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From: sadagopan iyengar (
Date: Tue Jan 01 2002 - 02:37:02 PST

Srimate SrivanSatakopa Sri Vedanta Desika Yatindra
Mahadesikaya Nama:


Sri Kodai Nachiar pays a rare tribute to Sri Rama in
Sri Tiruppavai- She calls Him “Manatthukku iniyAn”, a
sobriquet She doesn’t use with regard to any other
avatArA, though several have been alluded to in
Tiruppavai. Trivikrama is mentioned with reverence as
“Ongi uLagaLanda Utthaman”, Sri Krishna is referred to
any number of times, Sri Balarama comes in for due
mention too, but none of them are described as “dear
to the heart” as is Sri Raghava. Adopting the “nahi
nindA” nyAyA, shall we attempt to fathom Sri Andal’s
tiruvuLLam in the matter? In a prabandam devoted to
Sri Krishnavatara, why does She hold Sri Rama, rather
than the Yadukula Tilakam, as dear to Her heart?

First and foremost, it must have been a question of
Honesty. An honest person endears himself to us much
more than one who is not. When we think of Sri Rama,
what comes to our mind immediately is the upright
figure, who would rather give His life, than speak
“RamO dvir nAbhi bhAshatE” says Sri Valmiki,
confirming the Prince’s penchant for adhering to His
word, irrespective of the travails they may land Him
Further, as He himself confirms, 
“anritam na ukta poorvam mE na cha vakshyE kadAchana”
(I have never told an untruth in the past, nor shall I
 ever do so).
In comparison, Sri Krishna emerges a professional
fibber, right from childhood. Having consumed all the
dairy products He could lay His hands on, He stoutly
denies having done so, even when caught red-handed. As
a much sought-after youth, He gives His word to one
gOpi to spend time with her, stands her up, and goes
with another, only to abandon her too midway for
favouring a third.  No wonder Sri Andal characterises
Him as “ElA poygaL uraippAn”(Master fabricator of
untenable lies). Thus, vis a vis the dishonest Sri
Krishna, Sri Rama’s honest ideals shine, making Him a
“manatthukku iniyAn”.

Secondly, Sri Rama was a paragon of virtues, and the
personification of “Dharma” or righteousness. Even His
sworn enemies admit this, as is proved by MarIchA’s
words, “RamO vigrahavAn dharma:” Nobody in their right
mind would ever accuse the Prince of Ayodhya of any
moral turpitude, however slight.  It is impossible not
to love such a person. In contrast, Sri Krishna is
admittedly described even by His staunch admirer Sri
Periazhwar as a 
 “dharmam ariyA kurumban” (a mischief-monger sans any
appreciation of rights and wrongs), and Sri Andal
herself adds, “puram pOl uLLum kariyAn”(black of heart
as of the body).

Thirdly, when it comes to a question of marital
fidelity, Sri Rama outshines Dwarakanatha. Prior to
marriage, we do not have any record of Sri Rama’s
emotional entanglements, and after wedlock, His
devotion to Sri Janaki is legendary, His grief at Her
separation intense enough to prompt Him to speak of
taking His own life.
  In this regard, the less we speak of Kannapiran the
better, for He goes on adding to His bevy of wives,
much to the chagrin of Sri Rugmini, Sri Sathyabhama,
Sri Radha, Sri Jambavati and countless others. In
astonishment, Sri Periazhwar exclaims, “padinArAm
Ayiravar dEvimAr paNi seyya veetrirunda maNavALar”.
Who would you consider endearing- one who lavishes all
of one’s love on a single woman, or a person with an
overflowing and ever- expanding harem?

A fourth reason for the sobriquet “manatthukkiniyAn”
must be Sri Rama’s unquestioned valour, which is ever
on display. His arrow is as straight as He is, and as
effective on His enemies. And the wars He fought were
all above-board, role models of “dharma yuddha”.
Sending back an un-armed, battle-weary Ravana to come
better prepared the next day, was indeed an act of
incomparable courage. He is thus the “tOlAda tani
veeran” sung by Swami Desikan. In contrast, Sri
Krishna earned the infamous name “RaN cchOd”
(deserter) when He strategically withdrew in the
battle against Jarasandha. And the wars that He fought
or presided over were full of subterfuges and
machinations and were anything but straightforward.

Fifthly, as far as appearances go, Sri Dasarathi was
infinitely handsome, and capable of stealing the
hearts and sights of not only women, but of men too-
(PumsAm drishti chittha apahAriNam). Even Sri
Periazhwar, that avowed votary of Sri Krishna,
reluctantly admits the superiority of Sri Rama’s looks
and His splendour resembling a thousand Suns shining
at their peak simultaneously-“Kadir Ayiram iravi
kalandu eritthAl ottha neeN mudian-ediril irAman”.
The words, “ediril iRaman”(the incomparable Rama) are
significant, for Sri Raghunatha was the perfectly
proportioned, virile male, as attested by Sri
Valmiki-“ Sama: sama vibhaktAnga: snigdha varNa:
pratApavAn”.     Though Sri Krishna is none the less
as far as looks are concerned, (sAkshAt manmata
manmata, much of His good looks are
spoilt by continued exposure to the Sun and the
elements in the company of cows, leading Sri
Periazhwar to lament, “kAnagam ellAm tirindu un kariya
tirumEni vAda”. Further, Sri Krishna smells. The
constant association with cows, calves, cowherds and
bovine products makes Sri Krishna exude a strong
smell, known as “mudai nAtram”. Such body-odour is
hardly endearing, especially to women, as we all know
from watching commercials on deodorants.
And lastly and perhaps most importantly, Sri Krishna
only preached while Sri Rama also practiced. For
prapannas like us, Sri Rama is infinitely dearer to
the heart, for His whole life was devoted to
Saranagata Rakshanam, as borne out by Sri Vibhishana
Saranagati and others portrayed by Srimad Ramayana.
The reasons adduced by Sri Rama to the vAnara veerAs
for granting refuge to Sri Vibhishana are a classic
enunciation of the Doctrine of Saranagati. So much so
that Sri Sita refers to Him as “SaranAgata Vatsala:”
And Sri Rama belongs to a line of Emperors, for whom
SaragAgata Rakshanam was a kula dharma, as the episode
of Sipi Chakravarty and the stray pigeon would
indicate=Sri Goda devi that there is none other than
Sri Rama who qualifies for the endearment “manatthukku

Srimate Sri LakshimiNrsimha divya paduka sevaka
SrivanSatakopa Sri Narayana Yatindra mahadesikaya

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