srImathE rAmAnujAya 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.
Please see the previous article at http://ponnadi.blogspot.in/2014/07/virodhi-pariharangal-31.html.
66. dharsana virOdhi (தர்சந விரோதி ) - Obstacles in our philosophical understanding
dharsanam means philosophical aspect of a particular matham (religion). Our matham is called srIvaishNava dharsanam. Since emperumAnAr nurtured this matham and established it every where, this became to be known as emperumAnAr dharisanam. The main principles of this matham are srIman nArAyaNan is the absolute supreme deity and he has no one equal to or higher than him. This matham is parama vaidhikam (fully based on vEdham). This matham derives on the principle that vEdham is eternal and blemishless. The followers of this matham should have an understanding that AzhwArs were divinely blessed by emperumAn himself and their dhivya prabhandhams are as good as vEdham. They should also have good familiarity in dhivya prabhandham.
Translator's note: Before we proceed, let us have a brief introduction about our srIvaishNava dharsanam.
Our srIvaishNava sath sampradhAyam is named as "emperumAnAr dharisanam (srI rAmAnuja dharsanam)" by srIranganAthan himself - this is highlighted by maNavALa mAmunigaL in his upadhEsa rathina mAlai. This sampradhAyam is also called as ubhaya vEdhAntha sampradhAyam. There is samskritha vEdham which is supported by vEdhAntham, smruthi, ithihAsa, purANams, pAncharAthram, etc. vEdham is known to be nithyam (eternal), apaurushEyam (not created by any one - not even created by bhagavAn, it is only revealed by bhagavAn periodically) and nirdhOsham (free of any defects). Then, there is dhrAvida vEdham (4000 dhivya prabhandham written by AzhwArs) which are supported by pUrvAchArya vyAkyAnams. Though, dhiyva prabhandhams are said to be written by AzhwArs, our pUrvAchAryas explain that they too are eternal and are periodically revealed by emperumAn through AzhwArs. azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr explains this principle very clearly in his treatise AchArya hrudhayam. Since, dhivya prabhandhams bring out the essence of vEdham and vEdhAntham - our pUrvAchAryas greatly glorified them and held them with great reverence and as supreme authority in philosophical matters.
In both dhrAvida vEdham and samskritha vEdham, srIman nArAyaNan is established as the supreme God. srIman nArAyaNan is highlighted by two important qualities - being the abode of all auspicious qualities and being directly opposite to inauspicious qualities. He is also glorified as ubhaya vibhUthi nAthan (the master of nithya vibhUthi which is spiritual world and leelA vibhUthi which is the material world). srIman nArAyaNan is also said to have certain unique qualities which are not seen in any one else - sriya:pathithvam (being the husband of srI mahAlakshmi), ananthasAyithvam (one who is lying on the serpent bed), garudavAhanathvam (one who rides on garudAzhwAr), etc. Of these, sriya:pathithvam is the most important quality - thirumazhisai AzhwAr declares in pAsuram 53 "thiruvillAth thEvaraith thEREnmin thEvu" (திருவில்லாத் தேவரைத் தேறேன்மின் தேவு) - the ones who are not connected to srI mahAlakshmi - I will not consider them as God. vEdham says "sradhdhayA dhEvO dhEvathvamasNuthE" (ச்ரத்தயா தேவோ தேவத்வமச்நுதே) - by the connection with srI mahAlakshmi, srIman nArAyaNan acquires his Godliness. srIman nArAyaNan is explained as the flower and srI mahAlakshmi is explained as the fragrance. No other dhEvatha can thus be considered as real and supreme God, since only srIman nArAyaNan is the supreme God as per sAsthram.
srIman nArAyaNan pervades all entities - both chith and achith. He is the antharyAmi - indwelling super soul of everything. All other dhEvathAs are established by srIman nArAyaNan out of compassion towards jIvAthmAs who would approach these dhEvathAs based on their own guNa (sathvam/goodness, rajas/passion and thamas/ignorance). If these dhEvathAs were not there, they may become atheists and would be eternally bound in the samsAram. Atleast by approaching one of these dhEvathAs, there will be some faith in vaidhIka matham and they will slowly be elevated into higher consciousness. Thus, dhEvathAntharams (other dhEvathAs) exist in this samsAram to execute the divine orders of emperumAn, to guide the bound jIvAthmAs towards a virtuous path that will lead them to srIman nArAyaNan eventually. But dhEvathAntharams, themselves being bound jIvAthmAs, would often get confused about their position and at times even challenge bhagavAn. This is why srIvaishNavas do not engage in worshipping them ever, since srIvaishNavas are to be situated in sathva guNam always and these dhEvathAntharams are situated in a mixture of sathvam/rajas/thamas guNams - as sAsthram says sathva guNa nishtars (persons who are firmly placed in sathva guNam) should not worship rajas/thamas guNa persons.
This gives a brief outline of the principles of our sath sampradhAyam. With this introduction, we can proceed with this section.
- Having doubts about supremacy in dhEvathas like brahmA, rudhran, etc., having doubts on thrimUrthy sAmyam (considering brahmA, vishNu, rudhran are all equal), having doubts that brahmA, rudhran, etc., may be worshippable due to them being servants of srIman nArAyaNan are obstacles. Generally, 3 dhEvathas are specifically highlighted - brahmA for creation, vishNu for sustenance and siva for annihilation. Still, only one among the 3 is supreme - that is vishNu who is srIman nArAyaNan himself. Both brahmA and siva are created by srIman nArAyaNan and they manage creation and annihilation by the orders of srIman nArAyaNan. These two should never be compared at par with vishNu as supreme dhEvatha. Though, there is mention about thrimUrthy (three deities) they are not at par with each other. As thirumazhisai AzhwAr says in nAnmugan thiruvanthAdhi 1st pAsuram "nAnmuganai nArAyaNan padaiththAn, nAnmuganum thAn mugamAy sankaranaith thAn padaiththAn" (நான்முகனை நாராயணன் படைத்தான், நான்முகனும் தான் முகமாய் சங்கரனைத் தான் படைத்தான் - srIman nArAyaNan creates brahmA, brahmA inturn gives birth to sankara) - from this we can understand that srIman nArAyaNan who is the cause of all causes is the matchless supreme lord. Both brahmA and rudhran are jIvAthmAs who assume the particular post and are bound to die at some point just like any other mortal beings. Can a srIvaishNava think that brahmA/rudhran are worshippable due to srIman nArAyaNan being their antharyAmi (in-dwelling super soul) and they also show devotion towards srIman nArAyaNan at times? No. Due to their rajO (passion) and thamO (ignorance) guNams (qualities), they themselves out of pride, opposed srIman nArAyaNan and fought with him. Thus, they dont qualify to be worshippable for srIvaishNavas. Translator's note: In periya thiruvanthAdhi 72nd pAsuram, nammAzhwAr beautifully reveals this principle. "mudhalAm thiruvuruvam mUnRenbar, onRE mudhalAgum mUnRukkum enbhar, mudhalvA! nigarilagu kAruruvA ninnagaththathanRE pugarilagu thAmaraiyin pU" (முதலாம் திருவுருவம் மூன்றென்பர், ஒன்றே முதலாகும் மூன்றுக்கும் என்பர், முதல்வா! நிகரிலகு காருருவா நின்னகத்ததன்றே புகரிலகு தாமரையின் பூ) - Some say the three dhEvathas are supreme; others say there is one more dhEvathA that is higher than the three dhEvathas; Oh supreme cause of all causes who have a beautiful cloud like divine blackish form! your divine body (navel) is the root of the lotus flower (from which brahmA is born - which clearly establishes srIman nArAyaNan's supremacy). The same principle is explained parAsara bhattar in srIrangarAja sthavam pUrva sathakam 116th slOkam. Through these references, we can easily understand that srIman nArAyaNan is the supreme cause of every one. srIvaishNavas are supposed to worship srIman nArAyaNan and his devotees only. His devotees here mean the ones who have unflinching faith towards Him and does not ever manifest rajO/thamO guNams. One thing we need to understand first is brahmA, rudhran, etc who are the masters of creation, annihilation, etc are particular posts. jIvAthmAs ascend to such position due to their past karmA - ones who have performed great austerities for many lives become brahmA, rudhran, etc. But vishNu is not such a post - he is srIman nArAyaNan himself. In srIrangarAja sthavam uththara sathakam, 52nd slOkam, bhattar explains that out of his great compassion, srIman nArAyaNan descends himself into samsAram and places himself in-between these two dhEvathas. Though, brahmA, rudhran, etc., have understood srIman nArAyaNan's supremacy, due to them having high position in this material world as the master of creation, annihilation, etc., they become proud at times and forget their true nature. In such state, they fight against bhagavAn himself. During krishNAvathAram, brahmA steals krishNa's cows and krishNa then teaches brahmA a lesson. Only after such stern warning, brahmA realizes his mistake and begs for forgiveness. Similarly, rudhran too, fought with krishNa fiercely while helping bANAsura. In the end he realizes his mistake and glorifies krishNa. In srIvachana bhUshaNa dhivya sAsthram, piLLai lOkAchAryar explains bhagavath apachAram in detail. In that, the first offense is to consider dhEvathAnthrams (brahmA, rudhran, etc) at par with srIman nArAyaNan. Thus, even having slight doubt that "Oh! these dhEvathAntharams may be equal to srIman nArAyaNan" is an obstacle. Thus, srIvaishNavas must be fully confident that srIman nArAyaNan is supreme based on the various pramANams that are available and avoid showing any devotion towards dhEvathAntharams.
- Being flattered or getting confused by the explanations and principles of bhAhyas (ones who dont accept vEdham as supreme authority) and kudhrushtis (ones who accept vEdham as supreme authority but misinterpret the same to their convenience) such as baudhdha, saiva, mAyAvAdhis is an obstacle. Followers of budhdha are baudhdhas. jaina are also somewhat similar to baudhdhas. These two completely reject the authority of vEdham. saiva also known as pAsupatha, claim supremacy of siva. For them saiva Agamas are the authority. mAyAvAdhis are the ones who claim the entire material existence as mAyA/illusion and brahmam alone is truth and such brahmam does not have name, form, qualities, etc. We need to understand that these principles are useless and should stay away from such principles. thoNdaradippodi AzhwAr says in thirumAlai 7th pAsuram, "pulaiyaRamAgi ninRa puththodu chamaNam ellAm kalaiyaRak kaRRa mAnthar kANbarO? kEtparO thAm?" (புலையறமாகி நின்ற புத்தொடு சமணம் எல்லாம் கலையறக் கற்ற மாந்தர் காண்பரோ? கேட்பரோ தாம்?) - When one is well-learnt in vEdha sAsthram, would he/she even study or listen to other philosophies like baudhdham, jainam, etc? Translator's note: Though we observe that baudhdham is related to gauthama budhdha of recent times (2500 years ago according to modern historians), sage vyAsa himself has established vEdhAntham as the supreme philosophy over budhism, jainism, etc., which have been prevalent even long ago. It is explained that bhagavAn himself appears as budhdha to bring down the faith of asuras who were well-learned in vEdham. To confuse them, he preached sUnyavAdham and vanquished their faith in sAsthram and easily defeated them. This is explained in detail by nampiLLai in his eedu vyAkyAnam for thiruvAimozhi 5.10.4 pAsuram - "kaLLa vEdaththai koNdu pOy..." (கள்ள வேடத்தை கொண்டு போய்...). In this pAsuram, budhdha as explained to have a beautiful dark and stout body, with long ears with a book in his hands. His form is so beautiful that people will straightaway believe whatever he says. He would present ahimsa as the highest principle and people will easily have admiration towards him and his philosophy. Thus he cheated the asuras and diminished their faith and eventually killed them. Here, a very important point is to be understood. Even though baudhdha philosophy was preached by bhagavAn himself, vaidhIkas dont accept that philosophy (understanding that it was meant for a different audience). Even if bhagavAn himself presents something contrary to vEdham, it is rejected by the great saints. azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr also highlights this point in his AchArya hrudhayam in context of establishing the glories of thiruvAimozhi inspite of it being in thamizh language. He says if we simply have to accept a literature based on the language, we have to accept baudhdha literature which are in samskritham and spoken by bhagavAn himself. But since it is contrary to vEdham, it was rejected by the great vEdhAntha philosophers.
- Becoming fully focussed on sAmAnya sAsthram (varNAsrama dharmam) without regard for visEsha sAsthram (vaishNava dharmam) is an obstacle. sAmAnya sAsthram means general guidelines given in sAsthram for day-to-day affairs. It is definitely necessary to be followed. But there is some thing more that is known as visEsha dharmam (vaishNava dharmam). According to visEsha dharmam, bhagavath/bhAgavatha kainkaryam is more important. This is the ultimate goal. One who considers emperumAn as the upAyam (means) and upEyam (goal), who accept bhagavAn as the only refuge and who exists purely for the pleasure of emperumAn is called paramaikAnthi. Such great personalities perform sAmAnya dharmam (varNAsrama dharmam) with pure heart and with the understanding that they also become part of bhagavath ArAdhanam (worshipping) as explained in mumukshuppadi by piLLai lOkAchAryar in "karmam kainkaryaththil pugum" (கர்மம் கைங்கர்யத்தில் புகும்). It is possible that while performing visEsha dharmam, sAmAnya dharmam may be postponed/skipped. One should have strong conviction that such delaying/skipping of sAmAnya dharmam while performing bhagavath/bhAgavatha kainkaryam is not a sin. In AchArya hrudhayam, azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr (and mAmunigaL in the vyAkyAnam) highlights that villipuththUr pagavar (an ascetic) once went to bathe in a ghat. Seeing some brAhmaNas (who are simply focussed on varNAsrama dharmam without any understanding on bhAgavatha dharmam), he stepped out of ghat and said "You are varNadharmis only, but we are dhAsas (servants of bhagavAn). We cannot easily mix together". In these matters, whatever is followed by our pUrvAchAryas is to be followed by us. Though it is clearly a sin to not follow varNAsrama dharmam properly, while we are performing visEsha dharmam (bhagavath/bhAgavatha kainkaryam), delaying/skipping varNAsrama dharmam will not accrue any sin.
- Having the physical appearance, attire and name of vaishNava, but engaging in offending bhAgavathas is an obstacle. Translator's note: In srIvachana bhUshaNa dhivya sAsthram, piLLai lOkAchAryar explains this principle beautifully in sUthrams 199 and 200. He explains this using a term called "ArUda pathithan" (ஆரூட பதிதன்) - fallen from high platform. Becoming a bhAgavatha means one reaches the highest platform. But offending other bhAgavathas from that state means falling down from a very high position. If we fall from a high platform, we will be hurt more severely. So, it is better to avoid engaging in any offensive words/actions towards bhAgavathas.
- Not accepting shelter/refuge of a true AchArya is an obstacle. One should surrender to a true AchArya and accept pancha samskAram from him to become a vaishNava. Accepting samAsrayaNam does not stop with the simple samskAras that are done. As mentioned in thiruvAimozhi 5.5.11 "chanthangaL Ayiramum aRiyak kaRRu vallAr vaittaNavar" (சந்தங்கள் ஆயிரமும் அறியக் கற்று வல்லார் வைட்டணவர்), one who has learnt thiruvAimozhi fully (aRiya), grasped the meanings properly (kaRRu) and practically follow it (vallAr) in their daily live qualify to be a true vaishNava. Translator's note: Many see pancha samskAram as a goal or end. But really it is the beginning of the journey as a vaishNava. One should sincerely surrender to the AchArya, learn all the essential principles and conduct oneself as a srIvaishNava. If one gets pancha samskAram from an AchArya and continue to live like a samsAri (worldly person), that totally defeats the purpose of accepting pancha samskAram. Here, the role of AchArya is of paramount importance. In srIvachana bhUshaNa dhivya sAsthram, piLLai lOkAchAryar explains the glories of AchArya in the end. He explains the purpose of approaching bhagavAn through AchArya in this section beautifully.
- Not having srIvaishNava lakshaNam (conduct) is an obstacle. There are two aspects in srIvaishNava lakshaNam - external and internal. External - having conch/disc impressions on ones shoulders, having 12 Urdhva puNdrams, thuLasi/lotus stem mAlAs (necklace/strings) and finally physical changes like goose bumps, tears in eyes, etc., which happen by constant engagement in bhagavath/bhAgavatha thoughts. Internal - having pure heart, gyAnam (knowledge), bhakthi (devotion), vairAgyam (detachment), feeling for others pain/suffering, desiring for everyone's well-being, etc. Both are important. Translator's note: A whole series is written on this topic and can be read at http://ponnadi.blogspot.in/p/srivaishnava-lakshanam.html.
