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From: Velukkudi Krishnan (
Date: Fri Aug 06 1999 - 11:54:37 PDT

Dear prapannAs,
Swami NammAlwar is renowned as prapannA jana kUtastha. His main contribution 
was to have given the gist of vedAnta in his tiruvoimozhi. Tiruvoimozhi is 
nothing but chAndOgya upanishad in its essence. Alwar in his first verse 
"uyarvara uyarnalam..." gives a beautiful brief that vedAntArtha is nothing 
but viSistadvaitA. Let us enjoy that.

The main points in viSistadvaita are:  brahmam is guNa viSistam, vibhUti 
viSistam, and vigraha viSistam. So it is viSista brahmam or saviSesha 
brahmam that has to be reached by upAsanam / or prapatti and not nirviSesha 

guNa viSistam : There is a saying : "sankyAtum naiva Sakyante guNA: dOshA: 
ca sArNgina: - AnantyAt prathamO raSi: abhAvadEva pascima:". It means that 
we cannot count the guNA and dOshA of our Lord. guNA's cannot be counted as 
they are countless. And why dOshA's too ? As they are not even one in 

(Immediately a jIvAtma like us stood up and said : "Swami! even my guNA and 
dOshAs cannot be counted". Why did he say so? vice versa. dOshAs are 
countless and not even one guNA to count. We can feel happy that we are 
equal to paramAtma in this one aspect - that our guNa dOshAs cannot be 

Swami Ramanuja lists His kalyana guNAs in his gadyam. He is glorified as 
"akhila hEya pratyanIka, kalyAnaika tana" - one who is devoid of all dOshAs 
and full of guNAs. Nammalwar iterates this as "NALAMUDAYAVAN"
nalam = guNam.

vibhUti viSistam: Lord possess as his belonging , prakAra, SarIra the two 
vibhUtis -namely nityA vibhUti and lIla vibhUti. Surprisingly in this 
context all Srivaishnavas have to agree about vibhUti (which normally only 
saivaites do, eventhough that denotes a different vibhUti). Alwar explains : 
"ayarvarum amarargal adhipati" meaning he is the Lord for nitya sUrIs and so 
nitya vibhUti. This represents both the vibhUtis.

vigraha viSistam: vEdAnta says " ApraNaghat sarva Eva suvarna: , hiranya 
smaSru:, hiranya kESa:", " sahasraSIrsha purusha: sahasrAksha:..." 
"nIlatoyatamadhyasthat vidyullEkhE vabhAsvara" "bhArUpa:" - all these 
explain the great aprAkruta tirumeni of Lord Srimannarayana. Nammalwar puts 
it as "Sudaradi"

How simple is alwar's explanation of viSistadvaita ? He adds more :
When he says "sudaradi tozhudezhu" i.e. he preaches to his manas to salute 
and submit to the Lord's illuminous tiruvadi. There is a subtle but clear 
point in this usage. If I have to salute someone, there must be  a minimum 
of two persons. The one who salutes and the one who accepts it. If I accept 
two AtmAs then the basics of advaitam would be shaken. So in his first verse 
itself alwar differentiates jIvAtma and paramAtma to emphasise that vaidika 
matam is viSistadvaitam only. Thus he is well known as "vedam tamizh seyda 

Nammalwar tiruvadigalE Saranam.

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