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Yatiraja Vimsati -Part 1

From: V. Sadagopan (75041.3037_at_compuserve.com)
Date: Sat Mar 09 1996 - 15:02:42 PST

YATIRAJA VIMSATI OF SRI MANAVAALA MAAMUNI 

This tribute to Sri Ramaanujaa (Yatirajaa) was a response 
by MaNavALa Maamuni to the suggestion of his own Acharya,
Thiruvaimozhi Pillai. At that time, ManavALa Maamuni was a 
grahasta and his name in that Asramam was Azhagiya ManavAla
NaayanAR. His Acharya had completed the construction of a special
sannidhi for Sri Ramaanujaa in Azhwaar Thirunagari in accord with
the tribute to Raamanuja as "MAARAN ADI PANINTHU UYNDAVIRAAMAANUSAN".
( that Ramaanujan , who became holy through the worship of Nammazhwaar).
Azhwaar Thirunagari is the birth place of Satakopan/MaaRan . Hence, 
Thiruvaimozhi Pillai wanted to create a special sannidhi for Yatiraja. He 
constructed a prakaram around that Sannidhi and named it 
"Sri Ramaanuja Chaturvedi Mangalam "and appointed special 
Archakaas for the Sannidhi of Yatiraja. He made his disciple,
Azhagiya MaNavALa NayanAR the trustee and administrator of that 
Important Sannidhi. NayanAR conducted the Utsavam and AarAdhanam 
for Yatiraja with great devotion and affection for many years. Thiruvaimozhi
PiLLai was so pleased with the devotion and Sraddha of his prime
disciple that he began to call NayanAR as Yatindra Pravanar. He also 
commanded his disciple to compose a tribute to Yatiraja. Thus was born the 
illustrious Vimasati on Sri Ramanujaa. Those , who heard this tribute for the 
first time were so moved by the loftiness of the thoughts and th edepth of
devotion of Sri NayanAR that they composed the following Taniyan
(Invocatory verse ) to salute Sri NayanAR :

VALLARGAL VAZHTHUM KUREKASAR TAMMAI MANATTHU VAITTHU
SOLLARA VAZHTTHUM MANAVAALA NAYANAAR tondar kuzhaam
ELLAAM TAZHAIKKA YATIRAASA VIMSATI EENRU ALITTHOHN 
PULLARAVINDHA THIRUTTHAALL IRANDAIYUM PORRU NENJEH 

(meaning) Dwelling on  the thought of Nammazhwaar, who is  worshipped
by all Aasthikaas, Manavaala Naayanar paid his heart felt tribute to 
Ramaanuja so that all of his disciples could prosper . He gave birth to 
Yatiraja Vimsati and gave it to us as his gift. O My mind! please pay 
homage to the holy feet of this composer, whose beautiful feet are like
a pair of fully blossomed lotus flowers.

The beauty  and the auspicious attributes of Yatiraja Vimsati has been 
praised by anothe rAcharya by the name of Vara Vara Muni this way:
" YADH UDHITHAA  YATI BHOOPATI VIMSATI: SAMAVATEERITA 
SUDHAA RASAA-------- DRAKSHAAM ATIKSHIPATHI NINDATI 
MAAKARANTHA TAARAAM SUDHARASAJAREEM ADHIKAROTHI "
Sri vara Vara Muni states that the Maathuryam (sweetness) of 
Yatiraaja Vimsati put the taste of grape juice to shame and excelled the 
taste of honey associated with the Makarantham (Pollen ) of flowers and 
that it is a cool cascade of Nectar.

ManavALa Maamuni is known as an incarnation of Sri Ramanuja and hence 
questions have arisen as to how he could praise himself. The Samaadhanams
(justifications ) have been made this way: Sri Ramachandra was the incarnation 
of Sriman Naarayanan(VEDA VEDHYEH  PAREH PUMSI JAATEH DASARTATHMAJEH)
and yet , he worshipped Sriman Narayana (Sri Ranganatha) as stated in Srimad 
Ramaayanam (SAHA PATNYAA VISAALAKSHYAA NARAYANAM UPAAGAAMT ).
Another queston was about the many self-depreciatory statements about 
his unfitness (Naicchiyam) as a devotee of Sri Ramanuja ( Verse 6: YATIRAJA
AARYA ! ALPAAPI MEH NA BHAVADHEEYA PADAAPJA BJHAKTHI : ) . Here, 
ManavaaLa Maamuni cringes  and states that I do not have the adequate 
and appropriate Bhakthi at the holy feet of Sri Ramanuja. Such
Naicchanusandhaanam 
statements are intended for us as an example to approach the sacred feet of
Yatiraja
with reverence and humility. This and other similar statements do not cast doubt
on
the extraordinary love that Maamuni had for Sri Ramaanuja. 

TANIYAN FOR THE YATIRAJA VIMSATHI

YA: STHUTHIM YATIPATI PRSAADANEEM 
VYAAJAHAARA YATIRAJA VIMSATHIM I
TAM PRAPANNAJANA  SAATAKAAMBHUDHAM
NAUMI SOWMYA VARA YOGI PUNGAVAM II

I salute the Sowmya Vara Yogi ( ManavaaLa Maamuni ) ,
who composed the Yatiraja Vimsathi to gladden 
the heart of  Sri Ramanuja. He is the one, who is the nectar of 
moon's rays(food )  for the PrapannAs taking the form of 
the  Saataka birds . It is represented that the myhtical Saataka birds partake 
the moon's rays alone as their food and reject everything else as their food.
This Taniyan compares the PrapannAs to the SAtakA birds insofar as the 
PrapannAs live only by the grace of Sri RamAnujA. It is suggested that the 
PrapannAs do not need to go anywhere else for their succor and  survival
and Sri RamAnuja"s holy feet are their means and goal for salvation.

I will post my  comments/observations  on the twenty verses of 
Yatiraja Vimsathi in the next two postings. 

Sri Yatiraja charanaou Saranam Prapathyeh ,

Oppiliappan Koil Varadachari Sadagopan