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Re: some doubts on siRiya thirumadal

From: Badrinarayanan Seshadri (
Date: Wed Mar 27 1996 - 08:59:42 PST

Parthasarati Dileepan (MFPD@UTCVM.UTC.EDU) wrote:

* >Vijay Triplicane ( wrote:
* >* significance of the archaa moorthy in this earth.  Could
* >* this be bcos the aazhwaar takes the role of an innocent
* >* bhaktha ( a girl) for whom all those concepts of mOksham
* >* and everything is like greek and latin and hence chooses
* >* the one easy maargam to reach HIM which is uncontrolled
* >* love towards HIM.

* Badri answers:
* >This is a very common motif in aazhvaar paasuram. Compare
* >this with 'ichchuvai thavira yaan pOy indhira lOgam aaLum
* >achchuvai peridhum vENdEn aranga maa nakar uLaanE' by
* >thoNdar adippodi aazhvaar.
*    Badri's observation is absolutely correct, but
*    the example is not right.  Thondaradipodi aazhvaar
*    rejects just "indhiralOkam" here, but thirumangai
*    "rejects" mOksham in favor of the earthly archaa
*    moorthees.  Others, as Badri points out, including
*    Swami Sri dhEsikar, have done this.  This is just
*    a matter relative perception, and also a matter of
*    dhayai towards us who are unable to see beyond
*    the current realm.

Yes. I made a mistake in the sense that the interpretations are
very different. The very tone is different in each case. But
the basic reasons why one rejects the 'indhra logam' and the
other rejects the very 'moksha' itself (albeit mockingly), are
nearly identical.

thoNdar adippodi aazhvaar feels that the mere pleasure of
staying in arangam and praising Him as "achyutha!", "dhEvaadhi
dhEvaa" and "aayar kozhundhE!" are sweeter than the enjoyment
one gets in indhra's abode.

thiru mangai aazhvaar grabs our attention with a very beautiful
simile and asks us, "muyal irukka kakkai pin pOvadhu En?"

Of course, in both the cases, they teach us an easy way to
reach that vaikuNdam!

I would rather not show off my limited knowledge, and would
wait for Sri Sadagopan's learned postings. In my humble
opinion, among the entire works of thiru mangai aazhvaar, the
two madals bring out the most, and are unquestionably his best.
But then, any such comparison among his works is as futile as
comparing the beauty of thiru naagai azhakiyaar and thiruk
kudandhai amudhanaar or thiru arangaththu aravaNaip paLLiyaar!

*    Azhvaar went against the Tamil tradition and portrayed
*    a female performing "madal Urdhal" as expression of
*    intense and insatiable love.  Madal Urdhal is extremely
*    painful and thus the target of this action, a damsel,
*    and her family, acquiesces for the fulfillment of the man's
*    love.  Parakaala Nayaki risks public ridicule by venturing
*    upon this "madal Urdhal" for it is forbidden for women.
*    Perhaps there is a lesson for us when we seem to be subjected
*    to the ridicule of modern rationalists, for they forget that
*    their rationality is a product of the meat machine called
*    brain.

I wish I can get hold of periya vaachchaan piLLai's commentary
on the madals. Unfortunately all I have got are a few excerpts
here and there in a secondary book. The range of emotions
expressed by parakaala nayaki including a dry humour, the
novelty of expressions and concepts, the complete mastery of
the language and prosody etc. have simply no equal anywhere
else! I do hope there is a good English translation (preferably
in the form of a free verse, capturing the kali veNpaa meter)
for the sake of those who can not read and enjoy the original.


Graduate Student
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Cornell University