Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chapter 6 - EmperumAnAr Part 4

ShrI AalavandAr's last upadEsam

As we saw in the last chapter, in SrI Rangam, AalavandAr was plagued by the ills of old age. He was surrounded by his worried disciples. Then he was approached by TiruvarangaperumALarayar, Periyanambigal and TirukkOttiyUr Nambigal who pleaded with him to impart his knowledge of something special and dear to him. Aalavandar had the following orders for them: "By the grace of a good AachAryan, you have all done ChanaNAgati and are leading a good life. Continue in the tradition of an AAchAryan and serve the Lord thus. Perform all those duties that have to be carried out without fail (like SanDhyAvandanam). Such duties are called AajnyA kaingaryam. On the other hand, Anujnya kaingaryam comprises of those duties that should be carried out if they can; but is not a great sin if it cannot be kept up with. Exampls of such duties are going with God in proession, lighting lamps in the temple and doing the utsavAdigal in the temple. This is what BhAgavata AachArya kaingaryam is all about. Make it known to all your disciples".

The news that AalavandAr was sick spread all over the country. On hearing it, 2 vaishnaNavAs from PerumAL temple came to see him in SrI Rangam. While paying obeisance to him, they narrated the account of the dispute between RAmAnujar and YAdavaprakAsar in the interpretation of the line "Sarvam Kalu Idam Bhrahmma". They indicated that the Guru banished him from his service and that he was performing daily duties for PEraruLALan in his temple. AalavandAr was happy on hearing it and felt that PEraruLALan carried out his wishes for him. He called upon Periya Nambi and asked him to go to KAnjI and bring RAmAnujar to him.

Periya Nambi in PerumAl temple

According to AachAryan's wishes Periya Nambi came to PerumAL temple in a few days. He prostrated before the lotus feet of PEraruLALAn and PerundEvi ThAyAr. He met Tirukkachchi Nambi and conveyed the news of AalavandAr's health and his wishes to bring RAmAnujar to him. He was waiting for RAmAnujar's arrival from SAlak KiNar because he knew that he would be bringing the tirumanjana tIrtam for the Lord. At that time he was reciting the following mantrA: "BhrahmmA Sivaha Satamakaha ParamasvarAdityEtEpu Yasya MahimArNava ViprushahatE". RAmAnujar was thrilled on hearing it and asked who Periya Nambi about who wrote those verses. Periya Nambi indicated that it was none other than AalavandAr and RAmAnujar desired to see him immediately. Periya Nambi gladly agreed to take him. After getting the blessing of the Lord and DEvi, the pair made their way back to SrI Rangam.

SrI AalavandAr's desire

Meanwhile AalavandAr's health was deteriorating by the day. He wished to get the blessings of Periya PerumAL one day so he was helped up to his sannidi to get tIrtam and prasAdams. When he was standing before the Lord, he could not contain the discontent in his heart and burst into tears. The disciples surrounding him were shocked and wished to know what was ailing his mind that would upset him to this extent. AalavandAr revealed it to them along with the fact that he was upset about not having met RAmAnujar:
1. Writing a commentary for VyAsa SUtram
2. The names of ParAsaran and VyAsan who ruled that SrIman NArAyaNA was the supreme Lord be granted to 2 VaishNavAs worthy of the name
3. Write a commentary for NammAzhvAr's divya prabandham
He then folded his fingers to reveal the number 3 to indicate 3 of his unfulfilled desires. His disciples tried to reassure him that by the grace of the Lord, all these would be fulfilled eventually and asked him how they could be of his aid for that moment. Aalavandar expressed his wshes to pray before NAdamunigals slippers and get his blessings and TIrtam. Accordingly, NAdamuni's PAdukai was brought before. The AachAryan prayed to it heartily and revealed that as Abijit MuhUrtam closed in on them, he would make his way to the lotus feet of the Lord in paramapadam. He sat in a perfect PadmAsanam position with NAdamuni's pAdukais on his head chanting the names of ManakkAl Nambi and UyyakondAr and passed away thus. All his disciples including Tiruvarangap PerumALarayar stood like uprooted trees without their roots. Then they steadied themselves and started prepping to perform the last rites for the AachAryan. They called upon his son PillaikkarasuNambi to perform his duties thus. They adorned his body with garlands from Periya PerumAL and hoisted him upon a Bhramma chariot and took him to TirukkarambanUrturai for his final resting place.

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