Trail Our Glorious Sampradaya - November 2013
Notes for Answers:
It has been a somewhat subdued performance, with the average score reading 7.2. Question No. 8 proved to be the toughest one with just 11% correct-answer percentage. Eight questions topped the 80%-mark which is exceptional.
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 209.
Qn. No. Correct answer No. of correct answer % of correct answer
1 Guru 172 81.90
2 None of these 195 92.86
3 Thiruvarangam 93 44.29
4 Jaimini 183 87.14
5 Aswamedha 184 87.62
6 Oorellaam Thunchi 146 69.52
7 Saala 194 92.38
8 Appullaar 23 10.95
9 Amruthaa Swaadhini 160 76.19
10 None at all 162 77.14 * * *
Question No. 1
What does the word ‘Desika’ means:: a. God b. Guru c. Scholar d. Master e. None of these
The word 'Desika' literally denotes preceptor or a guide who preaches spiritual and philosophical values. That, in essence, is a Guru.
It is our fortune that Our Guru Swami Desika happens to be an amalgam of all the definite options of the question - that is, apart from being a celebrated illustrious Guru (Acharya in the lineage of Bhagavath Ramanuja), he was God Himself (an incarnation of Lord Venkatesa of Thirumala), a great Scholar who composed over 120 works of mind-blowing erudition, and a versatile Master (as corroborated by the title 'Sarva-thanthra Svathanthra').
Question No. 2
Who presented the weapon ‘Paasupatham’ to Arjuna:: a. Drona b. Krishna c. Brahma d. Parasurama e. None of these (Siva)
'Pasupathi' is another name of Siva. So, his weapon is known as 'Paasupatham'.
During the period of exile, Arjuna trained hard for the impending war with the Kauravas. Then, He went to the Himalayas to engage himself in penance towards Lord Siva, seeking to obtain his ultimate weapon 'Paasupatham'. At the end of the long and resolute effort, a pleased Siva appeared before Arjuna in the form of a hunter and challenged him to confront him in a duel. During the tough fight Arjuna realised that the hunter was none other than Siva himself and prostrated before him. Siva duly fulfilled Arjuna's wish by presenting the 'Paasupatham' and the manthra.
Question No. 3
Which is the first Divyadesam to receive Mangalaasaasanam by an Azhwar:: a. Thiruvenkatam b. ThirukKottiyur c. ThirukKovalur d. Thiruvarangam e. None of these
The first to compose Paasurams amongst the Azhwars is the 'Opening Trio', known as Mudhal Azhwars - Poigai Azhwar, Bhuthath-Azhwar and Peyazhwar. The ThirukKovalur anecdote is too familiar to repeat here.
Divyadesa Mangalaasaasanm occurs for the first time in Divya Prabandham in the sixth verse of Mudhal Thiruvanthaadhi. Poigai Azhwar says, '(Even) When I was in the womb I worshipped the Lord of Thiruvarangam with folded hands'. The Paasuram is:
The paasuram is:
ஒன்றும் மறந்தறியேன் ஓதநீர் வண்ணனை நான்
இன்று மறப்பனோ ஏழைகாள்? -- அன்று
கருவரங்கத்துள் கிடந்து கைதொழுதேன் கண்டேன்
திருவரங்க மேயான் திசை.
(Mudhal Thiruvanthaadhi — 6)
Question No. 4
----- is to Karma Kaandam as Vyasa is to Brahma Kaandam:: a. Mareechi b. Vasishta c. Bharadhwaja d. Jaimini e. None of these
Veda Vyasa authored the Brahma Suthrams (aphorisms) which is a study of Vedantha or the knowledge of the absolute Brahman. Similarly, it was sage Jaimini who composed the aphorisms referred to as Dharma Suthrams in respect of the Karma Kaandam section of the Vedas, which deals with Yaagas, Homams, etc.
While the Karma Kaandam is known as Poorva Mimamsa, Brahma Kaandam is considered to be Uththara Mimamsa.
Question No. 5
Which Yaaga was performed by Yudhishtira after his triumph in the Kurukshethra war:: a. Aswamedha b. Soma c. Jyothishtoma d. Puthra Kameshti e. None of these
Yudhistira, immediately on emerging victorious in the Kurukshethra war, performed Aswamedha Yaaga. He later observed Rajasuya Yaaga also, but that was after being sworn in as the king.
Only a king can perform the Aswamedha. The purpose is to acquire fame, power and prosperity. Rajasuya Yaaga is done by a king, again after a successful war campaign, to enable the defeated kings to accept the sovereignty of the victorious king. Soma Yaaga is one which is performed to realise a specific wish. Jyotishtoma Yaaga which is prescribed for one who is desirous of attaining the Swargam, and Puthra Kameshti Yaaga which is done to beget a child, are examples of Soma Yaagas.
Question No. 6
Pick the odd one out:: a. Aadiyaadi b. Mannai Irundhu c. Oorellaam Thunchi d. Maalukku e. Kangulum Pagalum
This is a decad in which Nammazhwar takes the role of the girl, while the decads given as the other options in the question are that of the mother's laments.
Aadiyaadi (Thiruvoymozhi 2-4), Mannai Irundhu (4-4), Maalukku (6-6) and Kangulum Pagalum (7-2) have been sung by the Azhwar, assuming the role of the mother. On the other hand, Oorellaam (5-4) is a soliloquy by the Girl.
Question No. 7
Of which type are the seven trees that Rama pierced with a single arrow in Kishkindha:: a. Champaka b. Saala c. Palm d. Pipal e. None of these
Rama befriends Sugriva and comes to know about his brother Vaali and their estranged relationship and its cause. Sugriva seeks Rama's help in combating and killing Vaali, to which the son of Dasaratha agrees. Just to give Sugriva the confidence in his abilities, Rama pierces seven Saala trees with a single arrow.
Question No. 8
Which Acharya likened the Pranavam to Arjuna’s chariot:: a. Sri Ramanuja b. Swami Desika c. Appullaar d. Parasara Bhattar e. None of these
The context is the examples given by Swami Desika's maternal uncle Appullaar, for chanting the Thirumanthram (Ashtaaksharam). Quoting his uncle, Swami Desika says in the third chapter (Pradhaana Prathi-thanthra Adhikaaram) of Srimath Rahasya-thraya Saaram, as follows:
'Thirumanthram succinctly denotes the meaning of Charama Slokam and Dhvayam in the same way as a small mirror reflects big images. The meaning of the first word (Pranavam) can be understood from the chariot of Arjuna.'
In the chariot, Arjuna was sitting in the front and Krishna behind. It is explained in the fact that In the Pranavam, the first syllable '
அ' (akaaram) represents the Lord and the final one ' ம' (makaaram) denotes the Jivathma. It thus emphasises that the Jivathma is subservient to the Lord.
Question No. 9
In which Prabandham does the Paasuram pertaining to Swami Desika’s esoteric work ‘Anjali Vaibhavam’ figure in:: a. Amrutha Ranjani b. Amruthaa Swaadhini c. Paramapadha Sopaanam d. Meiviradha Maanmiyam e. None of these
The short and sweet esoteric work 'Anjali Vaibhavam' is a part of Chillarai Rahasyangal composed by Swami Desika. It brings out the importance and glory of the folded hands.
The corresponding Paasuram which is given below, is in the Tamil Prabandham 'Amruthaa Swadhini':
கண்ணன் கழல் தொழக் கூப்பிய கையின் பெருமை தனை
எண்ணம் கடக்க யமுனைத்துறைவர் இயம்புதலால்
திண்ணம் இதுவென்று தேறித் தெளிந்த பின் சின்மதியோர்
பண்ணும் பணிதிகள் பாற்றிப் பழந்தொழில் பற்றினமே!
(Amruthaa Swadhini — 24)
Question No. 10
Which Azhwar has performed Mangalaasaasanam to all the Divyadesams in Malai Naadu:: a. None at all b. Nammazhwar c. Thirumangai Azhwar d. Kulasekhara Azhwar e. None of these
'Malai Naadu' comprises 13 Divyadesams predominantly spread over the present State Kerala.
The following list provides names of the Divyadesams and the respective Azhwars who have performed Mangalaasaanam.
Thiruvan Parisaaram: Nammazhwar
Thiru MoozhikKalam: Nammazhwar, Thirumangai Azhwar
ThirupPuliyur: Nammazhwar, Thirumangai Azhwar
Thirunaavaai: Nammazhwar, Thirumangai Azhwar
Thiruvallavaazh: Nammazhwar, Thirumangai Azhwar
Thiru ViththuvakKodu: Kulasekhara Azhwar
Thiruvaaran Vilai: Nammazhwar
It is evident from the above that no Azhwar's name figures against all the Divyadesams. Nammazhwar has covered all but one Divyadesam, that is, Thiru ViththuvakKodu. While Thirumangai Azhwar has performed Mangalaasanam to four of these, Kulasekhara Azhwar is the only one to have worshipped Thiru ViththuvakKodu.
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