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The origin of Nava MaNi Maalai
Swamy Desikan settled in ThiruvahIndhrapuram in his twenties . He already
had the special anugraham of Sri HayagrIvan and Periya Thiruvadi . He was
performing unchivrutthi and KaalakshEpams there . One day , he had a great
urge to have the darsanam of Sri VardarAjan of Kaanchi . Swamy took leave
of Sri HemAbhja Valli SamEtha Sri DevarAjan and started on his trip to
Kaanchi. He arrived at the banks of PeNNai river and was resting for the
night there .
Swamy Desikan's dream and the Lord's command
During his sleep that night, Sri DevanAthan appeared in his dream and
commanded Swamy Desikan to return to His dhivya dEsam and compose Sri
Sookthis about Him . Swamy Desikan woke up and obeyed that command
immediately by abandoning his planned journey to Kaanchi and returned to
There he composed 7 Tamizh Prabhandhams ( MummaNik Kovai, Nava MaNi Maalai
, Panthu , Kazhal , AmmAnai , Oosal , yEsal) and two Sanskritic works (
Sri Deva Naayaka PanchAsath and Sri Achyutha Sathakam in PrAkrtham as well
). Due to our DhurbhAgyam , the five Tamil Prabhndhams except MummaNik
Kovai(MMK) and Nava maNi Maalai (NMM) are no longer available to us . Even
in the case of MMK , only ten of the thirty paasurams are known today .
The Acknowledgement of the Lord's command to compose
Swamy Desikan acknowledges at two places the command of Lord DevanAthan to
compose the Sri Sookthis by him . At the end of NMM , Swamy records his
gratitude to the Lord this way :
" munthai maRai Mozhi Vazhi mozhi nee yenRu
Mukundhan aruL tantha payan peRREnAnE "
(Meaning): I accumulated the fruits from the command of Lord Mukundhan (
Moksha Daayakan ) by executing His command to compose Sri Sookthis on Him
. What He commanded me was to create Prabhandhams that have their meanings
enshrined in the ancient VedhAs . That adiyEn accomplished with His
blessings by composing seven Tamizh Prabhandhams and two Sanskrit-based
SthOthra granthams on His glories.
In the eighth slOkma of Sri DevanAyaka PanchAsath , Swamy Desikan refers
again to the command of the Lord on the banks of PeNNai river once again
with a telling upamA (similie):
SamrakshaNIyam AmarAdhipathE tvyaiva
DhUram prayAtham api dhusthyaja ghADa bhandham
aakrushtavAnasi BhavAn anukampamAna:
SoothrA anubhaddha Sakuni kramatha: svaym maam
(Meaning): Oh Lord Of ThiruvahIndhrapuram ! AdiyEn was deeply tied to the
ropes of SamsAram due to poorva Janma karmAs . That made me stay far away
from You .Inspite of that my unfortunate state , Your magnificient DayA
flowed towards me. Otherwise , who else could have succeeded in saving me
from my miserable state ? Your immeasurable Dayaa pulled me to Your sacred
feet and set me in the right track . Your pull is like the pull of the
string attached to the leg of a bird by the owner of that bird as it flies
away from its Lord thinking that it is independent . Swamy is referring
here to ANDAL's words : UnRannODu uRavu namakku inku ozhikka OzhiyAthu "
and " unRannaip paaDip Parai kondhu yaam peRum sammAnam ".
THUS WAS BORN THE TAMIZH AND SANSKRIT PRABHANDHAMS ON LORD DEVANAYAKAN AT
THIRUVAHINDHRAPURAM INCLUDING NAVA MANI MAALAI.
Segment One Two
The Title of Nava MaNi Maalai
The title indicates that there are nine gems (paasurams )strung together
in the form of a beautiful necklace for adornemnt by the Lord of
ThiruvahIndhrapuram . The nava (nine) MaNis or the nava rathnams are
equivalent to the nine gems bequeathed as a treasure to us by AchArya
RaamAnujA for whom Swamy Desikan's reverence was legendary. Nava also
means New or rare . Swamy's choice of the word "nava" in the title can
also be intrepreted to mean that these paasurams (gems) are apoorva new
gems mined by him for the kaimkaryam to the Lord .
The Essence of Nava MaNi Maalai Paasurams
Paasuram 1: This is a sixteen lined verse ( PathinARu Aasiriya Viruttham)
constituted by Four quartets . The glory of the Lord's sacred feet are
saluted in this paasuram.
Paasuram 2: Lord DeavanAthan's dasaavatharam is eulogized here . Swamy
Desikan uses a 20 lined paasuram ( IrupaattheNN SeerAsiriya Viruttham) to
salute the 10 avathArams and houses these 20 lines in sets of four , each
of which containing five lines .The PurANic reference to
ThiruvahIndhrapuram is also included here. Swamy Desikan seems to have
been inspired by the DasAvathAra Paasurams of Thirumnagai on Lord
DevanAthan . Thirumangai sang only about Nrusimha, Raama , KrishNa and
Vaamana avathArams. Swamy completed the coverage of the rest in this one
Paasuram 3: This verse is is in yezhu SeerAsiriya Viruttham and focuses on
the dhivya leelAs such as the lifting of Govardhana Giri by KrishNA and
VeerarAghavan 's destruction of RaavaNan and his city .
Paasuram 4: This paasuram is in kali Viruttham and celebrates the famous
uthsavam during the month of Maasi , when the constellation Makam is in
ascendance. On that day , Lord DevanAthan travels to the ocean near by
and has His Thirumanjanam with ocean water .
Sri HemAbhja Valli ThAyAr 's other name is Taranga Mukha Nandhini . As a
little child , She enjoyed very much the sight of breaking waves of the
Ocean touching Her feet in reverence . Her foster father , Bhrugu Rishi
took Her to the sea side for pleasing Her.Later , Her husband made Her
joyous by traveling with Her to the same sea side so She can enjoy the
sight of the breaking of the waves .
Paasuram 5: In this aRuseerAsiriya Vruttham , Swamy Desikan prays for
anthima smruthi about the Lord of ThiruvahIdhrapuram just as he did in
Gopala Vimsathi (adharAhitha chAru vamsanALaa: makutAlampi mayUra
pinchamAlA:, Harineela silA vibhanga neelA: prathibhA: SANTU MAMAANTHIMA
Paasuram 6: Here Swamy asserts that the bhAgyasaalis, who do not forget
the incomparable beauty of the Lord of ThiruvahIndhrapuram will attain
Moksha siddhi (ninn vaDivazhahu maRavAthAr piRavAthArE )and as a aresult
will never be born again in this samsAric world.
Paasuram 7: This paasuram is a prayer for freedom from the sufferings in
narakam ( KaalanAr tamar yennaik kavarAthu , anRu vanthu ANJAL yenRu aruL
).The reference here is to "Maa sucha: " section of the Charama slOkam .
Swamy Desikan also refers to GajEndra calling " Aadhi MoolamE " and the
Varadhan rushing to the elephant's rescue .
Paasuram 8: This is a beautiful , lilting paasuram set in PathinAnku Seer
Chandha Viruttham . Here again Swamy Desikan prays to Achyuthan (
Adiyavarkku Meyyan /Natha Satyan/Sathya Vrathan) to come to his rescue by
offering His RakshaNam before the Yama DhUthars arrive to cast their noose
on him ( kaala dhuthar veesu paasam yenn mEl vanthu veezhnthu azhunthi ,
yaan ayarnthu veezhvatharkku munnam , Nee ANJAL , ANJAL , ANJAL yenRu
aLikka vENDum ). The request is for the Lord to declare thrice the word
"Anjal" ( Abhaya pradhAnam )for his sake . Swamy Desikan will go on to
create a magnificient Sri Sookthi revered now as Abhaya PradhAna Saaram .
Paasuram 9: In this yeNN seerAsiriya Viruttham , Swamy thanks the Lord for
blessing him to compose the nine Tamizh and Sanskrit Prabhandhams on Him.
He acknowledges that he harvested the fruits of that Kaimkaryam commanded
by the Lord ( Mukundhan aruL tantha payan peRREn ).
Swamy Desikan named this SrI Sookthi as "Nava Mani Maalai " following the
Tamil grammar traditions in observing the rules of poetry metres . In such
poetry , there are 9 paasurams (verses) just like the nine gems in a Nava
Rathna MaNi Maalai .
These Paasurams shine like the nine gems representing the nava grahams :
1. Ruby for Sun ( Sooryan)
2. Pearl for Moon (Chandran)
3. Red Coral for Mars(AnghArakan)
4. Emerald for Mercury (Budhan)
5. Yellow sapphire for Jupiter(Guru)
6. Diamond for Venus
7. Blue Sapphire for Saturn(Sani)
8. Hessonite for Raahu
9. Cat's eye for KEthu
Please refer to SrI Mutthuswamy Dheekshithar's Nava Graha Keethanais to
learn more about these nine grahams .
There are Veda Manthrams for each of the above nine grahams( Gems) for
Navagraha Saanthi Homam for those who wish to get the blessings of these
individual grahams . A prapanna SrI VaishNavan does not perform worship to
any one of these grahams but only to SrIman NaarAyaNan , the indweller of
them all .
Many however wear Navarathna Maalai or ring consisting of these nine gems
with Ruby at the center and the rest in their alloted positions around the
Sun in a square pattern to ward off Nava graha dhOshams .
Swamy Desikan in one of the powerful SrI RanganAtha PaadhukA Sahasra
slOkams paid tribute to the PaadhukAs of Lord RanganAtha as the controller
of the power of these Nava grahams( SlOkam .
Two or three years ago , we were fortunate to present a double strand
Nava Mani Maalai to Thiruvaheendhrapuram SrI DevanAtha PerumAl and a
MummaNikkOvai to His Divine Consort Sri HemAbhjavalli ThAyAr . The
concluding phase of that series of Kaimkaryam will arrive soon with the
SamarpaNam of the RathnAngi for Lord DeavanAtha PerumAL .
Garuda PurANam(68.17) and Agni PurANam (246.7-8) dwell on the
auspiciousness conferring power of these gems as long as they are "high
born " and blemishless ( SujanithA amalam ).
Macroscopic view of this Prabhandham
In this Prabhandham of Nava MaNi Maalai , Swamy Desikan speaks about the
glories of EmperumAn's sacred feet and next about His ten avathArams .He
follows it up with the salutation to the sacred theerthams creeated at
Thiruvaheendhrapuram by Brahma , Garudan , Aadhi Seshan and BhUmi Piraatti
on the banks of which the Lord stays with affection . Swamy Desikan next
elaborates on the walk to the seas side during the month of Maasi to enjoy
His uthsavam at the sandy dunes and points out that those who have not
forgotten His beauty will be freed from the cycles of births and deaths
.He concludes the Nava MaNi Maalai by pleading with the Lord to grant him
abhaya pradhAnam during his last moments on earth and acknowledges his
composition of nine SrI sookthis ( 2 in Sanskrit and 7 in Tamil) at the
command of his Lord.
The Vaibhavam of the Lord's sacred feet
oru mathi anbhar uLam kavarnthana
ulaham adanga vaLarnthu aLanthana
oru saDai onRiya Gangai tanthana
urha paDangaL angu koNDana ( LInes 1-4)
(Meaning ) : The sacred lotus feet of Lord DevanAthan , who is true to
His devotees , enchant the minds of the ParamaikAnthis and make them
meditate on those holy feet all the time. Such are their Vaibhavam !
Those sacred feet rose to a gigantic size and contained all the worlds
under them . They created the GangA river and made Lord Siva a Parisuddhan
by letting Him hold that sacred river in His matted locks. During
KrishNAvathAram , those sacred feet used the hoods of the fiercely
poisonous serpent , KaaLIngan as the theater for their dance and danced
dharumam uyarnthathu ithu yenna ninRana
Dharuman iranthathu isainthu senRana
sakadam udainthu kalanga venRana
tamarkaL arunthum marunthu yenbana ( Lines 5-8)
(Meaning): These sacred feet are powerful to grant adiyArs their desired
phalans by manifesting as the unique and wonderous upAyam . They dared to
go to DuryOdhanan's court even as an ambassador at the request of
Dharmaputhrar . Those feet destroyed into shreds the asuran , who came in
the form of a wheel to kill Him during KrishNAvathAram .They are saluted
by the SaasthrAs as the insatiable nectar and medicine for removing the
sufferings from worldly afflictions (SamsAra tApams) .
ThirumahaL seyya karankaL onRina
thihazh TuLavu unthum maNam kamazhnthana
sezhumaNi koNDa silambu ilangina
silai tanil anRu ohr aNangu umizhnthana(Lines 9-12)
(Meaning): Those sacred feet unite with the tender hands of MahA Lakshmi ,
when She presses them . They are fragrant with the perfume of sacred
TuLasi from the archanais of adiyArs. They shine with the lustre of the
gem-studded ankle ornament and add beauty to the rathna silampu through
their union . During RaamAvathAram , they blessed Ahalyai to appear again
in her beautiful form as the wife of Gouthama and freed her from the curse
of her husband .
aru maRai antham amarntha paNbina
Ayan mudi tannil amarnthu uyarnthana
aruL tara yeNNi Ayinthai vanthana
Adiyavar Meyyar malar PaadhangaLE ( Lines 13-16)
(Meaning): Those sacred feet have the vaibhavam of housing themselves
inside Upanishads (VedAnthams) . They sat on the head of BrahmA and rose
further up. They arrived at Thiru Ayindhai to bless Their adiyArs .
Those are the lotus soft and beautiful feet of the Lord eulogized as Natha
Sathyan ( Adiyavar Meyyan) .
Sarvam KrishNArpaNam asthu ,
Daasan , Oppiliappan KOil VaradachAri SadagOpan
Srimate Sri Laksminrisimha Divya Paduka Sevaka
SrivaNN Satakopa Sri Narayana Yatindra Mahadesikaya Nama: