சனி, 24 செப்டம்பர், 2016

Saying it through verses


-T.C.A RAMANUJAM


Sri Ramanuja's signature found in a palm leaf manuscript at Melkote Sanskrit Archives. The second line is Emperumanar's Signature.

 
‘Bhasyakarar idukondu sutra vakyangal orunga viduvar’

(Ramanuja explained the Brahma Sutra through Nammalwar’s Thiruvaimozhi)

-Azhagiya Manalvala Perumal Nayanar in Chapter 1 sutra 65 in Acharya Hridayam. “The Brahman of Sankara is itself impersonal,” a homogeneous mass of objectless thought transcending all attributes.



Sri Ramanuja’s brahman is essentially a personal God — the all-powerful and all-wise ruler of the real world permeated and animated by his spirit; the brahman is endowed with all auspicious qualities — Saguna/Brahmam - Fredreick A. Max Mueller.

Poet Kamban went to Srirangam to get the blessings of the Lord before releasing the Ramayana. The question posed to him was, ‘Have you sung the praise of our Sadagopa’? Kamban went all the way to Alwar Thirunagari, worshipped Nammalwar and came back to Srirangam with his monumental volume ‘Sadagopar Andhadhi’. His Ramayana was thereafter granted due recognition at Srirangam.

Krimikanda Chola’s son, Vikrama Chola (1116 -1134) had ascended the throne. On a pilgrimage, he found several Vaishnavite shrines lying desolate and dilapidated. On enquiry, he was told that his father , was responsible for the destruction of the walls of the Vaishnava shrines at Srirangam and at Thirukannapuram. The Prince asked, “Was my father so foolish? Can anyone destroy Vaishnavism as long as the Ramayana and the Thiruvaimozhi of Nammalwar continue to exist?”

These episodes highlight the importance of Nammalwar’s Thiruvaimozhi in Srivaishnava lore. Saint Ramanuja had created nine Sanskrit works. His commentaries on the Brahma Sutra treatise of Veda Vyasa earned him the name Sri Bhashyakarar and the commentary itself came to be known as Sri Bashya.

Among the 4,000 verses comprising of the 4,000 Divya Prabandhams, Nammalwar’s Thiruvaimozhi of about 1,100 poems is extolled as representing quintessential Sri Vaishnava philosophy. It has been widely commented upon and these commentaries have been given the status of the Vedic commentaries. They are known as the sacred Granthas — Eedu —the earliest commentary was by Pillaan at the behest of Sri Ramanuja himself, it was followed by Nanjeeyar’s 9,000, Azhagiya Manavala Jeer’s 12,000, Periya Vachan Pillai’s 24 000 and Nambillai’s Eedu 36,000, considered the most prolific. Any exposition of Thiruvaimozhi can be respected only if there is an elucidation of the commentaries from Eedu. Sri Ramanuja is referred to in all these commentaries as having annotated the Brahma Sutra with reference to Nammalwar’s poems.

Thiruvaimozhi starts with the magnificent line Uyar vara uyar nalam udaiyavan evan ivan . It describes all the auspicious attributes, the kalyana gunas to the Lord. Sri Ramanuja found in this very first verse, authentication for his own interpretation of the Brahma Sutra. The Lord is not Nirguna but Saguna. He is compassionate and will be pleased if the suffering of the devotee is removed. That was the authentic interpretation of Sri Ramanuja on the first verse (Thuyar aru sudar adi).

While lecturing on the third Canto, Sri Ramanuja comes across the phrase ‘Sindhupoo maguzhum Tthiruvengadam’. Seeing nobody willing to go for service in the Hills, Ananthalwan rose and begged for the service. Sri Ramanuja designates him ‘Anantha Aan Pillai’. Later on, while visiting the hills, Sri Ramanuja finds to his delight, the Ramanuja garden and the Ramanuja lake laid by Sri Ananthalwan. He quotes Thirumangai Azhwar in Thirunedunthandaklam verse 14 ‘Valarthatha naal payan petren’ and embraces Ananthalwan, as having given meaning to the way he was brought up by him.

The Sacred Feet of the Lord was designated by Sri Ramanuja as ‘Poovar kazhalgal’ (bedecked with flowers), ‘Thirupolindhu sevadi’ at Srirangam (containing the place of Mahalakshmi) and ‘Thuyar aru thiruvadi’’ (removal of troubles) at Kanchi.

The concluding stanzas of the 6th canto of the Thiruvaimozhi inspired Ramanuja to compose his famous Gadyatraya at Srirangam. They epitomised the Dwaya mantra propagated by him.

Relationship with God: While commenting on the Sri Bhashya Sutras, Ramanuja developed a doubt whether the relationship between man and God is based on knowledge (jnanakruthvam) or seshathvam (service). He sends his chief disciple to Thirukoshtiyur for clarification. Thirukoshtiyur Nambi clarifies with reference to Thiruvaimozhio 8-8-2 stanza ‘Adiyen ullaan puram ullaan’ — the relationship is based on seshathvam and service. The term “adiyen” means humility personified.

Thiruppavai in the mornings earned him the title of Thiruppavai Jeeyar. He thought no man can attempt a commentary on Thiruppavai which represented the divine outpourings of Andal. In the evenings and late nights, Ramanuja was known to be chanting Thiruvaimozhi, with tears in his eyes. He left the task for writing the commentaries on the verses to his future disciples. He believed if he were to attempt such a commentary that may become the final word. How true!

Now, we have several commentaries displaying new strands of thought.

Ramanuja loved Tamil. His Tamil signature is even now preserved at Melkote manuscript library found below.


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Courtesy: THE HINDU- Friday Review (16.09.2016)


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