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Vice and virtue

From: Parthasarati Dileepan (
Date: Thu Nov 27 1997 - 14:39:31 PST

Dear Bhagavathaas:

Hopefully the round of confrontational posts, for 
which I am more guilty than any other, is behind us.
As a show of repentance please permit me to present
a few paasurams involving  Naichyaanusandhanam (self-
abasement) expressed by our beloved and revered
Azhvaars.  After the experience of last few days,
the self-abasement expressed by Azhvaars reminds
me about the level of dirt in my heart.  Obviously, 
more than other verses, it is the ones where 
Naichyaanusandhanam is expressed that resonates 
with my true condition.

In this post two paasurams from Thiru Mazhisai
Azhvaar's Thiruchchandha Viruththam, verses 110 
and 111, and one paasuram of Periyaazhvaar Thirumozhi
4.9.2, are covered.  (The words in the verses are
broken down for easy reading.)

Verse 110:
thooyanaayum anRiyum surumpu ulaavu thaN thuzhaay,
maaya! ninnai naayinEn vaNangi vaazhththum eethelaam,
neeyu nin kuRippiniR poRuththu nalgu vElai neer,
paayalOdu paththar siththam mEya vElaivaNNanE!

(surumbu = bees; vElai = ocean; paayal = bed)

"O! Lord, bedecked with garland of holy thuLasi beset
with bees, O! Lord of ocean hue reclining in an ocean
bed, you are in the hearts of bhakthas; the dog that 
I am, not fit to worship you, yet I dare to worship 
you as the pure and blemishless one; take pity and 
absolve me of this impertinence."

Having sought His forgiveness for daring to worship
Him, in the next song the Azhvaar beseeches the Lord
to treat his vices as virtue.

Verse 111:
vaidhu ninnai vallavaa pazhiththavarkkum maaRil pOr
seythu ninna seRRa theeyil venthavarkkum vanthu unai
eythalaagum enpar aathalaal em maaya! naayinEn,
seytha kuRRam naRRamaakavE koL NYaala naathanE!

(vaidhu = scold; vallavaa = as far as possible;
maaRil = incomparable; seRRa = anger)

"There are those who berate you endlessly (like
Sisubalan).  They will be destroyed in your angry 
fire. Yet it is said that they ultimately attain
you. Encouraged by this, the mean dog that I am,
beseech you, O! the Lord of all the worlds! Treat
my vices as virtue."

The above sounds a little strange.  How can one's 
vices be treated as virtue?  The answer can be 
found in Periyaazvaar Thirumozhi 4.9.2:

than adiyaar thiRaththakatthu
   thaamaraiyaaL aakilum sidhagu uraikkumEl
ennadiyaar adhu seyyaar
  seydhaarEl nanRu seydhaar enbar pOlum
mannudaiya vibeedaNaRkaa
  madhiL ilangai thisai nOkki malarkkaN vaiththa
ennudaiya thiruvarangaRku anRiyum
  maRRoruvarkku aaLaavarE?

(sidhagu = fault)

"Even if the divine mother Sree, whose very nature
is purushakaarathvam, in a mood to demonstrate the
infinite mercy of the Lord, makes certain accusations 
about a bhaktha, our Lord will say, "No that can't be; 
even if it is so, this act of my bhaktha is good only! 
(adhu seyyaar, seydhaarEl, nanRu seydhaar).  He
gazed in the direction of Sri Lanka with His lotus
eyes to please Sri VeebeeshaNa.   Why would anyone
serve any other but my Lord of Sri Rangam?"

In this spirit of "adhu seyyaar, seydhaarEl nanRu
seydhaar", the dog that I am, beseech this earnest
assembly of bhakthas to treat my display of ego in the
past few days as virtue.  

--  naayindhE, naayindhE
(with all the sincerity I can muster)