Srivaishnava lakshanam - 12

Ororuvar (ஓரொருவர் - the most ideal one)
srimathe ramanujaya nama:
srimad varavaramunaye nama:
sri vaanaachala mahamunaye nama:

In the previous article ( we observed the dhinacharya of a srivaishnava.

Erumbiappa (who is one of the 8 main disciples of Manavaala Maamunigal) explains to his sishyas how a srivaishnava should live his life. This conversation is recorded in a grantham called "vilakshana mOksha adhikaari nirNayam". This is a classic grantham built on the essence of srivachana bhUshanam and other pUrvaachaarya srisUkthis. In this, he explains that all our pUrvaachaaryas were indeed fully qualified vaishnava adhikaaris with proper jnaanam, bhakthi, vairaaghyam and aarthi. This can be understood easily by the fact that:

  • they were fully focussed in bhagavad vishayam - no where in their lives it is recorded that they were after money, fame, etc. Even if there are some seemingly conflicting episodes, those are there to really highlight the greatness of a particular acharya or srivaishnava in the end.  In fact as soon as they gained this valuable knowledge from their acharyas, they immediately gave up every comfort they had and simply served their acharyas.
  • even though most of them were married, they did it only for lOka kshEmam - i.e., to create sath santhaanam to protect and nourish our sampradhaayam.
  • also, they only had one or two children and their physical relationship with their wives was only to produce good children, not for their self enjoyment
Though all of our pUrvaachaaryas were like that a few like koorathaazhwaan, Embaar, pillai lOkaachaaryar, azhagiya manavaala perumaal naayanaar, Ponnadikkaal jeeyar (prime disciple of Manavaala maamunigal), etc were indeed special due to their total detachment from any vihitha bhOgam at all.

But even beyond all of that, there was manavaala maamunigal who manifested all the qualities that were identified in srivachana bhUshana divya saastram. Let us see how we can make such a bold statement that maamunigal fully manifested the vaishnava adhikaarithva pUrthi. We will understand that by going through the meaning of the following paasuram and by going through mamunigal's life history.
Manavaala maamunigal writes upadhEsa rathina maalai to reveal the glories of pillai lOkaachaariar and his srivachana bhUshana divya saastram. In the 55th paasuram, the real glories of srivachana bhUshanam are revealed. Let us enjoy the paasuram here:

aar vachanabhUdanaththin aazh poruL ellaam aRivaar (ஆர் வசனபூடனத்தின் ஆழ் பொருள் எல்லாம் அறிவார்)
aar athu chol NEril anuttippaar (ஆர் அது சொல் நேரில் அனுட்டிப்பார்)
Ororuvar undaagil aththanai kaanN uLLamE (ஓரொருவர் உன்டாகில் அத்தனை காண் உள்ளமே)
ellaarkkum anNdaathathanRO athu (எல்லார்க்கும் அண்டாததன்றோ அது)

Maamunigal says "Who will understand the inner/deep meanings in srivachana bhUshanam? Who will live by those meanings? Even to find one such person is difficult because these are very difficult principles to follow for any one". Even though he says we cant find even one person, we have to understand that there are only few persons (a very small percentage of the total srivaishnava population) who will be able to do this.

Just going by the commentary of Pillai lOkam jeeyar for this paasura vyaakyaanam, he clearly says that "Only Manavala maamunigal who was clearly blessed by pillai lOkaachaaryar can understand and follow these principles stated in srivachana bhUshanam".

Kanchi Prathivaadhi Bayankaram Annangaraachaaryar swamy (who lived amongst us a few decades ago) who has written many books on srivaishnava sampradhaayam, in his commentary for this paasuram says that it is difficult to lead our life as stated in srivachana bhUshanam because it has principles like:

  • sUtram 455 - vihitha bhOgam Nishidhdha bhOgam pOlE lOka viruththamumanRu, Naraka hEthuvumanRu; aayirukkachcheythE svarUpa viruththamumaay, vEdhaaNtha viruththamumaay, chishtakarhithamumaay, praapya prathipaNthakamumaay irukkaiyaalE thyaajyam (விஹித போகம் நிஷித்த போகம் போலே லோக விருத்தமுமன்று, நரக ஹேதுவுமன்று; ஆயிருக்கச்செய்தே ஸ்வரூப விருத்தமுமாய், வேதாந்த விருத்தமுமாய், சிஷ்டகர்ஹிதமுமாய், ப்ராப்ய ப்ரதிபந்தகமுமாய் இருக்கையாலே த்யாஜ்யம்). Simple translation: Even though sense enjoyment coming out of married life (as defined by saastram - even for this there are many rules on how/when this should be done) is accepted by saastram and it is not going to lead one to narakam, etc., but since it is said to be aathma svarUpa virOdham (any bodily enjoyment is to be given up) and since our pUrvaachaaryas never focussed on that and since it is a virOdhi for the ultimate goal, it is to be given up.
  • sUtram 365 - kuRRam cheythavargaL pakkal poRaiyum, krupaiyum, chirippum, ugappum, upakaara smruthiyum Natakka vEnNum (குற்றம் செய்தவர்கள் பக்கல் பொறையும், க்ருபையும், சிரிப்பும், உகப்பும், உபகார ஸ்ம்ருதியும் நடக்க வேணும்). Simple translation: When one commits an offense to us, we should have:
    • patience - not do tit for tat immediately
    • mercy - worry for emperumaan's reaction since emperumaan will give apt punishment for bhaagavatha apachaaram, i.e., pray to emperumaan for the offender's pardon
    • humour - since they can only stop our material benefits or trouble the body, which is no way going to bother us who are focussed in our aathma, so we should laugh off at the offender's intelligence
    • joy - that the offender is only troubling our body which we anyway consider as our enemy, so we should be happy that they are only doing a favour to us
    • gratitude - for reminding us our dOshams and reminding us that we should be detached to this material world anyway
Based on his life history, we can see how Manavala maamunigal was an epitome of these qualities. Let us see this from some of the salient points from his life.
  • Maamunigal being an avathaaram of Emperumaanaar himself, showed us how we should totally be surrendered to emperumaanaar by constantly thinking about emperumaanaar, worshipping him at the bhavishyadhaachaaryan sannidhi in azhwar thirunagari, writing yathiraaja vimsathi, aarthi prabhandham, etc.
  • Manavaala maamunigal accepted Thiruvaaimozhi pillai as his acharya and stood by his acharya's orders throughout his life. He learnt srI bhaashyam once  but spent his whole life on arulicheyal and its meanings. He was an unparallel scholar in sanskrit and vedhaantham but he always explained vedhaantham through arulicheyal only.
  • In his dhinacharya done by Erumbiappaa, it is said that "Maamunigal's lips were always chanting dvaya mahaamantram and his heart is always thinking about thiruvaaimozhi".
  • Once when his mutt was set fire by some miscreants in azhwarthirunagari, he asked the king to forgive the miscreants and showed his mercy towards even those who saw him as enemies.
  • When Uththama nambi commited an offense to Maamunigal, he silently walked out - he did not say a word to uththama nambi. But periya perumAL then shows to uththama nambi that he was none other than aadhi sEshan himself.
  • When he heard that some of his sishyas are not respecting other acharyas in srirangam, he stopped his kaalakshEpam and asked his sishyas to first respect other acharyas before listening from him.
  • When once some farmers submitted some raw materials, maamunigal finding out that those farmers are not vaishnavas, promptly returned the food. He was so carefully avoiding avaishnava relationship.
  • When once an old lady wanted to stay in his mutt for a night, maamunigal strictly says that it will not be acceptable. Such was his standards when it comes vairaagyam.
  • Prathivaadhi bayankaram annan who was a great scholar when came to meet Maamunigal, maamunigal was giving a lecture on Thiruvaaimozhi. Looking at maamunigal's total command in vedhaantham and arulicheyal and pUrvaachaarya vyaakyaanams, annan was spell bound and he immediately became maaunigal's sishya.
  • Many acharya purushas from srirangam accepted maamunigal as their acharya even though they were already born in acharya purusha families.
  • Maamunigal spent his whole life searching for all pUrvaachaarya vyaakyaanams, documenting them, memorizing them and teaching them to all his sishyas. Even at a very old age he use to write in palm leaves for the benefit of others.
  • His honesty was unparallel which got him the title - poy illaatha manNavaaLa maamuni (பொய் இல்லாத மணவாள மாமுனி)
  • His command over saastram and language were unparallel which got him the title visadha vaak sigaamaNi. His commentaries to rahasya granthams are of extraordinary quality - without those commentaries it will be impossible to understand the inner meanings.
  • Without his prachaaram (propagation) of thiruvaaimozhi it would have been impossible to understand the essence of thiruvaaimozhi.
  • He never criticises any pUrvaachaaryas - even if there are contradictory statements in any grantham - he simply states them as is, instead of putting down any one.
  • He was so humble that he did not approve of any festivities for his archa vigraham in both srirangam and azhwaarthirunagari (avathaara sthalam) to keep the focus on namperumaaL and nammaazhwaar respectively. He allowed very small archaa thirumEni to be made and ensured that there is hardly any purappaadu (procession) for his  thirumEnis.
Amidst all of these, emperumaan (namperumaaL) who was not satisfied with his previous acharyas (vasishta/vishwaamithra in ramaavathaaram, saandIpani in krishnaavathaaram, etc) found Maamunigal to be the perfect teacher. It was his divine wish/plan to even have the same name as his acharyan (both named Azhagiya manavaalan). So he ordered Maamunigal to give a lecture on Eedu vyaakyaanam of Nampillai for a whole year in front of his aasthaanam (sannidhi) in thiruvarangam. Namperumaal ordered all the utsavams to be stopped and he along with his divine consorts (sridhEvi and bhUdhEvi) heard Maamunigal's lecture for the whole year every day.

On Aani Thirumoolam day, on the occassion of saatrumurai (final day) of the upanyaasam series, NamperumaaL took the form of a small boy named aranganaayakam, came in front of maamunigal and presented the following thanian (as a sishya would do for an acharya).
srIsailEsa dhayaapaatram dhIbhaktyaadhi guNaarnavam
yathIndra pravaNam vandhE ramya jaamaataram munim
Here, emperumaan says "I worship azhagiya manavaala maamuni who a) is the holder of the mercy of Thiruvaaimozhipillai, b) is an ocean of jnaanam, bhakthi, vairaagyam,etc and c) has boundless love for emperumaanaar".
He ordered that this thanian is chanted in all divyadhEsam temples, other divya kshethrams, mutts and thirumaaligais during the beginning and ending of arulicheyal anusandhaanam.This can be observed even today, wherever we go we hear the glories of maamunigal during arulicheyal anusandhaanam.

He also offered his sEsha paryankam to maamunigal as acharya samarpanai (even today we can practically see only Maamunigal as the only acharya having sEsha paryankam in his archaa vigrahams).

Thus Namperumaal showed his love towards maamunigal who can be said as the most appropriate meaning for "Ororuvar" in maamunigal's own paasuram which is why
  • he choose maamunigal as his acharya
  • he kept his acharya's name as it is the duty of the sishya to keep his acharya's name
  • he learnt bhagavad vishayam from his acharya stopping everything else
  • he wrote a thanian and offered that to maamunigal in public and he ordered that his thanian should be chanted everywher (it is said that a sishya should glorify his acharya in public)
  • he offered his own sEsha paryankam to maamunigal as acharya sambhaavanai
  • he (until today) continues to perform maamunigal's thiruvadhyayana mahOtsavam (since it is the sishya's duty to perform the thIrtha utsavam for his acharyan) in thiruvarangam. On this day (maasi krishna paksha dvaadhasi), periya perumaaL's archakas, paricharakas, etc will come with periya perumaaL's paraphernelia (kudai, chaamaram, vattil, etc) and perform the utsavam at srirangam manavaala maamunigal sannidhi. Emperumaan also does not consume bhOgya vasthus like surulamuthu (beatle leaves/nuts), etc on that day showing respect to his acharya.
So, we can understand that from our pUrvaachaarya's lives none of these principles are theoretical. We can see for ourselves that they have lived their lives with great dignity, honesty and maturity. They have also documented these for the benefits of the future generation to understand and follow. It is purely emperumaan's causeless mercy that we are some how born as humans, that too in a srivaishnava family, that too with some intelligence to understand and appreciate this wealth of knowledge from our pUrvaachaaryas. We should be ever grateful to  emperumaan to have presented such opportunity to us and we should immediately take up to his desires and engage ourselves in serving him and his adiyaars.

This series is coming to a conclusion now. In the next (concluding) article adiyen will summarize what was discussed so far and end the series.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan
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