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Re: SandhyAvandhanam - Bhagavadhkainkaryam

From: Mani Varadarajan (
Date: Thu Jul 29 1999 - 19:23:13 PDT

Sri T.V. Venkat had written:
> In Mudhal ThiruvandhAdhi, poigaiyAzhwAr very clearly states that
> there is no point doing sandhyAvandhanam (even at the appropriate
> time ) while it is actually the time for doing kainkaryam to our
> perumAl.
> The  pAsuram is
> " NagaramaruL purinthu nAnmugarkkup poomEl
>   pagara maRai payandha paNbhan peyarinayE
>   pundhiyAl sindhiyAthu Odhi uruveNNum
>   andhiyAlAm payanangen?"    

Dear Sri Venkat,

May I ask the source of your explanation of this paasuram?
The meaning is interpreted in a very different and more
straightforward manner by Periyavaaccaan Pillai and others.
Their interpretation is that performed sandhyAvandandam
and other karmas without thinking of PerumaaL is pointless.

PVP: allaadhavaRRai OdhiccenRu avvuruvai eNNum
     sandhyAvandhanaadhigaLaal enna prayojanam uNdu?
     kEvala sandhyai vyartham.

The underlined phrase means "ordinary sandhyAvandana is

Swami Appillai has also written a brief 'urai' or explanation
of this thiruvandhaadhi.  His comments here are very clear:

   The Alvar says that all religious acts including
   sandhyAvandanam are pointless if they are not done with
   PerumaaL in mind.

   emberumaanai uLLeedaaka koLLaadhE paNNum sandhyaavandhanaadhi
   karmaanushtaanam nishprayOjanam engiRaar.

[ Please pardon me if I have not translated this exactly. As
  most of you know, my Tamil is very rough. ]

Explaining further, Sri Appillai writes:

   Without internally reflecting on his holy names, which
   speak of the His having qualities such as gracious
   condescension, etc., what is the point of merely 
   verbally reciting (mantras) when engaged in sandhyAvandana
   and other religious duties?

   sowseelyaadhi guNangaLai udaiyavan aanavan udaiya andha
   guNangaLai vaacakamaana thirunaamangaLai manassaal anusandhiyaadhE
   vaangmaathraththaalE japiththu, idakkai paRRikkondu
   anushtikkiRa sandhyaavandhanaadhi karmaanushtaanangaLaal
   avvidaththiluNdaana prayojanam Edhu?

   [ I ask those knowledgable to translate better. I don't know
     what 'idakkai paRRikkondu' means here. ]

Anyway, you get the message. It seems clear that Alvar is not telling 
people to chose between kainkaryam and sandhyAvandanam, but only to
perform sandhyAvandanam, etc., thinking only of PerumaaL, for otherwise
these rituals are pointless.

adiyEn raamaanuja daasan