Thiruvallikeni kandene

Azhvar emperumanar Jeeyar thiruvadigalE sharaNam

This blog aims at sharing divine experiences in the wonderland Thiruvallikeni (Brindaranya kshetram)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

vrindhAvanathE kandOmE!

Sri Parthasarathi thunai
Srimathe rAmAnujaya Namaha
Sri Vara Vara MunayE Namaha
Sri vAnAchala mahA munayE Namaha

Dear bhagavatas,

On this auspicious day of thiruvAdi pooram, the birth star of soodikkoduththa nAchiyAr (one who adorned and presented flower garland), anju kudikkoru sandhadhi (daughter to all the 10 alwars) godha piratti Sri Andal adiyen wishes to express some of my deep anubhavams infront of this great group of bhagavatas. This writeup has to be regarded as one another anubhavam granted by the divine couples and shouldn't be considered to be anything against our poorvacharyas vyakhyanams. Hope the bhagavatas of this group will take it in the right spirit.
Abhimanam (favourite) is a term near and dear to our sampradayam. Each one of us has a special abhimanam towards a specific divyadesam/perumal/thayar/azhvar/acharya. As you all already know adiyen reserves my very special abhimanam towards Parthasarathi and his divya desam, thiruvallikeni. So adiyen's writeup on this very special day is going to be about the very special serthi (dual) Sri Parthasarathi and Andal.

Andal is special in our sampradayam as she holds the place of both an azhvar and nachiyar (thayar). She is the only female azhvar and her deep emotional outpourings towards the lord in both her thiruppavai and nachiyar thirumozhi cannot be explained by words. Though thiruppavai is a very small prabhandam with only 30 verses still the amount of deep essence it holds is enormous. So many marghazhi months have passed and so many thiruppavai upanyasams but still thiruppavai ever lives young in all our minds. In all the temples we find andal in a separate sannadhi. Both Adi and marghazhi months are special for andal. In Adi, the 10-day festival of thiruvadi pooram is celebrated in almost all the divyadesams and the grand finale will be the Adi poora thirukalyanotsavam.

But in all other divyadesams, except srivilliputtur and thiruvallikeni emperumans celebrates thirukalyanotsavam with another thayar on the panguni uthiram day also. Srivilliputtur is the birthplace of goda piratti. In thiruvallikeni geethacharyan, Krishnan Sri Parthasarathi reserves the post of his consort only for andal and hence doesn't undergo kalyanotsavam with any other thayar. Here the panguni uthira kalyanam is between ennai Aludaiyappan (ranganathan) and vedavalli thayar. Sri Parthasarathi celebrates wedding with andal on two auspicious days thiruvadipooram and bhogi kalyanam. After both the kalyanotsavams andal stays in her beloved Parthasarathi sannadhi for a full month till the next pooram.

Andal in her thiruppavai undergoes nombhu only for the Ayan, Sri Krishnan. In nachiyar thirumozhi she says, 'venkatavarkku ennai vidhikitriyE' and 'AyanukkAga nan kanda kana'. From the stala puram of thiruvallikeni it is very clear that only the emperuman who stands in thiruvenkatam appeared as Sri Krishnan (Parthasarathi) to satisfy the wishes of his bhaktha, sumathi maharajan. So Parthasarathi in thiruvallikeni is both an ayan and also venkatavan.

Let us dive a little deeper in to this ocean of anubhavam. In her seventh decade of nachiyar thirumozhi andal envies the conch in the hand of emperuman 'karpuram narumO? Kamalappoo nArumO.. sollAzhi veNsangE'. In various divyadesams emperuman holds various weapons in his hands. But sanghu and chakram are the usual trademark for any perumal. But generally we find chakrathazhvar being given greater preference than the conch. We find so many sannadhis for chakrathAzhvar and bhakthas flooding those sannadhi's to fulfil their wishes. Chakrasnanam (theerthavari) on the last day of the brahmotsavam is a usual procedure in all the diyva desam, where chakrathAzhvan is regarded as a representative of emperuman himself. But andal doesn't envy the chakram but instead she envies the sanghu in perumal's hand. Why? Venkatakrishnan (moolavar) in thiruvallikeni has only a sanghu in his right hand. He gives darshan with only two hands one holding the sanghu and the other with varada or vaikunda hastham (like indicating 'mAM Akam charanam vraja').

Andal says 'pathinArAyiram devi mAr parthiruppa' , the conch has taken the special place in the hands of Parthasarathi when all the 16,108 consorts of Krishnan looks with envying eyes. Even when he left the devis and went for the war he didn't forget to take the conch. Again not only the devis but all the other weapons also gives a sad look as even when Krishna promised to leave all his weapons and come unarmed to the battlefield he still held the conch alone in his hand. Andal in her paasurams shows her birth as a Brahmin girl by saying, oh! sangE, how come you have gone to the hands of emperuman when you haven't even taken a bath(Acharam) and how dare you go and have the bath in the mouths of emperuman itself.

Further, andal in her second paasuram says, 'kudiyEri theeya asurar nadalai pada muzhangum'. When did the sound of the conch (panchajanyam) shrill the hearts of the enemy? Yes. It was during the bharatha yuddham (war). Geethacharyan, Sri Parthasarathi held only the conch in his hand and charioteered the chariot of arjuna. In those days the start of the war was indicated by the sound of the conch in the hands of the main warriors. In bhagavat geetha, the first chapter greatly describes the warriors and the different conches in their hands. 'panchajanyam hrisheekesham devadaththam dhananjaya:' and so on. The gauravas lost the war on just hearing the sanga nAdham, which Sri Krishna made, says our acharyas. That is what andal reflects here. The conch settled in the hands of emperuman Sri Parthasarathi and it sounded in such a manner that the gauravas (theeya asurar) got defeated.

Andal enjoys the beauty of Sri Krishnan as 'kananennum karun deivam' and in the grand finale she says her ultimate wish in 'pattemeithathOr kArEru baladevarkkOr keezhkandrAi'. Where can we enjoy this karun deivam? Come to thiruvallikeni and enjoy the thirumugam of Parthasarathi (utsavar). The thirumugam is black in colour and with ultimate beauty. Karum can refer to both the black colour and karunyam(grace). Dark clouds shower more rain. So when andal says karun deivam it can also mean the lord who has so much grace. Parthasarathi's thirumugam is not only black in colour but even today holds the wounds of the arrows of bheeshma which he bore in his thirumugam to save his bhaktha arjuna from getting hurt. He didn't mind getting hurt to save his bhaktha. Does his grace and bhakthavatsalyam need any other proof? Andal in thiruppavai says 'uththaman' where the vyakhyanam reads that uththaman is one who works for the welfare of the others at the cost of himself. Doesn't this name hold good for our dear Parthasarathi who has wounded himself to save his bhaktha?

Last but not the least, andal says 'ettamana pasukkalai enidhu mariththu neerooti' the fact that Krishnan is gopalan and loves cows still stays and that is why in thiruvallikeni we find so many cows on the streets and Parthasarathi still takes care of his beloved cows. One specific instance comes to adiyen's mind while talking about the cows. One day Parthasarathi was undergoing purappadu. He halted in davanautsava bungalow and then again started from there. Ghosthi thodakkam was going on when two cows fighting among each other came running towards Parthasarathi. The cows were right in front of emperuman on one side was the arulicheyal ghosti and on the other the crowd of bhakthas. Finding no place to escape the cows ran towards Parthasarathi. The sreepadham thangis didn't get scared but instead they lifted emperuman a little higher and to all our surprise the cows became very soft and silently went under the kedayam (seat of emperuman during the purappadu) of emperuman to the other side. It was really amazing. Doesn't this show that even fighting cows will become soft in the sannadhi of gopalan and how did it learn to go underneath without hurting or disturbing anyone? Amidst all these confusions the arulicheyal ghosthi continued smoothly as cows are not new to thiruvallikeni and they knew very well that the gopalan would take care of them. That is how thiruvallikeni still remains a gokulam under the leadership of Parthasarathi emperuman.

On top of all these andal completes by saying, 'vittukondu vilaiyAda vrindhAvanaththE kandOmE'. Did you all know that the original name of thiruvallikeni as per the puranas is 'Brindaranya kshetram' and that is where andal found kannan at last and now, on this auspicious day she celebrates her wedding with Parthasarathi in thiruvallikeni. Let us all enjoy the divine serthi of the divine couples Sri Andal samEtha Sri Parthasarathi in all our minds wherever we are on this divine day.

Once again adiyen requests the bhagavatas of this group to enjoy the writeup as one of adiyen's anubhavams.

Brindaranya nivAsAya balarAmAnujAyacha
rukmini prAnanAdhAya parthasoodhAya mangalam
Srimathyai Vishnu chitArya mano nandhana hEthavE
nandhanandhana sundaryai gOdhAyai nithya mangalam

Azhvar EmperumAnAr Jeeyer thiruvadigalE sharanam
Adiyen rAmAnuja dAsee
Sumithra Varadarajan 

thozhudhu ezhu en mananE!

