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The Gopuram Episode

From: A. Bharat (
Date: Tue Dec 15 1998 - 18:22:14 PST

 Dear BhAgavatOttamas

It seems to me that this episode could be the single
most significant episode in SwAmi EmberumAnAr's life
and hence I would like to share some of my thoughts
with you.

The undisputed facts (ignoring minor variations) are
that on Periya Nambi's 'niyamanam" Udaiyavar walked no
less than 18 times to TirukkOTTiyUr and finally got
the mantrArtha with the proviso to keep it secret;
and within a short period he expounded it to many
people in TirukkOTTiyUr itself.What is the point
behind all this? He could have as well gone back
and done it.Why anger the Nambi unnecessarily?
Was he being defiant to old traditions?

Let us look at this from Nambi's point of view.It
is generally accepted that he was testing his Sishya's
determination and desire for knowledge those 18
times.Was he then satisfied with that and washed his hands
of the matter ? What could have been ParamAchArya
ALavandAr's niyamanam to Nambi on his death bed?
He was obviously given the task of imparting esoteric knowledge
to the new AchArya after duly confirming his suitability
to be the the builder of our glorious darSanam.Would
it   end with merely giving him knowledge?Would it not
also mean he would have been asked to see to what use Udaiyavar
was going to put it ? Nambi was in fact asked to test whether he
was obtaining the knowledge for his own sake (as a
teacher) or for the sake of humanity.Hence came the
NINETEENTH TEST by Nambi.And when Sri RAmAnuja passed
it gloriously Nambi heaved a sigh of relief and
after a mock trial embraced him and titled him
the DarSana Pravartaka.That TirukkOTTiyUr had a
special assignment in regard to Udaiyavar is evidenced
by other subsequent events mentioned in our texts.

Now from the point of view of Udaiyavar.Being the
avatAra of AdiSesha himself would he not have been
aware of all these mock tests?No wonder he started 
 revealing the "secret" right at the door step of
Nambi himself.I am afraid I do not hold with the
view of Mani that he was being revolutionary in this
incident.In fact he was being totally traditional-
not the secretive tradition of the ancient Rshis
but the all embracing tradition of PeriyAzhwAr, who called
out,"vAzhAtpaTT-uLLIrellArum vandu maNNum maNamum
koNmin" and of his daughter who earnestly invited,
"pOduvIr poduminO"- "ichhai uLLar ellArum vArungoL"
This was the tradition which Sri Nathamuni and
Sri ALavandAr wanted to establish on a firm basis.
And for that the right type of leader was needed
and the Lord sent AdiSEsha who was <vijnAna balaika
dhAma> himself.

It is well known that EmberumAnAr whom AnDAl considered
her brother fulfilled her desire to provide "nooru taDA
veNNai" and "nooru taDA akkAravadiSil" to KaLLAzhagar at
TirumAlirunjOlai.But we fail to notice that he also fulfilled
her desire to bring into the fold anyone and everyone who
wanted to do mangalASAsanam to SrimanNArAyana.Till then
the fundamental knowledge about the relationship of the
Soul with the Divine Couple was being clothed in veiled
words and imparted strictly on a one to one basis(OrAN
vazhiyAga).Emberumanar continued to keep it so in regard
to the mantra but threw the artha open to all who desired

The gist of this incident is hence that the Nambi,after
testing Udaiyavar's determination and strength 18times,
finally tested the depth of his compassion in the 19th
supreme test and formally declared him the proper leader
for our DarSanam (Aa mudalvan) by calling it Sri RAmAnuja

Sri EmbAr has compressed our glorious DarSanam into three
'i's - "ichhaiyE adhikAram,irakkamE upAyam,inimaiyE upEyam"
 Our mere desire for Him gives us eligibility;  His compassion
 alone can take us to the goal;and the  goal is pure happiness."

Considering that DhanurmAsa is about to start this is the
fitting time to think with supreme sense of gratitude on
AnDAl and her brother who have brought us to this position
from where we were - all through their SUPREME COMPASSION.

EmberumAnAr TiruvaDigale Saranam!