SaraNAgathi gadhyam – 5th chUrNai: Part 1

srI:
srImathE satakOpAya nama:
srImathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srImath varavaramunayE nama:

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avathArikai (Introduction)

In the 5th chUrNai, SrI rAmAnuja establishes the supreme being to whom one should surrender. He emphatically says that nArAyaNa is that supreme being . We have already seen that nArAyaNa is composed of two terms, nArA: (collection of various types of sentients and insentients) and ayana  (dwelling place). He keeps the explanation for nArA: for the later phrases, and now explains about the svarUpam (basic nature) of paramAthmA (supreme being).

Since the chUrNai is very lengthy, we shall see it in several parts – first part would be till he describes svarUpam of bhagavAn. First let us go through the chUrNai in full:

akhilahEya prathyanIka kalyANaikathAna svEthara samastha vasthu vilakshaNa anantha gyAnAnandhaika svarUpa! svAbhimathAnurUpa EkarUpa achinthya dhivyAdhbhutha nithya niravadhya nirathiSaya oujjwalya saundharya saugandhya saukumArya lAvaNya yauvanAdhyanantha guNanidhi dhivyarUpa! svAbhAvikAnavadhikAthiSaya gyAnabalaiSvarya vIryaSakthithAEja: sauSeelya vAthsalya mArdhdhavArjava sauhArthdha sAmya kAruNya mAdhurya gAmbhIrya oudhArya chAthurya sthairya dhairya Saurya parAkrama sathyakAma sathyasankalpa kruthithva kruthagyAthyasankhyEya kalyANagunAgaNaugha mahArNava! svOchitha vividha vichithrAnandhAScharya nithya niravadhya nirathiSaya sugandha nirathiSayasukhasparSa nirathiSaya oujjwalya kirIta makuta chUdAvathamsa makarakuNdala graivEyaka hAra kEyUra kataka SrIvathsa kausthubha mukthAdhAma udharabandhana pIthAmbara kAnchIguNa nUpurAdhyaparimitha dhivya bhUshaNa! svAnurUpAchinthya Sakthi Sankha chakra gadhA (asi) sArngaAdhyasankhyEya nithya niravadhya nirathiSaya kalyANa dhivyAyudha! svAbhimatha nithya niravadhyAnurUpa svarUpa rUpa guNa vibhavaiSvarya SeelAdhyanavadhikAthiSaya asankhyEya kalyANaguNagaNa SrIvallabha! EvambhUtha bhUmi neeLAnAyaka! svachchandhAnuvarthi svarUpasthithi pravruthi bhEdha aSEsha SEshathaikarathirUpa nithya niravadhya nirathiSaya gyAnakriyaiSvaryAdhyanantha kalyANa guNagaNa Sesha SEshASana garuda pramukha nAnAvidhAnantha parijana parichArikA paricharitha charaNayugala! paramayOgi vAngmanasA parichchEdhya svarUpa svabhAva svAbhimatha vividha vichthrAnantha bhOgya bhOgOpakaraNa bhOgasthAna  samrudhdha ananthAScharya anantha mahAvibhava anantha parimANa nithya niravadhya nirathiSaya vaikuNtanAtha! svasankalpa anuvidhAyi svarUpasthithi pravruthi svaSeshathaika svabhAva prakruthi purusha kAlAthmaka vividha vichthrAnantha bhOgya bhOkthruvarga bhOgOpakaraNa bhOgasthAnarUpa nikhila jagadhudhaya vibhava laya leela! sathyakAma! sathyasankalpa! parabrahmabhUtha! purushOththama! mahAvibhUthE! SrIman! nArAyaNa! SrIvaikuNtanAtha! apArakAruNya sauSeelya vAthsalya oudhArya aiSvarya soundarya mahOdhadhE! anAlOchitha viSEsha aSEshalOka SaraNya! praNathArthihara! ASritha vAthsalyaika jaladhE! anavaratha vidhitha nikhila bhUtha jAtha yAthAthmya! aSEsha charAcharabhUtha nikhila niyamana niratha! aSEsha chidhachidhvasthu SEshibhUtha! nikhila jagadhAdhAra! akhila jagath swAmin! asmath swAmin! sathyakAma! sathyasankalpa! sakalEthara vilakshaNa! arthikalpaka! Apathsaka! SrIman! nArAyaNa! aSaraNyaSaraNya! ananya SaraNa: thvath pAdhAravindha yugalam SaraNam aham prapadhyE I

Word by Word meaning:

akhilahEya – all that is faulty

prathyanIka – exactly opposite of

kalyANaikathAna – having only auspicious qualities

svEthara – other than self

samastha – all

vasthu – things (entities)

vilakshaNa – superior

anantha – without an end

gyAna – knowledge

Anandhaika – full of happiness

svarUpa – basic nature

svAbimatha – appropriate

anurUpa – likeable physical form

EkarUpa – one physical form

achinthya – can not be thought of

dhivya – divine

adhbhutha – wondrous

nithya – permanent

niravadhya – without fault

nirathiSaya – without comparison

oujjwalya – very bright

soundarya – beauty in parts

saugandhya – sweet smell

saukumArya – soft

lAvaNya – beauty as a whole

yauvana – youthful

Adhi – starting with

anantha – without end

guNa – quality

nidhi – treasure

dhivyarUpa – divine form

svAbhAvika – natural

anavadhika – without boundary; many

athiSaya – wondrous

gyAna – knowledge

bala – strength

aiSvarya – ability to control or direct

vIrya – not tiring

Sakthi – energy

thEjas – radiance

sauSeelya – not concerned about difference in levels (when compared with others); treating them as equals

vAthsalya – with a mother’s affection (just as a cow shows towards its calf)

mArdhava – soft in heart

Arjava – honest

sauhArdha – good-hearted

sAmya – equal

kAruNya – mercy

mAdhurya – kind

gAmbhIrya – deep

audhArya – generous in nature

chAthurya – clever

sthairya – firm

dhairya – courage

Saurya – defeating enemies

parAkrama – not tiring

sathyakAma – having likeable qualities

sathyasankalpa – ability to create at will

kruthithva – doing

kruthagyAtha – thankful

asankhyEya – countless

kalyANa – auspicious

guNa – qualities

gaNaugha – collection of

mahArNava – huge ocean

svOchitha – appropriate to self

vividha – of many types

vichithra – many kinds within a particular type

ananthAScharya – wondrous without an end

nithya – always

niravadhya – without fault

nirathiSaya sugandha – emitting wondrous sweet smell

nirathiSaya sukhasparSa – wondrously soft on emperumAn’s body

nirathiSaya oujjwalya – emitting wondrous radiance

kirIta – circumferential ornament on head

makuta – worn over kirItam like a crown

chUda – worn over forehead

avathamsa – worn over ears

makara – like a fish

kuNdala – ear rings

graivEyaka – neck band

hAra – chain

kEyUra – worn over shoulder

kataka – like a bangle on forearm

Srivathsa – mole like

kausthubha – central gem stone

mukthAdhAma – ornaments made of pearl

udharabandhana – worn between waist and stomach

pIthAmbara – yellow cloth

kAnchIguNa – waist cord

nUpura – anklet

Adhi – many like these

aparimitha – countless

dhivyabhUshaNa – divine ornaments

svaAnurUpa – suited to self

achinthya – beyond thought

Sakthi – powerful

Sankha – conch

gadhA – mace

aSi – sword

SArnga – bow

Adhi – many weapons like these

aSankhyEya – countless

nithya – permanent

niravadhya – faultless

nirathiSaya – wondrous

kalyANa – auspicious

dhivyAyudha – divine weapons

svAbhimatha – to his liking

nithya niravadhya – permanent, without any fault

anurUpa – of similar physical beauty

svarUpa – basic characteristic

rUpa – physical form

guNa – quality

vibhava – wealth

aiSvarya – control or direct others

Seela – superior person mixing with an inferior person without discrimination

Adhi – many such qualities

anavadhika – never reducing

adhiSaya – wondrous

asankhyEya – countless

kalyANa – auspicious

guNa gaNa – hordes of qualities

SrI – mahAlakshmi – pirAtti

vallabhA – dear to; loving

Evam bhUtha – of similar qualities

bhUmI neeLA nAyaka – Lord (husband) of bhUdhEvi and neelAdhEvi

Since the chUrNai is very long, we shall look at the word by word meaning for the remaining portion of the chUrNai in the next parts.

Explanatory Note 

akhilahEya – shortcoming or fault. For all other types of beings, there is some fault or the other. In the case of achith (insentient) the fault is that it keeps changing (transforming) constantly. For badhdhAthmA (people still bound in samsAram or materialistic realm), the fault is that once it takes a physical form (the body) it experiences sorrow and happiness constantly based on its pApa (bad deeds) and puNya (good deeds) in previous births. For mukthAthmAs (those who have reached SrIvaikuNtam after getting liberated from samsAram) the fault is that till they became mukthAthmA, they were also in samsAram experiencing sorrow and happiness constantly. For nithyAthmAs (eternal residents of paramapadham such as ananthan, vishvaksEnar, garudan and others) the fault is that they did not get the good characteristics that they possess on their own, but due to the causeless mercy of bhagavAn; i.e. they are not svathanthrars (ability to stand on their own).  Only for paramAthmA (bhagavAn) there is no shortcoming or fault.

prathyanIka – exact opposite of; i.e. bhagavAn is the exact opposite of all that is faulty. In other words, he is free from any shortcoming or fault.

kalyANaikathAna – the only dwelling place for all auspicious qualities. bhagavAn is  not only devoid of all that is faulty or bad, but is also the epitome of all that is good.

svEthara samastha vasthu vilakshaNa – compared to all other beings (sentient and insentient) he is superior . This can be taken as a corollary for being with all auspicious qualities and without any faulty quality.

anantha – one without an end. We are all limited by place, time and physical being; i.e. we can exist in only one place, we can exist for only a specific period of time, say 100 years or 120 years but not for ever and we can exist in only one body (physical being). But bhagavAn is not limited by these. He can be at all places at the same time, exist for ever and exist in more than one body. Since we all dwell in him, he is present everywhere and in all bodies. Even when there is a deluge (pralayam) he alone exists. Thus, he is called as ananthan.

gyAna Anandhaika svarUpabhagavAn doesn’t need another source of light to show him up. This of course is true of AthmAs too. This is called as svayamprakASathvam. bhagavAn is full of gyAna (knowledge) which results in Anandham (happiness). Thus gyAnam and Anandham are his svarUpam (characteristics).  Thus far, SrI rAmAnuja has been extolling about the svarUpam of bhagavAn. Now he goes on to his rUpam (thirumENi or physical being).  Unlike our physical bodies which are made of five elements (cosmos, air, fire, water and earth),  bhagavAn’s thirumEni is made of shakthis and five upanishads.

svAbhimatha – appropriate to his qualities. His rUpam is brighter than the qualities of his svarUpam mentioned earlier and is dear to him. Hence, before mentioning about the qualities of his rUpam, he describes the vigraham (bhagavAn‘s thirumEni, his physical form or body).  As mentioned in vishnU purAnam (one of the 18 purANas) by parAsara maharishi, this is the thirumEni which he takes based on his desire. He likes this form of his very much. In order to correct the jIvAthmAs, if every other method of his fails, finally he displays his thirumEni and brings them to his path.

anurUpa – his physical body very vividly complements his svarUpam (which we have seen already). In our case, our AthmA is also full of knowledge (gyAna) and happiness (Anandha). But our physical body hides these characteristics of AthmA while in the case of bhagavAn, his physical form adds glory to his characteristics.

EkarUpa – only one rUpam (physical form). We also have only one body in our lives. Then what is this EkarUpam of bhagavAn? Our body undergoes 6 different transformations through its life – it forms, it is born, it changes, it grows, it weakens and one day it goes. This is called as shat vidha bhAvam (6 different types of forms). In the case of bhagavAn, there are no such transformations. He has one body and that is it.

achinthya – beyond our ability to hold him in our minds. We would have been seeing his thirumEni for an hour inside the temple, but once we reach home and try to recollect what dress he was wearing, or what coloured flower decorated him or what different types of jewels he wore, we would not be able to recall all of them correctly.

dhivya – Even if we make lot of efforts, we can not find an equivalent to him. He is called as aprAkrutham (extraordinary). Our physical form is called as prAkrutham (natural) which is composed of 5 different elements while his is not composed of these elements.

adhbhutha – keeps changing constantly. Only a few words back we saw that he is EkarUpan (immutable) and doesn’t change at all. How is it that we are now saying that he keeps changing? Here what is meant as adhbhutha is that even though we have been seeing the same vigraha (idol) of bhagavAn in the temple every day, we do not tire of seeing him, because he appears different each day. His jewels change places; the way he dresses changes; his garlands are different. Thus he is not the same as what he was the previous day or previous week. Every moment he appears different and in each of these forms, he appears wondrous.

nithya niravadhyaavadhya means fault. niravadhya means not having any fault. nithya niravadhya means not having any fault at any point of time. i.e. permanently without any fault. He does not consider that his body is for himself. It is there only for the sake of his bhakthas (persons devoted to him). This is another meaning of niravadhya.

nirathiSaya oujjwalyaoujjwalya means complete brightness. His brightness is such that even the brightest of objects in the universe would appear dark when compared to the brightness of his physical form. Up to now, SrI rAmAnuja has been describing his physical form. Now he starts describing the qualities of his physical form.

soundharya – beauty of individual parts of the body. When the body as a whole looks beautiful from a distance, it may appear when it comes nearer that some parts are not that beautiful and they may be little bit more beautiful to attain perfection. In bhagavAn‘s case, the individual parts of the body appear perfectly beautiful.

saugandhya – very sweet smell. Also the ability to give good smell to other things.

saukumArya – very soft. His body is so soft that if his nAchimArs (consorts) even look at him, that part of the body will turn red; it is that soft.

lAvaNya – overall beauty of the form. Compare this with soundharya, earlier in the series of qualities above. While soundarya reveals the beauty of each part, lAvaNya gives the beauty of the entire form. Our eyes may not be able to look at each part of his body and appreciate its beauty in its lifetime; hence he also has the quality of lAvaNya, by which the eye can absorb the entire beauty of his form.

yauvana – Refers to his youthful state. He always remains in this state despite passing of years. He does not age at all.

Adhi – Starting from these qualities (stated above), there are many more such qualities.

anantha guNa nidhi – Treasure of such countless good qualities.

dhivya rUpa – His form which is in srIvaikuNtam, is present in leelA vibhUthi (our world, the materialistic realm) in a non-containable way.

Up to now we have seen his svarUpam and rUpam and qualities of his rUpam. Next we shall move on to his svarUpa guNas, his consorts, nithya sUris, srIvaikuNtam, leelA vibhUthi etc which form the nArA: part of his name nArAyaNa, in the second part of the 5th chUrNai.

Translation by krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan.

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