sthOthra rathnam – 22

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

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Introduction

ALavandhAr declaring his qualification, engages the prapaththi (surrender) which came about [in previous pAsuram]. This SlOkam can also be explained as practicing the means which is apt for the goal which was explained previously. Previously, in SlOkam 15thvAm Seela” and SlOkam 16ullangitha“, ALavandhAr said evil-minded people would not know your glories; good people would know your glories. In SlOkam 21 “namO nama:“, ALavandhAr explained that only those who understand their nature to be subservient for bhagavAn would attain him; for those who consider themselves to be independent, it would be impossible to attain him. [Here, ] ALavandhAr says, while surrendering, one cannot do it with their own strength; one should surrender unto bhagavAn highlighting one’s Akinchanya (lack of any possession).

na dharmanishtO’smi na chAthmavEdhI
na bhakthimAmsthvachcharaNAravindhE |
akinchanO’nanyagathiS SaraNya!
thvathpAdhamUlam SaraNam prapadhyE ||

Word by word meaning

SaraNya – Oh my lord who is apt to be surrendered to!
dharma nishta: na asmi – I am not firm on karma yOgam:
Athma vEdhI cha na asmi – I do not have the knowledge about the self;
thvath charaNa aravindhE – in your divine lotus feet
bhakthimAn na – do not have bhakthi (devotion);
akinchana: – having no means
ananya gathi: – me who is having no other refuge
thvath pAdha mUlam – your divine lotus feet
SaraNam prapadhyE – firmly accept as the means

Simple Translation

Oh my lord who is apt to be surrendered to! I am not firm on karma yOgam: I do not have the knowledge about the self; I do not have bhakthi (devotion) at your divine lotus feet; I who is having having no other means and no other refuge, firmly accept your divine lotus feet as the means.

vyAkyAnam (Commentary)

  • na dharma nishtO’smi – Neither I am saying “I am [not a] dhArmika” (well established follower); nor I am saying “I am a nAsthika” (one who completely disregards dharma); But I am saying “I have no attachment to any dharma”. bhagavAn will abandon us and say “you try to uplift yourself”, if we have some thing in us to make others think about us as a “dhArmika” or to make ourselves believe that “I have something good in me [to attain bhagavAn]”. [So] ALavandhAr is saying “I have no attachment to any self-efforts which lead to your divine feet”.
  • na cha Athma vEdhI – I will not impose on you to accept me like those who are engaged in the process of self-realisation. When only those who have rid their sins by practicing karma yOga, will realise the true self, and when such engagement in karma yOga is not present, it is implied that there is no gyAna yOga [which is a result of such karma yOga], why is ALavandhAr explicitly saying there is no gyAna [yOga]? As said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 7.19bahUnAm janmanAm anthE gyAnavAn” (after many births one becomes a gyAni), since due to previous efforts, one may be born as gyAni and be engaging in gyAna yOga. ALavandhAr says that he does not have such engagement as well.
  • thvach charaNAravindhE na bhakthimAn – I do not have incessant devotion towards the infinitely enjoyable divine feet of  you who is the lord for this AthmA [me]. bhakthi [yOga] has karma [yOga] and gyAna [yOga] as anga [limbs]; when there is no karma and gyAna, how can there be bhakthi? As explained for gyAna yOga, if the bhakthi was acquired from the efforts in previous births, that may be present. ALavandhAr says that he does not have such bhakthi [yOga] too. thirumAlai 25kuLiththu mUnRu analai” (taking bath and engaging in fire yagya), thiruvAimozhi 5.7.1 “nORRa nOnbu” (karma yOga which involves austerities), thiruppAvai 28kaRavaigaL pin senRu” (Going behind the cattle to the forest) [all these pAsuram explain in great detail, the same principle explained in this SlOkam].
  • akinchana: – I have none of these – anuthApam (remorse [for not having such aspects), Athma guNams (good qualities) which bring about these yOga, the ability or desire of a qualified person and so on.
  • ananya gathi: – When you don’t have such aspects in you, do you have any other rakshaka (protector) to give shelter? ALavandhAr is saying “I have no other person to provide shelter?”; as said in thiruvAimozhi 5.7.1 “unnai vittu onRum ARRakiRkinRilEn” (I am unable to sustain myself without you), without bhagavAn nothing can be done.
  • SaraNya – One who is apt to be the refuge, for those who have nothing in them.
  • thvath pAdha mUlam – The divine feet of your highness. The divine feet are said as mUlam (root/cause), they are exclusively thought about, even without considering his divine qualities and other limbs.
  • SaraNam prapadhyE – I cling on to them as that which will remove the hurdles first and bestow kainkaryam (service) eventually. ahirbudhnya samhithA 37.29 “upAyE gruharakthrOS …” (SaraNam generally indicates means, house, protector; here it is explaining upAyam (means) only). ahirbudhnya samhithA 37.30 and 37.31 “aham asmi aparAdhAnAm Alaya: …” (“I am the abode of all faults; I have no means [to protect myself]. I have no refuge other than you. Let you be my means” – the thought with this prayer is called SaraNAgathi. Let this be done towards bhagavAn). SvEthASvathAra upanishath “yO brahmANam vithadhAthi pUrvam .. mumukshurvai SaraNam aham prapadhyE” (That SrIman nArAyaNan who blessed brahmA with all the knowledge during creation … I am surrendering unto that brahmam).

Thus, the adhikAri svarUpam (nature of the qualified person [to engage in SaraNAgathi]) and SaraNAgathi prayOgam [how surrender is done] are explained.

In the next article we will enjoy the next SlOkam.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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