archAvathAra anubhavam - thiruppANAzhwAr anubhavam

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

In the previous article ( we observed thoNdaradippodi AzhwAr's archAvathAra anubhavam.

Let us now see thiruppANAzhwAr's archAvathAra anubhavam.

mAmunigaL glorifies thiruppANAzhwAr's greatness in upadhEsa rathina mAlai 10th pAsuram. Let us enjoy that to start with.

kArththikaiyil rOhinNi NAL kAnNmininRu kAchiniyIr ( கார்த்திகையில் ரோகிணி நாள் காண்மினின்று காசினியீர்)

vAyththa pugazhp pAnNar vaNthuthippAl (வாய்த்த புகழ்ப் பாணர் வந்துதிப்பால்)
AththiyarkaL anbudanEthAn amalanAthipirAn kaRRathaRpin (ஆத்தியர்கள் அன்புடனேதான் அமலனாதிபிரான் கற்றதற்பின்)
NangudanE konNdAdum NAL (நன்குடனே கொண்டாடும் நாள்)

Simple translation:

Oh dwellers of this world! kArthigai rOhiNi is the day on which thiruppANAzhwAr (whose glories are well established) appeared. All great personalities who are attached to pramANam (sAsthram) and pramEyam (emperumAn) learn amalanAdhipirAn and glorify AzhwAr after that.

piLLai lOkam jIyar brings out very nice meanings in his vyAkyAnam. Let us see a little bit here.

  • Since AzhwAr shows great attachment to kaNNan emperumAn (as seen in the last pAsuram of amalanAdhipirAn), he is also born on the same rOhiNi nakshathram like kaNNan emperumAn. Also, since thirukkOshtiyur nambi (who revealed the deep meanings of charama slOkam) and periyavAchAn piLLai are born in this same nakshathram - this nakshathram is to be glorified.
  • "vAyththa pugazh" (established greatness) means he was born in a family where "naichyam janma sidham" (humility is natural). That is why periyaperumAL instructed lOka sAranga muni to carry AzhwAr and acknowledged his greatness.
  • Also his greatness relates to his activities. He is like muktha jIvAthmAs who constantly sing sAmagAnam in paramapadham. AzhwAr was also constantly glorifying periya perumAL by singing his thirunAmams all the time.
  • AththiyargaL (AsthikAs) generally means who accepts sAsthram and follows it. But here it is specifically said that AththiyargaL means those who have great attachment to periya perumAL (pramEyam), amalanAdhipirAn (pramANam) and AzhwAr (pramAthA). This shows that just being attached to one and ignoring the others is not the best.
  • Finally, it is also shown that amalanAdhipirAn explains the meanings of praNavam in the first 3 pAsurams (they start with a, u and ma respectively) and the rest of the thirumanthram in the remaining pAsurams.
azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr in AchArya hrudhayam chUrNikai 85, explains that one goes beyond the bodily conception and understands the greatness of a srivaishnava only when they understand "bhOga manNdapaththil vInNaiyum kaiyumAna aNtharanGgarai mahAmuni aNuvarththiththa kramam" (போக மண்டபத்தில் வீணையும் கையுமான அந்தரங்கரை மஹாமுனி அநுவர்த்தித்த க்ரமம்) - meaning as per periya perumAL's niyamanam lOka sAranga muni who is a brAhmaNothamar carried thiruppANAzhwAr into the thiruvarangam periya kOil.

The greatness of AzhwAr (vakthru vailakshaNyam), amalanAdhipirAn (prabhandha vailakshayNyam) and periya perumAL (vishaya vailakshaNyam) are wonderfully explained in the vyAkyAna avathArikai by both periyavAchAn piLLai and azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr. Let us enjoy a bit from the avathArikais.

