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Swami Natha munikal Vaibavam..

November 11, 2010

Srimathe Ramanujaya Nama:

Srimath Varavaramunaye Nama:

The ruler of Gangaikkonda-chozhapuram came to know of the immense prowess of Swami Nathamuni in celestial music and wanted to bestow many riches in his recognition of  Swami’s genius. However, Swami was least interested in the wealth of the king. Such lures of wealth are of no interest to one who has recognized the lotus feet of Lord Mannanar and service unto them as the greatest of all riches.

Nathamuni had eight disciples – Uyyakkondar, Kurugaikkavalappar, Nambi Karunakaradasar, Eruththiruvudaiyar, Thirukkannamangaiyandan, Vanamamalai Deviyandan, Urupattur Achchan Pillai and Sokaththurazhwan.

Nathamuni blessed his disciples with profound knowledge of Divya Prabandham and Sanskrit Veda. It is believed that he authored a work called ‘Nyayathathvam’. This work is unavailable today. Only a verse of invocation from that work appears to be known which runs as “yo veththi yugapathsarvam prathyakshena sadhasvatha:, tham pranamya harim sasthram nyayathathvam prachakshamahe”.  It can be recognized that this work was available until about the time of Swami Vedanthacharyar as it is evidenced from his work Nyaya Siddhanjanam.

Swami Nathamuni remained in yoga for long periods of time as even Alavandhar says, “Lokevadhirna paramarththa samakra bhakthi yogaya nathamunaye yaminamvaraya”. Swami Nathamuni instructed Kurugaikkavalappar to practise Yoga Rahasya and taught him Ashtanga Yogakramam. To his own son, Iswara Bhattarazhwan, Swami instructed that he would have a son who should be named as ‘Yamunaiththuraivar’.  He also instructed Uyyakkondar to teach all concepts of tradition to this prodigy of his grandson Yamunaiththuraivar.
Having made all these instructions, Nathamunikal returned to yoga.

Once, while the Chozha king was returning with his troupe after hunting, the daughters told Nathamuni that two bowmen with a lady and a monkey came calling for Nathamuni. Swami understood them as Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman, and started out in search of them. He kept querying everyone on the way if they had seen them. They replied that they had. Thus proceeding, Nathamuni reached very far upto gates of Gangaikkonda chozhappuram. The people of that place however told Swami that they had not seen anybody like those he had come in search of. At that same time, the two bowmen appeared and disappeared in front of his eyes, as Swami gasped and fainted, and subsequently reached the abode of the Lord.

His disciples came to great sorrow of the knowledge of Swami’s departing our world. In time, they overcame their grief, offered obeisances the last form of Swami Nathamuni and completed the last rites. His disciple Kurugaikkavalappar settled in Yoga at a place close to where Swami used to remain in yoga.

Sriman-Nathamunikal Thiruvadikale Saranam

Azhwar Emperumanar Jeeyar Thiruvadikale Saranam..

‘svAmi kOyil kandADai vAdhUla-dESikan aNNan’..

November 11, 2010


kOyil aNNan was the later-day honorofic of  varada-nArAyana-guru
(1389-1448 AD) who was the eighth generation descendant of svAmi
mudali-ANDAn (= dASarathi, nephew of Sri Ramanuja).   


ANDAn was appointed by Ramanuja as the chief administrator of periya
kOyil [‘Sri-kAryam / sEnApati-dhurandhara’] and, down the generations,
this precious responsibility devolved upon aNNan.   Accordingly, aNNan
is among the ‘sthalattAr’ of ‘periya kOyil’
and receives the temple honours as ‘vAdhUla-dESikar’. (The full title
and name is ‘svAmi kOyil kandADai vAdhUla-dESikan aNNan’.)


The name ‘kand-ADai’ genealogically attaches from svAmi ANDAN’s son,
kandADAi ANDAn (who installed Ramanuja’s “tamar-ukanda-tirumEni” at
Sri-perum-pudUr and “tAn-Ana-tirumEni” at Srirangam), as the latter was
born after uDaiyavar instructed svAmi mudali-ANDAn to partake of the
Lord’s food-offering received from the periya sannidhi, in the
cloth-wrapping ‘tiru-p-pAVADai’; when the child was eventually born,
uDaiyavar blessed him for a spiritual career as fragrant as the
‘tiru-p-pAVADai’. [‘gandha’ meaning fragrant and ‘ADai’ for the
cloth-wrapping;   the name, Tamilised as the hybrid ‘kandADai’, is among
the most pedigreed title among Srivaishnava Acharya households.]


aNNan was among the disciples (‘ashTa-dig-gajam’ or the eight custodians
of memory) of ‘periya-jeeyar’ maNavALa-mA-munikaL.  Both aNNan and Sri
vAna-mA-malai jeeyar had each received from mA-munikaL a pair of his own
(wooden) pAdukA (footwear). Known as the “pon-n-aDiyAm
Sen-kamala-p-pOdukaL”, these are encased in gold and adored in the
‘tiru-ArAdhanam’ of both aNNan tiru-mALikai and vAna-mA-malai maTham,and
are placed on the devotees’ crown at the conclusion of
‘divya-prabandham’ recital (‘SAttu-muRai’).

aNNan’s adoration of mA-munikaL was complete and he dedicated a
‘kaNNi-nuN Siru-t-tAmbu’ panegyric of mA-munikaL.  aNNan has the unique
blessing of receiving a ‘taniyan’ SlOkam from mA-munikaL ~

vipula-vAdhUla-gOtrOd-bhavAnAm varam
varada-nArAyaNam mad-gurum samSrayE.”


Renowned for his passionate attachment to living in Srirangam, aNNan was
named by appiLLai (author of vAzhi-tiru-nAmanGaL) as  the One who never
crossed river kAviri flowing by either side of Srirangam,
[“kAviri-k-karai kaDavAda kandADai aNNan”].


aNNan’s ninth generation descendant (17th century AD), SingarAchArya
(second son of kandADai appan Srinivasacharya) became the ‘jeeyar’ of
Sri ahObila-maTham.   With a view to strengthening the bonds between
aNNan tiru-mALikai and Sri-maTham, he presented to the maTham the
‘periya-perumAL’ icon which was in worship at tiru-mALikai, and also the
‘daSAvatAra sannidhi’ (situated close to the koLLiDam river)  which was
originally consecrated by tiru-manGai-AzhvAr and later assigned by Sri
Ramanuja to svAmi ANDAn.


This personage also gifted to tiru-mALikai an ‘azhakiya-SinGar’, one of
the ‘nava-bEra’ (nine icons) of ahObilam.   This ‘archA’ forms the
central piece of tiru-mALikai shrine, and an identical icon is
worshipped in svAmi ANDAn tiru-mAlikai in east Chitra stree and in the
Sri maTham situated a furlong from tiru-mALikai. Besides, the
tiru-mALikai has an ‘azhakiya-SinGar’, one presented to ANDAn by Sri
Ramanuja, and another to aNNan by mA-munikaL.    Sri Pillai Lokam Jeeyar
[in his Ramanujacharya-divya-charitai] that uDaiyavar got
‘azhakiya-SinGar’ consecrated in the Seats of all the 74
‘simhAsan-adhipati’ preceptors.


The hagiology of svAmi kOyil vAdhUla-dESika aNNan Sri varada-nArAyaNa
guru is extensively written into ‘yateendra-pravaNa-prabhAvam’ and the
Temple chronicle ‘kOyil-ozhugu’.  This, besides numerous stone
inscriptions and historical East India Company records testifying to the
several instances when the incumbent aNNan of successive times who, as
an integrated ecclesiastical-temporal ruler of Srirangam, showed great
initiative, at great expense to himself, to ward off marauders’ assaults
on Srirangam and its wealth, be they iconoclastic foreigner muslims or
the English or the French or any of the petty local ‘rulers’.

A NEW “ashTotra-Sata-nAma stOtram”.

ASu-kavi kiDAmbi T. Govinda aiyangar of Srivilliputtoor has just
composed a Sanskrit lyrical-devotional “Sri-varada-nArAyaNa-guru
ashTotra-Sata-nAma stOtram” with Tamil paraphrase.   This has been got
printed  kOyil aNNan (iLaiya svAmy) Sri Venkatacharya, and  released on
October 1 (aNNan’s asterism) at Srirangam tiru-p-pAN AzhvAr sannidhi by
Siru-puliyUr tiru-Azhi aNNan svAmy.


The incumbent svAmi kOyil aNNan Sri Srinivasacharya jealously tends the
name and glory of the imposing kOyil aNNan tirumALikai in Srirangam east
Uttara street. He is supported by his younger brother Sri Venkatacharya
svami, besides the junior scions Sri Jagannathan svami for adhyApakam
and Sri SinGan svami for daily worship and Temple occasions.


The Great Temple and holy city of Srirangam owes so much to this
magnificent svAmi kOyil aNNan tirumALikai, and may the Lord ‘paravastu’
Sriranga and his divine spouse Sriranga-nAyaki be pleased to grace this
House with many many years of service and guardianship of the sacred
Sri-vaishNava sampradAyam.

Kambar- Valmiki anubavam..

November 11, 2010

The very mention of Guha brings up images of a humble boatman, who was immortalized by his love and devotion to Rama, but is he just a boat man. Lets see how Valmiki presents him

Lets see how Valmiki presents him.

sa tu raamasya vachanam nishamya pratigR^ihya cha |
sthapatistuurNamaahuya sachivaanidamabraviit || 2-52-5

Hearing the command of Rama, Guha quickly received it, invited his ministers and spoke to them as follows:

asya vaahanasamyuktaam karNagraahavatiim shubhaam |
suprataaraam dR^iDhaam tiirkhe shiigram naavamupaahara || 2-52-6

Let a beautiful boat that is solidly constructed, sails well and a helmsman in it, be brought to the bank to carry this hero across!

tam nishamya samaadesham guhaamaatyagaNo mahaan |
upohya ruchiraam naavam guhaaya pratyavedayat || 2-52-7

Hearing that command, the chief minister of King Guha brought a charming boat to the bank and reported the matter to Guha.

apramattaH bale koshe durge jana pade tathaa |
bhavethaa guha raajyam hi duraarakSatamam matam || 2-52-72

Oh, Guha! Remain vigilant in defense, finance, internal security and public relations, for a kingdom is the most difficult one to be protected!

tataH tam samanuj~naaya guham ikSvaaku nandanaH |
jagaama tuurNam avyagraH sabhaaryaH saha lakSmaNaH || 2-52-73

Then Rama, who was a delight to Ikshvaku dynasty, bade farewell to Guha and departed quickly, remaining undistracted, along with his consort and together with Lakshmana.

anuj~naaya sumantram ca sabalam caiva tam guham |
aasthaaya naavam raamaH tu codayaam aasa naavikaan || 2-52-80

Bidding farewell to Guha with his army of men and Sumantra, Rama sat on the boat and directed the boatmen to move on.

Ok, now switching back to Kamban’s tamil version, lets see his portrayal of the same scene.

Paal udai mozhiyaalum, pagalavan anaiyaanum,
seludai nedu heer sinthinar, vilayaada,
thooludai nimir kolin thuzhuvida, ezhu naavaai,
kaaludai nedujendin, sendrathu kadithu amaa!

 பால்  உடை  மொழியாளும் , பகலவன்  அணையானும் ,
சேலுடை நெடு  கிர்  சிந்தினர் , விளையாட ,
தோலுடை நிமிர்  கோளின்  துழுவிட , எழு  நாவாய் ,
காலுடை  நெடுஜெண்டின் , சென்றது  கடித்து   அமா ! 

She whose language is as milk, and he who is radiant like the sun,
played in the waters of the ganges rich in fish,
as he used the long pole to pilot the ship forward,
and it sped like a many legged crab…!

So, now comes the twist in the tale. The next few verses talk of Guha wanting to stay with Rama and Rama in his emotional outpour says the famous words – with you we become Five – meaning, he takes Guha as his own brother !! So, in kamban’s version Guha crosses the river with them. Another interesting thing to note, is the mention of the many legged crab – it could be that there were many who manned the oars of the boat as well, but the sculptor chose to ignore them to focus on just the key players

So, in Kamban’s version Guha does row the boat and this is the scene that we are looking at in the sculpture – the key aspect being the pole used to propel the ship.

The story we are going to see today is that of Ahalya.

Ahalya – wiki

Crux of the plot :Brahma creates a beautiful woman. Indra lusts on her and wants to marry her, he doesn’t succeed and she ends up as the wife of a great sage – Gautama muni. But that doesn’t stop him from trying and finally, he tries deceit, by taking the form of her husband and tries to seduce her. The problem is, Ahalya did see through his disguise, but…

Let’s, see what the Sanskrit version of Valmiki got to say about this episode.

muni veSam sahasraakSam vij~naaya raghuna.ndana |
matim cakaara durmedhaa deva raaja kutuuhalaat

“Oh, Rama, the legatee of Raghu, though knowing him as the Thousand-eyed Indra in the guise of her husband Gautama, she is inclined to have intercourse ill-advisedly, only to satisfy the impassion of the King of Gods

Her thinking is: ‘This is none but Indra in the guise of my husband, for my husband never asks me like this nor he violates times… I heard that Indra is seeking me for a long time… and when King of Gods expresses such a desire, it cannot be refused… let him have it…

mama ruupam samaasthaaya kR^itavaan asi dur.hmate |
akartavyam idam yasmaat viphalaH tvam bhaviSyati ||

‘Oh, dirty-minded Indra, taking hold of my form you have effectuated this unacceptable deed, whereby you shall become infecund.’ Thus, Gautama cursed Indra

tathaa shaptvaa ca vai shakram bhaaryaam api ca shaptavaan |
iha varSa sahasraaNi bahuuni nivaSisyasi || 1-48-29
vaayu bhakSaa niraahaaraa tapyantii bhasma shaayinii |
adR^ishyaa sarva bhuutaanaam aashrame asmin vaSisyasi ||

On cursing Indra thus the sage cursed even his wife saying, ‘you shall tarry here for many thousands of years to come without food and consuming air alone, and unseen by all beings you shall live on in this hermitage while contritely recumbent in dust.

yadaa tu etat vanam ghoram raamo dasharatha aatmajaH |
aagamiSyati durdharSaH tadaa puutaa bhaviSyas

‘When that unassailable son of Dasharatha, namely Rama, arrives at this squalid forest, for it will be henceforth rendered so along with you, then you will be purified.

tasya aatithyena dur.hvR^itte lobha moha vivarjitaa |
mat sakaashe mudaa yuktaa svam vapuH dhaarayiSyasi

‘On your welcoming Rama, oh, ill-behaved woman, you will be divested of your greed and craze in which you lingered so far, and then you will assume your own body and then you can be in my proximity, rejoicingly.’ Thus, Sage Gautama cursed his wife Ahalya

The operative phrases which we need to see here is the actual curse : ‘unseen by all beings’ ,’contritely recumbent in dust’, you will assume your own body

No where is there any mention of her turning into stone !!

Now, lets see the tamil version of kamban, we have already seen the story enough,we go to the operative verses – the actual curse.

“vilai magal anaiya neeyum, kal iyal aathi” endraan. karungal aai, marunga veezhvaal.

Meaning, for your acts, you are condemned to become like a stone.

Great saints are blessed with infinite wisdom and love, and so he went on to tell her, when she will be relieved of her curse.

“pizhaithu porutthal endrum periyavar kadane, anbaal
azhaltharung kadavul annaai! mudivu itharkku aruluga!” enna
thazaithu vandu imirum thann thaath dasarathan enbaan,
kazal – thugal kathuva, intha kal uruvath tavirthi “

As Ahalya fell, she asks thus of her husband : its the duty of great souls, to forgive, you became like the lord who burnt with his third eye and by his smile ( reference to the tripurantaka panel !!), now do tell me how this curse will end. To which Gomathi rishi, says, you will stay thus till the one with the radiant garland comes, he Dasaratha Rama will resurrect you, when the dust of his blessed feet fall on you, your stone form will go, and you will become yourself again.Was this Kamban’s extrapolation or was the legend prevalent much before?We note a beautiful reference to the curse clearly mentioning that she was turned to stone from the Sangam work Paripadal

Verse 19 of paripAdal, by nappaNNanAr is on Lord Murugan and describes the pilgrimage of devotees from Madurai to that ancient shrine, Thirupparam-kundram. The poet goes on to describe the various activities of the devotees on the way to the temple. A few devotees get into an art gallery on the way and gather around different paintings displayed there and discuss spiritedly among themselves, about what is portrayed in the paintings. A particular painting has the image of a cat, a woman, a sage in rage and a rock. The devotees comment, ‘indhiran pUsai’ ;This cat is Indra. ‘ivaL agaligai,’ This is Ahalyä. ‘ivan sendra kavudhaman,’ This sage is Gautama, who was away (at that time). ‘sinan uRa, kal uru ondriya padi idhu,’ And this rock is (nothing but) Ahalyä transformed by the curse of the sage. This painting shows how she was transformed into a rock

mai vannathu arakki poril, mazhai vannathu annale! un
kai vannam anguk kanden, kaal vannam inguk kanden.”

oh, cloud colored one, i saw your hands work when you fought the black ( eye liner) colored demoness, but here i see you foot work !!

This is a clear pointer that Ahalya was resurrected when Rama’s toe hit the rockWas valmiki unclear in the actual wording of the curse, did he mean that she be turned to stone as well. But one thing is clear, that she was turned to stone was part of tamil folkore as early as in the late sangam period as evidenced by the Paripadal verse.

Here it would be of interest to see what Kamban says about this episode. He make Manthara give a third and more powerful reason for preventing Rama
from ascending the throne. She says,
`Kaadhal un perum kaNavanai anji akkanivaay seethai thandhai un thaadhaiyai theRugilan
Iraaman maatulan avan nundhaikku vaazhvu ini uNdO?’

That is, she reminded Kaikeyi about the enmity between Janaka and her father and if Rama became the king Janaka would be more powerful as the father in law of the king. Then where is the protection for her father, she said. As it is the nature of women to have a soft her for their
parents, Kaikeyi was completely changed.

Kamban expresses the act of Manthara and the transformation of Kaikeyi in emphatic terms. He describes Manthara as `
innal sei iraavaNan izhaittha theemai pOl tunna arumkodumankkooni.’ She was as wicked as the actions of Ravana and capable of harming all the three worlds.’ moonRu ulaginukkum oru idukkaN moottuvaaL `

Kaikeyi who at first said ,’ enakku nallaiyum allay nee; en magan bharatan thanakku nallaiyum allay,’ meaning, ” you are neither my well-wisher nor of my son Bharata, ” later changed so as to say, ” enai uvandhanai; iniyai en maganukkum, you are dear to me and my son. ”

Kamban explains the effect of the counsel of Manthara as `theeya mandharai ivvurai seppalum dhEvi thooya chindhaiyum thirindhadhu
..’ The pure heart of Kaikeyi was changed and the reason for this, says Kamban was not mere words of Manthara but due to the plotting of the devas , the promise to them by the Lord and the penance of the pious.’ Soozhcchiyin imaiyor maayaiyum , avar petRa nalvaram uNmaiyaalum aaya andhaNar
iyaTRiya arum thavtthaalum.’

Thus Kaikeyi mistook the words of Manthara, which was going to bring disaster for her,

as something of great value ‘anarTham arTharoopeNa graahithaa
,’ and became uncontrollable, like a filly which has lost its way, `kiSoreevotpaTham gathaa,’ says Valmiki.
She even praised Manthara for her looks and said that she alone was beautiful and promised to decorate her with ornaments once Bhartha became the king, which showed that Kaikeyi completely lost her reason being deluded by the magic of Manthara.

Then she cast off all ornaments and rich clothes and lay down on the ground swearing that if the king did not grant her wish she would give up her life. It was in this state Dasratha found her when he came to tell her the good news of the coronation of Rama, naively thinking that she would be pleased to hear it.

திரு பாண் ஆழ்வார் அனுபவம் ..

November 8, 2010
திரு பாண் ஆழ்வார் அனுபவம் நெல் கதிரில் தோன்றினார் ..பஞ்சம ஜாதியில் பிறக்க வில்லை/ வளர்ந்த இடம்..மனுஷ்ய தேவ மிருக சஜாதியனாக அவதரித்ததும் தோஷம் தட்டாதவன் ..சாதி அந்தணர்கள்–அங்கே.தொழுமினீர் நினோடும் ஒக்க அருளினார் மதிள் திரு அரங்கதனாரே/ மிலேசனும் பக்தன் ஆனால் குல தேவதோடு ஒக்க பூஜை பண்ணுவார்/ தொழு குலம் ஆவார் –ஐவரில் நால்வரில்-ஆச்சார்யா ஹ்ருதயம் வீணையும்  கையுமான அந்தரங்கரை..பண்டை குலத்தை தவிர்ந்து தொண்டை குலத்தில் உள்ளார் என்றே பார்க்கணும்..
சங்கீத பிரியர்..லோக சாரங்க மகா முனிகள்..
மெய் மறந்தது இருக்க /அறிவார் உயிர் ஆனாய் /அவன் மதம் தோன்றும்..சரீரத்தில் பட்ட கல் ஆத்மா இடம் பட்டு ரெங்கநாதன் திரு மேனியில்-நிர் விகாரமாய -ரத்த தாரை காண ..அனுக்ரகம்  மட்டுமே  தெரியும் பிராட்டிக்கு  ..நீசனேன் நிறை ஒன்றும் இலேன் என்று இருப்பாரை அவரை தோளில் எழுந்து அருள பண்ணி கொண்டு வர அருளினார்..நிலா தேவர்  வணங்குவார் -யானும் அவ்வா -அப்படி வணங்க யோகயத்தை இல்லை. நொந்து–நம் ஆழ்வார் திரு விருத்தத்தில் அருளினது போல / சேஷத்வம் விட பார தந்த்ரம் -பரதன் நிலை..மனோ ரதம் நிறை வேற வில்லை சந்தோஷத்துடன் ரதம் ஏறினார் பாரதன்  பார தந்த்ர்யம் இருந்த நிலையால்
தோள் மேல் ஏறி இருந்து அமலன் அடியார்க்கு என்னை ஆள் படுத்தின விமலன் என்று அருளினார்..ஸ்வரூபம் சித்தித்தது –திரு துழாய்.. அமலன் விமலன் நிமலன் நின்மையன். உபய லிங்கம்-அகில ஹேய பிரதி படன்   அசந்கேய கல்யாண குண கண..பனி கடலில் .. மனக் கடலில்  சீயும் நரம்பும் /வேண்டா நாற்றம் மிகுந்த உடலில் வந்து புகுந்தான்
பாதாதி கேசாந்தரம் அனுபவிகிறார் சீத கடலுள் பதிகம் பாத கமலங்கள் காணீரே — திரு பாத கேசத்தை …….விருப்பால் உரைத்த  போல ..இருவது பாசுர அனுபவம்..வடி இணையிலா மலர் மகள் மற்றும் நிலா மகள் பிடிக்கும் மெல் அடி -புஷ்ப காச திரு வடிகள்..

உலகுக்கு எல்லாம் நிழல் கொடுக்கும் திரு பாதங்கள் அழகிய மணவாளன் உலகு அளந்த படி என் என்னில்..கார்ப கிரகத்தில் வண்டும் மயிலும் ரங்கனே வண்டு ..பிராட்டியாரின் ஸ்தனங்களில்..மா மயில் ஆடு -இங்கே மா மயில் வெளியில் மயில்..ஆண் மயில் தான் தோகை விரித்து ஆடும்..சூஷ்ம மாய் இருந்த ப்ரஹ்மம் சூலமாய் ஆவது போல –லீலா விபூதி ஆக்கி விளை யாடுகிறான்..கோர மா தவம் செய்தனன் -நான் செய்தேன் அல்லேன்  அவன் தான்  செய்தான் –நாம் சேர்வது அவனுக்கு லாபம் ..சுவாமி சொத்து ..கம்பீராம் –புண்டரீக ..சுமிஷ்ட நாள–கரிய வாகி புடை பரந்து -அழகிய வர்ணனை..பதின்மரும் அருளி இருக்கிறார்கள் செங்கண்ணின் அழகை..கரந்து ஓர் ஆல் இலை சேர்ந்த பெருமான் ..கண்ணனையே கண்டு உரைத்த  கடிய காதல் –பாண் பெருமாள் பாடிய தோர் பாடல் பத்தும் பல மறையின்  பொருள் என்று பரவுமின்கள் ..கார்த்திகை ரோகிணி நாள் வந்து உதித்து  சகல  வேத சார அம்சங்களின் திவ்ய அர்த்தங்களை சாதித்தார்
திரு பாண் ஆழ்வார்  திருவடிகளே சரணம்.
ஆழ்வார் எம்பெருமானார் ஜீயர் திருவடிகளே சரணம்.

Ashda Sloki- Shri Parasara Battar ..

November 8, 2010

Parasara Bhattar had a unique privelage of a highly prodigious mind right from childhood, nurtured first hand by no less than the galaxy of the very consolidators of SriVaishnavism, namely Sri Ramanuja, Kurattalvan and Embar. The exact dates of his stay is uncertain, a fair guess by our ancestors seems to be that he was born in 1063AD and reached Parampadam in 1153 AD. Parasara Bhattar(so named by Sri Ramanuja himself to cherish the memory of the great sage who wrote Visnu Purana) and Vedavyasa Bhattar(named after the father of Kurattalvan) were the born twins to Kurattalvan and Andal. It is said that Andal herself was a great scholar and Kurattalvan consulted her on several occasions. Bhattar was precious even as a child. His snubbing a scholar by a simple question when he was just five year old is widely quoted. He used to ask his father questions, used to find Vedic classes boring with the repetition of the lessons which he already knew. Bhattar had two wives, Akkacci
and Manni from the family of Mahapurna. It appears that despite the catholicity of Ramanuja, Kurattalvan found it difficult to get alliances for his sons as he belonged to the ‘vadama’ subsect whereas the prevailing circle he associated at Srirangam was Brhaccaranam ! It was Ramanuja’s intervention that brought about this alliance. Bhattar had one son by name Uddanda Bhattar(Naduvil Tiruvidhi Pillai).
The stalwart seniors of Bhattar were all alive and active for the greater part of his youth and middle age. It can therefore be conjucted that during this period, he maintained a low profile. Bhattar wrote the commentary ‘Bhagavadguna Darpana’ on Sri Visnusahasranama at the behest of Acharya Ramanuja himself. His other equally famous works are ‘Srrangaraja Stava’, ‘Srigunaratnakosa’, ‘Astasloki’, ‘Tatvaratnakara’ and ‘Tatvatraya’. His favourite Divya Prabhandham composition was Thirumangai Alwar’s Tirunedundandakam on which he has written a beautiful commentary. The speciality of this works is that he has taken just the 21st stanza ‘Maivanna Narumkunji..’ for detailed study and in the course he has brought in other 29 stanzas more for delineation.Ramanuja installed Bhattar onn his own pontificial throne even when he was alive. At his behest, Bhattar later went to Mysore state to win over the great Vedantin and aristocrat Madhava to his fold. This vedantin subsequently became Bhattar disciple at Srirangam by the name of famous Nanjiyar. It seems that Bhattar had to leave Srirangam again for sometime to live in Tirukkottiyur as a protest against a chieftain Veerasundara Brahmarayar when he encroached the house of Pillai Pillai Alvan for building the Trivikrama enclosure for the temple. He returned to Srirangam only after Brhmarayar’s demise.
Bhattar’s highly incisive and intellectual interpretations on the whole are spoken even today with due mention to Periyavachan Pillai’s works always mentioning the name of Bhattar.
Sriparasarabattaryaha srirangesha purohitaha
Srivatsaanka suthaha Sreemaan Sreyase mestu bhuyase.
After Bhattar, Astasloki was referred by all Acaryas like Nambillai, Pillai Lokacarya, Vedanta Desika, Kanchi Vadikesari Alagiya Manavala Jeeyar and many others. The Vyakyana of this is today available to us only because of the Sanskrit work by Prativadi Bhayankaram Annan Swami. After this many other scripts are available in many languages.
Some of the works of Bhattar are : Bhagavadguna Darpana, Rangarajastava, Astasloki and Gunaratnakosha.
There are 3 secrets for a Mummukshu to understand, These are Tirumantram, Dvayam and Charmam as told by PillaiLokacarya in his Rahasya Grantha Mumukshupadi.
Astasloki of Bhattar has 8 slokas and conveys the meaning of the above 3 secrets.
Meaning of Tirumantram in first 4 Slokas “ Om Namo Narayanaaya
– 3 Words”
Meaning of Dvaya Mantram in next 2 Slokas “Sriman Narayana Charanow Sharanam Prapadye Srimathe Narayanaaya Namaha
– 6 Words”
Meaning of Krishna Charmasloka in next 2 slokas “Sarvadharmaan parityajya maam ekam saranam vraja, aham tva sarvapapebhyo mokshayishyami maa sucaha
– 12 words”
Sloka 1:
akaaraarto vishnuhu jagadudayarakshaapralayakrit
makaaraarto jeevaha tadupakaranam vaishnavamidam
ukaaronanyaarham niyamayathi sambhandhamanayoho
trayeesaarastryaatma pranava yimamartham samadishat
Letter ‘A’ denotes Visnu who causes the creation, protection and destruction of the world.
Letter ‘M’ denotes the soul who is the instrument of Visnu and belongs to Visnu alone.
Letter ‘U’ indicates the relationship of belonging to no one else, denotes the Sesha-Seshi
relationship of the the Lord(Super Soul) and Soul.
This 3 syllable Pranava is the essence of the 3 Vedas.
Sloka 2:
mantrabrahmani madhyamena namasa pumsaha svaroopam gathihi
gamyam shikshithameekshitena purataha paschaadapi staanataha
svaatantryam nijarakshanam samuchitaa vritthischa naanyochithaa
tasyaivethi harervivichya kathitam svasyaapi naarham tataha
The “namas” the middle word in the Moola Mantra teaches the soul’s true nature, way and goal. By looking at what goes before this word(Pranava) and what comes after(Narayanaya) we can arrive at three different parts-
* Om Namaha – Ananayarha Seshatvam(belongs to Narayana only and nobody else)
* Namo Namaha – Ananya Saranatvam (he only is to be surrendered like case of
Draupadi and Nammalvar))
* Narayanaya Namaha – Ananya Bhogyatvam(all that we do is for Him and not for us. As Alavandhar says” Kadahamaikantika Nityakinkaraha praharshaishyami sanatajeevitaha” and Nammalvar saystanakkeyaahayannaikollumeede”.)
Thus indicating autonomy, self-protection and service being suitable to Hari only. The same has been conveyed by Sri Ramanuja in his Perundevi Stuthi “Akaratrayasampannam AravindanivasineemAsesha jagadhishitreem vande varadavallabham”.
Sloka 3:
akaarartaayaiva svamahamata mahyam na nivahaaha
naraanaam nityaanaamayanamithi naarayanapadam
yamaahaasmai kaalam sakalamapi sarvatra sakalaasu
avasthaasvaavihi syuhu mama sahajakainkaryavidhayaha
Here Bhatttar explains the mening of word “Narayana” and “Aya”.
I am the property of the one indicated in the letter ‘A’. The word ‘Narayana” means the abode of group of eternal ‘Naras’. The dative case-ending(Chaturthi Vibhakthi) says that my performances of spontaneous service for Him should take place at all times, in all places, and under all conditions.
Sloka 4:
dehaasakthaatmabuddhiryadhi bhavathi padam saadhu vidhyaathrutheeyam
svaatantryaandho yadhi syaat prathamamitharasheshatvadheeschedvitheeyam
aatmatraanonmukhaschennama yithi cha padam bhaandhavaabhaasalolaha
shabdham naarayanaakyam vishayachapaladheeschechathurthem prappannaha
After understanding the above 3 slokas, with a mind set to serve Hari and nobody else for no benefit, there could be many troubles one could face, for this Bhattar gives solutions for the mind to overcome the impediments in servitude to Lord.
If he thinks that soul is the body, the wise prapanna should learn the third syllable ‘M’.
If he is blind with autonomy, the first ‘A’.
If subservient to another the second ‘U’.
If trying to protect himself, the word ‘namaha’.
If hankering after those who only appear to be kinsmen, the word ‘Narayana’.
If his mind is involved in worldly matters, the dative case-ending(Chaturthi Vibhakthi on word
Sloka 5:
nethrutvam nityayogam samuchitagunajaatam tanukyaapanam cha
upaayam kartavyabhaagam tvatha mithunaparam praapyamevam prasiddham
saamitvam praartanaam cha prabhalatara virodhiprahaanam dashaithaan
manthaaram traayathe chethyadhigathanigamahashatdoyam dvikandaha
The Dvaya Mantram has six words and two parts and is the essence of Vedas, and meditating on this mantram would lead to salvation. It is known to have ten meanings :
leadership : nethrutvam
eternal union of Sri at all times and all places : nityayogam
suitable to surrender with a class of appropriate qualities : samuchitagunajaatam
reference to the Lord’s body : tanukyaapanam
the Upaya for attaining salvation : cha and upaayam
the part to be done by the soul to reach the Lord : kartavyabhaagam tu
and then that the Supreme is the goal : mithunaparam paapyamevam prasiddham
the Lord’s ownership of Ubhaya Vibuti : saamitvam
the prayer to Him : praartanaam cha
the destruction of the greatest obstacles : prabhalatara virodhi prahaanam
Sloka 6:
eeshaanaam jagathaamadheeshadayithaam nityaanapaayam sriyam
samshrityaasrayanochitaakhilagunasyaanghree harerashraye
ishtopaayathaya sriyaa cha sahithaayatmeshwaraayaarthaye
karthum daasyamasheshamaprathihatham nityam tvaham nirmamaha
Having approached Sri, the eternally inseparable consort of the Lord of the universe, I resort to the feet of Hari, endowed with a host of qualities suitable for taking refuge, as my chosen Upaya. Wanting nothing for myself, I request to do complete service forever without any obstacles to my Lord who is joined with Sri, the instructor to Brahma, Rudra and all others.
Sloka 7:
matpraapthyarthayaa mayokthamakilam santyajya dharmam punaha
maamekam madavaapthaye sharanamithyaarthovasaayam kuru
tvaamevam vyavasaayaukthamakhilagnaanadhipoornohyaham
matpraapthiprathibhandhakaihi virahitham kuryaam shucham maa kruthaaha
Having previously relinquished all the dharmas which I taught for obtaining me, then you who are pained be resolved that for reaching me, the refuge is me alone. For, i who am endowed with all knowledge, etc will cause you-who are so resolved-to be free of all obstacles to attaining me. Do not grieve.
Sloka 8:
nischitya tvadadheenathaam mayee sadhaa karmaadhyupaayaan hare
karthum tyakthumapi prapatthumanalam seedhaami dukkhakulaha
yetadgnaanamupeyusho mama punaha sarvaaparaadhakshayam
karthaaseethi drudosmi te tu charmam vaakyam smaran saaratheha
Convinced of my eternal dependence on you, O Hari, I am incompetent to do or even relinquish the Upayas such as Karma Yoga or to surrender to you. Thus I am afflicted with misery. Knowing this, please destroy all my prior sins. I am firmly remembering your last words that you will relieve me of all my sins, O Charioteer!
Acarya Thiruvadigale Sharanam

ka: vIryavAn?” -Translation of the work by Sri P B Annangarachariar Swami..

November 3, 2010
satya parAkramam

When the sage Vishvamitra requested Dasaratha to send Rama with him to protect
his yaga, he said “aham vedmi mahAtmAnam rAmam satya parAkramam”. What did he
mean when he said “satya parAkramam”?

Rama did not kill Ravana immediately when he was defeated and stood powerless.
Instead He tried to see if he would change his mind and seek His favor; and
killed him only when he came back in oppostion. Purvacharyas have said that
this is the quality that is described by the phrase “satya parAkramam”.
The question of Valimiki “ka: vIryavAn?” can also be explained in another way.
When the Lord is called “bhagavAn”, six qualities are described within: “gyAnam,
shakti, balam, aishvaryam, vIryam and tejas”. In this, what does vIryam mean?
Bhattar defines it as, just as kastUri changes everyone’s mind while itself
remaining unchanged, it’s the quality of the Lord to change everything while
Himself remaining unchanged.
This quality is well seen with Rama. After leaving Rama at the banks of Ganga,
Sumanthra returned to Ayodhya and told Dasaratha “vishaye te mahArAja! rAma
vyasana karshitA:, api vrukshA: parimlAna: sapushpAnkura korakA:”. That is,
“O! King. Unable to bear separation from Rama, even the trees in your kingdom
with their flowers, leaves and buds have withered”. He continued to say that
the water in pools and lakes had become hot and that the leaves in gardens
and groves had dried up. Kooraththazhvan too describes the same in his
Thus, while He remained unaffected, Rama changed both chetana and achetana
beings. Therefore, one can also say that it is this quality that Valmiki had
in mind when he asked the question “ka: vIryavAn?”.

ஸ்ரீ ஸ்தவம்-10-ஸ்ரீ வேளுக்குடி ஸ்வாமிகள்

October 11, 2010
யஸ்யா : கடாஷ மிருது வீஷண தீஷனேன
சத்ய சம முல்லசித  பல்லவ முல்ல லாச
 விஸ்வம் விபர்யய சமுத்த விபர்யயம் ப்ராக் தான்
 தேவ தேவ மஹிஷீம் சரியம் ஆஸ்ரியாம -10
அசேதேனம் போல இருந்தோம் /நாம ரூபா விவேகம் இன்றி -அவள் கடாஷதால் மொட்டு விட்டு .பூத்து குலுங்குவது போல .பிரக்கு-முன்னால் வாட்டம் அடைந்து இருந்தோம்.. விச்வம் -ஜகத் கடாஷ மிருது வீஷன தீஷன-உறுதி உடன் இருந்தால் சத்யா -உடன் சங்கள் பம் கொண்ட உடன் கொழுந்து விட்டு கிளர்ந்து ..வெந்நீரில் நைந்த விதை போல இருந்தோம் ..கடாஷதை யும் அவளையும் -பொருந்திய தேசோ எல்லாம் அவளால். துற வாசற் சாபத்தால் இந்திரன் அனைத்தும் இழக்க பார் கடலில் அவள் வர இந்திரன் கோடி பிடித்து வர -அந்த திரு கோலத்தில் கஜ லக்ஷ்மி ரூபத்துடன் சேவிகிறோம்.அமுதத்தை கொண்டார் -கொடுத்தார் இல்லை அமுதில் வரும் பெண் அமுது உண்ட பெருமான்.. மா விதை மா மரம் தானே தரும்..அஸ்வ -குதிரை  முதலில் /அப்சரஸ் ஸ்திரீ/வெள்ளை யானை ஐராவதம் பாரி சாத மரம் லக்ஷ்மி தேவி வர .ஆச்சர்யம் நடுவில் அவள் வர சங்கல்பிதான் .எதில் இருந்தும் எதையும் வர வளைக்க முடியும். வன மாலை கொண்டு திரு மார்பில் ஏறி உட்கார்ந்தால் அன்று முதல் அலர்மேல் மங்கை உரை மார்பா -வ்யாஜதுக்கு -அதற்க்கு முன்பும் அவள் அங்கு உண்டு..முப்பத்து முக் கோடி தேவர்கள் பார்க்க விட்கார்ந்தால் வெட்கம் இன்றி/பெண்கள் கோஷ்டியில் வெட்கம் இல்லை..அனைவரும் ஜீவாத்மா எல்லாம் பெண்கள்.. அனைத்து உரிமையும் அவள் போல நமக்கு ஆலிங்கனம்.. வங்க கடல் கடைந்தான்-அதனால் – மாதவன் ஆனான். அமுதினில் பிறந்த அவளும் நின் ஆகத்தில் இருந்தது அறிந்தும் விட மாட்டாள் –நித்ய கல்யாண பெருமாள்..
ஆசை இப்போது இரட்டிப்பு ஆனது அவள் இருந்தது தெரிந்ததும்..செழும் கடல் அமுதில் பிறந்த அவள் ..சேர்த்து வைக்க ஆள் இருக்கிறாள் .முக நெருப்பை கொண்டு ஸ்ருஷ்டிக்கிறான் ..
கூரத் ஆழ்வான்  திரு வடிகளே சரணம்
ஆழ்வார் எம்பெருமானார் ஜீயர் திரு வடிகளே சரணம்.

Attru Azhagiasingaar-Dr.S.Sundar Rajan MS ortho

October 1, 2010

Nowadays Kaveri is a pale shadow of what she used to be. The many dams built
west of Srirangam have reduced her from a mighty perennial river to a sorry
stream. Old paintings dated to about two to two and half centuries ago depict
her flowing at the base of the unfinished(the present humongous rajagopuram,
built by HH Mukkur Azhagiyasingar) south gopura. Now she flows about 1.2km away
and water has to be pumped unto the sands during Gajendra moksha festival!
Srirangam being an island was not very easy to get to in those days. Circular
plate like “parisals ” and boats used to ferry people and pilgrims to the island
of Sri Ranganatha. The British, like the Romans much before them, realised the
need and importance of good roads and bridges to administer their vast empires.
So they set about building a bridge to span the mighty Kaveri, so that
Trichnopoly could be connected to Srirangam. They began building about 2kms
from the base of the Rock fort. Kaveri playfully washed the structure away. They
tried again and again. Legends say that thrice the masonry was taken apart by
the waters.
Then one of the chief engineers had a dream. Sri Lakshmi Nrisimha appeared and
instructed that an old temple of His on the southern bank of Kaveri near one of
the piers needed renovation and on this being done, Kaveri would allow a bridge
to be built. The small temple was found amongst unapproachable bramble and
tangled bushes at the river’s edge. Workers were scared to go near because it
appeared to be protected by a mighty serpent. The snake was appeased and a new
sanctum was built for the deity. The construction was solid as can be seen even
today. The walls are about a foot thick. In front of the sanctum sanctorum there
is a low area. The deity inside is on a slightly elevated platform. Kaveri was
in spate about five years ago. Water and slush entered the temple. For three
days the archaka couldn’t enter. When the silt was washed aside and the sanctum
approached it was seen that Sri Lakshmi Nrisimha was above the water level and
Kaveri was dutifully lapping well below His foot. That year it was feared that
the waters may flow into Srirangam. We were witness to waters overflowing on to
the Amma Mandapam road, where the banks had been breached. But our Lord Lakshmi
Nrisimha was high and dry, so to say!
Mettu Azhaghiasingar, the exquisite eight armed deity with a smiling
Hiranyakasipu on His lap and Bhakta Prahlada beneath His folded knee is near the
north gopura of the Peria Koil. It was He who approved Kamba Ramayana.
Kattu Azhaghiasingar is the huge seated Sri Lakshmi Nrisimha about 1.5km to the
east of the superb white Vellai gopura, the main eastern portal of the
SriRanganathaswamy temple. The temple of Kattu Azhaghiasingar was the base of
Sri Kura Narayana Jeeyar and later on Sri Pillai Lokacharya. Both these
mahacharyas have rendered inestimable service to Lord Ranganatha and His temple.
The afore mentioned Azhaghiasingars are well known. But Attru Azhaghiasingar,
that is Nrisimha of the river’s edge is not well known.
The Divine couple are to be found at Oduthurai, on the very edge of the south
bank of the river Kaveri between the road and rail bridges that connect the town
of Trichy to Srirangam. As one comes from Srirangam on the Trichy Chennai road,
after crossing the bridge over Kaveri, one has to take a left turn, actually a
left U turn. This road leads to a level crossing, Oyamori the cremation ghat and
the bypass road on to the south Kalannai road further eastward. Almost half way
between the point where one turned left after the Kaveri bridge and the railway
crossing there are steps leading down. The steps are high, about 15 in number
and these lead to small approach between two houses. Climbing up the few steps
one reaches the entrance into the temple. Inside it is clean. The sanctum is
open to the east, it is in the east west direction. The ceiling is low, about
nine feet only. Right at the eastern end there is a dwaja stambha and a small
sanctum of Garudaazhwar, as always with hands folded. He is forever gazing at
the Divine Couple.
The young archaka, Sri Kamalakannan is very articulate and well informed. He
patiently answers all our questions. It is he who narrated the afore mentioned
legend. With great fervour he tells us about the presiding deity.

The Divine Couple are seated under the shade of a tall five hooded Adiseshan.
Thayar is on His lap. She is seated daintily and Her body and face are turned
towards Him, partially. She has Her hands together in the “namaste” posture.
This not usual. Sri Lakshmi usually has one hand in the “abhaya” and the other
in the “varada” mudhra. In some places She has a lotus in one of Her hands. Here
She sits with Her head slightly bent, hands folded together in a pose of
supplication. That is why this is “venduthal sthalam” a wish granting place. On
the wall at the entrance there is a huge banner printed digitally which
colorfully explains which day of the week is optimal for which need!
This pose of our Mother graphically illustrates Her role as a mediatrix. Even
though our Lord is a repository of mercy, compassion etc. one never knows when
He is displeased with us. When He looks at us with His sun like eye all our
countless sins, committed down the ages, are well lit up and He pushes us away
angrily, into the endless cycle of rebirths. It is only by Her mediation He is
made to overlook our transgressions and emancipate us. It has been repeatedly
emphasised by the scriptures and by the teachings of our acharyas, that bereft
of Her help we can never escape bondage.
A mediatrix can be effective only if she is merciful, seeks refuge in Him only
and can influence Him at will. Our Mother Sri Lakshmi is always with Him just
for this purpose. Here on the south bank of Kaveri the Divine Couple enact this
truth for us.
Sri Nrisimha is seated with the left leg folded and only the right foot is
visible. His right lower hand is in “abhaya mudhra” and he has fearsome
moustaches! His lower left arm is invisible behind Her and His upper two arms
have Chakra and Sankha. He is smiling, showing all His teeth. The five hooded
Adisesha covered by silver plates dwarfs the “thiruvasi” the arch over the
Divine couple.

Sarvopi Samashrithya Sakalam Bhadram Ashnuthe
Sriyascha Badryajushra Estham Bhadram Namamyaham

To one side of the Divine Couple, stands Anjaneya in a vinitha, humble, posture.
The surprising point is that he has three eyes, the third one in the centre of
the forehead. We have seen many Sudarshanas and our Lord Nrisimhas with three
eyes, this is our first darshan of Anjaneya with an extra eye.
The next surprise is the utsavar. Guess who? He is as handsome as a new
bridegroom and is the same both above and below the neck, i.e. He is not a
man-lion. To either side of Him are Sridevi and Bhudevi. His name? We gave you a
hint didn’t we. Azhagiyamanavalan, the handsome bridegroom, same as the renowned
processional deity of SriRanganathaswamy Koil, fondly called Nam Perumal. It is
Azhagiyamanavalan here who is taken out on all the processions, in fact He goes
upto the base of the Rock fort about two kms away.
There is a small idol of Vainatheyan behind Anjaneya.
To the right side of the sanctum, an idol of SriLakshmiNrisimha on Garuda vahana
is shown to us by he archaka who says that it is made of sandal paste.
After repeatedly paying obeisance to the Divine Couple we circumambulate the
small well built sanctum. Huge pictures of Padmavathi Thayar and
Venkatachalapathi adorn the wall next to the sanctum. Going behind, i.e.
westward we see the entrance to a huge hall, extending in the south – north
direction. On the posterior wall of the sanctum Sri Sudarshana, as in Srirangam,
is painted on the wall. Coming to the left of the sanctum(north) we see the
steps that lead down to the Kaveri. Generous flow from Karnataka due to the
plentiful south west monsoons is the reason Kaveri is lapping at the lower
steps. One can well imagine the flooding of this temple when Kaveri is in spate.
From the steps leading to the Kaveri we go further eastward. This is a big
mandapa in front of the sanctum, closed on all sides. Near the northern wall
there is a lovely image of Venugopala. On the wall there is an old painting of
Srinivasa in the Mysore style. There is an antique handsome Tanjore painting
nearby depicting deities of many divya desas. We turn right to reach the stunted
dwaja stambha. Again a right turn brings us to the southern wall. There is an
alcove in the middle, housing a smiling Anjaneya in a standing pose. He is
facing northwards, towards Peria Perumal in Srirangam and Perumal, Rama, in
Ayodhya. He appears to be a “vara prasadi” boon granter, as several paper
garlands around his neck attest. These papers are full of “SriRamajayams”. To
the right of Thiruvadi we have a seated Sri Nammazhwar and to the left Sri
Ramanuja and Sri Manavalamamunigal.
The ceiling has frescoes. Some of which are in excellent condition. The ceiling
right in front of Anjaneya has the ten azhwars and Andal. They are not in order
and identification is not easy, though the paintings are in good condition. In
the middle, right above Garudaazhwar is a fresco of Nrisimha with many
hands(how many?… we are unable to make out) disemboweling Hiranyakasipu. Near
the asura a swan like bird is drawn, kiliasura we are told. The same white bird
makes an appearance in the same context on the southern wall in front of
Kattuazhagiasingar temple. On the ceiling to the east is the “pranavakara
vimana” and SriRanganatha. Here He has His left hand near His crown. Maybe this
painting must be seen in a mirror held below, then the image will be correct.
Coming to the ceiling near the sanctum, the northern portion has a lovely
untouched picture of Sri Ranganayaki, but the southern portion has a distorted
drawing of Nam Perumal with ubhaya nacchiyars. Sri Ranganayaki is beguiling and
the painting is in good condition.
These frescoes point to the fact that this temple is quite old.
We once again worship Sri LakshmiNrisimha and take leave of the archakar.
Tvai rakshathi rakshakaihi kimanyai
Tvai cha arakshathi rakshakaihi kimanyai
Ithi nischita dhi shrayami nithyam
Nrihare veghavati(kaveri) thatashrayam tvam
As always we let Sri Vedanta Desika have the last word!

Thiru Kurukai Piraan Pillaan..

September 5, 2010

Aavani Miruka seersham Thiru avathaaram

Thiru malai Nambiyin Thiru kumarar/Emberumaanaarinsishyar/ Yengal aazvaan evarukku sishyar

aaraayira Padi Aruli seythavar


Simhey miru sritho baatham  raamaanuja pathaa srtham

Draavidam gjaaya thath vagjam  gurukaathibam aasriye..

Ubadesa Rathna Maalai -41

Thellaarum Gjaana  Thiru kurukai piraan

pillaan yethiraasar per arulaal ,ullaarum anbudane  maaran marai porulai antru  uraithathathu inbamam mihum aaraayiram..

Thiru Kurukai Piraan Pillaan Thiru vadikale Saranam

Emberumaanaar Jeeyar Thiru vadikale Saranam

Aalvaar, Emberumaanaar, Jeeyar Thiru vadikale Saranam.

Sri Hayagreevar Vaibhavam – Anbil Swamikal..

September 3, 2010

Many are familiar with the popular 10 Avataras called Dasaavataaras commencing with (fish) Matsya and concluding with the apocalyptic horse rider (Kalki). But, our Saastras say Avataaraa: hi asankhyEya: meaning that the Lords incarnations are indeed infinite. Various scriptures list from 30 to 48 Avataras (including these 10). But all are agreed that the earliest Avataara is that of Lord Hayagriva with the face of a horse.

To understand the concept, we have to board the imaginary time capsule and fly back to the very beginning of time  the time of creation. How the world came into being and whether and if so, when it will come to an end has been the subject of inquiry by both Religion and Science. As many theories have been advanced as there are religious thinkers and scientific investigators. The proverbial antagonists in Religion and Science seem today, as never before, to converge on the origin of the world and the origin of the species.

The narration of Bhaagavata Purana has been accepted on all hands as the most authoritative one. The world that we know of is full of sentient beings (Chetanas) and Non-sentient things            (A-chetanas). In the beginning, they subsisted in a subtle state (Sukshma dasa) without any name or form. At that time, they were so integrated in a subtle state without name or form so that they could not be differentiated and they were all alike drawn to Bhagavaan (Sri Narayana) while he as he lay on the leaf of a banyan tree in Yoga nidra, very much like iron filings clinging to the magnet.

Once, He said to himself “Let me become many”. He thus created from out of his own being (Sat) by stirring Prakriti (Primordial matter). Prakriti which was in a dormant state with Satva, Rajo and Tamo Gunas in equipoise got disturbed and issued forth in a gross form in the person of Brahma seated on the top of the lotus bud emerging from out of the navel of Bhagavaan Sri Narayana. For a thousand divine years before the bud could blossom, Brahma dwelt in the bud.  When it bloomed, Brahma emerged and looked around and saw none else than his self. He entered the stalk to find out the source of the bud but could not trace it. Suddenly, he heard an ethereal voice asking him to meditate-    ‘ Tapa! Tapa! He meditated for another thousand divine years (Devamana Varsha) when Bhagavaan gave him a glimpse of his own world VaikuNTa and bade Brahma to do further Tapas that would endow him with powers of creation. After doing Tapas as advised, Brahma acquired the powers of creation from Bhagavaan, who gave him the Vedas containing the secrets of the Art of creation and bade him to commence creation.

Being subject to Karma, his life is limited, Brahma also suffers from faults and foibles as much as we do. Brahma was proud on his newly acquired power as the creator of the world. The Lord desired to curb his pride. They used to say: “Homer nods”. In our scriptures, we find many occasions when Brahma also nods. On one such occasion he not only nodded but also yawned. A couple of drops of water lying at the bottom of stalk of the lotus transformed into two demons called Madhu and KaiTaba who promptly stole the Vedas from the dozing Brahma and hid themselves in Rasaatala intending to usurp for themselves Brahmas power to create. On waking up, Brahma found the Vedas missing. The whole environment became shrouded in darkness and mystery. Brahma could not proceed with his work. He prayed to Lord Vishnu and requested Bhagavaan to help saying: Vedaa: mE Chakshu: Vedaa; mE Paramam padam; Vedaa: mE paramam Dharama; Vedaa: mE Brahmas cha uttamam.

Lord Narayana took the form of Hayagriva on an AvaNI, POurNami, in the constellation of SraavaNa. He appeared with the face of a horse, traced the demons in Rasatala, let out a terrific sound called Udgeetam- a tune from Saama Veda (Saama Swaram). Its resonance frightened the demons who dropped the Vedas and ran away. The Lord retrieved the Vedas and restored them to Brahma. The demons, came to know this, offered fight with the Lord. Hayagriva crushed them between his thighs and decimated them. He is therefore called Madhusudhan (Slayer of Madhu). Thus, this was the very first Avataara that took place even before creation started.

Devi Bhaagavata, however, gives a different version. Once upon a time, there was an Asura called Hayagriva, who had the face of a horse. He did intense penance to Devi and got a boon from her that he should not be killed by anyone except one who had a face similar to his. He was under the impression that none would have such a figure and was pretty much sure that he had become invincible. With the new found power, he inflicted tortures on all living beings. Devi prayed to Lord Vishnu who took the form with a horse face, fought with the Asura and killed him. But, this version is not regarded as authentic. Thus, this was the very first Avataara that took place even before creation started.



References to this Avataara abound in our scriptures right from the Samhitas, BraahmaNas, AraNyakas and Upanishads belonging to all the four Vedas, namely, Rik, Yajur, Saama and AtharvaNa, as also in Itihasas like Ramayana, Mahabharata and Srimad Bhaagavatam and down to almost all the PuraaNas. They are far too numerous to cite them within the narrow timeframe at our disposal now.

Suffice it to know that this Avataara is deemed the earliest of all Avataaras.

But, we will allude to just a few by way of example.


1.      Krishnam Niyaanam (1-164-49): Sounakar says that Hayagriva meditation should be done early in the morning.

2.      Apratiratam part of Vaagambranee Suktam: describes him as Hamsa:-Paramahamsa:

3.      5th Suktam of the same, describes him as Bhagan which means he is full of 6 primary auspicious qualities of Jnaana, Veerya, Bala, Aiswarya, Sakti and Tejas.

4.      The saying NamO VaachE! NamO VaachaspatayE! recited in functions refers to him.

5.      AitarEya Upanishad says that Vaak Devi is seated on the lap of Lord Hayagriva.


6.      BrihadaraNyaka Samhita of Satapata BraahmaNam: In Yagjna PrakaraNam, Veda Vyasa addresses him saying You taking the form of a horse, initiated the grandson of Viswaamitra, Yaagnavalkya, in Sukla Yajur Veda.

7.      SvEta Aswataara Upanishad, 4th Chapter Sisu Brahmanism refers to deekshaNayaartha vaadam 3rd KhaaNdam says that Aniruddha took the form of Hayagriva

8.      MahaaNaraayaNOpanishad also mentions about this Lord

9.      Tiru NaaraayaNeeyam Moksha Dharmam: In this Sage Vyasa deals extensively on this.


10.  The Udgita Vidya dealing with the Saama Swaram that the lord used to frighten the demons belongs to this Vedam.

11.  Saama vedsa AaaraNyakam also describes him as Hamsa:, Paramahamsa:


12.  Trishapteeya Suktam: Kousika says that to avoid forgetfulness and improve memory power, one should meditate on this Lord.

13.  Sautigam and POushTigam of this Veda deal entirely with this Avataara.

14.  UchchishTa BraahmaNam 11-7-5 Mantram says that Vedas present themselves in their natural state (Tanmayam) in the Hayagriva Upaasaka.

15.  The Mantram BrahmanyOyam DEvakee putram, BrahmaNyOyam Madhusudhanam says that it is the same Hayagriva who took birth as the son of Devaki.

16.  The Mantram YO Brahmaanam Vidadaati poorvam YO vai Vedaams cha prahinOti tasmai tamaha Devam aatma Buddhi prakaasam mumukhu vai Saranam aham prapadhye is a prayer to lord hayagrive


17. Bala KhaaNdam 76-17: Parasurama addresses that he realized Sri Rama as the one who killed Madhu: akshayam madhu hantaaram, jaanaami tvaam surOttamam

18.  AyOdhya KhaaNdam 6-7: Sri Rama got up before Sunrise and prayed to him. TushTaava praNatas chaiva sirasaa Madhusoodhanam

19.  Kishkinda KhaaNDam 17-49: Vaali says Even if Sita were hidden in Patala loka like what Madhu KaiTaba did to Vedas, I would have brought her back to you. Why did you seek Sugreevas help?

20. Yuddha KhaaNDa 74-59: mentions that Hanuman while in search of herbs went to Himalayas prayed to Lord Hayagriva worshipped by Brahma Hayaananam Bhagavato Hayagrivasya Sthaanam


21.  The Saanti Mantram  Gaatum Yagjnaaya, Gatum Yagjna patayE: mentioned at the beginning of any auspicious function refers to this Yagjna Swaroopi and Yajamaana

22.  Saanti Parva 12-357th Sargam deals extensively with this Avataaram and is known as Hayagriva Upaakhyaanam


23.  8th Skaandam 24th Chapter says that the Lord saved not only the Vedas but also the entire  host of living beings (Jeevaraasis)

24.  11th Skandam 17th Chapter also mentions how the Lord saved the Vedas.


The following PuraaNas deal with Lord Hayagriva in detail:

25.  Brahma Vaivartha PuraaNam

26.  Bhaagavata PuraaNam 2-7-11

27.  BrahmaaNda PuraaNam: Maheswara- Naarada Samvaadam

28.  BrahmaaNda PuraaNam: Hayagriva- Agastya Samvaadam

29.  BrahmaaNda PuraaNam: Sri Ranga Mahaatmyam

30.  DEvee Bhaagavatam



1.      The Araadhya Devata of the famous Aswamedha Yaaga is Lord Hayagriva.

2.      Of the 7 Vyahritis, Lord Hayagriva is the AdhishTaana Devata of Mahas

3.      The Araadhya Devata of Srimad Andavan, Poundarikapuram Swami Asramam, Srirangam and of Parakaala Matam of Mysore is Lord Hayagriva.

4.      The Tirunakshatram of Lord Rudra is Tiruvaadirai; The Tirunakshatram of Lord Hayagriva is Tiru Onam. You may notice that except these two, none other Nakshtaram has the prefix Tiru.

5.      There are two deities in   the Hindu pantheon facing southern direction. They are Lord Rangaraja of Srirangam and Lord Nataraja of Chidambaram. It is interesting to note that Swami Desika in Tiruvaheendrapuram also is facing south.

6.      Bhagavaan is so called because he has 6 main auspicious quTejas

7.      When Anjaneya brought the entire Sanjeevi Mountain containing herbs like Visalya Karani, Santhaana Karani, Savarna Karani etc., at the time of Rama – Ravana war to bring back to life the stricken ones, a portion of the mountain is said to have fallen in Tiruvheendrapuram and became Oushadagiri where Lord Hayagriva took his abode.

8.      Here, you will find the strange scene of two sworn enemies coming together and living in harmony, namely Garuda the Lord of birds and Aheendra: the Lord of the serpents.(Aheendra means serpent king)

9.      It is said that the horse faced Lord resides in Arasa Maram (Pipal tree); so, the tree is called Aswatta Vriksha. It is also known as Jnaana Aswattam

10.  There is a famous saying that if  Lord Madhusudana casts his glance on a new born baby at the time of birth, that baby would grow to be great devotee  by  acquiring true knowledge (Tattvam) of the Supreme Lord.

11.  The grain known as KothukkaDalai (cluster dhall?) is believed to improve memory power. There is a parallel for this in the tender reeds of grass called Dhurva (Arugam pull, in Tamil), the juice of which was the staple drink of Sage Durvaasa.



As already seen, the Lord has the face of a horse. He has 4 hands. He holds Conch and disc in his two hands at the back; on the front side, he holds a Japa-mala (rosary) in one hand and UpadEsa mudra (instructional pose) on the other. His body is of bright white hue that shines like a flawless white diamond indicating that he is Satva murthi– with Suddha Satvam- sui generis unlike others who have a mixture of the three guNas. He has a long nose. His Horse head (Aswa Siras) looks Star studded. The sky (Akaasa) and Nether world (PataaLa) form his ears; Suns rays constitute his manes; the earth is his forehead; The Sun and the moon are his eyes; Ganga and Saraswati rivers represent his eye brows; Sandhya Devi, his nose; The Pitru Devatas form his teeth; GO-lOka and Brahma lOka are his lips; Kaala Raatri represents his neck.


Lord Hayagriva is also known as Vaachaspati, Vaagheesa. Vaachaam nidhi,Swetaaswa mukhan, Nru Turanga murthi,Aswa Siras, Vaaji Vaktra and Saindava Vaktra.



(1) Nammaazhwar Tiruvoimozhi 2-7-6: Madhusudananai anri matrilEnமது சூதனனை  அன்றி  மற்றிலேன்- meaning I do  not know anyone other than Lord Madhusudana

(2) Nammaazhwar Tiruvoimozhi 2-8-5: maavaagi, aamaiyaagi, meenaagi, maaniDam aagi –மாவாகி , ஆமையாகி , மீனாகி ,மானிடம்  ஆகி — meaning that the Lord took several incarnations starting with Horse (maavaagi) Commenting on this the 9000 PaDi says HayO bhootvaa, hayagrivO bhootvaa

(3) Tirumangai Azwaar: is said to have acquired the sobriquet of Naalu Kavip PerumaaLநாலு  கவிப்  பெருமாள் –only on worshipping Lord Hayagriva. He has mentioned about the Lord in several contexts.

(4) In Periya Tirumozhi 11-4-8, he says: munn ulagangaL yEzhum iruL manDiy uNNa mudalODu veeDum ariyaadu ennidu? Vandadu enna imaiyOr munivarODu danavar disaippa, ezhil vEdam inri maraiyaமுன்  உலகங்கள்   ஏழும்  இருள்  மண்டி   உண்ண  முதலோடு  வீடும்  அறியாது  என்ன இது  ? வந்தது   என்ன  இமையோர்    திசைப்ப , எழில்  வேதம்  இன்றி  மறைய –meaning: When all the worlds were enveloped by pitch darkness and the celestials were confused not knowing what to do in the absence of the Vedas.

(5) In Periya Tirumozhi 7-8-2 he says: pannu kalai naal vEdap poruLai ellaam parimugam aai alitha paraman kaaNmin meaning See!-பன்னு கலை  நால் வேதப்  பொருளை  எல்லாம்  பரிமுகம்  ஆய்  அருளிய எம்   பரமன்  காண்மின்- It was Lord Hayagriva who revealed the substance of the 4 Vedas and continues: Vasaiyil naan marai kedutha am malar ayarkku aruLi mun pari mugam aai, isai koL Veda nool enru ivai payantavanE enakku aruL puriyE TiruveLLarai ninraane–வசையில்  நான்  மறை  கெடுத்த  அம  மலர்  அயற்கு அருளி  முன்  பரி  முகம்  ஆய் , இசை i கொள் வேத நூல்  என்று  இவை  பயந்தவனே  எனக்கு  அருள்  புரியே  திருவெள்ளறை  நின்றானே — meaning Oh! Lord of TiruvaLLarai! You took the form of Hayagriva and brought back the Vedas that Brahma had lost to the demons and restored them to him. Please grant me your grace!



(1) Bhagavad Ramanuja:

Brahma and his consort Saraswati were worshipping Lord Ranganatha and Lord Haya- griva in their Sathya lOka. We know how the image of Ranganatha came to Ikshvaaghu and then to Sri Rama and finally to Vibheeeshana who was forced to leave the Lord in Srirangam in the between River Kaveri and KoLLIDam. When Bhagavad Ramanuja went to Saraswati PeeTam in Kashmir to study the BOdhaayana Vritti of Brahma Sutram and submitted his Bhaashyam (commentary) to Goddess Saraswati, she was so impressed with his work that she named it Sri Bhaashyam and honored Ramanuja as Bhaashyakaarar. It may be noted that while so many others had also written commentaries of the Brahma Sutram, their works go by their names like Sankara Bhaashyam, Maadhva Bhaashyam etc.; it is Ramanuja ‘s work that earned the honorific of Sri. Saraswati Devi also presented to Ramanuja the Vigraham of Lord Hayagriva that she was worshipping.

(2) Swami Desika:

Swami Desika was initiated into GaruDa Mantram by his maternal uncle AppuLLaar. He was chanting it at Oushada-giri in Tiruvaheendrapuram. GaruDa appeared before him and instructed him into Hayagriva Mantram. Swami with great devotion recited the same for a long time. Lord Hayagriva appeared before him and blessed him with the laala amritam from his mouth. Instantly, Swami started composing Sri Hayagriva Stotram. Swami Desika was once on his way from Kaanchipuram to Tiruvenndrapuram. He had to stay in a village in the house of a grain merchant. As he could not offer any neivedyam to the Lord that night, he offered just some water and went to sleep. At the dead of night, the merchant woke him up saying that a white horse was grazing all the grains that were ready for harvesting. Swami understood that it must be Lord Hayagriva, asked the merchant to bring some milk to offer to the horse. The horse disappeared. Next morning, the merchant again excitedly woke up Swami to say that in the place of grains, he found gold coins lying scattered in his fields. The village where this happened is now known as Pon Vilainda KaLam pudur–பொன்  விளைந்த  களம்  புதூர் —

A Slokam says:

Vaaneesa dakshinaa moorthi: vyaasEsa skanda Herambaa;/

anyE kalaa praveeNaas tu hayaasya sakti lEsa jaa// meaning

Saraswati, DakshiNaa murthi, Vyaasa, Skanda,  Vinaayga et al who are renowned as presiding deities of education got such recognition only through the grace of Lord Hayagriva.

Swami Desika repeats this in Slokam 7 of Sri Hayagriva Stotra thus
DaakshiNya ramyaa Gireesasya murthi: Devee SarOja aasana Dharma pathnee// VyasadayOpi vyapadesya Vaacha: spuranti sarvE ta sakti lesai://

Swami Desika s in his magnum opus Srimad Rahasya Traya Saaram quotes a famous sloka that the Lord took the form of a guru and taught the Tattvas:

Peetaka vaaDaip piraan pirama guru vaagi vandu-பீதக  வாடை  பிரான்  பிரம  குரு  வாகி  வந்து —

Again, he says how Lord Hayagriva virtually wrote his works in his mind and all that he himself did was just to document them.

VeLLaip Pari muga Desikar aai viragaal aDiyOm uLLathu ezhudiyadu Olai iTTanam (SRTS Last Paasuram)–வெள்ளைப்  பரி  முக  தேசிகர்  ஆய்  விரகால்  அடியோம்  உள்ளத்து  எழுதியது ஓலை  இட்டனம்..

He further states that Lord Hayagriva took his royal seat (Simhasana) at the tip of Swami ‘s tongue. Sruta padma simha Aasaana hi Hayagriva. Swami was renowned as Kavi Taarkika Simham (Lion among poets and disputants) naturally his tongue had become the royal seat for the Lord. He repeats the same sentiment in Sloka 5 of Achyuta Satakam thus:

asmad gurunaam achyuta jihvaa simhaasanE labda pratishTita:

Perhaps, to emphasize the importance of the Guru, it is seen in Tiruvaheendrapuram that the Sannidhi of Lord DEvanathan is at a lower level than that of Swami Desika!

In Abheeti Sthavam, he says that Lord Hayagriva was like the scorching Sun to KaiTaba asura and like the tempest that pulverized the Madhu asura and scattered his ashes like dust.

sa kaiTaba tamO ravir-  madhu paraath janjaa-maruth

We saw that the Vigraham of Lord Hayagriva was given by Saraswati Devi to Bhagavad Ramanuja. Ramanuja had given it to his Jnaana Putran Tirukkurugai PiLLaan (Vide 6000 PaDi) and then it passed on to PuNDareekaakshar, then to KiDambi AppuLLaar and then to Tirumalai Srinivasachariar. The Lord appeared in the dream of this Srinivasachariar and bade him to hand over the Vigraham to Swami Desika (Vide 3000 PaDi of Guru Parampara Saram). After Swamis time, the Vigraham came into the hands of his son, Kumara Varadachar (Nainarachar) who in his turn bequeathed it to his Sishya, Brahma Tantra Swatantrar, the first Pontiff of Parakaala Mutt. This same Vigraham is being worshipped by successive Acharyas of the Parakaala mutt to this day.

VaDuga Nambi: In Yathiraja Vaibhavam Slokam 88.89 and 112 refers to how Lord Hayagriva ‘s Vigraham came from Bhagavad Ramanuja to Swami Desika.

(3) Acharyas belonging to other faiths:

Not only Vaishnava Acharyas but also Acharyas owing allegiance to other systems of philosophy were devotees of Lord Hayagriva.

Gururajar: a renowned Acharya of Madhva sect was also known as Vaadirajar. He belonged to Sodhe Mutt, one of the 8 Mutts established by Madhvacharya. The daily offering to his IshTa Devata, Lord Hayagriva was a sweet edible made of Kothuk kaDalai; jiggery coconut etc (like Sarkkarai Pongal) called Hayagriva PaNDi. He used to spread it on a plate and hold the plate aloft over his head and go into meditation. Lord Hayagriva used to appear in the form of a horse and stand behind him. Placing his front legs on the shoulders of Vaadirajar, the Lord would eat the offering. What was left behind was the only food that Vaadirajar used to consume. Even today, on the PuNya dinam of this Acharya, they prepare this kind of food and offer to Bhagavaan.

Adi Sankara: While commenting on the name Theerthakara occurring in Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam (Nama 691 as per Sankara Bhaashyam), says

Hayagriva roopENa Madhu kaiTabou hatvaa adhyaa cha upaadiasath

Other Upaasakars of Lord Hayagriva include: Aangeerasar, Atharvaa, Dadeechi, VasishTa, Sankara Bhagavad paadaal, Kavi Saarva Bouma, Panditaraja also known as Rasagangaadhara karthaa. The last one describes Lord Hayagriva as Sarva Vidyaadi dEva SrEshTam- the foremost divine incarnation of all knowledge.



Numerous hymns of praise have been composed by Acharyas and Upaasakas on the Lord Hayagriva. They bear different names. A few are shown below (in Alphabetical order): Prefix the word Hayagriva before each one of them:

Agaval, AshTakam, DanDakam, Kalakala-Maalika, Kalpam, Mantra-mala, Panchaasat, Satha-naamam, Sahasr-naamam, Sthutis, Stotrams, Suprabatham etc.