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/Emperumaan.
In the first three hymns of this Divyaprabandham, Azhwaar enjoyed the experiences, graced by Emperumaan on him and in the subsequent eleven hymns, Azhwaar was preaching us his experiences with Emperumaan or Paramathma. When people raised many objections, Azhwaar responded to them to follow Sri Rama,by mentioning “silaiyinaal ilangai setra devane devan aavaan”; and asked them to follow Sri Krishna, who is simple and easy to approach, as ‘katrinam meytha kazhalinai panimin‘; and finally to Aranganathan, by mentioning ‘uybavaruku uyyum vannam Thiruvarangam kaatinaan”.
Still people did not follow Azhwaar, he decided to move on to describe the great favours he received from Periyaperumal in the next ten hymns 15 to 24.
So for, we have seen the three subtopics of Thirumalai, namely, Azhwaar’s experience (1-3), Azhwaar’s preaching based on his experience (4-14), and the favours graced by Him to Azhwaar (15-24).
Now Azhwaar sings that he did not have any good qualities but had only bad qualities in the next 10 hymns (25-34), which is the fourth subsection, known as naichaanusanthaanam, in our tradition. Before going to this section, let us see some interesting points regarding Moksham (abode).
The Primary objective of all Jeevathmaas is to get rid off their Karmas and reach/attain Him. Reaching Him, is called Moksham or Mukthi. All Jeevathmaas strive towards achieving this objective, by following one or more of the following routes / ways:
We can use any of the above routes to reach Him. Lord Krishna has told the same in Bhagawadh Geetha and let us see three slokas from there to support this. In 3.30, Krishna says that King Janaka (Seetha’s father in Ramayanam) attained moksham, by following Karama Yogam. In 4.33, Lord Krishna says that the knowledge part of the Karma Yogam takes priority and all activities of Karma Yoga leads to Gnana Yogam. Finally in 11.54, Lord Krishna states that only the dedicated and true devotion and love towards Him without any expectation (Bhakthi Yogam) would enable one to see, understand and get to Him. Thus, all the three Yogams could individually help us to attain moksham.
Moreover, in each of these yogams, the other two would be part of it and it is always a combination of them. Our acharyaas used to state that one of the yogams would be primary and the other two would be supportive of the primary in attaining moksham. Now let us see some examples of getting the moksham through each of the yogams as primary with the support of the other two.
After the Karma Yogam is started, the Gnana Yogam would automatically start from within. Similarly after the journey of Gnana Yogam is started, the Bhakthi Yogam would start from within. The fruits of doing the Karma Yogam would never get wasted. In other words, even if a jeevathma dies before completing the journey of Karma Yogam, the results of that Karma yogam would be passed on to the Jeevathma in its next life. Generally there is a very good possibility for a jeevathmaa to take on Bhakthi Yogam, as soon as Karma or Gnana Yogam is started.
The reason why the Bhakthi Yogam did not start in jeevathmaas, is because of the sins committed by the jeevathmaa, and those sin act as a deterrent. The fruits of Karma and Gnana yogams that were carried out by the jeevathmaa during many many lives, help the jeevathmaa to get rid of the sins accumulated in the past and make the Jeevathmaa move towards Lord Krishna with devotion. This is how it is described by our traditional doctrine.
We know that there are four yugams or time period, namely, Krutha, Thretha, Dhwapara and Kali. We also understand that the knowledge, skills, time (lifespan) and the environment that are needed to achieve moksham through Karma, Gnana and Bhakthi yogams are more probable in the first three yugams, Krutha, Thretha and Dwapara. And we also mightt have heard that these were almost impossible in this Kali Yuga. Here we should remember there is another route called Saranagathi, or Total Surrender to attain moksham, exclusively for us.
Total surrender can be explained further as, attaining Him through Him. We should surrender totally to His holy feet, meaning that all actions and the results are because of Him. And keep the Holy feet as the only route to attain Him. After attaining Him, we should ask for only serving Him and nothing else, as there are two other options, like getting the worldly material wealth and Kaivalyam, which is beyond this world’s material wealth, but not serving Paramathmaa, like moksham. Those who want to serve Paramathma, after attaining Him are called Bagawathlabarthis. Those who want this world’s material wealth are called Iswaryaarthis. Those who want Kaivalyam are called Kaivalyaarthis.
