Saturday, July 05, 2008

Continuing Companions

Many philosophers and saints have spent their lives in finding out the answer to the question who/what accompanies us throughout the life and after. Hinduism firmly believe on the philosophy of rebirth so that soul gets reborn again and again until it attains salvation. Some say that the physical body that a soul takes is just a shell and nothing goes with the soul. Many of us even would have heard the great verses by the great Tamil poet of recent times, Kaviarasu Kannadhasan, that goes like this.

"Veedu Varai Uravu
Veedhi Varai Manaivi
Kaadu Varai Pillai
Kadaisi Varai Yaaro?"

meaning - When a man dies, his relatives and friends come till his home. His life partner (wife) come till the street. His children come till his body is cremated. But nobody knows who/what will accompany that soul after that.

Veedu - Home
Varai - till, until
Uravu - relatives, friends
Veedhi - Street
Manaivi - Wife
Kaadu - Forest, Burial/Cremation ground
Pillai - Son/Children
Kadaisi - End
Yaaro - Interrogative pronoun indicating Who?

However the well known siddhar Pattinathar (circa. 11th Century) has an explanation to this question about who the companions are? His song goes on the same lines as above.

"Aththamum Vaazhvum Agathumattae Vizhi Ambozhuga
Meththiya Maadharum Veedhi Mattae Vimmi Vimmi Iru
Kaithalam Mael Vaithu Azhum Maindharum Sudukaadu Mattae
Patri Thodarum Iruvinai Punniyam Paavamumae"

meaning, Wealth and Relations coming till the home. Women - The wife - with their attractive eyes come till the street. The children who cry keeping their hands on the body come until the cremation grounds. The two things that accompany are the sins and the good deeds that a person does during his life.

Aththam - Wealth,Relations
Vaazhvu - Living
Agam - Home
Mattae - Till
Vizhi Ambu - Attractive Eyes (Vizhi) striking the view like an arrow (Ambu)
Meththi - Praise
Maadhar - Women
Veedhi - Street
Vimmi - Spasmodically gasping while crying
Iru Kai - Both hands
Mael Vaithu - Keeping on top
Azhum - Crying
Maindhar - Children
Sudukaadu - Cremation ground
Patri - Clasp
Thodarum - Continue
Iruvinai - Two karmas
Punniyam - Good deeds
Paavam - Sin

Pattinathar has so much to be said about him, that it will take up a few posts to fully cover and convey his sayings. To give a brief about Pattinathar - He was a highly influential and a very rich businessman, who attained realisation/enlightenment by his own son who was none other than Lord Shiva incarnate. The one verse by his son made Pattinathar attain realisation about the existence of a soul and its ultimate path. The verse is

"Kaadhatra Oosiyum Vaaradhu Kaan Kadai Vazhikkae"

This has two meanings that can be interpreted. The first, The needle with a broken eye, will never make its way to the market. The second, which was the culmination of Pattinathar's realisation, means that even the useless needle with a broken eye would not accompany in the human's last journey

Kaadhatra - Kaadhu refers to Ear, however in this context it refers to the eye of the needle
Oosi - Needle
Vaaradhu - Will not be coming
Kaan - See
Kadai - Shop, Market, Last, End
Vazhi - Path, Destination

The wealth earned, the people whom relationships are built, even their wife and offsprings would not accompany during their final journey. His intention is not get dejected in life that nothing is going to come with us in the final journey and why should one put in efforts to gather wealth. But to make a note that the good deeds and the sins are the ones that we have with us in all our lives. So we need to minimize the sins that we commit and increase the good deeds that we perform. So setting our expectations low, will avoid unnecessary desires which is the root cause of all troubles and tribulations that a person goes through and is the thing that pushes a man to committing a sin. And the belief is that if you commit less sins and more good deeds, you will be reborn as something better than what we are now. Be it for the reasons of rebirth or not, let us try to avoid committing sins in our lives.

More to come, until then...


Ammupatti said...

Hi Prabhu

Bale besh! as my dad would have said. You have a wonderful blog and you must be really spending quite a lot of time researching to bring out the real meaning of the common sayings in tamil, which as you have rightly said, we interpret to our convenience.The background music is simply wonderful.It is just great, that too coming from a young person like you.

I was guided here by Ravi of Life is a Boon and I can't thank him enough.

Continue your good work.

Congrats once again.


R.Prabhu said...

Hi Ammupatti,

Welcome to my blog! Thanks to Ravi too, for directing you to my blog! Am really happy to hear that you liked the blog. Hope to post more interesting stuff, but squeezing time for all these is the difficult part.

Thank you very much for the wishes and support

Anonymous said...

Hi Prabhu,

Thanks for another fine post. Here is a very short piece from 'Pattinathar', a realization that comes after very long contemplation and experience.

Warm regards,

See this Youtube video of just a few seconds:

R.Prabhu said...

