Yaduktayastrayikanthe yanti mangala sutratam ||
This sloka is about Swami Koorattalwan [கூரத்தாழ்வான்], one of the most important disciples of Swami Ramanuja. Today's [9th January 2009] is from the village Kooram, on the way to Arakkonam.
He was born in a very noble family. His name was Srivatsanka Misra [ஸ்ரீவத்சாங்க மிச்ரர்]. He is considered as the incarnationof a mole [மரு] on the Divine body of the Lord. We know that Sri Maha Lakshmi is seated on the right chest of the Lord. Actually, there is a small mole on His right chest. It is called Srivatsam [श्रीवत्सं]. Sri Maha Lakshmi is using Srivatsam as Her seat. Swami Koorattalwan is reincarnation of Srivatsam. He never considered his eminence as anything and lived true to the spirit of Gita. We study Gita and find it difficult to understand. If there was anyone who lived in accordance with the teachings of Gita, without a doubt one can point to Swami Koorattalwan; and by emulating him, we can understand Gita. If we study deeply his life history, we would discover that all the qualities the Lord desired in Gita, to be possessed by us, would be exhibited in every action and incident in his life. We will see just one example. Swami Koorattalwan, renunciated all properties and sought refuge at the feet of Swami Ramanuja at Srirangam. We know that Swami Ramanuja undertook the administration of the temple in Srirangam and brought in all reforms.
'Ramanujarya divyagya vardatam, abivardatam ' - all poojas and ceremonies in all Sri Vishnu temples are administered as per Swami Ramanuja's orders. When initially, Swami Ramanuja came to Srirangam, the temple administration was under the control of Swami Periya Koil Nambi. Swami Ramanuja wanted to get the control from Nambi, to introduce the reforms he was planning. By a Mere request Nambi might not hand over the charge and so Swami Ramanuja was waiting for an appropriate time. Once, Nambi's mother died. He performed all the last rites as per custom. First ten days' rites were over and next day the 11th day ceremony was to be performed. For that day the karta [one performing the ceremony, here it was Nambi] had to invite a person to act as the dead body [corpse] and complete the rituals. Normally none that easily accepts to be in that ceremony called Ekaham. Nambi could not find any suitable person to accept to do rituals on Ekaham and so he came to Swami Ramanuja for help. Swami Ramanuja had many disciples and if he ordered, one of them could accept the invitation and complete the ritual. When Nambi approached, Swami Ramanuja wandered his eyes over all his disciples and finally, he looked at Swami Koorattalwan. Swami Koorattalwan, understanding the mind of Swami Ramanuja, came forward and offered to accept if that was Swami Ramanuja's intention. Swami Koorattalwan was too great a person to accept such invitations. But he was ready to fulfill the wishes of his master! He went to Nambi's house and got the Eleventh day function completed properly. He got the authority of the temple administration in return, and handed over the same to his master, Swami Ramanuja. Thereafter Swami Ramanuja took control of the temple and brought about all reforms. Swami Koorattalwan considered service to his master as the most important, disregarding all his learning and reputation as a rich land lord. He held the firm belief that all the material benefits were transient and only service and consequent Bhakti remained for ever! Should we not emulate at least a bit of his life? We will see more later. Anyone worshiping Swami Koorattalwan, would lose lust and anger in life; and, would acquire Bhakti in Swami Ramanuja.
Swami Koorattalwan is gracing here. His right palm is in Upadesa mudra. He had rendered slokas called Panchsthavam [पंच स्तवं பஞ்ச ஸ்தவம்]. He wrote Five stotrams, consisting of about 400 slokas, consisting of many precious phrases he picked up from Swami Ramanuja. It is requested that during his 1000th birthday, at least, some slokas of Swami Koorattalwan should be studied by all. Those stotras are:
- SRI VAIKUNTA STAVAM
- ADIMANUSHYA STAVAM
- SUNDARABAHU STAVAM
- SRI STAVAM and
- VARADARAJA STAVAM
kshetra-jnam capi mam viddhi
yat taj jnanam matam mama
"O scion of Bharata, you should understand that I am also the knower in all bodies, and to understand this body and its knower is called knowledge. That is My opinion."
Mama matam = My [Sri Krishna's] siddhanta or belief. Bharata = Arjuna of Bharata dynasty, sarva-kshetresu = in all Kshetrams or bodies, ca = and, api = also, kshetra-jna = in Kshetragya or souls, mam = I [Sri Krishna], viddhi = to be understood. The Lord says that He should be understood as achit or body and also as Kshetragya or jeevatman. This does not mean unintelligent body and the Lord are one and the same; it also does not mean that the intelligent atman and the Lord are one and the same. It means that the Lord pervades every material or achit and every atman or chit. He is the Antaratman in all. He is the Cause for all. He is the Ruler of all. He advises Arjuna to understand the soul- body [सरीरा आत्म भाव] relationship. To the Lord, every atman is a body, as also every unintelligent matter or achit, is a body. Jeevatman is having this body; and the Lord is having Jeevatman as His body. Thus Paramatma or the Lord controls and commands both soul and body. Both soul and body are dependent on the Lord. So He is the soul of both Kshetram and Kshetragya. Is not the oneness of Kshetram and Kshetragya, with the Lord intended in the sloka? No. For the simple reason, the Lord separately mentions Kshetram, Kshetragya and 'mam' -Himself. Thus all the Three entities are separate and are real. They are connected with each other and this is stated in this sloka. The Lord is always present in chit and achit. Both are dependent on Him. They can never be independent of Him. But they are not Him. He is different from chit and achit. Chit and achit are different; but they are associated together for a life span which could be as long as 80 years in a human body. But one day they get separated. Whereas, the relationship between the Lord and chit or achit is for ever and can never be separated. Brahmam or the Lord is the cause and all others are effects; Brahmam is atman and all others are bodies; Brahmam is Ruler and all others are subjects; Brahmam is Protector and all others are protected. This relationship is stated here. Kshetra = cultivable land, kshetrajnayo = Kshetragya, jnanam = knowledge [that both are bodies of the Lord], tad jnanam = that understanding or knowledge is, mama matam = My [Sri Krishna's] belief. We will go further deep into the meanings of these in the ensuing slokas. Swami Koorattalwan, has made these subjects easy to understand in his stotrams.