Thirumaaliruncholai – Senchor Kavikaal

இந்த பகுதியின் தமிழ் ஆக்கத்திற்கு இங்கே சொடுக்கவும்.

Now we are going through some of the details given in Thiruvaaimozhi on selected Divya Desams. First we have seen about Thiruvenkadam; followed by some details on Sri Rangam and Thirukudanthai (Kumbakonam) Aaraavamudan. After that we started the details on Thirumaaliruncholai, (Madurai Azhagar Kovil), which is also called as Southern Home in our tradition or practice. Azhwaar had compiled four pathigams on Thirumaaliruncholai, namely, Kilaroli ilamai (2.10), Mudi chothiyaai (3.1), Muneer Gnalam (3.2) and Senchor Kavikaal (10.7) and in our previous weblogs we had seen the first three and in this weblog, let us try to go through the Senchor Kavikaal pathigam .

Swami Namazhwaar started his request (“en vinnappame“) with “Poi Nindra Gnanamum, polla ozhukkum, azhuku udambum” in his Thiruvirutham and started following Perumal from then onwards.  This continued on Thiruvasiriyam and in Periya Thiruvandhaadhi.   Azhwaar contiuned to follow Perumal in Thiruvaimozhi, till Nine decads and 5 pathigams in Ten (pathaam pathu) . Thereafter, from the 6th pathigam of tenth ten and till Azhwaar completed Thiruvaimozhi, Perumal started to go with Azhwaar or followed him. The sixth pathigam of tenth ten is about the divya desam Thiruvattaaru, where Perumal appreciated the devotion of Azhwaar and wanted him to come to Thirumaaliruncholai, where He would be more relaxed and enchanted .

In this pathigam, Senchor Kavikaal, (10.7), Perumal or Paramathma, the chief deity in Thirumaaliruncholai , Azhagar, wanted to take Azhwaar along with his body, to Sri Vaikuntham or abode. But Azhwaar told Azhagar that the Vedas insisted that the body should be left here in this world and only the soul or Jeevaathma should alone be taken. On that premise, Azhwaar insisted that Azhagar only take the soul or the Jeevathmaa of the Azhwaar and leave the body in this world. Azhagar accepted the words of Azhwaar and blessed him accordingly.

Senchor Kavikaal

In this subsection, Azhwaar praises the simplicity of Perumal. Among all the glories of Perumal, Azhwaar says that His simplicity is the best. Azhwaar warns us that His simplicity, is very powerful and it is extremely difficult to survive the same. So he cautions us to keep our life to serve Him in the first hymn 10.7.1 when he mentions “uyir kaathu aat seymin”.

Seelam”, or “Simplicity” is one of the glories of Paramathma, which can be defined as a relationship in which both His superiority and our inferiority are not felt and in addition, an equal state is established during the interaction. The phrase “uyril kaathu aat sey min” (10.7.1) used by Azhwaar has a direct meaning of advising us to serve Him, after protecting our lives. But Ramanjuar, our acharyar, provided another explanation by advising us to serve Him as per His wish in order to protect His Life. According to Swami Ramanujar, our soul might melt, as sung by Thirumangai Azhwaar in Thirunedunthandagam, “neeraai urugum en aavi” when we experience His simplicity and He might go away without accepting our service. In case He goes away, we do not have anyone to whom we can submit our hymns. So Swami Ramanuja’s suggestion is that we do our service, as per His wish and protect Him.

In this Hymn, Azhwaar has coined a phase in Tamil called, “sen chor kavi” which can be expanded as

  • kavi, meaning that just arranging the words, in a nicely sounding pattern, without attaching any importance to the meaning of the sentences
  • Sorkavi, meaning writing with meaning, but more for personal benefits and
  • Senchorkavi, meaning writing about Paramathma and related matter without expecting anything in return

Azhwaar said in the next hymn(10.7.2) that Perumal was a magician (Maayan) who had come inside him and mixed with him in his heart and in the whole body, without the knowledge of the Nithyasoories who were nearby Him and in that process He wrote the whole Thiruvaaimozhi using Azhwaar as a tool. Azhwaar was very happy that he could appreciate the happiness, pride and completeness that Perumal got after such interaction. Azhwaar also concluded by saying that the hymns composed by him on Perumal were also very sweet.

In the next hymn (10.7.3) Azhwaar used the words “ennai, mutrum uyir undu” meaning that his soul was completely eaten, for the second time in this pathigam or subsection. This was explained as the amount of respect, happiness and attachment that Perumal had towards Azhwaar is as much as what He had towards Thayaar or Sri Mahalakshmi. In this hymn, Azhwaar revealed that Perumal had come inside his body and soul. Since Perumal had chosen Thirumaaliruncholai, as the place for their meeting, Azhwaar started liking Thirumaaliruncholai, the path towards Thirumaaliruncholai , the direction leading to Thirumaaliruncholai,and in short Azhwaar liked anything associated with Thirumaaliruncholai.

Perumal knew about the beauty and greatness of Thirumaaliruncholai right from the time He measured the whole world with one of His holy feet, when He took Thrivikrama incarnation. So He decided to choose Thirumaaliruncholai as the place to be with Azhwaar. In the next hymn (10.7.4), even though Azhwaar said “gnalathode nadandthu uzhakki” (meaning, walked across the world), we should remember Thrivikrama, who took the one long, big step to measure the whole world. In the same hymn, when Azhwaar said “nangal kundram kai vidaan, nangu en udalam kai vidaan” meaning that He would not let go The Hill, Thirumaaliruncholai or Azhwaar’s soul and body (Thirumeni). This is also interpreted as He enjoyed Azhwaar as much as He liked Thirumaaliruncholai.

In the next hymn(10.7.5), Azhwaar highlighted that Perumal occupied his soul and body and compiled Thiruvaaimozhi by Himself. This was very much similar to the many of His incarnations or avatars, where He protected the good and destroyed the bad, as given in “aathiyaam sothi uruvai angu vaithu ingu pirantha” (3.5.5). In the same way Thiruvaaimozhi was also compiled to protect the Vishnu devotees and to punish the atheists. The example given below was used to substantiate what Azhwaar highlighted in this hymn. Kirumi Kanda Chozhan was a king, who was against Vaishnavites and his young son, told him that Vaishnavism would survive as long as the epic Ramayana and Azhwaar’s Thiruvaimozhi exist in this world.

Before Thiruvaaimozhi was sung, no one had ever praised all the glories of Paramathma or Perumal in one place. But after Thiruvaaimozhi was sung, all the saints requested Paramathma to exhibit more of His glories, as Thiruvaaimozhi had already compiled and consolidated all His glories into it. This came out in the next hymn, (10.7.5) when Azhwaar mentioned “ennaathana ennum nan munivargal inbam thalai sirappa”. Azhwaar also confirmed that Perumal had sung about Himself in Thiruvaaimozhi, as He had filled into Azhwaar fully and sang about Himself by Himself as in “yaanaai thannai thaan paadi“. Azhwaar completed the hymn by saying that the bees in Thirumaaliruncholai sang the glories of Thiruvaimozhi and danced ecstatically.

In the next hymn (10.7.6), Azhwaar highlighted three important points. The first one is that Perumal had taken all the living and non-living things of this universe into His stomach and protected them for years during Pralayam. The point to be noted here is that Azhwaar said he was also one among them. The second point was that Perumal had given dharsan of His holy feet alone to Siva and Brahma and He did not show His holy face to them. The third point is that Perumal had given His dharsan, including His holy face to Azhwaar, as Thirumaaliruncholai Azhagar, where He enslaved Azhwaar.

In the next hymn, 10.7.7, Azhwaar appreciated the greatness of Thirumaaliruncholai, where he felt that he was accepted by Perumal. Azhwaar continued to say that it was the same place where Siva asked Perumal for His grace and it was the same place where Brahmaa, Indra and many other saints offered their prayers to Azhagar, in Thirumaaliruncholai.

Next hymn (10.7.8) is an important and interesting hymn, where Azhwaar compared himself with many divyadesams in multiple ways.

  • There are many holy lands (divya desams) in which Perumal has shown extreme happiness like Thirumaaliruncholai, Thirupaarkadal, Sri Vaikuntham and Thiruvenkadam. Azhwaar says in this hymn that He had felt similar happiness and interest when He was with Azhwaar.
  • Azhwaar’s appreciation for Thirumaaliruncholai is brought out when he mentioned Thirumaaliruncholai in the first line of the hymn itself.
  • Azhwaar compared his head with Thirumaaliruncholai and Sri Vaikuntham. Similarly he compared his body with Thiruvenkadam and Thirupaarkadal.
  • The same thing was also interpreted as the happiness that Perumal got from Azhwaar was very much equivalent to what He could have got from those holy divyadesams like Sri Vaikuntham, Thirupaarkadal, Thiruvenkadam and Thirumaaliruncholai.
  • Interestingly, Azhwaar did not use the conjunction “and” when he mentioned Sri Vaikuntham, Thirumaaliruncholai, Thiruvenkadam and Thirupaarkadal. He left them as individual places to indicate His presence in each and every place simultaneously and continuously.
  • In the same way, Perumal wanted to be with Azhwaar’s thinking, his words and his actions individually, simultaneously and completely.
  • Azhwaar was so happy and moved when he felt that Perumal was with him, in his mind, soul, body, words and deeds, without any break

In the next hymn(10.7.9), Azhwaar did one advisory note to his mind and one request to Perumal. The advisory note to his mind was not to ever forget Thirumaaliruncholai, the place where he got His complete grace and he offered his prayers for Thirumaaliruncholai to be there for ever. Perumal after listening to this, got ready to take the enlightened Azhwaar, to Sri Vaikuntham, which means that Perumal wanted to carry Azhwaar along with his body and soul. Azhwaar, based on what is told in Veda, that no one should go with this body to Srivaikuntham and hence he made a request to Perumal to let his body and soul fade away, so that he could go with Perumal to Srivaikuntham.

As Vedas say, everyone should leave their body in this world and go to sri vaikuntham. This is also told by Sri Krishna in Bhagawad Gita, “Dhaivee heshyaa gunamayee, mama maayaa turathyayaa. The same thing is told in the next hymn, 10.7.10, where Azhwaar tried to refresh or remind Perumal, about the glories of Jeevaathma, which was originally told to Azhwaar by Perumal in the subsection “Kangal Sivanthu Periya Vaai Vaayum sivanthu”(8.8) and also as given below.

  • Pancha Bhoothangal five (five natural elements) – Earth, water, fire, air and sky
  • Gyana indriyangal five (five parts of our body enabling the knowledge) – body, mouth, eyes, nose and ears
  • Karma inthiriyangal five (five parts of our body enabling the activities) – Mouth, hands, legs, two excretion points in our body
  • Thanmathiraigal five (taste, light, touching senses, sound and smell)
  • With these, four other important philosophies called Manas(Mind) , Ahankaaram (pride), Mahaan and Avyaktham (invisibility)
  • Azhwaar mentioned about the above twenty four philosophies in this hymn (10.7.10) and he brought out the fact about the jeevathmaa being tied down by these philosophies. He went on to explain the need for the jeevaathmaa to get out of these bonding, before getting abode. He concluded the hymn by requesting the chief deity of Thirumaaliruncholai to help his soul and body to fade and that would be his ultimate pleasure.

Last hymn in this subsection talks about the benefits of reciting this subsection.

  • The subsection containing the request of Azhwaar to fade his soul which included the complex philosophies such as Mahan, and Ahankaaram (pride)
  • Azhwaar took pride in compiling this subsection on Thirumaaliruncholai
  • Azhwaar had mentioned Thirumaaliruncholai in each and every hymn of this subsection, but in addition he mentioned in the eleventh hymn that all the hymns of this subsection are for Thirumaaliruncholai. This is because of the immense love, affection and the respect Azhwaar had towards Thirumaaliruncholai
  • Azhwaar mentioned that this hill (Thirumaaliruncholai) would increase the ignorance when he said “mayal migu pozhil soozh maalrincholai” in 2.10.
  • This is understood that even Azhwaar, who had acquired his knowledge from Paramathma (Mayarvara mathinalam arulinan evan avan 1.1.1) started having confusion when he started the subsection 3.1, “mudichothiyaai un muga sothi malranthathuvo
  • In addition, Paramathma, who knows everything, had also asked the Azhwaar to come to Srivaikuntham with his body and this could be due to the craze on Thirumaaliruncholai or the effect of stay in Thirumaaliruncholai
  • Among the five states that Paramathma holds, He listens and changes Himself as per the desires of His followers only in Archai (archaha paraatheena). So in Thirumaalrincholai, He listened to Azhwaar and changed Himself to support Azhwaar’s request to take him without his body.
  • These are all the reasons for Azhwaar to mention that all the ten hymns are for Thirumaaliruncholai, once again in the 11th or concluding hymn.

Azhwaar had mentioned Thirumaaliruncholai in each and every hymn of this subsection (pathigam) and also he mentioned about the state of his body in every hymn. Finally he also requested the chief deity of Thirumaaliruncholai to fade his soul and body. Since this request was accepted by Perumal, Thirumaalirincholai is considered as one of the important deities who helped Azhwaar to get his moksham . With this we offer our prayers to the chief deity of Thirumaaliruncholai, which is also the South Home of our tradition and we conclude this subject here and proceed to the next subject in our next weblog.

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