Thursday, June 21, 2007

AruL mAran

SrimathE rAmAnujAya Namaha
Srimath VaravaramunayE Namaha
Sri vAnAchala mahamunayE Namaha

Swami ManavaLa MamunikaL in the divya prabhandam of UpadEsa Ratna mAlai lists the AzhvArs - the ten great saints in the fourth hym . We find quite interestingly the word aruL mAran while listing svAmi NammAzhvAr . Merely the word aruL will translate as gracious or one with great degree of kindness to bless/bestow something good . In that sense almost all our AzhvArs have bestowed the great good of Divya Prabhandams . What is so special about mAran - ShatakOpa muni ? Why is he alone designated as aruL mAran? There may spring many answers to this question . Basically Svami NammAzhvAr is the embodiment of all AzhvArs . So it could be well taken that the grace of all AzhvArs ultimately culminates or conversely arises out of Svami NammAzhvAr . To render weightage to this enormous treasure of grace - Svami NammAzhvAr could well be called aruL mAran.
When adiyen repeats the word grace several times - it is the boundary of grace or parama kripai . Taking very easily the two meanings of the word parama - we can take that the greatest benevolence is that of AzhvArs and more importantly , the only benevolence ever - being that of AzhvArs. Who else than these Dravida saints could have relieved the pressure of confusion in the Sanskrit shruthis off by their clear and divine verses. Such is the help done by these AzhvArs to us and also our humanity that a great AchArya versed in the vEdAnta none else than the genius of Svami VedAnta Desika proclaimed - " theLiyAda maRainilankaL theLiginrOmE" or " We get clarified in the confusion of the Vedas - thanks to our AzhvArs."

What else could be the reason for using the word aruL ? In the vAzhi thirunAmam of AzhvAr the first line runs about AzhvAr giving Thiruvirutham - and - the word used for this act of giving is "aruLinAn". NammAzhvAr started to talk to Madhurakavi AzhvAr the 4 Divya prabandams starting Thiruvirutham. Many thanks he started so , we have the great - drAvida vEda chathushtayam . So the starting point of his grace was from Thiruvirutham - so aruL might have been used in the name of AzhvAr for commemorating this incident .

In another place , this aruLinAn occurs when the vAzhi thirunAmam runs into explaining the greatness of AzhvAr becoming mAdhavan pAdhuka or what we find to our immense delight of spiritual experience as ShatAri in temples.(Need any reminders of Vanamamalai? ) This is a direct indicator of AzhvAr as pAduka blessing the heads of the srIvaishNavAs and others alike so that they progress or redeem themselves towards the Lord. This is a direct act of blessing or gracing and so svAmi NammAzhvAr is well aruL mAran due to this reason .

No sooner was AzhvAr born into this world he did a variety of unfathomable acts like chasing away the air of ignorance , reclining to composure - much against the perturbations witnessed in a baby as grief (crying), hunger , etc; Such a different baby - mAran would have naturally been feared or detested due to indifference. But wonder of all wonders - this is the same AzhvAr who saved the world with his prabandams and we witness to today - from scholar to layman seeking the grace of Svami NammAzhvAr - that for more reasons than one the word AzhvAr easily brings to mind only svAmi NammAzhvAr. So this is not just an ordinary usual mAran - this AzhvAr is the mAran who saves the world by his boundless grace - so aruL mAran!

Be it anyway why is still AzhvAr designated by aruL - is there some concluding reason to put a satisfactory solution to this question .
The answer would have easily cropped up before too which was reserved to be discussed in the end. Anyone not heard "nAthanukku nAlAyiram uraithAn vAzhiyE " in the vAzhi thirunAmam of AzhvAr?!
Whatever may be AzhvAr's avathAram , whatever may be his role as padukA , whatever his kindness in giving the 4 dravida vEdAs, how would we know all this ? How do we know AzhvAr is great or gracious ? There is no way we are so scholarly to find out all reasons for ourselves , thereby throwing our understanding on the sacred words of our poorvacharyas. Even for our poorvacharyas to speak on AzhvAr , to make recognise his role as pAduka , to accomplish their most important task of saving these jIvAtmAs from samsara through their commentaries and rahasya granthAs - there is undeniably one burning cent percent essential necessity - the prabhandams must exist in the first place .
Thanks to Svami NAthamuni 's divine effort for retrieving the Thiruvoymozhi , we have the 1102 hyms of AzhvAr. Now where is aruL ? Not only did AzhvAr appear to Svami Nathamuni and grace the thiruvoymozhi, but because of the boundless grace gave all his four prabhandams ... did it stop there! He revealed all the compositions of all the AzhvArs to Svami Nathamuni .
And what do we have today - starting from the morning till dusk - be it a utsavam , procession , festval or ceremony , be it the commencing of any ritual or performing ArAdhanam of the Lord , the Divya prabandhams reverberate about the entire environment. What's more ! Only the kshEtrams sung by AzhvArs find the title of Divya dEsams - so much for the compositions of AzhvArs ! Totally unthinkable is any activity let alone our plight without these hyms . And as Svami NammAzhvAr - most kindly gave the 4000 to Svami Nathamuni we have no worry to dwell into such meditations . So now do we see the depth of aruL in the ocean of mAran !
AzhvAr EmberumAnAr JIyar thiruvadikaLE charaNam