SrIvaikuNta gadhyam – 3rd chUrNai Part 1

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avathArikai (Introduction)

This chUrNai describes the archirAdhi mArga (the path which starts with archis, light) through which a  jIvAthmA, who has thus surrendered to bhagavAn and gets liberated from samsAram (materialistic realm) travels and attains SrIvaikuNtam. It also describes the many-splendoured facets of SrIvaikuNtam. This is a very lengthy chUrNai and we shall see it in several parts.


chathurdhaSa bhuvanAthmakam aNdam dhaSaguNitha uththarancha
AvaraNasapthakam samastham kArya kAraNa jAtham athIthya varthamAnE,
paramavyOma SabdhAbhidhEyE, brahmAdhInAm vAngmansAgOcharE,
SrImathi vaikuNtE dhivyalOkE, sanaka vidhi SivAdhibhirapi achinthya svabhAva aiSvaryai:
nithya sidhdhai: ananthai: bhagavath AnukUlyaika bhOgai: dhivya purushai: mahAthmabhi: ApUrithE,
thEshAmapi iyath parimANam iyath aiSvaryam IdhruSa svabhAvam ithi parichchEththum ayOgyE,
dhivya AvaraNa Satha sahasrair AvruthE dhivya kalpakatharu upaSObhithE,dhivyOdhyAna Satha sahasra kOtibhirAvruthE, athipramANE,
dhivya AyathanE kasmimSchith vichithra dhivya rathnamayE dhivyAsthAna maNdapE,
dhivya rathna sthambha Satha sahasra kOtibhirupaSObhithE,
dhivya nAnA rathna krutha sthala vichithrithE,
dhivyAlankAra alankruthE, paritha: pathithai: pathamAnai: pAdhapasthaiScha
nAnA gandha varNai: dhivya pushpai: SObhamAnai:
dhivya pushpa upavanai: upaSObhithE,
sankIrNa pArijAthAdhi kalpadhruma upaSObhithai:,
asankIrNaiScha kaISchith anthastha pushpa rathnAdhi nirmitha
dhivya leela maNdapa Satha sahasrair upaSObhithai:

Explanatory Notes

chathurdhaSa bhuvanAthmakamchathurdaSa – fourteen; bhuvanam – world; Athmakam – composed of. There are 7 worlds including bhU: (earth) (bhU;, bhuva:, suva:, maha:, jana:, thapa: sathyam) which are above, and 7 worlds starting with athala (athala, suthala, vithala, nithala, rasAthala, thalAthala, pAthala) below. What is it that these 14 worlds constitute?

aNdam – These 14 worlds taken together form an egg-shaped assembly of worlds called aNdam (egg). It has an end-to-end spread of 50 crore yOjana (one yOjana is 10 miles or 16 kms in our parlance).

dhaSaguNitha uththarancha AvaraNa sapthakamdhaSa – ten; guNitha – times; uththaram – above; cha – also; AvaraNa – wrapper or cover; sapthakam – collection or aggregate of 7. Around each such egg (aNdam, that we have seen above) are 7 covers, with each succeeding cover being 10 times bigger than the previous cover. What are these 7 covers made of? They are prithvi (14 worlds in the centre), vAri (water), vahni (fire), anila (air or wind), AkASa (open or empty space), ahankAra (ego, third source of creation), mahAn (great, the 2nd source of creation) and avyaktham (prakruthi or primordial matter, primary source of creation ).

samastham – all. All the above mentioned entities put together form one aNdam. SrIvishNu purANam says that there are thousands and ten thousands of such aNdam and hundreds of crores of such entities.

kArya kAraNa jAtham – effect and causative factors (those that are produced by and those that produce). For example, avyaktham (prakruthi or primordial matter) that we have seen above is the causative factor for mahAn. mahAn produces ahankAram which in turn gives rise to the five elements sky, wind, fire, water and earth. Thus avyaktham is kAraNam while mahAn is both kAraNam (as it gives rise to ahankAram) and kAryam (as it came from avyaktham).

athIthya – crossing. The liberated jIvAthmA crosses all these entities. The crossing is done once and he does not come back to samsAram.  In bhagavadh gIthA, krishNa says that the AthmA who reaches upto sathya lOkam (brahmA‘s world) returns to samsAram. But the AthmA who has spent all his karma (both pApa and puNya, sin and virtue) crosses sathya lOkam too and does not return to samsAram. What sort of a place does such an AthmA reach?

parama – superior. That which does not have anything  higher than itself.

vyOma SabdhAbhidhEyEvyOma – sky or ether; Sabdha – word; abhidhEyE – expressed as. The AthmA crosses all the earlier mentioned worlds and reaches the entity that  is called as parama vyOma (superior sky). Unlike karmabhUmi (earth, the place where we take a physical form in line with our karma to get rid of prArabdha karma) this place does not limit our knowledge, but clears our thoughts. Is this place limited?

brahmA AdhInAm vAngmanasa agOcharE – Unlike simple people such as ourselves who have limited knowledge and power, this place is beyond the reach of highly knowledgeable people such as brahmA, Siva and other celestial beings. It is beyond their speech and thought. Does this place have a name?

SrImathi vaikuNtE dhivyalOkE – it is called as SrIvaikuNtam. Unlike karmabhUmi where there are impediments while carrying our kainkaryam, this is permanent and free from any hurdle.

Srimathi here refers to kainkaryam. vaikuNtE – there is no shortage for gyAna (knowledge) and Sakthi (energy or strength) here as there is no concealment of these by karmA. dhivyalOkE – not mAnushalOkam (world inhabited by human beings). Different from it. dhivya also means aprAkrutha (not prAkrutha, not composed of sathva/rajas/thamas, but only Sudhdha sathva). Having mentioned about the place, the next few words describe about the people who are in it.

sanaka vidhi Sivadhibhir achinthya svabhAva aiSvaryai:sanaka – one of the four mAnasa puthrars of brahmA (the four sons created by brahmA through his thoughts); vidhi – brahmA; Siva – rudhran; Adhibi – many other celestial entities, starting from these; achinthya – beyond their thoughts; svabhAva – as its nature; aiSvaryai: – having plenty of wealth. Even highly knowledgeable persons such as brahmA, Siva, sanaka and others can not fathom about the glory and type of persons who are inhabiting SrivaikuNtam and the wealth of SrIvaikuNtam.

nithya sidhdhai: – unlike mukthAthmAs who are devoted to bhagavAn, only from the time that they reach SrIvaikuNtam after being liberated, the inhabitants of SrIvaikuNtam (nithyasUris) have been there always and have been permanently carrying out kainkaryam to bhagavAn.

ananthai: – The nithyasUris are not limited in number. They are countless.

bhagavath AnukUlya bhOgai: – their only purpose is to act the way bhagavAn wants them to; i.e. not acting independently. They are enjoyed by bhagavAn the way he likes and they enjoy his auspicious qualities.

dhivya purushai: – divine people. aprAkrutha (composed of only sudhdha sathva, pure good) people.

mahAthmabhi: – great people. Their greatness is such that bhagavAn will not tolerate if they are separated from him.

ApUrithE – filled up. SrivaikuNtam is filled up with such people. It is not that only a few nithyasUris are there.

thEshAmapi – even they. Their svabhAvam (nature) is such that others such as brahmA, Siva et al can not think or talk about them and their greatness or about SrIvaikuNtam. Are such nithyasUris able to give details about SrIvaikuNtam that they inhabit?

iyath parimANam – these are its dimensions

iyath aiSvaryam – this is the value of its wealth

IdhruSa svabhAvam – this is its nature or type

ithi parichchEththum ayOgyE – even these nithyasUris do not have the ability to define these characteristics of SrIvaikuNtam.

dhivya AvaraNa Satha sahasra AvruthEdhivya – aprAkrutha (pure good); AvaraNa – cover (like a compound wall); Satha – hundreds; sahasra – thousands; AvruthE – filled with.  SrIvaikuNtam has hundreds of thousands of compounds walls which, unlike what we see in leelA vinbhUthi (our materialistic realm), are made of pure good entity (sudhdha sathvam). Who has the courage to wage a war against him? Why then should there be so many compound walls in SrIvaikuNtam? The answer to this is that it is like the capital of a country. Here bhagavAn is the king of the country. Hence it should have all the qualifications of a capital. Thus there are many compound walls. Moreover the inhabitants of this country worry about the safety of their king even at places where such fear is misplaced (similar to periyAzhwAr singing pallANdu pallANdu on emperumAn) and this leads to the roles getting reversed. Thus the protector is protected (nithyasUris protect bhagavAn). To fulfill this role, compound walls have been constructed. Will the place be one of granting protection only, without anything for enjoyment?

