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Tirumangai Alwar on Sri Rama

From: Velukkudi Krishnan (
Date: Mon Apr 24 2000 - 10:51:06 PDT

It was a great experience reading through the explanations of Tirumangai
alwars padigam on Srirangam. Alwar explains the karunai of Rama, in
showering his grace on Hanuman, inspite of his birth as a monkey. Step by
step alwar reduces the class of birth - "vadamamagan - markatam - vilangu -
mattror sadi". Swamy Periavachan pillai reverses this order of words.
Normally we have to decide the order of words based on the order of the
meaning. For example :

1. Gita "cElAjina kusOttaram" - Lord explains how to perform yoga. The seat
has to be made for yoga as follows : first spread cEla which is silk cloth
at the bottom, next ajina - deers skin, lastly kusa - darbham. Think for a
moment about this order. If darbham is at the top, it would only be pricking
you  causing agony. One cannot concentrate on yoga. So this order has to be
changed. Based on the meaning, the order has to be kusa - ajina- cElOttaram.

2. Sruti vakyam - "AtmAvArE drashtavya: srOtavya: mantavya:
nidhidhyAsitavya:" This is the order in which we will have to realise
Brahmam. First see Him, next hear about Him, thirdly think about Him, lastly
think only about Him without any hindrance. Is this order correct. We hear
and think about Him, finally to see Him. If you see Him in the first
instance then why should we hear about Him. So the order has to be "AtmAvarE
srOtavya: mantavya: nidhidhyAsitavya: drashtavya:" First hear about Him from
your guru, think about what you heard, then lastly have darsan. So we have
to change the order based on the meaning.

Likewise, PV pillai, changes the order as "mattror sadi, vilangu, markatam,
vadamamagan." Why is this so ? Rama showed daya on Hanuman. What was the
eligibility Hanuman had for this ? nothing. 1. He was not even born in the
same sadi as rama , he belonged to a different sadi. 2. Let it be so. Even
though he was a different sadi, he could be born as yaksha, gandharva, deva
etc which are differerent from manushya sadi (rama's). But Hanuman took
birth as vilangu sadi - animal, which is inferior to human beings . 3 Let it
be so. Atleast in animals, he could have born as lion or tiger which are
respected. He took birth as markatam - a monkey, which is not respected
amongst the animals. 4. Let it be so. Even as a money, he could have been
born as a normal monkey. But he took birth as Vadamamagan ( son of wind
god). This is inferior  amongst monkeys.

Here we will have a doubt. We understand, animals are inferior to human
beings, and monkeys are inferior to other animals. But how can vayu kumaran
be inferior to other monkeys ? This is because, being vayu kumara, one is
bound to have an ego that "I am son of Vayu and so I have lot of rituous
qualities" This egoism would go against the grace of Lord. If one were a
normal monkey, it would have felt humble that I do not possess any good
qualities (Akinchanyam). This humility ensures Rama's daya. So is it not
better to be a normal monkey than to be a monkey which is son of Vayu deva.

Hence the order " "mattror sadi, vilangu, markatam, vadamamagan." Rama did
not consider all these shorcomings of Hanuman, but embraced him.

TM alwar has sung 50 pasurams on Srirangam. But 100 each for Tirunarayur and
Tirukkannapuram. Both these Perumans were his acharyas. Tirunarayur nambi
performed pancha samskaram for him and gave tirumantropadesa. Souriperumal
preached the meanings of tirumandiram. Always it is our practise that
acharya sambhavanai has to be twice that of others. So 50 x 2 = 100 for
these two divya desams. If you hail these two divya desams like this, will
Srirangam people keep quiet. Their argument is "yes. we accept that the
number of songs is less for Srirangam. But note a point. There are many
divyadesams for which alwar has sung 10 pasurams. Likewise many divyadeasams
with 20 songs, 30 songs and 40 songs. Even in the case of 100s, there are
two divyadesams competing.  But ... take 50, alwar has not sung 50 pasurams
to any divyadesam other than Srirangam. This number 50 is unique. Obviously
it has to be, as Srirangam and Sri Ranganatha are unique.

Tirumangai alwar tiruvadigale saranam.

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