amalanAdhipirAn – avathArikai

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avathArikai (Introduction)

This prabandham is just of ten pAsurams, whereby it is neither too short like praNavam nor too long like vEdham and its upabrahmaNam, namely mahAbhAratham, and simultaneously easily comprehensible and available for all the people. The explanatory texts for vEdhams, namely mahAbhAratham and rAmAyaNam, though declaring, “nArayaNa kathAm imAm” (these stories of nArAyaNA), “vEdhOpa brahmaNArthAya thAvath grAhayatha prabhu:” (vAlmIki accepted them for explaining vEdham through rAmAyaNam as he found them steadfast in vEdhams and very intelligent), as stated in SrIrAmAyaNam bAlakANdam 4-6 “sathu mEdhAvinau dhrushtvAvEdhEshu parinishtithau vedhOpa brhmanArthAya thAvagrAhayatha prabhu:” and “vEdhAnadhyApayAmAsa mahAbhAratha panchamAn sumantham jaiminim pailam Sukam chaiva svamAthmajam” (vEdhavyAsa taught sumanthu, jaimini, pailar and his own son Suka the four vEdhams along with mahAbhAratham). These ithihAsas started with a declaration nArAyaNa kathAmimAm but narrated stories which were not bhagavadh kathA. thiruvAimozhi, though is well known as in thiruvAimozhi 1-3-11 “amarsuvai Ayiram” (the most delicious thousand pAsurams), thiruvAimozhi 8-6-11 “pAlOdamudhanna Ayiram” (thousand pAsurams that are like milk and nectar), thiruvAimozhi 6-5-3 “urai koL inmozhi” (the pAsurams so sweet to chant) and thiruvAimozhi 1-6-11 “EdhamilAyiram” (defectless one thousand pAsurams), yet it has difficulties like anyApadhESam (revealing indirect meanings), svApadhESam (revealing inner meanings), sAmAnadhikaraNya nirNayakam (Equating multiple entities based on soul/body relationship and then establishing bhagavAn’s supremacy). Though thirunedunthANdakam is of only thirty pAsurams, short of lengthy text, it also has these conceptual difficulties. Though thirumAlai does not have these difficulties it reflects AzhwAr’s gains and losses in his likes and dislikes, respectively. thiruppallANdu does not have any of these defects; yet it has one defect: that is, it reflects the strengths and weaknesses of the three types of devotees (arthArthi, kaivalyArthi, and bhagavallAbhArthi).

However, amalanAdhipirAn is not too short like praNavam, and too difficult to comprehend. This prabandham is totally different from others, because it not explaining para and vyUha but is focussed on archA form and blesses taht form, holding on to the auspicious pillars in the sanctum of SrIrangam for support, as said in perumAL thirumozhi 1-1 “thiruvarangap perunagaruL theNNIrp ponni thiraikkaiyAl adi varudap paLLi koLLum karumaNiyaik kOmaLaththai” (the black jewel that took the archA form and lies on the banks of kAvEri washed by her tender waves). This AzhwAr stands far apart from others; they had to sing thiruppallANdu 1 “pallANdu” (may you live long), or thiruppAvai-24 “pORRi” (hail unto you). For him that was not necessary as it was the very purpose of his birth. He considers himself as one outside the four fold varNas, as declared in thiruchchandha viruththam-90 “kulangaLAya IriraNdilonRilum piRandhilEn”. periya perumAL also thinks so – as nithyasUris are not in any of the four varNas. Though thoNdaradippodi AzhwAr is distinguished from other AzhwArs in fully focussing on periya perumAL, his single minded devotion (Ekanthithvam) suffers from his dual interest towards perumAL and teaching others added with negation of other gods; but this AzhwAr enjoys periya perumAL with no concern for negation of other gods or teaching others.

As in SrIrAmAyaNam uttharakAndam 40-15 “snEhO mE parama:” (my love for you is supreme) says hanuman; iraNdAm thiruvandhAdhi 100 “enRan aLavanRAl yAnudaiya anbu” (my love overflows me beyond me, says bhUthaththAzhvAr. “rAjamsthvayi” – Oh king! Even this love of mine for you did not come of my accord, also came because of you, did not come because of me; thiruvAimozhi 8-8-3 “adhuvum avanadhu innnaruLE” (it came only because of your grace); “nithyam prathishtitha:” – it is rooted permanently). When he offered to take with him if not today, another day, later, he was told “that can’t be so, as this is due to the particular person (the vibhava Sri murti)”. as is explained in thiruvAimozhi 2-3-7 “ninnalAl ilEn kAN” (I don’t exist without you). “bhaktiScha niyathA” – not only love of friendship for you, my devotion is also reliant on you (on your this auspicious vibhava form). Is friendship (snEham) different from devotion (bhakthi)? chakravarthi’s (dhaSaratha) condition of demise in the event of separation is snEham, friendship; devotion, bhakthi is the condition of iLaiyaperumAL who did not stop when commanded to and forced SrI rAma to say “kurushva” as in SrIrAmAyaNam ayOdhyA kANdam 31-24 :-“kurushva mAmanucharam vaidharmyam nEha vidhyathE kruthArthOham bhavishyAmi thava chArtha: prakalpathE” (keep me as your servant. There is nothing wrong in this. If you do so, I shall be obliged to you, and your work shall also move). lakshmaNa said so to SrI rAma realizing his SEshi-SEsha bhAva to perumAL. “vIra!” (Oh, valorous one!) – the quality which won over him. Because you vanquished outsiders, you can not vanquish me by your valour; he says so as he is also a person of valour. “bhAvO nAnyathra gachchathi” (my mind shall not go after anything else). You can not bail out my heart, even if you bail me out. “anyathra” (another person). This is like in siRiya thirumadal “maRRu ArAnum uNdenbAr” (even the name of the place to be carried to is unbearable for me). This AzhwAr is like thiruvadi who cannot know anything other than SrI rAma avathAram. This AzhwAr does not know parathva or vyUha or vibhava except for his acutely personal icon of periya perumAL. Just as SrIvaikuntam, thiruppARkadal, thiru avathAra sthalam, and dhivya dhESams all are periya perumAL, one can see all the beauty, qualities and activities of those, here in periya perumAL. periya perumAL’s beauty and wealth are just blossoming in paramapadham; they sprout with leaves in incarnations; but they flourish after he came here. Because, “pongOdham sUzhndha buvaniyum viNNulagum angAdhum sOrAmE ALginRa emperumAn sengOludaiya thiruvarangach chelvanAr” (SrI ranganAtha with the staff of the kingdom in his hand is ruling over all the earth surrounded by the roaring oceans), the riches in all those places are limited.

Here not only does he rejoice in the company of those who rejoice in him, but possesses the greatness of simplicity of offering himself to those who are otherwise inattentive to him; simplicity is the reason for his supremacy, but that quality is explicit only here (not in paramapadham). Those who are caught in his qualities, will not know anybody other than him.

thaiththirIya upanishath. 9-1 states thus: “yathO vAchO nivarthanthE aprApya manasA sahAnandham brahmaNO vidhvAn na bibhEdhi kuthaSchanEthi” (he who knows the bliss in that paramAthmA from whom words and intellect return unable to measure his bliss, does not fear anything). This place is such where such a paramAthmA beyond the comprehension of the vEdham, is just lying amidst water in river, being fully visible to be experienced by the eyes. That river of compassion which held the (gOvardhana) hill to protect the calves (and cows) from the torrential rains, is itself the river flowing here. AzhwAr is firm that periya perumAL is only the ultimate prApyam, prApakam, the generator of taste for that, and the destroyer of all the impediments in reaching him.

As the enjoyment (of periya perumAL) is his own, how can he profess “he is everything?” That is because, as he is the first auspicious beginning (prathama sukrutham) for everything, he is the sauhArdham (goodwill) that has been managing all the prerequisites for such attainment, one cannot claim any contribution from this side as the reason for such grace since such claim shall nullify the nirhEthukathvam (being independent cause) of his grace. The moment he reached distaste in other things and absence of negation in divine matters he started enjoying his appearance, innate qualities and riches and became aware of the bliss. Like perumAL invited vibhIshaNan by ordaining sugrIvan in SrI rAmAyaNam yuddhakANdam 18-34 “Anayainam hariSrEshta!”, avoiding all other imbecilities, as in thiruvAimozhi 3-2-4 “thAzhchchi maRRengum thavirndhu”, periya perumAL invited AzhwAr through lOkasAranga mahAmuni who is as described in thirumAlai 38 “kadaiththalai irundhu vAzhum sOmbar” (One who remains totally detached from worldly affairs and self effort) ordering lOkasAranga muni “Bring our singer here”. So lOkasAranga invites him and despite AzhwAr’s protests saying “I’m a lowly singer”, ultimately he carries AzhwAr on his shoulders, even as AzhwAr sings nine songs enroute, and concludes with the tenth pAsuram in periya perumAL’s very sanctum itself.

This brings us to the end of avathArikai. We will take up the first pAsuram of this prabandham next.

adiyEn sadagOpa rAmAnuja dAsan

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