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Re: Alavandar & Desikan

From: Sadagopan (sgopan_at_computer.net)
Date: Wed Jul 28 1999 - 04:53:47 PDT

Dear BhakthAs :

Today is a very sacred day . Sri AlavandhAr also known
as Yaamuna Muni was born this day at KaattumannAr Koil 
near Thillai Thirucchitthirakootam in the year 916A.D .
He lived for 125 years prior to ascending Parama padham .
His illustrious works Sidhdithrayam ,GithArtha sangraham,
Aagama PrAmANyam , Chathus SlOki and STHOTHRA RATHNAM 
provided the inspiration for AchArya RaamAnujA ,
KurEsar , ParAsara Bhattar and Swami Desikan as well
as a whole group of Sri VaishNava AchAryas to compose 
noble granthams , which guide us every day .

AchArya Yaamuna Muni was the grand perceptor(PrAchArya)
for AchArya RaamAnujA . Our Revered Yaamuna Muni's
Sri Sookthis are the essence of VedAs , Upanishads , 
VaishNavite AagamAs , Saatvika purANams and 
the blessed divya Prabhandams . 

Among the revered works of AlavandhAr , 
SthOthra Rathnam is a model work for those 
who followed his footsteps to strengthen
the fortress of Sri VaishNavam . 

AdiyEn wrote an earlier article on the Life
and works of AlavandhAr and GithArtha Sangraham ,
which are archived in the Bhakthi archives .

On this day of his birth , which also happens
to be a PourNami day as well as the ChaathurmAsyam day 
for SanyAsis , it is adiyen' bhAgyam to add few more
comments about the slOkams of SthOthra rathnam.
It is so very appropriate that the Revered Jeeyar of 
Ahobila Matam has chosen ThiruvahIndhrapuram for
his ChaathurmAsyam to be close to Swami Desikan 
and to the birth place of Sri AaLavandhAr .
     
Both Sri Periya VaacchAn PiLlai and Swami Desikan
have written extensive commentaries on this source 
grantham for all sthOthrams to follow as a leader 
in substance and style . 

This sthOthram is so profound in meaning that
one has to spend hours and hours >going back and 
forth between this pioneering 
sthuthi and the derivatives , which are elaborations 
by Sri VaishNava AchAryAs like Sri RaamAnujA , 
KurEsar , Bhattar and Swami Desikan . The many 
SaraNAgathi granthams that Swami Desikan wrote 
are elaborations of the tenets covered by
YaamunAchAryaa. 

At the end of his SR BhAshyam , Swami Desikan 
in his inimtable way summed up the contents 
of SR as follows :

* AlavandhAr condensed the meanings of the manthra
  Rathnam ( Dhvayam ) to create the slOkams of SR.
* Among the 65 slOkams , the first 5 are those, who
  opened his spiritual eyes ; the sthothram commences
  with the 6th slOkam .
* the 7th deals with the awesome Parathvam of the Lord ,
  which can be intimidating and in slOkams 8-9 describes
  the Lord's soulabhyam , which removes all fears about
  His accessibility .
* From 10 to 21 , AlavandhAr dealt with the many 
  meanings of NaarAyaNa sabdham .
* In the 22nd SlOkam , AlavandhAr performed Prapatthi.
* From 23-27, he expressed his qualifications (adhikAram )
  for Prapatthi at the sacred feet of the Lord .
* From 28-29 , he explained that great fruits come out
  of the easy observance of prapatthi.
* From 30to 46 , AlavandhAr revealed the inner
  meanings of the uttara KHANDam of Dhvayam.
  The slOkams from 32-46 describes parama Padha Vaibhavam ,
  which formed the basis of Sri VaikuNta Gadhyam .
* In slOkam 47 , he expressed his nirvEdham over
  nonperformance of the upAyam to redeem him .
* From 48-51 , he showed us that Prapatthi alone
  will give the fruits of Moksham .
* From 52-53 , he dealt with Bhara samarpaNa Tattvam .
  SlOkma 52 is important in that it was used by
  ThirukkOttiyUr Nampi to teach RaamAnujA that 
  Seshathvam is SvarUpa NirUpakam to a Jeevan .
  SlOkma 53 is an echo of NammAzhwAr's ThiruvAimozhi2.3.4:
  " YenathAvi YaaryaanAr tantha nee koNDAkkinayE ".
* From 54-57 , he begged for the Lord's anugraham 
  to lead the life of prapannA until dehAvasAnam .
  He celebrated the glory of Bhaagavatha Sangham 
  in SlOkam 55.
* From 58-63 , AlavandhAr described with example 
  the protective qualiites of the Lord such as
  KaaruNyam , Vaatsalyam , Bhandhuthvam et al 
  and sought refuge .SlOkam 60 is a moving
  acknowledgement of the Sarva Vidha Bhanthuthvam 
  of the Lord in the context of Bhara SamarpaNam.
  ParAsara Bhattar recited the 62nd slOkam of SR
  before Sri RanganAthA and described himself as
  " amaryAtha: Kshudhra:"
* In the 64th slOkam , AlavandhAr reminded the Lord
  of his saraNAgathi Vratham .This is the Abhaya
  PradhAna SlOkam and became the basis of Swami 
  Desikan's Abaya PradhAna Saaram and NishEpa Rakshai.
* In the final 65th slOkam , he celebrated the glory
  of AchAryAnugraham and AchArya sambhandham 
  and prayed for the Lord's grace atleast for 
  the sake of his grandsire, Sri Naathamuni , the great
  AchAryA .

* AlavandhAr's Sidhdi Thrayam expounds the nature of 
  the three siddhis : Aathama siddhi (the nature of the Soul ),
  Isvara Siddhi ( The nature of the Lord),Samvit Siddhi
  (the nature of supreme Knowledge). Togehter they deal with
  the central doctrines of today'ds VisishtAdvaithA System 
  consistent with the teachings of the early commentators ,
  BodhAyanA , TankA , DramidA et al.Sri RaamAnujA based
  his Sri BhAshyam on that Sri Sookthi .
* The GithArtha Sangrahaa summarizes the teachiings
  Of Lord KrishNA in a succinct manner . Both RaamAnujA's
  and Swami Desikan's elaborations on GitA arise from
  this work .
* The Aagama prAmANyA of AlavandhAr defends the Vedic
  authority and the revelations of Paancha Raathra AagamA.
* SR and ChatusslOki deal with the saraNAgathi Tattvam
  and rthe important role Sri Devi plays as one of 
  the Seshi Dampathis.Her PurushakAra role is underlined. 
* The other two sookthis of AlavandhAr , MahA Purusha 
  NirNayam and KaashmirAgama PrAmANyam are no longer 
  available to us.
* AlavandhAr was very much influenced by the great 
  sookthi of his grandfather , Nathamuni revered as 
  NyAya Tatvam , which established the parathvam
  of Sriman NaarAyaNA and the unfitness of advaitham
  as a darsanam .
* the 21st slOkam is a beautiful prayer to the limitless
  glories of Sriman naarAyaNA .
* the power of Anjali as a laghu upAyam is dealt with
  in slOkam 28. Swami Desikan elaborated on this slOkam
  and created a whole grantham known as rahasya SikhAmaNi .

Nammayum  AalavandhAr ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam ,
Oppiliappan Koil VaradachAri Sadagopan