perumAL thirumozhi – 4.1 – UnERu selvaththu

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perumAL thirumozhi >> 4th Decad

avathArikai (Introduction)

AzhwAr says that he has taken a human birth which is capable of knowing that the body, which is a transformation of mUlaprakruthi (primordial matter) which in itself has no knowledge, and the body within which AthmA (soul) resides are different from each other. Despite knowing this, he says that if his role as a king, wherein he has to protect his citizens, is going to be a hurdle for carrying out kainkaryam (service) to emperumAn, he does not covet such a role. In this pAsuram, he says that he would be happy were he to be born as a crane in the divine hill of thirumalai, which creates a connection with emperumAn and his followers.

UnERu selvaththu udanpiRavi yAn vENdEn
AnEREzh venRAn adimaith thiRam allAl
kUnERu sangam idaththAn than vEngadaththuk
kOnEri vAzhum kurugAyp piRappEnE

Word-by-Word Meanings
An EREzh venRAn – (in order to marry nappinnaip pirAtti) emperumAn won over seven strong bulls
adimai thiRam allAl – instead of carrying out servitude to him
Un ERu selvaththu udal piRavi – this human birth which has the wealth of increasing the fat
yAn vENdEn – I will not desire
kUn ERu sangam – SrIpAnchajanyam (the divine conch) which is curved
idaththAn than – one who has on his divine left hand, his
vEngadaththu – in thirumalai
kOnEri vAzhum – one that lives in the swAmy pushkariNi (the divine pond in thirumalai)
kurugAyp piRappEnE – I would like to be born as, at the least, a crane.

Simple Translation

emperumAn had defeated seven strong bulls which were a hurdle to his marrying nappinnaip pirAtti. AzhwAr says that he does not desire this human birth, which has its wealth of increasing the flesh in the body, instead of carrying out service to emperumAn. He desires to be born as, at least, a crane which lives on the banks of the pond in thirumalai, in which emperumAn, holding a curved divine conch on his left hand, resides.


Un ERu selvaththu udal piRavi yAn vENdEn – I do not desire this human birth which has the eminence of body getting fatter since the flesh grows day by day. What is the shortcoming which AzhwAr sees in this human body? With each passing day, the flesh keeps growing, making the body fatter each day. However, AthmA (soul) does not get the kainkaryam which is its svarUpam (basic nature). Hence, he says that he does not want this birth. Even though the Athma svarUpam is permanent, just as it has been said in thaiththirIya upanishath Anandhavalli 6 “asannEva sa bhavathi l asath brahmEthi vEdha chEth l asthi brahmEthi chEth vEtha santhamEnam thathO vidhu: ll” (If a person does not have knowledge about brahmam (emperumAn) he or she is considered to be non-existent. (S)he is considered to be existing only if (s)he has knowledge about brahmam), due to deficiency in knowledge, soul is considered to be equivalent to achith (that which does not have knowledge). Since the human birth can create a deficiency in svarUpa gyAnam (knowledge about the basic nature of the AthmA), AzhwAr says that he does not desire this human birth.

yAn vENdEn – there are people who will sever their own heads in order to perform sacrificial activities to satisfy lowly deities. Before performing such activities, they will even decorate their bodies with sandalwood paste [which appears incongruent since the body is going to be sacrificed soon]. Thus, one who does not have basic knowledge about AthmA and paramAthmA (supreme entity, emperumAn) may nurture this body. But, AzhwAr says that he does not want that since he has the knowledge to distinguish between the two. Just as nammAzhwAr has said in thiruvAImozi 1-1-1 “mayarvaRa madhinalam aruLinan” (emperumAn gave knowledge and devotion without any deficiency), emperumAn considers that the body a lowly entity and AthmA is dear to him, similar to the kausthuba gem which he dons on his divine chest and that the AthmA belongs to him. Since he received that knowledge from emperumAn himself, kulaSEkhara AzhwAr says that he does not want this human birth.

AnEREzh venRAn adimaith thiRam allAl – in order to marry nappinnaip pirAtti, emperumAn won over seven strong bulls which were a hurdle to his marrying nappinnaip pirAtti. AzhwAr says that he desires only to carry out service to that emperumAn and does not desire this human birth. This is similar to a son desiring to carry out service to his father who is very affectionate towards his mother.

adimaith thiRamallAl – the phrase adimaith thiRam could be construed to mean either servitude or just as it has been mercifully said in SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 31-25 “bhavAmsthu saha vaidhEhyA girisAnushu ramsyathE l
aham sarvam karishyAmi jAgrathas svapathaScha thE ll” (your highness will be enjoying with pirAtti on the mountain ridges; this servitor would like to carry out all services when your highness is awake or asleep), or in thiruvAImozhi 3-3-1 “ozhivil kAlam udanAy manni vazhuvilA adimai seyya vENdum” (I would like to carry out faultless service to you without any break in time, at all stages, by being with you always), this could be construed as carrying out service at all places, at all times and in all stages, which will make emperumAn to be pleased.

kUnERu sangam idaththAn – one who has the curved SrI pAnchajanyam (divine conch) on his left hand. This indicates that emperumAn accepts nithya kainkaryam (permanent service) from those who are keen on carrying out kainkaryam, just like SrI pAnchajanya AzhwAn.

kUnERu sangam idaththAn – SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 4-42 says “ithyEvamukthO mAthrEdham rAmO bhrAtharamabravIth l prAgyalim prahvamAsInam abhivIkshya smayanniva ll” (after hearing his mother speak like this, SrI rAma looked at his brother lakshmaNa, who was standing with his palms cupped together [in anjali posture], and said the following with a smiling face). Just as lakshmaNa stood obediently with his palms cupped, due to the pride of carrying out kainkaryam to emperumAn, SrI pAnchajanyam too stood in a curved way, says AzhwAr.

sangam idaththAn – since AzhwAr saw the conch on the left hand of emperumAn, he says sangam idaththAn (conch on the divine left hand). Just as nammAzhwAr had mercifully said, after seeing the divine disc on the right hand, as in thiruvAImozhi 6-4-9 “valakkai Azhi idakkaichchangam” (divine discus on the right hand and divine conch on the left hand) and periyAzhwAr had mercifully said after seeing pirAtti on the divine chest, as in thiruppallANdu 2 “nin valamArbinil vAzhginRa mangai” (divine pirAtti who lives on the right chest), kulaSEkhara AzhwAr too says sangam idaththAn after directly seeing SrI pANchajanyam.

than vEngadaththu – since this noble abode is the apt place for accepting service, emperumAn considers thiruvEngadam as ‘mine’. Such a hill, as desired by emperumAn.

kOnEri vAzhum kurugAyp piRappEnE – just as he desires to see amAnava purushan (divine entity who is unlike human), on the shores of virajai river in paramapadham, guiding those who have attained mOksham (SrI vaikuNtam), if one were to be involved with archAvathAram, AzhwAr desires to be born as a crane which lives in thirukkOnEri, also called as swAmy pushkariNi (the divine tank near the temple at thiruvEngadam).

vAzhum – just as he desires to live in the huge temple in SrI rangam, AzhwAr desires to live in the kOnEri in thirumalai. Instead of using terms such as irukkum (remaining) etc, since he has said vAzhum (living), AzhwAr considers that living there itself will be prosperous.

kurugAyp piRappEnE – AzhwAr says that he does not desire human birth, which is capable of distinguishing between body and soul, especially to be born as a king who has the responsibility of protecting his citizens. This is so because it (being born as a human, especially as a king) will be the cause for ego, and hence, will not allow the distinction to be made between body and soul. Instead, he desires to be born as a bird, even if it results because of carrying out sins in previous births, so long as it [being born as a bird] is within the boundaries of thirumalai. Since AzhwAr, who said “udal piRavi yAn vEndEn” (I will not desire human birth) says “kurugAp piRappEnE”(I will desire to be born as a crane), it is clear that he considers being born in a dhivyadhESam (divine abode) as not a [worldly] birth at all.

We will take the 2nd pAsuram of this decad, next.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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