You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : July 1999

Re: what does 'adiyEn' mean?

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_be.com)
Date: Thu Jul 15 1999 - 13:55:35 PDT

 [ A readers asked privately what the word 'adiyEn' means.
   I thought this may be of general interest, so I am 
   posting my reply to the list as a whole. ]

'adiyEn' is Tamil for 'Your servant'. It has been used for 
years in Tamil as a humble way of saying 'I', since the 
usage of 'I' presumably signifies the ego. It was commonly
used by servants in old Tamil society when they needed to
refer to themselves in front of a king. The Alvars drew
from this model and often referred to themselves as 'adiyEn'
when speaking to God.

Even today Sri Vaishnavas say 'adiyEn' when speaking to
respected elders and swamis.  However, we should be careful
not to overuse this expression.  As Sri Anbil Ramaswamy 
wrote over a year ago, "an indiscriminate use of expressions
such as 'Adiyen' and 'Dasan' without understanding their
meaning and purport also tend to make them look artificial."

Or, as another member privately expressed, sometimes it 
seems that people say 'adiyEn' (Your servant) so vociferously
that it actually seems like they mean 'adippEn' (I will hit you). :-) 

Mani

-----
> Hi
> I am sorry But I have to ask a really basic question:
> 
> What is Adiyen? Why do people use it in place of "I" (at least it looks as
> though that is how it is used).
> 
> Thanks in advance !!