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AparyAthAmrutha sOpAnam : part 2

From: V. Sadagopan (
Date: Tue Nov 25 1997 - 18:07:40 PST

Dear BhakthAs of Thirukkudanthai ArAvamudhan :

The greatness of Thirukkudanthai AarAvamudhan 
is beyond description . His bhaktha vAtsalyam and 
bhaktha dAkshiNyam have no match . It is important to
spend some time on this subject in the context of
the postings  on Thirukkudanthai Desikan's 
mangalAsAsanam that took the form of 
AparyApthAmrutha sOpAnam . 

When the sharp-tongued Thirumazhisai 
commanded Lord AaravAmudhan to get up and
speak to him , He obliged and lifted Himself (as told ) slightly 
and gave His darsanam to the AzhwAr and stayed that way 
in UdhyOga Sayanam to remind us as to how he responded 
to the wish of His bahkthA from the village of Thirumazhisai . 

The AzhwAr  asked the Lord as to what was wrong with
Him . He queried the reclining Lord as to what was His problem 
and why He was so tired . The AzhwAr volunteered to take a guess
on why the Lord was resting on His serpent bed as though 
He was recovering after some ardous ordeal . This is how he 
addressed the Lord :

nadantha kAlgaL nondhavO nadungu J~alamEnamAi 
idantha mey kulungavO vilangu maal varaicchuram
kadantha kaal parandha Kaavirikkarai KudanthaiyuL 
kidanthavARezhundhu pEsu------------------------------- 

The AzhwAr addresses the Lord here rather abruptly 
and asks Him : " O Lord resting on the banks of the wide 
Cauveri river ! What is the reason for You to be so  fatigued 
and needing this profound rest ? Is it because of the enormous
exertions arising out of Your wandering in the DandakA 
forest  as Sri RamA or  Is it because of carrying your gigantic body 
of Yours during the incarnation as the Varaha PerumAn ? 
Please explain to me the reason why You are resting 
here so exhausted ? Please raise Yourself up from
Your reclining position and speak to me  " . 

The Lord is known for His kalyANa guNam celebrated
as Sowlabhyam or easy accessibility . He responded
to the request of the straight -talking bhakthA and 
became another YathOkthakAri ( sonna VaNNam
seytha PerumAL ) and talked to His Bhakthan . 
The AzhwAr was moved by the generosity of the Lord 
in responding to his taunt that he was overcome with 
emotion and concluded this paasuram with a benediction .
Like PeriyAzhwAr , who wished pallAndu to the Lord , 
Thirumazhisai blessed the Lord with the benediction,

" kidanthavARu yezhundhirunthu pEsu VAAZHI KESANE " .

The AzhwAr was dumb struck with the lightning like 
rsponse of the Lord , when he commanded Him to get up
and explain why he was so fatigued to need His rest .
The AzhwAr  came down from the height of his sarcasam and 
fell at the Lord's feet and begged Him to live for aeons 
and bless His bahkthAs at Thirukkudanthai in that
unique UdhyOga Sayanam pose . 

When NammAzhwAr had the darsana bhAgyam of that
udhyOga Sayanam , he described what he  saw 
and the impact of that sEvai on him this way :

AarA amudhE adiyEn udalam ninpAlanpAyE
neerAi alaindhu karaya urukkuhinRa nedumAlE ! 
seerAr sennal kavari veesum sezhu neer Thirukkudanthai
yErAr kOlam tihazhak kidanthAi kandEn yemmAnE  

( Meaning ) : Oh insatibale nectar of a Lord ! O aparyAptha 
amrutha swAmi of Thirukkudanthai ! I have turned into 
a slave of Yours after tasting Your insatiable beauty with my eyes . 
My body melts in love at the darsanam of Yours . My body 
is like sugar that has dissolved in a glass of water. My love
for You flows like the rushing water from a broken dam .
The melting of my body is like the pliant gold under the 
tools of a skilled gold smith . O AarAvamudhA ! are you performing 
this magic of the extinction of my self by merger with You as
a result of Your limitless love for me ? Let  me conclude 
that it is so ! Oh Lord resting on Your mighty bed of 
AdisEshA in the most majestic form ! Here at Your 
divya dEsam of Thirukkudanthai , the red paddy stems 
are waving in the cool breeze as if they are performing
chamara (fan ) kaimkaryam to You !  

This was the impact of AarAvamudhan's beauty and 
vAtsalyam for NammAzhwAr . Seven AzhwArs were 
overcome by the beauty of AarAvamudhan and 
performed their mangaLAsAsanams with 54 paasurams .
These paasurams and their authors are :

1 . BhUthatthAzhwAr : Paasurams 70& 97 of  
the second ThiruvandhAthi

2. pEy AzhwAr : Paasurams 30&62 of Third ThiruvandhAthi

3. Thirumazhisai : Naanmuhan ThiruvandhAthi ( 36th verse)
                                 Thirucchanda viruttham  ( Paasurams 56-61

4.NammAzhwAr : Thiruvaimozhi entire decad of  5.8 

5. PeriyAzhwAr : Periya Thirumozhi --4 paasurams

6. ANDAL : NaacchiyAr Thirumozhi -- 1 Paasuram

7. Thirumangai : Periya Thirumozhi --17 paasurams
                               ThirukkurunthAndakam - 2 Paasurams
                               ThirunedumthAndakam--3 Paasurams
                               ThiruvEzhukUrririkkai -- 1 Paasuram (46
                               Siriya Thirumadal--1 Paasuram
                               Periya Thirumadal --1 Paasuram 

ANDAL enjoyed Him as Raaja GopAlan grazing 
his cows and calves in AayarpAdi and saluted  Him 
as " Kudanthai kidantha kudamAdi " .

PeriyAzhwAr , her father , enjoyed AarAvamudhan as 
the Bala GopAlan and took on the role of YasOdhA 
piratti to visulaize Him walking with the uncertain gait
of  a toddler and marking his walking path with the 
insignia of sankhams and chakrams to denote His
parathvam as Sriman NaarAyaNan . He longs to see
that gait of the Lord like a little elephant adorned with 
His waist belt studded with little bells , which move in
rhythym with his tender steps . 

BhuthatthAzhwAr describes SaarangapANi 
( AarAvamudhan ) as the top expert in dhanur 
vEdham and salutes Him as " yEvalla yenthai " .
He reveals to us that this great archer's favorite resting
places are th heart caves of His bahkthAs and 
divya dEsams like Thirukkudanthai .

PEy AzhwAr relates to Him as the panchAkruthi 
svarUpan rsdiding in the Para , VyUha , Vibhava,
ArchA and antharyAmi forms in a paasuram 
that echos the Vedic passage : ambasya pArE 
bhuvanasya madhyE---prajApathisccharathi 
garbhE antha : " . 

Thirumazhisai spoke to Him directly and 
got Him to get up to speak to him .
In moving verses of Thirucchnada viruttham , 
the AzhwAr lovingly addresses Him as 
" Kudanthai uLL kidantha PundareekanE " .
He reveals to us that the Lord is Bhaktha 
sulabhan with the paasuram words : 
nAhatthaNaik Kudanthai--kidakkum
aadhi NedumAl aNaippAr karutthanAvAn " .
The Azhwar states with authority that the Lord,
who rests at Thirukkudanthai on AdhisEshA 
will choose as His preferred temple
(place of residence ) the heart caves of His dear
BhakthAs . 

Thirumangai celebrated AarAvamudhan in 
his ThirukkurmthAndakam as " Kudanthai
mEya kurumaNit thiraL " or the most beautiful
assembly of nava rathnams at Thirukkudanthai .

In his ThirunedumthAndakam verses, he takes on
the Naayaki bhavam and performs nAma sankeerthanam.
In the last verse of ThirunedumthAndakam , he
describes how he as Parakaala Naayaki
waited for her Lord just as a dutiful and 
obedient dog filled with parama viswaasam 
would wait for its master : "  taNN Kudanthai kidantha 
Maalai NediyAnai adi nAyEn ninanithittEnE " .  

In ThiruvEzhukUrririkkai , Thirumangai pours out
his profound love for AarAvamudhan in a verse
form constructed in the form of a seven-tiered 
chariot . He seats the Lord in the middle of that
chariot and enjoys His veda svarUpam and
soundharyam . The depth of meanings of the 
paasurams of ThiruvEzhukUrririkkai have been 
coverd in an earlier posting . 

In his siriya and periya Thirumadals , Thirumangai
becomes parakaala Naayaki and engages in
vipralambha sringAram and teaches us that the end
goal of Dharmam ,  Artham and other purushArthams
is Bhagavadh Kaamam . He shows us that Kaamam 
( Bhagavadh Kaamam ) is the highest purushArtham
of all the four goals of life. 

In the many beautiful verses of Periya Thirumozhi ,
Thirumangai celebrates the sanctity of the Moola 
Manthram that he was initiated into by the Lord 
Himself as " peethaka vaadaip pirAnAr bhirama guruvAhi
vandhu " . In this particular decad , Thirumangai blames 
himself first for going after siRRinbham and forgetting to
worship AarAvamudhan at Thirukkudanthai and next 
comforts himself for gaining utthama gathi through 
the recitation of the name of Sriman NaarAyaNA :

 "------------------- soozh punar KudanthaiyE thozhuthen
  naavinAlyuua naan kandu kondEn NaarAyaNAvennum nAmam " 

He is overcome with the power of reciting the name of 
Srman NaarAyaNA and instructs others to come and join 
him  and thereby save themselves from leading  degenrate
lives :

" ------------solluhEn vammin soozh KudanthaaiyE thozhumin  
 naRporuL kaaNmin paadi neeryuumin NaarAyaNAvennum nAmam " .

Thirumangai arrives at the Divya dEsam of SaaLagraamam
in HimalayAs . From the snow clad scenery , his mind shifts 
to the green cauveri delta and there to the  Lord of Thirukkudanthai ,
resting joyously on his serpent bed . This powerful memory 
led to another beloved paasuram on AarAvamudhan from the snowy
depths of SaaLagrAmam :

" UrAn Kudanthai utthaman oru kaalirukaal silai vaLayath
tErAvarakkar tEr veLLam seRRaan vaRRA varu punal soozh
pErAn pErAyiramudayAn----" 

Here AzhwAr celebrates SaarangapANi as Sri Ramachandran ,
who destroyed Karan and DhUshaNan , who attacked Him at
JanasthAnam , while riding their chariots. The Uttaman  of 
Thirukkudanthai destroyed them through the power of His
skills in DhanurvEdam . After eulogising the Uttaman of
Thirukkudanthai , he goes on to acknowledge the Lord 
of SaaLigrAmam . In his Thiruneermalai paasuram ,
Thirumangai is overpowered with the thought of 
AarAvamudhan and weaves him into the paasuram 
of Thiruneermalai perumAL . At ThiruvAli , He jointly 
salutes VayalALi MaNavALan and " TaNN Kudanthai
KudamAdi " . 

At ThirunarayUr , after receiving SamAsrayaNam from 
Srinivasan , his mind still wanders over to Thirukkudanthai 
and sees AarAvamudhan in NarayUr SrinivAsan :

" kongEru solaik Kudanthaik kidanthAnai 
nankOnai naadi NarayUril kandEnE " 

He sees that when he sought for the Thirukkdanthai
UtthAnasAyee , he found Him in NarayUr. 

In another beautiful NarayUr pasuram , He visualizes 
AarAvamudhan as VarAhap perumAn , Ramachandran
and Trivikraman :

" kidantha nampi Kudanthai mEvik kEzhalAi ulahai
idantha nampi yengaL nambi ---------------------------
nadantha nampi nAmam sollil namO nArAyaNAya "

NarayUr Srinivasan is known usually as NarayUr
nampi . Here , Azhwaar invokes the nampi name 
five times and relates it to AarAvamudhan .

We witness Thirumangai's special abhimAnam for 
AarAvamudhan again in the paasurams " devoted " to
the emperumAns of ThirunAhai , ThirupEr , ThirukkaNNapuram 
and other thirupathis . Finally in his Periya Thirumozhi 11.6 
paasuram , he gives the upadEsam for all of us to gain
salvation : 

" kondarkkaim maNivaNNan  taNN Kudanthai 
nahar paadi aadeerhaLE  " 

He recommends to all of us sinking in the samsAric 
ocean to overcome our sufferings by reciting the name
of the parama kAruNeekan , AarAvamudhan and singing
and dancing with joy from that anubhavam . 

NammAzhwAr's anubhavam of AarAvamudhan

After his mangaLAsAsanam of Srivaramangai's 
ThOdhAdhri nAthan , NammAzhwAr leaves the 
banks of TamrabharaNi and arrives at the Cauveri
delta and rests  at the sacred feet of AarAvamudhan . 
He cries out in ecstasy , " yemmAnE ! yenn veLLai mUrthy !
Yennai aaLvAnE " . NammAzhwAr addresses his Lord as 
the Lord of purest form and nature . He remembers 
his Lord taking infinite forms and says all those forms 
add lustre to Him . 

In the third pasuram , he admits that he is incapable of
folowing any upAyA to gain His grace. He laments over
his powerlessness. He makes it very clear to AarAvamudhan
that he will always cling to His lotus feet as a prop with 
unshaken faith and go about doing things ( yennAn 
seyhEn yArE kaLaikaNN yennai yenn seyhinrAi ? 
unnAlallal yAvarAlum onrum kurai vEndEn-- kudanthai 
kidanthAi--sennALenthALL annAL unathALL piditthE 
selakkANE ) . 

In the fourth paasuram , AzhwAr explains his pitiable state. 
He says that  he is head over heels in love with the Lord
of Thirukkudanthai . He says that he is turning around on 
all sides in the hope of seeing the Lord appear in the physical
form and is suffering from his  frustrations in not being able
to have that darsana sowbhAgyam . 

In the fifth paasuram , he confesses that he is cursing his
fate over his dhurbhAgyam in not being able to see the Lord
in the physical form and embrace Him .He pleads wiht the Lord 
movingly to unite him with His sacred feet .

In the sixth paasuram , AzhwAr begs the Lord to devise a method 
to cut his karma bhandhAs and have dhruva smrithi of the Lord 
and Lord alone . 

In the seventh pasuram , he addresses the Lord of Thirukkudanthai
as his valiant Lion , beautiful golden splendor and the lotus-eyed 
oudhAryan of sarva mangaLams . He points out  that the Lord has
arrived at Thirukkudanthai to captivate and enslave him and to 
consummate their relationship as seshan and seshee . 

In the eighth paasuram  , he addresses the Lord as " mAmAyA "
( wizard ) and confesses that he has no helper other than the Lord .
He ventures forth to say that he is not sure , whether the Lord will
rush to his help or not . He begs for the boon of steadfast 
attachment to the Lord's feet until his last moments . 

In the ninth paasuram , the AzhwAr thanks the Lord for His 
great upakAram in teaching the elements of Athma JnAnam
and transforming him to become  a loving servant of His 
from the earlier haughty state . AzhwAr sees the Lord 
move from left to right to help bhakthAs assembled on 
all sides to have the darsana sowbhAgyam equally . 

In the tenth  paasuram , AzhwAr acknowledges that 
his soul is enjoying the  sweet nectar of AarAvamudhan inspite of
his past karmAs and their fruits trying to latch on to him . He 
thanks the Lord for chasing them away . He reminds the Lord 
about their newly established relationship as Master and Servant 
and points out to the Lord that it will be a blot to His name , 
if he reverted to making him suffer and beg for help . 

In the eleventh and final paasuram , AzhwAr describes himself 
as the one , who clings to AarAvamudhan"s sacred feet forever .
He instructs us that the mastering of his ten paasurams on
AparyApthAmrutha Swami will wipe out our spiritual 
immaturity and lift us closer to the Lord and  
Sri VaishNavAs .

These great anubhavams of AzhwArs were on the mind of 
Thirukkudanthai Desikan , when he composed and presented
his AparyApthAmrutha sOpAnam along the tradition of 
Swami Desikan's Bahgavadh DhyAna sOpAnam and 
ThiruppANar's AmalanAdhipirAn .

AzhwAr , AchAryAL THiruvadigaLE SaraNam
Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan