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Andal's Tirunakshatram

From: Muralidhar Rangaswamy (rangaswamy_m_at_hotmail.com)
Date: Tue Aug 01 2000 - 10:38:15 PDT

Sri:

SrimatE Gopaladesika MahadesikAya Namaha,

Dear Bhaktas,

For this most sacred day of Andal's TN, we have been blessed with 
wonderful postings by Srimans Sadagopan Swamin and Sriman 
Madhavakkannan Swamin. The posting on Tattva, Hita, and Purushartha 
is most illuminating. 

Adiyen wishes to contemplate on the MahOpakaram of Andal for jeevans 
like us through the salutations employed by our Paramacharyan 
Swami Desikan. At the conclusion of the Godha Sthuthi, Swami 
Desikan salutes Godha Piratti as "CharaNa Kamala SevAm ShAshvatIm 
abyupaishyan". 

This reminds Adiyen of the esoteric messages contained in the 
three Rahasya Mantrams. This masterful salutation of Our
Paramacharyan 
is indicative of the fact that the only thing that is eternal is 
service to the Lotus feet of the Divine Couple for their pleasure and 
at their pleasure. In this context it is helpful to remember that 
all material wealth, sensual pleasures, royalty, high official 
position, Swarga vAsam, and the status of Brahma, Rudra, and Indra 
are transient in nature. Therefore, these should not be pursued by a 
discerning Bhagavata. Instead, that which is eternal is 
service to the Lord and is service to the Lord and His Bhagavatas.
This illustrates the Narayana Sooktam salutation "Patim 
vishvasyAtmeshwaragam shAshvatagam shivamachyutham". In the Rahasya 
trayasAram, Swami Desikan points out that one may find things of 
no value, some value, high value and highest value. However, a 
Prapanna must seek that which has the highest value. In this context, 
that which has the highest value is service rendered to the feet of 
the Lord and His Bhagavatas. Therefore, this is the goal of every 
Prapanna. Upon begetting Moksham one is blessed with eternal bliss 
resulting from uninterrupted Kaimkaryam for the Divine Couple. This 
is reflective of the message from the VishNu Sooktham Rk "Tad vishNO: 
Paramam padagam sadA pashyanthi soorayaha" and the Taittriya
Upanishad 
salutation "sa ekO brahmaNa ananda:"

Next, the Godha Stuthi salutation of Our Paramacharyan also points 
out the means for attaining the goal, i.e., through the margam of 
SharaNagati, i.e., unconditional total surrender to His lotus feet. 
Here, Swami Desikan powerfully conveys the message that every Baddha 
jivan is the property of Sarva Seshi, Sriya: Pathi. Armed with this 
knowledge, His property must be restored to the rightful owner. This 
must be performed with the following undertaking:
(1) Act only in ways to please Lord Narayana.
(2) Avoid everything that displeases Him.
(3) Remain assured that Lord Narayana will offer protection at all 
times.
(4) Recognize dependence on Lord Narayana for everything. 
(5) Realize that without Him one is a destitute.
The formal Bhara SamarpaNam (Atma Nivedanam)at the Lord's lotus feet 
constitutes the angi in the process of sharaNagati.
In this manner, devoid of all ahamkaram and mamakaram every jivan 
must place at the diposal of Lord Narayana, everything sentient and 
insentient belonging to them, for exclusive use in the Lord's 
Kaimkaryam. This in a nutshell is the quintessence of Our
Sampradayam, 
which is beautifully described in the three Rahasya mantrams.

Let us now see how Andal aids us in this process. The margam of 
SharaNagati is called sat vidya or nyasa vidya. Very few are privy to 
this knowledge, which is succinctly stated in the Vedas. Andal, who
is 
an Amsam of Bhoomi Piratti, personifies compassion. Out of Her 
unbounded mercy for suffering jeevans, She undertook the performance 
of the Nombu of SharaNagati, symbolized by Her union with Lord 
Ranganatha. The rules for performing this Nombu are clearly outlined 
in thirty delectable verses of Tiruppavai. Andal's MahOpakaram lies 
in bringing out the essence of nyasa vidya in an easy-to-understand 
language the message hidden in the Vedas for the benefit of "ariyAda 
piLLaihaLO". It is also helpful to reflect on the Tiruppavai 
salutation "unakkE namAcchaivOm". This is a most poignant example of 
adhering to the message of the Charma Shlokam "maam Ekam sharaNam 
vraja".

The benefit conferred by "CharaNa Kamala Seva" is best described 
by Andal's Tiruppavai saluatation "Sharanga shara mazhai pOl". Swami 
Desikan mirrors this Anubhavam in the Daya Shatakam salutation 
"Sharnga dhanvAnukampa". It is helpful to recall that in the war 
against Ravana, the Asuras employed maya tactics and inflicted heavy 
casualities on the Vanara army. At this juncture, Lord Rama entered 
the scene and rained an unending stream of arrows, which demolished 
the scheme of the Asuras and sent them scurrying for cover. The 
arrows from His bow came so swiftly in all directions that there 
appeared to be a multitude of Ramas simultaneously engaged in war. 
In an analogous manner, the baddha jivatma bound to samara is 
enveloped by the darkness of ignorance. The process of SharaNagati 
frees them from this darkness and blesses them with the light of 
knowledge (sat vidya). This is indicative of the Vedam Rk "TamasOmA 
jyOtirgamayA". The bountiful blessings (sarUpyam, sAmIpyam, and 
sAlOkyam) arising from SharaNagati to the Lord's lotus feet (Naryana 
Sayujyam) is described by the copious shower of arrows from Lord 
Rama's bow. This also highlights the assurance of Lord Rama in the 
RamayaNa Charma Shlokam "dadAm yetat vratam mama".

The act of granting refuge to a supplicant is a yajna performed by 
Lord Narayana. The term patni is meant for exclusive use in the 
context of yajnas. In the yajna of SharaNagati, Andal (as an Amsham
of 
Bhoomi Piratti) assists the Lord as VishNu Patni. Her impassioned 
appeal to the Lord to forgive all trangressions of the supplicants 
renders the yaaga shala fertile and enables the Lord to perform the
yajna of SharaNagati. This is illustrated in the BhU-Sooktam Rk 
"ShrungE ShrungE YajnE YajnE VibhishaNIi". 

On this blessed day Adiyen wishes to salute Andal in the spirit of 
"Akhila Jagan matharam Asman Matharam" and remember her MahOpakaram 
with gratitude in the spirit of "Puna: puna: praNamya"

Namo Narayana,

Adiyen,

Ramanuja Dasan,

SriMuralidhara Dasan 



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