Swami Desikan took avataram on Poigai Azhwar’s thirunakshatram and did avatAra samApatham on Thirumangai Mannan’s Thirunakshatram. Hence, Swami is considered as Azhwar’s sangamam. Swami’s thirunakshatram is celebrated very grandly this year in all divyadesams. In the same way we need to celebrate the day swami left to Sri vaikuntam, for the upakaarams swami did by reciting Azhwar’s prabandhams and Swami Desika Prabandhams and very importantly Swami Desikan’s Vigraha dhyaanam and Pillaiandhadhi. In Sri Vijaya Varusha samvatsaram, Swami Desikan’s Thirunaal is falling on Karthigai Pournami, November 17, 2013.
Swami NigamAnta Maha Desikan – Azhwars Sangamam
Thirumalai ThiruvEnkatamudaiyAn took the avatAram of Thoopul ThiruvenkatamudaiyAn on Sravana nakshatram, the star of Poigai Azhwar for jiva ujjeevanam by showing the prapatti mArgam as the only resort and to keep Bhagavath Ramanuja’s darsanam in firm footing by composing various wonderful granthams and did the avatAra samAptham on KruthigA pournami dhinam, the AvatAra dhinam of Ilan Kili Azhwar Kaliyan, who prophesied our Mada Kali. Thus Swami Desikan is considered as Azhwar’s sangamam.
“ennaal thannai vankavi paadum en vaikunta naadhanE” – Lord chose Azhwars to sing in praise of Him and to convey the in-depth meanings of vEdas, ShAstras in a very simple and beautiful dramido baasha Tamizh (“mikka vediyar vEdaththin utporul nirkkappaadi ennenjul nirutthinaan” , “draavida vEda Saagaram”, “ vEdam anaithukkum viththaagum kodai tamizh aiaindum aindum”). Thus in Kali Yuga Azhwars showed who the paramAthmA is in a very clear way, namasankeerthanam to always think on His holy feet and Prapatti/SaranAgati as the only resort to attain Him.
Swami desikan portrays Azhwar’s avatAram is for
“மேகங்கள் ஸமுத்ர நீரை வாங்கி ஸர்வோபஜீவ்யமான தண்ணீராக உமிழுமாப்போலே”
It is very difficult for everyone to go deep inside the ocean due to various factors (niyamaas and gn~aanam restrictions), but no such restrictions for Rain water, which is sweeter and can be enjoyed by anyone. Swami Desikan portrays Himself proudly as “Sandhamigu Tamizh Maraiyon”, which no other acharyas claimed and told in firm footing that if Not Azhwars He would have not learnt vEdas deep insight properly (“TheliyAdha Marai Nilangal TheligindromE”)
The same mission is carried out by our emperumaan using Thoopul Vallal and the only difference is instead of 12 + 1 Saints (EmperumAnar), EmperumAn chose an AchArya, who had the same 13 in one qualities and propagated the prapatti mArgam at the Lotus feet of Sriman nArAyana (sAmskritibhi drAmidibhi: Bahvibhi:… yaSamujjeeva yaamaasa). Let us see in detail how swami desikan is each and every Azhwar’s avatAram and did the same every azhwar did.
1. Poigai Azhwar – Like Poigai Azhwar Swami Desikan’s avatAram is on Sravanam thirunakshatram (Sravana NakshatrE vishnu devatA) and same divyakshetram (Mukti tharum nagar ezhil mukkiyamAm kacchi thannil). As per niyamaas one has to learn vEdAs thoroughly and understand the paratattva before going to do yoga abyaasaa. Poigai Azhwar did that in His thiruvandhaadhi to ride off external dark and lit the lamp. Swami Desikan through His granthas explained us the paratattva and lit the lamp of bhakthi so that one will naturally go in search of internal lamp (enlightenment)
2. Boodath Azhwar – This Azhwar lit the internal lamp to get rid of Agn~aanaa. This is the second step where if one aspires to attain Vishnu pada. Two Azhwars did the task of lighting the external and internal lamp. But here Swami Desikan alone did both through His granthas. Lighting both external and internal (“Etri manatthezhil jn~aana vilakkai”) lamp of jiva koti’s
3. pEyAzhwar – Like pEyAzhwar, who established the tattva that ‘The Mithunam’, Sriman Narayana as paratattva in His thiruvandadhi (“Thirukkanden ponmenikkanden”), Swami Desikan is the only acharya who firmly established that piratti along with narayana as the paratattva (hence portrayed later as ‘Kanjaththirumangai ugakka vandhon vaazhiyE!’)
As first three Azhwars sang in praise of thirukkovalur idaikkazhi emperumaan, Swami Desikan too sang in praise of both Dehaleesan and adi kavi Azhwars in His Dehaleesa Stuti.
4. Thirumazhisai Azhwar – “Mattraich samayangal pala therindhu mAyOn AllAl dEivam marrillai” Like Thirumazhisaippiraan Swami Desikan knows all other Mathams and condemned them through various granthaas (sathadhushani, paramatha bhangam etc) and set in firm footing, the paratattva nirnaya in all the granthas and also visistAdvaitam. Swami Desikan has chosen the Tamil style of Thirumazhisai Piran for His Tamil Prabandhams.
5. Nammazhwar – “Vedam Tamil Seidha mAran Satakopan” “Vedattin Utporul Nirkkappaadi ennenjul Niruthinaan” – Nammazhwar churned out vEdas and gave us amrutham called Thiruvoimozhi…Swami Desikan churned out further and gave us the amrutham called “SaranAgathi tattvam and Prapatti mArgam in each and every granthams” (Or ondru thaane amaiyaadO thaaraniyil vaazh vaarkku vaanErappomalavum vaazhvu). Nammazhwar sang 1000 verses in praise of EmperumAn, Swami Desikan sang 1000 verses in praise of Maaran Satakopan. This shows Swami Desikan’s asanchala bhakthi on Nammazhwar.
When Sri Adivann Satakopan Jeer found the Azhwar’s divyamangala vigraham removed by Shaivaites and did pradhistai again, Nammazhwar conferred the title Adi vann to satakopa jeer and the first task Azhwar gave to Adivann Satakopa Jeeyar is to build a Sannidhi for Swami Desikan in His Avataarasthalam. This shows Azhwar’s love for our thoopul vallal.
Nammazhwar is known for Krishna Bhakthi. So is our Thoopul Vallal. Swami Desikan though had various emperumAns anugraham and link; it is Sri Krishna whom Swami Desikan preferred right from the start. In DasavatAra stotram only for Sri Krishna, Swami Desikan is referring as “NAdhan” and in Gopala Vimsati, Swami is keeping 20 vibhava roopams of Krishna, enjoying each and every stage of Sri Krishna Leela, which swami never did for other vibhavaathaarams. Though Swami Desikan prayed for Kanchi Vaasam than Sri Vaikuntam and Nithyavaasam in Thiruvarangam in Abhiteesthavam, Swami Desikan preferred something over that, that is Krishna. In Gopala vimsati, Swami conveyed that in Only Sri Krishna has to come with a flute and a peacock feather during his Anthima kaalam.
6. Madurakavi Azhwar – Like Madurakavi Azhwar, Swami Desikan was in complete AchAyra bhakthi, hence He too never had any dhukkaas (“Thunbatra madhurakavi” so is “Thunbatra Desikamani”). For Madurakavi Azhwar everything is thought by Nammazhwar, for Swami Desikan everything is thought by Appullar (Maathulaa sakalaakala). Thus both know anyone greater than their AcharyAs “Thevu MattrariyEn”
7. KulasEkara Azhwar – Kulasekara Azhwar gave rAmAyana Saaram in his prabandham PerumAl Thirumozhi. Swami Desikan explained the entire rAmAyanA in His mahAveera vaibhavam very crisp and also gave the sAram of rAmAyana viz. SaranAgathi shastram in all His work (pAdhukA Sahasram is the GEM which is the saaramsam of Srimad rAmAyana). Kulasekara Azhwar was emotionally attached to rAmA and everyone knows that from Azhwar’s vaibhavam. So is Swami Desikan… How??? It is not possible to write ‘Hamsa Sandhesam’ if not knowing rAmA’s internal affairs. So Desikan is dayapathram of Kulasekara perumal and rAmA.
8. PeriyAzhwar – Vishnuchittar sang Pallandu to emperumAn. Swami Desikan told let us all sing “Pallandu” even if we go to Sri Vaikuntam. This one is enough to show swami’s connection to periazhwar.
9. AndAl – “Srivishnu chitta kulanandhana Kalpavalli” – Andal gave vEda saaram, Swami Desikan gave the same in Srimad Saaram (Poorvaas consider Srimad Saaram is the vyakkyaanam of Thiruppaavai). Swami Desikan’s bond to Godha Piratti cannot be written in words and one has to enjoy Godha Stuti for it. Godha Piratti in turn ordered Srivilliputtur archakAs to recite Godha Stuti as a part of daily anushandhaanam. This shows that Godha Piratti post Bhagavat Ramanuja (Koil Annan) had bond only to Swami Desikan. Godha Piratti did Poomaalai & Paamaalai Kaimkaryam and married Sri RanganAthA, Swami Desikan did the both through Swami’s granthams and married our emperumAn (Bharanyaasam/atma samarpanam). Swami Desikan composed paamaalai’s (tattva mukta kalaapam) and adorned Sri Ranganaatha’s beautiful neck like a poomaalai, composed pAdhukA Sahasram and adorned Sri RanganAthA’s Holy Feet etc
10. Thondaradippodi Azhwar –Thondaradippodi Azhwar considered Himself to be the dust of Hari Bhakthas holy feet. Similarly Swami Desikan lived and showed when dveshis tied pAdhukA in swami’s gruham. Swami didn’t get angry, rather felt happy and told that, some do karma yoga, some do gn~aana yoga etc but He got the same phala through Hari pAdhukAs. So Swami Desikan indirectly told us that swami is also amsaavathaaram of Azhwars through various vaibhavams and granthams.
11. ThiruppAn Azhwar – “pala maraiyin porulaal pAn pErumAlE nee pAdhAdhi kEsamAi pAditthanda” Paan perumaal sang incomparable 10 pAsurams on the thirumEni of Lord rAnganAthA. Swami Desikan could not control the devotion after enjoying the pAsurams of Azhwar along with Sri RanganAthA, so sang ‘Bhagavad dhyAna SopAnam’ in the same fashion. Not only that, even in Swami’s next avatArA as ‘Thirukkudandhai Desikan’ sang another kidandha thirukkolam ‘Aaraavamudhan’ in the same fashion. This shows Swami is amsaavathaaram of pAn pErumAl, the title which Swami conferred on ThiruppAn Azhwar. Also if asked, which is the beautiful grantham of Desikan everyone will tell ‘Munivaahana Bogham’ without second thoughts. Everyone will fall for that grantham. Even the guru parampara says Swami PeriyavachAn Pillai asked Swami Desikan the ‘SaranAgathi Tattvam’ after enjoying Munivaahana Bogham and swami gave ‘nyAsa vimsati’ with vyakkyaanam. Srimad Poundareegapuram Andavan (paravAkkottai Swami) in an upanyAsam told that Swami Desikan is the brother of ThiruppAnazhwar.
12. Thirumangai Azhwar – “Ponnai mAmaniyai….” “Valarthadhaal Payan petrEn varuga endru madakkiliyai Kai koopi vananginaalE” Adiyen believe it is not necessary to explain Sri Kaliyan and Swami Desikan’s connections. In each and every thing it will reflect, else our poorvaas would have not told “Kaliyanurai Kudikonda KaruthudaiyOn VaazhiyE”. Let us see a few links between Ilangili Azhwar and Our Madakkili AchAryA. Sri Kaliyan started adhyayana utsavam in Sri rangam, Swami Desikan reconducted it not once but twice when people troubled not to conduct adhyayana utsavams. Kaliyan controlled Kali’s kolam with Vaal and vEl (Sword and Spear), same way Swami’s grantham is Sword and Spear for pAshandi and Kudhirsti mAthams. Like Kaliyan Swami Desikan is a Arukavi. We can go on telling the link between Kaliyan and Deiskan. This reveals one thing firmly, Swami Desikan is the amsaavathaaram of Kaliyan.
Swami Desikan is the only AchAryan after ParakAla ParAnkusa Azhwars to sing in nAyaki bhAvam. This reveals that Swami Desikan is Azhwars avatAram.
13. EmperumAnAr – “yatheendrAm SothavetyEvam vidhArkyAyAstu mangalam”, everyone knows that Swami Desikan is the avatAram of YathirAjar and it is proved in various ways. In Swami Ramanuja’s vibhavam Yathirajar asks sishyaa to visit vEda mAthA. vEda mAthA’s combs her hair neatly and ties with a saffron cloth followed by a white cloth. Later Yathirajar clarifies that vEda mathA enacted what happened after He composed Sri bAshyam and how it was before. The white cloth signifies firmly that Ramanuja will take the avatAram of Swami Desikan to re-establish His darsanam on firm footing. Also poorvaas tell Ramanuja retook avatar to write a lot of granthams and clarify his stand on prapatti, hence the avatAram of Swami Desikan. Finally everyone knows the special attachment of pEriya thirumalai nambigal (who did a lot of kaimkaraym to thirumalai thiruvenkatamudaiyAn) with yathirAjar. YathirAjar likes Swami Desikan the same way, hence in YathirAjar’s avatAra Sthalam, Swami Ramanujar made sure Swami Desikan should be in Thirumalai Nambigal Thirumaaligai. The list goes on and on… but the fact is…. Swami Desikan is the avatAram of All Azhwars and emperumAnAr and the dayapathram of all emperumAns, Azhwar, AchAryAs and Uttama SrivaishnavAs of Swami’s period.
On the occasion of Karthigai Pournami ThirunAl, let us all worship Swami Sri Desikan by reciting Azhwar’s prabandham and Swami Desikan Prabandhams, more importantly Swami Desikan’s vigraha dhyaanam and Pillaiandhadh to remember swami’s upakaaram for jIva Koti’s like us. Remembering Swami on the day swami ascended to Sri Vaikuntam will give us Swami Desikan, EmperumAnAr, Azhwars and EmperumAn’s anugraham.
An article by Sri Aasuri Pradeep