Thursday, August 2, 2012

Thiruppallandu for beginners - 1 Brief History

Srimathe Satakopaya nama:
Srimathe Ramanujaya nama:
Srimath Varavara munaye nama:

Brief history: Sri Vishnuchiththa was a brahmin who lived in the village of Srivillipuththur. He belonged to the community of brahmins who tied their hair into a knot on the front portion of their head (poorva sikha). He was very devout and was serving the supreme God SrimanNarayana who  had taken incarnation as Sri Vadapatrasayee (Meaning: one who is lying on the leaf of a banyan tree) in icon form at SrivillipuththurVishnuchiththa was born on mithuna maasam, svaathi nakshatram. He performed all the the rituals assigned for a brahmin (oblations, fire, water sacrifices etc) in a very pious manner. He wanted to serve Sri Vadapatrasayee the Lord Incarnate, in a manner which pleases the Lord. He thought it must be the true nature of the jeevaathma (sentient subservient soul) to work for the pleasure of the paramaathma (sentient master soul) as told by vedha (blemishless knowledge). Thus he started analyzing, what would please SrimanNarayana, by looking at His various past times during his incarnations.

One day there was another devotee of Lord from north, who came to the village of Srivillipuththur. He gave discourse about the Lord's past times during His incarnation as Sri Krishna, as was detailed in Srimad Bagavatam (one of the 18 Purans). During that discourse the devotee explained how Sri Krishna came to the Mathura the capital of his maternal uncle Kamsa. During that he explained how Sri Krishna was very happy to wear the garland of flowers made by one garland maker (Maalakaarar). Vishnuchiththa was keenly listening to this and he decided that this was the service he would perform, that would please Sri Vatapatrasayee. Thus from that day onwards he setup a flower garden close to the temple, and started tying garlands for Sri Vatapatrasayee.  This became his routine service to Lord.

Away in Madurai, the capital of the Pandya country king Sri Vallabhadeva,  had a doubt. This doubt arose to the king when he was talking with a brahmin. That brahmin was explaining the king regarding the deeds that need to be done for the soul's attainment of better world, after it leaves this body. The King asked his minister Sri Selva Nambi regarding this doubt. The minister asked the king to bring in pandits (People well versed in vedha) to debate and come to a conclusion regarding the Supreme being and the way to attain the supreme being.  According to vedha,(The knowledge book) there are many gods and demi gods who are known to exist. In some places of the vedha, it seems as if one god was the supreme and in another place it is another.  Ultimately who is the supreme God as told in vedha?. The king announced whoever clears the doubt will have to do it by debating it with others and establish without doubt regarding Supreme. He also announced a large amount of gold for whoever wins and establishes the truth. He sent his messengers to all parts of his kingdom and other kingdoms to bring in the best knowledgeable for the debate. All the elite knowledgeable vedic philosophers started their trek towards Madurai for this debate.

This was all SrimanNarayana's past time to let people know time and again, who is the Supreme God. He picked Sri Vishnuchiththa the pious humble garland maker to defend His supremeness. That night in Sri Vishnuchiththa's dream Sri Vadapatrasayee spoke with him. He ordered Sri Vishnuchiththa to go to Madurai to defend His supremacy. He also blessed Sri Vishnuchiththa with the blemishless knowledge (mayarvara mathi nalam). The next day Sri Vishnuchiththa travelled to Madurai to the court of Sri Vallabhadeva.  Just at the very sight of Sri Vishnuchiththa's radiance the king and his minister knew, that He is going to justify the ultimate truth. The king gave seat and offerings to Sri Vishnuchiththa and requested to quell his doubt.

Sri Vishnuchiththa , succinctly and without a doubt established the supremacy of SrimanNarayana in the court. The Gold gift which was tied on the stone pillar fell at the feet of Sri Vishnuchiththa. The king seated Sri Vishnuchiththa on the royal elephant and went around the streets of Madurai. He shouted slogans praising Sri Vishnuchiththa who cleared his doubt. This was a glorious procession to witness.

In olden days it was common that the parents of the children come out and see when the children have won something and come home in a chariot. Since all the souls are like children to the supreme, to view the event, Sriman Narayana Himself appeared on the sky resplendent on his vehicle the bird king Garuda and along with his consorts and his weapons. He came bedecked with jewels and flower garlands.  The supreme soul, along with his children was enjoying his time together.

After seeing the paramatma appear on the sky, Sri Vishnuchiththa feared that evil eye may be cast on the supreme. He totally forgot that the supreme being is the supreme protector, and that He is all powerful. Instead he feared for the supreme's safety and started singing  protective verses for His safety.  Those verses are called Thiruppallandu (Long years). We will see each of these verse's meanings in the following posts. 

Periyazvar Thiruvadikale Saranam
Emperumanaar Thiruvadikale Saranam
Periyavachchan Pillai Thiruvadikale Saranam
Jeeyar Thiruvadikale Saranam

Friday, July 20, 2012

History of Divya Prabhandham

Sriman Narayana, the divine consort of Sri mahalakshmi and the abode of innumerable auspicious qualities, propagated the Vedas in order to enlighten us, the samsaris about the tattva trayam [chit, achit and ishvara]which enables us to attain moksham . 

But the samsaris having subjected to the birth and death cycle so called the samsaram from time infinite, could not grasp the purport of the Vedas and hence the purpose of propagating them was unaccomplished. 

Then, he gave us the Sastras and still due to this samsara sambhandam, we never read and acted according to Sastras and hence that effort of Sriman Narayanan went futile.

So the almighty having decided to preach the vaidika dharmas himself, incarnated in the form of Rama, krishna and such and through acharanam and upadesham tried to teach the samsaris . Even then these Jivas regarded the divine incarnations as mere humans and so never followed them .

The lord then thought that these jeevaatmas should not be guided by him who is completely foreign [visajatheeyan] to them, but by their fellow samsaris only. An example our acharyas would say for this context his, when a hunter decides to catch an animal from the wild, he uses an already trained animal to induce the wild animal.
Thus he handpicked some among them and graced them with complete knowledge about the three tattvas and with very deep devotion towards Him. These Jivatmas who came to be known as AZHWARS due their profound devotion, sung the glories of Sriman Narayana. 

At last, the lord's wish was fulfilled ! The Alwars through their divine poems, which are regarded as the Divya Prabandam, which were the outpourings of their supreme bliss, guided many samsaris to the path of eternal servitude [ Nitya kainkaryam ] to Sriman Narayana. 

In this way the Nalayira Divya prabandas known as the Dravida Vedas for they contain the essence of the eternal Samskrita Vedas, were given to the samsaris to understand the true meaning of the shastras and follow them eventually leading to Moksham. 

Kolahalan S - Thirukovalur
Manivannan S- Thirukovalur
(To know more about Aazhwars' Divya Prabandhams & Thiruvaimozhi check