10/1/2015 was Maale Manivanna day . The 26th pasuram of Tiruppavai is so full of meaning that swami could not enter into Tiruneduntahndakam that day. At Tirukudanthai Andavan Tirmamani Mandapam, Srirangam Ubha. Ve. Adoor Asuri Madhavachariar swami gave a stimulating discourse on the pasuram delving into different layers of meaning.The Margazhi Nonbu is almost coming to a conclusion. The word Nonbu refers to saranagathi. Karma yogam, gnana yogam and bhakthi yogam are difficult paths but saranagathi is only possible.
At the beginning and conclusion of Vedic karmas like yaagam etc several brahmanas are given dakshina tamboolam and they say “Thathasthu” (so be it) At the start of any “Vaidheeka karma” it is important to get the benedictions of good brahmanas. Paramaikankis are those who repose total faith in Sriman Narayana and believe that Sarveshwaran will give everything. Krishna calls such a person a gnani. In the pasuram Krishna says He is happy with the mangalasasanams of the gopis and asks them” Where is this Nonbu of yours mentioned?
The gopis say they are following the footsteps of their elders and predecessors. They address Him as ”Maale Manivanna” ( The Lord of Lakshmi with the hue of a bluestone). He is the rarest of gems possessing sixteen superior qualities. A few are listed below: When we own gems we take utmost care of it. We feel proud to own it and get miserable when we lose it. Similarly when we have Him in our vasham ( possession) we feel proud, separation from Him gives sadness.The vraja gopis get so sad when separated from Krishna they sing “Gopika-Geetham” remembering all His past-times. When we do saranagathi He becomes our vashyan. (All our problems are tackled by Him) Nammazhwar desires Bhaghavathanubhavam and Perumal wants to have Azhwar anubhavam. Bhaghavathanubhavam makes some dance in joy, it makes some unconscious .In Kali yugam “Hari nama samkeerthanam “ is the panacea for all ills. He has given us a tongue to sing His praises and gnanam to understand Him Our time should be spent in singing His praises and talking about His Leelas. But nama samkeerthanam and divyadesavasam (residing in a divyadesam) by itself will not confer moksham. It will make His krupa(mercy) flow and give us the gnanam (intelligenge) to seek saranagathi. An easier way is falling at the feet of acharyas .When we offer dandavath pranams to Ramanuja we will get correct knowledge. He protected Brahmam by giving the right interpretations of “The Upanishads ”Some mathams (schools of philosophy) state that Brahmam has no roopam(form) or gunam(attributes).Yoga matham says that Hiranyagarbhan (Brahma ) is supreme others say that Piratti has no role in protecting. It was Ramanuja who established conclusively that Sriman Narayana alone is worthy of dhyanam (meditation). He had Poorna Brahma gnanam. He understood and propogated the Eternal Truth. Acharya ashrayam is the way to gnanam. Nathamuni could be called the first acharya. It was Nathamuni who retrieved the four thousand and set them to music and mime. Remembering Nathamunigal and the guru parampara :Ramanuja ,Periya nambi, Alavandar, Manakkal nambi , Uyyakondar, Nathamuni, Nammazhwar, Visvaksenar, Perumal/Piratti is a must everyday. Acharya ashrayam (seeking acharyan) is the path to moksham. Acharya ashrayam means seeking samashrayanam and Bharanyasam.Once this is done we can live without worry and with pride as Moksham is certain and there will be no more janmas. Valmiki maharsi took upadesham from Narada muni before writing Srimadh Ramayanam. Narada told Him about Sarveshvaran who has come down as the light of Ikshvaku vamsa assuming the name Rama who is the embodiment of dharma. Similarly Maitreya learnt about Brahmam from Parasara. Acharyas are ratnams and are manifestations of Narayana .They give us the wealth of ashtaksharam,dwayam and charama slokam.
Perumal’s Saulabhyam ( coming down to our level) is manifest in Krishnavatharam. He and Balarama went to the house of the malakara (garland maker) and asked for garlands. He is “Avaptha samastha Kaman (He desires nothing) yet, He desires to take us to moksham to experience “ Paripoorna Brahmhanubhavam “and never be born again. Krishna is pleased with Andal’s outpourings and is mesmerized by Her Beauty. She places Her requests before Him. She wants His Panchajanyam, which is as white as milk,(The sound of the divine conch will let people know about Andal’s goshti) She wants “parai”(drums) , sadhus to encourage them with their “thathasthus”, deepams(oil lamps ), flag with Garuda and a vidhaanam (a canopy) .
Maale Manivanna is acharyan who has the saulabhyam to come down to the level of shishyan to impart gnanam.A shishyan is scared to approach an acharyan.Realizing this acharya asks him questions about his family etc and makes him comfortable. The shisyan then approaches acharyan and gets to know sampradhayam. When the acharya is praised by his shishyas he gets happy .Panchajanyam the divine conch is pranavam.(akaram+ ukaram+ makaram) Parai represents “paararthagnanam”(the knowledge that the jeevan is for Vishnu alone).Pallandu refers to acharyas talk about poorvacharya granthams. We need the anugraham(blessings) of poorvacharyas that is our acharya’s acharya his acharya reaching to the first acharyas Perumal/ Pirrati.A shisyan should repeat what he learns from his acharya. Those who try to tell tatvarthams without doing kalakshepam are haunted by fear like a person wearing jewellery that he has robbed from someone. At the conclusion of saranagathi acharyan says “ let our poorvacharyas get “preethi”.( happiness) .Kola villaku is bhaghaavatha kainkaryam.( service to the devotees of Narayana). Vidhaanam is satvika thyagham( offering the phalams at His Feet.) In sum a prappanan should spend his days on earth in the company of sadhus doing kalakshepams and procuring gnanam.
Writeup & Photography : Vyjayanthi & Sundararajan