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From: V. Sadagopan (75041.3037_at_compuserve.com)
Date: Fri Mar 14 1997 - 19:13:15 PST
Dear Members of the Bhakthi group : After I wrote last year on Sri DevarAja MangaLam of MaNavALa Maamunigal(MM) , Sri Mohan Sagar asked me to write about the other sthothrams composed by this great AchAryA . I will now write about the beautiful sthothram composed by MM on Sri RamAnujA . The bhakthi that MM had for Acharya RamAnujA was deep and profound . Similar to the great works of Acharyas that preceded him with eulogies of their own -- Swami Desikan's YathirAja Sapthathi , Thiruvarangatthu AmudanAr"s RaamAnuja NooRanthadhi --this( sanskrit) work of MM is a testament to the affection and devotion that he had for the great AchAryA , Sri RaamAnujA . The guru of MM , Thiruvaimozhi PiLLai suggested to his talented disciple to compose a sthothram on Sri RaamAnujA . Thus originated the twenty slokams (Vimsathi ) of MM on our great AchAryA . I will cover one slokam in one posting , because of the depth of meanings involved . MM was born at Thirunagari , the birth place of NammAzhwAr -- the object of veneration of RamAnujA -- on an Eippasi Moolam day . RamAnujA has been saluted as " MaaRanadi PaNintha RaamAnusan " . Hence it is appropriate that MM , who was born in NammAzhwAr 's birth place of Thirukuruhoor saluted RamAnujA , whose devotion for Kuruhoor SaTakOpan ( MaaRan) was legendary . The greatness of MM has been celebrated through the taniyans about him and also by his 8 magnificient disciples known as the Ashta Digh Gajams ( elephants defending the 8 directions ) : 1. VaanamAmalai Jeeyar 2. Bhattar Piraan Jeeyar 3. Thiruvenkata RaamAnuja Jeeyar 4. KoilaNNan 5. PrathivAdhi Bhayankaram ANNan 6. YerumpiappA 7. AppiLLai 8. AppiLLAr . It is instructive however to reflect upon MM "s own appraisal of his qualifications and how he wanted others to remember him. We find this description in the following Arthi Prabhandha paasuram (sandhis separated ) : Tennarangar seer aruLukku ilakkaha peRROm Devanurai ThiruppathiyE iruppaha peRROm manniya seer MaRan kalai uNavAha peRROm Madhura Kavi sorpadiyE nilayAha peRROm MunnavarAm nanguravar mozhikaLuLLapeRROM Muzhudhu namakku Ivai pozhudhu pOkkaha peRROm Pinnai Onru tanil nenju pErAmaRpeRROm Pirarminukkam poRAmailA perumaiyum peRROm ( Approximate Meaning ) : We have become the object of the auspicious grace of the Lord of Srirangam ; We have been blessed to claim Thiruppathi , the place of residence of the Lord , as our home ; We are blessed to have the illustrious prabhandhams of the revered SatakOpan as our nourishment ; We have stabilized ourselves following the instructions of Madhura Kavi ; We are fortunate to have our purvAchAryA's aruL vaakugal etched in our mind ; All of these have become the objects for us to reflect and spend our time on this earth ; we are blessed not to have any other thoughts that conflict with the above auspicious tattvams in our mind ; We are also fortunate not to have the misfortune of stirring the jealousy of others . Such is the greatness of Sri MaNavALa Maamuni revered also as Yathindra PravaNar -- Name given by his AchArya -- and Sowmya Varayogi Pungavar , a name chosen by the author of the Taniyan for YathirAja Vimsathi . It is interesting to note that MM composed the Vimsathi during his days as a GrahasthA . The Taniyan salutes him as Yogi Pungavar , a title associated with the UttamAsramam of SanyAsam in the style of the AchAryA of MM , who called him Yathindra PravaNar with great affection . Let us start with the Taniyan for YathirAja Vimsathi : Ya: sthuthim yathipathiprasAdaneem vyAjahAra YathirAja vimsatheem I Tham prapanna jana sadhakAmbhudham nowmi Sowmyavara Yogi pungavam II (Meaning ) : I offer my homage to MaNavALa Maamuni , who blessed us with YathirAja Vimsathi with the intention of pleasing the heart of RamAnujA . He is the one , who showered PrapannAs with the nectar of sakala saastrArthAs , just as the rays of moon fully nourish the ChaathakA birds . Slokam 1 : Sri MaadhavAngri Jalaja dvaya nitya sevA prema-- aavila aasaya paraankusa paadha bhaktham I kaamAdhi dhosha haram aathma padhamAsrithAnAm Raamanujam Yathi pathim praNamAmi MoordhnA II ( short Meaning ) : I salute the emperor of SanyAsis , Sri RamAnujA , who had great vAtsalyam for the lotus feet of NammAzhwAr and who chased away the blemishes of those , who took refuge at his feet . (Commentary ) : The most prominent Vaibhavam of RamAnujA among all of his glories is that he considered himself as the dear devotee of NammAzhwAr's sacred feet ( ParAnkusa Paadha Bhaktha ). Thiruvarangatthu AmudanAr has described RaamAnujA in this context as , " MaaRanadi PaNinthu uynthavan " . Thiruvaimozhi Taniyan also salutes the golden links beteen SatakOpA and RamAnujA this way : " Tamizh MaraigaL aayiramum eenRa mudal Thaai SatakOpan, Moympaal vaLarthavitatthaai IrAmAnusan " . MM points out and underlines this most important attribute of RaamAnujA ( Paraankusa Paadha Bhakthi ) in the very first slokam of his Vimsathi . Next , MM describes the special attributes of SatakOpA that made him the object of RaamAnujA's reverence with the words : " Sri Maadhava angri jalaja dhvaya nithya sevA prema aavila aasaya parAnkusa : " . NammAzhwAr's premai for the Lord 's pair of lotus feet ( Sri Madhava Angri jalaja Dhvayam) has poured out in the form of the Paasurams of Thiruvaimozhi . AzhwAr was absorbed in the Nitya SEvA of those sacred feet of the Lord . AzhwAr's mind was "agitated " ( aavila aasaya ) as a result of that premai . One wonders why AzhwAr's mind was agitated instead of being clear and joyous as a result of his Premai for the Lord . This has been explained as the agitation arising from the thought of vislesham (separation from Him ) and inability to be without Him for even a moment . That is why AzhwAr out of his prema paravasam engaged in angry conversations with the Lord as the rejected ParAnkusa Naayaki . AzhwAr's aavilAsayam is therefore due to his limitless premai for the Lord and not due to any mental agitation associated with KarmAs . MM described RaamAnuja pointedly as " PARAANKUSA Paadha Bhaktham" . He used the Naamam of ParankusA instead of other names like SatakOpan for the AzhwAr . The two deep meanings of the naamam , ParAnkusA have been pointed out as the reason for MM's choice of the name ParAnkusA . AzhwAr is revered as ParAnkusA because he is the ankusam (elephant goad ) for the parAs , who aver that the Lord is not SuguNa Brahmam , He has no vigraham (NirguNa Svarupi) , and has no vibhoothis . Through his Divya Sookthis , the AzhwAr has celebrated the anantha KalyANa guNAs of the Lord , who is Ubhaya Vibhoothi Visishtan . He is the leelA vibhoothi Visishtan , since He has this world as His property. He is also Nitya Vibhoothi Visishtan , since he is the Lord of Parama Padham made of Suddha Sattvam . AzhwAr has described his aruLiccheyalgaL as " Paranadi mEl Kuruhoor SatakOpan sol " . With his divya sookthis , he has goaded and controlled the parans as their ankusam . That is why he is called ParAnkusan according to this view . In anothe rview , the azhwAr is the Ankusam for the ParAthparan. In his Thiruvaimozhi ( 6-4-9) , AzhwAr says : " Valakkai aazhi idakkai sangamivaiyudai maal vaNNanai , malakku naavudayErku ". He proudly says about his special relation with the Lord and states that he can be like the ankusam for the Lord to respond to him . That is the second explanation for the title of ParAnkusan for the AzhwAr . RamAnujA had great reverence for AzhwAr for possessing such power . The second line of the slokam refers to RamAnujA as the most compassionate Acharya , who removes the six kinds of dhoshams ( Kaama , madha , moha , maatsarya , krodha et al ) from those , who sought refuge in him . He is therefore described as Dhosha Haran . This slokam concludes with the salutation of MM that he bows before that Prapanna jana Dhosha haran , RamAnuja, with his head . It is no loger anjali mudrA , but sAshtAnga NamaskAram with his head at the feet of RamAnujA . The depth of devotion and respect of MM for RamAnujA is hinted here . AzhwAr , AachAryan ThiruvadigaLE Saranam Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan .