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Few points and a tribute to Acharya RaamAnujA !

From: V. Sadagopan (
Date: Fri May 09 1997 - 15:03:36 PDT

Dear Members of the Bhakthi group :

The high calibre of discussions of sincere and devoted
members of this group ( Srimans Sridhar Srinivasan ,
Mani , Dileepan , Kalale , Mohan Sagar and others )  
makes one feel as  how important is the need  need for
understanding our beautiful darsanam revered as 
Sri Bahgavadh Raamaanuja Siddhaantham . 
Thanks to you all contributors and clarifiers !
I have benefitted personally from the reading of these postings . 

Dear Sri Mohan Sagar : you have always been gracious in your postings.
There is no reason whatsoever for you to feel that you are out of bounds
related to the topic of discussion . I am surprised to read that some one
will volunteer to make such an observation .Actually you bring a fresh 
and curious point of view. Like yourself , I feel that this forum is 
a very dear one and has to be invented , if it did not exist . All of us 
are beginners , when it comes to ascertain ourselves about 
the deep meanings of Prapatthi , the conduct before prapatthi 
and after prapatthi . 

Dear Sri Krishnamachari : Thanks for your posting on the Vishnu 
Sahasra Naamam and its glory. Parasara Bhattar's commentary 
(Bhagavad Guna Darpana ) is a testament to his great scholarship.
This work is indeed one of this seminal contributions to the advancement
of Vishitaadvaithaa .  As a master dialectician , devotee of Sri Ranganatha 
and his acharya , we have very few parallels .It has been said that his
Vishnu sahasranama bhashyam " brings out the importance of the Bhagavatha
cult and the glorious and innumerable auspicious qualities of the supreme Lord
As a boy of ten , I used to go around the temple thiruveedhis 
with friends of mine and recite the VishNu Sahasra Naamam 
before dawn at Oppiliappan Koil . Any success in my life is due
to the Lord's grace arising from that paarAyaNam. I look forward to
your next posting .

Parasara Bhattar's Vaibhavam

As the chief preist of Sri Ranganatha and as the one born out of 
the grace of the Lord of Srirangam , ParAsara Bhattar  blessed us with 
the guru parampara starting from Nanjeeyar and the vyaakhyaana jkarthaas 
of Thiruvaimozhi . As the son of KurathAzhvAn and AndAL , he was 
very dear to Acharya RaamAnujA . At this time , when Acharya RaamAnujA's
birthday is two days away ,  it is appropriate to reflect upon 
the glory of the Sishya paramparA of RaamAnujA  starting from 
EmbAr and continuing with Parasara Bhattar , Nanjeeyar , 
NampiLLai and the others in that line. 

Paraasara Bhatar blessed us with twelve works , ten in sanskrit and two 
in Tamil besides his nirvAhAs on some passages of the Divya Prabhandham .
The book by Dr. S.Padmanabhan , the nephew of the 43rd Jeeyar of
DevanAr ViLAgam Azhagiya Singar on Sri Parasara Bhattar 
is a scholarly study for those of us , who want to follow up 
on his works. Those of you , who wish to acquire a copy can
do so by writing to Sri Bahradvaj Jaganath and making a small
contribution . 

The summary on the works of Paraasara Bhattar are :

1. Ashta slOki , 8 terse verses on the three Rahasyams 
of Sri VaishNavAs .Using long metres , Bhattar hinted at 
the depth of the subject matter . The metres used by Bhattar are 
SikhariNi , Saardhula Vikridhitham and Sragdharaa. 

It is interesting to compare Swami Deikan"s usage of these three 
long metres in his works. Among the total of 862 slokams of
Swami Desikan used SikhariNi 28 times , Saardhula vikridhitham
35 times and Sragdharaa 82 times . 

Metres used by Bhattar in Ashta slOki& Swami Desikan in his works

It is fascinating to recognize that the entire Nyaasa Vimsathi 
is set by Swami Desikan in the long SragdharA metre .
The subject matter is about the glories of Prapatthi ,  a topic 
of great interest to this group . Swami Desikan placed 5 key 
slOkAs of the total 32 slOkaas of Nyasa Tilakam in the same Sragdharaa 
meter. The entire Garuda PanchAsath was set in this meter .
As we know , the five aksarAs of Garuda Manthram took the form 
of the five VarNakams of the sthothram on the Veda Maya Purushan ,
Garudan . He used this metre to concude his salutation to
Acharya RamAnujA in his YathirAja Sapthathi ( SlOkaas 69, 70& 71) .

Swami Desikan chose SikhariNi metre for one of the decads of
DayA Sathakam ( slOkAs 61-70 ) . The subject  ofcourse  is the
SrinivAs aanukampaa flowing like the river of sugar cane juice.  
Swami placed two of the Hayagreeva sthothram verses and four 
of the saraNAgathi verses (Nyaasa Tilakam on Sri Ranganatha)
in this sacred metre . Swami used this powerful metre to celebrate 
the greatness of the Sri Sookthis of Acharya RaamAnujA ( SlokAs 
49-60 ) in his YathirAja Sapthathi . 

Swami Desikan used  Saardhula Vikridhitham for the entire 
thirteen verses of DasAvathAra Sthothram . YathirAja sapthathi 
received 8 verses in this metre and fourteen more scattered in
Dayaa sathakm(2) , VairAgya Panchakam (1) , Sri KaamasikAshtakam(1),
Bhu sthuthi (1) and  Nyasa Tilakam (9) . 

Bhattar used 45 kinds of metres in all of his sthothrAs 
containing 337 verses. The top three usage among the 45 metres are:
Saardhula vikridhithA ( 55) , VasanthatilakA ( 43 ) and SikhariNi ( 34 ).
In comparison , Swami Desikan used 22 metres in his 862 slOkAs .
His most frequent usages among metres are : Vasantha TilakA ( 266) ,
short AaryA ( 116 )  and SragdharA (82 ) . That covers over 50% of 
the total slOkAs of Swami Desikan .    

Bhattar's works : # 2
Bhagavad GuNa DarpaNa: This is a celebration of
the SaguNa Brahmam aspect of Sriman NaarAyaNaa
and the important tenets of Sri VishitAdvaitham . 

Work # 3: Bhattar's celebration of Sri Devi (Sri RanganAyaki )
The 61 stanzas of this sthuthi celebrate the glory of Mahaa Lakshni .
Bhattar dwells at length about Mahaa Lakshmi's pleading 
for us (Purushakaara aspect ) before Her Lord and suggests that 
the Lord's glory is dependent on Her . 

Work # 4: Sri Ranganatha Sthothram
**********  ******************************
This is said to have been composed , when Bhattar had 
to leave Srirangam , when he angered the chOlA king
and stayed at Thirukkhoshtiyur. There he used 6 slOkAs 
to reflect upon his great loss arising from his inability to
have the daily darsanam of Sri Ranganatha . 

Work #5 : Sri Rangaraajasthavam
He folowed the tradition of his illustrious father,
the author of Pancha sthavAs , and composed this
long sthavam with 232 verses . The first half deals with 
the glories of Srirangam , the supermacy of the Lord there and 
His Anantha KalyANa GuNams and the beauty of river Cauveri .
The second half deals with the subjects that were discussed 
this week and the last in our forum (Viz ) : the upanishadic 
basis for  Sri VaishNavaNava SiddhAntham , the nature of 
Moksham et al . 

Works #6 ,7 ,8 ,9and 10

Many of Bhattar's work are lost and are available in either fragments 
or thru the quotation of other AchaAryAs . These  are KriyA DeepA
( Like Nitya GranthA ) , Tattva RathnAkarA ( masterly treatise on
TattvA ) , AdhyAthma khaNda dvaya VivaraNA , Lakshmi KalyANa .
The last work celebrating the marriage of MahA Lakshmi to 
Sriman NaarAyaNA deals with SaraNAgathi , the position of Sri Devi
in Sri SampradhAyam , the supermacy of Divya Dampathis revered as
Lakshmi NaraayaNA , Sridharan and Maadhavan . 

The other two sanskrit works lost to us or available in shreds are
the commentary to SulabhOpanishad , which was elaborated on by
Swami Desikan in his Sarvaarthasiddhi  and stray verses of 
Thirumanjana KattiyangaL  recited even today at the great temple
at Srirangam by the descendants of ParAsara Bhattar there . This 
starts off as a dialog between the Lord and his devotee and goes onto
celerate the glories of the Lord during His Thriumanjanam .

Works 11 and 12 in Tamil 
The commentary on Kaisikha PurANam earned him the honor of 
being carried on a palanquin by the brahmins of Srirangam around
the streets of that city of the Lord ( Brahma Ratham ) . The remaining 
work in Tamil is the celebrated commentary on the 21st paasuram 
of ThirunedunthAndakam , which converted the Advaitha achArya 
to Sri VaishNavism and earned him the title of Nam Jeeyar from 
ParAsara Bhattar . The rest of the Tamil works are the ones known
from Thiruvaimozhi commentaries as Bhattar NirvAhams .

The greatness of Bhatar , the beneficiary of RaamAnujA's grace

Achaarya RaamAnujA had a significant influence on Parasara Bhattar
as his teacher . On this day that is two days away from the celebration 
of the jayanthi of Achaarya RaamAnujaa , it is appropriate to dwell at length 
on the works of a great acharyA , Bhattar ,who followed the footsteps 
of the illustrious guru of his father and his own acharya , Embaar .

Bhattar's philosophical contributions to Sri SampradhAyam have been 
brilliantly sumamrized by Dr. Padmanabhan and chapter 5 of his 
monograph deals with this subject . The role of Karma and the Lord's 
will in relation to it are covered here . Other topics covered that is
pertinent to the recent discussions are : The nature and means of 
MokshA , the Sesha-Seshi bhavam , the concept of Sri , the concept 
of Avathaarams , Iconic forms of the Lord  et al. 

Some passages quoted by the author regarding Bhattar's views on 
SaraNAgathi that may be of interest to the current discussions are : 

1.    Vishnumaayaa can be crossed only when Prapatthi is performed.

2. " O Ranganatha! I resort to You , who are my refuge --I am devoid of 
       any knowledge or action or devotion ; nor I am aware of any icchaa
       (desire ) , the proper eligibility (adhikaarA ) , the feasibility of such

        a hope etc . Full of sin and foolishnes  and with a confused state of
       mind , I request you to be my saviour ." ( Verse 89 of Sri
RangarAjasthavam ) .

3.   In the 102nd verse , Bhattar once again performs
      SaraNAgathi this way :

    " I have been made your burden and responsibility (Bhara ) by
      my AchAryAs . I have also orally declared that I seek refuge .
      Therefore , it behoves You to accept me as your entrusted burden " .

4.  In his ashtaslOki , the verses 6,7 and 8 deal with Prapatthi .
     Sixth verse is about the Prapatthi to Sri Devi as the means to the end 
     of resorting to the Lord . In the 7th slokam , he explains the meaning
     of Carama SlOkam . In the 8th verse , he declares his prapatthi ,
     " where he expresses his inability to implement the Karma , 
      Jnaana and Bhakthi yogAs as means of salvation . Even regarding 
      Prapatthi , he is unable to follow it because of his utter helplessness
     and lack of firm conviction of its implementation . Still the hope of being

     saved by the Lord , He being the final means , sustains him " .

1997 RaamAnuja Jayanthi celebration
The Ranganatha temple of Pomona will be celebrating our Acharya's
birthday on Sunday , May 11 between 8 AM and 12 Noon . After Thirumanjanam
to the Lord and Gadhya recitations , there will be pravachana sevas
by Professor Prasad and myself prior to saathumurai . Professor Prasad 
will speak onnthe life of Sri RaamAnujA . I plan to speak on the tributes 
to Achaarya RamAnujA by Thiruvarangatthu AmudanAr ( Raamaanusa
NooRRanthathi ) , Vedantha Desikaa ( Yathiraaja sapthathi ) and 
MaNavALa maamunigaL ( YathirAja Vimsathi ) . There will be a benefit 
concert by the great Sarod vidwaan , Ajmad Ali Khan for generating funds 
for Sri Ranganatha temple . That would be at 3 PM . It is remarkable that 
this great artist is contributing his sevaa to Sri RanganAthA in  the tradition 
of Sheik Chinna Mowlaanaa . All of you , who are within driving distance 
are welcome to join these two celebratory events.

Subhamasthu , Svasthirasthu .

AzhwAr, EmperumaanAr , AcharyAL thiruvadigaLE SaraNam , 

Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri SadagOpan