  • vakthru vailakshaNyam - AzhwAr, out of extreme humility, considers himself outside the 4 varNas (as panchama) and did not step into periya kOil. emperumAn also considers AzhwAr outside the 4 varNas (as good as a nithya sUri who is not bound by the varNAshrma dharmam) and did not allow him to step into periya kOil - instead ordered lOka sAranga muni to carry him inside the temple like every one carries emperumAn himself. 
  • prabhandha vailakshaNyam
    • prabhandhams like thiruvAimozhi are very big (1000+ pAsurams). praNavam is very small (3 letters). But amalanAdhipirAn is just 10 pAsurams.
    • In other prabhandhams, there are aspects like anyApadhEsam/svApadhEsam, sAmAnadhikaraNam, etc. The only other comparable prabhandham is thirumAlai, but even there, thoNdaraippodi AzhwAr discusses how he suffered in samsAram, etc. Even in thiruppallANdu, the 3 different adhikAris (ishwaryArthi, kaivalyArthi, bhagavallAbhArthi) are discussed. But in amalanAdhipirAn, the only object of discussion is periya perumAL.
  • vishaya vailakshaNyam - Unlike param, vyUham, vibhvam and antharyAmi which are not easily reachable at present for us, periya perumAL is staying put in thiruvarangam to bless all the suffering jIvAthmAs in samsAram. It is after arriving here in srirangam, his thEjas becomes multi-fold. All his important qualities like soulabhyam, etc., glows here much more than paramapadham. Even in comparison with other dhivya dhEsams, thiruvarangam is famously known as the main maNdapam and all the other dhivya dhEsams are like gardens around the maNdapam (vaNdinam uralum chOlai).
With this introduction, let us enjoy the essence of this wonderful prabhandham.

vEdhAnthAchAryar has also written a vyAkyAnam for amalanAdhipirAn named munivAhana bhOgam. It is often said that he wrote this vyAkyAnam after meeting AchAryas in srirangam and accepting their guidance (He himself expressed in abhIthisthavam his desire to meet with the elders in srirangam). In this vyAkyAnam he explains nirhEthuka krupai of emperumAn using the following words "kAranNavisEsham innathenRu aRuthiyida mudiyAtha visEsha krupai" (காரணவிஸேஷம் இன்னதென்று அறுதியிட முடியாத விஸேஷ க்ருபை).

nAyanAr shows two threads of sangathi (relationship) between each pAsuram. Just by understanding these two aspects, we will know the greatness of this prabhandham.

Explanation based on thirumEni varNanai

It is explained that AzhwAr did not move to one part from another because he was satisfied with the anubhavam in the first part of the thirumEni, but it was like a ocean of waves, where one wave pushed him to the next wave. So, even being not satisfied with his anubhavam, he moved on to the next one. It is explained in thaithriya upanishadh (yathO vAcho nivarthanthE) that we cannot even measure the glories of a single guNam (quality) of emperumAn what to speak of all of his guNams.
  • In the first pAsuram, AzhwAr is enjoying the thiruvadi (lotus feet) of periya perumAL. These are the thiruvadis that are softer than a flower. They are held with reverence and love by pirAtti in her eyes and breasts. They are also shown as what is established as upAyam and upEyam for a prapannan.
  • In the second pAsuram, AzhwAr is enjoying the yellow dress on the waist of empeumAn. nAyanAr beautifully explains that being in samsAram we can easily fall into the trap of any other person's waist cloth but by the grace of periya perumAL, AzhwAr fell in love for the cloth of periya perumAL.
  • In the third pAsuram, AzhwAr is enjoying the navel (undhi) of periya perumAL. AzhwAr glorifies this as "ayanaip padaiththathOr ezhil uNdhi" (அயனைப் படைத்ததோர் எழில் உந்தி). It is explained that after giving birth to brahmA his navel got more beautiful unlike the humanly scenario. Since it looks like a swirl (chuzhi), nAyanAr explains that the beauty of periya perumAL is like water that starts from a mountain peak (head), becomes a waterfalls (on his chest) and makes a swirl where it falls (navel) based on kUraththAzhwAn's varadharAja sthavam slOkam 55.
  • In the fourth pAsuram, AzhwAr enjoys periya perumAL's stomach. nAyanAr identifies that periya perumAL's waist line is beautiful and this is where he has the mark of the thread by which he was bound by yasOdhai.
  • In the fifth pAsuram, AzhwAr enjoys the chest of periya perumAL. This said to be the vAsasthalam (residence) of periya pirAtti. He also wears beautiful ornaments on his chest. periya pirAtti also looks like a beautiful ornament in his chest. He also shows that the ornaments are used to cover up the full beauty of the chest. nAyanAr says AzhwAr is taking shelter of his mother now.
  • In the sixth pAsuram, AzhwAr enjoys the neck of periya perumAL. Here AzhwAr wonders how the small neck swallows all of the creation. nAyanAr shows that just like kainkaryam is the main objective of sEshabhUthas (one who accept his superiority and serves), rakshakathvam is the main objective of periya perumAL which is why he swallows everyone/everything to protect them during samhAram.
  • In the seventh pAsuram, AzhwAr enjoys the mouth and lips of periya perumAL. Here it is shown that the mouth first has to accept anything before the neck can swallow it. Also, it is the mouth/lips which attracts everyone with its beauty. Also, AzhwAr is mesmerized by the fact that emperumAn gives his words of protection like "aham smarAmi", "na thayajEyam", "mA sucha:", etc. which brings happiness and comfort in the minds of surrendered jIvAthmAs.
  • In the eighth pAsuram, AzhwAr enjoys the beautiful eyes. They are explained as big, reddish eyes - which represent the vAthsalyam (motherly forbearance) of periya perumAL. All the AzhwArs were attached to emperumAn's beautiful eyes - he is known as puNdarikAksha, kamala lOchana, thAmaraik kaNNan, etc. This is also explained as one of the main identities of his supremacy - whatever avathAram/form he takes, his eyes are always beautiful. AzhwAr says he becomes bewildered when he looks at the eyes.
  • In the ninth pAsuram, AzhwAr enjoys the whole thirumEni of emperumAn. In the first 8 pAsurams, AzhwAr was bewildered by the individual parts individually, but here the whole of periya perumAL's thirumEni increases AzhwAr's attachment towards him.
  • Finally, in the last pAsuram, AzhwAr sees kaNNan emperumAn in periya perumAL and declares that he will never see anything else after seeing periya perumAL. It is said that AzhwAr compiled the first 9 pAsurams on his way to the periya kOil and the 10th pAsuram was compiled when he entered the sannidhi. At that time, AzhwAr surrendered to emperumAn and emperumAn happily accepted him. nAyanAr gives great explanation for why AzhwAr will not look at anyone/anything else other than periya perumAL as if AzhwAr is asking the following questions.
    • ivar pakkal audhAryam illai enRu pOgavO (இவர் பக்கல் ஔதார்யம் இல்லை என்று போகவோ)? - Will I leave because he is not generous? He is "koNdal vaNNan" - like a cloud which generously rains everywhere.
    • vadivil pachaiyillai enRu pOgavO (வடிவில் பசையில்லை என்று போகவோ)? - Will I leave because he is not beautiful? He is "koNdal vaNNan" - like a cloud he is very beautiful.
    • sausIlyam illai enRu pOgavO (ஸௌஸீல்யம் இல்லை என்று போகவோ)? - Will I leave because he is not magnanimous? He is "kOvalan" - took the form of gOpAlan and mixed with everyone including cows.
    • NenYchukku pidiththiruNthathillai enRu pOgavO (நெஞ்சுக்கு பிடித்திருந்ததில்லை என்று போகவோ)? - Will I leave because he is not dear to my heart? He is "veNNai unda vAyan en uLLam kavarthAn" - one who ate butter and stole my heart.
    • mEnmai illai enRu pOgavO (மேன்மை இல்லை என்று போகவோ)? - Will I leave because he is not supreme? He is "aNdar kOn" - the owner of all the worlds.
    • saulabhyam illai enRu pOgavO (ஸௌலப்யம் இல்லை என்று போகவோ)? - Will I leave because he is not accessible? He is "aNiyarangan" - he is right in front of me.
    • bhOgyadhai illai enRu pOgavO (போக்யதை இல்லை என்று போகவோ)? - Will I leave because he is not enjoyable? He is "en amudhu" - my nectar.
    • anubhavaththil kuRai unNdu enRu pOgavO (அனுபவத்தில் குறை உண்டு என்று போகவோ)? - Will I leave because there is no anubhavam (interactions) right now? He is seen by my own eyes and interacting right now.
Explanation based on the favours done by periya perumAL to AzhwAr

