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thoNdar kulam

From: Parthasarati Dileepan (MFPD_at_UTCVM.UTC.EDU)
Date: Fri Oct 20 1995 - 05:51:14 PDT

Srivaishnava life style -1

Progressive social thinking has been a part of Sri
Vaishnavasim long before it became fashionable among
the literary elite.  Alas, much of it is given just lip service
these days, or worse ignored, but it is there for any one to
see.  Just 5 poems into the 4,000 poems or "paasuram" of
Dhivya Prabhandam we see Periaazhvaar gently appeal to
those riding the high horse of superior birth to give up
their snobbery and join the chorus of singing praises to
the Lord.  The fifth paasuram of Thirup pallaaNdu is:

"aNdakkulaththuk kathipathiyaaki
iNdaikkulaththai eduththukkaLaindha
thoNdakkulaththil uLLeer! vandhadithozhuthu
     aayiran^aamam solli
paNdaikkulaththaith thavirndhu
     pallaaNdu pallaayiraththaaNdu enminE"

Azhvaar calls out to the devotees (thoNdar kulam) to
come out and sing the thousand names of the Lord of the
heavenly devaas and the one who came down to this earth
as a cowherd to destroy the asuraas and raakshashaas.
Apparently there were some with giant sized egos who
couldn't bring themselves to experiencing devotion to our
Lord.  Azhvaar then tries to coax them to shun their pride
and immerse themselves in devotion.

Periaazhvaar systematically shatters the notion of birth
based separation, not to mention superiority, with his deft
handling of the term "kulam.".  The Lord of the heavenly
clan "aNdar kulam" chose to be a part of the lowly
cowherd clan "iNdar kulam."  There is a lesson in this
choice He made.  Don't be so proud of your high birth
"paNdaik kulam;" shed (thavirndhu) your ego and
become a part of the clan of devotees of our Lord,
"thoNdar kulam."

-- Dileepan