Monday, February 14, 2011

Chapter 4 ShrI Alavandar - Part 3

Blessing IlayAzhvAr

ShrI AlavandAr came to hear of the greatness of Bhagavat RAmAnujar (disciple of YAdava PrakAsar) doing KAlakshEbams in KAnjIpuram. RAmAnujar talked about truths called KapyAsam and moved people to tears with his discourses. AlavandAr wished to visit him and went to the perumAl temple there. After praying to DEvAdirAjan, while coming around the sannidi of KarumAnikkap PerumAl, he chanced to come upon YAdava PrakAsar and his disciples. AlavandAr asked the people around him who ShrI RAmAnujar was and found out. When he saw him he knew then and there what a great soul he was.

Yasya PrasAdakalayA BadhirashruNOti Padmuhu PradhAvati javEnachavatti mukaha
Andhaha Prapashyati Yatam Labhatecha VandhyA tam DEvamEva Varadam SharaNam GatOsmi

And this is what AlavandAr felt upon seeing RAmAnujar: "By the grace of which Lord a deaf person can reagin his sense of hearing, a lame person can start running, A dumb person start talking, a blind peson start seeing and a barren woman beget a child; in His presence I sense that this man will be a great influence on expounding VishitAdvaita to the world". He did not want to interrupt RAmAnujar any further so he left from there without a formal introduction.  He went to the Big KOil for a while and stayed there. Old age plagued him and sensing that his end was near, he summoned Periya Nambi to fetch RAmAnujar and bring him there. Periya Nambi went to KanjIpuram and was seeking the blessings of the Lord with the following shlOkA: BrahmA Sivaha Satamagaha. RAmAnujar, passing by, asked him who taught him that beautiful verse. Periya Nambi replied that it was the ShrI Sukti of AlavandAr. RAmAnujar wanted to meet him right away.

RAmAnujar meets AlavandAr

Both of them came back to ShrI Rangam. But sadly, AlavandAr had passed away just then. All the disciples there were waiting for their arrival. RAmAnujar was very distressed on hearing the news of AlavandAr's passing. He wished to see him one last time. When he was granted presence, he noticed that AlavandAr had passed on holding up 3 fingers. RAmAnujar wanted to know what the significance of that was. The others explained it to him thus:
1. The name of ParAsara munivar (to whom we owe Vishnu PurAnam) and his progeny should beshould be commemorated on the earth by giving it to a person worthy to bear
2. NammAzhvAr's prabandams must be expounded and explained
3. Write an commentary for Upanishads, Vedanta Sutras and Bhagavad Gita
It was his life's ambition to carry out these 3 tasks but he passed on before that. RAmAnujar indicated his wish to take on those 3 tasks if they were indeed the wishes of the great AlavandAr. The minute he uttered this words, the 3 fingers on AlavandAr's departed body unfolded. What to say of the greatness of such an AchAryan?

ShrI AlavandAr's ShrI suktIs

AlavandAr expounded 8 grantAs. The kramAs expounded by those 8 were expounded by ShrI swAmi DEsikan in one shlOkA.  If these were said in other places by ShrI SwAmi, the kramAs were not gotten there. The 8 grantAs were: 1. AagamaprAmAnyam (States the autjority of PancharAtra AgamA) 2. Purusha nirnayam (describes that the ultimate reality is the god-goddess pair ShrI and NArAyanA) 3. Aatmasiddhi 4. Samvitsiddhi 5. Eesvara siddhi (All the 3 siddhis explain the VishistAdvaitA school of thought, describing a relation between the soul, god and the universe) 6. GItArththa Sangraham(a commentary on the Bhagavad GItA) 7. ChatuslOki (a prayer in praise of Lakshmi) 8. SthOthra ratnam (a prayer in praise of NArAyanA)

VigAhE YAmunam TIrtha SAdhubrundAvanE Sthitam
Nirasta JimhAgasparshE yatra Krishnaha KrutAdaraha.

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