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Swamy Desikan-4 (Tamil prabandhams-cont'd) Thoopul maNdapam kaimkaryam appeal

From: Madhavakkannan V (srivaishnavan_at_hotmail.com)
Date: Fri Jul 20 2001 - 05:57:44 PDT

SrI:
SrImathe Ramanujaya namah:
SrImathe Nigamantha mahadesikaya namah:
SrImAn venkatanAthAryaH kavitArkika kesarI |
vedAntAcArya-varyome sannidhattAm sadA hRdi ||

May the glorious Venkatanatha, the greatest of teachers of Vedanta, and the 
lion among poets and debaters, reside forever in my heart.

Dearest Srivaishnavas,

I am continuing on my appeal and posts on Swamy Desikan.

Thoopul MaNdapam kaimkaryam for Swamy Desikan by Smt Shantha Kalyanarangan 
of Thoopul trust. Sri Lakshmi N. Srinivasa also has created a web site for 
this trust and also for this special kaimkaryam for Thoopul Pillai.

URL: http://www.geocities.com/lsriniva/thoopulappeal.html
It is my humble request to please contribute your mite towards this 
kaimkaryam, as remembering Acharyan, and talking alone will not suffice.

Last week we were enjoying the ParamapadasOpAnam (the flight of steps to 
SrivaikuNtam). Let us continue further. The study of this grantha will 
reveal that it is almost a very useful epitome of Rahasyatraya saram the 
magnum opus of Swamy Desikan.

Structure of the text:

The text if made up of nine chapters. Chapters are called “parvas” meaning 
steps keeping in line with the name “stair case “ given for the work. The 
nine steps are:
1.	vivkea (Discrimination)
2.	Nirveda (disgust)
3.	Virakti (dispassion)
4.	Bheethi (Sensitization)
5.	Prasadana (Pleasing or Propitiation)
6.	Utkiramana (Departure)
7.	Archiradhi (the route starting
8.	Reaching the divine region
9.	Union with the Supreme

The nine steps can be grouped into three sets, say landings. The first four 
steps (viveka to bheethi) make the soul qualified to try emancipation. 
Hence, they are known as Adhikarana Petika. The fifth step forms one set 
called Upaaya petika.

Steps sixth to ninth with the phala that is, the fruits enjoyed by the soul, 
in the process of emancipation and after it attains emancipation. These 
steps can rightly form a box or petika that can be captioned Purushaartha 
Petika.

The summary of the text:

A soul should gain analytical knowledge. This is the first step to be 
climbed. This analytical knowledge enables him to discriminate the three 
components of the universe i.e. the individual soul, the inanimate (achith) 
and the supreme (Sriman Narayanan). The Properties and nature of each of the 
three should be understood. Once the seeker understands his limitations, 
realizes that all other souls are as limited as he, appreciates the bondages 
created by his attachment to achith, and appreciates that only Sriman 
Narayanan can protect and free him from the bondages, he becomes qualified 
to climb the next step.

The seeker feels for having wasted all his time in pursuit of materialistic 
prosperity and the consequent sins and the inevitable stay in hell. He is 
disgusted with the past foolishness. This leads the seeker to the third step 
which brings in detachment from all the mundane pleasures and prosperity.

This takes him to the fourth step where he is highly sensitized. He is 
scared of his future – after this life is over. He has to do something to 
ensure that he is liberated from his oscillations between heaven, hell and 
earth , by pleasing the Lord.

Bhakti and Prapatti Yoga are means of such propitiation. Bhakti yoga needs 
knowledge, capacity and qualification by birth, etc. It gives results only 
in a leisurely manner; prapati has no such limitation. Fruits can be 
achieved at the specified by the seeker. The seeker can choose between the 
two. Adopting any of the two means forms the fifth step.

When such a seeker’s soul departs from the body, the departure can be either 
in uttarayaNam or dhakshiNAyaNam. His puNyas and papas are distributed to 
his friends and enemies respectively. The Lord provides him with memory of 
His Feet while the soul departs from the body. The eleven organs and the 
praana are all assimilated and converged in the subtle form at the soul. The 
soul with all these is amalgamated with the five basic elements in their 
micro form. The soul with this group takes rest with the Lord residing in 
the heart so that it gets relaxed. (I heard that there is tremendous pain 
when these five elements are extracted from the neck bone and is mixed, the 
Lord gently hugs the soul in order to lessen the suffering. How 
compassionate is our Father!) Then the Lord in the heart – the Haarda guides 
the soul to the “Exit” sign from the body thorugh the sushumna naadi by 
opening the Brahma Randhra (which is supposed to be in the center of the top 
of the head.)

Now the seventh step. The departed soul is offered homages enroute Parama 
padham by the controlling deities of the Fire, The Day, the waxing cycle of 
the Moon, the Uttarayana, the six months during which the Sun travels in the 
direction of north the Year and the wind. They receive the soul and guide it 
through their region with all respect. Then the soul pierces the Sun’s 
orbit. It reaches the Moon, with its guidance the soul reaches the Amanavan 
who takes the soul through the abode of Varuna, Indra, Prajapati. Amanava 
accompanies the soul to Lord Sriman Narayana’s eternal abode. The ones who 
leave the mundane world this route will not be born again.

This takes the soul to the eighth step. The river “viraja” flows between the 
mundane (prakritha) region and the eternal region (aprAkritha), the Parama 
Padham. The soul crosses the river bi its will and reaches the Parama 
Padham. Here the soul enjoys the scenery of celestial ladies throng to 
receive the soul and decorate the soul. The soul now is full of Divine odour 
and splendor. It sees the Lord seated on Adi seshan.

The final step is the union with the Lord. The soul enjoys the Lord from His 
top to toe. The Lord crowns the soul with His Feet. Clinging to His Feet the 
soul climbs the Divine seat of the Lord. There takes place a conversation 
between the Lord and the emancipated soul. The soul narrates to the Lord all 
the blessings he had received from him and prays to the Lord to accept his 
service. The soul gets the divine grace of the divine couple and is full of 
Para Bhakti, ParajnAnam, and Parama Bhakti. He becomes as close as the 
shadow of the lord performs all types of services at all times as 
Adhiseshan, Garudan, Vishvaksenar et al. perform.

This work thus is a history of the Travel of the soul. This work like any 
other work of Swamy Desikan is a well planned and beautifully presented one. 
Each of the parvas starts with a Tamil verse and concludes with a Tamil 
verse that serves as a synopsis of the Parva.
The main objective of the work is to teach us the taste of Lord’s physical 
form and His abode. Swamy Desikan composed a Sopanam “The Bhagath DhyAna 
Sopanam” in Sanksirt on Lord Ranaganathan, for easy meditataion of Lord 
Rangan’s form.

But Paramapadha sopanam, where enjoying the Lord in Parama padha is 
described, is a blend of Sanskrit and Tamil verses mostly with the phrases 
of AzhwArs. This goes well with the declaration of Swamy Desikan that the 
language of communication of emancipated souls in Vaikunta (where medium of 
communication is needed only for the mere pleasure of communication as the 
emancipated do not need any medium of communication, because of their fully 
blossomed state of Dharma bhUtha jnAnam) is only Tamil. J

In this work he sings that in Parama Padham, we will sing only Pallandu.

The Great Acharyas of Kanchi have been so fascinated by the description of 
Lord in Paraapti Parva in this text, that they have prepared a moving 
Thirumanjana Ghattiyam for Lord Varadan borrowing literally from this work, 
which is recited before Lord Varadan during abhishekam. No doubt Swamy 
Desikan himself declares this work as “Swabhava chithram”- very beautiful by 
nature, in the final sloka of  Parama padha sopanam.

One of the thaniyans of text says that in the pretext of Parama padha 
sopanam, Swamy Dseikan brought out all the Gems of Vedantha Saasthra. Any 
reader of the text will understand that this is not a flattery; BUT TRUTH.

A study of this text will reveal that it is almost a very useful epitome of 
Rahasyatrayasaram the Magnum Opus of Swamy.

Adaikkalappatthu

The seventh work, is in eleven verses. It gives a clear exposition of the 
doctrine of Sranagathy (surrender) associating the name of God at Kanchi 
with each stanza. This is suggestive of the author’s Saranagathy at the feet 
of this Archa mUrthy (Sri Stakopan has written a translation for 
Adaikaalapaathu and is available in http://swamydesika.tripod.com

The eighth work is Arthapanchakam which details in eleven verses, the five 
well known topics which are vital to the philosophy of Vaishnavam. The five 
topics or truths are prApyam, the Lord’s nature which is to be attained, 
prApta, the nature of the soul who is to attain the Lord, UpAyam the means 
for attaining the Lord, prAptivirOdham, the obstacles that lie in the path 
of attainment and prApti, the Goal, namely the attainment. The name of the 
deity at Kanchi is associated with the last line in each stanza.

Sri Vaishnava Dinasari, the ninth work, is in 10 stanzas describing the 
routine life of a Srivaishnava. The treatment is based on the five fold 
division routine as laid down in Pancharathra Agamam. (Again this 
translation written by SrI Satakopan Swamy is available in Swamy Desikan web 
page)

The tenth work is Thirucchinna maalai, in 11 stanzas. The author speaks of 
the glory of tabor sounded in the temple of Varadan at Kanchipuram. 
Incidentally, these stanzas are shown to convey the sense of three rahasyas 
Moolamanthra, Dwayam and Charama slokam.

Pannirunaamam

Eleventh work containing 13 stanzas describing the twelve urdhvapuNdras, 
with the names of deities presiding over each and the parts of the body 
where one wears Urdhva puNdram. Each stanza has  the name of God at 
Kanchipuram included in it. (Urdhva- vertical; puNrdam- mark.) This refers 
to the ornamental mark made on the forehead with white vertical lines drawn 
with sacred mud and a streak in between them made vertically with a read 
ochre or turmeric powder. The white lines are joined between the eye brows.

The twelfth work is Thirumanthracchurukku, written in ten stanzas conveying 
very briefly, as the name “curukku” in the title indicates, the substance of 
Thirumanthram, also called Moola manthram or Ashtaakshara manthram.

The thirteenth work, Dwayacchurukku offers similarly in 12 verses, the 
substance of the Dwaya manthram. The fourteenth work Charamaslokacchurukku 
in 11 verses is on similar line on the charamaslokam.

GitArtha samgarha, which is 15th work, contains 21 verses. It offers briefly 
the substance of each of 18 chapters of the Bhagawath GitA.

MummaNikkOvai is the 16th work, in praise of the Lord of Thiruvahindrapuram. 
This work is held to have included mummaNikkOvai, pandhu, ammanai, kazhal. 
Oosal, Esal, and NavamaNimaalai. Except for the first and the last all 
others are lost. Akaval, veNpaa, kattaLaitthuRai are the three meters in 
which this mummaNikkoVai is said to have been composed. Hence the title. 
However, the ten verses in akaval alone are available to us in which the 
author depicts the relationship of the husband (Bhagawaan) and Wife (Jivan) 
in Nayaka Nayaki bhAvam.

The Navarathina maalai is treated as independent work (17th  in number) has 
ten verses – all in praise of SrI Devanathan at Thiruvahindrapuram. It is 
said in the sixth stanza that those who do not forget the Divine Beauty of 
Sri Devanathan will not have rebirth. nin vadivazhaghu maRvaathaar 
piRavaadhaarE.. The author mentions in the tenth stanza  the work which, 
though lost, are part of mummaNikkOvai and states that these were composed 
after the achuthasathakam a praakritha sthOthram in 100 slokas before which 
he mentions that Devanayaka panchasath was composed by him.

The 18th work is Prabandha saaram, in 18 verses, devoted to the 
glorification of all AzhwArs. The day, month and Thirunakshathram (star) of 
each AzhwAr, their names, the number of poems composed by each of them are 
given. Each verse is inestimable value as it gives us what all we have to 
learn about the AzhwArs described therein.

Ahaara niyamam is the 19th work in 8 verses on the nature of food a 
vaishnava should comsume. The ingredients for preparing the food and kinds 
of food one has to avoid are alld escribed briefly and carefully so as to 
avoid ambiguity in the choice of ingredients.

There has never been a writer like Swamy Vedantha Desikan whose life was 
spent purposefully and usefully for the uplift of humanity. The 19 works 
noted above are in PURE TAMIL. Intention of Swamy Desikan was to make the 
Vaishnava tenets attractive and acceptable as well as understandable even to 
those who knew only Tamil Language. Philosophy, Prappti, Rahasyas, routine 
life, and all other aspects of Srivaishnavam have received treatments here. 
Of course, the introductory and concluding verses in some of his other works 
are separately put in the form of compositions and treated as separate work.

Please donate according to your shakthi. The money can be sent to "Thuppul 
Trust" and the address is:

Thuppul Trust
Old No.20, New No.24, Thiruvengadam Street
West Mambalam, Chennai-600033, India
Phone No: 91-44-4741559 / 91-44-3715771

Please contact Sri. V.K. Sudharshan at vksudarsh@vsnl.com or Sri Lakshmi N 
Srinivasa  lsriniva@hotmail.com (He can collect and send it as single amount 
in USA).

The address:

Lakshminarasimhan Srinivasa
3 Old Towne Road, #212
Ayer, MA-01432

For those in the South East Asia, please contact me at 
srivaishnavan@hotmail.com . Please pass on this kaimkaryam to as many people 
as possible in order to complete the same.

kavi-tArkika-simhAya kalyANa-guNa-SAline |
Srimate venkateSAya vedAntagurave namaH ||

Salutations to Sri Venkatesa, in whom all perfection resides, who is the 
teacher of Vedanta and the lion among poets and debaters!

Swamy Desikan ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam
Regards
Narayana Narayana
adiyEn Narayana dAsan madhavakkannan

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