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A SanyAsi ascends to Acharya Peetam --Part 7.1

From: V. Sadagopan (
Date: Thu Jul 17 1997 - 13:55:52 PDT

Dear Nrusimha BhakthAs :

I will continue with the remaining three paasurams 
of Kaliyan on BhagavAn Nrusimhan in the context of his 
MangalAsAsanams of the three ThirunanAngoor 
Thiruppathis . Prior to that I will include a brief summary 
of the eleven ThirunAngoor Thirupathis . Just as Sri Anbil
SwamigaL has provided a valuable introduction to the nine
DwarakAs , I hope this information would be useful to a
future sEvArthis to these divya dEsams celebrated by Kaliyan
through 112 exquisitely beautiful and bhakthi-laden paasurams .

The two divya dEsams of ThiruvAli -Thirunahari and Thiru
KaazhiccheerAma ViNNagaram are very close to these 
eleven divya desams . There are  43 paasurams on 
ThiruvAli -Thirunahari (42 by Thirumangai alone ) and ten
for KaazhiccheerAma Vinnagaram . Thirumangai's birth
place Thirukkurayaloor is near by and it is  understandable 
that he performed MangalAsAsanam on these 13 divya desams
with many (165) paasurams . 

Each Thai AmAvAsyai day , the archa mUrthys of the 11 Thirunangoor
Divya Desams come together and offer sevai to Thirumangai 
and through him to us for his magnificient vaachika kaimkaryam.
There are separate mantapams side by side for each of 
the eleven EmperumAns and they spend a day with Thirumangai
there . Thirumangai AzhwAr is seated on Hamsa Vaahanam during 
this occasion befitting his role as ParakAla Naayaki . 

These 11 temples and their details are :

1. Thiru maNimAdakkovil is five miles east of SeerhAzhi 
railway station , which is the arrival point to visit these 
temples by train . KaazhiccheerAma Vinnagaram is half
a mile from this railway station , where ThAdALan presides 
with Mattavizhum Kuzhali NaacchiyAr . 

As an aside ,ThirukkAzhiccheerAma ViNNagaram is famous 
for number of things . First , the presiding deity ( ThaadaLan )
is Thrivikraman giving us the sEvai with panchAyuthams . Second ,
there is a beautiful ArchA mUrthy of Sri Raamachandran with 
maravuri ( dress made of barks ) worn during his vana vAsam 
with Janaki MaathA and Sowmithri . Third , this is where Thirumangai
defeated Thiruj~nana sambhandhar in a poetic contest with
his superior skills as a poet and received as a prize the " VeRRi vEl "
and the title " Naalu kavi paNdithar "  . Fifth , OushadhAdri here is
famous because of Swami Desikan's deep affection for 
the presiding deity , Selva Daiva Naayakan , just as Selva PiLLai 
of Melkote  was dear to Sri RaamAnujA . 

Coming back to Thiru maNimAdakkOvil , NandAviLakku PerumAL 
and His consort , Pundareekavalli ThAyAr rest under PraNava 
VimAnam . The Lord is also known as NaranArAyaNan . Thirumangai
starts his first Paasuram majestically by addresing the Lord as ,
" NandhA viLakkE aLatthaRkariyAi NaranaaraNanE ---". Thirumangai 
celebrates the Lord as the eternal lamp with undimishing Jyothi 
and as the one whose kalyANa guNAs can not be assessed fully.
He visualizes the Lord as the NaarAyaNan , who performed upadesam
to him , the Naran and addresses the Lord as NaranArAyaNan . 

AzhwAr  celebrated the Lord as gajendra Varadan who responded with 
alacrity to to the call for help by the king of elephants , when the crocodile 
grabbed its legs in the lotus pond . AzhwAr salutes the Lord as 
UpEndran , PoothanA samhAran , VathsAsura anthakan , KaaLiya
nardhanan , the teaser of young Gopis and as the  winner of Nappinnai's
hand in a svayamvaram through the destrcution of the seven oxen .

2 .Thiruvaikuntha ViNNagaram : The Lord's name here are 
VaikuntanAthan, ThaamaraikkaNNan  and Nediya PirAn .
Thaayar is saluted as Vaikunthavalli ThAyaar . They sit under
the Anantha Satya Varthaka vimAnam . 

In this sthalam , Thirumangai celebrated the Lord as NrusimhAvathAran.
In the first paasuram , the AzhwAr briefly salutes the Lord as 
Narahari ( salam konda IraNiananathu ahalam maarvam keendu ) .
He refers to the Lord as the Nrusimhan , who tore the chest of
the egotist , HiraNyan, who though that he was a svathanthra 
purushan , who controlled his own destiny . 

After devoting one line to Nrusimhan in his eight-lined paasuram , 
Thirumangai is overcome with the feeling to enjoy NrusimhAvathAram 
more. Hence , he devotes the entire second paasuram to 
the mangaLAsAsanam of BhagavAn Nrusimhan . AzhwAr
recognizes this divya dEsam as the preferred vAsasthalam
of Lord Narasimhan . AzhwAr explains why this divya dEsam is 
especially dear to the Lord . He states that this KshEthram has 
sarva samritthi ( prosperous by all counts ) , (Viz)., worldly wealth,
presence of the Lord , Veda Samritthi , naadha samritthi ,
vichAra saasthra samritthi through the inhabitation of the scholars
who are living embodiments of the Vedaas , their upAngAs and  
Tarka , VYAkaraNa , Neethi saasthrAs . 

AzhwAr devotes th first three lines of the second paasuram 
to the description of NrusimhAvathAram and 
the destruction of Bhagavatha ApachAri , HiraNyan:

tiNNiyathOr ariuruvAi tisai anaitthum nadunga
dEvarOdu tAnavarhaL tisaippa IraNiyanai
naNNI avan maarvu ahalatthu  uhir maduttha Naathan
nAdOrum mahizhthinithu maruviurai koyil ------

All the ten directions reverberated with the ear-piercing sound
of the Lord , when He  jumped out of the sthambam , when
HiraNyan mockingly hit it in response to his son's statement 
that the Lord is everywhere . The attahAsam and the garjanam
of the Lord echoed in every direction and the dEvAs as well
as the asurAs were filled with a sense of terror . They did not know
the cause of that thunderous sound shattering the sky and earth  .
The adhbhutha Kesari ran towards HiraNyan and grabbed him .
Then the Vaikunta Kanteeravan placed the wriggling HiraNyan 
on His lap and with His sharp nails tore apart the chest for the 
asuran"s offenses against His bhakthan . AzhwAr concludes 
that this KshEthram , Thiru Vaikuntha ViNNagaram , is the 
preferred residence of the Vaikunta Kanteeravan .

In the Bhagavatha mELa nAtakam , PrahlAda charitham , 
Melattur Venkatarama saasthri ,  a predecessor of saint
Thyagaraja describes the awesome experience of the world 
during NrusimhAvathAram in a telling manner :

katuvadi keta keta keta mani putami atharagA
jatini saptha saagaramulu saala kalakaka 
atukatukuku alatanusuntataripetharakaa
asurulata vikithamai Narahari aavaginchunu  

the aakAsam reverberated with the mighty sounds and
shook ; the seven oceans had tsunAmi waves and the
waters were agitated profoundly . the earth shook . 
The asuraas were terror stricken at the moment , when
the Lord jumped out of the Jaya Sthambham of HiraNyan's
darbhaar hall . The sound and fury associated with the avathAram 
has been captured by MelattUr Bhagavathar in a manner
described by Thirumangai . 

3 . Thiru ArimEya ViNNagaram : Here the uthsavar is 
chathurbhuja GopAlan ; the mUlavar is KudamAdu kUtthan .
ThAyAr"s name is Amrithagatavalli . Vimanam is Ucchasringam .

Here , Thirumangai had the darsanam of the Lord with
His two dEvis on either side pleading for the erring chethanAs:

thirumadanthai maNN madanthai irupaalum thihazha 
ttheevinaigaL pOyahala adiyavahatkkenrum
aruL nadanthu ivvEzhulahatthavar paNiya vaanOr
amarnthEttha irundha idam -----------Nangoor 
ArimEya ViNNagaram vaNangu mada nenjE 

The Lord responds readily to the pleas of His two dEvis 
and forgives the aparAthams of the chEthanAs at this 
Divya Desam . Swami Desikan has celebrated the 
special pleading by Sri Devi and Bhu Devi in the following 
two slokams of DayA sathakam to ilustrate the intercession 
of the two dEvis on our behalf :

samastha jananeem vandhE 
chaithanya sthanya dhAyineem I
KaruNAmiva RoopiNeem II

vandhE Vrushagireesasya 
tathkrupA prathigAthAnAm 

4. Thiru dEvanAr thohai : This is the fourth of the ThirunAngUr
divya dEsams . It is located at a distance of four miles 
from SeerkAzhi in the south eastern direction .Under 
the Sobhana VimAnam , DaivanAyaka PerumAL and 
Kadal MaamahaL nAcchiyAr offer darsanam in ninra
thirukkOlam. The dEvAs assembled in big numbers here 
to confer on the ways to fight the asurAs , who tormented them .
Hence the KshEthram got its name . The ThAyAr's name 
suggests that She is the daughter of the King of Oceans 
(Kadal MaamahaL ) and incarnated during the time of
churning of the milky ocean for nectar . Hence , AzhwAr
appropriately addresses the Lord here as Maadhavan 
or the consort of MahA Lakshmi , whose auspicious 
glances support and sustain the world as indicated by
AaLavandAr's salutation " " jagath samastham 
yadapAnga samsrayam " . She resides at the chest 
of the Lord and thus gives Him the names Maadhavan ,
MaalOlan( Lakshmi Nrusimhan )and  , Lakshmi NArAyaNan .

In this kshEthram known for the PirAttis , who are the root 
causes of their Lord's glory , Thirumangai begs his mind to
salute the Lord , whose anger was quenched by MahA Lakshmi
through her suggestion for PrahlAdA to approach Her angry Lord :

OdAtha aaL ariyin uruvam athu kondu anru
           ulappil mihu peruvaratthu IraNiyanai paRRi
vAdAtha vaLL uhirAl piLanthu avan mahanukku 
           aruL cheythAn vAzhumidam------------------
arimEya ViNNagaram vaNangum Mada NenjE 

Padha Arthams :

anru : on that day , when the Lord had to keep PrahlAdA"s
statement as true

athu --the most wonderful form 

odAtha aaLL ariyin uruvam kondu - (you took the most wonderful
form ) of indefatigable Nrusimhan 

ulappu il mihu peru varatthu IraNiyanai paRRI-- (and ) grabbed 
the dushta asuran , HiraNyan , who was famous as the possessor
of countless boons from semi-Gods 

vAdAtha vaLL uhirAl piLanthu -- (and ) tore him apart with the power 
of your sharp and strong nails that know no fatigue .

avan tan mahanukku aruL seythAn vAzhumidam -- This is indeed 
the place of residence of the one ( Nrusimhan ) , who blessed 
the child of that asuran , HiraNyan .

5 . ThiruvaNN PurudOtthamam

Under Sanjeevigraha VimAnam , PurushOtthaman 
stands at this kshEthram with His consort revered as
PurushOtthama Naayaki . 

The Lord is  celebrated in the 15th chapter of Bahgavadh Gita 
as PurushOtthaman and gives there the clues to recognize Him . 

He says : sarvasya chAham hrudhi sannivushtO
                  mattha: smruthirj~nAnamapOhanam cha I
                  vedaisccha sarvairahmEva vEdhyO
                  VedAntha kruth Veda vidhEva chAham II

(Meaning ) : I reside  in the hearts of all chEthanAs .
Memory , perception and loss of that faculty arise
from Me . I am verily that which has to be comprehended 
by all vEdAs . I am indeed the author of vEdAnthA , and 
the knower of the vEdA am I . 

He goes on to say : " AthOsmi lOkE vEdE cha prathitha:
PurushOtthama : " . Therefore ,  am I in the world and in 
the vEdAs celebrated as the PurushOtthamn ( the highest
and the noblest PurushA ) . 

Earlier in that chapter of Srimadh Bhagavadh Gita ,
PurushOtthaman has said that the Yogis striving for 
perfection see Him dwelling in their heart cavities , but
the unrefined ( akruthAthmana: )  and unintelligent
(achEthasa: ) , even though striving , see Me not . 

Thirumangai , as a Parama Yogi , understood very 
well the PurushOtthama doctrine of the Lord of 
ThiruvaNN PurudOtthamam .  One name of Thirumangai
was " AruL Maari " . He wasindeed the recipient of ManthrOpadEsam
from the Lord Himself. Therefore , the AzhwAr understood the 
PurushOtthama Vibhoothi of the Lord as revealed by the Aadhi Kavi
ValmIki , when he dwelled upon the PurushOtthama LakshaNam 
of Sri RamachandrA : " Aanrusamsyam anukrOsa: srutham ,
seelam , dhama : yama: RaaghavAn sobhayanthE shat guNA :"
Scholarship , culture, sadhAchAram , forbearance , self-control ,
SaraNyathvam  are the six guNAs that characterize 
the PurushOtthamathvam of Raaghavan according to ValmIki .
Thirumangai has celebrated Sri RaamA as PurushOtthaman in many 
of his paasurams including the ones at ThiruvaNN PurudOtthamam . 

( to be concluded in the next posting ) 

Oppiliappan Kovil VaradAchAri Sadagopan