Contents Page Manavaala Mamunigal’s Services to Srivaishnavism 1 Preface to Arthi Prabandham 4 Thaniyans 6 Paasurams 7 Nigamanam 62 ManavALa. It is our pleasure to announce the launching of the “web” release of Arthi Prabandham with Commentary by the Revered Sri Sri Thirumalai. Aarthi prabandham is making us drown in Ramanuja Bakthi, I also heard. that there is a misconception that it was done by Swami Manavala.
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He authored this prabandham solely for prapannas, who, when caught in the quagmire of samsaric afflictions, find themselves unsuitable for performing gnana aatthi, karma yoga, bhakti yoga or sharanagathi.
By projecting himself as a jivatma caught in the web of samsaric afflictions, Mamunigal, through this prabandham, immediately strikes a chord with prabanddham samsaris. The relationship between jivas and emperuman continues from time immemorial.
It is for the jivas to realize the everlasting continuity of this relationship with the Supreme Self. The samsaric aarhi, which are a result of our previous karma, can at some times be too strong for us to condition and discipline our mind to practically realize the truth learnt through upadhesam.
It is here that we need the grace of our Acharyan to cross the river of samsara. All through Arthi Prabandham, Manavala Mamunigal appeals to the infinite grace of Ramanuja to deliver him from samsara. Mamunigal himself answers this question in two of his verses in this prabandham. In order to receive the grace of Namperumal, one needs to obtain the qualifications required of a spiritual seeker. On the other hand, Ramanuja, as prabandhwm sincere father aarthi a care-taking mother will be tolerant of our inadequacies for we are ultimately his sambandhis.
In addition to driving home the importance of singing the holy names of Ramanuja, Mamunigal also makes passing references to the following topics in this prabandham:. Arthi Prabandham — Invocatory Verses. By virtue of the immense devotion he had towards the aarthu red feet of Ramanuja who adorns a flower garland flowing with honeyManavala Mamunigal, experiencing alternating fits of love and pain, put together the collective wisdom of instructions in Tamil language for the consumption of the nescient inhabitants of this world.
Manavala Mamunigal, the one who wears a garland made of flower buds, the one who remained glued to the lotus feet of Ramanuja and the one who is an embodiment of generosity, out of utter despair at having to remain in this world and desirous of a permanent place in paramapadham where the celestials offer their daily prayers to the Lord, instructed this prabandham to the people of this world. Arthi Prabandham — Pasuram Translations. In this verse, Mamunigal refers to three categories of people.
Third, he refers to those people who sing the glory of the well-wishers of Ramanuja Adiyars. All these three categories of people occupy an exalted status when compared to the celestials. That is, even the celestials will worship the feet of these three categories of people. Those who worship the feet of the people who have managed to avoid the company of such non-believers will be exalted to a status equivalent to that of the celestials.
Through the first two verses, Mamunigal drives home the greatness of Ramanuja Sambandham which can liberate us from samsara. By chanting the glory of Ramanuja and by serving the feet of the servants of Ramanuja, we can exalt ourselves to the eternal abode of the Supreme Lord Sriman Narayana, where the celestials will awrthi our feet and welcome us with a warm reception.
In this verse, Manavala Mamunigal refers to Ramanuja as his father, mother, children and all his prized possessions. However, he is pained when his material body, with all its earthly afflictions, is preventing him from sustaining this devotion to Ramanuja. He sincerely demands an explanation from Ramanuja himself for not blessing him with his abundant compassion to rid his body off its earthly afflictions.
In this verse, Manavala Mamunigal compares his human body to that of a jail. He earnestly asks Ramanuja, the king of hermits, about the time it would take for him to enjoy the eternal bliss that Paramapadham has to offer. Whilst appealing to his compassion, Mamunigal also reminds Ramanuja of the responsibility he has to take care of him. He opines that there is no one in this world but Ramanuja who can lead an unqualified person like him to salvation.
Will a father be able to enjoy his material prosperity without his son partaking in the enjoyment? Is it fair on your part to enjoy the eternal bliss of paramapadham when I remain entrapped in this bondage of samsara? Like a neem tree which augments its bitterness with the passage of time, my body has been aggregating bad karma with time.
Oh Ramanuja, have a look at my nature! Bless me with the means to sever the connection with this inferior, material body! What harm will befall you if you take care of me like my mother would?
In this verse, Mamunigal wonders why Ramanuja has waited for a person of inferior intellect like Mamunigal to remind him of his motherly duty. He is not holding Ramanuja whom he regards as his mother responsible for his suffering. Like that child, I have also fallen into the dark, sullen well of Samsara which has forced me to take multiple births. Like the mother who jumps into the well to rescue her child, my father Ramanuja will take multiple births to liberate me from this worldly bondage.
Nammazhwar serves the Lotus feet of Periya Perumal, the divine consort of Sri Ranganachiyar whose beauty has been likened to that of a lotus flower. Similarly, my father, Ramanuja, is eternally engaged in serving the feet of Sri Nammazhwar.
In the context of this verse, it may be worth referring to the translation of the first verse posted above which says that those who serve the feet of those who serve the feet of the Lord will be accorded a status equal to the celestials. Please bless me with a devotion of that kind such that I can forever remain a servant to you.
Vaduga Nambi was one of the renowned disciples of Ramanuja. He was considered an epitome of Guru Bhakthi. He believed in only one Supreme i. Ramanuja, even above Sri. In this verse, Manavala Mamunigal eulogises his Acharyan Thiruvaimozhippillai who is also referred to as Thirumalai Azhwar and whose fame spread in all directions as an epitome of unadulterated purity. Through these verses, Mamunigal announces his servitude to Ramanuja and requests the king of hermits to similarly bless him with his abundant grace.
Also, there are other people who lead their life serving the feet of such devotees who sing the praise of Ramanuja.
Sri Mudaliandan Swami Thirumaligai
These servants of the devotees Ramanuja will receive the blessings of the Azhwars. In order to access the grace of Lord Ranganatha of Srirangam, we need to sever all connections with this world and reach out to Him like Nammazhwar does in the 28 th verse of Thiruvirutham puNNanthuzhAmE poruneerth thiruvarangA.
If you were to alter your stance and become rigid like Lord Ranganatha, where shall we go and what shall we do? Though I keep verbally saying that I have surrendered to the lotus feet of Ramanuja all the time, I have not been able to actually develop deep devotion and love towards him.
When will I be able to do it? Unless I develop such love and devotion, what good will admitting my servitude to Ramanuja bring to me? Oh Ramanuja, I keep advising others about the actions that are forbidden according to the sastrams.
However, I still continue to perform certain forbidden actions being fully aware of their consequences. Realising this, I request you not to desert me as an unsuitable candidate for receiving your blessings. Please let me know when will I give up this material world and attain your divine abode. Oh Ramanuja, like a metal plated with impurities, I my body have has assimilated bad and forbidden habits.
In spite of that, you had promised to lead me to paramapadham — a place where only highly evolved souls manage to reach. In this context, please explain your delay in coming to my rescue.
This indestructible atma, by virtue of being entrapped in the darkness of ignorance, suffers an everlasting night of samsara.
When will your solar rays dispel this darkness of ignorance? Day in and day out, I keep gratifying myself with all the sensory pleasures that my body gets attracted to. Oh Ramanuja, will great men passively watch their children slide to disaster when the latter perform forbidden activities? In this verse, Mamunigal explains the journey that the jivatma undertakes to reach paramapadham by explaining the pit stops it encounters enroute to Srivaikuntam.
On its way, the soul takes a dip in the Viraja river to quench itself from the heat of samsara dhabha trayam and to wash off other impurities.
The purity of the atma i. As the atma leads its way to the palace of Vaikuntanatha where the Lord is seated along with His consort Mahalakshmi, it is welcomed by celestials who give it a divine decoration. Afterwards, the Lord, Sri Vaikuntanatha, accepts the atma, places it on His lap and gives it unparalleled, eternal bliss. Having explained the secret of everlasting happiness, Mamunigal concludes the verse by saying that Ramanuja alone is the means that can make us recipients of such eternal joy.
By doing so, we can expect Ramanuja, who is like a father to my teacher Thiruvaimozhippillai, to recognize our devotion to our teacher and bless us with a place in paramapadham. In that case, what else have we got to worry about?
By meditating upon our teacher Thiruvaimozhippillai who is an embodiment of spotless knowledge and possesses divine, auspicious qualitieswe become eligible recipients to the grace of Ramanuja. Continuing from 20th verse discussed earlier, Mamunigal explains to us the structural arrangement in paramapadham through this verse. In this verse, he explains how Nithya Mukthars like Adishesha, Garuda, Visvakshena, Nammazhwar and Thirumangai Azhwar are seated in paramapadham, with their collective arrangement symbolic of glittering beads and pearls.
Having described the setting in paramapadham, Mamunigal appeals to the grace of Ramanuja so that he can soon worship the form of the Lord as described above in Paramapadham. This verse continues from the journey to Paramapadham described in the 20 th verse. Once again, Mamunigal explains the journey that the atma undertakes to reach paramapadham by describing the pit stops it takes enroute to Srivaikuntam.
In this route, the atma first departs from the solar system, arrives at Brahma Lokam. Further, the atma departs from Brahma Lokam, crosses the seven varanas, the endless world of moola prakruthi and finally ends up in the Viraja river that marks the end of Leela Vibhuthi. After having gone beyond these worlds, the soul reaches the pure waters of Viraja river and rejoices by taking bath in it. Afterwards, the Atma leads its way to the palace of Vaikuntanatha in a procession, welcomed by the celestials.
Once it completes its journey, our atma joins the other servants of the Lord and remains eternally singing the praise of the Lord in the gathering. Having described this journey, Mamunigal requests Ramanuja to grace him with liberation so that he can join the Nithya Mukthars and engage in eternal service to the Lord in paramapadham.
However, since that day, Mamunigal admits to have committed several sins and repents later about prabandhma act of commission.
In addition, Ramanuja had also decided to offer Mamunigal a place in Paramapadham. Thus, in this verse, Mamunigal appreciates the compassion of Ramanuja and urges him to expedite the process of granting him liberation.
Will his consort Sri. Ranganachiyar and his pirattis Bhoo and Neela devis forgive me? Will the celestials beginning with Visvakshena forgive me?
Will Nammazhwar, the foremost of the Prapannas and an embodiment of divine auspicious qualities forgive me? Will Thirumangai Azhwar, the one who is otherwise compassionate about the spiritual seekers, forgive me?
Will the preceptors beginning with Sri. Oh Ramanuja, who else but you can aarrthi me for the sins I have committed? By virtue of your grace, create in me the interest for liberation and bless me by being my means to paramapadham as soon as possible. Do not think about anything that is remotely associated with this material world.