  • In the first pAsuram, AzhwAr explains that periya perumAL who himself is pure, accepts AzhwAr without expecting anything from AzhwAr, makes AzhwAr subservient to his adiyArs.
  • In the next pAsuram, a question arises, if emperumAn has ever given his causeless mercy before and AzhwAr explains the thrivirkrama charithram, where he blessed everyone by touching them with his lotus feet without them asking for it.
  • In the third pAsuram, AzhwAr shows that thrivikraman is now standing in thirumalai as thiruvEnkatamudaiyAn. He also shows that thiruvEnkatamudaiyAn is none other than periya perumAL himself.
  • In the fourth pAsuram, a question arises about the ahankAram and mamakAram that is in AzhwAr's heart and AzhwAr explains that periya perumAL will destroy the ahankAram and mamakAram, just like he destroyed the four layers of protection of lankA.
  • In the fifth pAsuram, a question arises about the anAdhi kAla puNya/pApa karmAs and AzhwAr says periya perumAL (by the purushakAram of periya pirAtti) has destroyed them as well. AzhwAr also says it was periya perumAL who did thapas (austerity) by lying down in the middle of cauvery for a very long time to achieve AzhwAr.
  • In the sixth pAsuram, when the question arises if emperumAn has ever destroyed the sins of anyone, AzhwAr says that he has removed the sins of rudhran and chandran. When rudhran cut one of the heads of his father brahmA, the kapAlam (skull) stuck to his hand. rudhran went to emperumAn who by sprinkling his sweat broke the kapAlam into pieces and rescued rudhran. When chandran lost his glow, he went and surrendered emperumAn who gave his glow back.
  • In the seventh pAsuram, when the question arises "emperumAn will help rudhran because he is a dhEvathai and also the grand son of emperumAn. But will he help you?". AzhwAr says, periya perumAL is more attached to himself because he is purely there looking for emperumAn's mercy unlike dhEvathAntharams who are prayOjanAnthara parars (who are looking for materialistic benefits from emperumAn).
  • In the eighth pAsuram, a question arises from 4th and 5th pAsurams. Even though ahankAram, mamakAram and karmAs are destroyed, there is still room for avidhyai because of the presence in samsAram. How will that go? AzhwAr answers, avidhyai represents thamO guNam. Just like emperumAn destroyed hiraNya kasipu who is representation of thamO guNam, AzhwAr says, periya perumAL will destroy his thamO guNam also.
  • In the ninth pAsuram, a question arises - only by vEdhAntha jnAnam - thamO guNam, etc will be destroyed? Since AzhwAr does not even have adhikAram for that (based on his birth) and also, we are in samsAram and in kaliyugam which is not condusive for Athma jnAnam, How is it possible that periya perumAL destroyed all of the thamO guNam, etc? AzhwAr answers just like he is able to float on a leaf as a small child during praLayam, emperumAn is using his special/unimaginable powers destroyed my thamO guNam, etc.
  • Finally, in the last pAsuram, AzhwAr unable to think about anything else, completely becoming blissful on seeing periya perumAL, surrenders to him and periya perumAL also happily accepts him.
In his vAzhi thirunAmam also, it is said that "malarkkanNnNil vERonRum vaiyAthAn vAzhiyE" (மலர்க்கண்ணில் வேறொன்றும் வையாதான் வாழியே) meaning "AzhwAr does not behold in his beautiful eyes anyone/anything other than periya perumAL". 

During the last days of ALavandhAr, when periya nambi and thirukkOttiyUr nambi asks him for final instructions to remember forever, he says "Always focus on thiruppANAzhwAr who is standing at the lotus feet of periya perumAL".

In the next article we will see thirumangai AzhwAr's archAvathAra anubhavam.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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