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The Mind set of Thondardipodi& related thoughts

From: Sadagopan (
Date: Tue Aug 04 1998 - 19:02:14 PDT

Dear BhakthAs :

It is a wondeful opportunity for us to engage in this 
"love-fest " to celebrate our ArchA mUrthys in 
the spirit of "Saazhal paasurams " of  Thirumangai
AzhwAr ( Periya Thirumozhi 11.5) . In these paasurams ,
Two groups of Gopis are  assembled by the AzhwAr on 
opposite/opposing sides. One side extolls the greatness 
of RaamA and KrishNa , the VibhavAvathArams , while the other
side mocks at such celerbration by questioning that greatness 
of the Lord in a playful way . The first ghOshti addresses 
the opposing group as yEdi ( unnait thaanEdi ) and invites 
their attention to the amusing leelAs of the Lord , which in 
their opinion does not merit such an adoration . The annoyed 
group addresses the complaining ones and reminds them that 
their statements can only be taken as jestful statements , 
since their  Lord still the is the greatest one . The latter 
group thus dismisses and downplays the "putting down " of  
the Lord's greatness as a light hearted banter ( Saazhal)
and both groups carry on joyously with Bhagavath GuNAnubhavam . 

To give an example of the Saazhal Paasuram style , let us 
enjoy the third paasuram in this decad :
( Periya Thirumozhi:11.5.3):

Aazh soozh kadal vaiyahatthAr yEsap pOy Aaypaadi
thAzh kuzhalAr vaittha tayir undAn kaaNN yEDi 
thazzh kuzhalAr vaittha tayir unda ponn vaiyiRu ivv-
vEzhu ulaham undum idamm udaitthu aal saazhalE 

( Extended Meaning ) : One set says : " Oh my dear Friends !
What a pity !How despicapable ! How low has your KrishNA 
descended ? You hail Him as the great one . How come
this One without any appetite (for Vishaya sukhams) stooped
low to steal the curds from the pots of gopis , which were put 
away purposely out of His reach by those gopis with beautiful,
long hair ? How come He became the object of ridicule 
and derison by the uneducated gopis if He is BhagavAn Himself ?
Please explain this mystery to us .

The other group takes the cudgels on behalf of their 
beloved Bhagavaan and answers " the accusing " group . They
point out that it is really a wonder that the Lord's stomach
which does not suffer form hunger at all could still accomodate  
the space for the fresh curds even after consuming the seven worlds 
during PraLayam to protect them . Such is His greatness ". 

This friendly ribbing and teasing goes on 
in a spirit of Bhagavadh guNAnubhavam .Our 
discussions on the greatnes of different ArchA 
mUrthys belong to this category .

Our efforts are reminding me of the great summary
of Swami Desikan of Thiruvaimozhi VaakyArthams as
the distilled essence of Bhagavadh GNanubhavam by 
NammAzhwAr . Swami Sri Desikan summarizes the ten 
centums of Thiruvaimozhi( sathaka dasaka saarArtham )
as the following ten Bhagavadh GuNAnubhavam in 
his DramidOpanishadh Saaram . He goes on to prove
that ThiruvAimozhi is Dheerga saraNAgathi and a 
distillation of the essence of the Dhvaya Manthram 
in terms of the salutation to the guNams of BhagavAn : 

(1) sEvAa YOgyam or sEvA YOgyathvam: That the Lord
    becomes the UpAyam for the Jeevans to gain mOksham .
(2) athi bhOgyathvam: He is insatiable nectar (AparyApthA-
    mruthan ) and as such stands for PrApyathvam  
(3) Subha supaga tanuthvam ( SubhAsrayam ): In both 
    the occasions of being upAyam and UpEyam , He has
    the most beautiful body and avayavams . This guNam 
    is central doctrine to Sri VisishTaadhvaitham ,
    which stresses Moorthy Jn~Anam for a mumukshu .
    SaguNa Brahmam aspect is emphasized .
(4) Sarva BhOgyAthisaayithvam : This refers to 
    his all-emcompassing VailakshaNyam and points
    out there is no prApyAm that excell Him .
(5) SarvOpAyathvam : He is the palan and upAyam 
    for the parama purushArtham , Moksham .
(6) prapadhana sulabhathvam : Prapatthi alone is
    sufficient for gaining mOksha Siddhi .
(7) anishta Vidhvamsa seelam : The seventh centum
    celebrates His GuNam of removing ( nivruthti )
    the sorrows (anishtams ) that a prapannA experiences
    due to poorva karmAnusAram ( pazhaya VinaikaL ). 
(8) BhakthacchandhAnu varthithvam : Being YathOktakAri
    to His BhakthAs . He comes under the sway of His 
    bhakthAs and blesses them , whatver they seek .
(9) NirupAdhika Suhruth guNam : The greatest well-wishing
    friend ( anmayE tEduhiRa mahA Suhruth ) is the GuNam
    celebrated in the Ninth centum .
(10)SathpadhavyA sahAyathvam : The illustrious helper
    to take us by archirAdhi maargam to His Parama Padham 
    and then blessing the muktha jeevans with Nithya 
    kainkarya saamrAjyam . 