Hi Subbu,

How are you? Its been a long time since you spoke. Thank you very much for coming back! Indeed, pattinathar is one great movie of all time, depicting how pattinathu chetty had is realisation :) You should also read Arthamulla Hindu Madham by Kannadhasan - Volume 5 Gnanam Pirandha Kadhai which explains the life history of pattinathar. Very excellent one!

Thanks once again for the youtube link!

V said...

Hi Prabhu,

It is said that a chettiar was being served upon by his men by oil-molishing his thoppai. Pattinathar saw this and sang: chettiar thoppai thanadenRirukka naayum nariym thamadeRirukka....

Do you know the full form of this song?


Karthik said...


I stumbled on your blog when I was googling for something else. I liked the couple of articles I read. I intend to read all the articles soon.

I think many people may have written explanations for Pattinaththaar's songs. Which book do you think is the best for someone who is reading Pattinaththaar for the first time? I prefer a book which not only explains a poem but which also gives the meanings of the unfamiliar words in the poem (like you have done in this entry).


R.Prabhu said...

Hi Subbu,

here you go!

இருப்பதுபொய் போவதுமெய் என்றெண்ணி நெஞ்சே
ஒருத்தருக்கும் தீங்கினை எண்ணாதே - பருத்ததொந்தி
நம்மதென்று நாமிருப்ப நாய்நரி பேய்கழுகு
தம்மதென்று தாமிருக்கும் தான்!

R.Prabhu said...

Hi Karthik,

Welcome to my blog, its good to hear that you liked the contents. I haven't come across such a book that you are mentioning. Most books just give the meanings of the songs. Will let you know when I come across such a book.

Thanks once again!

V said...

VaNakkam Prabhu,

Thanks for the 'tondhi' song. I have saved it in my 'Guiding Lights' file.

Here is something for Karthik and you:

In the above link is an unusual but very impressive account of Pattinathar's message to mankind. It is really nicely presented. I enjoyed reading it.

Warm regards,

R.Prabhu said...

Vanakkam Subbu,

Thank you very much for the link, indeed it is good.

Anonymous said...

Vanakkam Prabhu,

Sorry for using this page for giving a personal message for you. As i do not know your email id i am sending you this here:

In YouTube search for 'Process Impossible' 2 and 3 parts and view an excellent re-mix of computer programmer related humour through Tiruvilaiyadal dialogue. It is really innovative and humourous. May be you already know this. Share with your prog.friends.

Best regards,

R.Prabhu said...

Hi Subbu,

thanks for the info, indeed it is creatively hilarious.


SEO Technology said...

Hi prabhu, Im also from nkl, Nice Sharing, keep it up? im expecting more from u.

thank u

R.Prabhu said...

Thank you very much :) whoever it is from SEO Technology :)

ContentXn Network said...

Hi R.Prabhu,

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We look forward to working with you.


Yadhunandhan said...

Simply super maams. Proud being a frequent visitor to your blog!!!

R.Prabhu said...

Thank you very much maams, for your support and encouragement. Will blog a few more posts soon!!!

Anonymous said...

Dear Prabhu,

PutthaanDu vAzhtthukkaL


R.Prabhu said...

மிக்க நன்றி சுப்பு அவர்களே.
இனிய புத்தாண்டு நல்வாழ்த்துக்கள்

Mathuranathan said...

Hi Prabhu,
Excellent blog!!! Keep up the good work..
Expecting more posts ..

Do u know any link to "Thirumoolar thirumandhiram" with meanings in tamil/engish ??


R.Prabhu said...

Thanks Mathuranathan, thank you very much for the support. Will surely write new posts in the next few days. For Thirumandhiram, please take a look at

BALAJI K said...

"kAthatra Osiyum vArAthu kAN kadai vazhikkE" - idhai vaidavum uyarndha thathuvam ondru illai! uNandhOr uyarvAr !

I appreciate you for such a nice blog like this! Keep it up! - K.Balaji

R.Prabhu said...

Balaji Sir,

Thank you very much for the support

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful blog that I stumbled upon.

Your format is great - the poem in tamil, english, general meaning, meaning word by word, and overall explanation.

Your word by word meaning allows me to improve my vocabulary as well as come up with my own interpretation. Many thanks for discussing spiritual treasures of tamil literature.

R. Prabhu said...

Thanks Anon!

Muthu said...

Great work prabhu sir..
Your explanation are great...
Great inspiration for ppl like me to learn & explore tamil.

Long live your work.

Muthu Krishnan Murugan

R. Prabhu said...

Thanks Muthu!

Radha Krishnan said...

Hi Prabhu,

Its a very good initiative to promote awareness among the people with good examples. Please continue this effort as long as possible. May god bless u.

with regards
Radhakrishnan.B Pondicherry

R. Prabhu said...

Thanks Radhakrishnan!

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