SrIvaikuNta gadhyam – 1st chUrNai Part 2

SrI: SrImathE SatakOpAya nama: SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama: SrImath varavaramunayE nama:

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namperumal-thiruvadi

We have seen how the auspicious qualities of bhagavAn come as waves from a great ocean, in the previous part. We shall continue from there.

Who is that entity, having such svarUpa rUpa guNas? He is …

paramapurusham bhagavantham nArAyaNam – He is nArAyaNan. What sort of an entity is he? He is..

paramapurusham – superior entity. The word “purusha” is common to both jIvAthmA and ISvaran. In order to point out to the correct entity, the adjective “parama” has been added to purusha. “parO mA asmAdhithi parama:” – there is no one superior to him, hence he is paramapurushan.

Is there any name for this most wondrous entity?

bhagavantham – One who has the 6 primary qualities of gyAna bala aiSvarya vIrya Sakthi thEja: (we have seen the meanings of these terms several times) and who is responsible for the creation, protection and destruction of universe is called as bhagavAn. But then, we know of several personalities who are called as bhagavAn such as vyAsa  bhagavAn (vyAsa, who wrote the epic, mahAbhAratham and various other profound works such as brahma sUthram), nAradha bhagavAn, a muni (sage) and son of brahmA, and several self-styled bhagavAns. The title “bhagavAn” to these people has been given as a mark of respect and not in real sense of the term.  However the term fits only one entity and not these persons. To make things clear, now he says…

nArAyaNam – He is nArAyaNan, who has no one superior to him, as mentioned in vEdham (nArAyaNAdhbrahmA jAyathE (brahmA was born out of nArAyaNa), nArAyaNAdhrudhrO jAyAthE (rudhra was born out of nArAyaNa)). nArAyaNa is responsible for the creation of brahmA, rudhra et al. He is paramapurushan, bhagavAn, possessing the 6 primary auspicious qualities (gyAna, bhala, aiSvarya, vIrya, Sakthi, thEja:). Usage of the two terms nArAyaNam and paramapurusham is from purusha sUktham. The term bhagavAn has been taken from rahasya AmnAyam which says that pavithram vAsudhEvO bhagavAn, sankarshaNO bhagavAn, pradhyumnO bhagavAn, anirudhdhO bhagavAn, implying the 6 most auspicious qualities of bhagavAn (sankarshaNan, pradhyumnan and anirudhdhan are forms of vyUha vAsudhEva (bhagavAn in thiruppARkadal or kshIrAbdhinAthan). Of them, sankarshaNan is the God for destruction, pradhyumnan for creation and anirudhdhan for protection and each of these three Gods takes 2 qualities from the 6 mentioned earlier; sankarshaNan has as major qualities gyAna and bala, pradhyumnan has aisvarya and vIrya while anirudhdhan has Sakthi and thEjas). Taken together, all these would conclusively affirm that the vEdhams refer only to nArAyaNan in the beginning, middle and end.

Until now the superiority of the entity that we attain (on surrendering) has been described. From here, the prayer that SrI rAmAnuja offers for carrying kainkaryam (service to bhagavAn) is described.

swAmithvEna guruthvEna suhruthvEna cha parigruhya – the larger meanings of the word nArAyaNa are explained in these terms. There are four main qualities associated with the entity nArAyaNaswAmithva (owner or master), saulabhya (easy to access), sauseelya (not seeing any difference between self and ASrithars (followers) and moving in a friendly manner with them) and vAthsalya (treating faults as virtues in ASrithars). swAmithvEna directly refers to his quality of swAmithvam (he is the Lord). guruthvEna refers to his quality of saulabhya as he came down from SrIvaikuNtam to become the first AchAryan (guru or teacher). saulabhyam is associated with teacher as teacher comes down to the level of student to explain difficult terms. suhruthvEna refers to sauseelyam as suhruth means a person with a good heart (feels for the difficulties of others) and sauseelyam as a quality means being friendly with people without looking at the difference in levels (level could be one of wealth or intellect or practices). The fourth quality vAthsalya is referred to in the term “cha” in the above mentioned verse. There is another interpretation given by vyAkhyAthA (commentator) periyavAchchAn piLLai. Initially there were three terms, paramapurusham, bhagavantham, nArAyaNam. Now there are three terms, swAmithvEna, guruthvEna, suhruthvEna. He now compares each of the terms in the first set with each of the terms in the seconod set, in the same order. Thus paramapurusham is compared with swAmithvEna, bhagavantham with guruthvEna and nArAyaNam with suhruthvEna. In purusha sUktham (one of five sUkthams which were mentioned in vEdhams to glorify SrIman nArAyaNa and his consorts, SrI, bhU and neeLAdhEvi), the term purusham denotes bhagavAn being a swAmy; thus there is correlation between the terms paramapurusham and svAmithvEna. In the treatise rahasya AmnAyam, sankarshaNa is referred to as sankarshaNO bhagavAn (please see the term nArAyaNam above where this has been explained in detail). Since sankarshaNan possesses gyAna as prime quality, it is tantamount to saying that he is guru as only guru teaches gyAna. Since sankarshaNan is called bhagavAn, we can infer that there is direct correlation between bhagavAn and guru and hence we can see that guruthvEna is the equivalent of bhagavantham. In nArAyaNa anuvAkam (nArAyaNa sUktham), it is said “anthar bahiScha thath sarvam vyApya nArAyaNa: sthitha:” which means that nArAyaNan pervades both inside and outside throughout. Thus he is antharyAmi (one who resides inside). Since he resides inside the heart (hrudhaya), he is suhruth. And since he is nArAyaNan, we can say that nArAyaNan is suhruth. Thus we establish correlation between nArAyaNam and suhruthvEna. The vyAkhyAthA gives a third interpretation to bring out the equivalents between the two sets of terms. We are discussing SaraNAgathi (surrendering). swAmithvEna brings the context of sva-swAmy relationship (sva means property,  the possession and swAmy means Lord, the possessor). guruthvEna brings out the Sishya-AchArya (student-teacher) relationship. suhruthvEna refers to friendly relationship as in SaraNam suhruth gathir nArAyaNa: (from subAlOpanishadh). Hence suhruthvEna corresponds well to nArAyaNam. Thus we have seen correlation among the two sets of terms, paramapurusham, bhagavantham, nArAyaNam and swAmithvEna, guruthvEna, suhruthvEna.

parigruhya – to hold on firmly. Instead of only one  person (bhagavadh SrI rAmAnuja) holding on to him, here the reference is to all the people living in samsAram (materialistic realm) who are holding firmly onto him. Another  interpretation is – holding on to him in all ways (as mentioned in SAsthrAs, as tutored by AchAryas and as practiced by bhagavAn himself). Once he thought about the swAmithvam of bhagavan, SrI rAmAnuja thinks about the kainkaryam to be performed to bhagavAn which is the quality of a servitor.

aikAnthika Athyanthika thath pAdhAmbhuja dhvaya paricharyaika manOratha:aikAnthika – with single focus; Athyanthika – without end; thath – that; pAdha – exalted feet; ambhuja – lotus like; dhvaya – two of them; paricharyA – to carry out kainkaryam; Eka – only; manOratha – desire of mind.

aikAnthikaEkAntha sambhandhi (only bhagavAn and servitor; no one else). This word can join with ‘thath‘ or with ‘thath pAdhAmbhujadhvaya” or with ‘paricharyai‘. When it joins with ‘thath‘ (that bhagavAn), i.e. thath aikAnthika, it refers to the close relationship with bhagavAn, without any cause or reason. If it is taken together with ‘thath pAdhAmbhujadhvaya‘, i.e. thath pAdhAmbhujadhvaya aikAnthika, it refers to the deep love that the servitor has towards the exalted feet of the master and this is said to be in keeping with the svarUpam of the servitor.

thath pAdhAmbhujadhvaya – kainkaryam always means carrying out service to bhagavAn‘s two exalted feet. His feet secrete honey just like the secretion of a lotus flower. ambhuja (lotus) is brought in as a simile to indicate that the enjoyment for the servitor will be sweet and desirous.

dhvaya refers to two feet which are the path (means) for reaching bhagavAn. Also, as purushArtham (fruit of attaining bhagavAn) it refers to perumAL (bhagavAn) and pirAtti (his consort) together for whom the kainkaryam is carried out.

paricharyAcharyA – history or carrying out or kainkaryam. Here the meaning to be considered is kainkaryamparicharyA – all types of kainkaryam. Another meaning for paricharyA is to keep circling (whether to have dharSan of bhagavAn or circum-ambulating the garbhagruham (sanctum sanctorum) of bhagavAn) repeatedly to do kainkaryam.

EkamanOratha: – leaving out all the other prayOjanam (benefits of attaining bhagavAn), focusing only on carrying out kainkaryam to bhagavAn, with devotion and determination.

thath prApthayE – to attain that manOratham (desire of mind) of doing kainkaryam.

cha – also. Is there anything else to be attained and along with that, attain kainkaryam too? Why is he mentioning ‘cha‘ here which would indicate that there is more than one prApyam (fruit of surrendering)? The vyAkyAthA comes up with a very beautiful explanation here: What is the meaning of “thath pAdha” in the words “thath pAdhAmbhujadhvaya paricharyaika manOratha:“? It is nothing but ASrithar (follower). This is because it is the ASrithar who is bhagavAn‘s exalted feet. Hence SrI rAmAnuja is praying for doing kainkaryam not only to bhagavAn but also to his ASrithar or bhAgavathar. This is brought out by thiruppANAzhwAr‘s first pAsuram “adiyArkku ennai Atpaduththa vimalan” (the faultless bhagavAn engaged me in carrying out kainkaryam to his ASrithars). Another interpretation given for “cha” is that bhagavadh SrI rAmAnuja is not only having the desire for carrying out kainkaryam but he also wants to carry out that kainkaryam. Thus it is one thing to have desire for kainkaryam and the other thing is to carry out that kainkaryam. Hence the word “cha” has been added.

Up to now, he has described upEya svarUpam (the true nature of carrying out kainkaryam to bhagavAn). Now he describes the upAya nishkarsham (the certainty of the path to reach bhagavAn) and its anushtAna prakAram (the method of carrying out SaraNAgathi). He divides this into three parts. Starting with thath pAdhAmbhujadhvaya prapaththE: and ending with manvAna: he ascertains the path to reach bhagavAn. Then, starting from thasya and ending with charaNAravindha he describes how the path (upAyam) will be. Finally, starting with ananyAthma and ending with anuvarajEth he describes how he surrendered.

thath pAdhambhujadhvaya prapaththE:thath – that; pAdha – foot; ambhuja – lotus like; dhvaya – two of them; prapaththE: – hold on to firmly or surrender. Earlier we had seen these same terms in thath pAdhAmbhujadhvaya paricharyaika manOratha: wherein he had described how the two exalted lotus-like feet were readily available for carrying  out kainkaryam (this is called as upEyam or prApyam – the fruit of surrendering). Here he says that he is holding on to the two feet as upAyam (path to reach bhagavAn). This is also referred to by another term, prApakam. Thus we see that prApyam is also prApakam (both being attained through the two exalted feet of bhagavAn). This is also confirmed in dhvaya mahAmanthram where, in the first line, we hold on to SrIman nArAyaNan‘s two feet for reaching him (upAyam or prApakam) and in the second line, we carry out kainkaryam to SrIman nArAyaNan (to his feet) which is upEyam or prApyam.

anyanna mE kalpakOti sahasrENApi sAdhanam asthi ithi manvAna:anyath – other; na – not; mE – to me; kalpakOti sahasrENApi – for very long time; sAdhanam – means (path); asthi – available; ithi – like this; manvAna: – in thought. Roughly translated this means that: “As far as my thoughts go, there is no means available for reaching bhagavAn, other than his exalted feet, even if one were to search for such means for thousands of crores of kapla” (one kalpa is a period in brahmA’s life time, which is equivalent of 1000 times 43,72,000 years of our time).

anyath – other (means for attaining bhagavAn). The “means” other than prapaththi (surrender). Included in this list are bhakthi, gyAna, karma etc which are mentioned in SAsthram. If mentioned in SAsthram, wouldn’t these qualify to be means for attaining bhagavAn?

na mE asthi – not available for me. These may be adopted as means by those who have the will power to practice them – rishis, yOgis et al may adopt these means. SrI rAmAnuja says that he has been born in this samsAram for thousands of times and he is agyan (ignorant), aSakthan (without any ability. It is true that in all these births, he had been unable to attain bhagavAn, but in this birth or in the coming births, he would surely find the means for attaining bhagavAn….

kalpakOti sahasrENApi – Would a cobweb, immersed in water for thousands of days, ever germinate? In the same way, even if he were to take thousands of crores of births, he would never be  able to find the means other than this, for reaching bhagavAn, says SrI rAmAnuja.

sAdhanam nAsthi – there is no other means that he could fathom out. Even if he were to carry out bhakthi at some point of time, the benefit of that would go only towards wiping out some of the sins that he had committed in earlier births and not for reaching bhagavAn.

ithi manvAna: – This is affirmed -that it is  not possible to find another means to reach bhagavAn (other than prapaththi or SaraNAgathi) even if he were to go around looking for such means for thousands and thousands of years.

We shall see the remaining portion of this chUrNai in the next part.

Translation by krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan.

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