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 more and more about Perumal.
In the first three hymns of this Divyaprabandham, Azhwaar enjoyed 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 Paramaathma. Of those hymns, we discussed the fourth, fifth and sixth hymns in our previous weblog. As a continuation, we will see further interesting aspects of Azhwaar’s advice in this weblog.
Pulai aramaagi nindra puthodu samanam ellaam, kalaiyara katra maandhar kaanbaro ketparo thaam, thalai aruppundum saaven sathiyam kaanmin aiya, silaiyinaal ialangai setra devane devan aavaan (Thirumaalai 7)
Azhwaar had condemned / criticised people like us as we were not interested in doing service to Him (thondu poondu amutham unnaa thozhumbar). Hence, when such people are dead, their bodies would be left unattended and grabbed by birds (please note that Azhwaar states that those carnivorous birds, are not even interested in feeding on these bodies, but just hold them) (when pull kavva kidakinreere) in the previous hymns. People like us responded to Azhwaar that it was pointless in criticizing them, as it was natural for them to be like that, as Paramapadha naathan (Thann thuzhaai maalai maarban) is in a place not approachable by human beings and there are many obstacles in reaching Him. So people requested Azhwaar to tell them,
In this hymn, Azhwaar responded promptly by stating that Sri Rama, who took the incarnation as a human being in this world and Whose natural attribute removed the obstacles for many during His incarnation is Paramaathma and directed us to follow or reach Sri Rama.
Azhwaar in the first sentence of the hymn, explicitly stated that we should completely avoid and reject people who are against the principles of Vedas or who misinterpret and preach the wrong meanings for Vedas. We should not talk, meet or see them and this had been practised on those days. An interesting incident is highlighted in the commentary by Sri Periyavaachaanpillai. Once Koorthazhwaan, the foremost disciple of Sri Ramanuja, got delayed reaching home, as he spent some time listening to an argument from a book “ishta sidhi” on a different religion. His father cleansed him with holy water (sri padha theertham) and advised that Thondaradipoidi azhwaar had clearly stated that “kalaiyara katra maandhar kaanbaro ketparo thaam”, meaning those who had learnt the Vedas well, would neither listen nor even pay attention to them. His father questioned Koorathazhwaan on why he wasted his time. Periyavaachaan Pillai paid rich tributes to Koorathazhwaan, as being the only example for ‘Kalaiyara katra maandhar‘. Koorathazhwaan was an example, because Kalaiyara katra maandhar means
Thondaradipodi azhwaar made a strong statement in this hymn, when he highlighted that Sri Rama is Paramaathma and we should all understand that. He vowed that he would not die even if his head being cut-off. The reason is that Sri Rama is Paramaathma and we should be convinced of that fact, at least after listening to his promise. There are two types of usage of a word in this hymn, Saaven or Saagen, but the meaning for both is the same. People now convinced with Azhwaar’s promise were ready to accept and listen to Azhwaar’s words.
Lakshmana believed fully that Sri Rama was the one who followed all dharmas, (rules as per vedas) who followed the truth all the times and who was an unparalleled warrior. Hence Lakshmana vowed on those beliefs, in Ramayana that his arrow would cut off the head of Inderjit, son of Ravana, who in turn had got a boon that nobody could get his head cut off. But still, Laksman’s arrow cut the head of Inderjit, proving that all the beliefs of Lakshmana about Sri Rama were true.
The demigods who granted boons to Ravana to enhance his powers, were afraid of Ravana and they wanted to protect their positions. So they went to Perumal and requested Him to help them save their positions. Perumal promised to help them and hence He took incarnation as Sri Rama in this world and went on to destroy Lanka with His bow. Azhwaar said in the subsequent line of the hymn that we should follow that Rama. Had Perumaal destroyed Ravana by His Sankalpam from Srivaikuntham (Paramapadham), no one would have known who killed Ravana. Since Rama did that in front of all, everyone including those who gave boons to Ravana, would be convinced that Rama alone would be the God who could protect all of us.
After killing Ravana, Rama stood glowing as a warrior. Hence Azhwaar called Him as ” devane“. Azhwaar continued to state that He is our ultimate God and concluded with “He (devane), devan aavaan“, meaning that such a Warrior is Paramaathma. With these, let us move on to the next hymn.
veruppodu samanar mundar vidhiyil, saakiyargal ninpaal, poruppu ariyanagal pesil povathe noyathaagi, kurippu enaku adaiyumaagil, koodumel, thalaiyai aange aruppadhe karumam kandaai, arangamaa nagarulaane (Thirumaalai 8)
In the last hymn, Azhwaar clarified that Sri Rama is Paramaathma and we should all follow Him. Still people like us, did not listen to the words of Azhwar. We continued to lead the life with usual activities such as eating, sleeping and continued to make unbearable words about Aranganathan. Azhwaar concluded that these activities were due to attraction or involvement in the other religions. The above is a short summary of this hymn.
Azhwaar says that either himself or anyone who believes in Sriman Narayanan, can not tolerate any demeaning words against Him, as He is the Supreme and the best of all who possess good qualities. So Azhwaar used the word ‘poruppariyana‘, in Tamil, which are generic set of words to indicate reproach against Arangan, without mentioning the exact words, as he did not want to mention those words through his mouth. The following are similar instances, where other Azhwaars did not want to mention such words :
There was a virtuous Srivaishnavar by name, Pillai Thirunaraiyur Araiyar, who gave up his life in Thiru Narayanapuram, Tiruchi district, in protecting Emperumaan Thiruvarangan. The commentator of this Prabantham, said that we should all give up our lives, in the same way, if we happen to hear any criticism about Thiru Arangan. If we do not have the courage to give up our lives, we should at least get away from the place and stop hearing those unwanted words. In Manu Smruthi, similar actions are advised, to the disciples, if they happen to hear any criticism about their acharyaars. In the hymn, Azhwaar mentioned the same, in “povathey noyathaagi“.
Azhwaar concludes this hymn, by stating that Arangan, is in Thiruvarangam, only to protect and destroy the enemies of those who are born after Vibhavam.
There are a few other points, which are stated in the commentary by Periavachanpillai to explain the first few lines of this hymn. I have to admit that I do not have the experience or the knowledge to understand and articulate the same. With this, we complete this hymn for the time being, and I request to kindly excuse me for my inability to explain further.
Matrumor deivam unde, madhiyilaa maanidangaal, utra pothu andri, neengal oruvan endru unara maatteer, atram mel ondru ariyeer, avanallal deivam illai, katrinam meitha venthai kazhalinai panimineere (Thirumaalai 9)
After Azhwaar chided them in the previous hymn, people like us, replied that it was not because of the attraction by the other religions that made them not to follow Chakravarthy Thirumagan. They highlighted that Sri Rama was a King and the guards at the entrance could potentially stop them from approaching Rama. They further said that even if they could manage to pass through the guards, the great sages like Vashitta could potentially stop them on their eligibility to see Rama. They requested Azhwaar to guide them with some other person, who would not expect any such criteria. Then Azhwaar asked them to follow Sri Krishna, who is very simple and who offers Himself almost voluntarily to everyone. The above is the summary of the ninth hymn.
Azhhwaar mentioned in the hymn “avan allal deivam illai” meaning there is no one else, other than Him to whom we should surrender. The reason for the above is that Krishna told in Bhagawath Geetha (9.23), that any devotee who does a sincere prayer to his own choice of god would automatically reach Him (Sri Krishna).
