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Mukunda Maalaa - Part 4

From: For V.Sadagopan (gopalram_at_erols.com)
Date: Wed Sep 23 1998 - 18:18:25 PDT

[ jayatu jayatu shriiman-naaraayaNaH

  Dear vaishhNava-s ,

  shrii V. Sadagopan has kindly blessed me with the privilege to continue 
  posting of his commentary on the mukunda-maalaa stotraM.

  shrii V.S's earlier posts can be looked up at the following location 
  in shrii Mani's web-site:
      http://thondar.busi.utc.edu/bhakti/archives/mar96/index.html#2


  kulashekharaazvaar tiruvaDigaLE sharaNaM

  Ram ]


>From shrii V. Sadagopan's commentary on mukunda-maalaa stotraM
--------------------------------------------------------------

taniyans saluting kulashekharaazvaar:

  The three taniyan-s associated with shrii kulashekhara-aazvaar make reference
to his varNaashramaM and his respect for shrii bhaagavata-s as well as his
deep attachment to the Lord of shrii ra~NgaM.

The first taniyan in sa.nskR^it refers to his birth as kshatriya king ruling
the land of Kolli and his devotion of shrii ra~NgaM as follows:

      "ghushhyate yasya nagare ra~Nga-yaatraa dine-dine |
       tamaham shirasaa vande raajaanaaM kulashekharaM || "

   This taniyan salutes with bowed head the king of Kolli city, revered as
kulashekhara whose subjects were famous for shouting about their joyous
experiences related to shrii-ra~Nga-yaatraa that they performed following the
illustrious and exemplary pilgrimage to shrii-ra~NgaM by their king.
Here shrii kulashekhara's status as a king of Kolli-naadu and his deep devotion
to shrii ra~Nganaatha, serving as a model to his subjects, are alluded to.

  The two tamil taniyan-s associated with shrii kulashekhara-aazvaar also refer
to him as the titular head of cheraa kingdom and as a great bhaagavata.
In the first tamil taniyan cited below, the author offers nectar-like food to a
beautiful parrot in return for singing the glories of the chera king, 
kulashekhara who distinguished himself through the compositions extolling the
kalyaaNa-guNa-`s of shrii ra~Nganaathan of shrii ra~NgaM.

      "innamuda muuTukEni~NgE vaa pa~NkiLiyE,
       tennara~NgaM paaDa-valla siirp-perumaaL, ponna~nchilai-sEr
       nudaliyarvEL chEralar-kOn, e~NgaL kulsEkaraneRE kuuRu"


  In the second tamil taniyan, a major incident that served as a tuning point
in his life is alluded to. This taniyan offers its respects to shrii 
kulashekhara perumaan in the following manner:

      "aaram keDapparanbar koLLaarenRu, avargaLukkE 
       vaara~NkoDu kuDap-paaMbil kaiyiTTavan, maRRalarai
       viira~NkeDutta se~NgOl kolli-kaavalan-villavarkOn
       chEran kulasekaran muDi-vEndar sikaa-maNiyE"

The incident is referred to in the above taniyan is related to the spirited
defense of shrii-vaishhNava bhaagavata-s in his court. The context of the
incident is described below.

As an enlightened ruler, shrii kulashekharar defended the rights of the weak
and punished the wicked and served as a model king. One day, shrii ra~Nganaatha
blessed shrii kulashekhara by revealing his svaruupa-guNa-vibhuuti 
cheshhTitaM-s. From the day on, shrii kulashekhara lost his interest in 
being a king and spent most of his time with shrii vaishhNava-s in his palace.

The ministers were unhappy about this special affection that shrii kulashekhara
had for the bhaagavata-s. The ministers wanted to reduce the role of
shrii-vaishhNava-s in the king's life, so that the king could devote more time
to his royal duties.

The ministers came up with a plot, which accused the bhaagavata-s as having 
stolen the nava-ratna haaraM of the deity of shrii kulashekhara. Actually the
ministers had themselves removed the precious stone necklace and blamed the
bhaagavata-s falsely. 

shrii kulashekhara was very upset about the charges and refused to accept that
the bhaagavata-s stole the necklace. In support of his conviction that the 
devotees of vishhNu would not steal, he set forth a challenge to prove that the
bhaagavata-s were innocent of the charges made by the ministers. 
He volunteered to put his hand in a vessel containing hungry cobras.
If the bhaagavata-s were innocent, he stated, the cobras will not bite his
hand. On the other hand, if they were guilty he predicted that the snakes will
bite his hand and kill him. 

To implement this challenge, shrii kulashekhara put his hand inside a vessel 
full of poisonous cobras, comforted by the belief that the devotees of vishhNu
would not steal the Lord's jewelry. 
Lo and behold! the cobras kissed his hand and did not bite him!
The ministers were put to shame by the king's conviction and his winning of
the challenge to certify the innocence of the shrii-vaishhNava-s. 
kulashekhara was deeply offended by the behaviour of his ministers and decided
on the spot to reliquish his title. 

He appointed his son to succeed him and retired to  shrii-ra~NgaM to enjoy 
the beauty of shrii ra~Nganaatha for the rest of his life.