Sunday, April 17, 2016

Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam – Literary Mention

Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam – Literary Mention
Ranganathaswamy temple is the only one out of the 108 temples that was sung in praise by all the Azhwars (Divine saints of Tamil Bhakthi movement), having a total of 247 pasurams (divine hymns) against its name. Acharyas (guru) of all schools of thought – Advaita, Vishistadvaita & Dvaita recognize the immense significance the temple, regardless of their affiliation.
Nalayira Divya Prabandam, collection of 4000 hymns sung by twelve azhwars saints spread over 300 years (from the late 6th to 9th century AD) and collected by Nathamuni (910–990 AD). Divya Desams refers to 108 Vishnu temples that are mentioned in Nalayira Divya Prabandham. 105 of these are located in India, 1 in Nepal, while 2 are located outside of the Earthly realms. Divya in Tamil language indicates premium and Desam indicates place or temple. 
Periyalvar, begins the decade on Srirangam with two puranic stories according to which Krishna restored to life the son of his guru Santipini and the children of a BrahminThondaradippodi Alvar &Thiruppaan Alvar has sung exclusively on Ranganatha. Andal attained Ranganatha on completion of her Thiruppavai (a composition of 30 verses) in Srirangam. In total there are 247 hymns of the 4000 Pasurams dedicated to Ranganathar deity of this temple.
Except Madhurakavi Alvar, all the other eleven azhwars have created Mangalasasanam (praise) about the Ranganathar in Srirangam. Out of 247, 35 are by Periyalvar, 10 by Aandaal, 31 by Kulasekara Alvar, 14 by Thirumalisai Alvar, 55 by Thondaradippodi Alvar, 10 by Thiruppaan Alvar, 73 by Thirumangai Alvar, one by Poigai Alvar,4 by Bhoothathalvar, two by Peyalvar and twelve by Nammalvar.
Kambar is a 12th-century Tamil poet who composed Kamba Ramayanam, a work inspired from the epic, Valmiki Ramayana. He is believed to have come to the temple to get the approval of his work from scholars. The Jain scholar Tirunarungundam honoured the work and it resulted in Tamil and Sanskrit scholars approving the work. The open hall where he recited his verse lies close to the Ranganayaki shrine within the temple.
Some of the religious works like 
·        Sri Bhashyam by Ramanuja
·        Sriranga Gadhyam & Vaikunta Gadhyam by Ramanuja
·        Saranagadhi Gadhyam (Gadhyathrayam) by Ramanuja
·        Sri Renganathashtakam by Adi Shankaracharya
·        Paduka Sahasram by Swami Vedanta Desika
·        Rengaraja Stavam & Gunaratnakosham by Sri Parasar Bhattar
·        Rengaraja Sthothram by Kurathazhwar
·        Bhagavaddhyana Sopnam & Abheethi Stavam by Swami Vedanta Desika
These are works that were exclusively composed in praise of Srirangam temple.
Of these, Thirumalisai Alvar refers many a time in his hymns to the shrine of Srirangam and the Kaveri and its branch - Kollidam - encircling the shrine, luxuriant gardens and the beautiful Tiruvarangam, the eight tirthams (pools) in which people from far and near bathe and worship the Lord (Tiruchanda Viruttam 49 & 50). Tirumangai Alvar renovated many shrines, towers and Prakara walls and the Dasavatara Shrine. He instituted the "Adhyayanothsavam" for which in the good old days, Nammalvar's image was brought all the way from Tirunagari.
Thiruppaan Alwar got his Paramapadha Mukthi (left his life and went to paramapadham) here. Krishna Sayanar, thulasi dhasar, Maadhavar had also sang songs on Sri Ranga nathar. Manavaala Mamuni did Kaalatshebham here. (Kaalatshebham means explaining some good things on the basis of god to everyone).
Sri Desikar sang a song on Sri Ranganathars Paadhukai (feet) and it is called as "Paadhukasahesram". To appreciate this, he was given the name as "Kavitharkkitha simhan" by the God itself and as "Sarvathantira Swathanthar" by pirattiyaar.
Sri Rangam is more special than Paarkadal and Vaikundam. It is called as "Bhooloka Vaikundam".