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UpadEsa Rathna Maalai: Part 4( Paasurams 17-20)

From: Sadagopan (
Date: Wed Oct 20 1999 - 18:32:02 PDT

The Birthday of PeriyAzhwAr

inRaip perumai aRinthilayO yEzhai nenjE!
  inRaikku yennERRam yenil uraikkEn--nanRi punai
PallANDu paaDiya namm Bhattar PirAn vanthu udhittha
  nall Aaniyil sOthi naaLL.........(17)

(Meaning ): Oh My poor Mind ! Do n't you know the glory
of this day ? Listen ! I will tell you what the glory is
all about .This is Aani SvAthi day , when our Bhattar PirAN ,
who blessed us with the most auspicious PaLLANDu to 
the Supreme Lord incarnated on this earth .

Comments: Swami Desikan has blessed us with a Prabhandham 
of 18 Paasurams known as " Prabhandha Saaram " that pays 
tribute to the AzhwArs , who gave us the NaalAyira Divya 
prabhandham . Swami Desikan described himself as 
"Tamizh MaRayOn" out of his great respect for the Prabhandhams
of the AzhwArs . In his work , Prabhandha Saaram , Swamy Desikan 
covered the particulars about the  dhivya desams
where the AzhwArs were born , the month of their avathArams , 
the constellations under which they were born ,their glories, 
the name of the prabhndhams that they blessed us with , 
the number of total paasurams in their prabhndhams and 
the central message ( uyirk Karutthu or sarArtham ) housed
in their paasurams . All these 18 paasurams of Swamy were set in
the 8 lined , majestic yeNN sIr Aasiriya viruttham  because
of the many items he had to incorporate in each of these 
paasurams . Sri MM chose the simpler , four lined VeNN paa 
meter to fit the mood of Upadesam to a sishyan . Swami
Desikan's emphasis was to assemble the facts for the archives
so that there will be no confusion about the facts related to
the AzhwArs and their aruLiccheyalkaLs . Sri MM in his 
Upadesa Rathna Maalai (UMR) had topics over and above Azhwars,
such as AchAryAs like Sri RaamAnujA and the others that 
folowed him .Hence the size of the UMR swelled to 73
in number , almost four times the size of Swami Desikan's
Prabhandham on AzhwArs alone .        

The reason for the name of PeriyAzhwAr for Bhattar PirAn

MangaLAsAsanatthil maRRuLLa AzhwArkaL
  tangaL aarvatthu aLavu thaan anRi--pongum
parivAlE VilliputthUr Bhattar PirAn peRRAn
  PeriyAzhwAr yennum peyar.........(18)

(Meaning ): Bhattar PirAn, who incarnated (as an
amsam of GarudA ) at Sri VillipputthUr received 
the name of PeriyAzhwAr as a honorific title. 
Why So ? This is because of his intensity in bhakthi
(abhnivEsam ) for eulogizing Sriman NaarAyaNan
exceeded (exhuberantly ) that of all the other
AzhwArs .

(comments): PeriyAzhwAr had the rare distinction 
of being recognized as the eldest among fellow 
AzhwArs ( Periya Aazhwaar).Why did this title stick
to him ? He was not the eldest among them . Poygai
and the other two Mudhal AzhwArs were older than him
( incarnated earlier than him).NammAzhwAr and Kaliyan 
had larger number of Prabhandhams than him .Other
AzhwArs had ruchi ( intense desire ) for MangaLAsAsanam
of the Lord as well that poured out of them as moving 
paasurams.Yet they did not earn the title of PeriyAzhwAr ? 
Why so ? MM points out that Bhattar PirAn won the title of
PeriyAzhwAr becuase of the ghanam and intensity of
his concern for the welfare of the Lord that got
crystallized as PaLLANDu .

(Comments): Swami Desikan's salutation of
PeriyAzhwAr is moving : " Aani tannil, perunjyOthi
tannil thOnRum PerumAnE !" ( The One who incarnated
during the Aani, when the great constellation of
 SvAthi was in ascendance as perumAn/periyAzhwAr). 
Swami Desikan had only one paasuram of 8 lines
for PeriyAzhwAr , where as Sri MM used 12 lines 
(3 VeNN Paas) to salute the greatness of periyAzhwAr 
inview of the greatness of ThiruppallANDu .

The reason for the Primacy of ThiruppallANDu

kOthilAm AzhwArkaL kooRu kalaikku yellAm
   Aadhi ThirupallANDu aanathuvum --Vedatthukku
Om yennu madhu pOl uLLathekku yellAm surukkaai
   thaan mangalam aathalAl.......(19)

(Meaning):Among all the Prabhandhams of the blemishless
AzhwArs,ThiruppallANDu took the top (first) place.Why so?
Just like PraNavam became the essence of the meanings of 
all VedAs , ThiruppallANDu stayed at the top of all 
Prabhandhams of fellow AzhwArs , since it is the 
most auspicous quintessence ( saarArtha Nidhi) of 
all Dhivya Prabhndhams.

(Comments): The primacy of PraNavam for the Vedams
is equated here to the primacy of ThiruppallANDu among 
the dhivya prabhandhams . This is because both share 
the common attributes of serving as the Saara Nidhi
and mangaLa BhAshaNam (the most auspicious word )for
the Vedams and Dhivya prabhndams respectively .

The Uniqueness of ThiruppallANDu and PeriyAzhwAr 

uNDO ThiruppallANDukku oppathOhr kalai thaan 
  uNDO PeriyAzhwArkku oppu oruvar --taNDamizh nool
seytharuLum AzhwArkaL tammil avar sey kalayil
  paithal nenjE nee uNarnthu paar.....(20)

(Meaning ): Oh my mind ! Among the AzhwArs ,
who blessed us with the different Prabhandhams , 
is there One , who is equal to PeriyAzhwAr in stature ?
(No). Is there one prabhandham of all these AzhwArs , 
which is superior to ThiruppallANDu ? (No).Oh my 
poor mind ! please reflect on these questions and learn 
about the correct answers to them .

(Comments): Swami Desikan hailed the ThiruppallANDu
as " yEr aNi nool " or the Prabhandham known for its
exquisite beauty ( artha gouravam and sabdha poushkalyam).
Sri MM went one step further and described ThiruppallANDu
as a Kalai or an exquisite piece of art or Brahma Vidhyai .

Daasan , V.Sadagopan 
(To Be continued )