thiruchchandha viruththam – pAsuram 115 – aththanAgi annaiyAgi

SrI: SrImathE SatakOpAya nama: SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama: SrImadh varavara munayE nama:

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the previous pAsuram, AzhwAr had instructed his heart to think that only emperumAn’s divine feet are the means. In response, his heart told him “Just as it has been said in chAndhOgya upanishath 3-14-2 ‘avAkyanAdhara:’ (paramAthmA (supreme entity) is one who does not speak to anyone, due to his majestic nature and who is without any regard (towards any entity)), emperumAn does not expect anyone [to help him]. We have accumulated many karmas (deeds) which will make us to take many births. Once we think that his divine feet are our means, will he come to protect us?” feeling sad. Addressing that sadness, AzhwAr responds in this pAsuram “emperumAn has all relationships with us; with that as the reason, he will remove all our hurdles; he considers granting himself to us as his benefit”. just as emperumAn had given us refuge, as in bhagavath gIthA 18-66 “sarvadharmAn parithyajya mAmEkam SaraNam vraja l aham thvA sarva pApEbhyO mOkshayishyAmi mA Sucha: ll” (Giving up all righteous paths (which are considered as means), along with their impressions, attain me alone as the means; I will liberate you from all your sins; do not grieve), AzhwAr gives refuge to his heart.

aththanAgi annaiyAgi ALum empirAnumAy
oththovvAdha palpiRappu ozhiththu nammai AtkoLvAn
muththanAr mugundhanAr pugundhu nammuL mEvinAr
eththinAl idarkkadal kidaththi Ezhai nenjamE

Word-by-Word Meanings

muththanAr – as one who is in mOksham
mugundhanAr – being called as mukundhan, since he grants mOksham
oththu – appearing to be identical due to knowledge being the basic nature
ovvAdha – appearing to be different, due to differences in the species of birth such as dhEva etc.
palpiRappu – various births of ours
ozhiththu – removing them
nammai AtkoLvAn – in order to take us as his servitors
aththanAgi – as father
annaiyAgi – as mother too
ALum empirAnumAy – being the lord, having us as servitors
pugundhu – pervading us
nammuL – with us
mEvinAr – mingled
Ezhai nenjamE – Oh ignorant heart!
eththinAl – for what reason
idarkkadal – in the ocean of grief
kidaththi – are you remaining?

Simple Translation

emperumAn, who is in mOksham, is called as mukundhan since he grants us mOksham. He removes various births of ours in which we remain as identical because of having knowledge as basic nature, as well as remain different due to the species in which we are born, such as dhEva etc. He is our father, he is our mother too and he is the lord, having us as his servitors. Oh, ignorant heart! For what reason are you remaining in the ocean of grief?

vyAkyAnam (Commentary)

aththanAgi – as father, who does only good for his children

annaiyAgi – as mother, who does only what they like.  A mother will not do the help which a father does. The father will not do the help which the mother does. The indication is that emperumAn alone does both types of help. Doesn’t mahAbhAratham AraNya parvam 192-56 also say “sarvEshAmEva lOkAnAm pithA mAthA cha mAdhava: l gachchadhvamEnam SaraNam SaraNyam purusharshabhA: ll” (Oh, the best among men! For all the worlds, it is only lakshmInAthan (emperumAn, the divine consort of SrI mahAlakshmi) who is the lord. Take refuge under him who is apt to be taken refuge under)? There is another way to consider the meanings of these two verses:

aththanAgi annaiyAgi – the indication is that he creates knowledge and nurtures the created knowledge. Isn’t the AchAryan who creates knowledge considered as father, as mentioned in the verse “uthpAdhaka brahmapithrOr garIyAn brahmadha: pithA“\ (Between the biological father and the father who gave instructions about brahmam, it is only he who gave instructions about brahmam, is considered as eminent)? When the meaning is considered to be in this manner, it explains the verse gyAnamAgi seen in the previous pAsuram.

ALum empirAnumAy – as my lord, who makes me as his servitor. When desire is created from the knowledge referred to earlier, he will be the lord who makes me as his servitor. Through these three relationships, it is indicated that emperumAn remains as our relative in all the ways. Has it not been mentioned in subAlOpanishath 16 “mAthA pithA bhrAthA nivAsa: SaraNam suhruth gathir nArAyaNa:” (nArAyaNan remains as the mother, father, brother, residence, means to attain mOksham, friend and one who is attained in mOksham) as well as in periya thirumozhi pAsuram 1-1-6 “empirAn endhai ennudaich chuRRam enakkarasu ennudai vAzhnAL” (He is my benefactor, my father, relative in all ways, my lord and the sustainer of my life)?

oththovvAdha palpiRappu ozhiththu nammai AtkOLvAn –What is the reason for remaining as my relative in all these ways? Through the next two lines, AzhwAr says that it is to remove our hurdles and to accept kainkaryam from us, in line with our basic nature.

oththovvAdha palpiRappu ozhiththu – being discernible as celestial, human, animal and plant species, removing countless births in each of these species. The term oththu ovvAdha refers to the identical nature of AthmasvarUpam (basic nature of AthmA) on the one hand; on the other hand, to a jIvAthmA, the birth of a child etc is desirable while the birth of enemy is undesirable. Alternatively, this could be construed as being identical through one form and being different through another form. The indication is that while all the jIvAthmAs are identical since they have knowledge as their basic nature, when looked at in terms of their forms, they differ as celestial, human, animal and plant species. Has it not been mentioned in mudhal thiruvandhAdhi 49 “magizhalagonRE pOl mARum pal yAkkai” (just as the seed of magizham tree [a flower bearing tree, which has a sweet fragrance] can be kept in a restricted area or an expansive place, the AthmA, based on its karma, could enter either the body of an ant or of a brahmA), taking births repeatedly?

nammai AtkoLvAn – in order to accept kainkaryam [servitude] from us, who have been samsAris since time immemorial, just as he accepts kainkaryam from nithyasUris; since his [AzhwAr’s] divine mind has been with him in all the births, starting with the first birth during creation, he is including his mind too along with him and uses the term nammai [us].

muththanAr – one who does not have even the impression of samsAram in him. When referring to those who had got liberated, the term mukthar is used. This will mean that the person had been in samsAram and has got rid of it at one point of time. In emperumAn’s matter, it is not the case of pradhvamsAbhAvam (present at one point of time and disappearing at another point of time); instead, it is the case of prAgabhAvam (never present at all) when it comes to connection with samsAram. Isn’t emperumAn always the opposite of anything which is lowly? Through this verse, the distinction with mukthas has been mentioned.

mugundhanAr – Since the syllable mu refers to mukthi (liberation) and the syllable ku refers to earth, from etymology, mukum – “mukthibhUmim dhadhAthi ithi mukundha:” this term would refer to one who grants the land of liberation. Since nithyasUris, who have had no connection with samsAram since time immemorial, have not been differentiated through the term muththanAr, this term [mugundhanAr] by bringing in the ability for emperumAn to grant mOksham, which nithyasUris do not have, differentiates nithyasUris from emperumAn. Thus, through the two terms [muththanAr and mugundhanAr] emperumAn’s being complete with qualities such as gyAna, Sakthi etc which are needed to remove our hurdles and his magnanimity in granting mOksham have been mentioned.

pugundhu nammuL mEvinAr – just as bhagavath gIthA SlOkam 16-19 mentions “thAnaham dhvishatha:krUrAn samsArEshu narAdhamAn l kshipAmyajas, aSubhAnAsurIshvEva yOnishu ll”
(I push those who hate me, who are cruel, who are the lowliest among humans and who are inauspicious, into samsAram, that too in monstrous clans), in our hearts, where we have been acting in such a way that emperumAn had given up on us for a very long time, emperumAn entered and mingled with us harmoniously. AzhwAr says that without looking at our lowliness and his eminence, affirming that he will take responsibility for all our deeds, emperumAn pervaded his mind.

eththinAl idarkkadal kidaththi – why are you immersed in the ocean of sorrow? Is it because we know everything which will be beneficial for us and he does not know? Is it because we have the strength to carry out beneficial acts for us and he does not have? Is it because we have the qualification to carry out our activities ourselves and he does not have that qualification? When we are ignorant, incapable and without any qualification and he is omniscient, omnipotent and fully qualified, and when he is ready to help us without looking at his eminence and comes down to our low levels to help us, why are you languishing in the ocean of sorrow?

Ezhai nenjamE – Oh ignorant heart! Before engaging with matters related to emperumAn, you did not feel even sorry that “We are without any connection with him” and were in an ignorant state, thinking as if you were sitting atop an elephant. Now, after engaging with him, after he has taken responsibility for our actions, feeling sorrowful is only an act of ignorance, says the AzhwAr.

Ezhaiyar – without knowledge.

The pAsuram has to be rearranged as “muththanAr mugundhanAr – oththovvAdha palpiRappu ozhiththu nammai AtkoLvAn – aththanAgi annaiyAgi Alum empirAnumAy – pugundhu nammuL mEvinAr; Ezhai nenjamE – eththinAl idarkkadal kidaththi”.

Next, we will take up the 116th pAsuram of this prabandham.

adiyEn krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan

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