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Parasara Bhattar and his AchAryan, EmpAr :Sri ViashNava LakshaNam

From: Sadagopan (sgopan_at_computer.net)
Date: Mon Nov 23 1998 - 19:12:26 PST

Dear BhakthAs :

A dear friend of mine introduced me last February
to a parama Bhakthai from India by the name of Srimathi 
Ranganayaki KaLLappirAn.Latter is a great Tamil scholar 
and Sri RaamAnuja Bhakthai .She asked me to write 
a forward to her monograph at the suggestion of my friend .
I was kind of embarassed , but she insisted that I should.
I read a few pages of the incomplete manuscript and got
an excellent feeling for the items that this Bhakthai had
assembled .She was returning home and she had to complete 
the rest of the manuscript in India .She wanted to take my forward 
ahead of time .On return to India , the Thirumalai Thiruppathi
dEvasthAnam gave her a grant to complete the manuscript 
and publish it.I got a copy of the monograph last week 
and I was so happy to read it and find gems of information
about AchAryAs that are not commonly known .In retrospection ,
I am proud to have had the bhAgyam of writing the forward
along with H.H. Sri Kaliyan VaanamAmalai RaamAnuja Jeeyar .
I thought It is all ThiruviNNagarappan's leelAs .

I want to share with you a wonderful piece of a
conversation between EmpAr and his disciple ,
the precocious Parasara Bhatar as recorded in 
one of the GuruparamparA prabhAvam manuscripts .
This is the first time that I have come across it 
and I thought number of our members , who may not be 
familiar with this conversation would like to 
read about it .During future occasions , I will
summarize and share with you additonal gems of 
information assembled there about our great 
AchAryAs and their exemplary lives .

As background , EmpAr was born nine years later 
than AchArya RaamAnujA in the year 1026 A.D at
a small village near Sri PermpUthUr . Empaar's
mother was the sister of AchArya RaamAnujA's
mother . Therefore , EmpAr was the cousin brother 
of AchArya RaamAnujA .He was named Govindhan 
by his parents at birth .After a few dramatic 
twists in Govindhan's life , he became 
" the shadow and foot rest " of his AchAryA , 
Sri RaamAnujA .He entered into SanyAsAsramam 
and was given the daasya naamam of EmperumAnAr 
by Udayavar himself. Govindan refused to accept that 
exalted title and begged his AchAryA to give him 
a new daasya nAmam befitting his status 
as the shadow and foot rest of his AchAryA . 
Sri RaamAnujaa playfully renamed his sishyan , 
EmpAr ( EMPerumaanaar iLaippARumidam =EMPAR )or
the place where EmperumAnAr (Acharyan) rests .
That is the name by which we revere him today 
in AchArya paramparai. 

AchArya RaamAnujA assigned EmpAr to become 
the AchAryan of Paraasara Bhattar , the son 
of KuratthAzhwAn , one of the prime disciples of
Acharya RaamAnujA .Parasara Bhattar was raised
by Sri RanganAthA and Sri RanganAyaki as thier 
own son . When he was a child , there was a cradle
for him near the ThirumaNat thUNN at Sri RanganAthA's
sannidhi and the divine couple played with the child
and raised him . Parasara Bhattar later became 
the purOhithA for the divya dampathis and was 
entrusted with Koil Kaimkaryam by Empaar , his
AchAryan .

One day ParAsara Bhattar asked his AchAryan about 
Sri VaishNava lakshaNam and EmpAr revealed to his
sishyan the ten definitions that fit the name of 
a Sri VishNavan as the distilled essence of 
VedAs and Divya Prabhandhams that he had learnt
from his own AchAryan , Sri RaamAnujaa .What EmpAr
revealed to Bhattar is known as the ten words
(VaarthaikaL). They are very deep in meaning and are
worthy of our daily reflections for chittha Suddhi .
Srimathi RanganAyaki KaLLappirAn summarizes them .
I will elaborate on them with the Divya Prabhandha
paasurams assoicated with them in future postings .

For now , I will end this posting with the reflection
on the Vaazhit ThirunAmam of this great AchAryA , EmpAr :  

poo VaLarum ThirumahaLAr polivuRROn VaazhiyE 
Poygai mudhal pathinmar kalaip poruL uraippOn VaazhiyE
maa VaLarum PoothUrAn malarp pathatthAn VaazhiyE
MakaratthiR Punarppoosam vandhuthitthOn vAzhiyE
tEvu mepporuLum padaikkat thirunthinAn VaazhiyE 
Thirumalai napikkadimai seyyumavan VaazhiyE
paavayarkaL kalviruL pahalenrAn VaazhiyE
Bhattar thozhum EmpAr PoRrpAthamirandum VaazhiyE

AzhwAr EmperumAnAr EmpAr ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam 
Oppilaippan Koil VaradAchAri SadagOpan