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Swami Nammazhwar Snippets - 2 (August 15, 2012)


A Peek Into Satakopa's Enrapturing Sentiments
Anbil Ramaswamy, U.S.A.



Now we shall move on to Thiruvoymozhi.

Of all the Divya Prabandhams, Thiruvoymozhi occupies a special, pre- eminent position. It is said that one should sit quietly in front of the Lord while Thiruvoymozhi is recited because the Lord would not like any disturbance while chanting of Thiruvoymozhi goes on.

Nammazhwar, who is the foremost among Azhwars, is known as ‘Satakopa’ or ‘Sataari’. The Sataari that we respectfully receive in the temples is considered the placing of Lord’s feet on our heads. The belief is that this very symbolic contact itself would redeem us.

Swami Desika says in Paadhuka Sahasram (Sloka No. 22) that it is not correct to say that only those who have studied the Divya Prabandhams of Azhwars will be welcome to the Lord and others would not be fit to receive His grace. It is for saving even those who could not or did not study the Aruli-cheyals that the ‘miracle contact’ of Sataari had been instituted. And, through this, Nammazhwar introduces and recommends the laity to the Lord for redemption. Hence, the importance of Thiruvoymozhi. We shall study and enjoy a few Paasurams therein.

உயர்வற உயர்நலம் உடையவன் யவனவன்
மயர்வற மதிநலம் அருளினன் யவனவன்
அயர்வறும் அமரர்கள் அதிபதி யவனவன்
துயரறு சுடரடி தொழுதெழு என் மனனே!
(Thiruvoymozhi 1-1-1)

O my mind! Rise (and Redeem) yourself by worshipping the resplendent feet of the Lord whose innumerable qualities are natural, auspicious and unexcelled; who granted knowledge and devotion which alone can dispel the foibles of sheer intellect; and who is the Master of even the tireless Celestials. This alone can obliterate grief.

The first line of the verse describes His qualities, the second His grace, the third His Omnipotence. Thus, the three lines establish His Parathvam.

The fourth line depicts both Parama Hitham (Thozhudhu) and Parama Purushaartham (Ezhu).

ஒழிவில் காலமெல்லாம் உடனாய் மன்னி
வழுவிலா அடிமை செய்யவேண்டும் நாம்
தெழிகுரல் அருவித் திருவேங்கடத்து
எழில்கொள் சோதி எந்தை தந்தை தந்தைக்கே.
(Thiruvoymozhi 3-3-1)

This verse is the very life breath of Srivaishnava Sampradaya. The Azhwar desires that he should render faultless service without interruption and forever together with the Lord, like Lakshmana did it for Rama.

‘Kaalam ellaam’ means including the past. How is it possible to do service retrospectively? The implication is that the service done from now on should be so intense and so dedicated as to make up for the lost opportunity in the past.

How can Lakshmana be cited as role model for ‘Kaalamellaam’, ‘Udanaai manni’, Vazhuvilaa adimai, etc. He did fail on every count. How?

Firstly, he did not stay with Sri Sita when Sri Rama went after the mysterious stag. Hence, he failed in keeping constant company as promised by him. Even when Sri Rama and Sri Sita were together privately, LakshmaNa stood outside possibly to avoid embarrassment to the couple enjoying each other’s company.

In an imaginary dialogue, Acharyas used to say, that Lakshmana asked the Azhwar what he would have done in the circumstances. Azhwar replied that he would not leave the place but convert himself into a lamp (Kuthu Vilakku) or a stepping stone (Padikkal) or some such inanimate object and would have stayed put there itself and thus avoided any embarrassment.

Secondly, he did not render ‘Vazhvilaa Adimai’ (faultless service) because when Sri Rama had specifically asked him to stay and guard Sri Sita, he left her when she uttered some harsh words. This indeed was a ‘Dharma Sankatam’ for Lakshmana but it is undeniable that he transgressed the specific orders of Sri Rama and his own promise — “Aham Sarvam Karishyaami”.

The Azhwar is said to have replied that in this event, he would have split his personality — one to guard Sri Sita and the other to accompany Sri Rama.

All this may look poetic fancy and imagination running riot, but the beauty of the imagination cannot go unadmired.

‘Vazhuvilaa’ also means devoid of Ahamkaara, Mamakaara, etc, craving for name or fame, sense of competition or jealousy, sense of self gratification, according to Sri Vachana Bhushanam.

Well, that was in Thretha Yuga. What about Kali Yuga when the Azhwar lived?

It is precisely for giving an opportunity to devotees like Azhwar that the Lord had come all the way ‘down to earth’ in Thiruvenkatam. The service one expects to do in Srivaikuntam can be done here and now and the Lord in His ‘Soulabhyam’ is prepared to accept it.

‘Ezhil kol sodhi’ refers to His beauty (Soundharyam). Also, it means the one who shines in the company of Piraatti. ‘Endhai’ means Swami or Master and in ‘Tandhaikke’ the emphasis is on the final syllable ‘e’ which denotes ‘only’. That is, for the sake of the Lord only.

It would appear that Thiruvaranga-Perumaal Araiyar, while reciting this verse, was so overwhelmed by emotion that he would go on repeating “Ozhivil kaalamellaam, kaalamellaam, kaalamellaam… and so on for long without proceeding further.

Swami Desika concludes his “Nigamana Adhikaara’ of Srimath Rahasya- Thraya Saaram” quoting the verse as follows:

ஸர்வேச்வரன் தாளிணைக்கீழ் ஒழிவில் காலமெல்லாம் உடனாய் மன்னி வழுவிலா அடிமை செய்ய 'நாம்' என்ற மனோரதத்தின் படியே ஸர்வ தேச, ஸர்வ கால, ஸர்வ அவஸ்தோசித, ஸர்வ வித கைங்கர்யங்களையும் ஏற்று வாழ்வார்கள்.


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Next in series: On September 15, 2012.



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The author is President, Swami Desika Darsana Satsangam (SDDS) and Editor,
Sri Ranga Sri (SRS) Electronic Journal, U.S.A.



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