srImadh varavaramunayE nama:
srI vAnAchala mahAmunayE nama:
- sAkshAthkAram - divine vision of bhagavAn (in the mind) - this is a special kind of knowledge where we understand who bhagavAn is
- vibhUthi sAkshAthkAram - divine vision of bhagavAn with his material manifestation - this is the state where we understand the true hurdle (this material body and the material world) through the special kind of knowledge
- ubhaya vibhUthi sAkshAthkAram - divine vision of bhagavAn with his spiritual and material manifestations - this is the state where we understand the real goal of kainkaryam through the special kind of knowledge
- prathyaksha sAkshAthkAram - divine vision of bhagavAn right through our eyes - this is the state where we realize that
- the process and goal are the same, i.e., both are emperumAn only
- kainkaryam (doing loving service) to bhagavAn is the ultimate goal and
- whatever we do as upAyam (process) is also kainkaryam only
Direct vision can be accomplished in the following 6 forms of bhagavAn:
- parathvam - bhagavAn's divine form in paramapadham - this is for nithyas and mukthas
- vyUham - bhagavAn's divine form in kshIrAbdhi - this is for sanaka, etc (4 sons of brahmA who wer born out of his mind), dhEvas, etc
- vibhavam - bhagavAn's avathArams like srI rAma, krishNa, etc - they are for the ones who lived during those times of srI rAma, krishNa, etc like dhasaratha, vasudhEva, nandha gOpAlan, etc
- antharyAmithvam - bhagavAn's in-dwelling form in every entity - this form is for yOgis and upAsakas
- archAvathAram - bhagavAn's form in temples, mutts and homes - this is for every one
- AchAryathvam - bhagavAn's form as knowledge-bestowing AchArya - this is for the ones who have no other refuge
- dhEsa - place - paramapadham, kshIrAbdhi not in everyone's reach
- kAla - time - vibhavAvathArams happen in different yugas - the ones who are not part of those times will miss out
- karaNa - senses - antharyAmithvam is not visible for our gross senses - only yOgis who have great control over their senses can see antharyAmi emperumAn through the knowledge
piLLai lOkAchAryar clealry explains the greatness of AchArya abhimAnam (AchArya's mercy) in his artha panchakam (rahasya grantham) as follows:
AchArya abimAnamAvathu ivaiyonRukkum sakthananRikkE iruppAnoruuvanaik kuRiththu ivanudaiya izhavaiyum, ivanaippeRRAl Iswaranukku uNdAna prIthiyaiyum anusandhiththu, sthanandhayaprajaikku vyAthi uNdAnAl than kuRaiyAga ninaiththuth thAn aushadha sEvai paNNi rakshikkum mAthAvaippOlE ivanukkuththAn upAyAnushtAnam paNNi rakshikka valla paramadhayALuvAna mahAbAgavatha abhimAnaththilE odhungi, "vallaparisu varuvipparEl athu kANdumE" engiRapadiyE sakala nivruththi pravruththigaLum avanitta vazhakkAy.
ஆசார்ய அபிமானமாவது இவையொன்றுக்கும் ஸக்தனன்றிக்கே இருப்பானொருவனைக் குறித்து இவனுடைய இழவையும், இவனைப்பெற்றால் ஈஸ்வரனுக்கு உண்டான ப்ரீதியையும் அனுஸந்தித்து, ஸ்தநந்தயப்ரஜைக்கு வ்யாதி உண்டானால் தன் குறையாக நினைத்துத் தான் ஔஷத ஸேவை பண்ணி ரக்ஷிக்கும் மாதாவைப்போலே இவனுக்குத்தான் உபாயானுஷ்டானம் பண்ணி ரக்ஷிக்க வல்ல பரமதயாளுவான மஹாபாகவத அபிமானத்திலே ஒதுங்கி, "வல்லபரிசு வருவிப்பரேல் அது காண்டுமே" என்கிறபடியே ஸகல நிவ்ருத்தி ப்ரவ்ருத்திகளும் அவனிட்ட வழக்காய்...
Simple translation: AchArya abhimAnam means - For a jIvAthmA who has no ability to perform any other upAyam (karma, gyAna, bhakthi, prapathi), the AchAryan looking at the great loss for the jIvAthmA (due to the jIvAthmA not realizing the connection with emperumAn) and looking at the joy of Ishwaran when he gets the jIvAthmA (as his pure servitor), just like a mother will consume medicine when the breast-fed child becomes ill thinking that she herself has become ill, AchArya himself performs sharaNAgathi on behalf of the sishya to emperumAn. A sishya should fully keep himself at the disposal of such pure bhAgavatha who is most merciful and wait for the benediction of bhagavAn thinking that "if bhagavAn feels committed to the AchAryan (which he will) let him come and bless me" (As identified by ANdAL nAchiyAr in nAchiyAr thirumozhi).
It is very clear that piLLai lOkAchAryar is an incarnation of our pEraruLALan (kAnchi dhEva perumAL) as directly seen by maNaRppAkkathu nambi. This incident (of piLLai lOkAchAryar being an incarnation of dhEva perumAL) is explained clearly by jIyar (mAmunigaL) in his vyAkyAnam (avathArikai) for srIvachana bhUshaNam. Further, there are so many more beautiful explanations relating to sadhAchArya-sathsishya lakshaNam that are explained by our jIyar (mAmunigaL). I am not elaborating on these fearing about this grantham becoming too big.
Thus, it is loudly claimed that "srIman nArAyaNan (the husband of srImahAlakshmi) appears mercifully as AchAryan" in one single voice by
- all vEdhams
- those which explain the vEdhams - smruthi, ithihAsams, purANams
- the rishis such parAsara, pArAsarya (vyAsa), bhOdhAyana, suka, etc - who have seen the essence of vEdham, vEdhAntham, etc
- AzhwArs such as prapanna jana kUtasthar parAngusa (nammAzhwAr), parakAla (thirumangai AzhwAr), bhattanAtha (periyAzhwAr), etc., who are able to visualize both spiritual and material worlds of bhagavAn perfectly, who revealed the essence of all the vEdhams/vEdhAnthams through their dhrAvida brahmavidhyai and made them available for everyone irrespective of birth, age, etc.
sAkshAn nArAyaNO dhEva: kruthvAmarthyamayIm thanum
ஸாக்ஷாந் நாராயணோ தேவ: க்ருத்வாமர்த்யமயீம் தநும்
மக்நாநுத்தரதே லோகாந் காருண்யாச்சாஸ்த்ர பாணிநா
So far, we have seen that a true sishya should worship his true AchArya who is a special incarnation of emperumAn through many pramANams (proofs). Now, we will see some pramANams to establish that we should not treat the AchAryan like a common man. With these two, it is established that, the ones who treat their AchArya as a common man will fall into hellish regions and the one who worships the AchAryan as bhagavAn himself will be uplifted to paramapadham. Since aruLALa perumAL emperumAnAr says in gyAna sAram 32 "ekkAlum naNNiduvar kIzhAm naragu" (எக்காலும் நண்ணிடுவர் கீழாம் நரகு - one who considers his AchArya as a simple mortal human being, will fall down into the hellish planets eternally) such thoughts should be completely given up and we should think that "pIthakavAdaip pirAnAr biramaguruvAgivandhu" (பீதகவாடைப் பிரானார் பிரமகுருவாகிவந்து - bhagavan has himself appeared as the AchAryan) as said by periyAzhwAr. This principle will be deep rooted in the hearts of the ones who are most faithful to sAsthram and act according to pramANams always.
Thus, as is it is said in "yathsAra bhUtham thadhupAsithavyam" (யத்ஸார பூதம் ததுபாஸிதவ்யம் - One should worship/follow that which is the essence), "bhajEth sAra thamam sAsthram" (பஜேத் ஸார தமம் சாஸ்த்ரம் - one should follow the part of sAsthram that is of ultimate essence), etc., instead of depending on AchAryan (and AchArya abhimAnam) who's only focus is to bestow mOksham for the jIvAthmA as said in "upAya upEya bhAvEna thamEva sharaNam vrajEth" (உபாய உபேய பாவேந தமேவ சரணம் வ்ரஜேத் - Surrender unto the lotus feet of AchAryan as upAyam/means and upEyam/goal) and "pERonRu maRRillai nin charaNanRi" (பேறொன்று மற்றில்லை நின் சரணன்றி - I have no other goal than your lotus feet - amudhanAr in rAmAnusa nURRanthAdhi 45), etc. This AchAryathvam (AchAryan) is
- the essence of all of sAsthram
- taught by our pUrvAchAryas in our guru paramparai starting with srI madhurakavigaL, nAthamunigaL, etc
- the direct natural worshippable object
- most merciful and never mixed with an svAthanthriyam
- most easily accessible and reachable
- thaithriya upanishadh - yathO vAchO nivarththanthE aprApya manasA saha (யதோ வாசோ நிவர்த்தந்தே அப்ராப்ய மநஸா ஸஹ) - bhagavAn's one guNam itself is not understandable by the mind and explainable by words even for the most intelligent person imaginable.
- sulabham svagurum thyakthvA dhurlabham ya upAsathE (ஸுலபம் ஸ்வகுரும் த்யக்த்வா துர்லபம் ய உபாஸதே) - giving up one's guru who is easily accessible and performing difficult worship to emperumAn is foolish
- sthOthra rathnam - vidhi siva sanakAdhyair dhyAthum athyantha dhUram (விதி சிவ ஸநகாத்யைர் த்யாதும் அத்யந்த தூரம்) - Serving you is beyond comprehension even for geat yOgis like brahmA, siva, sanaka kumAras
- thirumAlai 44 - peNNulAm chadaiyinAnum biramunum unnaik kANbAn eNNilAvUzhiyUzhith thavam cheythAr veLgi niRpa (பெண்ணுலாம் சடையினானும் பிரமுனும் உன்னைக் காண்பான் எண்ணிலாவூழியூழித் தவம் செய்தார் வெள்கி நிற்ப) - rudhran who has ganga in his matted hair and brahmA who have performed penance for so many years to see you, but are unable to see you so they are hanging their heads in shame
- sidhdhir bhavathi vA nEthi samsayOchyutha sEvinAm (ஸித்திர் பவதி வா நேதி ஸம்சயோச்யுத ஸேவிநாம்) - Even for those who serve achyuthan it is doubtful whether they achieve him or not
- thiruchantha virutham 85 - vaiththa sinthai vAnguviththu nInguvikka (வைத்த சிந்தை வாங்குவித்து நீங்குவிக்க) - You are totally independent and capable to remove my mind from you and divert it into other material things
- kshipAmi, na kshamAmi - I will punish them, I wont forgive them - these are usually highlighted to show that emperumAn is not as merciful as AchAryan who always wants to forgive and direct jIvAthmAs towards mOksham
He is explained as most difficult to achieve, common for both binding the jIvAthmA in samsAram and liberating the jIvAthmA from samsAram, is cruel at times that he pushed bharathan who was totally surrendered and sIthA pirAtti who is inseparable from perumAL like fish and water, into forest to live in separation, he explains prapathi to arjunan, etc., but still engages them in his leelai, etc.
So, sishya should accept ones own AchAryan as the upAyam (means) and upEyam (goal) as explained in "uththArayathi samsArAth thadhupAyaplavEna thu; gurumUrththy sthithas sAkshAth bhagavAn purushOththama:" (உத்தாரயதி ஸம்ஸாராத் ததுபாயப்லவேந து; குருமூர்த்தி ஸ்திதஸ் ஸாக்ஷாத் பகவாந் புருஷோத்தம: - bhagavAn accepts the form of AchAryan to uplift the jIvAthmAs from samsAram through appropriate means) and ALavandhAr in sthOthra rathnam "sarvam yadhEva niyamEna" (ஸர்வம் யதேவ நியமேன - AzhwAr's lotus feet is everything for me always). He should accept the AchAryan as the master, refuge and most enjoyable object to be attained. Instead of doing that, if some one just accepts their AchAryan as simply upakAraka (helping to lead to emperumAn), as said in "munnOr mozhintha muRai thappAmal kEttup pinnOrnthu thAmathanaip pEsAthE thannenjil thORRinathE solli ithu sudhdha upadhEsa varavARRathenbar mUrkkarAvAr" (முன்னோர் மொழிந்த முறை தப்பாமல் கேட்டுப் பின்னோர்ந்து தாமதனைப் பேசாதே தன்னெஞ்சில் தோற்றினதே சொல்லி இது சுத்த உபதேச வரவாற்றதென்பர் மூர்க்கராவார் - updadhEsa rathina mAlai 71), as heard from pUrvAchAryas and knowing their divine conclusions and the words that reveal their inner heart, but not following them and instructing what they think as the philosophy and say "this principle is coming from our pUrvAchAryas" is done by people who consider themselves as independent and the unfortunate ones who are not totally dedicated to their own AchAryas and are dry hearted. Since they dont know the deep principles of our sampradhAyam, their instructions will not stay and vanish like fake decorations. My AchAryan (mAmunigaL) have explained that one should be totally faithful towards their own AchArya based on many pramANams such as
- AchAryAyAharEdharththAn AthmAnancha nivEdhayEth; thadhadhInascha varththEtha sAkshAn nArAyaNO hi sa: (ஆசார்யாயாஹரேதர்த்தாந் ஆத்மாநஞ்ச நிவேதயேத்; தததீநஸ்ச வர்த்தேத ஸாக்ஷாந் நாராயணோ ஹி ஸ:) - By fulling surrendering ones wealth, self, etc to AchAryan and living fully at his disposal, one is sure to reach the abode of srIman nArAyaNa
- yasya sAkshAth bhagavathi gyAnadhIpapradhE gurau (யஸ்ய ஸாக்ஷாத் பகவதி ஜ்ஞாநதீபப்ரதே குரௌ) - Since AchArya enlightens the sishya with the torch of knowledge, he should be considered as bhagavAn himself
- AchAryassa harissAkshAch chararUpI na samsaya: (ஆசார்யஸ்ஸ ஹரிஸ்ஸாக்ஷாச் சரரூபீ ந ஸம்ஸய:) - AchArya is the same as srI hari himself - there is no doubt - but he walks around unlike bhagavAn (who stays put in one place in temple, etc)
- gururEva parambrahma (குருரேவ பரம்ப்ரஹ்ம) - Guru himself is parabrahma
- gurumUrththy sthithas sAkshAth bhagavAn purushOththama:" (குருமூர்த்தி ஸ்திதஸ் ஸாக்ஷாத் பகவாந் புருஷோத்தம:) - bhagavAn himself accepts the form of the guru, etc
- consider ones own AchAryan as srIman nArAyaNan (who is the husband of srI mahAlakshmi),
- consider his lotus feet as the means and goal
- consider service to his lotus feet as the ultimate goal
- consider his pleasure as the ultimate aim and focus
- consider his residence (or where he is present) as the ultimate place to be
- consider serving his divine form as that which sustains, nourishes and gives pleasure, as explained by nammAzhwAr in uNNum chORu (உண்ணும் சோறு) pAsuram
- consider him as the uplifter as explained in uththArayathi samsArAth (உத்தாரயதி ஸம்ஸாராத்) slokam (previously explained)
- pray to him constantly like mAmunigaL prayed in Arthi prabhandham "ethirAsA ennai inik kaduka ippavaththininRum eduththaruLE" (எதிராசா என்னை இனிக் கடுக இப்பவத்தினின்றும் எடுத்தருளே) - yathirAja! please lift me up from this cruel samsAram immediately
- consider "AchAryAbhimAnamE uththArakam" (ஆசார்யாபிமானமே உத்தாரகம் - srIvachana bhUshaNam 447) - AchArya's mercy is the only refuge for upliftment
- Consider that AchArya has removed all our previous sins as said in rAmAnusa nURRanthAdhi 93 "en peruvinaiyaik kittik kizhangodu thannaruLennum oLvALuruvi vettik kaLaintha irAmAnusan" (என் பெருவினையைக் கிட்டிக் கிழங்கொடு தன்னருளென்னும் ஒள்வாளுருவி வெட்டிக் களைந்த இராமானுசன்) and kaNNinuN chiruthAmbu 7 "kaNdukoNdennaik kArimARappirAn paNdai valvinai pARRi aruLinAn" (கண்டுகொண்டென்னைக் காரிமாறப்பிரான் பண்டை வல்வினை பாற்றி அருளினான்)
- samsArAvarththa vEga prasamana subadhruk dhEsika prEkshi - thOham (ஸம்ஸாராவர்த்த வேக ப்ரசமன ஸுபத்ருக் தேசிக ப்ரேக்ஷி - தோஹம்) - I am well because I look to my AchAryan to quell the might of the effects of samsAra.
