Thursday, March 7, 2013

வாயும் திரை - Avatharikai

In the previous Poruma Neelpadai thiruvaimozhi, Azhwar enjoyed the easy accessibility, greatness, and the captivating form of Thirukkurungudi Nambi in the pasuram “maNiyai vAnavar” (மணியை வானவர் கண்ணனைத் தன்னதோரணியை)When just one of these auspicious attributes of the Lord was sufficient to draw Azhwar towards Him, Azhwar enjoyed a generous supply of all the three attributes together in Thirukkurungudi Nambi. Unsurprisingly, Azhwar found Emperuman’s charm irresistible and grew desirous of a physical union with Him. However, since she could not achieve this union in Nambi’s archAvathara, Azhwar, like a forlorn lover, turned despondent and started experiencing fits of pain at her predicament.

Azhwar, thus, assumes the role of Parankusa Nayaki and moves into a garden beside the seashore to bemoan her separation. Although Azhwar experienced a similar separation from the Lord in Amchiraya Mada Naraai (1-4) thiruvaimozhi, he was able to send emissaries in the form of birds to convey his message. Here, Azhwar does not find anyone to carry his message to the Lord. Also, in the Amchiraya padhigam, Azhwar bemoaned his inability to lock himself in divine embrace with the Lord in His vibhava avathAra. This could, if any, be of some solace to Azhwar as his birth post-dates the occurrence of emperuman’s vibhava avataras. However, in this Vayum Thirai padhigam, Azhwar can’t find a reason for comfort as Thirukkurungudi Nambi, who is supposed to be easily accessible in His archAvatara, is not available for a physical union.

அவதாரத்திலே அனுபவிக்கக் கோலிப் பெறாததாகையாலே, “அது ஒருகாலத்திலே, நாம் பிற்பாடராகை” என்று ஆறலாம்; இது அங்ஙனன்றிக்கே, உகந்தருளின நிலத்திலே அனுபவிக்க ஆசைப்பட்டுப் பெறாமையாலே வந்த ஆற்றாமையாலே இது கனத்திருக்கும்.

This padhigam, thus, brings out the Lord’s quality of making his devotees go mad with God- Love. This madness is so acute that the same stork, which Parankusa Nayaki had commissioned earlier to carry her message, now appears to her as a fellow damsel-in-distress. Though the natural colour of the stork is white, she opines that the decolouration has occurred as a result of the stork’s separation from the Divine Lord. Similarly, she attributes the crying of Anril birds along with other events occurring around her to their separation from the Supreme Lord, thereby deriving solace from the fact that the objects and beings around her share her dejection.

எம்பெருமானோடே கலந்து பிரிந்து ஆற்றாமையினால் நோவுபடுகிறாள் ஒரு பிராட்டி, ஆற்றாமை கைகொடுக்க லிலோத்யாநத்திலே   புறப்பட்டு, அங்கே வர்த்திக்கிற பதார்த்தங்களைக் கண்டு, அவையுமெல்லாம்  பகவதலாபத்தாலே நோவுபடுகிறனவாகக் கொண்டு

At this juncture, Nampillai makes an interesting observation in his commentary to account for the acuteness in Azhwar’s separation. In the case of Amchiraya padhigam, Azhwar was exposed to Emperuman’s Paratvam (Supremacy), Bhajaneeyatvam (Easy Worshippability) and Saulabhyam (Easy Accessibility) in the preceding thiruvaimozhis. However, in the case of Vayum Thirai, the acuteness is justified as Azhwar has since then experienced several other auspicious qualities of the Lord from Valavezh Ulagu to Poruma Neelpadai padhigam.

Nampillai further makes a comparison between Lakshmana and Parankusa Nayaki to drive home the acuteness of Azhwar’s separation. When Lakshmana pleaded that he be allowed to accompany Sri Rama in his exile, he cited the example of a fish failing to survive without water. That is, Sri Rama was unto Lakshmana what water is unto fish. However, Parankusa Nayaki goes one step ahead in claiming that the fish, water and all things depend on the Lord and cannot brook separation from Him. Thus, driven mad by her God-love madness, Parankusa Nayaki ends up commiserating with all living and non-living things around her.

Mukundhan Kidambi

Friday, February 15, 2013

பொருமா நீள்படை - Summary

In the avatharikai to this thiruvaimozhi, we saw how Azhwar sings the causeless grace (nirhetuka kripa) of the Lord. Going forward, we shall experience Azhwar’s anubhavams in each of pasurams in this padhigam.

In the FIRST pasuram, Azhwar talks about how Emperuman attracted him by showing his beauty and his Sauseelya Guna, and in the process, asserted His ownership over Azhwar’s soul. Just like the Lord appeared as a mendicant in front of an unassuming Mahabali and claimed ownership to what were rightfully His possessions, Emperuman showcased His beauty to Azhwar when the latter did not have the remotest idea that the Lord will come to him.

மஹாபலி, தன்வரவை நினையாதேயிருக்க அவன்பக்கலிலே தானே இரப்பாளனாய்ச் சென்று தன்னுடைமையை தன்னதாக்கினாற் போலே, எனக்கு நினைவின்றிக்கேயிருக்கத்  தானே வந்து தன் வடிவழகை என் கண்ணுக்கு இலக்காக்கினான்

In the SECOND pasuram, Azhwar rejoices that he has nothing to worry about because when one worships Emperuman with paramabhakti like he has, the Latter reciprocates it by remaining within his line of sight. In addition, Azhwar also praises Emperuman's generosity as He makes Himself available to those who casually enumerate a number, say twenty six. (Note: The Supreme Lord is considered to be the 26th Principle).

தன்பக்கல் நிரதிசயபக்தரானவர்களுக்கும் "தான் ஒருவன் உளன்" என்று பரிகணித்தார்க்கும் அத்யந்த சுலபனாம் என்ற குணத்தாலே தாம் ஈடுபடுவர் 

Having mentally pictured Emperuman’s original form in its elements, Azhwar exhorts his mind to conduct itself according to its true nature (i.e. worship Him) in the THIRD pasuram.

"கண்டாயே அவன் ஸ்வரூபமிருந்தபடி; நீயும் உன் ஸ்வரூபத்திற்குச் சேர நிற்கப்பாராய் நெஞ்சே" என்கிறார் 

In the FOURTH pasuram, Azhwar celebrates his mind which responded to his plea for worshipping Emperuman and instructs it to continue doing so even at times when Azhwar shirks away from Emperuman, citing his ineligibility to become the object of His grace.

In the FIFTH pasuram, Azhwar points out to his mind that it got the desired fruit as it acted according to his instructions. He also appreciates the mind for not rejecting Emperuman’s advances even though it had the independence to do so.

"எண்ணிலும் வரும்" என்ற எண்தானும்  மிகையானபடி கண்டாயே! என்று அவன் படியை நெஞ்சுக்கு மூதலிக்கிறார்

In the SIXTH pasuram, Azhwar’s mind questions him whether Emperuman will let him go to which Azhwar responds that He will never desert us as long as we do not move away from Him.

In the SEVENTH pasuram, however, the feared thing unfolds (இவர் அஞ்சினபடியே விடிந்தது). Azhwar, haunted by his own ineligibility, looks to move away from Emperuman as only the elite immortals deserve to experience Him.

As Azhwar moved away from Emperuman and sat on a small wall, a laborer, carrying a heavy sack with contents, rested his sack on the wall and uttered out the name ‘Selva Narayana’. That was it! Azhwar, who until then was determined not to think about Emperuman, was engulfed in a sea of emotions. He started wondering how his mind, despite its indifference towards Emperuman, was always programmed to think about Him in this EIGHTH pasuram.

"செல்வநாரணனென்ற சொற்கேட்டலும் மல்கும் கண்பனி நாடுவன் மாயமே" என்றபடி அந்த சொல் ஆழ்வாரின் செவியல் பட, அவர் திருக்கண்களிலிருந்து நீர் பெருகி “எங்கே என் செல்வநாராயணன்?” என்று தேடும்படியான நிலைமை உண்டாயிற்று.

In the NINTH and the TENTH pasurams, Azhwar wonders what he can do to forget Emperuman, whom he envisions in the form of Thirukkurungudi Nambi. Nambi appears to be complete in all aspects. Azhwar is incapable of thinking about Him and at the same time not able to forget Him.

எம்பெருமானை நெஞ்சினால் எண்ணலாகாது, வாக்கினால் சொல்லலாகாது என்றிருந்த ஆழ்வார் இப்பொழுது எம்பெருமானை தேடி அலைய ஆரம்பித்துவிட்டார். 

In the FINAL pasuram, Azhwar explains that those who understand the inner meanings enshrined in this thiruvaimozhi will beget the benefit of performing eternal service to the Lord and His consort in Paramapadam.

Manavala Mamunigal brings out the essence of this padhigam beautifully in his thiruvaimozhi nootrandhadhi pasuram:

பொருமாழி சங்குடையோன்,பூதலத்தே வந்து,
தருமாறோ ரேதுவறத் தன்னை, - திரமாகப்
பார்த்துரைசெய் மாறன் பதம்பணிக என்சென்னி,
வாழ்த்திடுக என்னுடை வாய்.

Mukundhan Kidambi

Thursday, February 7, 2013

பொருமா நீள்படை - Avatharikai

The Poruma Neelpadai thiruvaimozhi brings out the essence of Srivaishnava Sampradhayam by explaining the concept of the Lord’s causeless grace (நிர்ஹேதுக க்ருபை).

In the previous ‘Ivaiyum avaiyum’ thiruvaimozhi, we saw how azhwar describes His union with the Supreme Lord (ஸர்வாங்க ஸம்ச்லேஷம்) by highlighting the auspicious attribute Satyma Bhoga Pradatvam. Moving forward, in this thiruvaimozhi, we shall see how Azhwar rationalizes his own actions and ends up praising the Lord’s causeless grace that was instrumental in azhwar experiencing unprecedented, inexplicable and infinite bliss in His union.

The bliss experienced by azhwar in the Lord’s company was so satisfying that azhwar considered it to be the heights/ends of fulfillment. The only thing Azhwar desired at that moment was its uninterrupted continuance.

பேற்றில் இனி இதுக்கு அவ்வருகு ஏற்றமாகச் செய்துகொடுக்கலாவது ஒன்றுமில்லை; இனி இதினுடைய அவிச்சேதத்தை பண்ணிக்கொடுக்கையே உள்ளது

Since what azhwar experienced during the union with the Lord was disproportionate to the effort(s) he had put in, he began rationalizing his actions that led to this enjoyment.  He was able to conclude that he hasn’t done anything worthwhile to be a recipient of the Lord’s abounding grace.

பேறு கனத்திருந்தது; இப்பேற்றின் கனத்திற்கு ஈடாயிருப்பதொரு நன்மை தம்தலையில் இன்றிக்கேயிருந்தது

At best, Azhwar did not have repugnance towards the Lord and maybe displayed a slight inclination towards seeking His feet. However, considering the magnitude of enjoyment Azhwar has been blessed with, the absence of repugnance and the slight inclination he displayed towards seeking the Lord’s feet could hardly be counted as actions that can serve as means to salvation. Nampillai compares this to a trade where one takes possession of a kingdom by offering a lemon in return for the transaction.

 ஒருவன் ஓர் எலுமிச்சம்பழம் கொடுத்து ராஜ்யத்தைப் பெற்றால் அது விலையாயிராதே

In essence, Nampillai informs us that our efforts (சாத்யோபாயங்கள்) can hardly constitute the means to salvation. It is emperuman’s causeless grace alone that can help us attain His divine feet.

ஸர்வேச்வரன் அடியாக வரும் பேற்றுக்கு இத்தலையால் ஓரடி நிரூபிக்கலாயிராதே

Pillai Lokacharyar brings out the essence of the same concept in the following Srivachanabhushana sutram:
இழவுக்கு அடி கர்மம். பேற்றுக்கு அடி க்ருபை

It was emperuman who brought us forth into this world. He was the one who gave us the knowledge and the independence to act according to the prescriptions of the sastras. Also, if we did not develop repugnance towards Him and developed an inclination to reach His feet, the credit for that too should go to Him alone, as He directs us being our Inner Controller. Tomorrow, if He elevates us to His divine abode and gives us a status equal to that of the celestials, it can again be only due to His causeless grace and not because of any initiation from our end.

Mukundhan Kidambi

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

மாயன் என் நெஞ்சில் உள்ளான் - Pasura Anubhavam

In the Ivaiyum Avaiyum thiruvaimozhi (1-9), we find the following pasuram:

mAyan en nenjinuLLAn maRRum yavarkku madhuvE
kAyamum seevanum thAnE kAlu meriyu mavanE
sEya naNiyan yavarkkum sindhaikkum kOsara mallan
thUyan thuyakkan mayakka nennudaith thOLiNai yAnE

Periyavachan Pillai offers the following preamble to this pasuram in his 24,000 padi vyakhyanam:

ஸர்வாந்தராத்மாவாய், அநாச்த்ரிதர்க்கு  அரியனாய், ஆச்ரிதர்க்கு எளியனானவன் என் தோளைப் பற்றி விடுகிறிலன் என்றார்

That is, Emperuman, who is the soul of all living and non-living beings, who is inconstruable by those who have not surrendered to Him and who is easily accessible to His protégés, has held Azhwar’s shoulder and is not in a position to let him go.

In this pasuram, corresponding to the words thuyakkan and mayakkan in the last line, Nampillai offers the following explanation in his Eedu:

உகவாதார்க்கு ஸம்சய விபர்யயங்களைப் பிறப்பிக்கும்

That is, those, who conduct themselves unfavourably to Emperuman will be driven by Him, as their inner controller, to develop doubts and misapprehensions in the knowledge that they have gained.

We shall now see how Nammazhwar’s word goes in line with sruti-based scriptures as demonstrated by the following explanation corresponding to ParayathAdhikaraNam in Sri Bhashyam (2-3-41):
At the beginning of every action that the soul performs, it is (first) given the independence to decide its course. When it chooses to conduct itself in the path advocated by the scriptures (dharma sAstras), it becomes favourable (anukoola) to the Supreme Lord (paramAtma). On the other hand, when the individual soul conducts itself in a manner not recommended by the scriptures, it becomes unfavourable (pratikoola) to the Supreme Lord. This initial decision made by the soul, at the beginning of every action, determines its journey to achieving salvation.

If the individual soul conducts itself in line with the prescriptions of the scriptures, the Supreme Lord, subsequently, as its internal controller (antaryAmi), directs it to perform deeds that will result in good karma (and thereby eventually leads it to salvation). If the individual soul conducts itself in a manner not authorized by the scriptures when given independence, the Supreme Lord, as its internal controller, directs the soul to engage in deeds that will augment its negative karma.
In the Adayavalanjan arumpadham corresponding to this pasuram, an interesting anecdote from the life of Parasara Bhattar is demonstrated:

A person well-versed in the sastras (hereinafter referred to as ‘sastri’) performed the kainkaryam of tidying up Bhattar’s thirumaligai. Whenever he used to visit Bhattar’s thirumaligai, the latter used to just greet him momentarily and that too with disapassion. On the other hand, when a particular Srivaishnava used to visit Bhattar’s thirumaligai to have the latter’s blessings, Bhattar used to receive him favourably and talk to him with a lot of affection. Having noticed this for quite sometime, one of his disciples asked Bhattar the reason behind this behaviour. Bhattar offered to clarify himself to his disciple the next day when the two arrive at his thirumaligai.

The next day, when the sastri arrived at Bhattar’s thirumaligai, the latter queried him: “Who do you consider as the Supreme Entity?” to which the sastri replied: “The vedas have certain portions which ascribe supremacy to Brahma, some ascribing supremacy to Vishnu and some ascribing supremacy to Rudra. Hence, it will be impossible for me to answer you emphatically”. As the sastri left, Bhattar asked the same question to the Srivaishnava who in turn said: “The only Supreme Lord that I know of is Sriman Narayana”. When Bhattar egged him further by asking him “What is our refuge?”, the Srivaishnava responded by saying that the feet of Emperumanar are our sole refuge.

