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Inputs for CD ROM: XI.5: Third Prabhandham of Swamy NammAzhwAr(SN), Periya ThiruvandhAthi/Atharva Veda Saaram

From: Sadagopan (
Date: Mon Mar 05 2001 - 04:43:48 PST

Dear BhakthAs :

AdiyEn will cover the highlights of 
Periya ThiruvandhAthi in this and 
a subsequent posting .

NaarAyaNa , NaarAyaNa , NaarAyNa  

The Origin of Periya ThiruvandhAthi
Thiruviruttham and ThiruvAsiriyam are considered 
the anubhavams based on Swamy nammazhwAr's Para Bhakthi 
and Para Jn~Anam respectively . Periya ThiruvandhAthi(PTA)
is the blossoming of the Parama Bhakthi anubhavam of 
Swamy NammAzhwAr (SN).ThiruvAimozhi is about Bhagavath PrApthi.

In Thiruviruttham ,AzhwAr's prayer to the Lord was to cut 
asunder the Deha-Sambhandham that stood in the way of 
the enjoyment of the Lord in Parama Padham through Moksham.
In ThiruvAsiriyam , Bhagavath SaakshAthkaram was realized 
and AzhwAr enjoyed the SvarUpam , rUpam and the GuNAs of 
the Lord in the spirit of Para Jn~Anam. In PTA , AzhwAr is
immersed in Parama Bhakthi and cries out to join without
delay the Lord through the route of Bhagavath 
GuNAnubhavam .Swamy Desikan has described SN's
GuNAnubhavam as an intense wish to unite with the Lord 
to perform nithya kaimakryam: " SvakeeyAm Bhagavath-
anubhavE spOdayAmaasa theevrAm aasAm".

PTA has 87 paasurams set in VeNN Paa style. It has been 
linked to Atharva Vedam just as Thiruiruttham and 
ThiruvAsiriyam have been linked to Rg and Yajur Vedam
respectively .PTA is a moving dialog of SN with his
Manas .The dhvarai (paraparappu /impatience )of SN to
unite with the Lord is captured in these dialogs.
Eeedu has identified the state of SN in this Prabhandham 
as equivalent to BharathAzhwAr , who waited impatiently
at NandhigrAmam performing PadhukA Aaradhanam and
waiting for his union with the Lord of the Paadhukai.  

The First Reason for the name of PERIYA ThiruvandhAthi
There are two views on why this prabhandham got
its name , Periya ThiruvandhAthi or the Great/Big 
ThiruvandhAthi . There are other AndhAthi Prabhandhams
with more paasurams like the ones by the three Mudhal
AzhwArs ( 100 each ) and Naanmuhan ThiruvandhAthi by
Thirumazhisai with ninety Six Paasurams . Why is PTA
still called the Big ThiruvandhAthi?

According to the first view , the vishaya gouravam 
( the importance of the topic , Charama SlOkArtham)
puts this prabhandham ahead of all other views.
The connection is in the 56th paasuram of TVA :

varavu aaRu onRu illaiAl vaazhvu inithAl* yellE!
  Oruvan oru aaRu puhA aaRu*--urumARum 
Aayavar thAmm sEyavar thAmm anRu ulaham thAyavar thAmm

Here SN says that Lord KrishNan has asserted that there is
no need for the ChEthanan to seek other means ( Bhakthi
and other Yogams and dharmams) and that seeking Him alone 
as refuge (Performing Prapatthi)would be sufficent for Him
to accept all responsibilities(burdens/Bharam) of protecting 
that ChEthanan . The key words in this paasuram containing 
these thoughts are: "Oruvan oru AaRu puhA aaRu , urumARum 
Aayavar thaam kaatum vazhi" . SN concludes this Paasuram 
with the spirit of MahA visvAsam and declares
his joy about his lot : "Maayavar thaamm kaattum vazhi
varavu aaRu onRu illai , Vaazhvu inithAl yellE!"
(This MaayAvi has asked us to adopt the path of Prapatthi.
How it (this path)came to me and why He chose me are not
relevant.What is relevant is that adiyEn considers the fruit 
of following that upAyam as BhOgyam(the most enjoyable).

The above distillation of the essence of Charama SlOkam 
and SN's prayers for dhruva Smruthi (unceasing rememberance)
of the Lord qualifies this AndhAthi to acquire the distinct
name of Periya ThiruvandhAthi.

The Second reason for the name , Periya ThiruvandhAthi
The clue for the second reason is found in the 75th paasuram 
of PTA;here, Swamy NammAzhwAr engages in a debate with 
the Lord , the Ubhaya VibhUthi Naathan , and asks Him 
to examine the issue of who is bigger (Periyan)between
the two of them :

puvium iru visumpum ninnahattha* nee-yenn
  seviyin vazhi puhunthu yennuLLAi--avivu inRi
  Oonparuhu nEmiyAi! uLLU 

(meaning ): Oh Lord ! It is well known that You are
the Master of the Two great Isvaryams , LeelA VibhUthi
and Nithya VibhUthi. You hold the powerful ChakrAyudham ,
which cuts asunder the limbs of the Raakshasa Kulam.
When You of such greatness made Your entry (anupravEsam)
into me through my ears , I caught You deftly and have 
kept You tightly in my heart lotus.Thou art now within 
me just as the entire world was once within You . 
Now tell me , Who is the bigger One (in glory )? 
Myself or Yourself? Who can comprehend this
fact?  Pray think about this.

This debate about "Periyan" makes this AndhAthi
the "Periya ThiruvandhAthi".The many insightful
descriptions of his (SN's)daasathvam to the Lord (Swamy)
makes this Prabhandham the Periya ThiruvandhAthi.
For instance , SN says: "Tadam KadalmEyAr Tamakku
nizhalum adithARumAnOm " ( adiyEn has become the shadow
of His ThirumEni and Paadhukai for Him , who resides
eternally in the expansive Milky Ocean)...PTA Paasuram: 31.
In Paasuram Sixty , SN salutes the Parathvam of the Lord 
unconditionally : " Vemm Narahil sErAmal kAppathaRkku , 
maRRum ohr iRai illai kANN" ( Oh My Mind! For SAVING
US from falling into the terrible Narakam , please 
remember that there is NO ONE ELSE EXCEPT OUR LORD).

Goal and Approach of Periya ThruvandhAthi
Sri K.C.VaradachAri points out that the purpose of
this Prabhandham is to instruct the mind to recognize
the unparalleled greatness of the Lord nad worship Him. 
This prabhandham is therefore intended to make the mind 
attain Svaroopa Jn~Anam (knowledge of its true nature)
and to make it " bathe fully in the flowing waters of
divine goodness". This is "cleansing in the waters of 
divine infinity and greatness" . Through PTA , SaThakOpan
shows that " through God's grace , which is gotten through
sincerest surrender in all respects, the Divine purifies 
the soul" and blesses it to approach Him and " finally 
infinitises it by a mere look ".

Among the four Prabhandhams of SN, Thiruviruttham and
ThiruvAimozhi are considered essentially as approaching 
the Lord in the Naayaka-Naayaki BhAvam ( Love of a pathivrathai
for her Lord) ;ThiruvAsiriyam and PTA are recognized
to have the approach that emphasises the servant/slave/vassal
relationship to the Master (SwAmi).Either of these approaches
has been pointed out as the means to acquire " Supreme
felicity and liberation ".

In the concluding posting on TVA , adiyEn will summarize 
selected upadesams of SN in PTA and attempt to connect 
them to Atharva Veda manthrams in particular. One certainly
finds the echos of the messages of PTA in the other 
three Vedams too , but we will confine our study to
just Atharva Vedam.

Swamy NammAzhwAr ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam ,
Daasan, Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri SatakOpan     



           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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