Azhwaar questioned about existence of any other God, when he mentioned “matrum orr deivam unde”, where the word “unde” comes with a negative meaning ‘illai‘ or no. Azhwaar continued saying that Perumal or Sri Krishna was the one who protected such supernatural celestial beings. Periyavaachan pillai quoted from Thiruvaaimozhi by Swami Namazhwaar, “ae pavam, parame, aezhu ulagum, ee pavam seithu arulaal alippaar yaar ?” to support the ‘unde‘ usage in this hymn. From all these, it becomes absolutely evident that Perumal can alone be the protector of everything.
Azhwaar also answered those who asked him about the strength of the holiness of the other gods from celestial world, by calling them foolish people. Following are further examples :
Azhwaar mentioned “utra bothu andri“, meaning ‘only at tough times’. There are two explanations given and they are :
Azhwaar felt bad that we did not even show a similar or equivalent love or affection to Paramaathma, who offers us the best possible benefit, that is blessing us with abode or moksham, compared to other supernaturals from the celestial world. This is highlighted when Azhwaar mentioned “unara maateer”.
Azhwaar mentioned “atram mel ondru ariyeer”, meaning that people understand or pay attention only to the superficial meanings of the Vedas. Azhwaar’s main concern here is about the ignorance of the people in not understanding the inner meaning of what has been told in Vedas.
The quotes of Sri Krishna from Bhagwath Geetha (15.15) are highlighted here as reference.
The following from Bhagawatham (2.5.15) is given as reference for “avan allaal deivam illai”.
Azhwaar refers to Sri Krishna, in the hymn, when he cited ‘avan‘ and would bring it out in the later part of the hymn.
The reasons for Azhwaar to mention ‘katrinam meitha enthai’, in stead of Sri Krishna, are, one is that He is much easier to approach, unlike other gods and the second is that He is simple that even He approaches the calves on His own, without them asking. Again azhwaar has specifically mentioned about calves, when he mentioned ‘katrinam‘, instead of ‘aavinam‘, mainly because, Sri Krishna has a special attachment towards calves, due to the fact that they can not take care of themselves unlike the cows, which can take care by themselves. The same idea is conveyed by other Azhwaars as given below:
Azhwaar invites us to join him in enjoying the experience of the incarnation of Sri Krishna and hence he said “kazhalinai panimin“, meaning ‘surrender to Him’. Lakshmanan admired the good qualities of Sri Rama and that made him a staunch devotee of Sri Rama. Likewise, Azhwaar said that he admired this simplicity of Sri Krishna taking care of the calves that made him surrender to Sri Krishna. Unlike the other gods, it is only Perumal whose incarnations are descents and who alone can bless us with experience that are equivalent to what He enjoys in abode or Paramapadham. And this can be seen from the Ithihaasams and puranams which explain this simple act of Him herding the calves. More importantly other gods or supernaturals would not let us get any equivalent stage to them and only Peruimal, who after giving us Moksham, would still feel sorry that He had not done enough to us. With that Periyavachaan pillai concludes this hymn and let us also move on to the next hymn.
Naatinaan deivam engum nalladhor arul thannaale, kaatinaan thiruvarangam uybavarkku uyyum vannam, ketire nambimeergal, gerudavagananum nirka, settai than madiyagathu selvam paarthu irukindreerey (Thirumaalai 10)
When people like us pleaded that they could not reach and do prayers to Paramapathanathan, Azhwaar asked them to follow Sri Rama. Again the response was that He was a king and His guards and sages like Vasishita who prevented them from approaching Sri Rama. Azhwaar then advised them to follow Sri Krishna, who presented Himself in the simplest form. This what we saw in the last hymn.
In this hymn, Azhwaar asked us to follow Aranganathan in Srirangam, because, He is attainable and approachable even today, for everyone and He is unlike Paravasudevan (Paramapathanathan) who is in a different and unattainable place or Sri Krishna or Sri Rama, who were here but in different time periods, both of which were not accessible to us. Azhwaar also compared praying other gods for attaining abode or moksham was like requesting Moodevi for wealth, who is known for bringing in poverty and who is the elder sister of Sridevi or thayaar the Goddess of all wealth and prosperity.
