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From: Parthasarati Dileepan (MFPD_at_UTCVM.UTC.EDU)
Date: Tue Apr 23 1996 - 06:33:14 PDT
Sri Raamaanujar Thirunakshathram: Month of Chiththirai - Thiru Athirai (April 23, 96) --------------------------------------------------- The most celebrated Acharyaa of our sampradaayam was born almost 1,000 years ago today. His position in our sampradaya is equal to that of Namaazhvaar. Parasara Bhattar says, "thamizh maRaigaL aayiramum InRa mudhal thaay satakOpan, moympaal vaLarththa idhaththaay iraamaanusan". (SatakOpan is the birth mother of Thiruvaaymozhi; Ramanuja is verily the second mother who nursed the glory of this prabhandham.) Sri Ramanuja shares with Namaazhvaar the honor of a prabhandham dedicated to him among the Naalaayira Dhivya Prabhandham [*]. KaNNinuN siRuththaambu by Madhurakavi is entirely devoted to the glory of Nammaazhvaar. Iraamaanusa nooRRandhaathi, also known as Prabhandha Gayathri, by Thiruvarangaththu Amudhanaar is entirely devoted to Sri Ramanuja. Both of these prabhandhams are in andhaathi style. Let me highlight a couple of paasurams from Iraamanusa nooRRandhaathi on this sacred day. A couple of weeks back we had a discussion on the four purushaarthaas, dharmam, artham, kaamam, and mOksham. In siRiya and periya Thiru madal, Thirumangai aazhvaar confidently declared that kaamam for our Lord Narayana is the only worthy purushaartham. How is this possible for a sanyaasi like Sri Ramanuja? What did Sri Ramanuja think? Let us see what Amudhanaar has to say about this in verse 40. sEman^al veedum poruLum dharumamum seeriyan^aR kaamamum enRivai naan_genpar; naan_ginum kaNNanukkE aamathu kaamam aRamporuL veetuthaR kenRuraiththaan vaamanan seelan iraamaanusanintha maNmisaiyE. "Moksham, Dharmam, artham, and kaamam, are the four goals of life; so they say, but Yathiraajaa, a celebate like Vaamanan, says Kaamam for union with Kannan is the only worthy goal; The other three are just to support this divine passion." However, for Amudhanaar there is nothing more pleasurable than immersing in the overflowing kalyaaNa gunaas of emperumaanaar. Verse 84: kaNdukoN dEnem iraamaa NnusanRannai kaaNdalumE thoNdukoN dEn_avan thodtar_poR RaaLil_en thollai ven^n^Oy viNdukoN dEn_avan seerveLLa vaariyai vaaymaduththin RuNdukoN dEn,innam uRRana Othil ulappillaiyE. "Now I have seen my Ramanuja; what a sight it is indeed, it makes me seek to serve the golden feet of his devotees; Now I take just a sip from this ocean of auspicious qualities and all my past karmaas are destroyed, No, there is no end if I start to say more." The paasurams of Iraamanusa nooRRandhaathi overflow with Amudhanaar's devotion for Sri Ramanuja. A quick look at a small list of epithets Amudhanaar uses about Sri Ramanuja brings this out. enakkuRRa selvam : my bestowed wealth pazhiyai kadaththum : remover of all blemishes thamizh thalaivan : worships the golden feet of ponnadi pORRum pEyaazhvaar meyyan : truth incarnate vaLLal : benevolent kaaREy karuNai : benevolent like dark cloud bhakthi veLLam kudi : temple of devotion koNda kOyil thooyavan, theethil : pure, devoid of blemishes kaRRavar kaamuru : the love of the learned seelan The most endearing of the many wonderful episodes of our great Acharya's life deals with the his utmost humility. On one occasion Sri Ramanuja fell flat at the feet of Aththuzzay, daughter of his Acharya Sri Periya Nambi. The little girl ran inside the house terrified. Watching all this her father got a glimpse of his pupil's devotion for AndaaL. Sri Ramanuja was on his daily route for bhikshai reciting Thiruppavai. As he sang "pandhaar virali" (the one playing with a ball) Aththuzhaay came out of her house with a ball in her hand causing all this commotion! While on a trip to Thiruvaali/Thirunagari, Sri Ramanuja and his entourage came across an "untouchable" lady. Sri Ramanuja requested her to move away (odhungu) from the way so that he and his companions can pass. The lady replied, "ulagam muzhudhum ulagaLandhaan sannithiyaaga irukka, engE odhunguvadhu?" (all the world is Thiru Vikraman's shrine, where can I move away?) Sri Ramanuja immediately apologized to the lady and offered the Vaishnava insignias to her saying, "These should be yours, I am undeserving of them." Let me end this note with three of the most important dictates he offered to his grieving disciples when he was about to depart from this earthly abode. 1) For mOksham there is no other upayam than the good wishes of Acharya, 2) Nothing stands in the way of mOksham than bhagavatha apachaaram, and 3) There is no greater purushaartham than service to the Lord and His devotees. Thiruvarangaththu amudhanaar thiruvadigaLE saraNam Emperumaanaar thiruvadigaLE saraNam -- dhaasan parthasarati dileepan [*] iraamaanusa nooRRandhaathi is counted as part of the naalaayira dhivya prabhandham only by some. However, it is dear to all Sri Vaishnavas.