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Sriman RanganAthA and the AzhwAr Paasurams: Part III

From: Sadagopan (sgopan_at_computer.net)
Date: Mon Dec 27 1999 - 19:23:13 PST

Uniqueness of Sri RanganAthan and Srirangam (Continued )
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(2) Sri Appayya Dikshithar , a great admirer of 
Swami Desikna gives us an insight into the uniqueness
of SriranganAthan and His dhivya dEsam . The pertinent 
slOkam is :

idham cha Rangam thyajathAm-ihAngam 
  na vidhyathE angam yadhi jaathuchAngam
PaaNou rathAngam sayanE bhujangam 
  yaanE vihangam charaNEmbhu Gaangam 

Sri Dikshithar reminds us first that it is the unique 
Srirangam that he is referring to ( idham cha Rangam ). 
For those ,who shake their mortal coils here ( thyajathAm 
iha angam ) ,there are no more births or bodies constituted by 
the limbs ( na vidhyathE angam ). If for arguments sake , 
some one is born again  with limbs (Yathi jaathu cha angam ) ,  
after passing away at Srirangam , then these will be 
their features :

(a) paaNou rathAngam  ( will have Chakram in their hands)
(b) sayanE Bhujangam ( will have snakes as their beds)
(c) yaanE Vihangam ( will have the brahmini kite for their transport)
(d) CharaNAmbhu Gaangam ( will have the waters of the sacred
    river GangA flowing from their feet ) 

Sri Dikshithar states that those who breathe their last in 
Sriranam will have SaarUpya Moksham .The main message is that 
" iha angam thyajathAm , angam na vidhyathE " ( they will not  
have any rebirths as stated by the last Brahma Soothram , " na
Punar aavarhtathE , na punar aavarthathE ".

Third reference for Srirangam's Uniqueness
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Here Sri RanganAthA presides with Sriranga Naayaki ,
in  a sadas with AchAryAs and BhagavathAs just as He gives 
His darsanam at Sri Vaikuntam . This is the sevai decribed as ,
" kuzhumit thevar kuzhaangaL kai thozhac chOthi-
veLLatthin uLLE yezhuvathu oru uru " .This form
has been saluted as " Aadhiyam sOthiyuru ". This is
the form which is seen directly (prathyaksham ) by
Nithya Sooris and MukthAs ( prathyaksham Paramam padham ).
The corresponding slOkam is:

VaikuntE thu parE lOkE SriyA-saardham Jagathpathi:
asthE VishNu: achinthyAthmA Bhakthiar Bhaagavathai: saha 

(Meaning ): In Sri Vaikuntam (nithya VibhUthi), The Lord
presents Himself with His divine Consort ;that Lord,
whose glory is impossible to fully comprehend manifests
Himself in the company of BhakthAs and BhaagavathAs .

The purport of this slOkam is extendable to Srirangam ,
the BhUlOka Vaikuntam (LeelA VibhUthi)as well . Here , 
He is giving His sEvai with Sriranga Naayaki and is surrounded 
by adoring AchAryAs , BhakthAs and BhaagavathAs ( Bhakthai: 
BhAgavathi: saha ). This KshEthram is unique in that 
it is densely populated by AchAryAs , who do prathakishaNam 
around the Lord as indicated by Thirumazhisai AzhwAr in one
of his Srirangam Paasurams :

" sirreyiRRu muRRal Moongil moonRu dhaNdar onRinar
  aRRa paRRar suRRi vaazhum anthaNIr ArangamE "

Here "Moongil MoonRu dhaNdar" refers to thridaNdi 
SanyAsis like Srimath Azhagiya Singar , Srimath
Andavan of PeriyAsramam , Srimath PoundarIkapuram
Andavan and other AchAryAs representing every facet
of Sri sampradhAyam . These ThridaNdi sanyAsis 
( holding the three bamboo sticks held together 
with a flag at the end) circumambulate around 
the Yeka DhaNdi ( SenkOl mannan , Sri RangarAjan )
for receiving His anugraham . The situation is similar 
to the child , which runs round and round its Mother 
as She moves around the house on her chores . This
situation is also similar to the SishyAs circumambulating 
around their AchAryAs. The child seeks the love of the Mother
and the SishyAs seek Jn~Anam and sadhupadEsam through
their closeness to their AchAryAs . They in turn 
try to live as close as possible to the Lord of Srirangam 
to intercede with Him on behalf of their sishyAs .

