srImadh varavaramunayE nama:
srI vAnAchala mahAmunayE nama:
emperumAnAr explains to vangi puratthu nambi the obstacles that are faced by srIvaishNavas in various aspects of day-to-day life. vangi puratthu nambi documents these instructions in a wonderful grantham with commentary named virOdhi parihArangaL (removal of obstacles). We are now viewing the English translation of this grantham with the help of the explanations given by srI U. vE. V V Ramanujam swamy. The whole series can be viewed at http://ponnadi.blogspot.in/p/virodhi-pariharangal.html.
34. sayana virOdhi (சயன விரோதி) - Obstacles in sleeping/lying down
sayanam means sleeping, resting and lying down. In srIvaishNava paribhAshai it is said as "kaN vaLargai" (கண் வளர்கை) similar to bathing is said as "nIrAttam" (நீராட்டம்). Quite a few obstacles are listed in this topic. Let us see them now.
- Sleeping at samsAris' (materially minded persons) homes is an obstacle. mumukshu means one who desires for mOksham. samsAris are the ones who are not desiring for mOksham. nammAzhwAr defines the life-cycle of a samsAri in thiruviruththam first pAsuram itself "poy ninRa gyAnamum pollA ozhukkum azhukkudambum" (பொய் நின்ற ஞானமும் பொல்லா ஒழுக்கும் அழுக்குடம்பும்) - Out of ignorance repeatedly performing sinful deeds and as a result being born with a material body repeatedly.
- Sleeping or lying down with them.
- Sleeping or lying down on their bed.
- Sleeping near their feet.
- Sleeping at a lower platform compared to samsAris (For example: them sleeping on a bed and us sleeping on the floor).
- Giving them space to sleep.
- Not sanctifying the place where they slept.
- Not sleeping at srIvaishNavas' homes. Translator's note: When given the opportunity one should sleep at a srIvaishNava's home considering that it is a great fortune.
- Lying down with them considering that they are equal to us. Translator's note: We should always consider other srIvaishNavas greater than us.
- Lying down on their sacred bed without respecting the same.
- Hesitating to lie down near their lotus feet.
- Lying down on a higher platform than them (For example: them sleeping on the floor and us sleeping on the bed).
- Lying down without providing appropriate space for them to sleep.
- Sanctifying their place after them sleeping at a place and waking up. Translator's note: It is common practice to purify/sanctify where we slept at night if we need to use that space in the day time. Usually, water is poured and the place is fully cleaned. But since we should consider other srIvaishNavas to be pure, we should not do such sanctifying where other srIvaishNavas slept.
- vihitha vishayam means enjoyment that is prescribed/allowed in sAsthram - even that is an obstacle. Here it indicates a srIvaishNava's wife (or husband for the srIvaishNavi). One cannot sleep/lie down with his wife thinking that this communion is allowed in sAsthram and is to be enjoyed. Translator's note: piLLai lOkAchAryar explains in srIvachana bhUshaNa dhivya sAsthram 101st sUthram "maRRaiyiruvarkkum nishidhdha vishaya nivruththiyE amaiyum; prapannanukku vihitha vishaya nivruththi thannERRam" (மற்றையிருவர்க்கும் நிஷித்த விஷய நிவ்ருத்தியே அமையும்; ப்ரபந்நனுக்கு விஹித விஷய நிவ்ருத்தி தன்னேற்றம்) - mAmunigaL explains this high principle in his usual beautiful way. For the ones who are attached to material benefits and for the ones who are following upAyAntharams (karma, gyAna, bhakthi yOgam) - being detached from others' wives is sufficient (i.e., hankering for others' wives is condemned in sAsthram generally). Others enjoy communion with their own wives to fulfill their dharmam (of bringing about procreation), but for prapannas such communion is considered as a hindrance for their svarUpam (nature), so even that should be avoided. It is further explained in other granthams such as vilakshaNa mOksha adhikAri nirNayam by eRumbi appA that our pUrvAchAryas even though were the most advanced prapannas, yet engaged in such communion for a few days with utmost compassion to procreate one or two srIvaishNava santhAnam (children) without any desire for personal enjoyment and subsequently fully gave up such acts also and fully spent their time in bhagavath vishayam only. This is a complicated subject matter and one needs to properly hear the principles from an AchArya.
- Considering that ones wife is also a srIvaishNavi, one should accompany her while sleeping without any desire for enjoyment. Not having such good thoughts is an obstacle.
- One should not sleep with thoughts that stimulate sensual pleasures.
- Not sleeping with remembrance of bhagavAn is an obstacle. Translator's note: While going to sleep one should meditate on pAsurams such as periyAzhwAr thirumozhi "uRagal uRagal" (உறகல் உறகல்), "panikkadalil paLLi kOLai" (பனிக்கடலில் பள்ளி கோளை), "aravaththamaLiyinOdum" (அரவத்தமளியினோடும்), etc. For pancha kAla parAyaNas, sleeping is supposed to be the communion of jIvAthmA and paramAthmA (the vaidhikas day is divided in to 5 parts and the last part is called yOgam) - remembering bhagavAn's names, forms, auspicious qualities, etc., before going to sleep is of great importance.
- Not sleeping with remembrance of ones own AchArya and other pUrvAchAryas is an obstacle. Translator's note: Similar to previous point, one should recite AchAryan thanians, vAzhi thirunAmams, etc., before going to sleep to remind oneself of the great favours done by AchArya in establishing the connection with bhagavAn.
- Sleeping with thoughts about our bodily activities is an obstacle.
- Not sleeping with thoughts about the soul and its nature is an obstacle. Translator's note: As discussed in previous activities, one should consider the soul to be a servitor of bhagavAn and bhAgavathas and thus have thoughts that are in line with such attitude.
- While sleeping/lying down, one should not stretch their feet towards the presence of bhagavAn, bhAgavathas and AchAryas.
- While sleeping/lying down, one should not stretch their feet towards the direction of temple, thiruvArAdhanam room in ones own homes and the mutt/thirumALigai (residence) of AchArya.
- One should not sleep when one is supposed to be engaged in AchArya kainkaryam.
- One should not sleep before the AchArya goes to sleep.
- One should not continue to sleep, when the AchArya tries to wake him/her up.
35. uththAna virOdhi (உத்தான விரோதி) - Obstacles in waking up/rising
uththAnam means rising from the bed. Let us see the obstacles in this topic.
- Rising casually/slowly when AchArya or srIvaishNavas awake us. Translator's note: When srIvaishNavas wake us up, we should feel sorry to have made them wake us up instead of being alert and awake in their presence. Thus we should wake up at once with great rush.
- Rising hurriedly when materially minded people awake us.
- Waking up without remembrance/recitations of bhagavAn's glories and AchAryan's glories is an obstacle. Learned people usually wake up reciting "hari: hari:". Reciting "harir harathi pApAni" slOkam and dhyava mahA mantham is good for oneself. Translator's note: In sAsthram it is said that one should wake up in the early morning hours of brahma muhurtham (approx 4am) and remember the glories of srIman nArAyaNan. It is commonly seen in elders that as part of waking up, guru paramparA manthram "asmadh gurubhyO nama: ... srIdharAya nama:", rahasya thrayam (thirumanthram, dhvayam, charama slOkam), AchAryan's thanian, "harir harathi pApAni" slOkam, "kausalya suprajA" slOkam, nadAthUr ammAL's paramArtha dhvaya slOkams, gajEndhra mOksha slOkams and parathvAdhi panchaka slOkams are recited.
- It is an obstacle to focus on ones own anusandhAnam such as reciting dhivya prabhandham, sthOthrams, ithihAsa/purANams or japam when AchAryan or srIvaishNavas are waiting for us. Translator's note: When srIvaishNavas wait for us or arrive at our home, we cannot make them wait due to our own anusandhAnam - we should complete it as quick as possible, attend them satisfactorily and then continue with our anusandhAnam.
- When the AchAryan rests by keeping his head on ones lap, one should not rise suddenly saying the leg is aching. We can recollect bhattar-nanjIyar incident. bhattar (AchAryan) rested by keeping his head on the lap of nanjIyar (sishyan) - nanjIyar stayed without moving for a long time and when bhattar woke up he greatly praises nanjIyar for his strong will in serving the AchAryan. We can also remember karNan's incident with parasurAma. When karNa was learning archery from parasurAma, once parasurAma rested by keeping his head on karNa's lap. At that time, a bee starts stinging karNa and he stays unmoved. This incident is found in mahAbhAratham.
- It is an improper conduct to rise and leave a srIvaishNava gOshti in the middle and is considered as an insult to the gOshti. Translator's note: In dhivya prabhandha gOshti or kAlakshEpa gOshti, it is always better to enter at the beginning and stay until the end. People entering and leaving in the middle is a distraction for others too.
- It is an obstacle to wake up srIvaishNavas by shouting at them. To wake up srIvaishNavas or to ask srIvaishNavas to move from one place to another, they should be humbly approached and requested submissively.
- It is an obstacle to simply wake up the AchArya. Translator's note: One should wake up before the AchAryan and wait for the AchArya to wake up. One cannot force the AchArya to wake up. We can recollect the incident in bhattar's life. It is shown in thiruppAvai 8th pAsuram 4000 padi vyAkyAnam of Ay jananyAchAryar that all the srIvaishNavas would wake up early, decorate themselves, go and wait at the doorsteps of bhattar and humbly wake him up. Since bhattar was the dear son of AzhwAn/ANdAL and the adopted son of srIranganAthan/srIranganAchiyAr and was a matchless scholar and the leader of the sampradhAyam, the sishyas were greatly admiring him and serving him during his time.
- Not waking up before the AchAryan wakes up is an obstacle. One should go to sleep after the AchArya sleeps comfortably and wake up before the AchArya wakes up and ensure all his needs are satisfied.
- Other sishyas of ones AchArya are called "sabrahmachAris" (class-mates). They should be treated with great respect as well. One should not yawn in front of them, snapping the hairs from the head, stretching in front of them such that our hands/feet touches them, etc. These are considered as offenses and should be avoided.
- These class-mates are to be respected. Before they offer praNAms, one should first say "adiyEn" and offer them praNAms (obeisances). Not doing that is an obstacle.
- One should have great respect towards AchAryan, AchArya pathni (his wife) and AchArya puthras (sons). As soon as waking up, they should be offered praNAms and served properly. Not doing that is an obstacle.