Friday, November 18, 2005

SrI :

Dear Fellow Students of history of Sri VaishNavam :

Few days back , author Sriman V.Dhivakar was kind enough to send me
from India a copy of his recent Tamil monograph entitled " Thirumalai Thirudan"
( Thief of Thirumalai or The Thief at Thirumalai ) . We have heard of the Thief of
Bagdad . I wondered which thief was at Thirumalai and what century that
theft took plce as well as what he or she stole at Thirumalai .

I learnt that Sri V.Dhivakar is a Member of our SaraNAgathy list and is devoted to
Swamy NammAzhwAr's dhivya Prabhandhams .

I was intrigued and started to read his book . I could not put it down .
The 348 page book written in chaste Tamil is a literary feast built around
historical royal characters , their ministers, Commanders -in-chief and
Religious heads that strutted on the stage during the last 30 to 40 years of
AchArya RaamAnujA's life . This book is released by Narmada Publications
of T.Nagar , Chennai and is priced at Rs. 150 .

As I read the book ,the echos of Kalki's classical historical novels , " Ponniyin Selvan " ,
" Sivakaamiyin Sabhadham ", " Parthipan Kanavu " flashed thru my memory .
The highly researched book is based on the difficult religious strifes during AchArya
RaamAnujA's time . Some of the incidents that happened during this historically
important time are : the betrayal of the VaishNava darsanam by the opportunistic
NaalUrAn hailing from Tillai Thirucchitthirakootam , the power struggle between
fanatic and tolerant kings of Chola dynasty , the collision between Jainism ,
Saivam and VaishNavam for the minds of the people with the support of
the different members of the Chola and ChALukya royal household ,
the establishment of the identity of Thirumalai VenkatAchalapathy as
a Moorthy of Sriman Narayanan by AchArya Ramanuja .

The betrayal by a sishyan of Swamy KurEsar and the damage to the Darsnaam at
the hands of this sycophantic, turn-coat NaalUrAn and persecution of
the VaishNavAs by the fanatic ChOla king whom NaalUrAn tried to please
for money and position , AchAryA KaurEsA's compassion for his errant
sishyan , NaalUrAn --- all of these are woven in this sensitively crafted book
by Sri DhivAkar .

The central theme of this book is about the happenings at ThiruvengadamudayAn's
sannidhi , where AchArya RaamAnuja settled the dispute about the identity of
ArchA Moorthy and the establishment of His identity as Sriman Narayanan with
His charactrestric weapons of Chakram (Sudarsanam) and Sanghu(Paanchajanyam) .

As I completed this historical "epic" (VaralARRu Kaaviyam ) , It occured to me
that an overlay of the times of VaishNavite AchAryAs and the major historical
events of the times during which they lived would be of interest to the memebrs
of the e-lists that I serve . Historical data is hard to come by and is often conflicting .
Hence one can not claim for precision in pinning the events with the times
when they were supposed to have happened . Through this brief series , I hope to list
the dates of the AzhwArs and VaishNavite AchAryAs starting from Swamy
Naatha Muni to present day AchAryAs and the happenings of those times
very briefly to gain an appreciation of the environment that they had to
carry out their avathara mission .

May Sriman Narayana accept this humble offering and guide me !

Daasan , Oppiliappan Koil V.Sadagopan

P.S : I also learnt that Sri Dhivakar, who resides now at VisAkapattinam
is well known for his earlier historical work entitled "VamsatArA " and
this work has been highly praised by distinguished Tamil authors like
Dr.Prema NandhakumAr and Aanandh VikaDan's "SujAthA " .