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Sri Ramanuja and Rajasthan/Gujerat Region : Part 1.

From: V. Sadagopan (75041.3037_at_CompuServe.COM)
Date: Sun Apr 14 1996 - 17:54:33 PDT

Dear Prapatti group members:

 I will be out of the country for the next wo weeks and particularly 
during Sri  Ramanuja Jayanthi. Inview of my absence to
celebrate that holy day here, I thought I would offer my 
salutations to Sri Ramanuja through
a posting on his  influence in spreading his 
Siddhhaantham  beyond the Tamil speaking part of the country .

Sri Keshava Prasad posted an article recently on
Sri Ramanuja"s influence in Karnataka Desam 
and his contributions to spread Sri Vaishnavism from 
the base of Melkote. Sri Bhardwaj Jaganath 
referred in an earlier posting to the similarity
 in the thoughts of AndAL and Meera Bhai of Rajasthan,
who lived in the Sixteenth century.
I thought it might be a good topic to reflect on the wide
impact of Bhagavat Ramanuja Siddhaantham in 
the land of Narasimha Mehta, Meera Bhai and Mahatma Gandhi ..

 A compartive analysis of the literary works of
 AndAL and Meera Bhai reveal clearly that they wanted 
the close presence (Sampoorna Saanidhyam) of the dark-hued
Lord of their heart of hearts. They both craved for him , pleaded to
him to come to them and cried out, when he left them.
Both wanted him as their husband. Their deep emotional 
attahment (Raagthmaka Sambhandham) to the Lord of 
Brindhavan and Govardhan is unmistakable .They were blessed with 
Vaishnava Samskaaram quite early in their lives.
Meera"s grandfather , Rao Doodaji brought her up 
in the Vaishnavite tradition. AndAL ofcourse was heir to the 
rich devotional Bhakthi of PeriyaZhwAr , who adored 
Krishnaavatharam.

Both surrenderd their womanhood(Naaritvam )
at the lotus feet of their Lord and chased away
those , who even dared to mention their
marriage to anyone other than their chosen Lord.
Their Bhakthi is unparalleled and different than that of the 
Male Azhwaars, since they were more natural and less 
self-conscious in their role as women to love the Parama
Purushan. Hence, their Viraha Taapam is a little more convincing.
The only difference between Meera Bhai and AndAL is that 
the latter is the consort of the Lord and she took the Avatar
on this earth as the daughter of  PeriyAzhwAr.

During the time of Meera Bhai(16th century) , the Bhakthi/
Saranagathi aspects of the Azhwaars as established by 
Bhagavad Ramanuja Siddhantham had spread to  the 
northern and western parts of the country and especially
to  Rajasthan and Gujerat. It is not therefore too much of a stretch of 
imagination to assume that the teachings of Sri Ramanuja
had " an indelible Impact " on Meera"s life as suggested by 
Professor Seshan of Vaishnava College , Madras .

I will compile a few items of comparison of the Bhagavt 
Anubhavam of Meera and AndAL as culled form the work of
Professor Seshan and the Padavali/Bhajans of Meers . The 
passages from  these outporings of Meera echo the sentiments 
of AndAL as expressed in her MangalAsAsanam in Thiruppavai and 
the stanzas of NacchiAr Thirumozhi. Sri Lakshmi Tatachar of our 
group has written on the MangaLAsasanam aspects of AndAL's 
work earlier in a monograph dedicated to AndAL in 1986. Sangeetha
Kalanidhi Srimati M.S.Subbulakshmi"s recording of Meera Bahjans
are brilliant evocations of Meera's devotion and dedication to her
Lord Giridhari .

In her Bhajan " Chakar Rakho Ji ", Meera appeals to her Lord
 to appoint her as a maid servant in His palace
 so that she can grow an arbour for Him and sing of Him. 
She expresses her confidence here that the Ocean-hued Lord
of hers will show up on the banks of the river of love 
in the depth of the dark night. In her Thirumozhi,
AndAL expresses a similar sentiment to serve her Lord
(Pada Sevanam ) this way:

KESAVA NAMBHIAI KAAL PIDIPPAAL 
ENNUM IPPERU YENAKKU ARULUKANDAAI  ( NT 1.8)

In her Bhajan , "Mai Haricharan Ki", she affirms her 
total sarangathi at His feet. She appeals to her Lord
to come to her, here and now. AndAl  describes her total 
surrender to Her Lord, complains about his indiffernce 
inspite of her  many  sincere appeals to Him to come 
to her rescue . She requests Manmatha, Nightingales,
Fast moving clouds to intercede on her behalf and to 
bring Her Lord to her in many verses of her Thirumozhi.

The sentiments expressed by AndAL in her  Mega Vidu Thuthu
pasurams take a slight twist in Meera"s Hari Awan Ki Awaz
Bhajan. Here,  Meera  experiences  the rainy season and 
the movements of dark blue clouds swiftly in the sky.
She sees the peacocks dance to the song of the nightingale.
She suffers from her separation from Her Lord and 
appeals to the King of Rain (Varuna) to shower his love on 
Meera and breathe new life in Meera to prepare for her 
Union with the Lord . She appeals for rejuvenation , 
just as the timely rains would bring the life back to 
a dried up creeper scorched by  the heat of the Sun. 

Both Meera"s and AndAL's fascination with nature 
and the world  around them as the objects reminding them
of their Lord during his separation from them are tender 
moving experiences articulated in sublime poetry .
(to be continued in the second  posting ).