You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : March 1996

Can Sri Vaishnavas count?

From: Parthasarati Dileepan (MFPD_at_UTCVM.UTC.EDU)
Date: Mon Mar 11 1996 - 15:33:16 PST

Iyarpaa containing, among other prabhandams, siRiya and
periya thiru madal (STD and PTD) of Thirumangai
aazhvaar and whether or not the 108 verses of iraamanusa
nooRRandhaadhi (INA) gets counted, results in
differences in the total count for the naalaayira Dhivya
Prabhandam (DP).  Unlike other prabhandams, siRiya and
periya thirumadal are not neatly separated into paasurams.

Thenkalai sampradaayam treats STD and PTD as just one
paasuram each.  Thus the count for iyaRpaa is 593
verses.  INA is not counted as part of the 4,000 DP.
Thus the total count for DP is only 3,776.  This must be
the most faithful way to count.  Note that thenkalayaar
do recite INA at temples with great reverence.  I had the
opportunity to witness this in the thaanaana thirumEni
shrine at Sri Rangam.

Swami Sri Desikar in his Prabhandasaaram broke STD
and PTD into 40 and 78 paasurams respectively.  Further,
he included INA as part of iyarpaa.  Thus, his total count
for iyaRpaa is 709, and the total count for DP is even
4,000.  Since siRiya and periya thirumadal are quite
arbitrarily broken into 40 and 78 in order to force
the count to 4000, some consider this counting to be
artificial.

Why should INA be part of DP?  The author is not
an aazhvaar and the subject matter is not Lord Sriman
Narayana.  Well, kaNNinuN siruththaambu praises only
SatakOpan and it is included in the DP.  Besides,
Swami Sri Desikar considers the inclusion of INA
more as a tribute to Sri Ramanuja than to Amudhanaar.
After all, Sri Ramanuja is as reverential as aazhvaars.  So,
why not, say the Vadakalais.  In prabhanda saaram, Swami
Sri Desikar praises each aazhvaar with a listing of their
prabhandams and details of their birth etc.  For INA,
he gives such details for Sri Ramanuja in stead of
Amudhanaar.  Here is that paasuram:

"thEsamelaa mukanthidavE perumpoo thooriR
sitthiraiyi laathirainNaaL vanthu thOnRik
kaasinimEl vaathiyarai venRa rangar
gathiyaaka vaazntharuLu methiraa saamun
poosurarkOn Riruvarangath thamutha Nnaarun
ponnadimE lanthaathi yaakap pORRip
pEsiyanNaR kalitthuRainNooR Rettup paattum
pizaiyaRavE yenakkaruLsey pENi neeyE."

According to my source Sri Ramanuja who first refused
to even look at INA, later acquiesced for it to be recited
along with DP.  I take this to indicate that INA
was accorded equal status with the rest of DP
even during Sri Ramanuja's time, or at least immediately
after his paasing when there was no then or vada kalai.

It is interesting to note that Amudhannar first wanted
to compose his verses in praise of his guru,
kooraththaazhvaar.  But koorathaazhvaar directed
Amudhanaar to compose his poems upon Sri Ramanuja.

AppiLLai's vaazhi thirun^aamam gives a third count with
70.5 and 140.5 for the two thirumadals resulting in 817
for iyaRpaa.  Thus, the total for DP is an even 4,000
without having to count INA.  Here again siRiya and
periya thirumadal are broken down to force the total
count to 4,000.

Which ever way we count, the 24 prabhandams, the
4,000 verses, and INA will always remain inspirational
for all Sri Vaishnavas.

Count for the other three thousands:
First thousand                            :  947
Second thousand (Periya thiumozhi, etc.)  : 1134
Fourth thousand (Thiruvaay mozhi)         : 1102



-- dhaasan Parthasarati Dileepan