Introduction to Vedhas and Divya Prabhandhams

Vedhas: Vedhas play a vital role in helping us (Jeevathma) understand that there is a relationship between US and GOD!! Most of the religions try to explain Who created us? and Why we are born?.

Vedhas are eternal (Apourusheyam). They are provided to us by GOD himself, to help us understand who we are, why are we born and what are we supposed to do in this earth. However, because of the very nature that they are eternal and not created by anyone but GOD himself, those who look into Vedhas can interpret it in more than one way.

Eidharkariya maraigalai aayiram inthamizhal saidharkulagil varum sadagopan. – Ramanuja Nootrandhadhi
Meaning: While it is very difficult to learn Vedhas and even more harder to understand them (also there are restriction on who can learn them as well), they were translated by Shri. Nammazhwar with 1000 paasurams(slokas) in the sweet Thamizh language, so that it is easily understood by one and all with no restrictions at all.
எய்தற்கரிய மறைகளை ஆயிரமின்தமிழால் பெய்தற்குலகில்வரும் சடகோபனைஇராமானுச நூற்றந்தாதி

While Vedhas are very difficult to understand, it was Alwars who helped us understand them by translating them into Tamil language by giving us Nalayira Divya Prabhandham. Of the Nalayira Divya Prabhandham, Thiruppavai is one, given to us by Shri. Andal – an Avathar of Bhooma Devi.

Vedhamanaithukkum vithaagum kodhaithamizh aiyaindhum aindhum –
வேதமனைதுக்கும் வித்தாகும் கோதைதமிழ் ஐயைந்தும் ஐந்தும்...

Meaning: The seed for all Vedhas and Upanishads, Thiruppavai that is made of 30 slokas(5x5 + 5)

Thiruppavai is considered as a seed that contains every essence of Vedhas. You may now have a question, which could go like, you said Vedhas are given by GOD then how can Thiruppavai be a seed?!!

Well, we do see in this earth that a mango tree, for example, can be grown from a seed that has come from another mango tree which has blossomed, bear fruit, ripens and the seed from the fruit sown gives birth to another mango tree. Similarly, Thiruppavai also has all the essence as that of Vedhas.

It is said that if we don’t have the time, ability to read Vedhas, it is easier to read Nalayira Divya Prabhandham. If we do not have the time, ability to read and understand Nalayira Divya Prabhandham, we should at the least read Thiruppavai, which is very short and sweet, with just 30 slokas in it but contains all the meanings that one can find in Vedhas and Upanishads.

Vedhas and Divya Prabhandhams explain us the Visishtadhvaitha Philosophy:
* That Shriman Narayanan is the Supreme God
* He is the reason for the creation of the Jagath
* He gave us the Sharanakathi Margam (Way)
* He is just not only Supreme, but also very Social and are very near to us
* To attain Him, we take His Lotus feet as Upayam (Means)

Vedhas teach us 5 important things called Arthapanchakam
1) Paramartha Swaroopam – GOD
2) Jeevathma Swaroopam – Living Beings
3) Upaya Swaroopam – The means to get to the destination
4) Virodhi Swaroopam – The blocks that prevent us to get to the destination
5) Praapya Swaroopam – The destination

Anchukudikkoru Sandhadhiyai, Aazhwargal thanseyalai Vinjinirkum thanmayalai
அஞ்சுகுடிக்கொருசந்ததியாய் ஆழ்வார்கள் தஞ்செயலை விஞ்சிநிற்கும் தன்மையளாய் - உபதேச ரத்தினமாலை

Meaning: The one who is the only heir for the other Alwars who are Male and the one who surpassed the works of the other Alwars in every department.

Aandal, in spite of being the only female Alwar of the 12 Alwar, has done much more kainkaryam than all the other Alwars put together. She has not only shown Bhakthi but also has given us the Devine Paasurams, Naachiyar Thirumozhi and Thiruppavai.

Thiruppavai is known by everyone. It is one that is recited every single day in every single temple in the world, in every single house of a Sri Vaishnavite.

Thiruppavai is like a Rathnam – Precious Stone. Bhagavadh Ramanujar understood it and kept it close to his heart. He is also called Thiruppavai Jeeyar as he is known to be reciting Thiruppavai all the time. Such a great Vedhanthi who has written Vedhartha Sangraham to explain Upanishads, who has also written Bhashyam for Brahma Suthram called Sri Bhashyam, having great affinity towards Thiruppavai, indeed tells a lot about this Prabhandham. If such a great scholar is so involved with Thiruppavai then we can comfortably conclude that all the meanings that are there in Upanishads is there in Thiruppavai.

Paadhagangal Theerkkum, Paramanadi Kaattum Kothai Thamizh
பாதங்கள் தீர்க்கும் பரமனடி காட்டும் கோதைதமிழ்

Coming days we will learn what Vedhas have said by understanding the simple 30 slokas of Thiruppavai.

Throughout this Margazhi month, we have heard Thiruppavai for so many years, and people have said this every year, but we never get tired of this. Every time we listen to this we feel fresh and energized and our hope gets stronger that with the Krupai of Shri. Andal we will also be soon rid of this worldly life and attain Moksha. This year, we will enjoy it with this blog and attain the blessings of Shri. Rangamannar and Shri. Andal.

One day Periyazhwar told Aandal the story of Krishna who protected everyone from rains by lifting Govardhana Giri (Hill). Every year, the people of Govardhana give huge offerings to Lord Indra. But this time around, Krishna told everyone that they should offer to Govardhana Giri rather Indira because it is the hill which gives the fruits, wood etc. While people are wondering what should do, kids who were there simply believed what Krishna told and forced everyone to follow what Krishna said.

Having said this story Periyazhwar told Aandal that one should have such a faith with Lord and not question what he has laid down. We should rather practice His orders and not question it if we were to attain his Lotus Feet.

Before we start reading/listening to the meaning of any Prabhandham, it is a customary practice to pray the author and also pay our heartfelt thanks (kruthagyathai) to the author of the Prabhandham.

Without the help of those who wrote the commentary for these Prabhandham, we will not be in a position to understand the inner meaning of these Prabhandhams. So it is also right to pay our respect and our heartfelt thanks to our Poorvacharyas.

With my head in the Lotus Feet of the Poorvacharyas and Alwars I begin to write what little I know of Thiruppavai.

Adinayen Ramanuja Dasan

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