This is the spirit of celbration of the three EmperumAns and
all the other 103 archA mUrthys celebrated by our AzhwArs .

I will now revert to the Saazhal mood and make a case 
for another EmperumAn , who has not come into focus 
sofar . You have already guessed the object of my
supreme adoration . 

As Sri MadhavakkaNNan intutively pointed out , 
Both Sri RengarAjan and myself are going to hold
on to the thesis that TannoppArillappan, ThiruviNNagarappan
is " the most qualified " for adoration among them all
and make our case . Before that , let me comment on 
the greatness of Thondaradipodi AzhwAr and why he had
problems about singing on " Kurangan " . Even when he referred 
to " the Kurangan " , he invoked " the Ranga " sabdham .
When you add the prefix "ku " to Sanskrit words , 
it refers to the opposite . For instance , the word 
MaathA refers to a guNa sampUrNa mother ; kumAthA 
is just the opposite. When the AzhwAr refers to " Kurangan " ,
he is thinking of the forests and the mountains of 
ThiruvEnkatam , which make it difficult to access 
for SrinivAsan's sEvai . In Sri Rangam , the fields are
green , the groves are abundant with fruits , Cauvery 
is making this island fertile in every way . It is therefore 
easy of access and makes it enjoyable to access and stay .
This is a light hearted , personal intrepretaion and does 
not have the sanctions of poorvAchAryAs . 

Seriously speaking , Thondardaipodi was saluted 
rightfully so as " Sri RanganAtha pathivrathai " .
As a pathivrathai , he never stepped out of her 
beloved husband's house surrounded by saptha prAkarams .
The situation is similar to Thirukkudanthai , where 
Sri KomaLavalli ThAyAr , the Consort of Sri AarAvamudhan
never steps outside Her Koil prAkArams even when Her friends 
from across the street ( Sri Vijayavalli ThAyar wedded 
to CahkraPaaNi and Sri Jaanaki MaathA wedded to Sri
Raamachandran ) come to visit Her during the Kanup pongal
day . They step out to the banks of Hema pushkaraNI to
place the Kanup Pidis , while Sri KomaLavalli stays 
inside her gopura Vaasal and watches Her two visiting friends 
enjoying their viists outside their homes .

Thondaradipodi , " the bridal Mystic " , had a unique
relationship with her Lord and Master in the highest 
spirit of Sri VaishNavA theology . Exhibiting this 
theistic mysticism beautifully described by Dr.S.M.S. Chari
in his latest monograph ( Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism
of the AzhwArs ) , this RanganAtha Pathivrathai demonstrated
the sEshi-sEsha tattvam . As far as his soul was concerned ,
Thondardaipodi had no SATTAA (existence of its own ) outside
Sri RanganAtha. It had no sthithi (sustenance) and no
pravrutthi ( activities ) without /outside Sri RangarAjan . 
AzhwAr's absolute dependence ( athyantha paaratanthryam)
on the Lord resting in the island formed by the two branches
of Cauvery and the AzhwAr's stubborn and unshakable
faith in not serving any other ArchA mUrthy ( ananyArha sEshathvam
of sorts ) led to his profound belief that no other ArchA
mUrthy is more enjoyable ( ananyabhOgyan )than Sri RanganAthan , 
his Master and wedded Lord .

We assume therfore that this Ranganaatha pathivrathai 
followed her PathivrathA dharmam to the fullest extent .

I will continue with the case for our TannappOrillapan
after hearing from a great Sri Oppiliappan Bhakthar,
Sri Sampath Rengarajan of Detroit , Michigan .

AdiyEn Sadagopan