You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : March 2001

Input for CD ROM On AzhwArs : Part XI.3: Swamy nammAzhwAr's THIRUVAASIRIYAM (Second prabhandham).

From: Sadagopan (
Date: Sat Mar 03 2001 - 06:01:45 PST

Namo NaarAyaNAya 

Dear BhakthAs: adiyEn will cover the high lights of 
ThiruvAsiriyam in this posting.

ThiruvAsiriyam and Yajur vedam :Structure of Poetry
******************************* ********************
It is generally considered that Swamy NammAzhwAr (SN)
has focussed on the themes covered by Yajur Vedam in
his ThiruvAsiriyam (TA). This prabhandham is set in
the style of Aasiriya Paa(AP) , which belongs to the general 
division of VeNN Paa in Tamil poetry. AP has a gadhyam 
like structure (Vachana Nadai/prosody ) and has no 
" paadha Vyavasthai" or restrictions on metre and length. 
Yajur vedam also is not set in metres like Rg Veda 
manthrams and it has no restrictions on the length of 
the manthrams as well .This relationship between 
Yajur Vedam and the TA set in AP is at the architectonic 

TA and Yajur Vedam:Thematic Similarities
At a more substantive level of content , both TA
and Yajur Vedam have one very important aspect in
common. Yajur Vedam is devoted to sacrifices (Yaagams) 
and sacred rites associated with the performance of
such Yaagams. Yaagam is a Veda karmaa. This rite is 
known in Aagamaas as CharyA or KriyA and they have 
the Vedic sanctions as well. 

There are a lot of prayers in a yaagam and it has 
been accepted that every prayer has a rite incorporated 
in it. Among all the sacred rites ,Bhagavath AarAdhanam 
is the most important one .Between the EmperumAn worshipped 
through His AarAdhanam and the one performing that 
AarAdhanam , there is a relationship that is similar to 
that described in ThiruvAsiriyam/Yajur Vedam.

Sri K.C.Varadachari's observation is quite valuable in this
context to understand the purpose of the Yaagam : " Sacrifice
considered from the mystic stand point is not anything
other than the proper self-offering for work ,
transformation ,indwelling and possession and finally 
elevation to the Lord's Infinite Mansion(Parama Padham).

The Yajur Veda is devoted to the sacrifice ; the Sukla 
Yajur Veda (VaajasnEya SamhithA) concludes with 
the IsAvAsyOpanishad ,which declares that Karma 
must be done as long as one lives and one should 
desire to do this (Saathvik) karma of self-offering 
to the Divine Being throughout life and that performance 
of right karma does not entail any sin or limitation.

There are three kinds of karmas:

(1)Karma (action) (2) Akarma (nonaction ) and 
(3)Vikarma , a transcendental variety of Karma ,
which the VaishNavAs describe as Kaimkaryam ( Bhagavath/
BhAgavatha/AchArya Kaimkaryam) to secure freedom from 
the cycles of births and deaths". 

ThiruvAsiriyam develops the above themes of Yajur 
Vedam in its seven paasurams.TA points out that 
the AarAdhya Devan for the rites prescribed by 
the adhvaryu priests in the case of Yajur Vedam is Sriman 
NaarAyaNan alone .ThiruvAsiriyam is hence considered 
as the elaboration of the "NaarAyaNAya " portion of 
the Moola Manthram (AshtAksharam). 

The place of TA among SN's Four prabhandhams
UtthamUr Swamy points out that the four Prabhandhams
of SN progress from Para Bhakthi (Thiruviruttham) to
Para JnAnam( TA) to Parama Bhakthi (Periya ThiruvandhAthi)
to Bhagavath prApthi (ThiruvAimozhi).In Thiruviruttham,
SN experienced Para Bhakthi state and conversed with 
the Lord , who was visible to him through Jn~Ana KaNN 
(Dhivya Chakshus)and pleaded for the severance of 
the dEha sambhandham that interfered with the perfect 
enjoyment of the Lord .

The Lord was concerend and He came up with a clever
way to satisfy SN , while making sure that the Prabhandhams
for the benefit of the samsAris would be completed by SN 
as a part of his avathAra kaaryam .Our Lord blessed SN
to enjoy His svaroopam , Roopam , GuNam and dhivya
leelAs so that SN could enjoy them and be persuaded 
to cast Moksham aside for a while and stay a little 
longer in this earth(LeelA VibhUthi) to complete
the composition of the remaining three prabhandhams.

Thus arose ThiruvAsiriyam as a result of the direct
vision (Prathyaksha Darsanam ) of the Lord by SN
as KshIrAbdhi Naathan resting as a baby in the lap
of his Mother (AadhisEshan) at the milky ocean . 
That vision led SN to celebrate the uniqueness of 
Sriman NaarAyaNan as the uncontested Supreme Being , 
who alone can grant the Jeevans Moksham and rejected 
all other gods created by Him and subservient to Him 
in every way for worship to gain that MahA Siddhi.

In a subsequent and final posting , adiyEn will
summarize the meanings of the individual paasurams
of TA and connect them to the Yajur Vedic passages
saluting VishNu-Thrivikraman .

(To Be Continued)

           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
To Post a message, send it to:

Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to