|You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : April 1996|
Date: Sat Apr 27 1996 - 15:34:50 PDT
Dear Bhagavatas, Please find enclosed Section 2.5 (2) on Nammalwar in my Series Part I - Alwars. You may bring to my notice by private mail any errors, omissions or additions to enable me to verify and correct my edition. Thanks. Dasoham Anbil Ramaswamy Part I - Alwars - Section 2.5 (.2 ) Nammalwar (Contd) PERIYA TIRUVANTADHI This is considered to be the essence of Atharvana Veda.All the 87 verses in this are in Venbaa and in Antaadhi style.In grandeur of expression and the depth of meaning it is really great. Hence, it is called 'Periya Tiruvantadhi'.Another reason for this name is as stated by the Alwar himself, the Lord of the entire universe entered the Alwar and became ' contained' in him and therefore the Alwar was greater than the Lord himself! Some of the sentiments expressed, the queries posed by the Alwar really reveal a kind of intimacy in his relation to the Lord (e.g) in Verse 16,on Vaamana Avatar- Seeral Pirandhu Sirappaal Valaraadhu / Per Vaamanan Aagaakkaal Peraala / Maarbu Aarap Pulgi Nee Undu Umizhndha Bhoomi Neer Yerpar idhe / Sollu Nee Yaam Ariyach choozhndhu / " How come" he asks, " without living up to your numerous glorious names and being known as 'well born' and 'well brought up' - you took the Avatar as a dwarf with the name of Vaamana.- a despicable dwarf who cannot boast of any merit of birth or upbringing ? Perhaps, you thought that only by assuming such a ridiculous form could you go abegging for a gift of earth. And, what earth?. YOUR earth that you embraced; YOUR earth that you gulped; YOUR earth that you released at the time of a new Kalpa. Even though such a earth was YOUR VERY OWN, why on earth did you beg of Bali to 'gift' it to you with the symbolic pouring of water? I really need an explanation for this queer act of yours. Pulgi : Embraced, Peraalan : renowned with glorious names. In verse 75, he refers to ' THE CONTAINER BEING CONTAINED' Puviyum Iru Visumbhum Ninnagatha Nee En / Seviyin Vazhi Pugundhu Ennullaai- Avivinri / Yaan Periyan Nee Periyei! Enbhathanai Yaar Arivaar?/ Oon Parugu Nemiyaai ! Ullu! " O! Lord! You hold a discus which is capable of devouring all flesh; This world and Paramapada are contained in you; Thus, you are the Lord of both the worlds ( Ubhaya Vibhuti Nathan). How come, while this being so, you chose to enter me through my auditory faculty and you became contained in me and that too permanently? Now that you are contained in me irretrievably, who can say which one of us is greater than the other? If you know, you may yourself explain this conundrum (and admit your defeat! ) In verse 86, the Alwarwonders how people could save themselves when they have absolutely no thought of salvation which Lord Narayana alone can grant. Kaar Kalandha Meniyaan Kai Kalandha Aazhiyaan / Paar Kalandha Vul Vayirraan, Paambanaiyaan - Seer Kalandha / Sol Ninaindhu Pokkaarael Soozh Vinaiyin Aazh Thuyarai \ Enn Ninainthu Pokkuvaar Ippodhu / " People of the world are wasting their time without experiencing the bliss of the Lord's names; The Lord is of the color of the Azure skies; He has the divine discus in his hand; At the time of deluge, he keeps the worlds in 'safe custody' in his stomach and protects them; He reclines on the serpent couch. If only people should talk of these facts, they can free themselves from all sins. Without doing this, why are they wasting their lifetime? I wonder how they are able to do this and how else could they ever hope to rid themselves of sins." Thanian on Periya Tiruvantadhi ( composed by Emperumaanaar) Mundutra Nenje! Muyatri Dharithu Uraithu / Vandhithu Vayaara Vaazhthiye - Sandham / Uru Koorum Solai Soozh Moympoom Porunal / Kurukooran Maaran Per Kooru / "O! My Mind! You desire to proceed to the great Nammalwar well before me all for my good. Please inform the Alwar of my plight. Bow to him; Praise him to your heart's content. He is the Lord of the grove full of honey filled flowers in the holy city of Tirukkurugur which stands on the banks of the river Tamraparni. He is also called Maaran. Always recite his names" TIRUVOIMOZHI The word Voimozhi is derived from Vaymai + Mozhi =Truth + Exposition. 'Tiru' also denotes greatness. Hence, Tiruvoimozhi means ' Exposition of great truths'. The Vedas are also called Voimozhi. Thus, Tiruvoimozhi also means Vedas. It is said that the deities in the 108 Divyadesams came to where Nammalwar lived under the tamarind tree and gave him Darshan and hear his songs. As in Tiruviruttam, the Alwar expresses his sentiments in the triple capacity of Lady love ( Paraankusa Nayaki), her mother and her friend. In Tiruvoimozhi, the Alwar firmly establishes that Lord Narayan is THE Paramatma and Prapatti is THE only way to reach him easily. He passionately refers to the ' Leela' of the Lord in his 'Vibhava' especially in Krishna Avatara. In 7/9/1 and 7/9 /2, the Alawar explains how the Lord used him as an instument for publishing His great epic in Tamil. By this, the Lord invested the Alwar with all the credits for the work while in fact, says the Alwar, the work was actually the handiwork of the Lord himself. Yenraikkum Yennai Uyyakkondu Pogiya / Anraikkanru Yennai Thannaakki Yennaal Thannai / In Tamizh Paadiya Eesanai Aadhiyaai / Ninra Yen Sodhiyai En Solli Nirpano? / The Lord has deemed me worthy of being redeemed and has made me his worthy servant. He sang His song in chaste Tamil making me an instrument for His purpose. By what words can I praise this primordial, resplendent Lord? ( I have no words left to do this ). This is reminiscent of what Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna viz., that all the warriors on the Kaurava side had already been destroyed by His Sankalpa and Arjuna was only a mere 'Vyaja' (pretext) in their slaying In the case of the Alwar, however, a ' Naichya Anusandhana' can be noticed in his statement. In 7/9/2- En Solli Nirpan? En Innuyir Inru Onraai / En Sollaal Yaan Sonna Inkavi Enpithu / Than Sollaal Thaan Thannai Keerthitha Maayan, En / Mun Sollum Moovuraagum Mudhalvane / The wonderful Lord utilized me as an instrument for composing His own poem in His own words; But, He has made me popular as if I were the one who had composed His words. Even my life has become worthy. Who else can render this magical phenomenon than the ' Prime Inter Pares' of the triumvirate? By what words can I describe this wonder of wonders of metamorphasizing a worthless person like me into a worthy one?" In 10 / 8 / 9, he asks, why the Lord who had ignored him for so long suddenly discovered him as worthy of his grace by entering his little heart NOW. Why if I were worthy, did he let me languish so far to be swayed by the five sensual organs? The Lord who has his abode in Tiruppernagar owes me an explanation for his former apathy and his newfound sympathy" Inru Ennai Porul Aakki Thannai Ennul Vaithaan / Anru Ennai Puram Poga Punarthidu En Seivaan? / Kunrenna Thigazh Maadangal Soozh Thirup Peraan / Onru Enakku Arul Seyya Unarthal Urrene ? When Nanjeeyar asked Bhattar, his Guruas to what reply the Lord gave to this query, Bhattar answered " How could he possibly give an answer? Ashamed of his own delay in running to the succour of the devotee, the Lord became totally silenced" This is the description given by Periyavachan Pillai. A more detailed description given by Nampillai in this regard can be gleaned from the ' Eedu'. We can go on enjoying the sentiments expressed in almost every verse of the Alwar but due to time and space restraints, we have to take a few of them. For now, we shall consider the Thanians ( dedicatory verses ) on Tiruvoimozhi. 1. Composed by Sriman Nathamuni Bhaktaamrutam Viswa Janaanu Modhanam / Sarvarthatham Sri Sadakopa Vaang Mayam / Sahasra Sakha Upanishad Samaagamam / Namaami Aham Draavida Veda Saagaram / " Nammalwar's ' Arulicheyal' is like nectar to the Bhaktas; showers happiness to one and all; Determines things that alone are permanent; is equal to the thousand branched Upanishads; I protrate before this ocean of Tamil Vedas." 2. Composed by Iswara Muni Tiru Vazhudi Nadu Enrum Then Kurugur Enrum / Maruv Iniya Vaan Porunal Enrum - Aru Maraikal / Antaadhi Seidhaan Adiyinaiye Eppozhudhum / Sinthiyaay Nenje! Thelindhu " "O! My mind! Always contemplate on the feet of Sadakopa who rendered the Vedas in Antaadhi style in Tamil. Think always of Tiruvazhudhi Naadu, Tirukkurugur, and the beautiful river Tamraparni". The Alwar has used these three in his signature verses. 3. Composed by Sottai Nambikal Manathaalum Vaayaalum Van Kurugur Penum / Inathaarai Allaadu Irainjen - Danathaalum / Edum Kuraivilen Enthai Sadakopan / Paathankal Yaamudaiya Patru / " I will always worship by mind and words the prosperous Kurugur populated by Bhaktas. I will never even think of others; Also, I am not lacking in (spiritual) wealth; The feet of Sadakopa who is verily like my father are my refuge forever." 4. Composed by Ananthaalwaan Yeindha Perum Keerthi Iraamaanuja Munithan / Vaainda Malarp Paatham Vanangukiren - Aaindha Perum / Seeraar Sadakopan Senthamizh Vedam Tharikkum / Peraadha Ullam pera / " I bow at the feet of Sri Ramanuja ( Emperumanar) who is praised by one and all; By this, I will acquire the capacity to learn and understand Tiruvoimozhi, which is Veda composed in Tamil by Sri Sadakopa" 5.Composed by Bhattar Vaan Thigazhum Solai Madhil Arangar Van Pugazh Mel / Aanra Tamizh Maraigal Aayiramum - Eenra / Mudhal Thaai Sadakopan Moymbaal Valartha / Edhat Thaai Eraamaanujan / " Srirangam is surrounded by groves and ramparts that are sky high; Tiruvoimaozhi's 1000 odd verses are verily the Vedas which proclaim the auspicious qualities of Sri Ranganatha. The natural ( biological) mother of this Tamil Vedas is Sri Sadakopan. Emperumaanaar is the fostermother who nurtured and nourished it " Since Ramanuja based his entire Kalakshepam discourses on Tiruvoimozhi, he is considered the 'foster mother' while Nammalwar was its ' natural mother' who gave birth to it. 6. Composed also by Bhattar Mikka Irai Nilaiyum Meyyaam Uyir Nilaiyum / Thakka Neriyum Tadaiyaagi - Thokkiyalum / Oozh Vinaiyum Vaazh vinaiyum Odhum Kurugaiyor Kone / Yaazhin Isai Vedath Eyal" / " The Tamil Vedam of Tiruvoimozhi composed by Kurugai Piraan (Nammalwar) contains the five great realities viz, (i) the nature of the Eternal Paramatma (ii) the nature of the eternal Jeevatma (iii) the means for the Jeevatma to attain the goal of Paramatma (iv) the impediments on the way and (v) the goal of ultimate life of happiness in Moksha." Divya Desams consecrated by Nammalwar 1. Tiruvarangam 2. Tiruppernagar 3.Kumbakonam 4. Tiruvinnagar 5. Tirukkannapuram 6.Tirumalirumcholai 7. Tirumogur 8.Tiruk Kurugur 9.Alwar Tirunagari 10. Sirivaramangai 11. Tiruppulingudi 12, Tirupperai 13. Srivaikuntam 14. Varagunamangai 15. Perun kulam 16. Tirukkurungudi 17.Tirukkovilur 18.Tiruvananthapuram 19.Tirukkaatkarai 20. Tirumoozhikkalam 21.Tiruppuliyur 22.Tiru vanparisaaram 23.Tiruchenkunrur 24. Tirunaavaai 25. Tiruvallavazh 26.Tiruvanvandur 27. Tiruvattaar 28. Tirukkadithaanam 29.Tiru vaaran vilai 30. Tiruvenkadam 31. Tiruvayodhya 32. Dwaaraka 33.Vadamadurai 34. Tiruppaarkadal and 35. Paramapadam.