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NAMMAZHWAR TIRUNAKSHATRAM

From: Ram Anbil (Ramanbil_at_hotmail.com)
Date: Mon Jun 04 2001 - 06:54:40 PDT

        NAMMAZHWAR TIRUNAKSHATRAM VAIKASI-VISAKAM
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        “VAGHULABARANA PERUMAL VASI ARINDHIDU NAAL”
                 (Anbil Ramaswamy)
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The above line is recited in the verse in the “TirunaaL PaaTTu” dedicated to 
celebrate the birthday of Swami Desika.

What has this to do with Nammaazhwaar?

“Vaghula” is the fragrant flower of “Magizhampoo” (in Tamil). Nammaazhwaar 
used to wear a garland of this flower. He is, therefore, known as 
“VaghulaabharaNan”. It is said that the fragrance of this flower permeates 
to every syllable of his “Tituvoimozhi”, considered to be the essence of 
Vedas. Says Desika:
“ varNasthomai Vaghula sumano vaasanaam Udhvahantheem /
aamnaayaanaam prakritim aparaam samhithaam drishTavantham”

1.	Those who have learned the Vedas are dear to Bhagavan; to help those not 
eligible to learn Vedas, Nammaazhwaar had rendered the Vedas in Tamil. 
Hence, he is known as “Vedam Tamizh seitha Maaran”.
2.	The moment one learns to recite Tiruvoimozhi instantly becomes dear to 
the Lord as if that one had learned to recite the Vedas. In fact, this is 
considered superior to the work of Paraasara in expounding the esoteric 
truths to be understood by even the lay folk.
3.	For those, who cannot learn to recite even this Tituvoimozhi, 
Nammaazhwaar, out of his infinite compassion, took the incarnation of the 
“Paadukas” of the Lord.
“DraminidOpanishaan nivesa soonyaanapi dhruvam aavisathi sma Paadhukaatmaa 
Satakopa swameva maananeeya:”

Through his Tituvoimozhi, Nammaazhwaar has given us some valuable message. 
The one who not only understood thoroughly the mind (Tiru uLLam) of the 
Azhwaar but also applied it in his own lifestyle was none other than Swami 
Desika. That is why we sing “Vaghulabarana PerumaaL Vaasi ArindhiDu NaaL”.

Let us see how?

Nammaazhwaar looked around to see if there were any Vaishnavas who could 
give him company in enjoying the Gunaanubhavams of the Lord. He was totally 
disappointed to find none to dos so; they were so madly after filthy lucre 
and wasted their lives in singing the praise of mere mortals to earn their 
morsels. He lamented:

“True. I will antagonize) if I tell you the truth: Never mind; I will 
nevertheless tell what I have to. At least listen to me”
“Sonnaal virodham idhu; aagilum solven, kenmin”

In other words, “ I ask you not to sing the praise of mere mortals, if only 
for earning your livelihood. I know that if I say this to you, you will 
consider me as your enemy. Even if you do not “follow” Oh! Friends, 
Vaishnavas, Countrymen! Lend me your ears”. For how long can these mortals 
provide you sustenance? If you sing the praise of Lord Venkata, He is sure 
to grant you all that you need and good for you, not for now only but 
forever. (KoLLak kuraivilan, veNDitrellaam tharum kOdhilaan).
So, please come on! Let us praise His glory”.

What was the response? None heeded his advice.
Swami Desika is the one who took this advice seriously.

Once, VidyaaraNya who was a minister to Vijayanagar empire wrote to Swami 
Desika “ Swamin: I described to the Emperor your poetic skills and how 
easily you demolish the arguments of your adversaries by sheer logic based 
on appropriate authority (PramaaNas). Since then, he has always been 
thinking of you. I beseech you to go over here and give us the pleasure of 
your abilities in praise of the Emperor”

Following the advice of Nammaazhwaar, he sent a slOka in reply commencing 
with the words “kshoNeekoNa” meaning- “What is the use of praising a petty 
king who takes pride in ruling over a miniscule bit of the land? How long 
can he provide sustenance? We do not care for this. We have decided to 
praise only Sriman Narayana who can grant not only “moksha” but also all 
else as a bonus”

He goes on to substantiate this by citing the case of “Kuchela Muni” who 
offered just a fistful of beaten rice (aval) and in turn was rewarded with 
unimaginable wealth and was transformed into a “Kubera”, the Lord of wealth.

Azhwaar pleaded for a “hearing” at least, even if his listeners did not 
“heed” his advice but was sorely disappointed. Swami Desika removed his 
anguish through this incident In fact, Swami Desika employed almost the same 
words and sentiments which Azhwaar used. The “Kuchela muni” was endowed with 
“kubera sampath” in proof of Azhwaar’s general statement
“koLLak kuraivilan, venditrellaam tharum vaLLal”

Swami  imagines that some materialistic minded poets posing a question to 
Azhwaar –
“We are praising mortal kings for earning our livelihood. What is wrong in 
this? Can we do hard work like tilling the land which involves manual labor 
for which we are not cut out? What is wrong in adopting the easier means of 
gaining what we want by dishing out a few words of praise on ordinary human 
beings who could satisfy our needs of the hour?”

The Swami replies:
“There is none in this world who could guarantee you whatever you need. Not 
only for now but forever. The only one who could grant all and more is our 
Lord”

When VidyaaraNya repeated his entreaty again, Swami Desika who was a 
“Vairaghya nidhi” sent again another reply of 5 slokas commencing with the 
words-“silam kim analam bhaveth” These were also on the lines of Azhwaar’s 
Srisookti.

Swami asks –
“What else do you want beyond food to eat, water to drink and clothes to 
wear? For securing these, you don’t need to do any hard labor. All you have 
to do is to gather a few grains from the fields, drink the copious waters 
that flow in the streams and use some bits of torn clothes to cover your 
body. These are all available for free. Why should you waste your talents on 
petty kings? I, for one, would never squander my God-given gift of fragrant 
speech and would never ever beg for anything which, for me, is no better in 
value than a piece of grass”

Thus, Swami Desika followed the advice of Azhwaar and relieved him of his 
anxiety and also felt himself relieved. Thus, did Swami Desika understand 
the import of Azhwaar’s advice, as it is, and faithfully implemented it in 
practice.

Now, let us enjoy the couplet –
“VaghuLabharaNap perumaaL
Thamizhin Vaasi arindhiDu naaL
Uthamamaana Purattaasi
ThiruvoNam enu naaLe”
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(Based on article in Swami Desika’s 7th Centenary Commemoration Volume, by 
Siromani, Sri Bhashya Simhasanam Srimad U. Ve. Vidwan Purisai Nadadur 
Krishnamachariar Swami, Editor & Publisher, Nrisimhapriya.)
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Srivaasa Ranga Parakaala Munitrayaapta Lakshmaatma
Rakshana Yathitva Yugaagamaantham /
Achaarya Bhakthi Pari pootham Anargha Seelam
Gopaala Desika Munim Gurum Aasrayaamaha //

(meaning)
We seek refuge at the sacred feet of our revered AchAryan, Sri Gopala MahA 
Desikan, who received the sacred rites of SamAsrayaNam , Bhara SamarpaNam 
from the great AchAryA, Sri Srinivasa MahA Desikan (Srimad Poundarikapuram 
Andavan); ThurIyAsramam from Sri Srinivasa MahA Desikan (Srimad 
VeNNaaRRankarai Andavan)and the wealth of Ubhaya VedAntham from Srimad 
Abhinava Ranganatha Brahmatantra Swantantra Parakaala Yatindra Maha 
Deshikan. He shines with illustrious sadAchAram and is resplendent with his 
limitless AchArya Bhakthi.
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