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From: V. Sadagopan (75041.3037_at_compuserve.com)
Date: Sat Nov 30 1996 - 18:38:07 PST
Dear Sri Varadan : I appreciate very much your clarifications and welcome your note. As you have summarized excellently , our purvaacharyAs have commented heavily on the meaning of the word "mEmporuL " used by Thondaradipodi . It is very appropriate that this Paasuram needs a lot of intensive study inview of the general acceptance of this particular paasuram as the essence of Thirumaalai . Our Acharyaas have pointed out that this Paasuram is to Thirumaalai , what the Sarama slokam is to Bhagavadh Gitaa . Thanks for bringing the essence of this Paasuram for the benefit of all of us..I would also like to request you to share with us more your extensive knowledge of our AzhwAr's aruLiccheyalkaL . Let me share with you all the perspective from where I am coming from . Swami Desikan in his sillarai Rahasyam , Abhaya PradhAna sAram , includes this section of Thondardipodi's paasuram.. Swami's Desikan's actual text realting to sOmbar in this TamiL work is as follows : rakshaapekshai paNNUmpOthu vEROr ubhAyamum paNNa vEndA , abhimaana gocharamaana vizhayatthil tuvakkAlE ananya saraNathaiyai veLi ittukkidakka amaiyum enra ThirukkaNNamangai aandAn padiyilE " Kadaitthalai irundhu vaazhum sOmbarai uhatthi " ennum arthatthai veLiyittAn ." Thiruvahindrapuram SwamigaL , his disciple Naveneetham KrishNamAchar SwamigaL of Oppiliappan Koil and his son and disciple , Navaneetham Vangipuram Srirama Desikachar SwamigaL (one of my achAryas ) have given the intrepretation to sOmbhar in this context of Swami Desikan's reference to ThirukkaNNamangai Aandhaan and his choice among DharmAs. I have followed that line of thought . ThirukkaNNamangai Aandhaan , the author of the famous taniyan for NaacchiyAr Thirumozhi was a great JnAni , who understood the " mEmporuL " very well . He chose to clean the praakarams and the front of the temple of the Lord Bhakthavatsalaa and Abhishekavalli thAyAr at the Divya desam of ThirukkaNNamangai. He was a " Vaazhum sombhar " in the sense indicated .. He did not live for himself , but lived only for the service to Divya Dampathis. To that extent he was a sOmbheri . He did not care about his personal comforts. he recognized the kedum sOmbhar, who were the opposite of Vaazhum sOmbhar . The keum sOmbhar lived only for themselves and not for the Lord and His consort. They are tempted and deluded by the loka vAsanAs, they do not understand the aathma svarupam properly and do not perform svarupAnurupa Kaimkaryam. They do not consider that type of Kiamkaryam as their purushArtham. They do not control their indriyAs and let them run amok in Vishaayantharams. They do not release the load of aathmAbhimAnam and dehAbhimAnam in contrast to the Vazhum sOmbhar like ThirukkaNNamangai aandhAn . Latter engaged in "simple "Sannadhi Kaimkaryam of cleaning the surru praakarams and the front of the Lord's temple with a broom stick all his life . He did not practice the difficult JnAna or Bhakthi Yogam and took"the easier route " of Prapatthi with its six limbs and Bhagavadh kaimkaryam and bhagavth guNaanubhavam.. The Lord was very pleased with the services of this exemplary PrapannA . Aandhaan exemplified the Bhagavatha LakshaNams covered by the paasuram of Thondaradipodi . He also resided inside the temple as indicated by the AzhwAr ( un kadaitthalai irundhu Vaazhum Sombhar) . Swami Desikan seems to have chosen ThirukkaNNamangai AandhAn as an exemplary "sOmbar " for all these reasons in his Rahasya work and was reminded of Thondardaipodi's paasuram section on "sOmbhar". Instead of elaborating this much , which is needed to understand the full significance of the word "sOmbar" used by the AzhwAr , I recognize that I have caused confusion by compressing the meaning too much . Dear Sri Varadan ,Thanks very much for taking the effort to point out the left-out meanings. The main message of Thondaradipodi in Thirumaalai has been identified by our AchAryAs as the fitness of everyone to recite the Lord's name to attain salvation. Only the effort has to be made. Those , who follow this path are BhagavathAs and others are "Thozhumbhars". Saint ThyagarajA in number of his krithis has celebrated such "Vaazhum sOmbhars " and described their lakshaNams. He says in his NathanAmakriyA krithi " KaruNAjaladE DaasarathE " : " The realization of true Bhaktha is in one way , while the method adopted by the people , who do not know the truth about You , is in another direction". In sections of his Sri Raaga krithi , "Endharo MahAnubhAvulu " , he describes the Bahagavatha lakshaNams and salutes them . In his YamunA kalyANi krithi, Hari dAsulu vetalu , he describes the true Hari DaasAs and their ecstasy , when they forget themselves and praise Hari's name as the only means of their salvation. In his VarALi krithi , KaruNa yelagantE , he describes the lakshaNam of the Bhagavatha , who does not care about himself more precisely : " He will not utter a lie, will not approach low people with requests, will not even serve kings, --- will not injure others, --, will not have three desires ( for wife, wealth and progeny ) , will not exhibit any exultation even if he were to become a jivan mukthA, will not be fickle-minded and make himself unhappy , will not swerve from his aim , believing fully well (maha ViswAsam ) that the Lord is eternal witness." Such is the tribute of Saint ThyagarAjA to the class of BhagavathAs referred affectionately as "Vaazhum sOmbhar" by Thondaradipodi in his ThirumAlai prabhandham verse. AzhwAr, Swami Desikan ThiruvadigalE SaraNam, V.Sadagopan .