anthimOpAya nishtai - 15 - AchArya/bhAgavatha prasAdham and srIpAdha thIrtham

srI:
srImathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srImadh varavaramunayE nama:
srI vAnAchala mahAmunayE nama:

In the previous article (http://ponnadi.blogspot.in/2013/06/anthimopaya-nishtai-14.html), we observed the ill effects of bhAgavatha apachAram. We will continue with the section which explains how to deal with and serve AchAryas and srIvaishNavas in general - specifically the glories of AchArya/bhAgavatha prasAdham (food remnants) and srIpAdha thIrtham (holy water that cleansed their lotus feet).

yOsau manthravaram prAdhAth samsArOchchEdha sAdhanam
yadhi chEthguruvaryasya thasya uchchishtam supAvanam

யோஸௌ மந்த்ரவரம் ப்ராதாத் ஸம்ஸாரோச்சேத ஸாதநம்
யதி சேத்குருவர்யஸ்ய தஸ்ய உச்சிஷ்டம் ஸுபாவநம்

Simple translation: If the AchArya who graces one with Thirumantram in order to uplift him/her from samsAram grants the remnants of his partaken food, it must be accepted for it is pure.

gurOryasya yathOchchishtam bhOjyam thathputhrasishyayO:

குரோர்யஸ்ய யதோச்சிஷ்டம் போஜ்யம் தத்புத்ரஸிஷ்யயோ:

Simple translation: It is apt for a sishya and sons to accept the remnants of the guru.

gurOr uchchishtam bhunjItha

குரோர் உச்சிஷ்டம் புஞ்ஜீத

Simple translation: One must accept the remnants of the AchArya.

Per the above pramANams and previously quoted many pramANams, for the sishyas (who are situated in ultimate AchArya nishtai and) who are fully faithful that their AchAryan is an avathAram of sarvEsvaran himself, the prasAdham (food) remnants of such AchAryan and his srIpAdha thIrtham (prakshAlya charaNau pAthrE praNipathyOpayujya cha; nithyam vidhivadhargyAthyair AvthruthObyarchchayEth gurum - ப்ரக்ஷால்ய சரணௌ பாத்ரே ப்ரணிபத்யோபயுஜ்ய ச; நித்யம் விதிவதர்க்யாத்யைர் ஆவ்த்ருதோப்யர்ச்சயேத் குரும் - The AchArya's lotus feet must be washed and one must bow down in front of them.  His lotus feet must be worshipped everyday by offering arghyam etc;.) are considered as most purifying and that which sustains/pleases him like mother's milk for a breast-feeding child. This will be the sishya's most enjoyable aspect throughout his life. 

Further pramANams for sishya's attitude towards AchArya.

 vaduga nambi accepting srIpAdha thIrtham of srI rAmAnuja thus becoming totally pure

gangAsEthusarasvathyA: prayAgAn naimisAdhapi
pAvanam vishNubhakthAnAm pAdhaprakshAlanOdhakam

கங்காஸேதுஸரஸ்வத்யா: ப்ரயாகாந் நைமிசாதபி
பாவநம் விஷ்ணுபக்தாநாம் பாதப்ரக்ஷாலநோதகம்

Simple translation: The srIpAdha thIrtham of a devotee of vishNu, gangA, sEthu samudhram, sarasvathi, prayAg, naimisAraNyam are all very pure (and capable of purifying others)


A crooked minded merchant becomes purified by accepting srIpAdha thIrtham of srI rAmAnuja

yath thathsamasthapApAnAm prAyaschiththam manIshibi:
nirNItham bhagavadhbhakthapAdhOdhaka nishEvaNam

யத் தத்ஸமஸ்தபாபாநாம் ப்ராயச்சித்தம் மநீஷிபி:
நிர்ணீதம் பகவத்பக்தபாதோதக நிஷேவணம்

Simple translation: Learned men have concluded that consuming the srIpAdha thIrtham of the devotees of bhagavAn is the atonement for all types of sins.

 villagers being purified by mudhaliyANdAn's srIpAdha thIrtham

thisra: kOtyarthdhakOtI cha thIrththAni bhuvanathrayE
vaishNavAngri jalAth puNyAth kOti bhAgEna nO sama:

திஸ்ர: கோட்யர்த்தகோடீ ச தீர்த்தாநி புவநத்ரயே
வைஷ்ணவாங்க்ரி ஜலாத் புண்யாத் கோடி பாகேந நோ ஸம:

Simple translation: Even after considering all the holy rivers in the 3 worlds (upper, middle, lower layers of a universe), there is nothing even slightly comparable to the srIpAdha thIrtham of a vaishNava.

prAyaschiththam idham guhyam mahApAthakinAmapi
vaishNavAngri jalam subram bhakthyA samprApyathE yadhi

ப்ராயச்சித்தம் இதம் குஹ்யம் மஹாபாதகிநாமபி
வைஷ்ணவாங்க்ரி ஜலம் சுப்ரம் பக்த்யா ஸம்ப்ராப்யதே யதி

Simple translation: The most confidential atonement for even the most abominable sinners is to accept the blemishless srIpAdha thIrtham of a devotee of vishNu.

nAradhasyAthithE: pAdhau sarvAsAm mandhirE svayam
krushNa prakshAlya pANibhyAm papau pAdhOdhagam munE:

நாரதஸ்யாதிதே: பாதௌ ஸர்வாஸாம் மந்திரே ஸ்வயம்
க்ருஷ்ண ப்ரக்ஷால்ய பாணிப்யாம் பபௌ பாதோதகம் முநே:

Simple translation: He (krishNa) himself washed the feet of sages like nAradha and athithi, and consumed the same.

perumAL thirumozhi 2.3

thoNdarchEvadich  chezhum chERu en chennikkaNivanE

தொண்டர்சேவடிச்  செழும் சேறு என் சென்னிக்கணிவனே

Simple translation: Let the mud that was stomped by the lotus feet of the devotees decorate my head.

perumAL thirumozhi 2.2

thoNdaradippodi Ada nAm peRil gangai nIr kudainthAdum vEtkai ennAvathE

தொண்டரடிப்பொடி ஆட நாம் பெறில் கங்கை நீர் குடைந்தாடும் வேட்கை என்னாவதே

Simple translation: After having the relationship with the lotus feet of srIvaishNavas who are purest due to  their constant remembrance of srIman nArAyaNan, going to gangA to take a holy dip does not have any attraction.

thath pAdhAmbvadhUlam thIrththam thadhuchchishtam supAvanam
thadhukthimAthram manthrAgryam thathsprushtam akilam suchi

தத் பாதாம்ப்வதூலம் தீர்த்தம் ததுச்சிஷ்டம் ஸுபாவநம்
ததுக்திமாத்ரம் மந்த்ராக்ர்யம் தத்ஸ்ப்ருஷ்டம் அகிலம் ஸுசி

Simple translation:  The water that cleansed his lotus feet is holy; his remnants are pure; words spoken by him make up the best manthram; all that is touched by him are clean (defectless)..

kOtijanmArjitham pApam gyAnathOgyAnatha: krutha:
sathya: pradhahyathE nruNAm vaishNava uchchishta bhOjanAth

கோடிஜந்மார்ஜிதம் பாபம் ஜ்ஞாநதோக்ஜ்ஞாநத: க்ருத:
ஸத்ய: ப்ரதஹ்யதே ந்ருணாம் வைஷ்ணவ உச்சிஷ்ட போஜநாத்

Simple translation: Sins accumulated over many many births arising out of intentional/unintentional acts are truly burnt down by simply consuming the food remnants of a vaishNava.

thirumAlai 41

pOnagam cheytha chEtam tharuvarEl punidhamanRE

போனகம் செய்த சேடம் தருவரேல் புனிதமன்றே

If only the most saintly devotees of bhagavAn bless us with their most purifying remnants! (i.e., its very difficult to acquire)

Thus, from the above pramANams and more, we understand that we should long for and consume the most purifying food remnants and srI pAdha thIrtham of the great bhAgavathas who are most purely situated in sathva guNam, who are most knowledgable, most devoted and most detached from worldkly matters and are as good as our own AchAryas. While consuming their prasAdham and srIpAdha thIrtham, it must be accepted with great love instead of just accepting it as instructed in sAsthram because this is the ultimate position of the jIvAthmA's servitude towards srIvaishNavas and it is that which sustains the jIvAthmA.

