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The 3 Phrases

In Tamil, we commonly say these three phrases -

oru peNNin kashtam innoru peNNukku thAn theriyum (ஒரு பெண்ணின் கஷ்டம் இன்னொரு பெண்ணுக்கு தான் தெரியும்)

pombaLa vishayam (பொம்பள விஷயம்)

peNN pAvam pollAthu (பெண் பாவம் பொல்லாது)

While these appear to be gender (feminine) based proverbs / phrases in colloquial usage, they are actually hidden with rich meanings of the srI vaishnava sampradAyam.

In our sampradAyam all jEvAthmAs are classified as feminine gender and paramAthmA is the only masculine gender, and infact the purushOthaman.

While the baddha jeevAthmAs struggle in this samsAram as a result of their anAdhi kAla karmA, out of His pouring mercy bhagavAn first gave the sAstras, so that the jEvAthmAs follow them to find the way to get rid of the samsAra. This did not happen. Then He Himself descended at various times and ultimately gave the teaching (gitA upadEsam) in form of charama slOkam to perform sharaNAgathi to get relieved from samsAra. This was also a failed attempt, even arjunA to whom the upadEsam was delivered, did not at all perform sharaNAgathi.

bhagavAn realised that these strategies are not working for Him. He was not able to create enough confidence amidst the jEvAthmAs while delivering the messages, simply because of the fact He is of a different class, the paramAthmA and to whom he delivers His message are of a different class, the jEvAthmAs. Simply the paramAthmA cannot experience Himself the pleasures and pains of samsArA caused by the karmAs, as He is beyond the clutches of karmA.

So bhagavAn decided to change His strategy. He then created AlwArs, using the amsam of His nityasUris and then further created the lineage of AcharyAs, from the jEvAthmA class itself (with He Himself being the chief in that lineage, commonly referred as the guru parampara) and through them He wanted to deliver His message. As the AzhvArs and AcharyAs were also of the same class of the jEvAthmAs, they were able to undersand the struggles of their co-existing jEvAthmAs, from the pleasures and pains of samsArA, caused by their karmAs.

First, AzhvAr started to explain the worthless nature of this samsArA - poi ninra jnAnam, pollA ozhukku, azhukudambu; the temporary, unstable nature of this samsAra - minnin nilai (as short as duration of lightning); then, questioning the samsAri jEvAthmAs, when sriman nArAyanA is there as a saviour, why go elsewhere - Adi pirAn niRka matRai theivam nAduthire? and finally, reaching His lotus feet will snap and lift up from the evil sufferings of this samsarA - thuyar aRu sudar adi thozhuthu ezhu mananE.

bhagavAn's strategy now starts to work, as the samsAri jEvAthmAs realise and understand their plight, when AzhvAr, another jeevathmA able to clearly explain, after undergoing the same sufferings as that of all other jEvAthmAs.

Hence oru peNNin (a jEvAthmA's) kashtam (sufferings in this samsArA) innoru peNNukku thAn (another jEvAthmA - i.e. AzhvAr) theriyum (can only know).

AzhvAr now reveals the easiest way to come out of the clutches of the samsAra - the prapatti in alarmEl mangai urai mArbha, nin adi kEzh amarndhu pugundEnE (which is the pUrva vAkyam of dvayam), followed by uttara krytyam in vazhuvilla aDimei seyyavEndum nAm (which is the uttara vAkyam of dvayam). During prapatti - the upadEsam of dwaya mahAmantram is a privileged matter (vishayam) between an AchAryan and a sishyan (aka prapannan), both are co-jEvAthmAs, both are feminine genders, the phrase pombaLa vishayam here is nothing but the upadEsam of dwaya mahA mantram.

After receiving the mantropadEsam from AchAryan, the one thing which can derail a prapannan's journey towards attainment of mOksham is acquiring a sin (pApam) on account of their guilt, either direct or indirect, towards another follower, devotee of bhagavAn (aka bhAgavatha apachAram). Such a bhAgavatha apachAram sin (peNN pAvam) is so dangerous (pollathu), even bhagavAn cannot able to wipe it out.

In summary -

oru peNNin kashtam innoru peNNukku thAn theriyum means the sufferings experienced by a jEvAthma in this samsAra can be truly felt only by AzhvArs and AchAryAs;

pombaLa vishayam is the upadEsam of dvaya mahAmantram by an AchAryan, for upliftment from this samsAra; and

peNN pAvam pollathu means bhAgavatha apachAram is so detrimental and can put a prapanna's upliftment out of this samsAra in jeopardy.


kshamikka prarthikirEn.

aDiyen dAsan

Ramesh Raghuraman.