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AhalahillEn Paasuram Musings : part 2

From: Sadagopan (sgopan_at_computer.net)
Date: Thu Jun 11 1998 - 19:17:21 PDT

Dear BhakthAs : 

We started this series of postings on the Isvara 
Vaikaasi Visaakam day , which has been celebrated by
Sri MaaNavALa MaamunigaL as " Vedam Tamizh seytha
meyyan yezhil Kuruhai Naathan avatharittha nALL " .
VaikAsi VisAkam day is indeed the day devoted to 
saluting the Master of the beautiful Thirukkuruhai ,
who transformed the rigorous Sanskritic VedAs in to 
DrAvida BhAshai . It is very appropriate that MaNavALa
MaamunigaL goes on to wonder :

uNdO vaikAsi VisAkatthuk koppuru nALL ?
( Is there any auspicious day that matches the glory of 
the VaikAsi VisAkam day ? No.)

uNdO SatakOparkkopporuvAr ?
( Is there anyone that can match the illustrious 
glory of our Kulapathi , NammAzhwAr ? No. )

uNdO ThiruvAimozhikkoppu ?
( is there any divya prabhandham that can match
the magnificience of ThiruvAimozhi ? None )

tenn KuruhaikkundO oru paar tanil okkumUr ?
( are there any divya desams that match 
the auspiciousness of ThirukkuruhUr that
gave birth to our Kulapathi ? No ).

These rhetorical inquiry and the answers
implicit in these questions soundly establish 
the utter sacredness and the extraordinary 
bhakthi yogam of NammAzhwAr that culminated
in the performance of his SaraNAgathi at the lotus
feet of ThiruvenkatamudayAn , which are covered 
up to His ankles with the most fragrant flowers 
used by the DevAs during their aarAdhanams . 
At this divya desam linked with the charama
SlOkam and saraNAgathi , AzhwAr elected appropriately
to perform his SaraNAgathi . 

At the Thirumalai divyadesam , AzhwAr showed us 
what is hEyam ( that to be detested and pushes aside )
and what is upAdhEyam ( that to be desired  and 
welcomed ) . He had been discussing ealier as to
what is thyAjyam ( to be abandoned )  and what is
upAdhEyam( to be acquired) . He repeatedly explained to us 
that being engaged in worldly pleasures and siRRinbam 
is paramAvathi dukkham ( the limit of sorrows ).

He instructed us that the engagement in kshudhra 
vishaya laabham ( gains realized from engagement
in lowly and alpa vishayams) only produces klEsam
( anxiety and loss of tranquility ) . The arrogance 
that comes from pursuit of paltry activities leads 
to a state (gharvam ) that stands in the way of 
enjoying "anthamil pErinbham " , which is the charamAvathi 
Sukham ( end limit of aanandham ) arising from 
being part of a bhAgavatha ghOshti engaged in 
bhagavad guNAnubhavam .That is niradhisayAnandha
hEthu , which is just the opposite of anantha klEsa
hEthu .

As a result of the ascendance of the RajO and TamO guNams ,
the samsAri develops the five fold ajn~Anam that 
NammAzhwAr instructed us to stay away from :

" maranthEn unnai munnam " --ParasvarUpa ajn~Anam

" yAnE yennai aRihilAthE "-- aathma svarUpa ajn~Anam

" Odiyum uzhanRum uyirkaLE konREn uNarvilEn "--VirOdhi
  vishaya ajn~Anam

" piRavi nOy aRuppAnEaNilEn irunthEn " --upAya Vishaya 
  ajn~Anam

" aazhiangankai ammAnai yEtthaathu ayartthu " -- PurushArtha 
  vishaya ajn~Anam 

These five ajn~Anams ( Jn~Athavya pancha ajn~nams )
made the aathmA forget the Lord ( maRanthEn ) .

After overcoming this five fold ajn~Anam thru 
the development of Jn~Athavya  panchaka jn~Anam 
as instructed by the seeker of mOksham , one 
attains nirasthAdhisaya aahlAdha sukha bhAvam
( anthamil pErinbham or limitless joy and tranquliity ) .
AzhwAr himself alludes to the acquisition of the five 
types of Jn~Anams this way in his paasurams :

" ninnai nenjil uyuum vahai uNarnthEn "-- Para svarUpa
  JN~Anam

" ninRa onRai uNarnthEnukku " --aathma svarUpa jn~nam

" ahaRRa nee vaittha mAyavallai eimpulangaLAmavai
nankaRinthanan "-- VirOdhi Vishaya Jn~Anam 

" avanatharuLAlural poruttu yenn uNarvin uLLE 
  irutthinEn "-- upAya Vishaya Jn~Anam