The explanation given for “nattinaan deivam engum“, meaning ‘installed many gods everywhere”, is excellent. First the question was raised as to why we need to have many gods. All are born with multiple proportions of Satva, Thamasa and Rajasa qualities (Sattva – purity, Rajas – passion or a longing for satisfaction and desire and Tamas – darkness, destruction, impurity or laziness). So everyone with their own proportion of the above qualities, will get involved with the respective gods and over a period of time obtain a greater share of satva quality to follow Sri Vishnu or Paramaathma.
‘naatinnaan’, meaning ‘installed’, is explained as Aranagan or Perumal stays as antharyaami in each and every other god and He directs them to do their jobs or carry out their responsibilities. ‘Nattinaan’ is also explained in another perspective. People with Rajas and Tamas qualties would not directly follow Sri Vishnu or Perumal and hence He created the other gods as intermediate or supporting twigs or sprigs so that as time passes they would ultimately reach Perumal or Arangan. Similar opinions are given by Swami Namazhwaar in his Thiruvaaimozhi, “niruthinaan deivangalaga” (5.2.8) and ‘avaravar vithi vazhi adaiya ninranare” (1.1.5).
The phrase ‘nalladhor arul thannaale” can be added to the first part, like “naatinaan deivam engum nallodhor arul thannaale” as well as to the subsequent part, like “nallathor arul thannaale kaatinaan thiruvarangam“. The meaning for the first part is that with His grace, He established the other gods in every other place. The meaning for the second part is that with His grace, He guided us to Thiruvarangam. Paramaathma felt that Jeevaathmas were moving away from Him, in stead of approaching Him. Hence He showed us, on His own, the way to Thiruvarangam, which can guide us to abode or moksham, without ourselves asking for His guidance. Azhwaar also added the qualifier by stating “uybavarku“, meaning those who have the desire to go abode or moksham or to those who did not refuse, when He offered to show them the way to Thiruvarangam. Periyavaachanpillai concluded this subject by stating that He becomes the guide to the route, by showing us the way to Thiruvarangam, and He will also become the destination at the end and this is applicable to all of us.
Another beautiful explanation is given to the word ‘nirka‘ in the phrase ‘geruda vaagananum nirka’, meaning ‘Perumal, who has Garuda as his vehicle, is waiting or standing”. The word Nirka or standing is meant to state that He is standing or waiting very close to us and He is waiting with an expectation that we would reach Him.
The hymn appreciates those who are devotees of Perumal, by stating that these people would never care about the other gods, like how a king’s family would treat the servants with least respect or without any fear. An incident involving Thirumazhisai Azhwaar was also referred in the commentary. When Lord Siva and Parvathi, were flying over Azhwaar’s head, Azhwaar continued to concentrate on his job of stitching the torn clothes without paying attention to Lord Siva and Parvathi.
Thondaradipodi Azhwaar experienced and enjoyed Paramaathma in the first three hymns of Thirumaalai. He preaches us in the next eleven hymns. After Azhwaar denounced people like us, they pleaded to Azhwaar that Paramapatha Nathan would be unapproachable, as He would not be in this world, but somewhere else . Azhwaar responded by asking us to follow Sri Rama, when he mentioned “silaiyinaal ilangai setra devane devan aavaan”. But they stated that Sri Rama was a King and it would be difficult to approach or follow Sri Rama. To this Azhwaar, by stating ‘katrinam meitha kazhalinai panimin‘ asked us to follow Sri Krishna, who herded the calves, and showed His simplicity. We again complained that Sri Krishna went back to Paramapatham after completing the purpose of that incarnation. Azhwaar took us to Thiruvarangan, along with him, by mentioning ‘uybavaruku uyyum vannam Thiruvarangam kaatinaan”.
With this, we will conclude now and let us continue in the next weblog.