SaraNAgathi gadhyam – 11th chUrNai

SrImathE SatakOpAya nama:
SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama
SrImath varavaramunayE nama:

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bhagavanOmniscient and Omnipotent SrIman nArAyaNan

avathArikai (introduction):

In the previous chUrNai, SrI rAmAnuja had asked for forgiveness for his wrong deeds related to karma. Here he asks for forgiveness for his wrong activities born out of avidhyA or agyAna (ignorance). But did he not already list out all these faults in the previous chUrNai, asks periyavAchchAn piLLai, the  preceptor who wrote an elaborate vyAkhyAnam (explanatory note) for gadhya thrayamperiyavAchchAn piLLai explains that while in the previous chUrNai, SrI rAmAnuja had mentioned about his misdeeds based on what SAsthram (religious treatise) had said (doing what the SAsthra had forbidden us to do and not doing what it had ordained us to do), in this chUrNai, SrI rAmAnuja lists out those wrong deeds which he did based on ignorance of vEdhAntham (the part of vEdhas or scripture dealing with knowledge about God). Hence it can not be considered as a repetition of earlier misdeeds.

Let us look at the chUrNai.

anAdhikAla pravruththam viparIthagyAnam Athma vishayam
kruthsna jagath vishyancha viparItha vruththancha aSEsha vishayam
adhyApi varththamAnam varththishyamANam cha sarvam kshamasva II

Word-by-Word meaning

anAdhikAla pravruththa – doing for a very long time
viparItha gyAnam – contrary or inverse or wrong knowledge
Athma vihshayam – ignorance related to AthmA
kruthsna – entire
jagath – world
vishayam – matter or issue
cha – and
viparItha – wrong
vruththam – activity or practice
aSEsha – without leaving anything
vishayam – matter
adhyApi – even today
varthamANam – present time
varthishyamANam – future
sarvam – all
kshamasva – excuse

Explanatory Note:

anAdhikAla pravruththa – doing for a very long time, without any known beginning. Here the time reference is to several hundreds of thousands of janmas (births).

viparItha gyAnam – contrary or inverse or wrong knowledge. This inverse knowledge is not something natural to jIvAthmA. But, since it has been there for a very long time, it may appear to be a part of jIvAthmA. However, since one day it (the inverse knowledge) disappears (on attaining mOksham), we can say that it is not natural to jIvAthmA. Inverse knowledge is mistaking one entity for another. For example, mistaking a rope for snake is such knowledge.

Athma vihshayam – ignorance related to AthmA. In other words, mistaking body for AthmA (what we frequently refer to as dhEhAthmAbhimAnam). The body is destructible while AthmA is indestructible.

kruthsna jagath vishayanchakruthsna – entire; jagath – world; vishayam – matter or issue; cha – and; i.e. inverse knowledge relating to the entire world. Just as we think of ourselves as our physical forms (as human beings), thinking similarly of other forms of life such as dhEva, manushya, thiryak, sthAvaram (celestial being, human being, animal, plant forms respectively) as their physical forms and not as the inner AthmA inside. This is viparItha Athma gyAnam among kruthsna jagath vishayam (matter relating to the entire world)

viparItha vruththanchaviparItha – wrong; vruththam – activity or practice. Here it refers to reacting to someone else’s action instead of taking it as one’s  own karma palam (result of previous deeds). All AthmAs are dependent (parathanthran) on bhagavAn. If another person does harm to me, that action is result of bhagavAn executing an action through that person on account of my karma palam. Instead of thinking this way, if I harm the other person in return, then it is viparItha vruththam. In Athma vishayam this means thinking of oneself as being svathanthran (independent) instead of being parathanthran (dependent) on bhagavAn. Thus if one has true knowledge, if another person harms a person, the harmed person should not get angry and retort.

aSEsha vishayamaSEsha – without leaving anything; vishayam – matter. Having desire in materialistic needs such as gold, land etc, which are related to vishayAntharam (matter other than bhagavAn). We do need to look after basic needs, but we need to stop at that instead of accumulating more and more of these aiSvaryams (materialistic entities for dhEham’s pleasure). The desire for all  unwanted material comforts was there not only in the past, but

adhyApi varththamAnamadhyApi – even today; varthamANam – present time. These desires continue to be there today, and

varththishyamANanchavarthishyamANam – future. The desire for worldly pleasures will be there in future too.

sarvam kshamasvasarvam – all; kshamasva – excuse. SrI rAmAnuja says that since he is an agyAni (ignorant person) he doesn’t know what are all the mistakes that he has committed. He implores bhagavAn that since he is sarvagyan (omniscient, all knowing) he would know all his mistakes and should pardon him.

This completes 11th chUrNai.

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Translation by krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan.

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