After the Srivaishnava left his thirumaligai, Bhattar turned to his disciple and asked if he now understood the difference between the two. Hence, Bhattar’s behaviour towards the Srivaishnava reflected the latter’s clarity of the means and the end while his indifference towards the sastri reflected the latter’s lack of clarity in the means and the end despite being well-versed in the sastras.

Our purvacharyas emphasized knowing the essence of the vedas (i.e. Ashtakshara) more than possessing knowledge of the vedas itself. Hence, according to them, a saragnar or thirumanthira nishtar is more favourable to them as opposed to someone having mere knowledge of sastras. This thought is corroborated by Azhagiya Manavala Perumal Nayanar in his Acharya Hrudhayam (Sutram 38):

இந்தவுட்பொருள் கற்றுணர்ந்து மேலைத்தலைமறையோராகாதாரை அயற்சதுப்பேதிமாரென்று உத்பத்தி நிரூபிக்கும்

Mukundhan Kidambi 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

இவையும் அவையும் உவையும் - Summary

In this 9th thiruvaimozhi of the first Centum, Sri Aazhwar talks about the great Feature of Emperuman - Saadmya Bhoga Pradatvam wherein Emperuman's grace towards a Jeevatma is regulated in a manner that the recipient can stomach it easily. 

We shall see the Summary of each pasuram here.

In the First pasuram, Aazhwar says Lord is first-cause of all things and beings everywhere, he contains all in himself, then makes them again and protects them. He also states that the Lord, the Ambrosia, the spouse of Sri Mahalakshmi has entered in the vicinity -  ‘என்னுடைய எல்லையிலே வந்து நின்றான்’ என்றார். 

In this Pasuram, Sri Nampillai asks a question and answers himself. Question is Aazhwar generally talks about the Gunams/Roopams of Emperuman,  but he starts this thiruvaimozhi saying , which is about emperumans Vibhuthi(wealth). The answer is for Aazhwar there is no difference in enjoying Emperuman's Gunams/Roopams/Vibhuthis. Following is the extract from Eedu - அவனுடைய மேன்மை, உருவம், குணம் இவற்றை அனுபவிக்கின்ற இவர், ‘இவையும் அவையும்’ என்பது முதலாக அவனுடைய செல்வங்களைப் பேசி அனுபவிப்பதற்குக் காரணம் என்னை?’ எனின், இவர்க்கு அவனுடைய குணங்களை அனுபவிப்பதோடு விபூதியை அனுபவிப்பதோடு ஒரு வேற்றுமை இல்லை. 

In the Second pasuram, Aazhwar says kesava, the Lord of many wonders is near to him. He describes   Emperuman as the one who killed the rutted elephant; who came as a boar and lifted the Earth, who reclines in the deep ocean mystifying celestials - ‘அது பொறுத்தவாறே அருகே நின்றான்’ என்றார்.

In the third pasuram, Aazhwar says that the Faultless Lord of infinite glory, first cause of the celestials, dark gem-hued Lord of lotus-red eyes, peerless spouse of Lakshmi delights in riding the Garuda bird of fierce wings. Aazhwar also says Emperuman has entered in him giving a Bliss.

In the fourth Pasuram, Aazhwar says the lord has come and sat on his lap. He gives a wonderful description of emperuman here. He Says three consorts  (SriDevi, Bhudevi and Niladevi) are seated with him.  The worlds rule by Emperuman are also three. He also says The Lord who has done more wonders than the ocean, who swallowed them all and slept as a child floating on a fig leaf has come and sat on his(aazhwar's) lap like how he sat on the lap of Yashodha - யசோதைப்பிராட்டி மருங்கிலே இருக்குமாறு போன்று என் மருங்கிலே வந்திருக்கை தனக்குப் பெறாப் பேறாக நிளைத்திருக்கின்றான் என்கிறார்.

In the fifth Pasuram, Aazhwar says Emperuman, the darling child Krishna, who instantly by his will created Siva, Indra, Brahma and all other gods and all the worlds, who drank the poison from Puthana's Breast has risen to his Bosom -  ‘நெஞ்சிலே வந்து புகுந்தான்’ என்றார்.

In the sixth Pasuram,  Aazhwar says Emperuman has risen to his Shoulders. He describes Emperuman as the Spirit of all including Fire and Wind etc, pure and Enchanting -  ‘தோளிலே வந்திருந்தான்’ என்றார்.

In the seventh Pasuram, Aazhwar says Emperuman is sitting in his Tounge. He describes Emperuman as an Icon of readiant light, who wears the thulasi garlands on Shoulder, Chest, Crown and Feet(Thiruvadi) -  ‘நாவிலே வந்து புகுந்தான்’ என்றார்.
Sri Nampillai states pasurams from other places to show how both Emperuman and Aazhwar are fond of Thulasi.
‘புள்ஊர்தி கள் ஊரும் துழாய்க் கொயல்வாய் மலர் மேல் மனத்’ தையுடையராய் (திருவிருத்தம் 24)
‘வண்டு திவளும் தண்ணம் துழாய் கொடீர்’ (திருவாய்மொழி 2. 4 .5)
‘விரை மட்டு அலர் தண் துழாய் என்னும்’ (திருவாய்மொழி  2. 4 . 9)
‘கண்ணன் கழல்துழாய் பொன்செய் பூண்மென் முலைக்கு என்று மெலியும்’  (திருவாய்மொழி 4. 2..10)
‘தன் மன்னு நீள்கழல் மேல் தண் துழாய் நமக்கு அன்றி நல்கான்’ (திருவாய்மொழி 6. 8.6)

In the eighth Pasuram, Aazhwar says Emperuman is in his Eyes. He describes Emperuman as letter and spirits of all arts that blossom from the tounge; Protecter and Destroyer; who has battle-fierce discus and conch in four hands which are Petal-Soft - ‘கண்ணுள்ளே நின்றான்’ என்றார்.

In the ninth Pasuram, Aazhwar says Emperuma in his ForeHead. He describes Emperuman as the creator of the lotus-born Brahma and the forehead-eyed Siva and the pure gods. Aazhwar also says Emperuman has graced him so much that his vision is pure now - ‘கண்ணிலே நின்ற நிலை பொறுத்தவாறே என் நெற்றியிலே வந்து நில்லாநின்றான்,’ என்கிறார்.

In the tenth Pasuram, Aazhwar says Emperuman who is worshipped by crescent-crowned Siva, the four-faced Brahma, Indra and all the other gods by placing their Heads on his Feet has risen from the forehead to the Head. For the word நிரை மலர் பாதங்கள் சூடி Kanchi Sri PBA swamy explains in his usual wonderful way. Extracts from Divyartha Deepikai - என்னுடைய நெற்றியிலே (ஊர்த்துவ புண்ட்ரரூபமாக) இருந்து கொண்ட என்னை ஸ்ரீவைஷ்ணவ திலகனாக ஆக்கிய திருவடிமலர்களைத் தாங்கள் சூடிக்கொண்டு ஒற்றைப் பிறையணிந்தானும் நான்முகமிந்திரனும் மற்றையமரருமெல்லாம் கண்ணபிரானைத் தொழுவார் என்கிறார். இதனால் ஆழ்வார் ஹரிபாதாகாரமான ஊர்த்துவபுண்ட்ரமே சாத்திக் கொண்டிருந்தவர் என்பதும்,அது தானும் ஏகபாதாகரமன்று, பாதத்வயாகாரம் என்பதும் ஸ்பஷ்டமாகும்.

In the last Pasuram, Aazhwar says for those who recite this decad will abidingly secure his holy lotus feet - ஆழ்வார்க்குக் கிடைத்த பேறே அவரடியார்க்கும் பேறாகு மென்க.

Sri Manavala Mamunigal puts the saaram of this Thiruvaimozhi in one Pasuram emphasising the great Kalyana Gunam - Satmya Bhoga Pradatvam - 
இவைஅறிந்தோர் தம்மளவில் ஈசன்உவந் தாற்ற
அவயவங்கள் தோறும் அணையும்-சுவையதனைப்
பெற்றுஆர்வத் தால்மாறன் பேசினசொல் பேசமால்
பொற்றாள்நம் சென்னி பொரும்

Madhusudhanan MA