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Sri Raga Pancharathnam of Saint ThyagarAjA : part 2

From: V. Sadagopan (
Date: Sun Jan 25 1998 - 04:49:21 PST

Jamuary 24 , 1998

Dear NaadhOpAsakAs and Sri Rama BhakthAs :

On this Thai JyeshtA Nakshathram , EkAdasi day , 
I will continue with the celebration of BhagavathAs
by AzhwArs in their paasurams to provide context for 
the Sri Raga Krithi of Saint ThyagarAjA .

The central fact that Bhagavatha PrAvaNyam has to 
take root first before Bhagavadh vishaya PrAvaNyam 
can sprout out is indicated by NammAzhwAr , Thirumangai ,
Kukasekarar , PeriyAzhwAr , Thondardippodi as well as by 
many of our AchAryAs , who followed in their foot steps . 
The AzhwArs have pointe dout that they reached a higher state 
as a result of benefiting from such Bhagavatha sathsangam and 
ArAdhanam . 

Thirumangai AzhwAr's Aubhavam

Thirumangai has saluted the glories of BhagavathAs
engaged in Bhagavadh Kaimkaryam  in his ThirucchErai 
paasurams :

TaNNchErai EmperumAn tALL thozuvAr 
kANNmin yenn talaimElArE --periya Thirumozhi : 7.4.1

( You will see on my head the  BhagavathAs ,who worship 
the ThirucchErai EmperumAn's lotus feet . I will prove
that I carry them on my head --sirasA vahikkirEn ) 

EmperumAn thALL thozhuvAr yeppozhuthum yenn 
manatthE irukkinRArE-- Periya Thirumozhi(PT)7.4.2

( Those BhagavathAs worshipping the Lord's sacred feet 
are always residing in my mind ) 

TaNNsErai EmperumAn tALai yEnthi , pOthodu punal
thUvum PuNNIyarE ViNNavaril PolihinrArE --PT 7.4.3

( The BhagavathAs who taken refuge at  the ThirucchErai 
EmperumAn's holy feet  and cover those sacred feet 
with fresh and fragrant flowers are shining with an effulgence 
that exceeds that of the dEvAs ) 

pErALan pErOthum periyOrai orukaalum pirihilEnE --PT 7.4.4

( I shall never ever be separated from the MahAnubhAvAs ,
who recite the thousand names of ThirucchErai EmperumAn ) 

NammAzhwAr's UpadEsam on the Bhagavatha MahAthmyam

NammazhwAr concedes that our unripe ( he includes himself 
with us here ) devotion would not stand well before the glory of 
theBhagavathAs engaged in Bhagavdh Kaimkaryam . Our imperfect 
devotion does not even equal by an iota that of the BhagavathAs .

kalkkamillA nalmunivar karai kaNDOr 
tulakkamillA vaanavar yellAm ThozhuvArkaL
malakkameytha maakadal tannaik kadainthAnai
ulakka naam puhazhkirpathu yenn seyvathu urayeerE 
                                                     ---ThiruvAimozhi :

(Meaning) : BhagavathAs (seers) with unmuddled minds 
deep devotion and Jn~Anam are immersed in the lotus
feet of  the Lord and are engaged in every moment of 
their lives in Kaimkaryam to Him , who churned the milky
ocean for the benefit of the dEvAs . How can we ever 
approach the depth of their devotion and Kaimkarya Sri ? 
It will not be possible . With a great sense of humility , 
NammAzhwAr asks a rhetorical question to indicate 
to us the greatness of the BahgavathAs .

PeriyAzhwAr's celebration of Bhagavtha GhOshti's mahimai

In one section of his ThiruppallANdu , PeriyAzhwAr
states unambiguously that we can not obtain Bhagavadh
anugraham unless we attain Bhaagavatha PrAvaNyam first.
He prays hence  for association with the adiyArs of BhagavAn :

adiyOmOdum NinnOdum pirivinri Ayiram PallANdu

PeriyAzhwAr joins this sacred Bhagavatha ghOshti 
and invites us to seek beautitude and then sing pallANdu
to the Lord :

yEdu nilatthiliduvathan munnam venthyengaL kuzhAm puhundhu
kUdu manamudayeerkaL varam pozhi vanthellaik kUdiminO
nAdu nagaramum nankariya namO NaarAyaNAyavenru
paadu manamudaip pattharuLLeer vanthu pallANdu kUruminE

