thiruchchandha viruththam – pAsuram 1 – pUnilAya aindhumAy

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avathArikai (Introduction)

AzhwAr says in this pAsuram that just as it has been said in SrI vishNu purANam 1-2-55 “bhUthEbhyO’Ndam mahAbudhdhE mahath thadhudhakESayam l prAkrutham brahmarUpasya vishNO:sthAnamanuththamam ll” (Oh the greatly wise one! This universe, which is huge and which floats in the enveloping water, is made of the pancha bhUthams (five elements). For vishNu, who is together with a huge divine, auspicious form, this location is a lowly one, made of prAkrutham (primordial matter) (distinct from the paramapadham (SrI vaikuNtam) which is aprAkrutham (not made of primordial matter; extraordinary)), you (addressing emperumAn) are the materialistic cause for the five elements such as bhUmi (earth) etc which are composed of the five qualities of Sabdha (sound) etc. You remain as the antharyAmi (indwelling soul) for these elements. This meaning is beyond the capabilities of bAhyas, who do not know the meanings of vEdhams (sacred texts) (and who do not accept vEdhams) and the kudhrushtis (who give wrong interpretations to vEdhams)

pUnilAya aindhumAyp punaRkaN ninRa nAngumAyth
thInilAya mUnRumAych chiRandha kAl iraNdumAy
mInilAyadhu onRumAgi vERu vERu thanmaiyAy
nI nilAya vaNNa(m) ninnai yAr ninaikka vallarE?

Word-by-Word Meanings

pU nilAya aindhumAy – the five qualities such as Sabdha (sound) which are present in earth
punal kaN ninRa nAngumAy – the four qualities of Sabdha, sparSa (touch), rUpa (form) and rasa (taste) which are present in water
thI nilAya mUnRumAy – the three qualities of Sabdha, sparSa and rUpa which are present in fire
siRandha kAL iraNdumAy – the two qualities of Sabdha and sparSa which are present in the mighty wind
mI nilAyadhu onRumAgi – the single quality of Sabdha which is present in ethereal layer (sky)
vERu vERu thanmaiyAy – being the indwelling soul of dhEva (celestial) etc entities which are distinct from one another
nI nilAya vaNNam – the manner in which you are present in the causative and effectual entities
ninnai – you (who are the causative factor for the world)
Ar ninaikka vallarE – who is capable of thinking?

Simple Translation

Addressing emperumAn, AzhwAr says that he is the indwelling soul of the five elements of ethereal layer, wind, fire, water and earth, with their qualities of sound, touch, form, taste and smell respectively. He says that emperumAn is the causative factor for the world and is the indwelling soul for all the entities such as celestial, human etc. He says that this meaning is beyond the comprehension of those who do not understand vEdhams and those who misinterpret vEdhams.

vyAkyAnam (Commentary)

pUnilAya aindhumAy – being the five qualities of sound, touch, form, taste and smell which are present in earth. While earth has only one quality, of smell, as brought out by nyAyamatham which says gandhavathI pruthvi (the one which has the quality of smell is earth) and SrI vishNu purANam 1-2-44 which says sangAthO jAyathE thasmAth thasyA gandhO guNOmatha: (earth, which is composed of all the qualities, is made from that thanmAthra (subtle element) of smell; for earth, smell is considered to be a unique quality), how is it that AzhwAr says that earth has all the five qualities of sound, touch etc? SrI vishNu purANam 1-2-50 says AkASa vAyu thEjAmsi salilam pruthvI thathA l SabdhAdhibhir guNair brahman samyuthAnyuththarOththarai ll (Oh brAhmaNa! The five elements of ethereal layer, wind, fire, water and earth have the single quality of sound, the two qualities of sound and touch, the three qualities of sound, touch and form, the four qualities of sound, touch, form and taste and the five qualities of sound, touch, form, taste and smell, respectively), Thus, since earth, which is the end effect of ethereal layer, wind, fire and water, has the qualities of the respective element, it is said that earth has the qualities of all five elements.

punaRkaN ninRa nAngumAy – having the four qualities of sound, touch, form and taste which are present in water.
SrI vishNu purANam 1-2-42 says sambhavanthi thathOmbhAmsi rasAdhArANi thAni thu (water is formed from the thanmAthrA (subtle element) of taste; it is the repository for taste). While the quality of water is only taste, just as it has been said in the previous discussion, since it is formed from ethereal layer, wind and fire, water has the qualities of all four elements, viz. sound, touch, form and taste.

thI nilAya mUnRumAy – SrI vishNu purANam 1-2-40 says jyOthir uthpadhyathE vAyOs thadh rUpaguNam uchyathE ((Being together with rUpa (form) thanmAthrA), fire comes out of wind. It has form as its unique characteristic). Just as it has been mentioned before, along with its characteristic of form, fire, being formed from ethereal layer and wind, has the qualities of sound and touch too and thus has all the three qualities of sound, touch and form.

siRandha kAL iraNdumAy – Due to its mobility, wind is the reason for creatures to breathe. Hence it has the might of being the sustaining factor for all. It has two qualities, of sound and touch. SrI vishNu purANam 1-2-39 says balavAnubhavadh vAyus thasya sparSO guNO matha: (Mighty wind results from the thanmAthrA of touch; its distinguished characteristic is said to be ‘touch’). Along with wind’s characteristic of touch, it also has the characteristic ‘sound’ coming from ethereal layer, from which it is formed. Thus, wind has the two qualities of sound and touch.

mIdhilAya onRumAgi – being known as mIdhu, ethereal layer (or sky) has the quality of sound. SrI vishNu purANam 1-2-37 says sasarja Sabdha thanmAthrAdhAkASam Sabdha lakshaNam (from the thanmAthrA of sound, ethereal layer was created, having the quality of sound as its unique characteristic). Thus, ethereal layer has the single characteristic of sound. mIdhu – that which remains. The last letter (thu) is hidden and the word becomes mI. Ethereal layer has the pride of being the causative factor for the other four elements and it also has the greatness of giving space for all elements, other than itself, to stay. This ethereal layer, thus, is denoted as mIdhu – that which remains [in excess]. Earth and the other four elements are the reason for the existence of this universe. These elements (ethereal layer, wind fire, water and earth) are under the control of emperumAn. Along with the elements, their characteristics are also under the control of emperumAn (sound, touch etc). nammAzhwAr, in his thiruvAimozhi 6-9-1 has said “nIrAy nilanAyth thIyAyk kAlAy neduvAnAy…”(emperumAn manifests himself as water, earth, fire, wind and the expansive ethereal layer), indicating a SarIra-SarIri (body and soul) connection, with emperumAn as soul, dwelling inside these elements. Since qualities (Sabdham, rUpam etc) cannot be pervaded, we cannot give this connection between qualities and emperumAn. However, since the qualities’ saththA sthithi pravruththi (existence, position and activities) are under the control of emperumAn, they will have a connection with emperumAn through substrate-attribute manner (emperumAn is the substrate and these qualities are his attributes).

While mahAn (first effectual entity or derivative from mUla prakruthi (primordial matter)) and ahankAram (ego, the derivative from mahAn) are the causative factors for the five elements, why is it that the five elements alone are connected directly with emperumAn [and not these two entities]? thaiththirIya upanishath Anandhavalli 1 says “thasmAdh vA EthasmAdh Athmana AkASas sambhUtha AkASAdh vAyu: …….. adhbhya:pruthivI” (from such a paramAthmA, the five great elements such as ethereal layer etc came about). Just as vEdham had set aside mahAn and ahankAram which cannot be perceived by the senses and projected the five elements as causative factors for the universe, since they can be perceived by the senses, here too, only the five great elements have been identified with emperumAn directly. As mentioned in the first SlOkam (from SrI vishNu purANam) under avathArikai, haven’t sages too said that it is only the five elements, which have been mingled together, which are the reason for universe? While achith thathvams (entities without the ability to think) [such as ethereal layer, wind, fire etc] have been mentioned here, since brahmam (supreme entity, emperumAn) who is together with the subtle forms of chEthana (those with knowledge) and achEthana (those without knowledge) entities, is the causative factor for the universe which is with the gross forms of chEthana and achEthana entities, it can be said that the collection of badhdha jIvAthmAs (chEthana entities who are bound together with samsAram), which is bound with the achith thathvams, is also under the control of emperumAn. Thus, it has been affirmed with these statements that emperumAn is the material causative factor for universe, which is primordial in nature. Further [in the pAsuram], it says that he is the causative factor for all the entities within these elements.

vERu vERu thanmaiyAy – emperumAn is the indwelling soul for the four different types of living creatures such as dhEva (celestial), manushya (human), thiryak (animal) and sthAvara (immovable) entities, which are present inside the universe. While the svarUpam (basic nature) of AthmAs is one of gyAna (knowledge) and Anandha (happiness), the meaning of vERu vERu thanmai (different qualities) is that due to the effect of their karmas (past deeds), they take different physical forms such as dhEva, manushya etc.

nI nilAya vaNNam – you (refers to emperumAn) are together with chEthana and achEthana SarIrams (physical forms), in both the causative and effectual [subtle and gross] states, as their indwelling soul. In other words, despite pervading them from within and outside, the svarUpa vikAram (transformation of basic form) of achEthana entities and the svabhAva vikAram (transformation of emotions such as ignorance, sorrow etc) of chEthana entities do not affect you.

ninnai – you, who are together with chEthana and achEthana entities, and are the material causative factor for the worlds

vaNNam ninnai – the manner in which you are remaining in the world and the way that you are the materialistic causative factor for the world

Ar ninakka vallarE – who will know you, truly? Could those who follow the vaiSEshika philosophy that the joined atoms are the causative factor for the universe, know you? Could those who follow the sAnkhya philosophy that the primordial matter is the materialistic cause of the universe and that the union of chEthana and achEthana entities sustains the worlds, know you? Could the Saivaites who follow the philosophy that Sivan is the efficient cause and nArAyaNan is the materialistic cause, which goes against the grain of vEdhams since efficient cause and materialistic cause cannot be two different entities, know you? Could those who follow the bhEdhAbhEdha philosophy which states that chith, achith and ISvaran are transformations of brahmam, know you? Could those who follow mAyAvAdhi philosophy which states that everything other than brahmam, which is without any distinguishing feature, is illusion, know you? AzhwAr says that other than those who know the truthful enunciations of vEdhAnthams (upanishaths), no one else, such as those who do not believe vEdhams and those who give wrongful interpretation to vEdhams, is capable of knowing that emperumAn is the causative factor for the world.

We will next take up the 2nd pAsuram of this prabandham.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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