srimathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srimadh varavaramunayE nama:
sri vAnAchala mahAmunayE nama:
So far, we have enjoyed how different AzhwArs enjoyed archAvathAra emperumAns. Please see http://ponnadi.blogspot.in/p/archavathara-anubhavam.html for the full list.
We will now start seeing how our pUrvAchAryas enjoyed archAvathAra emperumAns.
We have seen from the beginning that emperumAn is full of divine qualities. emperumAn's divine qualities can be divided into 2 categories - parathvam (supremacy) and saulabhyam (simplicity, easy accessibility).
vEdhAntham establishes emperumAn's parathvam clearly. It is said in the chAndhOgya upanishadh that "kAraNam thu dhyEya:" which means the object of our worship/meditation should be the root cause of everything. In the beginning of brahma sUthram, vEdha vyAsa maharishi also establishes that "athAthO brahma jijnAsa" (now that karma kANdam of vEdham is understood, one should understand about brahmam) and "janmAdhy asya yatha:" (that brahmam is the root cause of everything). In the thaithriya upanishadh, it is said that "yatho vA imAni bhuthAni jAyante; yEna jathAni jIvanthi; yat prayanthyabhisamvisanthi; thadh vijijnAsasva; thath brahma" which means "brahmam is that from which everything is created, everything is sustained and finally everything is consumed". In nArAyaNa upanishadh, it is established that "nArAyANAth brahmA jAyathE, nArAyaNath rudhrO jAyathE, etc" - sriman nArAyaNan created brahmA, shiva, air, directions, etc and his all pervasive nature (omni presence) is wonderfully established. In aruLicheyal also, AzhwArs establish emperumAn's parathvam in several places. nammAzhwAr says "oththAr mikkArai ilaiyAya mAmAyA" (ஒத்தார் மிக்காரை இலையாய மாமாயா) - one who does not have anyone equal or higher. He also says "onRum dhEvum ulagum uyirum maRRum" (ஒன்றும் தேவும் உலகும் உயிரும் மற்றும்) - on whom all the chEthanams and achEthanams go and submerge during praLayam. piLLai perumAL iyengAr who was a great thamizh poet and a great srivaishnava who lived in srirangam says "One person (thrivikraman emperumAn) is lifting his lotus foot, another person (brahmA) is washing that foot with his hands and yet another person (rudhran) is holding that sri pAdha thIrtham in his head with reverence. Now, you decide who is supreme". He goes one step beyond and says that emperumAn's supremacy can be established through prathyaksha pramANam (what is visible to our eyes, etc) itself. He says "brahmA who is the first being in the material creation appearing from emperumAn's navel is easily seen in archAvathAra emperumAn". Thus emperumAn's parathvam is established.
emperumAn's saulabhyam is fully seen in archAvathAram and this is fully shown to us by AzhwArs through their dhivya prabhandhams. AzhwArs have always engaged themselves in meditating on archAvathAra emperumAn and glorifying him. Even though he is supreme, he manifests the pinnacle of his saulabhyam in archAvathAram by becoming fully subservient to his devotees. He takes the form that is desired by his adiyArs. He keeps the name that is desired by his adiyArs. And he fully depends on them for his bathing, dressing, eating and all other activities such as thiruvArAdhanam, purappAdu (procession), uthsavams (celebrations), etc. parAsara bhattar explains this quality of emperumAn as "archaka parAdhIna: akilAthma sthithi:" - he becomes fully subservient to the one who worships him and depends on that worshipper for sustaining himself.
In archAvathAram, emperumAn maintains archA samAdhi (not showing any visible interactions with anyone). But there have been great mahAns over the past in charithram (history), who were so advanced in their nishtai with great attachment towards emperumAn which made emperumAn break his archA samAdhi and have regular interactions with them. One such great personality is thirukkachi nambi who is also known as "sri kAnchi pUrNar". He was one of the prime disciples of ALavandhAr and he served dhEva perumAL (varadharAjan emperumAn of hasthigiri/kAnchipuram) by performing thriuvAlavattam (hand held fan) kainkaryam to emperumAn.
mAmunigaL who is a mangaLAsAsana nishtar, performed mangaLAsAsanam to dhEva perumAL through his "dhEvaraj mangalam". In the 11th slOkam he says:
srI kAnchIpUrNa mishrENa prIthyA sarvAbhibhAshiNE
athItha archA vyavasthAya hasthyadhrIshAya mangalam
mangaLAsAsanam to dhEva perumAL who resides in hasthigiri and who out of great love towards thirukkachi nambi, broke his archA samAdhi and regularly had conversations with him.
From thirukkachi nambi's thanian it is very clear that
- thirukkachi nambi and dhEva perumAL had a unique and great relationship that emperumAn was having great attachment to him and also constant interactions with him.
- emperumAnAr had great abhimAnam for him. emperumAnAr considered thirukkachi nambi as his AchArya and in fact wanted to accept samAshrayaNam from him. But thirukkachi nambi cited varNAshram dharmam and refused to perform samAshrayaNam for emperumAnAr.
It is also well known that he got the "6 vArthaigaL" (six words) from dhEva perumAL as requested by emperumAnAr to establish important meanings of our sath sampradhAyam. After ALavandhAr attaining paramapadham, emperumAnAr was thinking about who to accept as his AchAryan. Wanting to get his thoughts confirmed by dhEva perumAL, emperumAnAr approached thirukkachi nambi who was a confidential adiyAr of dhEva perumAL and asked him to find out emperumAn's thiruvuLLam (thoughts). When thirukkachi nambi informs dhEva perumAL during his kainkaryam that emperumAnAr has some doubts in his mind, dhEva perumAL gives him the following 6 instructions to be passed on to emperumAnAr. We have to note that emperumAnAr was thinking in his mind about AchAryan matter only, but dhEva perumAL out of his divine plan wants to establish certain principles that too directly through thirukkachi nambi who is his confidential devotee.
Let us quickly see the 6 words that were blessed by emperumAn.
- ahamEva param thathvam - I am the supreme entity.
- dharshanam bhEdham Eva cha - sidhantham is bhedham, that emperumAn and jIvAthmAs are different, though emperumAn is the sarIri (soul) and all the chEthanams and achEthanams are sarIram (body). Just like we understand the jIvAthmA is different from the dhEham, paramAthmA is also different from jIvAthmA but there is an eternal relationship which ties paramAthmA, jIvAthmAs and achEthanams together.
- upAyEshu prApthisyAt - sharaNAgathi is the upAyam (means) to attain me.
- anthima smruthi varjanam - No need to think about me in the last moments. For prapannnas, I will think about them during their last moments.
- dhEvAvasAnE mukthisyAt - For prapannas, at the end of this life they will get mOksham (unlike bhakthi yOga nishtars who will get mOksham after exhausting the prArabhdha karmA).
- pUrNAchAryam samAshraya: - Accept mahApUrNar (periya nambi) as AchAryan. This last point is the only direct instruction to emperumAnAr while all other points are establishing the basic tenets of our sampradhAyam.
thirukkAchi nambi has written a beautiful sthOthra prabhandham named "dhEvarAja ashtakam".
These eight slOkams are his beautiful outpourings towards dhEva perumAL and let us enjoy a little glimpse from that prabhandham.
- In the first slOkam, nambi performs mangaLAsAsanam and surrenders to 5 different manifestations of emperumAn. He glorifies emperumAn as "hasthisailEsha" (archAvathAram), "srIman" (param), "ambhuja lOchana" (vibhavam), "achyutha" (antharyAmi) and "praNathArthihara" (vyUham - kshIrAbdhi).
- In the second slOkam, he says emperumAn is the one who protects all beings, one who is full of mercy and one who is the proprietor of both nithya vibhUthi and leelA vibhUthi and asks emperumAn to bless him as well.
- In the third slOkam, he asks emperumAn to protect him because he is doing the acts that are prohibited in sAsthram and also not doing the acts which are mandated in sAsthram. He is also saying that he is full of sins and he requests for emperumAn's protection. Note: In our pUrvAchAryas works, we will observe a lot of naichyAnusandhAnam (where they declare themselves to be very lowly) - we must understand that they themselves are very pure and they are showing us how to think of ourselves when we go to emperumAn.
- In the next 5 slOkams, thirukkachi nambi shows the cruel nature of the samsAram and asks for protection from emperumAn.
- samsAram is like a dense forest, it is full of diseases which are like tigers and vishayams (sound, touch, vision, taste and smell) are like dense bushes and attachment towards these are like many trees in the forest.
- Wife (and husband), children, land, etc are mirages in a desert and they take away the analytical ability of the mind to distinguish between what is allowed in sAsthram and what is not.
- We are incapable in this samsAram to do many things. But still run around trying to do them, have great attachment towards these and end up with distress and sorrows always.
- Oh dhEvarAja who is full of mercy! king of the dhEvas! the lord of the worlds! protect me who is suffering in this samsAram.
- Please protect me by your merciful glances, and drench me in your mercy which is as cool as soft breeze and as likeable as the waves of an ocean.
It was thirukkachi nambi's great attachment which showed us that archAvathAra empeumAn has great attachment towards his adiyArs and will do anything for them. Let us meditate on his divine lotus feet and pray for the same attachment towards emperumAn.
In the next article we will see emperumAnAr's archAvathAra anubhavam.
adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan
sources: 6000 padi guru paramparA prabhAvam, kAnchi PBA swamy vyAkyAnams for dhEvarja ashtakam and dhEvaraja mangalam
archived in http://ponnadi.blogspot.in, also visit http://guruparamparai.wordpress.com.