Thenkurugaikkundo parthanil oppu
This is in Upadesa Rathnamalai by Swami Manavala Mamunigal. Nammalwar is praised as the leader among Alwars. We are now in his birthplace of Alwar Thirunagari, also known as Thirukkurugur. We are now in an important sequence in Gita. After telling that atman is eternal and continuous practice of Karma yoga will purify our mind, Gyana yoga can be practiced in the crystal clear mind. Arjuna became eager and wanted to know the traits of a Gyana yogi. How would he speak? How would he think? What are his actions? This was in 54th sloka. Sthitaprgna means Gyana yogi. Pragna means our intellect. Sthita is steady. When our intellect or buddhi is steady and firm, it is the first step in Gyana yoga. Sri Krishna in reply to Arjuna’s query, lauds sthitapragna from 55th sloka. That is Sri Krishna praises the Gyana yogi who has acquired atma gyana. Swami Nammalwar is head among such gyanis. He is named prapanna jana kootasthar. Lord Sri Ranganatha affectionately called him Nam [Our] Alwar, even though there were ten Alwars. Around this place are the Nava Thiruppathi Kshetrams. From today we are going to experience Gita in these Nava Thiruppathi. It is our great good fortune and God’s blessings that we are here. Alwar was born in the Tamil month of Vaikasi [Feb-March], in the star constellation of Visakam. There cannot be any devotee equal to Satagopan i.e. Nammalwar. He composed four prabhandams or compilations: Thiruvirutham, Thiruvasiriyam, Periya Thiruvandadhi and Thiruvaimozhi. Thiruvaimozhi is equal to the most important among Upanishads – Chandokya Upanishad. It consists of 1102 hymns. Nammalwar gave us Vedas in Tamil. So, can there be any other equal to Thiruvaimozhi? Similarly, in this entire world there cannot be a place equal to Thenkurugur. This is the substance of the poem stated in the beginning. Why this Alwar appeared in this world? We are now sitting beneath the Thiruppuli Alwar. This is a tamarind tree, which is more than 5100 years old. In the alcove [pondhu in Tamil] the Alwar remained seated. It is now 5108 years completed after the start of Kali yug. At the start of Kali yug, in Vaikuntam the Lord Sriman Narayana was surrounded by His Consorts, His commander Vishvaksena [Senai mudaliyar in Tamil], His vehicle Garuda and Adisesha, the serpent. He said that He had decided to make available Vedas in Tamil. For that He ordered Vishvaksena to be born as Satagpan. Before that Adisesha was to be born as the tamarind tree in Thirukkurugur. He further ordered Garuda to be born as Madurakavi Alwar in the nearby place Thirukkolur. He should be Nammalwar’s disciple and spread Alwar’s works all over the world. Immediately Adisesha appeared as tamarind tree here and was waiting for Nammalwar to appear. God appeared in this world in all the four –Kritha, Thretha, Dwapara and Kali- yugs. He was born as Dattatreya in Kritha yug. Then as Sri Rama in Thretha yug. In Dwapara yug He was born as Sri Krishna. In the present Kali yug He was born as Nammalwar. So this Alwar can be considered as incarnation of Vishvaksena or Sri Narayana. Whenever God appears, Adisesha, the serpent, also appears. As Lakshmana when Sri Rama was born and as Bala Rama when He was born as Sri Krishna. In this yug, Adisesha appeared as tamarind tree. So this Tamarind tree was Alwar’s abode. Many Lords of various Divya Desams [Sacred places] appeared as leaves in this tamarind tree and desired that the Alwar sang hymns in praise of them. There are about 36 such Kshetrams around this place and Nammalwar has sung in praise of 38 Lords of various Divya Desams. When Arjuna wanted to know how a Gyana yogi would be Sri Krishna could have pointed towards Nammalwar as an example. But Nammalwar had not appeared in this world at that time when Sri Krishna was in this world. Therefore, Sri Krishna had to explain Gyana yogi in four slokas. This Gyana yoga is in four types or samgya. These are Yatamana samgya, Vyatireka samgya, Yetendria samgya and Vaseekara samgya. What we require is vairagyam or dispassion or steadfastness. We have to get detached from the worldly affairs. This only will qualify us to Gyana yoga. So we have to slowly climb step by step. The highest or the last step is explained in the 55th sloka. The third step is in 56th sloka and the second step is in 57th sloka. The initial step is 58th sloka. So we have to first see 58th sloka, as that is the first step. So there will be a reversal in the sloka order and after coming to 55th sloka we will go to 59th sloka. Let us see what these samgyas are. Normally our desires are varied. Let us assume one has the drinking habit. This is an undesirable habit and has to be discarded. Initially when he sees drinks he should turn away and control his passion. This is the first step or Yatamana samgya, where we avoid any contact with such bad things. This will not make us abandon our passion in such things. Second step will be to remove such desires or vyatireka samgya. The third step Yetendriya samgya, where we control our mind. Even after controlling all the organs, mind will be difficult to control. It is like oil in a cup. If we throw out the oil, there will still be the greasy layer sticking to the cup surface. The last step is Vaseekara samgya. It is like rubbing the cup with powder to remove the greasy layer. So the steps are 1.Trying to control our sensual organs from objects.2. Removing the desire from the organs.3. Removing the small traces in the mind.4. Total removal of such desires without any trace. No need to get panicky about these and how to practice them. Nammalwar’s father was Kari and mother was Udaya Nangai. Her native place was Thiruvanparisaram [near Nagarkoil]. In Thirkkurungudi, nearby Kshetram, the Lord is known as Sri Vadivazhagiya Nambi. Alwar’s parents worshipped Sri Nambi and prayed for a child. They desired a child like Sri Nambi. Since there was none like Him, He Himself was born as Satagopan to them. Thus Nammalwar is also called Thirukkurugur Nambi. After Alwar this place became popular as Alwar Thirunagari. The moment he was born, the Alwar went to the alcove in the tamarind tree. For sixteen years he remained in a meditation posture without opening his mouth. In the next sixteen years he composed all the four prabhandams. We will see further from this sacred place.