Category Archives: sthOthra rathnam

sthOthra rathnam – 7

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dhevas-worshipping-vishnu

Introduction

ALavandhAr rues himself saying “brahmA, Siva, sages like sanaka et al get drowned right at the shore of the ocean of bhagavAn when trying to praise him; but I set out to comprehensively praise such bhagavAn”, and withdraws from the effort as arjuna gave up fighting after setting out to fight as said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 1.47visrujya saSaram chApam” (dropped the bow along with the arrows).

thathvEna yasya mahimArNavaSIkarANu:
SakyO na mAthumapi SarvapithAmahAdhyai: |

karthum thadhIyamahimasthuthimudhyathAya
mahyam namO’sthu kavayE nirapathrapAya ||

Word by word meaning

yasya – that emperumAn‘s
mahima arNava SIkara aNu: – even a small atom in a droplet of the ocean of greatness
Sarva pithAmahAdhyai: api – by Siva, brahmA et al
thathvEna – truly
mAthum – to measure
na Sakya: – impossible
thadhIya mahima sthuthim – praises about such emperumAn’s greatness
karthum – to do
udhyadhAya – one who has set out
nirapathrapAya – shameless
kavayE – one claims to be a poet
mahyam – for me
nama: asthu – should be saluted myself

Simple Translation

It is impossible for Siva, brahmA et al to truly measure even a small atom in a droplet of the ocean of greatness of that emperumAn. I who has set out to do [sing] praises about such emperumAn’s greatness shamelessly claiming to be a poet, should salute myself [for this laughable effort].

vyAkyAnam (Commentary)

  • thathvEna – ISwara’s svarUpa (nature) etc [forms, qualities, activities] as they are.
  • yaysa – He who is famous for his endless qualities as said in mathsya purANam and varAha purAnam 74.40 “yathA rathnAni jaladhE: …” (Like the gems in the ocean are countless, emperumAn‘s qualities are also countless).
  • mahima arNava SIkarANu: – An atom of the ocean of qualities; the small portion that came into contact from a droplet; very insignificant portion.
  • mAthum na Sakya: – Cannot even be comprehended by the mind.

By whom?

  • Sarva pithAmahAdhyair api – (Sarva) by rudhra who has great knowledge as said in mathsya purANam 67.41 “… ISwarAth gyAnamanvichchEth …” (One should pray to sUrya for health, agni for wealth, Siva for knowledge and nArAyaNa for liberation) and is said to be “sarva samharthA” (destroyer of all); (pithAmaha) and by brahmA who is the teacher of rudhra and creator of the [material] universe;  Adhi (and so on) indicates sages such as sanaka who are fully focussed on bhagavAn and vEdham which is meant to give good advice to all [None of these can grasp even an atomic portion of emperumAn‘s greatness]; [this incapability is attributed to these personalities] since it is explained in 8th SlOkam “sadhA sthuvantha: vEdhA:” (vEdhams are always praising you) and in 47th SlOkam “vidhi Siva sanakAdhyai:” (for brahmA, rudhra and sages such as sanaka et al).
  • thadhIya mahima sthuthim karthum udhyathAya – Not only I set out to comprehensively praise his glories, I also try to sing non-existing glories of him.
  • mahyam namO’sthu – Instead of saluting emperumAn, I should be saluting myself for attempting such an impossible task.
  • kavayE – [Poet] who tries to narrate different aspects.
  • nirapathrapAya – Being shameless. For not feeling shameful thinking “My glorification of him will only bring disrepute to him [due to my lowly nature]”.

In the next article we will enjoy the next SlOkam.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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sthOthra rathnam – 6

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lotus-eyed-krishna-2

Introduction

bhagavAn is the first benefactor as said in thiruvAimozhi 2.3.2aRiyAdhana aRiviththa aththA! nI seydhana . . . .” (Oh lord who revealed those unknown experiences! your favours…”. As said in thiruvAimozhi 7.9.7 “vaikunthanAgap pugazha” (emperumAn making AzhwAr praise him as the lord of SrIvaikuNtam), since praises are dear to him (ISwara), and also praising emperumAn is dear to the AchAryas, with the intent to praise him, briefly explaining the upAyam (means) and upEyam (goal), starts praising bhagavAn.

yanmUrdhni mE SruthiSirassu cha bhAthi yasmin
asman manOrathapadhas sakalassamEthi |

sthOshyAmi na: kuladhanam kuladhaivatham thath
pAdhAravindham aravindhavilOchanasya ||

Word by word meaning

yath – that emperumAn’s divine feet
mE mUrdhni – on my head
SruthiSirassu cha – in vEdhAntham also
bhAthi – shining
yasmin – on which divine feet
asman manOratha padha: sakala: – all our overflowing love
samEthi – reaches beautifully
na: kula dhanam – being wealth of our clan
kula dhaivatham – being (dependable) deity of our clan
aravindha vilOchanasya thath pAdha aravindham – the divine lotus feet of puNdarIkAksha (lotus eyed lord)
sthOshyAmi – I am going to praise

Simple Translation

I am going to praise the divine lotus feet of puNdarIkAksha (lotus eyed lord) who is being the wealth of our clan and being the (dependable) deity of our clan, on whose divine feet all our overflowing love reaches beautifully, whose divine feet are on my head and also in vEdhAntham.

vyAkyAnam (Commentary)

  • mE mUrdhni … – ALavandhAr highlights his own inferior nature,  his servitude that came about due to being captivated by emperumAn‘s beauty and like light in darkness, the divine feet acquiring shine after coming in contact with his head. With this, his beauty etc which is pivotal in his being the upAyam (means) and his consideration of accepting the AthmA as his own benefit are highlighted. ALavandhAr says that he attained what is prayed by his devotees as in thiruvAimozhi 9.2.2 “thalaikkaNiyAy” (as a decoration to my head). Since he is the lord, he treats everyone in this manner [placing his divine feet on the heads]; since ALavandhAr is a grateful person, he discusses that [with joy].
  • Sruthi sirassu cha bhAthi – His divine feet are shining in the vEdhAntham as well. With this, his being the goal, being greater than all, being the abode of all auspiciousness and being difficult to attain are explained. With the ‘cha’kAram (as well), as he kept his divine feet on vEdhAntham and ALavandhAr‘s head, ALavandhAr is explaining emperumAn‘s affection towards him. cha Sabdham may also indicate avadhAraNam (exclusive nature) and explain that the saulabhyam (simplicity) of placing emperumAn’s divine feet on his head, is the nature of emperumAn’s divine feet. As said in thiruvAimozhi 10.7.8 “thiruppARkadalE en thalaiyE” (kshIrAbdhi (milk ocean) is my head).
  • yasmin asman manOratha padhas sakalas samEthi – As said in sthOthra rathnam 60 “pithA thvam mAthA thvam …” (You are my father, you are my mother and so on), all my material and spiritual desires are blending into your divine feet.
  • sthOshyAmi – With my words I perform service to the divine feet which are the goal, are distinguished and which favour me.
  • na: kula dhanam – dhanam (wealth) is that which helps when in danger and always enjoyable. kula: dhanam implies it was acquired without any effort from self [acquired as hereditary wealth] and acquired naturally.
  • kula dhaivatham – That bhagavAn who bestows this wealth and is the refuge. With these, the prApyam (goal) and prApakam (means) which are to be revealed in this prabandham are highlighted.
  • thath pAdha aravindham – the divine lotus feet which are to be spoken about.
  • aravindha vilOchanasya – The one who has divine eyes which create this taste/attachment [for him in us] as said in jithanthE sthOthram 1 “jithanthE puNdarikAksha” (Let the lotus-eyed lord be victorious), which have a motherly affection [towards us] as said in thiruviruththam 42 “than kAl paNindha en pAl empirAna thadam kaNgaL” (the wide eyes which show their lordship over me who is surrendered unto his divine feet) and which are enjoyed by nithyasUris as said in thiruvAimozhi 2.6.3thAmaraik kaNNanai viNNOr paravum thalaimaganai” (lotus-eyed lord who is the leader, worshipped by nithyasUris). Such emperumAn‘s eyes. This implies, emperumAn’s joy in seeing ALavandhAr‘s efforts to praise him, is revealed in his eyes; or, emperumAn is mercifully glancing at ALavandhAr who set out to praise him.

In the next article we will enjoy the next SlOkam.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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sthOthra rathnam – 5

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Nammazhwar

Introduction

ALavandhAr is falling at the divine feet of nammAzhwAr and surrenders unto him due to the following reasons:

  • This gyAnam (explained in previous SlOkam) instead of remaining available only for a select few and to make it available for everyone, he compiled dhrAvida brahma samhithA (thiruvAimozhi in divine thamizh), added fragrance with his devotion which was blessed by emperumAn himself as said in thiruvAimozhi 1.1.1mayarvaRa madhi nalam aruLinan” (bhagavAn blessed me with faultless knowledge and devotion) with his enchanting compassion-dripping words which will even melt trees as said in thiruvAimozhi 6.5.9 “marangaLum irangum vagai“.
  • nAthamunigaL acquired this knowledge by the grace of nammAzhwAr‘s divine feet.
  • nammAzhwAr too is greatly attached to krishNa’s qualities like nAthamunigaL and SrI parASara bhagavAn. This can be understood by his own words in thiruvAimozhi 1.3.1eththiRam” (How is this possible that the supreme lord is in this form of a little boy?!), thiruvAimozhi 5.10.3 “neyyuN vArthaiyuL annai kOl koLLa” (as soon as mother yaSOdhA hears the butter-theft of krishNa, she will pick up the cane to punish him) and thiruvAimozhi 6.7.1 “ellAm kaNNan” (krishNa is everything for me).

mAthA pithA yuvathayas thanayA vibhUthi:
sarvam yadhEva niyamEna madhanvayAnAm |

Adhyasya na: kulapathEr vaguLAbhirAmam
SrImath thadhangriyugaLam praNamAmi mUrdhnA ||

Word by word meaning

math anvayAnAm – for my descendants
niyamEna – always
mAthA – mother
pithA – father
yuvathaya: – women (wives)
thanaya: – children
vibhUthi: – great wealth
sarvam – everything else (that is not mentioned here)
yath Eva – that AzhwAr’s divine feet
na: – for us
Adhyasya kulapathE: – leader and head of the clan, his
vakuLa abhirAmam – decorated with magizha flowers
SrImath – having SrIvaishNavaSrI (wealth of kainkaryam)
thath angriyugaLam – those two divine feet
mUrdhnA – with my head
praNamAmi – worship, bow down

Simple Translation

nammAzhwAr‘s divine feet are always mother, father, women [spouse], children, great wealth and everything else (that is not mentioned here) for [me and] my descendants. I worship and bow down with my head at the two divine feet of such AzhWAr, who is the leader and the head of our [vaishNava] clan, who is decorated with magizha flowers and is having SrIvaishNavaSrI (wealth of kainkaryam).

vyAkyAnam (Commentary)

  • mAthA – praying by doing penance etc., for the pregnancy, bearing great pains for pregnancy, keeping the foetus in her womb for ten months, experiencing great suffering during delivery, taking care in the toddler stage with great patience, bearing the harsh words of the child once he/she grows up, without leaving him, always looking to fulfil the child’s desires – AzhwAr is like such a caring mother doing [spiritual] favours.
  • pithA – While the mother is the one who carried the child, it was the father who planted the seed in her to start with, and is the eternal well-wisher. AzhwAr is like such a father.
  • yuvathaya: – The damsels who are dear to him even more than the mother and father – like them AzhwAr is very pleasing to the heart.
  • thanayA: – The son who was given birth at the cost of her youth, the one who gives joy during his childhood, one who protects after maturing and the one who helps for the next life to facilitate avoiding the hell named “puth” (by doing virtuous rites etc). AzhwAr is like such a dear son.
  • vibhUthi: – As none of these is considered worthy when there is no wealth, AzhwAr is like the desirable wealth which makes everything worthy.
  • sarvam – Those other pleasure-giving aspects which are not mentioned here.
  • yadhEva – By the exclusivity in “Eva”, it is implied unlike AzhwAr who is focussed exclusively on emperumAn as said in thiruvAimozhi 5.1.8 “sElEy kaNNiyar” (fish-eyed damsels etc everything is emperumAn for me), ALavandhAr is exclusively focussed on AzhwAr [even discarding emperumAn].
  • niyamEna – Always. Even while going to emperumAn, it is only due to emperumAn being dear to AzhwAr and not due to any other reason.
  • madhanvayAnAm – For descendants by birth and knowledge as said in bhOja champu kishkinthA kANdam 10 “vidhyayA janmanA vA” (hanumAn who is a son of sUrya and vAyu by acquiring knowledge and birth respectively).
  • Adhyasya – being the first and foremost AchArya for vaidhika descendants (followers of vEdham).
  • na: kulapathE: – Like a woman would follow her husband’s clan, ALavandhAr is declaring AzhwAr to be the gOthra (heritage) and rishi (presiding sage of the family).
  • vakuLAbhirAmam – the divine feet which are decorated with the divine magizham flower. This explains the enjoyability of the divine feet due to its fragrance. It is differentiating them from the divine feet of emperumAn which has the fragrance of thiruththuzhAy (thuLasi) as said in thiruvAimozhi 4.2.2nalladi mElaNi nARu thuzhAy“.
  • SrImath – always together with SrIvaishNavaSrI (wealth of kainkaryam). Being close to bhagavAn is explained as wealth as in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 16.17 “anthariksha gathas SrImAn” (SrI vibhIshaNAzhwAn, the most wealthy person who has started his airborne journey towards SrI rAma), vishNu dharmam 68th chapter “sathu nAgavaraS SrImAn” (that gajEndhrAzhwAn is endowed with wealth of kainkaryam) and SrI rAmAyaNam bAla kANdam 1.18.29 “lakshmaNO lakshmI sampanna:” (lakshmaNa who is endowed with kainkarya SrI). Also explained as ALavandhAr saying “nammAzhwAr who has the wealth which is the origin for my wealth”.
  • thath angri yugaLam – One can only say “that pair of divine feet” and cannot speak comprehensively about them.
  • yugaLam – having the beauty of being together.
  • praNamAmi mUrdhnA – On thinking about AzhwAr’s divine feet, he cannot simply say “nama:” (salutations) and stop with that; he immediately places his head on AzhwAr’s divine feet. With this, it is established that, for the mumukshus (those desiring for liberation), those who are the upakAraka (benefactors) are to be shown servitude to and to be praised. How can there be two lords for some one [i.e., how can one declare bhagavAn (lord) and bhAgavatha (bhagavAn’s devotee) both as masters]? As two masters are identified in mImAmsA, one for yAgam (sacrifice) and another for purOdASa (havis – offering), bhagavAn is the pradhAna SEshi (primary lord/master) and thadhIya (devotees) are dhvAra SEshi (masters/lords who open the doors to bhagavAn). Alternatively – bhagavAn is nirupAdhika SEshi (unconditional lord – he is naturally connected to every entity) and bhAgavatha SEshathvam (servitude towards bhAgavathas (devotees)) is sOpAdhika (conditional) due to the relationship of theirs with bhagavAn.  He highlights these to indicate that the gyAnam, bhakthi etc which facilitate the commencement of his sthOthram, are wealth presented by his grandfather (ancestors).

In the first three SlOkams, ALavandhAr explained periya mudhaliyAr’s (nAthamunigaL) predominant gyAnam (knowledge) and bhakthi (devotion); in the fourth SlOkam, he explained that such knowledge and devotion are in line with vEdham [and vaidhikas]; in the fifth SlOkam, he says that he got this knowledge [and devotion] by the grace of AzhwAr.

In the next article we will enjoy the next SlOkam.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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sthOthra rathnam – 4

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parasara-muni

Introduction

Not only the [people of the] world would pursue periya mudhaliyAr’s (nAthamunigaL) gyAnam (knowledge) etc; due to the approval of parASara rishi, who is a renowned vaidhika scholar of the principles put-forth by nAthamunigaL, the authenticity of these principles is explained. Both SrI parASara bhagavAn and nAthamunigaL have a similarity in their nature. parASara rishi’s attachment towards krishNa and his magnanimity [of presenting these important principles, through SrIvishNu purANam] towards the world, are found in nAthamunigaL too. Due to these reasons, ALavandhAr salutes SrI parASara bhagavAn.

thathvEna yaSchidhachIdhISwara thath svabhAva
bhOgApavarga thadhupAyagathIrudhAra: |

sandharSayan niramimItha purANarathnam
thasmai namO munivarAya parASarAya ||

Word by word meaning

udhAra: ya: – that magnanimous parASara
chith achith Iswara thath svabhAva bhOga apavarga thadhupAya gathi: – the three entities namely chith (sentient entities), achith (insentient entities) and ISwara (God), their nature, the pleasures (of this material realm), mOksham (liberation), the means for pleasure and liberation, and the goal reached by the jIvAthmAs
thathvEna – as they are (truthfully)
sandharSayan – explaining clearly
purANa rathnam – SrIvishNu purANam, gem (best) among purANams
niramimItha – who mercifully gave
thasmai – such
munivarAya – best among rishis
parASarAya – for parASara
nama: – salutations

Simple Translation

My salutations to that magnanimous parASara rishi who is best among rishis, who mercifully gave SrIvishNu purANam, gem (best) among purANams which clearly explains the three entities namely chith (sentient entities), achith (insentient entities) and ISwara (God), their nature, the pleasures (of this material realm), mOksham (liberation), the means for pleasure and liberation, and the goal reached by the jIvAthmAs, as they are (truthfully).

vyAkyAnam (Commentary)

  • thathvEna – Explaining the principles that are to be known, as they are.
  • ya: – highlighting the renowned nature of parASara rishi through the authentic sacred texts as in thaiththirIya AraNyaka 1.9 “sa hOvAcha vyAsa: pArASarya:” (Spoken by sage parASara’s son, illustrious vyAsa)
  • chith – gyAthA (knower). SrIvishNu purANam 2.13.71 “AthmA SudhdhO’ksharaSSAnthO nirguNa: prakruthE: para: | pravrudhyapachayau nAsya EkasyAkhilajandhushu ||” (AthmA is free from blemishes such as karma; indestructible; devoid of hunger, thirst etc; free from three qualities of sathva, rajas and thamas; greater than matter; for the AthmA who remains the same in all creatures, there is neither expansion nor contraction). nirguNa means being free from [mixed mode of] sathva, rajas and thamas [he is rather, Sudhdha sathva]; EkasyAkhilajandhushu means AthmA remaining the same while accepting bodies of dhEva (celestial), manushya (human), thiryak (animal) and sthAvara (plant). Spoken by bhagavAn himself in SrI bhagavath gIthA 5.19nirdhOsham hi samam brahma”  (free from defect (of being related to worldly matters) and (due to that) AthmA which is equal, is known as brahma (AthmA)) and in SrI bhagavath gIthA 5.18paNdithAs samadharSina:” (The wise see equally).
  • achith – achEthana (matter – insentient entities). manthirka upanishath “vikArajananIm agyAm” (one that causes changes, devoid of knowledge). parASara too explains this in SrIvishNu purANam 1.2.20 and 1.2.21 “thriguNam thajjagadhyOniranAdhiprabhavApyayam | akshayyan …” (imperishable; has sathva, rajas and thamas qualities; that which has no cause, birth and death, is the cause for the world).
  • ISwara – the controller of both chith and achith; SrIvishNu purANam 6.4.40 “paramAthmA cha sarvEShmAdhAra: paramESwara: | vishNunAmA sa vEdhEshu vEdhAnthEshu cha gIyathE ||” (paramAthmA is the abode for everyone and is the controller for everyone. He is glorified as vishNu in vEdham and vEdhAntham). SrIvishNu purANam 1.2.10 and 1.2.12 “para: parANAm parama: paramAthmAthmasamsthitha: | rUpavarNAdhinirdhESaviSEshaNavivarjitha: || sarvathrAsau samasthancha vasathyathrEthi vai yatha: | thathassa vAsudhEvEthi vidhvadhbhi: paripatyathE ||” (paramAthma who is greater than the greats, one who lacks anyone greater than him, one who is the abode for himself – is devoid of attributes such as (mundane) form, color etc, name. He is known by the scholars as vAsudhEva) and so on.
  • thath svabhAva – Their nature; SrIvishNu purANam 2.7.29 “pradhAnancha pumAmSchaiva sarvabhUthAthmabhUthayA | vishNuSakthyA mahAbudhdhE vruthau samSrayadharmiNau ||” (Oh most intelligent! prakruthi and purusha who are together, all creatures are pervaded by the power of vishNu who is the soul [of every entity]” and so on.
  • bhOga – Sabdha (sound) etc [sparSa (touch), rUpa (vision), rasa (taste), gandha (smell)] which are enjoyed by all badhdha chEthana (bound souls) starting from the top-most brahmA to the lowest ant, based on their karma.
  • apavarga – mOksha (liberation). For the chEthanas who are frightened by seeing the defects such as insignificance and impermanence, of the worldly pleasures of Sabdha (sound) etc., there are two types of liberation – AthmaprApthi (self-realisation) where one is freed from all worldly sorrows and bhagavathprApthi (service to bhagavAn) which is full of exclusive bliss. This is explained by parASara in SrIvishNu purANam 1.6.38 “yOginAmamrutham sthAnam svAthmasanthOshakAriNAm” (eternal place for the yOgis who are inclined towards enjoying self only). SrIvishNu purANam 1.18.22 “thadhasya thrividhasyApi dhu:khajAthasya … bhEshajam bhagavath prApthi:” (Eternally engaged in blissful service of bhagavAn is the medicine for my three types of sorrows) and so on.
  • thadhupAya gathI: – the different means to attain worldly pleasure and liberation. nithya naimiththika karmAnushtAnam (performing all daily and specific/occasional routines which are ordained in SAsthram for each individual) is the means for worldly pleasure; performing karma gyAna yOga etc with their ancillary aspects is the means for AthmaprApthi (self enjoyment); bhakthi yOga along with karma yOga and gyAna yOga, and prapaththi (surrender) are the means for bhagavath prApthi.
  • udhAra: – Instead of expecting the samsAris (mundane people) to request him [to give good advice] or to get something in return [for his advice], looking only at their pathetic situation [of suffering in this material realm], favoured them [with these principles] like a cloud which cannot resist raining.
  • sandharSayan – without any doubts and defects, explaining them clearly.
  • niramimItha – He revealed the inaccessible meanings of vEdham in a short treatise as said in nAnmugan thiruvanthAdhi 1 “anthAdhi mElittu aRiviththEn Azh poruLai” (I revealed the deep knowledge [of vEdham] in this nAnmugan thiruvanthAdhi prabandham which is in anthAdhi style (last word of one pAsuram is part of the first word of the next pAsuram).
  • purANa rathnam – As said in narasimha purANam 3.33 “sargaScha prathisargaScha vamSa manvantharANi cha | vamSAnucharitham chaiva purANam pancha lakshaNam ||” (A purANam is that which has the following crucial features – srushti (details about creation), praLayam (details about deluge), vamSam (the various heritages), manvantharam (details about manus) and vamSAnucharitham (the branches and various historical aspects)) – this SrIvishNu purANam is a grantham which matches such features fully. Also explained as per the literal meaning of purANam which is “purApi navam purANam” – one which is ancient, yet it looks new every time one looks at it; that is, the enjoyability of the grantham can never be destroyed.
  • rathnam – Four qualities are explained – revealing the principles clearly, being compact, being dependable while in danger and the bearers of the purANam are well recognized [these qualities apply to both a precious gem and SrIvishNu purANam].
  • muniuvarAya – being blessed by great sages like vaSishta, pulasthya et al and thus having their greatness; also explained as, being pursued/honoured by great sages.
  • parASarAya – para indicates others such as bAhya (those who reject vEdhas) and kudhrushti (those who accept vEdhas but misinterpret them); he tortured them with the arrows of authentic sacred texts and established the vaidhika system; also explained as, one who is victorious over rajas and thamas qualities by his control over senses.

In the next article we will enjoy the next SlOkam.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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sthOthra rathnam – 3

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azhwar-madhurakavi-nathamuninammAzhwAr with madhurakavi AzhwAr and nAthamunigaL on either side

Introduction

Like a thirsty person’s thirst does not get quenched by drinking more and more water, ALavandhAr is saying “I am his servitor, again and again”. Since nAthamunigaL‘s gyAnam, bhakthi etc are centered on achyutha, who does not abandon his devotees, such gyAnam, bhakthi etc will not be curtailed in himself and will gush in as a flood into samsAram (material realm) which is not an apt place to enjoy bhagavAn [as it facilitates material enjoyment only] – such is the greatness of his gyAnam and bhakthi.

bhUyO namO’parimithAchyutha bhakthi thathva
gyAnAmruthAbdhi parivAha Subair vachOpi: |

lOkE’vathIrNa paramArtha samagra bhakthi
yOgAya nAthamunayE yaminAm varAya ||

Word by word meaning

aparimitha – unlimited
achyutha bhakthi – devotion towards bhagavAn
thathva gyAna – true knowledge
(these) amruthAbdhi – nectarean ocean
parivAha – overflowing
Subhai: vachOpi: – with auspicious words
lOkE – in this world
avathIrNa – one who has incarnated
paramArtha – being the ultimate benefit
samagra – being complete
bhakthi yOgAya – having bhakthi yOga
yaminAm varAya – best among the yOgis
nAthamunayE – to nAthamunigaL
bhUya nama: – again my salutations

Simple Translation

Again my salutations to nAthamunigaL who has incarnated in this world in the form of auspicious words overflowing from the ocean of unlimited devotion towards bhagavAn and true knowledge, who is the ultimate benefit, who is complete, who is having bhakthi yOga and is best among the yOgis.

vyAkyAnam (Commentary)

  • bhUyO nama: – Again salutations; as said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 11.39 “namO namasthE’sthu sahasrakruthva:” (I salute you thousand times).
  • aparimitha – Unlimited as in the case of floods which reach everywhere.
  • achyutha – Without limitation in qualities such as niyanthruthva (controlling ability), svAmithva (lordship) etc; also explained as unchanging [remaining the same in all circumstances]; another explanation – never slipping from the state of existing for his devotees; as said in thiruvAimozhi 3.5.11Arndha pugazh achchudhan” (one who does not abandon his devotees, being complete in his qualities) and in thiruvAimozhi 3.6.8naman thamarkkaru nanjinai achchudhan thannai” (one who does not abandon his devotees, being poison to the servitors of yama) – emperumAn will not leave his devotees to themselves or at the disposal of others.
  • bhakthi thathva gyAnAnruthAbdhi parivAha Subhair vachObhi: – With the words of overflowing nectarean ocean of devotion and  true knowledge. Since bhagavAn is the upAyam (means), gyAnam and bhakthi are part of enjoyable aspects and are unlimited. parivAha means the overflowing emotions in the form of words like water overflowing as flood. Subhair vachOpi – auspiciousness in the speech – as said in SrI rAmAyaNam kishkinthA kANdam 3.31 “avistharamasndhigdham” (the words that originate from the chest and throat of hanumAn, are in perfect meter, not too expansive, without any doubts and breaks and in proper pace).
  • lOkE – In the samsAram which is a high plateau for bhakthi (devotion) to occur. As said in thaiththirIya bhruguvalli 9 “saishA bhArgavI vAruNi vidhyA | paramE vyOman prathishtithA ||” (this knowledge was explained by bhrugu to varuNa; it remains fixed in paramapadham), the bhakthi which is well established in paramapadham, is distributed in this material realm as said in thiruvAimozhi 7.5.1 “nAnmuganAr peRRa nAttuLE naRpAlukkuyththanan” (transformed the people of this world created by brahmA, to be situated in goodness).
  • avathIrNa – The incarnation of devotees is also similar to incarnation of bhagavAn, which are meant for real uplifting of others.
  • paramArtha – being the ultimate benefit.
  • samagra – being complete as said in thiruvAimozhi 10.10.10 “adhanil periya” (greater than everything).
  • bhakthi yOgAya – having bhakthi. Here bhakthi and thathva gyAna are indicated by the word bhakthi yOga since they go hand in hand.
  • yaminAm varAya – As said in thiruvAimozhi 3.8mudiyAnE” decad, being the leader of those who have their senses exclusively focussed on bhagavAn only; one who is pursued by those who are as said in mudhal thiruvanthAdhi 11 “vAy avanai allAdhu vAzhththAdhu” (My mouth/speech will not glorify anyone other than emperumAn).

In the next article we will enjoy the next SlOkam.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

archived in http://divyaprabandham.koyil.org

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sthOthra rathnam – 2

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nathamunigal-4

Introduction

Through the first SlOkam, the greatness of nAthamunigaL‘s knowledge etc relating to bhagavAn‘s parathvam (supremacy) was explained. In this SlOkam, the ultimate greatness of nAthamunigaL’s knowledge etc relating to bhagavAn’s avathArams is explained. Alternatively, it is explained “his knowledge etc (explained in previous SlOkam) instead of being curtailed in him, is flooding down to me (ALavandhAr)”.

thasmai namO madhujidhangri sarOja thathva
gyAnAnurAga mahimAthiSayAnthasImnE |

nAthAya nAthamunayE’thra parathra chApi
nithyam yadhIya charaNau SaraNam madhIyam ||

Word by word meaning

athra – in this world
parathra cha api – in the other world as well
nithyam – always
yadhIya charaNau – the divine feet of that SrIman nAthamunigaL
madhIyam SaraNam – my refuge
madhujith – emperumAn who killed madhu
angri sarOja – about the divine lotus feet of
thathva gyAna anurAga – true knowledge and devotion
mahimAthiSaya anthasImnE – being the pinnacle of greatness
nAthAya – one who is [my] lord
thasmai nAthamunayE – for that nAthamunigaL
nama: – salutations

Simple Translation

My salutations to SrIman nAthamunigaL whose divine feet are always my refuge in this world and the other world as well, who is the pinnacle of greatness of true knowledge and devotion at the divine lotus feet of emperumAn, who killed madhu, and one who is [my] lord.

vyAkyAnam (Commentary)

  • thasmai nama:ALavandhAr is saying “I am his servant, again and again” as said in SrIvishNu purANam 1.19.79 “namasthasmai namasthasmai” (prahlAdha says – I salute the great personality, I salute him) and in SrI bhagavath gIthA 11.39 “namO namasthE’sthu sahasrakruthva:” (I salute you thousand times).
  • madhujith – As he appeared as anirudhdha and destroyed [demon named] madhu, the first weed, it is saying that he will eliminate the hurdles to reach bhagavAn.
  • angri – [attachment towards the “divine feet”] Explaining that periya mudhaliyAr is captivated by such quality of bhagavAn as said in SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam kishkinthA kANdam 4.12 “guNair dhAsyamupAgatha:” (lakshmaNa – I am surrendered to SrI rAma’s qualities), and his ananyArha SEshathvam (exclusive servitorship towards bhagavAn).
  • sarOja – The enjoyability which cannot be given up, even if the [eternal] sambandham is not recognized, is explained. Lotus flower is a false comparison when it comes to the blossomed state, freshness, coolness, fragrance etc., [of the divine feet of bhagavAn].
  • thathva gyAna – true knowledge means knowing about his avathArams (incarnations) and ASritha pArathanthriyam (his subservience towards his devotees). He himself mercifully said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 4.9janma karma cha mE dhivyam Evam yO vEththi thathvatha: | thyakthvA dhEham punar janma nithi mAmEthi sO’rjuna ||” (Oh arjuna! One who realises my divine birth and my divine activities truly, he does not take birth again [in this material realm]; he reaches me). purusha sUktham “thasya dhIrA: parijAnanthi yOnim” (Only the wise know his incarnations); SrI rAma also mercifuly said in SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 19.21 “ahathvA rAvaNam sankyE …” (I will not enter ayOdhyA without destroying rAvaNa along with his clan in the battle. I take this vow on my brothers) and SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 97.8 “yadhvinA bharatham thvAm cha SathrugnanchApi mAnadha | bhavEnmama sukham kinchith bhasmasAth kuruthAm SikI” (Oh one who brings glories [lakshmaNa]! If there is any joy for me in the absence of bharatha, yourself and Sathrugna, let that joy be burnt into ashes). SrI rAmAyaNam AraNya kANdam 10.19 “apyaham jIvitham jahyAm …” (SrI rAma tells sIthA – I may abandon my own life, yourself along with lakshmaNa, but will never abandon my vow. Specifically, I will never abandon the vow given for brAhmaNas). SrI rAmAyaNam AraNya kaNdam 111.7 “AthmAnam nAthivarthEthA: …” (vaSishta says – Oh rAghava! By accepting bharatha’s request, you will remain without abandoning your nature of being subservient to your devotees).
  • anurAga – anurAga means unsatiated love without enjoying these aspects.
  • mahimAthiSayAntha sImnE – One who is the pinnacle of such great knowledge and love for bhagavAn. mahimA – mahathva (greatness). As explained in thaiththirIya upanishath “thE yE Satham” (100 times of such bliss), starting with the bliss of a human and reaching upto the bliss of ISwara, nAthmunigaL’s love towards bhagavAn has no limits.
  • nAthAya – my lord.
  • nAtha munayE – He is glorified as “Oh the lord of this dharSanam (school of philosophy)” by those who remain as said in thiruvAimozhi 2.7.6madhusUdhanai anRi maRRilEn” (we exist only for madhusUdhanan). One who has the thathva (knowledge) and hitham (means) firmly in his heart. “thasmai nama:” (I salute such nAthmunigaL).
    When asked by bhagavAn “if you are devoted to him out of gratitude, would you not need him for goals in this [material] world and in the other [spiritual] world?”, he says
  • athra parathra chApi – In this material realm and in paramapdham, the destination.
  • nithyam – nithyam is also explained as daily, as in nithya agnihOthram, which implies agnihOthram is performed at certain times of the day. Here nithyam means “always”.
  • yadhIya charaNau – the divine feet which transformed me into my current state [of knowledge, devotion etc].
  • SaraNam – both upAyam (means) and upEyam (goal).
  • madhIyamperiya mudhaliyAr‘s divine feet are both upAyam and upEyam for me. That is, since he instructed that bhagavAn is the upAyam when I was in the worldly state, since he mercifully nurtured devotion towards bhagavAn which instills firm faith, since he will make me enter the assembly of nithyasUris after reaching paramapadham, and since his being the goal like the nithyasUris, he himself is considered as my goal.

In the next article we will enjoy the next SlOkam.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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sthOthra rathnam – 1

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SrIman_nAthamunigaL_innisai

Introduction

In first SlOkam, as a person who sets out to praise some one, he will praise that person’s wealth, and since for a vaishNava, his real wealth is gyAnam (knowledge) and vairAgyam (detachment), ALavandhAr salutes nAthamunigaL‘s excellence in both of them. It is said in mudhal thiruvanthAdhi 43 “thanamAya thAnE kai kUdum” (wealth such as paramabhakthi etc will occur themselves), that for a vaishNava, bhakthi etc are the wealth.

namO’chinthyAdhbhudhAklishta gyAna vairAgyarASayE |
nAthAya munayE’gAdhabhagavadh bhakthisindhavE ||

Word by word meaning

achinthya – incomprehensible
adhbhutha – amazing
aklishta – easily attained (by the grace of bhagavAn)
gyAna – of the knowledge
vairAgya – of the detachment
rASayE – like a collection
munayE – one who meditates upon bhagavAn
agAdha bhagavadhbhakthi sindhavavE – ocean of deep devotion towards bhagavAn
nAthAya – to nAthamunigaL
nama: – I offer my salutations

Simple Translation

I offer my salutations to nAthamunigaL who is a collection of incomprehensible, amazing knowledge and detachment which were easily attained (by the grace of bhagavAn), who meditates upon bhagavAn and is an ocean of deep devotion towards bhagavAn.

vyAkyAnam (Commentary)

  • nama:ALavandhAr is saying “I am not for me; I am a servitor of periya mudhaliyAr (nAthamunigaL)” as said in “ahamapi na mama | bhagavatha EvAhamasmi …” (nama: is said to be the bestower of the thinking “I am not for me; I am a servitor of bhagavAn”). As said in vishNu shadaksharI [vishNu manthram] “namO vishNavE“, ALavandhAr says “namO nAthAya” out of gratitude. This is common practice as seen in “namO vishNavE“, mahAbhAratham SAnthi parvam 344.45 “nama ithyEva vAdhina:” (The definition of the residents of SvEtha dhvIpa applies to the mukthAthmAs (liberated souls) as well. They are always performing anjali (joined palms out of reverence); they are blissful as a result of that; they constantly recite “nama:“), yajur AraNyakam 4 “nama rushibhyO manthrakrudhabhya:” (I salute the rishis who have realized the manthra), vishNu dharmam 90 “thEshAmapi namO nama:” (I salute those who salute yagya varAha bhagavAn). Since ISwaramunigaL (nAthamunigaL’s father) auspiciously named him SrIranganAthan, he came to be known as nAthan.

With the desire to explain such nAthamunigaL’s nature, ALavandhAr proceeds further.

  • achinthya – implies that we cannot think that nAthamunigaL‘s knowledge etc are like some one else’s [there is no comparable person to him]; also, explains that even most knowledgeable person cannot estimate his qualities such as knowledge etc.
  • adhbutha – since previous iyaththArAhithyam (inability to measure/determine) is explained, here it explains that for one who understands his qualities within their ability, his knowledge etc are enjoyable [amazing].
  • aklishta – Unlike vyAsa et al who acquired their knowledge through self efforts, since his knowledge etc were acquired by the grace of bhagavAn as said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 10.10 “dhadhAmi budhdhiyOgam tham” (for those who are desirous to be with me always and worship me, I lovingly bestow the knowledge to reach me) and in thiruvAimozhi 1.1.1mayarvaRa madhi nalam aruLinan” (bhagavAn blessed me with faultless knowledge and devotion), there was no difficulty [in acquiring them].
  • gyAna – gyAnam (knowledge) is knowing about thathva thrayam – chith (sentient entities), achith (insentient entities) and ISwara (God). That is, knowing that AthmA is exclusive servitor of ISwara, achith is to be given up and ISwara is the controller of both. gyAnam means knowing this aspect; It is explained that any knowledge other than on bhagavAn, only leads to disaster and is very lowly as said in SrIvishNu purANam 6.5.87 “thath gyAnam agyAnamathO’nyadhuktham” (That which leads to supreme lord is gyAnam; everything else is agyAnam (ignorance)) and SrIvishNu puraNam 1.19.41 “vidhyAnyA SilpanaipuNam” (that which leads to mukthi is gyAnam; everything else is as good as stitching sandals [just a skill to get a task completed]).
  • vairAgya – As a result of this distinguished knowledge, one would be desireless in anything other than bhagavath vishayam. periya thirumozhi 6.1 “vENdEn manai vAzhkkaiyai” (I don’t want the householder’s life).
  • rASayE – rASi means collection/group.
  • gyAna rASayE – vairAgya rASayE – While gyAna and vairAgya are mentioned in singular, why is there a mention of “rASayE” (collection)? Since bhagavAn’s svarUpa (nature) etc [rUpa (forms), guNa (qualities) etc] are many, the target of knolwedge is also many. As said in vihagESvara samhithai “pitharam mAtharam …” (Oh bhagavAn! I give up my father, mother, wife, children, relatives, friends, teachers, wealth etc with the traces and surrender unto your divine feet which measured the worlds), since there are many aspects to be given up – collection of vairAgyam is also applicable. It can also be said that all the knowledge and detachment of wise people are contained in nAthamunigaL’s knowledge and detachment. This can be seen in chAndhOgya upanishath 4.1.4 “yath kinchith prajAs sAdhu kurvanthi yasthadhvEdha yathsa vEdha sa mayaithadhuktha ithi” (whatever good deeds performed by anyone, they are found in raikva; whatever is known to raikva is what everyone else knows. Such raikva is spoken by me now) and in SrIbhAshyam 1.3.33 “lOkE yathkinchith sAdhvanushtitham karma yachcha sarva chEthanagatham vigyAnam thadhubhayam yadhIyagyAnakarmAnthargatham sa raikva ithi Aha” (All karma (good deeds) and gyAna (knowledge) of the world are seen in one person and that person is raikva).
  • munayE – As said in SrIvishNu purANam 1.17.39 “na vivEdhAthmanO gAthram” (That prahlAdha who was bitten by deadly snakes and having his mind focussed on krishNa, due to being situated in blissful meditation of bhagavAn, did not realise his body) and “paSyannapi na dhrushtavAn” (Not seeing while seeing), constantly meditating upon emperumAn who is to be meditated upon. periya thirumozhi 9.3.3 “Edhu seydhAl maRakkEn mananE” (What will make me forget you? [I cannot forget you]) and thiruvAimozhi 5.3.5 “en nenjam avan enRE kidakkum” (my heart is always attached to him). When he was meditating upon krishNa, even the king’s arrival did not disturb him.
  • agAdha bhagavath bhakthi sindhavE – While bhakthi is a tranformation of knowledge, it is separately highlighted to explain the abundance of that and the importance of that. bhakthi is anububhUshai (desire for affectionate engagement) as said in linga purANam uththara bhAgam “snEhapUrvam anuidhyAnam bhakthi:” (repeated friendly meditation is called bhakthi) and “svAmini dhAsasya snEhamayI sthithi:” (the state of friendship of a servitor towards his master). The term “bhagavAn” (bhagavath) indicates emperumAn’s form in paramapadham. He remains with all six qualities [gyAna, bala, aiSwarya, vIrya, Sakthi, thEjas] in perfection as said in “vAsudhEvO’si pUrNa:” (You remain complete with six qualities).
  • agAdha – akshObhya (unshakeable). Another meaning – cannot be measured; no one can be steady in it.
  • sindhavE – thiruvAimozhi 7.3.6 “kAdhal kadalin migap peridhu” (my love for you is greater than the ocean) and periya thirumozhi 4.9.3 “Asai ennum kadal” (the ocean of desire), while ISwara himself cannot be steady in it, he is immersed in it.

In the next article we will enjoy the next SlOkam.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

archived in http://divyaprabandham.koyil.org

pramEyam (goal) – http://koyil.org
pramANam (scriptures) – http://granthams.koyil.org
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sthOthra rathnam – avathArikai (Introduction)

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nathamuni-alavandharnAthamunigaL and ALavandhArkAttu mannAr kOyil

sarvESvaran out of his causeless grace, reveals his true nature, forms, qualities and wealth as said in thiruvAimozhi 1.1.1mayarvaRa madhi nalam aruLinan” (blessed nammAzhwAr with faultless knowledge and devotion). Since that gyAnam (knowledge) is bhakthirUpApanna gyAnam (knowledge which culminated into devotion), AzhwAr with parabhakthi (first stage of pure devotion – full knowledge about bhagavAn) enjoyed bhagavAn’s qualities. He then acquired paragyAnam (next stage of pure devotion – clear visualization of bhagavAn as if seeing him physically) and as a result acquired paramabhakthi (final stage of pure devotion – the stage before ascending to paramapadham). As a result, as said in chAndhOgya upanishath 8.12.2 “param jyOthir upasampadhya” (reaches the supreme light, nArAyaNa), muNdaka upanishath 3.1.3 “paramam sAmyam upaithi” (jIvAthmA attains equality (in eight qualities) with supreme lord) and in periya thirumozhi 11.8.5 “thammaiyE okka aruL seyvar” (emperumAn will bless the AthmA to become like him), AzhwAr realised his true self and attained kainkaryam (service to lord) as said in thiruvAimozhi 3.3.1 “vazhuvilA adimai seyya vENdum” (desire to engage in service without any break) and thiruvAimozhi 10.10.11 “avAvaRRu vIdu peRRa” (nammAzhwAr, who attained liberation to be fulfilled of all his desires).

periya mudhaliyAr (nAthamunigaL) obtained this confidential knowledge of dhrAvida upanishath (thiruvAimozhi) by nammAzhwAr’s grace. ALavandhAr obtains this confidential knowledge through the teachings of AchAryas, meditates upon them and being unable to control the love, due to the overflowing emotions and unable to bear the despicable state of samsAris (worldly people), thinking that they cannot be ignorant about this confidential knowledge, reveals this most confidential knowledge of all upanishaths and most difficult to learn principles, as sthOthram (praises) to be known by everyone.

In matters/persons other than bhagavAn, sthOthram means flattery (praising non-existing qualities) and praising the limited available qualities as explained in SrI sthavam 3 “sthOthram nAma kimAmananthi” (How does poets praise?) and in SrI rangarAja sthavam pUrva Sathakam 19 “anyathrAthadhguNOkthi:” (In matters other than bhagavAn, praising means speaking about non-existing qualities). But bhagavath vishayam is explained to be beyond comprehension as said in thaiththirIya upanishath Anandhavalli 9.1 “yathO vAchO nivarthanthE” (the words returned being unable to glorify bhagavAn‘s quality of bliss fully and even the mind cannot comprehend that), kEna upanishath 2.3 “avigyAtham vijAnathAm” (for the knowers, brahmam is unknown) and so on. How is such bhagavAn praised here? Though he cannot be praised comprehensively, he can be glorified since

  • bhagavAn himself likes to be praised as said in SrIvishNu sahasranAmam “sthavya: sthavapriya:” (he is praiseworthy and he likes to be praised) and
  • there is enough glories in him to be spoken about as said in thiruvAimozhi 2.2.11Eththa Ezhulagum koNda” (measured and accepted the worlds to be glorified by all) and in thiruvAimozhi 4.3.10 “Eththa Eththa engeydhum” (there is no end to his glories even if everyone praised him) and
  • our words/speech have no other duty than praising emperumAn.

 Another explanation [Introduction focussing on prApyam (goal) and prApakam (means)].

[First, goal is explained.] purushArtham is explained as four in SrIvishNu purANam 1.18.22 “dharmArtha kAma mOkshAkyA: purushArthA udhAhruthA: | idham chathushtayam ” (These four – dharma (righteous actions), artha (wealth), kAma (sensual pleasures) and mOksha (liberation) are explained as goals) and in periya thirumadal 11 “mannum aRam poruL inbam vIdu” (the four aspects which remain firmly – dharma, artha, kAma and mOksha).  Among these, though dharma is a goal as well as means [i.e., performing the righteous actions are means as well as goal], it involves difficulty. artha is an independent goal, yet, it is temporary, difficult to retain and is means to accomplish other goals. kAma too is an independent goal, yet fraught with being insignificant, temporary, disastrous [contrary to the nature of enlightened self], disgusting etc., and also highlighted as a hurdle for mOksha in mOksha SAsthram. Placing these aside, ALavandhAr looked at mOksham. In mOksham too, he first discarded kaivalya mOksham (eternally enjoying oneself) since that too is attained through difficult process which is to be performed for a very long period of time, and the result is insignificant when compared to enjoyment of bhagavAn and finally focussed on bhagavath prApthi (attaining bhagavAn after liberation) which does not have any of the aforementioned defects. Not only that, bhagavAn is explained to be perfectly blissful as said in SrIvishNu purANam 6.5.58 and 6.5.59 “nirasthAthiSayAhlAdha sukhabhAvaikalakshaNA” (having the greatest bliss as his identity) and would also bestow the same bliss on his devotees as said in thaiththirIya upanishath Anandhavalli 7 “Esha hyEvAnandhayAthi” (He only gives pleasure to jIvAthmA), muNdaka upanishath “paramam sAmyamupaithi” (attain the supreme similarity) and periya thirumozhi 11.3.5 “thammaiyE okka aruL seyvar” (emperumAn  will bless those who worship him to become similar to him). Since he is easily attained and is the apt goal as said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 8.14 “thasyAham sulabha:” (I am easy to attain), bhagavath prApthi (attaining of bhagavAn) is considered as the best goal.

The different stages/aspects of attaining bhagavAn are explained with pramANams (references from the sacred texts) to conclude the best among those.

ALavandhAr explains how jIvAthmA and paramAthmA have a servitor/lord relationship:

  • SvEthASvathara upanishath 6.16 “pradhAna kshEthragyapathir guNESa:” (bhagavAn is the lord of matter and souls; he has auspicious qualities)
  • SvEthASvathara upanishath 1.9 “gyAggyau dhvAvajAvISanISau” – paramAthmA and jIvAthmA are omniscient and ignorant respectively; they are lord and non-lord (servant) respectively.
  • SvEthASvathara upanishath 6.7 “thamISvarANAm paramam mahESvaram” (the supreme lord of those who are considered as lords)
  • nAradha telling puNdarIka [rishi] “dhAsOham vAsudhEvasya” (I am a servant of vAsudhEva)
  • hArItha smruthi, ISvara samhitha – Siva’s words “dhAsabhUthAs svathas sarvE” (Aren’t all AthmAs naturally servants of paramAthmA?)
  • SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 42.35 hanumAn’s words “dhAsOham kOsalEndhrasya” (I am the servitor of SrI rAma, the lord of kOsala kingdom)
  • subAla upanishath 7 “yasyAthmA SarIram” (for whom (paramAthmA), this AthmA (soul) is a body)
  • yajur AraNyakam 3.11.21 “antha: pravishtaS SAsthA janAnAm sarvAthmA” (bhagavAn who is entered in all creatures, controls them)
  • Apasthamba sUthram 22.1 “pU: prANinas sarva Eva guhASayasya” (All creatures are abodes for paramAthmA who is reclining in every heart, who is imperishable and faultless)
  • SrIvishNu purANam 1.22.86 “thAni sarvANi thathvapu:” (everything is a SarIram (body) for that paramAthmA)

He then explains the natural joyful interaction between jIvAthmA and paramAthmA:

  • parama samhithA “yEna yEna dhAthA gachchathi” (wherever the lord goes, the servitor follows)
  • thaiththirIya upanishath “sOSnuthE sarvAn kAmAn saha brahmaNA vipaSchithA” (jIvAthmA enjoys all the auspicious qualities of bhagavAn, along with him) and in periya thiruvanthAdhi 78 “OvAdha UNAga uN” (enjoy as eternal bliss).
  • jithanthE sthOthram 1.13 “kAmayE vaishNavathvam thu sarva janmasu kEvalam” (I desire to be born as a vaishNava only)
  • SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 31.25 lakshmaNa says “aham sarvam karishyAmi” (I will carry out all kainkaryams).
  • thiruvAimozhi 3.3.1ozhiviil kAlamellAm” (At all times)

Based on these, he concludes that as a chaste wife would lovingly serve her husband (husband’s bodily needs), a jIvAthmA would lovingly perform kainkaryam to bhagavAn.

Further, different aspects of kainkaryam are explained:

  • bhagavAn is said to be the attainable goal in SrIvishNu purANam 6.5.58 and 6.5.59 “bhEshajam bhagavath prApthi:” (attaining bhagavAn is the best medicine), it is due to the fact that he is the recipient of our kainkaryam;
  • it is said in chAndhOgya upanishath 8.12.2 “svEna rUpENAbhinishpadhyathE” (attains natural realisation/blossoming of self) that self-realisation is the prApyam (goal) due to the fact that realised soul is the abode of pure devotion;
  • it is said in katOpanishath 1.3.9 “sOdhvana: pAramApnOthi thadhvishNO: paramam padham” (One who has true knowledge as driver and mind as the restraint, he reaches vishNu’s divine abode which is on the other shore of material realm) that spiritual realm is goal due to the fact that one’s kainkaryam develops there.
  • it is said in jithanthE sthOthram 1.4 “nistharanthi manIshiNa:” (they cross over the ocean of material realm) that the removal of hurdles (samsAram) is the goal, since it is a hurdle for one’s kainkaryam.

If any/all of these are not leading to kainkaryam, they are not to be treated as goals as said in SrI rAmAyaNam sundhara kANdam 26.5 sIthA says “na hi mE jIvithEnArtha:” (There is no use of my life, body, ornaments etc., when I am in separation from SrI rAma) and as said in thiruvAimozhi 4.8.1 “maNi mAmai kuRaivilam” (there is no use of my beautiful complexion), thiruvAimozhi 4.8.9 “udambinAl kuRaivilam” (there is no use of my body), thiruvAimozhi 4.8.10 “uyirinAl kuRaivilam” (there is no use of my self).

A chaste wife would be focussed on serving the beautiful body of her husband more than his true self, his qualities and as such there is no deficiency in her chastity due to that [Since she is serving her husband with the right attitude, one cannot say wife is attached only to husband’s body]. Similarly, a devotee of bhagavAn would be focussed on thadhIya SEshathvam (being servitor of the devotees of bhagavAn) which is explained as a goal in itself [since bhagavAn’s devotees are considered as bhagavAn’s different bodies/forms and bhagavAn pervades them with great affection].

Thus, ALavandhAr determines the top-most goal which is the essence of all SAsthram.

[He then moves on to discuss the means for attaining the goal.]

For this goal, there are two [main] means – bhakthi [yOga] (path of devotion) and prapaththi (surrender).

Among these, bhakthi is explained using the terms vEdhana, dhyAna, upAsana etc.; it is knowledge culminated into devotion; it is gyAnam (knowledge) which facilitates direct visualization of emperumAn. Following pramANams highlight bhakthi’s nature:

  • thaiththirIya upanishath Anandhavalli 1 “bhramavidhApnOthi param” (one who meditates upon brahmam, attains that supreme brahmam)
  • bruhadhAraNyaka upanishath 6.6.6 “SrOthavayO manthavyO nidhidhyAsithavya:” (AthmA which should be heard about, thought upon meditated upon, can be seen)
  • katOpanishath 1.2.23 “nAyamAthmA pravachanEna labhya:” (This paramAthmA cannot be attained by mere hearing, meditation etc without devotion)
  • muNdaka upanishath 2.2.9 “thasmin dhrushtE parAvarE” (once that paramAthmA is seen, the jIvAthmA‘s lust, anger etc are destroyed, doubts are cleared and karmas are eliminated)
  • Sri bhagavath gIthA 11.54 “bhakthyA thavanyayA Sakya” (I cannot be attained without devotion)
  • SrI bhagavath gIthA 18.54 “madhbhakthim labhathE param” (One who is equally detached towards everyone, attains supreme devotion towards me)

bhatkthi yOga should be supported with fire sacrifices; it should be supported with karma yOga and gyAna yOga – so it can only be performed by qualified persons [thraivarNikas – men belonging to brAhmaNa, kshathriya and vaiSya varNams only]; the result is attained after a very long period of time only; there is scope for slipping from the process.

Discarding bhakthi yOga due to these defects, ALavandhAr determines prapaththi, which does not have any of these defects, to be the best means due to its being established in Sruthi (vEdham) and smruthi (manu smruthi etc), easy to perform, and which is adhyavasAyAthmaka gyAna viSEsham (a special type of knowledge which is in the form of complete faith) based on the following pramANams.

  • SvEthASvathara upanishath6.18 “mumukshurvai SaraNamaham prapadhyE” (I, who desire to be liberated, surrender unto parama purusha (bhagavAn) who first created brahmA, who instructed vEdham to the created brahmA …).
  • thaiththirIya upanishath nArAyaNavalli 50 “nyAsamAhur manIshiNO brahmANam” (Wise explain paramAthmA as nyAsa (surrender))
  • thaiththirIya upanishath nArAyaNavalli 49 “nyAsa ithi brahmA” (nyAsa is brahmam)
  • thaiththirIya upanishath nArAyaNavalli 50 “thasmAn nyAsamEshAm thapasAm athirikthamAhu:” (Thus, this nyAsa (SaraNAgathi) is said as the top-most penance).
  • yajur kANdam 6.5 “thasmAdhapi vadhyam prapannam na prathiprayachchanthi” (If one has surrendered, even if he is qualified to be killed, he should not be identified to others).
  • SrI rAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 31.2 “sa bhrAthuS SaraNau gAdam nipIdya ragunanadhana:” (lakshmaNa held his brother SrI rAma’s divine feet tightly and spoke)
  • SrI rAmAyaNam yudhdha kANdam 18.33 “sakrudhEva prapannAya” (even if one surrenders once, I will never abandon him).
  • SrivishNu purANam 5.23.47 “sO’ham thvAm SaramapAram apramEyam” (I surrendered unto the one who has no one higher than him, who is endless and cannot be comprehended)
  • SrI bhAgavatham 11.5.41 “sarvAthmanA yaS SaraNam SaraNyam nArAyaNam lOka gurum prapanna:” (One who is fully surrendered to SrIman nArAyaNan, he is neither indebted to nor servitor of dhEvas, rishis, creatures, relatives and pithrus (ancestors)).
  • SrI bhagavath gIthA 7.14 “mAmEvayE prapadhyanthE mAyAm EthAm tharanthi thE” (one who is surrendered to me, will cross over the ocean of nescience).
  • SrI bhagavath gIthA18.62 “thamEva SaraNam gachcha sarvabhAvEna bhAratha” (Oh descendant of bharatha! surrender unto that bhagavAn only)
  • SrI bhagavath gIthA18.66 “sarvadharmAn parithyajya” (give up all dharmas and surrender unto me only)
  • SrIvishNu purANam 1.9.73 “thAvathArthis thathA vAnchA” (Only until one surrenders unto you, he will have the desire to acquire wealth and the worry of not acquiring wealth and so on)

Why did ALavandhAr who set out to praise bhagavAn, start praising AchArya [He praises nAthamunigaL in the first three SlOkams]? Isn’t this unrelated as in the proverb “karNE sprushtE kadim chAlayathi” (when his ears are touched, he is shaking his hip)? It is, of course, related due to the following reasons:

  • the gratitude of making him (ALavandhAr) praise bhagavAn
  • to have the expanded knowledge to praise bhagavAn
  • to pray for obstacle-free completion of the prabandham

Can this praise be not done in the mind [should it have to be expressed through words]? Since it will be a great favour to those who are desiring to learn this prabandham, to have it expressed through words is apt.

Worshipping AchArya out of gratitude is well established from various pramANams.

  • thaiththirIya upanishath SIkshAvalli 11 “AchArya dhEvO bhava” (Consider AchArya to be God)
  • yajur AraNyakam 4 “nama  rushibhyO manthrakrudhbhya:” (I worship the rishis who realised the manthram)
  • Apasthamba sUthram 1.1.6 “sa hi vidhyAthas tham janayathi | thachchrEshtam janma ||” (AchArya gives re-birth to Sishya through knowledge; that is the higher birth)
  • vishNu thathvam “manthrE thadhdhEvathAyAncha thathA manthra pradhE gurau” (One should be devoted to the manthram, the dhEvathA who is explained in that manthram and the AchArya who instructed the manthram).

Further, when some one gives a precious gem, it is obvious to be grateful towards such person who gave the precious gem. Do we need any special proof from scriptures for that?

It is also seen in practice of elders to praise the AchArya to have one’s knowledge flourish.

  • mImAsaka – mImAmsA kArikA “abhivandhya gurunAdhau Sishya dhIpadhminIravIn” (First worshipping AchAryas who are like sun for the lotus which is the knowledge of Sishyas)
  • manu – manu smruthi 2.218 “yathA kanan kanithrENa” (Like a man will dig a pit in the earth to fetch water, a Sishya attains knowledge by serving the guru)
  • vaiSampAyana rishi – mahAbhAratham Adhi parvam 1.27 “yasya prasAdhAth vakshyAmi nArAyaNa kathAm imAm” (I worship the unlimited, radiant vyAsa bhagavAn by whose grace I am reciting this history of nArAyaNa).
  • manu – manu smruthi 2.117 “laukikam vaidhikam vA’pi” (One should first worship the guru from whom one learned worldly knowledge, scriptural knowledge and knowledge about brahmam)

This being the case, why did ALavandhAr worship his AchArya’s gurus instead of worshipping his own AchArya (maNakkAl nambi)? Praising what is desired by one’s AchArya is better than praising one’s own AchArya; since his AchArya would greatly desire ALavandhAr praising periya mudhaliyAr (nAthamunigaL), ALavandhAr follows suit. Two reasons are cited for ALavandhAr taking shelter of nAthamunigaL:

  • nAthamunigaL, by the grace of nammAzhwAr, acquired the great knowledge that was acquired by AzhwAr due to AzhwAr’s great devotion towards bhagavAn, instead of curtailing that knowledge with him, desire to bestow the favour of sharing it with the future generation, and thus became dharSana sthApaka (presiding AchArya) of our sampradhAyam.
  • maNakkAL nambi tells ALavandhAr “all these principles are explained by nAthamunigaL; your connection with his divine feet is the means for your ultimate goal”.

Only due to this consideration, bhattar too said in SrIvishNu sahasranAma bhAshyam “prathamamapi gurum nAthamIdE” (I worship nAthamunigaL as well who is the first AchArya).

As praNavam which is the origin of vEdham is recited at the beginning and the end of vEdham, here, AchArya is praised in the beginning and end and bhagavAn is praised in between. First, ALavandhAr worships nAthamunigaL in three SlOkams.

In the next article, we shall see the first SlOkam.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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sthOthra rathnam – thaniyans (invocation)

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alavandharALavandhArkAttumannAr kOyil

svAdhayanniha sarvEshAm thrayyanthArtham sudhurgraham |
sthOthra yAmAsa yOgIndhra: tham vandhE yAmunAhvayam ||

I worship that ALavandhAr who is the best among the yOgis who revealed the vEdhAntha principles which are difficult to comprehend, in sthOthram (SlOkams of praise) format to be understood easily by all.

namO namO yAmunAya yAmunAya namO nama: |
namO namO yAmunAya yAmunAya namO nama: ||

I worship ALavandhAr again and again. I cannot stop paying obeisances to him.

In the next article, we shall see the avathArikai (introduction).

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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sthOthra rathnam

Published by:

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

vishnu-lakshmijalavandhar-nathamunigalALavandhAr and nAthamunigaLkAttu mannAr kOyil

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ALavandhAr, a great scholar of viSishtAdhvaitha sidhdhAntham and SrIvaishNava sampradhAyam and the grand son of the revered AchArya, nAthamunigaL, revealed the most essential principles of prApyam (goal) and prApakam (means) through detailed elaboration of dhvaya mahA manthram in his sthOthra rathnam. This is the earliest known samskritha sthOthra grantham of our pUrvAchAryas which is available for us now.

periya nambi went to kAnchIpuram with the desire of facilitating iLaiyAzhwAr (SrI rAmAnuja) to become a Sishya of ALavandhAr. iLaiyAzhwAr was bringing thIrtham (water) from sALaik kiNaRu (a well) as kainkaryam for dhEvap perumAL under the guidance of thirukkachchi nambi. periya nambi recites some SlOkams from sthOthra rathnam which attracts iLaiyAzhwAr very much and brings iLaiyAzhwAr into our sampradhAyam. iLaiyAzhwAr who goes on to be famously known as emperumAnAr, had great attachment for this prabandham and used several passages from this prabandham in his SrIvaikuNta gadhyam too.

periyavAchchAn piLLai has written an elaborate vyAkyAnam (commentary) for this divine prabandham. The esoteric meanings of the sthOthrams are eloquently explained by periyavAchchAn piLLai in his commentary.

We shall now see the thaniyans for this divine treatise.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

archived in http://divyaprabandham.koyil.org

pramEyam (goal) – http://koyil.org
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