Author Topic: Tattuvaraya - David Godman and others - Mountain Path, Oct.-Dec. 2011:  (Read 7003 times)


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When Sorupananda went for his meal, Tattuvaraya, who was left alone, pondered over the words of his Guru.
Concurring with his remarks, he composed Sasivanna Bodham before  Sorupananda had returned from
eating his meal. He placed it at the feet of his Guru (when Sorupananda reappeared) and prostrated.
Sorupananda was delighted at the simplicity of is style and the speed with which Tattuvaraya composed

The next incident is the story of the Bharani that Bhagavan narrated and referred to.  There are several
sources of Tattuvaraya's life, and the details vary from text to text.  The version that appears in the narrative
is slightly different from the one Bhagavan told, and it also has a few extra details:

Tattuvaraya composed some Vedanata Sastras, but was mostly in Samadhi.  Around that time some
Veerasaivas, who were on a pilgrimage, along with some pandits, came before Tattuvaraya, who was
sitting in the presence of Sorupananda. 

'They read the bharani and complained:  'A bharani is only sung about some great heroes who have killed
a thousand male elephants on the battlefield. How is it that you have composed this kind of poem on your
Guru who has not heard of or known heroic valor even in his dreams?'               

To this Tattuvaraya replied  'As our Guru kills the ego elephants of disciples, I sang this way.'

They responded, 'The ego elephant that you mentioned  is not visible to the eye, so it is not proper to
compose  in this way. However, even to kill one ego elephant would take many, many days.  How did
he manage  to kill the ego of 1000 disciples simultaneously?

Tattuvaraya, thinking that they should be shown through a demonstration, resumed his Samadhi state,
without replying to them.

Under the power and influence of Sorupananda all the pandits who came remained in Paripuranam, (had
the full experience of the Self) for three days, without knowing either night or day.  On the fourth day,
Tattuvaraya opened his eyes.  All the pandits arose and prostrated to both Tattuvaraya and Sorupananda.

They said, 'It was because of our ignorance that we objected.

The power of your (Sorupananda's) presence is such that even if 10,000 disciples happen to come, it is
(the presence) has the ability to bring them all to maturity simultaneously.'

Then they composed their own verses in praise of the Bharani and departed.


Arunachala Siva.           


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It is not unreasonable or fanciful to compare the relationship of Tattuvaraya and Sorupananda with one
that existed between Muruganar and Bhagavan.  Tattuvaraya and Muruganar came to their Gurus,
who both liked to teach through silence, and realized the Self soon afterwards.  They both subsequently
composed thousands of verses that either praised their respective Gurus, or recorded some aspect of
their teachings.  Tattuvaraya's poems in praise of his Guru and Sivaprakasa Swami, his Guru's Guru,
include Venba Antadi (100 verses), Kalitturai Antadi (100 verses),  Irattai Mani Malai (20 verses),
Nanmanimalai (40 verses), Jnana Vinodan Kalambagam (101 verses),  Kali Madal (232 verses), Ula (393 verses), and many many more. Then there was the Bharani that Bhagavan mentikoned; a 493 verse poem,
(Ajnavatai Bharani, on the annihilation of ignorance by the 'hero' Sorupananda.  Mokavatai Bharani was
another 850  verse Bharani on the killing of delusion that includes in its text 110 songs in which a goddess
instructs her followers in Vedanta. These 110 songs are often published independently as a Tamizh primer
on Vedanta under the title Sasivanna  Bodham.  That is the work that Tattuvaraya composed while
Sorupananda was having his meal.  Selected translations of one Tattuvaraya's works on  Vedanta
(Amrita Saram) will appear in the next issue of the Mountain Path.


Arunachala Siva.         


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There are, in addition, two long anthologies of Tamizh poetry that contain more of Tattuvaraya's
verses:  Peruntirattu (The Great Anthlogy), and Kurunthirattu, (The Short Anthology).  Though
these anthologiists mostly contain works by other authors, Tattuvaraya contributed some verses
to both collections, and he is also acknowledged as the compiler of both books.

Muruganar, at Bhagavan's behest, composed Sri Ramana  Sannidhi Murai, modeling on Manikkavachagar's
Tiruvavchakam.  In another interesting parallel Tattuvaraya composed Paduturai, a 1140 verse collection
of verses that are derived from contemporary folk songs. This work is also loosely based on Tiruvachakam.
'The Lady Telling her Maid' poem that appeared earlier in this article comes from this collection of verss.
A selection of verses from Paduturai will appear in one of next year's issues of Mountain Path.

Though Tattuvaraya clearly played a Muruganar-like role in the life of Sorupananda, it is interesting and
a little intriguing to note that Satyamangalam Venkatarama Iyer, the author of Sri Ramana Stuti Panchakam,
addresses Bhagavan himself as 'Tattuvaraya' in the second line of verse 9 of Kalaip Pattu.  This poem is chanted every Saturday evening in Bhagavan's Samadhi Hall.


Arunachala Siva.


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In addition to the original Tamizh compositions and the anthologies he compiled, Tattuvaraya also
translated Brahma Gita and Isvara Gita from Sanskrit into Tamizh.

Despite this prolific literary output, it is fair to assume that Tattuvaraya regarded as his greatest accomplishment
the state that was bestowed on him by his Guru Sorupananda:

What if the world praises me henceforth or reviles me?  What if Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, remains close
to me or separate from me?  What if the body assuredly exists without ever decaying or perishes?  Will
there be any gain or loss to me on account of them, I who have worn perfectly on my head the twin feet
of the immaculate Soruapananda?  (Jnana Vinodan Kalambagam verse 99).

The passing of both Sorupananda and Tattuvarya is described in the traditional story of their lives:

Sorupananda started to wander aimlessly, leaving Tattuvaraya behind.  Tattuvaraya followed him.
When Sorupananda reached the sea shore, the waters separated to let him enter.  However, when
Tattuvaraya tried to do the same and follows him, the sea did not part.

Tattuvaraya stood on the shore, crying loudly, like a calf separated from its mother.  He searched for his
Guru in all directions.  Finally, Sorupananda appeared to give him ( a final) darshan before shining as
Akanda Paripurna Satchitananda (the undivided transcendent fullness, being consciousness and bliss).

In the context of what follows, this is the author's way of saying that Sorupananda took Mahasamadhi.

After performing his Guru's Samadhi rites, Tattuvaraya was constantly thinking of Sorupananda.
Either through the supreme love he felt for him, or through his inability to bear the separation, or
because of the understanding that there was nothing for him to do apart from his Guru, he attained
immediately Mahasamadhi.

Tattuvaraya's Samadhi shine is located at Irumbudur, which lies between Vriddhachalam and Chidambaram.


Arunachala Siva.