Here , AzhwAr invites those who seek the mokshAnubhavam
known as Kaivalyam or mere aathmAnubhavam . He asks 
them to abandon that limited goal , which interferes with 
the paripUrNa mokshAnubhavam , which is the full bliss 
of being with the Lord in Sri Vaikuntam and performing
Nithya Kaimkaryam ( KuRREval , AtthANI sevakam ) . 
He invites hese kaivalyArthis to attain the supreme purushArtham
of Moksham by joining the ghOshti of BhaagavathAs and points 
that route as the upAyam for the UpEyam . He invites them 
to recite Thirumanthiram in the ghOshti of the sacred 
BhaagavathAs . He urges them to join the parama paavana 
ghOshti before the Sookshma sareeram leves the body 
to desist from the goal of Kaivalyam and save themselves
by the power of association with BhagavAn's BhaagavathAs . 
Thus , PeriyAzhwAr revealed the close relationship between
BhagavAn and His dear BhagavathAs ( Vaasudeva: sarvamithi
sa MahAthmA DUrlabha: is the Lord's word ) . 

Thondaradipodi's celebration of Bhaagavatha Mahimai

In his Thirumaalai , Thondaradipodi , who took the name
of the Dust of the feet of the BhagavathAs , has twice 
saluted the glory of the Lord's BhaagavathAs . 

In the paasuram starting with " PazhuthilA vozhuhalaaRRu---" ,
he states : " Oh Lord of Srirangam resting in Your divya dEsam
on AdisEsha at Your temple surrounded by mighty ramparts ! 
You have instructed the blemishless vEdic Scholars competent
in the four vEdAs to offer their worship to Your Thondars , even
if latter  are born in lower castes and do not have the scholarship 
matching that of the vEdic scholars . You have instructed these 
scholars to reveal the truths that they have acquired to Your 
Thondars. You have further instructed the scholars proficient in
vEdAs to learn from the Thondars the insights that they have 
obtained about Your svarUpa , guNa Vaibhavams. You have 
commanded the scholars to worship Your BhagavathAs 
as equal to You to gain Your anugrahams .

Elsewhere , Thondaradipodi points out that mere scholarship 
( Varattu padippu ) and Bhakthi without vinayam ( Modesty) 
will not stand before the Bhaktha sironmaNis , the Thondars
of the Lord .

In the slOkam starting with , " mEmporuL pOhavittu --" , 
Thondardipodi revealed his supreme reverence for 
the Thondars of Sri RaganAthA  , who single mindedly 
devote their time in service to the Lord of Sri Rangam 
and the Lord's supreme attachment ot these BhaagavathAs .

AzhwAr  asks Sri RanganaathA a question : Are not You 
the One , who seek especially the company of Your 
Bhagavatha MahAnubhAvAs , who discard loukika sukhams 
and fully understand Your divine svarUpa lakshaNams .
Are not yYou the One , who inquires with deep interest
about the yOgam and KshEmam ( Yoga KshEmam 
VahAmyaham ) , who control their senses from chasing 
alpa sukhams and perform saraNAgathi to You and live
at Your door step engaged in the performance of kaimkaryam
to You ? Is n't that correct that you have supreme affection
for these BhagavathAs ? 

Kulasekara AzhwAr 's celebration of BhagavathAs
This AzhwAr's devotion to the BhagavathAs led him to 
put his hand in the pot full of poisonous snakes to 
demonstrate the greatness of BhaagavathAs . 

In one of his paasurams , he revealed to us that 
those , who wear the dust from the feet ( Thondar adippodi)
on their heads do not need GangA snAnam to wash  away
their sins :

aadip paadi ArangavO yenrazhaikkum 
ThondaradippodiyAda naam peRil , 
Gangai neer kudainthAdum vEtkai yennAvathE ? 

In another paasuram, Azhwar states that his hairs stand on end 
over the thought of those BhagavathAs , who enjoy Sri Ranganaathan
as the Kodhanda PaaNi and get goose pimples :

-- tiNNa maamathiL TennaranganAm meysilaik karumEhamonRu 
tamm nenjil ninru thihazhap pOy mey silippavar tammayE 
ninainthu yenn manam mey silirkkumE 

In another paasuram of PerumAL THirumozhi , AzhwAr 
expressed his deep desire . He revealed that his prayer 
was to lose his mind in devotion to the BhagavathAs ,
who sing and dance with aanandha paravasam  about
the glories of the Lord of Sri Rangam with the beautiful
eyes reminding one of the beauty of the soft , red lotus 
flower . He wanted to become one of the BhagavathAs to 
get closer to the Lord of Sri Rangam ( Thondar vAzhvukku 
maalayuRRathen nenjamE ) . 

In the next posting , I will cover the AchAryA's celebration
of the glories of BhaagavathAs and the Bhaagavatha nishtai
to fully understand the text and context of Sri Raaga pancharathnam .

SriSadh GuravE Nama:
Sri ranmachandra ParabrahmaNE Nama:
Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan