You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : February 1999

Sri Sampath Rengarajan's MahOpakAram : ThiruppAvai First Paasuram

From: Sadagopan (sgopan_at_computer.net)
Date: Sun Feb 14 1999 - 18:20:22 PST

Sreemathyai VishNuchitthArya manOnandana hEthavE
nandha nanadhana Sundaryai GodhAyai Nithya mangalam 

Dear BhagavathAs :

In the splendid Tamil poem quoted at the end of
this posting  , Sri Rengarajan has distilled 
the essence of his mood brimming with 
Bhagavadhanubhava-Janitha-preethikaaritha-
kaimkaryam (viz)., Thiruppavai VyAkhyAnam .

It has been a delectable experience to read 
and enjoy his sixty plus postings on the mighty 
First paasuram of ThiruppAvai housing cardinal 
VaishNavaa dictrines such as saraNAgathi,
Sesha-Seshi relationship , Kaimkarya purushArtham ,
artha-panchakam and Rahasya thrayam . 

It has been my bhAgyam to write about ThiruppAvai 
as the essence of Artha panchakam (Bhakthi Archives 
postings from Dec 26,1996 to Jnauary 7,1997).

The First Paasuram of ThiruppAvai is indeed the essence of 
Artha panchakam doctrines ( the pentad of ParamAthma SvarUpam , 
JeevAthma svarUpam , UpAya svarUpam , Phala svarUpam and 
virOdhi svarUpam ) summarized by Swami Desikan
in the Fourth chapter of Srimadh Rahasya Thrya Saaram .

Sriman RengarAjan 's cogent and clear postings on
the first paasuram brought into focus these deep concepts
associated with artha panchakam as taught by ANDAL
as the amsa bhUthai of BhUmi Devi. Sri Rengarajan's
Bhakthi for Sri Bhumi Devi , the consort of 
Sri VaikuntanAthan at ThiruviNNagar has blessed 
him to reflect on and share with us his deep insights 
in saraLamaana bhAshai (stream of consciousness narration). 

Sri Rengarajan 's postings on the first Thiruppavai
verse stand out for number of reasons . They 
form the dhavani and the echo of the nava vidha 
sambhandhams that the ParamAthmA has with the JeevAthmaa:

(1) Father/pitA (2)Protector/Rakshakan (3)Master/Seshi
(4)Husband/BharthA (5)Goal/Gathi (6)Owner/Swami 
(7)Supporter/AadhAraa (8)Inner Self/antharAathman and
(9)Enjoyer /BhokthA of Jeevathman .

These multi-facted anubhavam of Sri Rengarajan 
for the first ThiruppAvai verse appears like a 
frame work for his future postings on the subsequent
Paasurams and hence , it is useful to summarize these 
aspects that stand out. They are :

(1) Clear language (2) unassuming style (3) neat format
(4) small dosages per day (4) thematic coherence across the postings
(5)quotations of pertinent pramANams (6) salutation to AchAryas , who
have written earlier commentaries (7)deep research (8)Logical
analyis of passages (9)provision of simple meanings for
each word of the paasuram (10)Erudite understanding 
of Tamil grammar (11) Focus on the Etymology of the words 
chosen by ANDAL in Her Sangha Tamizh work , ThiruppAvai 
(12) Inner meanings of word and passages (13)unusual insights 
that fit in with the commentaries of purvAchAryAs
(14)emotional involvement with the narrative 
(15)Timing of the writing during Brahma muhUrtham
(16)The unmistakable aanandham in writing about 
the chosen topic that is sacred to Sri VaishNavAs 
(17)kootu VazhipAttu uNarcchi and (18)deep understanding
of SaraNAgathi percepts and Seshathva Jn~Anam . 

These 18 interrelated aspects stand out as the Dhvani(Vaak)
and prathi-dhvani (echo) of the nava vidha sambhandham 
( uRavu) that I referred to earlier that our Lord 
has with the JeevAthmAs .

The first paasuram is very important since
ANDAL describes at the very outset , the nature of 
PurushArtham (the goal to be attained ) and UpAyam ( the means
to attain the goal )right at the outset.The purport of 
the key words like " NeerAttam " and " paRai" 
as well as the cardinal passage like " NaarayaNanE 
namakkE PaRai TharuvAn " of the Fiirst Paasuram 
have been handled by Sri rengarAjan with great 
depth of svAnubhavam .

Our inalienable kinship ( Ozhikka OzhiyAtha 
uRavu ) with the Lord and the prayer for 
the realization of the bliss of eternal communion 
(nithya kaimkaryam ) for Him are the central messages of
ANDAL in ThiruppAvai.This is indeed the unified message of 
the mighty stream of traditional intrepretations of purvAchAryAs .
These intrepretations are based on the doctrines established by
the Karma and Jn~Ana KhANdam sections of the VedAs .
If Karma KhANdam (Poorva MImAmsam ) focussed on 
the sEsha , the Jn~Ana khANdam ( Uttara mImAmsam )
dwelled on the sarva Seshin ( Sriman NaarAyaNA ).
The uRavu is sEshathvam , a concept that is developed
in many upanishads of Jn~Ana KhANdam .

The NaarayaNa Valli section of the TaittirIya Upanishd 
specifically salutes the way of performing Prapatthi 
to the Lord united with BhUmi Devi (amsa bhUthai of 
Sri Devi) with the full awareness by the Jeevan that
it is the sEsha bhUthan of the Jagath KaaraNa , 
Samastha kalyANa guNAthmaka , sarva VyApaka ,
Moksha Prathathva  , apramEya Sriman NaarAyaNan 
this way :

upAyamagruhIthOsi brahmaNaithvA mahasa 
OmithyAthmAnam yunjItha 

The Sangha Tamizh compositions ( ParipAdals et al )
followed the doctrine of VishNu parathvam established
by the VedAs . ANDAL in Her Sangha Tamizh prabhandham 
known for its Bridal mysticism celebrated Her Lord's
Parathvam and sought kaimkarya purushArtham form Him 
to show us the way . Her sangha Tamizh is considered 
the seed of the VedAs ( vedam anaitthukkum vitthAhum 
Godhai Tamizh ). That is why the VedAs salute ANDAL
as amsa bhUthai of Bhumi dEvi ( mahIm dEvIm 
VishNu pathnIm ajUyeem: Goddess BhUmi Devi
is the spouse of VishNu and ever young ).That is why
the VedAs recommend " iyam OmithyAthmAnam yunjItha " .
The Iyam here stands for BhUmi Devi , the consort of 
Veda PrathipAdhyan , Sriman NaarAyaNan because 
of Her purushakArathvam .

If the divya Prabhandhams are to viewed as Tamizh
MaRais ( Tamil Vedams ) , then ThiruppAvai is considered 
as the Upanishad . That is why , ThiruppAvai is called
the GodhOpanishad in the same spirit of Sri ParthasArathi's
GithOpanishad . GeethAchAryan needed 700 verses to
instruct ArjunA ; Godhai used 30 verses to give us 
the UpadEsam . In all these thirty verses , the First 
verse ( Maargazhi ThingaL--) is one of the two paasurams
that provide the essence of GithOpanishad , which itself
is Veda Saaram . 

Sri RengarAjan has started auspiciously to excute this 
Kaimkaryam and is performing MahOpakarAm to all of
us by reminding us to delve deeper into the aanandhAnubhavam
of neerAttam ( Bhagavadhanubhavam ) and paRai ( Kaimkarya
purushArtham ) .

It is my prayer to Sri BhUmi Devi SamEtha Sri Oppiliappan
to continue to bless Sri RengarAjan to complete this
kiamkaryam and accept it .

ANDAL ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam ,
Oppiliappan Koil VaradachAri Sadagopan 

Attachment : Sri Rengarajan's TamiL poem Sections : 

>       "kanavum kooda kavithaiyAgi 
>          pugazhai pAda kaNdEn. 
>        sinthanai ennum thEr ERi 
>          thirup pAvai ennum pAr 
>        suRRi uLA vanthEn
>          kaigaLai neetti vAnatthai
>        theeNdumAp pOl muthaRpAttu.
>           kaNNanum kaNdAn ippAdu   
>	
>        kadalin Oratthil Oru 
>            kai neer edutthu 
>        Azham kAnthal uNdO ?
>           irunthum Azh kadalum 
>        thAngi niRkum boomiyin 
>           Azham ARivAr yAro?     
>        en boomith thAy padaippin
>           Azham kadalinum kadithanathaRO ?
>
(Meaning): My dream also delivered a poem on the fame  of   this
>literature. I started of with a chariot known as my  anubavam
>and began to roam around this world known as thirup pAvai.  I 
>felt as if I stretched my hands to touch and tease the sky in 
>this first pAsuram. Even Lord Sri Krishna must have also felt
>the same on gOdhai's love on HIM. I stood on  the  shores  of 
>the deep sea and took a handful  of  water  and  attempted to 
>study  the  depth of this ocean. Even  if  I may be succesful 
>in finding it, this great deep  ocean is supported on her lap 
>by the earth boomi and who will know the depth of this boomi? 
>My  mother  booma  deVith  thAyAr  created this aboorva kadal 
>thiru pAvAi and  the depth of this  thirup   pAvai  ocean  is  
>deeper than her own sister the deep ocean and it is very hard  
>to  determine  the deep meanings of this ocean.