- nirbhayO nirbharOsmi (நிர்பயோ நிர்பரோஸ்மி) - stay fearless and burdenless in samsAram
- AchAryasya prasAdhEna mama sarvamabIpsitham; prApnuyAmIthi visvAsO yasyAsthi sa sukI bhavEth (ஆசார்யஸ்ய ப்ரஸாதேந மம ஸர்வமபீப்ஸிதம்; ப்ராப்நுயாமீதி விச்வாஸோ யஸ்யாஸ்தி ஸ ஸுகீ பவேத்) - One who has the confidence/faith that he will attain all his desires by the grace of his AchAryan, shall be happy
- thiruvAimozhi thaniyan - dhanaththAlum Ethum kuRaivilEn enthai sadagOpan pAdhangaL yAmudaiya paRRu (தனத்தாலும் ஏதும் குறைவிலேன் எந்தை சடகோபன் பாதங்கள் யாமுடைய பற்று) - I am content with my wealth (material and spiritual) since I am surrendered to my spiritual father nammAzhwAr
- pramEya sAram 1 - ...ivvARu kEttiruppArkku ALenRu kaNdiruppAr mItchiyilA nAttiruppAr enRiruppan nAn (...இவ்வாறு கேட்டிருப்பார்க்கு ஆளென்று கண்டிருப்பார் மீட்சியிலா நாட்டிருப்பார் என்றிருப்பன் நான்) - Ones who heard the meanings of thirumanthram and understood bhAgavatha sEshathvam from an AchAryan and serve him, will surely reach paramapadham which is the ultimate destination of no return.
- pramEya sAram 9 - thaththam iRaiyin vadivenRu thALiNaiyai vaiththavarai... (தத்தம் இறையின் வடிவென்று தாளிணையை வைத்தவரை...) - One who considers their AchAryan as bhagavath avathAram and worships accordingly is sure to reach paramapadham
- upadhEsa rathina mAlai 72 - ...iruL tharumA gyAlaththE inbamuRRu vAzhum theruL tharumA dhEsikanaich chErnthu (...இருள் தருமா ஞாலத்தே இன்பமுற்று வாழும் தெருள் தருமா தேசிகனைச் சேர்ந்து) - By listening and following the divine instructions of pUrvAchAryas and their lives and accepting an AchAryan who blesses divine knowledge to the sishyan, the sishyan can live happily even in this samsAram which is filled with darkness.
It is due to this reason, periyavAchAn piLLai clearly concludes that there is nothing greater than considering AchArya's lotus feet as both material/spirtiual worlds and accepting him as visible/invisible goal. But does it mean that for such sishyas (who have total faith in their AchArya) samsAram itself becomes paramapadham? Once, nambi thiruvazhudhi vaLanAdu dhAsar recites kaNNinuN chiruthAmbu and concludes with "madhurakavi sonnasol nambuvAr pathi vaikuntham kANminE" (மதுரகவி சொன்னசொல் நம்புவார் பதி வைகுந்தம் காண்மினே - One who believes in the divine words of madhurakavi AzhwAr, wherever they stay that place becomes vaikutham). At that time, the srIvaishNavas there ask him "If a srIvaishNava in this samsAram (leelA vibhUthi) faithfully recites, how does that place become vaikuntham (nithya vibhUthi)?" and he replies "Listen to me - I will explain how. After the appearance of the divine son of kUrathAzhwAn (bhattar), the barrier in between the two worlds was destroyed and both became one" - this incident is explained in kaNNinuN chiruthAmbu vyAkyAnam.
Translator's note: Thus, we have seen how AchAryan is the most merciful incarnation of bhagavAn himself and serving him is the most important aspect for a sishya.
Thanks to srI ranganAthan swamy for helping out in translating some of the samskritha pramANams.
To be continued...
Full series can be viewed at: http://ponnadi.blogspot.in/p/anthimopaya-nishtai.html.
adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan
archived in http://ponnadi.blogspot.in, also visit http://guruparamparai.wordpress.com.