Category Archives: Arththi prabandham

Arththi prabandham – 4

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ramanuja showing paramapadham

Introduction

The physical body that was described as an impediment in the previous pAsuram, is now described in this pAsuram as a prison in which the soul dwells. maNavALa mAmunigaL requests Sri rAmAnuja to get him liberated from that prison. In this pAsuram, he adds that only Sri rAmAnuja can do that.

pAsuram 4

indha udaRchiRai vittu eppozhudhu yAn Egi
andhamil pErinbaththuL AguvEn – andhO?
irangAy ethirAsA! ennai ini uykkai
parangAN unakku uNarndhu pAr

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Word-by-Word Meanings

ethirAsA! – Oh yathirAja!!! The leader of all yathIs (sanyAsis)
eppozhudhu – when
yAn – do I
vittu – get liberated from
chiRai – the prison called
indha udal – this physical body
Egi – and ascend viaarchirAdhi way to paramapadham (archiRadhi way is the route that a liberated soul takes to go to paramapadham – the eternal abode of sriman nArAyaNan)
AguvEn – (when) shall I?
pErinbaththuL – enter the place of eternal happiness called paramapadham that is described as
andham – end
il – less
andhO? – Alas!!!
irangAy – (Oh! yathirAja!!!) Please bless
ennai – me
ini – From now on
param kAN – it is only possible
unakku – for you
uykkai – to protect me (and the like)
uNarndhu – (Hence please) think
pAr – and ponder about it
 

Simple Translation

maNavALa mAmunigaL describes the physical body as a prison in which the soul dwells. A soul is considered to be liberated or set free only when it is released from the clutches of bondage of births and death and ascends to paramapadham via the archirAdhi path. Until then the incessant sufferings of the soul would continue. maNavALa mAmunigaL requests Sri rAmAnuja that only he can do something to get the soul liberated from him. He requests Sri rAmAnuja to think over it and protect him by liberating.

Explanation

The body as described by Sri krishNa in HIS Sri bhagavath gIthA as a “field” (idham SarIram – Sri bhagavath gIthA 13.2). The field called body is described in this pAsuram as a prison that acts as the greatest obstacle for a soul to be liberated. maNavALa mAmunigaL realizes as to when would the body fall and soul be liberated and ascend to the ultimate place that is also known as “parama padham”  or the eternal abode of SrIman nArAyaNan. It is a place filled with endless happiness eternally. The path to reach there is also very resplendent and is known as “archiRadhi”. maNavALa mAmunigaL yearns to be in paramapadham in the company of elite devotees there who are characterized by infinite knowledge and people upon whom the mundane bondage of this world has no impact whatsoever. maNavALa mAmunigaL express his anxiety and lets out an “alas”!!! He immediately thinks of Sri rAmAnuja as always and exclaims “Oh! yathirAja!!! You are the leader of yathIs (sanyAsis – mendicants). In addition to that, you are also the leader and master of all refugees like me who does not have any other place to surrender except your lotus feet. Even SrIman nArAyaNan did not protect some people including me and the like and dismissed us as “kshipAmi (Sri bhagavath gIthA 16.19)”. Even HE could not protect the likes of me and much more because of the innumerable accrued sins.  There is no other place to go for me (and many people like me) except you and your lotus feet. Hey! yathirAja! Only you can save me. Please ponder over this”.

adiyEn santhAna rAmAnuja dAsan

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Arththi prabandham – 3

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emperumanar-1

Introduction

In the first two pAsurams, maNavALa mAmunigaL described the greatness of SrI rAmAnuja. From this pAsuram onwards, he goes ahead and expresses what he yearns in his heart. Specifically in this pAsuram, he describes that SrI rAmAnuja is the all possible relation for him. Yet in order for that to fructify in its fullest state, the physical body that stands as an obstacle, has to drop out. maNavALa mAmunigaL asks why doesn’t this obstacle go away.

pAsuram 3

thandhai naRRAy thAram thanayar perunjelvam
enRanakku nIyE ethirAsA indha nilaikku
ErAdha ivvudalai inRE aRuththaruLap
pArAdhadhu ennO pagar

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ethirAsA – Oh yathirAja !!!
en thanakku – For me
nIyE – you and only you are my
thandhai – father
nal thAy –  my mother who has vAthsalyam (the quality of treasuring a blemish as blessing)
thAram – my wife
thanayar – my child
perum selvam – my great wealth
indha – (However) this
nilaikku – particular thought (I am not able to continue forever)
ErAdha – because this thought cannot coexist with
ivvudalai – this physical body
pagar – please tell me
ennO – what is the reason that?
pArAdhadhu – (you have) not graced and
aruLa – not bless me
inRE – right away
aRuththu – to destroy this body of mine and

Simple Translation

maNavALa mAmunigaL asks SrI rAmAnuja the reason why he does not bless him by taking away his physical body. Only if that happens, he can have a continual experience of a thought that he has now in this world. maNavALa mAmunigaL considers SrI rAmAnuja as his father, his mother, his wife, his children, his eternal wealth and much more. But this thought does not seem to be eternal while being in this earth and is temporal. This is the reason maNavALa mAmunigaL asks SrI rAmAnuja as to what prevents him in taking him to his fold so that he can have the thought without any interruption.

Explanation

maNavALa mAmunigaL addresses SrI rAmAnuja as the one who is the leader of all yathis (yathirAja). “sElEy kaNNiyarum perunjelvamum nan makkalum mElAththAy thandhaiyum  avarE iniyAvArE (thiruvAimozhi 5.1.8)” and “thvamEva mAthA cha (SaraNAgathi gadhyam)” are two quotes taken here. maNavALamAmunigaL asks SrI rAmAnuja that it was periya perumAL (at srirangam) whom SrI rAmAnuja treated as the father who gives only the good for a child, as a mother who gives the pure love to a child, as a wife who gives pleasures to her husband, as a good son with great virtues and finally as his treasure that give everything. As per AlavandhAr’s celebratory pAsuram towards nammAzhvAr mAthA pithA yuvathaya: (sthOthra rathnam 5)”, he considered nammAzhvAr as his everything.  Similarly, maNavALa mAmunigaL tells SrI rAmAnuja that the latter is everything for him (maNavALa mAmunigaL). This is the condition of maNavALa mAmunigaL currently. However, he realizes that his physical body poses the biggest threat for this condition to exist eternally. He asks a question to SrI rAmAnuja as to why the latter is not blessing him by taking away his physical body this day right away, the very day and the moment in which maNavALa mAmunigaL realized that body is an impediment. maNavALa mAmunigaL requests SrI rAmAnuja to answer the question. He further asks him if there is any aspect that is making him worry/hesitate in blessing him.

In this pAsuram the adjective “naRRai” is to be broken as “nalla + thAy”. It means a good mother who is characterized by vAthsalyam (the quality by which a person treats a blemish as a blessing). This adjective “nalla” (good) stands as an adjective to all others mentioned in this pAsuram like father, wife, child and wealth. It does not just confine to just the mother. The rules of poetry allows to do so.

adiyEn santhAna rAmAnuja dAsan

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Arththi prabandham – 2

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Ramanuja_Sriperumbudur

pAsuram 2

irAmAnusAya nama enRu sindhiththirA
manusarOdu iRaippOzhudhu – irAmARu
sindhippAr thALiNaiyil sErndhiruppAr thALiNaiyai
vandhippAr viNNOrgaL vAzhvu

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Word-by-Word Meanings

vAzhvu – The eternal wealth of
viNNOrgaL – nithyasUris are
thALiNaiyai – the twin lotus feet of those
vandhippAr – who prostrate
sErndhiruppAr – at the
thALiNaiyil – twin lotus feet of
sindhippAr – those who think
iRaipOzhudhu – that even for a very short while
irAmARu – it is not prescribed to live with the
manusarOdu – with the people who
sindhiththirA – does not think about
irAmAnusAya nama enRu– about SrI rAmAnuja as in “irAmAnusAya nama”

Simple Translation

There are some people (Group A) in this world who does not know / recite “irAmAnusAya nama”. Another group of people (Group B) realizes that they should not have any sort of association with the aforementioned people (Group A) even for a short while. The third group of people (Group C) prostrated at the lotus feet of those in Group B, realizing their greatness. The nithyasUris regard that their eternal wealth is nothing but the twin lotus feet of those people in Group C.

Preface

 In thiruvAimozhi, nammAzhvAr said “thozhudhu ezhu en mananE (thiruvAimozhi 1.1.1)” at the very first pAsuram. nammAzhvAr adviced to his heart that it should fall at the lotus feet of sriman nArAyaNan. In the second decad of thiruvAimozhi, nammAzhvAr goes ahead and talks about the chantable name of “nAraNan” as seen in “vaN pugazh nAraNan (thiruvAimozhi 1.2.10)”. In this same formart, maNavALamAmunigaL exclaims the name of “irAmAnusan” in this second pAsuram. The first pAsuram is a case of “anvayam” (assertion) while this second pAsuram is an example of “vyathirEkam” (negation). In order to explain the significance of something, there is a practiced way of doing it. We talk about the greatness / superiority of a stuff in the first place. This is called “anvayam”. After this, we talk about the lowliness / inferiority of all other things apart from the thing that we want to focus. This is known as vyathirEkam. maNavALa mAmunigaL first talks about the greatness of ethirAsan in the first pAsuram. In this second pAsuram, he goes ahead and talks about the inferiority of other things other than “irAmAnusAya nama”. Thus by using the concept of “anvayam” and “vyathirEkam”, maNavALa mAmunigaL celebrates the greatness of ethirAsan.

Explanation:

Our scriptures prescribe that one needs to incessantly meditate upon the sacred manthra namely “irAmAnusAya nama”. However, a vast majority of the people do not know about this and even if they do know they do not practice it. These people are being referred as “prathikUlar” or the ones who stand against (in one’s journey towards liberation). These people do not do this basic need of sustenance, i.e., chanting and meditation upon SrI rAmAnuja. They are said to be devoid of this basis sustenance product and are being compared to a four legged animal like cow. There are certain other group of people who dread these “prathikUlar” and maintain a stand that they should never co-exist with them even if it is for a short while. These people who always dread them are called as “anukUlar” or those who stand in support of a person in his journey towards liberation. There exists another group of people who prostrate and surrender unto the twin lotus feet of such “anukUlar”. nithyasUris celebrate the lotus feet of such group of people who surrender to “anukUlar”. As can be seen in the phrase “arumpERu vAnaththavarkku (gyAna sAram 4)”.

adiyEn santhAna rAmAnuja dAsan

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Arththi prabandham – 1

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emperumanar

pAsuram 1

vAzhi ethirAsan vAzhi ethirAsan
vAzhi ethirAsan ena vAzththuvAr vAzhiyena
vAzththuvAr vAzhiyena vAzththuvAr  thALiNaiyil
thAzhthuvAr viNNOr thalai

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Word-by-Word Meanings:

viNNOr – nithyasUris (eternal servants of SrIman nArAyaNan who are in paramapadham, the eternal abode of SrIman nArAyaNan)
thalai – consider some people as their masters
thAzhthuvAr – (They are those who) surrender
thALiNaiyil – at the two lotus feet of
vAzhiyena vAzththuvAr – those who sing glories (mangalams) to devotees
vAzhiyena vAzththuvAr – who sing glories (mangalams) to devotees
vAzththuvAr – who sing glories (mangalams) to Sri rAmAnuja by calling
vAzhi ethirAsan – “Hail Sri rAmAnuja!!! Glories to Sri rAmAnuja!!! Long live Sri rAmAnuja!!!
vAzhi ethirAsan – “Hail Sri rAmAnuja!!! Glories to Sri rAmAnuja!!! Long live Sri rAmAnuja!!!
vAzhi ethirAsan – “Hail Sri rAmAnuja!!! Glories to Sri rAmAnuja!!! Long live Sri rAmAnuja!!!
ena –  three times

Simple Translation:
nithyasUris regard certain group of people as their masters. These people are the ones who had surrendered at the feet of those who sing mangalams to those devotees who sing mangalams to those devotees who sing mangalams to SrI rAmAnuja.

Explanation:
People who breathe and live by vaidhika (vEdhic) scriptures are known as parama vaidhikas. The nature of these people is to sing mangalams like “pallANdu pallANdu pallAyirathANdu (thirupallANdu 1)” and “poliga poliga poliga (thiruvAimozhi 5.2.1). Typically they do it thrice. maNavALa mAmunigaL begins this work in a similar manner. There are group of devotees (Group A) who sing mangalams to SrI rAmAnuja as in “vAzhi ethirAsan vAzhi ethirAsan vAzhi ethirAsan”. There is another group of people (Group B) who sees these people (Group A) singing glories to SrI  rAmAnuja and immediately exclaimed “Long live these devotees who are singing mangalams to the great sri rAmAnua”. Upon seeing this incident, there was yet another group (Group C) who felt happy and started singing mangalams (“vAzhi yena vAththuvAr” vAzhi) to those people (Group B) who sang mangalams to the people (Group A) who sang mangalams to sri rAmAnuja.  There were yet another set of people (Group D) who saw and heard the group singing “vAzhi yena vAzththuvAr vAzhi” and surrendered unto them. Their (Group D’s) lotus feet has no parallels in the entire universe and it cannot be compared with anything else. Probably, only their right foot can be compared to their left foot and vice versa.  nithyasUris regarded these people (Group D) as their masters and celebrate them. In fact, these group of people (Group D) are in fact much greater than nithyasUris. maNavALa mAmunigaL starts this work with mangalam by using the word “vAzhi”.

adiyEn santhAna rAmAnuja dAsan

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Arththi prabandham – avathArikai (Introduction)

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<< thaniyans

emperumAnAr_mElkote

Sriya:pathi SrIman nArAyaNan ensures that His devotees reach HIM. In order to do this successfully, he imparts in them, the desire to reach HIM. This desire gradually blossoms into para bhakthi, para gyAna and parama bhakthi. SrIman nArAyaNan created such a gradually refined bhakthi for nammAzhvAr and accepted him finally with his physical body. nammAzhvAr himself says about this in “mayavaRa madhi nalam aruLinan (thiruvAimozhi 1.1.1) ” and “avAvaRRu vEdu peRRa (thiruAimozhi 10.10.11)”. It is because of the association with nammAzvAr that everyone is able to experience a gradual transformation of the desire to para bhakthi, para gyAna and parama bhakthi. This is why our ancestors have yearned for the bhakthi that was bestowed upon by sriman nArAyaNan to azhvAr. The phrases like “bhagavan bhakthimapi prayachchamE” and “parabhakthiyuththam mAm kurushva”. Having yearned for such bhakthi, there were lot of ancestors who have transcended this materialistic place to the permanent and eternal abode of sriman nArAyaNan, namely srivaikuntam or paramapadham.

These ancestors were able to transgress this world and go to parapadham with sriman nArAyaNan’s causeless cause. The representative for such a group of ancestors, are typically parAnkusan (nammAzvAr) and parakAlan (thirumangai AzhvAr). In such an elite company is  SrI rAmAnuja in paramapadham. SrI rAmAnuja’s glory is not just that but in fact is endless. He is the sole refuge of all the people who have the desire to go to paramapadham. He manifests himself in archA (deity) form not only in the divyadEsams and other temples but also extends it to their respective homes. To such a SrI rAmAnuja, thiruvAimozhi piLLai surrendered after realizing that he (thiruvAimozhi piLLai ) is unqualified to go to paramapadham and does not have any merits in his (thiruvAimozhi piLLai’s) favor. Eventually, SrI rAmAnuja’s grace took him to paramapadham.  maNavALa mAmunigaL follows the footpath of his guru namely thiruvAimozhi piLLai. maNavALa mAmunigaL became extremely crazy and mad towards SrI rAmAnuja just like how his guru was. nammAzhvAr is known as “krishNa thrushNA thathvam” ,i.e., the entity that is known as “love towards krishnA”. Similarly, if one were to figuratively describe one’s love for SrI rAmAnuja, the result would be none other than maNavALa mAmunigaL. This is why he is known as “yathIndhra pravaNar”, the name of maNavALa mAmunigaL with which his identity is established comprehensively.

maNavALa mAmunigaL immersed himself in the divine qualities of emperumAnAr (SrI rAmAnuja), as described in the phrases “pAlEpOl sIril pazhuthozhindhEn (periya thiruvandhAdhi 58) ” and “naiyum maNam un guNangaLaiyunni” (rAmAnusa nURRanthAdhi 102). His very nature was to deep dive an enjoy emperumAnAr’s unfathomable glorious qualities. Due to his constant experience of emperumAnAr’s qualities, he became crazy towards emperumAnAr and wanted to reach his lotus feet. His body became white and pale as he was not able to reach the lotus feet of emperumAnAr now. He yearned to reach emperumAnAr and could not bear the separation from him any further. Eventually, by emperumAnAr’s divine grace, maNavALa mAmunigaL got parama bhakthi towards the former. He celebrates the infinite mercy of emperumAnAr who fructified the desire he had towards him and made him reach his lotus feet. maNavALa mAmunigaL, in this scripture called “Arththi prabandham”, celebrates the way in which emperumAnAr graced him, with the thought that those who are in “charama parva nishtai”  (regarding a devotee as their sole refuge), could take cue from this scripture and reach the lotus feet of SrI rAmAnuja.

maNavALa mAmunigaL developed “parama bhakti” towards the lotus feet of SrI rAmAnuja as described in the phrase “paththi ellAm thangiyadhenna” (irAmAnusa nURRandhAdhi 108). “parama bhakthi” state is when a person can no longer continue to exist if he does not get what he wants. Here maNavALa mAmunigaL is in such a state that he cannot be without the lotus feet of SrI rAmAnuja. At this state, he expressed his insatiable desire to reach the lotus feet of SrI rAmAnuja. This is why this work is being called as “Arthi” or the desire/ love, as the pAsurams are characterized by outpourings of his unfathomable desire to be at the lotus feet of SrI rAmAnuja.  The genesis of the desire to attain his lotus feet can be either the hatred towards the materialistic world or the love towards enjoying the glorious characters of bhagavAn SrIman nArAyaNan (or the lotus feet of SrI rAmAnuja for maNavALa mAmunigaL). The hatred towards materialistic world or more precisely “samsAra sAgaram” was dealt beautifully in “munnIr gyAlam” decad in thiruvAimozhi by nammAzhvAr. Love towards SrIman nArAyaNan was described vividly in “aRukkum vinai” decad in a much later thiruvAimozhi by nammAzhvAr. Likewise, the two aforementioned thaniyans namely “vambavizh thAr” and “thEn payilum thArAn” describe the hatred towards samsAram and love towards lotus feet of SrI rAmAnuja respectively. In the case of maNavALa mAmunigaL, though his “interest” (Arthi) stem from these two sources, one can see the preponderance of love towards SrI rAmAnuja is the main inspirational force, as seen in an overwhelming number of pAsurams in this work.

maNavALa mAmunigaL’s time period was not the same as SrI rAmAnuja, Hence, he could not have the experience of having mingling with SrI rAmAnuja and doing service to his divine unparalleled two feet, like the other great AchAryas like kUraththAzhvAn etc. He yearned to do service to SrI rAmAnuja yet time was not helping him. However, though he could not see SrI rAmAnuja in person, he lived in the place where SrI rAmAnuja lived, i.e., SrIrangam. Given the fact that at least he could live in the same town as SrI rAmAnuja, he became happy about it and requested for the eternal service to SrI rAmAnuja as per “vazhuvilA adimai” (thiruvAimozhi 3.3.1). He mediated upon SrI rAmAnuja and requested for this eternal service to him.

This is why he requests SrI rAmAnuja that he give him the mental state of vaduga nambi, as seen in the phrase “vaduganambi than nilayai en thanakkuth thandhu ethirAsA ennALum unthanakkE AtkoL ugandhu” (Arththi prabandham 11).  SrI rAmAnuja is compared to be lakshmaNa who said “aham sarvam karishyAmi (I will do everything for you SrI rAma)” in SrI rAmAyaNam. SathrugnAzhvAn was one who regarded his bharatha as his everything for the latter regarded SrI rAma as everything. SathrugnAzhvAn did not even pay any heed to SrI rAma and HIS beauty. He was a one who conquered the enemy called “bhakthi towards SrI rAma”. It is considered as enemy here because it would stop SathrugnAzhvAn from doing service to bharatha. In SrI rAmAyaNam, he is described as “SathrugnO nithya Sathrugna:”. Since SrI rAmAnuja is celebrated at the pedestal of lakshmaNa who did all service to SrI rAma, maNavALa mAmunigaL’s is celebrated at the pedestal of SathrugnAzhvAn who regarded bharatha as everything. Here maNavALa mAmunigaL regarded SrI rAmAnuja as everything to complete the analogy.

There is a significance in the connection between nammAzhvAr, emperumAnAr and maNavALa mAmunigaL. nammAzhvAr attained the lotus feet of the ONE who has the hue of the cloud, i.e., SrIman nArAyaNan as per the line “mugil vaNNan adiyai adaindhu uyndhavan” (thiruvAmozhi 7.2.11). SrI rAmAnuja held the lotus feet of nammAzhvAr who attained the eternal abode of SrIman nArAyaNan through HIS grace. maNavALa mAmunigaL who had no other refuge other than SrI rAmAnuja caught hold of his lotus feet and did service to them. This is the significant connection between AzhvAr (nammAzhvAr), emperumAnAr (SrI rAmAnuja) and jIyar (maNavALa mAmunigaL).

maNavALa mAmunigaL who is celebrated in the elite league of nammAzhvAr and SrI rAmAnuja described the glories of these two in his other works namely “thiruvAimozhi nURRandhAdhi”, “upadhESa raththina mAlai” and “yathirAja vimSathi”. In these works, he expressed his unsatiable love towards these two and their greatest works. Phrases like “parAnkuSa pAdha bhaktham” (yathirAja vimshathi 1) and “SatakOpan thEmalarthAtkE iniya pAdhukamAm endhai irAmAnusan” (Arththi prabandham 10) corroborate that. Continuing the thought, in this final work of his (Arththi prabandham) he concluded with the final frontier, i.e., “charama parvam”. “charamam” would mean final, ultimate or nothing else beyond this. When one wonders what can be one’s final destination/target (prApyam), maNavALa mAmunigaL concludes that the ultimate target (there is nothing else to reach beyond this) is nothing but the lotus feet of devotees of SrIman nArAyaNan. maNavALa mAmunigaL  dealt about this ultimate philosophy in his final work during his last few days in this earth. maNavALa mAmunigaL, in his yathirAja vimSathi started with “rAmAnujam yathipathim praNamAmi mUrdhnA” (yathirAjA vimshathi 1) and concluded with “thasmAdh ananya SaraNau bhavathIthi mathvA” (yathirAja vimshathi 20), thereby talking about the greatness of prApakam (the path) that is none other than SrI rAmAnuja‘s lotus feet. In “Arththi prabandham”, he starts with “vAzhi ethirAsan” (Arththi prabandham 1) and concludes with “indhavarangaththu inidhirunI” (Arththi prabandham 60), thereby talking about the significance of prApyam (goal or target to be achieved), that is none other than doing service to the lotus feet of SrI rAmAnuja. Hence, yathirAjA vimshathi is “prApaka param” (in the mode of explaining the path) and “Arththi prabandham” is “prApya param” (in the mode of explaining the goal). At this juncture, it behooves us to take cognizance of dhvaya mahAmanthram that has two sentences. The second half of it talks about the rush that one needs to have while yearning to do kainkaryam to the divine couple of SrIman nArAyaNan and SrI mahAlakshmi. This “Arththi prabandham” conveys the essence of the rush yearned by a person in reaching and serving the target that is nothing but the lotus feet of SrI rAmAnuja. The final frontier in target is “thadhIya kainkaryam” or serving the devotees of SrIman nArAyaNanmaNavALa mAmunigaL is aware of it and understands its true nature through these pAsrurams, thereby showing it.  This “thadhIya kainkaryam” of maNavALa mAmunigaL towards SrI rAmAnuja is the sole underlying current that runs through this prabandham. He expresses it through pAsurams that are multi-metered.

In the first pAsuram of Arththi prabandham, maNavALa mAmunigaL sings mangaLASAsanam to SrI rAmAnuja. There is an analogy to this in SrI rAmAyaNam. In SrI dhandakAraNyam, there were lot of rishis who saw SrI rAma. These rishis were beaten very hard by various rAkshasas (demons) and rAvAna himself. They had a lot of bruises in their body and wanted to complain about these to SrI rAmA. They wanted to say “yEhi paSya SarIrANI”, i.e., look at this bruised body of ours. However, the minute SrI rAma entered the forests of dhandakAraNyam, they were completely captured by the splendid beauty of SrI rAma that they forget their bodily bruises. They were in total awe of SrI rAma’s individual bodily features that they started to fear among themselves that nothing should happen to such a divine beauty. They started to sing mangaLams (songs that ward of evils and guards a person) to SrI rAma instantly as seen in “mangaLAni prayugjAnA:”. Similarly, periya udaiyAr (jatAyu) who was in his death bed after his heroic fight with rAvAna, saw SrI rAma and was lost in his beauty even at that time. He exclaimed “Ayushmann” or “long live” towards SrI rAma. Similarly, maNavALa mAmunigaL sings mangaLams to SrI rAmAnuja‘s aprAkrutha vigraham (the body that is not made of five primordial elements of ether, wind, fire, water and earth). maNavALa mAmunigaL approached the lotus feet of  SrI rAmAnuja in order for the latter to accept him into his fold. However, before submitting his request, when maNavALa mAmunigaL saw  SrI rAmAnuja‘s aprAkrutha vigraham in front of him, he sang mangaLams to him, much like the rishis and jatAyu. He regarded that he should be warded of any evil first before even thinking of telling his problems.

When a person does mangaLaSAsanam like this, the nithyasUris (those who live forever with SrIman nArAyaNan in HIS eternal abode called paramapadham) become very ecstatic and celebrate this person who sings mangalams.  SrI rAmAnuja himself had sung mangaLams as thiruvarangaththamudhanAr says “anbAl mayal kondu vAzhthum irAmAnusan” (rAmAnusa nURRanthAdhi 6). nammAzhvAr in his 10.9 thiruvAimozhi (sUzh visumbaNimugil) visually describes how the nithyasUris celebrate and welcome a person who has done mangalams to other devotees and is en route to paramapadham. This person, at one time, considered himself to be not qualified to reach paramapadham but even then he continued to sing mangaLams to SrIman nArAyaNan’s devotees. Such a person and even the descendants of such a person is the object of enjoyment and celebration for the nithyasUris.  This is what forms the crux of the first pAsuram. periyAzhvAr started with “pallANdu pallANdu” (thirupallAnNu 1) and continued to do mangalAsAsanam like “appAnchachanniyamum pallAndE” (thirupallANdu 2). periyAzhvAr not just sang mangalams to SrIman nArAyaNan but also continued to do so for HIS devotees including the likes of divine conch, divine bow so on and so forth. Similarly in SrI rAmAyaNam, one can observe that the mangalams were sung towards SrI rAma, SrI lakshmaNa, sugrIva etc as per the SlOkam “jayathibhalO rAmO lakshmaNaScha mahAbhalaha rAjAjayathi sugrIvO rAgavEnapipAlithaha”.

adiyEn santhAnam rAmAnuja dhAsan

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Arththi prabandham – thaniyans (Invocation)

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thaniyan 1

thEn payilum thArAn ethirAsan sEvadi mEl*
thAn paramapaththi thalaiyeduththu*
mAndharkku uNavAga Arththiyudan oNdamizhgaL seydhAn*
maNavALa mAmunivan vandhu

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word-by-word meanings

maNavALa mAmunivan – periya jIyar, who is also known by the name of maNavALa mAmunigaL
vandhu – incarnated in this world.
thAn – During his incarnation,
paramapaththi – highest state of bhakthi (devotion)
thalaiyeduththu – was blessed upon him towards
thArAn – the one who adorns a garland
payilum – that oozes with
thEn –  honey
ethirAsan – and the one who is also known as ethirAsan.
sEvadi mEl –  (maNavALa mAmunigaL) wrote about ethirAsan’s lotus feet
seydhAn – a work called “Arththi prabandham”
oN – that is simply beautiful (object of great enjoyment)
thamizhgaL – in dhrAvida language (thamizh)
Arththiyudan – with much interest in order to reform them after looking at the sad and pitiable state
mAndharkku – This work is targeted towards ignorant souls
uNavAga – and serves as their food for thought

Simple Translation

maNavALamAmunigaL who is also known as periya jIyar, incarnated in this world. During this time, he was bestowed with bhakthi of the highest order known as parama bhakthi by none other than yathirAja, the one who is seen adorning a beautiful garland from which honey oozes out. maNavALa mAmunigaL wrote with much interest (Arththi) about the significance of the lotus feet of yathirAja and that work is celebrated by the name of “Arththi Prabandham” in beautiful thamizh language. This work is targeted toward the ignorant souls and serves as the food for their intellect.

thaniyan 2

vambavizh thAr vaNmai maNavALa mAmunigaL*
ampuviyil kAl porundhA ArththiyinAl* umbar thozhum
viNNulagil chella viraindha ethirAsan padhangaL
naNNi uraiththAr namakku

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word-by-word meanings

maNavALa mAmunigaL- periya jIyar, who is also known by the name of maNavALa mAmunigaL
uraiththAr – blessed
namakku – us (with this work called “Arththi prabandham”)
vaNmai – with extreme generosity is seen
thAr – adorned with a garland of beautiful flowers that
vambavizh – blossomed just then.
ArththiyinAl – (maNavALa mAmunigal) with sadness because he realized that
kAl – his divine lotus feet
porundhA –  is not able to fit to live in this
am – beautiful
puviyil – world and so he
viraindha – tried to expedite his
chella – ascend to
viNNulagil – paramapadham (the eternal abode of Sriman nArAyaNan the place for which there is no superior
thozhum – that is being worshipped by
umbar – nithyasUris (eternal servants of Sriman nArAyaNan)
naNNi – This was possible because of his steadfast and unyielding faith in
padhangaL – the lotus feet of
ethirAsan – emperumAnAr

Simple Translation

maNavALamAmunigaL who is seen adorned with a garland of flowers that had just blossomed, blessed us with a work called “Arththi Prabandham”. He regarded that his feet are not fit to live in this beautiful world and wanted to expedite his going to paramapadham, the place of worship for nithyasUris. This was possible for maNavALa mAmunigaL only due to the grace of emperumAnAr.

adiyEn santhAnam rAmAnuja dhAsan

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Arththi prabandham

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SrI:  SrImathE SatakOpAya nama:  SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama:  SrImath varavaramunayE nama:

ramanuja-srirangam SrI rAmAnuja – SrIrangam

mamunigal-srirangammaNavALa mAmunigaL – SrIrangam

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maNavALa mAmunigaL starts his most-celebrated literary contribution to our sath sampradhAyam with a beautiful samskritha prabandham named yathirAja vimSathi in glorification of SrI rAmAnuja while he was residing in AzhwArthirunagari and performing kainkaryam at bhavishyadhAchAryan sannidhi. This is a collection of heart-melting 20 SlOkas in samskritham revealing his total dependence on yathirAja (SrI rAmAnuja – who is the king of mendicants).

He completes his most-celebrated literary contribution to our sath sampradhAyam with a beautiful thamizh prabandham named Arththi prabandham, again in glorification of SrI rAmAnuja while he was residing in SrIrangam in his final part of his life in this material world while reviving and re-establishing our sath sampradhAyam and taking it to unimaginable heights. Again, this is a collection of heart-melting 60 pAsurams in thamizh revealing his total dependence on yathirAja. He clearly establishes that the lotus feet of SrI rAmAnuja are the only refuge for us (SrIvaishNavas) in this prabandham and the relationship with him is the life line for us in this material realm.

It is because of this unflinching attachment/dependence towards emperumAnAr, mAmunigaL was glorified as yathIndhra pravaNar (embodiment of loving devotion towards yathIndhra (SrI rAmAnuja)).

pillailokam-jeeyarpiLLai lOkam jIyar

In this series of articles, we will see an english translation of the meanings of these divine pAsurams. piLLai lOkam jIyar have written a detailed commentary for this wonderful prabandham – we will be using this commentary as the foundation for our translation effort.

Translation by santhAna rAmAnuja dhAsan

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