- Not being a dhvayaAdhikAri (qualified person of dhvaya mahA manthram) is an obstacle. It is said in nAchiyAr thirumozhi by ANdAL nAchiyAr "meymmaip peru vArththai vittuchiththar kEttiruppar" (மெய்ம்மைப் பெரு வார்த்தை விட்டுசித்தர் கேட்டிருப்பர்) - periyAzhwAr has understood the great charama slOkam (bhagavadh gIthA 66 - sarva dharmAn...) and also follows it perfectly. As said in this, one should understand rahasya thrayam (thirumanthram, dhvayam, charama slOkam) and faithfully follow it as well. Among these 3, since dhvaya mahA manthram is glorified as manthra rathnam, there is much emphasis on that. srIranganAthan instructs emperumAnAr in saraNAgathi gadhyam "dhvayam arthAnusandhAnEna saha yAvachcharIrapAdham athraiva srIrangE sukamAsva" (த்வயம் அர்த்தாநுஸந்தாநேந ஸஹ யாவச்சரீரபாதம் அத்ரைவ ஸ்ரீரங்கே ஸுகமாஸ்வ) - With constant remembrance of the meanings of dhvaya mahA manthram, you reside happily in srIrangam. The meanings of dhvaya mahA manthram is fully revealed in thiruvAimozhi. This is highlighted by azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr in AchArya hrudhayam 210th chUrNikA "dhvayArththam dhIrga saraNAgathi enRathu sAra sangrahaththilE" (த்வயார்த்தம் தீர்க சரணாகதி என்றது ஸார ஸங்க்ரஹத்திலே) - It is established that thiruvAimozhi fully explains the meaning of dhvaya mahA manthram in sAra sangraham by piLLai lOkAchAryar. Translator's note: In mumukshuppadi, beginning of dhvaya prakaraNam (section), piLLai lOkAchAryar explains the qualities of a vaishNava in the first sUthram itself in a detailed manner. In the next few sUthrams, the qualities of such vaishNava are beautifully explained before the explanations for dhvaya mahA manthram itself. According to the instruction of thiruvAimozhi piLLai, mAmunigaL learns srI bhAshyam once and subsequently he sends the rest of his life in propagating thiruvAimozhi (which is filled with the divine meanings of dhvaya mahA manthram). Though he was an expert in vEdhAntham, he would always explain vEdhAntham through AzhwArs' nectarean words. eRumbi appA also highlights in mAmunigaL's dhinacharyA that mAmunigaL's lips are constantly chanting dhvaya mahA manthram and his mind is fully engaged in contemplating the meanings of this wonderful manthram.
- Not having involvement in aruLichcheyal (dhivya prabhandham) is an obstacle. srIvaishNavas are specifically glorified as ubhaya vEdhAnthis. thiruvAimozhi which is known as thamizh vEdham and rest of the dhivya prabhabhandham that are known as anga/upAnga (ancilllary parts) are as good an authority as samskritha vEdham and smrthi, ithihAsams and purANams. One should properly learn dhivya prabhandham from an AchArya with its meanings and follow the principles explained in it. This will give full qualification for us to be called as vaishNavas. Translator's note: This is explained already in detail based on thiruvAimozhi 5.5.11 "chanthangaL Ayiramum aRiyak kaRRu vallAr vaittaNavar" (சந்தங்கள் ஆயிரமும் அறியக் கற்று வல்லார் வைட்டணவர்). In vArthA mAlai, periyavAchAn piLLai makes a wonderful point. He says "mulaigaLilaiyAna yuvathiyaippOlE kANum, UmaiyallAtha vaishNavan aruLichcheyalilE anvayiyAthozhigai" (முலைகளிலையான யுவதியைப்போலே காணும், ஊமையல்லாத வைஷ்ணவன் அருளிச்செயலிலே அந்வயியாதொழிகை) - Unless a srIvaishNava is dumb, if he does not engage in dhivya prabhandham recital, etc., it is like a youthful girl without breasts. Just like girl without breasts would not even qualify to be a girl, a vaishNava who does not engage in dhivya prabhandham would not even qualify to be a vaishNava.
- Not being properly trained in rahasya granthams and the important principles is an obstacle. thathvam (truth) means understanding chith (sentients), achith (insentients) and Iswara (bhagavAn) properly. rahasya granthams are the confidential literature. These principles were orally transmitted during the times of emperumAnAr. But subsequently piLLai lOkAchAryar who is an incarnation of dhEva perumAL himself, documented these in 18 granthams which are popularly known as ashtAdhasa rahasya granthams. Translator's note: One must be properly trained in the core principles of the sath sampradhAyam. Here the word "sikshai" is used. sikshai does not just mean teaching/learning (listening to CDs or reading books at the convenience of our home, car, etc). It means "total reform or strict correction" - when the sishya does not understand or follow certain principles, the AchArya must strongly explain the principle so that the sishya understands the principle firmly and starts following the same for the benefit of oneself.
- Not having faith in sistAchAram and thus not following them are obstacles. sistAchAram means the practice of elders. "dharmagya samayam pramANam vEdhAs cha" (தர்மஜ்ஞ்ய ஸமயம் ப்ரமாணம் வேதாஸ் ச) which means "the practice of great mahAns who have learnt sAsthram is authoritative, vEdham too is authoritative" - this is a well-established statement. In thiruppAvai 26th pAsuram, ANdAL says "mElaiyAr cheyvanagaL" (மேலையார் செய்வனகள்) - that which is practised by elders. She also says in 2nd pAsuram "cheyyAthana cheyyOm" (செய்யாதன செய்யோம்) - we will not do what is not done by our elders. We should have strong faith in the anushtAnam (activities) of our elders.
Translator's note: One important principle needs to be understood here. eRumbi appA in his "vilakshaNa mOksha adhikAri nirNayam" establishes this important principle. He highlights that "elders" mean "pUrvAchAryas" and we should follow the path of our pUrvAchAryas. Some times, we observe that some odd practices have creeped in to srIvaishNava families like worshipping other dhEvathas, observing certain vrathams, engaging in prayers for worldly pleasures or to relieve from distress, etc. Once we acquired knowledge through a proper AchArya, such odd practices should be immediately eliminated since these might have entered the family due to various circumstances such as lack of knowledge primarily. We cannot justify every action (even those that are contrary to the principles of our pUrvAchAryas) saying that our (family) elders followed it.
- Not having gyAnam (knowledge), bhakthi (devotion) and vairAgyam (detachment) is an obstacle. Here gyAnam means artha panchaka gyAnam. One should understand the nature of paramAthmA, jIvAthmA, the relationship between paramAthmA and jIvAthmA i.e., swAmy - dhAsa bhAvam (master - servant mood), upAyam (means), purushArththam (goal) and the virOdhi (obstacles) which stop us from achieving the goal. bhakthi means unflinching devotion towards emperumAn. vairAgyam (detachment) means renunciation. One should avoid attachment towards dhEvathAntharams (other dhEvathas). Also, one should most certainly avoid attachment towards vishayAntharam (worldly/material pleasures). vishayAntharam means anything outside bhagavath/bhAgavatha matters. In the thaniyan that was presented in glorification of maNavALa mAmunigaL by srIranganAthan himself, "dhibhakthyAdhi guNArNavam" is very important. Here dhI means gyAnam, bhakthi is devotion and Adhi (etc) indicates vairAgyam. srIranganAthan glorifies that mAmunigaL is an ocean of such wonderful qualities.
- Not taking shelter at the lotus feet of a well-learned srIvaishNava is an obstacle. One should take shelter of an AchArya who will instruct the confidential matters to the sishya. bhAgavathas are also known as AchArya thulya (as good as an AchArya). One should firmly believe that living under the shelter of such persons will lead to upliftment for oneself. Translator's note: emperumAnAr, during his last days gives 6 instructions - One should learn and teach srI bhAshyam, if thats not possible, he should learn and teach dhivya prabhandham, if that is not possible, he should perform kainkaryams in a dhivya dhEsam, if that is not possible, build a hut in thirunArAyaNapuram and live there, if that is not possible, constantly meditate on the meanings of dhvaya mahA manthram and if that is not possible, one should fully take shelter of a srIvaishNava who will take care of him. In this, it can be understood that when one takes shelter of a srIvaishNava, he will automatically become situated in the first 5 points eventually. piLLai lOkAchAryar also explains the same point in mumukshuppadi sUthram 116 while explaining srIvaishNava lakshaNam. He identifies 10 points in this sUthram. The 6th point is "ippadi irukkum srIvaishNavargaL ERRamaRiNthu uganthirukkaiyum" (இப்படி இருக்கும் ஸ்ரீவைஷ்ணவர்கள் ஏற்றமறிந்து உகந்திருக்கையும்) - understanding the glories of such srIvaishNavas who have these wonderful qualities and having great devotion/affection towards them. mAmunigaL explains that this quality is very difficult the achieve. In the 10th point, it is emphasised that one should seek out for the association of such srIvaishNavas who are filled with peace and tranquility. Thus we can understand the important of having the association of great srIvaishNavas all the time and also seeking out for their guidance.
- Having friendship with the ones who are showing animosity/hostility towards our srI rAmAnuja dharsanam is an obstacle. Translator's note: One should carefully avoid the friendship of unfavourable persons. Such friendships will have subtle impacts in our mind and eventually pull us down as well. All worldly matters have such power - when we engage in materialistic activities, we are simply moving away from spiritual matters.
adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan