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Notes for Answers:

It has been another good performance, with the average score reading 7.88, which is less than the previous month’s. Question No. 2 has proved to be the toughest one with just about 27% correct-answers. Six have topped the 80%-mark.

The following table provides the correct answers, the number of correct answers and the percentage of such correct answers for each question. This should be read with the fact that the total number of entries received is 173.

Qn. No.Correct answerNo. of correct answer% of correct answer
7None of these10661.99
8All without discrimination16495.91

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Question No. 1
Where did Sri Ramanuja assume Sanyasa Asramam::
a. Kancheepuramb. Thirumala
c. Thirunarayanapuramd. Srirangam
e. None of these

Repeated incidents that occurred in Sri Ramanuja’s life when he lived in Kancheepuram wherein his wife showed utter disrespect towards his Acharyas and other Srivaishnavas, distressed him no end. So, he decided to take to Sanyasa. He submitted his wish to Lord Varadaraja and got His blessings before taking a dip in Ananthasaras, the temple Pushkarini. Then he recited the ‘Presha Manthra’, the Manthra with which one is initiated into Sanyasa. The Lord was pleased, and through an Archaka Swami, named him ‘Yathiraja’.

Question No. 2
Complete the line-up: Sankhya, Kanaadha, Boudhdha, Pathanjali, Jaina and -----::
a. Chaarvaakab. Saiva
c. Yogad. Paasupatha
e. None of these

Swami Desika conquered six prominent philosophies — Sankhya, Kanaadha, Boudhdha, Pathanjali, Jaina and Saiva as he himself asserted in Paasuram No. 52 of Paramatha Bhangam:

... ஐயமற அறுசமயக் குறும்பறுத்தோம்
அணியரங்கர் அடியவர்க்கே அடிமை செய்தோம்...

There is a mention of the six philosophies in the 51st verse of Adhikara Sanghraham also.

Question No. 3
Who is “one who speaks nothing but truth”, according to Swami Desika::
a. Naradab. Parasara
c. Vasishtad. Vyasa
e. None of these

It’s sage Vyasa, says Swami Desika, who speaks nothing but truth. The sage’s Brahma Soothra shows two paths to Moksha. They are Bhakthi and Prapaththi. Of these, the former is extremely difficult to follow, highly demanding, impracticable and will take infinite time for fruition. It has universal eligibility either. But Prapaththi is easy to undertake, that too by anyone, and as shown by Vyasa, the more feasible option.

Swami Desika thus urges all to resort to the noble way of Prapaththi in the following verse:

வையமெல்லாம் இருள்நீக்கு மணிவிளக்காய் மன்னிய நான்மறை மௌலி மதியே கொண்டு
மெய்யலது விளம்பாத வ்யாசன் காட்டும் விலக்கில்லா நல்வழியே விரைந்து செல்வீர்...
(Paramatha Bhangam - 52)

Question No. 4
Pick the odd one out::
a. ThirukKandiyurb. Thiruvanvandur
c. ThirukKovalurd. ThirukKaarvaanam
e. Thiru Vanparisaram

This is the line-up of Divyadesams with Kamalavalli as Thayar’s name and in the case of ThirukKovalur the name is Poonkoval Naachchiyaar. For the record, another Divyadesam with Kamalavalli as the name of the Consort of the Lord is ThirupPer Nagar (Indradevi and Kamalavalli).

Question No. 5
Which was the only ornament of Sita that Lakshmana able to identify when shown by Sugriva::
a. Braceletb. Ear pendants
c. Necklaced. Anklets
e. None of these

Rama met Sugriva in the forest and when the latter came to know about the purpose of His visit, he recalled and inferred that he saw Sita being carried away. He assured Rama that he would bring Sita back.

Sugriva told Rama that he had kept the upper garments and auspicious ornaments thrown away by Sita when she passed through the forest, and showed them to Rama. Rama, in turn, showed them to Lakshmana.

Lakshmana told Rama:

... நாபி ஜாநாமி கேயூரே ந ச பச்யாமி குண்டலே!!
(Valmiki Ramayanam 4-6-22)

“I cannot identify Her bracelets nor have I seen her ear-ornaments.”

நூபுரே த்வமி ஜாநாமி நித்யம் பாதாபி வந்தநாத்!...
(Valmiki Ramayanam 4-6-23)

“But I can recognise Her anklets as I constantly saluted her feet.”

Question No. 6
Whom does the name ‘Jaahnavee’ refer to::
a. Lakshmib. Ganga
c. Draupadhid. Sita
e. None of these

Once there was a king by name ‘Jahnu’. He performed a sacrifice (Yaga) for which Bhagiratha came. He was followed by Ganga who inundated the whole place. Jahnu got angry and drank the entire Ganga. On requests from many sages, Jahnu then released Ganga through his ear. Since Gange came out of Jahnu, she was considered the daughter of Jahnu and hence the name ‘Jaahnavee’ for her.

Question No. 7
“Crown akin to the Sun, Face like the Moon, Ear pendants in the shape of fish, Chest on which Consort of unmatched compassion coexisting with Srivathsam...” — Identify the Lord::
a. Venkatavanb. Arangan
c. Devanathand. Amudhan
e. None of these (Arulaalan -- Refer Meyviradha Maanmiyam - 18)

Swami Desika comes out with this wonderful description of Lord Varadaraja in Meyviradha Maanmiyam:

இருபரிதிசைந்த மகுடமும் எழில்மதி திகழ்ந்த வதனமும்
இருவகை இலங்கு குழைகளில் எதிர்பொர உகந்த மகரமும்
ஒருதகவுயர்ந்த திருமகள் ஒளிமறுவில் மன்னும் அகலமும்
உருவரு உமிழ்ந்த உதரமும் உலகடைய நின்ற கழல்களும்...
(Meyviradha Maanmiyam - 18)

Lord Varadaraja has “Crown akin to the Sun, Face like the Moon, Ear pendants in the shape of fish, Chest on which Consort of unmatched compassion coexisting with Srivathsam, Belly that discharged the sentient and the non-sentient and Feet that stood there for the entire universe to attain...”

Question No. 8
Who are eligible for Prapaththi::
a. Only Brahmanasb. Those from the first two Varnas
c. Those from the first three Varnasd. Those from the four Varnas
e. All without discrimination (Refer Adhikara Sangraham - 18)

There is no discrimination as to who (of what Varna or Asrama) can perform Prapaththi. It is a means of universal eligibility in order to attain Moksha. Quoting various scriptures, Swami Desika asserts in Chapter 10 (Prapaththi Yogya Adhikaram) that all — right from Brahmanas to the last ones in the hierarchy — are eligible to do Prapaththi.

The relevant Paasuram in Adhikara Sangraham is:

அந்தணர் அந்தியர் எல்லையில் நின்ற அனைத்துலகும்...

Question No. 9
----- is to Pinchaka as Purandhara is to Indra::
a. Kuberab. Brahma
c. Rudhrad. Ravana
e. None of these

The common factor is the respective alternate name. Just as ‘Purandhara’ means ‘Indra’, ‘Pinchakan’ denotes to ‘Rudhra’.

There are a few references in Divya Prabandham where these words occur. The following are sample references:

பிணங்களிடு காடதனுள் நடமாடு பிஞ்சகனோடு...
(Periya Thirumozhi 2-6-9)

பாரேறு பெரும்பாரம் தீர... போரேறொன்றுடையானும் அளகைக்கோனும் புரந்தரனும் நான்முகனும் பொருந்தும் ஊர்போல்...
(Periya Thirumozhi 2-10-8)

Question No. 10
In which Kshethram is the Moolavar carved out of Neem tree and replaced periodically::
a. Guruvayurb. Puri
c. Pandari Puramd. Mannaarkudi
e. None of these

In the Puri Jagannath temple, the idols are made from a special type of Neem wood known as Daru Bramha.

As per the custom, no ordinary Neem tree can be used for this purpose. The tree which will be used has to fulfill many conditions. Lord Jagannath is dark in colour. So the tree from which his idol is to be carved out should be dark, while the trees which would be used for the idols of Balarama and Subhadhra are of lighter hue.

This process is performed once in every 12 to 19 years and always begins in the month of Chaithra (April-May). Incidentally, this grand ritual occurred earlier this year.

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