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Inputs for CD ROMs : Part VIII--> Thirumazhisai AzhwAr : Part II

From: Sadagopan (sgopan_at_computer.net)
Date: Sat Feb 03 2001 - 07:20:40 PST

Tell Me More Section on Thirumazhisai AzhwAr
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Swamy Desikan's Tribute: In his Prabhandha Saaram , Swamy
Desikan pays tribute to Thirumazhisai this way: Thirumazhisai 
was born in the MahIsAra KshEthram during one Thai month, when
the Maha nakshathram was in ascendance. He examined many 
religions/faiths and evaluated their deficencies and through 
his "Naanmukhan ThiruvandhAthi Prabhnadham " revealed that
Sriman NaarAyaNan alone is the Para Dhaivam ( Supreme Being)
fit for upAsanai and SaraNAgathi as per the teachings 
of timeless Vedams. He also established that Sriman NaarAyaNan
is the quintessence of Vedaarthams.He blessed us with
Thirucchandha viruttham containing 120 passurams and 
through that Prabhandham established that all the chEthanams
and achEthanams of the universe serve as sarIram for the Lord.
Swamy Desikan prayed to MazhisaippirAn to bless him 
with the power to recite his two Prabhandhams and
comprehend fully their true meanings.

Thiruvarangatthu AmudanAr's Tribute
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AmudanAr states that AchArya RaamAnujA holds firmly
the sacred feet of Thirumazhisai in his heart because
of the AzhwAr's universal fame arising from his 
upadesam about VishNu Paaramyam ( Supermacy of
Sriamn NaarAyanan among all gods ) through his 
visEsha Svaroopa Jn~Anam.Thirumazhisai AzhwAr is saluted
as the One , who never put back his sword in its sheath , 
when it came to the subject of Para Tatthva NirNayam
(Sriman NaarAyaNa's status as the ParamAthmA).

Naanmukhan ThiruvandhAthi
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It has 96 paasurams containing commentaries on core Vaishnavite 
doctrines.The essence of this Prabhandham is about the highest
bliss of God realization through the path of Surrender
to the Highest Being (Sriman NaarAyaNan ) alone ;
AzhwAr reveals to us that The Lord of Sri Devi is 
the ultimate cause and is "capable of sublimating 
the humans , even as He stated in His GitA that all
(other ) tastes are discarded , when the Ultimate (Para)
is seen and experienced ( param dhrushtvA nivarthatE). 
AzhwAr himself states in his first paasuram that 
" Lord NaarAyaNa is the primordial creator " and
that we should contemplate on this tatthvam , remember
it without fail and act on it.

Illustrative Paasurams of Naanmukhan ThiruvandhAthi
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Dr.V.N.Vedanthadesikan explains With the help of PramANams 
like , "DhivyO Deva yEko NaarAyaNa: , yEka yEva JanArdhana: ,
yEkO ha yEva NaarAyaNa aaseeth , na BrahmA  nEsAanaha " , 
AzhwAr proves that Lord NaarAyaNa is the Jagath KaaraNan and 
the primordial creator.AzhwAr goes on to develop 
for the first time the VyUhA theory of PaancharAthra
Aagamam in dhivya Prab. He takes on all the followers of Veda-Baahya
mathams as well as the atheistic mImAmsa and refutes
firmly their doctrines as unsound and untenable. He
performs upadesam to the mImAmsakAs that Lord is
the ordainer of all fruits and the granter of 
the results of all actions in His role as karmAdhyakshan
(paasuram 2: yetthavam cheythArkkum aruL mudivathu
AazhiyAn paal)).

In the fourth paasuram, AzhwAr points out that 
Sriman NaarAyaNan is the "Sarva-Vaachaka sabdha"
svarUpi. Every word and name in the final analysis
connotes Him only. AzhwAr recognizes the nearness
(saamIpya) of the Lord to us in our struggles and
points out that it is " only through His grace , 
not by our works  or intellect or by our charity 
that we attain Him ".

In the seventh paasuram, AzhwAr has an intimate conversation
with Sriman Naarayana and confides: "Oh Lord Naarayana ! 
You are my Lord and Master . I am Your vassal and servant .
This relationship is  unconditioned and unbreakable. Your
grace is to flow towards me , surely and certainly , whether 
be it today  or tomorrow or after some time , however long
it might be. This is well nigh certain. Because You can not 
exist without me (You calling Yourself , the Lord and Master)
and I can not have an existence without You ( I being known
as Your vassal and servant) . What a wonderfful relationship
that binds us !"( Dr.V.N.Vedantha Desikan ). 

In the 12th paasuram , AzhwAr performs upadEsam to us and says that 
every one of our limbs should be devoted to serving Him in utter 
humility ( jihvE keeerthya Kesavam slOkam of Mukundha Maalai).
AzhwAr reminds us that Sriman Naarayanan is the true siddhOpAyam
with the power to grant us Moksham ( Paasuram 13).He chastises us 
for sinking deep into misery by not reciting His names (Paasuram 14).
Sarva VyApakathvam of Sriman Naarayana is saluted by Azhwar 
in his 20th paasuram ( Ulahu yellAm neeyE , ninnaruLE 
niRpanavum , neeyE tavatthEva dEvanum).

Azhwar has equal affection for Vibhava avathArams of the Lord 
as well as ArchaavathArams. He has a special affection for
Bhaktha Vathsala Narasimhan ( AzhahiyAn taanE Ariuruvan taanE 
PazhahiyAn taanE paNimin)and Prapanna SamrakshaNa-dhIkshitha
Raaman , Nappinnai paramAnandhan ,KrishNan. He is totally 
enchanted by ThiruvEnkatamudayAn (veRppenRu Venkatam paadinEn,
veeDAkki ninRu ninaikkinREn/Paasuram 40  )and RanganAthan 
(Paasuram 60).He had special affection for the ArchA moorhtys in
Sayana ThirukkOlam ( AarAvamudhan, YathOkthakAri, Kapisthalam ,
ThiruvevvuL , Anbil and ThiruppARkkadal : NaahatthaNai Kudanthai--
Paasuram 36 ).In his 63rd Paasuram, AzhwAr describes how 
he spends his time on the Lord's earth (LeelA VibhUthi):
"Oh Lord ! I sustain my life by activities , namely ,of learning 
about You, writing about You , reading Your dhivya charithram ,
prostrating before You , performing Thiru AarAdhanam for You 
and engaging in all types of Kaimkaryams to You. Indeed my
life is sustained  only because of such an engaging mode 
of existence"(Dr.V.N.VedAntha Desikan).

In the 85th paasuram , AzhwAr confirms that his job 
in this life is to chant the Lord's sacred naamams 
and that activity is his recreation as well.In his magnificent 
85th paasuram ( uLan kaNdAi nannenjE) , AzhwAr describes 
himself as an upAya Soonyan ( indigent and unqualified for 
the Lord's grace through appropriate anushtAnam )and 
yet the Lord rushes to his rescue out of His limitless
DayA gunam ( TamiyERkku yen oppArkku tAnnAi uLan kaNN).

In yet another paasuram ( paasuram 72)distilling 
the essence of Lord's charama slOkam of Bhagavath Geethai ,
AzhwAr performs this upadesam for us: "  It is not correct to
assume that either the dharmAs of the four Asramams 
(Brahmacharyam et al)or the different paths (Karma , Bhakthi
and Jn~Ana yOgams) themselves serve as means for Moksham.
No action , no penance ,no atonement by itself can yield
the fruit of Moksham. All is NaarAyaNa , all is dependent
on His grace and His will to grant ,"Whomever He chooses ,
Whomever He likes , he or she will attain the Lord. Will
anybody refuse this Tatthvam ? No. Emphatically , I say, He 
is the Supreme UpAyam.This is the essence of the Lord's
charama slOkam (NaraNanE eethu aavathu yenRu).

In a moving summation of Naanmukhan ThiruvandhAthi , 
Thirumazhisai reminds the Lord that he will never
ever forget His RakshaNam ( Kaapu maranthu aRiyEn:
Paasuram 93) and concludes this prabhandham on 
a majestic note distilling the essence of Sri VaishNva
doctrines:

iniaRinthEn IsaRkkum NaanmuhaRkkum dhaivam
iniaRinthEnem PerumAn unnai -iniaRinthEn
KAARANAM NEE KARRAVAI NEE KARPAVAI NEE , NARRKKIRISAI
NAARANAN NEE NANKARINTHEN NAAN --Paasuram 96

(meaning according to Dr.VedAntha Desikan ): Oh My Lord!
What have I learnt ! I have learnt that You are the Lord to
Siva and Brahma and the like. I have correctly comprehended
Your innate nature. I have learnt also that You are 
the cause of all things; that You are the subject of
all learning , that You are going to be the subject matter
of all future knowledge as well. That is a, things learnt 
or to be learnt are all out of You and depend on You. All
good acts constitute You (This is unlike what pertains 
to other gods). Thus by acquiring the wisdom on all fronts,
I have become fully fit to speak of as 'my self' (only
knowledge would signify the soul). Thus , I have acquired all 
the knowledge that should mark one in at the stage of Mukthi 
endowed with Jn~Ana VikAsam (blossoming of true Jn~Anam).

(To be continued)

Thirucchandha Viruttham
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