Caste & Adiyars in Sri Vaishnavam.

(Firstly I would like to apologise to readers for not posting for a long time.)

A Sri Vaishnava has sent me the following mail, which I feel has a very strong message about Sri Vaishnavism. The mail as I got it…

When we go through “Message of Sri Ramanuja – His last 82 Statements” we find that most of the messages are a sort of repetitive nature stressing the importance of Srivaishnava Adiyars. If we sift through the great works of Divya Prabhandam we learn that importance is given only to Adiyars with no differentation (the sub sect Vadakalai or Thenkalai did not exist then).

1.0 | We will start with a Nammazhwar Pasuram

Payilum sudar olli Murthiyai
Pangayar kannannai, payilezhi
Nam parkadal serndha Paramanai,
Payilum Thiruvudaiyar everenum,
Avar kandu payilum pirapidai thorum
Emmai alum paramare.

Any one who praises Bhagawan Vishnu who has flower like eyes and sleeping in the Parkadal is an Adiyaar. Adiyaars praise Bhagawan and are blessed with kadaksham of Thayar Lakshmi. Such Adiyaars, whomsoever they are, they govern Me.

2.0 | Again another Nammazhwar pasuram

Kulanthangu Jathigal nalilum
Keezh Izhindhu ethinai thalilaga kandargal aginum,
Valamthangu Chakarathu Annil Mani vannarku
AAzh endru Ull kalathar
Adiyaarthum Adiyaar em Adigale.

Even if some one is born in a Jathi considered lower than lowest of the four varna/ jathi, as long as they extoll the priase of the Lord who adorns the Sudharsana in his right hand, Adiyen is an adiyaar to such devotees. There is no Jathi for Adiyargal. Bhagawat Geetha also mentions that by birth one does not belong to any higher Varna. It is only by one’s deeds that some one attains a higher position.

3.0 | Periyazhwar’s famous Pallandu pasuram

Adiyomodum Noninodum Privindri Aayiram….

He has placed Adiyaar first for his company.

4.0 | KulesakaraAzhwar’s famous Pasuram on Thiruvengadmudaiyan

Chediyaya valvinaigal thirkum Thirumale Vengadawa,
Un kovilin vasal
Adiyaarum , vanavarum armabiyurum kidnathu iyangum
Padiyai kidanthu Un pavala vai Kambene.

The pride of place to worship the LORD is given to Adiyaar ahead of Vanavar (Devadhaigal).

Learned scholars may give many more examples and instances like Thirupanazhwar’s Story, Periya Nambigal performing Sarama anthima kiriyas to Mara Ner Nambi etc. In all his life Udyavar stood for One ness of all before Srimand Narayana and had in his Sishyas fold people from all walks of life. He perfomed samhasranam to those who came to him with no differentiation.

So eight years from now When Udyavar’s 1000 th Birth Anniversay would be celebrated by the Srivaishnava Community the best way to do it would be to bury the hatchet between Vadakalai and Thenkalai and serve in unison. There are lot of good points and exclusive works that could be pursued in the respective sect to promote academic learning and attain higher level of Scholarship. The need of the hour is unity and mutual respect between the two sects.


2 thoughts on “Caste & Adiyars in Sri Vaishnavam.

  1. Am very grateful to you for sharing such a great thoughts.

    Its my duty. Please do feel free to send any articles relating to Sri Vaishnavam that you might come across.


  2. Respected Sir, 15 September 2009.
    This is an interesting article and brings to my mind a song by Swami Pillai Perumal Iyengar a.k.a Divya Kavi Azhagiya Manavala Dasar in his Ashta Prabandam composed in the 12th Century. Since I do not have the Tamil script, I am giving the English gist of one of his poems which starts in Tamil as, “Paadiyai azhugiya kaal kaiyarenum…”
    “Even if half of their legs and hands is eaten away (by leprosy), even if their occupation is a despicable one and even if they hail from low castes, if (only) they say, “Oh Primal Source (of everything), Oh, Thou, having a serpent as couch!” aren’t they the devotees we worship? Even if they are from high castes and are of good conduct, even if they are worthy ones in respect of (their knowledge of) the four vedas and in respect of the sacrifices (yajnas) they perform, if they do not adore the Golden Arangam (Sri Rangam) where the Lord is in a reclining posture and is worshipped by the Four-Faced Lord of the lotus (Brahma), they indeed are the low-caste ones.
    I am of the firm belief that repeated recitations by as many devotees as possible of Azhears’ pasurams, Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam etc., will create enough positive vibrations which will make ALL of us recognize the Divinity in everyone and everything in the universe and put in an end to all divisions and distinctions.
    Adiyean Ramanathan.

    Swami, Your inputs are really very valuable & interesting. Please do share them whenever possible.


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