Thirumaaliruncholai – Munneer Gnalam

இந்த பதிவினை தமிழினில் படிக்க இங்கே சொடுக்கவும்.

We are currently trying to go through the experience of Azhwaar, as described in Thiruvaaimozhi, on some of the selected divyadesams.  Initially we  discussed about Thiruvenkadamudaiyaan, followed by Thiruvarangan and then Aaraavamudan of Thirukudanthai / Kumbakonam.  We also discussed briefly about what Namazhwaar says on Thirumaaliruncholai, which is traditionally called as The Southern Home of Vaishnava Sampradhayam.   Let us try to discuss some more about  the same divyadesam in this weblog.

 Munneer Gnalam

After enjoying the beauty and glories of Thirumaaliruncholai mountain, Azhwaar proceeded to explain the beauty and glories of Azhagar, the Divyadesa perumal in Thirumaaliruncholai, and he decided that it is not only him, but also all others like Brahma and scriptures like Vedas would not be able to describe Him completely. In this subsection or pathigam, Azhwaar expressed his concerns on how and when he would have the dharsan of Azhagar. For this Perumaal responded to him, by asking Azhwaar to come and have the dharsan of Him in Thiruvenkadam, which is in the north of Tamil Nadu.

  • In the first two hymns, Azhwaar regrets how he could reach Him, while he did not use his limbs and body that were given by Him, in the right way.
  • In the third hymn, Azhwaar requests Perumal to show him a way that would be known only to Him, as he was very confident that he could not get rid of the sins by himself and reach Him.
  • In the fourth hymn, Azhwaar requests Perumal to give him His Holy feet, without considering his lowly worth.
  • In the fifth hymn, Azhwaar tries to solicit from Perumal on how He could not give His blessings or dharsan to Azhwaar, after making Azhwaar aware of His glories.
  • In the sixth hymn, Azhwaar makes a statement that if his worth alone was considered, he would not never get His blessings. At the same time, if His glories were considered, then no one would ever miss.
  • In the seventh hymn, Azhwaar concluded that there was no point for him in aspiring for His holy feet, as his heart did not break in spite of knowing the greatness of His holy feet.
  • In the eighth hymn, Azhwaar regretted that he did not follow any of the paths that could take him abode, like Karma or Bakthi or Gnana and he hence he felt that he did not have the right to request for His help.
  • In the ninth hymn, Azhwaar regretted that he missed incarnation of Krishna when He protected one and all by holding the Govardhan mountain. Similarly he missed Vamana incarnation when he provided His holy feet to all in this universe without anyone asking for the same. Azhwaar was worried on how to reach Him after missing Him in the above incarnations.
  • After listening to the above, Perumal. asked Azhwaar to come and visit Him in Thiruvenkadam.

Let us now see a few details on the some of the hymns to understand the dexterity of Azhwaar in this pathigam.

In the first hymn (3.2.1), Azhwaar regretted that he spent his life without using his limbs and body that were gifted to him by His kindness, in a right way. In other words, he should have used the limbs to pray Him and get abode, but instead he went ahead with the ways in which his limbs had forced to him to travel.

In the first hymn (3.2.1), Azhwaar called “muneer gnalam“, meaning that this world is surrounded by the sea, which has a combination of three types of water, namely, river water, spring water and rain water. In Tamil ‘mun’ also means ‘before’, which is interpreted as the sequence of creation of the whole Universe, namely, the water came ahead of the earth. The sequence of creation of this Universe is sky, air, fire, water and then earth.

Azhwaar uses the name “Mugilvannan” for Perumal, even though He has hundreds of names. The reason for this is, Mugil in Tamil means Cloud, which gives water without expecting anything. In the same way, Perumal, with His kindness, created the whole earth and gave us the body. Azhwaar also called Him as “Em Mugilvannan”, which means that Perumal created the whole world for Azhwaar and in spite of that he spent the life without offering his prayers to Him in the past.

In the next hymn (3.2.2), Azhwaar talks about Vamana Incarnation, where He offered His holy feet to all without anyone asking for abode and his misfortune of missing that opportunity. In this hymn, Azhwaar calls the earth as “vanmaa vaiyam” meaning that this is tough world. The toughness is due to

  • the earth contains mountains and forests
  • Perumal measured such tough world with His soft holy feet
  • Perumal came to this world in a very simple way, as Vamana, in spite of His excessive glories and reputation and still the whole world did not melt
  • Perumal took Vamana incarnation due to Mahabali, whose arrogance made it difficult for anyone to enter his kingdom

Like the previous hymn, Azhwaar used “em Vamana” to indicate that the Vamana incarnation was for himself and still he missed.

In the next hymn, (3.2.3), Azhwaar talks about the kindness of Perumal, when He took the Krishna incarnation to provide abode for those, who missed His blessings during the Vamana incarnation. In this hymn Azhwaar says that Krishna incarnation was also for him, when he mentioned “iru nila thavitha enthaai“.

Another interesting point in this hymn is the usage of the words “Kollaamaakol, kolai seitha Bharatha por” (3.2.3). The word Kollaamaakol in Tamil means that this stick will not be used for killing. Krishna used a whip to direct the horses that drove the chariot of Krishna and Arjuna. With the whip in His hand, He almost killed everyone in the great war, called in the epic Mahabharatham. At the end of the war, only Aswaththaama and Krubhacharyar alone survived in the opposition and Dharama and his brothers alone survived in the other side. This is mentioned in the twelve thousand Ettu SriSukthi as “only four or five people on one side and one or two in the other side survived at the end of the war”

In the next hymn, “soozhchi gnana sudar oli aaki” (3.2.4), the word Soozhchi means that He is spread all over. Azhwaar uses the word “Enthaai” meaning that Perumaal spread Himself everywhere only for Azhwaar. Azhwaar continued to say that Paramathmaa show His kindness to even those who disliked Him, by keeping Himself within them as Antharyaami.  Still Azhwaar regretted that he missed opportunity to get His blessings during both Vamana and Krishna incarnations and requests Paramathma to do an incarnation for Azhwaar.

In continuation to this hymn, Paramathma responded to Azhwaar by saying that he would not have time, as Krishna incarnation took one hundred years and Rama incarnation took Eleven Thousand years. Azhwaar understood and requested Paramathma to do a short appearance like He showed to Prahalatha (in Narasimha incarnation) or to Gajendran, the elephant, when He saved its life. With that Azhwaar wondered how he could come and have the dharsan of Paramathma with his own efforts, if He did not appear, by saying “yaan unnai engu vanthu anukirpen” (3.2.5).

In the next hymn Azhwaar highlights the glories of perumaal by saying “Par Pallaayiram uyir seitha Parama” (3.2.6), meaning that He created the whole with so many thousand lives. Along with that Azhwaar also mentioned his lowly worthiness by saying “arpa saarangal avai suvaithu agandru ozhinthen” meaning that Azhwaar was tasting the worldly pleasures and moved away from Him. By this Azhwaar says that it is not at all difficult for Perumal, who has so much greatness, to change his worthiness. At the same time, it will be impossible for Azhwaar to get abode only based on his merits. Azhwaar was trying to get a response on when he would get abode. In this hymn, Azhwaar has used the name “Parama” which could be referring to “Paramaswami“, which is one of the names of Azhagar in Thirumaaliruncholai.

In this hymn (3.2.6), Azhwaar highlighted the glories of His holy feet, by saying “Nin Nan Pon Sothi Thaal”. As a continuation in the next hymn, Azhwaar highlighted the glory of Krishna, by saying that He as spread Himself everywhere, He knows everything, He has the brightness, sheen and splendor of the light which is the representation of Wisdom. Azhwaar’s concern was that when we do not have the real knowledge, how could we approach Paramathma, who is a form of complete knowledge. In Vishnu Puranam, (one of the eighteen important essays), the true knowledge is defined as the knowledge on Paramathma and all other knowledge is classified as Ignorance.

In the next hymn, Azhwaar says that he did not practice Karma yogam or bakthi yogam, the two out of three ways in which one could reach Him, when he mentioned “mevu thunba vinaigalai viduthumilen“(3.2.8) and “ovuthal indri un gazhal vanangitrilen” (3.2.8). Since azhwaar had mentioned about Karma yogam and bakthi yogam, it is understood “the gnana yogam” the third way was also included in this hymn.

In this pathigam (3.2) also, there is no direct mention about Thirumaaliruncholai. Our acharyaars have classified this pathigam to Thirumaaliruncholai Azhagar. So, Azhwaar, in Thiruvaaimozhi, had started talking about Azhagar in 2.10 (kilaroli ilamai), continued in 3.1 (mudi sothi) and 3.2 (muneer gnalam) subsections, which we have seen so for. Azhwaar recalled Thirumaaliruncholai Azhagar again in subsection 10.7, Senchorkavikaal which we will try to see in our next weblog.

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