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From: sadagopan iyengar (
Date: Sun Dec 30 2001 - 21:21:08 PST

Srimate SrivanSatakopa Sri Vedanta Desika Yatindra
Mahadesikaya Nama:


Having dealt with ears of service, Sri
Kulasekharazhwar looks at how one’s eyes might be put
to use in the cause of the Lord.
“JihvE keertaya Kesavam , Mura ripum chEtO bhaja
  Sridharam pANi dvandva samarchaya
  Achutha kathA shrOtra dvaya tvam shruNu
  Krishnam lOkaya lOchana dvaya”
“Oh my Eyes! Drink in the glorious form of Sri
Krishna” urges Azhwar.
“SarvEndriyANAm nayanam pradhAnam” says the adage,
giving pride of place to the eyes among the sensory
organs. Hence the kainkaryam performed by the eyes
must occupy a very important place. Unlike the hands,
eyes have a limited function to perform, viz., seeing.
All our lives, we keep seeing things good and bad,
reading books of all kinds. What Azhwar would like us
to do is to keep the Lord’s beautiful form (as found
in various temples, constituting the archAvatArA)
constantly before our eyes.
The nitya sooris in Sri Vaikuntam are our role model
for this, as  we are told that they do not take their
eyes off the Paramapadanatan’s magnificent
tirumEni-“tad VishNO: paramam padam sadA pasyanti
sooraya:” says the Veda.
The Lord’s beauty is such that the beholder would not
even like to blink, for fear of losing that moment’s
anubhavam. So much so that Silappadhikaram denounces
those who are able to blink, while witnessing
Emperuman’s resplendence-
“kaN imaitthu kANbAr tam kAn enna kaNNE”. 
Azhwars’ eyes have an insatiable desire to drink in
the Lord’s soundaryam in its entirety, though they
realise the impossibility of the mission- “kAn kAn ena
virumbum kaNgaL” 
“mei koLLa kANa virumbum en kaNgaLE” say the Azhwars.
The first two of the Mudal Azhwars light up luminous
lamps of different hues, in the light of which Sri
Peyazhwar’s eyes witness the magnificent spectacle of
the Paramapurusha, who crowded into the small space
where the three bhagavatas had sought refuge on that
rainy night.
“Thiru kaNdEn, ponmEni kandEn, tigazhum
  arukkan aNi niramum kandEn-serukkiLarum
  Pon Azhi kandEn Puri Sankham kai kandEn
  En Azhi vaNNan pAl indru” 
First and foremost, and very significantly, Azhwar’s
eyes alight on Piratti, shining on the Lord’s chest,
and adding to His splendour. Next he sees the Lord’s
golden form, the Sudarsana Chakram and PanchajanyA,
adorning Emperuman’s hands.
Such is the Lord’s magnificence that eyes that do not
make it their business to keep Him in sight constantly
are not eyes at all, but mere holes in the face. Says
Sri Kalian,
“neeL nAgam chutri varai nattu-Azh kadalai
  pENAn kadaindu amudam kondu uganda pemmAnai
  pooNAra mArvanai puLLoorum ponmalayai
  kAnAdAr kaN endrum kaN alla kaNdAmE”.
The idea is reiterated in the Aicchiar
Kuravai-“kariavanai kANAda kaN enna KaNNE”.
Swami Desikan prays Sri Varadaraja to give him the
status of nitya sooris on this earth itself, by
craving unblinking eyes with which to drink in the
beauty of the Lord without a second’s break. 
“anudinam animEshai: lochanai: nirvisEyam” says he in
the Sri Varadaraja Panchasat.

“Gaccha anghri yugma (HarE:) Alayam” says Sri
Kulasekharazhwar in the next line of the Mukunda mala
slokam, laying down the kainkaryam for the lower
One might wonder as to what possible service could be
performed by legs, of all organs. Despite their rather
lowly position, legs are indispensable in any bhagavat
kainkaryam, for it is they who take us to the place of
service, and principally to the Lord’s temples. It is
only the old and infirm, and particularly those
crippled by arthritis, who can appreciate fully the
valuable role legs play. While visiting divya desas
like Sri Ahobilam or Sri ChOla Simha Puram located on
steep hills, the real value of healthy legs and the
kainkaryam they are capable of, are brought home to us
vividly. We really have to appreciate the bhAgavatas
who travel from Chennai to Tirumala on foot every
year. And more than them, our hearts go out to the
Azhwars and Acharyas who traversed the whole of India
on foot, for mangalasasanam of Emperumans at various
far-flung divyadesams, braving the most hostile of
climes and environs. And of all the Azhwars, the most
prolific foot-traveller appears to have been Sri
Tirumangai Mannan, who has notched up an unbeatable
tally of divyadesa mangalasasanam, covering  (then)
practically inaccessible places like Sri Salagramam,
Sri Badarikashramam, Sri Ahobilam, etc. Incidentally,
the least-travelled, by foot or otherwise, appears to
be Sri Nammazhwar, who visited not a single
divyadesam, but to whom all Emperumans came running,
beseeching him to sing a song on themselves.  

Turning to the next line of the sloka, we find Sri
Kulasekhara Perumal exhorting the nose to inhale the
fragrance of the sacred Tulasi leaves adorning the
Lord’s tiruvadi. Though TiruttuzhAi is by nature
pleasant-smelling, association with Emperuman’s feet
enhances its fragrance. After all, Emperuman is
reputed to be “sarva gandha:” or the repository of all
fragrance. Further, the Lord’s feet are reputed to
secrete honey-“VishnO: padE paramE madhva utsa:”says
the Veda, and Sri Alavandar too speaks of “tava amrita
syandini pAda pankajE”. Thus, the  fragrant Tulasi
adorning the honey-sweet tiruvadi of the Lord makes
for a heady mixture, which is capable of transporting
one straight away to Sri Vaikuntam.
 The Lord has an insatiable desire to adorn Himself
all over with TiruttuzhAi, which impresses Sri
“TOLiNai mElum nan mArbin mElum sudar mudi mElum
  TALiNai melum punainda taN am tuzhAi udai ammAn
  KEl iNai ondrum ilAdAn”
Emperuman appears to be a veritable Tulasi shop, with
TiruttuzhAi draped all over His arms and shoulders,
His broad chest which is the dwelling of PirAtti, His
tall and glittering crown and on His feet which are
the refuge of the entire world. No wonder that Tulasi
is venerated as “sadA Kesava priyA”, as she is very
dear to the Lord. In the aforesaid pasuram, Emperuman
is acclaimed as without equals (iNai ondrum ilAdAn),
which He perhaps owes to TiruttuzhAi, for no other
deity has the privilege of being worshipped with the
leaves of the sacred Tulasi.
 Being a connoisseur, Sri Kulasekhara Perumal wants
his olfactory nerves to be regaled by the inhalation
of TiruttuzhAi from the Lord’s feet.

To wind up the sloka, Sri Kulasekharazhwar prescribes
the kainkaryam that the head can perform-“Moordhan!
nama AdhOkshajam”. The head is thus exhorted to bow
before the Lord. Being the principal among the angAs
(it is known as the “uttama angam”), the head is given
the important assignment of paying obeisance to
Another Azhwar warns of what happens to those whose
heads do not bow before the Almighty-
“VaratthAl vali ninaindu MAdhava nin pAdam
   SiratthAl vaNangAnAm endrE –uratthinAl 
  EerariAi nEr valiyOnAya iraNiyanai
  Or ariyAi nee idandadu oon. »
  Drunk with the boons of invincibility that he had
been able to obtain from an inconsiderate BrahmA,
HiranyAsura considered himself supreme, refused to bow
down to Sriman Narayana, and held his head aloft with
ahamkArA. As a result, he was torn to pieces by Sri
Nrsimha, all his invincibility vanishing before the
Omnipotent Narakesari. 

The Mukunda Mala is full of gems similar to the sloka
expounded so far, and each would require at least as
many postings as this sloka has taken. However, having
no desire to indulge in bhAgavatApachArA by testing
readers’ patience beyond limits, adiyen would like to
conclude here, with a pasuram from Sri Nanmukhan
Tiruvandadi, which echoes the spirit of the Mukunda
Mala sloka-
 “VAzhttuga VAi, kANga kaN kEtka sevi-makutam
   tAzhtthi vaNangumingaL taN malarAl-soozhttha
 tuzhAi mannu neeN mudi em tollai MAl tannai
vazhA vaN kai kooppi maditthu »-  Sri Tirumazhisai

Another Azhwar summarises the kainkaryas we can
perform during our life in this mudane world-
“VAsitthum kEttum vaNangi vazhipattum
  poositthum pOkkinEn pOdu”.

Srimate Sri LakshmiNrsimha divya paduka sevaka
SrivanSatakopa Sri Narayana Yatindra Mahadesikaya Nama

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