifully [SrI bhagavath gIthA], there will be a few people to listen to what he has to say. Whether they accept or reject what he has to say, he is not going to step back from saying it. Even if what he says may not be correct and he is desirous of speaking about sarvESvaran even if he feels that he is in a lowly state, he is not going to step back from speaking it.

Some people who listened to AzhwAr saying this, ask him “There is a saying in the world that the money invested in flowers will not yield results. In a similar way, why do you say that what you have to say does not have benefit?” AzhwAr responds . . .

eRi thirai vaiyam muRRum EnaththuruvAy idandha pirAn – it is apt for all the chEthanas to hold on to sarvESvaran alone. But why is this so? During the time of danger [deluge] when they are unable to look after themselves, should they not hold on to someone for their protection? This is called as hEthu garbha prathigyai. This is a vow taken by sarvESvaran that during times of danger, he would protect them since he is the causative factor for them. How is he the cause?

eRi thirai vaiyam – when pralayam [deluge] comes to submerge the earth surrounded by ocean, he transforms himself [even as a wild boar] for the sake of others. For protecting others, he transforms himself.

idandha – this implies that he is omnipotent.

pirAn – apart from omnipotency, it is he who has the control to protect them; he is the lord. He has the knowledge for protecting them; he has the strength and control to match that knowledge. The chEthana, with his ignorance and lack of strength, has to hold on to sarvESvaran only. Only the one who owns will take the efforts to attain the owned [wealth]. The owned cannot take any effort. Thus, only he is necessary for all. Why should those, who do not think of asking for him but asking for wealth, hold on to him?

irum kaRpagam . . . – for those who carry out good acts here, reach svargam (heaven), stand under the kaRpagam tree and seek benefits, only he is required to grant all those. When the chEthana carries out good activities, as a result of which he reaches svargam, why is sarvESvaran required? When the chEthana carries out good deeds, their benefits are not given immediately. Those benefits should not get destroyed when the chEthana leaves this place. An ISvaran is needed to estimate the deeds carried out by the chEthana as well as the chEthana himself and provide him the benefits. There are some people who say that due to the effect of kriyASakthi and due to apUrvam (these are concepts floated by some philosophies but which are not accepted by vEdhams). Instead of trying to create new concepts, it would be better to accept sarvESvaran as the provider of these benefits.

maRReLLAyavarkkum – apart from those who experience benefits which keep reducing over time, sarvESvaran is required for nithyasUris too who experience permanent benefits which do not reduce over time. Even though they are nithyasUris, their existence is essential to enjoy sarvESvaran.

ellAyavarkkum – without knowing as to when this physical form will fall (viz when will death occur), manushyas (human beings) keep saying that “I am fat” “I am slim” etc. Even for their pleasures and to bestow those pleasures, sarvESvaran is required. Since those with knowledge and without knowledge are under his control equally, the knowledge which chEthana has is considered as asath (non-existent) only. Some people claim that only through knowledge mOksham (liberation) can be attained. When such is the case, shouldn’t chEthana need knowledge to attain mOksham? It is neither that knowledge is essential nor knowledge is not essential.  The only knowledge to be sought from sarvESvaran is that which will enable the chEthana not to avoid sarvESvaran when he comes to help. The knowledge needed for providing the benefit is already with sarvESvaran.

gyAnappirAnai – the only knowledge that chEthana has is the unfavourable knowledge that he could protect himself. The knowledge for doing what is to be done to protect others is available with sarvESvaran.

allAl illai – even those who wrote false SAsthrams saying that sarvESvaran does not exist, in their last days, realised that their SAsthrams were swept aside, saying that sahaSruthi pushes out their philosophy. sahaSruthi is described by thaiththirIya upanishath Anandhavalli “sOSnuthE sarvAn kAmAn saha brahmaNA” – after attaining mOksham, the mukthAthmA (the chEthana who got liberated) enjoys with brahmam. The atheists too wonder towards the end of their lives whether they had taken the wrong path. Thus, other than sarvESvaran, neither the chEthana himself nor other means would be the means to attain sarvESvaran.

Once thirukkOttiyUr nambi had come to SrIrangam to witness a temple festival. He wanted to instruct rAmAnujar the supreme philosophy that apart from sarvESvaran, there is no other means and he wanted to instruct that confidentially. Thus, he took rAmAnujar to a secluded spot inside the temple. However, he saw a person, who was engaged in cleaning the temple, sleeping soundly there. He instructed rAmAnujar the philosophy on another occasion when there was none nearby to hear it. As soon as he heard this supreme philosophy, rAmAnuja hurried, in hot weather, to kUraththAzhwAn’s thirumALigai (divine residence), where kUraththAzhwAn was having his lunch.  He told kUraththAzhwAn “nambi had told me not to reveal this to anyone else; however I cannot refrain from instructing you this” and shared the philosophy of sahakAri nairapEkshyam (sarvESvaran not expecting any assistance in granting liberation to a chEthana). Now, only the nature of chEthana who experiences the benefit and the means which he had adopted, remain as assists. AzhwAr now removes this too …

nAn kaNda – since knowledge is composed of both virtues and vices, when virtues surface, the knowledge gets manifested clearly and when vices surface, it gets bewildered. However, this knowledge that I received as bhagavath prasAdham (blessed by sarvESvaran) is not meant to bewilder the others through any deceitful acts. I did not reveal it in order to tell others. I revealed it as an outlet for my enjoyment.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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