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AlavandhAr Thirunakshathram- Adi Utthiraadam- August 3

madhav.vasudevan_at_sg.abb.com
Date: Fri Aug 03 2001 - 00:40:05 PDT

SrI:
SrImathE Gopaladesika Mahadesikaya namah:

Dearest Srivaishnavas,

YAmunAchArya- SrI Alavandhaar- His period -from year 917 AD to 1042 AD.
(about 125 years). Today is his Thirunakshathram (Adi UtthirAdam). He was
the Grandson of "thaaLam vazhagith thamizh maRai innisai thandha vaLLal"-
Sri Nathamuni.

YAmunAchArya is the grand -Acharya (PrAchAryA ) of Ramanujacharya (1017 AD
to 1137 AD). He  established the principles of VisishtAdhvaita as an
expansion of the doctrines housed in his grandfather's treatises and
elaborated on those doctrines with authoritative scriptures such as
Sruthis, Bhagavadh Gita , AzhwAr's pAsurams and Selected SAtvikaPurAnAs.

He is the one who composed the earliest Stotras of Srivaishnava
Sampradayam:
He wrote the following works great in content and yet lucid.

(1) chathuslOki
(2) StOtra Ratnam
(3) Siddhitrayam consisting of (i) AtmaSiddhi. (ii) Samvitsiddhi and (iii)
Iswara Siddhi
(4) Agama Pramanya
(5) Maha Purusha Nirnayam
(6) Gitartha Sangraha
(7) Nityam
(8) Maayaa Vaadha Khandanam

Swamy Desikan says in YathirAja Sapthathi:

Vighaahe Yaamunam Theertham Saadhu Brindaavane Stitham |
NirasthaJih Magha Sparse Yatra Krishnah Kritaa Dharah ||

(meaning) Alavandar who learned Vedantha Arthas at the feet of MaNakkaal
Nambi was not only the one residing on the banks of Yamuna (Yamunai
Thuraivan) by name but was also like the clear flowing waters of the river
Yamuna. Lord Krishna got rid of the cruel Kaalinga from the river and made
its water pure and clear for all to drink. He was most delighted when he
played with the Gopis of Brindavanam in the Yamuna waters. Likewise,
Alavandar vanquished those who misinterpreted the Vedas and established
Vedanta Siddhanta. Just as one can derive supreme pleasure by bathing in
the holy waters of Yamuna, one can enjoy supreme Bhagavad Gunanubhava by
immersing in the lucid granthas of Yaamuna

Once an arrogant vidwAn by name Akkiyalvan was challenging and humiliating
learned men. Yamuna (as a 16 year old boy) accepted the challenge and went
to the court to argue with him. The queen was so impressed with the boy
that she told the king and pursuaded him to give away half the kingdom if
he won in the debate and offered herself to be thrown to wild dogs, if the
boy failed. Akkiyalvan asked the boy to state three propositions positive
or negative which he offered to counter. And, if he could not, the boy
would be declared the winner.

Yamuna asked (or stated) three statements. He asked Akkialwan to counter.

( i ) Your mother is not a barren woman- Naturally he could not counter
saying that his mother is a barren woman (he is very much standing in front
of Yamunacharya).

( ii ) The king is a righteous and powerful ruler - Obviusoly he can not
afford to conuter this.
and ( iii ) The queen is a model of chastity. - oh no! Never can he counter
this.

Akkialvan accepted defeat and the King now asked Yamuna to disprove his own
statements.

Yamuna clarified by observing the following:-

( i ) The sacred laws say that an only son is no son at all. So,
Akkiyalvan's mother was as good as barren in the eyes of the law.
( ii ) The king cannot be called righteous when he entertained such an
arrogant person to be his chaplain and his not dismissing the chaplain
showed that the king was indeed powerless.
( iii ) According to the Sruti texts, every woman is wedded first to Soma,
then Gandharva and then Agni before marrying her earthly partner. The queen
was no exception and therefore cannot be deemed a model of chastity.

(This is only to drive home a point that logic can not be the solution
fully. One needs to fall back on Saasthras and Sruthi/Smrthis for
praMANams.)
The King sent Akkiyalvan out of his kingdom and gave Yamuna half his
kingdom. The queen hailed the boy as "Alavandhaar"- One who came to save
me..

Thus, Alavandar has become the king and could not attend to spiritual
pursuits further.

Meanwhile, Rama Misra (maNakkaal nambhi) was trying to catch Yamunacharya's
attention to fulfil his promise to his Guru to install Alavandar as the
spiritual successor to Nathamuni.. But, he could not meet Alavandar, being
a king now to discuss the matter. He came out with an idea. He came to know
that the king relishes thoodhu vaLai keerai (kind of spinach). He supplied
that spinach to the royal kitchen daily. After few months, he stopped. The
king asked the cook as to why the spinach is not being served. They replied
saying "one brahmin used to supply. He does not come nowadys." Alavandhar
told them that he would like to meet him, if he comes next. Next day, they
met each other.

Rama misrar told Alavandhar that his grandfather Sri Nathamuni had passed
on the family wealth (kula dhanam) that needs to be handed over to Sri
Alavandhar. Alavandhar said, "in that case, give me that."
"No. It is not here. Come with me.". He took him all the way to Srirangam
Koil. (ArAdha aruLamudham podhintha kOil). He showed Alavandhar, the Divya
mangaLa vigraham of Sri Ranganathan. Looking at the Lord, in such divine
splendour, the divine beauty- and looking (with tears rolling down his
cheeks) at those "kariyavaagi, pudai parandhu, miLirndha, sevvariyOdiya,
neeNda, ap periya vaaya kaNgaL.." (those dark, well spread, shining, ruddy
lined, long, large eyes)-

He bursts out:
I have nothing to give you. None at all. I have no quailifications. I am
not religious. What a Great person my Grand Father was! What am I! I have
no one but You(the embodiment of mercy! Compassion!- dayA) as my refuge. He
performed Saranagathy at the Lotus Feet of Lord Ranganathan.

na dharma nishtOsmi na chaatma vEdi
na bhaktimaan tvaccharaNAravindE
akinchanOananyagatih saraNya!
tvat paadamoolam saranam prapadye. (Sthothra Rathnam- 22nd sloka)

Oh you worthy of being sought as refuge! I am not one established in
Dharma, nor am i a knower of the self. I have no fervent devotion to your
lotus-feet. Utterly destitute as I am, and having none else for resort, I
take refuge under your feet. (Translation by Swamy Adidevananda)

Rama Misra explained the purpose of his mission and requested Alavandar to
take over the reins of spiritual leadership bequeathed to him by his
illustrious grandfather, Nathamuni. Alavandar took to Sannyas and was then
known as YAMUNA MUNI.

Sri Alavandhar's naichyAnusanthAnam (feeling lowly nature of oneself- the
jIvAthma as compared to the Lord's Greatness, KalyANa guNAs) is very
beautifully reflected in SthOthra Rathnam (total 65 slokas in this work-
reported to be an elaborate refelction of Dwayam). They are more
appropriate and applicable to us (and not Sri Alavandhar). He has composed
for us only.

Aparaaadha-sahasra-bhaajanam
patitam bhiima-bhavaarnav'odare;
agatim saran'aagatam hare!
krpayaa kevalam aatmasaat kuru.

Oh SrI Hari! pray, make me your own out of sheer grace - me, who has fallen
into the depths of the terrible ocean of worldly existence, and who, being
resortless, have sought refuge at your feet.

amaryAdha: Kshudra: chalamadhi: asUyAprasavabhU:
kruthagnO dhurmAni smara paravasO vanchanapara:
nrusamsa: pApishta: kathamahamithO dukkajaladhE :
apArAth uttheerNa: tava paricharEyam charanayO :

What a soul stirring sloka! One can not but cry reciting this, (imagining
himself as the hero:-( of the sloka)

AlavandhAr describes himself as:

amaryAdha: - one who has crossed the bounds of established rules
Kshudra: - engaging in trivial /worldly /material/sensual pursuits
chalamadhi:- never steady; (chanchalam), fickle  mind
asUyA prasava bhU : Place where jealousy is born
kruthagana: Ungrateful one
dhurmAnee:- ill feelings towards fellow human beings;
smara paravasa : Fallen into the gamut of desires and sensual impluses
vanchanapara: skillfully deceiving others (at cheating others )
nrusamsa: - engaging in violent acts
paapishta: ( Incorrigible sinner - mahA paapi

Swamy Desikan says- ahamasmi aparAdha chakravartthi. (also meant for us).
Swamy desikan also writes in Subashithanivi:

I bow with mind, speech and body to that great Lord, who is the best among
all persons, who approaches others of His own accord without waiting for
them to take the initiative because of His innate goodness and agreeable
nature, as also to myself who is chief among the wicked and who harms
others without reason, there being one thing in common to us both, viz.,
that the good or evil done to us once has the effect of wiping off all the
good and or evil done before. If what God, in His wisdom, thinks is good,
though not really good, has been done to Him even once by a person, all the
wrongs committed by him earlier is forgiven by Him. Therefore, I bow to
Him. In my case, if once what I consider wrong, which may not really be so,
is done to me by someone, all the good done by him to me till then is
completely forgotten by me. Fie upon me! Ingratitude-being the basest of
vices, it has been mentioned at the very beginning. (Translation by Sri L
Srinivasan, New Delhi)

What a naicchiyAnusanthAnam!

Swamy Alavandhaar's works are the ones which give us crystal clear jnAnam
about our unparalleled unambiguous VisishtAdvaita Srivaishnava philosophy,
the presence of which can never take us to the wrong roads.

After taking so many countless births, We, (dAsars (servants) of Sri
Alavandhar), who have been blessed to be born (due to the limitless,
unconditional grace of the Lord Sriya: Pathi Sriman Narayanan) as
Srivaishnava in this birth, and have realized and taken up the prapatti
maargam (due to the nirhEthuka krupA of the Lord), who are bequeathed with
such Great Acharyan ? YamunAchAryan, the learning of whose SrI sukthis
enable us to know the tatvatrayam crystal clear and upAyam and upEyam
(means and goal) perfectly, and keep us reminded of the same always, will
never ever read (hereafter) works of those who belong to other religions. ?
Says Swamy Desikan in Adhikaara sangraham.

neeLa vandhu inRu vidhivagaiyaal ninaivonRiya naam/
meeLavandhu innum vinai udambu onRil vizhundhu uzhalaa(dhu)
ALavandhaar ena venRu aruL thandhu viLangiya seer/
Alavandhaar adiyOm padiyOm ini alvazhakkE.

Alavandhaar ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam
AzhwAr Emperumaanaar Desikan ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam
Regards
Narayana Narayana
aDiyEn Narayana dAsan madhavakkannan


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           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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