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Re: Thirumantram

From: Sridhar Srinivasan (ss_at_clihouston.com)
Date: Mon Oct 07 1996 - 21:34:51 PDT

The recent discussion about the esoteric nature of the Tirumantram and the
need to control or inhibit unfettered usage in this group brings up several
relevant philosophical issues.  As a mumukshu or one who is desirous of
being a mumukshu, I have felt that it is wrong to disqualify any human being
from practicing his or her way of being that on the basis of an outsider's
pereception (i.e., perception of another person in determining whether I am
qualified to even utter something as divine as the thirumantram), which is
an entirely subjective state.  One of the cornerstones for the inherent
value of Sri Vaishnava sampradayam as propounded by Emberumaanaar and some
of our foremost Acharyas (Sri MaNavaaLa Maamunigal, Sri PiLLai Lokacharyar,
Sri Parasara Bhattar, Sri Azhagiya MaNavALa perumAL nAyanAr to name a few)
is the spirit of open-ness and the inclusive nature of the philosophy, the
fact that no human being is precluded from participating in the joy of
uttering the Lord's names.

In Mumukshupadi, it is stated that every one desirous of pursuing the
ultimate goal of Moksham at the feet of our lord has to know three rahasyangal:

Mumukshuvukku aRiya vENDum rahasyam moonru
adil prathama rahasyam thirumantram  .....

The other two rahasyas in turn are contained within the Tirumantram (dvayam
and Charama slokam).  Now, at the surface, these divine sayings are
accessible to any human being.  There is not and there ought not to be any
restriction on uttering or meditating on these.  The rahasyam components
above stems in the meanings that our pooravacharayaLs have given us that is
a virtual pathway to understanding the relationship of the jeevatma wrt
paramaatma.  Now, this knowledge can be obtained only at the feet of a
qualified Acharya.  There is a definite difference between the states of
uttering the Tirumantram with no cognisance of its deeper meaning and its
anusandhaanam with a complete knowledge of the deeper meanings.  However, it
would be wrong to sideline another human being as an anadhikAari because x
or y thinks so.  Who are we to decide someone is or is not an adhikaari?  In
fact there is no support in mumukshuppaDi for Sri Varadhan's following
statements:

*****begin Sri Varadhan's quote******

> One should take care that one meditates on it without the thirumantram being
> heard by the non-adhikaaris ('anadhikaarikaL')
......
> in fact, if a non-adhikaari picks up the thirumantram, the mantram will do
> him/her/it good as it is said in mumukshupadi 18, 19 & 20
>

******End Sri Varadhan's quote*******

Mumukshuppadi 18 - 20:

idhudaan kulam tharum engira paDiye yellaa apekshithangaLaiyum koDukkum
Iswarya kaivalya bagavallabhangaLai aasaippattavargaLukku avattrai koDukkum
karma gnyana bhaktigaLile izhindavargaLukku virodhiyaippokki avathai
thalaikkatti kkoDukkum

It is extremely important to be accurate when quoting our poorvacharyaars
because there cannot be a greater bhAgavathApachAram than ascribing narrow,
regressive notions (clearly stemming from our ignorance) to their utterances.

Comments by Sri Kalale in this context brings to fore the futility of going
around in circles in defining qualifying requirements for being able to
discuss these issues, and it is important to remember something that Sri
periyaazhwaar says in periyaazhwaar thirumozhi (fourth shathakam-pathu,
sixth thirumozhi):

kaasum karaiyuDai:

maNNIl piRandu maNNahum maaniDa pEriTTu
angu eNNam onRinRirukkum ezhai manisargaal
karumuhil kaNNan naamame naNNumin
naaraNan tham annai naraham puhaaL

In Sri vachana BhooshaNam, Sri PiLLai lokacharyar very eloquently points the
need for recognizing our own thazhmai (state of inferiority) thus:

manassukku theemaiyAvadu swaguNathaiyum bhagavat bhAgavatha doshathaiyu
ninaikkai
dOsham ninaiyAdozhigiradhu guNambOle uNDAyiRukkavonnu
doshamuNDenRu ninaikkil adhu paradosham anRu swadosham

To think of oneself in superior terms is a dosham.  Further, to find fault
or even
non-qualifying states in others is not paradosham, rather it is swa-dOsham.
When time ought to be spent in ridding one of one's own state of nescience
(and the Acharya feels there is not enough time in a lifetime to achieve
this), it is hardly meaningful to indulge in wondering about the states of
evolution (or lack of them) for others.

Aazhwaar Emberumaanaar Jeeyar ThiruvadigaLe SharaNam

Sridhar