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Hindu article

From: Venkatesh Elayavalli/DCOM (vke_at_cypress.com)
Date: Sat Jan 25 1997 - 09:46:58 PST

                             [THE HINDU]

                          January 25, 1997
                          SECTION: Regional


              Thiruppavai conference inaugurated

              Date: 25-01-1997 :: Pg: 05 :: Col: a

              From Our Staff Reporter

              SRIVILLIPUTTUR, Jan. 24.

              Sri Vanamamalai Ramanuja Jeeyar Swami, the head of the
              Nanguneri Vanamamalai Madam, said here on Thursday that
              one should never forget his kinship to God.

              Presiding over the sixth Thiruppavai Conference here,
              organised by the Sri Andal Thiruppavai Mahothsava Sabha
              of Thanjavur, the Jeeyar said when one realised that one
              was indebted to God, he would feel rightfully entitled
              and fit to approach God with love.

              Explaining the significance of the sixth Thiruppavai
              Conference organised by Sri Kalyanapuram Aravamudhan in
              Sri Andal's birthplace, Sri Jeeyar said the number `six'
              was of special significance to Vaishnavites, more so to
              the Vanamamalai Madam. Every six years Lakshadeepa
              Mahothsavam was conducted there and this year it would
              be celebrated for three days next month. The Vedangas
              are six in number as spelt out by Sri Manavala Mamunigal
              in his `Upadesa Rathinamalai.' Gita's 18 chapters could
              be divided into three `Shadkams' or six chapters. Sri
              Thirukachi Nambigal, a great Vaishnavite Acharya, had
              spelt out the essence of Sri Vaishnavism in his `Aaru
              Vaarthaigal' or six words.

              The Acharya called on the devotees not to stop with
              reciting Andal's Thiruppavai and other Prabandams of
              Azhwars, but go through the commentaries written for
              them by great Acharyas with the help of a good teacher.
              Sri Andal considered her father Periyazhwar as her
              Acharya and she had repeatedly referred to herself as
              `Bhattarpiran Kodai', `Veyar Pugazh Villiputhoor
              Poonkodhai' etc., and this only showed her real
              indebtedness to the Acharya.

              Sri Rangaramanuja Mahadesikan, Srimad Andavan of
              Periyasramam of Srirangam, who inaugurated the
              conference, said like the number six, the number 18 also
              had special significance. Mahabharata has 18 chapters,
              and of them the 18th chapter is the most important as it
              contained the `Charamasloka'. It was to understand the
              real meaning of this that Sri Ramanuja made 18 trips
              from Srirangam to Thirukoshtiyur. When Sri Ramanuja was
              going round the main streets of Thirukoshtiyur one day
              reciting the 18th Thiruppavai verse, he went near
              Thirukoshtiyur Nambi's house and when he recited the
              concluding portion ``Nappinnai, please open the door!'',
              Nambi's daughter opened it to offer `Bhiksha' and the
              saint fell at her feet as he was so absorbed in the
              song. This earned for him the title of Thiruppavai
              Jeeyar.

              The Acharya said the sixth song of Thiruppavai explained
              how one could attain the Lotus Feet of the Lord by
              gaining real knowledge and by behaving well.

              The conference is being held for six days from January
              22 during which eminent scholars from far and near are
              giving discourses on each song of Sri Andal's
              Thiruppavai.