tata yatta swaroopasa jeeyan math visra mathsali ||
This sloka tells the greatness of Swami Embar [எம்பார்] aka Govinda Perumal. He was an important disciple of Swami Ramanuja and in the Sri Vaishnava Guru parampara, he succeeded Swami Ramanuja. The name Emperumanar was shortened as Embar and became title for Swami Embar. Swami Ramanuja and Swami Embar were very closely connected. He is called 'Padacchya' [ पद छाया shadow at feet] of Swami Ramanuja. Swami Ramanuja was born in 1017 in Chittirai - Thiruvadirai [சித்திரை திருவாதிரை]; Swami Embar was born in 1021 in Thai - Punarvasu [தை புனர்வசு]. He is considered as incarnation of Garuda. He was born in Maduramangalam [மதுரமங்கலம்], known as Mazhalai mangalam [மழலைமங்கலம்] in the ancient days. Even before Swami Embar was born, Sri Vaikuntanatha Perumal and Sri Kamalavalli Thayar have been gracing this place, along with Garuda pushkarini and Vedaamodha [வேத ஆமோத] vimanam. He appeared to the Sapta Rishis. To grace King Suparna, the Lord came here. Today's [27th January 2009] lecture is from Maduramangalam. Earlier we had visited the birth place of Swami Thirukkacchi Nambi, Acharya of Swami Ramanuja. We also visited Kooram, birth place of Swami Koorattalwan, a disciple of Swami Ramanuja. Now we are in the birth place of Swami Embar. We will be visiting the birth place of Swami Mudalaiyandan. Who are these? What is the connection with Swami Ramanuja? To answer these and to understand the Poorvacharya Guruparampara, a table is displayed:
- SRIMAN NARAYANA. He is Supreme Being, Sriyapathi and considred as the First Acharya. From Him the hereditary of Acharyas start.
- SRI MAHALAKSHMI. Sri Sridevi Nacchiyaar.
- VISHVAKSENA. Commander, who holds a stick and administers the Universe.
- NAMMALWAR. The head of all Alwars.
- SWAMI NATHAMUNI. He appeared much later than Nammalwar. It was about 9th Century.
- SWAMI UYYAKKONDAN [உய்யக்கொண்டான்].
- SWAMI MANAKKAL NAMBI [மணக்கால் நம்பி].
- SWAMI ALAVANDAR. He was known as Yamunacharya and was the grandson of Swami Nathamuni. He had many disciples. Prominent among them were:
- SWAMI PERIYA NAMBI, SWAMI PERIYA THIRUMALAI NAMBI, SWAMI THIRUKKOSHTIYUR NAMBI, SWAMI THIRUMAALAI ANDAAN [திருமாலையாண்டான்] and AZHVAR THIRUVARANGA PERUMAL ARAIYAR. Along with SWAMI THIRUKKACCHI NAMBI, all these Six were disciples of Swami Alavandar. Swami Periya Thirumalai Nambi, was stationed in Tirumala and was doing the service of supplying water to the temple [தீர்த்த கைங்கர்யம்].
After Swami Alavandar, Swami Periya Nambi is considered as Acharya in the guru parampara.
After him, Swami Ramanuja was the Acharya. After Swami Ramnuja, Swami Embar became the Acharya. Swami Embar's disciple was Swami Parasara Bhattar. Swami Ramanuja had a sister and was married to Ananta Dikshitar. To them was born Swami Mudaliyandan [முதலியாண்டான்], aka Dasarathi. This Acharya hereditary is to be remembered. What is the use of remembering this? All the explanations we are seeing and enjoying are all due to them. They had deeply studied Gita, Alwars' works, etc., and had explained lucidly.
Now we will see sloka 15. From sloka 12, Sri Krishna is explaining the nature of Atman. Atman is different from body. Atman is very minute. Atman is pervading all by Gyana. Atman is without a beginning and end. Atman is ever servant of the Lord. Atman has Two stages: one, in this Universe as Bhaddha atman. The other is liberated Mukta atman. In Mukta state, Gyana of atman is fully enlarged and is able to do all by vast Gyana. Mukta atman does not need organs, body or any implements. If desired Mukta atman can reside ina body, to serve the Lord. Now sloka 15:
bahir antas ca bhutanam
acaram caram eva ca
suksmatvat tad avijneyam
dura-stham cantike ca tat
"The Supreme Truth exists outside and inside of all living beings, the moving and the nonmoving. Because He is subtle, He is beyond the power of the material senses to see or to know. Although far, far away, He is also near to all."
Tat = that atman, bhutanam = Five great elements [pancha bhuta - space, air, fire, water and earth], bahi = outside, antas ca = and inside. Atman is outside the Five elements and inside them also. That is in the liberated state, Mukta atman is beyond Prakruti, consisting of the Five elements, and crosses over Viraja river; and so, atman is outside the Five elements. But in the bonded state of Bhaddha, atman is inside a body made up of the Five elements. So atman is inside the Five elements. Thus Bhaddha atman is inside the Five elements and same atman in Mukta state is outside the Five elements. Acaram = still or stationary, caram eva ca = also moving. When residing in a body, atman moves about. In the Mukta state, if without a body, then atman is still or statioanary. Mukta atman can also reside in a body, if desired. Then Mukta atman will move as the body moves. If same Mukta atman prefers not to have a body, atman will remain still. But in Bhaddha state, atman can only move; because in Prakruti, atman has to necessarily have a body. Sukshmatvat = [atman is] very minute. In some philosophies, size of the atman is equal to the body it is residing. This suffers from the defect of change of size of atman, which is contrary to the definition that atman is 'nirvikara' or changeless. If atman size varies, does it mean that atman has growth or decaying nature? The Gyana of atman varies, but atman never differs in size. Vedas say that the size of atman is one hundredth of one hundredth fraction of the tip of paddy [நெல்]. Tad avijneyam = and so not understood. Atman is inside our body, yet we do not know about it, because it is so minute. Bramham or the Lord is understood to some extent and we worship in temples; but atman has no image nor are there any temples! Durastham = [atman is] very farther away. It was mentioned earlier [slokas 7 to 11] about 20 qualities one should possess to understand atman. Without these, atman appears to be very far off. But if these qualities are acquired then one would find atman very close to one. Antike ca = and very nearby. Alwar says that he is not able to understand himself; meaning that atman is so minute that we can not know about it. Thus atman is:
- inside and outside pancha bhuta,
- moving and still,
- unable to be understood, and
- far away and closeby.