While on the topic of Kula deivam (refer previous post),
I am tempted to write about it from what I understand
from my most endearing verses of Nalayira Divya Prabhandam –
the 'Senniyongu' pasurams of Periyazhwar.
These 10 verses (Periyaazhwar Thorumozhi, 5-4 > 1 to 10)
are recommended for nithya paarayanam (to be recited everyday)
The verses are simple to understand and the message of these verses is
how the Supreme Consciousness is pervading the consciousness of Azhwar (any individual soul).
The Lord has abandoned his other abodes such as
milky ocean, dwaraka, Thriuvenkatam etc and has made Azhwar’s mind as His abode.
Acharyas have identified these verses as explaining the process of Moksha or
Liberation and that one who lives through these verses will be liberated.
The verses have a powerful effect on the one who recites in that,
the meaning of the simple Tamil words of these verses can be felt as one recites.
In my personal experience,
I can feel the effect of every word of these verses on my body and mind,
as I recite them everyday.
Some words of these verses have always stirred up my thoughts.
These are about the 3 Gods besides ‘kula deivam’, spoken by the aazhwar,
Though he makes references to other names of Sriman Narayana,
he has specifically mentioned about
Thiru Venkatavan (Srinivasa of Thirumalai)
The 1 st verse starts with a reference to Thiruvenkatavan .
The azhwar then proceeds to glorify Sri Rama in the 6th verse
and completes with worshiping Sri Krishna in the phala-pasuram in the 11th.
In between, he calls up ‘Kula daivam’ in the 3 rd verse.
“emmanai, en kula deivamE, ennudai nayaganE”.
Who is this kula deivam that periyaazhwar is referring to?
It is obvious that it is some Vishnu- deity as he was born in a family of Vishnu-worshippers.
From ‘Pallandu’ pasuram (6th verse)
we understand that it must be that deity worshiped by his parents,
grand parents and all those in his previous generations.
(endai, thanthai, thantahi tham mootthappan..Thirupplaandu -6)
Then who is this specific deity?
The clue to this question lies in the first verse.
Any act or worship must begin with the worship of kula deivam.
In the first verse, Azhwar begins with a salutation to Thiruvenkatavan
(Srinivasa of Thirumalai).
So the kula deivam he mentions must be Thiruvenkatavan only.
One information of importance is that Srinivasa of Thirumlai
is the kula deivam for many people or for all people.
This is known from Naanmugan Thiruvandhathi and
the vyakhyaanam (commentary) by Periyavaachaan pillai.
The 48 th pasuram 'venkatame vinnor' tells
how Thirumalai is the abode for everyone including nithya suris
and ordinary persons.
The Lord of this abode protects them all,
removes the physical ailments and karma afflictions as well and
enables them to live happily by suppressing the asura vargas. (Periya vachaan pillai).
He protects all for generations and is therefore the Kula daivam for all.
('sarvarkum Thirumalaiye praabhyam' - Appillai urai).
Periyazhwar recognises Thiruvenkatavan as Kula daivam in the 3rd pasuram
after concurring with the above notion (that He removes all Vinai) in the 2nd pasuram.
Kula daivam is the Lord who protects one for many births or
protects the kulam for many generations
from afflictions of the body and of karma-vinai
('vemkatangal mei mel vinai muttravum' - Nammazhwar).
Even the name “Venkadam” means churning out the heat (vemmaiyai –k- kadaithal)
The Lord in this abode churns out the heat of bad karma from us and frees us off them.
After praying to Kula deivam,
Periyaazhwar prays to Rama in the 6 th verse.
On reading this verse,
I used to wonder whether Rama was the phalana deivam
(Guardian God) of periyaazhwar.
It is because the description found in the 6th pasuram (Unnudaiya vikramam..)
wherein the azhwar prays to Lord Rama,
is more to do with how Rama giving rakshakam (protection) to the devotee.
The mention about valor and victory over Lanka (victory over evil),
if read with Periya vaachaan pillai urai (commentary) for the 47 th pasuram of
Nanmugan Thiruvandhathi gives the lead about
how one has to fashion one's life while living.
According to his urai (commentary),
Thirumalai is the place that protects one.
But it is Rama who protects one wherever that one is.
Wherever that one lives, that place must be considered as Ayodhya
('ayodhya matavim viddhi').
(Interepreted as – if you worship Rama in your pooja room, that place is the Ayodhya)
Raman must be considered as one's father who leads, guides and protects.
('Ramam dhasaratham viddhi').
Sita must be considered as the mother, so tells Sumithra to Lakshmana.
(Maam viddhi janakaathmajaam')
Periyavaachaan pilaai says that all these apply to the nithya suris who live in Thirumalai.
The inference is that Rama is in the image of Srinivasa at Thirumalai,
To explain this in today’s parlance,
worship at Thirumala comes like a package.
Srinivasa ensures that your ‘vinai’ (karma)of body and mind of
previous birth and present birth are burnt off
and in addition, Rama’s protection also is assured!
Rama is the 'kaakkum deivam'.
In other words, the ‘Guardian God’ for everyone!
The jiva thus protected has to aim for the final fruit.
Who else, but 'Ayar yeru' (11th pasuram) leads us all to make us 'anukkargal'.
This is corroborated in the 50th pasuram of Nanmugan Thiruvandhathi,
"kootramum saara.." that speaks about
'kannan kadal kidakkum maayan urai kidakkum'.
The Mayan urai is nothing but the Charama slokam of Mayan, the Gitacharyan.
(sarva dharmaan ….
The sloka asking us to renounce even the fruits of our action and surrender unto His feet)
When the jivas realize that it is only by taking refuge in His feet
by giving up all dharmas,
they can be said to be moving in the right direction.
Thus in my opinion, though Sriman Narayana had been the object of worship
for Periyazhwar in his pasuramas,
he has also indicated Srinivasa as his Kula deivam (rather the kula deivam for all)
and the glory of the two forms of Narayana, namely,
Rama as Protector (phalana deivam for all) and
Krishna as Liberator (Moksha sadhanam for all)
There is no mincing of words as to who his or everyone's Kula daivam is.
It is Thiruvenkatavan for all,
to protect one, for all generations to come and in all births to come.
His chief concern is protection of one in body (mei) and in karma (vinai)
There is no mincing of words as to who his or everyone's phalana deivam is
It is Rama who is to be worshipped as the protector in life.
Krishna is the upaya (means) for moksha.
In worship, Periyaazhwar sees Him as Jyothi in his heart
('sudaroliyai nenjinulle thondrumen Jyothi nambhi' -10th pasuram).
But if we attempt to find out who his ‘Ishta devatha’ (God he desired)
could have been,
we may think that it was Vatapatra saayi
to whom he did daily kainkaryam!
The Lord whom he and his daughter Andal saw every day and
paid personal adorations and worship was
Vatapatra saayi of Srivilliputtur.
I may perhaps be right in referring this Lord as his Ishta devatha.