archAvathAra anubhavam - thirumangai AzhwAr anubhavam

srimathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srimadh varavaramunayE nama:
sri vAnAchala mahAmunayE nama:

In the previous article ( we observed thiruppANAzhwAr's archAvathAra anubhavam.

Let us now see thirumangai AzhwAr's archAvathAra anubhavam.

mAmunigaL glorifies thirumangai AzhwAr's greatness in upadhEsa rathina mAlai 8th and 9th pAsurams. Let us enjoy that to start with. 

In the 8th pAsuram, mAmunigaL says, this kArthigai thirunakshathram is far greater than any other thirnakshathrams because of the birth of thirumangai AzhwAr on this day. While explaining "vAyththa pugazh" (வாய்த்த புகழ்), piLLai lOkam jIyar explains that AzhwAr got thirumanthra upadhEsam from thirnaraiyUr nambi himself by force. Even emperumAn is scared of thirumangai AzhwAr. Such are his glories. He also goes on to say thirumanthram is also "vAyththa thirumaNthiram" (வாய்த்த திருமந்திரம்) - the greatness of thirumanthram is also established. After all, kaliyan appears to remove the ignorance of samsAris in this samsAram and he does that by explaining the meanings of thirumanthram in detail.

In the 9th pAsuram, mAmunigaL says "mARan panNiththa thamizh maRaikku manGgaiyarkOn ARanGgam kURa avathariththa vIRudaiya kArththigaiyil kArththigai NAL" (மாறன் பணித்த தமிழ் மறைக்கு மங்கையர்கோன் ஆறங்கம் கூற அவதரித்த வீறுடைய கார்த்திகையில் கார்த்திகை நாள்). piLLai lOkam jIyar explains in the vyAkyAnam that just like nammAzhwAr explained the essence of 4 vEdhas in his 4 prabhandhams (We have already seen this in the beginning of nammAzhwAr's archAvathAra anubhavam article -, thirumangai AzhwAr's prabhandhams (periya thirumozhi, thirukkurunthANdagam, thiruvezhukkURRirukkai, siriya thirumadal, periya thirumadal and thirunedunthANdagam) are considered as the essence of six angams of vEdhas namely sIkshA, vyAkaraNam, chandhas, niruktham, kalpam and jyOthisham. This is explained by azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr in AchArya hrudhayam chUrNikai 43 and elaborated by mAmunigaL in his vyAkyAnam beautifully. Also, piLLai lOkam jIyar brings out two specific greatness for AzhwAr when explaining "vIRu".
  • Since AzhwAr himself says to emperumAn in periya thirumozhi 4.9.6 "NummadiyArOdum okka enNnNiyiruththIr adiyEnai" (நும்மடியாரோடும் ஒக்க எண்ணியிருத்தீர் அடியேனை) - "dont consider me like other adiyArs". It is explained that AzhwAr is unlike pirAtti who could wait for 10 months or other AzhwArs who were able to sustain themselves by just thinking about emperumAn's other manifestations (param, vyUham, etc) and thirukkalyANa guNams. For AzhwAr, he will only sustain by seeing archAvathAra emperumAns and doing mangaLAsAsanam to them. Also, just like a father is attached more to his last child, emperumAn is attached more to him as he is the last AzhwAr.
  • As he himself says in thirunedunthANdagam pAsuram 6, "thAnugaNtha UrellAm than thAL pAdi" (தானுகந்த ஊரெல்லாம் தன் தாள் பாடி), he went around to many archAvathAra dhivya dhEsam emperumAns physically and glorified them in his pAsurams. In the thirunedunthANdagam, periyavAchAn piLLai explains that "thAn ugaNtha" means - what is pleasing to emperumAn (because he is coming to samsAram to help samsAris), but neither nithya sUris are pleased with it (since emperumAn keeps trying without much result as not many samsAris come to him) nor samsAris are pleased with him (since they are attached for so many materialistic aspirations). But as we see, AzhwAr is very attached to all the dhivyadhEsa emperumAns since he goes around glorifying them.
thirumangai AzhwAr's attachment towards archAvathAra emperumAns is unlimited. periyavAchAn piLLai shows in thirunedunthAndagam avathArikai that once emperumAn gave him divine/blemishless knowledge, AzhwAr started enjoying the archAvathAra emperumAns who are the representation of the meanings of thirumanthram. emperumAn started thinking AzhwAr may decide to just stay in this samsAram enjoying dhivya dhEsams and showed the cruel nature of samsAram so AzhwAr sung "mARRamuLa" padhigam showing his fear in this samsAram. Seeing that he is still in samsAram AzhwAr started glorifying archAvathAra emperumAns and ones who are attached to them in thirukkurunthANdagam and thiruvezhukkURRirukkai. But since he did not still get mOksham, he decides to perform madals (siriya thirumadal and periya thirumadal) where he starts chastising archAvathAra emperumAns (who is full of saulabhyam but still not favouring AzhwAr). Finally in thirunedunthAndagam, he glorifies the archAvathAra emperumAns again and reaches paramapadham in the end.

Let us see AzhwAr's unlimited attachment for archAvathAra emperumAns from a few of his pAsurams.

In periya thirumozhi, AzhwAr starts his prabhandham with glorifying thirumanthram. AzhwAr was given thirumanthra upadhEsam by thirunaraiyUr nambi emperumAn. All the dhivya dhEsams are explained as establishing the real meaning of thirumanthram - that we are fully subservient to emperumAn only and serving him is our ultimate goal. But the inner meaning of thirumanthram is that we are actually subservient to emperumAn's adiyArs. This is revealed by AzhwAr in thirukkaNNapuram padhigam.

Let us see that from thirumozhi 8.10.3.

maRRumOr dheyvam uLadhenRu iruppArOdu uRRilEn (மற்றுமோர் தெய்வம் உளதென்று இருப்பாரோடு உற்றிலேன்)
uRRadhum un adiyArkku adimai (உற்றதும் உன் அடியார்க்கு அடிமை)
maRRellAm pEchilum Nin thiruvettezhuththum
kaRRu NAn (மற்றெல்லாம் பேசிலும் நின் திருவெட்டெழுத்தும் கற்று நான்)
kanNnNapuraththuRai ammAnE (கண்ணபுரத்துறை அம்மானே)

Simple tranlsation:
Azhwar says to souri perumAL "I will not even mix with people who accept/worship other dhEvathAs. After learning thirumanthram, I learnt that I am a servant of your adiyArs".

One of the important relationships between emperumAn and jIvAthmA is the barthru/bhAryAL sambandham (husband-wife). Thirumanthram is considered as the thirumAngalyam (mangaLa sUthram) which is tied by emperumAn to the jIvAthmA. When this relationship is established by an AchAryan, it is the duty of jIvAthmA to fully depend on emperumAn and it is the duty of emperumAn to fully protect the jIvAthmA. Just like the husband will be more pleased when his wife is affectionate to and takes care of his relatives (father, mother, etc) and vice versa, emperumAn will also be more pleased when the jIvAthmA is affectionate to and takes care off his eternal relatives (adiyArs).

AzhwAr himself showed examples in his pAsurams. Let us see a couple here.
  • In thirumozhi 2.5 - "pArAyathu uNdu umizhntha" padhigam, he glorified thirukkadal mallai emperumAn and he immediately followed it up in 2.6 "naNNAtha vAL avuNar" padhigam, where he fully glorified the adiyArs of thirukkadal mallai emperumAn.

  • In thirumozhi 7.4 - "kaN sOra" padhigam, he glorifies emperumAn in the first part and glorifies sAranAthan's adiyArs immediately in the later part of each pAsuram.


One speciality of AzhwAr is that he sees everything (parathvam, saulabhyam, etc) in archAvathAra emperumAn. Let us enjoy the essence of one padhigam in thirumozhi (7-3 - sinavil) where AzhwAr sees everything in thirunaraiyUr nambi who happens to be his direct AchAryan as well (the one who performed thirumanthra upadhEsam to AzhwAr). As it is said in srivachana bhUshaNam by piLLai lOkAchAryar in sUthram 450, all five manifestations namely param, vyUham, antharyAmi, vibhavam and archai are all literally enjoyed by AzwAr in his own AchAryan.

