SrI: SrImathE SatakOpAya nama: SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama: SrImath varavaramunayE nama:
agalagillEn iRaiyum enRu alar mEl mangai uRai mArbA!
nigaril pugazhAy! ulagam mUnRudaiyAy! ennai ALvAnE!
nigaril amarar munik kaNangaL virumbum thiruvEngadaththAnE!
pugal onRillA adiyEn un adik kIzh amarndhu pugundhEnE.
Highlights from nampiLLai‘s vyAkyAnam as documented by vadakkuth thiruvIdhip piLLai (Continuation)
[nampiLLai explains the greatness of prapaththi (SaraNAgathi) in great detail to instill the taste for it in everyone, in this third explanation]
AzhwAr mercifully explains through this pAsuram that which is discussed in all SAsthrams, essence of the vEdhAntham which is the root for all of these SAsthrams, and the special principle which is supported by all our AchAryas in unison. There is special greatness due to the pursuit of this upAyam (SaraNAgathi) by nammAzhwAr, who is the first/foremost AchArya, who is having the great knowledge which was bestowed by bhagavAn himself as said in thiruvAimozhi 1.1.1 “mayarvaRa madhinalam aruLinan” (emperumAn mercifully bestowed unblemished knowledge and devotion). There are others who use this means to get other benefits and use other means to get emperumAn himself; unlike them, AzhwAr has the special greatness of pursuing emperumAn as both the means and goal.
When he is the goal, what is wrong in pursuing different means? That is because, they are sAdhyam (involving self effort), many, difficult to perform and contrary to the nature of the self. There are many such sAdhanams (upAyams, means). What are they? karma yOga, gyAna yOga and bhakthi yOga.
With the knowledge about the understanding of the true self, as one performs the karmas (deeds) which match the varNa and ASrama of the self without expecting the result and with detachment in the doership and ownership of the karma, and as a worship of bhagavAn, the sins which are the hurdles will be eliminated and mind will be purified; further true realisation of self will occur, knowledge about bhagavAn and love towards him will occur, and finally that [love] will lead to the ultimate result [liberation] through parabhakthi (true knowledge), paragyAna (unable to bear separation from bhagavAn) and paramabhakthi (final stage before liberation).
Restraining the senses, realising the self, acquiring knowledge about bhagavAn, developing love towards him; finally that will lead to the ultimate result [liberation] through parabhakthi (true knowledge), paragyAna (unable to bear separation from bhagavAn) and paramabhakthi (final stage before liberation).
Engaging karma and gyAna directly in matters related to bhagavAn [i.e. performing activities as worship to bhagavAn and having the thoughts fully focussed on bhagavAn], as said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 18.65 “manmanA bhava madhbhakthO madhyAjI mAm namaskuru” (Have your heart focussed on me constantly; (moreover) have deep love for me; (that too) become my worshipper; (moreover) become my worshipper; offer obeisances to me (with all your three faculties viz mind, speech and body)); ; finally that will lead to the ultimate result [liberation] through parabhakthi (true knowledge), paragyAna (unable to bear separation from bhagavAn) and paramabhakthi (final stage before liberation).
Further, unlike these three, thirunAmam [nAma sankIrthanam] is explained as an easier means. Where? As bhIshma was explaining many different means to dharmaputhra, dharamputhra asked him as in mahAbhAratham sahasranAma adhyAyam “kO dharamas sarvadharmANAm bhavatha:paramOmatha:” (Among all the means, which one do you consider as the best?); he explained thirunAmam as his most favourite starting with “EshamE sarvadharmANAm“. Isn’t thirunAmam an ancillary aspect of other means [such as karma, gyAna, bhakthi yOgas]? Can it be an independent means? Since it performs both elimination of hurdles and bestowing the result as explained in “janma samsAra bandhanAth … muchyathE” (will liberate from the bondage in material realm) and “yAthi brahma sanAthanam” (attains eternal, supreme lord), it is considered as an independent means too.
As said in garuda purANam “dhESOyam sarva kAma dhuk” (this divine abode will fulfil all desires), living in dhivyadhESam [and other holy shrines] itself is explained as a means to attain all goals.
As said in “ArAdhAnAm sarvEshAm vishNO: ArAdhanam param | thasmAtha paratharam prOktham thadhIyArAdhanam param ||” (worshipping vishnu is the best among all types of worship; even better than that is worshipping his devotees), it is understood that all desires will be fulfilled by worshipping bhagavAn‘s devotees.
But all these means are difficult to pursue, and due to their being tinged with ahankAra (individual’s doership, ego), they are explained to be given up. prapaththi which is singular [unique], ready to deliver, easy to perform, apt and matchless as said in thaiththirIya upanishath “thasmAth nyAsam EshAm thapasAm athiriktham Ahu:” (Among the aforementioned means, surrender is explained as the best), is explained in this pAsuram.
In the previous nine pAsurams, the nature of SaraNya (emperumAn who is the refuge) and that of adhikAri (one who surrenders) were explained; in this pAsuram, the SaraNAgathi prakAram (method of surrender) is explained.
The nature of SaraNya is infinitely enjoyable, apt, one which eliminates the hurdles and easy to approach for all. Unlike other qualities, for one to surrender, his saulabhyam is a unique requirement.
- parathvam (emperumAn‘s form in paramapadham) is in a different realm which cannot be pursued [immediately] by a chEthana [sentient entity] when he acquires the inclination towards emperumAn.
- vyUham (emperumAn’s form in kshIrAbdhi (milky ocean)) is specifically meant for the celestial beings such as brahmA et al, it is also similar to parathvam only.
- avathArams (emperumAn’s incarnations such as varAha, narasimha, vAmana, SrI rAma, krishNa et al) helped those fortunate ones who were present back then but cannot help those from subsequent times.
thiruvEngadamudaiyAn’s divine feet is the only abode where without both these limitations [difficulty to reach due to place/time factors], at all times, everyone can approach as said in thiruvAimozhi 3.3.2 “vAnavar vAnavar kOnodum” (nithyasUris, along with (their leader) sEnai mudhaliyAr (vishvaksEnar)), brahmA et al who are in this material realm, the human beings in this world, and even the animals who are considered inferior as said in nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi 47 “kAnamum vAnaramum” (forests, monkeys). As he is ajahathsvabhAvan (one who never gives up his nature), and as he has all the eight qualities such as gyAna, Sakthi etc (vAthsalya (motherly forbearance), svAmithva (lordship), sauSeelya (simplicity), saulabhya (easy approachability), gyAna (knowledge), Sakthi (power), prApthi (being the apt goal), pUrthi (perfection)), thiruvEngdamudaiyAn who is complete in all qualities, is the apt SaraNya.
The nature of the adhikAri (qualified person who surrenders) is to have ananyagathithvam (having no other refuge), prApya ruchi (inclination towards the goal) and svarUpa prakASam (self realisation). Would animals surrender [with such qualities]? We have read and heard from the scriptures [purANams which are recited in the evening times in choultries] that SrI gajEndhAzhwAn surrendered to bhagavAn; this is also explained in few other places by AzhwArs as in:
- nAnmugan thiruvandhAdhi 46 – vaippan maNiviLakkA mAmadhiyai mAlukku enRu eppOdhum kainIttum yAnaiyai – The elephant which always stretches its trunk thinking “I will place this great moon as the lamp for emperumAn“.
- mUnRAm thiruvandhAdhi 70 – pugumadhaththAl vAy pUsik kIzh thAzhndhu aruvi ugumadhaththAl kAl kazhuvik kaiyAl migumadhaththEn viNda malar koNdu viRal vEngadavanaiyE kaNdu vaNangum kaLiRu – the elephant gargling its mouth with the exulting liquid which is coming from its forehead and cheeks and carrying out purification process for its mouth, washing its feet with the exulting liquid which is flowing like a river from its head towards the ground, will worship the extremely strong lord at thirumalai with its trunk, which is having blossomed flower with honey which creates exultation.
- periyAzhwAr thirumozhi 5.3.3 – punaththinaik kiLLip pudhvavikkAtti un ponnadi vAzhga enRu inak kuRavar pudhiyadhu uNNum ezhil mAlirunjOlai endhAy – my lord in thirumAlirunjOlai where the groups of nomads would pick up grains of millet from the fields, offer them as havis [ritual offering made to emperumAn], hailing “long live emperumAn!”, and eat them.
Now, should we [who have faith in AzhwArs‘ pAsurams] not have as much faith as these [animals, nomads etc]?
Now, it is explained that, as a surrender performed towards SaraNya (emperumAn, who is complete in gyAnam etc) will lead to the expected result, only when a qualified person who is with Anukalyasya sankalpam (vowing to act favourably) etc [prAthikUlyasya varjanam (restraining from unfavourable acts), rakshishyathi ithi visvASam (faith in his protection), gOpthruthva varaNam (accepting him as the means), kArpaNyam (humility) and Athma nikshEpaNam (total submission)] surrenders, it will lead to the expected result.
With this explanation on the greatness of prapaththi/SaraNAgathi, nampiLLai’s third explanation is set to commence. We will see that in the next part of this article.
adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan
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