This is explained further. Apasthamba rishi instructed "sarIramEva mAthApitharaujanayatha:" (சரீரமேவ மாதாபிதரௌஜநயத: - the body is given by the mother and father) and "pithu: jyEshtasya brAthuruchchishtam bhOkthavyam" (பிது: ஜ்யேஷ்டஸ்ய ப்ராதுருச்சிஷ்டம் போக்தவ்யம் - One must accept the food remnants of ones father and elder brothers) saying that for sishyas/sons the food remnants of father is to be consumed. The same rishi also instructed that "sa hi vidhyAthastham janayathi; thachchrEshtam janma:" (ஸ ஹி வித்யாதஸ்தம் ஜநயதி; தச்ச்ரேஷ்டம் ஜந்ம: - He indeed gives birth to knowledge.  This is the greater birth.) meaning since the AchAryan is the bestower of true knowledge he is also considered as a special (spiritual) father. If it is said that the bodily father's remnants should be accepted, it is obvious that the spiritual father's (great bhAgavathas who are as good as ones own AchAryan) remnants and srIpAdha thIrtham are to be accepted and consumed. Here sadhAchArya thulyar (the bhAgavathas who are considered at par with ones own AchAryan) means as said in "AchAryavadh dhaivavan mAthruvath pithruvath" (ஆசார்யவத் தைவவந் மாத்ருவத் பித்ருவத் - srIvaishNavas are like AchArya, bhagavAn, mother, father), srIvaishNavas are to be treated at par with ones own AchAryan.
Further, as per the divine words of piLLai lOkAchAryar in srIvachana bhUshaNam they are pure bhAgavathas who are explained as follows:

sUthram 259

anukUlarAgirAr gyAnabhakthivairAgyangaL ittu mARinAppOlE vadivilE thodai koLLalAmpadiyirukkum paramArththar

அநுகூலராகிரார் ஜ்ஞாநபக்திவைராக்யங்கள் இட்டு மாறினாப்போலே வடிவிலே தொடை கொள்ளலாம்படியிருக்கும் பரமார்த்தர்

Simple translation: The favourable persons are the ones who are filled with abundance of gyAnam (true knowledge), bhakthi (devotion), vairAgyam (detachment from materialistic aspirations) and are totally longing to ascend to paramapadham. As soon as they are seen, everyone will be inspired to have their association - they will have so much attachment towards bhagavAn which can be observed by the over-flowing emotions all the time.

sUthram 223

athAvathu, AchAryathulyar enRum samsArigaLilum, thannilum, Isvaranilum adhikar enRum ninaikkai

அதாவது, ஆசார்யதுல்யர் என்றும் ஸம்ஸாரிகளிலும், தன்னிலும், ஈஸ்வரனிலும் அதிகர் என்றும் நினைக்கை

That is, srIvaishNavas are at par with AchAryan, and is more respectable than the samsAris (the materialistic people), self and bhagavAn himself.

sUthram 451

...anukUlar AchArya parathanthrar...

...அநுகூலர் ஆசார்ய பரதந்த்ரர்...

For a sishya who is fully faithful towards his AchArya, his most favourable persons are the ones who are totally dependent on their AchArya.

thiruvarangathu amudhanAr also identifies the same principle in rAmAnusa nURRanthAdhi pAsurams.

pAsuram 85

...irAmAnusanaith thozhum periyOr pAdhamallAl enRan Aruyirkku yAdhonRum paRRillaiyE

...இராமானுசனைத் தொழும் பெரியோர் பாதமல்லால் என்றன் ஆருயிர்க்கு யாதொன்றும் பற்றில்லையே

The only refuge for my heart is the lotus feet of the great bhAgavathas who worship srI rAmAnuja - nothing else.

pAsuram 105

...irAmAnusanaith thozhum periyOr ezhunthiraiththAdum idam adiyEnukkiruppidamE

...இராமானுசனைத் தொழும் பெரியோர் எழுந்திரைத்தாடும் இடம் அடியேனுக்கிருப்பிடமே

My place of residence is where the great bhAgavathas who worship srI rAmAnuja sing and dance his glories.

So, bhAgavathas are the ones who are devoid of any love for materialistic aspirations, are subservient to the ones who are surrendered to their AchAryas and constantly engage in serving such AchArya nishtars.

This principle is explained with absolute clarity with adequate pramANams by our AchAryas who are all-knowing. Others have also explained the same. This can be seen in as explained by piLLai amudhanAr in rAmAnusa nURRanthAdhi:

srI rAmAnuja surrounded by many parama sAthvikas

pAsuram 80

nallAr paravum irAmAnusan thiru nAmam 
namba vallAr thiRaththai maRavAthavargaL evar
avarkkE ellA vitaththilum enRum eppOthilum eththozhumbum
chollAl manaththAl karumaththinAl cheyvan chOrvinRiyE

நல்லார் பரவும் இராமானுசன் திரு நாமம் 
நம்ப வல்லார் திறத்தை மறவாதவர்கள் யவர்
அவர்க்கே எல்லாவிடத்திலும் என்றும் எப்போதிலும் எத்தொழும்பும்
சொல்லால் மனத்தால் கருமத்தினால் செய்வன் சோர்வின்றியே

Simple translation: I will serve the bhAgavathas who are parama sAthvikas and are fully surrendered to srI rAmAnuja and are constantly remembering his divine name. For them, I will serve at all places, at all times, in all ways eternally through my words, minds and deeds without any laziness.

pAsuram 107

inbuRRa sIlaththirAmAnusa, enRum evvitaththum
enbuRRa nOyudal thORum piRanthiRanthu 
eNNariya thunbuRRu vIyinum solluvathonRuNdu 
un thoNdarkatkE anbuRRirukkum padi, ennai Akki angAtpaduththE

இன்புற்ற சீலத்திராமானுச, என்றும் எவ்விடத்தும்
என்புற்ற நோயுடல் தோறும் பிறந்திறந்து
எண்ணரிய துன்புற்று வீயினும் சொல்லுவதொன்றுண்டு
உன் தொண்டர்கட்கே அன்புற்றிருக்கும் படி, என்னை ஆக்கி அங்காட்படுத்தே

Simple translation:  dear rAmAnuja! You are the most merciful who have arrived in my heart yourself and consider that as a great benediction even though I am most lowly. I have a request for you. You ensure that I am totally surrendered to your dear servants even If I am born in many lowly births, with whatever diseases and wherever I am born in whatever state.

When kUrathAzhwAn's dear son parAsara bhattar was lecturing bhagavadh vishayam (thiruvAimozhi kAlakshEpam) in front of a big assembly, AzhwAn's wife ANdAL (bhattar's mother) arrives there, bows in front of his son and accepts srIpAdha thIrtham. Seeing this, one srIvaishNava in the gOshti says "How can a mother bow down in front of her own son and accept srIpAdha thIrtham from him?" and ANdAL responds to him and the assembly "Dear sons! If some one says 'we can accept thIrtham and prasAdham of bhagavAn who is established by others for others, but how can I accept the same from emperumAn who was installed by me?', such persons are dry hearted and have not acquired true knowledge - isnt it?". This incident is explained by azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr in thiruppAvai vyAkyAnam. Why did ANdAL accept thIrtham from her own son? Because it is said that:
  • na parIkshya vayO vandhyA: nArAyaNaparAyaNA: (ந பரீக்ஷ்ய வயோ வந்த்யா: நாராயணபராயணா:) - A devotee of srIman nArAyaNa must not be qualified based on his age, capabilities and
  • perumAL thirumozhi - 7.6 - ...vaNNach chenchiRu kaiviralanaiththum vAri vAykkoNda adisilin michchal uNNap peRRilEn O koduvinaiyEn... (...வண்ணச் செஞ்சிறு கைவிரலனைத்தும் வாரி வாய்க்கொண்ட அடிசிலின் மிச்சல் உண்ணப் பெற்றிலேன் ஓ கொடுவினையேன்...) - kulasEkara AzhwAr singing in dhEvaki bhAvam - I was so unfortunate that I could not eat the morsels that are falling from krishNan's mouth after him eating a handful of rice which were picked up by his beautiful reddish fingers

Translator's note: Thus, we have seen the proper etiquette of dealing with AchAryas and srIvaishNavas and the glories of AchArya/bhAgavatha prasAdham and srIpAdha thIrtham. In the next section we will see in detail about greatness of srIvaishNavas irrespective of their birth.

Thanks to srI ranganAthan swamy for helping out in translating some of the samskritha pramANams.

To be continued...

Full series can be viewed at: http://ponnadi.blogspot.in/p/anthimopaya-nishtai.html.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

archived in http://ponnadi.blogspot.in, also visit http://guruparamparai.wordpress.com.

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