Tasya dasarathehe padau srirasa daryamyaham ||
This sloka is 'thaniyan [தனியன்]' of Swami Mudalayandan. He was the nephew of Swami Ramanuja. He was principal [chief] and commanded, and so he got the title mudaliyandan. His original name was Dasarati. Dasarati means son of Dasarata and can indicate Sri Rama, as well as Bharata. He was born in 1027, in Chittirai - Punarvasu, and is considered as incaranation of Bharata. Swami Ramanuja was born in 1017. Ten years later in Purushamangalam, presetly known as Pettai, Swami Mudalaiyandan was born. Presently we are in his birthplace. Swami Ramanuja idol in this place was installed by Swami Kandadai Aandan [கந்தாடை ஆண்டான்], son of Swami Mudaliyandan. The Utsavar idols of Swami Ramanuja in Srirangam also were installed by Swami Kandadai Aandan. Swami Mudaliyandan was acclaimed as reincarnation of Sri Rama and Bharata. Swami Ramanuja embraced sanyasam [priesthood]. By doing so one should renounce all his properties and relatives. One should be detached from everything. One should take a vow to renounce all, by standing in neck deep water and repeat the renouncement Three times. But Swami Ramanuja while repeating his renouncement, declared that he renounced all, except his nephew Swami Mudalayandan! It was not because he was his nephew; but, Swami Mudalaiyandan was a great devotee and was leader among many Acharyas. Swami Mudalayandan reformed the administartion in Srirangam temple and made the temple prosperous. Even now, the Maniyakara [மணியக்காரர்] appointees, do all the administrative works started by Swami Mudaliyandan. They ensure all functions, such as Tirumanjanam, procession and other activities of the Lord, are properly supervised to ensure they conform to conventions and punctuality. Swami Koorattalwan used to envy that he did not have the blood relationship, which Swami Mudalaiyandan was privileged to have. Today many descendents of Swami Mudaliyandan, are there as great Acharyas. They are all titled Kandadai [கந்தாடை]. One of them is Koil Kandadai Annan Swami in Srirangam. Another is Koil Kandadai Sirupuliyur Suddhasatvam Annan Swami, also in Srirangam. In Cholasimhapuram [Sholingur] two houses [திருமாளிகை] are there of Koil Kandadai Chandamarutam Doddayacharya Swami. Koil Kandadai Ilayavalli Swami also is present in Cholasimhapuram. In Sriperumbudur Koil Kandadai Appan Swami is there. In Tiruvallikeni [Triplicane] Koil Kandadai Appan Tirumalai Swami is there. Similarly, Koil Kandadai Appaacchi Anna [Kumara Varadacharya ] Swami is there. Like these Eight houses [tirumaligai ] are there. All are with many disciples and are descendents of Swami Mudaliyandan. It was felt that by just taking the holy water, dipped by Swami Mudalayandan's feet [Sri pada theertham ஸ்ரீ பாத தீர்த்தம்], would ensure devotion in Him. In spite of such eminence, Swami Mudaliyandan considered service to Swami Ramanuja as most important.
He is gracing seated and with folded hands. He is regarded as the indispensable sandals [paduka பாதுகை] and tridanda [த்ரிதண்டம்] of Swami Ramanuja. Swami Ramanuja's Acharya was Swami Periya Nambi, who had a daughter Athuzhai [அத்துழாய்]. When she was married, her in-laws demanded an assistant [ to accompany her daily for bathing in river]. Such an assistant was called vellatti [வெள்ளாட்டி]. They demanded a vellatti as dowry! So, Athuzhai came to her father and told the demand. Swami Periya Nambi directed his daughter to Swami Ramanuja. When she reported to Swami Ramanuja, he glanced at his disciples, and Swami Mudaliyandan volunteered to go as vellatti for Athuzhai! Such a great Acharya was prepared to serve as accompaniment for Athuzhai. That was the service spirit and loyalty to Swami Ramanuja. This great Acharya, Swami Mudaliyandan has composed Ten sentences [பத்து வார்த்தைகள்] for us to follow and practice. Of them most important we have to learn is: our atman is enslaved in the body, like Sri Sita was arrested and kept in custody to suffer in Ashoka vana, by Ravana. There, She was surrounded by salt water; but our atman is surrounded by ocean of samsaram! There, Hanuman consoled Her and brought the news from Sri Rama; but here our Acharyas bring the news from the Lord to retrieve us. We are imprisoned in a body from beginningless time. We are all waiting for grace of the God and liberation. Like Hanuman brought the ring from Sri Rama to Sri Sita, Acharyas are carrying the conch and discus as the insignia of the Lord. We are blessed in samasrayanam, one of the rituals in pancha samskaram, with those seals. During Hanuman's visit, many female demons [ராக்ஷசிகள்] were torturing Sri Sita, with exceptions of some like Trijada, like oasis in a desert! Likewise in our sufferings in this samsaram, some noble persons associate with us and bring relief to us. Thus Swami Mudalayandan, comapred our sufferings here to Sri Sita's sufferings in Ashola vana. We are going to see sloka 19, reflecting these words of Swami Mudaliyandan:
prakritim purusham caiva
viddhy anadi ubhav api
vikarams ca gunams caiva
"Material nature and the living entities should be understood to be beginningless. Their transformations and the modes of matter are products of material nature."
In this sloka, Sri Krishna tells how our body made of prakruti and atman are having indispensable relationship. In sloka 19, the Lord tells that atman is always associated with a body. In sloka 20, He tells the consequences of this bondage. In slokas 21 and 22, He tells why an atman is bonded like this. Thus, these Four slokas tell about the imprisonment of atman in a body. It is like Sri Sita imprisoned in Ashoka vana, according to Swami Mudaliyandan. Prakrutim = body. Earlier we had seen that prakruti is primordial matter. The Lord initially created using prakruti. Prakruti was transformed into pancha bhoota or the Five great elements - space, air, fire, water and earth. Our body is a compound of all these Five. So here we have to interpret prakruti as the body formed from prakruti. Purusham = atman or soul [and not males or females, but all living beings]. Anadi = [both body and soul] are beginningless; from time immemorial. Thus soul and body are related for very long time. Atman's present body alone is not mentioned, but all previous infinite births. Atman from time immemorial is bound by one body or the other. Thus we should know that both body and atman have been bonded together always. Vikaram = changes and, gunam ca = qualities are of the body. What are vikaram and guna? Vikara [विकारं] is iccha-dwesha, desire-hate, love-hate, etc. These feelings emanate from the body. Gunam [गुणं] are the Twenty noble qualities one should possess to acquire atman darshan. Thus the inferior love-hate feelings and the superior Twenty noble qualites, all originate from the body, a product of prakruti. Thus, body and soul have totally different nature. In spite of this difference, both atman and body are bonded intimately. Why so? would be seen later. Thus atman has been bound in infinite births by various bodies, and experiencing happiness and sorrow. In explaining vikaram, Three things have to be remembered: Gyanam [intellct to percieve], Iccha [desire to acquire or hatred to discard] and Prayatnam [efforts]. If we see a thing, say gold, we percieve it as gold. Then we like to possess it. Then we make efforts to acquire that object, here gold. Similarly, if we may percieve danger, like a snake. Then we hate or have fear. Then we try to move away. Thus for any object we percieve, these three factors are encountered: Knowledge, desire or hatred and effort. These Three are indicated by the Lord in the word vikaram. In the teachings of shastras, if we realize the truth, then desire and follow, then we acquire punya; on the contrary, if we see the shastras, hate their teachings and do not try to follow, then we acquire papa. Thus same body, is the cause for acquiring punya-papa to get us bonded in the birth-death cycles, as well as the cause for noble Twenty qualities, threshold for Moksham. Thus, body is needed, but has to be deployed properly for liberation from samsaram. Without bady, gunas also can not originate. With the body we should cultivate gunas or noble qualities and avoid vikaram or bad qualities which will immerse us further in this ocean of samsaram. We will now take leave of this Kshetram.