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Editor's Note - 98 (July 1, 2016)

An Overview Of Thooppul Pillai’s Tamil Prabandhams - 6

Dear Fellow-Bhagavathas,

8. Artha Panchakam

The next one in the series of Swami Desika’s Prabandham is Artha Panchakam. This has already been covered in Note No. 79 may be referred here. This is the third Prabandham of the six dedicated to Lord Varadaraja.

Those who are desirous of deliverance (Moksham) ought to know five things: 1. The form and attributes of the Supreme Being (Paramaathma); 2. The form and attributes of the individual soul (Jivaathma); 3. The nature of deterrents to Moksham; 4. The nature of the means (Bhakthi and Prapaththi); and 5. The nature of Moksham.

The above points have been aptly dealt with in the Prabandham in two Paasurams each. It may be observed that each Paasuram mentions Piraatti, showing that it is always the inseparable Divya Dhampathis — whether it is Upaayam or Upeyam.

The Piraatti references in are (Paasuram-wise):

9. Vaishnava Dinachari

Five-Session Routines of a Day (Pancha-Kaala Prakriya) as prescribed in the Saasthras for Srivaishnavas have been enumerated in this Prabandham — in two Paasurams each. The religious chores have to be performed in five distinctive sessions. They are:

  1. Abhigamanam: The prayer to the Lord that the routines for the day are performed without obstructions.
  2. Upaadhaanam: Gathering flowers, Thulasi, fruits, etc. for Bhagavath Aradhanam, the daily worship; Engaging in the Kalakshepam of the great scriptures like Ithihasas, Puranas, works of Azhwars and Acharyas.
  3. Ijyai: Performing Thirivaradhanam to the Lord as prescribed in the Saasthras.
  4. Swaadhyaayam: Chanting and familiarising of the Vedas.
  5. Yogam: Meditating upon the feet of the Lord at the time of retiring to bed.

10. Thiru-chinna Maalai

This is a unique Prabandham composed by Swami Desika. Captivated by the majesty of the wind instrument ‘Thiru-chinnam’ blown ahead of Lord Varadaraja’s procession during Uthsavams, the author set the Prabandham to a similar gait, recalling the Lord’s attributes and deeds each line before ending with the word ‘Vandhaar’ (வந்தார்). Hence, the name is ‘Thiru-Chinna Maalai’.

Swami Desika has revealed the essence of Thirumanthram in the first six Paasurams, Dhvayan in the seventh verse and Charama-Slokam in the eighth and ninth Paasurams. The 10th one is a general salutation to the Lord and the final Paasuram avers that only those who desire the great goal of Moksham could experience the sweetness of this Prabandham.

Since all the three esoteric tenets of Srivaishnavam have been covered in this, it is held that the three Rahasyams (Thirumanthram, Dhvayam and Charama-Slokam) are dedicated to Lord Varadaraja.

Legend says that, in reverence to this Prabandham which was born after Swami Desika triumphed in his efforts to restore recitation of Divya Prabandham during processions, the Lord presented one of the two Thiru-chinnams to Swami Desika, and hence only one is being used even now.

எங்கள் தூப்புல் பிள்ளை பாதம் என் சென்னியதே!

Natteri P. Srihari (a) Lakshmi Narasimhacharyar

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