" aam parisu aRinthukondu "-- PurushArtha vishaya Jn~Anam

The acquisition of these pentad of Jn~Anam led to
the niradhisAyanandham . As Azhagiya MaNavALa PerumAL
NaayanAr summarized for our benefit in his AchArya 
Hrudhaya Saara sUthram , " karma krupA bheejam poy
ninRa aruL purintha yenkira avidyA souhArthangaL " .
Karma bheejam is the avidhyai ( poy ninRa-rooted in untruth); 
KrupA bheejam is the souhArtham ( aruL purintha - blessings
resuting from the Lord's grace) .Our Lord is the mUlam 
for both the karma and krupA bheejams .When the aathmA
realizes and declares its ancient and timeless NaarAyaNa
sambhandham ( " adiyEn adainthEn muthal munnamE " ), 
the krupA bheejam and the SouhArtham come into play.
This NaarAyaNa sambhandham is the opposite of achith
sambhandham that immerses one in avidhyA and samsAram
with anAthi klEsam .Artha panchaka jn~Anam leads to
satthva guNa pUrthi (perfection of satthva guNam )
and ends up in the anubhavam of mOksha sukham .

NammAzhwAr was like the thousand-rayed Aadithyan
thru his thiruvAimozhi upadEsam . His avathAram has 
been saluted as the VakuLa bhUshaNa bhaskarOdhayam
( the Sun rise with the fragrance of VakuLA blossoms 
adorning him ). He is the BhAskaran and yet differs
from the regular DivAkara-Bhaskaran in that the latter 
can only remove the external darkness ; the VakuLa
BhUshaNa bhAskaran however removes both the inner and 
the outter darkness ( ajn~Anam).

His love for the SaraNyan was sahajam (natural ) 
as he himself pointed out :" tazhuvi ninRa kaathal 
tannAl " .It has been compared to the inseparable 
parimaLam of thirut thuzhAi .His bhakthi was not 
one that was earned or granted as a boon .
It was of the sahajaa variety or that was intrinsic 
to him from the jaayamAna katAksham .This is the krishi palam 
( the fruit of the harvest of the Lord ) of BhagavAn .
That is the entire outcome of the nirhEthuka krupA 
of the Lord ( ThirumAlirum chOlai malai yenRennat ThirumAl
vandhu yenn nenju niRayap puhunthAn ) . The most merciful
Lord ( " aaRa nalvahai kAttum ammAn " )grew the Jn~Anam
of the AzhwAr by union with him and increased the bhakthi
of the AzhwAr by separation from him ( samslEsham-VislEsham:
kalavi and pirivu ) .The experience of the AzhwAr thru 
these avasthAs ( modalities of anubhavams of union and 
separation ) has been compared by the AchArya Hrudhaya 
suthrakAraar as being similar to the experience of
SithAp Piraatti in Srimadh RaamAyaNam .

Experiencing the heights of aanandham during the Union
with the Lord and suffering profoundly from the separation 
from Him , AzhwAr celebrated the guNa pUrthi of the Lord
blessing him at each of the divya desams . He pointed out 
to us that Archaavatharam witnesses the guNa pUrthi 
( the perfection of the auspicous atributes of the Lord 
reaches its pinnacle in Archai in contrast to the other 
four states of His existence ) .He arived at Thirumalai 
and declared that ThiruvEnkata KshEthram is  the treasure
for both the humans and the celestials ( TaNNaruvi VEnkatamE
vAnOrkkum MaNNOrkkum vaippu ) . He saluted the Lord as
" niharil puhazhAi " with great vaatsalyam .He revealed
that the DayAsindhu at Thirumalai is the father , mother
and the sustaining force for times past , present and 
future ( pOhinRa kaalangaL pOya kaalangaL pOhu
kaalangaL thAi Tanthai uyir aahinRaai ).He gratefully 
acknowledged the unique vaathsalyam of the Lord of 
Thirumalai and saluted Him as " Yenkat paasam vaittha 
Paramsudar chothi "and " Niharil puhazhAi ThiruvEnakatatthu
EmperumAnE " .

AzhwAr then performed his dheerga SaraNAgathi at 
Thirumalai in his " ahalahillEn " paasuram.
SaraNAgathi has been described as the ealboration 
(vivaraNam ) of the essence of dhvayam ( DhvyArtha
VivaraNam ) by Sri PiLLai LOkAcchAr in his work
revered as "Saara sangraham " . This SaraNAgathi 
led to the state of " avidhyA nivarthaka , jn~Ana 
pUrthi pratha , Bhagaavth prasAdhOthitha Moksha lAbham ".
In the next posting , we will go deeper into the word by
word meaning of the AhalahillEn Paasuram as per our
pUrvAchAryAs .

AzhwAr ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam ,
Oppiliappan koil VaradAchAri SadagOpan