dhivya kalpakatharu upaSObhithEdhivyaaprAkrutha (sudhdha sathva); kalpaka tharu – a tree which fulfills the wishes of those who wish for something while standing under it; upaSObhithE – adorned with.  Unlike the kalpakatharu in lowly swargam (heaven, ruled by indhra) which is prAkrutha tree, the kalpakatharu in SrivaikuNtam is dhivya or aprAkrutham. The kalpakatharu in SrIvaikuNtam is not just one tree but it is a grove or garden of such trees. This is a source of enjoyment there.

dhivya udhyAna Satha sahasra kOtibhi: AvruthE – dhivya – divine; udhyAna – garden; Satha – hundred; sahasra – thousand; kOtibhi: – crore; AvruthE – filled with. There are hundreds of thousands of crores of gardens in SrivaikuNtam for SrIvaikuNtanAthan (emperumAn or bhagavAn) and nAchimArs (his consorts) for spending their time in an enjoyable way.

athipramANE – beyond measure. It is not possible to define its length and breadth.

dhivya AyathanE – divine temple; SrivaikuNtam itself is like a divine temple whose dimensions are beyond measurement.

kasmimSchith – at some place, which is beyond our thought or imagination or grasp.

vichithra rathnamayEvichithra – of many types; rathnamayE – full of gems.

dhivya AshthAna maNdapEdhivya – divine; AsthAna – assembly; maNdapa – hall. Here the reference is to the court which bhagavAn holds in SrIvaikuNtam when he gives dharshan (audience) to all nithyasUris and mukthAthmAs.

dhivya rathna sthambha Satha sahasra kOtibhi: upaSObithE – the maNdapam (hall) is adorned with hundreds of thousands of pillars (sthamba)made of ruby and such gems.

dhivya nAnA rathna krutha sthala vichithrithE – the sthala (floor) is made of different types of divine, wonderful rubies.

dhivya alankAra alankruthE – the roof of the hall, the screen held in front of emperumAn (bhagavAn) and his pirAttis (consorts) etc have been decorated in an artful way.

paritha: pathithai:paritha – surround; pathitha – fallen. Surrounding the mandapam  (bhagavAn‘s court-hall) are plants and trees from which flowers have fallen on to the ground.

pathamAnai: – flowers are just dropping from the plants and trees.

pAdhapasthaiScha – flowers that are also (still) on the plants and trees. Thus we have flowers that have dropped, that are dropping and that are still blooming. This may be confusing but we should understand that there is no factor called kAla (time) in SrivaikuNtam and hence all these events take place simultaneously for the enjoyment of its inhabitants and bhagavAn and his pirAttis.

nAnA gandha varNai:nAnA – different; gandha – smell; varNa – colour. These flowers are of different scents and colours.

dhivya pushpa SObhamAnai:dhivya – divine; pushpa – flowers; SObhamAna – adorned with. The hall is adorned with various types of flowers having different smells (scents) and different hues of colours.

dhivya pushpa upavanai: upaSObhithE – the place is adorned with such orchards and gardens.

sankIrNa pArijAtha Adhi kalpadhruma upaSObhithai:sankIrNa – mixed. Adorned with trees such as pArijAtham (a type of tree that gives rise to sweet smelling flower (night-flowering coral jasmine)), sandalwood, harichandanam (type of sandal tree) mixed with kalpaka trees.

asankIrNaiScha kaiSchith – also adorned with stand-alone trees (trees that are not mixed with other types).

anthastha pushpa rathna Adhi nirmitha dhivya leelA maNdapa Satha sahaasra upaSObhiththai: – inside the groves, there are different types of maNdapams (halls) such as pushpa maNdapa (flower hall), rathna maNdapa (ruby hall) and which are present in hundreds of thousands of numbers for the divine play of bhagavAn and his consorts.

 We shall continue from where we left in the next part of this chUrNai.

 Translation by krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan.

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