In Thiruvaranvilai, Lord Sri Thirukkuralappan and Sri Padmasani Thayar are gracing. Nammalwar composed 11 pasurams in praise of the Lord here. It was mentioned that the auspicious quality exhibited to Alwar by the Lord was Ananda Vrutthi. Seeing the Lord happily gracing with His Consorts and devotees, one might not aspire to go to Vaikuntam and might prefer to stay here itself! Alwar says that after eliminating all papas from him and when he was readying to go to Vaikuntam, he changed his mind and decided to stay here itself and be happy with the Lord of this Kshetram! Why such intimate relationship between the Lord and Alwar developed here? He answers this query in another pasuram [7.10.5]. He says great devotees like Valmiki, Vyasa, Parashara, and others had assembled at Thiruvaranvilai to worship the Lord! They were waiting to say a few words in praise of the Lord! But Alwar, junior among all, was standing at the fag end of the line of great devotees. Lord Thirukkuralappan along with Sri Thayar looked at the assembly of these great devotees. When Valmiki started to recite Srimad Ramayana, Parashara, Vishnu Purana and Veda Vysa, Mahabharata, the Lord gestured all to stop! He beckoned at Alwar and asked him to come to the front and recite Thiruvaimozhi! The Lord expressed His eagerness to listen to Alwar. We can imagine the great and special love and affection the Lord had for Alwar. Alwar says that he was immersed in great happiness, and says 'palaradiyar munbaruliya [பலரடியார் முன்பருளிய]'. While commenting on this pasuram, Swami Nampillai recalls an episode in Srimad Ramayana. Sri Rama is in Kishkinda with King Sugriva. In front of them are great personalities like Jambavan, Angadha, Mainda, Dwividan, Nalan, Neelan, etc., standing to carry out the orders of the King to serve Sri Rama. Hanuman is standing at one corner as a simple Vanara. At that time Sri Rama beckoned Hanuman and handed over His ring, on which His name was engraved, and asked him to hand over the ring to Sri Sita after finding Her! The happiness of Hanuman was so much as Alwar had in Thiruvaranvilai! Or, this pasuram can be used in another incident in Swami Ramanuja's life. Swami Koorattalwan, whose 1000th birth anniverasry was celebrated recently, was a humble servant of Swami Ramanuja. He had eliminated 'mukkurumbu முக்குறும்பு' - the Three ego in life [great family, great living and great education]. Chola King at that time was intolerent of Vaishnavism and was demolishing many Vishnu temples. Swami Ramanuja was afraid that the King might harm Srirangam temple also. To protect Srirangam, Swami Ramanuja approached his Acharya, Swami Periya Nambi and requested to sprinkle sanctified [by speacial mantras] powder around the temple so that no harm could cross the powder line! Swami Periya Nambi agreed and assured that by doing so none could cause any problem to the temple; but he needed some one sincere enough to carry the powder bag behind him and sprinkle it as ordered by him. He stipulated that the person must be totally detached in materialistic desires. Swami Ramanuja had Swami Koorattalwan in his mind, but left the choice to Swami Periya Nambi,who chose instantly Swami Koorattalwan, when a galaxy of great disciples of Swami Ramanuja, like Swami Mudaliyandan, Vaduga Nambi, Kidambi Aacchan, Vangipuratthu Nambi, Somasiyandan, Engal Azhvan, Arulala Perumal Emperumanar, etc., were all waiting to carry out any order! Swami Koorattalwan had the same happiness Alwar had in Thiruvaranvilai. Similarly, when a great number of people were ready to chant Thiruvaimozhi and lecture commentary, Lord Sri Ranganatha chose Vishadavak Sikamani Swami Manavala Mamunigal! The Lord was eager to listen to Swami Manavala Mamunigal, lecturing on Eedu, commentary on Thiruvaimozhi! Swami Manavala Mamunigal lectured for one year in front of the Lord. His happiness was akin to Nammalwar's in Thiruvaranvilai! In 7.10.10, Alwar says that his mind was focussed only on the Lord here and his mind, action and words were all in service of the Lord! Now we will see sloka 10. We should remember the quality exhibited by the Lord, ananda vrutti. It is happiness and only happiness here! We may get happiness elsewhere also, but satisfaction can be got here only! Sloka 10:
utkrāmantaṃ sthitaṃ vāpi bhuñjānaṃ vā guṇānvitam
vimūḍhā nānupaśyanti paśyanti jñānacakṣuṣaḥ 15.10
An atman is, gunanvitam = is always associated with the three qualities [satvam, rajas and tamas]. Ukramantam = [such an atman] departing [from one body], sthitam vapi = [or] residing [in a body], bhunjanam va = [or] experiencing [all materials from a body]. An atman in a body, associated with the Three qualities might be enjoying through sense organs, or residing or might be about to leave a body. We see these stages of atman; and Yogis also see. But the seeing is different. We see with our physical eyes, while Yogis see with the 'eyes' of Gyana. Vimudha = [not differentiating body and soul] great fools, nanupasyanti = do not see. These fools do not see that the difference after an atman had departed the body, the body which conversed and was active till yesterday, was no longer active. Only a person who knows atman and body are different, is able to see this difference. In the space we see millions of virus and bacteria are there. We do not see them with our eyes. Atma of these virus and bacteria are smaller, and so are never visible to us. Paramatma is further minute and is residing inside atman. An ignorant or Agyani, never knows the difference between atman and body. So he never sees the atman residing or departing a body. Physial blindness can be tolerated, but not this blindness of ignorance! With physical blindness one does not see body, but may be 'seeing' atman. An intellectually 'blind' person on the other hand, might be seeing bodies but not the atman! Those without viveka or the rational knowledge of understanding body and soul are different, are fools. These persons do not 'see' that atman is using the body to experience, atman is residing in a body and atman departing body. Jananacaksusa = [those] with Gyana 'eyes', pasyanti = 'see'. We verify death by holding a thread before the person's nostrild and see whether the thread is moving or not; but Yogis are able to conclude just by looking at the body, whether soul is in or departed. To achieve this skill, we should develop Yoga. Once this skill is reached, we will know why a person behaves in a particular way. Yogi knows an atman as atman and it has no image or name. Person who understands the true nature of atman, will never differentiate between atman. We will now take leave of this Kshetram.