thiruchchandha viruththam – pAsuram 10 – thannuLE thiraiththu

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr had said that it is emperumAn who is apt to be attained by everyone and as a result of this, it is only he who is to be worshipped in order to reach mOksham (liberation from samsAram). Apart from this, as said in the pramANam (authentic text) atharvasikai “kAraNanthu dhyEya:” (only that entity, which is the causal factor, is to be meditated upon), whichever entity is the material causative factor for this world is apt to be attained. To prove that only that entity who is the material causal factor for the world is to be attained, AzhwAr cites an analogy, in this pAsuram.

thannuLE thiraiththezhundhu tharanga veN thadam kadal
thannuLE thiraiththezhundhu adanguginRa thanmai pOl
ninnuLE piRandhiRandhu niRpavum thiribavum
ninnuLE adanguginRa nIrmai ninkaN ninRadhE

Word-by-Word Meanings

thannuLE– within itself
thiraiththu– agitating
ezhum – rising
tharanga – having waves
veN – whitish
thadam – expansive
kadal– ocean
thannuLE – within itself
thiraiththu – agitating
ezhundhu – throwing out waves
adanguginRa – subsiding
thanmai pOl – like its nature
ninnuLE– within your basic nature
piRandhu – being born
iRandhu– dying
niRpavaum – stationary entities such as plant life etc
thiribavum – mobile entities (the worlds which have all these)
ninnuLE – within you
adanguginRa – subsiding
nIrmai – quality
ninkaNE – only with you
ninRadhu – is present

Simple Translation

Waves which rise up from the expansive, whitish ocean, due to agitation, fall down and subside within that ocean. In the same way, all the immobile and mobile creations which appear and die within you, subside within you. This quality is present only with you.

vyAkyAnam (Commentary)

thannuLE thiraiththezhum tharanga veN thadam kadal …….. – In the first part of the pAsuram, AzhwAr cites the analogy of the ocean which has the quality of being the causative factor [for waves]. In the second part of the pAsuram, he cites the occurrence of the same quality in emperumAn. He refers to ocean by the term thannuLE and refers to emperumAn by the term ninnuLE. Just as the activities of the waves rising up in the ocean and subsiding back in the ocean are under the control of the ocean, the activities of all the chEthanAchEthanas (entities with knowledge and without knowledge), which are part of emperumAn’s physical form, appearing and disappearing within emperumAn, are under his control.

thiraiththezhum tharangam – ocean, which is without waves initially, starts getting agitated once wind starts blowing over it. The waves rise up and spread everywhere. In a similar manner, due to the sankalpam [vow or thought] of emperumAn, during the time of creation, there is imbalance among the three qualities of sathva (noble), rajas (passion) and thamas (ignorance) in prakruthi (primordial matter) which is a small part of emperumAn’s divine form.

vEn thadam kadal – expansive ocean has the waves which are moving and white colour (in the waves) which is stationary. This is an allegory for emperumAn’s physical form where thiribavum refers to the mobile creations [entities such as celestial, human and animals/birds] while niRpavum refers to the stationary creations [such as plants, trees, mountains etc].

thannuLE thiraiththezhundhu adanguginRa thanmai pOl – similar to the quality of waves, which, being immobile when there is no wind, start agitating with each other and rise up in the ocean when wind passes over the ocean, fall back and subside within the ocean, when wind stops passing over it. Waves agitating with one another and rising in the ocean when wind blows is an example of the phenomenon of creation starting to happen due to the sankalpam of emperumAn. Similarly, the subsiding of waves back in the ocean once wind stops is an example of creation coming to an end once emperumAn’s sankalpam changes and the process of destruction sets in. This does not mean that it is referring to sAnkya matham (the philosophy of there being only two entities, prakruthi, the primordial matter and purusha, the AthmA). According to sAnkya matham, prakruthi undergoes changes and these changes get reflected in AthmA. Since changes take place only in the ocean, it could be construed that this is referring to sAnkya matham, but this is negated. In the previous pAsuram, it was mentioned that emperumAn is the one to be worshipped. This pAsuram says that since emperumAn is the material causative factor, he is to be worshipped. In other words, brahmam (emperumAn), which is together with chEthanAchEthana entities in their subtle forms (without names and physical forms), is the material causative factor for the worlds. brahmam, which is together with chEthanAchEthana entities in their gross forms (with differences in their names and physical forms) is the effectual form. This has been said in a distinguished manner in vEdhams. brahmasUthrakArar (vEdhavyAsar who wrote a treatise called as brahmasUthram which explains, among other things, that emperumAn is the causal factor for the worlds), explained this in brahma sUthram 2-1-35. “na karmAvibhAgAdhithi chEdh na, anAdhithvAdh upapadhyathE chApupalabhyathE cha” (If it is said that since there is nothing other than brahmam, before creation jIvAthmAs and their karmas are non-existent, then it is incorrect. (Since jIvAthmAs and their karmas are) timeless, even if they did not have a beginning, (since they are together with brahmam and cannot be separated from brahmam), the vEdhas’ context of inseparability is applicable. Their being without a beginning is seen in both Sruthi (vEdhams) and smrithis (texts which came about to explain the vEdhams)). When analysing chAndhOgya upanishadh, “sadhEva agra AsIth” (only sath (brahmam) was present at the beginning), it will be seen that only brahmam, referred to as sath here, was present during the time of deluge. This could be construed to say that jIvAthmAs were not there and hence, karmas were also not there. However, SvEthAsvathara upanishadh 1-9 says “gyAgyau dhvAvajAvISanISau” ((paramAthmA and jIvAthmA) were existing as omniscient and without knowledge, respectively. They existed as ISvaran (one who controls) and anISvaran (one who is without any control)).  Also, SvEthAsvathara upanishadh 6-13 says “nithyO nithyAnAm chEthanas, EkO bahUnAm yO vidhAdhI kAmAn” (For countless jIvAthmAs who are eternal, that emperumAn who is eternal and who grants all their wishes). From these pramANams (authentic texts), it is clear that jIvAthmAs and their flow of karmas are eternal and hence the earlier mentioned hypothesis that they were not present during deluge is incorrect.  Thus, the emphasis in sadhEva (only sath (brahmam or emperumAn) existed earlier) is acceptable since chEthana and achEthana entities existed [together with brahmam] without name and form in their subtle form.

It is not AzhwAr alone who had cited a single material (ocean) as an example to prove that brahmam, existing together with chEthana and achEthana entities, is the materialistic causative factor for creation. In chAndhOgya upanishad 6-1-4, it is said “yathA sOmyaikEna mruthpiNdEna sarvam mruNmayam vigyAtham syAth” (Oh child! If one knows mud, materials such as pot, lid, plate etc (made from that mud) will all be known. [In the same way, if brahmam is known, everything (made by and through it) will be known). Thus, upanishath too cited a single material (mud, in this case) as an example to prove this concept. parASara maharishi too, in SrI vishNu purANam 3-7-16 cited gold (as a single material) as an example for the same purpose. “kataka makuta karNikAdhi bhEdhai: kanakam abhEdham apIshyathE yathaikam l
sura paSu manujAdhi kalpanAbhir harir akhilAbhir udhIryathE thathaika: ll” ((In the effectual state) just as gold is considered as a single material even though armlet, crown, earrings etc made from it are considered as different materials, in the same way (in the effectual state), though celestial entities, humans, thiryak (animals and birds) are different, hari (emperumAn) is considered as one, who has all these entities together with him).

Now, AzhwAr shows the similarities between the object of comparison [ocean] and the subject of comparison [emperumAn].

ninnuLE piRandhiRandhu niRpavum thiribavum – all the stationary and moving entities which are located within your basic form, which are born from a subtle form and which die in the gross form.

ninnuLE adanguginRa nIrmai – during the start of deluge, when all the entities which originated from prakruthi go back to it. Just as it has been said in subAlOpanishadh 2 “thama: parE dhEva EkIbhavathi” (primordial matter, called as thamas, subsides in paramAthmA), the greatness of subsiding within you, the paramAthmA. Just as waves which originate from ocean subside in the ocean, all the worlds [the term world refers to all the entities which take birth in the world] which generate from you during the time of creation, subside within you during the time of deluge.

ninkaN ninRadhE – should be rearranged to read as ninkaNE ninRadhu. This is present only in you. AzhwAr emphasises through the long syllable (ninkaNE ninRadhu) that this feature of materialistic causative factor is not present in anyone else. AzhwAr proves, through an example in the tenth pAsuram, what he had said in the first pAsuram pUnilAya that emperumAn has the quality of being the materialistic causative factor for the worlds.

Next, we will take up the 11th pAsuram of this prabandham.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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