aippasi anubhavam - bhUthathAzhwAr - iraNdAm thiruvanthAdhi

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

This article is a direct translation of nampiLLai's avathArikai (introduction) for bhUthathAzhwAr's iraNdAm thiruvanthAdhi. Thanks to srI U. vE. M A vEnkatakrishNan swamy's monumental effort in locating these vyAkyAnams of nampiLLai and publishing the same and also providing easy to follow thamizh explanation for these wonderful commentaries.

Please read poigai AzhwAr's mudhal thiruvanthAdhi introduction at

 nampiLLai - thiruvallikkENi

In mudhal (first) thiruvanthAdhi, poigai AzhwAr highlighted that bhagavAn is the master of both nithya (spiritual) vibhUthi (world) and leelA (material) vibhUthi (world). Seeing that bhUthathAzhwAr understands that he is a true servitor of bhagavAn and that gyAnam (knowledge) matures in to bhakthi (devotion). mudhal thiuvanthAdhi is focussed on gyAnam; iraNdAm thiruvanthAdhi is focussed on bhakthi. This dhivya prabhandham is the outpouring of AzhwAr's bhakthi. Does this mean that poigai AzhwAr does not have bhakthi? No - he also has bhakthi. It is different states of manifestation - one is cause and the other is effect. poigai AzhwAr's state is being in knowledge by meditating on the nithya and leelA vibhUthis (worlds) of bhagavAn. bhUthathAzhwAr's state is being in bhakthi (which is matured state of gyAnam). bhUthathAzhwAr meditates on the divine wealth of emperumAn as narrated in mudhal thiruvanthAdhi, and as a result, the overwhelming devotion leads into these pAsurams that become the dhivya prabhandham named iraNdAm thiruvanthAdhi.

In mudhal thiruvanthAdhi, the gyAnam about the supreme is explained, i.e., bhagavAn is the lord of the entire universe and the universe exists for bhagavAn. It is also explained that, this knowledge is the means to reach bhagavAn. Generally, it is seen that the means and goal are different here. How is it possible that bhagavAn is upAyam (means) and bhagavAn is upEyam (goal)? Because he is omnipotent (capable of doing everything), he is the upAyam and upEyam. kAraNam (Cause) is explained as 3 aspects.
  • upAdhAna kAraNam - the (raw) material which changes into the ultimate effect. For example, soil (earthen) becomes pot - here, soil is upAdhAna kAraNam (material cause) and pot is kAryam (effect).
  • nimiththa kAraNam - the efficient cause - the person(s) who bring about the change in the material. For example, Potter is the one who changes soil to pot.
  • sahakAri kAraNam - the ancillary cause - the tools that are used in bringing about the change in the material. For example, Potter uses a stick and a wheel to change the soil in to pot.
 srIman nArAyaNan - cause of all causes

Generally, we observe in this world that, the 3 causes are always different in this material world. Because he is omnipotent (capable of doing everything), he himself is all the three types of causes (Translator's note: upAdhAna kAraNam - chith (sentients) and achit (insentients) which are the raw-material are attributes of bhagavAn; nimiththa kAraNam - his own sankalpam (desire/vow); sahakAri kAraNam - his knoweledge, shakthi, etc). Thus he himself becomes all the 3 causes for the manifested universe. Since, he is the antharyAmi (in-dwelling soul) of the entire universe and since bhUthathAzhwAr is one of the subjects in this universe, he considers bhagavAn himself as upAyam (means) to reach the ultimate goal.

Whatever is seen in general aspects will also be visible in specific cases. As bhagavAn is (explained by emperumAnAr in gadhyam as) "akila jagath svAmin" (அகில ஜகத் ஸ்வாமிந்) - the lord of entire universe, he is also (explained by emperumAnAr in gadhyam as) "asmath svAmin" (அஸ்மத் ஸ்வாமிந்) - my lord. As sAdhanam (means) is bhagavAn, one should be patient to let the knowledge blossom fully (and he will benedict the goal automatically when the knowledge is blossomed). paramEsvara mangalaththu ANdAn goes to kurugai kAvalappan (who is a sishya of nAthamunigaL) and asked "what is the relation between jagath (universe) and Iswaran (bhagavAn)?" and kurugai kAvalappan asked him back "Which jagath and which universe?" - paramEsvara mangalaththu ANdAn was satisfied with that. It is explained that the universe is bhagavAn's body and bhagavAn is the in-dwelling soul (they are inseparable). Just like the sarIram (body) is subservient to the jIvAthmA (soul), the entire universe is body of bhagavAn. poigai AzhwAr contemplated on bhagavAn as "pathim visvasya" (பதிம் விச்வஸ்ய) - the master of entire universe as explained in thaithriya upanishadh. This principle applies to bhUthathAzhwAr as well. So, bhUthathAzhwAr meditates on that principle in iraNdAm thiruvanthAdhi.

As these are just outpouring of different states of knowledge/devotion, should these thiruvanthAdhis not be compiled by the same author? Why is it done by different authors - mudhal thiruvanthAdhi compiled by poigai AzhwAr and iraNdAm thiruvanthAdhi compiled by bhUthathAzhwAr? thrimunivyAkaraNam is compiled by three sages (pANini, vararuchi and pathanjal), yet considered as one sAsthram since all of them talk about the same subject. jaimini compiled pUrvA mImAmsai (first 12 adhyAyams) and vyAsa compiled uththara mImAmsai (4 adhyAyams) - yet since both talk about the same brahmam (pUrvA mImAmsai talks about how to worship brahmam and uththara mImAmasai provides in-depth understanding about the nature of brahmam), they are considered together as single sAsthram. These prabhandhams are also considered similarly.

In mudhal thiruvanthAdhi, bhagavAn is explained as vichithra gyAna sakthi yukthan (abode of marvellous knowledge and fully capable of doing anything), jagath kAraNa bhUthan (the cause of the entire universe) and sankachakragadhAdharan (one who holds sankam (conch), chakram (disc) and gadhai (maze)). This is also explained due to bhakthi (devotion) towards emperumAn only. Even that seed of devotion was planted by bhagavAn only (as it was not there in AzhwAr before). Since bhagavAn is the upAyam, he is also the one who kindles the devotion in the heart (its not our own effort which plants the seed of devotion). Here, AzhwAr says just like bhagavAn's controlling/managing of such variegated universe is marvellous, bhagavAn planing this seed of devotion in AzhwAr's heart is also marvellous.

Does poigai AzhwAr only have knowledge about the supreme lord? No, all AzhwArs have full knowledge and devotion - but the focus is on the aspects which AzhwArs themseleves focussed on. As all AzhwArs know the divine emotions of each other, they have revealed the same principles in their dhivya prabhandhams. Just like AdhisEshan has one neck and many heads, AzhwArs also share the same principles but reveal them as different individuals through different prabhandhams.

Thus ends nampiLLai''s introduction to iraNdAm thiruvanthAdhi.

Let us briefly see the thaniyan for iraNdAm thiruvanthAdhi which was composed by thirukkurugai pirAn piLLAn. thaniyans usually reveal the glories of the author of the prabhandham and the prabhandham itself.

en piRavi thIra iRainjinEn innamudhA
anbE thagaLi aLiththAnai 
nanpugazh sEr sIdhaththAr muththukkaL sErum
kadal mallaip bUthaththAr ponnangazhal

என் பிறவி தீர இறைஞ்சினேன் இன்னமுதா
அன்பே தகளி அளித்தானை
நன்புகழ் சேர் சீதத்தார் முத்துக்கள் சேரும்
கடல் மல்லைப் பூதத்தார் பொன்னங்கழல்

Simple translation: To be relieved from birth in this samsAram, I pray at the lotus golden feet bhUthathAzhwAr who blessed us the most nectarean iraNdAm thiruvanthAdhi and who was born in thirukkadalmallai which is flocked by most glorious and cooling pearls (pearls - since this dhivyadhEsam is on the beach superficially it simply means pearls, but the inner meaning is pure devotees of bhagavAn).

mudhalAzhwArs' charithram and vaibhavam can be viewed here:
mudhalAzhwArs' archAvathAra anubhavam can be viewed here:

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