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Importance Of Munivahana Bhogam – Mystic Teachings Of Vedanta Desika

Munivahana Bhogam is one of the mystic teachings of Vedanta Desika. It is a commentary on Amalanadipiran, a poem by Tiruppan Alwar, a Vaishnava canonic poet saint. This poem is built on the framework of ashtakshara mantra. The nuances of mantra (sacred incantation) as experienced by the singer-author of the poem, Tiruppan Alwar, are indicated by him in his exegesis of the text.

The eight syllable ashtakshara (om namo narayanaya) has three words, of which the first – om – is resolved into three sounds; A U M.

‘A’ stands for Narayana as the supreme creator-protector-destroyer, ‘M’ stands for the individual being and ‘U’ mediates the relationship between the two. This is usually termed as Shesha-Sheshi-Bhava.

The first three verses of Amalanadipiran, beginning with the letters A (amalan), U (uvanda) and N (manitpay-vada-venkara-ma-malai), show their correspondence with the first word of the mantra.

The words in these verses speak about divinity and service and are interpreted in doctrinal terms by Desika. In the fourth verse, he sees the nuances of the word na mamah (not mine) in the context of Rama’s conquest of the king of Lanka, a parallel to the vanquishing of I and mine in the atman (individual being), considered the property of Brahman.

The fifth and sixth verses embody shades of meanings of the word Narayana and upaya (way) and upeya (goal), his transcendence and accessibility with Lakshmi adorning his chest, along with the dependence of humans on him and the fulfillment of the dependence by kainkarya (devotional service).

The fifth, sixth and seventh verses begin with the letters pa, du and kai suggesting that Brahman’s paduka (sandals) are our refuge and the means to attain liberation. The remaining four verses speak of the experience of service implied in the dative case-ending aya of the word Narayana, and of the Alvars immersion in rapturous enjoyment of his presence implied in namah, with an undertone of mangala sasana (benediction) that such bliss should last long without hindrance.

Desika calls his commentary Munivahana Bhogam. It is said that the Alwar was carried by the Sage Lokasarangamauni on his very shoulders under the directions of Ranganatha.

Source - Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume VII page 235 - IHRF



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