anthimOpAya nishtai - 4 - emperumAnAr's mercy

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

In the previous article (, we observed the qualities of a true sishyan. We will continue with the many incidents from our pUrvAchAryas in this article.

Once, vaduga nambi was boiling milk for emperumAnAr. At that time, during uthsavam, namperumAL being decorated nicely, arrived at the entrance of the mutt as part of the procession. udayavar went out and performed his mangaLAsAsanam to namperumAL and called out for vaduga nambi - "vaduga! please come out and take dharshan of emperumAn". It is famous that, vaduga nambi replied "dasan, if I come out to take dharshan of your God, the milk will over-boil for my God. So, I cannot come out now". Our jIyar (mAmunigaL) prayed for vaduga nambi's nishtai in Arthi prabhandham 11th pAsuram as follows:

unnai ozhiya oru dheyvam maRRaRiyA
mannupugazhsEr vaduganambi thannilaiyai
enRanakku nI thanthu
ethirAsA ennALum unRanakkE AtkoL uganthu

உன்னை ஒழிய ஒரு தெய்வம் மற்றறியா
மன்னுபுகழ்சேர் வடுகநம்பி தன்னிலையை
என்றனக்கு நீ தந்து
எதிராசா எந்நாளும் உன்றனக்கே ஆட்கொள் உகந்து

yathirAja! Please bless me with the same nishtai of the glorious vaduga nambi who did not know any other God than yourself and let me fully engage in your service happily.

Our jIyar (mAmunigaL) often quotes these 3 principles/incidents. Of these, the 2nd incident should be properly heard from an AchAryan and understood.
  • One who is materially focussed will stay close to a good doctor (to ensure his body is well cared for). One who is spiritually focussed will stay close to a good AchAryan (to ensure the AthmA is well cared for),
  • Once, nampiLLai instructed his dear sishya vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai to assist his wife in a particular task. After some time, nampiLLai asks "krishNa! What did you think about my action (of engaging you in assisting my wife in a task)?". vadakku thiruvIdhi piLLai replies "I always think I am at the disposal of both of you (you and your wife)?" (Translator's note: similar to how we are at the disposal of thAyAr and emperumAn). nampiLLai becomes much pleased and mentions that true sishyan will behave exactly like this. (Translator's note: Unlike other sampradhAyams we always worship srI mahAlakshmi and sriman nArAyaNan together - its a very important principle for us).
  • Once, piLLai lOkAchAryar asks one his disciples (who is very pure minded lady) to fan him since it was sultry. She asks "Will your divine body be affected by this and will you sweat?". piLLai lOkAchAryar says "Yes - it will sweat. Even bhagavAn sweats as identified in nAchiyAr thirumozhi 12.6 by ANdAL 'vErththup pasiththu vayiRachainthu' (வேர்த்துப் பசித்து வயிறசைந்து)". Thus, he aptly explains using ANdAL's words so that her faith does not get shattered (Translator's note: We should consider our AchAryan's body as divine even when he is alive in this world - not just material. At the same time it sweats like bhagavAn's divine body as part of leelA. piLLai lOkAchAryar beautifully explains this principle by quoting an appropriate pramANam).

During udayavar's times, there was a great adhvaitha scholar named yagya mUrthi (who becomes aruLALa perumAL emperumAnAr eventually). He had very many disciples and had learnt many parts of sAsthram. He pridefully arrives at srIrangam with his disciples carrying his many literary works. He challenges udayavar for a debate and the debate begins. The debate goes on for 17 days and on the 18th day yagya mUrthi was gaining great leads in the debate. They stop the debate for the day and yagya mUrthi leaves happily. udayavar returns to his mutt, performs thiruvArAdhanam to pEraruLALan and becomes upset with him. He says to emperumAn "all along, you have established that your svarUpam, form, qualities, wealth, etc are true according to sAsthram; But now during my time, if you want to destroy those through a liar (who declares everything is mAyA-false), go ahead and do it". He then goes to yOgam (sleep) with out accepting prasAdham. In his dream, emperumAn appears and says "I have arranged for a qualified disciple for you; You explain the principles to him (as done by ALavandhAr) and he will accept that and become your sishya".

