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SrI UttamUr SwAmi - "mAl uganda aasiriyar" (The AchArya beloved to Lord VishNu)

From: Anand Karalapakkam (
Date: Fri May 19 2000 - 11:21:34 PDT

SrI PadmAvati samEtha SrInivAsa ParabrahmaNE namaha

SrImad abhinava dESIka UttamUr VAtsya VeerarAghavArya -
mahAdESikAya namaha

SrI Lakshminrusimha divya pAdukA sEvaka SrIvaN SatakOpa SrI -
nArAyaNa yateendra mahAdESIkAya namaha

 Dear devotees,
 namO nArAyaNa.

 A small change in the plan of action : adiyEn would post this
 article and a tribute in acrostic by the same author atfirst
 and then (after few days/weeks) will start posting the
 detailed series on the Biography of SrI UttamUr SwAmi.

 The following is the translation of an article in tamil by the
 vidvAn SrI U.Ve. Dindukkal RAmAswAmy Iyengar,  which appeared
 in the souvenir released during the SatAbhishEkam (80th birth
 anniversary) of SrI UttamUr swAmi on 10th Feb, 1977.

  A brief note about the author :

  Late (SrI VaikuNThavAsi) SrI U.Ve. Dindukkal RAmAswAmy Iyengar
  This swAmi (born 1899) was popularly known as "D.R." and was
  well known for his deep humility and other aatma guNAs,
  especially in moving with one and all, apart from his deep
  devotion towards Lord VaradarAja of KAnchi and AchAryas like
  SwAmi dESIkan. He used to recite SwAmi dESikan's taniyan as
  "..sannidhattE sadA hrudi" instead of "..sannidhattAm sadA hrudi"
  implying that SwAmi dESikan, the vEdAntAchArya is "ever residing
  in my heart", instead of the implication, "May the VEdAntAchArya
  reside in my heart". He was one of the key persons involved in
  the grand celebration of SwAmi DESikan's 7th centenary
  celebration. He has written good commentries in English on
  many of SwAmi dESikan's stotras and tamil poems (pub. by SrI
  ViSishtAdvaita PracArani Sabha). He was a regular contributor to
  many magazines like SrI Nrusimha PriyA, SrI RanganAtha PAdukA,
  (DESika) SEva, Saptagiri etc.

  In the Introduction to SrI D.R.'s English commentary to SwAmi
  DESIkan's "SaraNAgati Deepika", SrI O.V.AlagEsan,M.P. writes
  (1974) :

  "I happen to be a co-devotee with D.R. of Lord VaradarAja of
   KAncheepuram. His infatuation for the Lord is well-known. In
   every festival of the Lord, you can find him, standing with
   bent frame, drinking deep at the fountain of His insatiable
   beauty and matchless majesty. For me, enjoyment of any
   festival of Lord VaradarAja is incomplete without the presence
   of D.R. I used to feel that Lord also is disappointed if He
   does not see His bhakta (D.R.) before Him. I see a Prapanna
   in him. All that is said of Prapannas are fulfilled in him. "

  Late (SrI VaikuNThavAsi) SrI U.Ve.PudukkOttai A.SrInivAsarAghavan,
  another great scholar of the last century, writes about SrI D.R.
  as "DESika Rasika" (D.R.) in the book on SrI D.R.'s English
  commentary to SwAmi dESikan's NyAsa VimSati. It was published
  after SrI D.R. attained Paramapadam. Few exerpts from it:

  "D.R. was really another name for devotional non-pareil (without
   an equal) to Lord VaradarAja....All who knew him would always
   think and speak of him as the patron and protege of Lord
   Varadaraja .......D.R. was known to and honoured by almost all
   religious heads like H.H. SrI Azhagiyasingar of the Ahobila
   Muth, HH SrI KOzhiyAlam swAmi of KAnchi and HH SrImad Andavan
   of SrIrangam. He was held in great esteem by learned scholars
   and eminent AchAryas like SrI GOshtipuram (SowmyanArAyanAchArya)
   swAmi <alias thirukkOshtiyUr swAmi>, ayyA SrI KrishNa
   TAtAchArya swAmi of KAnchi, UttamUr SrI VeerarAghavAchArya and
   MadhurAntakam SrI VeerarAghavAchArya. HH SrI SankarAchArya of
   KAnchi KAmakOti peetam, HH SrI SwAmi of Gaudiya Math,
   SrI P.B.AnnangarAchArya of KAnchi and many such great men
   admired his devotion and humility............In the past three
   decades and more, there was no religious conference in which he
   did not participate either as a President Or as principal
   speaker. His discourses on the Alwars, the AchAryas, their
   works and on the Lords of various Divya DEsas were cherished
   by all and the articles he wrote were read with great avidity
   and enthusiasm. "

   Such was SrI D.R., a great admirer of SrI UttamUr Swami. Lets
   relish the article on SrI UttamUr swAmi by SrI D.R.

    On the title : "mAl uganda aasiriyar"

   SwAmi DESikan, in a pAsuram in his chillarai Rahasyam
   amrutAswAdini viz.  "kAsiniyin maNi anaitthum ....." (27) says
   that Just like how, all the Gems in the earth can't match the
   greatness of Kowstubha Gem adorned by the Lord and how all
   the kshEtras in the earth can't match the glories of
   PEraruLALan's (Lord VaradarAja's) KAnchi kshEtra, the works
   < Smrutis, IthihAsa-purANas etc>  of sinless and clear/pure
   minded Maharishis can't match even a word of "mAl uganda
   aasiriar" (those who are most beloved to Lord SrIman nArAyaNa
   and became the object of His abundant special mercy; They are
   the likes of NammAzhwAr and other AzhwArs/AchAryas). SwAmi
   DESikan adds "I am saying this <difference between the
   glories of the works of Maharishis and the words of 'mAl
   uganda aasiriyar'> after knowing the due differences present.
   Oh People of the World ! Become Joyful by taking these things
   <the points putforth> as your Treasure ".

   Thus "mAl uganda aasiriyar" refers to those AchAryas like
   NammAzhwAr, BhAshyakArar and others, whose divine words and
   works has no parallel. This is the verdict of the Sarvaj~nya
   and Sarva Tantra Svatantra, VEdAntAchArya, KavitArkika Simha
   AchArya SArvabhouma SrI NigamAnta MahAdESikan alias VEdAnta

   Hence, SrI D.R. refers to SrI abhinava dESika UttamUr SwAmi
   as "mAl uganda aasiriyar".

   SrI U.Ve. Dindukkal RAmaswAmy Iyengar on UttamUr SwAmi :

   MAl uganda aasiriyar ( The AchArya beloved to Lord VishNu )

   " maruLatRa dEsikar vAnugappAlinda vaiyamellAm
     iruLatRi iRaivaniNaiyadi pooNduya veNNudalAl
     theruLutRa sentamizhR selvam perugic chirandavar pAl
     aruLutRa cindaiyinAl azhiyA viLakkEtRinarE "

   (PAsuram of SwAmi dESIkan from AchAryakrutyAdhikAram <Chapter
    on the Duties of an AchArya> of SrImad Rahasya Traya sAram)

 (ie." Our great AchAryas, who were absolutely free from ignorance
     and error, lighted (ie.performed the upadEsam of ) this undying
     lamp (of knowledge on sampradAya viz. the meanings of the
     three secret mantras) out of compassionate grace, in the minds
     of worthy disciples filled with vivEka (ie.discriminatory
     knowledge) who had grown rich in the true wealth of
     performance of ordained rites (kainkaryas ie. services to
     SrIman nArAyaNa and devotees) in a manner which would accord
     with the knowledge. Such AchAryas who are longing for
     paramapadam ie. SrI VaikuNTha, did so because they desired
     that the whole world should become free from ignorance and
     their (the people's) heads should be adorned with the Lord's
     feet < ie.make the Lord's lotus feet as their upAya (means) in
     attaining Him and thereby perform Prapatti >" ).

  ( By quoting this pAsuram, SrI D.R. implies that SrI UttamUr
    SwAmi is such an AchArya enshrined in that pAsuram ).

     Those mahAns who are prapatti vijitESwaras (*) by the grace of
     a SadAchArya, due to their broad mindedness that everyone
     should enjoy the great bliss obtained by them, are ever
     steadfast in making others tread the good path. The important
     amongst the methods used by them to achieve the above is
     adyAtma grantha nirmANam (writing books on vEdAnta) and
     regular/repeated teaching. Till this time, only our abhinava
     dESika swAmi is the greatest among those who have employed
     both of these. The number of adyAtma works written by our
     swAmi is innumerous ; One can only say it to be in hundreds.
     SwAmi's proficiency in not only our siddhAnta, but in also
     other siddhAntas is evident from the various books written
     on such siddhAntas and the way other siddhAntins shake their
     heads well in appreciation of these works.

  (*) : Prapatti vijitESwaras can refer to the mahAns who are
        victorious in learning the intricasies of Prapatti ; Can
        also refer to those mahAns who are victorious over samsAra
        due to the deep knowledge and performance of Prapatti.

     Our ViSishtAdvaita siddhAnta is a "ubhaya-vEdAnta" siddhAnta.
     Only after clearly knowing the tamil poems (tamil vEda) sung
     in ecstacy by AzhwArs, will the knotty issues in Sanskrit
     vEda be understood clearly ("TheLiyAda maRainiLangaL
     theLigindrOmE" - SwAmi DESIkan). The heart should also be
     filled permanently with the inner meanings of the Sanskrit
     vEdas. Only after learning both the vEdas (Sanskrit and Tamil)
     can one be glorified as a "Ubhaya VEdAntin" (U.Ve.). This only
     is glorified by Kamban, the king of poets, as "thensOR
     kadanthAn vadasoR kadaRku yellai thErnthAn". Due to the
     abundant training obtained by UttamUr swAmiin both the vEdas,
     he could learn in and out of the vEda SAstras, purANas,
     IthihAsas and Prabandhas in the languages viz. unfading
     (ie.everlasting)  Sanskrit - vAdAta vadamozhi - and honey
     like Tamizh - thEn pOnRa then mozhi - and thus blessed us by
     writing and publishing innumerous works in both of these
     languages.If one aggregates all these works, it makes one
     think as to how many hours the SaraNyan (Lord, the refuge)
     created for UttamUr swAmi per day! In this midst are his
     adherence to panca kAla prakriya and kAlakshEpams to sishyas.
     If one thinks about swAmi's publication of the number of
     independent works, commentries, tIkAs (notes) on the old
     commentries to advanced works in vEdAnta, one should respect
     (show reverence to) our uttamUr swAmi as an avatAra purusha

          Everyone knows that our swAmi was present as a teacher
    in Pushkar, ThiruvaiyARu and Tirupati. To adiyEn's knowledge,
    only after coming to Tirupati did swAmi obtained the excessive
    blessings of Lord ThiruvEngadamudayAn and started writing
    many excellent works. At first, he published the commentries
    (by SrI RangarAmAnuja Muni alias Upanishad BhAshyakAra) on the
    ten principal upanishads (dasOpanishad) alongwith his excellent
    explanations/clarifications. After coming to chennai, many
    mahAns further developed the "Ubhaya VEdAnta GranthamAlA" and
    many works of swAmi in both the languages got published. The
    key person for this organization is SrI U.Ve. (Police) G. -
    RangaswAmy TAtAchArya swAmi. Under the title "Prabandha -
    Rakshai", very lucid and rasa filled commentries for
    Prabandhas were written. The commentries to the 4000 divya
    prabandhas got over, with "VisishtAdvaita PrachArani Sabha"
    taking over the publication of swAmi's commentries on the
    pAsurams of most important of the AzhwArs viz. NammAzhwAr
    and Thirumangai AzhwAr. The key person for this sabha is SrI
    V.S. JagannAta IyengAr. Like this, UttamUr swAmi completed
    the commentries to the 24 prabandhas in simple tamil named
    "Prabandha Raksha", bringing out newer and newer insights on
    the inner moods and philosophical teachings of AzhwArs.
    adiyEn is horripulated while thinking about this.