  • In the first pAsuram, AzhwAr enjoys rAma charithram and declares that he was able to visualize emperumAn (who is unseen) as thirunaraiyUr nambi in his heart. By starting with perumAL who killed the rAkshasas and protected the rishis/dhEvas, AzhwAr is focussing on the rakshakathvam of emperumAn.
  • In the second pAsuram, AzhwAr is describing emperumAn as amararkku ari ERu (அமரர்க்கு அரி ஏறு) - leader of nithyasUris. AzhwAr is praising empeumAn's rakshakathvam again in protecting everyone during praLayam and his beauty by describing emperumAn's beautiful ears. AzhwAr is seeing thirukkOvalUr Ayan in thirunaraiyUr nambi in this pAsuram and he is saying he is fully depending on thirunariyUr nambi.
  • In the third pAsuram, AzhwAr is enjoying emperumAn's antharyAmithvam. AzhwAr sees thirukkudanthai ArAvamuthan in thirunaraiyUr nambi and is saying he will be unable to forget emperumAn due to the many favours that were done by him.
  • In the fourth pAsuram, AzhwAr is enjoying kaNNan emperumAn's charithram (and rAma charithram again) and glorifying his saulabhyam. That saulabhyam's ultimate nature is enjoyed in none other than thiruvaranganAthan who is seen in thirunaraiyUr nambi. AzhwAr declares his heart will not bow down for anyone else other than emperumAn.
  • In the fifth pAsuram, AzhwAr's heart goes behind kaNNan emperumAn's navanItha chaurya charithram. Also, thiruvEnkatam is glorified here and thiruvEnkatamudaiyAn is seen in thirunaraiyUr nambi.
  • In the sixth pAsuram, emperumAn is enjoyed as kshIrAbdhi nAthan by AzhwAr. ThirumAlirunchOlai azhagar's extreme beauty and sweet nature is seen in thirunaraiyUr nambi and AzhwAr is saying he will glorify no one else.
  • In the seventh pAsuram, AzhwAr is recollecting the parathvam of emperumAn and how mercifully emperumAn entered his heart. AzhwAr is saying his mouth will not not speak about anyone other than thirunaraiyUr nambi.
  • In the eighth pAsuram, AzhwAr is cherishing emperumAn's upAyathvam. He is showing his gratitude to thirunaraiyUr nambi for protecting him in this samsAram itself.
  • In the ninth pAsuram, AzhwAr is glorifying rAma charithram. AzhwAr sees thanjai mA manik kOil narasimhan emperumAn in thirunaraiyUr nambi and declares that he will not perform mangaLAsAsanam to any one other than emperumAn.
  • In the last pAsuram, AzhwAr is saying that for the ones who learn these 10 pAsurams (which are like nectar for emperumAn's adiyArs who worship him, chant and dance glorifying him), no sins will affect them.

thirunedunthANdagam is one of the most glorious prabhandhams of AzhwAr. It is called as thirunedunthANdaga dhivya sAsthram and bhattar uses the valuable points from this prabhandham to defeat vEdhAnthi (who eventually becomes nanjIyar) in a debate. periyavAchAn piLLai has done a detailed vyAkyAnam for this prabhandham and it is one of the most relishable works in our sampradhAyam. In this,  in 13th pAsuram, as stated in motherly bhAvam (AzhwAr taking the form of the mother of parakAla nAyaki and talking about her) AzhwAr enjoys vibhavAvathArams and archAvathArams together. 

yathOkthAkAri emperumAn in vENugOpAlan thirukkOlam - thiruveHkA

Let us see the unique nature of AzhwAr which is explained by periyavAchAn piLLai in the vyAkyAnam.

kalleduththuk kalmAri kAththAy enRum (கல்லெடுத்துக் கல்மாரி காத்தாய் என்றும்)

kAmaru pUnGkachchi UragaththAy enRum (காமரு பூங்கச்சி ஊரகத்தாய் என்றும்)
villiRuththu melliyaL thOL thOyNthAy enRum (வில்லிறுத்து மெல்லியள் தோள் தோய்ந்தாய் என்றும்)
veHkAvil thuyilamarNtha vENthE enRum (வெஃகாவில் துயிலமர்ந்த வேந்தே என்றும்)
malladarththu mallarai anRattAy enRum (மல்லடர்த்து மல்லரை அன்றட்டாய் என்றும்)
mAkInNda kaiththalaththen maiNthA enRum (மாகீண்ட கைத்தலத்தென் மைந்தா என்றும்)
cholleduththuth than kiLiyaich chollE enRu (சொல்லெடுத்துத் தன் கிளியைச் சொல்லே என்று)
thunNai mulai mEl thuLi chOrach chOrginRALE (துணை முலை மேல் துளி சோரச் சோர்கின்றாளே)

Simple translation:

parakAla nAyaki's thAyAr (mother) says, parakAla nAyaki who is feeling deep sorrow in separation from emperumAn, asking her parrot to recite the names of emperumAn who:
  • lifted gOvardhana giri and protected the gOpas and gOpis.
  • lives in the most lovable dhivyadhEsam thiruvUragam which is in the kAnchipuram area.
  • broke the bow and married sIthA pirAtti.
  • is the king who lies down in thiruveHkA.
  • fought with the wrestlers and defeated them as kaNNan emperumAn.
  • killed kEsi who took the form of a horse.
But, when the parrot starts reciting the names of emperumAn her sorrow becomes multi-fold since she is reminded about emperumAn more than ever before by hearing the names and so she starts crying more.

periyavAchAn piLLai gives a wonderful vyAkyAnam. It shows our AchAryas were born to write sath vishayams (and ofcourse we are born to read and enjoy them). Let us enjoy some of the important aspects from the vyAkyAnam.

  • In the avathArikai itself he shows how thirunAmam (name) of emperumAn can have different effect on different AzhwArs. He shows thirunAmam can be:
    • bhOgyam (enjoyable) - achyuthA amararERE (glorifying him as the lord of nithyasUris).
    • pAvanam (purifying) - Nin NAmam kaRRa Avalippu (saying his names purified AzhwAr).
    • dhArakam (makes one sustain themselves) - gOvindhan guNam pAdi - Avi kAththiruppEnE (sustain myself by singing emperumAn's qualities and names).
    • nanju (poison) - kaNNan nAmamE kuzharik konRIr (killed me by saying kaNNan emperumAn's names).
  • For kaNNan emperumAn, gOpas and gOpis going to dhEvathAntharam (indhran) is like giving his wife to some one else. It was completely unbearable for him, that is why he diverted them from worshipping indhran.
  • One of the most unique qualities of AzhwAr is beautifully explained here. Just like a prince will have a spoon of ghee for every spoon of food he eats, AzhwAr will have archAvathAram anubhavam in every line. It is also shown that, while other AzhwArs will see parathvam (supremacy) in paramapadhanAthan, nIrmai (simplicity) in vibhavAvathArams and to see that simpliciyt they look at archAvathAram, AzhwAr always sees everything in archAvathAram only.
  • rAma charithram is beautifully explained here. After breaking the bow when asked about the marriage, perumAL said he broke the bow because his AchAryan (viswAmithran) said so, but for marriage, they have to talk to his father and vasishtar. Being amazed at this quality of emperumAn, pirAtti melted like water and seeing that, since perumAL was tired he immersed himself into pirAtti who melted like water. It is also shown that even for perumAL and pirAtti (who are always together) when they are separated they need some one (AchArya sthAnam) to connect them.
  • An important svApadhEsam is explained here. Breasts are to be treated as bhakthi which is what the jIvAthmA has and what emperumAn likes - when there is mention about breasts, it should always be interpreted as bhakthi. This is similar to eyes (jnAnam) which should be broad, hip (vairAgyam) which should be very thin, i.e., we should have very little attachment towards material aspirations, etc.
  • Other AzhwArs are like malayaLars (people from kEraLa) who can eat well for a month but starve for another month if necessary. They can sustain themselves during samslEsham (union) and vislEsham (separation) with perumAL. But AzhwAr is so tender hearted that even during samslEsham he is so worried about separation.

In siriya thirumadal, AzhwAr performs madal to attract kaNNan emperumAn. In periya thirumadal, AzhwAr performs madal to attract thirunaraiyUr nambi. Both prabhandhams are done in parakAla nAyaki bhAvam (as a girl). madalUrthal means, when one person falls in love with another, and the other person is not showing any interest, the person in love carries a painting (of the other person) and a palm leaf in public and declares that he/she is in love for the other person. Out of shame or understanding the true love, the other person will accept the person in love. 

periyavAchAn piLLai and azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr have done vyAkyAnams for periya thirumadal prabhandham. In their vyAkyAnams, first they raise a question, for a prapannar like AzhwAr, does it fit his svarUpam to perform this act of madal since this looks like upAyAntharam (upAyam other than emperumAn)? Really, we should depend on emperumAn fully and wait for him to accept us. Both commentators explain that
  • AzhwAr is unable to bear the separation from emperumAn and wants to achieve emperumAn some how. This is similar to nammAzhwAr also who did the same act out of desperation. So, in this case, their ignorance (that we should make some effort to achieve emperumAn) is an outcome of their extreme love for emperumAn and this is priceless (unlike the ignorance of ordinary humans) and to be celebrated.
  • It is also shown that emperumAn is glorified for his wonderful guNams (qualities). And it is his true nature (svarUpam) to be full of great qualities. By performing madal, people will disregard his good qualities and he cannot accept that. So, AzhwArs think that by performing madal, he will come to them immediately since he cannot bear the thought of others accusing him of lacking good qualities.
AzhwAr beautifully explains the qualities of several dhivya dhEsa emperumAns only to say in the end that those qualities are not really helping him. 


Finally, let us see AzhwAr's attachment to thirukkudanthai ArAvamuthan. 

  • AzhwAr, in periya thirumozhi - vAdinEn padhigam (1.1), while explaining the glories of thirumanthram, right in the second pAsuram itself. He says "chUzh punal kudaNthaiyE thozhuthu uyya" (சூழ் புனல் குடந்தையே தொழுது உய்ய) in this pAsuram.
  • In the end, in thirunedunthANdagam, 29th pAsuram, just before leaving to paramapadham, he is calling out to "thanN kudaNthaik kidaNtha mAlai" (தண் குடந்தைக் கிடந்த மாலை). By saying "mAl", AzhwAr is enjoying emperumAn's vAthsalyam (motherly forbearance) even just before leaving to paramapadham.
  • AzhwAr also, dedicated a whole prabhandham, thiruvezhkkURRirukkai, for thirukkudanthai ArAvamuthan emperumAn.

With this we have seen a little glimpse of how different AzhwArs enjoyed archAvathAra emperumAns. AzhwArs' attachment to archAvathAra emperumAns is unlimited and it is difficult to express them with our humanly words. Without the vyAkyAnams of our pUrvAchAryas we can hardly understand anything in aruLicheyal. Let us take a moment to show our gratitude to AzhwArs and AchAryas for their great contribution towards the benediction of us - they are certainly like oasis in this desert of samsAram.

We will move on to seeing how different AchAryas enjoyed archAvathAra emperumAns.

In the next article we will see thirukkachi nambi's archAvathAra anubhavam.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan 

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archAvathAra anubhavam - thiruppANAzhwAr anubhavam

srimathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srimadh varavaramunayE nama:
sri vAnAchala mahAmunayE nama:

In the previous article ( we observed thoNdaradippodi AzhwAr's archAvathAra anubhavam.

Let us now see thiruppANAzhwAr's archAvathAra anubhavam.

mAmunigaL glorifies thiruppANAzhwAr's greatness in upadhEsa rathina mAlai 10th pAsuram. Let us enjoy that to start with.

kArththikaiyil rOhinNi NAL kAnNmininRu kAchiniyIr ( கார்த்திகையில் ரோகிணி நாள் காண்மினின்று காசினியீர்)

vAyththa pugazhp pAnNar vaNthuthippAl (வாய்த்த புகழ்ப் பாணர் வந்துதிப்பால்)
AththiyarkaL anbudanEthAn amalanAthipirAn kaRRathaRpin (ஆத்தியர்கள் அன்புடனேதான் அமலனாதிபிரான் கற்றதற்பின்)
NangudanE konNdAdum NAL (நன்குடனே கொண்டாடும் நாள்)

Simple translation:

Oh dwellers of this world! kArthigai rOhiNi is the day on which thiruppANAzhwAr (whose glories are well established) appeared. All great personalities who are attached to pramANam (sAsthram) and pramEyam (emperumAn) learn amalanAdhipirAn and glorify AzhwAr after that.

piLLai lOkam jIyar brings out very nice meanings in his vyAkyAnam. Let us see a little bit here.

  • Since AzhwAr shows great attachment to kaNNan emperumAn (as seen in the last pAsuram of amalanAdhipirAn), he is also born on the same rOhiNi nakshathram like kaNNan emperumAn. Also, since thirukkOshtiyur nambi (who revealed the deep meanings of charama slOkam) and periyavAchAn piLLai are born in this same nakshathram - this nakshathram is to be glorified.
  • "vAyththa pugazh" (established greatness) means he was born in a family where "naichyam janma sidham" (humility is natural). That is why periyaperumAL instructed lOka sAranga muni to carry AzhwAr and acknowledged his greatness.
  • Also his greatness relates to his activities. He is like muktha jIvAthmAs who constantly sing sAmagAnam in paramapadham. AzhwAr was also constantly glorifying periya perumAL by singing his thirunAmams all the time.
  • AththiyargaL (AsthikAs) generally means who accepts sAsthram and follows it. But here it is specifically said that AththiyargaL means those who have great attachment to periya perumAL (pramEyam), amalanAdhipirAn (pramANam) and AzhwAr (pramAthA). This shows that just being attached to one and ignoring the others is not the best.
  • Finally, it is also shown that amalanAdhipirAn explains the meanings of praNavam in the first 3 pAsurams (they start with a, u and ma respectively) and the rest of the thirumanthram in the remaining pAsurams.
azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr in AchArya hrudhayam chUrNikai 85, explains that one goes beyond the bodily conception and understands the greatness of a srivaishnava only when they understand "bhOga manNdapaththil vInNaiyum kaiyumAna aNtharanGgarai mahAmuni aNuvarththiththa kramam" (போக மண்டபத்தில் வீணையும் கையுமான அந்தரங்கரை மஹாமுனி அநுவர்த்தித்த க்ரமம்) - meaning as per periya perumAL's niyamanam lOka sAranga muni who is a brAhmaNothamar carried thiruppANAzhwAr into the thiruvarangam periya kOil.

The greatness of AzhwAr (vakthru vailakshaNyam), amalanAdhipirAn (prabhandha vailakshayNyam) and periya perumAL (vishaya vailakshaNyam) are wonderfully explained in the vyAkyAna avathArikai by both periyavAchAn piLLai and azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr. Let us enjoy a bit from the avathArikais.

  • vakthru vailakshaNyam - AzhwAr, out of extreme humility, considers himself outside the 4 varNas (as panchama) and did not step into periya kOil. emperumAn also considers AzhwAr outside the 4 varNas (as good as a nithya sUri who is not bound by the varNAshrma dharmam) and did not allow him to step into periya kOil - instead ordered lOka sAranga muni to carry him inside the temple like every one carries emperumAn himself. 
  • prabhandha vailakshaNyam
    • prabhandhams like thiruvAimozhi are very big (1000+ pAsurams). praNavam is very small (3 letters). But amalanAdhipirAn is just 10 pAsurams.
    • In other prabhandhams, there are aspects like anyApadhEsam/svApadhEsam, sAmAnadhikaraNam, etc. The only other comparable prabhandham is thirumAlai, but even there, thoNdaraippodi AzhwAr discusses how he suffered in samsAram, etc. Even in thiruppallANdu, the 3 different adhikAris (ishwaryArthi, kaivalyArthi, bhagavallAbhArthi) are discussed. But in amalanAdhipirAn, the only object of discussion is periya perumAL.
  • vishaya vailakshaNyam - Unlike param, vyUham, vibhvam and antharyAmi which are not easily reachable at present for us, periya perumAL is staying put in thiruvarangam to bless all the suffering jIvAthmAs in samsAram. It is after arriving here in srirangam, his thEjas becomes multi-fold. All his important qualities like soulabhyam, etc., glows here much more than paramapadham. Even in comparison with other dhivya dhEsams, thiruvarangam is famously known as the main maNdapam and all the other dhivya dhEsams are like gardens around the maNdapam (vaNdinam uralum chOlai).
With this introduction, let us enjoy the essence of this wonderful prabhandham.

vEdhAnthAchAryar has also written a vyAkyAnam for amalanAdhipirAn named munivAhana bhOgam. It is often said that he wrote this vyAkyAnam after meeting AchAryas in srirangam and accepting their guidance (He himself expressed in abhIthisthavam his desire to meet with the elders in srirangam). In this vyAkyAnam he explains nirhEthuka krupai of emperumAn using the following words "kAranNavisEsham innathenRu aRuthiyida mudiyAtha visEsha krupai" (காரணவிஸேஷம் இன்னதென்று அறுதியிட முடியாத விஸேஷ க்ருபை).

nAyanAr shows two threads of sangathi (relationship) between each pAsuram. Just by understanding these two aspects, we will know the greatness of this prabhandham.

Explanation based on thirumEni varNanai

It is explained that AzhwAr did not move to one part from another because he was satisfied with the anubhavam in the first part of the thirumEni, but it was like a ocean of waves, where one wave pushed him to the next wave. So, even being not satisfied with his anubhavam, he moved on to the next one. It is explained in thaithriya upanishadh (yathO vAcho nivarthanthE) that we cannot even measure the glories of a single guNam (quality) of emperumAn what to speak of all of his guNams.
  • In the first pAsuram, AzhwAr is enjoying the thiruvadi (lotus feet) of periya perumAL. These are the thiruvadis that are softer than a flower. They are held with reverence and love by pirAtti in her eyes and breasts. They are also shown as what is established as upAyam and upEyam for a prapannan.
  • In the second pAsuram, AzhwAr is enjoying the yellow dress on the waist of empeumAn. nAyanAr beautifully explains that being in samsAram we can easily fall into the trap of any other person's waist cloth but by the grace of periya perumAL, AzhwAr fell in love for the cloth of periya perumAL.
  • In the third pAsuram, AzhwAr is enjoying the navel (undhi) of periya perumAL. AzhwAr glorifies this as "ayanaip padaiththathOr ezhil uNdhi" (அயனைப் படைத்ததோர் எழில் உந்தி). It is explained that after giving birth to brahmA his navel got more beautiful unlike the humanly scenario. Since it looks like a swirl (chuzhi), nAyanAr explains that the beauty of periya perumAL is like water that starts from a mountain peak (head), becomes a waterfalls (on his chest) and makes a swirl where it falls (navel) based on kUraththAzhwAn's varadharAja sthavam slOkam 55.
  • In the fourth pAsuram, AzhwAr enjoys periya perumAL's stomach. nAyanAr identifies that periya perumAL's waist line is beautiful and this is where he has the mark of the thread by which he was bound by yasOdhai.
  • In the fifth pAsuram, AzhwAr enjoys the chest of periya perumAL. This said to be the vAsasthalam (residence) of periya pirAtti. He also wears beautiful ornaments on his chest. periya pirAtti also looks like a beautiful ornament in his chest. He also shows that the ornaments are used to cover up the full beauty of the chest. nAyanAr says AzhwAr is taking shelter of his mother now.
  • In the sixth pAsuram, AzhwAr enjoys the neck of periya perumAL. Here AzhwAr wonders how the small neck swallows all of the creation. nAyanAr shows that just like kainkaryam is the main objective of sEshabhUthas (one who accept his superiority and serves), rakshakathvam is the main objective of periya perumAL which is why he swallows everyone/everything to protect them during samhAram.
  • In the seventh pAsuram, AzhwAr enjoys the mouth and lips of periya perumAL. Here it is shown that the mouth first has to accept anything before the neck can swallow it. Also, it is the mouth/lips which attracts everyone with its beauty. Also, AzhwAr is mesmerized by the fact that emperumAn gives his words of protection like "aham smarAmi", "na thayajEyam", "mA sucha:", etc. which brings happiness and comfort in the minds of surrendered jIvAthmAs.
  • In the eighth pAsuram, AzhwAr enjoys the beautiful eyes. They are explained as big, reddish eyes - which represent the vAthsalyam (motherly forbearance) of periya perumAL. All the AzhwArs were attached to emperumAn's beautiful eyes - he is known as puNdarikAksha, kamala lOchana, thAmaraik kaNNan, etc. This is also explained as one of the main identities of his supremacy - whatever avathAram/form he takes, his eyes are always beautiful. AzhwAr says he becomes bewildered when he looks at the eyes.
  • In the ninth pAsuram, AzhwAr enjoys the whole thirumEni of emperumAn. In the first 8 pAsurams, AzhwAr was bewildered by the individual parts individually, but here the whole of periya perumAL's thirumEni increases AzhwAr's attachment towards him.
  • Finally, in the last pAsuram, AzhwAr sees kaNNan emperumAn in periya perumAL and declares that he will never see anything else after seeing periya perumAL. It is said that AzhwAr compiled the first 9 pAsurams on his way to the periya kOil and the 10th pAsuram was compiled when he entered the sannidhi. At that time, AzhwAr surrendered to emperumAn and emperumAn happily accepted him. nAyanAr gives great explanation for why AzhwAr will not look at anyone/anything else other than periya perumAL as if AzhwAr is asking the following questions.
    • ivar pakkal audhAryam illai enRu pOgavO (இவர் பக்கல் ஔதார்யம் இல்லை என்று போகவோ)? - Will I leave because he is not generous? He is "koNdal vaNNan" - like a cloud which generously rains everywhere.
    • vadivil pachaiyillai enRu pOgavO (வடிவில் பசையில்லை என்று போகவோ)? - Will I leave because he is not beautiful? He is "koNdal vaNNan" - like a cloud he is very beautiful.
    • sausIlyam illai enRu pOgavO (ஸௌஸீல்யம் இல்லை என்று போகவோ)? - Will I leave because he is not magnanimous? He is "kOvalan" - took the form of gOpAlan and mixed with everyone including cows.
    • NenYchukku pidiththiruNthathillai enRu pOgavO (நெஞ்சுக்கு பிடித்திருந்ததில்லை என்று போகவோ)? - Will I leave because he is not dear to my heart? He is "veNNai unda vAyan en uLLam kavarthAn" - one who ate butter and stole my heart.
    • mEnmai illai enRu pOgavO (மேன்மை இல்லை என்று போகவோ)? - Will I leave because he is not supreme? He is "aNdar kOn" - the owner of all the worlds.
    • saulabhyam illai enRu pOgavO (ஸௌலப்யம் இல்லை என்று போகவோ)? - Will I leave because he is not accessible? He is "aNiyarangan" - he is right in front of me.
    • bhOgyadhai illai enRu pOgavO (போக்யதை இல்லை என்று போகவோ)? - Will I leave because he is not enjoyable? He is "en amudhu" - my nectar.
    • anubhavaththil kuRai unNdu enRu pOgavO (அனுபவத்தில் குறை உண்டு என்று போகவோ)? - Will I leave because there is no anubhavam (interactions) right now? He is seen by my own eyes and interacting right now.
Explanation based on the favours done by periya perumAL to AzhwAr

  • In the first pAsuram, AzhwAr explains that periya perumAL who himself is pure, accepts AzhwAr without expecting anything from AzhwAr, makes AzhwAr subservient to his adiyArs.
  • In the next pAsuram, a question arises, if emperumAn has ever given his causeless mercy before and AzhwAr explains the thrivirkrama charithram, where he blessed everyone by touching them with his lotus feet without them asking for it.
  • In the third pAsuram, AzhwAr shows that thrivikraman is now standing in thirumalai as thiruvEnkatamudaiyAn. He also shows that thiruvEnkatamudaiyAn is none other than periya perumAL himself.
  • In the fourth pAsuram, a question arises about the ahankAram and mamakAram that is in AzhwAr's heart and AzhwAr explains that periya perumAL will destroy the ahankAram and mamakAram, just like he destroyed the four layers of protection of lankA.
  • In the fifth pAsuram, a question arises about the anAdhi kAla puNya/pApa karmAs and AzhwAr says periya perumAL (by the purushakAram of periya pirAtti) has destroyed them as well. AzhwAr also says it was periya perumAL who did thapas (austerity) by lying down in the middle of cauvery for a very long time to achieve AzhwAr.
  • In the sixth pAsuram, when the question arises if emperumAn has ever destroyed the sins of anyone, AzhwAr says that he has removed the sins of rudhran and chandran. When rudhran cut one of the heads of his father brahmA, the kapAlam (skull) stuck to his hand. rudhran went to emperumAn who by sprinkling his sweat broke the kapAlam into pieces and rescued rudhran. When chandran lost his glow, he went and surrendered emperumAn who gave his glow back.
  • In the seventh pAsuram, when the question arises "emperumAn will help rudhran because he is a dhEvathai and also the grand son of emperumAn. But will he help you?". AzhwAr says, periya perumAL is more attached to himself because he is purely there looking for emperumAn's mercy unlike dhEvathAntharams who are prayOjanAnthara parars (who are looking for materialistic benefits from emperumAn).
  • In the eighth pAsuram, a question arises from 4th and 5th pAsurams. Even though ahankAram, mamakAram and karmAs are destroyed, there is still room for avidhyai because of the presence in samsAram. How will that go? AzhwAr answers, avidhyai represents thamO guNam. Just like emperumAn destroyed hiraNya kasipu who is representation of thamO guNam, AzhwAr says, periya perumAL will destroy his thamO guNam also.
  • In the ninth pAsuram, a question arises - only by vEdhAntha jnAnam - thamO guNam, etc will be destroyed? Since AzhwAr does not even have adhikAram for that (based on his birth) and also, we are in samsAram and in kaliyugam which is not condusive for Athma jnAnam, How is it possible that periya perumAL destroyed all of the thamO guNam, etc? AzhwAr answers just like he is able to float on a leaf as a small child during praLayam, emperumAn is using his special/unimaginable powers destroyed my thamO guNam, etc.
  • Finally, in the last pAsuram, AzhwAr unable to think about anything else, completely becoming blissful on seeing periya perumAL, surrenders to him and periya perumAL also happily accepts him.
In his vAzhi thirunAmam also, it is said that "malarkkanNnNil vERonRum vaiyAthAn vAzhiyE" (மலர்க்கண்ணில் வேறொன்றும் வையாதான் வாழியே) meaning "AzhwAr does not behold in his beautiful eyes anyone/anything other than periya perumAL". 

During the last days of ALavandhAr, when periya nambi and thirukkOttiyUr nambi asks him for final instructions to remember forever, he says "Always focus on thiruppANAzhwAr who is standing at the lotus feet of periya perumAL".

In the next article we will see thirumangai AzhwAr's archAvathAra anubhavam.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

archAvathAra anubhavam - thoNdaradippodi AzhwAr anubhavam

srimathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srimadh varavaramunayE nama:
sri vAnAchala mahAmunayE nama:

In the previous article ( we observed ANdAL's archAvathAra anubhavam.

Let us now see thoNdaradippodi AzhwAr's archAvathAra anubhavam.

mAmunigaL glorifies thoNdaradippodi AzhwAr's greatness in his upadhEsa rathina mAlai 11th pAsuram. Let us enjoy that to start with.

manniyachIr mArgazhiyil kEttai inRu mANilaththIr (மன்னியசீர் மார்கழியில் கேட்டை இன்று மாநிலத்தீர்)
ennithanukku ERRam enil uraikkEn (என்னிதனுக்கு ஏற்றம் எனில் உரைக்கேன்)
thunnupugazh mAmaRaiyOn thonNdaradippodiyAzhwAr piRappAl (துன்னுபுகழ் மாமறையோன் தொண்டரடிப்பொடியாழ்வார் பிறப்பால்)
NAnmaRaiyOr konNdAdum NAL (நான்மறையோர் கொண்டாடும் நாள்)

Simple translation:
Oh the dwellers of this great world! Let me tell you why this mArgazhi kEttai day is a glorious day. It is because, on this day, thonNdaradippodi AzhwAr who is a braAhmaNoththamar (exalted brAhmaNa) and whose greatness is well established and who is celebrated by the ones who understood the essence of the four vEdhas.

In his vyAkyAnam, piLLai lOkam jIyar shows some wonderful points.
  • He first identifies that AzhwAr is born in mArgazhi kEttai which has constant bhagavath bhAgavatha sambandham. kaNNan emperumAn identifies that he is "mArgasIrsham among the months" in bhagavath gIthai. ANdAL also glorifies the mArgazhi month in her first pAsuram itself. AzhwAr himself compiles thiruppaLLiyeLuchi which is sung along with thiruppAvai during the mArgazhi month.
  • He identifies that the essence of vEdhas is bhAgavatha sEshathvam. This AzhwAr gets the name "thonNdaradippodi" which means he is the dust of the lotus feet of bhAgavathas out of his extreme attachment to bhAgavathas. This is also explained by thirumangai AzhwAr in thirukkaNNapuram pAsuram that after learning the meanings of thirumanthram he understands that now he is the servant of bhAgavathas.
  • He also identifies that one who understands vEdhas will engage in guNAnubhava kainkaryam. AzhwAr glorifies emperumAn's guNams in thirumAlai and he himself engaged in pushpa kainkaryam for periya perumAL. It is explained in other places that pushpa kainkaryam is the most apt kainkaryam for a srivaishnava (when done in the same bhAvam as done by periyAzhwAr, ANdAL, thonNdaradippodi AzhwAr, ananthAzhwAn, etc).
  • Also, AzhwAr shows in thirumAlai that one should do constant naichyAnusandhAnam (humility - considering oneself very insignificant) and glorifying emperumAn.
NAnmaRaiyOr is very important here - one who understands vEdhas means they will accept the supremacy of sriman nArAyaNan. This is identified by ALavandhAr in his sthOthra rathnam 11th slOkam also. There he says "sriman nArAyNan has natural and unlimited abilities to control all the dhEvathas, and the other dhEvathas do not even have a tiny little bit of the abilities of emperumAn. Which vaidhiha will not accept the greatness and supremacy of emperumAn?". Here "vaidhiha ka:" is the key phrase. This also means one who does not accept the greatness of sriman nArAyaNan is not even considered as vaidhiha (vaidhiha means one accepts and follows vEdhas).

AzhwAr singled out thiruvaranganAthan and fully served him and glorified him. He did not sing any other archAvathAra emperumAn. periyavAchAn piLLai shows that thonNdaradippodi AzhwAr and thiruppANAzhwAr are in the same category where they both were mainly focussed on thiruvaranganAthan. 

In srivachana bhUshaNa dhivya sAsthram 40th sUthram, piLLai lOkAchAryar explains the glories of archAvathAra emperumAn.

ithuthAn sAsthranGgaLAl thiruththavonNnNaathE vishayANtharanGgaLilE manNdi vimukarAyp pOrum chEthanarkku vaimukyaththai maaRRi ruchiyai viLaikkak kadavathAy, ruchi piRaNthAl upAyamAy, upAya parikraham panNnNinaal bhOgyamumAyirukkum  (இதுதான் ஸாஸ்த்ரங்களால் திருத்தவொண்ணாதே விஷயாந்தரங்களிலே மண்டி விமுகராய்ப் போரும் சேதனர்க்கு வைமுக்யத்தை மாற்றி ருசியை விளைக்கக் கடவதாய், ருசி பிறந்தால் உபாயமாய், உபாய பரிக்ரஹம் பண்ணினால் போக்யமுமாயிருக்கும்).

Simple translation: 
When jIvAthma stays put in this samsAram even after learning the svarUpam of oneself through sAsthram, the glories of emperumAn and the relationship between the jIvAthmA and paramAthmA from the sAsthram, it is archAvathAra emperumAn who removes the jIvathmA's material attachments, creates the ruchi (taste) for bhagavath vishayam, becomes the upAyam (means) when ruchi manifests and finally, if the jIvAthmA accepts emperumAn as the upAyam, emperumAn becomes the enjoyable goal as well.

Let us see how AzhwAr enjoyed all of the above in periya perumAL through his thirumAlai prabhandham.

In the vyAkyAna avathArikai, periyavAchAn piLLai shows that emperumAn out of his causeless mercy blesses AzhwAr (who was immersed in samsAram) and shows the glories of nAma sankIrtanam which shows his divine svarUpam (nature), rUpa (forms), guNa (qualities) and vibhUthi (both spiritual and material worlds). AzhwAr himself enjoys nAma sankIrthanam and emperumAn first and brings in joy for others (including emperumAn).

AzhwAr shows the favours done by periya perumAL to him in 15th to 24th pAsurams.

In the 15th and 16th pAsurams, AzhwAr says that periya perumAL out of his nirhEthuka krupai (causeless mercy) changes his attachment from material things to emperumAn himself.

meyyarkkE meyyanAgum vidhiyilA ennai pOla (மெய்யர்க்கே மெய்யனாகும் விதியிலா என்னை போல)
poyyarkkE poyyanAgum putkodiyudaiya kOmAn (பொய்யர்க்கே பொய்யனாகும் புட்கொடியுடைய கோமான்)
uyyapOm unNarvinArgatku oruvan enRu unNarNtha pinnai (உய்யபோம் உணர்வினார்கட்கு ஒருவன் என்று உணர்ந்த பின்னை)
aiyappAdu aRuththuth thOnRum azhaganUr aranGgamanRE (ஐயப்பாடு அறுத்துத் தோன்றும் அழகனூர் அரங்கமன்றே)

Simple Translation:
emperumAn, who has garudan in his flag, will bless the one like myself who does not hate emperumAn and will not bless the ones who likes everything other than emperrumAn.Once one understands that emperumAn exists, he further clears all the doubts. Such emperumAn who can win all the worlds with his beauty is residing in srirangam.

In the vyAkyAnam, periyavAchAn piLLai shows some of the most important principles of our sampradhAyam.
  • Truthfulness ("mey") here is explained as adhvEsham (absence of hatred towards emperumAn). emperumAn accepts some one purely based on them not having dhvEsham towards him. But even this does not become a sAdhanam (upAyam - means) to achieve emperumAn. Due to the eternal relationship between emperumAn and all jIvAthmAs, it is the nature of jIvAthmA to have ruchi towards emperumAn. So, this is only svarUpam of jIvAthmA but not upAyam to achieve emperumAn.
  • Also "mey" is explained as sathyam which means true knowledge about emperumAn and "poy" means knowledge about anything other than emperumAn.
  • AzhwAr's thiruvuLLam is also revealed by periyavAchAn piLLai here. It is shown that he does not need any other pramANam than himself, where he did not have bhagavath anubhavam since time immemorial (anAdhi kAlam) and now when the dhvEsham is gone from his heart he is able to enjoy bhagavath anubhavam fully.
  • Here doubts relate to the ishta prApthi (attaining the goal) and anishta nivruththi (removing the hurdles in doing so). Doubts related to both of them are cleared by emperumAn himself.
  • It is also shown that the beauty of periya perumAL is such that, we can easily decide that he is the supreme.
chUdhanAy kaLvanAgi dhoorththarOdu ichaiNdha kAlam (சூதனாய் கள்வனாகி தூர்த்தரோடு இசைந்த காலம்)
mAdharAr kayaRkanNennum valaiyuL pattu azhuNdhuvEnai (மாதரார் கயற்கணென்னும் வலையுள் பட்டு அழுந்துவேனை)
pOdharE enRu cholli puNdhiyuL puguNdhu (போதரே என்று சொல்லி புந்தியுள் புகுந்து)
thanpAlAdharam perugavaiththa azhaganUr arangamanRE (தன்பாலாதரம் பெருகவைத்த அழகனூர் அரன்கமன்றே)

Simple Translation:
Before I was not accepting emperumAn, sAsthram and also considered myself as independent. Thus, I was engaged in very material aspirations. But periya perumAL invited me, entered into my heart and nourished the love towards him by showing his beautiful thirumEni in srirangam.
  • Here for "kaLvar", it is shown that the biggest theft is thinking that we are independent. Actually, the jIvAthmA is owned by emperumAn and is subservient to him. But if we stole that ownership, the punishment is very heavy because each jIvAthmA represents the "kouthuba jewel (mani)" in emperumAn's chest. Stealing such valuable item deserves very big punishment. Also stealing emperumAn's item deserves very big punishment. Nice examples are given for both scenarios. Punishment for stealing a piece of wood and a valuable jewel will differ. The same way stealing something from a common man and a high man in the society will have different punishment.
  • periyavAchAn piLLai also explains the outcome of having attachment towards the opposite sex. Even great personalities have fallen in the trap of this attachment and had difficult times to come out of it.
  • He also shows the difference between paramapadham and srirangam. For us who are in samsAram, if we want to enjoy bhagavath anubhavam, srirangam is so near and accessible unlike paramapadham.

In the 17th pAsuram onwards (for 8 pAsurams), AzhwAr says that periya perumAL not only manifested the ruchi in AzhwAr, he also gave himself as the most enjoyable goal.

Again, in the 34th pAsuram, AzhwAr starts doing naichyAnusandhAnam (humility). He says that he is laughing at himself for trying to cheat emperumAn by acting as an adiyAr, but emperumAn being the antharyAmi (in-dweller in everyone's heart) knows everything AzhwAr thinks. Finally, AzhwAr thinks about leaving emperumAn since he feels that he does not fit the qualities of an adiyAr.

In the next 3 pAsurams, periya perumAL tries to console AzhwAr and makes him realize that he is indeed very attached to AzhwAr.

In the 35th pAsuram, periya perumAL shows him the thrivikrama charithram and makes AzhwAr realize that emperumAn touched everyone's head as thrivikraman with his lotus feet, without discriminating between whether some one is learned or not, rich or poor, humans or animals or birds, etc. 

In the 36th pAsuram, periya perumAL shows him the govardhana dharaNa charithram and makes AzhwAr realize that he became part of his adiyArs group, protected them during their difficulties, etc and establishes that he will remove all the hurdles that stop AzhwAr from reaching emperumAn.

In the 37th pAsuram, periya perumAL shows him that he has descended to srirangam to establish his parental relationship with all jIvAthmAs including AzhwAr. AzhwAr requests periya perumAL to acknowledge him as one who is looking to server him purely without any expectation in return and longs for the day when periya perumAL will accept him.

In the 38th pAsuram, AzhwAr performs sharaNAgathi to periya perumAL and shows that periya perumAL alone is the upAyam and AzhwAr has nothing to do in achieving him. This pAsuram is glorified greatly in our sampradhAyam. It is specifically explained by periyavAchAn piLLai in the vyAkyAnam that, just like the mahAbhAratham's purpose is to deliver charama slOkam, the purpose of thirumAlai is to deliver this pAsuram. 

Let us enjoy a little bit from this pAsuram.

mEmporuL pOga vittu meymmaiyai miga unNarNthu (மேம்பொருள் போக விட்டு மெய்ம்மையை மிக உணர்ந்து)
Amparichu aRiNthu konNdu aimpulan agaththadakki (ஆம்பரிசு அறிந்து கொண்டு ஐம்புலன் அகத்தடக்கி)
kAmbaRath thalai chiraiththu un kadaiththalai iruNthu (காம்பறத் தலை சிரைத்து உன் கடைத்தலை இருந்து)
vAzhum chOmbarai ugaththi pOlum chUzh punal aranGgaththAnE (வாழும் சோம்பரை உகத்தி போலும் சூழ் புனல் அரங்கத்தானே)

Simple translation:
Oh sriranganAthA who is residing in srirangam which is surrounded by cauvery! You are fully satisfied in seeing adiyArs who after giving up the attachments to materialistic aspirations even with its taste/memory,  understand the true nature of the jIvAthmA, understand that bhagavath kainkaryam is the ultimate goal which fits the nature of the jIvAthmA, control the urge to enjoy the result of the kainkaryam (by letting emperumAn enjoy our kainkaryam fully), fully giving up any efforts from themselves and stay in srirangam happily.

Let us see some of the key points from the vyAkyAnam.
  • It is shown that this pAsuram contains the full meaning of dhvaya mahA manthram. It is also shown that nammAzhwAr shows the first part of dhvayam in one pAsuram (thiruvAimozhi 6.10.10 - agalagillEn pAsuram) and ANdAL nAchiAr shows the second part of dhvayam in one pAsuram (thiruppAvai 29 - chiRRam chirukAlE pAsuram). But here thoNdaradippodi AzhwAr shows the whole meaning of dhvayam in a single pAsuram.
  • It is also shown that, when emperumAn hears dhvayam (and its meaning) from his adiyArs, he becomes very pleased.
  • periyavAchAn piLLai expertly explains that AzhwAr refutes different philosophies of bhAhyas (one who does not accept the vEdhas)/kudhrushtis (one who accepts vEdhas but interprets the meanings wrongly) like that of lOkAyatha, mImAmsaka and vaisEshika by establishing that AthmA is different from body, is full of jnAnam, is subservient to empermAn and his adiyArs.
  • It is shown that our activity will match our identity. If we identify ourselves with our dhEham (body) our activity will be on a bodily platform (materialistic). But once we understand that we are dhAsan of emperumAn, then we will fully engage in kainkaryam only to him.
  • "vAzhum chOmbar" (one who gloriously lives without any self efforts) is differentiated from "kedum chOmbar" (one who lazily survives without any true knowledge).
Rest of the pAsurams in thirumAlai are explained as glorifying the greatness of such adiyArs of emperumAn. AzhwAr explains in great detail how we should deal with such great srivaishnavas who fully accept and follow emperumAn as upAyam and upEyam. These pAsurams also relate to the fact that when one understands the true meaning of thirumanthram (and dhvayam) he/she will automatically surrender oneself to srivaishnavas and serve them in every opportunity.

Through his pAsurams and his life AzhwAr showed us how to fully surrender to archAvathAra emperumAn and how to serve him fully. Let us pray to his lotus feet so we also develop such attitude.

In the next article we will see thiruppANAzhwAr's archAvathAra anubhavam.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

archAvathAra anubhavam - ANdAL anubhavam

srimathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srimadh varavaramunayE nama:
sri vAnAchala mahAmunayE nama:

In the previous article ( we observed periyAzhwAr's archAvathAra anubhavam.

Let us now see ANdAL nAchiAr's archAvathAra anubhavam.

In thiruppAvai 6000 padi vyAkyAnam, periyavAchAn piLLai first establishes the greatness of ANdAL over all other AzhwArs. He builds a beautiful layer of different categories of jIvAthmAs and shows the difference between each category.

  • The difference between samsAris (dhEhAthma abhimAnis - materialistic people) and the rishis who have realised the Athma svarUpam is similar to that of a small stone and a big mountain.
  • Difference between such rishis (who attain the knowledge by their own effort and at times fall down from their positions) and AzhwArs (who are divinely blessed by emperumAn himself and are completely pure) is similar to that of a small stone and a big mountain.
  • Difference between rest of the AzhwArs (who focus on svAnubhavam at times and mangaLAsAsanam at other times) and periyAzhwar (who is fully focussed on mangaLAsAsanam only) is similar to that of a small stone and a big mountain.
  • Difference between periyAzhwAr and ANdAL is similar to that of a small stone and a big mountain. The reasons for this are:
    • all AzhwArs were first divinely blessed by emperumAn and then they woke the samsAris up from their sleep, i.e., gave them the knowledge about emperumAn. but ANdAL, being an avathAram of bhUmi pirAtti, she herself went and woke emperumAn up from his sleep, i.e., reminded him about his responsibilities of protecting every one.
    • ANdAL being a woman, it is natural for her to engage in husband/wife relationship with emperumAn (unlike AzhwArs who had male thirumEnis) and it is shown that her love towards emperumAn is far greater than the love of AzhwArs.
mAmunigaL also glorifies ANdAL's greatness in upadhEsa rathina mAlai pAsurams 22, 23 and 24.
  • In the 22nd pAsuram, he becomes greatly emotional thinking about how ANdAL gave up her comforts in paramapadham and stepped down to samsAram to protect him (svAnubhavam) and took birth as the divine daughter of periyAzhwAr. Just like if a mother sees her child caught in a river, she also jumps into the river to save the child, ANdAL being the mother of all, she jumps into samsAram to save the samsAris.

  • In the 23rd pAsuram, he says there is no equal to the birth day of ANdAL "thiruvAdi pUram" just like there is none equal to ANdAL.
  • In the 24th pAsuram, he says ANdAL is the daughter of "anju kudi" and her activities are far greater than other AzhwArs and how she developed love for emperumAn right at a very young age. piLLai lOkam jIyar in his vyAkyAnam explains that "anju kudi" means:
    • descendant of the clan which contains all the AzhwArs just like parikshIth was the great descendant of the pancha pANdavas.
    • the descendant of AzhwArs who are part of the prapanna kulam
    • the descendant of periyAzhwAr who is always worried (achcham - fear) about emperumAn and performing mangaLAsAsanam.
Also, as we have seen previously ANdAL is purely in AchArya nishtai. It is because of periyAzhwAr's attachment towards emperumAn, ANdAL also developed attachment towards emperumAn and glorified him. This is seen from
  • her own words in nAchiAr thirumozhi, pAsuram 10.10, ANdAL says "villiputhuvai vittuchiththar thangaL dhEvarai valla parichu varuvipparEl athu kAnNdumE" (வில்லிபுதுவை விட்டுசித்தர் தங்கள் தேவரை வல்ல பரிசு வருவிப்பரேல் அது காண்டுமே). She says, if periyAzhwAr can convince his dear emperumAn to come here, she will worship him.
  • mAmunigaL in his upadhEsa rathina mAlai, after explaining the 10 AzhwArs, introduces ANdAL, madhurakavi AzhwAr and emperumAnAr together since all 3 of them are AchArya nishtars.
With this in mind, let us start diving into the ANdAL's ocean of bhakthi towards archAvathAra emperumAns.

vatapathrasAyi (srivilliputhUr)

periyavAchAn piLLai in thiruppAvai vyAkyAna avathArikai shows that ANdAL desired to approach kaNNan emperumAn based on what she heard from periyAzhwAr about him. But since it was not possible to have direct interaction with kaNNan emperumAn and because she was too young to travel to AyarpAdi, She starts thinking that srivilliputhUr as AyarpAdi, the srivaishnavis of that dhivyadhEsam as gOpis, herself as one of the gOpis, vatapathrasAyi as kaNNan emperumAn and his temple as nandhagOpan's thirumALigai. As a result we got the divine pAsurams of thiruppAvai which is called as "vEdham anaiththukkum viththu" (வேதம் அனைத்துக்கும் வித்து) - the essence of all vEdhas.

In nAchiAr thirumozhi pAsuram 5.5, ANdAL beautifully shows her attachment for the vatapathrasAyi emperumAn.

mennadaiyannam paraNthu viLaiyAdum (மென்னடையன்னம் பரந்து விளையாடும்)
villipuththUr uRaivAn than (வில்லிபுத்தூர் உறைவான் தன்)
ponnadi kAnNbathOr AchaiyinAl (பொன்னடி காண்பதோர் ஆசையினால்)
en porukaiyaR kanNnNinNai thunYchA (என் பொருகையற் கண்ணிணை துஞ்சா)
innadichilodu pAl amuthUtti (இன்னடிசிலொடு பால் அமுதூட்டி)
eduththa en kOlak kiLiyai (எடுத்த என் கோலக் கிளியை)
unnodu thOzhamai koLLuvan kuyilE! (உன்னொடு தோழமை கொள்ளுவன் குயிலே!)
ulagaLaNthAn varak kUvAy (உலகளந்தான் வரக் கூவாய்)

Simple translation:
I am unable to sleep due to the intense desire of my eyes to see the lotus feet of vatapathrasAyi emperumAn who is residing in srivilliputhUr (where it is filled with swans that walk stylishly). Oh dear cukkoo! please invite thirivikraman emperumAn to come here. If you did that I will give the friendship of my dear parrot which has been fed by nice milk and rice.

periyavAchAn piLLai shows some great meanings in is vyAkyAnam. Let us see a couple:
  • He shows one conversation between nanjIyar and nampiLLai. nampiLLai asks nanjIyar that it is meaningful if ANdAL says she cannot meet paramapadhanAthan, but why is she not able to meet the archAvathAra emperumAn who is so near? For that nanjIyar explains that, just like bharathAzhwAn who will faint immediately after seeing perumAL, ANdAL will also faint immediately after seeing vatapathrasAyi emperumAn. So, her friends and relatives, worried about losing her, does not allow her to meet vatapathrasAyi emperumAn. 
  • He identifies that the reason for ANdAL wanting to see thrivikraman is because, he was the one who freely touched every one's head without seeing if the head belongs to vasishtan or a chandALan. So, ANdAL is confident thrivikraman emperumAn will definitely come to see her.

In viNNeela mElAppu (nAchiAr thirumozhi 8th padhigam), ANdAL sends clouds as messenger to thiruvEnkatamudaiyAn. In the avathArikai periyavAchAn piLLai identifies a beautiful point. In rAmAvathAram, pirAtti sent Hanuman who is aindhra vyAkaraNa pandithan (great scholar), but here ANdAL is sending clouds as messenger that does not have any ability to really communicate. He explains that out of extreme love for emperumAn during her separation, she becomes bewildered and sends the clouds as messenger only because of their proximity to emperumAn in thiruvEnkatam (since both emperumAn and clouds stay on top of the hill).

Let us enjoy 9th pAsuram where ANdAL out of deep sorrow in separation, says that if emperumAn continues to avoid her, his fame and glories (that he protects everyone) will be damaged.

madhayAnaipOlezhuntha mAmugilgAL (மதயானைபோலெழுந்த மாமுகில்காள்)
vEnGkataththaip pathiyAga vAzhvIrgAL! pAmbanNaiyAn vArththai ennE! (வேங்கடத்தைப் பதியாக வாழ்வீர்காள்! பாம்பணையான் வார்த்தை என்னே!)
gathiyenRum thAnAvAn karuthAthu Or penNkodiyai (கதியென்றும் தானாவான் கருதாது ஓர் பெண்கொடியை)
vadhaicheythAn ennum chol vaiyagaththAr madhiyArE (வதைசெய்தான் என்னும் சொல் வையகத்தார் மதியாரே)

Simple translation:
Oh clouds that live in thiruvEnkatam who are risen as wild (tall) elephants! empreumAn who stays on the AdhisEshan has said tha "I will protect every one all the time". But if he himself does not protect me, the whole world will stop respecting him because of his act of torturing me (by avoiding me).

periyavAchAn piLLai's vyAkyAnam brings out the hidden glories of this pAsuram. Let us see a few here:
  • vEnGkataththaip pathiyAga vAzhvIrgAL - living is not just staying, it means vAzhchi (as in a glorious life). 
    • He says these clouds are not like mukthars who were in samsAram before coming to paramapadham, but they are like nithyars who have been with emperumAn in paramapadham since anAdhi (time immemorial).
    • On the other hand, he says staying in thiruvEnkatam itself is living (unlike other places where even living a nice life is just staying). He equates living here with living srirangam (nallArgaL vAzhum naLirarangam - நல்லார்கள் வாழும் நளிரரங்கம்).
    • He also identifies that bhagavath prAvaNyam (attachment towards emperumAn) is life (vAzhchi) and  vishayaAnthara prAvaNyam (attachment towards materialistic aspects) is death.
    • In this context, we can also recollect vaiyaththu vAzhvIrgAL (வையத்து வாழ்வீர்காள்) in thiruppAvai 2nd pAsuram, where it is explained that, even in this samsAram if we have attachment towards emperumAn and spend our time in bhagavath vishayam, that life is glorified.
  • For pAmbanNaiyAn vArththai - periyavAchAn piLLai excellently/humourously identifies that what is discussed in the bed will be known to closely related persons only (that is why ANdAL knows what is said when empermAn was on his bed - AdhisEshan).
  • For vadhaicheythAn - he explains that bhagavath vislEsham (separation from emperumAn) itself if vadham (torture) for ANdAL.
thirumAlirunchOlai azhagar

ANdAL's attachment towards azhagar is well known. She establishes the highest principle of kainkaryam in this padhigam (nAchiAr thirumozhi padhigam 9) for thirumAlirunchOlai. 

In srivachana bhUshaNa dhivya sAsthram sUthrams 283 - 287, piLLai lOkAchAryar identifies how kainkaryam should be done. Let us see the meanings briefly.
  • sUthram 283 - kainkaryam should be done as the goal instead of doing it as means to get something else.
  • sUthram 284 - that means instead of us desiring something from him, we should make emperumAn (who is naturally fully satisfied) to develop the attachment towards accepting kainkaryam from us.
  • sUthram 285 - Instead of we giving something to him and accepting something back from him, we should do kainkaryam to him and give some thing more to him for accepting kainkaryam from us. In the vyAkyAnam, mAmunigaL identifies that we should be like ANdAL who offered 100 plates of akkAra adisil (sweet rice) and 100 plates of butter in pAsuram 6 and says she will do 1000s more if emperumAn accepts the first offering in pAsuram 7.
  • sUthram 286 - if we did even small kainkaryams (kinchithkAram) like srI vidhurar, srI mAlAkArar or kUni, our svarupam will be sustained. It is explained in sAsthram that "akinchithkarasya sEshathva anupapaththi:" - the nature of jIvAthmA is sEshathvam (being sub-servient to empermAn) and that can only be sustained if the jIvAthma at least does some small kainkaryams.
  • sUthram 287 - srI vidhurar gave food without any expectation from kaNNan emperumAn. mAlAkArar gave a garland purely with the intention of just giving it to emperumAn. Same way kUni gave pure sandal wood paste without expecting any thing back in return.
Now, let us enjoy the most beautiful nAru narum pozhil pAsruam.

NARu NaRumpozhil mAlirunYchOlai Nambikku NAn (நாறு நறும்பொழில் மாலிருஞ்சோலை நம்பிக்கு நான்)
NURu thadAvil venNnNey vAy NErNthu parAvi vaiththEn (நூறு தடாவில் வெண்ணெய் வாய் நேர்ந்து பராவி வைத்தேன்)

NURu thadA NiRaiNtha akkAra adichil chonnEn (நூறு தடா நிறைந்த அக்கார அடிசில் சொன்னேன்)
ERu thiruvudaiyAn inRu vaNthu ivai koLLunGgalO (ஏறு திருவுடையான் இன்று வந்து இவை கொள்ளுங்கலோ)

Simple Translation:
In the placed with beautiful fragrant gardens named thirumAlinchOlai, for the emperumAn there, I offered (vAchikam only) 100 plates of butter and 100 plates of sweet rice. Will sriya:pathi emperumAn (whose thEjas is growing everyday) accept my offering?

Let us see some beautiful analysis from periyavAchAn piLLai's vyAkyAnam.
  • He identifies the incident of emperumAnAr offering 100 plates of butter and 100 plates of sweet rice to azhagar emperumAn since it is the duty of the family members to fulfill the commitments. 
  • nampiLLai asks nanjIyar, "emperumAn is satisfied with just accepting pUrNa kumbam (a pot of sanctified water), then why ANdAL is offering so much?". nanjIyar replies that "since she is thinking that she is a gOpi now, butter is available in surplus in AyarpAdi, so even large quantities of that is considered to be small for them".
  • periyavAchAn piLLai also identifies that when we look at upAyam we should be like pirAtti who said "let perumAL come and rescue me" and stayed where she was without making any efforts. For upEyam, we should be like iLaya perumAL who said "I will do everything all the time for perumAL and pirAtti" and did so much kainkaryam to the dhivya dhampathi.
  • vangip puraththu nambi says that "others identify different dhEvathas as brahmam, but we who are fully following vEdhas accept sriya:pathi because that is what is said in sAsthram - so our sidhAntham is the best".
And as we have already seen, ANdAL in the next pAsuram, explains that seeing emperumAn accepting her kainkaryam, she will do more such kainkaryam for him.


In nAchiAr thirumozhi 11th padhigam, ANdAL unable to bear her separation from empeumAn, starts glorifying his great qualities and sustains herself. In pAsuram 8.3, she says "en gOvindhan guNam pAdi ... Avi kathiruppEnE" - I will sustain myself by meditating/singing emperumAn's qualities - that she is doing it in this thiruvaranganAthan padhigam now.

In the 8th pAsuram, ANdAL says she tried to forget emperumAn but is unable to do it because of her attachment towards emperumAn.

pAchi thUrththuk kidaNtha pArmagatkup panNdoruNAL (பாசி தூர்த்துக் கிடந்த பார்மகட்குப் பண்டொருநாள்)
mAchudambil NIr vArA mAnamilAp panRiyAm (மாசுடம்பில் நீர் வாரா மானமிலாப் பன்றியாம்)
thEchudaiya dhEvar thiruvaranGgach chelvanAr (தேசுடைய தேவர் திருவரங்கச் செல்வனார்)
pEchiyiruppanagaL pErkkavum pErAvE (பேசியிருப்பனகள் பேர்க்கவும் பேராவே)

Simple translation:
Long ago, to rescue bhUmi pirAtti who was submerged in muddy waters and had dirt all over her, emperumAn took the form of a pig whose body is full of dirt and he is not shy about it. I am unable to forget the words of thiruvaranganAthan who has great thEjas.

A few points from periyavAchAn piLLai's great vyAkyAnam.
  • He establishes that since bhUmi pirAtti is the abhimani dhEvathai (controlling person) for bhUmi, bhUmi pirAtti and bhUmi has AthmA-sarIram sambandham. So when it is said that she has dirt on her, it means the dirt is on bhUmi.
  • He also identifies that rasikar (one who enjoys) will not take care of their body when their lovable ones are not well. So, emperumAn also took up dirt on his body when bhUmi pirAtti had dirt on her body.
  • for mAnamilAp panRi, periyavAchAn piLLai explains that, emperumAn gave up his IsvarAbhimAnam (ஈஸ்வராபிமானம்) and took a form such that other pigs freely mixed with varAha nAyanAr. When mArichan took the deer form, other deers ran away once they came close to that golden deer, since they could smell the rAkshasa nature.
  • ANdAL thinks that emperumAn descends to thiruvarangam to accept kainkaryam from ANdAL since he was unable to accept much kainkaryam from her during varAha avathAram.
  • Finally, she thinks in such a way that, even if emperumAn forgets his responsibility of protecting his adiyArs, she will never forget her svabhAvam of depending on emperumAn.

That periyAzhwAr finally gets the invitation to bring ANdAL over to thiruvarangam and emperumAn accepting her in thiruvarangam is all well known.

It is our great fortune that we are in this kulam which completely depends on emperumAn for everything and does not expect anything back from him other than kainkaryam. We are truly blessed and we should cherish this every moment in our life.

In the next article we will see thoNdaradippodi AzhwAr's archAvathAra anubhavam.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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