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Srimath Azhagiya Singar's Upanyasam on Kanninun Sirutthambu Ninth Pasuram

From: TCA Venkatesan (vtca_at_yahoo.com)
Date: Wed Feb 28 2001 - 17:49:36 PST

Dear BhAgavatAs,

With Srimath Azhagiya Singar's (SAS) blessings and 
Sri V. SatakOpan's blessings, adiyEn will try to 
translate excerpts from HH's recent tele-upanyAsam 
on the ninth pAsuram of Sri Madurakavi AzhvAr's 
(SMK) "kaNNinuN siRutthAmbu". Any and all errors in 
this effort are absolutely mine and simply reflect 
my inability to understand HH's words in spite of 
their clarity. I also beg the forgiveness of all
bhAgavtAs for the transliteration errors that might
have got into this post.

--

kaNNinuN siRutthAmbu onbathAm pAsuram

mikka vEdiyar vEdatthin utporuL
niRkap pAdi ennenjuL niRutthinAn
thakka seer satakOpan en nambikku AL
pukka kAdal adimaip payananRE

--

SMK is talking about how he became devoted to SwAmi 
NammAzhvAr (SNA) and how he obtained the grant of 
doing kainkaryam to him.

SMK is saying that SNA has set in his heart the 
primary matter of TiruvAymozhi, the essence of all 
the VEdAs, which is bhAgavata sEshatvam. Sri 
Nanjeeyar in his vyAkyAnam states that there are 
two sets of pAsurams in TiruvAymozhi that speak of 
this - "payilum sudaroLi" (3.7) and "nedumArkkadimai"
(8.10). These state that bhAgavata kainkaryam is the 
most important enjoyment as well as purpose for 
every devotee. The VEdAs speak much about bhagavat 
sEshatvam, but do not say much about bhAgavata 
sEshatvam. These two pAsurams in TiruvAymozhi speak 
about that.

In "payilum sudaroLi", SNA says that he would want to 
be a bhAgavata sEshabhootan no matter how many times 
he is born. In "nedumArkkadimai", he says that if he 
can get bhAgavata kainkaryam then he wouldn't want 
even mOksham. Thus, he has given parama rahasya 
sArArtthams to us in TiruvAymozhi.

SAS noted that the important phrases to note in the 
first line of this pAsuram are "mikka vEdiyar", 
"vEdiyar vEdam", and "vEdatthin utporuL". With the 
first two phrases, SMK is celebrating not only the 
VEdAs, but also those that recite and live by the 
VEdAs. With the third phrase he is saying that he 
has been given not just the meaning of the VEdAs, 
but their inner meaning.

The experience of SMK is more special than that of 
the other AzhvArs. The other AzhvArs got His grace 
and then sang about Him. With SNA's grace, SMK 
understood the inner meaning of the VEdAs. He then 
sang only about his AchAryan. In the second and 
third lines of this pAsuram, he sings about the 
grace of SNA and the help he gave to SMK. SMK is 
stating that SNA's words are so full of his grace 
that they have taken root in his mind and made him 
attain the highest guNam that is bhAgavata 
kainkaryam. 

SAS mentioned here that kainkaryam cannot be made 
for any reason, not even bhakti; it can be made 
only out of love (prEmai or preeti).

In the last line, SMK is saying that AchArya 
kainkaryam is the fruit ("adimaip payan").

In earlier songs, SMK had shown his AchArya viSvAsam 
and AchArya vaibhavam. In the fourth song, he pointed 
out that even bhagavat dedication is not important. 
The help that our AchAryAs provide us, who were of 
no use whatsoever, providing us with knowledge, 
correcting our ways and making us His devotees, that 
help we should never forget. In the fifth song, SMK 
stated that AchArya anugraham is such that it removes
even the sins that cannot be easily removed. In the 
sixth song, SMK celebrated the help our AchAryAs give
us (upakAra vaibhavam).

However, it is not enough to state that our AchAryAs
have helped us. It is important to state what kind of
help they did. So in this song, SMK explains the help 
that SNA provided. Our mind is so small and petty that

it notes many things but not the important ones. SNA 
steadied such vascillating minds and settled lofty 
ideals and meanings from SAstrAs in them.

SAS then went into a detailed explanation of the 
phrase "mikka vEdiyar".

By stating "mikka vEdiyar", SMK is talking about 
those that recite and follow the vEdAs in every 
aspect of their life. He has based this phrase on 
SNA's "mikkAr vEda vimalar".

A brahmin is not one who is born as one and/or looks 
like one. That is the same as a wooden elephant that 
looks every way like a real elephant. It is the 
action that determines one. This is the reason why 
SMK used the word vEdiyar; it is those who study, 
recite and follow the VEdAs. By stating "mikka", he 
is talking about the highest amongst such people.

What is the importance of VEdam? It is the pramANam;
it speaks only the truth; everything can be learned
from it. While there have been many interpretations
of the VEdAs, its meanings were made clear by Sri
Ramanujar. SAS explained here that one does not have 
to read an entire work to understand the author's 
purpose. A study of the beginning and the end will 
do. While Mahabharatam speaks of may things and many 
dEvatAs, Sri VEda VyAsar begins and ends with 
Narayana and Kesava. People who doubt his intentions 
and misinterpret his works still, are not mikka
vEdiyar. 

The VEdAs speak of many things and many dEvatAs, but 
as Sri GItAchAryan said, all the VEdams truly speak 
of Him. As Sri Bhattar explained, when one speaks 
of a King, it is customary to speak of his kingdom,
subjects, wealth, etc. Those who truly understand
what the VEdAs are saying are mikka vEdiyar.

Pratyaksham, anumAnam and VEdam are all pramANams.
Pratyaksham only shows what is before the eyes;
anumAnam might even go wrong; VEdam can never go 
wrong and shows the highest things. It is important 
therefore to study and recite such VEdam. More
important is to understand them and their inner 
meaning. Those who do that are mikka vEdiyar.

While it is important to study and recite the VEdAs,
once must only execute what is said in them that
suits one's station. For example, a sanyAsi cannot
follow what is said for a family person. Those who
study the VEdAs, recite them and follow what is
right for them are mikka vEdiyar.

There are very few people who study the VEdAs and 
follow them. Most of them, however, look for the 
wrong thing. They looks for ways to reach swargam,
etc. They make a big effort in studying VEdam, but 
go for the small fruit that is swargam. Rare are 
those who look in them for ways to attain mOksham.
Such people are mikka vEdiyar.

Those who study, recite and understand the VedAs and
pick the essential in them which is bhagavat prApti 
are mikka vEdiyar.

The first meaning to understand from mikka vEdiyar 
is that, it is those who do not commit sins, those
who do not do good deeds but take the lowly fruit
that is swargam, but those who do bhakti and
prapatti to attain His tiruvadi. The second meaning 
to take is that the VEdAs tell what nothing else can 
tell. The third meaning is that the VEdAs are the 
wealth of those who live by them ("vEdiyar vEdam").

It is not enough to study and recite the VEdAs. It 
has to stay in the mind. He who is its meaning, has 
to stay in the mind. It's inner meaning that is 
bhAgavata kainkaryam has to stay in the mind. SMK
says that SNA sang it (he did not even have to
explain it) such that it stayed forever in the 
mind. SMK says that he did not just put it in any
mind; he put it in his mind ("en nenjuL"). SNA sang 
it and made sure it would stay in SMK's heart such 
that even if SNA sang it again that would serve no 
purpose.

To understand the VEdAs and write their meaning as 
TiruvAymozhi, that itself is a difficult task. SNA 
did that, but to write it such that not just the 
meaning, but their inner meaning takes root in lowly 
minds that are incapable of comprehending even 
simple matters, that is a phenomenal task.

It is important to understand the capacity of the 
audience before teaching. Here SAS used the example 
of Tirumangaimannan's "paLLasseruvil kayalugaLa ... 
puLLup piLLaikku iRai thEdum puLLampoothankudi". 
The mother bird searches for fish in a ditch filled 
with large fish; it is searching because it is 
looking for small fish for its young.

The important message is, to understand the 
meanings and inner meanings of the VEdAs it is not 
sufficient to have bhakti to Him; it is important to 
have bhakti to the AchAryas who explain them to us.
First there has to be bhakti to the pramANam that is 
the VEdam; then it is important to have bhakti to 
Him who is the meaning of the VEdAs; finally it is 
important to have bhakti to the bhAgavatAs who 
study and live by the VEdAs.

For SNA, the other dEvatAs, swargam etc. spoken in 
the VEdAs is the external stuff and He is the 
internal meaning. SMK is not even aware of the other 
matters in the VEdAs; to him even He is the external 
meaning and bhAgavata kainkaryam is the internal 
meaning.

SNA came to be known as SatakOpan because he became
angry and drove away the vAyu that was trying to 
remove his gnyAnam. SMK is stating that he has that
name, also because he drives away the agnyAnam of
all who surrender to him. 

Nambi means one who is complete. SMK is saying that
SNA shows his completeness by correcting him. Thus,
he is not just nambi, but he is "en nambi".

To do kainkaryam to SNA, that is the meaning of 
SMK's life. Kainkaryam does not lead to
purushArttham; kainkaryam is purushArttham.
This is Sri Madhurakavi AzhvAr's message to us
through the ninth and all the other pAsurams of 
kaNNinuN siRutthAmbu.

adiyEn madhurakavi dAsan
TCA Venkatesan


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