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thirup pAvai - part 5 - "padi"

From: Sampath Rengarajan (
Date: Sun Dec 20 1998 - 08:06:13 PST

Dear Bhaagavathaas,                                        5:00 AM
                                                    mArgazhi day 5
(this part  deals  with  the meaning for the word   "padi" used in 
vyAkyAnams. Those  who are familair with that may please skip this 

Having learnt the some basic meanings associated  with  the  title
and author and achAryA associated with thirup pAvai, it is desired 
that we learn some knowledge on what vyAkyAnms   are delivered  on
this important shAstram, thirup pAvai by our poorva acharyas.   In 
order  for  us to learn that first we have to  learn a  particular  
word that we often use in our references  in calling or  addresing  
these vyAkyAnams.  We have heard the word "padi" from many. adiyEn  
is once again attempting to provide some  meaning for this word as 
this word is repeated so  many  times  when  ever  we hear about a 
vyAkyAnams in particular.

The word "padi" has several meanings in tamil. The main meaning is 
"read" or "study". The second meaning is "step". The third meaning 
is "obey". The fourth meaning is "keep low". Some of these are Sri
vaishnava lakshanams that we have know from naicchi anusanthAnams.
The  word  "padi" also means a "measuring  device" or "metrics" or 
"counts" or a  scale of units to measure. In olden days  they  use 
to  use a padi to measure the freshly harvested paddy crops (nel). These 
"padis" are also called as "marak kAL" in tanjore  district. 

The word "padi" used in calling a vyAkyAnams whether it  is "thiru 
vAy mozhi" or "thirup pAvai") has come from  the  measure  of  the  
letters  used  in  those  vyAkyAnms. (one can measure or count the 
number letters simply but the anubavams  that bAgawathALS  may get  
out of reading (padi-tthal) those vyAkyAnams are immeasurable. The tamil 
literature uses every 32 letters as one "padi" or a  "metre" 
(ie "metrics").  If one is calling a  vyAkyAnam "6000   padi" ie., 
ArAyirap padi guru pAram pariyam, that means there are  6000 times 
32 letters in those vyAkyAnams (ie 192,000 letters). 

There are two other reasons our AchAryAs names  these  as "padis".
The first one is asking us to "read" ("padi") it  ourseveles  with 
the guidance of an AChAryA and have swaanubavams  and  enjoy   it 
ourselves and then to "read" ("padi") to   others  who are in the 
beginning stage and  help them taste it once such that they  also  
seek the guidance of achAryAs and enjoy the swanubavams.

The other reason for naming the vyAkyANms as "padi" is such  that
these are "steps" ("padis") to undertanding   the   AzhwAr  aruli  
cheyyals that one must climb themselves   with  the  guidance  of 
AchAryAs to  learn  the  AzhwArs  aruLi cheyyals  thoroughly  and 
experience the anubavams that they had and showed in   their  sri 
sukkthis for us to   follow and enjoy ourselves as well.   Though 
we can add some more on the "padi" meanings, for the  time  being  
this is enough for us to begin with a basic understanding  of why 
a vyAkyAnm is  called  so and so "padi" so  that the  reader  can 
have an idea from the start as to what expect.  

Thiru vAy moZhi is known as vedam in tamil and  is  called as Sri
bagawath vishayam. Most of the vyAkyAnms for "thiry vAy moZhi" of
Sri NammAzhwAr are called as "padis". Next to that thirup pAvai's
vyAkyAnms are also called as "padis". So much importance is given
to this saranAgathi ShAstram delivered by Sri ANDAL by our poorva
AchAryAs. With aruL of ANDAL we may want to climb these padis and
enjoy the anubavams.
Sri ANDAL thiruvadikaLE saraNam
Sri Boomi dEvi samEtha Sri Oppiliappan thiruvadikaLE saraNam
Sri ANDAL samEtha Sri vadpathra sAyee perumAL thiru vadikaLE 
Sampath Rengarajan

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