Nammalvars Tiruvaimozhi is a devotional lyric par excellence. The mellifluous poetry of Nammalvars is a spontaneous outflow of his divine experience an expression of his enjoying the divine union with Lord Krishna. He is considered to be the very personification of the yearning of Krishna. Hence he is called Krishna Trishna Tattva (Skt.)
This poetic composition viz. tiruvaimozhi is comparable to the Samaveda. Acarya Ramanuja in the 12th century, made it compulsory that, this divine song should be recited in all the Srivaisnava shrines. In fact even now this secular literature in the form of panegyrics is sung in front of the sanctum sanctorum by devout Srivaisnavas very day. It is astonishing to see that a secular literature was given the state of a Veda that too to be sung in front of all the holy shrines.
Nammalvars ‘Tiruvaimozhi’ is a soliloquy delineating his divine experience in various ways. Many a time in the Samadhi state he could experience God intuitively as a heroin enjoying her hero. God appears and disappears for a while to increase the thirst of Nammalvars for the divine communion. Afflicted by the pangs of separation Nammalvars cries aloud that he has also been cheated by the elusive hero Lord Krishna who has cheated many of his lovers and landed them in a sea of suffering due to separation in the past.
Finally God appears before him and says, ‘O Nammalvars, I have granted thee my divine adobe namely Vaikuntha where you can enjoy me forever, there will be no question of separation in that case. Then Nammalvars asks him “have you granted me that divine abode, for my sake or for your sake.” God answers him immediately and says, “It is for your sake” then Nammalvars refuse to accept the offer and says “if my presence in the divine abode is conducive and useful to your bliss then I am prepared to come to the divine abode. On the other hand if my presence is for my own enjoyment of the supreme soul I am not prepared to come as it is tinged with selfishness. Hence I am not ready to go over there that was the type of selfless devotion that Nammalvars had towards the Lord. This is considered the height of parartha Kainkarya or Selfless service to the Lord.
This Tiruvaimozhi in the form of psalms in Tamil with its Sanskrit verse translation along with the word to word translation in Sanskrit and Hindi and elaborate Sanskrit and Hindi commentaries is published by the Academy. Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, which has an eye for poetic excellence thought of bringing out this valuable addition providing financial assistance to the Academy. Rising to the expectations and confidence reposed in the Academy, by the Shimla Institute it has brought out this publication. This publication will go a long way in bringing together the South and the North. The Academy of Sanskrit Research is deeply indebted to the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla for fully financing this project in bringing out the complete Tiruvaimozhi with Sanskrit and Hindi commentaries.
Many of the Srivaisnavas of the North who are daily chanting this divine lyric would be greatly benefited by these two commentaries. Apart from these, people interested in devotional literature can also study and enjoy this Tamil literature through the medium of Hindi and Sanskrit. Once again I thank Dr. Vinod Chandra Srivastav, Director of Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, for his generous help to publish this unique work blending the North and South. I am also thankful to my crew consisting of research scholars, Vid. Embar Varadachar, Vid. S. Narayana, Vid. S. Krishnan and other staff who have toiled day and night to bring out this publication. I will be failing in my duty if I don’t pay my respects to Prof. M.A.S. Rajan, lAS, (Retd.) President of the Academy, Sri B. P. Kaniram, I.A.S. Secretary ASR and members of the Managing Committee for their unstinted support in bringing out this publication. I am sure that this publication will go a long way in bringing out the excellence of the devotional literature irrespective of the fact that it has emerged from the South.
The Bhakti movement in South India came to the fore during sixth to ninth century A.D. This was the period in which many mystic poets, both Nayanmars of Saivism and Alvars of Srivaisnavism roamed about in the region, singing the praises of the Lord. As they moved from place to place they composed hymns of praise around the deity of that place. The Vaisnavite Alvars put forward Bhakti, which is intense devotion, not so much in the imagery of man and God, as of man and his beloved, be it a child or a lover.
While the devotional hymns were chanted in the temples over the centuries, they remained without codification until the advent of Nambi Antar Nampi in the case of Saivite hymns, and Nathamuni for the Srivaisnavite hymns, around the end of ninth and the beginning of tenth century.
Tiruvaimozhi is a hymn sung first by a celebrated seer who was given the title of Sri Nammalvar. It is regarded as divinely inspired. Nathamuni codified it at a later date having heard it in an episode of paranormal experience in which Nammalvar and his disciple Madhurakavi appeared before him and imparted knowledge of the works of all Alvars including Nammalvar.
Upto the time of Sri Ramanuja devotees and disciples learnt the subtlety and meaning of Tiruvaimozhi by word of mouth in the Acarya Sisya tradition. The first recorded commentary on the work was by a disciple of Sri Ramanuja.
The Vedantic philosophy of the Ramanuja school has two facets. One is the Sanskritic Vedanta and the other is the Dravida Vedanta comprising the outpourings of the Alvars. Both need to be grasped to gain a comprehensive understanding of the Ramanuja school of thought. The Academy of Sanskrit Research has brought out many publications based on critical research into the works of Sri Ramanuja. Thus far, all of them (except one in Kannada) belong to the Sanskritic category. Recently the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, came out with assistance for the publication of one of the master-works of the Dravida Vedanta, the ‘Bhagavadvisayam’, a collection of commentaries on Tiruvaimozhi. This publication has the “Idu” commentary transcreated into Sanskrit by Sri Mahamahimopadhyaya P .B. Annangracharya Swamy of Kanci along with a Hindi commentary by T.A.Samapathkumarcharya. The other special feature is the inclusion of the translation of the Tamil verses into Sanskrit verses by the poet scholar Sri. Kalki Narasimhacharya. The whole work will consist of 4 volumes running to about 1,700 pages.
Tiruvaimozhi is an exquisite song with 1,102 stanzas. The title means literally ‘the melodious emanation from divine lips’. This work has the spontaneity of the outpouring of the experience of the waves of divine bliss. Works like the Sribhasyam, Vedarthasangraha and so on expound the rational and logical bases of Vedanta. Their appeal to the logical mind is a complement to the work of Alvars, and Tiruvaimozhi in particular. The out-pouring of divine experience have remarkable power to melt and thrill the hearts of one and all.
I feel proud to present a work which brings before a wider circle of readership, be it in Sanskrit, Tamil or Hindi, the soul stirring and melodious expressions of divine bliss which have been enjoyed and devotedly preserved by the Tamil knowing people.
The hymnal contributions of Saiva Nayanars and Srivaisnava Alwars have vigorously enriched the Bhakti tradition in South India. The Tamil devotional work Tiruvaimoli is an exquisite work of paramount importance by the greatest of Alwar saints Nammalwar. His original name was Sathakopa. Sathakopa or Nammalwar’s work Tiruvaimoli is a garland of 1102 Tamil verses unfolding the dramatic theme of divine love. This divinely inspired devotional composition captures the bittersweet experiences of his divine longings, intermittent visions, pangs of separations, moments of communion and ultimate merger with the beloved Lord. Nammalwar’s devotional soliloquy became so popular that it is still sung in front of all the holy shrines of the Srivaisnavas to this day. In fact it is considered to be a Tamil Veda in itself.
Sanskrtik Vedanta and Dravida Vedanta are the two features of the Ramanuja school of Vedantic thought and knowledge of both these types is quintessential to a complete understanding of Ramanuja’s philosophy. The Dravida Vedanta embodies the hymnal offerings of the Alwar mystics and the cardinal work of this system is Tiruvaimoli whose importance as a source material can hardly be overemphasized.
I have great pleasure in placing before the scholars and researchers the volume on Tiruvaimoli along with Sanskrit and Hindi commentaries as part of the Bilingual text series of the Project on Study of Indian Civilization .of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla. The Sanskrit commentary is by P.B. Annangaracharya Swami of Kanchi while the Hindi commentary is authored by T.A. Sampathkumaracharya Swami. The utility of the work has been redoubled by presentation of Tamil verses in Devanagari script and by inclusion of the Sanskrit versification of Tamil stanzas by poet-scholar Sri Kalki Narsimhacharya for the first time.
I heartily applaud the labours of the editors Sri M.A. Lakshmithathachar, Sri Embar Varadacharya and Sri S. Narayana whose devotion and diligence to the work has been exemplary all along. It is hoped that they will zestfully continue in this direction and successfully edit the remaining volumes on Tiruvaimoli.
The work has been overseen by the Directors of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, Professor V.C. Srivastava and Professor Bhuvan Chandel.
In an era of post-modernity when most people are losing their sense of poetry and their capacity to understand the sublimest emotions that filled the hearts of seers and sages, the publication of the present work would actually enable the masses to experience the peaks of divine ecstasy and peace.
It gives great pleasure at this juncture of presenting Vol. 4 and 5 of Nammalvar’s “Tiruvaymoli” a tamil poem of devotional hymns rendered in Sanskrit with a translation in Hindi aptly termed “Sahasragithih’” to the discernable reader.
“Thiruvaymoli” or divince utterances of Nammalvar a classical poem par excellence comprising 1102 hymns in all is divided into ten sections known as pattu (centum) of about 100 verses each and each centum again subdivided into 10 decads and each decad comprising eleven verses called “Pasurams.”
The outpourings of Nammalvar flowing melliflously cast an image of God as the personification of unconditional compassion and love for he bestows his providence upon even those who are dubious of His magnanimity, at the same time He makes the seed of faith sprout in those of inferior sense.
The mellifluous poetry of Nammalvars is a spontaneous outflow of his divine experience an expression of his enjoying the divine union with Lord Krishna. He is considered to be the very personification of the yearning of Krishna. Hence he is called Krishna Trishna Tattva (Skt.)
Nammalvars, ‘Tiruvaimozhi’ is a soliloquy delineating his divine experience in various ways. Many a times in the samadhi state, he could experience God intuitively as a heroin enjoying her hero. God appears and disappears for a while to increase the thirst of Nammalvar for the divine communion. Afflicted by the pangs of separation Nammalvar cries and cries aloud that he has also been cheated by the elusive hero Lord Krishna who has cheated many of his lovers and landed them in a sea of suffering due to separation in the past.
In the trance of Nammalvar’s enjoyment of the Lord, His limitless sublime faculties have been extolled in the fourth centum. Even as it is pondered over for while, we would realize our status before all encompassing fecility of the Lord, Yet this sense of inferiority among men may cause them to part away from Him, even then the all compassioante Lord dispelling this sense, shower grace upon them. Saint Nammalvar was not an exception to this feeling either, yet detachment dawned in him for worldly objects and intent love for the Lord by virtue of Lord’s grace.
The virtue of detachment in Nammalvar made him grow more and more intently devoted unto the Lord, there by he became god intoxicated. The unconditional flow of grace of the Lord that not only rendered Nammalvar god attached but entire band of followers of this Alwar has been eulogized.
Again Nammalvar strives to preach those of evilous nature who are caught in mundane current as embodied spirits, the marvel of the holy feet of the Lord and its felicitous devotees, to make them propense in visualizing god.
In sixth centum emphasis is laid on total self surrender to God as the sole refuge. As Nammalvar went through the pain of seperation from God, there arose anger in him, a typical sentiment of a lover in anticipation of her love.
When all compassinate God allowed himself to be enjoyed by the Alwar, removing the pain of seperation in him, Nammalvar being ecstatic in the joy of union with God, resolved to remain completely surrendered to Him constantly.
Thus Nammalvar inculcating in him complete self surrender to God, refuting all other objects of mundane pleasure, tread the path (leading to) of divine union.
Nammalvar having visualized the holy lotus of feet of the Lord that encompassed the whole of creation in His vamana incarnation the same Lord being in His worshippable form has stood in Tirupati as ‘Tiruvengada mudayan. Alwar enjoying this marvellons form of the Lord cajoles the jivas (embodied souls) to have vision of Him to elevate themselves to betterment.
As grief is the outcome of ignorance of one’s true nature, identifying the self with body, Nammalvar tells them, complete self surrender to the god is the means of attaining Him, even as He being the means.
This Tiruvaimozhi in the form of psalms in Tamil with its Sanskrit verse translation along with the word to word translation in Sanskrit and Hindi and elaborate Sanskrit and Hindi commentaries is published by the Academy. Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, which has an eye for poetic excellence thought of bringing out this valuable addition providing financial assistance to the Academy. Rising to the expectations and confidence reposed in the Academy, by the Shimla Institute it has brought out this publication. This publication will go along way in bringing together the South and the North. The Academy of Sanskrit Research is deeply indebted to the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla for fully financing this project in bringing out the complete Tiruvaimozhi with Sanskrit and Hindi commentaries.
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