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Arunachala Akshara Mana Malai - 6
« on: November 16, 2008, 03:06:49 PM »
We have already seen, why Arunachala Akshara Mana Malai
was inspired by Bhagavan Ramana:

1. In praise of Arunachala.
2. In brief verses of two lines.
3. In 108 verses.
4. In alphabetically beginning words.
5. In Tamil.
6. In Bhakti bhava, with doctrine of Adviata interlaced.

We shall now see, why Bhagavan Ramana called it, Mana Malai,
or a bridal garland.

The union between a man and his wife was always through exchange
of garlands, from the historic times.  In Vedic times, while the Fire,
Agni was the Witness, only wedding garlands were exchanged, and
the couple took seven steps around the fire, Sapta Padi and the wedding
was consummated.  The practice of mangala-sutram, thali in Tamil,
either in yellow thread with a turmeric piece in the middle or later
with gold chains with 'mangala sutram' was not there in Vedic times,
and it is a practice of post Vedic times.  This gave further choices of
a ring etc., in later times.

Bridal garland has got a special place in nayaki nayaka bhava songs
of great saint poets like Manikkavachagar, Arunagiri Natha, Andal,
Nammazhwar, Tayumanavar and Akka Maha Devi and in a few Tevaram

Tiru Navukkarasar, Appar as he is popularly called sings in a Tevaram

O Siva of Tiruvidai Maruthur, please come with your own garland,
Do not take that from your chest, lest Uma your concorporate would
   suspect you,
Do not take that from your head, lest Ganga would suspect you,
Please come with your own garland and exchange that with mine!

In another song, Tirunavukkarasar, sings about the glory of bridal
garland of songs, instead of flowers.  He sings:

O Siva of Tiruvarur, I am not giving floral garland, lest it may last only
   for a day,
I am not giving you a golden garland, lest it may be stolen,
I am giving you a Tamil garland of songs, lest it may not be lost at
   any time!
O my deluded mind, give him your garland of songs, and praise him!

Akka Mahadevi, a famous Veera Saiva poetess of Karnataka is even
more shocking!  She sings:

Mother! other men are thorns, under the smooth leaves,
I cannot touch them, go near them, nor trust them, nor speak
   to them confidences,
Because they have all thorns in their chests, I cannot take any man
   in my arms,
But my Lord, white as jasmine and coming with a garland of jasmines,
     He is Chenna Mallikarjuna* the Lord of the Jasmine flowers!

(* Chenna Mallikarjuna, Siva in Sri Sailam.)

Arunagiri Natha calls this wedding as Valli Sanmarga, the Way of
Union of Valli with Muruga.  The grand union of individual soul with
the Self or the Super Soul.

(Source:  Tevaram Songs, Saiva Siddhanta Book Publishing House,
Chennai.  Sri Arunachala Akshara Mana Malai, Viruthi Urai, Commentary, Muruganar.  Sri Ramansramam, Tiruvannamalai.  Speaking of Siva,
A.K. Ramanujan, Penguin Publication, UK.)

Arunachala Siva.