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Re: A Pasuram of Thirumazhisai Alwar

From: Mani Varadarajan (
Date: Fri Apr 20 2001 - 10:45:09 PDT

Dear Ravi,

This is a very nice paasuram. Here is the padavurai with

   neRivaasal thaanEyaay ninRaanai, ainthu
   poRivaasal pOrkkathavam saatthi, - aRivaanaam
   aalamara neezhal aRamn^aalvark kanRuraittha,
   aalamamar kaNdath tharan.                   
   mudhal thiruvanthaadhi 4.
   Once, long ago, 
   In the shade of a banyan tree,
   Hara with his poison-filled neck
   explained dharma to the four rishis.
   But [Lord Vishnu] Himself is
      The Path and the Entrance;
   Closing the unclosable
     five gates to this machine, 
   Can he truly know Him?
   Word for word:
   neRi                 -- path (upAya)
   vaasal               -- door (upEya)  
   thaanEyaay ninRaanai -- Vishnu Himself being
   ainthu poRivaasal    -- the five gates to this machine
                           (referring to the body and its five senses)
   pOrkkathavam         -- doors which cannot be closed 
   saaththi             -- closed
   aRivaan aam          -- can he truly know?
   aalamara neezhal     -- in the shade of a banyan tree
   aRam                 -- dharma
   naalvarkku           -- to the four maharishis 
                           Agastya, Daksha, Pulastya, Kashyapa
   anRu                 -- then
   uraiththa            -- explaining
   aalamamar kaNdath    -- the one with poision in his neck
   aran                 -- Hara (Siva)
As you say, the meaning is, even though Bhagavaan Parama Siva is the 
greatest of yogins (yogISvara), can even he truly know Emberumaan 
merely through his own efforts, when Emberumaan alone is both the goal 
*and* the means to Himself?

This is reminiscent of Nammalvar's declaration at the outset of 
Tiruvaymoli: mananaga malam aRa manan uNarvu aLavu ilan -- Emberumaan
who is none other than the paramAtman is incapable of being known even 
by a mind which is purified by yoga.  By yoga what is meant here is 
karma-yoga and jnAna-yoga, which are means by which one has a vision 
of the individual self in pure, blissful state. 

What this serves to underscore is that the paramAtman is 
 (a) different from the external world which is grasped by the 
     external senses 
 (b) different from the blissful individual self which is
     realized by a purified mind through jnAna-yoga and karma-yoga

Only through Emberumaan's grace (consequent to bhakti-yoga and
self-surrender) can Emberumaan be realized.


           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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