You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : February 1996

Thirunedumthandaakam& Parasara Bhattar

From: V. Sadagopan (75041.3037_at_compuserve.com)
Date: Sat Feb 03 1996 - 08:19:55 PST

Dear Members of the Prapatti Group:

I will summarize the high points of Thirunedumthaandakam(TNT)
in this post and comment on the Special significance of
this work from Parasara Bhattar"s point of view. Sri Partha
of Rice Univeristy had  asked about Parasara Bhattar"s 
commentary (Bhagavad Guna Darpana) on Sri Vishnu 
Sahasranaamam at the same time. It was just a strange 
coincidence . I thought that it will be useful to summarize the 
life and works of Parasara Bhattar, the precocious son of 
Kuratthazhwar, the disciple of Sri Ramanuja. For Parasara Bhattar, 
Sri Ranganatha  , Sri Ranganayaki, Vishnu Sahasra Namam,
4000 Divya Prabhandam in general and Thirumangai"s TNT 
in particular were the guiding compass..I will confine my comments
on Bhattar here as it relates to TNT.

As indicated earlier, he defeated an Advaitic Scholar at Melkote
by using TNT as the basis for discussion and converted him to
Visishtadvaitam . He  accepted latter as his prime disciple and gave 
him the name of Namjeeyar. Bhattar returned to Srirangam with
Namjeeyar and visited Sri Ranganatha at his sanctum sanctorium. 
He had the good fortune of conversing with the Lord of Srirangam
like Thirukkacchi Nambi could speak with Sri Varadaraja. Both 
Rangantha and Varadaraja broke their Archa Silence to speak
to their special devotees . Bhattar told the Lord  
as to what happened at Melkote and how he used TNT to
defeat the Advaita Vedantin in a scholastic debate. Sri Ranganatha 
asked Bhattar to repeat the winning arguments. The Lord was very 
pleased with Bhattar's defense  and blessed him. This event is 
celebrated even today at Srirangam on the eve of Adhyayana
Utsavam by the Arayar,Who  enacts the incident at Melkote
before Sri Ranganatha .This festival at Srirangam  is known as
Thirunedumthaandakam. 

Guru Parampara states  that the Divya Dampathis of Srirangam
adopted Parasara Bhattar as their son. The name of Parasara 
was given by Sri Ranganatha Himself. Parasara is the author of
Vishnu Puranam and the father of Veda Vyasa.
 Kuratthazhwar had named
his son Ranganatha and the name given 
by the Lord (Parasara ) stuck over time. Since this  Parasara was the 
Purohita for the Divya Dampathis, he  was also  known as Sri Rangesa
Purohita  or Parasara Bhattar. His lineal descendants are known as 
Veda Vyasa Bhattar and Parasara Bhattar even today. One of the Veda 
Vyasa Bhattar was officiating as a priest at the Malibu temple few years
ago. Parasara Bhattar 's connection has extended thus to USA .

***Thirunedumthaandakam : This sublime work of Thirumangai has 
30 verses. It is known as the Vedantha Sastram.It starts off with the
description of Tattva, Hita and Purushaartha and continues with
the celebration of  the five forms of the Lord described
in Paancharatra Agama. 

These Five Aagamic  forms referred to in the many verses of
TNT by the Azhwaar are:

(A) PARA: This  is the form of the Lord in Sri Vaikuntam enjoyed by the 
Muktas and Nityasuris.

(B) VYUHA : These are four in number. Vasudeva, Sankarshana ,
Pradyumna and Aniruddha. Vyuha Vasudeva is the form of the Lord 
resting as Lakshmi Narayana in Milky ocean on the bed of Adisesha.
There is no difference between Para and Vasudeva Vyuhas.
He is considered to possess all the Six Gunas such as Jnana , Bala,
Veerya,Iswarya , Tejas et al in Para Vyuha.

Sankarshana is concerned with destruction and the preparation for 
Sastras. He has Jnana and  Bala among the six Gunas.

Pradhyumna is concerned with creation and the 
establishment of Dharma.He has Iswarya and Veerya gunaas.

Aniruddha is associated with protection
and the teaching of the divine principles.
He has  sakti and Tejas , the two of the six gunas.

B.1 UPAVYUHAAS

There are twelve Upavyuha forms of the Lord beginning
with Kesava et al. Our body is constituted by Prakriti ,
which also forms the body of the Lord. Thus our body has the 
links to the Lord's body in this aspect of Prakriti sambhandham.
The Upavyuha forms of the Lord reside in the various part of 
our bodies and we wear the ThirumaN to remember and celebrate 
that aspect of Upavyuham.  The Upavyuha forms of the Lord, the 
name of His Consorts in that form and their locations in the limbs of
the body are summarized below :

B.1.1. Forehead: Om Kesavaya Nama:- Om Sriyai Nama:
B.1.2.Lower Abdomen (Middle portion):
Om NaarayaNaya nama:- Om Amrutothbhavayai Nama:
B.1.3.Chest: Om MadhavAya Nama: -Om KamalAyai Nama:
B.1.4.Front Neck (Middle):
Om GovindhAya Nama: -Om Chandra Sobhinyai Nama:
B.1.5.Lower Abdomen (Right):
Om Vishnaveh Nama:- Om HarivalabhAyai Nama:
B.1.6.Right Arm:Om Madhusudanya Nama:-Om Vishnupatnyai Nama:
B.1.7.Neck(Right side):
Om TrivikramAya Nama: -Om Vaishnavyai Nama:
B.1.8.Lower Abdomen(Left);
Om VamanAya Nama:- Om VarArohAyai Nama:
B.1.9.Left Arm:Om SridharAya Nama;-Om Sarnginyai Nama:
B.1.10.Back(lower Spine):
Om PadmanabhAya nama:-Om Mahalakshmyai Nama;
B.1.11. Back(Upper Spine);
Om DamodharAya Nama:-Om Sura Sundaryai Nama:
B.1.12. Top of the Head:
Om VAsudevAya nama:-Om SarvAbhista PalapradhAyai Nama:
  
(C) VIBHAVA : The ten Avataras are known as Vibhava. Some are
sampoorna Avatharas, others are partial avatharas. By some 
counts, the Vibhava avatharas have been extended to a count of
thirty nine.They cover  from Sthaavara, Jangama to Maanusha . 

(D) ANTARYAAMI FORM : This is the form of the Lord , which resides in 
every individual and living being of the Universe. This covers both 
Achit and Chit including Devas, Human beings , birds, beasts ,
insects et al. This form is also known as Harda , since the Yogis
realize Him in their hearts.

(E) ARCHAA FORM : These are the consecrated murthys  of the Lord
celebrated by the Azhwars at the 106 Divya Desams and other
Archa Murthys at Abhimana Sthalam and elsewhere. The Archa 
form can be grouped uder the four categories:

E.1 SWAYAMVYAKTA  FORMS :
 
( Saligramam, Triupathi Srinivasa, Sri Ranganatha, Badri Narayana,
Thirunarayana  of Melkote, Srimushnam Bhoovaraghavan, Puri 
Jagannath et al ).
     
E.2 DAIVAA ARCHA FORMS : Installation of the Archa Murthy by the Devas
as in the case of Guruvayurappan comes under this category.

E.3 AARSHAA : Installation of the Archa Murthy by Rishis is covered here.
Thiruvinnagar, Thiruvahindrapuram , Thirukkudanthai come under this 
category, since the Lord  accepted to take permanent residence 
at the request of a Rishi like Maarkandeya, Hema ,Matanga et al. .
 
E.4  MAANUSHAA : Here, the idols are consecrated by men according to
Aagama Sastras.

After covering the Tatva, Hita , Purusharthas , Para, Vyuha, Vibhava,
Antaryami and Archa forms of the Lord in the first ten verses of TNT,
Thirumangai goes on to declare his Seshatvam to the Lord of
many forms through Nayaka-Nayikaa Bhavam in the remaining
twenty verses . He becomes Parakala Nayaki and expresses
his Apeksha(Desire) to the Lord . He says: " MInnum Maamazhai
Tavazhum Megavanna, Vinnavar tam Perumaaneh! AruLaai ." 
What he seeks as boon is the Rakshakatvam of the Lord. Thus
the mood of the verses of TNT is an extension of the mood of TKT.
Thus the two AruLiccheyals of the Azhwaar are thematically intertwined.

The  individual verses of TNT focus on  the follwing themes :

A. Thirumangai's own statements on Tattvas/Hita/Purushartham
(verses 1to 10).

B. Verse 11-20 : The describtion of the mother of Parakala Nayaki
about her daughter's distraught status as Nayikaa.

C.Verse 21-30: Thozhi's intervention asking for the reason for 
Parakala nayaki's anguish and Parakala Nayaki's reply.

A. Verses 1 to 10

Verse 1:Salutation to the Chit-Achit-Iswara principles of
Sri Visishtaadvaitam.
  
Verse 2:Srishti/Sthiti/Samharam duties of Trimurthys and the supermacy 
of Sriman Narayana over the duties of the Trimurthys and
the functions of Pancha Bhootham.

Verse 3: Para Vasudeva Rupam of the Lord with His consort and his different
colors in each of the Four YugAs.

Verse 4: Antaryami Roopam and Appeal to his  mind to survive 
through the recitation of Ashtakshara Mantram. Ceaseless 
rememberance of the Lord thru the recitation of His Maha Mantram
is pointed out for attaining Moksha Anugraham.

Verse 5:Celebration of Vibhavam and the choice of Trivikrama
Avathaaram as the first one for salutation inview of its Vedic connection.

Verse 6: Invitation to offer worship to the Archa Murthy
of Thirukkovilur, where Trivikrama form is consecrated.
Indirect salutation to the Mudal AazhwArs.

Verse 7: Continuation of Salutation to the Thirukkovilur 
Archaa Murthy.

Verse 8: Salutations to the Archa Murthys at Neeragam,
Thiruvenkatam , Nilaatthingal Thundam, Ooragam, 
Thiru Vehhaa , Kaaragam, Kaaarvaanam,Thirupper and Antaryami
Swaroopam . He states clearly that he seeks the Lord"s holy feet 
for protection and offers his Saranaagati.

Verse 9: Salutations to the Archaa Murthys of Thirukkadanmallai,
Kanchi Varadarajan, Thiruppernagar, Pavalavannan, Thiruppaarkadal
and reference to the Lord  housing Sankara on his left side of the Body. He 
asks the Lord: where are You? I am searching for You eveywhere.

Verse 10.Salutations to the Archa Murthy of Kerala Divya Desam,
Thirumoozhikkulam. Recognition of the pervasiveness of the Lord
in every direction and his Supermacy as the Mula Murthy .

B. Verses 11 to 20

11Azhwaar"s transformation into Parakala Nayaki and 
the lamentations of her mother over her daughter's overwrought 
status from the separation form her (Parakala Nayaki's) object
of intense desire,Viz., the Lord as her Nayaka.

Verse 12.Mother's description of her daughter's fixation with the
Archa Murthys of Thiru Aali and Srirangam. The mother's self-pity over
her status of having a daughter, whose behavior causes scandal in
her community .

Verse 13: Mother"s description of her daughter"s fixation over the 
Archa Murthys of Ooragam, Thiru Vehhaa, Rama And Krishna 
Avathaarams of Vibhava lore.

Verse 14: Mother's desription of her daughter"s focus on the 
Archa Murthys of Srirangam, ThiruttaNkA ,Thiruvehha, 
VilakkoLi PerumAl of ThiruttaNga Divya desam .

Verse 15.Mother"s description of her daughter"s obsession
with the Archa Murthys of Kacchi Varadarajan, Thirupparkadal
Lakshmi Naarayanan(Vyuha Vasudevan) and Therazhundur 
Aamuruvi Appan.

Verse 16.Mother's description of Para Kala Nayaki"s reflections
on Archa Murthys of Thiru Aayppadi(Krishna Avatharam), 
Kannapuram,Thiruvenkatam and Thirunaryur.

Verse 17:Mother"s description of the plight of her sorrowing 
daughter crying about her desire to join the Archa Murthys
of ThiruttaNkaal,Kudanthai,Kovalur and Thirunaryur.
 
Verse 18. Mother's description of Parakala Nayaki"s 
deep desire to go to Srirangam and Thiruneermalai to 
have a union with her Lord.

Verse 19: Mother"s description of her Daughter's Dhyanam
on the Archa Murthys of Srirangam, Thirupper, Kudanthai .
Parakala Nayaki"s Mother asking the mother of Parankusa
Nayaki(Nammazhwaar) whether her daughter is also 
causing such grief by not listening to her appeals.

Verse 20: Mother's conclusion of her lamentations about 
her daughter's status . Her worry whether she had committed
Bhagavathaapacharam by chiding her daughter. Her recognition of 
her own  glorious status through having a great Bhagavatha as her Child. 

C.Verses 21 to 30 and conclusion of the TNT

Verse 21: This is the verse that Parasara Bhattar used to bless
us with his grantham on TNT and to reveal to us the Nature of 
TNT as Vedanta Sastram. The celebration of the Lord"s beauty,
the Lord"s appearance before Parakala nayaki and her shudder
about her inadequacy to unite with Him as her husband.

Verse 22: Heightening of the Nayika Bhavam and loss of her
jewelery to the Lord and her conversations with her Lord .
His response to her query about how far the Lord"s temple is
through the statement that it is near and is at Thiru Aali.

Verse 23: Lord"s statement to Parakala Nayaki that Srirangam is 
the residence of you and me. His theft of Nayaki"s bangles and her 
color. Nayaki begging Him not to leave her.

Verse 24and 25 : The Nayaka declares that Srirangam is the Divya
Desam that I am heading for and disappears. Nayaki is left
behind and she laments over her separation .

Verse 26: Nayaki begs the Bee to go on a mission of mercy to 
Therazhundoor and asks it to convey her message of 
total love and surrender to  the Lord of that Divya Desam,
who is the cowherd of Krishnaavathaaram.

Verse 27: Nayaki is not successful with the bee to be her
messenger.She turns to the red footed Narai bird and  asks it to
undertake that  mission of mercy to  Thrukkannapuram. She
pleads with the Naarai to describe to her lord about her 
love for Him. She promises the bird that she will feed it
with all the food  it wants, if it were to agree to undertake the 
requested mission.

Verse 28 : Now, Parakala Nayaki turns to her Friend and 
describes her helpless state due to separation from her 
Lord .She remembers the times she was with him(Samslesahm)
and says that she will prefer the sorrow of Vislesham(separation) 
for fear of getting him and losing Him again.

Verse 29:Here, Parakala Nayaki thinks about the valor of the 
Archa Murthys enshrined at Thiruvinnagar and Thirukkudanthai
during their  Vibhava Avathaarams ( Rama and Krishna). She says
that her lowly self (Naayen ) will think of that Purushotthaman 
ceaselessly. Dhruva Smrithi as a way of attaining the blessing 
of the Lord is referred to here.

Verse 30: Thrumangai reminds the Lord here about her prayer
as His Nayaki for the boon of union with Him through  the
thirty  verses of Thirunedumthaandakam . He reveals to us that 
those who understand the meanings of the TNT verses as
a Vedantha Saastram will completely  cut asunder 
all their ancient, accumulated sins and attain Moksha Siddhi. 

In the magnificient verses of TNT, Thirumangai begs for the 
Raksha of the Lord with Maha Viswasam and hints that one 
has to ask for the protection and grace(Rakshaapekshaam
Prathikshatheh ). Such request for help 
and intervention would destroy all the  obstacles for reaching the 
highest purushaartham(Moksham )and land the 
requestors in the land of Sri Vaikuntam to enjoy the eternal 
bliss of Kainkaryam to  Sriya: Pathi. 

Thrumangai Aazhwaar Thiruvadigqaleh Saranam.

Oppiliappankoil Varadachari Sadagopan
. .