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What is in a Name?

From: V. Sadagopan (
Date: Mon Jan 08 1996 - 19:24:42 PST

Sri Dileepan posted an excellent note describing
the thoughts behind the selection of the name for
the Sri Vaishnava group as "Srivaishnava Thondar 
Kuzham". I agree with the title and commend the choice 
of the word "Thondar " . There are indeed abundant references
to the word  "Thondar", a word so rich in meaning for Sri Vaishnavas.
On this day of Thirumangai"s Vedupari Utsavam, one can 
illustrate the significance of the word Thondar, who does Thondu
or Kainkaryam  and the centrality of that Thondu for the  Lord and His

Inthe very first  Verse of the Thirukkurunthaandakaam,  the Azhvar 
says "Thondanen Viduhileneh ".I, your servant will not ever leave thee
and cease services to you.
In the Sixth Verse , He says: " Amarar Sennippuvinai Pukazhum Thondar ".
Here Thondar is equated to the Bhakthas of the Lord, who are like the 
flower on the heads of the Devas by virtue iof the service they perform for the

In the Eleventh verse, he prays for the boon of eternal service to Him as
"Thondelaam Paravi Ninnai thozhuthapadi Paniyumaaru--paniyaayai ".
Please make me ask you for service to you and bless me to do perform that
service in the manner it should be done.

In the 12th verse , the Azhvar says: Yecchil Vaayaal Thuymiil 
Thondanen Naan Sollinen Tollai Naamam ". Impure me,who is full of 
Ahankaram recited the originless Sacred Ashtaakshara Mantram and you came 
next  to me and asked me not to beafraid and entered into my closed eye.

In the 16 th verse, the Azhvar describes as to waht kind of Thondu
 he does to the Lord this way: "SorkkaL Ennum Thooya Maalai
 Kondu Suttuven THONDANENEH "
As your Thondan, I will decorate you with the pure garlandsof
 Pasurams made up of my Words.

In THIRUNEDUMTHAANDAKAM, in the tenth verse, he chastises himself as::
 "Ikazh Vaai Thondanen Naan " . How can I , who perform services to you with
Ahankaram understand you?

The contemproary of Thirumangai, Thiru Thondaradipodi  Azhvar is 
already incorporated the word Thondar in his name and indicates his
relationship to the Vaishanvite Thondars. He describes his Thondu 
as : Tulavatthondaaya Thol Seer Thondardipodi". He describes that he 
Does Tulasi Kainkaryam to the Lord.

In his Thirumalai verse (34), He laughs at the false Thondars this way: 
" I, who does not have the knowledge of ever-dwelling Lord in my heart, I have 
become ignorant. I became a willing slave pretending devotion.
 Knowing that thou knowest by thine indwelling
 all the thoughts of the devotees , I was ashamed and laughed within myself to 
the extent of splitting  my ribs."

In the 38th verse, Thondaradipodi (Bhakthangrirenu) , The Service of thee is
 the sole end to be sought.

In the next verse of Thirumaalai , He asks: "Does not the service 
of thine feet by thine slaves (Thondar), bring delight to thee?

He continues and observes: "Is it not better to be born in the lowest caste
 with the boon of  service to thee than those, who have pracised
 vedic recitation without remembering that service to thee is the sole goal of
human life.

IN verse 41 , he says: "Even if they had been  cruel and tortured others ,
If they would  address thy sacred names, and offer nectar-like food to you 
lovingly, then by itself, they would become sinless.

AandaaL Said that she will do thondu only to HIm (Kurreval Engalai
Kollaamar Pohathu-- Unakke Naam Aatccheyvom". Her father refers
to his aspect as a Thondar to HIM this way: " Unakku PaNi seythirukkum

He clearly described his service to the Lord as his Thondan this way:
" Ammaan Tannai Viradam Kondu Yetthum Villiputtur
Vittucchitthan ". His role as a Thondar of his is to practisde the vow of 
Mangalaasaasanam of  Sriman Narayana..

Thus Thondu and Thondar is a sacred connotations and the group of 
Thondars joining together to offer loving service to the Divya Dampathis
either here or as Muktha Jivans in Sri Vaikuntam is the highest of goals of 
a Sri Vaishnava.

Hence I endorse with all my heart the choice of the title for the New 
organization as "Sri Vaishnava Thondar Kuzhaam ".

Azhwar Thiruvadigale Saranam