Published from “Three Minutes” series written by A.S.Rajagopalan Swami of Ohio.
The meanings behind the veda-s and upaniShad-s are not transparent to the common people; but AzhvAr-s conveyed those in very simple and sweet tamih hymns. The AzhvArs’ verses are like the “Cliff notes” for veda-s. How could they do such an amazing feat? Very simply, it is not a human feat, but rather, they were blessed by Lord shrIman nArAyANa Himself with pure, flawless knowledge (mayarvaRa madi nalam).
Today, we will highlight each AzhvAr’s theme and what they tried to emphasize through their hymns. This is one among several possible interpretations (anubhavam). Just like a diamond glitters beautifully from any angle it is looked at, the AzhvArs’ verses also maintain such a luster.
1. Poigai AzhvAr Declared that the veda-s reveal about the ultimate Lord (brahmam). nIdiyAl Odi niyama~NgaLAl parava AdiyAi ninRAr avar – Realized the ultimate Lord by following scripts (veda-s) and proper rituals.
2. BhUdattAzhvAr Confirmed that ultimate Lord mentioned in veda-s, is none other than nArAyaNa. pagal kaNDEn nAraNanaik kaNDEn – I realized that Lord nArAyaNa and my knowledge dawned and spread like daylight.
3. PEi AzhvAr Qualified that He is not just a solo nArAyANa, but shrIman nArAyANa, with His inseparable consort, lakShmI – tirukkaNDEn. I found the Lord by looking at Her first.
4.tirumazhisai AzhvAr Showed that individual soul’s purpose and steady focus should be to reach that Lord. anRu nAn piRAndilEn, piRanda pin maRandilEn I was not born (realized) then, but once I did, I never forgot You.
5. nammAzhvAr Demonstrated that Prapatti (total unconditional surrender) is the only plausible method to reach the Lord. He is the sole means and ends. pugal onRu illA aDiyEn un aDikkIzh amarndu pugundenE – I Hold your feet as the only refuge.
6. madhurakavi AzhvAr Lived by showing AcArya Bhakti is the final frontier. devu maRRu aRiyEn kurugUr nambi I am unaware of any God other than my AcAryA
7. Kulashekhara AzhvAr Led everyone in the art of detachment (vairAghya) even in the midst of worldly pleasures. vAn ALum selvamum maNNarasum yAn vENDEn I don’t look for the empire to rule the celestials or the earth
8. PeriyAzhvAr Sensitized that Lord’s infinite mercy and compassion saves the devotees even if they do inadvertent mistakes, because He simply ignores them. en aDiyAr adu seyyAr My devotees will never do them.
9. ANDAL Instructed that the purpose of our soul is to serve the Lord eternally. unakkE nAm AT seyvOm We will do service only to shrIman nArAyANa, eternally.
10. toNDaraDippoDi AzhvAr Advised that humility is an essential ingredient in reaching the Lord. manattil Or tUymai illai, vAyil Or insol illai – Not a speck of purity in my heart nor an utterance of a single sweet word comes out of my mouth.
11. tiruppANAzhvAr Practiced the enjoyment of the Lord especially, the beautiful archa-vigraha form (arcA mUrti) in the temple en amudinaik kaNDa kaNgaL maRRu onRinaik kANAvE – After drinking the nectar through my eyes, let them see nothing else.
12. tiruma~Ngai AzhvAr Traveled and visited many temples and showed that Lord is readily accessible. vandu un tiruvaDi aDaindEn Came down and reached Your lotus feet.
13. Bhagavad rAmAnuja Lord loves unwavering devotion. nAnginum kaNNanukkE Amadu kAmam KR^iShNa favors love among the four – righteousness, wealth, love and ultimate bliss (dharma, artha, kAma, mokSham).
Let the light pass through the holes smaller than wavelength of its kind like AzhvArs’ words that press vedA-s and pour through the ignorant mind