Friday, February 2, 2007

Tiruppan Azwar

Period 8th C. AD
Place Uraiyur
Other Names Paanar, Muni-vaahanar, Yogi-vaahanar, Kaveeswarar
Month Kaarthigai
Star (Natshatram) Rogini (Rohinee)
Hamsam Srivatsam

Cauvery river which flows towards the Chozha Empire, makes the land rich in all of its production and wealth. Lots of Andhanars (Who always thinks of Sriman Narayanan) and good knowledged poets are found here. Lots of poets and Sri Vishnu bhaktas has raised the popularity of the Chozha Empire.

Uraiyoor is the capital of Chozha Empire at that time and lots of big buildings and houses full of lights are found which is one of the beautiful scene that has to be seen and enjoyed.

Uraiyoor is found near Sri Rangam. Since, Uraiyoor is rich in all of its wealthness, Sri Emperumaan is found in this sthalam as found in Sri Rangam as "Aranga Naadhan".

Dharma Varman, who ruled the Chozha Empire, wanted her daughter, Neela Devi to get married to Sri Ranganathan. But, he doesnt know that Neela Devi was the hamsam of Naachiyaar (Uraiyoor Naachiyaar and got married to Sri Ranganathar.

Sri Rangam, which is called the Bhoologa Vaikundam is surrounded by divine breeze and musical people. Nearer to Sri Rangam, is found a small village named "Alagapuri", where lots of musical people are found. One small place named "Baanar Cheri" is found, where Baanar (or) musicians, who are capable of arresting the minds of all people and even the Devas and Rishis.

But as the time went on, these baanars are separated and kept as a separate categorised peoples and who were treated as untouchables. But, in that categorised people, as the hamsam of the small mole, called as "Srivatsam" which is found in the chest of Sriman Narayanan, a small child born in this world in Purthurmadhi year, Kaarthigai month, Wednesday in Rohini Natshatram and it is "Thiruppaan Alwar".

His Characters and all of his activities are same as that of a pure Vaishnavas have. Having a veena in his hand, he always sang on Sri Vishnu and his fame and spread his capabilities and the love he offers to his bhaktas, in his songs. Because of this, he is also named as "Paan perumal".

The untouchable people are ordered not to keep their feets on Cauvery river. Because of this and to obey the order, Paan Alwar did not touch the cauvery river, but stood along the banks of the river facing Thiruvaragam temple and sung various songs, praising the Lord.

But, the Emperumaan wanted to explain the greatness and his Bhakthi of Thiruppaan Alwar towards Him and as an action to it, he started to play a small drama.

The cauvery water is used for the Thirumanjanam for Sri Ranganadhar. Loga Saaranga Maha Muneetharar, who is the strict follower and a devoted bhakta of Sri Ranganathar, daily bring the cauvery water of Thriumanjanam. One day, when he was sleeping, he had a dream in which the Aranganadar explained about Paan Perumal and he should be taken on the shoulders of Loga Saaranga muni, without having the mind that he is an untouchable person.

Loga Saarangamuni, who being the strong follower of Sri Vishnu, got up early next morning and went to the other side of Cauvery river and met Thiruppaan Alwar. On seeing him, he explained about the dream he had last night and told him that he should climb on his shoulders, so that he can be taken to the other side of the Cauvery river, where Sri Ranganathar is giving his seva.

On hearing this, thiruppaan Alwar started crying, since he is not the right person, should climb on his shoulder, since Logasaranga Muni is a well known Vaishnavan.

But, Saranga Muni explained without having any jealous that on behalf of him only, Sriman Narayanan came in his dream and praised him that he is the person who will be honoured if he climbs on his shoulders.

Thirupaan Alwar could not convince him and finally he sat on on his shoulders. Saranga Muni started walking towards him Sri Arangathan through the Cauvery river. All the people of the village were surprised to see this scene and stood in silence without knowing what to do.

After reaching the temple,Saranga Muni made Thiruppaan Alwar to get down from his shoulders and raising his hands, he went to the corner of the Sannadhi and stood in silence, seeing the Perumal.

After getting down, Thiruppan Alwar could not believehis eyes because he was seeing Perumal who thinks that he could not see him in his life. His body was cooled and the eyes started to drop the tears. Both of his hands were raised above his head and he started to sing slokas on Sri Arangathan.

First he saw was the Thiruvadi(lotus feet)of Aranganathan and started to sing the pasuram:-

"Neel madhil Arangathamman thrukkamalpadham vandhu en Kanninullana okkinrathe."
After seeing the beaauty of the thiruvadi,he started to see step by step of the whole body of Emperumaan,he sung ten paasurams which explain the beauty of Sri Ranganathar from his thiruvadi (foot) to thirumudi(head).

He explains in his ten paasuram about the clean safron cloth which is worn on the body of Ranganathar, his jewels the thiru vayiru(stomach) from where Lord Brahma originated, the broad chest, the red lips and finally on explaining the beauty of the two broad eyes, he fell down. After some time, Thiruppaan Alwar was not found and he went in to the body of Thiruvarangathan. Like Andal, whose thought was always on Aranganathan, who was captured by the love of the Perumal, Thiruppaan Alwar was also captured by the love and he went towards the Aranganathan.

Thiruppaan Alwar has sung only ten paasurams,but in that itself,he has explained about how a human should be. He explains in that ten paasurams tha Perumal is the leader and our aim should be to reach Him and to get the complete Saranagathi(total surrender) in HIs thiruvadi, and that is the final place,where all of us has to reach.

Inspite of born in an untouchable category, but as a result of his devotion towards Sriman Narayanan,he was listed among the great twelve Alwars.

Likewise,eventhough if we are not like Thiruppaan Alwar, we can atleast think of him and do our daily duties of helping others. so that we can attain the Perumal's thiruvadi, where all the Alwars reached.

Tirup PaaN Azhwaar was an incarnation of Srivatsa, (the divine mole on the
chest of Lord Vishnu). He was born in Uraiyur (near Srirangam), the Capital
of Chola kingdom in the year Dunmati, Kartikai month, Krishna Paksha,
Dwiteeyai (a Wednesday) in the constellation of RohiNi. He was brought up
by an outcaste belonging to PaaNar community who specialized in making
string lute from bamboo reeds. He had mastered the art not only of making
lutes but also playing on them with a touching melody so that he was called

He used to stand on the southern banks of the river Kaveri and sing the
praise of Lord Ranganatha for hours on end losing himself in the ecstasy.
One day, a devout Brahmin in the service of the temple, by name Loka
Saaranga came to the river for taking water for use in the temple. He
motioned to Paanar to move away. But, PaaNar was so engrossed in the
rhapsody of his music that he did not hear this. Lokasaranga threw a small
stone in his direction to shake him up. But, the stone accidentally fell on
the forehead of PaaNar and it started to bleed. PaaNar quietly retired.

Unaware of the hurt, Loka Saaranga returned to the temple. He was taken
aback on seeing blood oozing out from the forehead of the image of Lord
Ranganatha. But, none could connect the two incidents. That very night, the
Lord appeared in the dream of Loka Saaranga and commanded him to fetch
Paanar to the temple the next morning. Accordingly, Lokasaranga requested
PaaNar to come to the temple. But, PaaNar referring to his low birth
declined even to set foot on the holy earth of Srirangam lest he should
pollute the holy place. When he was told of the commandment of the Lord,
PaaNar could not even imagine such a situation and was lost in thought. Loka
Saaranga said that if that were his objection PaaNar could get on his
shoulders and he offered to carry PaaNar to the temple. Loka Saaranga
carried Paanar who was in a state of trance.

When they reached the Sanctum Sanctorum, PaaNar enjoyed the charming image
of Ranganatha and immediately sang 'Amalan Adhipiraan' a poem describing the
beauty of each limb from head to foot of the Lord in 10 verses and laid his
life at the feet of the Lord. The poem is considered to be sweeter than even
the 'sound of music' of Veena.

