Srivaishnava lakshanam - 6

Appreciating another Srivaishnava

srimathe ramanujaya nama:
srimad varavaramunaye nama:
sri vaanaachala mahamunaye nama:

In the previous article we observed the qualities expected out of a vaishnava adhikaari (qualified vaishnava). Before moving on to the next topic, adiyen would like to discuss the following point in detail.
  • ippadi irukkum srIvaishnNavargaL ERRamaRiNthu ugaNthirukkaiyum (இப்படி இருக்கும் ஸ்ரீவைஷ்ணவர்கள் ஏற்றமறிந்து உகந்திருக்கையும்)
Once we understand the above 5 points clearly, we will automatically look out for srivaishnavas who are like that. And when we meet them we should feel so happy - our pUrvaachaaryas say, when we see a srivaishnava we should feel happy as if we saw moon (every one right from childhood has a fascination for moon), mild breeze and sandalwood paste (every one likes the soft nature, coolness and the smell). Also, maamunigal says that we should think that "even in this samsaaram we can meet some one like this" and compares it to seeing a Lotus flourishing in a stove (which is impossible). Maamunigal continues to say, even if we get the first 5 qualities, getting this particular quality is extremely difficult - but all of our pUrvaachaaryas lived such exemplary life glorifying other srivaishnavas.

The reason it is very difficult to develop this abhimaaanam is because of our own ahankaaram. We have this "sajaathIya budhi" on srivaishnavas, i.e., we look at another srivaishnava and say, "He is also bathing, He is also wearing clothes like me, He is also eating, He is also working. Why should I treat him higher than me?". The point we miss is that, according to pUrvaachaaryaas "srivaishnavas are acharya thulyars and higher than self and Isvaran". Kannan emperumaan says in bhagavad gIta - "matchitthaa: matgadha: praana: bodhayantha: parasparam ... " - the ones who think about me, have me as their life breath, discuss about me together all the time and enjoy those moments together". In the samsaaram (which is full of miseries) - to find a person who shares bhagavad vishayam is like finding oasis in a desert. So, we should make sure that we take the opportunity to the fullest potential and discuss bhagavad vishayam with such srivaishnavas. Nammaazhwaar also praises srivaishnavas of this world as "vinnuLaarilum sIriyar" (better than nithyas and mukthas since these srivaishnavas think about emperumaan all the time being in samsaaram itself), nilath dhEvargaL (nithya sUris of this world), etc. But once we give up the ahankaaram and start following naichya anusandhaanam (identifying one self as very lowly) we will start developing this appreciation towards other srivaishnavas.

This sUtram (116 in Mumukshupadi) can be related to sutram 447 in Srivachana bhUshanam - "aachaarya abhimaanamE uththaaragam".

While most of us will think that the sishyan having the abhimaanam towards our aachaaryan will give the sishyan the ultimate result of mOksham, maamunigal being an expert commentator coming in the line of our pUrvaacharyaas, says that "if the aachaaryan (who out of his boundless/causeless mercy provided the ultimate knowledge to the sishyan) has the abhimaanam that 'this is my sishyan', that will relieve the sishyan from the clutches of samsaaram very easily". Actually this is the essence of our sampradhaayam. By following what is said in the Mumukshupadi sUtram 116, we will appreciate the relationship with a srivaishnava more than anything else and the result is we will become the sath paathram to have the abhimaanam of such srivaishnavas/acharyas as mentioned in Srivachana bhUshanam sutram 447.

We can see this in pUrvaachaarya's lives many such incidents.

* Manakkal nambi took so much efforts to bring Alavandhaar back to sampradhaayam (since that was nAthamuni's wish).
* Emperumaanaar walked from Srirangam to Thirukoshtiyur 18 times to meet Thirukoshtiyur nambi and ThirukOshtiyur nambi in the end gave swamy the name "Emperumaanaar" for his actions.
* Emperumaanaar and periya nambi had a wonderful relationship of mutual respect and affection to each other.
* koorathaazhwaan gave up all his wealth and surrendered to emperumaanaar and emperumaanaar had so much respect and affection for azhwaan.

* When pillai pillai aazhwaan (a sishya of koorathaazhwaan) was continuosly committing apachaarams to srivaishnavas, on one punya kaalam (month beginning), koorathaazhwaan went to him and asked to give all the paapams arising out of those apachaarams as an offering to him. Looking at the kaarunyam (mercy) of his acharya, from that time onwards pillai pillai aazhwaan never commited any apachaarams towards any one.
* Embaar instructs to bhattar while leaving to paramapadham that "dont think that you are a big scholar, son of koorathaazhwaan, etc. always remember that emperumaanar thiruvadigalE thanjam".
* Emperumaanaar was very attached to paraasara bhattar and once mentioned to anathaazhwaan that bhattar should be treated just like himself.
* bhattar and nanjeeyar were very attached to each other. bhattar also instructs nanjeeyar while leaving to paramapadham that "dont think you are a vedhaanthi, you offered so much wealth to bhattar, etc. always remember that emperumaanaar thiruvadigalE thanjam".
* nanjeeyar and nampillai were very attached to each other. When nampillai asks nanjeeyar, what should be the utmost quality of srivaishnava, nanjeeyar says that "when we find that some srivaishnava is having issues with us, we have to think the problem is with us not with the other person" - this is in line with "naanE thaan aayiduga" in thiruppaavai 15th paasuram.
* nampillai went to kandhaadai thOzhappar to ask for forgiveness, even though it was thOzhappar who committed offense to him.
* KoorakulOthama dhaasar took so much efforts to bring Thiruvaaimozhipillai back to sampradhaayam (since that was pillai lOkaachaariar's wish).
* Thiruvaaimozhipillai and maamunigal were very attached to each other.

Our pUrvaachaaryas had their full focus on bhagavad/bhaagavatha kainkaryam and nothing else. For them, their bodily comforts are of least importance. If we understand this and engage in bhaagavatha kainkaryam that will fit our svarUpam perfectly per our pUrvaachaarya's definition of a srivaishnava adhikaari.

So, we should think that we committed the biggest crime when we find faults in another srivaishnava. Even worse is propagating another srivaishnava's faults (as perceived by us) to others. We have to think about sIthaa piratti's behaviour constantly - she did not tell perumaaL anything about the tortures committed by raakshasigal to her.

With this in mind, we will discuss the offenses (apachaarams) that should be avoided by a srivaishnava in the next article.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

Note: Adiyen thanks Sri Sutharsan swamy for inducing me to write further on this important topic with some valuable feedback.

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