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Thondaradipodi Thirunakshatram : Part 3

From: V. Sadagopan (
Date: Sun Dec 28 1997 - 19:11:24 PST

Dear BhakthAs : 

Thondaradipodi AzhwAr was not a prolific 
composer of Paasurams like Thirumangai 
and NammAzhwAr . He left us with only 45
verses in the divya Prabhandham revered as 
ThirumAlai .  

Inspite of the small number of
Paasurams , the AzhwAr packed them with 
rasAnubhavam of a BhakthA climbing the ladder
of SadhanA and sOdhanA . 

For instance  , we come across his VairAghyam , 
Nitya-Anithya vivEkam , bhagavatha prasamsA 
( praising of Bhagavathas and their dharmam ) , 
Kama garhaNA ( condemnation of sensual pleasures ) ,
artha garhaNaa ( Condemnation of material pursuits ) ,
bhakthi mahima prasamsA ( Praising of the supermacy
of Bhakthi ) , Naama MahAthmya ( exaltation of 
the Lord's names ) , asadh bhakthi garhaNA 
( Condemnation of pOli BhagavathAs and 
rituals , bare learning without devotion to the Lord ) ,
ananya Bhakthi (exclusive devotion to Sri RanganathA ),
rupa -svarUpa , GuNa prasamsA of the Lord of Srirangam 
and other moods of a devout bhakthA of the Lord 
such as NirvEdam ( sorrow over lost time chasing
worldly pursuits at the expense of devoting time to
the worship of the Lord ) , NaicchAnusandhAnam 
(self-depreceation ) , vitarkA ( cogitation over what 
is going to happen if the Lord does not come to his
rescue ) , DhainyOkthi ( plaintive pleading for Lord's 
grace ) and mahA viswasam . 

In the very first Paasuram , the AzhwAr is in an ebullient mood 
of fearlessness arising from his success in his SadhAnA
of reciting the names of the Lord and restraining his 
sensory organs from distractions . He confidently declares 
that he has placed his feet over the head of Yama ( the Lord
of Death) and his servants and is roaming fearlessly 
around fortified by  the power of the Lord's nAmAs .

The power of the NaamA of the Lord and utter trust in 
the naamAs of the Lord reminds one of the experience 
and declaration of Saint ThyagarAjA in the charaNam of 
his KedAra rAga krithi , " Raama ! neepai thanaku 
prEma bhOdhu " :

jananee janakApthulanyulu dhanakanaka Guru vElpulu
dinamu neevE yanumAtalu anaga nivi naa bhUshaNamulu 

( Meaning ) : The words ( naama Japam ) that I utter
daily that You alone are my father , mother , friend , wealth , 
gold , Guru and dEvAs constitute my ornaments (and armour ) .

In his second paasuram ( pacchai maamalai pOl mEni ) ,
AzhwAr declares that the anubhavam of Sri RanganAthA' s
soundharyam leaves him fully satisfied and makes him 
totally disinterested in other blessings(boons ) such as 
becoming the king of  dEvAs and ruling Indra lOkam . 

One hears the echos of this vivEkam in one of the CharaNams
of Saint ThyagarAjA's SavEri Krithi ( 12th AND  13 th CharaNam of krithi ,
Sri Raama RaamAsrithalamu gAmA nEramA bhrOva BhaaramA ? )
The particular charaNam is as follows :

nEmamuga tOli nOmuna dorakina Raamuni JithakAmuni 
seeluni sadhguNasAlini juchDE chAlunu ANYAMELANU ?

( Meaning ) : It is enough if I have darsanam of Sri RamA ,
whom I have obtained as a result of my worship in previous 
birth . He is the conqueror of desires , the model of rectitude 
and the embodiment of all virtues . WHY NEED ANYTHING ELSE ?

One can find many similar pasaages in Saint ThyagarAjA's
krithis that are echos of Thondaradipodi's paasura vAkhyams.
It is a wonderful treat to compare the experiences of thesetwo
parama ViashNavAs across centuries .

Thondaradipodi AzhwAr ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam 
Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan