Thursday, October 7, 2010

Narayana Or Nayantara?









Hello readers,

The most expressive feature in our face is the eye. Eyes are non-verbal communicators and convey our moods. The word ‘Nayan’ means ‘eye’ ‘Tara’ means ‘star’. Nayantara means one whose eye shines like a star. We are going to read an incident about a person who loved a lady whose eyes were dazzling like a star.

Sorry Guys! we are not going to read about Tamil film stars Prabhudeva and Nayantara love story in this article, rather we are going to know about an ordinary couple who later through the divine grace became great Shri Vaishnavas by the divine grace of Saint Ramanuja and Lord Ranganatha.

This article will definitely help us to know the real and eternal beauty which we should love so as to cross nescience. Saint Ramanuja who live some thousand year before was devoted to the service of God and Mankind. The physical limitations and the social taboos were washed away by the flood of Ramanuja’s divine love.


Srirangam is known as “Bulokha Vaikundam” i.e. Heaven on earth where you can feel the presence of the Lord. Lord Ranganatha has been extolled by Azhwars and sung by music trinity Tyagaraja and Muthuswamy Deekshitar. Such is the divinity you will experience if you have darshan of Lord Ranganatha!


Please read on to know more about real beauty and the greatness of Saint Ramanuja and the divine presence of Lord Ranganatha.


Let us all behold his form!


Adiyen Ramanuja Dasan



Narayana Or Nayantara?


Urangavilli & Ponnachiyar

Woraiyur or Urayur is located near the city of Tiruchirapalli or Trichy on the southern bank of river Kavery in Tamilnadu. It has a history dating back as early as 272 – 232 BC and was the capital of Chola Kings. In the Chola Kingdom there was a King by name Akalangan who was ruling the Urayur region. The Kings court there was a Royal Wrestler by name Urangavilli. Urangavilli was married to a beautiful lady by name Ponnachiyar. The word ‘Pon’ in tamil means gold and she was also glittering like a gold and had very beautiful and dazzling eyes. You just cannot take your eyes off once you see her beauty, such is the charm of her eyes (Aishwarya Rai?!). There is a saying in Tamil “Mogam Mupathu Naal and Aasai Aruvathu Naal” i.e. you will be obsessed with your wife for 30 days and affection for 60 days after that scuffle starts between the couple. However for Urangavillli the ‘mogam’ [love] continued forever and his love towards her turned into madness such that he use to carry an umbrella behind her to protect her beauty!


Once Urangavilli along with Ponnachiyar was attending the temple Chithirai festival. In the festivals the Utsavar is taken out of the temple for procession for the benefit of people so that people can have the darshan of the Lord. When the procession was going on Urangavilli instead of witnessing the Lord was as usual was carrying the umbrella behind his wife so as to protect her from the sun rays to preserve the lady’s beauty.

At this point in time the great Vaishnava Acharya Saint Ramanuja along with his disciples was passing through that area and saw this bizarre scene where Urangavilli carrying the umbrella without even bothering about others and was also not witnessing the God’s procession. One of the disciple of Ramanuja laughed and made mockery of him and muttered that he is crazy about his wife. The other sishyas also joined in making fun of him. However Ramanuja intervened and told them not to ridicule at him and told them his act indeed shows how much love he his having towards his wife. He then asked them to bring Urangavilli to him. Some of his disciples approached Urangavilli and informed that their Acharya wants to meet him. Urangavilli would have done lot of penance otherwise how an Acharya like Ramanuja would call him. Such is the mercy of great Acharyas who guides the ignorant people voluntarily out of compassion towards all.


Ramanuja then asked Urangavilli instead of seeing the God’s procession why he was seeing her wife and was he not ashamed for that?. Urangavilli replied that his wife is the most beautiful in the world and he is a slave for her beauty and hence was not bothered how others think of him. Ramanuja listened quietly and then asked him if he shows a Personality who is even more beautiful than his wife will he become the slave of that person? Urangavilli immediately agreed for this. Ramanuja then took Urangavilli inside the Srirangam temple and asked the Bhattar to show the deepa aradhana to the Lord Ranganatha who was in the reclining posture. Ramanuja asked the Bhattar to show the deepam near the Lords eyes and asked Urangavilli to have darshan of the eyes of Lord Ranganatha.

Azhwars have sung in the Nalayira Divya Prabandham that after seeing Lord Ranganatha they are overpowered by his beauty and after seeing Ranganatha they don’t want to see anything else and they are also not interested in taking up anything else even if they are offered to rule the Indira Loka. Such is the devotion of the Azhwars. See the two poems (Pasurams) from Prabandham as given below.



Kondal vannanai kovalanai
Venai undavayan En ullam kavarnthanai
Andar kon ani arangan
En amudhanai kanda kangal matrodrinai kanave

Pachai mamalai pol meni pavala vai kamala senkan
Achuta amararere ayar tham kozhute ennum !
Echsuvai thavera yan poi indiranlogam alum
Achsuvai perinum vendean aranga ma nagarulanea !!




It is not a surprise that after witnessing the beauty of the Lord’s lots eyes Urangavilli was taken by the divine beauty of the Lord which cannot be equated with the mortal beauty. Urangavilli was totally mesmerized. He immediately fell at the feet of Ramanuja. Later he along with his wife became great devotees of the Lord Ranganatha and were involved in serving Saint Ramanuja’s mission.



Akalanga to Akalanga Naataazhvan


Urangavilli then used to spend his free time in the service of Ramanuja. He also liberally donated his salary to the Mutt. Upon seeing the change in Urangavilli King Akalanga told him that he can spend full time for the service of Ramanuja and even asked him to get his salary from the court. However Ramanuja disagreed for this and told that one should not get the salary without working and asked Urangavilli to return it to the King. Akalanga was surprised over Ramanuja’s attitude and immediately met Ramanuja. Ramanuja then instructed Akalanga about Vaishnava Dharma. Later King Akalanga became Akalanga Naataazhvan and was given incharge for running the Srirangam Temple.


Greatness of Urangavilli & Ponnachi


Ramanuja lived in this mortal world for 120 years. During his later years when he was in Srirangam, used to take bath in the River Kavery and while walking back to his ashram he used to lean on the shoulders of his Brahmin disciples, Kuresa [Kurathazhwan] and Mudaliyandan. After Urangavilli joined Ramanuja took the help of Urangavilli also while returning from Kaveri and used to lean on the shoulders of Urangavilli. Some of his greedy brahmin disciples were not readily accepting his gesture and asked him how he could touch Urangavilli who is not a Brahmin. Sri Ramanuja said that it was a recognition of merit rather than an act of indulgence. Urangavilli had no egotism in him and no attachment and had given up all his belongings to join the Dasas, the Acharya explained.

He created an incident to prove his statement. He instructed through one of his disciple to tear the dhotis of the greedy disciples who were opposed to Urangavilli without knowing them. The next day when those greedy disciples came to know their dhotis were torn they abused and were quarrelling with each other. Few days later days Ramanuja asked Urangavilli to stay in the Mutt and instructed one of his disciple to go and steal the golden earring of Ponnachiyar. When the disciples went to steal the golden earring Ponnachiyar realized that the disciples have come to steal and acted as if she is sleeping so that they can remove her earrings. When they removed the earring from one side she was about to turn the other side so as to enable them to take the other ear ring also. However the disciples misunderstood that she has woken up and ran from that place.


The next day Ramanuja instructed those disciples who were earlier opposing Urangavilli to go and witness what is happening in Urangavilli’s house. Urangavilli returned the next day and when he came to know about the incident questioned Ponnachiyar why she had not given them the second ring also. She replied that she was about to turn the other side they misunderstood and left the place. Both Urangavilli and Ponnachiyar were lamenting for not giving the second ring also to the disciples of Ramanuja. The disciples heard the entire conversation of them and then went to Ramanuja to pardon them for their discrimination towards Urangavilli. Thus Ramanuja made them realize the greatness of Urangavilli and Ponnachaiyar.


Let us all pray to Ramauja and Ranganatha that let noble thought pervade and enlighten us at all times!

Bibliography/Reference

The bewitching Lotus eyes – The Hindu religion column
Mahan Ramanujar – Sri Lakshmi Narasimhan – Vikadan Prasuram
Sri Ramanujar – Sri T.N. Suki Subramaniam – Prema Prasuram
Ramanuja Vaibhavam MP3 Recording by Sri Ananthapadmanabhaachariyar
Urayur – Wikipedia

1 comment:

BHASKARAN said...

Superb. Wonderful article, your narrations are excellent, keep it up.

Warm regards
bhaskaran

PS : Small request. Your Blog is Divine why bring film stars name even of humour