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Sri Tondaradipodi Azhvar: Sri Dileepan"s tribute.

From: V. Sadagopan (75041.3037_at_compuserve.com)
Date: Tue Dec 19 1995 - 15:03:16 PST

                           As I read Sri Dileepan's timely   tribute to 
Our Ranganatha Pathivratha, the ten  Sweet lyrical veses
of ThiruppaLLIyezhucchi and the Subhasitams in the 
form of the 45 Verses of Thirumaalai occupied my thoughts.

           I want to  join  Sri Dileepan to pay my humble  tribute to
 this great Azhvar, who according to one story  was the subject 
of  a game between the Divya Dampathis of  Srirangam. 
      
           One day , Sri Ranganatha was praising the single minded
 devotion of Vipra Narayana (Thondaradipodi ) to His Devi 
and said that nothing on His earth would lure his
Bhakta from HIM. Sri Ranganayaki laughed and said that 
no one can escape the power of the  Sweet lure of a beautiful
 Women. To prove that point ,she sent one of Her own servants to go
to the Azhvar"s nandavanam and be there until she got his
attention. That servant  of Ranganayaki took the name of Deva Dasi
and arrived at the garden of the Azhvar. The story after that is well known.
The divine couple then came to the rescue of the Azhvar and saved him  from his 
obsession to the damsel. They  returened him to his erstwhile
state of unceasing rememberance of  THEM. 

Thondaradipodi Azhvar was a contemproary of Thirumangai
Mannan. Latter, when he built the ramparts for Sri Rangantha,
he built the wall around the Nandavanam of Thondaradi Podi,
so that no interruption occured  to the Maalai Kainkaryam of 
Thondaradipodi. Our Azhvar was very pleased with the thoughtful
action of Thirumangai and named his instrument used for 
constructing the garlands for Sri Ranganatha as "AruL Maari" 
in honor of Kaliyan . 


The Composition of the Azhvar (ThiruMaalai) is considered as
an essential work to know for those , who want to progress in 
their Understanding of  Thiru Maal or Perumal. The Tamil verse 
conveying these thoughts is as follows:

Thirumaalai Ariyaadhar Thirumaalai Ariyaadhaareh i
Thirumaalai Ariyaan Perumaalai Ariyaan II

He asserted in  Thirumaalai  that the name of Hari is my only 
medicine for the fever of Kali; He procaimed aloud that there is 
no other way  in Kali Yuga. 

He is  a believer in the thought that  the Lord's names are even
more important than the Lord Himself. Subscribing to this view, he 
praised the name of the Lord and the Bhagavatas ,who sing those
 names daily  with joy .He declared that he rejects the boon of being 
the king of  Indra Lokam over the blessings of tasting the nectar of
 the Lord"s names on this earth (at Srirangam).He also asserted that
 there is no one on this earth, who is barred from reciting the names of
 the Lord and thereby getting easily the boon of Moksham.

                            He was a great Vedic Scholar . He explained to us
 the qualities of the Lord of Srirangam celebrared in the Vedas as Sarveswara 
( Emperor and controller of all ), Sarva Seshi ( Principal of One and  all ),
 Sarva Karma Aaraadhyatvam ( the one, who is worshipped
 in all religious rites ), Sarva Phala Pradha Dhayaktvam
( The bestower of all  desired fruits of Saadhanaa ), Sarvaadhaaratvam
( the sustainer of all ), Sarva Kaaryotbhadhakatvam ( the cause of 
all effects), and  Ananthatvam : ( beyond the threefold limitation of
Space, Time and Objects).

Thirumaalai is generally revered as the essence of the Sacred
Composition known as Vishnu Dharmam. The similarity of thought
among the Vishnu Dharma Slokas and the verses of The Azhvar are 
indeed strikingly close. This is of no surprise, since, our Azhvar was
the practioner of the Highest principles of Vishnu Dharma. 

 The meaning  of  selected verses of  verses of Vishnu Dharma
included below will illustrate the closeness of the message 
and Upadesam left for us by the Azhvar.

(1) Consciously  or Unconsciously, If a huamn being utters the holy
name of Vasudeva, al that (i.e), every sin committed willingly
or unwillingly becomes disintegrates  like salt in water.

(2) Water is adequate to extinguish the fire; Sunrise similarly is
sufficient to dispel the darkness. (So does) the recitation of 
the name of Hari destroys a multitude of Sins of Kali Yuga.

(3) Yannama Sankirthanathoh Vimuchyateh: --By the very recitation of 
His Name,  men are saved  (from the fear of Kali).

(4) Bhaddha: Parikarasthena Mokshaaya Gamanam prathi :--- One 
who utters once the two syllables of the name" Hari " , he 
succeds  in packing his luggage to travel to Moksha.

(5)Narada, That  Bhaktha of mine , who with faith says 
"Salutation to Thee",Even if he is a dog-eating chandaala,
he attains my eternal world.

(6) Hari ,whether worshipped ,remembered, meditated upon
or adorned with flowers etc, HE grants all protection to HIS
Bhaktha in this world and the one after.

(6) The holy name of the dicus-bearer can be sung at  all times
 and places. There is no question of impurity for the Kirthana of
the Lord , who is always holy.

(7)Even if a person offers the whole world with all its gems to 
Janardhana , he will not reach HIM , if his mind is elsewhere.

(8) For those who are about to drown  in the ocean of  Samsara as 
a result of chasing the evanescent pleasures of the world, there is
no means for being saved except the boat known as  Vishnu .

(9) Kali Yugam becomes Krita Yugam (noble Yugam) to those ,
who seat Govinda In their minds. Krita Yugam turns into Kali
Yugam (a Time, where Dharma is in wane) for those, who do
not  keep (the thoughts of)   Achyuta in their minds. 

(10) Tanmayatvenah Govindhe Yeh Naraa Nyasta Chetasa: I
         Vishayathyaaginasteshaam Vigyeam cha Tadantikeh II

Lord Govindha sits close to those, who think of HIM without let
and reject the lure of material things of the world.

(11) Amrutam Saadhanam Saadhyam Yam pasyanthi Maneeshina: I
        Gyeyaakyam Paramaatmaanam Vishnum Dhyaayannah Seedhati II

The learned ones meditating on the Lord se HIM as their unfailing Means 
to attain the nectar of  Moksham and consider him the supreme fruit
 of their Endeavours . They never experience sorrow.

One hears the echoes of Vishnu Dharma Slokas in the Azhvaar"s
Thirumaala verses. ThiuppaLLiyezucchi is said to have been 
composed by the Azhvar as a form of waking up Lord Ranganatha from
HIS Yoga Nidra to thank  the Lord Of Srirangam for waking him up, when 
he, the Azhvar , was mired in Deva Dasi's affection.He reminded  Sri Ranganatha
to wake up others like him, who get lost in the worldly afflictions. This
request 
of the Azhvar is similar to Sri Aandaal"s waking Krishna from his Yoga Nidra 
in Thiruppavai. 

                             The ThiruppaLLIyezhucchi Verses served as a model
for the 
other Suprabhaadhams for Sri  Seshadri Sekhara Vibhu and  Thiru Vinnagaaraan of
Oppiliappan Sannadhi. Saint Thyagaraja"s ThiruppaLLyezucchi in Sundara Telengu
Bhaasha (Melukkovayya  in Raga Bhauli and Meluko Dhayaanidhi in Raga 
Sowraashtram ) echo the thoughts of the Azhvaar through passages such as :
" Oh, Sita Rama! Pray wake up to protect the Universe! ---It is already day
break.
---- Devas and Kings are waiting to worship you.-----Oh ,Lord Of  Mercy! Please 
wake up! It is time for the Sun to rise. --- Sages like Narada , Devas, Brahma,
Siva
are waiting to offer their worship and  serve You. Kubera and the Lords of all 
directions have assembled here to learn statecraft from You."  

                     I conclude this posting with the Taniyan of Thiru Maalai
Aandaan:
 
   TAMEVA MATVAA PARAVASUDEVAM RANGESAYAM RAAJAVA DHARHANEEYAM  I
   PRABHODAGHEEM YO KRITHA  SOOKTIMAALAAM  BHAKTHAANGRIRENUM  BHAGAVANTAMEEDHEH
II

(MEANING) :  I offer my salutations to the great Azhwar named
 Thondaradipodi , who considered  the Lord of Sri Rangam as the 
supreme Emperor and woke up that  sleeping Paravasudeva with his 
ThiruppaLLIyezhucchi.

TENNARANGATTHAMMAANAI  PALLI UNARTHUM PIRAN THIRUVADHIGALEH CHARANAM,

Oppiliappankoil Varadachari Sadagopan