srIrangam - 2014 - amAvAsyai and samvathsarAdhi


srImathE satagOpAya nama:
srImathE rAmAnujAya nama:

srImadh varavaramunayE nama:
srI vAnAchala mahAmunayE nama: 
srIrangam is the root dhivya dhEsam for srIvaishNavas. In general kOyil mean srIrangam in our sath sampradhAyam. Here srIranganAthan is the emperor. Naturally, all the focus is on namperumAL here. srIranganAthan is glorified as "padhinmar pAdiya perumAL" (one who is glorified by all 10 AzhwArs). Most of our pUrvAchAryas spent a good portion of their life time in this dhivya dhEsam performing mangaLAsAsanam to emperumAn and also nurturing the sath sampradhAyam.
emperumAnAr is glorified as the one who reformed this and other dhivya dhEsams to ensure emperumAn is taken care off with the highest quality of services with kainkaryams given to wide range of his devotees. He firmly establishes srIrangam as the head-quarters for our sath sampradhAyam during his days.
Later on, mAmunigaL also arrived at this dhivya dhEsam to reinstate the lost glories of this dhivya dhEsam and our sampradhAyam. That was the time period after invaders tortured the temple-town and caused great damage to the sampradhAyam and the followers. Eventually, mAmunigaL reinstated "rAmAnujArya dhivyAgyA" (the divine orders of srI rAmAnujAchArya) and also fully brought out the divine glories of thiruvAimozhi and its vyAkyAnams. srIranganAthan orders mAmunigaL to lecture on thiruvAimozhi using the commentaries of  nampiLLai and others. At the end of the lecture series, srI ranganAthan himself accepts mAmunigaL as his AchArya and presents the most glorious "srI sailEsa dhayApAthram" thaniyan (glorificatory verse). All of these happened in the chandhana maNdapam (the maNdapam in front of dhvAra pAlakas) after the east/west steps (kIzhap padi and mElap padi).

Though there are many sannidhis inside the temple compound, all sannidhis anushtAnams happen in line with namperumAL 's schedule. Whenever namperumAL comes out of his sannidhi, all other sannidhis nithyAnushtAnams are completed before that.
It is in this same chandhana maNdapam, two eventful days of celebrations were observed on March 30 and March 31. Here is a quick listing of the various events happened on these 2 days at this wonderful dhivya dhEsam.

  • March 30th - panguni amAvAsyai
    • Morning 
      • dhivya prabhandha gOshti at udayavar  (emperumAnAr) sannidhi - daily routine (thiruppallANdu, thiruppAvai, amalanAdhipirAn, kaNNinuN chiRu thAmbu, rAmAnusa nURRanthAdhi)
      • namperumAL puRappAdu to chandhana maNdapam
      • snapaNa thirumanjanam - elaborate event with arayar sEvai with cymbals (thALam)
      • thirumanjana kattiyam by vEdha vyAsa bhattar (descendant of AzhwAn's son vEdha vyAsa bhattar)
      • sahasra dhArA thirumanjanam with arayar sEvai and archakas reciting purusha sUktham
    • Evening
  • Mar 31st - ugAdhi - samvathsarAdhi (telugu year beginning)

      • AzhwAn returns to his sannidhi.
      • emperumAnAr returns to his sannidhi followed by piLLai lOkAchAryar.
      • piLLai lOkAchAryar returns to his sannidhi after emperumAnAr enters his sannidhi.
      • sthOthra pAtam gOshti (sthOthra rathnam) continues at emperumAnAr sannidhi until emperumAnAr steps out of the pallakku and returns to mUlavar sannidhi.
      • thIrtham, milk, mudhaliyANdAn (emperumAnAr's pAdhukA) and prasAdham distribution to all.

  • Also during dhIpAvaLi and adhyayana uthsavam, All AzhwArs/AchAryas arrive to see namperumAL together and performs mangaLAsAsanam to him. 
  • Thanks to Rajagopal Kannan swamy for pointing it out some errors in the recording of the events (which are duly corrected now). He also notes that whatever happened outside AzhwAr sannidhi usually happens outside kArthigai gOpura entrance. 

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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virOdhi parihArangaL - 19

srImathE satagOpAya nama:
srImathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srImadh varavaramunayE nama:
srI vAnAchala mahAmunayE nama:

emperumAnAr explains to vangi puratthu nambi the obstacles that are faced by srIvaishNavas in various aspects of day-to-day life. vangi puratthu nambi documents these instructions in a wonderful grantham with commentary named virOdhi parihArangaL (removal of obstacles). We are now viewing the English translation of this grantham with the help of the explanations given by srI u. vE. V V Ramanujam swamy. The whole series can be viewed at

Please see the previous article at

 nampiLLai kAlakshEpa gOshti - the most enchanting scholar who engaged many stalwarts into hearing the glories of emperumAn through his thiruvAimozhi lectures

50. kAlakshEpa virOdhi (காலக்ஷேப விரோதி) - Obstacles in passing/spending our time

kAlakshEpam generally means passing time. Our time should not be wasted. There are two aspects in passing time - dhEha yAthrA (time spent for the benefit of the body) and Athma yAthrA (time spent for the benefit of the soul). dhEha yAthrA includes any time spent to nurture the body and bodily relatives. Athma yAthrA means time spent to nurture the soul and its well-being. One should be focussed on the upliftment of the jIvAthmA (oneself). One needs to take care of the body needs in righteous way - this cannot be refused, yet one should simple not focus on food, shelter, clothing and bodily luxuries only. thirumazhisai AzhwAr and mAmunigaL have explained how ones time should be spent - these are to be understood, glorified and practised.

thirumazhisai AzhwAr says in nAnmugan thiruvanthAdhi 63rd pAsuram:

theriththu ezhuthi vaachiththu vaNangi vazhipattum pUchiththum pOkkinEn  pOthu (தெரித்து எழுதி வாசித்து வணங்கி வழிபட்டும் பூசித்தும் போக்கினேன்  போது)
I spend my time by thinking/meditating on emperumAn, writing about him, reading about him, hearing about him from others, worshiping him without any pride, doing thiruvArAdhanam to him.

mAmunigaL says in Arthi prabhandham 26th pAsuram:

paNdu pala Ariyarum pArulagOr uyyap parivuadanE cheydhu aruLum palkalaigaL thammaik  kaNdathellaam ezhudhi
avai kaRRu irunthum piRarkkuk kAthaludan kaRpiththum kAlaththaik kazhiththEn

பல ஆரியரும் பாருலகோர் உய்யப் பரிவுஅடனே செய்து அருளும் பல்கலைகள் தம்மைக் கண்டதெல்லாம் எழுதி
அவை கற்று இருந்தும் பிறர்க்குக் காதலுடன் கற்பித்தும் காலத்தைக் கழித்தேன்

I searched and collected all the pUrvAchArya granthams which were lost/distributed during muslim invasion. These granthams were written by the apAra kAruNyam  (great mercy) of pUrvAchAryas towards the hitham (well-being) of all the future generations. Whatever granthams I found, I wrote them personally in palm leaves, I learnt them from my Acharyans (thiruvAimozhi piLLai, etc), lived according to the instructions in those granthams, and taught those to my disciples.

Though kAlakshEpam is understood as "passing time" generally, we can understand here the focus is on learning pUrvAchArya granthams word-by-word and teaching them to others through lectures. Translator's note: srIvaishNava dhinacharyA (daily routine) is explained in detail in these following articles: and

  • Falling asleep while listening to kAlakshEpam out of thamO guNam is an obstacle. thoNdaradippodi AzhwAr says in thirumAlai pAsuram 3 "vEdha nUl pirAyam nURu manicharthAm puguvarElum pAdhiyum uRangippOgum" (வேத நூல் பிராயம் நூறு மனிசர்தாம் புகுவரேலும் பாதியும் உறங்கிப்போகும்) - Though jIvAthmA accepts a human body which is given 100 years of life, half that time would be spent in sleep. This sleeping is highlighted as an outcome of thamO guNam (ignorance). Though reasonable sleep is required (it is sufficient to have a 6 hours sleep in the available 24 hours), sleeping too much is not good. Translator's note: One must be very alert while hearing kAlakshEpam and focus on the principles that are explained in the lecture. 
  • After waking up, thinking about worldly matters and wasting the time is an obstacle. When we are awake, the time should be spent usefully. Just thinking/wishing ill for others is a great sin. Translator's note: In srI bhAgavatham, it is said that a bhAgavatha can engage in many activities such as sravaNam (hearing about emperumAn), kIrthanam (singing the glories of emperumAn), visNO: smaraNam (remembering his activities), pAdha sEvanam (serving his lotus feet), archanam (worshiping him), vandhanam (glorifying him), dhAsyam (serving him), sakyam (befriending him) and Athma nivEdhanam (offering oneself fully to him). When there are so many auspicious activities to engage, we should not waste our time in inauspicious activities. In periya thiruvanthAdhi, nammAzhwAr says "kAr kalandha mEniyAn kai kalandha AzhiyAn pAr kalandha valvayiRRAn pAmbaNaiyAn sIr kalandha sol ninaindhu pOkkArEl sUzh vinaiyin Azhthuyarai en ninaindhu pOkkuvar ippOdhu?" (கார் கலந்த மேனியான் கை கலந்த ஆழியான் பார் கலந்த வல்வயிற்றான் பாம்பணையான் சீர் கலந்த சொல் நினைந்து போக்காரேல் சூழ் வினையின் ஆழ்துயரை என் நினைந்து போக்குவர் இப்போது?) - When there are wonderful things to talk about the most auspicious qualities of bhagavAn who is blackish-blue like a cloud in complexion, who has sudharshan chakram in his hand, who protects the universe in his stomach during layam and who is lying on the serpent bed, how else can they spend their time without thinking about emperumAn? AzhwAr is thinking from his perspective and he does not know how to spend the time without thinking about emperumAn.
  • Spending ones time thinking about enjoying with women is an obstacle. Translator's note: Ultimate aim for materialism is to enjoy sex with the opposite gender. Right from the beginning of adult-hood, men and women are focussed on how to enjoy. This is explained by our pUrvAchAryas as "vishayAnthara prAvaNyam" (விஷயாந்தர ப்ராவண்யம்) - attachment to worldly pleasures. pEyAzhwAr explains a simple remedy to remove such sensual desires from ones mind. He says in mUnRAm thiruvanthAdhi pAsuram 14 "mARpAl manam chuzhippa mangaiyar thOL kai vittu" (மாற்பால் மனம் சுழிப்ப மங்கையர் தோள் கை விட்டு) - When we focus our mind and desires towards emperumAn, the attachment towards worldly pleasures will automatically disappear. bhagavAn is explained as "subhAsrayam" (சுபாச்ரயம்) - auspicious abode to focus on - when we focus on bhagavAn, automatically all auspiciousness will manifest in us too and all inauspiciousness will vanish.
  • Spending the time not thinking about the lotus feet of kariyAn kazhal (the lotus feet of the blackish-hued emperumAn). bhagavAn is explained as nIla mEga shyAmaLa (one with the form that resembles blackish-hued clouds). We should focus on emperumAn's lotus feet as stated by nammAzhwAr in thiruvAimozhi 3.6.10 "anRu thEr kataviya perumAn kanai kazhal kANbathenRukol kaNgaLE" (அன்று தேர் கடவிய பெருமான் கனை கழல் காண்பதென்றுகொல் கண்களே) - When am I going to see the lotus feet of the emperumAn who drove the chariot (for arjuna)?. Also, in thiruvAimozhi 3.8.4, nammAzhwAr manifests the divine craving to see emperumAn by saying "unnai meykoLLak kANa virumbumen kaNgaLE" (உன்னை மெய்கொள்ளக் காண விரும்புமென் கண்களே) - My eyes crave to see your divine form. nammAzhwAr also says in thiruvAimozhi pAsuram 8.5.1 "oru nAL kANa vArAyE" (ஒரு நாள் காண வாராயே) - please come once so I can see you.
  • Just spending ones time in sAmAnya karmams which are prescribed as per varNAsrama dharmam. This need not be taken as condemning the performance of vaidhIka karmAs. They should be done as bhagavath AgyA kainkaryam (that which are ordered by bhagavAn to be performed as kainkaryam). These are called "sAmAnya dharmam" (basic rules). Some karmAs (such as nithya (sandhyAvandhanam, etc), naimiththika (tharpaNam, etc) karmAs) are identified as "akaraNE prathyavAyam" (அகரணே ப்ரத்யவாயம்) - when such karmAs are not performed, that will lead to accumulation of sins for oneself. These karmAs must be performed. But one should not simply focus on such karmAs alone. We are also called thoNdakkulam (dhAsa kulam - the clan of servitors of bhagavAn and bhAgavathas). Our actions should be mainly focussed on that aspect and we should spend our time serving bhagavAn and bhAgavathas.
  • Spending ones time without contemplating on dhvaya mahA manthram is an obstacle. The best way to spend our time is to constantly recite the dhvaya mahA manthram and meditate on the divine meanings of the same. In saraNAgathi gadhyam, srIranganAthan orders emperumAnAr "dhvayamarththAnusandhAnEna saha yAvach charIrapAdham athraiva srIrangE  sukamAsva" (த்வயமர்த்தானுஸந்தாநேந ஸஹ யாவச் சரீரபாதம் அத்ரைவ ஸ்ரீரங்கே  ஸுகமாஸ்வ) - You stay at srIrangam until the end of your (this) life and constantly meditate on the divine meanings of dhvayam mahA manthram. In varavaramuni dhinacharyA, dhEvarAja guru (eRumbi appA) documents the divine activities of maNavALa mAmunigaL. In the 9th slOkam, he highlights "manthra rathna anusandhAna santhatha spurithAdharam; thadharththa thathva nidhyAna sannadhdha pulakOdhgamam" (மந்த்ர ரத்ந அநுஸந்தாந ஸந்தத ஸ்புரிதாதரம்; ததர்த்த தத்வ நித்யாந ஸந்நத்த புலகோத்கமம்) - mAmunigaL's lips are constantly reciting dhvaya mahA manthram (which is called the manthra rathanm - gem among manthrams). His body is manifesting divine reactions due to constant meditation of the meanings of dhvayam (which is nothing but thiruvAimozhi). Translator's note: It is to be remembered that dhvaya mahA manthram is never recited independently - we always have to recite guru paramparA manthram first and then only recite dhvaya mahA manthram. We have already seen this in previous postings.
  • Spending our time in performing dhEvathAnthara bhajanam and not worshiping bhagavAn all the time are obstacles. We should fully spend our time in worshiping emperumAn only. Translator's note: thirumazhisai AzhwAr explains that srIvaishNavas are "maRanthum puRam thozhA mAnthar" (மறந்தும் புறம் தொழா மாந்தர்) - the ones who dont worship anya dhEvathas at any cost. When we undergo pancha samskAram (samArayaNam), the AchAryan fully makes us realize our true relationship with bhagavAn. Just like a wife will be totally dependent on her husband only and will not have any attachment to any one else, srIvaishNavas will be totally dependent on bhagavAn only and no one else.
  • Spending time in sAmAnya sAsthram (common guidelines based on vEdham) and not spending time in hearing/meditating on thAthparya sAsthram (essence of vEdham which is thirumanthram, etc) are obstacles. sAmAnya sAsthram explains that sathyam vadha (speak truth only), dharma chara (be righteous), snAthvA bhunjItha (bathe before eating), perform nithya karmAnushtAnam, etc. These are certainly necessary but are not the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is to understand the specific vaishNava dharmam and follow the same. We have already seen many such aspects in this grantham itself. Translator's note: In AchArya hrudhayam, azhagiya maNavALa perumAL nAyanAr, beautifully explains the difference between varNa dharmi (one who is focussed on varNAsrama dharmam only) and dhAsa vruththi (one who is focussed on kainkaryam to bhagavAn and bhAgavathas) in many chUrNikais. varNa dharmi is focussed on vEdham alone and does not understad the highest principles of sAsthram. dhAsa vruththi is full focussed on thirumanthram (dhvayam, charamaslOkam too) and understands the highest principle of sAsthram which is to serve bhagavAn and bhAgavathas all the time. nAyanAr calls the dhAsa vruththi as sArAgya (one who grasped the essence), adiyAr/thoNdar (servitor), maNdinAr (one who is fully attached to dhivya dhEsams), mikka vEdhiyar (one who is most knowledgable in sAsthram), etc. He calls the varNa dharmi as sAsthri (one who is attached to sAmAnya sAsthram), anthaNar/maRaiyOr (brAhmaNa/vaidhIka), maRRaiyAr (others who are not so focussed on dhivya dhEsams), vEdhavith (one who is learned in sAmAnya sAsthram), etc.
  • Spending time in earning for wordly pleasures and learning useless subject matters are obstacles. Also, not spending time to learn the subject matter that leads to ultimate upliftment of the AthmA is an obstacle. Focussing our lives on material wealth is destructive to the nature of the soul which should be focussing on service to bhagavAn and bhAgavathas.
  • Spending time in hurting others and not spending time in helping others. "na himsyAth sarvabhUthAni" (ந ஹிம்ஸ்யாத் ஸர்வபூதாநி) - Do not cause difficulty to any one is a common injunction of sAsthram. We should arrange our life in such a way that we dont cause disturbance to any one. It is also said that "parOpakArArththam idham sarIram" (பரோபகாரார்த்தம் இதம் சரீரம்) - this body is to help others. We can recollect the kapOtha upAkyAnam (the story of the pigeon) which is explained by srI rAma during vibhIshaNa saraNAgathi in srI rAmAyaNam. Translator's note: When vibhIshaNAzhwAn arrives to surrender unto srI rAma, sUgrIva and others protest to srI rAma and advises him not to accept vibhIshaNAzhwAn. At that time srI rAma explains an incident to establish that he will accept vibhIshaNAzhwAn even if vibhIshaNAzhwAn is coming with evil-intentions to hurt him. In a forest, once there lived a couple of doves on a tree. On a rainy day, a hunter arrives underneath the tree where they lived. Due to heavy rain he gets stuck underneath the tree for a long time. He feels very hungry and looks around and spots the birds on the tree. He hits the female-pigeon with an arrow, makes a fire and toasts that and eats the same. He is still stuck for some more time and unable to move out of that location. The male-pigeon who is greatly saddened by the loss of its companion, looks from above and thinks "here, I have a guest now and he is suffering from hunger, I have to some how welcome him and feed him something". It brings some dry leaves, etc., makes a fire for the hunter for him to warm himself up and jumps in to the fire and offers itself to the him. We can understand that the pigeon sacrificed itself to satisfy the hunger of the hunter who it considered as its guest. srI rAma then says "If I dont offer myself to vibhIshaNAzhwAn who has come all the way, will the world not consider me lower than that male-pigeon who sacrificed itself for its guest even after the hunter killed its companion?". sugrIva and others get completely satisfied with srI rAma's explanation and eventually welcomed srI rAma.
  • Spending time in simply eating at others' homes and not eating at ones own home is an obstacle. Translator's note: One must be very careful while eating outside ones own home. At home, one can ensure that the food stuffs are offered to emperumAn, AzhwArs and AchAryas. But outside it is not possible to ensure such things. So, our elders always maintained parAnna niyamam - not accepting food cooked by others. The only exception for this is generally for any prasAdham given at the temple, mutts, AchAryan thirumALigais, etc., where there is proper principles are followed in cooking and offering to emperumAn before distributing to others.
  • Spending time in contemplating about other women and developing detachment towards ones own wife due to such interest in other women is an obstacle. sAmAnya sAsthram (vEdham) explains and accepts communion with ones own wife with the intent of begetting righteous offsring (there are so many rules and regulations in sAsthram even for such communion). But seeking out other women is severly condemned in sAsthram. Yet, in sath sampradhAya literature such srI vachana bhUshaNam, even enjoying ones own wive is rejected - because enjoying worldly pleasures (in any form) is directly opposite to the true nature of the jIvAthmA who should only be focussed on bhagavAn's pleasure.
  • Spending time in stealing others properties and not donating ones own properties is an obstacle. One should engage in atleast some charitable activity such as helping the needy, etc.
  • Spending time in any form of gambling is an obstacle.
  • Not spending time in inquiring about bhagavAn, writing the glories of him, reading about him, listening about him, worshiping him, etc is an obstacle.
  • Not spending time at ones own home in worshiping emperumAn with proper anushtAnams, serving srIvaishNavas whenever possible and going to others homes just to indulge in gossipping, etc., are obstacles.
  • Spending time to take care of ones own livelihood by maintaining garden, farm, etc. While taking care of livelihood and basic needs are necessary, that should be the sole focus. 
  • One should maintain garden, etc as kainkaryam to ones own AchArya. We can consider that AchArya kainkaryam means bhagavath kainkaryam which pleases AchArya. For example, ananthAzhwAn created and maintained a beautiful garden as per the desire of his AchAryan emperumAnAr to offer flower garlands to thiruvEnkatamudaiyAn regularly. One should also offer flowers, etc., to AchAryan thirumALigai. Translator's note: nanjIyar who is the sishya of bhattar maintains a garden. Once when some one from bhattar's family arrives at the garden in nanjIyar's absence and asks from some flowers. The ones who were taking care of the garden refused to give the flowers citing that the nandhavanam (garden) is for emperumAn. nanjIyar comes to know about this and at once chastises the care-taker and tells him that the garden is only built for the pleasure of his AchAryan bhattar and his (and his family) needs must be fulfilled at all times. This incident is highlighted in pinbhazhagiya perumAL jIyar's 6000padi guruparamparA prabhAvam.
  • One should take care of the needs of AchAryan and AchAryan's thirumALigai (residence) - not doing so is an obstacle. It is the responsibility of the sishya to take care of AchAryan's bodily needs. One should not let ones AchAryan run around for his bodily needs - the sishya should fully facilitate the AchArya to focus on the spiritual needs of the sishyas. Translator's note: This principle is discussed in detail by piLLai lOkAchAryar in srI vachana bhUshaNa dhivya sAsthram and mAmunigaL explains the essence of the same in his upadhEsa rathina mAlai.
  • Spending time in simply nourishing ones own family and not taking care of AchAryan's family is an obstacle. One should consider AchAryan's family as ones own family and take care of their needs.
  • Spending time in taking care of ones own body and not taking care of AchAryan's body. mAmunigaL explains sishya lakshaNam in upadhEsa rathina mAlai pAsuram 65 "thEsArum sichchan avan sIrvadivai Asaiyudan nOkkumavan"  (தேசாரும் சிச்சன் அவன் சீர்வடிவை ஆசையுடன் நோக்குமவன்) - the realizes sishya will take care of his/her AchAryan's divine form with great affection.
  • Spending time in simply bathing/cleaning oneself and not assisting srIvaishNavas in their bathing, etc. This highlights the importance of serving srIvaishNavas in many ways.
  • Spending time in oneself eating rich foods (like high quality milk, ghee, etc) and not offering such rich foods to srIvaishNavas. Similar to previouos point.
  • Spending time in decorating oneself with high quality clothes, fragrances, etc., and not decorating oneself with the sandalwood paste that was offered to bhagavAn, wearing flowers that were worn by bhagavAn, wearing clothes that were worn by bhagavAn, etc., are obstacles. Whatever one uses/consumes, it should be first used/consumed by bhagavAn and AchAryas - one should only accept their prasAdham and consume that.
  • Spending time in viewing worldly entertainment and not spending time in enjoying the divine incidents of bhagavAn are obstacles. bhagavAn is called mAyan (most magnificient) - his leelAs (divine activities) are most cherishable to our hearts. We should spend our time reading/listening about such glorious activiites instead of wasting time on worldly pleasures.
  • Spending time in glorifying dhEvathAntharams and talking nonsense and not spending time in glorifying emperumAn through the divine pAsurams of AzhwArs (and AchAryas) are obstacles.
  • Spending time by simply travelling to common holy rivers and not seeking out for the srIpAdha thIrtham (charaNAmrutham - water that washed the lotus feet) of srIvaishNavas are obstacles. Here common holy rivers are gangA, etc. These are very pious rivers. But srIvaishNava srIpAdha thIrtham is most purifying. thiruvAimozhi is also highlighted as thIrtham (pAvanam - pure). It is said in thiruvAimozhi pAsuram 7.10.11 itself that "One who is well-versed with thiruvAimozhi will be worshipped by dhEvas". Starting with this point, distinction between following sAmAnya (dharma) sAsthram and visEsha (bhagavath) sAsthram is emphasised. sAmAnya sAsthram is essential to be followed. but visEsha sAsthram is more subtle. One should learn this properly from elders through study of scriptures and observing their practices. Here at times the importance of sAmAnya sAsthram/anushtAnam is seen to be reduced. But that does not mean that they should be completely given up. The purpose is to highlight the importance of visEsha dharmam. 
  • Spending time in simply visiting puNya kshEthrams (like kAsi, gayA, etc) and not visiting bhagavath kshEtram is an obstacle. kOyil (srIrangam), thirumalai (thiruvEnkatam), perumAL kOyil (kanchIpuram), thirunArAyaNapuram, etc., are special kshEthrams that are dear to AzhwArs and AchAryas. We can recollect srIranganAthan himself ordering emperumAnAr to stay in srIrangam for the rest of the life.
  • Spending time in ordinary kAvyam (poetry), nAtakam (drama), etc., only which are basic grammar/history and not spending time in srI rAmAyaNam which is bhagavath kAvyam (divine poetry). Generally, sAmAnya kAvyam is studied to master the knowledge. But, srI rAmAyaNam is called Adhi kAvyam (first poetic history). vAlmIkI rishi was divinely blessed to record the life of srI rAma as it is. It is also glorified as visEsha sAsthram (special scripture). Translator's note: srI rAmAyaNam is glorified as saraNAgathi sAsthram (the scripture of surrender) - there are plenty of surrenders discussed in detail in this. Our pUrvAchArayas have quoted extensively from srI rAmAyaNam in the vyAkyAnams (commentaries) to establish a number of principles. nampiLLai specifically was a great scholar of srI rAmAyaNam. periyavAchAn piLLai wrote a lengthy and in-depth commentary for many important slOkams of srI rAmAyaNam and this commentary is called srI rAmAyaNa thanislOkam.
  • Spending time in simply reading/discussing ithihAsas and purANas and not reading/discussing aruLicheyal (dhivya prabhandham). ithihAsams (srI rAmAyaNam and mahAbhAratham) and purANams (vishNu purANam, srI bhAgavatham, etc) are to be studied but one should not stop with that. One should understand the glories of AzhwArs and their dhivya prabhandhams and spend their time full on them. Translator's note: nampiLLai's glories are unlimited. periyavAchAn piLLai (who is known as vyAkyAna chakkaravarthy - the emperor among commentators), in the vyAkyAnam for periya thirumozhi 5.8.7 "OthuvAymaiyum" (ஓதுவாய்மையும்) pAsuram brings out the glories of nampiLLai beautifully. Here are periyavAchAn piLLai's own words: muRpada dhvayaththaik kEttu, ithihAsa purANangaLaiyum adhikariththu, parapaksha-prathikshEpaththukkudalAga nyAya mImAmsaigaLai adhikariththu, pOthu pOkkum aruLichcheyalilEyAmpadi piLLaiyaippOlE adhikarippikka vallanaiyirE 'oruththan' enbathu (முற்பட த்வயத்தைக் கேட்டு, இதிஹாஸ புராணங்களையும் அதிகரித்து, பரபக்ஷ-ப்ரதிக்ஷேபத்துக்குடலாக ந்யாய மீமாம்ஸைகளை அதிகரித்து, போது போக்கும் அருளிச்செயலிலேயாம்படி பிள்ளையைப்போலே அதிகரிப்பிக்க வல்லனையிரே 'ஒருத்தன்' என்பது). Here in this pAsuram, thirumangai AzhwAr is glorifying sAndIpani who is kaNNan emperumAn's AchAryan. To explain how an AchAryan should be, periyavAchAn piLLai highlights the qualities of nampiLLai and shows that he is the perfect AchAryan to follow. A true AchAran should be like nampiLLai who can fully educate his sishyas by - first hearing the meanings of dhvaya mahA manthram, then learning ithihAsams and purANams, then learn nyAya, mImAmsa, etc to understand other sidhAnthams and to establish our own sidhAntham and spends his own time by always engaging in discussing AzhwArs' dhivya prabhandhams and their meanings. Similarly, thiruvAimozhi piLLai ordered mAmunigaL to learn srI bhAshyam once but fully spend his life in propagating thiruvAimozhi and its vyAkyAnams (commentaries). mAmunigaL promptly obeyed the orders of his AchAryan and eventually got the name "Ittu perukkar" (ஈட்டு பெருக்கர்) - one who expounds nampiLLai's Idu vyAkyAnam for thiruvAimozhi.
  • Spending time in analysing pUrva paksha granthams and not spending enough time in ones own sidhAntha (philosophy) granthams are obstacles. pUrva paksha granthams means literature of other philosophical schools. It is necessary to learn that and understand the highlights of others' arguments, so that one can establish ones own sidhAntham clearly. But is a great mistake to constantly end up studying other sidhAntham literatures and ignore our sampradhAya sidhAntham. We should immerse into our emperumAnAr dharsanam which presents visishtAdhvaitha sidhAntham. Translator's note: We have seen that srI rAmAnuja studied pUrva paksham under yAdhava prakAsa - but eventually establishes visishtAdhvaitha sidhAntham and convinces and accepts yAdhava prakAsa as his own disciple. We have also seen the incident where kUrathAzhwAn (in his childhood) hearing to bhAhya (ones who dont accept vEdham as pramANam) grantham lecture for some time and arrives home late due to that and his father allows him inside only after purifying AzhwAn with srIpAdha thIrtham.
  • Spending time in serving bhagavAn only without serving ones sadhAchAryan (true AchAryan) is an obstacle. bhakthi (devotion) and kainkaryam (service) towards bhagavAn is initial level. The same towards AchAryan is the ultimate level. This is glorified as madhurakavi nishtai (the state of madhurakavi AzhwAr who was full surrendered to nammAzhwAr) and vaduga nambi padi (the state of vaduga nambi who was always serving emperumAnAr). This is explained in detail by mAmunigaL in upadhEsa rathina mAlai pAsurams 60 to 66. Translator's note: Please refer to anthimOpAya nishtai ( and charmOpAya nirNayam ( to understand AchArya nishtai properly.
We will continue with the next section in the next article.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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virOdhi parihArangaL - 18

srImathE satagOpAya nama:
srImathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srImadh varavaramunayE nama:
srI vAnAchala mahAmunayE nama:

emperumAnAr explains to vangi puratthu nambi the obstacles that are faced by srIvaishNavas in various aspects of day-to-day life. vangi puratthu nambi documents these instructions in a wonderful grantham with commentary named virOdhi parihArangaL (removal of obstacles). We are now viewing the English translation of this grantham with the help of the explanations given by srI u. vE. V V Ramanujam swamy. The whole series can be viewed at
49. anjali virOdhi (அஞ்ஜலி விரோதி) - Obstacles in offering anjali (saluting with folded hands).

anjali means saluting (namaskAram) with joined palms. This is related to 48th topic (vandhana - offering obeisances). After offering obeisances, one has to rise up and perform anjali (salute with joined palms). It is also seen that, at times, one just performs anjali without offering full obeisances. anjali is done by bring the hands to the chest and holding it in a way both the palms are touching each other. It is also seen that the palms are joined and held on top of the head at times. anjali is defined by "am jalayathi ithi anjali:" (அம் ஜலயதி இதி அஞ்ஜலி:) that which melts bhagavAn who is mentioned by "a" - akAram. It is also said that "anjali: paramAmudhrA kshipram dhEvaprasAdhinI" (அஞ்ஜலி: பரமாமுத்ரா க்ஷிப்ரம் தேவப்ரஸாதிநீ) - anjali is the ultimate and top-most posture which will quickly induce
bhagavAn's mercy.

  • anjali must be performed with our mind fixated on bhagavAn's lotus feet. It must not be performed with our mind focussed on others like dhEvathAnthrams, materially rich persons, etc.
  • It must be understood that there is no time restrictions to perform anjali and performing anjali after checking for auspicious time, etc.
  • Not understanding that it can be performed by and to any srIvaishNava (no need for any qualification) is an obstacle. Similarly, thinking that one needs special qualification to perform anjali is also not correct. Any one who has bhagavath sambandham can be offered anjali. We can recollect thirumangai AzhwAr's thirunedunthANdam pAsuram 14 "vaLarththathanAl payan peRREn varugavenRu madakkiLiyaik kaikUppi vaNanginALE" (வளர்த்ததனால் பயன் பெற்றேன் வருகவென்று மடக்கிளியைக் கைகூப்பி வணங்கினாளே) - even though the parrot was raised by parakAla nAyaki (thirumangai AzhwAr in feminine mood), when she heard that parrot beautifully recite the names of emperumAn, she feels greatly joyful and performs anjali with joined palms to her own parrot. 
  • Not understanding that one can perform anjali in any situation is an obstacle. In saraNAgathi gadhyam, emperumAnAr says "EnakEnAbi prakArENa dhvayavakthA" (ஏநகேநாபி ப்ரகாரேண த்வயவக்தா) - In whichever situation, one recites dhvaya mahA manthram - similar to that, in any situation one performs anjali, that will melt emperumAn
  • Not considering that one anjali is sufficient and thinking that one should perform multiple anjalis. sakruth - once. asakruth - multiple times. In ALavandhAr's sthOthra rathnam 28, he says to emperumAn "thvadhangri mudhdhichya kathApi kEnachith yathA thathA vApi sakruth kruthOnjali: thadhaiva mushNAthi asubAni asEshatha: subhAni pushNAthi najAthu hIyathE" (த்வதங்க்ரி முத்திச்ய கதாபி கேநசித் யதா ததா வாபி ஸக்ருத் க்ருதோஞ்ஜலி: ததைவ முஷ்ணாதி அசுபாநி அசேஷத: சுபாநி புஷ்ணாதி நஜாது ஹீயதே) - A single anjali performed by any one at any time in any way towards your lotus feet will at once remove the sins and increases the well-being of such person and never lets that goodness diminish. Thus, just performing anjali once is sufficient and no need to keep on repeating it. Translator's note: bhattar beautifully reveals the glories of periya pirAttiyAr in his srI guNa rathna kOsam, 58th slOkam  "iswaryam akshara gathim paramam padham vA kasmaichith anjali param vahathE vidhIrya asmai na kinchith uchitham krutham ithi  atha amba thvam lajjasE kathaya ka: ayam udhArabhAva:" (ஐஸ்வர்யம் அக்ஷர கதிம் பரமம் பதம் வா கஸ்மைசித் அஞ்ஜலி பரம் வஹதே விதீர்ய அஸ்மை ந கிஞ்சித் உசிதம் க்ருதம் இதி  அத அம்ப த்வம் லஜ்ஜஸே கதய க: அயம் உதாரபாவ:) - Dear mother! If one performs anjali in front of you, you bless him with worldly wealth, supreme destination (paramapadham) and kainkaryam in paramapadham. After giving everything, you are thinking 'have I done enough?' and puts her head down out of shyness. From this we can understand the mood of emperumAn and pirAtti, who cannot even bear the devotee taking the least effort in approaching them and are willing to shower their grace at once. So - what to speak of multiple efforts?
  • Considering that performing an anjali will accomplish the desired result much later in the future and not understanding that result will be bestowed immediately. As said in "kshipram dhEva prasAdhinI" (க்ஷிப்ரம் தேவப்ரஸாதிநீ), bhagvAn at once bestows the desired result when seeing any one performing an anjali. This can also be understood from previous point of discussion.
  • Considering that for each apachAram (offense) a separate anjali must be performed and not thinking that one anjali is sufficient to remove all apachArams. Just saying "aparAdhAnimAn sarvAn kshamasva purushOththama!" (அபராதாநிமாந் ஸர்வாந் க்ஷமஸ்வ புருஷோத்தம!) - Oh best among the AthmAs (bhagavAn)! Please forgive all my offenses and performing an anjali will be sufficient. Translator's note: This reference is part of the slOkam "upachArApadhEsEna...". This slOkam is recited at the end of our thiruvArAdhanam at home. It means "Oh bhagavAn! I started this thiruvArAdhanam with the desire to pamper you and serve you. But I ended up committing more offenses than service to you. So, you kindly forgive me for all such offenses". Looking at the greatness of bhagavAn, one can never serve him sufficiently enough. Also, considering the mental state of jIvAthmAs who are bound in this samsAram, even while performing thiruvArAdhanam, it will be very difficult to fully focus on emperumAn alone and worship him properly. So, from both bhagavAn's greatness and jIvAthmA's imperfections, thiruvArAdhanam will only end up being an unsatisfactory one from jIvAthmA's perspective. But bhagavAn being the epitome of saulabhyam (simplicity), gracefully accepts whatever kainkaryam performed by his devotee with great joy even if there are some deficiencies.
  • Similar to the previous point, anjali will not remove only certain pApams (sins) but it will remove all types of sins. It is called "sarvapApanivAraNi" (that which removes all sins). But there is no hope of upliftment for the persons who intentionally perform sins and plan to atone by performing anjali every time.
  • Considering that performing anjali will only bestow certain auspiciousness and not all auspiciousness in full is an obstacle. As discussed previously in sthOthra rathnam 28th slOkam, it will bestow all auspiciousness.
  • Performing anjali only until getting the desired result and not understanding that even after getting the result, one should continue performing anjali. This is focussed on bhagavath anubhavam as the result. Even in paramapadham, nithyas and mukthas  are said to be performing anjali as in "nama ithyEva vAdhina:" (நம இத்யேவ வாதிந:). Translator's note:  nammAzhwAr says in thiruvAimozhi 3.8.4 "kaikaLAlARath thozhuthu thozhuthunnai" (கைகளாலாறத் தொழுது தொழுதுன்னை) - I am worshiping you constantly by performing anjali. nampiLLai's vyAkyAnam (commentary) is most excellent for this - his brilliance shines like a radiant sun in revealing AzhwAr's divine emotions. He says nammAzhwAr's tendency for performing anjali is most dear to him. He says "One who is focussed on material benedictions will stop worshiping once their desire is fulfilled. One who performs as sAdhanam (means) to achieve something will stop once their goal is achieved. But for the one who has this as their yAthrA (life sustaining activity) as said in 'nithyAnjali pudA:" (நித்யாஞ்ஜலி புடா:) for svEtha dhvIpa vAsis (the residents of milk ocean), (nithyas and) mutkthas in paramapadham too always perform anjali constantly as previously seen in 'nama ithyEva vAdhina:'". He continues to explain that emperumAn sustains himself by inducing these great devotees perform anjali to him. So, we can understand that when done as kainkaryam out of great love and affection towards emperumAn, one keeps performing anjali.
  • Not understanding that garuda mudhrA will control and subdue snake's poison, this anjali mudhrA will control and subdue bhagavAn's svAthanthriyam (total independence/free-will).  One must be very faithful of this principle. Translator's note: In srI rAmAyaNa slOkam, "cha chAla chApam cha mumOcha vIra:" (ச சால சாபம் ச முமோச வீர)  - when rAvaNan was holding on to the bow and shooting arrows at srI rAma, srI rAma was counter-attacking as well - but when rAvANa's bow was broken by srI rAma and he dropped it down (knowing well that srI rAma will not hit him if he does not have any weapons in his hands), srI rAma immediately stopped attacking rAvaNa and gave him a life-line. Our pUrvAchAryas explain that, if only rAvaNa performed an anjali at that time, he would have easily won over srI rAma - since emperumAn can be controlled by this supreme mudhrA named anjali mudhrA.
  • One should firmly understand that just like abhaya hastham (protection posture) is apt for the nature of the sEshi (master), anjali hastham (joined palms posture) is apt for the nature of the sEsha bhUthan (servant). Not having such faith is an obstacle. sEshi - svAmi (master), i.e., emperumAn. He holds his hand in different postures such as abhaya hastham (giving  protection posture), varadha hastham (bestowing posture), AhvAna hastham (inviting posture), etc. Similarly, for jIvAthmA, anjali hastham is the most apt one - since it reveals the jIvAthmA's ananya gathithvam (that there is no other refuge) and Akinchanyam (that he does not have anything in his hands). Translator's note: We have already seen in the vyAkyAnam for thiruvAimozhi 3.8.4 pAsuram in previous points - emperumAn sustains himself by protecting his devotees and jIvAthmA sustains himself by accepting emperumAn's protection.
  • Performing anjali with attachment to protecting oneself is an obstacle. By performing anjali, one manifests that there is nothing on ones own to protect oneself. Just like there is no other refuge, one can also does not protect oneself. As it is said in thirukkOLUr peN piLLai vArthai grantham "iru kaiyum vittEnO dhraupadhiyaip pOlE" (இரு கையும் விட்டேனோ த்ரௌபதியைப் போலே) - Did I give up protecting myself with both my hands and fully surrendered to emperumAn like dhraupathi did?. When dhraupathi was in great danger of losing her honour, she gave up any efforts to protect herself and called out "hA krishNA! hA dhvArakAvAsA!" and was protected immediately by emperumAn. Similarly, we also should perform anjali without any tinge of faith in protecting oneself.

  • Performing anjali for any other benefit other than kainkaryam. Translator's note: The whole purpose of existence of jIvAthmA is to serve emperumAn and his devotees. There should not be any other expectation. This is not a business deal between jIvAthmA and bhagavAn to trade ones anjali for any other benefits. We have previously seen poigai AzhwAr's mudhal thiruvanthAdhi pAsuram 26 "ezhuvAr vidai koLvAr In thuzhAyAnai vazhuvA vagai ninaindhu vaigal thozhuvAr..." (எழுவார் விடை கொள்வார்  ஈன் துழாயானை வழுவா வகை நினைந்து வைகல் தொழுவார்) - the ones looking material wealth and the ones looking for kaivalyam (enjoying AthmA oneself) will leave emperumAn once their desires are fulfilled, but the ones who purely want to serve emperumAn, will constantly engage in worshiping emperumAn without any other expectation.
  • Performing anjali for satagOpan (nammAzhwAr) in-front of dhEvathAntharam (other dhEvathAs) temples is an obstacle. It is common practice that when reciting thiruvAimozhi, at the end of each padhigam (decad - 10 pAsurams), while reciting the 11th pAsuram, on hearing nammAzhwAr's name (satagOpan, vazhuthi nAdan, mARan, etc), one immediately performs an anjali showing gratitude to nammAzhwAr for the great favours he has done to us. It is also said the same for hearing nammAzhwAr's name anytime - we must perform an anjali. But even that, if we happen to be near-by or in-front of other dhEvathAs temples, we should not perform such anjali (since it may be mistaken for performing anjali to other dhEvathAs). In this context, it is said that "satagOpanum thyAjyam" (சடகோபனும் த்யாஜ்யம்) - even (anjali to) satagOpan is to be given up. Translator's note: Though, thiruvAimozhi is not recited in streets during puRappAdu (procession), great devotees are often constantly reciting the pAsurams (in their heart without reciting loudly) and remembering the meanings. Even in such cases, one has to be careful and avoid showing any reverence to dhEvathAntharams.
  • When an abhAgavatha (one who is not a devotee of emperumAn) performs anjali, one should not reciprocate that with an anjali - one should simply ignore that. On the contrary, when we see a bhAgavatha, we should perform anjali before they do. 
  • When seeing the AchAryan, one should not simply perform an anjali, one should offer full obeisances, rise up and then perform anjali.
  • One should not perform anjali with dis-honesty in the heart and also in a partial fashion. Translator's note: anjali must be done in whole-heartedly in a proper manner. Saluting others with one hand is generally condemned in sAsthram.
  • Not performing anjali over the head when we hear the names of nammAzhwAr (satagOpan, etc). This was previously discussed in detail. During recitations of pAsuram in gOshti (congregation), we are not observing people raising their hands over the head and performing anjali. emperumAn's pAdhukA (sandals) are called as srI satagOpan. In gOshti or otherwise, when we are blessed with srI satagOpan, we should bow our head humbly and accept that blessing with an anjali.
nammAzhwAr directly present in srI satagOpam - vAnamAmalai
We will continue with the next section in the next article.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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