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Re: Santhyavadanam and Gayathri mantra

From: Mani Varadarajan (
Date: Wed Dec 09 1998 - 19:29:26 PST

Ram wrote:
>     Is the jIyar implying that SrI rAmAnujAcArya revealed _only_ the
>     inner meanings of the mantra-s, that too to SrI vaishNava-s _only_ ?
>     (ie to devotees that were already instructed the rahasya-mantra-s by
>      a sadAcArya through initiation? )

The significance of Ramanuja's act was to reveal publicly what 
heretofore was a closely guarded secret -- the inner meaning of 
the rahasyas.  The mantras themselves were comparatively easy
to get.  There is not much required to have samASrayaNam. All
that was required even in those days was desire, from what I 
understand.  But far more significant than the mere words of the
mantras (vAcaka) are the inner meanings (vAcya) of the mantras.  
This point is expounded in many acharyas' works -- see Jiyar's 
"vaarttaamaalai", Sri Desika's "rahasya traya saaram", and 
Maamunigal's "mumukshuppadi vyaakhyaanam".

I cannot say for sure whether Ramanuja only revealed these heretofore
secret teachings only to Sri Vaishnavas. The tendency of authors those
days was to refer to all devotees of the Lord as Sri Vaishnavas, 
especially those gathered at a temple.  I surmise that there may have
been unofficial Sri Vaishnavas in the gathering as well (how can one 
check to be sure?) but this is just a guess.

The other quote from Maamunigal suggests that Ramanuja publicized
the meaning of the mantras to anyone whom he saw suffering, without
looking at qualifications.

>     In other words, is the jIyar implying that SrI rAmAnujAcArya 
>     did not loudly shout the mantras (literally, in the exact word order)
>     to non-SrI-vaishNavas ?   [ if there is there is a difference beween
>     saying just the mantra-meaning and loudly saying the mantras literally. ]

Jiyar clearly says that Ramanuja revealed the "rahasyArtham",
the meaning of the mantras. Nowhere does he say that Ramanuja
shouted out the mantras themselves ("mantram yatnena gopayet").
But once again, the text of the mantra (tirumantra and carama
sloka) were easy to come by and were in vogue among non-Vaishnavas 
as well.

In any case, as explained, the inner meaning of the mantra was 
and is far more important than the mantra itself.

tirukkacci nambi daasan