Posted in Alavandar, Stotra Anubhavam

Alavandar’s Stotra Ratnam – A Synopsis

Stotra Ratnam is a hymnal composition of Svami Alavandar.  It is a book of praises on the Lord – Narayana, the Supreme Brahman, in the school of the author.  The traditional accounts consider the work to be an exposition of the core tenets of the Divya Prabandham of Azhvars, regarded as Dramidopanishad in Srivaishnava tradition.

At the outset, the author praises his spiritual master Svami Nathamuni in three hymns.  Svami Nathamuni is identified as the eternal refuge both in this world and the next.  The succeeding hymn praises Sage Parasara Muni, who is the author of the Vishnu Purana, for his contribution to the understanding of metaphysical realities.  Svami Nammazhvar is praised next, and identified as the foremost master of his tradition.  In Srivaishnava tradition, Svami Nathamuni and Svami Nammazhvar occupy positions before Svami Alavandar on the lineage of preceptors.

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Posted in Manavala Mamunigal, Siddhantham, Upadesa Ratnamalai

Upadesa Ratnamalai

Upadesa Ratnamalai or ‘Jewel-studded Garland of Instructions’ is a work authored by Manavala Mamunigal in a classical Tamil form of poetry called venpa. A venpa is a metric prosody that ranges anywhere from two to twelve lines. This work appears to be an attempt by the author to educate the Srivaishnava community about: (i) The Glory of Alvars and Purvacharyas representing the tradition of Srivaishnavism; (ii) The commentaries authored by his earlier preceptors on the Divya Prabandham, (iii) The Greatness of the Tiruvaimoli and its commentaries, (iv) The tradition of Eedu Commentary of the Tiruvaimoli from Vadakku Tiruveedhi Pillai to Mamunigal himself, (v) The glory of Pillai Lokacharya’s  srivachanabhushanam, (vi) Some instructions to Srivaishnavites on how to conduct themselves as worthy seekers of salvation and finally (vii) The revelation of ultimate means, Charamopayam.

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Posted in Naalayiram

Parthasarathy – Our Charioteer to Srivaikuntam

Of the multiple incarnations of Sriman Narayana, it is visibly the Krishnavatara that has captured the imagination of all the Alvars. It is nigh impossible to find a work among the twenty-four divya prabandhas that does not carry a reference to the Lord’s Krishnavatara in one way or the other. Though the Lord’s incarnation as Rama lasted for a longer duration than His incarnation as Krishna, it is in this latter episode that the Lord demonstrated the unbounded limits of His easy accessibility (saulabhya). It is this possibility that the Supreme Lord – whose greatness spans a vast expanse that the Vedas fail to successfully describe (yata vaco nivartante) – and whose abode remains unattainable to seers performing rigorous austerities, can descend down this earth, walk amongst cowherds, engage in memorable pastimes, and above all, demystify the Upanisads to posterity in the form of Bhagavad Gita, that makes Him celebrate-worthy. Has there been a more generous and an easily approachable God?

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Posted in Eedu Anubhavam, Naalayiram

Eedu Anubhavam – Anthaamathanbu

In the preceding Aadi-Aadi Thiruvaimozhi, we noticed that Azhvar was overwhelmed with grief, owing to his inability to commune with the eternals (nityasuris) in Srivaikuntam. In this Anthaamathanbu thiruvaimozhi, Azhvar explains how he achieved communion with the Lord, who reached out to Azhvar in the company of the eternals. In this entire decad, Azhvar goes about explaining how the Lord revealed his (a) supernal appearance (svarupa), (b) divine form (rupa) bedecked with auspicious jewels and weaponry, and (c) auspicious attributes of longingness (pranayitva) and gentleness (sausilya) during the communion. Azhvar sings this entire decad recounting the limitless pleasure he experienced in witnessing the Lord’s satisfaction resulting from the communion.

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Posted in Manavala Mamunigal

Thiruvaimozhi Nutrandadi

Tiruvaimoli Nutrandadi, the magnum opus of Manavala Mamunigal, is an important work that forms an integral part of daily worship for Srivaishnavites. The work presents the essence of Nammalvar’s Tiruvaimoli in hundred sweet verses of poetry, with each verse capturing the essence of a decad (a decad comprises approximately ten songs). The Tiruvaimoli of Nammalvar is said to embody the path of absolute surrender (prapatti or dheerga saranagati). The Tiruvaimoli, with its commentaries and special meanings, was transmitted across generations in the teacher-disciple mode from Nathamuni to Manavala Mamunigal. Pillailokam Jiyar, in his commentary on the Tiruvaimoli Nutrandadi, compares this tradition to a stream of water that had its source in Nammalvar, flowed through the various preceptors of Srivaishnavism and found its culmination in the lake called Mamunigal.

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