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SrimatE Raamaanujaaya Namaha //
SrimatE Nigamaanta Mahaa Desikaaya Namaha //
SrIman! SrI Ranga Sriyam anubadravam anudhinam Samvardhaya/
SrIman! SrI Ranga Sriyam anubadravam anudhinam Samvardhaya//
KAvEri VardhathAm kAlE, kAlE varshathu vAsava: /
SrI RanganAthO jayathu Sri Ranga Sri cha VardhathAm// ================================================================ SRI RANGA SRI VOL 03 / ISSUE 16 dated 1st February 2002 ===============================================================
Dear Bhagavatas:
You would have noticed that within about one year of the inauguration of ?Sri Ranga Sri? our membership has risen to nearly 1100 drawn from all over the world. This was possible only with the help and cooperation of our present members and the interest shown by new members on their own volition. We place on record our heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped building up the database.

This issue is released between the Tirunakshatrams of ?Mazhisai Vanda Jyothi?, Swami Tieumazhisai Azhwar on 30th January 2002 and ?Kooresan?, Sri Koorathaazhwaan on 2nd February 2002

You will remember that a while ago, we published a few articles on ?Sri Sthavam? and ?VaikunTa Sthavam? of the ?Pancha Sthavams? of Swami Koorathaazhwaan. Several members have been asking us to continue these postings. For the information of numerous new members and for refreshing the memory of those who have already read the same, we will re-post them and then continue with further postings on all the five Sthavams of Koorathaazhwaan. This will be started very shortly.
PART 10: Swami Desika?s Anubhavams:
Excerpts from talk delivered by Anbil Ramaswamy during the Tirunakshatram Mahotsavam of Tiruvenkatamudaiyan and Swami Vedanta Desikan celebrated jointly by ?Swami Desika Darsana Satsangam?, ?Sri Ramanuja Mission? and the Hindu Cultural Society (HCS), Buffalo, New York on 29th September 2001. This also marked the 5th Anniversary of ?Swami Desika Darsana Satsangam? and the 1st Anniversary of ?Sri Ranga Sri? Electronic journal.

Though Swami Desika is NOT an Azhwar, no write up on TiruvenkaTam udaiyaan will be complete without our enjoying the Anubhavams of Swami Desika who has composed a whole work called ?Dayaa Sathakam? on the Quality of mercy of TiruvenkaTamudaiyaan.
PART 11: ?SRI KRISHNA AVATARAM? Anbil Ramaswamy ==============================================================
The issues have been archived for public view at-
IF you are satisfied with the quality and contents of ?Sri Ranga Sri?:
Tell your friends to join by sending an email to
IF not:
Tell us, as to how we may improve.
Anbil Ramaswamy,
Editor & Publisher
?Sri Ranga Sri?
This Azhwar was an incarnation of Sudarsana Chakra (the divine discus of
Lord Vishnu). He was born to Baargava Muni and Kanakaangi at Tirumazhisai near Kanchipuram. Even though the fetus was in the mother's womb for an unusual 12 months, when delivered was without arms, legs etc. The parents left it at the foot of a bush of cane shrubs in the forest. Lord Vishnu and Lakshmi appeared and blessed the child, which then became fully developed into a lovely baby.

A childless tribal couple called Tiruvaalan and Pankaya Chelvi engaged in cutting canes found the child and took it home. The child would not eat or drink anything nor did it show any signs of expelling waste material from its body. When an old agriculturist couple offered milk in a bowl, the child drank it with relish. One day, the couple drank of the milk left over by the child. They regained youth and in due course had a son born to them whom they named as 'Kanikannan'.

Tirumazhisai decided to learn about all other religions. So, he studied
Buddhist, Jain and other literature. He became a staunch devotee of Siva
assuming the name of Siva Vakya. One day, he saw an old man planting a
plant upside down and then trying to water it with a broken pot using a
tattered rope to lift water from a waterless well. Sivavakyar asked him why he was attempting such a foolish act. The old man was none other than Pey Azhwar who replied that what he was doing was only less foolish than Sivavakya's allegiance to Saivam, knowing full well that the Vedas and Smritis proclaim Sri Narayana as the Supreme deity.

As a result of an argument with Pey Azhwar, finally he got initiated into Vaishnavam by Pey Azhwar assuming the name of Bhaktisaarar. After visiting several temples, he reached Tiruvekka, the birthplace of Budat Azhwar.

Impressed by the service rendered by an old spinster, he restored her youth with unsurpassed beauty as desired by her. She married the Pallava king who learned of the secret of her youth. He wanted to regain youth himself. She told him that he approach Kanikannan for the purpose.

- When Kanikannan was summoned to court, he refused to come
- When asked to compose a verse on the king, he refused to compose one on a mere mortal - When told that the king was an aspect of the Lord, he composed a verse on the Lord and not on the king.
This enraged the king who banished him from his kingdom.

On hearing this, Bhaktisaarar requested the Lord in his puja to leave the place. He sang:
Kanikannan Poginraan Kaamaru poong Kachi /
Manivannaa! Nee Kidakka Vendaaa/
Sennaap Pulavanum Poginren Neeyum Unran /
Pai Naagappaai Suruttik KoLL /
" Kanikannan is going out of Kanchi O! Manivanna, You don't have to lie here anymore. Since, as the fluent poet that I am also leaving with him, you also roll your serpent bed and follow me"
And, accordingly all of them left Kanchipuram.

When they left, Kanchi became desolate. The king realized his folly and
requested Bhaktisarar and Kanikannan to forgive and return. Bhaktisarar
prayed to the Lord that in view of the King's repentance, they might return.
He sang again:
Kanikannan Pokku ozhindaan Kamarupoong Kachi /
Manivanna! Nee Kidakka VEndum - Thunivudaiya /
Sennaap Pulavanum Pokku ozhindEn- Neeyum Unran /
Pain Nagap Paai Paduthuk KoLL /
" Kanikannan has changed his mind and rescind his decision to leave Kanchi. Since, as the fluent poet that I am also returning with him, You may also return and lie down on your serpent bed as before"
All of them returned accordingly and Kanchipuram regained its lost glory.

Since the Lord did as he was told by the Azhwar, he came to be called
'Yathokta kaari' and 'Sonna vannam Seitha Perumal'-meaning 'the Lord who acted as told'

One day, when on his way to Tirukkudantai, he stopped for a while for rest and he sat on a pial of a house in Perumpuliyur. A few Brahmins were reciting Vedas. On seeing him, they stopped their recitation since Veda was not to be recited in the presence of a person belonging to the fourth caste. The Azhwar understood and was about to leave when the Brahmins started their recitation.

They did not remember at what point they had left the recitation. The Azhwar broke open a paddy seed with his fingernail to indicate the exact context, which had a reference to the paddy seed. The Brahmins realized the greatness of the Azhwar and begged to be excused.

When the Archaka (priest) of the local temple wanted to honor him, some objected and spoke ill of the Azhwar. The Azhwar prayed to the Lord to show himself to these people. He sang:
Akkarangal Akkarangal Enrum Aavadhu En Kolo /
Ik Kurumbai Neekki Ennai Eesanaakkka Vallaiyel /
Sakkaram Koll Kaiyane Sadankar Vai Adangida /
Ut Kidantha Vanname Puram Posindhu Kaattide /
" What is the use of your having those resplendent hands if you cannot remove the idiosyncrasy of these ignorant folk and make me powerful
in their midst? O1 Lord with the divine discus in your hand! Teach these
fools a lesson by showing yourself appearing in my very body"

The Lord showed himself off in the body of Azhwar and the onlookers were astonished and begged forgiveness.

On reaching Tirukkudantai (Kumbakonam), he let the birchbark leaf containing his writings in the waters of river Kaveri. The leaf floated back to him holding his works viz.,'Tiruchanda Viruttam' (a poem of beautiful verses) in which he sang the following beautiful verse:
Ninrathu Enthai Ooragathu Irundathu Enthai Paadagathu /
Anru Vekkanaik Kidandhathu Ennilaatha Munnelaam /
Anru Naan Pirandilen Pirandapin Marandilen /
Ninrathum Irundhathum Kidandhathum En Nenjule /
" Before I was born, He was standing in Ooragam, was sitting in Paadagam and was lying down in Tiruvekka. At that time I was not born with wisdom; when once I was born with this wisdom, I never forgot. Therefore, the Lord left all those places and has taken permanent abode in my heart".

The idea is that the great Gnanis never considered themselves as born at all until they realized this ' Artha gnaanam'. And, once they realized this, they had no other avocation than being immersed in the thought of the Lord. This is how Mumukshup padi explains this sentiment.

The other work of the Azhwar is ' Naanmugan Tiruvantadhi'- an Antadhi
commencing with the words 'Naanmugan' - a reference to the four faced Brahma. He published them for the benefit of posterity.

The first stanza of the Antadhi categorically states
Naan Mugani Naraayanan Padaithaan- Naan Muganum /
Thaan Mugamaaai Sankaranaithaan Padaithaan /
Yaan Mugamaai Anthaadhi Melittu Arivithen - Aazh Porulai
Sinthaamal Konmin Neer Therndhu
"The four faced Brahma was born to Narayana and to this Brahma was born Sankara. I am declaring this truth in this Antadhi. Resort to this without any doubt, if you desire to wipe out the pangs of birth"

He was so fearless, outspoken and frank to a fault in establishing his
staunch devotion to Narayana that he was known as ' the sword that was never sheathed in the cause of Vaishnavam'.

Thanian on Tirumazhisai Azhwar
On Tiruchhanda Viruttam by Tiruk Kachi Nambigal
Taruchhandap Pozhil Thazhuvu Dhaaraniyin Thuyar Theera/
Tiruchhanda Viruttam Sei Tirumazhisai Paran Varum Oor /
Karuchhandung Kaar Akhilum Kamazh Kongu Mana Naarum /
Tiruchhandathudan Maruvu Tirumazhisai Valam Pathiye

The places of birth of Azhwars are considered to be as sacred as the Azhwars themselves. Hence, the Thanians praise the their birthplaces. " This place is filled with the divine Kalpa tree, Sandalwood tree and other groves of fragrant flowers. Tirumazhisai is the holy place where was born the great Tirumazhisai Azhwar who came to this world to relieve the populace of their misery. Mahalakshmi resides happily in this beautiful place."

Thanian on Naanmukhan Tiruvantaadhi
Naaraayanan Padaithaan Naanmuganai- Naan muganukku /
Eraar Sivan Pirandhaan Ennum Sol - /
Seeraar Seppi Vaazhalaam Nenjame! Moi Poo /
Mazhisai Piraan Adiye Vaazhthu?
" Naaraayana created Brahma and to this Brahma was born Siva who is known as the ' Mei Tavathone'- real penitent. If we read and understand this great psalm, we can redeem ourselves. The one who gave us this rare psalm is the great Tirumazhisai Azhwar who was born in the flower - garden city of Mazhisai"
(This was featured in the Bhakti list on 23rd April 1996.)
Sri Koorathaazhwaan (N) was the son of Sri KoorathAzhwAr (R). He was also known as Azhwaan, Kooranaathan, NaDamaaDum Pathanjali, Srivatsaanka Misrar, Srivatsa Chinhar etc. He was one of the direct disciples of Bhagavad Ramanuja. He had two illustrious sons viz. Sri Paraasara BhaTTar and Sri Veda vyaasa BhaTTar. His Sishya was VaDuga Nambi.

Several works have been attributed to him e.g. Abigamana Saaram, Charama SlOka vyaakhyaanam, Purusha Sooktha Baashyam, Saareeraka Saara etc. He wrote the thanian beginning with ?LakshminAtha samArambhAm?. Several songs sung during weddings like Laali, Oonjal, yEsal as well as "Lakshmi KalyaaNa VaibhOghamE", "Sriraama, Jaya Jaya Laali" etc. were also written by him. "KoorEsa Vijayam" and "Yamaka Rathnaakaram" are also believed to be his works though some hold that his father wrote these two.

But, by far the most famous of his works are the 5 StOtras known as "Pancha Sthavams" which include-

1. Sri Sthavam (10 SlOkas) on Sri Ranga Naachiyaar.

2. Sri VaikunTa Sthavam (100 SlOkas) on Paramapada naathan.
The Saastra arthas contained in Sri Baashyam and other Rahasya granthas have been clearly brought out in this Sthavam without transgressing the preclusions and exclusions ordained in the study of the Vedas, in such a manner that it used to be said "Sri VaikunTa Sthavam theriyaadhavan Sri VaishNavan allan" meaning- "one who does not know Sri VaikunTa Sthavam is not a Srivaishnavan at all"

3. AthimAnusha Sthavam (61 SlOkas). Here, the Azhwaan argues how though
PerumaaL claimed to be just human, He did superhuman feats in the various avataars. Azhwaan has unassailably proved with Tharkam (logic) PramaaNam (authority) and Anubhvam (experience) how Emperumaan is THE SarvEswaran.

4. Sri Sundara bAhu Sthavam (132 SlOkas) on Azhagar of TirumAaalirum SOlai. History has it that this was composed when due to the harassment by the ChOzha King, Azhwaan had to stay at TirumAlirum sOlai which was then under Paandya kingdom.

5. Sri Varadaraaja Sthavam (102 SlOkas) on Hasthigiri Varadan, This is
considered to be he last StOtra composed by Azhwaan.

After appealing to Purushaakara ThaayAr in (1), Azhwaan proceeds to describe "Param" in (2). In (4) and (5) we enjoy Azhwaan's anubhavam of "Archaa'.(3) stands apart as Azhwaan?s "magnum opus".

We will commence with a short write up on "Sri Sthavam"
the shortest of the 5 Sthavams. This is because Azhwaan himself has commenced his Sthavams with a salutation first to Sri, in accordance with Sri Vaishnava Sampradaayam of praying to the Purushakara 'Sri"- before offering our obeisance to PerumaaL.
PART 10: Swami Desika?s anubhavam:
Excerpts from talk delivered by Anbil Ramaswamy during the Tirunakshatram Mahotsavam of Tiruvenkatamudaiyan and Swami Vedanta Desikan celebrated jointly by ?Swami Desika Darsana Satsangam?, ?Sri Ramanuja Mission? and the Hindu Cultural Society (HCS), Buffalo, New York on 29th September 2001
As every Slokam of ?Dayaa Sathakam? is a multifaceted gem flashing a wealth of meanings and significance, it is not possible in a short write up to present them in full. We, however, try to savor a few of the Slokams by random sampling of how Swami Desika enjoys his anubhavam.

Slokam 1:
PrapadhyE tham girim praaya: sreenivaasa anukampayaa /
Ikshu saara sravanthyEva yan moorthyaa sarkkaraayitham //
?TiruvenkaTamudaiyaan is the Sugarcane; His mercy is the juice; It is He who raises the crop and allows it to flow and solidify into sugar cube in the form of seven hills?

Slokam 26;
Kamalaa nilayas tvayaa dayaaLu: karuNE niskaruNaa niroopaNE tvam /
Atha yEva hi thaavaka aasrithaanaam durithaanaam bhavathi tvadEva bheethi://
Addressing Dayaa Devi Swami says:?
? Lord Srinivasa becomes merciful (dayaaLu) because of you. But, a closer look reveals that you are not merciful at all! See how the sins of your devotees are so mortified because of you that they run away from them in sheer fear!?

Slokam 28:
?KarunE durithEshu mAmakEshu prathikArAnthara durjayEshu khinna: /
KavachAyithA tvayaiva sArngee vijaya sthAnam upAsrithO vrishAdrim //
"Oh! DayA DEvi!
Do you know why the Lord is wearing a kavacham?
The Lord considered my sins as His enemies and desired to rout them.
But, alas! My sins are too powerful that even He could not succeed.
They continued to pierce His heart like poisonous arrows.
He found in you an effective shield to protect Himself from the shafts of my sins.
Then, He armed Himself with His saaranga bow (and arrows).
Still, He had to find a fortress.
So, He took His abode in TiruvEnkaTa mountain.
Now, what is the nature of this mountain?
By its very nature, the mountain is capable of destroying all my sins.
So, He eternally lives there with you as his protective shield"
What a combination of forces and precautions the Lord had to take, just to ward off the darts of powerful sins of Swami!
- He had to wear a Kavacham for 'defense'
- He had to arm Himself with saaranga bow and arrows for 'offense'.
- He had to have a safe haven to operate from! Really, imagination runs riot!
Slokam 30
aham asmi aparAdha chakravarthee
karuNE tvam cha guNEshu sArvabhoumee /
vidushee sthithim eedriseem swayam
mAm vrishasailEswara pAdasAth kuru tvam //

" Oh! DayA DEvi!
I am the emperor of all offenses (aparAdhas). My empire consists of all sins.
You are the empress queen of all auspicious qualities.
When both of us are thus equal in status, each in our own way, why not you invade my kingdom, take me prisoner of war (POW) and imprison me at the feet of your Lord VrishasailEswara? Comment: 1. The slOkam begins with "aham" which means "I"- There seems to be a purpose in this. SwAmi dexterously demonstrates how retaining the very word 'aham', it could be sublimated into "sAtvika aham-kaaram" in 'spirit' by equating 'aham' with 'aparAdha chakravarthi". To wit, from 'SOham" to DAsOham," which latter does retain the 'aham' part of it but without the odium attached to it. 2. The more powerful the vanquished enemy, the greater is the valor of the victor.
What avail is it for the 'sArvabhoumee' to confront petty and weak
chieftains, when she can cover herself with greater acclaim only by an
equally powerful Chakravarthi?
And, what are her weapons? Mercy, Compassion and so on.
So, the Swami dares Dayaa Devi to use all these weapons and meet his challenge!
A clever way to invite the 'kaTAksham' of DayA DEvi!
To Continue
Anbil Ramaswamy
Naathayaiva namaH padam bhavathu nas chitrai: charitra kramai:
BhooyObhi: bhuvanani amooni kuhanaa gOpaaya gOpaayatE /
KaaLindhee rasikaaya kaaLiya paNi spaara spaTaa vaatikaa
Ranga utsanga visanka chankrama dhuraa paryaaya charyaa: yathE //

? Let our obeisance be only for the Supreme Lord KrishNa
- who protects the world with His most wonderful acts
- who enjoys and relishes His association with the river Yamuna
- who performed a dance fearlessly making the broad hoods of the KaaLinga serpent as His stage and
- who accomplished numerous such impossible but
- who nevertheless disguised Himself the garb of a simple cow-herd?

As in the case of RAMA AVATAR, most of our readers would be familiar with the story of Krishna, his childhood pranks and exploits and his role as GEETHACHARYA at the battlefield of KURUKSHETRA. We do not propose to give the details of this AVATAR. We, however, highlight some of the less known aspects of this well-known AVATAR.

1. Do you know who is the most favorite Avatara for Swami Desika? He answers this question saying ?My obeisance is ONLY for Krishna? -?Naathayaiva namah padam bhavathu?

2. As in the case of other Avataras, SD mentions only the Kaalinga narthana incident and says? Numerous such other feats? (Dhuryaa Paryaaya charyaa yathE?. What is the big deal about this? Krishna?s favorite playground was the banks of river Yamuna. The way the small kid jumped on the hoods of the ferocious multi-headed serpent and what is more danced on it brings out the Paratvam and Soulabhyam of the Lord all at once. This incident also brought forth the intimate nexus between Naataka (drama) and Naatya (Dance). It is said that in Krishnavatara, there are 700 varieties of leelas and 7 kinds of dances, one of which is this Chaaree nrithyam

3. One of the popular notions about the lifting of the GOVARDHAN mountain is that Sri Krishna was holding it as a pyramid with his little finger at the base. According to Bhagavatha Purana, this is not so. He made of the mountain an inverted pyramid and was holding the mountain's tip by his little finger.

4. Another aspect of Lord Krishna, which draws lot of criticism, is about the episode in which he concealed the dresses of the Gopis sitting on top of a tree and asking them to come out of the river in the nude. These critics read too much into this and try to impute motives imagining him to be a vile youth. This is not correct. It should be remembered that this episode happened when he was an adolescent and constituted a childhood prank as indeed so many other pranks played by him at that age. And, Bhaagavata PuraaNa explains that this reminded the Gopis that they should not bathe totally naked as such bathing is prohibited in the Sastras.

5. "As for young Krishna's erotic exploits that have been the subject of much of the romantic literature, a discerning critic would recognize a faint but definite religious element ..... Invariably, however, the love of God for the cowherds' wives is interpreted as symbolic of the love of God for the human soul. The notes of Krishna's flute, calling the women to leave their husbands' beds and dance with him in the moonlight, represent the voice of God, calling man to leave earthly things and turn to the joys of divine love. So Jews and Christians alike have interpreted the 'Song of Songs' and so many mystical poets of all religions have depicted their spiritual experience. Despite its luxuriant eroticism, the legend of the divine cowherd produced great religious poetry and inspired many pious souls"

6. "In a story often cited, 60,000 sages wanted to become united with Vishnu in his incarnation as Rama. Rama tells the sages that he cannot oblige them in his present role, for as Rama he is sworn to monogamy. But he will oblige them in his next incarnation as Krishna; the sages can all be reborn as cowherd women (Gopis) and unite with him in love. In this view, all devotees are felt to be feminine; the Lord is the supreme male- the lover"

7. " Vishnu, in his incarnation as Krishna, is above all, a God of love and the ideal becomes intimate union and communion with the incarnate God, both in His timeless essence and in His ceaseless beneficent activity in the world of action. After the Gita, popular Hinduism becomes predominantly a religion of love"

8. It is asked by some that if Krishna himself could indulge in such erotic orgies, what is wrong if we do the same thing. As Krishna himself has said that what great people do, others would follow and Krishna's activities with the Gopis would seem to confer a license of sorts for others to follow. Lord Krishna himself advises "What great men do, others less endowed or less evolved would follow their example"

9. And again he explains why he is carrying out his duties: 'If I do not carry out my duties, even those desirous of following their Dharmic duties will give them up following my example and I will be responsible for spoiling them. That is why even though I as Bhagavaan need not be bound by formalities laid for humans, I do observe them'

10. His marrying Rukmini and Satyabhama, his amorous pranks with Radha and the Gopis - all happened during his boyhood days. It should be remembered that in those eras, child marriage was the order of the day and it is not correct to impute any sexual misdemeanor either to Krishna or to his partners.

11. Also, we have to understand that Krishna's union with the Gopis was not on base, blase, banal, physical level but on a sublime, spiritual, platonic plane with none of the carnal inhibitions which we in our limited, myopic perception would like to associate with. Also, even granting just for the sake of argument that the union was of the kind we have ' in our mind', we can also imitate him provided we are capable of imitating all other acts of his like sucking life out of the breasts of Puthanai, the demoness, or lifting on the little finger the huge mountain of Govardhan, or dancing on the hoods of the hydra-headed serpent Kaalinga or proclaiming such lofty themes like Bhagavad Gita or even following them at the least. So long as we cannot even imagine doing such miracles, we have no right to question the deeds of Krishna from a mere mundane level.

12. In our own times, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa while walking on the road with one of his disciples stopped to drink some liquor on a wayside grove. The disciple thought that he could also do the same. After sometime, they found molten iron in the boiling cauldron of a blacksmith. Without any hesitation, Ramakrishna drank of the liquid as easily as one would gulp down water. The disciple realized that he could not repeat the feat. The moral is that we should follow what great people advise and not try to do what they do.

13. We hear of Krishna right up to his boyhood days. There is a big gap in the story of his life until he reappears on the scene as the friend, philosopher and guide of the Paandava princes by which time he was past 40 years of age. It is then that he went as a messenger of Paandavas, joined the Paandavas in their battle against the Kauravas and preached the gospel of BHAGAVAD GITA to Arjuna.

14. The name of Christ resembles that of Krishna. Except for the birth of Christ in Bethlehem, nothing was known about his boyhood days. All his exploits, encounters etc. took place during this period and unto about 40 years of age when he was crucified- the interregnum significantly obscure in the life history of Sri Krishna. Some scholars are tempted to believe that Krishna it was who appeared as Christ and on resurrection reappeared as the friend, philosopher and guide of the Paandava princes. They adduce another similarity like both being born in humble surroundings like prison and the cattle shed and like Krishna tending cows and Christ tending sheep - the belief is reinforced. This cannot be correct because Lord Krishna was in the Dvapara Yuga some 6000 years back, while Jesus Christ lived less than 2000 years back and the belief is definitely baseless and represents a pathetic belabored attempt to integrate the two religions.

15. Almost all the ALWARS had enjoyed the innumerable episodes in the life of Lord Krishna. Swami Vedanta Desika calls him "KREEDA VALLABHA" to show that his impossible feats and the miracles were done as if in a sport. The magnum opus is his Bhagavad Gita that stands supreme as the essence of Hindu Philosophy and accepted as such the world over.

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