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"mahanAy-pirandhu..mahanAy vaLara.." (1 of 2)

From: sampath kumar (
Date: Mon Jan 10 2000 - 05:50:07 PST

Dear friends,
In the 25th Stanza of "tiruppAvai", which is meant to
be recited today (9th Jan) in all our respective
homes, our 'pirAtti' of SriVilliputtur, our poetess
extraordinaire, deals with some of the most weighty
and formidable themes of Veda-Vedanta "sAram", as well
as those of hallowed Srivaishnava doctrine.

What are these great themes?

I. AndAl first deals with the subject of the "Descent
of God" or what in SriVaishnava parlance is called

    The expression "orutti mahanAy pirandhu"
symbolises the esotericism surrounding the "birth" of
the Almighty in prison to Devaki and Vasudevan on one
dark, stormy night, inside a dank dungeon in the city
of Mathura. The city, as we all know, was then ruled
by the evil Kamsa of the Yadava-clan who was hell-bent
on destroying Krishna.
   Any devotee who aspires to realize the nature of
"para-tatvam"... the Supreme Being... must necessarily
grasp the significance of "avatAra-rahasya". In order
to do this, he/she must constantly and repeatedly
dwell within his mind upon the anecdotal and
circumstantial accounts given of the Lord's "birth".
PurAnA-s like Srimad-Bhagavatham reveal to us the
reality of the Lord's avatAra and its true purpose.
They contain many many insights into the nature of God
and his "avatAra-leelA-s". When the truth of such
accounts are repeatedly contemplated upon by us and
well-understood ("nanngu-uNarvathal"), then they leave
impressions of their true significance upon our
consciousness. In good time such impressions gradually
kindle within us the birth of a rare spiritual

    What is this "realization"? This realization is
not at the intellectual or emotional plane. It is
realization in sheer non-verbal terms at the innermost
layer of our being. It consists of the discovery of
the difference between the 'birth of Man' and the
"Birth of God"... discovery that the 2 are NOT the
same... that the causality of Man owes itself to the
operation of "karma-vinai" (the inexorable cycle of
cause/effect, death/re-birth) while the "birth of God"
is un-caused causality. 

    Further, it is discovery that while the result of
our "birth" is invariably evermore bondage to the
cycle of "karma", the purpose of the Lord's "Birth" is
to free us from those very same shackles of bondage...
in much the same way as the prison-fetters of Devaki
and Vasudevan simply gave way when Krishna was born.
In his "muvAyirapadi", Sri.PVPillai very nicely stated
this idea: "avan piravi namakkenrukOla, nam-piravi
avan mAdhA pithAkkal kAlil-vilangu pattadhu padum!".  

II. Next, AndAl deals with the theme of "unseen
Immanence of God"... "antaryAmi"... i.e. the
"disappearance" or "elusiveness" of God.... The
expression, "orutti-mahanAy ollittu-vaLara" refers to
how Krishna was born in Mathura but vanished in the
course of one night ("Or-iravil") to Gokulam where he
was raised by his foster mother, Yasodha. This
expression symbolises the Immanence of God
("antaryAmi")that ever eludes our understanding.
("tiru-avatarikka-ceyydE antaryAmi pattadu-paduvathE!"
commented SriPVPillai in his "muvAyirapadi" meaning
""descent" and "disapperance" are but natural
concomitants of God!".)

III. AndAl next hints at the "karma-kAnda" of the
Vedas by making a fleeting but profoundly significant
reference in this Stanza to "neruppu".... fire... i.e.
IV. AndAl deals with the "end" of "Veda" viz.
VedAnta... the end of Vedanta being "Liberation"....
The expression 'varuttammum teerndu' signifies eternal
deliverance for the individual "jIvA' ... i.e.
re-birth never again for the soul!

V. AndAl also deals with the explicitness of the
"ashtAkshara mantra" in SriVaishnava doctrine

VI. Finally, AndAl deals with the esotericism of the
"dvaya" or "dvAdasAkshara mantra" in SriVaishnava

   *********        ********       ********

Because of the "heavy-duty" load of matters as lofty
as above which this Stanza contains, it is often
referred to by scholars with awe as the "veda-vedanta
sanghamam"... the confluence in the "tiruppAvai" where
the waters of the "karma-" and "gnyAna-" 'kAndA'
streams of Vedic thought embrace one another, mingle
and flow out together once again as one grand
Upanishadic river of Truth gushing its way through the
two mighty banks of the "ashtAkshara" and "dvaya-
mantra" doctrine.

Adiyen is woefully lacking in capacity to even attempt
essaying any sort of explanation or commentary for
'pAsuram' #25 of the 'tiruppAvai". It is simply far
too lofty for the grasp of any layman's intellect and
far too sublime for the heart of one like adiyen's to
imbibe... schooled insufficiently as it is in the
SriVaishnava fine art of divining "svApadEsArtham"
from holy texts (interpretations according to
'sampradAya' or orthodox tradition).       

Therefore, rather than trying to cover all the
aforementioned 6 grand themes of Stanza#25, (as is
traditionally done) adiyen shall attempt to highlight
only one.... the one he believes is the least known or
appreciated by lay Srivaishnavas like himself; and
therefore it is also the one that deserves most
attention.... certainly much more than what legions of
scholar-commentators over the ages have lavished on
the other 5 themes. 

The theme adiyen wants to highlight is No:III above. 

Adiyen is keen to show how in Stanza#25 Sri.AndAl
almost unobtrusively but unmistakably discourses on
the essential unity of "karma-" and "gnyAna-kAnda-s"
of the Vedas. 

It is truly extraordinary the way AndAl cleverly uses
the word "neruppu" or fire ("agni") in this Stanza. 

adiyen will explain in the accompanying post titled
"mahanAy-pirandhu..mahanAy vaLara.." (2 of 2).


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