Sri Parthasarathi thunai
SrimathE rAmAnujaya Namaha
Srimad Vara Vara munayE Namaha
Sri vAnAchala mahA munayE Namaha

mEshE chittA samuthbhootham pANdyadEsE kaNamsakam I
SriparAnkusa sathbhaktham madhuram kavimAsrayE II”

Bow your head,” instructs the father to the kid. He may be an agnAni (Ignorant soul) or a staunch Srivaishnavite the blessing of the lord is equal to all. The archaka places the divine feet of emperuman, the Sri SaTakOpam on top of all our heads. Why is the divine feet called as Sri SaTakOpam/Sri satAri? It is to honour the very close devotee of emperuman, prapanna jana koodasthar, Sri Nammazhvar who longed for the divine feet of emperuman and sung beautiful paasurams about the divine lord. The divine prabhandams/paasurams of azhvar (when we say just azhvar it refers only to nammazhvar in sampradayam) always reserves a special position in the mind of all Srivaishnavas. He is the azhvar, who plays a major role in our guru paramparai.

MAmunikal in his upadesa ratina mAlai says, “namperumal nammAzhvar nanjeeyer nampillai enbar avar avar thamettraththAl anbudaiyOr sARRu thirunAmangal tAnendru nannenjE eththadhanai sollu nee endru” –50 [Due to their special greatness namperumal, nammAzhvar, nanjeeyer and nampillai have been adorned with great love, with the corresponding names]

What is special about nammAzhvar?
Azhvar himself answers this question in his very first paasuram in thiruvAimozhi – “mayarvaru madhinalam arulinan” [I have been blessed with unblemished bhakthi and jnana by the lord out of his mere grace, nirheduka krupai]. So is azhvar not great if emperuman himself choose azhvar among the infinite number of souls to bestow his krupai on him? Azhvar was blessed with deep bhakthi and ultimate knowledge (jnanam kanindha bhakthi) that led azhvar to rise through steps of parabhakthi, parajnana, and finally reach the ultimate step of paramabhakthi. So it is foolishness for nAyinEn (the lowest of the lowest soul) to try to talk the greatness of azhvar. But the lord cherishes hearing about his devotee even if it is in broken language filled with ignorance (‘elaiya pun kavidhaiyELum empirArkku eniyavArE’) . Didn’t the lord question kambanAttAzhvar if he has sung about azhvar (nam satakoparai padineerO?) and make him sing the “satakOpar andhAdhi”? It is the belief of our poorvacharyas that even if we utter the name “vakulAbharanan” emperuman starts smelling us considering us to be a close associate/disciple of swamy nammazhvar.

With whatever has been told till now you all may have jumped to the concrete conclusion that this posting is going to be purely about the greatness of Swamy Nammazhvar. But No, adiyen is now going to go one step higher and talk about a personality who is regarded with greater esteem even more than nammazhvar himself in our sampradayam.

Who is that?
He is none other than the great disciple of nammazhvar, Sri Madurakavi Azhvar. Again you may all ask me “What is so great about Madurakavi azhvar? He has sung only 10 paasurams that too not about the lord”
That is exactly his greatness. Madurakavi azhvar didn’t sing even a single paasuram about the lord but sung only about his perumal, swamy nammazhvar. Anjaneyar tore his chest and showed perumal and piratti residing inside his heart. Madurakavi azhvar placed nammazhvar inside his heart and sang, “devu maRRariyEn” In Periya thiruvandhAdhi nammazhvar challenged the supreme lord, “yan periyan nee periyai enbhadhanai yAr arivar” It is said that only due to this paasuram, the prabhandam obtained its name. Azhvar says, “Lets see who among us is great. You have placed the worlds inside you but I have kept you inside my heart so now tell me who is great!” or otherwise,”yAn periyan-nee periyai enbhadhanai yAr arivar” “Iam great- who knows about your greatness?” If azhvar attained his greatness by placing emperuman inside his heart then doesn’t madurakavi azhvar who placed azhvar inside his heart reserves a higher position?

In kAnchipuram, nammazhvar is beautifully seated with his right hand indicating his heart. Elders say that it is the indication as sung by azhvar in the first paasuram of thiruvaimozhi, “thozhudhu ezhu en mananE” instructing his mind to fall to the divine feet of “amarargal adhipathi” devAdhirajan. But do you all know that madurakavigal is seen in the same posture in one another divya desam?


Thiruvallikeni kandEnE!

Thiruvarangath amudhanar in his divine ramanuja nootrandhAdhi celebrates the existence of all the divya desa emperuman inside Swamy emperuman’s heart and that swamy happily residing inside his heart,
eruppidam vaikundam vEnkatam mAlirunchOlai ennum poruppidam mAyanukkenbar nallOr avaithannodum vandhiruppidam mAyan erAmAnusan vandhiruppidam endhanedhayaththullE thanakkinburavE” (106)

Similarly, emperuman placed the worlds inside him, nammazhvar placed emperuman inside him whereas madurakavigal placed nammazhvar inside his heart and due to the grace on all of us shows where he has hided azhvar inturn emperuman and all the worlds by indicating towards his heart in thiruvallikeni (madurakavigal-moolavar). Emperuman cherishes his existence inside his devotee’s heart (nammazhvar/ramanuja), whereas nammazhvar/ramanuja cherish living in the hearts of their disciples’ madurakavigal/amudhanar. In our sampradayam “madhurakavi bhavam” reserves great importance as the acharya is the one who uplifts us from this samsAram to the divine abode of emperuman. So more than the emperuman acharyas shower more grace on us and come to our rescue in the high priority period. Even though elder in age and born in a high caste madurakavi azhvar’s acharya nishtai is beyond words. That is why his prabhandam has been given a very special postion equal to the “nama:” padam in thirumanthram. The same nishtai was expressed by ananthAzhvan towards swamy emperumAnAr.

MAmunikal in his arthi prabhandam says, “manniya seer mAran kalai vunavAgap peRRom; madurakavi sol padiyE nilaiyAga peRRom” So it is highly essential for each and every Srivaishnava to follow the footsteps of madurakavi Azhvar.

Earlier we saw that our elders attribute the existence of nammazhvar in kanchi with right hand indicating his heart to show that the first paasuram of thiruvaimozhi being a mangalasasanam to devaperumal. Then what does madurakavi azhvar’s special posture in thiruvallikeni indicates? Why is this not seen in the other divya desams? We will try to find the reasons in the next posting. Till then let us all place madurakavi azhvar into our hearts and remain in peace.

In the previous posting we saw that in thiruvallikeni, the divine abode of parthasarathi emperuman, Sri Madurakavi Azhvar is found in a special posture with his right hand indicating to his heart. Let us now try to analyze a little bit and try to find the probable reasons for this divine happening.

We all know that madhurakavi azhvar is the only azhvar who didn’t sing about any divya desa emperuman but instead choose to sing only about his acharyan, Swamy Nammazhvar with great enthusiasm. Though his intent was to sing about his acharyan to all our amazement madhurakavi azhvar’s “Kanninun ciruthAmbhu” starts with the following line: “Kanninun ciruthAmbhinAl kattunna panniya perumAyan” This is a reference to Krishna who did the leelai of udharabhandanam and made yesodha to tie him with a rope with number of knots. So confusion arises, towards whom did madhurakavi azhvar have actual bhakthi and about whom he wanted to sing in his prabhandam? There is no doubt that madhurakavi azhvar believed his acharya as god (“devu mattrariyEn”) but he deliberately starts his prabhandam with the divine episode of Krishna leela to make his acharya happy. Lakshmana didn’t have a special attachment towards bharata (he even had a lot of hard feelings for the way Seetha rama were sent to forest due to kaikEyi’s plot considering bharata to be part of the plot) but still he talked about bharata while walking along with Sri Rama on the banks of godavari because he knew very well that Rama cherished talking about bharata and his greatness. Similarly here madhurakavi azhvar starts talking about Krishna and specifically the udharabhandana leela to make his master happy.

Swamy Nammazhvar in his divine prabhandam “Thiruvaimozhi” started talking about the paratvam of emperuman. He sang the first padhigam, then he did a small lecture to all those around in the second padhigam. When he wanted to sing the third he was reminded about the sowlabhyam of emperuman so he started singing “paththudai adiyavarkku eliyavan…” and nammazhvar totally lost himself and reached a divine state of comma for about six months. Then slowly azhvar regained his equanimity and continued to sing “paththudai adiyavarkku eliyavan pirargallukku ariya viththagan malarmagal virumbum nam arumperal adigal maththuru kadaivennai kalavinil uravidaiyAppundu eththirum! UralinOdu enainthirundhEngiya elivE” So the Krishna with the mark of udharabhandanam is very close to nammazhvar’s heart and hence that Krishna fills azhvar’s heart but madhurakavi azhvar’s heart is totally filled with Azhvar. So when madhurakavi azhvar indicates to his heart it is like asking all of us to have the darshan of Parthasarathi inside nammazhvar’s heart inside madhurakavi azhvar’s heart. How do you say that it is only parthasarathi emperuman inside azhvar’s heart?
Wait till the next posting to know about the same.

Deep inside the heart of madhurakavi azhvar stays that emperuman who for the benefit of all of us today gives darshan in thiruvallikeni, Sri Parthasarathi emperuman, giving the same darshan to one and all as cherished by swamy Nammazhvar. Let see some points to substantiate our view.

First point- every year on Aadi thiruvonam, jheshtAbhishEkam is done to Sri Parthasarathi emperuman. On this divine day, Thirumanjanam (divine bath) is done to emperuman’s svayam thirumeni (after the kavacham, protective cover over the divine body of emperuman, is removed). After the divine bath the blessed souls who get the bhakyam to be present in the temple on that day are allowed to have a close darshan of the emperuman’s thirumeni. During the darshan the archakas show us two divine happenings that speak for the sowlabhyam portrayed by the paramatma. One the udharabhandanam, the mark on the lord’s hip due to the rope tied by yesodha as a punishment for the mischief (stealing of butter) done by kutti kannan in gokulam and the second one that makes all of us who have a special concern to our dear lord cry, that is the marks on the thirumugam and the divine thiruvadi due to the arrows of bheeshma that the lord accepted on behalf of arjuna during the bharata yuddham. The very same lord who did naughty leelas in gokulam and was scolded with love by yesodha and the other gopikas later took a strong position in front of the chariot of arjuna to establish dharma in this world and totally remove adharma. To show the same to the world today Sri Parthasarathi emperuman, who is the paratattvam filled with a lot of sowlabhyam gives darshan to even ignorant souls without any differentiation. Both yesodha and arjuna had bhakthi towards the lord and hence the lord went to any extent to overcome their sorrow. So only the bhakthi in our hearts matter it is not our level of education or wealth. In many divya desams jhestabhishekam is witnessed only by the archakas but parthasarathi showers his grace equally on one and all and makes everyone enjoy, feel and cherish divinity. Let us now come to our point. How is this related to our subject now?

So we find the marks of udharabhandanam in the thirumeni of parthasarathi showing that he is none other than the kutti kannan who resides in all our minds playing all astonishing leelas at gokulam. Nammazhvar was a great jnani. He was able to talk in length about the paratvam of emperuman but what happened when he thought about emperuman’s sowlabhyam- he lost himself and descended into the state of divine coma (“paththudai adiyavarkku eliyavan….”). The darshan adiyen has explained above actually puts each one of us (depending on individuals anubhavam) to the same state. The darshan of Parthasarathi’s svayam thirumeni is special and is surprising (“AscharyamAna sevai”) but probably it is not that sweet (“bhOkyam”) for the devotees of parthasarathi. Why? Parthasarathi throughout the year adorns himself with various thirukolams that makes all our eyes blessed and always stays in our minds. But on this day it is a darshan for our hearts and not just the eyes. The lord who stays in the nithya mandalam always hearing the sama gAnam amidst the caring and loving nithya sooris came down to this world as Krishna to uplift all of us. He didn’t mind being punished by a gopi (“edakkai valakkai teriyAdha edaichchi”) nor did he mind being hit by bheeshma for our benefit. But have we ever shed atleast a little tears at his feet with bhakthi for what all he has undergone? How can we just see his wound marks and say it is a great darshan? What amount of pain the lord has undergone for us shouldn’t we atleast feel a little for the same? This darshan is not just for visualizing and enjoying but also to literally drain our hearts so that even that hard heart sheds a little tears. Parthasarathi is an embodiment of both beauty (who doesn’t enjoy the beauty of kannan?) and jnAnam (he is the geethAcharyan). JheshtAbhisheka sevai is to initiate our thought process in order to lift us from the level of ignorant souls to souls filled with “jnanam kanindha bhakthi” so that we all finally land in the divine abode of emperuman and attain the mokshAnandam. Don’t forget that “mAm ekam sharanam vraja….. mokshaishyAmi” is the words of this very lord. The moolavar stills gives darshan with the divine panchajanyam in one hand and the varada mudra (showing his divine feet) on the other. So whomever falls to the feet of parthasarathi are surely assured to reach his divine abode.

[Sorry Bhakthas- whenever adiyen starts talking about parthasarathi adiyen is unable to control myself. So now let us proceed back to the subject]

Coming to the udharabhandana episode, all of you know the story of Krishna being tied by yesodha with the rope with number of knots. Each time she tried there was a shortage (two angulams, jnana and bhakthi say our acharyas). After trying for sometime yesodha got tired and retired with pain. Not being able to see the sad state of his mother kutti kannan made himself to be tied by the rope that is what madhurakavi azhvar says as “kattunna panniya perumAyan”. So it is now clear that the ‘perumAyan’ told by madhurakavi azhvar is none other than “paththudaiadiyavarkku eliyavan..” praised by Swamy Nammazhvar and he is none other than our dear Parthasarathi giving divine darshan in thiruvallikeni.
While it is a painful darshan for devotees it is a darshan that shows that emperuman is still trying his level best to uplift souls atleast by dissolving hard hearts with his sad story. Nowadays it is a trend in politics to win election due to sympathy votes probably that was learnt by them only from our dear parthasarathi. But we are all strong enough not to give up even on seeing him with full of wounds accepted for the sake of devotees (‘vudalenakku vurugumAlO!’). Should adiyen admire emperuman’s krupai as amazing or our strength to be so hard as amazing!

We will see more in the next posting

Continuing with the divine anubhavam of swamy Nammazhvar, azhvar adds more adjectives to “paththudai adiyavarkku eliyavan” as “malarmagal virumbhum nam arumperaladigal” Who is that? Peyazhvar answers this question,
endhai oruvalli thAmaraiyAl ondriya seer mArban thiruvallikeni yAn sendru”

In both the paasurams ‘malarmagal’ and ‘thAmaraiyAl’ refer to Sridevi. Emperuman is sriyapathi. Sridevi nAchiyar with great love towards the lord (virumbhum) seated herself on the lord’s divine chest (ondriya). So it is been clearly proved that the bhakthavatsalan talked about by nammazhvar is none other than our dear parthasarathi with the mark of udharabhandayam on the hip and Sridevi nAchiyar on his chest.

Nammazhvar has requested and cried for the divine darshan of lord Krishna as the geethacharyan, Parthasarathi in many places. Let us see one such example now.

teerpAraiyAm eni enganum nAdudum! Annaimeer!
OrpAl evvaNNudal uttra nal nOyidhu tErinOm
PorpAguthAn seidhu andraivarai vel viththa * mAyatErp
PAganArkku eval sindhai tuzhAi disaikkindradE”

The above paasuram clearly shows that parankusa nAyaki (swamy nammazhvar) has lost his heart to that divine charioteer who did all amazing things and made the pancha pAndavas victorious in the bharatha war. Is there necessity for any other proof to substantiate the love and devotion azhvar had towards our dear Parthasarathi? But in the vyakhyanam to the above paasuram it has been stated that azhvar here refers to the vibhavAvathAra Krishnan. First of all, emperuman took archavatArams only for those who have missed the opportunity to have darshan during the vibhavAvatArams. So there is no difference between the vibhava lord and the lord in archai. Secondly, if we think a little deeper then we will actually feel sorry for nammazhvar who was unfortunate. Why because he took avatara just after the krishnAvatAram and hence missed the darshan and after crying to have the darshan of the lord he ascended to the divine abode even before parthasarathi came down to thiruvallikeni from thirumalai. So azhvar missed both the darshans being born in the intermediate period and hence was unable to enjoy the divya leelas of kannan both in vibhavam and in archai. In Periya thiruvandhAdhi, azhvar challenged emperuman stating “yAn periyan nee periyai enbhadhanai yAr arivAr”. Since azhvar had got emperuman into his heart he considered himself great but actual ‘periyan’ is we all who are blessed to have the divine darshan of Parthasarathi and his leelas today. Aren’t we blessed to have the divine darshan of madhurakavi azhvar indicating to his heart where we find nammazhvar who had placed our dear Parthasarathi inside and the very same Parthasarathi in archai doing all sorts of leelas in front of us simultaneously? What a wonderful darshan he gives us all in various thirukOlams ‘DinE DinE navam navam’ ‘nam kannai vittru agandridAdu kaliyan Anai AnaiyE”

madhurakavi azhvar started his prabhandam undoubtedly with the mangalAsAsanams to our dear Parthasarathi being close to his acharyan Nammazhvar’s heart but that was not his motto. madhurakavi azhvar considered only his acharya as his god and hence surely he wanted to show that his acharya had a stand higher than even parthasarathi. That is due to his acharya nishtai that is celebrated by all Srivaishnavas (emperuman himself) even today as ‘Madurakavi bhAvam’. In the 8th paasuram madhurakavi azhvar says,

arul kondAdum adiyavar enbura
arulinAn avvarumaraiyin porul
arulkondu Ayiram enthamizh pAdinAn
arulkandeer evvulaginil mikkadE”

Here madhurakavi azhvar once again talks about our dear Geethacharyan. Emperuman Sri Parthasarathi due to his bhakthavatsalyam for the joy of all his devotees gave the essence of all the Vedas in a single bhagavat geetha with 700 slokas. Though it is a concise one it is in Sanskrit and not that easy for all to understand and practice. So azhvar due to his ultimate grace on one and all sang the 1000 sweet and lucid tamil paasurams so that everyone can understand, cherish and get benefited. What a divine grace!

A comparison arises only when two people are related in some manner. Here madhurakavi azhvar compares the grace of Nammazhvar to that of our dear Parthasarathi to show that the grace of his acharya is even greater than the lord who his acharya considers to be full of grace. That is acharya nishtai. There is a legend in our sampradayam where erumbiappa, one of the ashtadiggajas of Swamy manavala mAmunikal once carried mAmunikal’s thiruvArAdhana perumal in one hand and swamy mAmunikal’s divine padhuka in the other. Swamy mAmunikal on seeing this criticized the act to be insulting emperuman. But at that time erumbiappa replied, “My perumal (acharya pAdhukai) is never lesser in greatness to your perumal (emperuman)” Such was the acharya bhakthi of our poorvacharyas. Such high devotion towards the acharya was initiated by madhurakavi azhvar but it is not that he didn’t realize the greatness of emperuman close to his acharya’s heart that is why though we say his prabhandam is fully about Swamy Nammazhvar we are able to spot two instances where madhurakavi azhvar has sung about our dear Parthasarathi who was surely inside madhurakavi azhvar’s heart though indirectly (madhurakavi azhvar’s heart-Nammazhvar; Nammazhvar’s heart-Parthasarathi emperuman so Parthasarathi also stays inside madhurakavi azhvar’s heart) So from the above it is very clear why madhurakavi azhvar gives special darshan in thiruvallikeni alone indicating to his heart. It is just to make us all amazed by seeing the very same emperuman once visualized by nammazhvar in his heart straight in front of us in archa roopam.

Next posting will be the concluding posting.

This being the concluding posting of this series it is adiyen’s humble request to all bhagavatas to please consider this as adiyen’s personal anubhavam and no insult or nothing against the poorvacharya anubhavams/vyakhyanams is intended. It is adiyen’s involvement towards Parthasarathi and thiruvallikeni divya desam that had made adiyen write such a series. There may be many places not acceptable to many but still let this be considered as just one other anubhavam of an ignorant soul blabbering something (“neesanEn niraiondrumilEn en kan pAsam vaiththa paramsudar jOdhikkE” “elaiya pun kavidhaiyElum empirArkku eniyavArE”). Right or wrong adiyen is sure that this series will be enjoyable to both Parthasarathi emperuman and all his devotees. What else to say other than his divine grace (nirheduka krupai) that had made the lowest of the lowest jeevatma like adiyen to write a few words about emperuman and his greatness.

We will conclude this series just spotting one great occasion to add to our anubhavam. In the previous posting we saw that madhurakavi azhvar had indirectly did mangalasasanams to our dear Parthasarathi. Do you know how sArathi honours madhurakavi azhvar for the same? It is only on the avarthAra dinam of madhurakavi azhvar, chittiraiyil chittirai does parathasarathi start his grand yearly brahmotsavam. It is like sArathi celebrating the divine avataram of madhurakavi azhvar to show the greatness of an acharya to this world for 10 days. And on top of all this on that day parthasarathi gives divine darshan to madhurakavi azhvar in the ‘pinna kalai vAhanam’ as kutti kannan with a flute in hand. Just for all your information there is one another similar happening in thiruvallikeni when Narasimhan/Azhagiya singan during his brahmotsavam honours periazhvar (on Ani swathi). Periazhvar did mangalasasanams to narasimhan in his very first prabhandam thiruppallAndu as “andhiyam pOdhil ariyuruvAgi ariyai azhiththavanai pandhanai teera pallAndu pallAyiraththAndendru pAdudhumE”.

[Blessed were the souls who witnessed the divine sevai of periazhvar on a small yanai vahanam doing mangalAsAsanams to azhagiya singan on top of garudan this year.]

There is no end to adiyen’s anubhavams with parthasarathi/thiruvallikeni but a great fear in adiyen’s mind keeps on asking me to put a stop to writing more and more. Will not “evil eyes” fall on my dear parthasarathi? So due to that fear of kandrishti adiyen is concluding for now. Adiyen’s humble request to all the bhagavatas to do mangalAsAsanams to thiruvallikeni and all emperumans over there including all the azhvars and acharyas under the divine service of the lord in archa roopam. Adiyen’s fear increases due to the recent disheartening incidents in thirumala. Thirumalai by itself is considered very sacred by our poorvacharyas “malaiyE thiruvudambu” swamy emperumAnAr hesitated even to put his feet on the thirumalai though he himself was seshAvataram. But that divine place is in a very sad state today. AnanthAzhvan, was a very close disciple of emperumanar who practiced madurakavi bhavam to the maximum extent. That is why people in his lineage still call themselves as ‘madurakavi dasan’. AnanthAzhvan considered the kainkaryam allotted to him by his acharya as more important even to the bhagavat sevai. He considered even the ants in thirumalai to be some nithya soori. Kulasekara perumal wanted a birth atleast as a step in thirumalai “padiyAi kidandhu vun pavalavAi kAnbEnE” “emperumAN pon malai mEl edEnum AvEnE” We even today call the divine step near the emperuman sannadhi only as “kulasekaran padi” Amidst all these greatness how come such atrocities are going on in thirumalai? How are we Srivaishnavas still keeping quiet taking care of just our personal needs? Will we keep quiet if our father is in danger, if his place is blasted with bombs? Unfortunate vandalism has struck that divine place held so close to the hearts of azhvars and acharyas. In thiruvaimozhi, azhvar choose only thirumalai padhigam to deliver the dvayArtham to all (“ozhivil kAlamellam” and “vulagamunda peruvAyA”). The same thiruvenkatamudaiyan came down to thiruvallikeni as venkata Krishnan to explain the charama slokArtham to one and all not just by words but also with his divine darshan (his thirumeni talks the divine rahasyam). Emperuman came down for all our welfare but hope the virus of scandalling of emperuman’s property doesn’t descend not only to thiruvallikeni but also to any other divya desam.
Let us all join together and sing mangalAsAsanam especially to thirumalai/thiruvenkatamudaiyan (undergoing such pain today), thiruvallikeni/Parthasarathi and to all the emperumans at all the divya desams. May the lords stay amidst the crowd of devotees who love and care for the lord. May commercialization and selfishness not enter the divya desams and Srivaishnava community and spoil the divine atmosphere.

AzhvArgal vAzhi arulicheyal vAzhi
ThAzhvAdumil kuravar thAm vAzhi
EzhpArum vuyya avargal vuraiththavaigal thAm
Vazhi seyya marai thannudanE sErindhu

SriyakkAnthAya kalyAna nidhanE nidhayErthinAm
SrivEnkata nivAsAya srinivAsAya mangalam

BrindAranya nivAsAya balarAmAnujAyacha
Rukmini prAnanAdhAya pArthasoodhAya mangalam

Azhvar emperumAnAr Jeeyer thiruvadigalE sharaNam
Adiyen ramanuja dAsee
Sumithra Varadarajan

Friday, June 6, 2014

Geethacharya and the Lord's acharya

Sri Parthasarathi thunai
Srimathe Ramanujaya Namaha
Sri Vara Vara MunayE Namaha
Sri vAnAchala mahA munayE Namaha

SrisailEsa dayA pAthram deebhakthyAdhi gunArnavam
Yateendra pravanam vandhE ramyajAmataram munim

Dear bhagavatas,
Swamy Mamunikal on Sattrumarai day1
Today (Nov.8th 2002) is IYPASI THIRUMOOLAM. This is the day our revered Periya Jeeyer, eetu perukkar, ramyajAmAtru muni, vara vara muni, vishadhavAkshikAmani, yatheendra pravanar Sri Manavala mAmunigal took avataram. Our elders celebrate this day as the day in which, the adhisesha avatara Sri ethirajar, emperumAnAr Sri rAmanujar reincarnated as Sri Manavala mAmunigal. This day is celebrated in a very grand manner in many divya desams. In thiruvallikeni this is a very special occasion. Emperuman Sri Parthasarathi shows one of his excellent sevai’s on this day, which is obtained only once a year. Let us all enjoy the great anubhavam with our mind’s eye though the actual darshan needs thousands of eyes (“Ayiram kan vEndumE avanai kAna”).

On the Iypasi thirumoolam day, early in the morning everyone in thiruvallikeni wakes up to have the divine darshan of emperuman Sri Parthasarathi along with the revered acharya, Sri Manavala mAmunigal. The Geethacharya undergoes suprabhadam and he himself waits to honor the acharya with his divine sevai as a token of the service done by this revered acharya to humanity and to the god himself by bringing so many baddha jeevatmas to his divine feet. On top of all these the lord recollects the days in Srirangam, when he enjoyed the divine bhagavat vishaya kalashepam from eetu perukkar, Sri mAmunigal as ranganatha along with his consorts and also submitted the excellent “SrisalEsa” thaniyan/ mahAmantram to the divine feet of mAmunigal as a sambhAvanai to his acharya after learning the divine meanings of thiruvAimozhi from him.

Leaving the lord in the memory of the acharya the archakas proceed to the sannadhi of Periya Jeeyer and do divya alankaram to the acharya. The acharya’s thirumeni is decorated with divine Abharanams and with number of flower garlands. When the alankAram is over, the arrangements for the purappadu are done. By this time, there is a huge crowd waiting to fulfill their eyes eagerness to enjoy the beauty of the revered acharya.

The dol indicating the start of purappadu is banged and the acharya comes out of his sannadhi. The divine instruments are played and amidst the sound the acharya comes out of the sannadhi and stands in front of the sannadhi of his beloved acharya, Sri Udaiyavar. Mamunigal salutes Sri ramanujar who inturn honors him with his thirumAlai and mudaliyAndan. Then the ghosti starts reciting starting with the thaniyan “SrisalEsa thayApAthram” and proceeds to recite the excellent strotra, “YathirAja vimsathi” given by mAmunigal flooded with divine arthas as a praise to his revered acharya, Sri EmperumAnAr.

Amidst the ghosti’s sound reverberating in all directions, swamy mAmunigal proceeds towards the thAyAr sannadhi. Swamy enjoys each and every verse uttered by the ghosti and with great joy showers his divine grace on everyone and walks with might towards the sannadhi of Vedavalli thAyAr. Now swamy has come in front of the sannadhi and at the same time the ghosti also complete the yethirAja vimsathi with “vignApanam yathitha mathya…” and then the ghosti concludes with the sloka,

“yen moolam AsvayujamAs avathAra moolam
kAnthOpayanthru yamina: karunaikka sindhO:l
Aseetha sathsukanithasya mamApi satthA-
Moolam thathEva jagathapyu dhayaika moolamll

Sri math rangam jayathu paramam thAma thEjO nidhAnam
BhoomA thasmin bhavathu kusalee kopi bhoomA sahAyaha:l
Divyam thasmai dhisathu vibhavam dEsikO dEsikAnAm
KAlE kAlE varavara muni: kalpayan mangalAni ll
(Erumbiappa’s Uttara dinacharyA-18 & 19)

Then the acharya does mangalasasanam to thAyar, Vedavalli, the divine consort of ranganatha, Sri mannAtha perumal. Vedavalli thayar showers her divine grace on the lord’s acharya and honors him with great love. Accepting the same, amidst the sound of divine instruments, swamy proceeds towards the sannadhi of Gajendra varadaraja perumal. In Arthi prabhandam, swami says, “kanaga giri mEl kariya mugil pOl vinadhai siruvan mErkondu*- thanuvidum pOdu ErAr arangar ethirAsarkA enpAl vArA munnirpar magizhindhu” (AP-52). Now in front of swamy stands Sri Gajendra varadan in nithya garudasevai. Swamy deeply enjoys the divine darshan and does mangalasasanam to varadarajan. Sri Gajendra varadan honors swamy with his garland and Sri saTakOpan along with arulappadu (announcing the arrival of swamy done by one of the stalatars (person from the ghosti)).

Then swamy proceeds to do mangalasasanam to Sri bhakthisArar, thirumazhisai Azhvar and from there to the Azhagiya singar sannadhi. Thelliya singa perumal invites the acharya with a grand smile on his face and honors him with pleasure. Then swamy proceeds towards the nAchiyar (soodikkoduththa nAchiyar) sannadhi. After accepting the blessings of nAchiyar, Sri Andal, swamy literally leaps forward, walks with long steps since his mind has already started longing for the divine darshan of Parthasarathi in thirukkaithalam. On the way, swamy salutes Alavandaar, acharya of his own acharya Sri ramanujar. Then swamy proceeds to the mandapam in front of the periya sannadhi (sannadhi of rukmani sametha Sri Venkata Krishnan).

Now the grand festival begins. First Sridevi nAchiyar comes out of the sannadhi in thirukaithalam, carried in hands by 3 archakas. Sridevi nAchiyar slowly walks showering her blessings on all the crowd of people collected over there on one side and the alwars and acharyas on the other (the sannadhi of alwars and acharyas is inbetween the periya sannadhi and the mandapam). Nachiyar comes amidst the sound of “swamini yechcharikai!….. swamini yechcharikai” and sits in a divine Asanam in front of Periya jeeyer who is held in hands (instead of shoulders) by the SripAda thangigal. Next the bhoomi piratti, bhoodevi nAchiyar comes out in thirukaiththalam again amidst the calling, “swamini yechcharikai!…. swamini yechcharikai!” showering her divine grace filled with mercy on all and gets seated on the other end of the Asanam.

And now finally the hero of the day, for whose darshan Swamy mAmunigal is eagerly waiting and all the eyes of the devotees are expecting comes out in thirukkaithalam amidst the calling, “Swami yechcharikkai! Swami yechcharikkai!”. The lord who has been praised as “Virperuvizhavum kanjanum mallun vEzhamum pAganum veezha kOl kaiyil kondu parthan than thEr mun nindrAn!” “Indiran than siruvan thEr mun nindrAn!” “vinjai vAnavar sAranar siththar viyanthudhi seiya pennuruvAgi anjuvai amudham andru aliththAn!” “enthai oru valli thAmaraiyAl ondriya seer mArpan thiruvallikEniyAn!” “pOrppAguthAn seidhu andru Ivarai velvithta mAyappOr thErpAganAr!” by our revered alwars, the geethAcharyan, Parthasarathi who rode the chariot of arjuna and made the pandavas win the war by going to the level of accepting all the arrows of bheeshmA on his thirumugan (divine face) which still stands as the proof that he is bhakthavatsalan, one who goes to any levels when it comes to save his bhakthas, Sri Parthasarathi emperuman with the divine beauty and grace and a svaroopam of divine knowledge who gave the geetha sastra to this world proceeds forward and showers his blessing on one and all. Two archakas hold him on the sides and one at his back. Suddenly Sri Parthasarathi leans to the back making his divine feet visible to all present there like instructing them as per his geetha verse, “sarva darmAn parithyajja mAm Akam charanam vraja”. Sure everyone present over there will fall to his feet without any doubt not because they have understood his supremacy or divine indepth meaning of the charama sloka, but due to their attraction to the divine beauty of emperuman. The beauty which mesmerized thirumangai mannan and made him an azhvar; the beauty which mesmerized pillai urrangAvilli dAsar and made him a dasa of ethirajar; the beauty which mesmerized even duriyOdhana and others in his court when Sri Krishna took the role of pandavadhoodha; the beauty which has made even a illiterate (in sampradaya vishayam) like adiyen write a few words in the forum of educated scholars to share the divine anubhavam with all and ofcourse overcome adiyen’s grief for not being able to be present to have the darshan of adiyen’s beloved parthasarathi with the revered acharya, Swamy manavala mamunigal.

Now slowly Parthasarathi emperuman reaches the mandapam and seats himself on the Asanam inbetween the nAchiyars. Sri mAmunigal and ofcourse everyone over there come back from the transcendental state of divine anubhavam of Sri Parthasarathi emperuman in thirukkaiththalam to this world. It is like visiting the divine abode of emperuman, Srivaikundam as explained by azhvar in “soozh visum panimugil” and coming back to this world. Now Sri Periya Jeeyer salutes parthasarathi emperuman and does mangalasasanam (periyAzhvar sang pallandu fearing something will happen to emperuman due to the drishti of evil eyes. We surely have to sing pallandu a many times to parthasarathi now since his beauty today is really beyond words and the drushti which would have fallen on him is uncountable). Then accepting the thirumAlai and SriSaTakOpan swamy seats himself on a seat to the right of parthasarathi emperuman right opposite to udaiyavar sannadhi.

The curtains role down and the divine sevai comes to an end. Sri Parthasarathi showers this divine sevai to mAmunigal since mamunigal has great bhakthi towards udaiyavar, who is none other than Sri Parthasarathi himself. Only Thirukkaithala sEvai comes to an end with this but the celebration of the holy day continues. Sri Parthasarathi along with mAmunigal infront, comes out in veedhi purappAdu to give darshan to all the sick, old and others who have missed the sevai inside the temple. It is another deepavali in thiruvallikeni. The purappAdu is started with the bursting of crackers and number of umbrellas (12-16) to celebrate this divine day. Then after finishing the purappAdu periya Jeeyer swamy enjoys thirumanjanam inside the temple along with Sri Parthasarathi. In the evening, our ears attain the actual purpose of their existence. The sound of ghosti reverberates in all directions. We are able to see even small small kids reciting the upadesa ratnamalai and ThiruvAimozhi nootrandhAdhi fluently with deep involvement.

After the ghosti, sattrumurai is done and all the honors of thiruparivattam, thirumAlai, Sri saTakOpan along with arulappadu are given to swamy by Sri Parthasarathi and the theertham and prasadam are given to one and all and the grand celebration of the day come to an end leaving everyone in awe with the divine experience of the day but in deep sorrow as the divine occasion for the year has come to an end.

This is just the very poor expression of adiyen of the divine occasion. Adiyen has just attempted to write a few words which nowhere matches the excellent anubhavam experienced by those lucky souls in thiruvallikeni today. Still let us all just remember the revered acharya, Sri periya Jeeyer on this day and recite the thaniyan submitted by the lord himself and also the vAzhi thirunAmam of this great acharya.

“SrimathE ramyajAmAtru munindrAya mahatmanE l
sriranga vAsinE bhooyAth nithyasri nithya mangalam ll

Alwar EmperumAnAr Jeeyer thiruvadigale Sharanam
Jeeyer thiruvadigale sharanam

Adiyen Ramanuja dAsee

Sumithra Varadarajan 


Sri Parthasarathi thunai
SrimathE rAmAnujaya Namaha
Srimad Vara Vara MunayE Namaha
Sri vAnAchala mahA munayE Namaha

“Srivatsachinha misrEbhO namavukthi madheemahi,
yadhuktayas trayeekantE yAnthi mangaLasootrathAm”

“Sri parasara bhattAryA: SrirangEsa purOhita:
srivatsAngitha sudhas sriman sreyasE mEstu bhooyasE”

Dear bhagavatas,

Now adiyen has called you all as bhagavatas-what does that mean? All of you will be tempted to answer immediately Oh! Don’t you know that? We are all bhagavat bhakthas. Then if adiyen asks you then who is bhagavan? Surely all of you will come to a conclusion that something has gone wrong with me. After reading and writing so many postings in these valuable groups can anyone ask this silly doubt? It is ofcourse, emperuman Sriman Narayanan. Then why are we bhakthas not called otherwise why are we called as bhagavatas and Lord Sri Krishna as bhagavan. Bhagavan being a general term does cause confusion and many claim that only the deity they call as bhagavan is supreme.

Are you confused? There is no need of confusion. The term bhagavan undoubtedly refers only to Sriman Narayanan, Sri maha Vishnu. But the confusion is only because of the ignorance of the meaning of this term. What is the meaning of the term ‘bhagavan’? We know who is ‘bhagavan’ – Bhagavan Sri Krishna. We know that the purana that details about Krishna and his divine leelas and attributes is only called as “Srimad bhAgavatham” Krishna bhakthas are otherwise called “bhAgavathas” and the great text given out of the divine mouth of emperuman “svayam padmanAbhasya mukapadmAt” is called as “Srimad bhagavat geetha” but what does this term “bhagavan” actually signify?

Bhagavan – according to Sanskrit grammar, the root ‘bhaga’ signifies six prime kalyana gunas. One who is filled with these kalyana gunas is called as bhagavan. Again one more doubt may arise- we even use this term to others like “Narada bhagavan, suka bhagavan, valmiki bhagavan” why? That is because they have been blessed with some of these gunas due to the nirheduka krupai of emperuman. Like the azhvars who were blessed with “mayarvaru madhi nalam” the above said rishis were also blessed by bhagavan with some of the gunas totally not attainable by a normal soul. It doesn’t mean that they have become equal to emperuman it is just to show their greatness and superiority over the other souls. Let us further see about the six prime gunas.

“Mozhiyai kadakkum perum pugazhan” is the reward given to Swamy koorathAzhvan, the prime disciple of Swamy ramanuja by thiruvarangaththamudhanar. See what that great koorathazhvan says about the bhagavat kalyana gunas in his “Sri Varadarajan stavam”

“prakrishtam vignAnam bala madulam Ishvaryam akilam
vimaryAdham veeryam varadan! Parama shakthirapi cha I
param tejascha ethi pravara guNashatkam prathamajam
guNAnAm nissemnAm gaNana vigunAnAm prasavabhoo: II (15)

[Meaning: Oh varada! Great jnana (knowledge), incomparable bala (strength), uncountable Ishvaryam (wealth), unlimited veerya (valour), excellent shakthi (power) and brilliant tejas (brightness) all these are the Six prime gunas that dwell in the first primodial form, para vAsudEvan. These form the root cause for the other limitless uncountable kalyana gunas of emperuman]

From the above sloka it is made clear that the para vAsudeva moorthi is a embodiment of these prime gunas that further develops into all the other countless kalyana gunas behind the bhagavat tattvam. In the above sloka, Sri KoorathAzhvan adds adjectives like “prakrishtam, adhulam” etc to show the speciality of knowledge, strength etc possessed by emperuman while compared to the same of others.

What use are these qualities to the supreme lord (para vasudevan) we will see in the next posting with the help of Sri KoorathAzhvan’s son, Sri Parasara bhattar’s srisookthi in his divine work “Sri Rangaraja stavam” (uttara satakam).

In the previous posting we enjoyed the excellent sloka of Sri Koorathazhvan. Azhvan in that sloka uses 2 similar words viz., gaNanaviguNAnAm and nisseemnAm both have the same meaning ‘uncountable’. The Vedas declare “yathAvAcho nivarthanthE apprApya manasA saha:” the divine qualities of emperuman is beyond our understanding and words. But why does koorathAzhvan use 2 words in the same sloka to convey the same meaning?

GaNanaviguNAnAm- implies that the kalyana gunas of emperuman cannot be counted as one, two etc (one flower, two fruits etc)
NisseemnAm- implies that they cannot be counted even in groups. Though we cannot count sand as one, two etc we can always say a ‘hand full of sand’ ‘bucket full of sand’ etc even that is not possible with respect to bhagavat kalyana gunas.

The phrase ‘hand full of sand’ immediately gets to our memory the excellent episode of Sri parasara bhattar with a so-called pandit sarvagya bhattar in our guru paramparai. What does Sri Parasara bhattar have to say about our topic, the bhagavat kalyana gunas? Here is a sloka from “Sri Rangaraja stavam” (uttara satakam-39) a masterpiece of swamy parasara bhattar.

“shatguNanyAth vAsudeva: para ethi sabharAn mukthabhOkyO balayath,
bhOdhAth sankarshanastvam harasi vidhanushE sAstra Ishvarya veeryAth,
pratyumnas sargadharmow nayasi cha bhagavan! Shakthi tejOniruththa:
bhibrANa: pAsi tattvam gamayas cha tathA vyuhya rangAdhi raja!”

[Oh! My lord RanganathA! You, the holy self incarnates as vasudeva and other vyuha forms; filled with six kalyana gunas viz., jnana, bala etc in the name of paravasudevan remain as the source of ultimate joy to the mukthAthmas. With the combination of bala and jnana (strength and knowledge) you become sankarshana moorthi and do the samhara (act of destruction) along with granting the sastras. Combined with Ishvarya and veerya you become the pradyumna moorthi and do srusti (Act of Creation) along with establishing/spreading dharma. Finally combined with shakthi and tejas you become Anirudha moorthi and do the rakshanam (Act of protection) along with giving tattvajnAnam (knowledge of the tattvas)]
Note: Dear bhagavatas sorry for the poor translation hope the meaning is conveyed.
According to the above sloka, paravasudeva moorthi is filled with all the six kalyana gunas whereas the other 3 vyuha moorthi have 2 gunas each required to continue their responsibilities. Sri KoorathAzhvan has conveyed the same meaning in the following sloka:

“gunais shatbhistvEdai: pratamatara moorthistva bhabhow
tatas thisra: tEshAm triyuga yugalair hi tribhirabhu: I
vyavasthA yA saishA nanu varadha sArishkruthi vasAth
bhavAn sarvatraiva tragaNitha maha mangalaguNa:”
(Sri Varadarajan stavam-16)

[Meaning: Oh Varada! You possess 2 gunas in three forms (moovirandu gunam). The primary paravasudeva moorthi possess all the six kalyana gunas. After that the other three moorthis possess 2 of the 6 qualities each. Though it is said that the other moorthis have 2 gunas each that doesn’t reduce your greatness actually all your moorthis have innumerable kalyana gunas but in each moorthi the particular qualities are prominent in order to support the activity they are involved in]

In the above sloka Sri KoorathAzhvan in the second half clears the big doubt that may arise in all our minds. We have heard that the bhagavat incarnations are all filled with all the divine qualities “sarvam poornam”. Then will that not be made false if we say the 3-vyuha moorthi have only 2 of the 6-kalyana gunas? It is not that the other kalyana gunas are absent in the vyuha moorthis instead the prominent feature of 2 qualities are highlighted for the proper execution of their responsibilities but all the other qualities are of course present inside in a unlighted form. That is what azhvar says, even when he comes down taking different avatars he comes complete “Adhiyan soodhi vuruvai angu vaiththu engE thOndri”.

In the previous posting we enjoyed the SriRangaraja stava sloka of Swamy Parasara bhattar and Varadarajan stava sloka of Swamy koorathAzhvan both telling us about the divine qualities of emperuman. Swamy koorathAzhvan expresses the same idea in one another sloka of his excellent work “athimAnusha stavam”.

“Jnanambalam vipulameeshanaveerya shakthi
tejAmsee cha triyugabhooya mupAgadhAni I
poornAni shat cha parigruhya bhavan chaturthA
bhaktham janam tvamanujagrahithAnurAgAth II” (6)

[Oh! MY lord you along with limitless kalyana gunas primarily six in number viz., Jnanam, balam, Ishvaryam, veeryam, shakthi, tejas attain the form of vasudeva with all the 6 divine qualities and as sankarshana, pradyumna and aniruddha with 2 of the 6 gunas (predominating) to shower your grace on the bhakthas.]

Sri Pillai ulagariyan in his tattvatraya-Ishvara prakaranam explains the same as follows:-

parathvaththil jnAnAdhigal Arum poornamAyirukkum; vyuhaththil evvirandu gunam prakadanamAyirukkum adhil sankarshanar jnanam balangalirandOdum koodi jeeva tattvaththai adhishtiththu aththai prakruthiyil nindrum vivEgiththu prathyumnAvastaiyaiyum bhajiththu shAstra pravarthanaththaiyum jagath samhAraththaiyum pannak kadavarAyiruppar; prathyumnar Ishvarya veeryangalirandOdunkoodi manas tattvaththai adhistiththu dharmOpadEsaththaiyum manusadhushtayam todakkamAna suddha varkka srushtiyaiyum panna kadavarAyiruppar; anirudhdhar shakthi tejassukkalirandOdun koodi rakshanaththukkum tattvajnana pradhAnaththukkum kAla srushtikkum misrasrishtikkum kadavarAyirrupar”

We have already seen that though it has been said that each moorthi has 2 of the 6 qualities it refers only to the predominance of the qualities and actually bhagavan takes any avataram along with all his divine qualities only. At this point the words of Swamy VedantAchariyar in his rahasya traya sAram comes handy.
ekgunangalellAm sarva kAlaththilum svaroopAsrithangalAyirukkum. Para vyuhAdhigalil gunaniyamam sollugiradhellAm avvO roopangalai anusandhippArkku sarvEshvaran Avishkarikkum gunavishEshangal sollugaikkAga vaththanai”

Sri PeriyavAchAn pillai in his tattvatraya sangraham says,

emperumAnudaiya divyAtmaguNangalAvana-
jnanam shakyAthi shatguNangalum, adhilE pirandha sowsheelyAdhigalum”
evaithAn OrO guNangalukkum avadhiyindriyilE, evattrukku thogaiyumindriyilE yirukkum”

Thondaradipodi azhvar rightly said, “pEsittrE pesalallAl”. What a similarity in words and meanings have our poorvacharyas expressed in their works. It gives us a clear picture with out any room for even a slight confusion. There is absolutely no limit or count for the bhagavat kalyana gunas. Nammazhvar enjoys the same as, “yAnum Eththi Ezhulagum muttumEththi pinnaiyum tAnumEththilum tanni Eththa Eththa engaidum” (4-3-10) [I try to praise emperuman then the whole world fully tries further emperuman himself tries to talk his praise but no limit can be found], “Erila vanpugazh” (1-2-10), “ennil tholpugazh” (3-3-3).

“yathA rathnAni jalathE: asankEyE Yani puthraga I
tathA gunA: anantasya asankEyEyA mahatmana: II”

Like the countless valuable gems inside the sea, the ocean of kalyana gunas of ananthan is also innumerable adorns a puranic sloka.

Till now we have seen the reason behind the title “Bhagavan” given to the supreme lord and how that has been expressed in their works by our poorvacharyas. In the next posting we will see what the six qualities actually signify and see where we will be able to visualise this Bhagavan even with our 'oona kan' (those eyes with which we see the world today).

Let us first see what the six prime qualities of bhagavan signify:

  1. Jnanam – That which shows/illuminates everything around and also self.
  2. balam- Strength behind facing/holding all the worlds on his shoulders.
  3. Ishvaryam- wealth of independence, ruling over everything
  4. veeryam- Though being the upAdAna kArana (supporting cause for creation) no change occurs in his svaroopa. Remains unchanged.
  5. shakthi- Being the upAdAna kArana behind srushti. Having a special power “agatidagatinAsAmarthiyam” (executing everything not possible by anyone else).
  6. tEjas- Self dependent. Doesn’t need anyone’s help at the same time always successful in his attempts.

The main difference between the puranas and the azhvars is that the puranas tell about the bhagavan and his leelas and stop with it but never show us the bhagavan actually whereas the azhvars never stop with talking about emperuman they lift us to the level of visualizing him. Do the azhvars grant us any divya chakshus? Yes the nalayira divya prabhandam of the azhvars itself act as the divine eye through which we will be able to have the sAkshAtkAram of emperuman. While talking about Krishna and Rama we may feel bad that we weren’t blessed to be born as a gopi or an ayodhya vasee. So immediately azhvar will tell us don’t worry I will show you that rama and Krishna today. “Where?” we screamed with amazement. Azhvar will say, “Thiruvallikeni kandEnE”. Not only kannan or raman even if you want to see vasudeva, sankarshana, pradyumna and anirudhdha moorthis there is only one place in this leela vibhoothi (should adiyen call it as leela vibhoothi or is it bhoolaka vaikundam!).

Many of you may pounce at me and say how is that possible? We have heard that Paravasudevan exists in Srivaikundam and the vyuha moorthis are found in thiruparkadal. Though both paramapadam and thiruparkadal are part of the 108-divya desams to be visited by a Srivaishnavite we have heard our elders saying time and again that only 106 can be visited by us with this bootha vudal (existing body).

Whatever is told is of course right but Thiruvallikeni is such a divya desam where we have the anubhavam of param, vyuham, vibhavam and archai. Moolavar venkatakrishnan is none other than the paravAsudevan himself along with his divine consort rukmini. His moustache shows his purushOtama lakshana to us. No other perumal in any other divya desam has moustache. In the same sannadhi we can have the divine darshan of sankarshana moorthi as balaramar. Vyuha sankarshanar incarnated as vibhava balaramar who is seen in archai in thiruvallikeni. Names may change due to age, place and time but the personality and his divine qualities remain unchanged. Vyuha pradyumnar incarnated as the son of Krishna in krishnAvatara and now stays along with his father in thiruvallikeni. Vyuha anirudhdhar incarnated as krishnA’s grand son in krishnAvatara who is also seen in archai near his father in the same sannadhi. What an amazing place thiruvallikeni is? No other divya desam has so many greatnesses combined together.

Only thing we can say about thiruvallikeni is “yathO vAchO nivarthanthE apprApya manasA saha” Neither can we finish talking about the qualities of bhagavan nor can we finish talking the greatness of his divya desam.

"Sa Idaaneemapi munaye Drishyate tatra maanavaih                                        Ruckminyascha aniruddhena pradyumnene ca sEvitah                                     Halaayudena sahitas sthitaa satyakinashaha 
Parthasarathir ityeva visruto jagatipathih"                             
                                                                      (BRAHMANDA PURAANAM)

BrindAranya nivAsAya balarAmAnujAya cha
rukmini prAna nAdhAya pArthasoodhAya Mangalam”

Alwar emperumAnAr Jeeyer thiruvadigalE sharaNam
Adiyen ramanuja dAsee
Sumithra Varadarajan

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Other utsavams in thiruvallikeni

Sri Parthasarathi thunai
Srimathe Ramanujaya Namaha
Srimad Vara Vara munayE Namaha
Sri vAnAchala mahA munayE Namaha

It’s well known to us that, Sri Ramanujar used to call Sri Mudaliyandaan and Sri Koorathazhvan as his Dandam and pavithram. This demonstratres the attachment, these two sishyas had, to Udaiyavar. Sri Mudaliyandaan is also related to Sri Ramanujar in his Poorvashramam. Sri Udayavar was his maternal uncle. Sri Mudaliyandaan was born in the star Punarvasu in the place Pettai (Naserat pettai) very near to Poondamalli in Chennai.

On the day of Sri Mudaliyandan’s thirunakshatram, In Thiruvallikeni, this poorvacharya has Thirumanjanam in the morning, along with his Acharyan Sri Ethirajar (Vidhayarthi Utsavam) and Sri Parthasarathi Emperuman. In the evening Sri Mudaliyandan has veedhi purappadu along with Sri Parthasarathi Emperuman. After returning back there will be Sattrumarai ghosti. During the ghosti, Sri Mudaliyandaan will be accompanied by Sri Emperumanar, Sri Embar and also Sri Kulasekarazhvar (who share the same Thirunakshatram). Finally Sri Mudaliyandaan gets his blessings from Sri Parthasarathi.

Now that, we have seen till now about the two major Utsavams, i.e, Sri Parthasarathi Brahmotsavam and Sri Udayavar Utsavam I will now proceed to give a jist of all the other utsavams in Thiruvallikeni in the various months.

In the month of vaikasi, there are 3 utsavams, namely The Vasantha Utsavam (of Sri Parthasarathi and also of Sri Mannathan and Vedavalli), Sri Nammazhvar Utsavam and Sri Gajendra varadar Utsavam.
During the vasantha utsavam of Sri Parthasarathi, he goes to the vasantha utsava bungalow (where, he used to have Thirumanjanam etc over there earlier and stay for the whole day. But now, due to security reasons and the condition of poor state of the Bunglow, he visits only in the evening for a short period of time and the other rituals are performed in the temple itself. In case of Sri Ranganathan and Sri vedavalli Thayar, since Thayar is Padi Thandha Paththini both of them have vasantha utsavam in the madapam opposite to the Narasimhar Dvajastambam.

Sri Nammazhvar utsavam is done for 10 days. But there is no purappadu for Nammazhvar except on the day of sattrumarai along with perumal and there will be Thirumanjanam and ghosti on all days, in the Nammazhvar mandapam (otherwise called as the Vahana Mandapam). Since Sri Gajendra Varadan doesn’t have Dvajastambam his utsavam is not so grand but still he has Thirumanjanam all ten days and purappadu in the evenings in various small vahanams. Only on the Garudasevai day Sri Gajendra Varadar gives darshan on the Garudan early in the morning. Great alankaram is done to Sri Varadar on these days.
In the month of Aani, the main utsavam is Sri Azhagiya Singar Brahmotsavam. All occasions, which I have explained earlier in Sri Parthasarathi Brahmotsavam will follow suite for Sri Azhagiya Singar Brahmotsavam also. But instead of Simha Vahanam (since he himself is a simham) Sri Azhgiya singar used to give darshan on Yali (Yali Vahanam). Sri Azhagiya singar gives divya sevai as lakshmi Narasimhar on the 8th day instead of Vennai Thazhi kannan kolam for Shri Parthasarathi. And on Theertha vari day Sri Azhagiya Singar has Thirumanjanam in the Anjeeneyar temple on the other side of the Kairavini Pushkarini unlike Sri Parthasarathi who has Thirumanjanam in Andal Neerata Mandapam. And during the utsavam in Aani Swathi, Sri Periyazhvar Sattrumarai is also done.

In the month of Aadi, there are 2 Utsavams, namely Sri Aalavandar Utsavam and Sri Andal Aadi Poora Utsavam. Again, for Sri Aalavandar Utsavam there is no purappadu but Thirumanjanam and Ghoshti will be there. In the purappadu on day of the Sattrumarai, Sri Parthasarathi will be dressed as Gajendra Varadar and he releases Gajendran from the clutches of the crocodile. This event is performed at the pushkarini where a photo of a crocodile catching Gajendra is placed in the NeerAazhi Mandapam and a Rocket sort of Cracker is sent from one end where Sri Parthasarathi stands to the crocodile. The beauty of Sri Parthasarathi in this Alangaram definitely cannot be explained by words.

Then comes the Aadi Poora utsavam, which will be celebrated for 10 days. Sri Andal has purappadu and after returning, she undergoes Malai Maatthal with Sri Parthasarathi who is eagerly waiting for her at the Mandapam. Then she enters the mandapam and joins in the Oonjal with Sri Parthasarathi. On the Aadi Poora day a grand Kalyanam is done to Sri Parthasarathi and Andal and this Utsavam ends with the Serthi Sevai similar to that of Panguni Utthira Kalyanam of Sri Mannathan and Sri Vedavalli Thayar. From this day till the next pooram Sri Andal stays in Sri Parthasarathi sannadhi itself. Only on the next pooram she returns back to her Sannadhi.
In the month of Aadi one other important occasion is the Jheshtabheshekam for the various perumals. Starting with Sri Parthasarathi Jheshtabheshekam on Aadi Thiruvonam, consequently all other Emperumans have their Jheshtabheshekams on their respective stars (Sri Ranganathar-Revathi, Sri Ramar-Purnarpoosam, Sri Azhagiya Singar- Swathi). Sri Varadharajar doesn’t have a kavasam and hence no Jheshtabishekam. Only recently a Silver Kavasam has adorned Sri Varadhar. The day following parthasarathi jheshtabhishekam is thiruppavadai.

In Aavani we have the Pavithrotstavam for 7 days and Sri Jayanthi will be celebrated. The next day of the Sri Jayanthi is the Vuriyadi Utsavam.

In Purattasi, the main Utsavam is the Navarathri Utsavam of Sri Vedavalli Thayar. Thayar’s beauty and charm in the various Alangarams on each day Is out of the world. And the highlighting feature of this utsavam is the Madal Ghosthi in the evenings. In other places of the city on Navarathri days, ladies and girls dress themselves beautifully and visit their friends and relatives to call them to their houses for golu. But in Thiruvallikeni first preference is only to Vedavalli Thayar’s purappadu. Only after this they fix their timings to visit others houses. It is admirable to see such a crowd enjoying the amazing beauty of Sri Vedavalli. On the mahA navami day, the Navaratri Utsavam comes to an end and that day night Sri Vedavalli gives Vettrilai paaku for all. Getting the ‘Vettrilai Pakku’ from Thayar is regarded as the most auspicious event. The next day is Vijaya Dasami. On this day, Sri Parthasarathi goes round Thiruvallikeni in his horse and visits many other streets, other than the Mada streets to give joy to all those bhakthas also. Then, when he returns to the Thulasinga Perumal Street, he is joined by Sri Vedanthachariar, who’s Thirunakshatram also falls on the same day, usually. Returning back, Sattumarai is done to Sri VedantaChariar.

In Iyppasi we have Sri Manavala Mamunigal’s Utsavam for 10 days. Like Sri Ramanujar, Sri Manavala Mamunigal also goes to every sannadhi to do Mangalasasanam on all the days of the utsavam. On the final day a very special Sevai awaits all the devotees. Emperuman originally starts in Kaithalam towards Sri Mamunigal to give him Divya Darshanam. We being sishyas of Mamunigal are graced with the same Darshan. By this Sri Parthasarathi proves that if his Bhakthas take one step towards him he takes 10 ten steps towards us. Also, for a prapannan there is no other great gift than the sevai of Emperuman. So as Sri Ranganatha gave Darshan to Sri Udayavar in Kaitalam and Sri Sourirajan of Thirukannapuram gave Darshan to Sri vibheshanazhvan in Kaitalam, here Sri Parthasarathi shows his Kaitala Sevai to Mamunigal on his Thirunakshatram. This is a rare sevai only on this day.
Then this is the month in which the Mudhal Azhvargal took birth and hence the Thirunakshatrams of all the 3 Alwars are celebrated. Since Peyazhwar was born in Thiruvallikeni/Thirumayilai, here there is a ten-day Utsavam for Peyazhwar. But, again there will be no purappadu; there will be only ghosthi and Thirumanjanam. On the Sattrumarai day, Sri Parthasarathi visits the peyazhwar Sannadhi (located in the chinna Mada Veedhi outside the temple) and has Thirumanjanam over there with Peyazhwar. One beautiful sight is on the Poigai Alwar sattrumarai purappadu. On this day in front of Sri Parthasarathi we can see Sri Poighai Alwar, Sri Pillai Lokacharya (who was also born on this day) and Sri Manavala Mamunigal (vidayarthi poorthi) all in a line. These are rare sights, which are feast for our eyes.

The Deepavali day in Thiruvallikeni is a day of enjoyment. In every other place everyone celebrates Deepavali early in the morning. But in Thiruvallikeni, the main enjoyment is reserved for the night when Sri Parthasarathi joins with all the young folks to celebrate. The number of 10,000 vallas (The string Cracker) is increasing year after year. All the people join together irrespective of friends or relatives and enjoy the Deepavali in unison with the Emperuman. It is really a great enjoyment. The day following deepavali is celebrated as annakoota utsavam (remembering govardhana pooja done in gokula by the gokula vasees)

And on the Kaisika dvadasi day, Kaisika Purnam is read in front of Sri Parthasarathi and vanabhojana utsavam is celebrated.

In karthigai, we have the karthigai deepam. After the Thirumangai Mannan Sattrumarai Thailakappu is done to all the Moolavars. Again Thirumangai mannan has 10 day Utsavam here with ghosti and Thirumanjanam and purappadu only on the last day along with Sri Parthasarathi. The next is Thirupannazhwar sattrumarai. No purappadu is performed if it occurs during Thailakappu.

In Marghazi, we have the Pagal Pattu and Rapattu utsavam. On the Vaikunda Ekadasi day there is a very heavy crowd and Sri Parthasarathi early in the morning gives darshan to Sri Nammazhwar in the Vaikundha Vaasal. In the pagal pattu utsavam Sri Parthasarathi’s alangarams are extraordinary. You could have never seen such beauty in any other divya desam. I stop with saying this since I feel it is beyond my capacity to really explain about this utsavam.
Next is Sri Andal Neeratam for 10 days. Sri Andal goes to her Neerata Mandapam and undergoes Neeratam. The way the archakas put thailam to Sri Andal’s hair and then comb it etc should be seen in person. No words can give the real joy. This Utsavam actually ends with the Bhogi Kalyanam. On this day marriage is done for Sri Parthasarathi and Sri Andal and then Serthi Sevai and then Sri Andal remains in Sri parthasarathi Sannadhi for a month just like Aadi poora kalyanam. Oorgola utsavam is done on sankaranthi day. On the Kanu day, Sri Andal first keeps the Kannu pidi inside kairavini pushkarini and only seeing her do so the other ladies in Thiruvallikeni follow her in their houses.

In Thai, we have Thirumazhisai Alwar Utsavam for 10 days. And on the sattrumarai day, Thirumazhisai Alwar has purappadu with Sri Parthasarathi. Embar Sattrumarai and Thai poosam are other important days in Thai. On the Thai poosam day Sri Parthasarathi goes to the Big Street in Thiruvallikeni to cut the new ripe grains.

Then Sri Koorathazhwan sattrumarai is done on Thai Hastam day. Then Sri Parthasarathi visits Ekaduthangal in Thai month. This is a place, which is very far from Thiruvallikeni, but it is supposed to have been the property of Sri Parthasarathi, which he visits once a year even now.

In Masi, on the Ratha saptami day, Sri Parthasarathi gives darshan on Soorya Prabhai and chandra prabhai in the morning and evening respectively. On Masi Makam Sri Parthasarathi goes to the beach on garuda vahanam and has Thirumanjanam over there. The chakrathazhwar makes a holy dip in the seawater on behalf of the Emperuman. And in this month Thirukkachi Nambi Sattrumarai and Kulasekaraalwar sattrumarai are also done.
The next Utsavam in this month is the Dhavana utsavam. During this utsavam Sri Parthasarathi goes to the Dhavana utsava Bunglow where the mandapam is decorated with Davanam.
On Masi Dwadasi day, Kalyana utsavam for Sri Mannathan and Sri Vedavalli Thayar is done.

Then the next Utsavam is the Theppotsavam, which continues for 7 days in which, 3 days are for Sri Parthasarathi, then one day each for Sri Azhagiya Singar, Sri Ranganathar, Sri Ramar and Sri Varadharajar respectively.
In Panguni there is an important occasion. The Pallava Utsava followed by the panguni Uthiram. This is where, I started my postings and probably Sri Parthasarathi wants me to end with the same. The last Utsavam in Panguni is the Sri Rama Navami Utsavam.

With this I conclude my postings on the utsavams in Thiruvallikeni.

Adiyen Ramanuja dAsee

Sumithra Varadarajan