An Overview Of Thooppul Pillai’s Tamil Prabandhams - 4
A very unique Prabandham — is the subject matter of this Note.
6. Mey Viradha Maanmiyam
Swami Desika has dedicated six Prabandhams to Lord Varadaraja of ThirukKachchi. Mey Viradha Maanmiyam (also known as Aththigiri/Hasthigiri Maahaathmyam) comprises the most Paasurams (29) among them. The others are: Adaikkala-Paththu, Artha panchakam, Vaishnava Dinachari, Thiru-chinna Maalai and Panniru Naamam.
Our Acharya, originally, composed a historical treatise on Kanchi and the Avathara of the Lord therein under the title Sathya Vratha Maahaathmyam. The Paasurams that form part of that work in Mani Pravaalam (a combination of Sanskrit and Tamil) have been compiled to be known as Mey Viradha Maanmiyam.
Kancheepuram, as we know, is among the seven holy towns attributed to Moksham, the others being Ayodhya, Mathura, Maya (Haridwar), Kasi, Avanthika (Ujjain) and Dwaraka. Kanchi is called ‘Sathya Vratha Kshethram’ for the reason that all Punya Karmas like Yaaga, Yagna, etc. yield instant benediction. The sacred place is also referred to as Hasthigiri, Karigiri and Perumal Koyil, among others. The historical nature of this work tracing back the manifestation of the Lord lends uniqueness to the Prabandham.
The Lord Varadaraja temple is situated on a hillock which, according to the legend, was the altar on which Brahma performed Aswamedha Yaga (horse-sacrifice), desiring to have a direct vision of the Lord.
At the end of the ritual, there appeared a luminous gleam like a radiant Sun from the altar even as Lord Varadaraja presented Himself in all His splendour in a Punya Koti Vimanam which resembled a golden hillock. Thus Brahma got his wish fulfilled and the place came to be known as Sathya Vratha Kshethram. Ever since, Brahma himself is said to be performing the annual Uthsavam to the Lord during the Tamil month of Vaikasi and hence it is called Brahmothsavam. The whole episode has been documented ever so beautifully and vividly by our Acharya in ‘Mey Viradha Maahaathmyam'.
- Starting with a salutation to Lord Varadaraja, the author pleads with scholars for a hearing of this treatise (Paasuram No. 2); requests poets to join him in singing the Lord’s praise (3); and vests the responsibility of the Prapanna with the Lord (4). And what follows is the recount of the events:
- A distraught Brahma, failing in his attempt to have direct vision of the Lord, cries like a kid that covets the moon (5)
- Brahma’s indulges in self-deprecation (6)
- He reaches the sacred Bharatha Desam in order to do penance (7)
- Brahma orders master architect Viswakarma to build a sacrificial altar for him (8)
- The glory of Kanchi (9)
- Brahma delighted with the fine work of Viswakarma (10)
- Brahma asks Vasishta to bring back an estranged Saraswathi who was performing penance near Kanchi (11)
- The furious flow of Saraswathi taking the form of a river (12)
- The Lord blocking the river as a dam -- Vegasethu (13)
- The whole world is ecstatic that the impasse is resolved and Brahma performs the Aswamedha Yagam (14)
- Lord Varadaraja emerges from the sacrificial altar in a Punya Koti Vimanam so resplendent that the effulgence outshines even the sun -- புகல் ஓங்கு பொன்மலை அன்னதோர் புண்ணியகோடியுடன் பகலோன் பகல் விளக்காகப் பரஞ்சுடர் தோன்றியதே (15)
- Nithyasooris welcome the Lord’s arrival (16 & 17)
- The description of the Lord’s beauty (18)
- Worshipping the Lord as attributed in Brahma Suthras (19)
- A pleased Brahma, immersed in the experience of the Lord’s form, praises Him (20)
- Brahma worships the Lord and His Consorts, with superb similies forming the description (21)
- He worships the Lord recalling His great virtues (22)
- The Lord tells Brahma if he would like any boon to be granted, to which Brahma says that the Lord stations Himself there permanently so that one and all can worship Him forever. Lord Varadaraja accedes to the request (23)
- Brahma’s brief to great sages as to how to worship Lord Varadaraja during the prescribed Five Sessions (Pancha-Kaala Prakriya Abhigamanam, Upaadhaanam, Ijyai, Swwaadhyaayam and Yogam) (24)
- Brahma goes back to Sathya Lokam and observes Yoga (25)
- Lord Varadaraja’s benevolence in all four Yugas — To Brahma in Krutha Yuga, Gajendra in Thretha Yuga, Bruhaspathi in Dwaapara Yuga and Aadhi Sesha in Kali Yuga (26)
- In the concluding part, the author submits that only owing to the grace of Lord Varadaraja (27); states that, ‘Vedhanthaacharya’ that he is, justified his status by singing the glory of the ‘Mey Viradha Nannilam’ (28); and says that he could compose this work only because of his devotion to the feet of Lord Varadaraja (29)
Sri Bhashyakara Millennium Year celebrations
As many would be aware, the 1000th year of the Avathara Day of Sri Ramanuja commences with this year’s Chiththirai-Thiruvaadhirai (May 10) and is being celebrated by Srivaishnavaites worldwide.
At SVDD, the milestone event is being celebrated in a grand manner with a 10-day Uthsavam with Vahana Purappadu in both sessions, apart from Thirumanjanam, Veda Parayanam and Sevakalam. The detailed programmes are available in the invitation here.
The intervening monthly Thiruvaadhirais leading up to the next year’s grand finale will be specially celebrated with Purappadu and Asthanam.
Please participate in large numbers and receive the blessings of Udaiyavar.
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