Thirumaalai Umbaraal Ariyal Aagaa

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 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 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.

  • Emperumaan clarified Azhwaar’s doubts on the concept of Paramatma, the supreme most concept among the twentysix concepts of our sampradhayam in the hymn Meyyerke meyyanaagum.
  • Emperumaan entered the heart of Azhwaar in the next hymn Soodhanaai Kalvanaai, and made Azhwaar’s devotion and affection towards Periyaperumal to swell.
  • Emperumaan melted the hardened heart of Azhwaar and graced Azhwaar with His dharsan and blessings, in spite of Azhwaar’s belief that he was not worth to receive any favours from Periyaperumal in the next hymn, Virumbi ninru.
  • Emperumaan nullified Azhwaar’s long time loss of not seeking Emperumaan’s dharsan and made Azhwaar to worship Him, which made Azhwaar’s eyes to pour out tears of joy, in the next hymn, ini thirai thivalai modha.
  • Emperumaan created the four directions and kept His holy parts of His form in each of these directions so that He can be worshipped to get abode / Moksham in Kuda Thisai mudiyai.
  • Emperumaan made Azhwaar happy by making him realise that His lustrous and effulgent Holy form and parts are for the happiness of His devotees only in the next hymn, Paayum Neer Arangam.
  • Emperumaan made Azhwaar to realise, that he missed experiencing Him for a such a long time, mainly because Azhwaar did not surrender to Him completely, which shattered Azhwaar, in the next hymn, Panivinal manamadhu onri.
  • Emperumaan made Azhwaar sing that we can simply follow what the Vedas and our Acharyaas had already said about Him and we need not toil to create anything new to speak about Him in the next hymn, Pesitre pesal allaal.
  • Emperumaan showed the beauty of His reclining posture to Azhwaar in Thiruvarangam, that made Azhwaar to realise that he would not live without His dharsan, in Gangaiyil punidhamaaya.
  • Emperumaan made Azhwaar to realise and sing that he did not have any pre-requisites for total surrender, and that helped Azhwaar to get prepared for total surrender to Him in the last hymn of this sequence, namely, Vella Neer parandhu paayum.

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 naichiyaanusandhaanam in our tradition.

In the first hymn of this subsection, Kulithu Moondru Analai (25), doing Naichiyaanusandhaanam, we saw Azhwaar mentioning that he did not have any of the qualification that were needed to practice Karma, Gnana or Bakthi yogams (Actions, Knowledge or Devotion) and Azhwaar requested Periyaperumal to bless him with everything including the qualifications onward.

In the next hymn, Podhellam Podhu Kondu (26), we saw Emperumaan asking Azhwaar, that he could do the poojas and singing slokas on Him, which anyone could do, even if they were not qualified to practice, karma, gnana or bakthi yogams. We also saw Azhwaar mentioning that he did not do them as well.

After hearing Azhwaar say that he did not do any good deeds that humans could do, Paramathmaa stated that He accepted the services that were carried with good intention by squirrels and monkeys, when He took Rama incarnation, the same way as He accepts the services of Nithyasoories, like Vishwaksena, Ananthazhwaan and Garudazhwaar in Paramapadham. When Periyaperumal inquired Azhwaar whether he had done any such thing with good intentions, Azhwaar responded negatively in the hymn “kurangugal malaiyai nooka” (27).

In the hymn Kulithu moondru analai (25), Emperumaan asked Azhwaar, if he had done prayers using all the three elements, thinking through mind, offering flowers using hands and reciting holy chants using mouth. In the next hymn, Podhellam Podhu Kondu (26), Emperumaan asked Azhwaar whether he did prayers using his mouth, by reciting holy chants. In the next hymn kurangugal malayai nooka, (27), Emperumaan asked Azhwaar whether he had served with his hands and legs, like the monkeys and squirrels. In this hymn, Umbaraal ariyalaaha” (28), Emperumaan is asking Azhwaar whether his mind had thought about Paramaatma. So, initially Emperumaan asked Azhwaar whether he has done all the three, when Azhwaar replied negatively, Emperumaan started asking about each of them in each of the subsequent hymns.

Now let us move on with the next hymn.

Hymn 28

Umbaraal ariyalaaga oli ulaar aanaikaagi, sem pulal undu vaazhum mudhalai mel seeri vanthaar, nam paramaayadhu unde, naaigalom sirumai ora, empiraarkku aat seyaadhe, en seyvaan thonrinene (Thirumaalai 28)

Even gods like Brahma, could not even think of where the glorious Paramapadham is, which is unmeasurable, and Emperumaan came down from Paramapadham, Even gods like Brahma, could not even think of where the glorious Paramapadham is, which is unmeasurable, with so much anger on a crocodile, which eats just the red meat for living, to protect and bless the elephant named Gajendran, from the crocodile. When He is there to protect His subjects like this, what burden do we have to save ourselves? Azhwaar regretted, why he was born like a dog with lowly qualities and flaws and without doing service to Emperumaan, Who does not consider any of these.

Emperumaan asked Azhwaar, if he did not have the good intentions like the squirrels and monkeys who did smaller services, had he at least thought about Paramathma as his saviour, like how He was called out by the elephant, when a crocodile caught the legs of the elephant, Gajendra, in the river and when Gajendra felt that it was about to give up. Azhwaar responded negatively like how did in the previous hymns.

This paasuram is one amomg the few paasurams of Thirumalai, where there is no direct mention of ‘Thiruvarangan’ .

Azhwar delves deeply into this event, Gajendra Moksham to explain the glory of Emperumaan.

  • The stature of Emperumaan, Who helped
    • One who is in the most superior Paramapadham, who is beyond being understood. He has no compulsion to help anyone
  • The relationship between the aided elephant, Gajendran, and the Helper, Emperumaan
    • This elephant has no direct connection to the Emperumaan, like Sridevi Thaayaar or Bhoomi Piraati, or the nithyasoories like Ananthazhwaar, Vishwaksena and Garuda.
  • The strength / skill of the recipient’s enemy (crocodile)
    • The enemy is not a strong enemy like Ravana, Hiranyakasipu or Sisupalan. Azhwaar names the crocodile a mere waterworm.
  • The status of Emperumaan at that moment
    • Emperumaan, who is always calm, brought the anger upon Himself
  • The place where help was given
    • Emperumaan could have done the help from Paramapadham, from where He was, by sending His discus, Sudharsanam; but went straight to the shores of the river and rescued.
  • Why the help was done at that time like that
    • The urgency, the love, the preference, the willingness to give dharsan to His subjects who are in danger or who were in danger and aware of the fact that they could not defend themselves, who were ready to acknowledge their relationship with Emperumaan.

We may able to see some of the hymns (in Tamil) sung by other azhwaars about Gajendra Moksham here. Let us see more details of what Azhwaar says in the following sections.

Umbaraal ariyalaagaa Oli ulaar

Umbar refers to gods like Brahmaa in the Satyalokam and other gods in other celestial worlds.

ariyalaagaa or beyond comprehending means that even the most enlightened gods like Brahmaa and Shiva could not reach, or even know about. Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita (16.14), says, ‘I am Eswaran, I am the one who attains all the benefits, I am the one who is naturally the route and ready all the times, the one who is naturally strong and the one who enjoys bliss’. Gods like Brahmma and Shiva consider themselves as Eswaran and even they could not reach or know about Paramapadham. The narrator says that though they have more wisdom, they are arrogant that they are capable of doing anything, and those who are arrogant have no place in Paramapadham.

Next let us take a quote from Vishnu Purana (1.9.55) where Brahmaa points out, that if there is something that is beyond being understood by the gods, sages, Sankara and himself , then that is the Paramapadham of the Supreme Vishnu.

The word “oli ullaar” , or “luminous” refers to the Paramapadham and the luminary refers to Emperumaan who dwells there forever. In the Chandhogya Upanishad (3.13.7), the word light is quoted as the supernatural light that shines from above, above all that is created by Emperumaan and above those created by His creation and which has nothing which is equivalent or above those.

In the Mahabharata, on the Aranya / Vana Parvat (136.18.23), it is said that the place of Vishnu, the Paramathma, is much brighter than that of Sun and Agni, and that by the splendor of that light, even the gods and demons cannot see Paramapadham, and those who reached there would never return again.

In the third Thiruvandhaadhi (51), Paramapadham is referred to as Kalangaa peru nagaram meaning that it is a place where all things are clear and nothing is murkier and Emperumaan who is enlightened by the Nithyasoories there, came down to protect / bless a devotee who was suffering in the normal life (samsara) in this world.

Aanaikaagi (for the elephant)

Being such a boundless Noble, He rushed, His form ruffled up , scratching His head (hurried), to protect an animal shows that He started as if He was trying to protect some superiors like Thaaayar or Piraati, Thiruvadi,(Garudazhwaar), or Thiruvananthazhwaan (Aadhiseshan). The difference between a mountain and a pit is obvious when we compare Emperumaan with the elephant, the stature of Who helped and the stature of the suffering elephant.

If a devotee is to be saved, Emperumaan does not see His superiority or the devotee’s inferiority. It is clear from this Gajendra’s history that He considers only their danger and the indestructible connection they have with Him.

Sempulaal Undu Vaazhum Mudhalai mel

“Sempulaal Undu Vaazhum” means, the crocodile, a lowly insect or worm that makes a living by eating red meat.

Though He does not see the inferiority of His devotees, He would not consider the strength of the enemy of His devotee also. If the above enemy was strong, it could make some sense for Him to come down and fight with such a strong enemy. But in this case, the enemy was a worm or insect that lives on eating lowly fish or other red meat, but thinking as though it has been ruling all the seven worlds all alone, something similar to what Nammazhwaar sang in Thiruvaaimozhi (4.5.1), “Veetru irunthu yezhu ulagum thani kol sella“.

In the Vishnu Purana (1.9.35) Brahma says that all should reach out and surrender to Lord Mahavishnu, Who is the protector and Eswaran to all those who are in celestial world and in other worlds and Who is the enemy of the Asuras. When Brahma himself and other demi gods were suffering from the demons, they had no other refuge to alleviate those sufferings, than surrendering to Emperumaan, who fought and killed the mighty demons like Hiranyakasipu and Ravana and destroyed them and there is nothing that is surprising. The commentator says that it was surprising that Emperumaan got angry with the crocodile when the elephant called Him for help and He rushed in such a hurry, considering the lowly crocodile as an enemy and as strong as the enemies mentioned earlier.

Seeri (with full of anger)

Emperumaan is always calm. In Ramayana, Ayodhya Kantam, 1-10 says that Emperumaan would be composed with the matters pertaining to Him. But Aranya Kantam (34-24), says that Rama summoned the fierce rage on Himself to kill the demons. It also said that He brought anger on Himself, and looked like the fierce fire of deluge. Rama with an unfailing serenity of mind, was always calm . But Rama stretched the formidable bow and lifted the arrows from his quiver to kill the demons. Later, in the battle of Ramayana, (59-136), when Rama saw Hanuman, the best among the special monkeys, wounded by Ravana, He allowed the anger to take control of Himself, that was very unlike of Himself. We need to understand, if any of the devotees are insulted or endangered by someone, Emperumaan will succumb to anger. The narrator points out that this is not surprising since it is true that He would not see how lowly the enemy is, when He is in rage.

Thirumangaiyazhwar took refuge in this great quality of Emperumaan, in his Periya Thirumozhi (5.8.3) “kodiya vaai vilangin uyir malanga, konda seetram onru undu“, meaning that He had such a fierce anger to kill the crocodile, which held the legs of Gajendra with its deadly mouth that there is a wrath of the deadly beast. Here Thirumangai Azhwaar says that such a rage would protect His devotees, as long as they take shelter under Him.

Vandhaar (He came)

According to Azhwaar, it was astonishing that Emperumaan, Who with the power to destroy the enemy from wherever He is, rushed hurriedly to the shore. The meaning is that if the world is to be destroyed, He does that from wherever He is just by His wish. But when a devotee is suffering, if He does not come directly and destroy the enemy of the devotee with His own hands to wipe out the devotee’s misery, His anger/rage would not go away. Azhwaar felt as if Emperumaan came and helped Azhwaar himself, when He helped the suffering elephant. This is much similar to what Thirumangai Azhwaar quoted in his Periyathirumozhi (5.8.3) “kodiya vaai vilangu“, meaning an animal having deadly mouth. If Thirumangai Azhwaar had not felt the suffering, he would not have sung ‘deadly mouth’. Likewise, Thondaradipodi Azhwaar felt as if he was helped, when Emperumaan actually helped the elephant. So, it is to be learnt that Srivaishnavam is that we should feel as though we are helped, whenever another devotee is helped by Paramathma. There was no need for Him to come down to help, but He came, only to show that when we surrender to Him, He will surely come and help.

