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From: Venkatesh K. Elayavalli (
Date: Wed Jul 19 2000 - 17:54:57 PDT

Dear Members,

The following was published in Hindu some time back.

The same author had published the english translation for Munram
thiruvanthaathi some time back. 

translation and commentary: Dr. N.
 Ranganathan; Published by N. Rajagopalan, ``Sri Nidhi'', T-37A, 16th
Cross Street, Besant Nagar, Chennai-600090. Rs. 50. 

 THIRUMAZHISAI AZHWAR, the most philosphical minded saint, studied
various schools of religion and philosophy and through
 intense meditation came to the conclusion that Lord Narayana is the
Supreme God. He has given ample expression to this in his
 two works, ``Naanmukan Thiruvandhadhi'' and ``Thiruchandavirutham''.
Though he was the author of many works he threw away
 the manuscripts into the Cauvery and only these two works withstood
the current and were retrieved. 

 The author of the book under review has presented a free translation
in English of the text of the ``Naanmukan Thiruvandhadhi'' as
 well as the commentary by Periyavachanpillai. 

 The saint firmly declares that Lord Narayana is the Supreme God and
is ever ready to bestow His Grace on human beings and the
 delay in getting the same is due to lack of enthusiasm on the part of
the seekers. He stands as the very essence of the Vedas and
 is everything in the world and nothing exists besides Him. The Azhwar
refers to the celebration of the Thiruvonam festival at
 Thiruvenkadam (Tirumala) when every God including Brahma and Rudra
propitiate Him. Though the 39th verse beginning with the
 word, ``Azhaippan'', is said to be Azhwar's call to the Lord of
Tirumala by a method known as ``Koodal Izhaithal'' (drawing
 circles), it is considered by the Acharyas and other scholars as a
reference to the Lord of Thirukkoodal (Madurai). 

 The English rendering of the text and commentary is studded with gems
from the Vedas, the Valmiki Ramayana, works of Vedanta
 Desika as well as others. Praising the commentary of
Periyavachanpillai as the richest of its kind, the author says that
his sole aim
 was to provide a free English translation of the same to facilitate
their easy understanding by one and all. 

 The publisher, in his foreword, has an interesting explanation for
the saint being called as Thirumazhisai Piran. He says that the
 saint spent most of his time at Thirukkudanthai (Kumbakonam) and the
Lord there wanted to exchange his title of ``Piran'' with
 that of ``Azhwar''. Hence the Lord there is known as Aravamudazhwar
and the saint as Thirumazhisai Piran. This book, which
 comes in the wake of the earlier publication of Poigai Azhwar's Mudal
Thiruvandadhi in English by the same publisher, is a
 welcome addition to the works on Vaishnava sacred lore. 

- T. A. Srinivasan (The Hindu)

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