kiLaroLi iLamai - 5 - svarUpa jnAnam - avoiding anya sEshatvam

srimathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srimadh varavaramunayE nama:
sri vAnAchala mahAmunayE nama:

In the previous article ( we observed the importance of avoiding sva svAthanthriyam.
Now, we will move on to the next hurdle, anya sEshatvam. anya means "other" and sEshatvam means "being subservient" - so this means "being subservient to some one other than emperumAn".

Every thing that needs to be understood is in Thirumanthram. praNavam which is the first padham (word) in thirumanthram has 3 letters akAram with hidden Aya (a), ukAram (u) and makAram (m). From makAram in praNavam, we have seen that the self is AthmA that is different from dhEham. From "akAram with the hidden Aya" in praNavam, we have seen that the self is not svathanthran. Now we can see from ukAram in praNavam which indicates that jIvAthmA is only subservient to emperumAn and no one else.

In ashtaslOki 4th slOkam, parAsara bhattar explains that, whenever we have doubt about jIvAthmA's anya sEshathvam, we simply have to look at ukAram and we will immediately understand that we are only subservient to emperumAn (and his adiyArs ofcourse which we will see in subsequent articles).

In mumukshupadi, piLLai lOkAchAryar explains that ukAram means emphasis or that which identifies an exclusive aspect. Here, ukAram means jIvAthmA is subservient to emperumAn only and no one else. He also compares jIvAthmA becoming subservient to others (dhEvathAs/samsAris) is like preparing nice bhOgam for a yagyam (fire sacrifice) and giving that to a dog (instead of offering the same to the prescribed dhEvathAs for such sacrifices). 

He also goes on to say that it is more important to avoid anya sEshathvam than serving empeumAn. This is based on the understanding that paramAthmA and jIvAthmA share bharthru-bhAryA (husband-wife) relationship as we have seen in the previous article. This needs to be understood in the proper context and the following example will make it very clear. If there is misunderstanding between a husband and his wife, and the wife does not serve her husband it is bad. But, it is worse, when the wife goes and serves some one else. So, once we understand this relationship and accept emperumAn's supremacy, we should completely be devoid of any connection with other dhEvathAs.

As explained in sAstram, only sriman nArAyaNan is the supreme god. There are many dhEvathAs who are established by emperumAn out of his grace to deal with different kinds of jIvAthmAs. It is better to be a follower of a vaidhIha dharmam which helps upward progress of jIvAthmAs to slowly develop sathva guNam and finally become a vaishnava to get delivered from this samsAram. But once we become a vaishnava we should never look back and have any attachment (even a tiny little bit) towards dhEvathAntharams. While the dhEvathAs have sathva guNam at times, they are mostly either in rajO guNam or thamO guNam - both of which are to be given up by srivaishnavas.

kannan emperumAn in bhagavath gIthai establishes his supremacy in many places. We have seen some of those in the previous article. He also explains that all the demi-gods (anya dhEvathAs) are controlled by him and they are also bound in this samsAram. They can give some benedictions, but those will be temporary since they are benedictions towards the body. In the 7th chapter of gIthai, emperumAn explains that only less intelligent people will worship anya dhEvathAs. He also says that whatever benedictions they give are not directly given by them, but emperumAn being the antharyAmi of those dhEvathAs, he gives those benedictions through them. And also, even when we worship those dhEvathAs we are worshipping emperumAn only - but in a wrong way.

In the upanishads, it is said that "kAranNam thu dhyEya:" - meditate on the kAraNa vasthu (one that is the cause of everything). According to sAstram there are 3 types of causes - upAdhAna kAraNam, nimitha kAraNam and sahakAri kAraNam. EmperumAn is all these 3 causes so he is the only person who can be meditated upon. Let us have a quick understanding of these 3 causes.
  • upAdhAna kAraNam - (raw) material cause - emperumAn has sUkshma (subtle) chEthanam (sentient) and achEthanam (non-sentient) as his body. These during creation becomes sthUla (gross) chEthanam and achEthanam.
  • nimitha kAraNam - instrumental cause - emperumAn is sankalpa visishtan - one who takes the oath that let creation happen and this drives the creation.
  • sahakAri kAraNam - ancillary cause - emperumAn has jnAnam, shakthi, etc which are used by him in the process of creation.