udayavar wakes up and  wonders about the divine dream. He becomes very pleased and meditates on the various pramANams. rAmAnusa nURRanthAdhi 88 "valimikka chIyamirAmAnusan maRai vAdhiyarAm pulimikkathenRu ippuvanaththil vandhamai" (வலிமிக்க சீயமிராமானுசன் மறை வாதியராம் புலிமிக்கதென்று இப்புவனத்தில் வந்தமை) - when the forest becomes filled with evil tigers, and if a powerful lion appears at that time, the lion will destroy the evil tigers, Similarly when the world is filled with evil minded preachers who spread the wrong principles, srI rAmAnuja appeared and destroyed (purified) them. Next morning, udayavar walks in to the debate hall like a victorious lion. Seeing the blissful form of udayavar, yagya mUrthy becomes confused and thinks that "yesterday when he left, he was sulking and now he is very effulgent - this is no humanly act. there must be a divine intervention in this" and falls at the lotus feed of udayavar. udayavar asks "What is this? Dont you want to debate any further?". yagya mUrthi replies "When periya perumAL himself appears to you and guides you, I think that there no difference between periya perumAL and your highness. So, I am no longer qualified to open my mouth in your presence. Please accept me as your disciple and bless me". udayavar becomes very pleased and names him "aruLALA perumAL emperumAnAr" (a combination of pEraruLALan's name and his own name), blesses him (with srIvaishNava sannyAsa Ashramam) and gives him a big mutt to stay as well. udayavar says "You already know all the sAsthram. Give up all attachments fully and behold the lotus feet of srIman nArAyaNan. I dont have to explain you much; You and your sishyas can spend your time blissfully by discussing the visishtAdhvaitha philosophy". aruLALa perumAL emperumAnAr was grateful and started living in his mutt thereafter.

 emperumAnAr - srIperumbUthUr, aruLALa perumAL emperumAnAr - thiruppAdagam

Subsequently, a couple srIvaishNavas from else where arrives at srIrangam and in the street they enquire the local folks "where is emperumAnAr's mutt?" and the local folks ask them back "Which emperumAnAr?". The srIvaishNavas become perplexed and asks "We thought there was only one emperumAnAr in our sampradhAyam. Are there two?". The local folks say "Yes, there is emperumAnAr and there is aruLALa perumAL emperumAnAr too". The visiting srIvaishNavas say "Oh! We have not heard about the other one, we are enquiring about srI bhAshyakArar". The local folks guide the visiting srIvaishNavas to emperumAnAr mutt and they go there. Incidentally, aruLALa perumAL emperumAnAr hears this conversation and starts thinking "Oh! because we live in a separate mutt away from udayavar, people consider me as an equal to emperumAnAr himself. I have committed a grave mistake now" and becomes very worried. He, at once, orders his mutt to be destroyed, goes to emperumAnAr's mutt, holds on to his lotus feet and asks him "For time immemorial, I was filled with ahankAram and did not take shelter of you. But after taking shelter of your lotus feet, you still kept me away in a separate mutt. Is this what you are planning to do forever?". udayavar wonders what happened and aruLALa perumAL emperumAnAr explains the whole incident. emperumAnAr asks "What should I do for you now?". aruLALa perumAL emperumAnAr says "From today onwards, you should keep me with you like your shadow, lines in your lotus feet and engage me in constant service to you". emperumAnAr obliges and gives him a place in his mutt and explains him all the intricate principles of our sampradhAyam. He also happily stays there without thinking about anything other than service to emperumAnAr. Based on what is learnt from emperumAnAr, he writes two beautiful prabandhams named gyAna sAram and pramEya sAram which can be understood by any one. He establishes through that prabandham that AchAryan is the ultimate worshippable deity for the sishyan and his lotus feet are the only refuge by saying "the AchAryan who showed the path of sharaNAgathi is the total refuge for the sishyan", "srIman nArAyaNan himself appears as one's AchAryan", etc. These principles as given by the most knowledgable aruLALA perumAL emperumAnAr are explained by our jIyar (mAmunigaL).

Translator's note: Thus we have seen the divine mercy of emperumAnAr in purifying the hearts of vaduga nambi and aruLALa perumAL emperumAnAr and in turn their total dependence and submission towards emperumAnAr.

To be continued...

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