Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Periyazhvar Naming a Child

How should you name your child – Do not ascribe odd and fancy names such as Nampee or Pimpee….Their freshness will last just 4 days

By naming after the Lord, everyone will have at least called out the Lord’s name every time they call out for this person in their life. While this may not amount to calling out the name of the Lord in the true sense of devotion, it will still be of some merit, says Periyazhvar

(This 500th blog story is dedicated to NS Ramnath ( Ex - The Economic Times and Forbes) who initiated me into blogging almost a decade ago)
What is in a name?  A lot…… Periyazhvar has dedicated an entire decad in the fourth canto on the significance of naming a child. There are many relevant options available to us and he wants us to explore these for he says that the result will be beyond one’s imagination.

He asks us to name the new born after the Lord. Repeatedly he says that a mother who names her child after Him will escape hell. Such is the importance Periyazhvar gives to the naming event.

Through this decad, in the first half of each verse he first provides the reason for many of us naming the child indifferently and then in the 2nd half of the verse enlightens us on the benefits arising out of naming our children after HIM.

He cautions us about the risks involved in naming the child with fancy names.

Why indifferent names???
We succumb to the lure of gold coins and jewels and grains and name our child with MEAN names. He directs the ladies to call the children with names of the Lord. We opt for so many indifferent names when we have a beautiful choice from among the Lord’s various names.

காசும் கறையுடைக் கூரைக்கும் அங்கோர் கற்றைக்கும்
ஆசையினால் அங்க வைத்தப் பெரிதும் ஆதர்காள்

கேசவன் பேரிட்டு நீங்கள் தேனித் திருமினோ
நாயகன் நாராயணன் தம் அன்னை நரகம் புகாள்

Don’t fall for the lure of wealth
Periyazhvar describes the lure of material wealth in return for which mothers assign inappropriate names. In the temptation of rich oil for the head, beautiful ornaments for the forehead and bangles for the hand, she stays away from the many beautiful names of the Lord that are available as choices before her.

Instead of taking all these and naming inappropriately, it is even worth living by begging and naming your child after Him.

உச்சியில் எண்ணையும் கட்டியும் வளையும் உகந்து
எச்சம் பொலிந்தீர்காள் என் செய்வான் பிறர்பேரிட்டீர்

Human beings produce human being. And then we ascribe the name of a human being to this new born. But to reach abode of Lord, one has to assign HIS names.

மானிட சாதியில் தோன்றிற்று ஓர் மானிட சாதியை
மானிட சாதியின் பேரிட்டால் மறுமைக்கில்லை

No Salvation even in the next birth!!!!
Periyazhvar even goes to the extent of calling our bodies as filthy and polluted and hence is not in favour of giving such names to new born. Despite this, if we do so, there is no way for salvation even in our next birth.

Where as if the mother names her child after the Lord, she will escape hell even in this birth.

கண்ணுக்கினிய கருமுகில் வண்ணன் நாமமே
நண்ணுமின் நாரணன் தம் அன்னை நரகம் புகாள்

By naming him after well known people, we let the city and country become popular. But aren't we falling into a well known pit. We give such unpleasing names of human beings when the choice of loving Krishna is available to us. Refrain from giving petty names such as Nampee or Pampee. Their freshness will last just four days.

நம்பி பிம்பி என்று நாட்டு மானிடப் பேரிட்டால்
நம்பும் பிம்பம் எல்லாம் நாலு நாளில் அழுங்கிப் போம்

To derive benefits like nectar, name him after the Lord and sing and dance praising the name of the new born.

Benefits of having a Lord’s name

In the worst case scenario, everyone around the new born will have at least called out the Lord’s name every time they call out for this person in their life. While this may not amount to calling out the name of the Lord in the true sense of devotion, it will still be of some merit. 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Periyazhvar Think of and Thank God

When we are healthy, there is an opportunity for us to think of God and seek his blessings
Remove all Negative Thoughts from your mind: Perform Selfless Service

In a later decad in the Periyazhvar Thirumozhi, he requests the Lord to consider today’s prayer as a prayer in advance and to help him in the future when he might be beset with problems and at a time when he may not remember the Lord.

However, in this earlier decad( in the fourth Canto), he reminds the devotees that there is still enough time for us to remember the Lord and invoke his blessings. If you are healthy today, think of him and thank him.

Periyazhvar showcases the importance of calling out for the God’s name at all times in life, especially when we have strength in our body. Most of us are interested only in our close ones so much so that even in most testing of times, we call out only for them to be by our side.  He says that now is the time for us when we are hale and healthy to be offering our sincere prayers to him and to be thanking him for all the things that he has embellished us with. Most of the time we do not see what he has given us and only think of what in our view is the missing piece.

It is a beautiful set of devotional verses providing great insights into the fact that we are missing out on thanking God for all the great things he has provided us ( Instead we are seeking lot more from him all the time).

'Grow up' and think of the Lord
Even when death is upon us, most of us call out only for our close ones – Father, Mother, Son, Daughter and Wife. But there are those who chant the Lord’s names and praise him. Unfortunately, today, it is not within us to even talk about the greatness of such people. The day we ‘grow up’ to speak about them, we will be truly blessed.

We should aim to reach a stage where we can think and dedicate everything to the Lord.

Healthy People
There are lot of health issues we might encounter in life. Puss oozes out of wounds. We will have bed sore. There will be worms and germs that will be around the wounds. Ants will start biting. And finally the mind is likely to go into a coma.

சீயினால் செறிந் தேறிய புண் மேல் 
செற்ற லேறிக் குழம்பிருந்து எங்கும் 
ஈயினால் அரிப்புண்டு மயங்கி 
எல்லை வாய்ச் சென்று சேர்வதன் முன்னம் 

Before that happens, there is an opportunity to chant his name all through the day, holding our folded hands well above our head and seek his blessings. If we do that, we are likely to not get entry into this world again. You can be assured of that.

வாயினால் நமோ நாரயணா வென்று மத்தகத் 
திடைக் கைகளைக் கூப்பி போயினாள்

பின்னை இத்திசைக்கு என்றும்
பிணை கொடுக்கிலும் போக ஒட்டாரே 

Wealthy People
For those who have amassed huge wealth, it is likely that all your relatives will surround you and enquire about you and the location of the wealth. But since you have already got into coma, you will not be able to provide any answers to them.

Before such a situation arises, there is an escape route for you when you are in the pink of health. Make the Lord reside in your heart, recite the name Madhava and shower flowers of love on everyone. If you can achieve this state of mind, you may be in the good books of Yama and his agents. 

When death arrives, legs and hands will start to tremble. And we will be shivering. Much before that time, when there is an opportunity to at least chant that one letter ‘Om’ repeatedly.
Perform Selfless Service today
There will come a time when our life will go and there will be others who will check our nose for signs of life. And out of frustration will throw up their hands and lower their head in sadness.
 But well before that we have an opportunity in this life time to completely and unconditionally surrender to the Lord and perform selfless service to him.

வங்கம் விட்டுலவும் கடற்பள்ளி மாயனை
மது சூதனை மார்பில் தங்க விட்டு வைத்து

ஆவதோர் கருமம் சாதிப்பார்க்கு என்றும் சாதிக்கலாமே

Remove all Negative Thoughts
Our days are counted. There will be a time when Yama, the king of Southern most point, and his colleagues will come to bind us with their rope. Much before we reach that time zone, we have an opportunity today to sing praise of his name, fame and deeds. We can take him in our hearts and invoke his blessings to rid ourselves of all the negative thoughts in our minds. If we do that we could be considered for service at Vaikuntam.

இன்னவன் இணையானென்று சொல்லி எண்ணி உள்ளத்திருளற நோக்கி 
மன்னவன் மது சூதனன் என்பார் வானகத்து மன்றாடிகள் தாமே

Do you want Yama's Dogs to bite you

In this verse, Periyazhvar reminds us as to what could be the consequences if we do not lead a noble life.

If we do not want the dogs of Yama, the king of death, to bite our thighs or his assistants to pierce us with their spikes or for us not to lose our clothes as we are dragged along mercilessly, we have an opportunity right now to think of Lord and to invoke his blessings for a noble life.

தொடை வழி உம்மை நாய்கள் கவரா சூலத்தால்
உம்மைப் பாய்வதும் செய்யார்
இடை வழியில் நீர் கூறையும் இழவீர்

There is a SOLUTION to prevent another Mundane Life
After our death, our relatives are likely to sing praise about our virtues. And our negatives are likely to be forgotten by them. And the body will be covered with a new cloth. It would make sense for us to seek his GRACE well before that if we really wish to avert another mundane life.

The scene around our death
Father and mother and wife are likely to be in tears weeping and crying aloud. And the fire will be placed on our chest and we will be up in flames. Before such a thing occurs, it is within us to find an escape route by holding HIM alone in our minds every day, steadfast without thinking of anyone else. And if we do that, we will probably give ourselves an opportunity to stand apart.

வாயொரு பக்கம் வாங்கி வலிப்பா வார்ந்த நீர்க் கண்கள் மிழற்ற
தாய் ஒரு பக்கம் தந்தை ஒரு பக்கம் தாரமும் ஒரு பக்கம் அலற்ற

தீ ஒரு பக்கம் சேர்வதன் முன்னம்

செங்கண் மாலொடும் சிக்கெனச் சுற்ற
மாய் ஒரு பக்கம் நிற்க
வல்லார்க்கு அரவு தண்டத்தில் உய்யலு மாமே

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Vishnu Purana Sri Stuti

Even those with bad qualities can become good human beings if they invoke the blessings of Goddess Lakshmi
Start reciting the Vishnu Purana Sri Stuti every day and experience the positive change in the mind set

Three ancient literary works extol the greatness of Sri. It speaks of Alavanthar’s greatness in just four verses he has been able to communicate the role and power of Sri in such an expressive way that this is considered the fountain head of praise on Sri. And almost all the succeeding exponents have based their commentary and analysis on the description provided by Alavanthar in the Chatusloki. Vedanta Desika’s Sri Stuti is rich in text and content and is considered a fundamental piece defining our philosophy.

However, the earliest stotras on Sri is found in the Vishnu Purana where Devendra, the King of Gods has showered verses of praise on Sri for having helped him regain his kingdom that had been previously as a result of the curse of Sage Durvasa. Delighted at having secured all his powers and having personally experienced success, Indra, in a thanking gesture, describes in detail the role of Goddess Lakshmi in our lives. Indra, thus provides the earliest clarification on SRI as compared with Lord Narayana. He showcases her distinctive qualities. Vishnu Purana like the four Vedas is so full of good values. We don’t see the God residing inside us. We are constantly exploring outside. We should look inward because otherwise the outside things will pull us in the wrong direction.

Parasara Bhattar is seen explaining these verses of praise to his disciple Maitreyi who was keen to more about the story of SRI.

She is all Lotus
பத்மாலயாம் பத்மகராம் பத்மபத்ர நிபேக்ஷணாம்
வந்தே பத்மமுகீம் தேவீம் பத்மனாபப்ரியாமஹம்

She is the mother of all worlds. She took birth in Thiruparkadal in a lotus petal and resides in the Lord’s chest. He praises her as having beautiful Lotus eyes and is seen holding a lotus in her hand. Indra credits her with having the power to purify the entire universe. He says she is everything in this world- the Nectar, the Day and the Night.

In different avataras she has taken many different forms and is seen everywhere along with the Lord.

In a beautifully described verse, he asks who else has the right to reside in the Lord’s chest other than her. There is a glittering shine on the Lord only because of her. Ait is only through her blessings that a husband gets a good wife, has children, a good home and happiness.

Blemish-less One
She is the one with the authority and owner to provide victory on many fronts. She provides true devotees with wealth, good health, fearlessness against enemies and takes care of our possessions. He prays that she should not desert her true devotees. Indra calls here the Blemish-less one. Without her nothing will be possible in this earthly world.

Transformative powers
With her blessings, even those born with bad qualities are converted to ones with good qualities, such are her powers. He then goes one step further. If one has her blessings right in the beginning, then it is likely that they will be born in a good and noble family.

Unequalled Powers
Even Brahmma cannot equal her Thiru Kalyana characteristics and qualities. She has the power to remove all hurdles and provide happiness to true devotees. He says that if you praise Lord it also includes Thaayar. He pleads with her to not let our treasury go. He says that she is the one with the power to cleanse and purify our sins. Indra asks her for her blessings for his own benefit and for the protection of his relatives and friends. However, if you are not pleased with the behaviour of any one and if you  feel that they are not offering their prayers with sincerity, you have the powers to convert them into poor people in all respects .

ஸத்யோ    வைகுன்ய மாயாந்தி ஸீலாத்யா: சகலா குணா:
பராங்முகீ ஜகத்தாத்ரீ யஸ்ய த்வம் விஷ்ணு வல்லபே

Lord constantly looks at his chest to make sure that she is present. Like how the Lord is present everywhere, she too is present everywhere. We should speak of his and her powers separately because she has just as much powers as the Lord and has very distinctive qualities.

Only she has the right and the power to decorate the Lord’s chest. Now it is her role to keep the universe growing and keep it going in a positive way.

Affirmative Praise and then a double negative
Sri is the one responsible for all positives in this world. Indra turns affirmative in this verse and says that with her blessings anything is possible. And then he uses the double negative to praise her ‘There is nothing one cannot get if they have her blessings.’

ஷறீராரோக்யம் ஐஸ்வர்யம் அறிபக்ஷ்க்ஷ்ய ஸுகம்
தேவி த்வத்த்ருஷ்டித்ருஷ்டாநாம் புருஷாணாம் துர்லபம்

Calls her 'Mother'
In the initial set of verses, he refers to her as DEVI. In the 10th verse, for the first time, he refers to her as Mother (AMBA). He says that this world is full of good and dumb. The two of you have created this world. Words have been constructed beautifully. The thread cannot be seen, only the outside pearls can be seen. Lord is inside knitting together the pearls.

த்வம் மாதா சர்வ லோககானாம் தேவ தேவோ ஹரி:பிதா 
த்வயைதத் விஷ்ணுநா சாம்ப ஜகத் வ்யாப்தம் சராசரம் 

Indra pleads with SRI to not go away from her house and from his heart. He credits her with the powers to cleanse all the sins of true devotees who offer their sincere prayers to her. He calls her AMALE, the righteous one who resides in the Lord’s chest. He says that if Goddess Lakshmi moves away, the good qualities of the people too will go away immediately.

She has powers that can transform the bad into good, provided the devotees are sincere in their prayers.

Grants boons to Indra
Pleased with his prayers, SRI asked if he would like anything. He asked for two boons: to be ever present in this world and to protect the true devotees at all points of time.  SRI acceded to his request and said that those who recite these stotras, morning and evening, with sincerity will be blessed by her. To these true devotees she says she will be ready to ignore even their mistakes. SRI was totally thrilled with these Abhishekam of stotras that she instantly granted Indra with these boons.

While Lord is the one who grants Moksha, Goddess Lakshmi is ever present in him as a pillar of strength and support and it is with her approval that he takes any decision. Whenever the Lord emerges as God, she takes the form of Goddess. When he takes the form of a man, she takes the form of a woman. If he becomes Ranganatha, she becomes Andal.

Parasara who extolled the greatness of SRI to his disciple Maithreyi through these verses concluded saying that those who simply listen to these stotras will be blessed by Goddess Lakshmi.  In their clan, Goddess Lakshmi will not leave their clan for three generations. And is a house when SRI resides, no negative will happen as one will be protected by her shining force.

இதி சகல விபூத்ய வாப்திஹேது
ஸ்துதிரியமிந்த்ர முகோத்கதா ஹி லக்ஷ்ம்யா:  

அநுதிநமிஹ பட்யதே ந்ருபிர்யை
வசதி தேஷு கதாசிதப்யலகக்ஷ்மீ 

Hence we should continuously recite these stotras without fail and seek her blessings at all points of time to keep us on the right and noble path.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Vedanta Desika Sri Stuti

Brahmma, Shiva and other Celestial Gods are mere coins in the game of Chess played by the Divine Couple

Like the Sacred Cow Kamadhenu:, Sri provides EVERYTHING that her devotees sincerely prays for

(Part 2 - Concluding Part)

A Game of Chess
Praising her as the beloved of the Lord, Vedanta Desika says that she is happily engaging in a game of chess with the Lord and compares her duties to a simple game like Chess.  

மத்யேக்ருத்ய த்ரிகுண பலகம் நிர்மித ஸ்தாந பேதம் 

Specifically in this verse, Vedanta Desika refers to her duties as one of creation, sustenance and destruction. Interestingly ( or may be shockingly), Vedanta Desika goes to the extent of saying that this game involves coins referring to Brahma, Siva and others Celestial Gods as merely carrying out their role as part of this game as directed by Him. He says that the celestial girls and nityasoories are also quietly watching the game.

Vedanta Desika calls Sri as the Supreme Authority while referring to the Lord as the Supreme Force of Authority.  She has joined the Lord who Vedanta Desika admits as being the grantor of moksha.

Simply recite her names and be liberated from Life Cycle

லக்ஷ்மீ: பத்மா ஜலதிதநயா விஷ்ணுபத்நீந்திரேதி 

He refers to her different names: Lakshmi Padma, Vishnu Patnee, Indira and Daughter of Milk Ocean and calls these holy names. Those who constantly think of or recite these names do not return to this world. He calls this world as one that is full of sins, not just simple sins but ones that blow fast and furious like a hurricane. Vedanta Desika says that those who follow this path of reciting her names will not have to go through the pangs of life cycle of births and deaths. Even simply chanting her different names has such purifying effect giving us an indication of the power of reciting her. It is for this very reason that even the sacred Vedas have cherished recounting her names.

He discharges his duty only with HER approval
In the 9th verse, Vedanta Desika for the first time refers to the difference of opinions in this world on the supreme power - some say it is you, others point to the Lord giving rise to a lot of confusion. Vedanta Desika says that Vedas present Lord as engaging in a sport just to please Sri. The entire activity relating to the Universe is discharged by him only with her approval. He turns affirmative in this verse. 

He says the Divine Couple is everything in terms of power. Every other view is to be discarded.

யுவாம் தம்பதீ தைவதம் ந: 

Every Avatara is a Co- incarnation
Vedanta Desika goes on. The Lord is the milk, while Sri is the sweetness in the milk. In every incarnation of his, Sri has taken a form to be a strong pillar of support to him. She is always with him. In fact he calls it co-incarnation. Vedanta Desika compares this co-incarnation to the drops of milky ocean where the waves are scattered over a long distance but the sweetness remains undiluted.

They are Inseparable
This is a verse where he praises with authority that Sri is inseparable from him. Just like how a word and its meaning always go together similarly the two of them go together. He stresses that her presence is a MUST and clarifies that it is not just for recommendation to the Lord but because it cannot be any other way. He just cannot be without her.  

Her presence enhances the look of the emerald green charm of the Lord. Vedanta Desika describes the physical features of Sri as seen in Sri Vaikunta. Her form is an ocean of Gnana and Joy. Whenever she desires, she allows this wave from the ocean to rise and get into different form - Vyooha, Vibhuva, Antaryami and Archa.

Saraswathi, Parvathi and Indrani are happy thanks to SRI
Vedanta Desika praises her even more aggressively in the next verse. He says that if Saraswathi won over Brahma, Parvathi won the hands of Shiva and Indrani held Indra’s hand, it was solely on the basis of the grace and the glance of Sri.

He describes the event of churning the ocean where she was seated on a throne of Lotus. When she was thus seated, clouds - Pushkala and Avartaka came for the coronation with a torrential outpour (of flowers) that was so dense that it seemed to cover the entire universe.

This was followed by the celestial elephants Airavata and Pundarika that poured water from gold pitcher. Such was the grand scale with which your coronation, as the Queen, was conducted.

Indra regains power because of Sri
Indra who had lost all his powers after being cursed by Druvasa attributes his regaining of powers to the grace of Sri.  If he is still able to retain the powers it is only because of her. Thus showcasing her power, Vedanta Desika asks as to what is not possible if she decides to shower her blessings.

Having seen the qualities of Sri, Vedanta Desika looks over a set of 5 verses her response to different classes of devotees starting with the revival of lost wealth of a devotee.

Words not required just her Glance will do
She need not utter a word. Just her glance will do. And even the farther most located devotee will be blessed. He cites the example of her answering Devas’ prayers and then transforming the three worlds into a rich sacred one from what it was earlier – one devoid of good.

If they invoke her blessings with single minded devotion, she is likely to shower wealth on him through Kubera so much so that it might become difficult to stop the inflow. Those who seek her blessings and to whom she places her twin feet on their head are the most cherished ones for they then are likely to ride on big elephants in royal processions with decorated umbrella over them and Chamaras on either side. Blessed by Sri, they sit like a prince with garlands all over them.

Vedanta Desika refers to the importance of winning over two perennial enemies that reside all the time in us – Desire and Anger. We should also conquer our ignorance of confusing body and soul and mistaking one for the other. If we ignore that our Atma is different from our physical body, we are destined to be doomed. The pure souls would be able to differentiate the good from the bad. All this is thanks to her. Such enlightened souls will cling to the truth path and attain moksha. He stresses that the only path out to take one to eternal bliss is her Daya path.

Divine Couple
Those with a clear heart and single minded devotion to Sri and the Lord are indeed blessed. Those that are thus blessed with knowledge would treat mundane things like reward, money, property and fame as just grass. Since these are earthly things these will not mean anything to them. The only goal of such people will be to please the Divine Couple by living a life as directed in the scriptures without wavering from the dharmic path. Not only do they follow it, but they will take steps to protect dharma and they see this as their duty. Others who look at them will follow them as well and will also develop similar mind set. Vedanta Desika says that we should become such role models.

Importance of Surrender
Surrender is not a superfluous act. It is an essential necessity. It does not mean just salutation but implies regular surrender. Vedanta Desika says he surrenders at her feet around which celestial goddess gather around with their heads on the Padma Peedam almost like a garland. He praises her feet as the fountain head of all prosperity. Blessed are those who walk with a slight bend of the head before her lotus feet as a mark of surrender. Such people are destined to attain moksham and stay in the abode of Vasu Deva and offer services to him there.

Vedanta Desika explains the current state of life and compares it with the Summer heat. There is grief. Samsara is hot and is like the unbearable sweating weather and one is constantly burnt by that heat and many times feel totally exhausted and does not know how to survive that. He asks her to sympathise and support and drench him in the cool shower (autumn rains) of grace by just her glance.

What else can you ask her and What more do you need from her
She is present next to the Lord and has created all the right and noble thoughts in me. What else can I ask you? Please continue to stay and bless me in this cool fashion says Vedanta Desika.

She is the mother. Vasu Deva is the father. Vedanta Desika says that he has been their child especially because of her Daya. He has also been blessed by Acharyas to be their disciple. He says that when she looks at him, she seems to be saying what else do you need other than the above.


கல்யாணாநாம் அவிகலநிதி: காபி காருண்யாஸீமா
நித்யா மோதா நிகம வசஸாம் மௌளி மன்தார மாலா

சம்பத் திவ்யா மதுவிஜயிந: ஸந்நிதத்தாம் ஸதா மே
ஸைஷா தேவீ ஸகல புவந ப்ரார்த்தநா காமதேநு:

Sri represents the perfect Kalyana Characteristics and blemish- less qualities. She is compassionate. She is the garland of the Vedas. She is the Sri of the Lord. She is the giver of everything for true devotees. For them, just like the sacred cow Kamadhenu, she never says no. He asks her to reside permanently in her and to protect her.

Those who recite this Sri Stuti and offer their sincere prayers to her will forever be blessed by her and will be seated with a crowning glory.