We have seen about Kaivalyaarthis earlier, those who do not want to serve Paramathma after leaving this world. As said earlier, this is not a desired state. Alavanthaar, one of our acharyaars, had mentioned that those who want to get Kaivalyam, could also use the three yogams, Karma, Gnana, Bakthi, as the route individually to reach their goal of Kaivalyam.
Alavanthaar, continued to state that Paramathma gives one more final opportunity to those who wanted Kaivalyam, to opt for serving Paramathma. At their last breath, if they desire to change their mind and want to serve Paramathma or want moksham, Paramathma grants them the moksham.
This is in line with Varaha Charama Slokam as “ Anyone who thinks of Me, when the mind and body are in good and stable health, – that I am indeed the very cause of this universe or the form of this universe, that I am without birth – I assure that I will remember this devotee of Mine when he/she is on his/her deathbed, lying helplessly like a log of wood, and I myself will personally take him/her to the Supreme Abode”. So whatever route, we take, He should be remembered at the last minute to get moksham. Either we remember Him or He does it for us.
Keeping the above words about moksham as a background, let us go into the next hymn of Thondaradipodi azhwaar, namely, the 25th hymn starting with Kulithu moonru.
Kulithu moonru analai ombum kurikol anthanamai thannai, olithitten en kann illai, nin kanum pathan allen, kallipadhu en kondu Nambee, Kadalvanna, katharuginren, allithu ennaku arul sei kandaai, aranga maa nagar ullaane (Thirumalai 25).
Azhwaar wails that he did not even have the basic qualifications to perform Karma yoga, though he was a brahmin by birth. He continues that he did not have bhagwadh knowledge and was also not a true devotee of Paramathma. Hence he did not have any reason to feel happy. He pleaded to Lord Ranganatha that He should grace him with all His blessings, starting from the qualification so that Azhwaar could reach Him. This is the summary of the meaning of this hymn.
In the previous ten hymns, Azhwaar explained the great favours graced by Emperuman to him. In the last hymn, Azhwaar admitted that his devotion was also a deceitful one. He feared that he might miss the opportunity to leave this body and reach Paramapadham to have the continuous happiness through the experience of Paramathma, as he did not have any of the qualification to get abode.
Periyaperumal said that there are well defined means in Karma, gnana or bhakthi, for the brahmins, vaisya and kshatriya, in scriptures(saasthras) and total surrender (saranagathi) and Nama samkeerthanam (recital of holy names) for others and animals. Azhwaar replied that he did not have any of the qualification to follow any of the above routes. In this hymn, Azhwaar sang that he did not have any of karma, gnana, bhakthi yogams/options.
Periyaperumal referred to the previous 24 hymns where Azhwaar showed that he had devotion and knowledge about Him. Azhwaar responded by stating those were only for experiencing Him in this world and those could not be treated as the required qualification criteria to take him to paramapadham and experience Him there.
Vedas and Sasthraas insist that all brahmins should take three types of baths and up keep three types of fires for worshipping. Azhwaar laments that he had not performed any of those stated in the vedas (rulebook) right from his birth. The three types of baths that every brahmin should do are,
It is also to be noted that any of these above baths shall not be left out in place of the other. All these mentioned above help in attaining the qualifications to get into Karma yogam, as taking the route to abode, through deeds (karma). Here Azhwaar stated that even to follow or do the basic things like taking three types of baths, that enable a person to do Karma yogam, was undoable for him, let alone the Karma yogam itself, as a mean to attain abode, Azhwaar did not use the more refined words like snanam in Sanskrit meaning holy bathing, in stead, used common word like ‘kulithu‘, to mean normal bathing.
Vedas and Sasthras state that three types of fire shall be worshipped. Here also Azhwaar did not use a refined word “agni” , instead, a common word ‘fire’. The reason for using the normal words like fire and bath, is to make it known to the Lord that he did not even have any knowledge on divine matters.
‘Analam’ in Sanskirit means ‘not enough” and to mean, that it will keep on asking for more and more without appease. So it is very difficult to do and complete prayers for fire. Saasthras stipulate that brahmins should offer prayers to three fires. Azhwaar sang that it was a near unattainable task even to worship one type of fire.
According to our acharyaas, brahmins should always carry the husk of paddy (umi) and holy twigs for the fire always and wherever they go, like how a mother carries the food and water for her young child to carry out their fire worshipping.
Brahmanyam or Anthanamai is to be followed carefully, to realize the fruits of chanting Mantras. Any of the following will not give the desired results.
So Brahmanyam is not an easy like getting pardoned, by doing a surrender or an anjali sign which is much easier and that made Azhwaar to feel that it was very difficult for him to follow brahmanyam.
Azhwaar confessing that he did not possess that kind of a Brahmaniyam, by “olithitten“, added that he was getting a bad grace for the entire society, as he was not following the required norms of Brahmaniyam. By this was Azhwaar informs Periyaperumal that he did not have the requisite, such as Brahmaniyam, to perform Karma Yogam, so declared that there was no way that he would get Karma Yogam.
Periyaperumal then suggested that Azhwaar might try to follow ‘gnana yogam’ as a mean to get abode, if Azhwaar could not try karma yogam as a way to get abode. To that Azhwaar answered that he did not possess the required true knowledge about jeevathma or Paramathma, which is the pre-requisite to know about ‘gnana yogam’. So he had no way to follow gnana yogam.
If there was no Karma yogam, the possibility of gnana yogam happening because of karma ypgam is nil. Then Azhwaar need not reiterate that he did not have Gnana yogam, as ‘en kann illai‘, but the reason for the same is explained by the commentator as per below.
If Azhwaar in his previous birth, had completed the karma yogam (actions) but passed away before getting the benefits of Karma yogam, such as getting the gnana and/or bakthi yogam, which Azhwaar would possess, instantly in his subsequent birth. Azhwaar denied such possibility also by saying, en kann illai.
So by saying this, azhwaar made sure that he communicated to Periyaperumal that he did not have the option of knowledge as the route (Gnana Yogam.) to reach Him, as he did not even have the qualification criteria for the same.
Periyaperumal now asked Azhwaar, to follow Bhakthi yogam ( devotion ) as the means to reach Him, if Azhwaar did not have the qualifications to practice karma yogam and gnana yogam. Azhwaar answered that he did not have the slightest devotion or affection towards Paramatma, and hence the possibility of practising bhakthi yogam as a route to reach Him, was also ruled out as ‘ nin kanum pathan allen’.
Bhakthi yogam is attainable only after the initiation of karma (actions) and/or gnana (knowledge) yogams. If Azhwaar did not have the opportunity to go through karma and/or gnana yogams (activities and knowledge as routes) to reach Him, it is generally understood that Azhwaar would not have a chance to go through bakthi yogam. Then why should he sing that he did not have bakthi yogam (devotion as the route) to get abode, separately, like ‘nin kanum pathan allen‘. This is explained by the commentator explained as follows
If a jeevathma, had performed activities (karma) and knowledge (gnana) in the previous births, the benefits for the same would remove the sins attached to the jeevathmaa, according to our Sastrams, which could make the jeevathma to devote themselves towards Lord Krishna. Azhwaar denied such possibility also in this hymn by saying nin kanum pathan allen.
Thondaradipodi Azhwaar sang in this hymn, in the first two lines that he did not have any connection to actions, knowledge or devotion (Karma, Gnana, Bakthi yogams) as the options to reach Him, by Kulithu moonru analai ombum kurikol anthanamai thannai, olithitten en kann illai, nin kanum pathan allen. Now let us look into what other Azhwaars and acharyars are talking about on the above three options / concept.
In Thiruvaaimozhi,(5.7.1), Swami Nammazhwaar sang ‘Notra nonbilen, nun arivu ilen“, to indicate that he did not have Karma Yogam (actions) and Gnana Yogam (knowledge on Paramatma). The commentator included the bakthi yogam also, as Namazhwaar claimed that he did not have the first two.
In Thirupaavai, (Karavaigal pin chendru, 28) Aandal said, “arivu onrum illaadha aaikulam“, meaning “she belonged to the clan of the ignorant cowherds . This is explained beautifully by our acharyars as,
Again let us go back to Aalavandhar, in his Sthothra Rathnam, in hymn 22, “na dharma nishtosmi, nachaathmavedhi, na bhakthimaan“, meaning that he did not follow the actions (karma yogam), did not have the true knowledge about Paramathma (gnana yogam) and did not follow Him as a true devotee (bhakthi yogam) and did not follow or possess any route to reach Him. He emphasized that only His holy feet as the only way to reach Him at the end of the hymn. As Thondaradipodi Azhwaar sang in this hymn, Alavandhar also explained one of the important concept of Vaishnavam, Aakinchanyam, that he had nothing to offer Him, (kai mudhal onrum illai).
Thondaradipodi Azhwaar told Peryaperumal, that he had no means of doing Saranagathi, to which Periyaperumal responded that Azhwaar like many wise people, confessed his inability that he did not have any qualifications or ability follow any route, even to try to reach Him, (aakinchanyam) which was very rare, and Azhwaar could reach Him with that trait. To that Azhwaar said that he did not repent for not having the karma, gnana and bhakthi yogams. In Bhagavadh Gita 18.66, where Lord Krishna had told maam ekam charanam vraja , as to leave everything and hold on to Him. But Azhwaar was shaken and felt that he did not have anything to leave. Even his akinchanyam was without any empathy towards Perumal, and he did not find any reason to feel happy.
Based on the above discussions with Azhwaar, Periyaperumal concluded that there was no option other than letting Azhwaar go. But Azhwaar pleaded that he might not have anything, but Periyaperumal has everything, and He was full of all Good qualities and attributes, which He could use to bless Azhwaar. In Thirupaavai, Aandal initially said ‘arivu onrum illaadha aaikulathil‘, and then followed it by saying ‘kurai onrum illadha Govinda” meaning that Aandal initially that she belonged to Aikulam, which does not know anything, followed by ‘Govinda, who does not have any shortcomings‘. In the same way, Azhwaar highlighted the greatness of having all the good qualities by Emperumaan, by calling Him, Nambi, after declaring that he does not have anything.
Azhwwar said in this hymn, that he believed that His glories like being supreme or being simple were not required to bless him, but His Beauty alone was sufficient to grace him with Moksham or Paramapadham, by calling Him “kadal vanna” meaning His ocean coloured form. Kambar, in his Kamba Ramayanam, Yudha Kaantam, (6718) said that Rama, the sea of kindness lied down in front of a big sea, when he wrote “karunaiankadal, kidandhanan karun kadal nokki” as the two oceans were competing with each other and Lord Rama, the sea of mercy, was facing and lying down very much similar to the other sea, which was black in colour.
In the earlier fifteenth hymn, Azhwaar said, “aiyapaadu aruthu thonrum azhagan” and in the sixteenth hymn, “aatharam peruga vaitha azhagan”, meaning that Periyaperumal, had the beauty and all the glories. So the conclusion is that Azhwaar, would not lose anything, as Periyperumal had both beauty and glories, in plenty and Azhwaar would be bestowed with moksham.
Azhwaar used a single word “kadharuginren” meaning that he was wailing, to convey many things.
Azhwaar pleaded to Periyaperumal that He should grace him with everything, starting from creating sympathy towards Emperumaan, by “allithu‘, meaning to give or bestow. Azhwaar pleaded Him to grace him, since He possess the kindness to bless.
Periyaperumal was not convinced with all these discussions, and He continued to ask why He should grace Azhwaar by giving him all, starting from the qualification onwards. Azhwaar’s response to this was that if Periyaperumal had to grace only those who did not have any shortcomings, then He should only be in Paramapadham, where He could grace only Mukthars and Nithyars. If He has come down all the way to Thiruvarangam, and displayed His beauty of the reclining posture and the innumerable glories, the purpose of Him being in Thiruvarangam is only to grace people like Azhwaar. With this Azhwaar concluded this hymn.
Let us catch up again in the next hymn, thanks
Our sincere thanks to my brother Mr R Ranganathan, for having corrected adiyen in the understanding of the concepts of Naichanusanthanam and Aakinjanyam. The same is updated in the post accordingly. Thanks and we value his time and contribution on this. Regards