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Re: Azhwars Nitya suris or baddha jivatmas

From: Parthasarati Dileepan (
Date: Thu Nov 13 1997 - 15:18:33 PST

Regarding Azhwars Nitya suris or baddha jivatmas

Two quotations are submitted here for your careful
consideration from Arayirappadi guruparampara
prabhaavam by Pinbazhagiya PerumaaL Jeeyar from
the chapter "dhivya prabhandha praamaaNya

This chapter starts out with a discussion of 
dEvathanthra issues and establishes the primacy of 
Sriman Narayana over other devthaas such as Brahmma
and Sivan.  This follows with a comparison of 
the status of Azhvaars and these other devathaas.
The following quote appears in this section where
the Jeeyar argues that the Azhvaars should not be
equated to the other devathaas.  Here, "avargaL" 
refers to Brahmma, Siva, etc., and "ivargaL" refers
to Azhvaars.

"ini avargaLOdu SamarO ivvaazhvaargaL? ennil:- anRu;
karmaththaiyittu Srushtiththaan enRadhu avarkaLai;
Sva ichchaiyaalE avadharippiththaan enRadhu ivargaLai."

(Free translation:  Now, are they alike? No; the
Lord created them (Brahmma, Siva, etc.) according
to their karmas.  But the Lord created Azhvaars
out of His own compassion.)


"raajaSa thaamaSamisra Sathvam thalaiyeduththa pOdhu
bhagavath vishaya pravruththi ganaththu irukkaiyaalE
sEshaboothar engiRadhu avargaLai; 
mukguNaththiraNdavai agaRRi onRinilonRi ninRu" enRum,
"nilai ninRa thoNdaraana aRanthigazhum manaththavar"
enRum sollugiRa sudhdha sathva nishtaraagaiyaalE 
theLivuRRa sindhaiyaraana sEshaboothar engiRadhu ivargaLai."

(Free translation:  Brahmma, Siva, etc. are said
to be SEshaboothas of our Lord only when Sathvam
is on the ascendancy and Rajas and Thamas are 
feeble for them.  However, since the Azhvaras
are said to be free of rajas and thamas, and 
characterized by _sudhdha sathvam_, they are
clear minded SEshaboothaas.)

p.s. Jeeyar's use of "Sudhdha sathvam" seems
to be significant here.)

At 11:32 AM 11/12/97 -0800, Mani Varadarajan wrote:
> But I am not one to disagree with his erudition, so I
> will have to ask him about this in person.
> It does seem, however, to devalue the life
> histories of the Alvars if they are simply 
> divine incarnations.  The stories
> of Thirumangai and Thondaradippodi make
> no sense anymore.

Azhvaar stories are fascinating one way or the other.
They making sense is not dependent upon whether Azhvaars
were baddhas or nithyasoories.  Threatening the Lord
with a sword is fantastic which ever way you look at,
especially in the light of ARAyirappadi proclaiming
that the Lord was only "jyAna SAkshaathkaaram" and not
"prathyaksha SAkshAthkaaram" for the Azhvaars.

Further, Azhvaar's verses are considered divinely 
inspired.  ARAyirappadi says, "yaanaayth thannai
thaan paadi" (He Himslef sang in His own praise).
Perhaps Azhvaar's life histories must be understood
in this context.  Then how does it matter whether 
they were (are) baddhaas or nithyasoories?  Either
way the life histories can be inspirational for 
the rest of us.  Garuthmaan and AthisEsha are
just as much of role models for us as the kainkaryaparars
serving the various Sri Vaishnava Mutts and Ashramams
today.  Someone being a Nithyasoori does not make 
them too lofty for us bhaddhaas.  Is not the assurance
that we can serve the Lord in just as much as the 
Nithyasoories that make us long for mOksham?

-- adiyEn