All these soubhAgyams are abundantly present
at Srirangam .Poet Kamban refers to this uniqueness 
this way : " sErAthana uLavO ThirucchErnthArkku ".
Those residents of Srirangam are garbha SrimAns 
and there is precious little that is beyond their
reach .There is nothing that they can not attain . 
The reference here from a garbha SrimAn's point of 
view is the Srirangam Paasuram of Poygai AazhwAr 
describing his gaze as he lay in the womb of the golden-
lotus at YathOkthakAri Sannidhi pushkaraNi at Kaanchi:

   onRum maRanthilEn Odha Neer VaNNanai naan ,
   inRu maRappEnO YezahikAL ,-anRu 
   karuvarangatthut kidanthu kai thozhuthEn kaNDEn
   ThiruvarangamEyAn thisai 

Poygai points out here that he has never for a moment
forgotten the ocean-hued  Sri RanganAthAn and even
as an embryo inside the womb of the Kaanchana Padhmam
in the pushkaraNi at TiruvehhA , he turned His head 
in the direction of Srirangam to gaze at the ancient
ParamjyOthi at Srirangam . Such is the uniqueness 
of ThirucchErntha Rangam .

Fourth reason for the Uniqueness of Srirangam 
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Great Sri Sookthis from AzhwArs (247 paasurams)
and AchAryAs ( Gadhya thrayams , Sri RangarAja
Sthavam , PaadhukhA Sahasram , NyAsa Tilakam )
were born here. The uniqueness of this KshEthram
is celebrated therefore by Swami Desikan as ,
" AarAtha amudham potintha Kovil , theerAtha
VinaikaL yellAm theerkkum kovil--".

In SrirnaganAtha PaadhukhA sahasram , Swamy salutes
the Lord's PaadhukhAs as Swamy NammAzhwAr , who blessed
us with the thousand verses of ThiruvAimozhi . Sri ParAsara
Bhattar described these 1000 paaurams are ALL ABOUT 
SRIRANGANATHAN:

" MathiL Arangar VaNN pukazh mEl aanRa Tamizh Aayiram "

The insightful SiRiya Thirumadal paasuram of Thirumangai 
adduces another reason for the uniqueness Of Srirangam 
by describing it as " AarAmam soozhntha Arangam " .
Superficial meaning for "AarAmam Soozhntha Arangam " 
is the City of Srirangam full of beautiful gardens .
As PeriyavAcchAn PiLLai has commented , these words of
Thirumangai have much deeper meanings. He comments : 

" uhantharuLina desangal yellAm pahal irukkayaai ,
aasritha rakshaNatthirkku EkAntha sthalam yenRa 
kOililE nithyavaasam paNNuhiRaay irukkirathu ". 

(meaning ): All other dhivya dEsams chosen by the Lord 
are like the day resorts for  a king on travel ; Srirangam
however is for Him , the unique sthalam for protecting those , 
who sought refuge at His sacred feet and here He resides 
permanently.

The Fifth Reason for the Uniqueness of Srirangam 
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This is the Dhivya Desam , where Thirumangai initiated
the Thiru AdhyayanOthsavam by bringing Swamy NammAzhwAr
from ThirukuruhUr for the pahal Patthu, Iraa Patthu
Uthsavam. Naatha Muni, AaLavandhAr , Thiruvarangap PerumAl
aRayar , EmperumAnAr and their sishya paramparai carried
out the Thiru Adhyayana Uthsavam tking the cue from Kaliyan .

There are so many more reasons for the uniqueness of
Srirangam that we will  celebrate in the Paasurams
of AzhwArs on Sri RanganAthan . We will pay our homage 
to selected paasurams form the 11 AzhwArs , who 
peformed MangaLAsAsam for the Thiruvarangacchelvan 
in the remaining postings of this series . 

SrimathE RanganAthAya nama:
Daasan, O.V.Sadagopan