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Swami Nammazhwar Snippets - 3 (September 15, 2012)

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

After establishing that service to the Lord is ‘Parama Purushaartham’ in ‘Emmaa Veedu’, the Azhwar proceeds to explain the ‘last post’ ‘Purushaartha Kaashta’ in this exercise of service. The ‘Ananya Seshathvam’ is implied in ‘u’ in the Pranava Manthram.

பயிலும் சுடரொளி மூர்த்தியை பங்கயக் கண்ணனை
பயில இனிய நம் பாற்கடல் சேர்ந்த பரமனை
பயிலும் திருவுடையார் யவரேலும் அவர் கண்டீர்
பயிலும் பிறப்பிடை தோறு எம்மை ஆளும் பரமரே.
(Thiruvoymozhi 3-7-1)

The term “I am NOT Seshan to anyone” excludes only all other deities and one’s own self but includes “Bhaagavatha Seshathvam” (i.e.) Service to the servants of the Lord.

Emperumaanaar is said to have exemplified Sathrughnaazhwan as the role model of this “Bhaagavatha Seshathvam”.

How? Sathrughna was taken by Bharatha to his uncle’s house almost as if he were a piece of luggage or ‘personal effects’. He had no choice nor did he desire any. In serving Bharatha, the Bhaagavatha, Sathrughna excelled even Lakshmana who went with Sri Rama to the forest but is seen on occasions to have exhibited his individuality and personal opinions. Sathrughna was Anagha’ – Blemishless.

Who is a Bhaagavatha? Anyone whose thought, word and deed are directed solely and exclusively towards Bhagavan – Lord Vishnu.

Who is Bhagavan? Vishnu Purana (5.74 and 5.75) defines this: “The following six qualities are denoted by the term ‘Bhaga’, viz., absolute Lordship, absolute valor, absolute fame, absolute prosperity, absolute knowledge and absolute determination”. It is the One who possesses all these six qualities can be called “Bhagavan”.

It is Sriman Narayana alone who is the soul of all beings. All souls rest in Him. He is the cause and support of all. That is the reason why He is called “Bhagavan” which suits Him and Him only.

In the case of others, it can at best be used only as a matter of courtesy and not because they deserve to be called so”

கண்டு கேட்டு உற்று மோந்து உண்டு உழலும் ஐங்கருவி
கண்ட இன்பம் தெரிவரிய அளவில்லாச் சிற்றின்பம்
ஒண்தொடியாள் திருமகளும் நீயுமே நிலா நிற்பக்
கண்ட சதிர் கண்டொழிந்தேன் அடைந்தேன் உன் திருவடியே.
(Thiruvoymozhi 4-9-10)

“O, Lord! By Your grace, I have abandoned the limited mundane pleasures provided by the senses of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch and even the purely self-gratifying self-knowledge called “Kaivalyam” or “Atma Anubhavam”. All these pleasures are the very anti-thesis of the incomparable experience of absolute happiness that You alone can grant”.

On Thodiyaal Thirumagalum Neeyume Nilaa Nirpa: I have found out the way to realise this happiness of serving You and Your Consort, the bangle-spangled Piraatti and I have reached Your glorious feet — glorious because You both stand unique and unrivalled in Srivaikuntam. This ‘Serthi’ or ‘togetherness’ is our ‘Upaaya’ and ‘Upeya’.

This togetherness is a favorite subject of Swami Desika.

The connotation of the term ‘On Thodiyaal’ in Tamil literature is interesting. The hero tells his lady love that he has plans to go abroad. At the very mention of separation, the lady becomes so famished and thin that her bangles become loose and drop down. When he said that he would take her along with him, out of sheer exuberance, she regains more than her original form so that she now finds it difficult to put on the very same bangles and they break off!

Similar is the ‘togetherness’ of Bhagavan and Bhagavathi! (Refer Agalagillen Iraiyumenru… Thiruvoymozhi 6-10-10).

ஒன்றும் தேவும் உலகும் உயிரும் மற்றும் யாதுமில்லா
அன்று நான்முகன் தன்னொடு தேவர் உலகோடு உயிர் படைத்தான்
குன்றம் போல் மணிமாட நீடு திருக்குருகூர் அதனுள்
நின்ற ஆதிப்பிரான் நிற்க மற்றை தெய்வம் நாடுதிரே.
(Thiruvoymozhi 4-10-1)

“In the beginning, the Lord was alone. Neither Brahma, nor Siva, nor any Devas. No human or other beings. Nothing was there. He started creating everything including the four-faced Brahma, the Devas, the heavens where they live in, the earth where all other beings live in. It is this very same Lord who now stands as Aadhip.Piraan in ThirukKurugur in His Archaa form, exhibiting His ‘Soulabhyam’ as much as His ‘Parathvam’. When He is very much there waiting to grant whatever you want, (even Moksha on death — "... மரணம் ஆனால் வைகுந்தம் கொடுக்கும் பிரான்..." (Thiruvoymozhi 9-10-5). How come, you run after petty deities who are as much His creations as you yourselves are?” This includes even the ordinary kings on earth.

Udhanga asked Krishna whether Krishna could not have averted the Mahabharatha war. Krishna is said to have replied: ”I have tried my best but Duryodhana was bent upon destroying the Paandavas and swore that he would not live while Paandavas were alive, thus exhibiting extreme enmity. So, I had to give up ‘peace offensives’ and resort to ‘war offensives’.

Similarly, the Lord tried His best to wean the Samsaris and elevate them to the company of ‘Nithya Sooris’, but they were obstinately determined to be ‘Nithya Samsaaris’ and resisted the Lord so much that He had to give up and entrust the duty to the Azhwar!

People are confused and misled into false determination by various Saasthras and Puraanas that seek to glorify certain petty deities in certain specific contexts, giving the impression that they are either equal or even superior to Bhagavan. People do not have either the maturity or the patience to examine in what specific circumstances and for what reasons hyperbole was employed in the case of other deities. These people fail to understand how these hyperboles are never meant to detract from the ‘Parathvam’ of Bhagavan.

They do not understand how Agni, Siva and others have been spoken of highly in Thaamasa Puraanas which are really not authoritative at all and Brahma and others in Raajasa Puraanas that are perhaps only a little more authoritative than the earlier ones. The most authentic ‘Saathvika’ Puraanas have never been tired of declaring Bhagavan as ‘the Paramaathma’.

Perhaps, the Lord thought that the best person to disabuse their minds would be the Azhwar, instead of Himself making the effort that might be misunderstood as ‘self-glorification’.

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Next in series: On October 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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