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.
These are the first 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 naichiyaanusanthaanam in our tradition. Azhwaar cannot be taken to speak atheism in this subsection. Azhwaar is telling us about a higher state of devotion than a normal situation. For example, when Azhwaar says that he did not have abilities to practise karma(actions), gnana (knowledge) and bhakthi (devotional) yogams, and that he had not offered his prayers using his hands(offering flowers), mind (thinking about Him) and mouth(singing His glories), it is to be taken as though he sings the ten hymns in this subsection with his mind in a higher level of understanding such as,
We had earlier seen in our previous weblog, about the first hymn of this subsection, namely, the 25th hymn of Thirumaalai, (Kulithu Moondru Analai), where Azhwaar conceded that he was not even qualified to do karma, gnana, bhakti yogas and asked Thiruvarangan to bless him with everything from the qualification onward. Let us now move on to the next hymn.
Podhellam Podhu kondu, un ponnadi punaiya maaten, theethila mozhigal kondu un thirukunam seppa maaten, kaadhalaal nenjam anbu kalandhilen adhu thannaale, yedhilen Arangarku elle, en seyvaan thondrinene (Thirumaalai 26)
In this hymn, Periyaperumal had asked Azhwaar if he could not practise karma, gnana, bhakti yogas, which are stipulated for Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vysyas, then, he could do, what are prescribed for others, such as the archana, sthuti, etc. To adorn Him with flowers, to say His praises by words, and to think of Him by the mind, are said to be as the archana and stuti as mentioned by Emperumaan.
Azhwaar said that all the time, he never had the strength to offer the flowers to His holy feet or express His virtues with faultless words, or had truthful love towards Him from within his heart. By this hymn, Azhwaar said that he did not use any of his limbs to enjoy the experience of Thiruvarangan and cried why he was born.
Here we refer to the hymn from Bhoothathazhwaar, “Podharindhu vaanarangal poonchunai pukku, aangu alarndha podhu arindhu kondu yethum podhu ullam – podhu, Manivenkadavan malar adike sella, Anivenkadavan per aaynthu” (Irandaam Thiruvandhaadhi, 72). In this hymn, the monkeys of Thirumala, does service to Emperumaan, by the three deeds, that is with their hands, pluck the flowers, (poonchunai pukku, aangu alarndha podhu arindhu kondu), with their mouths recite His holy names (per aayndhu) and with their minds, think about Emperumaan’s glories ( yethum podhu ullam). The salient words of the hymn are given in brackets at the respective places.
Azhwaar says that it is always the right thing to adorn His holy feet that are shining like gold, with red flowers and that he has no strength or motivation to do so. It could be taken, that Azhwaar had strength and motivation in other things besides matters pertaining to Him. As mentioned earlier, in Vishnudharma, it is said that whichever tongue that says the name of Vishnu alone can be called as ‘tongue’ and similarly whatever body that serves Vishnu, alone can be classified as body, everything else is a waste.
In this phrase, there are two places where the word “podhu” is used; the first one represents the period or time and the second one refers to flowers.
Here Azhwaar did not mean that he has prayed some times, but not all the times, like 24 hours a day or seven days a week. The commentator clarified that Azhwaar meant that he did not pray even once and he did not have stamina to offer the prayers even once.
It is said in Vishnu Dharma (70.84) that all the things that lead to Moksha are done by uttering the two letters Hari just once. If one thinks of Lord Govinda once, He burns the sins committed in hundreds of births like burning sacks of cotton . We must remember that Lord Rama (Ramayana, Yudha Kaantam, 18-33) said that for the one who surrenders once and for all who say that they are His servant, He would endanger them completely and that was His vow.
Thus, He is illustrious and capable to grace the benefits on those who get involved with Him even for one time. Azhwaar says that all the time, he had never had the capability to worship such a Lord.
The service rendered to Emperuman with flowers is one of His favorites, because Vishnu is Alankarapriyan and Shiva is Abhishekapriyan, meaning that Vishnu likes to get beautified, whereas Siva likes to get him holy bathed. The chances of making a mistake in offering this service with flowers are very low. It makes it easier to do also. In our tradition, many have done this service with flowers.
History is that Periyaazhwaar raised and reared a garden for flowers (Nandavanam) in Srivilliputhur, and brought them to Lord Vatapathrasayi . It was in the same garden that he found Andal and raised her as his daughter. Periyaazhwaar enjoyed this kainkaryam and sang ten hymns, “aanirai meyka” in Periyazhwaar Thirumozhi (2.7) as Yasodha calling out Krishna and enjoying the various flowers adorning Him.
Aandal, got named Soodi Kodutha Sudarkodi, by garlanding Thirumal with both hymns and floral garlands. She made the three important parts of prayers, simple by singing “thoomalar thoovi thozhudhu, vaayinaal paadi, manathinaal sindhikka” (Thiruppavai 5), meaning, He shall be worshiped by offering the flowers with folded hands, singing His glory with the tongue and thinking about Him with our mind.
History is that Tondaradipodi Azhwaar had a floral garden for Emperumaan in Thiruvarangam. When Thirumangaiazhwaar was constructing a fortification wall for the Thiruvarangam temple, he made sure that the garden of Thondaradipodi Azhwaar was not disturbed. As a mark of mutual respect to Thirumangaiazhwaar, Thondaradipodi Azhwaar also named one of his gardening tool, as Arulmari, one of the titles of Thirumangai Azhwaar.
It can be seen from the Bhagavatham that before Lord Krishna killed Kamsan, one of His devotees, Malaakaaran bedecked Krishna with the best garlands and enjoyed the dharsan of beautiful Krishna. Adhering Swami Ramanujar’s wishes, Ananthaazhwaan a disciple of Swami Ramanuja and an achaaryan, moved to Thirumala and raised a floral garden in Thirumalai to grow and offer flowers for Ezhumalaiyan for many years. The crowbar he used is still on display in Thirumalai temple.
We can also recollect and enjoy the Thirukkannapuram hymns ‘Malai Nanni Thozhudhu Ezhumino’ (Thiruvaaimozhi 9.10) sung by Swami Nammazhvaar about the services related to offering flowers (Pushpa kainkaryam). He sang,
When Periyaperumal said that it was enough to say the divine qualities of the Emperumaan, with unflawed words, even if Azhwaar was involved in other worldly affairs without doing any service to Emperumaan using his limbs. Azhwaar said that although his words were innocent and beautiful, he was incapable of speaking the Emperumaan’s glories. Vishnu Dharmam, says that the tongue should only speak about Vishnu. Azhwaar said that his tongue was very sharp when it talks about other worldly matters, but when it comes to talking about Vishnu, it is incapable of talking.
Periyaperumal asked, whether Azhwaar could love Perumal through his heart, even if he could not render his services with his limbs and tongue. Azhwaar said in this case, his affection towards Periyaperumal did not come from true love and whatever he showed until then was untrue. As told in Bhagavadh Gita (2.62) that interest in material things will result in lust which again will lead to anger, Azhwaar said that the love he had experienced till that day, even in worldly matters, was also not a true one and it was only to steal others’ possessions.
The commentator takes the 62nd sloka from Aalavandhaar’s Sthothra Rathna, in which he declared himself as
With so many sins under his belt, Aalavandhar was asking Emperumaan, how to cross the large ocean of pain, which has no shore or end, and reach Him to do service to Him.
Next quote is taken from the Vishnu Purana (3.7.30), where Emperuman said that he who thinks of harming his friends, relatives, wife, children, parents and servants and plans coveting their wealth is not His devotee.
Azhwaar said that he did not use any of these triads, mind, body and words to get involved in Him, unlike the great adults who benefitted by using these triads. Azhwaar regretted that he became a void, who could not even engage any one of the above.
Here again, the commentator takes the 16th verse of Sthothra Rathnam and quotes how Emperuman is truthful to His devotees with the same triad, namely, mind, body and words. Emperuman, naturally is the ocean of all good qualities, and lists them as follows.
Tondaradipodi Azhwaar says in this hymn that there is Thiruvarangan in a beautiful reclining posture, and a simple dharsan of whom could easily give us the moksham, and we do not have to study any Shastras with such difficulty to understand and look for moksham. He laments that he has become nothing, without offering any prayers using any of his parts of the body or mind.
Azhwaar says that the reason for Emperumaan not to merge Azhwaar with Him was not because any of the following faults of Azhwaar, but because of the sins committed by Azhwaar by a single word ‘elle‘.
Azhwaar tells an important point for us to learn, that Emperumaan does not consider the faults of jeevathmaas, but the sweetest Emperumaan takes them as virtues. Azhwaar also states that every jeevathmaa is very dear to Emperumaan like the gemmed jewel Kausthubha, and Azhwaar cries with remorse that he wasted his life. Here a hymn from Periya Thirumozhi (3.7.6) “Arangathu uraiyum inthunaivan” is taken as a reference. Azhwaar cries that he has moved very much away from such a sweet companion and lost the favour graced by Emperumaan, Who can be enjoyed with all His beauty and Who graces us with Moksham, like milk which is enjoyed as a drink and also used as a medicine too.
Azhwaar cries that he had wasted his limbs, mind and body by not using them to serve Emperumaan, as told in Vishnu Dharmam and regrets why he even was born.
It is customary to say that evil planets appeared, when they come out in the sky. Similarly, Azhwaar concluded the song by saying that he was born evil, like an evil planet, without doing any good to others, but only to do bad things to others. This he called it as “thondrinene” rather than ‘piranthen‘, which is generally used for normal birth of human beings.
Let us catch up again in our next weblog, thanks.