SrI: SrImathE SatakOpAya nama: SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama: SrImadh varavaramunayE nama:
Santamigu Tamizh Maṛaiyōn, Vēdāntaguru
(Concluding episode of Dramiḍopaniṣat Prabhāva Sarvasvam)
Svami Desikan makes it clear that the study of Aruliccheyal is fundamental to the understanding of Sanskrit Vedas. Aruliccheyal is not merely an option, only for those who do not study the Vedas. Those who wish to study the Vedas cannot grasp its meaning without studying Aruliccheyal.
It is undeniable that Swami Desikan is one of the best scholars of the Sanskrit language, to which his own works stand as monuments of testimony. However, he did not think that his allegiance to an illustrious system of Vedanta metaphysicians and his own prodigious knowledge of Sanskrit gifted him a bypass to studying Aruliccheyal.
He makes this clear at the outset of Adhikara Sangraham:
“ceyya tamizhmālaikaḷ nām teḷiya ōdittheḷiyāda maṛainilaṇgaḷ teḷiginḍṛōmē!”
In this hymn, Swami Desikan not only calls Sanskrit Veda as “teḷiyāda maṛainilaṇgaḷ” or ‘scriptures with unclear sections’. In contrast, Aruliccheyal has to be learned clearly (tamizhmālaikaḷ teḷiya ōdi). This is not merely a recommendation for others but Swami Desikan’s own discipline (nām teḷiya ōdi).
He emphasizes this opinion in the fourth verse of Dramidopanishat Tatparya Ratnavali:
“yat tat kṛtyaṃ śṛtīnāṃ munigaṇavihitais-setihāsaiḥ purāṅaiḥ tatrāsau satvasīmnaḥ śaṭhamathanamunes-saṃhitā sārvabhaumī”
The explanation of the Vedas make easy is made by Itihasas and Puranas which are the works of sages. These are generally recognized (within the texts themselves) to be affected in some sections by rajas and tamas. In contrast, the works of Swami Nammazhvar are at the limits of satva like their poet (satvasīmnaḥ) and are perfect (sārvabhaumī) in explaining the Vedas. Therefore, this Satakopa Samhita is the best.
While explaining the fourth hymn of Stotra Ratnam of Swami Alavandar, “mātā pitā”, Swami Desikan writes the following words:
“atha parāśara-prabandhādapi vedānta-rahasya-vaiśadyātiśayahetubhūtaiḥ sadyaḥ paramātmani cittarañjakatamaiḥ sarvopajīvyaiḥ madhurakaviprabhṛti sampradāya-paramparayā nāthamuner-apy-upakartāraṃ kālaviprakarṣe~pi paramapuruṣasaṇkalpāt kadācit prāturbhūya sākṣadapi sarvopaniṣatsāropadeṣṭaraṃ parāṇkuśamuniṃ “mātāpitābhrātetyādy-upaniṣat-prasiddha-bhagavat-svabhāva-dṛṣṭyā praṇamati – māteti |”
Here, Swami Desikan makes it clear that the secrets of Vedanta are explained clearly by Swami Nammazhwar, even better than the works of sages like Sage Parasara. Also, the hymns of Swami Nammazhwar are useful to all, and extremely enjoyable to devotees of the Lord. So, Swami Nammazhwar is the best teacher of Upanishads. So, Azhwar is worshipped as all – as mother, father, etc. – as equally as the Lord Himself.
In Yatiraja Saptati, Swami Desikan says in a hymn:
“yasya sārasvataṃ sroto vakulāmodavāsitaṃ śṛtināṃ viśrayāmāsaṃ śaṭhāriṃ tam-upāsmahe”.
The Vedas gave up, becoming only spent and wasted, in explaining the concepts. This despair of the Vedas has been removed only by Swami Nammazhwar, the saint garlanded with Vakula flowers, through his works.
In Paduka Sahasram, Swami Desikan makes several references to Azhwar and Aruliccheyal. Only a few will be considered to illustrate the point. In the 29th hymn, Swami Desikan says that Tamizh which originated from Agastya Muni attained superiority even to Sanskrit Vedas through the Aruliccheyal of Azhwar. In the 22nd hymn, Swami Desikan makes it clear that there is no other way to become subject to the grace of the Lord than studying the works of Azhwar or bearing the station of Lord’s feet which goes by the name SriSatakopam.
In Amrtasvadini prabhandam, Swami Desikan says that Swami Nammazhwar is the highest preceptor who saves devotees and leads them to liberation (28th hymn).
Lastly, Swami Desikan calls himself a Dravida Vedanta Vidvan. He calls himself, “santamigu tamizh maṛaiyōn tūppul tōnḍṛum vēdāntaguru”. Even his praise says, “sentamizh-t-tūppul tiruvēṇkaḍavan vāzhiyē”.
Thus it is established that our acharyas considered Azhwars and Aruliccheyal in the highest light. Only a drop of the ocean of faith held by our Acharyas in Azhwars has been highlighted in this series of twenty eight episodes. The entire impact cannot be understood by a few quotations but only by carefully studying all the works. It is hoped that this series would have supplied the motivation to study the works of Azhwars ornate richly by the commentaries of Swami Thirukkurugai Piran Pillan, Swami Nanjeeyar, Swami Nampillai, Swami Periyavacchan Pillai, Swami Vadakku Thiruveethi Pillai, Swami Vadikesari Azhagiya Manavala Jeeyar, Swami Azhagiya Manavala Perumal Nayanar, Swami Vedanta Desika and Swami Manavala Mamunigal. It is also hoped that one develops love and devotion to Azhwars and their works, and to the commentaries of Acharyas. We are incalculably indebted to Sri U Ve Kanchi Mahavidvan Prativadi Bhayankaram Annangaracharyar Swami for producing this work of pure genius to show us how even the Sanskrit works and Vedic interpretations of our Acharyas are fully guided by Azhwars.
Glory To Azhvars! Glory To Aruliccheyal!
Glory to Acharyas, whose words are always pure!
Glory to their literature, which is the light of the world!
And, Glory To the Vedas, too!
Through the fog of pleasure, and through the darkness of pain, may the light of Aruliccheyal always shine brightly in our minds. Swami Ramanuja! Grant us this one wish.
adiyen ranganatha ramanuja dasan
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