The first 3 verses start with the letters A, U and M and thus are deemed to
represent the 'Omkaram' and is considered to represent a treatise on 'Veda
Saara' elucidating the 'PraNavam'. The verses 5 to 7 are deemed to represent
the 'Prameya'. The intervening 4th verse is said to link,' Pramana ' and '
Prameya.' VanDu here is said to refer to Nityasuirs.

Unlike other Azhwaars who mentioned the names of their native places and /
or the number of verses contained in their songs, he did not mention them in
his signature hymn. When the Alwar got to the end of this verse, the Lord
sucked the Azhwaar into His own body ' like a red-hot iron sucking a drop
of water sprinkled on it.

Another esoteric significance is that though all the Azhwaars have
inculcated Bhakti each in a different way, the credit for doing it in
simple, short and straight manner goes to Tirup PaaN Azhwaar. The aim and
objective of all Jeevatmas is to seek integration with the Paramatma, in
other words, to hitch the wagon of Jeevatma to its rightful place in the
Paramaatma. The Azhwaar is considered to be the Amsam of Srivatsa (the mole
on the chest of Lord Himself). This mole is said to represent Jeeva Tattva
(Vide Swami Desika?s Paasuram ?Purdan MaNivaram aaga etc). He has
demonstrated dramatically and picturesquely how the Jeevatma could and
should get integrated with the Paramaatma, by himself getting merged in the
image of Lord Ranganatha. No other Azhwaar had done this feat (except of
course, Andal, who is the divine consort of the Lord). The Azhwaar has
indicated this in the last verse by saying ?kOvalanaai, VeNnai uNda vaayan?
(the cowherd boy who devoured butter) immediately followed by the words
??Enn uLLam Kavarntaanai? (the one who devoured me) suggesting that the Lord
the ?Para Tattvam? devoured him as easily as he would gulp butter. ?Ullam?
here means not only ?mind? but also ?Soul?- the ?Jeeva Tattvam?.

Also, of all the Archa Moorthis, the moorthi of Lord Ranganatha provides
insatiable nectar "Aaraa Amudhu" to the Azhwaar who is immersed in it to the
exclusion of the Para, Vyuha, Vibhava, Antaryaami and even other Archaa
moorthis of the Lord. Swami Desikan calls this "Aakarshanam" (attraction)
vide Uttara Kritya Adhikara and calls the Azhwaar
"nam paaNa naatha" Vide Guru Parampara Saaram of SRTS.

1.Composed by Periya Nambigal
aapaatha soodaman^upooya HarimSayaan^am
maththyEkavEra thuHithurmuthithaantharaathmaa
athrasht_ruthaam nayan^ayOr vishayaantharaaNaam
" Let me always think of TiruppaaN Azhwaar who enjoyed the beauty of the
Lord of Srirangam from head to foot and who swore he would not see anything
else and who rode on the vehicle in the form of Loka Saaranga muni "
2. Composed by Tirumalai Nambigal
kaattavE kaNda paatha kamalamn^al laadai yunthi,
thEttaru muthara pantham thirumaar_pu kaNdam sevvaay,
vaattamil kaNkaL mEni muniyERith thanipu kunthu,
paattinaal kaNdu vaazhum paaNar_thaaL paravi NnOmE.
" We bow at the feet of PaaNar who showed us the foot, the garment, the
Waistband, the chest, the throat, the rosy lips, the tireless eyes of the
Lord and the one who rode on the Muni right into the figure of the Lord '

1. Tiruvarangam 2. TiruvenkaTam and 3. Paramapadam.

Emeperumaan?s Lotus Feet have been described and
enjoyed by all our PoorvAchAryAs. In
Amalanaadhipiraan, ThiruppANAzhwAr starts from the
Lotus Feet. He enjoys each and every a~ngam of the
Lord in his ten pAsurams, and has been enjoyed by
Periyavaacchaan PiLLai, Azhaigiya MaNavaaLa perumAL
Naayanaar, Swami Desikan et al in their commentaries
on this lovely Prabhandham.

Generally, the Paramaikaanthins start from the Feet to
the Crown; while the Ekaanthins start from the Head to
the Feet, as BrahmA did during his asvamEtha yaagham.

1. It is told by Poorvacharyas that ThirppANAzhwAr
started singing the ten pAsurams (while he was being
carried by LokasAranghamuni on his shoulders, on his
way to Sri RanganAthan sannidhi.) and he finished his
tenth inside the sanctum sanctorum, and united with
the Lord.

2.The Lotus flower, blooms only during certain
occasions; depending on the climate, the time
(daytime); some days, it remains fresh; then it
loses its freshness. But this Lotus of our Lord - the
Feet never gets such dhOshams. When the Lord knew that
AzhwAr had already started his course and is on his
way, singing, the Lotus automatically became fully
bloomed and became more fresh. It (the Feet) did not
feel like waiting for the AzhwAr to come. It started
going towards him and went straight to him. AzhwAr,
when he saw the Lotus Feet, (mentally ) approaching
him, he, out of his naicchiyam and humility, felt
ashamed and closed his eyes to avoid spoiling such
Lotus Feet and the Beauty. (not to cat his evil eye on
that Lotus Feet).

3.But what happened? The Lotus Feet, did not wish to
leave the AzhwAr?s eye sight and hence went into his
eyes and showed Their Beauty! (adadaa! Parama kripai
of Emperumaan! How Great the AzhwAr is! ) Thirukkamala
paadham vandhu en kaNNinuLLana okkinRadhE vandhu. en.
KaNNinuLLana ? OkkinRadhE. (I will not translate
further and spoil its beauty!- )

4.What is so great about Thiruvadi (lotus Feet)? They
have both bhAvanam (the ability to alleviate the
dhOshams of those who pay obeisance to Them) and
bhOgyathvam (the ability to offer the delicious
sweetness to those who see and enjoy Them and pay
obeisance to Them). No single thing in the world is
both tasty and has medicinal value. Only the Lotus
Feet of Emperumaan has both aspects.

5.Swami Desikan, in his many slOkAs, have enjoyed the
Beauty of the Lotus Feet. PeriyAzhwAr says : At
Aayarpaadi everywhere one can see on the ground, the
marks of Sanghu and ChakrA (the marks on each sole of
Lord�s Lotus Feet), since Kutti KaNNan walked
His thaLar nadai everywhere having His Lovely
footprints (with sanghu and chakrA). Also he explains,
as YashOdhA, the ten fingers of Kutti KaNNan shine as
they are impregnated with Pearls, diamonds, Emerald
stones, etc..

6.And These Lotus Feet are not just bhOgyam for
ThruppANAzhwAr, Swami Desikan and PeriyAzhwAr alone;
They are for our enjoyment, too! Not just tat. Even
Emperumaan is perplexed as to why all these devotees
and BhAgawathAs look mostly at My Feet and enjoy. What
is so special at My Feet? He wonders and what does He
do? Kutti KaNNan takes the Lotus Feet and the pearl
like shining fingers, with both of His cute short
IN HIS RED CORAL LIPPED PavaLa cchevaay and
Kovvaipaazha idazh (bimbhA fruit like lips).
PeriyAzhwAr says: pEthaik kuzhavi pidiithuch
chuvaiithu uNNum paadha kamalangaL VedAs say VishNO:
PadhE paramE madhva uthsa: thEnE malarum

7.Thus His Lotus Feet are the BhOgyam for Him and for

Let us pay our obeisance to ThiruppANAzhwAr who has
sung such lovely deep pAsurams enjoying the Beauty of
Emperumaan, and to our Jeer who has highlighted this
first pAsuram so beautifully.

I had posted this few years ago:
Subsequently, Sri Sadagopan Swami supplemented the
below message with his wonderful write up as usual:
Let us enjoy that also here:

Swami Sri Desikan described the AzhwAr's prabhandham
as " Sukavi Sookti" and was so moved by it that he
wrote a 60 plus palm leaves long commentary on the
these uniquely beautiful 10 paasurams that celebrate
the Sarvanga Soundharyam and the anantha kalyANa
guNams of NamperumAL .

Sri Sampath Rengarajan gave a beautiful presentation
on the subject at Buffalo New York few years ago .
That pravachanam is still ringing in my ears. He
covered the first the three words of the first
Paasuram and it took him an hour to do full justice to
cover those three words ( Amalan, Aadhi and PirAn ) .
Since then ,He has done a lot of research on the rest
of the words of the first paasuram and the words of
the remaining nine paasurams . I request him to share
his rich and personal anubhavam with us in the near
future .

Meanwhile , I will focus on Swami Sri Desikan's
summary of the extraordinary meanings embedded in this
most magnificent first paasuram . Swami Sri Desikan in
his rahasya grantham , Muni Vaahana BhOgam , picks out
15 of the limitless auspicious attributes of Sri
RangaanthA and instructs us on the high point of each
of these 15 kalyANa guNAs . I will focus on this area
of the anubhavam of Swami Sri Desikan
on this glorious day .

The FIFTEEN GUNAAS for Sri Ranganaathan picked out by

ThiruppANar according to Swami Desikan are :

1. Moksha Pradhathvam/samsAra VinAsanam ( Conferral of
Moksham and there by freeing us from the recurring
cycles of births and deaths. Conferral of the boon of
Nithya Kaimkaryam to Him and His consort in
paramapadham .

2. Jagath Kaaranathvam :Being fundamentally
responsible forthe creation , protection and the
dissolution of the Universe .Being the sole cause of
all chEthanams and AchEthanams and not being supported
by any other entity or principle regarding His Jn~Anam
and sakthi .

3. SaraNyathvam :Being the SaraNyan (refuge) for those
, who surrender to Him through the AchArya Mukha
Prapatthi or the other three types of prapatthi
.Assuring everyone that seek Him that there is no need
to look for others to protect them .

4. UpakArathva Kaashtai : Helping His BhakthAs and
coming to their rescue without hesitation on Kshudra
VyAjam ( very little effort) and making Himself the
object of our enjoyment in spite of His unimaginably
lofty status as Ubhaya VibhUthi nAthan ( Lord of
Nithya and LeelA vibhUthi).Even after this
extraordinary help , our Lord feels that He is
indebted forever to His bhakthAs because of His
inability to give even more than what He has blessed
us with
(viz)., Moksham .

5.KrupA Kaashtai : Unique and incomparable Mercy
(KaruNai ) for even those , who commit unspeakable
offenses and yet saving them .This arises from His
saraNAgatha Rakhaka Vratham that led Him to say that
he will offer protection to even RaavaNA , if
he sought His refuge and gave up his ill deeds
the small act (kashaNa Karthavyam )of Prapatthi , He
is able to give the huge boon of residence in Sri
Vaikuntam .After that granting of the boon , the Lord
feels uncomfortable still over the thought that He has
nothing more to give.

6.SvAthanthrya Kaashtai : Ability to elvate those,
whom He wants to bless and protecting them in that
status against any body's efforts to counter what He
established through His samkalpam .

7. NirdhOshathva Kaashtai: Being forever blemishless
(amalathvam). Even if He has affiliation to the
blemish-containing entities that causes every one
Aj~Nam and Dukkham , He does not incur any
Aj~nam or Dukkham . The classic Upanishadic passage of
the two birds sitting on the branch of the same tree
with one experiencing false Knowledge and sorrows and
the other not subject to these experiences.

8.Swaamithva Kaashtai or Being the supreme Lord of
Every one including Brahman , Indran and all the

9.Soulabhya Kaashtai : ease of access , Bhaktha
Sulabhan . He permits even those , who want to go away
because of the fear of His grandeur to approach Him
comfortably .

10. Sousselya Kaashtai :Lowering Himself to the level
of even those , who doubt His Lordship (Isavarathvam )
and taking the trouble to answering them and keeping
them in His fold .

11. Vaathsalya Kaashtai: Out of His limitless
affection for His dearest BhakthAs , he ignores their
occasional trespasses and continues to look after
their yoga KshEmam .

12. Parama PrApyathva Kaashtai: Being the sole object
of attainment as parama PurushArtham .

13. Aasritha PakshapAtha Kaashtai: Being Sarva VarNa
samanan ( equal of approach to all four VarNams ), He
blesses those , who seek refuge in Him by cancelling
anything countering His sankalpam to protect His
BhakthAs ).This arises from His predisposition
(pakshapAtham ) to those, who sought His
protection (aasrithAL) .

14.BhOgyathva Kaashtai: Conferring the sweetness of
the enjoyment of His soundharyam .

15.ayathna BhOgyathva Kaashtai : Blessing capacity to
let one enjoy Him without the intercession of the
Indriyams . His svAbhavika anubhAvyathvam is referred
to here .Just as the breeze carries the fragrance of
the flowers , He comes in an unbanishable way and lets
our eyes enjoy His holy feet without satiety .

All these 15 kalyANa guNams are celebrated in the very

first verse of AmalanAdhipirAn Sri Sookthi according
Swami Sri Desikan .

At the very beginning , Swami Desikan states that he
wishes to comment on the Sri Sookthi of ThiruppANar ,
the poet with auspicious attributes .He describes the
AzhwAr , who rode on the back of Loka Saaranga Muni
(Muni Vaahana BhOgar ) as " Mudhitha Mukunda VilOkanar
" or the One , who was intent on having the Sevai of
the Lord of Srirangam , who in turn is elated to see
His BhakthAs .Swami says that he is commenting on this
extraordinary Sri Sookthi brimming with Bhaavam
and Bhakthi for the enjoyment of the BhagavathOtthamAs
who have controlled their senses (Indriyams) to have
the Bhagyam of the sEvai of Lord RanganathA .The
slokam is as follows :

vyachikyAsathi BhakthyA viraktha-thOshayA VenaktEsa
Kavi :
Mudhitha Mukundha vilOkana MunivAhana Sukavi Sookthim

Swami points out the uniqueness of this prabhandham of
ThiruppANar among all the other divya Prabhandhams .
says that The AmalanaadhipirAn Sri Sookthi is not too
long ( athi vistharam ) , not too short (athi
not generating any doubts ( SamsayAthi Janakathvam ) ,
Sorrow due to separation from the Lord as Naayikai
(Viraha KlEsam), Sending of messengers to plead the
case to unite the Jeevan with the Lord (DhUtha
prEkshaNam ) , instructions to others
(parOpadEsam ) and crticism of the other mathams
(Para-Matha nirasanam ).IT IS JUST FULL OF BHAGAVADH
ANUBHAVA GHANA RASAM (the rich delight arising from
the total enjoyment of the Lord's soundharyam and
kalyAna guNAs ). All the ten paasurams of this
AdhyAthma Prabhandham thus differ from the aruLic
cheyalkaL of other AzhwArs according to Swami Sri
Desikan .

At the end of his commetary on this rahasya grantham ,
Swami Desikan describes the nature of the Azhwaar and
the object of his love , Sri Ranganathan this way :

AzhwAr : aadhi marai yena Ongum arangathuLLE
aruL aarum kadalaik kaNdavan yenn PaaNan

Swami salutes with affection the Sukavi as " Yenn
PaaNan " (My ThiruppANAzhwAr ). He describes further
about the object of PaaNan's reverential salutation as
the Lord of Srirangam resting under the PraNavAkAra
VimAnam , the ocean of mercy , Sri RanganAthan .

About the quintessence of the Prabhandham , Swami
Desikan states :

vEdiyar taam viritthuraikkum viLaivukellAm
vidhai aahum ithu yenru viLampinOmE

This prabhandham is the seed for all what VedanthIs
elaborate as the fruits of BrahmOpAsanam .

Swami goes onto say that the ten paasurams of
ThiruppANar as "pazha maRayin poruL " ( the meaning
of ancient VedAs ).

Swami Desikan concludes his commentary with a
beautiful palasruthi slOkam :

MunivAhana bhOgOyam mukthaisvarya rasOpama:
krupayA RanganAthasya kruthArthAyathu na: sadhA

(Meaning ) : This rahasya grantham ( MunivAhana BhOgam
) is equal in anubhavam to the BrahmAnandha Rasam
enjoyed by the Muktha Jeevans in parama Padham . May
this make all of the readers krutha Kruthya:( the ones
, who realized the object of their desires) through
the mercy of Lord RanganAthA .

AzhwAr , Swami Desikan ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam
Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri SadagOpan

The Azhwar's choice of words in itself is an act of
> marvel. For example the tribute commences with the
> aksharam "a" and the first three verses correspond
> to the aksharams of PraNavam. Why is this? A denotes
> auspiciousness all around. Being Vaidikas, we may
> begin our quest of references in support of this
> fact with the Parama PramANam, i.e., the Vedas. An
> examination of the Rg Samhita and Sama Samhita
> reveals that they commence with "agnimILE
> purOhitham" and "agna AyahivIthayE", respectively,
> providing a ringing endorsement of the
> auspiciousness of the aksharam "a". Furthermore, "a"
> is the opening aksharam of PraNavam, which
> unequivocally proclaims the supremacy of Lord
> Narayana. The Upanishad section of the Veda
> proclaims "yadh vEdhAthO svara prOthO vedAnthE cha
> pratiShTitha:" ([PraNavam which proclaims the
> supremacy of Lord Narayana] that by which all Vedic
> recitation is commenced and that which is the
> support of all Vedantha [Upanishads]). Next if we
> turn our attention to the Brahma sUtras (aphorisms
> that expound on the Upanishadic messages), the
> opening Sutram is "AthAthO Brahma jignyAsa" (May we
> begin our enquiry of Brahman) commences with the
> Aksharam "a". An examination of Narada's Bhakti
> Sutras reveals that it commences with the line
> "anivachanIyam Bhakthi svarUpam" lending further
> testimony to the loftiness of the aksharam "a". Next
> let us ask ourselves if the Lord Himself has
> declared his fondness for this aksharam. The answer
> is apparent in the 11th Chapter of the
> Bhagavad-Gita, where Lord Krishna asserts
> "aksharANAm akArOsmi" (among the aksharas I denote
> "a"). Also "a" is the vowel of the Devanagari
> alphabet, without which no consonant can exist.
> Recognizing these facts and the alluding to the
> Truth that the Lord is the supporter from inside as
> well as outside for everything in the universe, the
> Azhwar commences his tribute with the aksharam "a".
> For the above reasons, "a" is called ViShNor
> aksharam. Following the lead of the Azhwar, Sri
> Ramanujacharya commences his Sri Bhashyam with the
> tribute "akhila Bhuvana janma". Swami Desikan
> adheres verbatim to the dicturm "mElayAr seyvanagal"
> and commences four of his Stotrams with the aksharam
> "a" i.e., Garuda Panchasat, aBhIthi Sthavam, nyAsa
> dashakam, and Bhagavad DhyAna sOpanam in which Swami
> Desikan enjoys an anuBhavam of Lord Ranganatha from
> Foot to Eye much in the spirit of the Azhwar's
> tribute.
> Next, the importance of the Lord's Feet can be
> understood from the Purusha Sooktham Rk "padhOsya
> vishvABhUthAni tripAdhasyAmruthan dhivI". The Lord
> Himself declares his fondness for the Feet by lying
> as VadapathrashAyi on the waters of PraLaya and
> sucking at His toes enjoying the mahima of His Feet
> as He contemplates the next cycle of creation. The
> Taittriya and AitarEya BrahmaNa declare that the
> Brahma Ananda AnuBhava rasa flourished at the third
> Foot of Trivikrama. This is also referred to in the
> Anandavalli section of the Taittriya Upanishad as
> rasO vai saha.
> Furthermore, this is the only angam of the Lord that
> is pristinely pure (for example the navel bears a
> lotus which houses Brahma). Aidhiham has it that
> Rudran performed SharaNagati at the hand of
> Emperuman. However, the Feet bear unadulterated
> contact with Lord Narayana and is therefore sought
> after by ParamaIkanthin Prapannas. Thanks again for
> your outstanding post, which sparked these
> reflections in adiyen.
Muralidhara Dasan

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