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Editor's Note - 88 (September 1, 2015)

Varadacharya’s Glowing Obeisance To His Father-Acharya — I

Dear Fellow-Bhagavathas,

Another Swami Desika’s Vaarshika Uthsavam (Annual Festival) is around the corner. This year’s Thirunakshathram of the great Acharya, the completion of 747 years, falls on 24th instant and the celebration will commence nine days ahead, that is on the 15th. The Avathara Day will as usual feature a grand Mangalaasaasanam, Procession, and Saatrumurai, as usual.

For all of us, general devotees, Swami Desika is an Acharya; and some among us may even hold him as god. But Varadacharya or Nayinaaraacharya has the unique distinction of having two additional relationships — the Master is his father as well as the Brahmopadesa Acharya. How fittingly has he repaid Swami Desika for the special privilege?

Kumara Varadacharya, along with Brahma-thanthra Swathanthra Jeeyar, was the principal disciple of Swami Desika. He composed the hymn ‘Sri Desika Mangalam’ in Sanskrit and the Prabandham ‘Pillai Anthaadhi’ in Tamil on his illustrious father. These are the most widely-known and most frequently-recited works on Swami Desika.

In this Note, we shall take a look at the essence of the first 10 Paasurams of ‘Pillai Anthaadhi’. This Prabandham has been modeled on ‘Ramanusa Nootranthaadhi’ of Thiruvarangath-Amudhanar. Exemplary devotion is the hallmark of this exquisite Prabandham, as can be seen from the summary of each Pasuram.

1.மாமலர் மன்னிய மங்கை...
The feet of Thooppul Pillai — who sings the praise of Sri Ramanuja who sought the feet of Nammazhwar who had adorned the feet of the Lord Sriman Narayana and Goddess Mahalakshmi — is atop my head.
2.சென்னி வணங்க...
O, people! Will we all have the great fortune of having the feet of the famed Swami Desika setting on our head forever? If that happens, the world of Naraka will get destroyed and we will ever enjoy the bliss of Moksha.
There is no refuge other than the singing the glory of the blemishless Lord of Thooppul who, provided us the essence of all the Sasthras and Vedas as also the path of Saranaagathi, and forever, sang the praise of Sri Ramanuja.
4.உய்யும் வகையில்லை...
There are no refuge for us other than the philosophy professed by Thooppul Pillai who had the great grace of Sri Ramanuja, who permanently had Lord Varadaraja, who emerged from the altar of sacrifice performed by Brahma, and Perundevi in his hearts.
5.அன்று இவ்வுலகினை ஆக்கி...
It was the Lord who created the universe in days of yore, gave out the great Saasthras for us and assumed the Venkata hills as His abode. It was also the same Lord who was later born as Guru Venkatanatha and averted the worldly deseases, that is the distresses of Samsara.
6.வித்தகன் வேதியன்...
The moment I chanted the sacred names of Vedantha Desika, who, by his sheer all-round mastery, conquered all logicians, all my grave sins got vanished!
7.வினைகாள் உமக்கு...
O, sins! You ought to look for some other place, for, your tendency to distress me is no longer sustainable. The reason is the noble Lord of Thooppul, whose mind is full of the great works of Sri Ramanja, has entered my mind and has come to stay there.
8.பொருந்திப் புவிதனில்...
O, foolish people! You don’t seem to know how to avoid the trap of Naraka. Listen! Worship the feet of the great Lord of Thooppul and you will get rid of all your distresses.
9.வணக்கம் ஒடுக்கம்...
Those who attain Thooppul Pillai, who always spoke about the greatness of Sri Ramanuja, as the refuge, will be bestowed with commendable attributes like obedience, humility, good habits and conduct and compassion; the undesirable ones like bad company, ignorance, sins and mental filth will keep away.
10.அடைபவர் தீவினை மாற்றி...
O, the Lord of Thooppul who upstage the sins of those who attain you! You are the Kalpa tree for those who realise your greatness. Kindly bless me with the fortune of attaining your feet by completely uprooting the miseries of Samsara.

The second half will be taken up in the subsequent column.

Meet you in the next Note.

எங்கள் தூப்புல் பிள்ளை பாதம் என் சென்னியதே!

Natteri P. Srihari (a) Lakshmi Narasimhacharyar

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