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Sri RanganAthan & AzhwAr's mangaLAsAsanams: Part 15

From: Sadagopan (
Date: Wed Apr 29 1998 - 18:33:35 PDT

Dear Sri Ranganatha PrEmis :

I will start this posting with the divya sUkthis of 
Thirumazhisai AzhwAr . He is the author of the two
Prabhandhams : Thirucchandha  Viruttham and Naanmukan
ThiruvandhAthi. Latter is written in the AndhAthi style of 
the Mudal AzhwArs and asserts the supermacy of Sriman
NaarAyaNA . The former prabhandham is more metaphysical
one , which enunciates that Sriman NaarAyaNA alone can be 
the path, the Goal and the means for Moksham .We will start 
with Naanmukan ThiruvandhAthi , the first prabhandham
of the AzhwAr .

Naanmukan ThiruvandhAthi Paasurams 

There are four Paasurams on Sri RanganAthA
among the 96 paasurams of this Prabhandham .
The 60th paasuram is a beautiful one for us
to reflect on :

aaLL paarthu uzhi taruvAi kandu koLL yenrum ninn
tALL paartthu uzhi taruvEn tanmayai --kEtpArkku 
aru poruLAi Ninra AranganE unnai
virumpuvathE viLLEn manam 

( Meaning and Comments ) : This paasuram is about 
the mutual love ( paraspara AkAnkshai )for union 
between the Lord and His bhakthan . The AzhwAr 
addresses the Lord as AranganE ( Ranga pura VihAranE )
and explains His nature as the One , who roams around
always searching to see who is going to become the Object
of His DayA . The AzhwAr continues to let us know
that the Lord of Rangam resting under the VimAnam 
with the four Veda Kalasams as " kEtpArkku aru poruLAi 
yenrum ninra Arangan " . He is the Lord , who is the 
inner and precious meaning of the VedAs for those 
who recite and study the Sruthis and other PramANams 
with reverence and longing instead of varattu patippu .

While the Lord's status is that of the matchless 
DayA SvarUpan as well as the supreme principle 
saluted by the VedAs , AzhwAr describes his own status 
and his special relationship to this Parama KaaruNeekan .
He states :" ninn tALL paartthu yenrum uzhi taruvEn 
tanmayai kaNdu koLL" . He reminds the Lord to 
remember him as the one , who seeks the sacred feet of 
the Lord of Srirangam as his chosen lot . He invites 
the Lord to acknowledge his servitude and his search for Him .
He concludes this paasuram with a declaration of
his MahA visvAsam : "(yenn) manam unnai virumpuvathE
viLLEn ". He declares that I will not let my mind slip
from the goal of having You as the prApyam ( the target
and the sought after goal ).

AzhwAr describes the eternal quest of the Lord to
search for the one , who does not stray by subjugating himself  
to either the worship of fellow human beings or demi Gods for 
his or her material well being , but instead seeks Him . 
AzhwAr describes his own quest for the shade of 
the sacred feet of the Lord after deliberately 
abandoning al the worldly pleasures , nara sthuthis and 
dEvathAnthara upAsanAs . Therefore , the AzhwAr reminds
the Lord that they together are Paraspara AakAnkshIs 
( the pair that is mutually seeking/attracting  each other ) . 

AzjwAr goes on to state that it is futile to hear about
and comprehend the nature of the Lord thru the means of
Sruthi , Smruthi, IthihAsam and PurANams . Vedam itself
declares :" naayam AthmA pravachanEna labhya : " .One can 
not hope to acquire Him thru SravaNa -Manana dhyAnams 
performed without deep love for Him .These have to take 
the Preethi rUpam for success. Those kEtpArgaL will
understand  Him as the Aru PoruL of Sruthis and 
Saasthrams .They alone unite with Him .Oh Lord ! 
At Srirangam ,Your dance stage , You assume  many roles
and perform there Your leelAs . All those leelAs of Yours
are elaborations of Your arum PoruL . I seek Your
sacrd feet because of my intense desire for You and 
not for anything else . I will not leave that search 
until You find me ! Such is the power of the relationship 
of this AzhwAr with His Lord .

Thirucchandha Viruttha Paasuram of Thirumazhisai
In this prabhandham , AzhwAr salutes the paratthvam
of Sriman NaarAyaNA in the upanishadic tradition .
The highest peaks of Upanishadic insights are scaled
by the AzhwAr in this Prabhandham , while recognizing  
the Lord for His well known soulabhyam as ArchA MUrthy
at Srirangam ( SubhAsrayam- auspicious object of
attainment ) . Ten out of the 120 paasurams of this
Prabhandham are direct MangaLAsAsanams of the Lord 
of Srirangam, the DasAvathAran .Most of the paasurams
of this Prabhandham are elaborations of the mystical
relationship between the Sarva Seshi and the Seshan .
In the 119th paasuram , he addresses the Lord of
Srirangam with great affection and asks Him to
listen to his description of a  fact : " Ponni soozh
ArangamEya poovai VaNNa mAya kELL ( O Lord of 
Srirangam surrounded by the cool waters of KaavEri
river ! Oh Lord of MahA Lakshmi , the Lotus Lady !
Oh MaayAvi ! Please listen to this wonder ) .
My soul has risen above the powerful vinais and 
has reached Your lotus feet and rests there joyously .
What  a sight he exclaims . 

About this MaayAvi and His chEshtithams , Thirumazhisai
states elsewhere : " Oh Transcendent of Transcendents !
Having the ocean as bed and enjoying the Supreme Lady 
residing in Thy chest , Thou loving wert born of many 
human wombs . Lord of the nature of knowledge ! none can 
know Thy greatness as this (as MaayAvi )" . The paasuram
words etched in the state of wonderment are: " Oruttharum
ninAthu tanmai inna thenna vallarE " . In the 91st and 92nd 
paasurams , the AzhwAr explains that this immense magician
alone can and must help man . Granting that the integral 
anubhavam of the Lord as Brahman as well as soulabhyan
in ArchA form as a paripUrNa sacchidhAnandha SvarUpi IS
the highest experience of mystical religion , the Azhwar 
concludes in the 108th paasuam of Thirucchanda Viruttham :
" Should not the minds of human beings seek out that 
incomparable bliss of being united to Thee and Thee alone ? " .
He sums up by declaring that to be united with Sriman 
NarAyaNA in all conditions and in all births is the 
most profound and worth while experience open to the humans .

Thirumazhisai thozhutha Sri RanganAthAya NamO nama: 
Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan