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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.