Upadesa Rathna Malai Pasurams on Periyazhwar

The Birthday of PeriyAzhwAr

inRaip perumai aRinthilayO yEzhai nenjE!
inRaikku yennERRam yenil uraikkEn--nanRi punai
PallANDu paaDiya namm Bhattar PirAn vanthu udhittha
nall Aaniyil sOthi naaLL.........(16)

(Meaning ): Oh My poor Mind ! Do n't you know the glory of this day ? Listen ! I will tell you what the glory is all about .This is Aani SvAthi day , when our Bhattar PirAN , who blessed us with the most auspicious PaLLANDu to the Supreme Lord incarnated on this earth .

Comments: Swami Desikan has blessed us with a Prabhandham of 18 Paasurams known as " Prabhandha Saaram " that pays tribute to the AzhwArs , who gave us the NaalAyira Divya prabhandham . Swami Desikan described himself as "Tamizh MaRayOn" out of his great respect for the Prabhandhams of the AzhwArs . In his work , Prabhandha Saaram , Swamy Desikan covered the particulars about the dhivya desams where the AzhwArs were born , the month of their avathArams , the constellations under which they were born ,their glories, the name of the prabhndhams that they blessed us with , the number of total paasurams in their prabhndhams and the central message ( uyirk Karutthu or sarArtham ) housed in their paasurams . All these 18 paasurams of Swamy were set in the 8 lined , majestic yeNN sIr Aasiriya viruttham because of the many items he had to incorporate in each of these paasurams . Sri MM chose the simpler , four lined VeNN paa meter to fit the mood of Upadesam to a sishyan . Swami Desikan's emphasis was to assemble the facts for the archives so that there will be no confusion about the facts related to the AzhwArs and their aruLiccheyalkaLs . Sri MM in his Upadesa Rathna Maalai (UMR) had topics over and above Azhwars, such as AchAryAs like Sri RaamAnujA and the others that folowed him .Hence the size of the UMR swelled to 73 in number , almost four times the size of Swami Desikan's Prabhandham on AzhwArs alone .

Jn~AnigaL"s recognition of the greatness of PeriyAzhwAr
maanilatthin munn namm PeriyAzhwAr vanthu uthittha
Aani tannil sOthi yenRAl aadharikkum --Jn~Aniyarkku
oppAr illai ivvulahu tanil yenRi nenjE
yeppOthum sinthitthiru.........(17)

(Meaning):Oh My Mind! At all times think of the ones who begin their celebration of our AchAryan, PeriyAzhwAr, the moment they hear about the words Aani SvAthi and immediately connect it to his sacred avathAra dinam .There is no one in all the world, who can match the glories of these MahA PurshAs filled with pure Jn~Anam that enables them to understand the unique glory of this day .

(Comments): Sri MM's reverence for PeriyAzhwAr is abundantly clear through his choice of the words , "namm PeriyAzhwAr ". Sri MM's pride in sambhandham with PeriyAzhwAr is also clearly displayed here . Sri MM refers here to the matchless Jn~Anis , who celebrate the greatness of periyAzhwAr , the moment some one says , " Aani tannil sOthi" . In the whole month of Aani , there is only one JyOthi (effulgence ) for them and that is PeriyAzhwAr . Sri MM asks us to reflect on the soubhAgyam of these Jn~Anis , who understand fully the avathAra rahasyam of PeriyAzhwAr .

The reason for the name of PeriyAzhwAr for Bhattar PirAn *********************************************************
MangaLAsAsanatthil maRRuLLa AzhwArkaL
tangaL aarvatthu aLavu thaan anRi--pongum
parivAlE VilliputthUr Bhattar PirAn peRRAn
PeriyAzhwAr yennum peyar.........(18)

(Meaning ): Bhattar PirAn, who incarnated (as an amsam of GarudA ) at Sri VillipputthUr received the name of PeriyAzhwAr as a honorific title. Why So ? This is because of his intensity in bhakthi (abhnivEsam ) for eulogizing Sriman NaarAyaNan exceeded (exhuberantly ) that of all the other AzhwArs .

(comments): PeriyAzhwAr had the rare distinction of being recognized as the eldest among fellow AzhwArs ( Periya Aazhwaar).Why did this title stick to him ? He was not the eldest among them . Poygai and the other two Mudhal AzhwArs were older than him ( incarnated earlier than him).NammAzhwAr and Kaliyan had larger number of Prabhandhams than him .Other AzhwArs had ruchi ( intense desire ) for MangaLAsAsanam of the Lord as well that poured out of them as moving paasurams.Yet they did not earn the title of PeriyAzhwAr ? Why so ? MM points out that Bhattar PirAn won the title of PeriyAzhwAr becuase of the ghanam and intensity of his concern for the welfare of the Lord that got crystallized as PaLLANDu .

(Comments): Swami Desikan's salutation of PeriyAzhwAr is moving : " Aani tannil, perunjyOthi tannil thOnRum PerumAnE !" ( The One who incarnated during the Aani, when the great constellation of SvAthi was in ascendance as perumAn/periyAzhwAr). Swami Desikan had only one paasuram of 8 lines for PeriyAzhwAr , where as Sri MM used 12 lines (3 VeNN Paas) to salute the greatness of periyAzhwAr inview of the greatness of ThiruppallANDu .

The reason for the Primacy of ThiruppallANDu
kOthilAm AzhwArkaL kooRu kalaikku yellAm
Aadhi ThirupallANDu aanathuvum --Vedatthukku
Om yennu madhu pOl uLLathekku yellAm surukkaai
thaan mangalam aathalAl.......(19)

(Meaning):Among all the Prabhandhams of the blemishless AzhwArs,ThiruppallANDu took the top (first) place.Why so? Just like PraNavam became the essence of the meanings of all VedAs , ThiruppallANDu stayed at the top of all Prabhandhams of fellow AzhwArs , since it is the most auspicous quintessence ( saarArtha Nidhi) of all Dhivya Prabhndhams.

(Comments): The primacy of PraNavam for the Vedams is equated here to the primacy of ThiruppallANDu among the dhivya prabhandhams . This is because both share the common attributes of serving as the Saara Nidhi and mangaLa BhAshaNam (the most auspicious word )for the Vedams and Dhivya prabhndams respectively .

The Uniqueness of ThiruppallANDu and PeriyAzhwAr
uNDO ThiruppallANDukku oppathOhr kalai thaan
uNDO PeriyAzhwArkku oppu oruvar --taNDamizh nool
seytharuLum AzhwArkaL tammil avar sey kalayil
paithal nenjE nee uNarnthu paar.....(20)

(Meaning ): Oh my mind ! Among the AzhwArs , who blessed us with the different Prabhandhams , is there One , who is equal to PeriyAzhwAr in stature ? (No). Is there one prabhandham of all these AzhwArs , which is superior to ThiruppallANDu ? (No).Oh my poor mind ! please reflect on these questions and learn about the correct answers to them .

(Comments): Swami Desikan hailed the ThiruppallANDu as " yEr aNi nool " or the Prabhandham known for its exquisite beauty ( artha gouravam and sabdha poushkalyam). Sri MM went one step further and described ThiruppallANDu as a Kalai or an exquisite piece of art or Brahma Vidhyai .

Daasan , V.Sadagopan 1