    .... Moreover, at the very same time, commentries and tIkAs
   for each of advanced Sanskrit works and Tamil  Divya
   Prabandhams were written and fully proof read by swAmi
  before publishing them in an elegant way. While thinking
    about these services of swAmi, it makes one to only think
    that these belong to the category of Super-human activities.

       In the meantime, the festival on the eve of SwAmi DESikan's
    seventh centenary was celebrated throughout the country (India).
    In addition to participating in many of those festivals,
    UttamUr swAmi accepted the requests from many devotees of SwAmi
    DESikan and started to publish all the works of SwAmi DESikan
    alongwith commentries in both Sanskrit and Tamil, wherever it
    wasn't present. Within ten years, almost all of SwAmi DESikan's
    advanced works have been published.

    Knowing beforehand such acintya (inconceivable/incomprehensible)
    and extrordinary mahOpakAram (great help) to be rendered by
    UttamUr swAmi in the future, many devotees of SwAmi DESikan from
    Tirupati, with the divine blessings of Lord ThiruvEngadamudayAn,
    came to chennai and became happy by conferring the wonderful and
    noble title "abhinava dESika" during a big function for
    felicitating UttamUr swAmi, on the eve of his Sashtiaptapoorti
    (60th birthday; 1957) mahOtsava (grand festival). Not only them,
    but the devotees of SwAmi DESikan everywhere, having either
    heard Or read, highly praised it. Then, like "Satyam vidhAtum
    nija Bhruthya BhAshitam" (*), almarmEl mangaiuRai mArban (Lord
    SrInivAsa, on whose chest resides His consort alarmEl manga)
    made that title appropriate (ie. True to its sense) and now,
    worldwide, "abhinava dESika" is not merely a title, but is also
    shining as Samgn~yai (ie. Abhinava DESika is not a title that
    can be given to anyone ; If one says "abhinava dESika", it
    exclusively refers to *only* uttamUr swAmi and none other).

 (*) : 'Satyam vidhAtum nija Bhruthya BhAshitam': This is a verse
        from SrImad BhAgavatam (7.8.17)  on SrI Nrusimha avatAram.
        It says that, Lord appeared in that wonderful form at that
        Pillar, to make the words of His devotee <Bhakta prahlada>
        become true. SrI D.R. implies that, Lord SrInivAsa also
        made true the words of mahAns who conferred the title of
        "abhinava dESika" unto UttamUr SwAmi. This was by blessing
        UttamUr SwAmi to publish almost all the works of SwAmi
        DESIkan with clean readings and excellent commentries upon
        it, after the title "abhinava dESIka" was being conferred.
        By the way, it becomes clear that, even before writing
        these outstanding commentries on SwAmi DESikan's works,
        UttamUr SwAmi was well respected by contemporary scholars
        as "abhinava dESika".

          So far, I have somewhat said about the greatness of the
   innumerous excellent books being written, published and released
   by swAmi. To glorify even a little about the GAmbeeryam -
   (profundity in meaning, unfathomable depth) and rasam in the
   writings of swAmi, adiyEn is asaktan (incapable) and little
   knowledged. When even SwAmi DESikan would feel delighted by
   adorning UttamUr SwAmi with a crown <for the various
   achievements>, who else, in what way and how can one glorify
   < UttamUr SwAmi > ?. Mostly, for many general vaidikas and those
   who are knowledged in SAstras, there exists a blame upon them
   from the times of KAlidAsa that they are interested only in
   jn~yAna (knowledge about tattvas etc) and not in rasa. This
   blame will not stain our swAmi even for a small bit. In his
   writings, its not only that the meanings of the original texts
   are explained, but many new rasas involved in the originals are
   very lucidly brought out by swAmi. This is one of the wonders
   done by swAmi.

   Two things(places) are coming to my memory now. One is in the
   GOdOpanishad ThiruppAvai. The other can be seen in the commentry
   to ThiruvAimozhi, the DramidOpanishad.

         In the 22nd pAsuram of thiruppAvai occurs a beautiful
   phrase "angaNirandum kondu engkaN mEl nOkkudiyEl". Here,
   the sandhi in "engkaN mEl" has been explained for all these
   years as "engaL mEl". SwAmi's rasa filled interpretation has
   incarnated by keeping "em kaN mEl" itself. The meaning taken
   is "Using Your(KrishNa's) eyes, You should see our (gOpis)
   eyes". Having known that there is no more joy greater than this
   in the rasa of love, the divine poet ThiruvaLLuvar in a kuraL
   has written "kaNNOdu KaNNiNai nOkkokkin vAiccoRkaL yenna payanum
   illai" (ie.If the eyes of the lovers see each other, there is
   no need of words to be spelled by the mouth). Kavicchakravarti
   Kamban also, didn't stop by saying "aNNalum nOkkinAn, avaLum
   nOkkinAL" (*) and later finished <in the kAvya> by saying
   "pirindavar koodinAl pEsal vEndumO" (If the separated lovers
   meet, is there a need to talk ? ) and "iruvarum mARippukku
   idayam eidinar" (exchange of hearts). In this way, the
   excellent meaning that, a special rasa arises when the eye of
   a lover falls over his partner, has struck our swAmi, who is a
   parama Vaideeka-Uttama and a panca kAla parAyaNar (One adhering
   to panca kAla prakriya - Five fold divisions of the day with
   alloted kainkaryams in those periods). This is highly surprising
   to me (in seeing swAmi's rasa filled interpretation).

  (*) : "aNNalum nOkkinAn avaLum nOkkinAL" (ie.The hero/king also
        looked, She also looked): This refers to the eye-to-eye
        contact of Lord RAma ( who was near the palace of King
        Janaka and moving alongwith Sage ViSwAmitra and Lakshmana,
        to get into the palace ) and SIta pirAtti (from somewhere
        like balcony), before the incident of breaking Lord Siva's
        Bow, as per Kamba RAmAyanam.

   The first half of the tenth pAsuram of "KOvaivAyAL"
   ThiruvAimozhi(4.3) is as follows : 'yAnum yEtti yEzhulagum
   mutRum yEtti, pinnaiyum tAnumEttilum tannai yEtta yEtta
   yengaidum'. Here, for the word "pinnaiyum", "Afterwards",
   "Moreover" etc meanings have been taken in all the
   commentries so far. For our swAmi, by the blessings of
   AzhwAr, the word "pinnaiyum", refers to pirAtti. The
   great excellent and extraordinary meaning "Nappinai nangAi,
   thiruvE!" has been obtained. Friends(Rasikas) should meditate
   and meditate on how much the meaning of the pAsuram gets
   elevated, and heart should be stirred with that emotion. In
   the second verse of ALavandAr's StOtra Ratna, it is sung
   that, even PerumAL does not know about the greatness/glories
   of PirAtti as it is. KUrattAzhwAn, in his SrIstava sings
   that the end of the glories of PirAtti is not known to
   PerumAL as well as PirAtti. Thus (in this ThiruvAimozhi
   pAsuram), if one interprets that, PerumAL can't glorify/sing
   the praise of Himself (in full), a doubt may arise as to
   whether PirAtti can do it. If that also is taken into
   consideration and one interprets the pAsuram that, Either
   PirAtti Or PerumAL as an individual Or together in Union
   can't sing (fully) the glories of PerumAL, then rasikAs
   should feel with great delight as to how much exaltedness it
   has and how much Joy/delight it has.

      If the writing of adyAtma granthas has so much greatness,
   swAmi's anEkEshAmca bOdhanam (repeated/regular teaching)
   exceeds even that. Everyone knows that swAmi has taught many
   students at Pushkar in the North, ThiruvaiyARu in the South
   and Tirupati in the middle. This greatness of SwAmi is spread
   all over India. In the same time, at certain places, blessing
   the qualified disciples with the meanings of SAstras and many
   SiddhAnta prakriyas through kAlakshEpam is another aspect of
   this (greatness). After coming to the city of Chennai, SwAmi's
   exposition of exalted special meanings (of SAstras) through
   kAlakshEpam and upanyAsas for many many respectful lowkikas
   and others (full-time VaidikAs) is the greatest of all.adiyEn
   is unqualified to speak even a little on this greatness of
   SwAmi. Hence, I am stopping it with this.

      Experiencing many a times in many a ways the Lord of
  Tirumala, who gives the sEva (darSan) as Thirumala yemperumAn,
  SwAmi has written SuprabAtha etc works as an overflow of such
  experience. This is one among many greatness of SwAmi.

     The peak of everything is our SwAmi's AchArya bhakti.
  Everyone should follow our swAmi in this greatness of being
  present with unfailing rememberance of himself as being a
  dust at the feet of the great AchArya SrImad Parama(hamsa)
  Pari(vrAjakAchArya) KOzhiyAlam SwAmi. Its not a wonder that
  SwAmi DESikan's special greatness of AchArya Bhakti, is
  present with "abhinava dESika".

  iraittu mEnmakkanEtta yAnum yEttinEn adiyEn matRiyAdenbanE !

 (ie. "adiyEn, <a humble self>, made these glorifications in the
      midst of the roaring glorifications poured out by great
      senior scholars <upon UttamUr SwAmi> ; What else can adiyEn
      say". This can also mean that SrI D.R. glorified UttamUr
      SwAmi as heard from what great scholars glorify him in a
      roaring way. )

  " yEtRi manaththu yazhil jn~yAna viLakkai iruLanaitthum
    mAtRinavarku oru kaimARu mAyanum kANagillAn
    pOtRi ugappadum punthiyil koLvadum pongu pugazh
    sAtRi vaLarppadum satRallavO munnam petRadaRkE ".

   (Often quoted PAsuram of SwAmi dESIkan from SishyakrutyAdhikAram
    <Chapter on the Duties of a sishya> of SrImad Rahasya Traya

 (ie."Even the mAyan (Supreme Lord SrIman nArAyaNa) can not
      see a way to requite (repay) the AchArya who destroyed
      the ignorance in one's heart/mind by lighting the shining
      lamp of knowledge/wisdom therein {What to speak about the
      disciple who got benifited by the teaching of such an
      AchArya ?}. Hence, acts by the disciple such as glorifying
      the AchArya with delight, meditating upon him, extending
      the AchArya's already present glories etc are only very
      little (ie.nothing) in comparison with the help he/she has
      received earlier from the AchArya - Is it not ? ").

 ( ie. SrI D.R. by quoting this verse implies that whatever he
       has glorified about SrI UttamUr SwAmi is nothing in front
       of what SrI UttamUr SwAmi, the mAl uganda aasiriyar has 
       done to him and SrI VaishNavas at large, through his 
       outstanding books,kAlakshEpams etc).
  Hope that you enjoyed this posting on SrI UttamUr SwAmi as
  being the 'mAl uganda aasiriyar'.

 adiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan,

Remember four years of good friends, bad clothes, explosive chemistry

           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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