By Sadagopan Iyengar, Coimbatore
Srimate SrivanSatakopa Sri Vedanta Desika Yatindra Mahadesikaya nama:
Those who peruse the matrimonial columns in newspapers and magazines would be familiar with the phrase, “A Suitable Bride wanted”. This is what every eligible bachelor seeks”an ideal soul mate, suited in every way to harmonious matrimony. It is thus every man”s dream (and every woman”s too) to wed his perfect match in physique, temperament and demeanour. How blissful would life be, if one is able to link up with a life partner who is in every way one”s alter ego!
However, this appears to remain a distant dream, as far as most of the couples are concerned. Whoever in heaven fixes up these marriages, doesn”t appear to be very particular about pairing off matching individuals, with the result that discord and disharmony often (and in some cases, permanently) plague marital relationships. Right from trivial matters like difference in tastes (whether in food, dress or reading) to major ones in arriving at decisions in crucial family matters, lead to differences cropping up between couples, with the result that their lives, including those of their children, are affected adversely. While in normal couples such differences are resolved or at least glossed over with mutual give and take and tolerance, in many cases they assume irreconcilable proportions, with disastrous consequences.
The point, therefore, is that it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to find perfectly matched couples.
The Lord is a model of everything we aspire to be. We look up to Him for inspiration, guidance and advice because He is the Perfect Person, a veritable paragon of virtues, the repository of all auspicious attributes and the antithesis of all that is bad. It is therefore no surprise to us that He is the Perfect Husband too, a partner every woman dreams of landing, but alas! perhaps never does. However, to be fair to the fairer sex, it is to be recorded that Piraatti is in every way eminently suitable to the Lord, whether it be in physical beauty, auspicious attributes or freedom from blemish of any sort.
Acharyas tell us that the Divine Consort is a Perfect Match for the Lord in all respects. Says Sri Ramanuja in the Sharanagati Gadyam, addressing Piraatti–
“Bhagavan Narayana abhimata anuroopa svaroopa roopa guNa vibhava iyshvarya sheelAdi anavadhika asankhyEya kalyANa guNa gaNAm”.
Though it is impossible to catalogue the aspects in which Piratti forms the perfect counterpart for the Lord, it is worthwhile to go into some of them at least.
1.Roopam”In physical beauty, Piraati is in every way the Lord”s equal.
If He is a “PuNdarIka VisAlAksha:” (one with broad, lotus eyes), She too is “VisAlAkshI” and “Mriga sAbAkshI”, and sports broad, beautiful and deer-like eyes.
If He is portrayed to be a “Vidyut Prabha:” (resembling a lightning)
by the DvAdasa nAma Panjaram, She too is adulated by Sri Valmiki as “Vidyut PrabhAm”.
If He has curly, jet black hair falling on His forehead (“Mai vaNNa narum kunji”, “lalAta paryanta vilambita Alakam” “kupyat chOLee vachana kutilai: kuntalai: slishtta moole”) etc., then so does Piratti sport beautiful, black, long and curly hair””neela kunchita moordhajAm”, “neela nAghAbhayA vENI”, “Vakra kEsAntA”, all of which are from the pen of an admiring Valmiki.
If He is “SAkshAt Manmatha Manmatha:””the sole personification of handsomeness, She too is incredibly and immeasurably beautiful””DEvatAbhi: samA roopE SItA Shreeriva roopiNI”.
If His complexion is that of beaten gold (“ApraNakhAt sarva Eva suvarNa:” says the Upanishad), She too is of the same colour””HiraNyavarNAm HariNIm”, according to the Sri SUktam.
If the Lord”s soundaryam is such as to generate infinitely new varieties of bliss every second, without the experience palling on the viewer despite any length of time (“appouzhudaikku appozhudu en ArAvamudamE””Sri Nammazhwar), so too is Piraatti”s beauty capable of providing the onlooker such varied bliss every second, says Sri Alavanadar”
“sadA anubhootayApi apoorvavat vismayam AdadhAnayA”.
The Lord is a veritable forest of lotuses”His eyes, face, hands, feet all resemble the beautiful flower, says Sri Nammazhwar”
“SentAmarai tadam kaN senkanivAi senkamalam
sentAmarai adikkaL sempon tiruvudambE”.
PirAtti is none the less enamoured with the lotus, being lotus-complexioned, residing in a lotus, lotus-eyed and holding lotuses in her hands””Padma priyE Padmini padma hastE padmAlayE padma dalAyatAkshi”.
We could perhaps go on endlessly, matching each glorious part of the Lord”s tirumEni with that of His Consort, who matches the specifications down to the minutest detail.
Having found the Divine Duo extremely compatible in physical features, we move on to verify whether the concord extends to their attributes.
From a general viewpoint, the Lord is renowned as “PurushOttama:”, the best among men in all respects. Not to be left behind, Piraatti too elicits the description, “nAreeNAm uttamA vadhoo:” from Valmiki, who claims the Divine Consort to be the most excellent person of the female race.
When it comes to the most important trait (from our view point) of Mercy and compassion, the Lord”s distinction has been elaborately chronicled in DayA Satakam. He is supposedly the sole repository and an ocean of Mercy””karuNA varuNAlayam”. Sri Bhattar says that Sri Mahalakshmi is no less than Her Husband and might have, in fact, surpassed Him in exhibiting this virtue.
The Lord protects people only when they seek His protection and refuge””RakshApEkshAm prateekshatE”. Piraatti, however, extends Her protective umbrella to cover even those who haven”t sought the same and to the contrary, have caused her harm, as in the case of the RAkshasIs of AshOka Vanika and the KAkAsura.
The Lord is the epitome of generosity and gives everything that He has to the seeker””tamadu anaitthum avar tamakku vazhangiyum tAm miga viLangum amaivudaya aruLAlar”. The Divine Mother too is generous to a fault and, even after showering on the devotee all that he can possibly ask for (and even that he can”t even think of seeking) feels ashamed that She hasn”t done anything for the poor child””Tvam lajjasE amba! KOyam udAra bhAva:!” marvels Sri Bhattar at this overwhelming generosity.
If the Lord”s bounty knows no bounds, He being the Ishvara with all the sentient beings and non-sentient objects forming His sole domain, PirAtti too is the possessor of unlimited aishvaryam, says Sri KoorattAzhwan. So much so, says the Acharya, that big or small, any bounty attained by anyone in this world, is the result of a stray glance from the corner of Her broad and benevolent eye. If all the world is His, He is the indisputable overlord of all that moves and doesn”t (“tam IsvaANAm paramam MahEsvaram”), She too is the unparalleled Empress of all worlds””asyEsAnA jagata:”
Granting Liberation is the Lord”s sole prerogative, say the Shastras””MOksham icchEt JanArdanAt”. His Consort too can confer the same, says Sri Bhattar-“aishvaryam akshara gatim paramam padam vA”
If the Lord is infinite, pervading all living beings and non-living things in all the universes, PirAtti too is all-pervasive, Vibhu, says the Vishnu Purana “YathA sarvagatO Vishnu: tathA Eva iyam dvijOttama”.
If He is father to the whole world, She is the most Merciful Mother, performing a complementary and supplementary role in the process of raising JeevAtma families””MAtA DEvI tvamasi BhagavAn VAsudEva: pitA mE” says Swami Desikan, addressing these perfect parents. She is the Universal Mother””Samasta lOka JananI”.
Boundless and blemishless wisdom, (“GnAnam”) which is one of the Lord”s principal characteristics is present in Piraatti too in the same measure. And in bestowing the same on devotees too, both the Lord and His Consort are equally capable. If He is a “neri ellAm edutturaittha nirai gnAnatthu oru moorthi”, having enunciated all the guidebooks for good conduct, in the form of Shastras in general and the Gita in particular, She too is responsible for feeding Her infants with the milk of unblemished wisdom””Chaitanya stanya dAyineem”.
One might suppose, albeit mistakenly, that Balam or Strength, being a masculine trait, must be the sole preserve of the Lord. However, the episode about Sri Sita lifting the box containing the Shiva dhanus casually (in the process of retrieving Her ball which had fallen behind the same) makes us believe that Her strength is no less, though She doesn”t chose to display the same.
Power is normally considered to be a masculine preserve. The Lord is reputed to be a ShaktimAn beyond compare, with nothing beyond His achievment. Indeed, He is said to be capable of making even the impossible happen, through His “aghatita ghatana sAmarthyam”. Piraati too would appear to be none the less endowed with this trait. She tells Ravana that She Herself is quite capable of reducing him to a fistful of dust, in a proclamation of Her infinite Shakti.
The Lord is said to be sweet ‘to the onlooker’s eyes, ears, mind and other faculties too. The MadhurAshtakam tells us that everything about the Lord is “madhuram” or sweet. Sri Nammazhwar likens Him to honey, sugar candy, sweet milk etc .”enakku tEnE pale kannalE amudE”. Piratti too is incredibly sweet, as could be learnt from the Lord”s own words, for, if anyone could know, He should””madhurA madhurAlApA”.
If the Lord is a consummate Actor, donning vividly various roles for dushta nigraham and sishta paripAlanam, His Consort too adopts characters eminently suited to and complementing His role, says Swami Desikan in Dasavatara Stotram “Yat dharmai: iha dharmiNI viharatE nAnAkriti: nAyikA”
It is well known as to how the Lord was dismayed, dejected and saddened beyond measure by the parting from Sri Mythily, during Ramavatara, with Sri Valmiki faithfully and elaborately chronicling the depth of emotion Sri Rama exhibited for His Consort. If such was the love lavished by the Lord on Piraatti, could Her attachment for Him be any the less? We thus have Sri Nammazhwar telling us that She is loathe to leaving Him even for a micro-second and, unable to suffer any sort of parting, resides permanently on the Lord’s broad chest “agalakillEn irayum endru alarmEl Mangai urai mArba!”
Thus, in respect of each of the 24 kalyANa guNAs listed by Sri Ramanuja as a sample of divine traits, we can find that Piraatti stands shoulder to shoulder with Emperuman, equal and eminently suitable to Him in every respect. In fact, in every imaginable way, the Lord and His Consort are eminently suited to each other.
Commenting on the matchless match of Sri Rama and Sri Vaidehi, Sri Valmiki says,
“Tulya sheela vayO vrittAm tulya abhijana lakshaNAm
RAghava: arhati VaidEhIm tam cha iyam asitEkshaNA”
It is fine to say that in flawless conduct and exalted birth, Sri Mythily equalled Sri Raghava. However, would it be correct to say that they were of equal age, as it is not the practice for couples of the same age to wed” Further, there is any amount of internal evidence in Srimad Ramayana itself to show that Sri Sita was younger than the Prince of Ayodhya.
Rushing to Sri Valmiki’s defence, Swami Desikan says in his Stotra Bhashyam that the word “tulya” in the aforesaid sloka, with regard to age, should be interpreted with reference to the usual practice of the groom being elder to the bride””atra vayO lakshaNayO: tulya shabda: ouchityapara:–DampatyO: nyoona adhika vayaskatvAt”. What is meant here is that the difference in their ages was neither too small, nor too large, but just right.
However, in digressing about age, I am missing the second half of the sloka, which really carries the punch line”viz., Sri Raghava deserved Sri Mythily in every way and so did She deserve Chakravartthi Tirumagan. They were indeed a pair so obviously Made for Each Other, where none else would have suited the Glorious Groom or the Blemishless Bride, but each other.
This Matchless Match has been the subject of comment by any number of worthies, be they Azhwars or Acharyas. We thus see Sri Nammazhwar telling the Lord that His Consort is in every way the most suitable for Him “unakku Erkkum kOla malar PAvai”. That this pasuram occurs in the very last decad of Tiruvaimozhi indicates this conclusion being indeed the considered opinion of the Azhwar, after adequate analysis and contemplation.
And when Sri Bhashyakara tells us that Piraatti is THE suitable bride for the Lord in all aspect, he only conveys the opinion of his master, Sri Alavandar, who too comments with wonder on the rare perfection of the divine match
“SadA tavaivOchitayA tava ShriyA”
“Ahu: svai: anuroopa roopa vibhavai: gAdOpagoodAni tE”
It is perhaps to remind us of this impeccable and ideal match and to showcase the same as the ideal for every mortal pair to strive for, that till date, our marriages are conducted mostly as a re-enactment of the divine wedding, with the groom regarded verily as Mahavishnu and the bride attired with an “ANdAL kondai”, with the recitation of “VAraNamAyiram” etc. to signify the fruition of the bride”s dream of attaining a perfect match. With our penchant for copying others” conduct, (mostly the unsavoury aspects thereof) if only we import into our marriage even an infinitesimal aspect of the impeccable match between the Lord and His Consort, marital discord would be banished from the earth, marriage counsellors would be out of jobs and the word “Divorce” would lose its place in the lexicon.
Srimate Sri LakshmINrsimha divya paduka sevaka SrivanSatakopa Sri Narayana Yatindra Mahadesikaya nama:
Article by : Sadagopan Iyengar Swami, Coimbatore