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thiruppAvai - 6

From: Anand Karalapakkam (
Date: Thu Mar 04 1999 - 17:30:56 PST

Sri Lakshminrusimha Parabrahmane namaha
Sri Lakshminrusimha divya pAdukA sEvaka SrivaNN-
SatakOpa Sri nArAyaNa yateendra mahAdESikAya namaha

namO nArAyaNA.

ThiruppAvai upanyAsam of Sri U.Ve.VillUr KarunAkaran swAmi

 In the previous posting it was discussed how AndAL being 
 a paramaikAntin (*) will not worship anya dEvatA and thus
 the nOnbu was not that of kAtyAyani vrattam. With this
 background information about thiruppAvai, lets now get 
 into the importance given by AchAryAs to thiruppAvai and 
 then we shall move onto the taniyans.

 Eighth Wonder of the World :
 Sri vEdappirAn bhattar says that "kOdai tamizh 
 aiyaindum-aindum aRiyAda mANidarai vaiyam sumappathu 
 vambu". On meaning may be "those who do not know 
 (recite) thiruppAvai is a burden to the earth" (vambu
 interpreted as "burden"). But, vambu here means 
 "surprise" / "wonder" ie. Its a great wonder/surprise
 if we encounter a person who does not know (recitation/
 meaning) thiruppAvai. When yudhistira was questioned
 by yakshakan as to what is the greatest wonder in this
 world, he replied that eventhough people see many dying,
 they somehow feel that they are not going to die (no
 preparation to death, not concerned about future lives
 etc ie. not following sAstrAs). But, our AchAryAs feel
 that the greatest wonder is when one does not even 
 know thiruppAvai: " How come this world has a person
 who doesn't even know thiruppAvai !! This is certainly
 the eighth wonder of the world ".


 Thaniyans are those verses that stnd apart from the main
 verses/pAsurams etc ie. "thaniththu iruththal". So, 
 thaniyans for 4000 divya prabandhams are those verses
 that are not a part of the pAsurams as such, but recited
 before them to meditate on the glories of the AzhwAr, 
 to understand the gist of the upadEsam given by AzhwAr 
 in that divya prabandham etc.  

 It was previously discussed that thiruppAvai as a 
 mantram is one of its salient features. For each mantram, 
 there will be a dhyAna slOkam (whom to be meditated upon
 and in what way ), and also, one should pay respect 
 beforehand to the rishi who intuited this mantram etc. 

 Similarly, for thiruppAvai (a mantram), the dhyAna 
 slOkam is the thaniyan composed by Bhattar - to chant 
 even the name of this great AchAryA, we are not 
 qualified. Bhattar once had "katti"(swelling ?) at the 
 back of his body. When a sishya asked bhattar about 
 this, bhattar answered that "disease"/"health problem" 
 is also an AchAryA (SwAmi Desikan refers to this in 
 Srimad Rahasya Traya sAram) since even when all the 
 AchAryAs keep teaching that one has to take refuge 
 unto Sriman nArAyaNA, many won't listen to it; but 
 when this AchAryA (disease) comes, they 
 automatically turn towards PerumAL !!

 The great mahAn "ananthAzhwAn", for whom 
 thiruvEngadamudayAn Himself composed thaniyan 
 (accepting AzhwAn as His AchAryA) had paralysis.
 ananthAzhwAn's kainkaryams to PerumAL can't be 
 matched - left even the company of emperumAnAr and 
 proceeded to thiruvEngadam to perform pushpa 
 kainkaryam , just because it will be pleasing to 
 his AchArya emperumAnAr and there are many many 
 pastimes of ananthAzhwAn with thiruvEngadamudayAn. 
 Since PerumAL made ananthAzhwAn have paralysis, even 
 when he had done enormous amount of kainkaryam, some 
 devotees could not tolerate it and were angry with
 PerumAL. But, ananthAzhwAn told that 
 thiruvEngadamudayAn will _always_ do only good to His
 devotees ("nangE seivAN") and this paralysis is 
 just burning of some past karmA/kadan and by this,
 the time to attain Sri VaikuNTham is shortened =>
 To make His devotee reach Him quickly, He gives 
 things like this and this is a great help given by
 PerumAL out of His dayA. Such was the most matured 
 state of thinking by ananthAzhwAn. When one gets 
 suffering,one should realize that PerumAL is quickly 
 burning off some past karmA/kadan and this is only 
 good (pApam kazhinjuthu).

 Coming back to the bhattar's katti, the doctor 
 himself was crying as to how to operate ; since 
 there was no anesthesia that time, the operation
 would give enormous amount of intolerable pain to 
 bhattar. For this, bhattar told "Tommorrow,
 thiruppAvai upanyAsam is there. So, you can please
 operate during that time" !!! For bhattar, 
 thiruppAvai was anything and everything (unnum sORu,
 parugum neer, thinnum vetRilai), and in that peak of
 the bhagavad anubhavam arising out of thiruppAvai,
 bhattar will completely loose the consciousness of
 the body (whats the need of an anesthesia ?? ).
 Such was the involvement of bhattar with thiruppAvai.
 All the AchAryAs set such exemplary standard and
 only from their lives we can understand a glimpse of
 what bhagavad anubhavam is all about. Even in the
 times of great difficulties, they set the right
 example for us to follow - the mood one should have

 PerumAL probably gives such difficulties to mahAns
 to make their exaltedness known to all others and
 also for others to follow the example set by these
 mahAns during those times of difficulties. Bhattar
 was given another diificulty by PerumAL and thus
 bhattar from Srirangam went to thirukkOshtiyUr and
 stayed there ( the ruling king of Srirangam made 
 bhAgavatha apachAram). Bhattar couldn't tolerate
 the separation from RanganAthar and was in intense
 viraha thApam. Nanjeeyar, the disciple of bhattar
 told "Please forgive adiyEn; swAmi already knows;
 but kindly let adiyEn tell this. To get rid of 
 this present suffering, we need PerumAL's aruL
 which will easily fall upon if we get the 
 recommendation of AndAL <and kUratAzhwAn> ".Thus,
 bhattar composed the following thaniyan in 
 sanskrit for thiruppAvai at that time :
 "neeLAtungastanagiritaTi - suptamudbhodhya krushNam -
    pArArthyam svam SrutiSataSirah: siddham-adhyApayantI |
  svOcchishtAyAm sraji nigaLitam yA balAtkrutya bhunktE
    godA tasyai nama idamidam-bhUya yevAstu bhUyaha "   || 
 " May I offer obeisance again and again to Goddess AndAL
   alias GodA - to Her alone - who has awakened Lord 
   KrishNa(taking rest and) sleeping on the mountain-like
   lofty breasts of Goddess nILA alias nappiNNai pirAtti;
   GodA, who has imparted to Him her dependence (on Him)
   as established in the hundreds of texts of the crown
   of the vEdAs (viz. vEdAntA or upanishads); and gOdA ,
   who forcefully enjoys Him after binding Him with
   flower-wreaths that were already worn by Her "
  So, the dhyAna slOkam is based on the 19th pAsuram
  "kuttu viLakku", wherein nAchchiyAr wakes up Krishnar 
  and nappiNNai ("nappiNNai kongai mEl vaiththuk 
  kidantha malar mArban" - KrishNa is having His chest 
  resting on the breast of nappiNNai pirAtti). There are
  many esoteric significances of this pAsuram - the 
  essence being that when devotees approach pirAtti 
  (nappiNNai), PerumAL is so much eager to bless them
  <now, to open the door>, and when devotees 
  approach PerumAL, nappiNNai pirAtti is very much 
  eager bless them <now, to open the door>. Since
  AndAL and Her friends prayed to both nappiNNai 
  pirAtti and PerumAL, both are in a fight as to who
  will first open the door and thus one is pushing 
  the other down. Thus, one should understand about
  this couple (PerumAL and pirAtti) who are very 
  eager to bless the devotees together with so much 
  vAtsalyam and they are our refuge. Thus, the 
  dhyAnam for thiruppAvai is on the unbounded dayA
  of the divine couple towards us. Infact, on 19th
  day of mArgazhi, ArAvamudhAzhwAn (kumbakOnam
  sArngapAni PerumAL) will have nAchchiyAr 
  thirukkOlam and nAchchiyAr will have PerumAL
  thirukkOlam. Probably this is the only divya
  dEsam in which nAchchiyAr has PerumAL 

  In the pAsuram, AndAL says only "nappiNNai kongai" 
  (breast of nappiNNai). But in the thaniyan, bhattar 
  says "mountain-like breasts of nILA". 
  Sri U.Ve.nadAdUr (SribAshya SimhAsanAdipati) 
  Asukavi SArvabhouma SrInivAsAchArya swAmi (alias
  SrInidhi swAmi), the AchAryA and thiruth -
  thagappanAr (father) of Sri KarunAkaran swAmy has
  given a wonderful insight into the thiru uLLam
  of bhattar. In Peria thiru madal, thirumangai 
  mannan performs mangaLAsAsanam as 
  "..mazhaikkoondal thennuyarporuppum dhaiva 
  vadamalaiyum, yennum ivayE mulaiyA-vadivamaindha 
  anna nadaya aNangE.." ie. the mountains 
  thiruvEngada malai and thirumAlirunchOlai are 
  present as two (mountain-like) breasts of bhoomi
  pirAtti and in them PerumAL resides with great
  pleasure.Srinidhi swAmy refers to kUrathAzhwAn's
  SundarabAhusthavam, after the composition of 
  which AzhwAn got the association of emperumAnAr
  (for around 12 years, they were separated) and
  the sEvai of ranganAthan at Srirangam. Thus,
  bhattar follows the footsteps of his father 
  kUraththAzwAn and performs mangaLAsAsanam to
  thirumAlirunchOlai Azhagar and thereby expects
  that both kUraththAzhwAn and Azhagar will be 
  pleased by this thaniyan apart from AndAL, and
  thus similar to the end of the viraha thApam
  of kUraththAzhwAn, his viraha thApam also will
  come to an end (which eventually ended also).
  In this thaniyan, bhattar also reminds us about
  the "balAt kruthyam" AndAL did to PerumAL and 
  giving Him the "mayarvaRa madiNalam" ( nallA
  kattip pOttu pAdam kaRpithA - tied PerumAL
  completely by giving the garland she wore and
  taught (and reminded) Him that they belong to 
  Him and He is their rakshagan). Thirukkudanthai 
  AndavAn would jovially say that, only after 
  seeing AndAL teaching so effectively, all the 
  schools started recruiting lady teachers to teach 
  the students!!

(*) ParamaikAntins are those who have single pointed 
devotion towards Sriman nArAyaNA and are interested 
only in the performance of kainkaryam to Him (here 
and in Sri VaikuNTham) and His devotees ; they don't 
have any interest of their own, other than these 
kainkaryams. As AzhwAr says, they are  "maRandhum 
puram thozhA mAndhar".

   -- to be cont --
                      AndAL thiruvadigaLE SaraNam
 adiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan
 ananthapadmanAbha dAsan