srimathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srimadh varavaramunayE nama:
sri vAnAchala mahAmunayE nama:
AzhwAr thirunagari thirumalai nallAn chakkaravarthi srI U.Ve. rAmakrishNa iyengar was a great ubhaya vEdhAntha scholar who lived amongst us in the last century. His expertise in thamizh and samskritham languages are unparallel to anyone else. In addition to his vAchika kainkaryams, where he has delivered many kAlakshEpams on the most in-depth principles of our sampradhAyam, he has also written vyAkyAnam for two divine prabhandhams of pUrvAchAryas. The first one is svarNa kunchikA which is a beautiful vyAkyAnam for bhattar's srI guNa rathna kOsham and amudha virunthu which is a detailed explanation for thiruvarangathu amudhanAr's rAmAnusa nURRanthAdhi which is called prapanna gAyathri. Both these works of this swamy bring out the essence of our sath sampradhAyam principles.
He has also written short articles in thamizh. adiyen came across one such article which was included in thiruvallikkENi manthra pushpam bhAshyam iyengar's sadhAbhishEka malar (souvenir). The chaste but very simple thamizh, the beautiful flow and ofcourse the most valuable content collectively makes it a great article to read and thoroughly enjoy the glories of our dear AchAryan kOyil selva maNavALa mAmunigaL. adiyen is attempting to share the same in English for the benefit of everyone. There is nothing comparable to reading the article in his own beautiful/chaste words, but atleast readers can appreciate the mood and content of the article by reading this translation.
This article beautifully explains the reason for the special glorification of nammAzhwAr, emperumAnAr and maNavALa mAmunigaL based on their relationship with thiruvAimozhi. This also brings out srIranganAthan's great attachment to maNavALa mAmunigaL and his showing of gratitude to his own beloved AchAryan - mAmunigaL.
Here is the link to original article: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0ByVemcKfGLucZURaNUFveWExcmM/edit.
With this introduction, let us proceed to the article now.
The one who gives the gross body is father. The one who gives true knowledge is AchAryan. AchAryan is more admirable than father. The body given by father is temporary. But the true knowledge given by AchAryan is permanent. Such AchAryan is also srIman nArAyaNan since he is the first AchAryan in our guru paramparai. He does not have any guru/AchAryan. Such emperumAn desired for a long time to have an AchAryan for himself. His desire was fulfilled when he became the sishyan of maNavALa mAmunigaL. The primordial guru became the sishya of mAmunigaL. One who is naturally omniscient is the primordial guru. If he himself desires to become the sishya of mAmunigaL, how can we comprehend the intellect of mAmunigaL?
Even though emperumAn had so many fathers (in other avathArams), as per his own words "pitharam rOchayAmAsa thadhA dhacharatham Nrupam" (பிதரம் ரோசயாமாஸ ததா தசரதம் ந்ருபம்), he himself (joyfully) choses to be the son of king dhasarathan. Similarly, even though emperumAn had many AchAryans like vasishtar, etc., he enjoys being the sishyan of mAmunigaL with great fervour, even if it is not suitable for the archAvathAra svarUpam to break the archA samAdhi, etc.
When vAmanan was born as the child of kAshyapar, he left his father at once to beg from mahAbali. dhasarathan's son (srI rAman) stayed with him and served his father for many days. Even during his gurukulam, he learns everything from vasishtar before the completion of 12 years of age. He disagrees with his AchAryan (vasishtar) in chithrakUta hill and rejects his guru's instruction of returning to ayOdhya. He argues and rejects his AchAryan's words. krishNan leant 64 arts in 64 days from sAndhIpani rishi. Just to establish the protocol of sishya staying in AchArya's house for learning purposes, he stayed in sAndhIpani rishi for a few days and left. Even though he stayed with his guru for some time, he did not have great desire to be there, rather he only showed his supremacy (by bringing his guru's son back to life). That is why sAndhIpani got the guru dhakshiNai which is a very super-humanly act.
But when srIranganAthan accepted mAmunigaL as AchAryan, he heard the glorious eedu mahA vyAkyAnam of thiruvAimozhi (which is the full explanation of dhvaya mahA manthram) from mAmunigaL, he heard it for the whole year with great devotion. As stated in nyAsa thilakam by vEdhAnthAchAryar "daththE rangI nijamapi padham dhEsika AdhEshakAnkshI", srIranganAthan fully makes his lotus feet (or paramapadham) available to others based on the AchAryan's orders and desire. Instead of behaving like krishNan who pretended to learn from sAndhIpani, srIranganAthan in archA form completely hides his Ishvarathvam and hears the kAlakshEpam with great devotion like the most eligible sishyan.
sAndhIpani's sishyan (krishNan) who was glowing with supremacy, brought back the son of his guru who died long ago. srIranganAthan who is the sishya of mAmunigaL, subdued his supremacy and offers his AchAryan a beautiful thanian which starts "srIsailEsa dhayApAthram" and is spell-bound and unable to offer anything more forgetting himself completely. This thanian is not as big as emperumAnAr's thanian which starts with "yOnithyam achyutha...". Omniscient srIranganAthan does not know how to write a big slOkam. He is completely melted (and taken over by emotions) through the supreme joy acquired by hearing the divine words and meanings of thiruvAimozhi from mAmunigaL.
vasishta and sAndhIpani were AchAryas for emperumAn during his vibhava avathArams. mAmunigaL exemplifies by being AchAryan of archAvathAra emperumAn. Even though there are AzhwArs and AchAryars who have been AchAryan of archAvathAra emperumAn, no one is as exemplified as mAmunigaL.
It is shown in AchArya hrudhayam (by azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr) that nammAzhwAr instructs to emperumAn in thiruvAimozhi (which is focussed on archAvathAra emperumAns) and how Ishvaran is the one who is the fully qualified sishyan to accept AzhwAr's instructions. ANdAL also performs to kaNNan emperumAn after waking him up saying "unakkE NAmAtcheyvOm" (உனக்கே நாமாட்செய்வோம்) meaning we will be subservient to you only. Still, there is no one like mAmunigaL who fully explains a particular grantham/prabhandham to emperumAn.
thirukkaNNamangai bhakthavathsalan emperumAn wanted to hear thirumangai AzhwAr's pAsurams (which are finely composed with music) from him. "Ninthanakkum kuRippAgil kaRkalAm kaviyin poruLthAnE" (நின்தனக்கும் குறிப்பாகில் கற்கலாம் கவியின் பொருள்தானே) meaning "If you are interested you can learn the meaning of my pAsurams" says AzhwAr and shows his interest in instructing emperumAn as well. periyavAchAn piLLai asks in his vyAkyAnam "Does emperumAn not like to learn from AzhwAr?". periyavAchAn piLLai's divine words are:
svatha: sarvajnYanAy iRumANthiruNthAl pOgAthu; ennOdE adhikarikkil aRiyalAm. oru vasishttanOdE sANdhIpaniyOdE thAzhaNinRu adhikarikkakkadava avanukku thirumanGgaiyAzhwArOdE adhikarikkai thAzhvO?
ஸ்வத: ஸர்வஜ்ஞனாய் இறுமாந்திருந்தால் போகாது; என்னோடே அதிகரிக்கில் அறியலாம். ஒரு வஸிஷ்ட்டனோடே ஸாந்தீபனியோடே தாழநின்று அதிகரிக்கக்கடவ அவனுக்கு திருமங்கையாழ்வாரோடே அதிகரிக்கை தாழ்வோ?
If you proudly think that you are omniscient (who knows everything on your own), you wont be able to learn from me; If you submissively want to learn, you will. For emperumAn who submissively learnt from rishis like vasishta, sAndhIpani (who gained the knowledge by their own personal efforts), his character does not diminish if he learns from AzhwAr (who was blessed with full knowledge by emperumAn himself).
Still, we dont know, if archAvathAra emperumAn studied under AzhwAr or not; we only know that he desired to learn. (Translator's note: Though NampiLLai is identified as an avathAram of kaliyan and periyavAchAn piLLai is identified as an avathAram of krishNan, to fulfill the desire of thirukkaNNamangai emperumAn - that still happened subsequently in vibhavam not in archAvathAram).
emperumAnAr is considered at the same level as AzhwArs. archAvathAra emperumAns have become sishya of emperumAnAr in many cases. thiruvEnkatamudaiyAn (srIvEnkatEsan) heard the essence of samskritha vEdhAntham from srIbhAshyakArar. This lecture is documented as vEdhArtha sangraham. We can still worship emperumAnAr in jnAna/upadhEsa mudhrai in thirumalai inside the temple. It is also well known that rAmAnujar presented sankham and chakram to srInivAsan and accepted him as his sishyan.
thirukkurungudi nambi heard the rahasya (dhvaya mahA manthram) meanings and became a rAmAnuja sishya and became to be famously known as srIvaishNava nambi.
vadavEnktavan (srInivAsan of northern part of dhrAvida dhEsam) heard the essence of samskritha vEdham briefly. thennarangan (srIranganAthan of southern part of dhrAvida dhEsam) heard the essence of dhrAvida vEdham in explicit detail to his fullest capacity from mAmunigaL who is famously known as eedu 36000 perukkar (one who explained the eedu vyAkyAnam in detail). We can understand that srIranganAthan conversed with yathinAthar (rAmAnujar) from many idhihyams (incidents) and gadhyam (his gadhya thrayam). He could have heard the thiruvAimozhi meanings from yathinAthar as well. But he did not do so. Why? Since eedu which is famously known as dhramidOpanishadh bhAshyam was not present then. He could have heard eedu mahA vyAkyAnam directly from nampiLLai. He did not do so. Because, he wanted to hear the divine meanings of eedu with detailed explanations from maNavALa mAmunigaL and relish that fully. Thus maNavALa mAmunigaL fulfilled srIranganAthan's long term unfulfilled desire.
We can understand that it is all emperumAn's divine plan by emperumAn to fulfill his own desire of hearing thiruvAimozhi meanings from the most complete AchAryan that srIbhAshyakArar appears in the north (of dhrAvida dhEsam) - srIperumbUthUr to nourish/develop/establish vEdhAntham and maNavALa mAmunigaL appears in the south (of dhrAvida dhEsam) - AzhwAr thirungari where AzhwAr appeared and presented the dhrAvida vEdhams, maNavALa mAmunigaL's AchAryan thiruvAimozhi piLLai instructs to focus on dhrAvida vEdham.
Thus, no other AchArya has this great glory of maNavALa mAmunigaL - that srIranganAthan himself heard the kAlakshEpam eedu mahAvyAkyAnam personally from him. Now, let us see, how srIranganAthan submitted the thanian during the eedu kAlapshEpa sARRumurai (final day).
It is considered that thiruvAimozhi is fully glorifying srIranganAthan. It is very difficult for us to understand the essence (inner meaning) of thiruvAimozhi. madhurakavi AzhwAr heard thiruvAimozhi directly from nammAzhwAr. Due to his intelligent nature, he understood the essence of thiruvAimozhi. He himself declares that AzhwAr blessed him the essence of thiruvAimozhi so it stays in his heart. His divine words are "vEdhaththin utporuL NiRkappAdi ennenYchuL NiRuththinAn" (வேதத்தின் உட்பொருள் நிற்கப்பாடி என்னெஞ்சுள் நிறுத்தினான்) meaning AzhwAr firmly established the essence of vEdham in my heart. The meaning of vEdham is emperumAn (bhagavAn) as said in "vEdhap poruLE en vEnGgatavA" (வேதப் பொருளே என் வேங்கடவா). The essence (inner meaning) is emperumAn's bhakthas, i.e., bhAgavathas. When madhurakavi AzhwAr identifies that nammAzhwAr established firmly that he should be subservient to bhAgavathas, here for him, nammAzhwAr is that bhAgavathar to who he became subservient. He deteremined there is no other master for him other than nammAzhwAr as he himself proclaims "dhEvu maRRaRiyEn" (தேவு மற்றறியேன்). It became a standard practice to complete the anusandhAnam (recital) of thiruvAimozhi with "AzhwAr thiruvadigaLE charaNam" (ஆழ்வார் திருவடிகளே சரணம்) meaning AzhwAr's lotus feet are our only refuge as ALavandhAr said "athra parathra chApi, Nithyam yadhIya charanNau charanNam madhIyam" (அத்ர பரத்ர சாபி, நித்யம் யதீய சரணௌ சரணம் மதீயம்) meaning be it in this world or the other, nAthamunigaL's lotus feet are always my only refuge. After madhurakavi AzhwAr, nAthamunigaL had a great vision of nammAzhwAr, learnt thiruAimozhi (dhramidOpanishadh) from nammAzhwAr directly, presented the same to the prapanna kulam and established the practice of completing thiruvAimozhi anusandhAnam with "AzhwAr thiruvadigaLE charaNam" as the standard.
emperumAnAr brought out the full glories of thiruvAimozhi by initiating the process of writing commentaries for thiruvAimozhi (by ordering piLLAn to write the first commentary) and conducting many kAlakshEpa gOshtis for thiruvAimozhi. Since elders of his time considered him as the thiruvadi (lotus feet) of nammAzhwAr and since AzhwAr's lotus feet is the focus of our life, they accepted srI rAmAnuja as the essence (inner meaning) of vEdham. Adding to the existing practice, they started reciting "AzhwAr thiruvadigaLE charaNam, emperumAnAr thiruvadigaLE charaNam" (ஆழ்வார் திருவடிகளே சரணம், எம்பெருமானார் திருவடிகளே சரணம்) at the end of all aruLicheyal anusandhAnam. vEdhAntha desikan identifies that for prapannas emperumAnAr is more important than emperumAn.
Nowadays, it is observed that, in addition to glorifying AzhwAr and emperumAnAr, we also recite "jIyar thiruvvadigaLE charaNam" (ஜீயர் திருவடிகளே சரணம்) meaning maNavALa mAmunigaL's lotus feet is our only refuge. We can understand that this practice is very dear to srIranganAthan since he first offered the beautiful thanian for mAmunigaL and ordered that whenever wherever aruLicheyal is recited, this divine thanian should be recited both in the beginning and at the end.
jIyar (simply without any prefix) here means maNavALa mAmunigaL. At times, to differentiate from vAnamAmalai jIyar, pattarpirAn jIyar, etc., he is also called as periya jIyar (big/great jIyar).
Amongst the 3 - AzhwAr, emperumAnAr and jIyar - the common principle is that they are bhAgavathas who are the essence of vEdham (both samskritha and dhrAvida vEdham). Note that, emperumAnAr is the lotus feet of nammAzhwAr and mAmunigaL is the re-incarnation of emperumAnAr - so all 3 are glorified at the same level. So, the elders during mAmunigaL's time, considering these 3 as the essence of vEdham, started the practice of reciting "AzhwAr thiruvadigaLE charaNam, emperumAnAr thiruvadigaLE charaNam, jIyar thiruvadigaLE charaNam" (ஆழ்வார் திருவடிகளே சரணம், எம்பெருமானார் திருவடிகளே சரணம், ஜீயர் திருவடிகளே சரணம்) at the end of aruLicheyal recitals.
It is because nammAzhwAr is the mother who gave birth to thiruvAimozhi - "InRa muthal thAy" (ஈன்ற முதல் தாய்), emperumAnAr is the mother who nourished thiruvAimozhi - "vaLarththa idhaththAy" (வளர்த்த இதத்தாய்) and mAmunigaL is the mother who explained the meanings of thiruvAimozhi in great detail - "Ittup perukkar" (ஈட்டுப் பெருக்கர்), the elders concluded to have only these 3 bhAgavathas as the essence and glorified them everytime at the end of aruLicheyal recital.
Further, bhagavAn, bhAgavathas and AchAryas are the purpose of vEdham.bhagavAn is the external meaning and bhAgavathas/AchAryas are inner meaning. When we consider AchAryan as the inner meaning, as per "gururEva param brahma" (குருரேவ பரம் ப்ரஹ்ம), AchAryan is both bhagavAn and naturally a bhAgavatha. Thus AchArya qualifies to be bhagavAn, bhAgavatha and ofcourse AchArya. Since, unlike other AchAryas, only these 3 are specifically considered as uththAraka AchAryas (ones who can uplift us from samsAram and place us in paramapadham - See http://ponnadi.blogspot.in/2012/12/charamopaya-nirnayam-uththaraka-acharyas.html and http://ponnadi.blogspot.in/p/charamopaya-nirnayam.html for full details), the elders who are great rasikas accepted these 3 as the essence of all vEdham.
It is also in practice to recite them together as in "AzhwAr emperumAnAr jIyar thiruvadigaLE charaNam" (ஆழ்வார் எம்பெருமானார் ஜீயர் திருவடிகளே சரணம்). For all 3 of them, it is to be understood and glorified that their birth place is AzhwAr thirunagari. emperumAnAr (bhavishyadhAchAryar) is the object of "poliga poliga poliga ... kaliyum kedum kanNdu konNmin" (பொலிக பொலிக பொலிக ... கலியும் கெடும் கண்டு கொண்மின்) which was revealed by nammAzhwAr in thiruvAimozhi 5.2.1. Even before nammAzhwAr blessed madhurakavi AzhwAr with his own archA vigraham, he himself blessed madhurakavi AzhwAr with the bhavaishyadhAchAryan vigraham and that form of emperumAnAr was worshipped by madhurakavi AzhwAr himself. Subsequently mAmunigaL worshipped this bhavishyadhAchAryan vigraham in a separate temple. We can even worship him today. emperumAnAr appeared as bhavishyadhAchAryan in AzhwAr thirungari (which has the sambandham of emperumAn, AzhwAr and AchAryan) 4000 years before his appearance in srIperumbUthUr. (Translator's note: It is well known that nammAzhwAr and mAmunigaL were born in AzhwAr thirunagari).
srIranganAthan who appears right in the beginning of thiruvAimozhi is the external meaning. The ultimate meaning of thiruvAimozhi is the inner meaning that is kOil maNavALa mAmunigaL. srIranganAthan's ulagaLantha ponnadi (the golden feet that measured the universe) is the essence of external meaning and mAmunigaL's ponnadiyAm sengamalam (golden lotus feet) is the essence of inner meaning. After hearing mAmunigaL's beautiful explanation of both the essences of external and inner meanings, srIranganAthan wonders "How can this be presented simpler than this?" and appreciates AzhwAr's great exposition of the language and unable to offer suitable gratitude, simply recites srIsailEsa dhayApAthram thanian (which is jewel among manthrams) during the sARRumuRai. This is indicated by eRumbi appA in his varavaramuni sathakam (63) as follows:
AthmA NAthmabramithivirahAth pathyurathyaNthadhUra:
gOrE thApathridhayaguharE kUrnNamANOjaNOyam
pAdhachchAyAm varavaramuNE! prApithOyathprasAdhAth
thasmai dhEyam thadhihakimiva srINidhEr varththathE thE
ஆத்மா நாத்மப்ரமிதிவிரஹாத் பத்யுரத்யந்ததூர:
கோரே தாபத்ரிதயகுஹரே கூர்ணமாநோஜநோயம்
பாதச்சாயாம் வரவரமுநே! ப்ராபிதோயத்ப்ரஸாதாத்
தஸ்மை தேயம் ததிஹகிமிவ ஸ்ரீநிதேர் வர்த்ததே தே
What is the suitable tribute/gratitude for maNavALa mAmunigaL who gave the knowledge to samsAris (who were keeping themselves distant from bhagavAn since they did not know the basic difference between body and soul, and who were suffering in this deep pit of samsAram which is full of 3 kinds of thApams/difficulties) to surrender unto the cool shadow of srIranganAthan's lotus feet? Even srIranganAthan himself cannot repay you for your merciful deeds. This means erumbi appA is saying that emperumAn can do nothing more than offering a thanian for bringing him under the lotus feet of srIranganAthan as he is overwhelmed with emotions for his AchAryan.
In this slOkam, by the phrase "pAdha chAyA", pAdham (thiruvadi - lotus feet) is the upAyam (process) and chAyA (nizhal - shadow) is the upEyam (goal). Thus it is shown that srIranganAthan's lotus feet is the upAyam and the cool shadow which removes all our pains (thus giving comfort) and thus it is the upEyam as well. First this is explained as the external meaning (bhagavath sEshathvam - being subservient to bhagavAn) of thiruvAimozhi. The same "pAdha chAyA" shows the ultimate inner meaning (bhAgavatha sEshathvam - being subservient to bhAgavathas/AchAryas) of thiruvAimozhi as well. Learned elders have established this to be pointing to maNavALa mAmunigaL who is the epitome/pinnacle of the ultimate/inner meaning. As stated in "vishnNu: chEshI thadhIya: chubhagunNaNilayO vigraha: srIchatAri:; srImAN rAmANujArya: padhakamalayugam bAthi ramayam thadhIyam" (விஷ்ணு: சேஷீ ததீய: சுபகுணநிலயோ விக்ரஹ: ஸ்ரீசடாரி:; ஸ்ரீமாந் ராமாநுஜார்ய: பதகமலயுகம் பாதி ரமயம் ததீயம்), as nammAzhwAr is shown as most auspicious form of bhagavAn and srI rAmAnujar is shown as the lotus feet of nammAzhwAr, srI rAmAnujar is considered as the lotus feet of srIranganAthan himself. As mAmunigaL shown unflinching faith and utter dependence on srI rAmAnuja, yathIndhra pravaNar (mAmunigaL who is very attached to yathIndra/rAmAnujar) is just like the cool shadow of srI rAmAnujar. Thus, srIranganAthan compiles and presents this beautiful thanian that starts with "srIsailEsa dhayApAthram" to
- establish the glories of mAmunigaL who is able to transform the ones who dont even have the basic knowledge to differentiate between body and soul to be fully surrendered unto mAmunigaL and thus himself making them situated in the highest essence of sAsthram which is bhAgavatha pArathanthriyam (being fully dependent on bhAgavathas).
- show his gratitude to mAmunigaL (for being his own AchAryan, delivering the kAlapshEpams on eedu mahAvyAkyAnam, etc).
Even though maNavALa mAmunigaL did not explicitly reveal himself (in public) as the object of the essence of sAsthram, his sishyas and the ones who studied under him fully understood this. They preserved that most confidential information within themselves. The most merciful srIranganAthan (namperumAL), considering that these divine glories of mAmunigaL should be known to everyone who did not attend the kAlakshEpa gOshti and for the future generations, he himself submits this beautiful thanian of "srIsailEsa dhayApAthram" and also ordains/commands that this thanian is recited both at the beginning and at the end of dhrAvida vEdham, purely for the uplifitment of all of us.
As a result of that divine order of srIranganAthan, even today, we complete all aruLicheyal (and aruLicheyal related granthams like vyAkyAnams, rahasya granthams, etc) by saying "jIyar thiruvadigaLE charaNam" (ஜீயர் திருவடிகளே சரணம்).
Thus ends the beautiful article of mahA vidhwAn AzhwAr thirunagari thirumalai nallAn chakkaravarthi srI U.Ve. rAmakrishNa iyengAr swamy.
adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan
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