Thursday, August 30, 2007


Today [30/08/2007] we are in Nammalwar sannidhi in the Garuda mantapam in Srirangam. In the picture here Nammalwar is seated at the Tamarind tree. On his right is Thirumangai Alwar and on his left is Madurakavi Alwar. During the invasion when Sri Namperumal went away from Srirangam, Nammalwar idol in Alwar Thirunagari also was taken out and both the idols where kept in hiding in the hills of Kerala. Sri Namperumal made Nammalwar to be seated by His side and called the Alwar as " nam' [our] Alwar. Swami Ramanuja lived between 1017 and 1137. During that period only, Nammalwar idol was installed here. Before that the idol of Nammalwar in Alwar Thirunagari, some 320 kilometres away from Srirangam was to be brought to Srirangam for the 20-day Vaikunta Ekadasi festival. Including travel time Alwar used to be away from Alwar Thirunagari for nearly 3 months. Apart from the time, for security reasons Swami Ramanuja installed this idol here. From that time the Vaikunta Ekadasi festival is performed with this idol of Nammalwar. The fear Alwar had is reflected in Arjuna's question in the 36th sloka:

arjuna uvaca

atha kena prayuktoyampapam carati purushahanicchann api varsneyabalad iva niyojitah
"Arjuna said: O descendant of Vrishni, by what is one impelled to sinful acts, even unwillingly, as if engaged by force?"

Ayam =this, purushah = jeevatma interested in pursuing Gyana yoga, why should be carried forcibly like caught in a hurricane, away from such noble pursuits? Anicchann api =in spite of no desire to be caught in kama krodha or likes and dislikes, kena prayukatah =by what he is propelled, papam carati = and gets involved in worldly desires, balad = forcibly, jyotitah = pushed into. Arjuna asks what is the force like a hurricane forcibly pushes an atman who has no desire in worldly pleasures and who is sincerely seeking Gyana yoga into kama krodha? Though one may be pursuing Gyana yoga, one is pushed away from that and dragged into low level desires the senses seek. What is that force? Arjuna mentions purusha or atman here. An inanimate object like a stone may not think to adore the God's idol as a necklace. But here an atman which has intellect and which sincerely wants to have atman sakshatkaram by Gyana yoga. He wants to go in the path for atman sakshatkaram, then why he is pulled into the disastrous path with worldly desires which are going to acquire him papa and punya? This is what Alwars have been crying in their verses, like an ant caught in the middle of a log which has fire on both ends. We sincerely try to follow so many righteous paths and every time some force drifts us away forcibly. What is that force? Alwar also asks who is preventing him from service to Him alone. The reply by the Lord is very interesting and important.

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