Reviews

For a better understanding of Azhwars

The volume serves as a reference material for those who want to understand the contents of Naalaayira Divyaprabandham

A Compendium of Nalayira Divya Prabandham and Its commentaries

Author: Dr. M. Varadarajan

Publisher: Sri Ananth Publications

Available at: 18/33 Madhavaperumal koil street, Mylapore, Chennai 600004

Price: ₹ 300

Contact 98418 84972

The commentary tradition is unique for Vaishnava literature in Tamil language. This has been brought forward by Guruparampara Sampradaya where one Acharya conducted tutorial sessions (Kalakshepam) with commentaries of Purvacharyas and this was followed to the letter by disciples. Some students, who delivered discourses used to quote them profusely in public lectures. For instance, the Tiruppavai discourses, which take place during Margazhi (December 16 to January 14). These are supposed to be based on the kalakshepams the lecturers have heard and as per Sampradaya under the tutelage of a preceptor. Earlier, we used to have such lectures on the Prabandham verses of Azhwars in each Divya Desam.

Dr. M. Varadarajan is one among those who has listened to the discourses on all commentaries in what is known as the Compendium of Nalayira Divya Prabandham. All these thoughts were revealed in in Manipravala style and kept as rahasya on a par with Veda Bhasya of Sayana or Bhatta Bhaskara. Now through the pens of contemporary scholars, they are presented in lucid English language. This volume will kindle the interest of the reader, who would like to go through the originals by learning the Tamil of Sangam literature. We find, in Melkote region, an invocatory verse, which is in vogue, for Periyazhwar Thirumozhi that like this:

Kattiaya sadagattin kandeerum kamavel

Pootiya valvillum pudumayile

kottiyare mallandatintol manivanna

kappennu pallanduraittan padi

It is only after reciting this paasuram that Periyazhwar Thirumozhi is rendered, during Sevakalam and Kalakshepams.

For Tiruppavai Muvayirappadi of Periyavacchan Pillai, Arayirappadi of Azhagiya Manavala Perumal Nayanar, Erayirappadi and Nalayirappadi of Ayee Jananyacharya are touched upon.

Of Lord Rama’s magnanimity

Perumal Thirumozhi of Kulsekara Azhwar brings forth the magnanimity of Lord Rama. Periyavacchan Pillai has given commentaries on the prabandhams of all the Azhwars and that has been taken into account. Tirumalai takes one from being the devotee of God to being devoted to the bhaktas of the Lord. ‘Nedumarkadimai’ would denote Lakshmana, who followed Lord Rama, and ‘Adiyarkadimai’ is Satrugna, who followed Bharata, a devotee of Lord Rama. All these ideas are well depicted in the commentaries brought out in the compendium. The outpourings of the Azhwars come spontaneously in a metrical Andhadhi format. That is why it is considered equivalent to Sanskrit Vedas that were spelt out by the rishis. Azhwars were blessed with the same revelation and they address God as ‘Inbakkavipaduvittonai.’

The six prabandhams of Kaliyan, which is compared to six Vedangas, is commended well and Tirumangai Azhwar as Parakala Nayaki is depicted in a lucid manner. Four works of Nammazhwar, equivalent to the four Vedas, is depicted well and all its commentaries are touched upon. Both Vedanta Desika and Manavala Mamunigal have given an independent abridged version of Tiruvoimozhi in Sanskrit and Tamil viz. Dramidopanishad Tatparya Ratnavali and Tiruvoimozhi Nootrandhadi. It is believed to enlighten those who are interested in understanding the contents of Divya Prabandham in general and its commentaries in particular. This book can be prescribed as a reference material for any Sri Vaishnavism course and may also be stored in one’s personal library. After going through this volume, the readers are sure to ask for more books from the author as his appeal is wonderful.

The writer is a Sanskrit professor with the Ananthacharya Indological Research Institute, Mumbai

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 6:06:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/books/books-reviews/azhwars-verses-in-a-simple-format/article19845438.ece

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