kUrathAzhwAn - perfect AchArya and sishya

srimathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srimadh varavaramunayE nama:
sri vAnAchala mahAmunayE nama:

periyavAchAn piLLai in his mAnikka mAlai, says that "chishyAchArya kramaththukku sImAbhUmi kUraththAzhwAn enRu aruLichcheyvar" (சிஷ்யாசார்ய க்ரமத்துக்கு ஸீமாபூமி கூரத்தாழ்வான் என்று அருளிச்செய்வர்) meaning kUrathAzhwAn (also known as kUrEsa) is the best example for both being a sishya and an AchArya. He himself explains that,
  • He is the best example for being a sishya since when emperumAnAr was upset with him once, AzhwAn said that "since I am completely subservient to emperumAnAr I have nothing else to do than accepting what he does". He showed how a sishya should be totally surrendered to his AchArya.
  • He is the best example for being an AchArya since when emperumAn was very angry with nAlUrAn who committed apachAram to AzhwAn, AzhwAn argued with emperumAn and requested that "He should get the same paramapadham which I will". He showed how an AchArya should be full of krupai even to the ones who committed apachArams towards him.

Let us see why kUrathAzhwAn is glorified by many pUrvAchAryas in their works.

piLLai lOkAchAryar in his srIvachana bhUshaNa dhivya sAsthram identifies the main focus of sishyan and  AchAryan in 328th sUthram.

chishyan ugappilE UnRippOrum; AchAryan ujjIvanaththilE UnRippOrum.
சிஷ்யன் உகப்பிலே ஊன்றிப்போரும்; ஆசார்யன் உஜ்ஜீவனத்திலே ஊன்றிப்போரும்.

sishyan's focus should be on AchAryan's pleasure; AchAryan's focus should be sishyan's upliftment.

mAmunigaL beautifully explains this as follows:
Since a sishyan is fully dependent on his AchAryan, he should focus on his master's pleasure. Since An AchAryan is most merciful, looking at the pitiful state of the sishyan in samsAram, he should focus on uplifting the sishyan from samsAram. 

In the subsequent (4) sUthrams, piLLai lOkAchAryar (and mAmunigaL in the commentary) explain that 
  • A sishyan should thus become the target of AchAryan's happiness and not his anger.
  • Even if the sishyan becomes a target of AchAryan's anger, since it is for the well-being of the sishyan, it is acceptable from both AchAryan and sishyan's perspective.
  • A sishyan should not analyse the reason for the anger (to find fault in AchAryan).
  • AchAryan's anger is like bhagavAn's anger. bhagavAn also at times shows his anger to reform the jIvAthmA and that act is part of the final goal (to be fully purified). Similarly, AchAryan's anger should also be accepted the same way.
If we go through the life of AzhwAn, it is very clear that he is the epitome of both sishyathva and AchAryathva pUrthi.

sishyathva pUrthi (Being the perfect sishyan)

 emperumAnAr and AzhwAn, kUram
  • When emperumAnAr was summonned to the saiva king's court and his life was under threat, AzhwAn took up the responsibility to protect his AchAryan even at the cost of his own life. He stood firm for the supremacy of srIman nArAyaNan and in the process lost his eyes as well. He gives his own dharisanam (vision) for emperumAnAr's dharisanam (sampradhAyam). He never worried for his loss even for a moment, and even when emperumAnAr insists him to pray for his vision from dhEva perumAL, AzhwAn simply asks that he has the constant vision of dhEva perumAL and emperumAnAr only.
  • As we have seen already, when emperumAnAr was upset with AzhwAn, AzhwAn simply accepted that and explained that he is subservient to emperumAnAr and emperumAnAr can do whatever he wants with him.
  • Another striking example of his sishyathva pUrthi is the ekOthishtam incident of thiruvarangathu amudhanAr's mother. amudhanAr was the incharge of srIrangam temple and he was being a major hurdle for emperumAnAr in reforming the temple activities. emperumAnAr slowly engages AzhwAn in teaching real knowledge to amudhanAr. amudhanAr thus becomes purified and becomes very attached to AzhwAn and emperumAnAr. When his mother passes away, on the 11th day, a ceremony named EkOthishtam is to be performed where a person is assumed to be the body of the deceased person and offered a great feast. At the end of the feast, the consumer of the feast will be asked if he is satisfied and unless he says he is fully satisfied, the ceremony does not become complete. The main aspect of this ceremony is, the one consuming the feast cannot participate in any temple kainkaryam for 1 full year those days. amudhanAr wanting to have an advanced srIvaishNava approaches emperumAnAr and asks him to identify such person. emperumAnAr at once asks AzhwAn to go to that ceremony and AzhwAn happily accepts. Once the feast is over, amudhanAr asks AzhwAn if he was satisfied and AzhwAn says he will be satisfied only it the temple control is handed over to emperumAnAr. amudhanAr at once agrees and hands the temple keys and control to emperumAnAr through AzhwAn to fulfill his commitment. From this, we can understand the utter dependence of AzhwAn on his AchAryan. Being a great personality, he need not give up his kainkaryams for one year. But purely for the pleasure of his AchAryan (which is to reform the temple and ensure proper functioning of the same), he took up the most difficult challenge and fulfilled it without any tinge of hesitation in his mind.

AchAryathva pUrthi (Being the perfect AchAryan)

AzhwAn with his thiruvArAdhana perumAL (sIthA samEtha srIrAma parivAr), kUram
  • As explained in the 328th sUthram  of srIvachana bhUshaNam, AchAryan's focus should be fully on the sishyan's upliftment. AzhwAn shows his most merciful nature in two incidents:
    • nAlUrAn's scenario where even though nAlUrAn (unknowingly) caused the loss of his eyes and the separation from emperumAnAr, AzhwAn did not have even a tinge of anger on him. On the other hand, he had great attachment towards nAlUrAn (who unknowingly committed a mistake) and ensured that bhagavAn gives paramapurushArththa mOksham to him also.
    • When piLLai piLLai AzhwAn (AzhwAn's sishya) was continuously committing bhAgavatha apachArams, he goes to him during uththarAyaNa puNya kAlam and asks him to give all his sins as dhAnam to him thereby AzhwAn voluntarily takes up the sins of his sishyan's activities and reforms him through his own exemplified conduct.
  • The above 2 principles can be easily understood by looking at thiruppAvai 3rd pAsuram - Ongi ulagaLantha uththaman (the top-most person who measured the 3 worlds). Here, uththaman is beautifully explained by azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr in his 6000padi vyAkyAnam. He explains four categories of people and brings out the glories of emperumAn who goes and begs for 3 feet of land from mahAbali for the sake of indhran.
    • adhaman - most fallen - one who will torture others for his own well-being
    • a little better - he will let others live as well, but will personally not do any favours for others
    • madhyaman - will think that he should live as well as others should live and do some positive acts for others
    • uththaman - One who is the most udhAran (very generous) who will work for others even at the cost of his own loss
As we have seen, above, AzhwAn even though being AchArya, many times takes up so much trouble for himself to uplift others. This quality cannot be seen in any normal person. Any one can appreciate the great qualities of AzhwAn for his most merciful nature. And this is why he is rightly glorified as an amsam of srIrAman, because, srIrAman always looked out for others' welfare even at the cost of his own suffering. And fittingly, AzhwAn's thiruvArAdhana perumAL is srIrAma parivAr as well. We can see sIthA samEtha rAmA, lakshmaNa, hanuman along with kUrathAzhwAn in EkAsanam on punarpUsam day of his varushOthsavam at his avathAra sthalam.

This is why amudhanAr hailed AzhwAn in rAmAnusa nURRanthAdhi as "mozhiyaik kadakkum perum pugazhAn" (மொழியைக் கடக்கும் பெரும் புகழான் ) which means AzhwAn's glories are beyond the limits of words/language. This same principle is explained by maNavALa mAmunigaL as "vAchAm agOchara mahA guNa dhEchikAgrya kUrAthiNAtha" (வாசாம் அகோசர மஹா குந தேசிகாக்ர்ய கூராதிநாத).

Fittingly his glories are revealed through the arvAnchO slOkam which is recited even today as part of the thirumanjana kattiyam in kUram (AzhwAn's avathAra sthalam).

arvAnYchO yath padha sarasija dhvaNdhvam Asrithya pUrvE
mUrdhNA yasyANvayam upagathA dhEchikA mukthimApu:
sOyam rAmANuja muNir api svIya mukthim karasthAm
yath sambhaNdhAth amaNutha katham varnNayathE kUranAtha: 
அர்வாஞ்சோ யத் பத ஸரஸிஜ த்வந்த்வம் ஆஸ்ரித்ய பூர்வே
மூர்த்நா யஸ்யாந்வயம் உபகதா தேசிகா முக்திமாபு:
ஸோயம் ராமாநுஜ முநிர் அபி ஸ்வீய முக்திம் கரஸ்தாம்
யத் ஸம்பந்தாத் அமநுத கதம் வர்ண்யதே கூரநாத:   
How can we speak the greatness of kUrthazhwan within the boundary of words? Everyone gets mOksham through srI rAmAnuja - some (who are elder to srI rAmAnuja) through his thirumudi sambhandham and others (who are younger to srI rAmAnuja) get mOksham through his thiruvadi sambhandam (Full explanation can be seen in http://ponnadi.blogspot.in/p/charamopaya-nirnayam.html). Such great personality srI rAmAnuja himself proclaims that it was due to his sambhandham to kUrathAzhwAn, he gets mOksham. 

We have only seen a glimpse of his glories and they are unlimited. There are many more incidents in his life which brings out his greatness, compassion and dedication towards his AchArya.
Let us meditate on AzhwAn's divine lotus feet and pray for devotion towards the same. Simply being the target of AzhwAn's katAksham (vision) and krupai (mercy) will purify us and nurture the proper srIvaishNava lakshaNam (http://ponnadi.blogspot.in/p/srivaishnava-lakshanam.html) in us.
adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

Sources: vyAkyAnams, 6000 padi guru paramparA prabhAvam

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

sAra thrayam - bhakthi sAra, thathva sAra and upadhEsa sAra

srimathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srimadh varavaramunayE nama:
sri vAnAchala mahAmunayE nama:

thirumazhisai AzhwAr - thirumazhisai

thirumazhisai AzhwAr is popularly known as bhakthi sArar. AzhwAr was honoured with this title/name by none other than rudhran after understanding AzhwAr's full potential. As narrated in guru paramparA prabhAvam, when rudhran was travelling along with his wife pArvathi on his rishabam on the sky, he notices AzhwAr dressed in some ragged clothes and stitching something. rudhran glorifies AzhwAr to pArvathi as a great vishNu bhakthar and she wants them to go and give him some benediction. They go down and ask him what he wants. AzhwAr rejects their offer and tells them they cannot offer what he wants (that is mOksham). An argument rages and that leads to rudhran opening his third eye and starts sending agni (fire). AzhwAr opens his third eye (in his toe) and rudhran is unable to bear the heat from that agni. Finally srIman nArAyaNan intervenes and rescues rudhran. rudhran, at that time, admiring AzhwAr's unflinching faith on srIman nArAyaNan, honours him with the title "bhakthi sAra" (an embodiment of ultimate vishNu bhakthi).

thathvams (true principle/entity) according to our sampradhAyam are three. They are chith, achith and Ishvaran.
  • chith thathvam - sentient beings - all entities that have gyAnam (valid knowledge). Here the true svarUpam of chith thathvam is that they have the knowledge that they are fully dependent on srIman nArAyaNan.
  • achith thathvam - insentient - all entities that lack gyAnam. This is divided in 24 entities - namely - mUla prakrithi, ahankAram, mahAn, manas, karmEndhriyam (5 organs of action), gyAnEndhriyams (5 organs of knowledge acquisition), pancha bhUthams (5 gross elements) and panch thanmAthrams (5 subtle elements).
  • Ishvara thathvam - the supreme sentient being - srIman nArAyaNan who is the master of all sentient beings. He is known as bhagavAn - one who is complete in six qualities - gyAna (knowledge), bala (strength), ishvarya (wealth), vIrya (valour), shakthi (power), thEjas (radiance). These six qualities further expand in to innumerable divine qualities. He has beautiful forms (See parathvAdhi panchakam explanation at http://ponnadi.blogspot.in/2012/10/archavathara-anubhavam-parathvadhi.html), divine pastimes. He is the master of the two worlds - nithya vibhUthi (paramapadham - spiritual/eternal - permanent) and leelA vibhUthi (samsAram - material - temporary). 
    • In paramapadham, He has many dhivya mahishis (consorts) headed by srI mahAlakshmi, bhUmAdhEvi, neeLA dhEvi. He has many divine servitors headed by ananthan (Adhi sEshan), garudan, vishwaksEnar, etc.
    • In samsAram, He is served by innumerable brahmAs (one per aNdam - planetary system), rudhras, indhras, etc., who are mortal beings and are incharge of ensuring the proper functioning of samsAram.

Of these 3 thathvams, our AzhwArs/pUrvAchAryas have established that Ishvara thathvam is the focal point. Both chith and achith exist for the pleasure of srIman nArAyaNan. So, Ishvara thathvam is called as thathva sAram. Also, when one understands Ishvara thathvam properly, other thathvams are easily understood as well, Ishvara thathvam (bhagavath vishayam) is called thathva sAram.

upadhEsa means instruction. sAsthram is the one which instructs us the do's and dont's. It is said that "sAsanAth ithi  sAsthram" - sAsthram means that which commands. The essence of sAsthram is thirumanthram - ashtAkshari. This is explained by azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr in his AchArya hrudhayam beautifully in chUrNikai 16 through the words "vEdha sAra upaNishadh, sAra thara aNuvAga, sAra thama gAyathriyil  mudhalOdhugiRa poruL mudivAna churukku" (வேத ஸார உபநிஷத், ஸார தர அநுவாக, ஸார தம காயத்ரியில்  முதலோதுகிற பொருள் முடிவான சுருக்கு) which is beautifully explained by maNavALa mAmunigaL as follows:
  • essence of vEdhas is upanishadhs which focus on brahma vidhyai (true knoweledge of about para brahmam)
  • essence of upanishadhs is nArAyaNa anuvAkam (nArAyaNa sUktham) which establishes clearly that parabrahmam, param jyOthi, etc., points to srIman nArAyaNan.
  • essence of nArAyaNa anuvAkam is vishNu gAyathri which identifies the 3 important names of emperumAn which represents his sarva vyApakathvam (omni presence).
  • essence of the vishNu gAyathri is the first name - nArAyaNa which clearly explains the chith, achith and Ishvara thathvams. It is also declared that this nArAyaNa nAmam/manthram is the essence of the whole vEdham.
nArAyaNa manthram (thirumanthram) clearly instructs us the essence of whole sAsthram. piLLai lOkAchAryar in his mumukshuppadi, summarizes the whole meaning of thirumanthram in the final sUthram (115) of thirumanthra prakaraNam. Let us see that now.

Aga, 'thirumaNthiraththAl emperumAnukkE uriyEnAna NAn enakku uriyan anRikkE ozhiya vEnNum; sarvasEshiyAna NArAyanNanukkE ellA adimaigaLum cheyyap peRuvEnAga  vEnNum' enRathAyiRRu.

ஆக, 'திருமந்திரத்தால் எம்பெருமானுக்கே உரியேனான நான் எனக்கு உரியன் அன்றிக்கே ஒழிய வேணும்; ஸர்வஸேஷியான நாராயணனுக்கே எல்லா அடிமைகளும் செய்யப் பெறுவேனாக  வேணும்' என்றதாயிற்று.

Thus, From thirumanthram, it is established that I (this jIvAthmA) who is owned by srIman nArAyaNan should exist purely for him (without any self interest/motivation); I should serve srIman nArAyaNan (who is the master of everyone/everything) in all possible ways.

Looking at mAmunigaL's beautiful commentary, we can relate that this simple sUthram explains the essence of the whole of thirumanthram (that was previously explained in 114 sUthrams by piLLai lOkAchAryar).

Now that we understand the 3 principles - bhakthi sArar, thAthva sAram and upadhEsa sAram, let us understand the link between these 3 now.

While mudhalAzhwArs focussed on establishing the supremacy of srIman nArAyaNan based on many pramANams from sAsthram, thirumazhisai AzhwAr focusses on establishing the exclusive supremacy of srIman nArAyaNan and instructs us the most important aspect of not being attached to any other dhEvathais (brahmA, rudhra, indhra, etc).

Right in his first pAsuram of nAnmugan thiruvanthAdhi, AzhwAr establishes that nArAyaNan creates brahmA and brahmA creates rudhran. Thus, he says that he is revealing the essence of sAsthram and asks us to contemplate on it and act accordingly.

praNavam is the essence of thirumanthram. praNavam is explained in nama: and nArAyaNAya shabdhams. praNavam says:
  • srIman nArAyaNan denoted by "a"
  • is sEshi (master) denoted by "Aya" (which is hidden in the word)
  • of all jIvAthmAs denoted by "m"
The most important letter in praNavam is the one in the middle, that is "u" (ukAaram) which indicates the EXCLUSIVE nature of the subservience of jIvAthmAs towards srIman nArAyaNan.

piLLai lOkAchAryar explains this beautifully in mumukshupadi - thirumanthra (1st) prakaraNam. While explaining this, he quotes bhakthi sArar's (thirumazhisai AzhwAr) divine srIsUkthi to establish this principle in sUthram 64.

"maRaNthum puRaNthozhA mANthar" engaiyAlE ("மறந்தும் புறந்தொழா மாந்தர்" என்கையாலே)
mAmunigaL beautifully explains that the main quality of srIvaishNavas is that they can even forget the names of their master at times, but will not go to any other dhEvathas even at that time.

These words are AzhwAr's nAnmukan thiruvanthAdhi 68th pAsuram:

thiRambEnmin kanNdIr thiruvadi than NAmam
maRaNthum puRaNthozhA mANthar
iRainYchiyum chAthuvarAyp pOthumingaL enRAn
Namanum than thUthuvaraik kUvich chevikku

திறம்பேன்மின் கண்டீர் திருவடி தன் நாமம்
மறந்தும் புறந்தொழா மாந்தர்
இறைஞ்சியும் சாதுவராய்ப் போதுமின்கள் என்றான்
நமனும் தன் தூதுவரைக் கூவிச் செவிக்கு

yama dharma rAjan calls his dhUthas (messengers) and informs to them secretly that "Dont forget my orders - when you see srIvaishNavas who will not worship anyone other than srIman nArAyaNan (and ones who are fixed on devotion to srIman nArAyaNan), worship them (since I am not the master for them)".

periyavAchAn piLLai beautifully explains the deep meanings of this pAsuram. 
  • This pAsuram is identified as direct translation of srI vishNu purANa slOkam "svapurusham abhivIkshya..." which also shows the conversation between yama and his servants.
  • We can even forget our master (srIman nArAyaNan) but cannot go to another dhEvathai. Avoiding dhEvathAnthara bhajanam (worshipping other dhEvathais) is shown as the most important aspect of being a prapanna (one who is surrendered to srIman nArAyaNan) - if we worship other dhEvathais we will no longer be prapannas.
  • The above principle is explained using a beautiful/crisp example. A wife need not have full attachment towards her husband - it can develop slowly. But if she starts looking out for some other person - that will create a permanent damage in the relationship. The same way, even if we are not fully attached to emperumAn that is fine, but if we start going to other dhEvathais (this includes all dhEvathais, self styled gurus who dont follow our sampradhAyam, etc) - that itself will be a good reason by emperumAn (vishwapathi - husband of everyone) to discard/reject us.
  • yama instructs his servants to give up their judgemental attitude and take up a serving/devotional attitude towards such srIvaishNavas since they are most worshippable.
Of the nine sambandhams between paramAthmA and jIvAthmA, pathi - pathni relationship is one of the main relationships. Since a chaste wife (pathni) has nothing to do with other purushas, jIvAthmA has nothing to do with any one other than purushOththaman who is vishwapathi (husband of all jIvAthmAs).

Once during a procession of srIranganAthan (srIrangam), rAmAnujar is leading the srIvaishnavas in the front. At that time, it starts raining suddenly, and for protection, srIranganAthan is carried into a nearby shiva temple. But rAmAnujar waits outside in soaking rain and does not enter the shiva temple - ofcourse other srIvaishnavas wait as well since rAmAnujar did not enter. When the priests of shiva temple invite rAmAnujar inside, he says he will not enter into other dhEvathais temples. The priests say "Oh! your lord himself entered, why dont you enter as well". rAmAnujar politely replies "My lord is the lord of universe and the owner of everything - so he can enter anywhere. But we are like his chaste wife. We will not enter any other place than my lord's own residence". Such should be our nishtai that even at dire situations we should not think about going to dhEvathAnthrams.

nama: padham in thirumanthram is an expansion/explanation of this ukAram (u) of praNavam. While explaining nama: padham, piLLai lOkAchAryar brings out the essence of thirumanthram using thirumangai AzhwAr's srIsUkthi.

sUthram 89:
"uRRathum un adiyArkkadimai" engiRapadiyE ithilE bhAgavatha sEshathvamum aNusaNdhEyam ("உற்றதும் உன் அடியார்க்கடிமை" என்கிறபடியே இதிலே பாகவத ஸேஷத்வமும் அநுஸந்தேயம்). 

Since thirumangai AzhwAr says after learning thirumanthram, I understand that I am the servant of your (srIman nArAyaNan's) servants, nama: padham reflects bhAgavatha sEshathvam (being the servants of bhAgavathas).

mAmunigaL highlights that once we have our ahankAram (dhEhAthma abhimAnam - thinking we are the body) and mamakAram (sva svAthanthriyam - thinking we are indpendent and we own everything) are removed, we will eventually be situated in the ultimate level of bhagavath sEshathvam (servitude towards bhagavAn) which is bhAgavatha sEshathvam (servitude towards bhAgavathas).

Just like when a wife serves husband's parents, brothers, sisters, etc who are dear to the husband, the husband will be happier than her serving him (same can apply in husband serving wife's parents, etc), bhagavAn will be happier if we serve his dear bhakthas.

Thus, in this article, we have seen the
  • upadhEsa sAram - essence of all upadhEsams - which is to avoid dhEvathAnthara bhajanam and to serve bhAgavathas
  • on the matters of thathva sAram - bhagavath vishayam
  • through bhakthi sArar's (thirumazhisai AzhwAr) and AchAryas words.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

Sources: vyAkyAnams, 6000 padi guru paramparA prabhAvam

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

embAr's AchArya nishtai

srimathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srimadh varavaramunayE nama:
sri vAnAchala mahAmunayE nama:

embAr - madhuramangalam

In srIvaishNava sampradhAyam AchAryan is worshipped with greatly reverence. bhagavAn being the antharyAmi, directs the jIvAthmA to a suitable AchAryan first and subsequently the AchAryan reveals the most valuable principles about bhagavAn to the sishyan. After developing proper understanding about bhagavAn, his svarUpam (nature), rUpam (forms), guNams (qualities), ishvaryam (wealth, controlling ability), etc., jIvAthmA truly develops the attachment to serve such unparallel bhagavAn srIman nArAyaNan. AchAryan is also glorified as the manifestation of periya pirAtti (srI mahAlakshmi thAyAr) in this world. pirAtti ensures that emperumAn only looks at the upliftment of the jIvAthmA and ignores the faults of him.AchAryan also ensures that the sishyan is some how uplifted even beyond his limitations. It is because of this invaluable favour done by AchAryan, sishyan has great responsibility towards the AchAryan while in this world (and after reaching paramapadham as well).

piLLai lOkAchAryar in his srIvachana bhUshaNa dhivya sAsthram explains the responsibility of AchAryan and sishyan towards each other in sUthram 333 beautifully.

AchAryan chishyanutaiya svarUpaththaip pEnNakkatavan; chishyan AchAryanutaiya dhEhaththaip pEnNakkatavan (ஆசார்யன் சிஷ்யனுடைய ஸ்வரூபத்தைப் பேணக்கடவன்;
சிஷ்யன் ஆசார்யனுடைய தேஹத்தைப் பேணக்கடவன்).

AchAryan should focus on nurturing the svarUpam (the true nature - sEshathvam - servitude) of sishyan; sishyan should nurture the dhEham (body and bodily needs) of AchAryan.

This means AchAryan's prime responsibility towards sishyan is to perform Athma rakshaNam (protecting the AthmA) and sishyan's prime responsibility towards AchAryan is to perform dhEha rakshaNam (protecting the divine body of the AchAryan).

In the subsequent sUthrams, it is explained that sishyan trying to do Athma rakshaNam of AchAryan and AchAryan trying to do dhEha rakshaNam of sishyan is not proper etiquette.

mAmunigaL also beautifully explains this same principle in upadhEsa rathina mAlai. In the final 21 pAsurams, mAmunigaL brings out the glories of srIvachana bhUshaNam and the essence of srIvachana bhUshaNam.
  • In the 61st pAsuram, he declares that once we surrender unto an AchAryan who is well established in both gyAnam (proper knowledge) and anushtAnam (practically following the proper knowledge), bhagavAn will automatically grant entry for us in to the paramapadham.
  • In the 62nd pAsuram, he says, for the ones who have great attachment to their AchAryas lotus feet, paramapadham is guaranteed.
  • In the 63rd and 64th pAsuram, he explains that once we understand the favours done to us by our AchAryan, we will automatically have great attachment towards him, will never be able to bear the separation from him and will have to constantly serve him while he is in this world.
  • In 65th pAsuram, he identifies that AchAryan is the one who takes care of the svarUpam (AthmA) of the sishyas and sishyan is the one who properly takes care of the rUpam (body). But he also identifies that it is very difficult to have this nishtai.
  • In the 66th pAsuram, he identifies the ideal sishyan - pinbhazhagarAm perumAL jIyar who was greatly attached to nampiLLai's divine form and was even willing to delay his journey to paramapadham just to stay in srIrangam and have the divine dharshan of nampiLLai and have the opportunity to serve him everyday.
Thus it is very important for both AchAryan and sishyan to fulfill their responsibilities and we can see how this is beautifully seen in the life of periya thirumalai nambi, emperumAnAr and embAr.

Explanation of the picture:
  • top left - gOvindha perumAL (embAr) checking the bed of his AchAryan (explained below).
  • top right - gOvindha perumAL helping a suffering snake out of great compassion (explained in his charithram -  http://guruparamparai.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/embar/.
  • bottom left - periya thirumalai  nambi (srIsaila pUrNar) giving gOvindha perumAL to srI rAmAnujar after completion of srI rAmAyaNam
  • bottom right - periya thirumalai nambi says that just like once a cow is sold, the cow is suppose to be with its owner only, gOvindha perumAL should be only with rAmAnujar and sending gOvindha perumAL back to emperumAnAr
embAr's AchArya nishtai was unparallel to any one else and his life is a beautiful example for how a sishyan should lead their life serving the AchAryan and fulfilling his desires. Let us enjoy that now.
  • embAr is a maternal cousin of emperumAnAr - he is the son of emperumAnAr's mother's younger sister. They both grew up together and studied in kAnchipuram under yAdhava prakAsa.
  • gOvindha perumAL (childhood name of embAr) saved iLayAzhwAr (rAmAnujar) from being killed by yAdhava prakAsa's (adhvaithi scholar under whom, they both studied in the beginning) sishyas during the yAthrai to vAraNAsi. yAdhava prakAsa became very jealous about rAmAnujar's knowledge and reputation and his sishyas devised an evil plan, where they will kill rAmAnujar while going to kAsi. gOvindha perumAL, learning their cunning plan, averts the disaster by promptly saving rAmAnujar from their plot and sends him off to kAnchipuram at the right time. Thus embAr shows his attachment towards rAmAnujar right from the childhood.
  • gOvindha perumAL continues with yAdhava prakAsa and he goes on to become a shiva bhaktha and stays in kALahasthi (near thirumalai-thirupathi).
  • emperumAnAr sends his maternal uncle periya thirumalai nambi (srI saila pUrNar) who is one of his AchAryas to reform gOvindha perumAL and bring him back to srIvaishNavam. periya thirumalai nambi visits kALahasthi, demonstrates that only srIman nArAyaNan is the worshippable deity through proper pramANams (nAmmAzhwAr's pAsurams, ALavandhAr's sthOthra rathnam, etc) and reforms gOvindha perumAL. gOvindha perumAL realizing his mistake, at once, gives up all the attachments and surrenders to periya thirumalai nambi. periya thirumalai nambi then performs pancha samskAram to gOvindha perumAL and brings him back to thirupathi where gOvindha perumAL serves his AchAryan constantly. Thus emperumAnAr and periya thirumalai nambi performs Athma rakshaNam for gOvindha perumAL.
  • Once, gOvindha perumAL prepares the bed for periya thirumalai nambi and lies down it first before his AchAryan lies down. When emperumAnAr sees this, he lets periya thirumalai nambi know about this and nambi enquires from gOvindha perumAL about the incident. gOvindha perumAL says he will get narakam for this act but he does not mind that. He says that he was testing to ensure that the bed will be very comfortable for his AchAryan. So he did not worry about his fate but was more concerned about his AchAryan’s thirumEni.
  • emperumAnAr visits thirupathi and learns srIrAmAyaNam from periya thirumalai nambi. After completion, while leaving to srIrangam, he requests gOvindha perumAL to be sent along with him to assist his mission in srIrangam. periya thirumalai nambi happily agrees and asks gOvindha perumAL to serve emperumAnAr like he serves periya thirumalai nambi. gOvindha perumAL reluctantly goes with emperumAnAr since he is not convinced to leave nambi (who is his AchAryan). After reaching kAnchipuram, he becomes very weak due to the separation from his AchAryan, so he returns to thirumalai nambi, but thirumalai nambi does not even opens the door for him and insists he should go back to emperumAnAr. gOvindha perumAL gets convinced and returns to emperumAnAr happily.
  • gOvindha perumAL gets married but shows absolutely no interest in marital affairs. emperumAnAr notices this and then gives gOvindha perumAL sanyAsAsramam and names him embAr. embAr stays with him forever without separating and is famously become to be known as "rAmAnuja padha chAyA" - the shadow of the lotus feet of emperumAnAr. 
  • embAr is known to have great attachment towards emperumAnAr. Once when some people glorify embAr he happily accepts them. When emperumAnAr watches that and tells him that it is not proper etiquette to accept glorification to oneself and we should show some humility and reject those. embAr at once replies that any glorification of himself is due to the relationship with emperumAnAr only and thus it is only proper to accept them - since it ends up glorifying emperumAnAr.
Thus we can see the beautiful relationship between periya thirumalai nambi, emperumAnAr and embAr where each one of them were properly fulfilling their responsibility and showing us the great principles by themselves practising them.

embAr offers a beautiful pAsuram glorifiying the divine beauty and glories of emperumAnAr through which we can understand how a sishya should be situated in AchArya nishtai. Let us enjoy this beautiful pAsuram now.

 emperumAnAr - srIperumbUthUr

paRpamenaththigazh painGgazhalum thanN pallavamE viralum
pAvanamAgiya paiNthuvarAdai padhiNtha marunGgazhagum
muppuriNUlodu munkaiyilENthiya  mukkOl thannazhagum
munnavar thaNthidu mozhigaL NiRaiNthidu muRuval NilAvazhagum
kaRpagamEvizhi karunNaipozhiNthidu kamalakkanNnNazhagum
kAri chuthankazhal chUdiya mudiyum ganaNaRchigai mudiyum
eppozhuthum ethirAchan vadivazhagu en idhayaththuLathAl
illai enakkethir illai enakkethir illai enakkethirE  

பற்பமெனத்திகழ் பைங்கழலும் தண் பல்லவமே விரலும்
பாவனமாகிய பைந்துவராடை பதிந்த மருங்கழகும்
முப்புரிநூலொடு முன்கையிலேந்திய  முக்கோல் தன்னழகும்
முன்னவர் தந்திடு மொழிகள் நிறைந்திடு முறுவல் நிலாவழகும்
கற்பகமேவிழி கருணைபொழிந்திடு கமலக்கண்ணழகும்
காரி சுதன்கழல் சூடிய முடியும் கனநற்சிகை முடியும்
எப்பொழுதும் எதிராசன் வடிவழகு என் இதயத்துளதால்
இல்லை எனக்கெதிர் இல்லை எனக்கெதிர் இல்லை எனக்கெதிரே  

emperumAnAr's divine feet are soft and attractive like lotus flower and the toes (fingers) are like the cool petals.
His lower body is beautifully decorated with a very pure and beautiful kAshAyam.
His yagyOpavItham and the thridhaNdam (which is placed on his hand) are very beautiful.
His mildly smiling lips which delivers the glorious words of pUrvAchAryas is more beautiful than the pleasing moon.
His divine eyes which look like lotus petals and is full of mercy is very enchanting.
His divine head which is decorated with nammAzhwAr's (kAri's son) lotus feet and the wonderfully tied tuft is mind boggling.
Since I have the divine beauty of yathirAjar in my heart always, 
there is no one equal to me, there is no one equal to me, there is no one equal to me.

embAr - madhuramangalam

embAr brings out the essence of our pUrvAchArya's anushtAnam in this beautiful pAsuram. He narrates the beautiful form of emperumAnAr and demonstrates great fervour and attachment towards emperumAnAr and his form every moment. In these eight lines, he explains the beautiful form of emperumAnAr, his svarUpam of being nammAzhwAr's lotus feet, how he fully preaches and practises pUrvAchAryas' words, etc. This nishtai is defined as the ultimate position of a sishyan towards his AchAryan - constantly glorify the AchAryan and serve him and other bhAgavathAs.

His vaibhavam/charithram is already documented in http://guruparamparai.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/embar/.

Let us pray to embAr that we also develop such attachment towards our AchAryan.
adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

Sources: vyAkyAnams, 6000 padi guru paramparA prabhAvam

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

thiruppAvai - artha panchakam

srimathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srimadh varavaramunayE nama:
sri vAnAchala mahAmunayE nama:

thiruppAvai is the essence of ubhaya vEdhAntham. When one understands the esoteric meanings of thiruppAvai properly, all the hurdles in their journey towards emperumAn is easily removed.

 ANdaL - rangamannAr, srIvilliputhUr

It is explained by piLLai lOkAchAryar in mumukshuppadi that a mumukshu (one who desires to be freed from bondage in samsAram and want to eternally serve emperumAn in paramapadham) must have proper understanding of "artha panchakam" (meaning of 5 aspects). "artha panchakam" includes:
  • paramAthma svarUpam (nature of supreme god),
  • jIvAthma svarUpam (nature of individual soul),
  • upAya svarUpam (nature of the means by which the individual soul can reach supreme god),
  • upEya svarUpam (the activity/goal of the individual soul after reaching supreme god) and
  • virOdhi svarUpam (the hurdles which stop the individual soul from achieving the ultimate goal).
In the first pAsuram of thiruppAvai itself, ANdAL briefly shows us artha panchakam. Here, she declares "NArAyanNanE NamakkE paRai tharuvAn" (நாராயணனே நமக்கே பறை தருவான்) where we can understand that:
  • nArAyaNan is explaining the paramAthma svarUpam - Here nArAyaNa shabdham has two meanings:
    • His parathvam (supremacy) - that emperumAn is the AdhAram (resting place or foundation) and all jIvAthmAs are AdhEyam (that which rests on that foundation).
    • His saulabhyam (easy accessibility - being present everywhere) - that emperumAn is the antharyAmi (inner soul) of all the jIvAthmAs.
  • namakku is explaining the jIvAthma svarUpam - all jIvAthmAs depend on emperumAn. With the EvakAram (namakkE) ANdAL establishes the nature of the person who is ready to surrender to emperumAn, i.e., one who declares his Akinchanyam (that he has nothing to offer), ananya gathithvam (no other refuge) and is fully surrendered to emperumAn.
  • nArAyaNanE tharuvAn is explaining the upAya svarUpam - nArAyaNanE tharuvAn means "Only nArAyaNan will give the ultimate benediction to jIvAthmAs".
  • paRai is explaining the upEya svarUpam - paRai means kainkaryam to emperumAn without any tinge of expectations for ourselves.
  • virOdhi svarUpam is implicitly explained as our sva svAthanthriyam (independence) that stops emperumAn from helping us.
This is further explained by many pUrvAchAryas in their detailed vyAkyAnams.

thiruppAvai vyAkyAna karthAs (commentators)

periyavAchAn piLLai - 3000 padi

 Ay jananyAchAryar - 2000 padi, 4000 padi
ponnadikkAl jIyar - svApadhEsam

paramAthma svarUpam is further explained in:
  • "pARkadaluL paiya thuinRa paraman" (பாற்கடலுள் பையத் துயின்ற பரமன்) - the supreme emperumAn who is lying on the milk ocean
  • "OnGgi ulagaLaNtha uththaman" (ஓங்கி உலகளந்த உத்தமன்) - the most elevated person who measured the 3 worlds
  • "paRpaNAbhan" (பற்பநாபன்) - one who has a lotus flower in his naval from which brahmA appears
  • "thUya peruNIr yamunaiththuRaivan" (தூய பெருநீர் யமுனைத்துறைவன்) - One who lives on the banks of the pure yamunA river.
  • "gOvindhan" - One who takes care off the cows, one who gives happiness to the cows, one who gives happiness to mother earth
jIvAthma svarUpam is further explained in the 6th to 15th pAsurams. Here it is established that jIvAthmAs should always be looking for the association of SrIvaishNavas and always approach emperumAn through them. Further in 16th and 17th pAsurams, it is explained that jIvAthmAs should glorify nithyasUris who are very dear to emperumAn. In 18th to 20th pAsurams, it is established that jIvAthmAs should go to emperumAn with the purushakAram of pirAtti (nappinnai nAchiyAr who is the incarnation of nILA dhEvi and is the most dear wife of krishNan in vrindhAvan).

virOdhi svarUpam is further explained in the 2nd pAsuram mainly as neyyuNNOm, pAluNNOm meaning we wont accept anything other than emperumAn as enjoyable objects while we are in pursuit of bhagavAn. ANdAL also says "cheyyAthana cheyyOm" (செய்யாதன செய்யோம்) meaning we should not do/perform whatever that is not done/performed by our pUrvAchAryas.

Beyond these, upAya svarUpam and upEya svarUpam are most important for us to understand. ANdAL explains these most important principles in the 28th and 29th pAsurams of thiruppAvai by talking in the bhAvam of gOpis/gOpas. periyavAchAn piLLai and nAyanAr have written beautiful vyAkyAnams (commentaries) for these pAsurams. nAyanAr's vyAkyAnam is in great detail with lots of classic explanations. Let us see the essence of these pAsurams:

upAya svarUpam - kaRavaigaL pinchenRu (கறவைகள் பின்சென்று) - 28th pAsuram
ANdAL establishes emperumAn is the sidhdha sAdhanam (established upAyam which need not be achieved by our individual efforts) in this pAsuram.
  • She first declares that she does not have any anvayam (involvement) in karma yOgam, gyAna yOgam and bhakthi yOgam.
  • We have no karma yOgam since none of the requirements for karma yOgam is fulfilled by us as in:
    • One should follow great scholars, here we are going behind cows instead of going behind great scholars.
    • One should go to dhivyadhEsams, here we are going to the forest. If one thinks that even going to forests to perform thapasya can be considered as part of karma yOgam, here we are going to the forest to feed the cows. Even if feeding the cows can be considered as part of their varNa dharmam, we are only feeding the cows which gives milk (kaRavai) and ignoring the other ones.
    • Even eating has many restrictions, and we follow no such restrictions, we eat while walking, we eat with either hands and we eat without even bathing.
  • We have no gyAna yOgam since we are part of "aRivonRum illAtha Aykkulam" (அறிவொன்றும் இல்லாத ஆய்க்குலம்) meaning we have no real intelligence.
  • As bhakthi is gyAna visEsham (an evolved state of gyAnam), since we dont even have gyAnam, there is no question of performing bhakthi yOgam.
  • But we do have one puNyam (good fortune - virtue) - that we are feeding and nourishing bhagavAn who is the ultimate dharmam (krishNam dharmam sanAthanam - kaNNan emperumAn is the eternal religious principle). And this is not achieved by our own efforts - you have yourself voluntarily chosen to come and live amongst us. So, neither we have the external enemies (karma/gyAna/bhakthi yOgams) nor we have the internal enemy (svagatha svIkAram - we ourselves approaching emperumAn and considering our effort as upAyam).
  • Just like we have no intelligence, you also have no defects whatsoever. You are full of auspicious qualities. That too your auspicious qualities are fully manifested when you are in the form of gOvindhan amongst the gOpas. When you are amongst the nithyasUris, only your supremacy is fully manifested but when you are amongst the cow herd boys and girls, your saulabhyam (easy accessibility) is fully manifested.
  • Not only you are full in auspicious qualities and you are the sidhdha sAdhanam (established upAyam which need not be achieved by an individual's effort), you also have the relationship with every jIvAthmA. You are the in-dwelling paramAthmA in every jIvAthmA and without your presence, no entity can sustain themselves. thirumanthram which is revealed by you yourself identifies the nine different relationships between the paramAthmA and jIvAthmA viz pithA-puthra (father-son), rakshaka-rakshya (protector-protected), sEshi-sEsha (master-servant), bharthru-bhAryA (husband-wife), jnEya-jnAtha (known-knower), svAmi-svam (owner-owned), AdhAra-AdhEya (sustainer-sustained), AthmA-sarIra (Super soul-individual soul) and bhOkthA-bhOgya (enjoyer-enjoyed). Thus you have the responsibility to protect us who are surrendered to you.
  • Out of ignorance and love, we have sometimes called you nArAyaNA. You are here establish your simplicity as gOvindhan, but forgetting that we called you nArAyaNA. So please forgive us for that (nAyanAr explains that ANdAL is showing that we should always seek pardon for our mistakes while surrendering to emperumAn ).
  • Because you are the ultimate upAyam and since we have Akinchanyam (nothing in our hands) and ananya gathithvam (no other refuge) and since we have vilakkAmai (not stopping emperumAn from protecting us), please give us the ultimate kainkaryam.
Thus, ANdAL establishes emperumAn's nirapEksha upAyathvam (protecting us without any expectation) in this pAsuram. It is still to be understood that Akinchanyam, ananya gathithvam and vilakkAmai are identified here as requirements for emperumAn to protect us - they are not part of upAyam but they are simply adhikAri visEshaNam (qualities of a mumukshu). These qualities differentiate the jIvAthmAs who want to surrender to emperumAn from the jIvAthmAs who dont want to surrender to emperumAn.
upEya svarUpam - chiRRam chiRukAlE (சிற்றம் சிறுகாலே) - 29th pAsuram
ANdAL establishes that kainkaryam to emperumAn which exclusively pleases him is the ultimate goal in this pAsuram.
  • We have come early in the morning to surrender unto you. Early morning is compared by nAyanAr to early days of being mumukshu - this state is when we have been cleared of the ignorance but not fully developed attachment towards emperumAn since morning is explained as fully awake and knowledgable state.
  • While you should have come to protect us (because you are the owner and we are the owned), we have ourselves come here. Just like when the dhandakAraNya rishis came to see srI rAman, he became very sad that, he made them come and explain their problems in front of him, instead of himself going to them and enquire about them first. svagatha svIkAram is thus explained as some thing that will bring sadness in emperumAn's heart since that is not natural.
  • Not only we have come, but we have also now offered our praNAmams (obeisances/worship) to you. While dhEvathAntharams (other dhEvathais) expect their worshippers to keep on worshipping them, emperumAn being svArAdhyan (easily worshippable) does not even expect his bhakthas to offer their obeisances towards him - he is most happy to just see them come towards him. Such is emperumAn's greatness - he is just like a father who becomes happy as soon as he sees his sons without expecting anything else from them.
  • We glorified your golden lotus feet which is dear to all vaidhikas. We are not glorifying you and your lotus feet to get anything else - our purpose is to glorify them and that itself is the process and the goal.
  • Now you listen to us, we are going to explain what is paRai (the goal). It is not enough that you have descended to vrindhAvan, you now have to fulfill our desires. You have now voluntarily and willingly born in this clan of cow herd boys and girls. You have to engage us in confidential and appropriate kainkaryam to you. This is ordained for you - because you have now reformed us and developed utmost attachment towards you in us, you have to engage us in kainkaryam as well.
  • When emperumAn says "I will just give you the result of the vratham (nOnbu)", they explain further that the vratham is just a reason to engage with him fully and we have not come to accept any other result than kainkaryam.
  • She says wherever he is in - paramapadham or samsAram, she wants to be with emperumAn. Just like iLaiya perumAL (lakshmaNan) went to forest with perumAL (srI rAman) and never separated from him at any cost, ANdAL also says that she always want to be with kaNNan emperumAn. She says that because he is the owner and she is the owned and the relationship is eternal, she always wants that sambandham (relationship) to visibly manifest.
  • She finally establishes the ultimate goal that she wants to only serve emperumAn and only for his pleasure. She says she wants to serve like lakshmaNan who served him always instead of bharathAzhwAn who lived apart from him for some time. By saying "maRRai Nam kAmanGgaL mARRu" (மற்றை நம் காமங்கள் மாற்று) meaning remove all other desires from us, she declares that neither she want to have any pleasure on her own nor she wants emperumAn to think that she has any pleasure on her own. This same concept is explained by nAmmAzhwAr in thiruvAimozhi emmA vIdu (2.9) padhigam, "thanakkEyAga enaikkoLLumIdhE" (தனக்கேயாக எனைக்கொள்ளுமீதே) meaning emperumAn should engage him in his service exclusively for emperumAn's pleasure.
Thus ANdAL establishes the ultimate goal in this pAsuram. Also, "maRRai Nam kAmanGgaL mARRu" (மற்றை நம் காமங்கள் மாற்று) is explaining virOdhi svarUpam - which is engaging in kainkaryam for our own pleasure instead of emperumAn's pleasure.

Thus, we can understand the artha panchakam through the divine words of ANdAL nAchiyAr's thiruppAvai and the classic explanations given by many AchAryas who have done excellent vyAkyAnams for this dhivya prabhandham.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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