Pitamahasvyapi pitamahaya pracheta sadesa palapradaya |
Sri bhashyakarottama desikaya sri shaila purnaya namonamastat ||
This sloka tells about the glory of Swami Periya Tirumalai Nambi. We are at present in the South Mada street in Tirumala and today's [5th June 2009] lecture is from the sannidhi of Swami Periya Tirumalai Nambi. It was already mentioned that he was the maternal uncle of Swami Ramanuja. His service of fetching water for Sri Srinivasa is beyond words. His important service was daily fetching water from Papavinasam and Akasha Ganga. When we visited Akasha Ganga, it was mentioned that Akasha Ganga was formed by the Lord and that He addressed Swami Periya Tirumalai Nambi as 'tata [तात]' - father! From this sloka it is seen that he was Pitamaha's Pitamaha! Pitamaha means father's father or paternal grand father. Lord Brahma is regarded as the Pitamaha or grand father of this Universe! The Lord Sri Srinivasa is Father of lord Brahma. Since the Lord addressed Swami Periya Tirumalai Nambi as father, he becomes the Pitamaha or grand father of Universe's Pitamaha or lord Brahma! He taught Srimad Ramayana by Valmiki, aka Prachetas, for one year to Swami Ramanuja, at Adipuli [now known as Alipiri]. He was thus an outstanding Acharya of Swami Ramanuja. Sri Shaila Purna means Tirumalai Nambi. Nambi in Tamil means full of good qualities. We salute that Acharya. We should understand the intimate relationship between the Lord of Tirumala and Swami Periya Tirumalai Nambi. This is marked by the 23rd day festival of Adyayana Utsavam in this Kshetram. For 21 days, the Lord listens to the sweet pasurams of Alwars. On the 22nd day, He listens to Ramanuja Nootrandadi. On 23rd day, Thanneer Amudu thiruthum utsavam [தண்ணீர் அமுது திருத்தும் உத்சவம்] takes place.
The descendents of Swami Periya Tirumalai Nambi are known as Thozhappacharya [தோழப்பாசார்யா] and are living here. He was born in circa 973. His descendents are still carrying on the Theertha Kainkaryam or water service to the Lord. On this 23rd day of Adyayanotsavam, they bring water from Akasha Ganga and take it to the sannidhi of the Lord. After removing all flowers, etc., the Divine feet of the Lord are washed with this water. The present sannidhi of this Acharya was once his house. Once, when Swami Ramnuja arrived at Tirumala, Swami Periya Tirumalai Nambi came to welcome him. Embarrassed, as Swami Periya Tirumalai Nambi was elder, more learned and noble, Swami Ramanuja asked could he not have deputed some ordinary person to welcome him? Looking around, Swami Tirumalai Nambi replied that he was the only ordinary person! That shows his humbleness. It sent out the message that in front of the Lord and His devotees, everyone is ordinary, even if well educated and well to do! Utsava Murty of this Acharya is with flower basket. All are requested to come and worship this Acharya while visiting Tirumala. Now we shall see sloka 22:
etair vimuktaḥ kaunteya tamodvārais tribhir naraḥ
ācaraty ātmanaḥ śreyas tato yāti parāṃ gatim 16.22
Param gatim = reaching the most supreme level [reaching the Lord at Vaikuntam]. Earlier, it was told that Asura quality persons would reach lowest level. He also mentioned that Kama [lust], Krodha [anger] and Lobha [greed] were the Three gates to hell of ignorance and wrong concepts. Persons avoiding these Three, raise their levels. The Lord tells what all good occur to people who avoid these evil gates. Kaunteya = Arjuna!, etair = from these [Three bad qualities mentioned earlier], vimukta = [he, who is] freed. Like Swami Periya Tirumala Nambi, who did not mind even small service like fetching water, and going after disciple to teach, and did not mind physical strain. All these he did to ensure Swami Ramanuja becomes a great Acharya and redeem. It was mentioned in the past that Swami Periya Tirumalai Nambi was a disciple of Swami Alavandar and he wanted to teach all he learnt in Srimad Ramayana to Swami Ramanuja. Swami Periya Tirumalai Nambi had Two sisters and one sister's son was Swami Ramanuja, while Swami Embar or Govinda Perumal was the other sister's son. He never considered his daily routines as duties below his status, because before the Lord, what are we all? He was free from all these Three bad qualities. By freeing from, tamo = darkness or ignorance about the Lord, tribhir dvarai = Three gates, namely, Kama, Krodha and Lobha, a person, atmana = to himself, sreyas = that which would benefit him, acaraty = starts following. If we free ourselves from these Three gates to darkness of ignorance about the Lord, then we start to gain knowledge about the Lord and then reach the Lord Himself. That is the benefit and would bring glory to us. Then, he reaches the highest level of Vaikuntam.