Wednesday, May 30, 2007

That fortune is -- MOKSHA...

Continuation of the previous post!

Is there anything superior to even mOksHA?

Of course, Yes! The lustrous body, defeating a grand greenish mountain, the lip that shines better than a ruby, the red eyes that puts a ‘just then blossomed’ lotus to shame;The devotional rejoice, to address HIM as achyuthA (one who destroys the sins of the devotees), to address HIM as Lord of the Lords, and to address HIM as the cow herd boy krisHNa;

The bHaktha thondaradippodiAzhvAr feels that these are even greater than mOksHA itself. He goes on further to declare thus:‘If I get even the indhira lOka fortune, instead of this, I shall not prefer Oh Lord ranganAtHA!’

The original text is from thirumAlai (sacred garland) sung by thondaradippodiAzhvAr.

The Lord who wears it is the ranganAtHA of shrIrangam. ThondaradippodiAzhvAr is one of the 12 AzhvAr(s) of tamil bHakthi cult. The AlvAr(s) are great mystic devotees who lived during the advent of kali yugA. They have sung many poems in praise of the Lord, which also have great spiritual and philosophical significance. Each verse is an ecstatic outpouring of these devotees in their liberated state of mind.

The concerned full verse is:

pachai mAmalai pOl mEni, pavaLa vAi, kamala chengaNN, achyuthA amarar ErE,
Ayartham kozhundhE ennum, ichuvai thavira yAn pOi indhira lokam ALum –
achuvaiperinum vEndEn arangamA nagaruLAnE!

This is a gem of a pAsuram and the most renowned one. We can see this in the inner wall of shrIrangam temple, along with another one.

pachai mAmalai pOl mEni:The AzhvAr perceives the dhivya mangaLA vigraha thirumEni (sacred auspicious idol) of Lord ranganAtHa as a flourishing large greenish mountain. He says it a large mountain (mAmalai) because of its majesty. He addresses it as greenish (pachai), since only a greenish mountain is a treat for the eyes, and definitely not a dry one. The mountain has a unique characteristic. When we see it from a distance, it appears as though it is very near. But, if we actually walk towards it for a while, it appears to recede away from us. The more we go near, the more does it appear to recede! This is just true with the Lord. When we start realizing him, we feel HE is very close, such that we can immediately reach HIM. But, when we actually start our spiritual journey, he plays with us, not coming to our hold so fast.

pavaLa vAi:The AzhvAr is captivated by the lips of the Lord, which shines brighter than a jewel. He compares that with pavaLam/ ruby.

kamala chengaNN:HIS eyes are red and broad like a lotus. Tradition has it that these eyes are the ones that transformed many ordinary mortals to immortal AchAryA(s). The moment they see these, they renounce the material world. Such is the spiritual power of HIS eyes. It holds you completely. You become as if held by a magician at the very second. You renounce money, reputation, relatives, any thing and every thing!

chengaNN: He addresses it as red for two reasons. The eyes become red out of compassion and great affection to HIS devotees. They also become red due to anger, at any harm done to HIS devotees by others.

achyuthA: He is called achyuthA, since he removes the sins of all the bHakthA(s).
amarar ErE ayartham kozhundhE:He is addressed Lord of the Lords, to reveal his universal greatness. On the contrast, he is also addressed beloved krisHNA, who wandered along the cow herd boys in AyarpAdi. He is the master of the world, at the same time very accessible like a boy next door. These are two distinct qualities of the Lord.

When the AzhvAr has the fortune to rejoice the Lord in this way, he considers even the mOksHA as inferior to this. He ignores that completely (achuvai perinum vEndEn). Such is the ardent devotion, he had. The commentators of this pAsuram wish to say vaikunTam/ abode of the Lord as being referred by the phrase - indhira lOkam ALum. They do not want to take the literal meaning as such. They feel that actual indhira lOkA as too low a comparison for this lofty experience.

vaikunTam (abode of nArAyaNa) versus bHUlOkha vaikunTam (shrIrangam) – devotees prefer the latter . Every great soul prefers a life in a dhivya dhEsham, very near to the lord singing his praises for ever, being in the company of similar people.

In the same lines, another AzhvAr wishes to be born as a grass in the mountain of thirumalA. How noble a wish?
Let us also follow the same path and wish soulfully for unwavering devotion and a life at his lotus feet in a sacred place!

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