Nam paramayaadhu unde (why should we take the burden)

From the above it is understood that Emperumaan always has a great affection and mercy for His devotees and always shows partiality or acts in favour of them. The words in this title clearly states that Azhwaar was asking why we should protect ourselves when He is there to save us. The commentator goes on to say that Emperumaan’s merit is as follows.

  • Emperumaan does not see His superiority
  • Emperumaan does not see the lowliness of His devotees
  • Emperumaan does not let His devotees experience the distress longer due to the enormous amount of sins committed by them . In other words He does not delay even though the sins committed by His devotees are huge.

Naaigalom (dogs)

Azhwaar says that when we compare our lowly stature, in terms of devotion, the elephant named Gajendran should be placed at a very high level as rishis like Janaka. He continues to say that we are in the position of a dog, that is chased away after entering a house with open doors. According to Azhwaar we are all like the lowly dogs, whose owners too would bathe and cleanse themselves, whenever a dog touch them.

Sirumai ora empiraarku

Azhwaar says that no matter how lowly we are, Emperumaan does not have an eye to see our lowliness or our mistakes. There are two holy names (Thiru naamams) in the Vishnu Sahasranama called, Avignyaada and Sahasraamsu. Avignyaada means Does not know and Sahasramsu means thousand folds. The explanation that is given for Avignyaada Sahasramsu is that He is so magnanimous that He does not see the sins or wrong things of His devotees and takes every virtue into thousand folds before blessing His devotees with benefits. The same thing is expanded beautifully as He does not see the mistakes that are committed by His devotees, but takes each of such mistakes or sins itself as a virtue or good thing, and as thousand folds before giving His blessings or benefits. Now the question is why should Azhwaar say that Emperumaan is ignorant of all the mistakes or sins of His devotees when Emperumaan knows everything. The commentator is taking a quote from Mundakopanishadh (1-1-10) which says, Paramaathmaa knows everything as His nature, (swabhaavam) and by His resolve (sankalpam). In this verse it is said that Paramaathma does not consider Himself as one knowing but forbearing the sins and shortcomings of His devotees and then helping them, but He takes those sins and shortcomings as virtues / good deeds, to help and bless them.

Empiraarku (Who helps me)

Let’s take the word “empiraarku” alone and see the explanation. Emperumaan does not see our faults or sins, but considers the danger only, to protect us as seen earlier. Azhwaar says that He has defined His role like that to protect us and this he calls it as empiraarku. Em is explained as He stands as a Lord suited to His nature, and Piraarku as, who renders help .

Aat Seyaadhe (Without doing service)

Is not it appropriate for us to do the services for such Emperumaan? Once Emperumaan has accepted our works as His responsibility, it is appropriate for us to subject our body, the limbs, senses and mind, to Emperumaan and offer our services to Him. Azhwaar was regretting that he was not doing such thing, in this hymn.

En Seyvaan Thonrinene (What to do, I was born)

Here, Azhwaar says that he was with a useless birth. He says that the purpose of the birth was to do services to Emperumaan, but instead of doing so, his birth was wasted. Here the words of Sumitradevi, who supports Lakshmana to accompany Rama to the forest, is quoted. Valmiki Ramayanam, Ayodhya Kaantam, verse (40.5) says that , “Lakshman was born to live in forest and to serve Rama.” Similarly, Ayodhya Kandam verse (31.25) is quoted here, as what Lakshmana said to Rama, that he would do all kinds of service to Him, while the Lord was asleep or awake. Azhwaar says that if he had born with a desire to serve Emperumaan like Lakshmana, then he could reason his birth, but without that desire Azhwaar felt that his birth appeared as lifeless and ignorant, like an object. As stated in 26th hymn, it is customary to say that evil planets appear in the sky. Azhwaar says that his birth could be taken like the appearance of an evil planet in the sky, as he did not do the desired services to Emperumaan and hence regrets himself as ‘thonrinene” rather than born.

With that we will conclude this hymn and let us catch up on the next hymn. Thanks.

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