maNavALa mAmunigaL identifies that our SrIvaishNava sampradhAyam is emperumAnAr (rAmAnuja) dharisanam as declared by namperumAL (SrIranganAthan). Together we can explore the depths of this glorious sampradhAyam in this blog site. This website is a humble samarpaNai at mAmunigaL's ponnadi (his thiruvadi [lotus feet] is called ponnadiyAm sengamalam - representing ponnadikkAl jIyar - 1st pontiff of vAnamAmalai/thOthAdhri mutt).
In the previous article (http://ponnadi.blogspot.in/2012/08/srivaishnava-lakshanam-8.html)
we observed from pillai lOkaachaarya's works (that were based on the
azhwars/purvaachaaryas thiruvullam), a srivaishnava is not considered to
be great or not based on his birth. But it is purely his jnaanam and
bhakthi towards emperumaan which was respected by our acharyas.
manavaaLa perumaaL naayanaar, younger brother of Pillai lOkaachaaryar
is one of the greatest acharyas our sampradhaayam has seen. Pillai
lOkaacharyar and Azhagiya manavaaLa perumaal naayanaar are the children
of Vadakku thiruveedhi pillai (who is one of the prime disciples of
Nampillai). Both were walking in the streets of srirangam right from
their childhood like perumaaL and iLaya perumaal (in ayOdhya) and
balaraaman and krishnan (in gOkulam). While Pillai lOkaachaaryar was
born out of the mercy of Nampillai, naayanaar was born out of the mercy
of NamperumaaL. Both the brothers took the vow of naishtika
brahmacharyam (not marrying anyone ever) - committing themselves for the
sampradhaayam. While Pillai lOkaachaaryar mainly wrote astaadhasa
rahasyangal (18 rahasya granthams), naayanaar wrote excellent and
detailed commentaries for Thiruppaavai, kanninun chiruthaambu, amalan
aadhi piraan, etc. He also wrote acharya hrudhayam (supporting work
for srivachana bhUshanam) and aruLicheyal rahasyam (excellent
composition of rahasya thraya meanings fully using aazhwaar paasurams).
history of the advent of acharya hrudhayam (aachaarya = nammaazhwaar,
hrudhayam = heart/thiruvullam) is to be understood properly as
explained in yathIndra pravaNa prabhaavam (a document going back more
than 500 years ago - giving the life history of acharyas after Nampillai
to Manavaala maamunigal). While pillai lOkaachaaryar completed and
started teaching srivachana bhushanam which gives the essence of
thiruvaaimozhi, some people in srirangam who could not tolerate such
glories for pillai lOkaacharyar, went and complained to namperumaaL.
Hearing that namperumaaL sends his representatives to bring pillai
lOkaachaaryar to his sannidhi - since pillai lOkaacharyar had gone for
his bathing, naayanaar arrives on behalf of him at the temple. When
namperumaaL enquires about the issue to naayanaar, naayanaar starts
reciting acharya hrudhayam (just like thondaradipodi azhwar recited
thirumaalai infront of periya perumaal) - which further consolidates the
meanings that were in srivachana bhUshanam. Hearing this emperumaan
became so ecstatic and ordered naayanaar to be carried in brahma ratham
to his thirumaaLigai. Pillai lOkaacharyar hearing what happened at the
temple also feels very happy that emperumaan not only enjoyed the
meanings directly and also acknowledged the absolute validtity of the
granthams. When NamperumaaL acknowledges the validity of something who else can change that?
this wonderful grantham acharya hrudhayam, in the 85th chUrnikai,
naayanaar explains who will properly understand the greatness of
srivaishnavas. The chUrnikai is framed in such a way that several
incidents are highlighted and naayanaar says that the ones who
understands the essence of those incidents will understand the real
greatness of srivaishnavas (i.e., what uthkrushta/high janma/birth or
apakrushta/low janma/birth). The following incidents are explained:
Emperumaan says that eight qualities are expected in his real bhakthas
and if we see even a mlEchan (one who is out of varnaashrama dharmam)
who has those eight qualities we should accept him and treat him just
like emperumaan himself - i.e., worship him, accept his sri paadha
thIrtham and sEsha prasaadham. The eight qualities are: 1) unconditional
love for bhakthas of emperumaan, 2) enjoying (others) worship of
emperumaan, 3) worshipping emperumaan him/herself, 4) being without any
pride, 5) having attachment in listening about emperumaan, 6) having
bodily changes (like goose bumps, etc) when hearing/thinking/speaking
about emperumaan, 7) always thinking about emperumaan, 8) not asking
material benefits in return for worshipping emperumaan. The one who
understands this properly will know what is high/low birth.
Nampaaduvaan (who sung kaisika raagam for malai nambi in
thirukkurungudi and so compared to thondaradipodi azhwar and
periyaazhwar who both sung thiruppaliyezhuchi for emperumaan) who is not
born in high birth, removed the curse of the brahma rakshas (a
braahmana due to his improper chanting of mantrams during a yaagam
became a raakshas) by the fruits of his songs. The one who understands
this properly will know what is high/low birth.
Guhan who was born in hunter family but very attached to perumaaL
(raama) doubted ilaya perumaaL (lakshmana) when perumaaL was sleeping in
the night. So guha kept awake and watched lakshmana all night. Also,
when bharatha (who is well aware of raama's and lakshmana's qualities)
come to meet guha, guha explains the greatness of lakshmana to bharatha
as if he does not know about it - but bharatha hearing this feels so
happy to hear this from guha and just like raama, he also accepts guha
as one of his brother. The one who understands this properly will know what is high/low birth.
perumaaL accepting and eating fruits from sabhari (who is born in a
hunter's family) but very attached to raama and an acharya nishtai;
krishnan eating at sri vidhurar's home instead of bhIshma, dhrOna, etc;
perumaaL embracing hanumaan (who is an animal) after hearing his meeting
with piraati. The one who understands this properly will know what is
dharmaputhran giving the first mariyaadhai to krishnan (who is not born
in a braahmana family), perumbuliyUr adigal giving the first
mariyaadhai to thirumazhisai azhwar who was raised by a wood cutter. The
one who understands this properly will know what is high/low birth.
dharmaputhran doing charama kainkaryam for sri vidhurar; perumaaL doing
charama kainkaryam for jataayu; periya nambi doing charama kainkaryam
for maaranEri nambi. The one who understands this properly will know
what is high/low birth.
In pushpa mandapam (thirumalai) thiruvEnkatmuduyaan accepted clay
flowers from kurumbaruththa nambi who was worshipped by thondaimaan
chakkaravarthi; In thyaaga mandapam (kanchipuram) pEraruLaLan accepted
fan kainkaryam from thirukkachi nambi who was worshipped by
emperumaanaar; In bhOga mandapam (srirangam) periya perumaaL accepted
veenai kainkaryam from thiruppaanaazhwar who was worshipped by
lOkasaaranga munivar. The one who understands this properly will know
what is high/low birth.
Emperumaanaar used to touch pillai urangaavilli dhaasar during
thiruvaaraadhanam to have purity; Nampillai asks pillai yEru
thiruvudaiyaar dhaasar to touch the prasaadham before consuming that;
Naduvil thiruveedhi pillai bhattar asked pillai vaanamaamalai dhaasar to
walk around his newly constructed home to purify that. The one who
understands this properly will know what is high/low birth.
on the above examples, naayanaar establishes that when one has jnaanam,
pure bhakthi and anushtaanam, then that person should be
respected/treated highly irrespective of their birth. While we can
translate the words of naayanaar to English, the chUrnikai in Tamil is
an absolute delight for us to read and understand.
we look at the history of our pUrvaachaaryas (even going back to
150-200 years ago) - we can see that the standards were very high. And
it is not just theoretical - all of these were put in practice by them
as we can clearly see from the several examples/incidents that were
discussed in their granthams. So, for us also it will be possible to
follow atleast to some extent if we have the desire. It is also always a
two-way street. It is not that one group of people (varna) dominated
the other varna or anything like that. There was no such incidents
recorded anywhere in our pUrvaachaarya granthas. Every one knew their
place and they were mutually respected by each other. And if only we can
also develop the same etiquette amongst srivaishnavas we will have a
better future together definitely. All we can do is to cry and pray at
the feet of sriya:pathi, azhwars and acharyas for that to happen.
Now that we have seen various aspects
we will move on to another important aspect - srivaishnava dhinacharya.
How does a srivaishnava conducts his/her life everyday? That will be
discussed in the next article.