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thoNdaradip podi AhvAr thiru nakshatthiram

From: Parthasarati Dileepan (MFPD_at_UTCVM.UTC.EDU)
Date: Fri Dec 30 1994 - 17:50:53 PST

I posted the following in SCT a couple of days ago.
This came soon after an exchange between Badri and
me about why we should reserve high respect only for
sri vaishnavaas; why not to all irrespective of creed.
I fully agree with him.  Further, I wonder to what extent
we practice this teaching of respect to all sri vaishnavaas
within our own community, irrespective of caste, as
thoNdaradippodi aazhvaar demands from us all.
It is inconceivable that we may ever accept a person
of non-brahmin birth as jeer in any of our mutts,
then or vada kalai.

Due to time constraint I am unale to
provide translations for paasurams.  Please
consult your local Tamil expert.  Perhaps
Badri can provide the translations if he
finds time.
----------------------------------------

December 31, 1994 (maargazhi kEttai) is the
thiru nakshathiram of thoNdaradip podi
aazhvaar.  He is credited with two
prabhandams, thiruppaLLi yezhucchi, and thiru
aalai.  The ten pasurams of thiruppaLLi
yezhucchi are exquisite and regularly
recited.  It is thiru maalai that contains
some paasurams that are not palatable for our
liberal sentiments.  First, let me present
the two most egregious paasurams:

pulaiyaRa maaki ninRa
 puththodu samaNa mellaam,
kalaiyaRak kaRRa maanthar
 kaaNparO kEtpa rOthaam,
thalaiyaRup puNdum saavEn
 saththiyaNG kaaNmin aiyaa,
silaiyinaa lilankai seRRa
 thEvanE thEva Nnaavaan.    (7)

VeRuppodu samaNar muNdar
 vithiyilsaak kiyar_kaL, ninpaal
poRuppari yanakaL pEsil
 pOvathE nOya thaaki
kuRippenak kadaiyu maakil
 koodumEl thalaiyai aangE,
aRuppathE karumaNG kaNdaay
 arangamaa nagaru LaanE!    (8)

Suffice to say that I am not proud of these
two verses.  The only consolation is that
Thiru maalai is filled with intense emotions
and aazhvaar spares no one, including
himself.  Look at how he describes himself:


theethilaa mozhigaL koNdu un thirukkuNam
seppamaattEn .... enseyvaan thOnRinEnE (26)

marangaL pOl valiya nencsa vancsanEn (27)

manatthilOr thooymai illai, vaayilOr insol
illai (30)

thuvarttha sevvaayinaarkkE thuvakkaRath
thurisanaanEn (31)

manisaril thurisanaaya moorganEn moorganEnE (32)



Next, I present three more paasurams that
deal with caste discrimination (41 - 43).
With these paasurams the aazhvaar is
challenging the sri vaishnavaas to cast away
discriminatory practices within their
community.  Limiting this advice to just sri
vaishnavaas does seem narrow minded. This was
the point of Badri's argument with me.   I
would like to offer two possible, shall we
say,  explanations.

1.  In the aazhvaar's view sri vaishnavam is
the key to an egalitarian society and these
verses are not just advice for those who are
already in, but also a call to those on the
out to join them.

2.  If you view these verses from the vantage
point of aazhvaar's time, anywhere from
sometime in the BC to 900 AD, one would see
that the aazhvaar was not a traditionalist.
In verse 43 he condemns a high brahmin,
learned in all four vEdaas, to the same lowly
status that they would ascribe to devotees of
low birth.  Even today this advice is radical
for some!!

When you look at all three verses as a set I
see a bold call for a society of mutual
respect and love.  To me, these three are the
best among the 45 paasurams that make up
thiru maalai.


`vaanuLaa raRiya laakaa
 vaanavaa!' enpa raakil,
`thEnulaan^ thuLapa maalaich
 senniyaay!' enpa raakil,
Unamaa yinakaL seyyum
 Unakaa rakar_ka LElum,
pOnakam seytha sEdam
 tharuvarEl punitha manRE?   (41)

`pazhuthilaa vozhuka laaRRup
 palasathup pEthi maar_kaL,
izhikulath thavar_ka LElum
 emmadi yaar_ka Laakil,
thozhumineer kodumin koLmin!'
 enRun^in NnOdu mokka,
vazhipada varuLi NnaaypOnm
 mathiLthiru varankath thaanE!   (42)

amaravO ranka maaRum
 vEthamOr naan_ku mOthi,
thamar_kaLil thalaiva raaya
 saathiyan^ thaNar_ka LElum,
numar_kaLaip pazhippa raakil
 nodippathO raLavil, aankE
avar_kaLthaam pulaiyar pOlum
 arankamaa nagaru LaanE!    (43)



Finally, here is two more for those who are
cinematically excitable.  The following were
made famous (!!) by TMS and Sivaaji GaNEsan
(nadikar thilakam for his fans) in the movie
Thirumaal Perumai.

pachchaimaa malaipOl mEni
 pavaLavaay kamalach chenkaN
achchuthaa! amara rERE!
 aayar_tham kozhunthE! ennum,
ichchuvai thavira yaanpOy
 inthira lOka maaLum,
achchuvai peRinum vENdEn
 arangamaa nagaru LaanE!    (2)

UrilEn kaaNi yillai
 uRavumaR Roruva rillai,
paariln^in paatha moolam
 paRRilEn parama moorththi,
kaaroLi vaNNa NnE!(en)
 kaNNanE! kathaRu kinREn,
aaruLark kaLaik Nammaa!
 arangamaa nagaru LaanE!    (29)


P.S.
TP aazhvaar sang in praise of thiruvarangam
only and thus thiruvarangam is the temple
that was celebrated by the most number of
aazhvaars, 11 out of 12.  (madhurakavi
aazhvaar sang only about his guru,
namaazhvaar)  Thiru vEngadam comes next with
10 aazhvaargaL.


regards,

Dileepan