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Monday, December 21, 2009

ஸ்ரீ வைஷ்ணவர்களுக்கு சீரிய நாள் - வைகுண்ட ஏகாதசி திருநாள்

For Srivaishnavaties, this day is of very great significance – Vaikunda Ekadasi.

Ekadasi (eleven in Sanskrit) is the eleventh lunar day of the Shukla (bright) or Krishna (dark) fortnight of every month. The Hindu scriptures prescribe fasting on this holy day. Vaikunda Ekadasi is the ekadasi that occurs in the month of Marghazhi / Dhanur masam (corresponding to Dec – Jan of English calendar). This day marks the opening of vaikunta dwaram or the gate to Lord’s inner sanctum. This year Vaikunda Ekadasi falls on 28th Dec 2009.

""na Gaayathrya  para manthra: na Maathu para dhaivatham 
na Kaasya: paramam theertham na Ekadasya : samam vratham""

(Meaning ) : There is no manthram that is superior to  Gaayathri manthram ; there is no dhaivam superior to one's mother; there is no sanctifying theertham better than Kaasi and there is no vratham that is more sacred  than Ekadasi Vratham.

From puranic times, King Rukmangatha, Nampaduvan, our Acharyas have demonstrated the greatness and power of observance of ekadasi vratham. The exaltation of this great day is associated with :
1) the churning of the milky ocean for nectar on this day
2) the appearance of Goddess Mahalakshmi
3) Dhanvanthri bhagwan appearing with amrutha kalasam
4) Some scriptures do associate this day to be day on which Bhagwat Gita was rendered to Arjuna

It is believed that even those who are not able to comprehend the doctrines of Vedas, Upanishads or able to practice anushtanams can wake up in brahma muhurtham on the holy month, recite Thirupalliyezhuchi, Thiruppavai, participate in Thiruvadhyayana utsavam and on Sri Vaikunta Ekadasi day travel with the Lord through Paramapada vassal and get moksha sidhi.

In most of the famous vaishnavaite shrines, the gateway of salvation, ‘Paramapada vaasal’ will be opened in the morning – the most important being the one at Kovil “Sri Rangam” – the Bhooloka Vaikuntam.

In Divya desams – 10 days prior to Vaikunda Ekadasi is observed as ‘Pagal pathu’ or Thirumozhi thirunal wherein azhwar pasurams from the Mudalayiaram and Thirumozhi are recited. The ten days that follows the Vaikunta Ekadasi are known as “Raapathu” when Nammalwar’s Thiruvoimozhi is recited. In all these ten days, Perumal Purappadu through Paramapada vaasal occurs and all devotees would get benefit of passing through the golden gate. The next day is ‘Iyarpa Sartumurai’ when the moondravathu ayiram is recited in one stretch.

This structure is attributed to Acharyan Nathamuni who compiled the Divya prabandham.

Collated and placed before you all in all humbleness by this man with little or no knowledge. If there are any mistakes, request you to forbear

Adiyen Siriya gnanathan – S Sampathkumar.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Dear Srivaishnavaites -   

An humble attempt to sing the praise of a great Acharya whose 1000th year celebrations are  about to be celebrated now.

The ‘hastha’ nakshathiram in ‘thai’ is of great significance to all of us – for this was the day on which a great saint ‘Swamy koorathaazhwan’ was born. On 3rd Feb 2010 Swami completes 1000th year of his advent in this world. He would ever be remembered by generations of Sri Vaishnavaites with gratitude because of his noble deed and what he has passed on to future generations. We are fortunate to read something about this mahan Sri Srivathsa Chinna Misrar, who was a living example of Sri vaishnava lakshanam. This song by Thiruvarangathu Amuthanar in ‘Ramanuja Nootranthathi’ typifies his glory:

Amuthanar says that the egos which generally put down every person that of false pride of born in high caste(jananam), being blessed with good education (jnanam) and that of being a strict follower of vairagyam and anushtaanam were won by Azhwan. He was able to devoid of pride though he possessed all these qualities. After taking refuge at his feet, Amuthanar says, he is able to compose the greatness of Emperumanaar who will enable all his disciples to get over bondages and hence there would not be any grievance or regret.

Num Swami was born on Thai Hastham in Kooram village near Kanchipuram. He was the King of Kooram and every day he organized feeding bhakthas in a grandiose manner. After realization, he renunciated all his material wealth to the poor and set on foot to Srirangam. There he identified his noble Guru, the enlightened Sri Ramanujacharya, obeyed him and became the choicest and most celebrated disciple of him. A strange bond of kinship developed between master and student over the years. Kuresar was Ramanuja’s aide in scriptural study, disputations and exegesis acting as a faithful shadow.

At that time,  Mahan Ramanuja was generating a great religious movement and his philosophy ‘Visishtadvaita’ was attracting universal attention. He was institutionalizing his philosophy and set about writing down the principles later known as ‘Ramanuja darsanam’. In this he was assisted by the principal disciples – Kuresan, Dasarathi, Devarat and Embar. Then Ramanuja embarked to record his commentary on Brahma sutra of Vyasa and Kuresan began writing down every thing as dictated. In such a manner he completed stupendously the great standard works of Sri sampradayam handed them over to posterity – Sri Bhashya, Vedanta deepa, Vedantasra, Vedartha Sangraha and Gita Bhashya.

Ramanujacharya in order to lend irrefutable authority to his commentaries on the "brahma-sutras", needed to consult with ancient texts and treatises that could be actually shown to expressly affirm some of the the fundamental postulates and theses of VisishtAdvaita and wanted to access ‘boddhayana vrutti’ – a rate treatise on Vyasa brahma sutra. This was lying somewhere obscure in a Kashmiri state and at an advanced age Ramanujar undertook a digvijayam by foot in pursuit of the vrutti and propagating his message. Kuresan also accompanied him. To gain access to the library, Ramanuja put for his exposition of his philosophy and defeated the royal pundits in debate. Enraged, the pundits threw up a plot that they would not allow the vrutti to be taken out of the library precincts and that the Acharya would not be allowed to take down any notes from the vrutti.The royal pundits however were none too happy about the King's generosity and played malicious mischief to frustrate Ramanuja.  Thus there were disappointments at Kashmir and when back in Srirangam, Kuresan by sheer power of his prodigious memory was able to accurately recall vast passages from the vrutti word by word helping the great Acharya. The commentary of Acharya on Vyasa’s brahma sutra quickly progressed to its conclusion.

Ramanujar had the ambition of fulfilling his promises to his guru Yamunacharya one of which was to propagate devotional literature of Azhwars. At that point of time, Kuresan who was born as a king was earning his daily bread by unchavratti and was collecting noting more than sufficient to satisfy the basic needs. Thiruvarangar once directed Uthama Nambi to take his prasadam to Kuresan for he had not eaten anything on that day. Kuresan considered it a sin to ask for something from the Lord for such was his devotion that he was sure that Lord would shower everything on his benefaction and baktha should not think of asking. Legend has it that the food sent by Arangar was the reason for the birth of two great sons, who were named Vyasa Bhattar and Parashara Bhattar who in posterity became the natural heir to all the spiritual kingdom of Ramanuja.

Many of you would have seen the film Dasavatharam which had many factual mistakes especially about history and religion. The character of “Nambi” – the kallai mattum kandal – was portrayal (though not appropriately) of Kuresan. (see post script)

Sri Ramanuja and Kuresan were septugenarians when the Chola kingdom was ruled by tyrant Kulothungam who was to be known as kirimikanda chozhan. He was bent on rooting out Vaishnavism and trying to destroy Ramanuja issued summon to Acharya to appear in his court to punish him in some manner. Getting wind of the king’s evil designs, the disciples dissuaded Acharya from going to Gangaikondachozhapuram and Kuresan volunteered to go as His proxy. With great anguish  the Acharya left Srirangam to the land of Melkote and lived in exile for over 12 long years. In the court the king thrust a written declaration which read ‘nothing higher than Siva exists’ and commanded Kuresan and Perianambi to affix their signatures without any protest on declaration. Kuresan magnificently cited authoritative texts and sources from Vedas, Upanishads, and Puranas proving that Sriman Narayana is Supreme and none was higher than HE. To a Srivaishnavaite He is the only one fit for worship.
The incensed King thrust a writing quill into their hands and commanded to sign the declaration threatening to pull out the eyes. Swami Kuresan said that the eyes that have seen this sinner have no further use and plucked them out. The cruel King ordered his courtiers to harm Mahapurnar and blood streamed out the eyeless cavities giving poignant agony. Mahapurnar breathed his last on the lap of Kuresan. After this unsavoury incident, Kuresan blinded returned to Srirangam. After a few years he reached the town of Thirumalirum cholai (Kallalagar koil, Madurai)Swami gave us gift of

5 granthas called ‘panchasthavams’ viz.,

1. Sri Sthavam (10 SlOkas) on Sri Ranga NAchiyAr
2. Sri VaikunTa Sthavam (100 SlOkas) on ParamapadanAthan.
3. AthimAnusha Sthavam (61 SlOkas). - Tharkam (logic)
PramANam (authority) and Anubhvam (experience) how EmperumAn is THE SARVESHWARAN.
4. Sri Sundara bAhu Sthavam (132 SlOkas) on Azhagar of TirumAlirum SOlai
5. Sri VaradarAja Sthavam (102 SlOkas) on Hasthigiri Varadan.

Heard from knowledgeable sources that the sthavam on Azhagar though written at a stage when he was suffering with blindness, old age and being away from his Guru, he vowed to praise the Lord without any self-pity and everything is only positive in his writing.   Such was his will power and devotion to Almighty and Acharya.

History has it that the Chola king died of tumour in neck and hence came to be known as ‘kirimi kanda chozhan’. Sri Ramanujar at the ripe age of around 100 returned to Srirangam where a great gathering was awaiting. Kuresan also had returned and Ramanujar went to his house to meet Kuresan.

It is stated that Kuresan lamented that losing eyes was perhaps an atonement for some sin committed – perhaps some comments on urthvapundram on the forehead of a srivaishnava. Such was his selflessness and attitude of not complaining. Kuresan despite the great physical handicap continued all kainkaryam and remained eternally faithful shadow of Acharyar. Ramanujar took his dearest disciple to Lord Varadharaja and commanded Kuresan to pray for restoration of eye sight. Kuresar did not want the eye sight for seeing anyone else than his Acharyan; when Ramanujar commanded, he prayed that moksham be granted to himself and also to Nalooraan, a person who had sort of betrayed the Acharyar before the Chozha, wishing that all srivaishnavaites be blessed. Such was his benevolence even for those who had done harm.

Kuresar prayed to Ranganatha to release him from his mortal body and be merged at the Lotus feet and received the supreme blessing. This he did to go in advance and welcome his Master. Kuresan passed away peacefully. Here is one from ‘sundarabahu sthavam’

The Lord of ThirumAlirum ChOlai graces us all from His Divyadesam VanAdri. There one has the blessings of His Sevai with every limb of His sacred body resplendent with His youthful Soundharyam. The samudhaya (collective) soundharyam (Beauty) of the Lord here is without parallel justifying His ThirunAmam as Azhagar (the Beautiful One). The auspicious guNams that have sought refuge in this beautiful body of the Lord of this divya dEsam are: Souseelyam (moving with the lowly ones and blessing them), Aasrita vAtsalyam (the deep affection for those, who seek His protection through SaraNAgathy), Mrudutvam (Soft heart for His devotees),SouhArtam (good will towards all),Saamya nilai (state of being attained by one and all),aarjavam (Straightforwardness, rectitude),Dhairyam (Courage and unperturbed ness),sthairyam (steadfastness, resoluteness in the execution of Sankalpam),
Suveeryam (power to engage all enemies all alone against a multitude of enemies),Souryam (independent prowess that enables Him to meet the enemies at his own base and destroy them), KrutitA (joyous attitude after placing those who sought His protection by His side in Sri Vaikuntam),Gaambheeryam (Majesty), CAturyam (conductance with exemplary cleverness and diplomacy with all) His unparalleled beauty blends with these auspicious and limitless guNams at His divine abode of ThirumAlirumchOlai.

Let us fall at the feet of Kuresan and pray for all good things from him and from Ramanujar.

Swami Kuresar at Kooram

  Kuresar with Acharyar Ramanujar

  entrance to the temple at Kooram
Gopuram of Lord
 Kurathazhwan Sannathi.

Adiyen – Srinivasa Dhasan.

PS: the cinema ‘Dasavatharam’ might have been well taken, Kamal displaying all his talents but the dialogues and intense abhorrence for Hinduism and its values are apparent. Though there are many historical blunders and abject wrong portrayal – the character of Nambi does instill interest and some good depiction of the steadfastness and mental strength of a Srivaishnavaite. ‘Adieyn Ramanuja dhasan’ – enum vaarthai Srivaishnavargal parimarra chol.


Dear (s)

Another important day went almost unnoticed. Can you identify this place of great importance to the Nation.

Have a glimpse of this majestic building.

It is not simply a building.The Parliament of India (or Sansad) is the federal and supreme legislative body of India. It consists of two houses – the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. It is located in New Delhi at Sansad Marg. Any bill can become an act only after it is passed by both the houses of the Parliament and assented by the President. The Central Hall of the Parliament is used for combined sittings of the lower and upper houses and is of historical significance.

Many of us have only short memories. Eight years back, the whole nation trembled. The attack on India's Parliament stunned a nation that watched what was happening live on television.

Jus to recall the news, Terrorists on December 13, 2001 attacked the Parliament of India resulting in a 45-minute gun battle in which 9 policemen and a parliament staffer were killed. All the five terrorists were also killed by the security forces and were identified as Pakistani nationals. The attack took place around 11:40 am (IST), minutes after both Houses of Parliament had adjourned for the day. The suspected terrorists dressed in commando fatigues entered Parliament in a car through the VIP gate of the building. Displaying Parliament and Home Ministry security stickers, the vehicle entered the Parliament premises. The terrorists set off massive blasts and have used AK-47 rifles, explosives and grenades for the attack. Senior Ministers and over 200 Members of Parliament were inside the Central Hall of Parliament when the attack took place. Security personnel sealed the entire premises which saved many lives.

This is what the Prime Minister said : “The Parliament is the highest representative of democracy and they chose Parliament deliberately as their target. The attack was not on the Parliament but on the entire nation. We will see that the terrorists are unsuccessful in their attempts. We are fighting terrorism for the last two decades and the entire country is together in this crisis. We are with the families of the people who laid down their lives fighting against the terrorist attack on the Parliament.

Within days, India declared it had evidence linking the Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Tayiba to the attack. Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, who was then Pakistan's high commissioner to India, was summoned by the foreign secretary seeking 1) a ban on the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammed; 2) to take their leadership, 'which is known to Pakistan' into custody; 3) to curb the financial assets of these groups and their access to these assets. The Govt. was serious and meant business. Pakistan declined, saying it had to have proof
Now , after eight years – how much the Nation remembers and what has been done ???

1) The Joint Parliamentary Committee took stock of the security arrangement and suggested - Unobtrusive body scanner, latest surveillance system and luggage scanners et al. to be imported from the West to upgrade the security system in Parliament.
2) Dozens of people and politicians yesterday paid homage to the martyrs of the December 13, 2001 terrorist attack on Parliament
3) In 2002 the Delhi High Court convicted seven people and among those convicted were the Delhi University lecturer SAR Geelani, were Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar, his henchmen Gazi Baba and Imran, Mohammed Afzal, Shaukat Guru and his wife Navjot Sandhu alias Afsan Guru.
4) There have been no. of appeals / arguments in various forums since then
5) The Supreme Court had awarded capital punishment to Mohammad Afzal Guru for his involvement in the Parliament attack case. Afzal was sentenced to death on December 18, 2002 by a trial court. This was confirmed by the Delhi High Court and upheld by the Supreme Court in 2004.
6) This hanging was confirmed to on Oct 19 but was put off following a mercy petition filed by his wife.

Subsequently, our Former President A P J Abdul Kalam has answered critics over the delay in deciding on the mercy plea of Mohammed Afzal Guru, facing a death sentence for his role in the terror attack on Parliament, contending that he had not received any papers from the government.           This is a land of democracy and there are some who feel that hanging would have negative effects on the peace process in Kashmir. An eye for eye is a cruel barbarism though the Nation knows well that well the consequences of pardon. By letting go, the state often allows the criminal to linger in the popular imagination of a people as a hero to inspire far more dangerous acts of terror in future.

For the Q as to what happened : Well, a few hundreds (!) paid homages and few more read some news items without much passion or interest. Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Leader of Opposition LK Advani, Speaker Meira Kumar and others paid floral tributes to the matyrs at a solemn ceremony held at the Parliament House premises. For others they had more interesting things as the news headlines of a popular newspaper today read :

""Rift in Rosaiah Cabinet widens as Ministers stand firm
Stray violence in Anantapur
India will not compromise on key principles: Jairam
Mayawati bats for Poorvanchal
Karunanidhi rejects suggestion for bifurcation of Tamil Nadu
12 killed in Howrah road accident
Dhanush missile test fired successfully
Indian doctors did their best: Akram""
----------- and the headlines of yesterday’s paper were :
##Violence rocks Andhra, Rayalaseema
20 A.P. Ministers plan to quit
‘We are not for peaking year concept’ says Jairam
Protests expose double standards: TRS chief
Rosaiah: nothing has been finalised on Telangana
EC transfers South Zone IG
Birthday-boy Yuvraj’s heroics light up Mohali##

With regards - S Sampathkumar.

பார்லிமென்ட் வளாகத்தில் நடந்த தாக்குதலை மறந்து விட்டோம் என்ற எனது பதிப்பு மேலே. நல்ல பத்திரிகையாக தினமலர் மதுரை பதிப்பில் மட்டும் முதல் பக்கத்திலேயே படத்துடன் செய்தி வந்துள்ளது.

ஆனால் சென்னை பதிப்பில் அந்த இடத்தை சென்ட்ரல் பற்றிய செய்தி பிடித்துள்ளது !!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

திருப்பாணாழ்வர் வைபவம் - Thiruvallikkeni Perumal Purappadu

திருமால் அடியார்களுக்கு : 

Yesterday – 2nd Dec was the Birth Thirunakshathiram of Thiruppaan Azhwar. An Ayonijar (one not born to mortal human beings), his period is given as 750 – 780 AD.  Considered to be an amsam - Sri Vatsa of Sriman Narayana, he was born at Kozhiyur or Nisulapuri (present day Uriayur) close on the banks of sacred Cauvery. PANars were known for their sweet voice and singing in praise of Bhagawan Sriman Narayanan. He used to come to the banks of Cauvery and close his eyes and sing with deep anubhavam about the kalyana gunams of the Lord every morning.

In the divine Naalayira Divya prabandham, his contribution is Amalanadhipiraan – ten in number. His prabhandham is different from the rest in a way that it does not contain any upadesams or anything else but only hymns in praise of Lord Ranganatha alone. Those well versed in sampradhaya state that these are aanandha-lahari (limitless outpourings of the bliss of aanandham) at the anubhavam of the Soundharyam of Arangar. Thirupaan azhwar. Here is his immortal verse:

His thirunakshathiram is Rohini in Karthigai month and is the next day after Karthigaiyil karthigai that of Thirumangai Azhwar. In thondai mandalam, the moolavar will be anointed with ennai kappu from the thiru karthigai day and there will not be purappadu after. Hence generally, there will not be sathrumurai purappadu for Thiru Paan azhwar. This year, Karthikai was celebrated yesterday and there was Purappadu of the Azhwar with Sri Parthasarathi perumal.

Here are some photos
Sri Parthar above and Chokkapanai below

thiruppanar abvoe

Let us sing in praise of the holy feet of Sri ThiruppaanaAzhwar, who entered (the holy shrine of Lord Ranganatha) riding on the shoulders of the sage (Lokasaranga-Mahamuni) saw(the Lord in full) and sung (in praise) HIM

Adiyen – Sampathkumar.