இந்த பதிவினை தமிழில் படிக்க இங்கே சொடுக்கவும், நன்றி
As the saying goes ” Thirumaalai (the prabandham) ariyaadhaar, Thirumaalaye (Perumalai) ariyaadhaar”, we all need to learn and understand Thirumaalai , sung by Thondaradipodi Azhwaar, to know about Perumal.
In the first three hymns of this Divyaprabandham, Azhwaar enjoys the experiences, graced by Perumal on him. These first three hymns, we discussed them in two of our earlier weblogs. In the next subsection, consisting of eleven hymns, from 4th to 14th, Azhwaar is preaching us his experience with Paramathmaa.
The following are the possible reasons why Azhwaar, started preaching his experience, instead of continuing his experiences with Paramathmaa.
With these, let us proceed to the next hymn.
moitha val vinaiyul nindru, moondru ezhuthu udaiya peraal, kathira bandhum andre, paraangathi kandu kondaan, ithanai adiyanaarku, irangum nam aranganaaya, pithanaip petrum antho, piraviyul pinangumaare (Thirumaalai 4)
Azhwaar was very concerned and worried about us, that we were not doing the Thirunama sankeerthanam, reciting the holy names of Perumal, Who on any day, could award the supreme position, the abode, to even to those like Kshathirabandu, who had committed many grave sins. The result being that we were to take the painful and continuous cycle of birth and death.
The following are the explanations given by Periyavaachanpillai, who wrote the commentary for Thirumaalai, for the word “moitha” in the hymn.
Azhwaar used the suffix ‘ul’ instead of ‘il’, in the phrase “val vinai ul” to stress the enormity of the sins that we commit. The suffix ‘ul’ means that the sins suppress us very deep so that we could never come out. The suffix ‘il’ may give a lighter meaning that the sins are at surface level.
Azhwaar did not use any specific name explicitly, like Vishnu, Kesava or Govinda, when he mentioned ‘a three syllable name’ (“Moondru ezhuthu udaiya peraal”) in the hymn. It was a with a purpose and hope that people would come to him to know what was the name that Azhwaar tried to mention in the hymn. It was much similar to Periyazhwaar, who used a similar strategy to hide the name in his Periyazhwaar Thirumozhi, 4.7.10, when he mentioned “Moondru ezhuthu adhanai, moondru ezhuthu adhanaal“. Another hymn that provides similar understanding, is from Thiruvaaimozhi, by Swami Namazhwaar, when he mentioned, “kedum idar aaya ellaam kesava enna” (10.2.1), as per below.
It is interesting to note the above meanings of the hymn Namazhwaar is very close to the meanings of the hymn by Thondaradipodi azhwaar.
When we think about the amount of sins we had committed or the outcome of those sins, we would doubt, whether the power of Thirunamam is good enough to clear these sins. But Azhwaar is very confident that any one of the letters of the Thirunamam itself is capable of wiping out our sins totally and hence used “three letters” (Moondru ezhuthu), instead of “a word”.
Azhwaar used the word “peraal“, meaning the names, in stead of the word Mantra, so that any one can recite the holy names of Sri Vishnu and without any prerequisites, unlike Mantras which require some rules to be followed, to recite them.
Brahmins, who are involved in the lowly activities, are called Brahmabandu. Similarly the Kshatriyas who are involved in the lowly activities are called Kshatrabandu. Azhwaar quoted that one such Kshatrabandu got the highest position of abode (Moksham), just because he recited the name Govinda, as mentioned in the book Vishnu Dharmam. Rishis hated the name Kshatrabandu, whenever it was uttered in their group, as he had tortured many rishis in the past. Similarly the Srivaishnavites loathe the name “Nalooran”, whenever mentioned in their group, because, “Nalooran” was the reason for Koorathazhwan, the primary sishya of Srimad Ramanuja, to lose his eyes, by a king, called Krimikanda Cholan. Nalooran episode was highlighted by Periyavaachanpillai in his commentary.
The benefit we get from reciting the holy names of Sri Vishnu (namasankeerthanam) is to get rid off our sins. It bestows more benefits than that and provides Aiswaryam (material benefits) and Kaivalyam(relief from this world, but not exactly moksham). Namasankeerthanam, in addition to the above, bestows the biggest benefit that is enjoyed by Nithyasoories, that is, being with Paramathmaa and serving Him all the times. This is the reason why Azhwaar called this benefit of getting Paramapatha or abode, as “paraangathi“.
The glory of reciting Thirunamam is that it graces the benefit of Srivaikuntam to the Jeevaathmaas. Azhwaar here used the word “Kandukondaan” rather than ‘kandupidithan‘. ‘kandukondaan‘ in Tamil means that the knowledge is regained, rather than gaining the knowledge fresh. That is it is not something new, but that is existing currently. The knowledge of attaining abode is something that the jeevathmaas had forgotten in between, but they knew that they were eligible for that benefit. This is similar to a pearl regaining its sheen after cleansing the mud that was smeared on that, or like the appearance of water after digging a pit. These do not mean that the pearl did not have the sheen earlier or water was not there before. The appearance of sheen and the water shows that they are not created then, but just brought to the notice of the people around.
To summarise, the benefits of reciting the holy names of Sri Vishnu (Thirunama vaibhavam) will give abode, back to the Jeevathmaas, who are eligible for it, but that knowledge of the same was misplaced by them, before reciting the holy names.
Even after giving Moksham to Jeevathmaas, Perumal feels that He did not do much to them. So Azhwaar calls Thiruvarangan, as “irangum nam Arangan”. We can recall, the same thing being mentioned by Swami Namazhwaar in one of his hymns, “un adiyaarku en seiven endru iruthi” (Periya Thiruvanthaathi, 53).
Azhwaar called Thiruarangan as “Pithan“, meaning insane.
For the above reasons, Thondaradipodi azhwaar calls Thiruvarangan as Pithan.
To summarise, Azhwaar cries and laments that the jeevathmaas are going towards disaster, whereas they are supposed to be equivalent or eligible to be in a place like the gem worn by Paramathmaa, on His chest, called Kausthubha Mani.
Pendiraal sugangal uyppaan, periyadhor idumbai poondu, undu iraa kidakkum pothu, udaluke karaindhu naindhu, thann thuzhaai maalai maarban, thamargalaai paadi aadi, thondu poondu amutham unna thozhumbar, soru ugakkumaare (Thirumaalai 5)
Like all other Thirumaalai hymns, this hymn is also easy to understand but contains deep inner meanings.
In the previous hymn, Azhwaar was concerned about jeevathmaas indulging in wordly pleasures which were the cause of our miseries and leaving out the deeds around Perumal, which would bring them ever lasting benefits.
In this hymn, Azhwaar highlights that the worldly pleasures that we obtain using our body are temporary in nature, low and difficult to get, whereas the divine endeavors towards Perumal bring benefits which are permanent, easy to get and more enjoyable.
Even though Azhwaar stated “Pendiraal Sugangal uyppaan“, meaning that men enjoyed the pleasure of being with women, it is equally applicable to women that they get pleasure in the company of men. Azhwaar also stated that these pleasures are like :
All these cause pain and they are the reasons for our miseries. However Thondaradipodi azhwaar says that Jeevathmaas think that these are pleasures and reason for being happy. Namazhwaar in his hymn (9.11) talked about “Konda Pendir ” to appreciate the women at home, who support devotional activities. The other type of women, show their love, affection and care towards men, only till the time the men have money and wealth. Since the focus and objective of both parties are different, both would not get the ultimate pleasure or happiness. One was expecting love and affection, whereas the other was looking for money and wealth.
When Azhwaar stated “Periyadhor idumbai poondu“, it is explicit that we go through major difficulties for lowly benefits, but getting the blessings of Perumal, the ultimate benefit is obtained with least efforts. Even if we put our hands together (called anjali) and pray to Him, He mellows down and melts like water for that simple act of anjali. Vedantha Desikan, one of the aacharyaars, quoted that the word ‘anjali’ is split into two parts, one ‘a’ denoting Perumal and the other ‘jali‘ meaning that Perumal melts like water, when we do ‘anjali’.
Azhwaar summarised the following points and called the jeevathmaas as those who became subservient to the body, in stead of paying attention to the soul.
Hence he used the phrase “udaluke karaindhu naindhu“, meaning that we take so much care of our physical form.
Azhwaar said that there are not many rituals to be followed in getting the experience of Paramathmaa / Perumal. This was the explanation given by Periyavaachanpillai for “Paadi aadi”. What all needed was, that we agree to the natural bonding between Him and us, through which we become His servant all the times.
Fifty fifth slokam from Stotra ratnam, written by Sri Aalavandhaar, one of our aacharyars, is quoted as reference by Sri Periyavaachanpillai, when he explained the phrase “Amutham unna” in this hymn. In that slokam, Aalavandhaar, requested Perumal that he would prefer to be born even as a worm in the house of the jeevathmaas who serve perumal and get satisfaction out of that, rather to be born as Bhramha elsewhere.
When Azhwaar mentioned “thozhumbar soru ugakumaare“, it was to highlight that those lowly people who did not understand the sweetness of the experience of Paramathmaa and those who concentrate on the lowly materialistic values in this world.
In this hymn, azhwaar takes another opportunity to preach the jeevathmaas, that we should not consider those experiences, which are the main reasons for our miseries as pleasures.
maram suvar madhil eduthu, marumaike verumai poondu, puram suvar otai maadam, puralum pothu ariya maateer; aram suvar aagi nindra aranganaarku aat seiyaathey, puram suvar kolam seythu, pull kavva kidakindreere
When azhwaar said that all the worldly pleasures were not permanent and they all had so many shortcomings, in the previous hymn, jeevathmaas like us admitted that but again compromised to take up those small temporary pleasures and started moving away from Azhwaar. Azhwaar called them back and preached them that like those pleasures that were not permanent, the body itself was not permanent and this was brought out in this hymn.
The Tamil word “aram” means dharama and here azhwaar used the word ‘maram‘ as an opposite word to aram. When azhwaar said “maram suvar mathil eduthu”, it means that a person who surrounds himself/ herself with a wall made up of being proud, imperious, angry and cruel. When surrounded by such a wall, that person refused to take the good words of people around him, like the king Ravana, in Ramayanam, refused to listen to Maareechan, Maalyavaan, Kumbakarnan and Vibhishnan. In Bhagawat Geetha 13.7, gives the following as the good attributes that one should have :
As we discussed earlier, everyone of us should give up all the outcome of our activities (karmas) and try to reach Brahmam, as given in the Vedas. Paramathma gave us the limbs, mind and intelligence, with an expectation that we use them to do good deeds in this life, the results of which are carried beyond this life. When we go through the history of Periyazhwaar, we can understand this better. One yogi, told the king Vallabadevan that every person should understand Paramathmaa in this life and they should keep thinking about Him throughout their lives so that they can have eternal happiness even after this life. Based on the above only, King Vallabadevan wanted to know who Paramathmaa was and he asked his guru Selvanambi about the same. They decided to announce an award for the person who could clarify the king’s question. Periyazhwaar came to the king’s court and explained to the king who Paramathmaa was. Later Perumal appearing in the sky on Garudan, His Bird vehicle and Periyazhwaar singing the Thirupallandu was a sweet anecdote.
Verumai in Tamil means nil. Since we do many bad deeds during our lifetime and we do not do any significant good deeds for ourselves beyond our current life, Azhwaar called that as “marumaike verumai poondu“. Periyavaachanpillai highlighted the meaning of Varaha Charama Slokam here, “sthithe manasi“. The meaning of the above charama slokam is, if we think about Him sincerely for a few seconds, when we are healthy, He considers such acts and takes us to Moksham, when we would be aged and be like a wooden log. Similar point was highlighted by Swami Nammazhwaar “avan naadum nagaramum nangudan kaana nalanidai oordhi panni, veedum peruthi than moovulagukum tharum oru naayagame” (Thiruvaaimozhi, 3.10.11), meaning that He would do whatever we need to do, as though they were His responsibilities.
Instead of paying attention and doing good things to the valuable ‘soul’, which is inside us, we concentrate on the outer body, Azhwaar called this as “Puram suvar“. We think that this body is permanent and stable, but actually our body is a temporary hut and azhwaar combined the both by calling “otai maadam“. Since we do not know how long we are going to live, azhwaar called that as “puralum pothu ariya maateer“.
Azhwaar worshiped Aranganathan as “aram suvar aagi nindra“, meaning that He is Dharma, He protects Dharama and it is His nature to be in line with Dharma. In Ramayanam, one of the demons, Maareechan, praised Rama, as a form of Dharama, when he mentioned “Ramo Vigrahavaan Dharma“. Similarly in Mahabharatham, there is a quote stating that brahmins who knew the vedas well and those who understood the importance of inner soul, would treat Lord Krishna as Dharma. (“Krishnam dharmam sanaathanam“). Azhwaar pointed out that Sri Ranganathan is the wall of Dharama (Aram Suvar), as he has taken a vow to make sure that till each and every one of us is taken abode, He would not move out of the banks of the river Cauvery in Srirangam.
Since we are carrying out sinful activities continuously without admitting that we are servants to Paramathmaa, we become subservient to our karmas. This is highlighted by Azhwaar as “Aat seiyaathey“.
To beautify the inner soul is the way to devote ourselves to Him. Instead we are beautifying our external body, which was compared to keeping rodents in a beautifully built new house. This is how “puram suvar kolam seidhu” was explained by Periyavaachanpillai.
Azhwaar highlighted that even the birds which are carnivorous, would not feed on such peoples’ flesh after they die. This is highlighted by azhwaar with words “pull kavva” in Tamil, referring that the birds are just holding the flesh, in stead of using the word “unna” which could have meant that the birds were ready to eat. This is sung as “Pull Kavva kidakkindreere“. Periyavaachanpillai explained this as these people had disregarded Thiruvarangan at Srirangam, even though He was very near to them when they were alive, and in the same way the birds had rejected their bodies after they were dead.
The question here is whether Azhwaar had advised them when they were alive or after their death. Periyavaachanpillai confirmed that Azhwaar advised them when they were alive, by bringing out the Ramayanam as example, where Thiruvadi (Hanuman) cautioned King Ravana, when he was alive, that both Ravana and Srilanka would be destroyed if he continued his animosity towards Sri Rama. Another example taken was from Mahabharatham, where Veda Vyasar was walking around the bodies of Kauravas in the battlefield. Here Veda Vyasar was lamenting that the Kauravas when alive, were not heeding to his advice and which led to all of their death in the war.
The next four hymns of Thirumaalai by Thondaradipodi azhwaar was a small interesting and thought provoking subsection, which we will discuss in our next weblog.