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Sri MadhavakkaNNan's Special Kaimkaryam

From: Sadagopan (
Date: Mon Mar 23 1998 - 07:33:35 PST

Dear BhakthAs of Sriman NaarAyaNA :

What a delight it is  to read the beautiful
and moving postings of Sri MadhavakkaNNan 
on Swami NammAzhwAr's sacred Thiruvaimozhi .
The  speed , fecility and the transparnet 
bhakthi with which he writes can not but
amaze any one . We are fortunate to have 
additional serious students of Thiruvaimozhi
in the Bhakthi group , who are helping 
in their own way to make sure that these
great commentaries are preserved for 
future generations .   

The clarity , devotion and the special svAnubhavam
with which this special BhakthA from Srirangam /simhapuri
lets us enjoy these paasurams of SatAri sUri 
is a great bhAgyam for us all . There is no limit  
to the enjoyment of the AzhwAr's unparalled experience 
of his SARVAM . Even people , who read and write 
Tamil as their mother tongue can not fully succeeed 
in comprehending the layers and layers of meanings
behind the words and passages enshrined as  devotional
outpouring by Swami Sri NammAzhwAr . To make them 
easy to comprehend without losing the sense and essence
of these paasurams is an assignment that Sri MadhavakkaNNan
has undertaken and is carrying out brilliantly with
the blessings of the divya dampathis of Sri Rangam .
The " lightning speed " with which he breezes
thru never fails to amze me .May his efforts 
thrive and prosper !  

His postings kindle many thoughts and I will
take the liberty of sharing my response to
this decad stimulated by Sri MadhavakkaNNan's 
current posting . Please accept 
them in the spirit in which they are
presented (viz): like waves spreading
from throwing a stone in a still pond .

There are so many nirvAhams ( intrepretations and insights )
to the great paasurams of NammAzhwAr . This 4.3 decad alone 
has commentraies on particular paasurams by Thirumalai Nampi ,
EmpAr , Bhattar , Namjeeyar beyond the ones by 
Thirukkuruhai pirAn PiLLan , Periya VaaccchAn Pillai 
and others in our achArya Santhathi such as UttamUr Swami .
What Sri MadhavakkaNNan is doing is to absorb many of these 
streams of thoughts and distill them in a a paragraph or two
while resisting the temptation to get lost - like myself -
in the most enjoyable wealth of details . It is so very easy 
to make a complex statement , but , to get to the essence of 
the matter and  describe it clearly is a great gift 
that results only from AchArya Bhakthi and unalloyed 
devotion to the SaraNya dampathis . 

Each one of NammAzhwAr's paasurams ( Tamil MaRai )
contain the distilled essence of the ancient Vedic passages 
as revealed to us by the great commentators .
The third paasuram of the fourth decad is a classic 
case in point :

yEkamUrthy irumUrthy moonRu mUrthy pala mUrthyyaahi 
ainthu bhUthamAi irandu sudarAi aruvAhi
nAhamERi nadukkadalUL thuyinRa NaarAyaNanE, unn
aahamuRRUmahatthadakki aaviyallal mAithathE 

Our Lord is yEka mUrthy , singular , unsurpassed 
one before whom nothing or no one existed .
Upanishad celebrates that yEka mUrthy as 
" SathEva sOmyEthamagra aaseeth ". You alone were 
present then at the time of srushti . This is the 
reference to the parathvam of the Lord . 

Then He became of the form of the two tattvams :
prakruthi and Mahath .This twin mUrthams has also
been interpreted as the two VyUha mUrthis .According to
VaikAnasa Saasthram , the twin mUrthys are 
VishNu and  Satyan .According to Paancha rAthram ,
the twin mUrthys refer to the RakshaNa duties of 
Aniruddha and the destruction duties of SankarshaNA . 

Next came the three murthys : three types of ahankArams 
or the three vyUha mUrthys including Pradhyumnan .
The three became many ( KesavAdhi vibhava mUrthys ).
According to the VaikAnasa AagamA , the three
mUrthys are Achyuthan , Purushan and Aniruddhan . 
The triad of mUrthys has also been intrepreted as 
the Dhruva , Kouthuka and Bali bErams worshipped
in archAvathAram celebrated by the AzhwArs .
The three ahankArams of the yEka mUrhty created 
the multitudes of mUrthys ( pala ) such as manas ,
five Jn~Endriyams , Five karaNEndhriams , pancha
bhUthams , the Sun and the Moon et al . You entered 
them all as abstract (aru ) after creating them and stayed 
as antharyAmi Brahmam ( Tath srushtvA TadhEvAnupravisath ) .
You pervaded the chidh and achith ( anEna jeevEnAthmanA
anupravisya ) . 

The metaphors to our Lord's glories are abundant in 
every one of the Four VedAs and the 108 upanishads .
God's glory ( Brahma prakAsanam ) is magnificently celebrated
for instance in Purusha Sooktham found in every one
of the four VedAs and special sections such as 
PaarshNi sooktham of Atharva Vedam ( X.2 ):

Atharva Vedam :X.2.18

" Who has bedecked the Earth ? Who has encompassed Heaven ? 
Who through His might has covered the mountains ? 
Through whose help does man perform deeds ?
( the answer to this rhetorical Question follows
in the 25th hymn )  

Atharva Vedam X.2.25:

" By God was this earth disposed; By God is Sky 
arranged above. By God is this expanse of air lifted 
on high and stretched across .

Atharva Vedam X.2.32:

Swami NammAzhwAr deep in the lore of Brahma VidyA 
( parA ) knows that adorable Para VaasudEvan . 
It is He , who dwells in the multipowered soul 
that hath three spokes and three supports as
mUnRu MUrthy . ( The reference to the three 
spokes are the triad : sthAnA /capacity, nAamA /token
or sign and  Janma /existence .The reference to 
the three supports are the triad : KarmA ( Action ) ,
upAsanA ( contemplation-worship ) , Jn~AnA ( Knowledge).
This  again is another reference to mUnru mUrthams.    

Iru sudars , the Vyashti Sun and the Moon came next 
( Soorya chandramasou dhAthA yathaa pUrvamakalpayath )
after the mUnru and Pala ( diverse ) mUrthys that 
the Lord entered as VishNu . 

Afterwards , the Lord got up on His serpent bed in the milky 
ocean and entered into Yoga nidhrA as Sriman NaarAyaNan ,
the inner being of all the chidh and achith that 
He created .He rested there to come to the rescue of 
the DevAs and BrahmA , when they were affected and became
RaamA and KrishNA to help them as Vibhava mUrthys .

In this paasuram pregnant with such depths of
meanings , Swami Sri NammAzhwAr explains to
the Lord , His creator and pervader that he
is reflecting on what the Lord did for the 
Universe at  every level . Then the AzhwAr 
continues : Independent of all , what You
did for this universe  , You appear to be ecstatic 
in getting out of me all bhoga upakaraNams 
like sandal paste , flower garlands , garment
and abhAraNams . That seems to make You very 
happy and that experience of Yours makes me 
contented . Both YOUR soul and my souls,
are now evidently satisfied . 

In the fifth Paasuram , Swami Sri NammAzhwAr 
uses another richly resonant nAmA to salute 
our Lord . He addresses our Lord as
KaalacchakkaratthAn , KaNNan EmpirAnemmAn .
The Lord is addressed as the Master , who wields 
the disc of Time ( Kaala chakram ) .He is the Lord-
Controller of Time , which is the Sudarsanam in His hand .
Again the PaarshNi sUkthams of Atharva Vedam 
celebrate this atribute of the Lord in the following 
manner :

Brahma srOthriyam aapnOthi BrahmEmam ParamEshtinam I
BrahmamEmagnim PurushO Brahma SAMVATHSARAM mamE II
                   --Atharva Vedam X.2.21

Through the correct knowledge of the VedAs does one
acquire the Knowledge of Brahman , the Controller
of Time ( who wields Time in His hand ). For acquisition
of that Vedic Knowledge , One approaches a learned AchAryA .
Through such acquisition of the Vedic Knowlege does
he gain this Lord Supreme . Through such a Vedic 
study does he visualize paramAthma seated in his 
heart cavity .

AzhwAr in his great anubhavam of samslEsham 
( union ) with the Lord says in the eighth 
paasuram :

" unnnathennAviyum yennathunnathAviyum
innavaNNamE NinRai yenruraikka VallanE "

( Meaning ) : I can not beleive the good fortune 
that has come my way . " My Soul is Yours ; So Your 
soul is also mine ! In just the same manner .
By mutual agreement , as though ! " .

This is the VaishNava Sri that Swami Sri 
NammAzhwAr enjoyed and shares with us .

AzhwAr , AchAryan ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam 
Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan