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thiru viNNagarath thEn - part 3 - maRaith "thEn"

From: Sampath Rengarajan (
Date: Wed Jul 04 2001 - 20:12:26 PDT

Srimadh Azhagiya Singar thiruvadikaLE saraNam

thiru viNNagarath thEn - part 3 - maRaith "thEn" ?

(In   this part the question on use of uncommon words are discussed.
A brief analysis is  attempted  as to why tamil vEdham is called as
tamizh maRai and maRaith"thEn"?  The tamil word maRaiththEn means I
have hidden something).

Dear bAgawathAs,

     In  some  of the poorvAchAryA vyAkyAnams on tamil prabhandhams
Samskritham  has  been  referred  as the "muRattu bAshai" (tough to
"learn & use" language).  It is felt that the samskritha vada mozhi
is not understandable by many commoners. AzhwArs incarnated as  per
Sriman nArAyanA's  thiru  uLLam  and  delivered  the  vEdhams in an
extremely  easy  to  learn and talk language, ie. tamil. It is said
that those  tamil vEdhams are not only easy to learn, they are also
undiluted, unambiguous  and  unadulterated in  their  meanings  for
samskrtiha vEdhams. While  it  is said so,  there  are  many AzhwAr
pasurams that  contain  certain complex  or sometime compounded and
uncommonly used tamil words as  main  references.  Some   of  these
references are hidden in a  compounded   word   ("thEn"  references
of  this  series  such as  thuRan"thEn", maRan"thEn" etc).  Someone
may think why  all  these  "muRattu   vArtthaigaL"  (words that are
somewhat difficult to pronounce and understand)  are  being used in
the supposedly easy to understand "tamil vEdham"?. These references
are mostly on the surroundings of the divya dEsams. The  compounded
and hidden words are mainly on  the beauty  and  specialty  of  the
buildings, fields, trees, gardens, flowers,  honey,  bees  and  the
rivers in a divya dEsam?  Why not they simply refer  to  the  divya
dEsams alone and be upto the point (*)? Is it simply to fill in the
lines to suit  the  poetic meter and standards alone? ie..They fill
in the poetic meter adopted in that pathigam. It   is common to any
poetry.  However, a person who is not so familiar with poetic tamil
may get tired of some of these repeated references.

      We are all taught that  the  AzhwAr  Sri sukthis are not mere
mortal poems such that one can simply look at them  in  the  poetic
sense alone and be content with that.  It  is  said  that  they are
embedded with layers of inner meanings.  That is why  AchAryA after
AchAryA incarnated and delivered so many wonderful  vyAkyAnams that
are so unique only to Srivaishnava Sri Sukthis. (Though  shaivaites
have their own score of tamil granthams in numbers, it is said that
they donot have  many meaningful vyAkyAnams such as ours). If these
pasurams are using very complex compounded & hidden words and  have
layers of inner meanings, then comes the question as to how one can
call the tamil prabhandhams as very something that is very  "clear,
unambiguous" and so on in their effort to  provide  clear  meanings
for vEdhams. It  is  a  very valid question.

The tamil word "maRai" means hide something. ie..They   (samskritha
vEdham) hide the thatthuvam of "param poruL" such that many are not
clear about it. Hence the samskritha vEdham is  named  as  "maRai".
Since tamizh is  so sweet as "thEn" the  tamil vEdham can be called
as  maRaith"thEn". However thamizh vEdhams never hid the concept of
para thaththuvam.  They were pretty open about  it and forth coming
and straight forward as to who is the paramAthmA.  In  this  sense,
the tamil vEdham or the 4000 pAsurams are what they are meant to be
and known for (Swami dEsikan's reference "theLiyAtha maRai nilangaL
theRiginROmE"). But many poorvAchAryAs call divya prabhandhams also
as "thamizh maRai". Is  it a simple common terminology to call them
as vEdham? If these pasurams are  NOT  hiding  the  para thatthuvam,
then why is it called as  "maRai" again?  or else what is it hiding
this time around?  It is said that these pasurams are also somewhat
secretive and not "very open" in  describing about the many of  the
paths  that  lead to the said paramAthmA. ie.. One may ask, "What's
the point in simply learning who is the paramAthmA  and not knowing
what  to  do with that knowledge (on "who is the paramAthmA")?.

     One must also  learn  that the  purpose of the jeevAthmA is to
serve the paramAthmA (divya  dampathis) eternally.  Such "kainkarya
prApatthi"  is "always" possible only by attaining  mOksham.  There
were many mArgAs that the vEdhAs have preached for  one  to  attain
brahmam. However our AchAryAs  emphasis  that  many of these mArgAs
are not possible for the "kali yuga boolOga vAsis" to do,  as  they
require extremely rigorous pursuit that are not  feasible  for  the
samsAris of kali.  The  tamil vEdham incarnated in boolOgam towards
the beginning of kali. Their purpose was not only to establish very
clearly  as  to who is paramAthmA,  but  also  to  part  with  some
knowledge as to how the kali yuga vAsis can attain the same.

       The only mArgam that "suit" the boolOga vAsis in kali is the
saranAgathi or prapatthi mArgam. There  were  several references to
AzhwAr  doing  saranAgathi   to the Lord. However, these references
were interpreted  differently by  different  SrivaishnavAs. Some of
them argue that these references are not necessarily talking  about
prapatti or saranagathi mArgam as such and question these  mArgams.
These references were somewhat implicit about  the  yAgam or ritual
saranagathi.  Hence  it  somehow  makes  one  feel that these tamil
vEdhams as "thamizh maRai". ie, These also hide the true  nature of
the main and only mArgam that is easy to pursue in kali. It is said
that due to some reasons divya dampathis  made  only  Srivaishnavas
know  about  the para thatthuvam very clearly. It is also said that
due  to  some  other reasons  only a few  among them  were  made to
understand  the  implicit references to the prapati mArgam.  Thanks
to many of our poorvAchAryAs who wrote about these.  The references
to  saranagathi,  its  angAs,  angis  are  derived  and  understood
from these pAsurams from AzhwAr Sri sukthis due to these vyAkyAnams(*).

Many poorvAchAryAs  beginning from  Sri peria vAcchAn  pillai  have
explicitely   mentioned   about  this  prapatthi  mArgam  in  their
vyAkyAnams for these pasurams. This is a knowledge one may have  to
obtain  from the sadAchAryA's kAlakshEam of these pasurams. Of this
knowledge, the most important knowledge is to do a "saranAgathi" or
"Athma samarpanam" at the holy feet of the divya dampathis "through
a sadhAchAryA".  How can one  do  such  saranAgathi and  what  does
one  do  after   doing saranAgathi ? In what way all these analysis
and the current flow of thEnARu can explain this ?

Sri kumuthavaLLi nAcchiyAr samEtha Sri thirumangai AzhwAr thiruvadikaLE 
Sri boomidEvith thAyAr samEtha Sri Oppiliappan thiruvadikaLE saraNam.
adiyEn irAmAnusa dAsan
thiruk kudanthai Sampath Rengarajan
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