srImathE satakOpAya nama:
srImathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srImadh varavaramunayE nama:
srI vAnAchala mahAmunayE nama:
thirunakshathram: Ani sravaNam (thiruvONam)
avathAra sthalam: thirukkaNNAmangai
Place where he attained paramapadham from: thirukkaNNAmangai
Works: nAchiyAr thirumozhi thaniyan starting with “alli nAL thAmarai mEl”
thirukkaNNamangai ANdAn, who is a dear sishya of nAthamunigaL, was born in thirukkaNNamangai dhivya dhEsam. He is greatly glorified by our pUrvAchAryas for his utmost faith in bhagavAn‘s rakshakathvam (protection).
His glories are revealed in srIvachana bhUshaNa dhivya sAsthram by piLLai lOkAchAryar. While explaining about the most ideal/exalted examples for upAyam (means to pursue bhagavAn) and upEyam (goal – to serve bhagavAn), he says in sUthram 80 “upAyaththukku pirAttiyaiyum, dhraupathiyaiyum, thirukkaNNamangai ANdAnaiyum pOlE irukkavENum; upEyaththukku iLaiya perumALaiyum, periya udaiyAraiyum, piLLai thirunaraiyUr araiyaraiyum chinthayanthiyaiyum pOlE irukkavENum” (உபாயத்துக்கு பிராட்டியையும், த்ரௌபதியையும், திருக்கண்ணமங்கை ஆண்டானையும் போலே இருக்கவேணும்; உபேயத்துக்கு இளைய பெருமாளையும், பெரிய உடையாரையும், பிள்ளை திருநரையூர் அரையரையும் சிந்தயந்தியையும் போலே இருக்கவேணும்). In this sUthram and the next few sUthrams, upAyam and upEyam are explained with excellent examples. upAyam is the process and upEyam is the goal. According to sAsthram, bhagavAn is the explained as the best means and eternal kainkaryam (service) to bhagavAn is the top-most goal. Since, bhagavAn is fully capable, he can easily uplift anyone – so he is the best upAyam. Since srIman nArAyaNan is the supreme lord of everyone, kainkaryam to srIman nArAyaNan and his divine consort srI mahAlakshmi is said to be the best upEyam. Here, few examples are given for upAyam and upEyam – let us see them briefly now:
- pirAtti – sIthA pirAtti (srI mahAlakshmi) – When pirAtti was captured by rAvaNa and was held captive, she could have easily punished rAvaNa and escaped from there as she is fully capable. She demonstrated her capacity by protecting hanumAn when his tail was set fire by the rAkshasas. She blessed and protected hanumAn by saying “sIthO bhava” (let this fire have a cooling effect on hanumAn). But she manifested total dependence on perumAL (srI rAma), gave up her sakthi (ability) to protect herself and waited for him to come and rescue her.
- dhraupathi – when she was harrassed and humiliated in the assembly of kauravas, she fully gave up her lajjA (modesty), raised her hands and cried out for krishNan. She did not hold on to her clothes, but fully and faithfully raised her hands and surely krishNa protected her.
- thirukkaNNamangai ANdAn – he gave up all his actions and fully surrendered to bhakthavathsalan emperumAn of thirukkaNNamangai dhivya dhEsam, accepting emperumAn as his total refuge and protector.
ANdAn’s nishtai is beautifully explained by our mAmunigaL in this sUthram’s vyAkyAnam, once ANdAn saw a dog is attacked by a person. The owner of the dog becomes very angry and fights the person who attacked his dog. They both pull out their knives and attack each other and even are ready to kill each other. Seeing this, a great realization dawns on ANdAn. ANdAn thinks “If an ordinary person who owns of a dog becomes greatly agitated and can go to the extent of killing some one else who attacked his dog just because the dog is owned by him, how would srIman nArAyaNan who is the supreme lord feel, if some one surrendered to him is suffering and trying to protect oneself?”. Thinking this, he immediately gives up all his attachments and goes into the temple and lies down happily without any more worry about protecting himself. Here, giving up of all actions could be easily understood for not doing anything. But mAmunigaL beautifully explains this principle in his vyAkyAnam. His divine words are “svarakshaNa hEthuvAna svavyApArangaLai vittAn enRapadi” (ஸ்வரக்ஷண ஹேதுவான ஸ்வவ்யாபாரங்களை விட்டான் என்றபடி) – this means he gave up all actions that are related to protecting oneself. This means, he continued to perform wonderful kainkaryams towards emperumAn but only gave up efforts to protect oneself. Ay jananyAchAryar too highlights the exact same principle. This can be understood from the subsequent sections, especially in the incident highlighted in thiruvAimozhi 9.2.1 vyAkyAnam.
upEyam (kainkaryam) – a very brief explanation of the remaining part of sUthram 80 and the subsequent sUthrams
- iLaiya perumAL – lakshmaNa – He was so stead-fast in kainkaryam that he followed perumAL (srI rAma) wherever he went and served him always.
- periya udaiyAr – jatAyu mahArAja – In the process of fighting rAvaNa to save sIthA pirAtti, he was not bothered about getting killed. He was simply focussed on trying to save thAyAr and eventually he was killed.
- piLLai thirunaraiyUr araiyar – He along with his family were serving the emperumAn at thottiyam thirunArAyaNapuram (which is located near srIrangam). Once some vandals attacked the temple and set fire to the archAvathAra emperumAn. Unable to bear such attack and trying to protect the emperumAn, he along with his family embraced the archA vigraham and protected emperumAn. But in the course, due to the burns from the fire, he along with his family gave up his life. His dedication to emperumAn is greatly glorified by our pUrvAchAryas.
- chinthayanthi – a gOpikA who lived in vraja bhUmi. She was greatly attached to kaNNan emperumAn. Once she heard the divine music of kaNNan emperumAn, became blissful and wanted to leave her house to see emperumAn. But she could not leave her house immediately and becomes very sad. By having great bliss on hearing emperumAn‘s flute sound she exhausted her puNya karmAs (puNyam leads to joy) and by having great sorrow on not being able to leave she exhausted her pApa karmAs. Since all her puNyam and pApam are exhausted, she at once ascended to paramapadham (our puNyam and pApam are that which binds us in samsAram – once they are gone, we will be uplifted). Thus, she easily attained the ultimate goal of ascending to paramapadham and serving emperumAn eternally there.
He then lived the rest of his life serving thirukkaNNamangai emperumAn and then gloriously ascended to paramapadham to continue his divine service to paramapadhanAthan.
ANdAn’s life and glories are identified in a few places in vyAkyAnams and pUrvAchArya granthams. Let us see them now.
- nAchiyAr thirumozhi 1.1 – periyavAchAn piLLai vyAkyanam – ANdAL says “tharai viLakki” (தரை விளக்கி) – by sweeping/cleaning the floor. periyavAchAn piLLai highlights that thirukkaNNamangai ANdAN was performing the cleaning kainkaryam as the ultimate goal (not as a means to achieve something).
- thirumAlai 38 – periyavAchAn piLLai vyAkyanam – When explaining “un kadaiththalai irunthu vAzhum sOmbar” (உன் கடைத்தலை இருந்து வாழும் சோம்பர்) – periyavAchAn piLLai explains vAzhum sOmbar (living lazy person) means ones who have full faith on emperumAn like demonstrated by ANdAn on bhakthavathsalan emperumAn after seeing the dog being protected by its owner. The opposite of vAzhum sOmbar is thAzhum sOmbar (real lazy person) who simply does not engage in any kainkaryam and wastes their life.
- thiruvAimozhi 9.2.1 – nampiLLai eedu vyAkyAnam – nammAzhwAr says in 10.2.7, “kadaiththalai chIykkappeRRAl kaduvinai kaLaiyalAmE” (கடைத்தலை சீய்க்கப்பெற்றால் கடுவினை களையலாமே) – ones sins can be removed by simply sweeping the floor of emperumAn‘s temple. thirukkaNNamangai ANdAn is well known for giving up everything and staying in thirukkaNNamangai bhakthavathsalan emperumAn sannidhi ever after. He was greatly attached to sweeping kainkaryam at the temple and was performing that kainkaryam regularly. In thiruvAimozhi 9.2.1 vyAkyAnam, nampiLLai beautifully establishes an important aspect. Here in the pAsuram, nammAzhwAr says to emperumAn “We have been doing many different kainkaryams such as cleaning the temple, etc., for many generations”. Here a question arises. prapannas fully accept emperumAn as the only upAyam. They have no involvement in any personal effort – so why do kainkaryams at all? This is explained beautifully by nampiLLai through the following incident involving thirukkaNNamangai ANdAn. One of his class-mates (who became nAsthika) asks ANdAn why he is troubling himself by sweeping the floors if he has no involvement in self-effort. ANdAn shows him a place where there is dust and a place where there is no dust – he says the result of sweeping is just that – the place becomes clean – nothing more. He asks back “Cant you spot the difference between clean place and dirty place?”. Thus, we can understand that performing kainkaryam is a natural act of the dhAsa bhUthan (a servant) and that kainkaryam (service) does not become upAyam. In srIvachana bhUshaNam, piLLai lOkAchAryar beautifully explains in sUthram 88, “If a materially driven person will do so many things to fulfill his (or his dear ones) material desires, how much desire a prapanna (one who is surrendered to bhagavAn) should have to serve emperumAn who is supremely blissful and apt to be served for the true nature of the jIvAthmA?”.
- charamOpAya nirNayam – nAthamunigaL learnt all the 4000 dhivya prabhandhams from nammAzhwAr himself at AzhwAr thirunagari and returned to vIranArAyaNa puaram (kAttu mannAr kOyil). He recited the dhivya prabhandhams in front of mannanAr emperumAn there and received all honors from the emperumAn. He then reached his thirumALigai (residence) and invited his nephews kIzhai agathu AzhwAn and mElai agathu AzwAn, explains them about the special mercy he got from AzhwAr and the divine form AzhwAr showed in his dream (In nAthumunigaL’s dream, nammAzhwAr shows the divine form emperumAnAr who is to appear in the future for the upliftment of everyone). They both became astonished hearing about this and were satisfied that they got some how got related to such mahAnubhAvar (great personality). After that, nAthamunigaL was teaching dhvaya mahA manthram’s meanings through thiruvAimozhi to his dear sishya thirukkaNNamangai ANdAn (who is very well qualified to be a proper sishya). During “poliga poliga poliga” (thiruvAimozhi 5.2.1) pAsuram, nAthamunigaL explains the divine words of AzhwAr and the incidents seen in his dream. Hearing this thirukkaNNamangai ANdAn mentions that “I am so blessed to have the relationship with your highness who has seen the divine form of bhavishyadhAchAryan in your dream”. This incident is highlighted in charamOpAya nirNayam (http://ponnadi.blogspot.in/2012/12/charamopaya-nirnayam-thirumudi.html) which is written by nAyanArAchAn piLLai who is the adopted son of periyavAchAn piLLai.
- vArthA mAlai 109 – pinbhazhagiya perumAL jIyar explains the same principle that is explained in srIvachana bhUshaNa sUthrams which we have already seen. Here also he highlights that pirAtti, dhraupathi and thirukkaNNamangai ANdAn are the ultimate examples of how to pursue emperumAn and how to fully depend on him.
- vArthA mAlai 234 – Here the importance of fully focussing on visEsha sAsthram (bhAgavatha dharmam) over sAmAnya sAsthram (varNAsrama dharmam) is stressed and its highlighted we should not think that such nishtai is only possible for very highly elevated adhikAris (persons) like Adhi bharathan, thirukkaNNamangai ANdAn, etc. Instead everyone should strive for that and by the grace of bhagavAn we too will become firm in such faith.
Thus, we have seen some glimpses of the glorious life of thirukkaNNamangai ANdAn. Let us pray at his lotus feet that we too get such full faith on emperumAn.
adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan
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Sources: vyAkyAnams, charamOpAya nirNayam, vArthAmAlai