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ThirunarAyaNapuram & Naanmukhan ThiruvandhAdhi

From: V. Sadagopan (
Date: Tue Mar 04 1997 - 19:02:00 PST

Dear Friends :

It was a great joy  to learn that Thirumazhisai
AzhwAr"s prabhandham revered as " Naanmukhan
ThiruvandhAdhi " is the only prabhandham that is 
recited at Melkote during the Lord"s Vaira Mudi Servai
uthsavam . 

I was also thrilled to hear that Acharya RamAnujA's
olai suvadi is present  at this Divya Desam for all of us to offer our
salutations even today and transport us back to his blessed 
times . The other relic associated with Sri RamAnujA's limbs
is as most of you know is at Madhuranthakam temple.
I am referring to the silver disc and conch used by Periya 
Nambi for Sri RamAnujA's samasrayaNam .Those holy 
symbols of the Lord"s sudarsanam and Paanchajanyam 
are kept at the sannadhi of Periyanambh at MadhurAnthakam . 

Coming back to Vairamudi sevai,I wondered why 
the sampradhAyam of reciting Naanmukhan 
ThiruvandhAdhi (NMT ) is  observed  during the occasion of 
the most important festival at Melkote . I went and reread 
this prabhandham consisting of 96 paasurams 
with immense depth of meaning for Sri VaishNavAs .
I began to see the connection between the recital of the extraordinary 
prabhandham establishing the parathvam of Sriman NaarAyaNan 
presiding over this divya desam aptly named as Thiru NaarAyaNa Puram .
On the holiest of the holy days at ThirunArAyaNapuram , it seems 
appropriate to recite NMT only  to pay homage to " the sharp 
tongued AzhwAr " , who unequivocally established the supermacy 
of Sriman NaarAyaNa following the Vedic and Upanishadic way.

Thirumazhisai's NMT Paasurams echo the various manthrAs  of 
MahA NaarAyaNOpanishad celebrating the supermacy of Sriman
NaarAyaNA . The sixteenth mantram of the above upanishad 
uses the following passage from Atharva Vedam II .1 .1-3 :

sa nOh bandhurjanithA sa vidhAthA dhAmAni vedha bhuvanAni visvA I
yathra devA amrutham aanasAnA: trutheeyE  dhAmAni abhyairayantha II

(meaning ) :  "Through whose (Sriman NArAyaNA's) power the gods
who have attained immortality in the third region of heaven got alloted 
their respective places, He is our friend, father and ordainer. He knows 
the proper places of each because He understands all beings 
created by Him ." 

The reference here is to Dhyu Lokam (the third world ). This can
be extended to Satya Lokam , the universe inhabited by the four-faced
BrahmA (Naanmukhan ) , the son of Sriman NArAyaNA 

In yet another famous manthram of the Vedam beginning with
the rare word " VasuraNvO " , the supreme staus of the Lord 
is celebrated this way :

" O Supreme , Thou art the giver of the wealth of supreme 
knowledge to us. Thou hast become all .Thou unitest the individual
souls in the sutrAthman . Thou pervadest the Universe.
Thou art the giver of the lustre to fire . Thou art the giver
of light and heat to the Sun . Thou art the bestower of 
riches of light to the moon. Thou art taken in the UpayAma
vessel as SomA juice for oblation . We worship Thee , the 
supreme who art such for the the manifestation of  light " .

We hear the echoes of these and other Veda ManthrAs 
in the pasurams of Thirumazhisai as he convincingly
establishes the parathvam of Sriman NArAyaNA and'
shows the hierarchy of relationships starting from Him 
that includes the four faced BrahmA and His son SankarA .

In these paasurams of NMT , the AzhwAr celebrates Vibhava AvahtArams , 
ArchA murthis at 14 divya desams and gives us upadesam 
on the glory of BhagavathAs that are close to Sriman NarAyaNA 
in all their living moments. These  are moving Paasurams and 
I will share the joy of writing about them in subsequent postings 
on NMT and the Parathvam of Sriman NaarAyaNA .  

Thirumazhisai AzhwAr is known as one , who learned the tenets 
of Jainism , Bhouddham , Saiva Aagamams and discarded them 
as not appropriate for Moksham and chose Sriman NaarAyaNan
as the one and only supreme Lord , who alone can bless one 
with the boon of Moksham . He declares his struggles and 
the insight born out of these efforts this way :

saakiyam kaRROm samaN kaRROm , SankaranAr,
aakkiya Aagama nool aarainthOm bhakiyatthAl 
senkatkkariyAnai sernthOm yaam theethilamE 

Here AzhwAr declares that after his futile efforts to
understand the supreme principle of the universe
through studies of religions such as Jainism ,
Buddhism and Saiva AgamAs created by Lord Sankara ,
he was blessed with insight by Sriman NaarAyaNa and 
took refuge at he Lotus feet of Sri Devi and has been 
spared form any misfortunes since then .  He became 
an exemplary Sri VishNava AcharyA based on his acceptance
Sriman naarAyaNa as the supreme Lord of all other Gods .
He spent 700 years  according to hagiography at ThiruvallikkENi
practising Yogam and meditating on the ArchA murthy revered
as Venkata KrishNan . In his 35th paasuram of  NMT , he salutes
Venkata KrishNan"s divya Desam and goes from there to
offer His homage to VenkatanAthan 11 bhakthi-laden paasurams.

I will continue the coverage in the next posting on NMT.

Thirumazhisai AzhwAr ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam
Yadhugiri Valli ThAyaar and Sella Pillai ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam 

Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan