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From: M Srinivasan (m_srinivasan_at_qmgate.anl.gov)
Date: Wed Feb 12 1997 - 06:48:31 PST
Vaarttai 184 of Vaarttaamaalai Some of the foremost SreevaishNavaas (`mudhaligaL') asked Aazhvaan (Kooresa or Koorattaazhvaan), "Between Emperumaanaar (Bhagavad Ramanuja) and AaLavandhaar (Yaamunaachaarya) who has the higher distinction?" After deliberating for a whole night, Aazhvaan replied (aruLich cheythaar), "Between PerumaaL and Periya Piraattiyaar who has the higher distinction? PerumaaL said, `na tyajeyam (won't abandon)`; Piraatti said, `na kascin naaparaadhyati (there is no one who has not committed some offense) '. This is the distinction between the two." Sri Puttur Swami's explanation, freely translated: PerumaaL said, "I will not abandon the one who came as a friend" (Ramayana, Yuddha KaaNda, 18-3, in reference to VibheeshaNapperumaaL). Piraatti said "There is no one in this world who has not committed some offense" (Ramayana, Yuddha KaaNda, 116-44, interceding with SiRiya Thiruvadi not to punish the Raakshasa women who gave so much trouble to Piraatti in Asokavanam). Although PerumaaL has the higher distinction of Supreme Godhead (parabrahmatvam), Piraatti stands even higher on account of such qualities as exceeding compassion (karuNaa) etc. Similarly, although AaLavandhaar has the higher distinction because he is praachaarya to Emperumaanaar and because Emperumaanaar obtained salvation (`uyvu`) due to AaLavandhaar's grace (kataaksham), the merciful-like-the-rain-cloud Emperumaanaar (kaarey karuNai Iraamaanusar) , who said "O noble ones! Reveal to every one that desires to know," stands even higher because of his entirely compassionate and gracious nature (`kripaamaatra prasannaachaaryatvam').