An interesting anubhavam from the 2nd and 3rd Pasurams of Thondaradippodi Azhwar’s Thirumaalai:
In the second pasuram of this prabandham, Azhwar requests the Lord of Srirangam to allow him to stay in this very world and sing His nAma sankeerthanam all the time. In exchange, azhwar even discards His offer of a place in paramapadham. Azhwar opines that the anubhavam that one gets by doing His nAma sankeerthanam in this world is no match to the anubhavam that paramapadham has to offer.
Thirumangai Azhwar, in his siRiya thirumadal, conveys a similar essence. He opines that there is no such thing as paramapadham. He says: “Even if I have to acknowledge the presence of paramapadham according to the sastras, the anubhavam that I will get there will be less enjoyable to the one that I get by singing His names in this world.”
Thus, we get to understand from the second pasuram of Thirumaalai that there is no greater anubhavam than singing His glorious names in this very world.
In the third pasuram, Thondaradippodi Azhwar requests the Lord of Srirangam to deliver him from samsAram. According to azhwar, 50 years of a human’s lifetime is spent in sleep. The remaining time is spent in the mother’s womb, in the playfulness of childhood, in the exuberance of youth and in experiencing the miseries of senility. Factoring all this, there is hardly any time left in Azhwar’s life that can be spent on bhagavAn nAma sankeerthanam. Hence, Azhwar requests the Lord to deliver him from samsAram – something that is preventing him from singing His glories.
Namperumal gets surprised by azhwar’s plea and responds to him: “Dear Azhwar, I own two worlds – the paramapadham and samsaram. If you desire neither of it, then where else can I accommodate you?”
In response, Azhwar says that he desires a permanent place in His temple, the temple of Srirangam.
What are the benefits of staying in a temple?
When one resides in a temple, he’d be visiting the sannidhi to atleast have prasAdham. As a playful child, he will get the opportunity to enjoy the purappAdu of emperumAn. In his youth, when he comes under the vices of his senses, continuing to stay within the limits of the temple will give him the much-needed self-control. As he grows older and when his senses fail, he will still get to catch a glimpse of the Lord at his very doorstep. For such a person, even his dreams will be filled with the consummate beauty of the Lord.
That is why Azhwar desires a permanent place within the temple of Azhagiya Manavalan as opposed to a place in Paramapadham or Samsaram.
Azhwar does not say that he does not want paramapadham. Rather, he says that the anubhavam in paramapadham by dint of ruling it will not match the anubhavam he gets here. Paramapadham is something that is known to Azhwar only from Sruthi texts – not visible to him through his senses. Moreover, paramapadham is not near to Thiruvarangam when compared to ThiruvEngadam or thiruppARkadal. Since it would take considerable time to reach there, Azhwar is not in a position to wait that long without singing His glories. So he is comfortable with staying in Thiruvarangam itself. Refer to siRiya thirumadal pAsuram yErAr muyal vittu kAkkai pin pOvadhE.
The word Indhiran does not represent varuna, but his antarAthma, Sriman Narayana. So Indhira lOkam here refers to paramapadham and not swargam. The “aaLum” in the pAsuram means that emperumAn has left the ruling of paramapadham to mukthAthmAs. Refer to emadhidam pugudhendRu in Soozhvisumpani (TVM 10.9.9) pAsuram. The nithyamukthars (Vishwaksenar, Garudazhwar etc.) will give up the ruling of paramapadham to the mukthAthmAs who forwent the anubhavam in this world for a place in paramapadham. The Nithyamukthars in Paramapadham will consider it their bhAgyam and rejoice when we reach paramapadham. This is because, the anubhavam in doing nAma sankeerthanam in this world is matchless. The nithyamukthars will tell the mukthAthmAs: “It is indeed an appreciable feat that you have given up nama sankeertana anubhavam for a place in paramapadham”. So, even the nithyamukthars realize that paramapadha anubhavam is less enjoyable to the anubhavam got from nAma sankeerthanam.
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