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From: usdeiva (usdeiva_at_ix.netcom.com)
Date: Sat Jul 12 1997 - 05:53:37 PDT
“The days to remember” All days are blessed days. There are some who believe that the days make men, and there are others who ask, What is it that men make of their days? The two statements would indicate that astrology and astronomy have parted their ways. The five elements (‘panchAngam’) of the Indian calendar constitute an intricate mindscape of calculations and beliefs, but the vaishNava faith holds all of the five elements as vishNu Himself: “tithi-r vishNu-s tathA vArO nakshatram vishNurEva cha yOgaScha karaNam chaiva sarvam vishNu-mayam jagat”. (vishNu is the date of the month, and vishNu the day of the week; the asterism is vishNu as well; so is the yOgam, so the karaNam.) The next week has some very interesting postings in the ‘SRIRANGAM kOil vAkya panchAngam’ for the current year Isvara: ________________________________________________________________________ Jly 13 = Ani (mithunam) 29 = Sunday = chitrA.nakshatram (tiruvAzhi- AzhvAn). 14 = 30 = Mon. = svAti (periAzhvAr, and azhagia-Singar). 15 = 31 = Tues. = viSAkham (mithuna Sukla EkAdasI). 16 = 32 = Wednes = Sayana-EkAdasI; SrI nAthamunigaL. dAkshiNAyana puNyakAlam. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ ‘tiru-Azhi-AzhvAn’ is, of course, the sudarSana-chakram of SrIman-nArAyana; the most excellent of weapons (‘hEtirAja’). The ‘tirup-pallANDu’ profiles the SrIvaishNava identity as “being stamped by the glowing Azhi, generation after generation”. [The ‘sudarsana’ seal had been in use for several purposes of public administration; the land boundaries were marked by ‘tiruvAzhik-kal’, and the ‘AzhvAr tIrtham’ tank at the foothills of tirumalai-tiruvEnkatam is so named after the stone engraving of chakrattAzhvAr which stands there even to-day. It is a different story that this tank had been renamed ‘kapila-tIrtham’ in recent unrecorded history.] Even someone like me, though utterly unlettered in ‘astrology’, cannot fail to notice that the ‘tiru-nakshatram’ (chitrA) of ‘chakrattAzhvAr’ (sudarSanam), and (svAti for) ‘azhagia-Singar’ (SrInrsimha), occur on successive days. This ‘togetherness’ occurs also in the tiruppallANDu ~~ “antiam-pOdil ari uruvAgi” (for SrInrsimha) and “tiruc-chakkarattin kOyir-poriyAlE” (for sudarSanam). The mUla-mUrti iconography of chakrattAzhvAr and SrInrsimha depicts each in frieze (‘ardha-Sila’), on either side of each other. This togetherness seems to originate from the nrsimha-tApanIya upanishat (which, incidentally, is cited by SrISankara-bhagavat-pAdAh in his sahasranAma-bhAshyam). On the poignant theme of Srinrsimha-avatAram, no single writer, let alone a dilettante essayist like me, can do justice to it. I however had executed an exciting assignment in this respect: some years back, SrI mukkUr lakshmI-narasimhAchar decided on one of his serial nrsimha-yajna in New Delhi, and I was asked by the yajna-organiser SrI sAranAthan to compile the material on Srinrsimha (as much as I could lay hands on), for publishing in the yajna-souvenir. SrI ‘anbil’ SrInivAsan and I went about this quite happily ~~ how much and from how many languages did we collect! Our reward was not that we compiled so much for the souvenir (which we joyfully offered as a modest attempt towards a future nrsimha encyclopaedia) , but that we realised how much more remained to compile. The exercise gave me a thought: we should veer off the common pagan-like worship of SrInrsimha as Terror God, and consider this manifestation as epiphany of ‘pratyaksham’ and ‘saulabhyam’ ~~ cf. “engum uLan kaNNan enRa makanaik-kAindu...” Ani-svAti is common to periAzhvAr and SrInrsimha. The best tribute to periAzhvAr is in the upadESa-ratna-mAlai lines: “mangaLASAsanattil...pongum parivAlE... periAzhvAr ennum peyar.” “uNDo tiruppallANDukku oppadOr kalai tAn uNDo periAzhvArkku opporuvar?” The ‘sayana-EkAdasI’ is among the most precious EkAdasI of the annual cycle, but this year it coincides with the tirunakshatram of SrI nAthamunigaL who started the historic part of our ‘guru-paramparA’ ~~ “nAtha-yAmuna-madhyamAm etc”. He is commemorated in the ‘ALavandAr stOtram’ in emotionally rich terms: “...jnAna-vairAgya-rASayE, nAthAya munayE agAdha-bhagavad-bhakti-sindhavE”. SrInAthamunigal is the sacred memory which should sustain our spiritual career. On July 15 occurs the ‘mithuna Sukla-EkAdasI’ which is the ‘tiru-adhyayana-tithi’ of SrI kAnchi prativAdi-bhayankaram aNNangarAchArya svAmi (1891-1983) of blessed memory. He was born on ‘mIna-viSAkham of year vikrti’, in SrIvatsa gOtram, of the noble ‘muDumbai’ descent, same as SrI piLLai-lOkAchArya and his brother SrI azhagia-maNavALa-perumAL nAyanAr. The title ‘prativAdi-bhayankaram’ was given to his ancestor SrI-hastigiri-aNNA, by no less than Srivarada nAyanAcharya, the son of svAmi vEdAntadESikan. This PB ‘mUla-purusha’ became one of the chosen ‘ashTa-dig-gaja’ disciples of SrI-maNavALa mAmunigaL. Thus, the PB lineage represents the confluence of two eminent AchArya, viz., svAmi-dESikan and SrI mAmunigaL. Hence the PB ‘tanian’: “vEdAnta-dESika-kaTAksha-vivrddha-bOdham kAntOpayantr-yaminah karuNaika-pAtram vatsAnvavAyam anavadya-guNai: upEtam bhaktyA bhajAmi paravAdi-bhayankarAryam.” prativAdi-bhayankaram aNNangarAchArya-svAmi is remembered in Srirangam simply as the ‘kAnchi-svAmi’. His education commenced under his own father, PB SrI-rangAcharya who, in the short span of his life, had had such distinguished disciples as jagad-guru gAdhi anantAchArya-svAmi who later established the tiruvEnkatam-uDaiyAn sannidhi in FanasvADi, Mumbai. The education continued under his maternal grandfather (later the azhagia-maNavALa jIyar alias chatus-shashTi-kalA jIyar) and gAdhi svAmi himself, giving him an academic pedigree no university could ever match. In the world of letters, religion and philosophy, kAnchisvAmi was truly a Renaissance kind of figure. He was a ‘prAtah-smaraNIyah’ (one to remember at sunrise) to anyone who had had the fortune to meet him, or even to look at him from a way off, or had read any of his works, or had attended his discourse. His life, centred in dEvaperumAL (SrIvaradarAja perumAL) as it was, wrote itself as a commentary on SrIkrshna’s exhortation, “tasmAt sarvEshu kAlEshu mAm anusmara yudhya cha mayyarpita-mano-buddhih mAm Eva Eshyasi asamSayah”. (SrImad-bhagavad-gItA 8:7) His first publication was the title ‘divyaprabandha-vaibhava-vivEkah’ written in Sanskrit to establish the canonical status of AzhvAr ‘aruLiccheyal’ as equal to the ‘gIrvANa vEdam’. His monumental work consisted of the first-ever publication of the complete works of svAmidEsikan, SrIrAmAnuja, and maNavALA-mAmunigaL; his own Sanskrit translation of the divyaprabandham and of the ‘rahasya’ (esoteric) classics ‘mumukshuppaDi’, ‘tatva-trayam’ and ‘SrIvachana-bhUshaNam’; and his own Tamil commentary ‘divyArtha-dIpika’ on the entirety of divya-prabandham, SrIvachana-bhUshaNam and AchArya-hrdayam. His ‘vEda-lakshana’ works are original investigations into vedic grammar and semantics, and have not been duplicated. His annual ‘tiruppAvai’ discourses in Madras (now Chennai) city constituted his most visible service to the ‘sampradAyam’, and these gave a festive look to the city environs themselves. Besides the dEvaperumAL ‘adhyApaka-gOshTHI’ in kAnchIpuram, he also adorned namperumAL gOshTHI as its centrepiece whenever he visited Srirangam. The ‘iyal-SAttu’ has the verse “Uzhi-torum...nUl Odi, vIthi vAzhi ena varum tiraLai vAzhttuvAr tam malar aDi en Sennikku malarnda pUvE” (Watch the devotees in formation walking the streets and reciting the divya-prabandham; and there be those that bless this ‘gOshThI’, and I shall carry their sacred feet as a flower of decoration on my forehead.) This was the very sentiment evoked by kAnchisvAmi’s gOshThI. He passed away on (June 21 1983) ‘mithuna Sukla EkAdaSI’, the day of ‘Ani-garuDan’ marking periAzhvAr Sattumurai. I had never ceased to wonder that kAnchisvAmi’s kind of accomplishments were at all possible in a lifetime. All excellence partakes of divinity (yad-yad vibhUtimat sarvam: SrImad bhagavad-gItA 10:41), and this is how we are to understand of the kAnchisvAmi. It is a memory that purifies. aDiyEn rAmAnujadAsan, T.S. Sundara Rajan.