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Sri Ramanuja's Tirunakshatram

From: sadagopan iyengar (sadagopaniyengar_at_yahoo.com)
Date: Sun Apr 29 2001 - 10:00:05 PDT

Srimate SrivanSatakopa Sri Vedanta Desika Yetindra
Maha Desikaya Nama:
                            Sri Ramanuja's
Tirunakshatram

  From the numerous postings on the subject, it is
gratifyingly clear that Sri Bhashyakara's
tirunakshatram has been celebrated the world over with
the usual devotional fervour. A few stray thoughts on
the subject.
  
Sri Ramanuja's physical beauty is an aspect that has
been rather understated , vis a vis his Atma gunAs and
contributions to Sri VisishtAdvaita sampradaya, which 
find adequate mention in the various eulogies that are
paid to the darsana stthApakA. His contemporary and
conscience-keeper, Sri KoorattAzhwAn, was indeed a
fortunate soul, for he was treated daily to the
enchanting sight of Sri Bhashyakara. His words are an
eloquent testimony  to the handsomeness of Sri
Etiraja.
  "KashAya sobhi kamaneeya sikhA nivEsam
   dandatraya ujjvala karam vimala upaveetam
   udyat dinEsa nibham ullasat oordhva pundram
   roopam tavAstu yatirAja drisOr mamAgrE"
Sri Koorattazhvan had lost his eyes due to the
bhAgavata dvEsha of Krimikanta ChOzha. Sri Ramanuja,
returning from Tirunarayanapuram after a 12 year
sojourn, was dismayed to find Azhvan sightless. Sri
KoorattAzvAn, however, told his master that he did not
need the aid of physical eyes, as Sri Ramanuja's
handsome tirumEni was etched in his mind's eye, and
recited the aforesaid slOkA, recalling in splendid
detail what was ever-visible to him, despite the loss
of sight.
 Here, Sri AzhvAn compares Sri BhashyakArA's
appearance with that of sanyAsis of other faiths.
 "KashAya sObhi"—the dress code of other yatis is
hardly becoming, while the kAshAya (ochre robes) worn
by Bhagavat Ramanuja sits on him with resplendence.
 "shikhA nivEsam"-dharma shastrAs enjoin every vaidika
to sport a shikhA, as an eligibility criterion for
vaidika karmAs. Whereas yatis of other faiths
completely shave their heads, Sri Ramanuja has a
beautiful shikhA, denoting symbolically that our
sampradaya is based on the solid foundations of the
Vedas and dharma shastras.
"danda traya ujjvala karam"—Unlike other sanyasis who
carry only Eka dandam, Sri Bhashyakara carries a
shining tridandam.( The true prowess of this Tridandam
are described in Sri DhAtee Panchakam) It is
noteworthy here that even the earliest known Tamil
work on Grammar, the TolkAppiam, refers to "MukkOl
Bhagavar",denoting that tridandam, and not Eka dandam,
habitually adorns the sanyasis' kara kamalam. 

"VimalOpaveetam"-Unlike advaita sanyasis who give up
their yagyOpaveetA upon assuming the tureeyAshramam, a
beautiful upaveetam adorns the broad chest of
Yatiraja, signifying that performance of   karma, as
ordained in the shAstrAs, with sAtvika tyAgam, and not
total karma tyagam, is called for.
"Udyat dinEsa nibham"-He is indeed a rising Sun,
sparkling with physical beauty , dazzling
non-believers with the blinding light of his gnAnA,
and come to dispel the darkness of ignorance.
"Ullasat Oordhva pundram"—the dvAdasa oordhva pundrAs
adorning his tirumEni bestow on Sri Ramanuja an
indescribable beauty. To those who have noticed how a
tiruman improves even the most unremarkable of
visages, it should be easy to imagine how panniru
tirunAmam enhances the already considerable
handsomeness of Yatiraja.("abhiroopan AbharaNam
poondAl pole", as Swami Desikan remarks in his magnum
opus)
  
Sri Nigamanta Guru furnishes further proof, if proof
were needed, that Sri Ramanuja's tirumeni was a sight
for sore eyes, in this slOka from Sri Etiraja Saptati,
which closely follows Sri AzvAn"s srisookti-
 "Upaveetinam oordhapundravantam
  Trijagat puNya palam tridanda hastam
  SaranAgata sArtthavaham eedE
  ShikayA sEkariNam patim yateenAm"

And the following pAsuram,( forming part of Sri
Ramanuja's tirumanjana kattiyam-adiyen is unable to
identify the author)  brings before our eyes in vivid
detail,Udayavar's beautiful tirumEni-
 "padmam ena tigazh painkazhaL undan pallavamE viralum
  pAvanam Agiya pain tuvarAdai padinda marungu azhagum
 muppuri noolodu mun kaiyil Endiya mukkOl tan azhagum
 munnavar tandidu mozhigaL niraindidu muruval nilA
azhagum 
 karpagamE vizhi karunai pozhindidu kamala
kaNNazhagaum
kAri sutan kazhal soodiya mudiyum ghana nal
sigaimudiyum
eppozhudum etirAsan vadivazhagu en idayatthu uLadAl
illai enakku edir illai enakku edir illai enakku
edirE"

 And, to conclude, here is Sri Varavaramuni's moving
description of Perumboodur MAmuni's aprAkrita diva
soundaryA-
SeerArum etirAsar tiruvadigaL vAzhi
Tiruvarayil sAttriya sen tuvarAdai vazhi
ErArum seyya vadivu eppozhudum vAzhi
Ilangiya munnool vAzhi iNai tOLgaL vAzhi
SOrAda tuyya mukhacchOdi vAzhi
Toomuruval  koNda mukham vAzhi tuNai malar kaNgal
vAzhi
EerAru tirunAmam aNinda ezhil vAzhi
Ini tiruppOdezhil gnAna muddirai vAzhiyE".

Srimate Sri LakshmiNrsimha divya paduka sevaka
SrivanSatakopa Sri Narayana Yatindra Mahadesikaya
Nama:
                         -dasan, sadagopan.


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