 AzhwArs also identify in many places that we should completely avoid worshipping dhEvathAntharams.
  • MudhalAzhwArs establish the parathvam of emperumAn.  
  • Thirumazhisai AzhwAr who is known as uraiyilidAthavar (one who does not put the sword in its pouch) for his unflinching confidence in emperumAn and avoidance of dhEvathAntharam. He says "thiruvillAth thEvarai thErEnmin thEvu" (திருவில்லாத் தேவரை தேரேன்மின் தேவு) - only sriya:pathi is dhEvan (worshippable deity) and others are not qualified for worship, "maRaNthum puRam thozhA mANthar" (மறந்தும் புறம் தொழா மாந்தர்) - srivaishnavas will never worship anyone other than emperumAn.
  • nammAzhwAr says "dhEvan emperumAnukkallAl pUvum pUchanaiyum thagumE" (தேவன் எம்பெருமானுக்கல்லால் பூவும் பூசனையும் தகுமே) - only sriya:pathi is qualified to be worshipped. He establishes that we should avoid dhEvathAnthara bhajanam in "thIrpArai Amini" padhigam and several other places.
  • kulashEkara AzhwAr did not even think about a moment about any one other than emperumAn and his adiyArs. In his "tharu thuyaram thadAyEl" padhigam he establishes that he is not dependant on any one else other than emperumAn.
  • periyAzhwAr is well known to have established vishnu parathvam in pAndian king's sabhai. 
  • AndAL says "even if there is some discussion happens in srivilliputhUr that I am going to be married to any one other than emperumAn, I will give up my life immediately".
  • Thondaradippodi AzhwAr was utterly focussed on thiruvaranganAthan only. He says he does not care for yama's servants because they have no control over srivaishnavas.
  • ThiruppANAzhwAr was also fully focussed on thiruvaranganAthan only as we understand from his pAsurams.
  • Thirumangai AzhwAr in several places shows the deficiencies in dhEvathAntharam and goes on to say "maRRumOr dheyvam uLadhenRu iruppArOdu uRRilEn" (மற்றுமோர் தெய்வம் உளதென்று இருப்பாரோடு உற்றிலேன்). He says not only he will avoid the association of dhEvathAntharam, but he will also not have any association with those who accept dhEvathAntharam.
Our pUrvAchAryas also completely avoided dhEvathAnthara sambandham as we can see in the following incidents:
  • Once during a purappAdu of namperumAL it starts raining. namperumAL is taken inside a dhEvathAntharam temple (AnaikkAval near srirangam). At that time, emperumAnar is getting drenched in the rain but refuses to go in. When asked, he says "emperumAn is vishwapathi (husband to all), he can go anywhere, but me being his wife, I wont step into some one else's place".
  • kooraththAzhwAn gives up his own eyes when insisted by saiva king to accept and declare shiva parathvam.
  • When piLLai urangAvilli dhAsar's nephews saw a jain temple, they assumed it to be a vishnu temple and worshiped. But learning that it is a jain temple, they immediately lost consciousness out of great mental distress. dhAsar comes running to them and give them sripAdha thULi (dust) of srivaishnavas, they regain consciousness.
There are many such incidents which show that we should completely avoid dhEvathAnthara bhajanam.

In today's scenario though, we can see many srivaishnavas having dhEvathAnthra connections and engaging in such worship. Some even say that it is customary in their family to do that. But as erumbiappA says in vilakshaNa moKsha adhikAri nirNayam we should only follow what is customary for our pUrvAchAryas, not what is followed in the past few generations (things which got introduced into the family out of ignorance). Also, even after giving up all other dhEvathAntharams, some srivaishnavas are attached to vinAyaka and some bAbAs. These are to be completely avoided for the betterment of the jIvAthmA. Nowhere our pUrvAchAryas showed any tinge of attachment to any dhEvathAntharam. We should also have full understanding that when emperumAn is protecting us, no dhEvathAntharam can cause any suffering to us. Infact, even dhEvathAntharams have great respect for srivaishnavas only, as explained by our pUrvAchAryas.

With this understanding, we will move on to svarUpa yAthAthmya jnAnam in the next article.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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