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AzhwAr / Kamban 's "aiyO!"

From: Ranganathan, Sriram (
Date: Mon Feb 22 1999 - 10:59:00 PST

First Union Capital Markets Corp.

Dear Bhakthas,

Both Azhwar's  "kayinAr-surisanganalAzhiyar ........... seyya-vAyya-aiyO !
ennai sindhaikavarn~thathu~vE!"
and Kamban's  "Veyyon Oli Than Meniyin Viri Sodhiyin Maraya .............
mazhaimugilO?  aiyO!  ivan azhagenaa azhiyaa azhagudaiyaan"

expressions of   " aiyo!"    in  attempting   to  capture  Sriman Naryana's
ethereal beauty in their verses, perhaps  have  an inherent  "pain"  in

Here is my surmise : 

Unable to do full justice to the Supreme Lord' beauty,  their anguish
compounded by their  inability  to experience that  situation  further  and
having  to  contend with  whatever they came up with  forces them to exclaim
"aiyo!"... in the threshold of  "pain"   born out of  sheer  helplessness.  

Alternatively, on a different perspective,  the poets in  trying to
compensate  for the lack of  any other precise expression in the language (
other than what  is available!  )  but then again,  not really wanting  to
express  the  "anubhavam"  within the confines of  a specific word,   settle
for the genereic "aiyo!"  - serving to  fill that void, not as an expression
per se, but  meaning "indescribable"  - as a means of  leaving it  to the
reader's own imagination to live and appreciate  the scene... thus achieving
the twin objective of  describing the "indescribable" and yet  not limiting
it ...

Whichever way one looks at it,  one cannot help wonder the poets'  expertise
with a word not  so much encouraged. 

As regards Sri. Sudarshan's query about "pain"  being a factor of  "superior
consciousness", I guess the answer is 
"In a way , yes!" 

Though the experience of   "superior consciousness"  by itself  can not be
painful, actually 
the truth of not experiencing that exalted status makes it painful for
And for those  deserving / fortunate ones that do experience, the thought of
separation makes it painful.

By "superior consciousness" I understand it to mean "being with Sriman

Sriram Ranganathan