Nammazhvar’s path

Chennai: The Vaishnavite saint Nammazhvar wrote four works — Thiruviruttam, Thiruvasiriyam, Periya Thiruvandadi and the Thiruvaimozhi. The Thiruviruttam has 100 verses, and here Nammazhvar shuns samsaric life as one of bondage. Samsara is unbearable.

No one escapes the troubles of samsaric life. Everything that we enjoy in life is tainted with one or the other of seven ‘doshas.’ But how could Nammazhvar, who never indulged in worldly life speak of it? How could he know the pitfalls of samsara?

The answer lies in the fact that the Azhvars, like the rishis of yore, could know things intuitively. Thus Nammazhvar is able to see that samsara is an affliction, said Adur Asuri Madhavachari, in a discourse.

The Thiruvasiriyam has only seven verses. The Lord wanted to give us atma gnana, knowledge of the self. He wanted us to enjoy His auspicious qualities. So He showed Nammazhvar His qualities, so that Nammazhvar could convey this to us. This is what Nammazhvar does through his Thiruvasiriyam.

Goddess Mahalakshmi recommends to the Lord that He should save us, even if we have sinned.

The Periya Thiruvandadi consists of 87 verses, and talks of Nammazhvar’s desire to reach Him. Once we realise His qualiites, we too will want to reach Him. The Thiruvaimozhi talks about God attainment.

Thus Nammazhvar shuns samsaric life, sees the Lord’s real nature and His qualities and is consumed by God hunger and God love. Nammazhvar’s speaks of his desire for the Lord, and indicates his aching for Him in several verses.

What we enjoy on this earth is what we do not need. None of it is lasting. Atma gnana is what we need.

If a man knows all the sastras, but has no atma gnana, none of his learning is of any use. Atma gnana alone is what counts. But this also eludes us.

The Lord took many avataras to enable us to acquire atma gnana. He then sent the Azhvars and Acharyas so that we would benefit from their teachings. Nammazhvar shows us that the Lord and His Consort constitute both the means and the end.

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