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Thondardipodi AzhwAr Thirunakshtram : Part 1

From: V. Sadagopan (75041.3037_at_compuserve.com)
Date: Sun Dec 28 1997 - 08:15:32 PST

Dear BhakthAs : Today is Marghazi Kettai ( JyeshtA )
Nakshathram . Today is the birthday of the Ranganatha
PathivrathA , Thondaradipodi . Sri Maadhava Kannan has 
postedearlier an enjoyable article on this Azhwar in his series 
on Azhwars . Hence , I will  focus only on  the two
Divya Prabhandhams of this AzhwAr to seek his blessings on 
his day of birth .

He was a contemproary of Thirumangai AzhwAr . When latter
was building the walls for the Srirangam temple , he found 
the building , where Thondaradipodi assembled the flowers to
construct the daily Tulasi and flower garlands for Sri Ranganathan .
Thirumangai redesigned his mathiL ( Rampart ) constrcution plans
and skirted the space used by Thondardipodi , so that there  will
be no disturbance to Thondardipodi's Kaimkaryam . 
The gratful Thondaradipadi AzhwAr named the goad 
he used to pick the flowers from trees as 
" aruL mAri " , which is one of the names of Thirumangai . 
Such was the mutual respect among the two AzhwArs . 

Thondardipodi AzhwAr had prArabdha Karmam , which 
made him deviate for a few months from the Thiru Maalai
Kainkaryam for the Lord of Srirangam . The divine intervention 
of Sri Ranganaayaki and Sri RanganaathA brought him back on 
track and established his greatness as one , who was totally 
devoted to Sri Ranganathan only . As a result , he did not 
perform MangalAsAsanam on any  ArchA mUrthy of Divya
Desams other than Sri Ranganathan . He saluted
Sri Ranganathan for his divine intervention this way :

: mAtharAr kayirkaNenum valayutp pattazhinthuvEnaip pOtharE
yenru sollip punthiyirp puhunthu tanp paal Atharam peruha 
vyttha "  azhagan . --- passage from ThirumAlai Prabhandham

He composed two prabhandhams revered as ThirumAlai and
ThiruppaLLiyezhucchi . ThirumAlai has 45 pasurams and the 
ThiruppaLLIyezucchi has 10 paasurams that awaken the Lord 
in a spirit of SuprabhAtham . Just as Sage VisvAmthrA awakened 
Sri RamachandrA in Brahma MuhUrtham with the slOkam ,

"KausalyA SuprajA RaamA pUrvA sandhyA pravarthatE I
 utthtishta nara sArdhUla karthavyam daivamAhnikam II "  

Thondaradipodi woke up Sri RanganAthan with fragrant 
Tulasi mAlai in his hands at the ancient temple of Srirangam .
Sri VaishNavAs use these 10 paasurams of ThirupaLLIyezucchi 
to awaken the Lord at home and the temples every day . 

One of our AchAryAs with the apt name of ThirumAlai AndAn 
has  saluted Thiondardipodi , who gave us ThirumAlai prabhandham
with the following Taniyan that eulogizes the AzhwAr for blessing us 
with the divya Prabhandham of ThirupaLLIyezhucchi :

tamEva mathvA ParavAsudEvam 
RangEsayam RaajavadharhaNeeyam I
prAbhothakeem yOkrutha sUkthimAlAm 
BhakthAngrirENum bahgavanthameedE II 

(Meaning ) : I salute that Thondardipodi AzhwAr 
( BhakthAngrirENu ) filled with superior Jn~Anam
who composed the paasurams that awaken 
the king of kings reclining on AdhisEshan at Srirangam 
with the power of  knowledge that He is none other than 
the Para VaasudEvan of Sri Vaikuntam .  

This AzhwAr born at Mandangudi at ChoLa dEsam 
is revered as " VaNdu thiNartthum Vayal Tennarangatthu
ammAnai paLLi uNartthum PirAn  " . Thiruvaranga PerumAL
arayar saluted the AzhwAr with the above words . Arayar 
described the AzhwAr , who did parmOpakAram through 
his suprabhAtham paasurams as the one , who appealed 
to the Lord of Srirangam reclining on His serpent bed in 
the middle of fertile , green paddy fields at His divya dEsam 
( BhUlOka VaikuNtam ) to wake up and bless the bhakthAs 
awaiting at dawn  for His darsana soubhAgyam . 

Sri SrikAnth has  recently translated the meanings of the ten 
paasurams of ThirupaLLIyezucchi for the proceedings of 
the Denver sathsangham . Hence , I will focus on the inspiration
that Thondardipodi AzhwAr provided to his successors to compose
their own ThirupaLLiyezucchi Paasurams/Krithis/SlOkams .

I will illustrate the unmistakable imprint of AzhwAr's paasurams
on three suprabhAthams , (VIz )., ThiruvenkatamudayAn ,
Sri Oppiliappan and Sri RamachandrA . ANDAL , who preceded
Thondaradipodi has many evocative images of the morning 
scene at Srivillip PutthUr as she woke up Her Lord 
in ThiruppAvai . The passages in ThiruppAvai paasurams 
( 6 thru 8 and 14  )  have beautiful descriptions of the morning 
scene that might have inspired Thondardipodi's 
ThiruppaLLiyezucchi paasurams .

I will start with Saint ThyagarajA's awakening of Sri RamA
on the banks of Cauveri at ThiruvayAru with deep feelings of 
love and affection . The bhaavam blended with the words  
of the Krithis of SuperabhAtham set in rAgAs BhowLi and 
SaurAshtram are testaments to the Hrudhaya BhAshA of
the Saint that he used to address his Ishta Daivatham .

In the morning rAgam BhouLi , he prays to the Lord to 
wake up : " mElukOvayya mamElukO Raama 
mElaina SeethAsamEtha naabhAgyamA "

Saint ThyagarajA describes the  scene in front of 
his pUjAgraham this way in the BouLi krithi : 
 
" Oh SeethA RaamA ! Pray , wake up to protect 
the universe ! Sages like NaaradA are singing about
Your kalyANa guNAs . It is  already day-break . 
Rise to partake of butter and milk . Celestial women 
are humbly praying for the opportunity to serve You .
The jewele-set lights lit by the deities of eight siddhis ,
ANimA et al ., have become dimmed . DevAs and kings
are waiting to worship You " . 

In his SourAshtra krithi , Saint ThyagarajA appeals
to the Lord , who is the ocean of mercy to wake up .
He points out that it is the time for Sun rise . He lets 
the Lord know that he is waiting with a golden cup 
fileld with butter and   milk . He begs the Lord to awaken
and accept the naivEdhyam . He lets the Lord know that 
sages like NaradA , DevAs , BrahmA and Lord SivA are 
waiting to receive His blessings and to serve Him . He
cajoles hte Lord to wake up by pointing out that KubErA
and the guardians of all directions have assembled in front
of the pujA graham to learn statecraft from Him . 

The assembly of throngs of BhakthAs , DevAs and
demi-gods for the SuprabhAtha darsanam of the Lord is 
a theme common to ThiruppAvai and ThirupaLLiyezucchi :

thORRamAi ninRa sudarE ! thuyilezhAi !
mARRArunakku valitholaindhu unn vAsark kaNN
aaRRAthu vanthunnadi paNiyumApOlE ----
Thiruppaavai paasuram 21

angaNmaa gyAlattharasar , abhimAna
bhangamAi vanthu ninn paLLikkattir keezhE 
sankammiruppaar pOl ----
Thiruppavai paasuram 22 

VaanavarasarkaL vanthu vantheendi
yethir disai nirainthanarivarodum puhantha
irunkaLiRReetamum pidiyodu murasum 
athirthalil ----
ThirupaLLIyezucchi : Paasuram 1 

alangalan thodayal kondadiyiNai paNivAn
amargaL puhundanar ---
ThirupaLLIyezucchi : Pasuram 5

In the sixth paasuram, Thondaradipodi decribes
the 12 AdhityAs with their bejewelled chariots , 
the 11 RudrAs , Lord SubramanyA , the 49 Maruth 
gaNAs , the 8 Vasus , the  33 crores of dEvAs 
assembled in front of Sri RanganathA's front gates and 
jostling for positions to get a closer darsanam of the Lord
after He awakens from His yOga NidhrA . 

The seventh , eigth and the ninth verses describe 
the arrival of Indra , Sundarar , VdhyAdharar , Sanga 
Nidhi , Padma Nidhi , KaamadhEnu , Holy sages , KinnarAs,
GandharvAs , GarudAs , KimpurushAs , SiddhAs , YakshAs
and Thondardipodi with garlands in hand and waiting for the 
Lord of Srirangam to wake up from His NidhrA . 

We hear the echos of these passages in the suprabhAtham
of Saint ThyagarAjA , PrathivAdhi Bhayankaram's SuprabhAtham
on Lord SrinivAsan of Thirumalai and the Suprabhaatham
slOkams of ThiruviNNagarappan ( Sri Oppiliappan ) . 

Examples of such anubhavam in Sanskrit are :

SlOkams 7 , 8, 9, 14 , 15 &16 0f Oppiliappan"s 
SuprabhAtham 

SlOkams 4, 5, 6 ,9, 17, 18, 19, 25 & 27 of 
Sri VenkatEsa SuprabhAtham 

The presence of AchAryAs in the SuprabhAtha ghOshti
of Sri Oppiliappan is described in the slOkams 15-17 .

The fifteenth  slOkam in this series describes 
AcharyA Naathamuni , YaamunA and RaamunjA
waiting for the Lord's darsanam with folded hands 
after their sacred bath in  the AhOrAthra PushkaraNi
of Oppiliappan Koil  :

SrinAtha Yaamuna YatheendhramukhA mahAntha:
ahOrAthra pushkaraNikAvihithAvagAhA : I
dhAmanhtikEanjalibhrutha: prathipAlayanthi
tvAm vyOmapatthanapathE ! tava SuprabhAtham 

The next slOkam makes particular reference to 
Swami Sri Desikan joining with his purvAchAryAs to 
offer his salutations to the Lord of ThiruviNNagar .

The happenings at the dawn hour at Swami PushkaraNi
at Thirumalai is described in the Sri VenkatEsa 
SuprabhAtham :

SriswAmi PushkaraNikA -plava nirmalAngA:
srEyOrthinO hara-Virinchi -sanandhanAdhya: I
dwArE vasanthi varvEthra hatOtthamAngA :
Sri VenkatAchalapathE ! Tava SuprabhAtham II  
SlOkam 14 

(meaning ) : BrahmA , MahEsvaran , the sage SanakA , 
SannadhanA and others aspiring for their kshEmams have 
now bathed in Your PushkaraNi and are thus sanctified .
They are now waiting at the entrance after being counted 
by the cane strokes of VishvaksEnA . O Lord of VenkatAchalA!
Please wake up ! May this be an auspicious dawn to Theee !

SEvAparA : SivasurEsakrusAnudharma-
rakshOmBunAtha pavamAna dhanAdhinaatha: I
BhaddhAnjali pravilasannijaseersha dEsA :
Sri VenkatAchalapathE ! Tava SuprabhAtham II

( meaning ) : Lord SivA , IndrA , Agni , YamA ,
Nairuthi , VaruNA , Vaayu and KubErA stand with  
folded palms over their heads and are desirous of 
performng kiankaryam to You . Lord VenkatEsa! 
Please wake up ! may this be an auspicious 
dawn to Thee ! 

Thus Dhanur Maasam famous for Thiruppaavai 
and the birth of Thondaradipodi AzhwAr 's 
ThiruppaLLIyezucchi paasurams inspired many
grantha karthAs of SuprabhAthams for the ArchA
murthys of Divya Desams of the Lord . 

Thondardipodi AzhwAr ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam 
Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan