SaraNAgathi gadhyam – 12th chUrNai

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

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avathArikai: (Introduction)

In the earlier two chUrNais, SrI rAmAnuja had mentioned about his karma (past deeds) and agyAna (ignorance), the basis for karma. In this, the 12th, chUrNai, he mentions about the basis of his agyAna, which is his dhEhasambhandham (connection with physical body) and requests bhagavAn to enable him to cross prakruthi (primordial matter) which is responsible for dhEham (body). While he had requested bhagavAn earlier (in the last two chUrNais) to forgive him of his misdeeds and to destroy the deeds, here he asks bhagavAn to help him cross over prakruthi. Why did he not ask for destroying his dhEhasambhandham here? periyavAchchAn piLLai, the vyAkhyAthA (commentator), mentions that the misdeeds were like thoughts in bhagavAn’s mind and he could remove or destroy such thoughts at his pleasure. But samsAram (materialistic realm) or prakruthi is permanent and can not be destroyed. Hence he requests bhagavAn to help him cross it. It is not his intention to destroy the Lord’s leelA vibhUthi (realm for his play and pastime). Could he not ask for getting separated or liberated from it? periyavAchchAn piLLai says that one can ask for being separated or liberated from samsAram if one knows that the AthmA and body are two separate entities. If one doesn’t know that the two are different (because of dhEmAthmAbhimAnam, mistaking body for AthmA) how could he ask for being separated or liberated from it? It is like water mixing so well with milk that it would be impossible to separate one from the other. In bhagavadh gIthA, krishNa says that this prakruthi is like an illusion and it is difficult to cross it without his assistance. Hence SrI rAmAnuja requests bhagavAn to enable him to cross it over.


madhIya anAdhi karmaprahAvapravruththAm bhagavath svarUpa
thirOdhAnakarIm viparItha gyAna jananIm svavishayAyAScha
bhOgyabudhdhEr jananIm dhEhEndhriyathvEna bhOgyathvEna
sUkshma rUpENa chAvasthithAm dhaivIm guNamayIm
mAyAm dhAsabhUtham “SaraNAgathOsmi thavAsmi dhAsa:” ithi
vakthAram mAm thAraya II

Word-by-Word meaning

anAdhi – without end
karma pravAha – deeds flowing
pravruththAm – engaged in;
madhIya – mine
bhagavath – of bhagavAn
svarUpa – basic nature
thirOdhAnakarIm – hides like a screen
viparItha – false or opposite
gyAna – knowledge
jananIm – birth
sva – self
vishyAyAScha – relating to all matters
bhOgyabhudhdhEr jananIm – creation of knowledge for enjoying all matters purely for pleasure
dhEha idhriyathvEna – of body and five senses
bhOgyathvEna – enjoying for pleasure
sUkshma – subtle
rUpENa – form
cha – and
avasthithAm – state of being
dhaivIm – for the playful act of bhagavAn
guNamayImprakruthi is composed of three guNas (qualities) – sAthvik, rAjasic and thAmasic
mAyAm – mUla prakruthi (primordial matter)
mAm – me
thAraya – cross over
dhAsa – servant
bhUtham – existing
SaraNagatham – surrender
asmi – I am
thava – yours
asmi – I am
dhAsa – servant
vakthAram – by mouth
thAraya – rescue or cross over

vyAkhyAnam: (Explanatory Note)

anAdhi karma pravAha pravruththAmanAdhi – without end; karma pravAha – deeds flowing; pravruththAm – engaged in; the karma that one has, has been earned for a very long time.

madhIya – mine; these karmas have not come because of someone else’s creation or as a prasAdh (gift) from bhagavAn, but have been accumulated by me over many, many births in this samsAram.

What does this do?

bhagavath svarUpa thirOdhAnakarImbhagavath – of bhagavAn; svarUpa – basic nature; thirOdhAnakarIm – hides like a screen. The karmas that we have earned are so powerful because of our ignorance that these can hide the basic nature of bhagavAn himself. He is

  • SrI’s (lakshmi pirAtti’s) husband
  • highest among all purushas (all sentients)
  • has all the auspicious guNas (qualities)
  • lord of nithyasUris (those who are constantly in nithyavibhUthi, SrIvaikuNtam)
  • owner of both nithyavibhUthi and leelAvibhUthi (world created by him for his sport and pastime)

Instead of thinking of bhagavAn like this, this body of ours, resulting from karmas, makes us think that

  • bhagavAn is without any guNas and is gyAnamayan only (full of only knowledge) (view held by kudhrishtis or those who misinterpret vEdhas’ contention);
  • there are only chith (sentient) and achith (insentient) and there is no ISvaran (bhagavAn) (sAnkhya sect’s contention)
  • there is only one entity which is covered by a haze of ignorance and once that haze is removed, that entity becomes bhagavAn and is the only true entity, all the rest being false or illusory (mAyAvAdhis’ contention) etc.

The basis for such ignorance is of course dhEhasambhandham (connection with the body for eons).

viparItha gyAna jananImviparItha – false or opposite; gyAna – knowledge; jananIm – birth. What is false about our knowledge? Thinking that this body of ours is AthmA (dhEhAbhimAnam). Thus the body hides not only bhagavAn but our own svarUpam (true nature). In other words, each person is a King in his own land and he need not bother about bhagavAn or accept him as his lord and master.

sva vishyAyAScha bhOgyabhudhdhEr jananImsva – self; vishyAyAScha – relating to all matters; bhOgyabhudhdhEr jananIm – creation of knowledge for enjoying all matters purely for pleasure. The body starts enjoying through the five senses constantly, keeping both bhagavAn and AthmA hidden.

dhEha indhriyathvEna bhOgyathvEna sUkshma rUpENa chAvasthithAmdhEha idhriyathvEna – of body and five senses; bhOgyathvEna – enjoying for pleasure; sUkshma – subtle; rUpENa – form; cha – and; avasthithAm – state of being. The body,in its subtle form, given by primordial matter (prakruthi), with the help of five senses, enjoys all that is there in the world for its own pleasure. This is the handiwork of prakruthi in 4 different ways as mentioned above.

dhaivIm – for the playful act of bhagavAnprakruthi is there for the sport and pastime of bhagavAn and it causes much damage to our svarUpam due to our karma and agyAna.

guNamayImprakruthi is composed of three guNas (qualities) – sAthvik, rAjasic and thAmasic, the good, the emotional and the ignorant, respectively. Anything which is in prakruthi is composed of these three guNas. Our body will have any one of these three qualities at its peak at different points of time. Our moods change constantly, exhibiting a character that is determined by one of these three guNas.

mAyAm – mUla prakruthi (primordial matter); this body of ours exhibits wondrous quality. What is wondrous about it? It hides bhagavAn himself and AthmA. The body, which is composed of five elements (cosmos, wind, fire, water and earth), taken from priomordial matter, is controlled by these elements to such an extent that the body behaves in all the fashions mentioned above (forgetting the nature of both AthmA and bhagavAn and enjoying everything for its own pleasures)

mAm thArayamAm – me; thAraya – cross over. Caught in such a vicious world, rAmAnuja pleads with bhagavAn to rescue him and to help him in crossing over this samsAram. bhagavAn asks rAmAnuja as to what he has done for him to help him. rAmAnuja says that in all these births, he has done lot of wrongdoings, has been a dhEhAthmAbhimAni (one who has mistaken body for AthmA), has gone after the five senses to enjoy pleasures of life etc, but now has realised that he is fully a servitor to bhagavAn.

dhAsabhUthamdhAsa – servant. bhUtham – existing. rAmAnuja says to bhagavAn, “I exist as your servant”.  bhagavAn further says that this is an ordinary feature. “Is there any other deed that you have done for me to help you”?

SaraNAgathOsmi thavAsmi dhAsa ithi vakthAramSaraNagatham – surrender; asmi – I am. thava – yours; asmi – I am. dhAsa – servant. vakthAram – by mouth; thAraya – rescue or cross over; adiyEn has surrendered unto you; I am yours; I am your servant, says rAmAnuja. I now know that you are the path to attain mOksha or liberation, you are the fruit of my surrendering, and you are my master.

vakthAram mAm – I have said so, not from my heart, but from my lips.

thAraya – Please consider this act of my mine and help me cross this prakruthi, says bhagavath SrI rAmAnuja.

We shall now move onto the 13th chUrNai

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Translation by krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan.

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