You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : January 1998

Vibhava Vs Archa forms...

From: Vijay Triplicane (
Date: Mon Jan 12 1998 - 20:11:59 PST

	In the earlier posting on "kaRavaigaL" pAsuram, i mentioned about 
the vibhava/archa Vs param form of the Lord and quoted the siRiya thirumadal
verse by sri thirumaN^gai AzhwAr. While we are at it, I wish to add an 
interesting reference to this subject. 

	In periya thirumozhi 11'th paththu 5'th thirumozhi, sri thirumaN^gai
AzhwAr talks about both the vibhava (rama/krishNa avathArams) and the archA
(perumAL in the 106 dhivya dhEsams) forms of the Lord. In His vibhava form,
He took various avathArams and only those who lived in that time period
could enjoy His presence. But in this archA form He exists NOW among us, for
all of us to enjoy. He is treated as a King. We celebrate different
uthsavams, dress Him up in colourful costumes on various vAhanams etc and
we all (including Him) enjoy this form of the Lord. In srivachana bhooshaNam,
sri piLLai lOkAchAryar compares the vibhava form to the river which used to 
flood but has dried up now. It served many people at one period of time.
Whereas he compares the archA form to the small ponds that have formed along
the river bed. These serve the people every day. The archA form is always
with us. It is the part and parcel of us. One should think of how much
affection and personal care that the people in dhivya dhEsams show towards
'their' perumAL. perumAL is like their son. He is their king. He is
accessible to everybody. 

	Naturally sri thirumaN^gai AzhwAr is more attracted to the archA
form than the vibhava. The 10 pAsurams in 11-5 are arranged such that it is
a conversation between two girls. One of them talks about the vibhava form
and the other about the archA form. Why did he choose to do so? He could
have written 5 pAsurams each on vibhava and archa. Why did he want to mix
them? Our AchAryAs give a very 'sweet' explanation. 

	The princes of big countries are very well fed. Their food will have
so much of ghee in them. Even then, for every handful of food they add a
spoonful of ghee to the food and eat it. Likewise, even though talking about
the vibhava form is already sweet, sri thirumaN^gai AzhwAr would prefer
adding a spoonful of ghee, the archa form, to it and experience the joy. 
Such is his archAvadhAra prAvaNyam.  

Sri thirumaN^gai AzhwAr thiruvadigaLE SaraNam
-Vijay Triplicane