SaraNAgathi gadhyam – 17th chUrNai Part 1

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avathArikai (Introduction)

bhagavadh rAmAnuja completes the explanation for dhvaya mahAmanthram (first part of which involves surrendering to bhagavAn and the second part, asking for kainkaryam (service to bhagavAn and pirAtti)) with the 16th chUrNai. What is remaining to be done now? vyAkyAthA (one who wrote the explanation for gadhya thrayam) SrI periyavAchchAn piLLai says that due to the extreme fondness that periyA perumAL has towards SrI rAmAnuja, bhagavAn repeats all that swAmy rAmAnuja had said till now to him (his faults as well as his requests) and tells him “due to my grace, let all good things happen to you without any hindrance”, thus making SrI rAmAnuja very happy. One may wonder, SrI rAmAnuja surrendered to pirAtti and namperumAL only, on the most auspicious uththirath thirunAL (the day of pirAtti’s thirunakshathram, her star, uththaram). If this be the case, how is it that periya perumAL, who is in reclining posture inside the garbhagruham (sanctum sanctorum) responds to rAmAnuja? We have to take it that namperumAL speaks the thiruvuLLam (mind) of periya perumAL. embAr, rAmAnuja‘s disciple as well as his cousin, who was among the gathering when SrI rAmAnuja surrendered to bhagavAn, asks a very pertinent question here, which many of us would be having in our minds: “We heard you speak to periya perumAL. How are we to believe that periya perumAL said all these things (starting with chUrNai 17 and going on till the end) to you?” rAmAnuja says that “periya perumAL showed me his svarUpam (basic nature), rUpam  (his physical eminence), guNam (auspicious qualities), vibhavam (wealth) etc and I repeated what is there in his thiruvuLLam (divine mind), which you believed; in the same way, you have to believe now when I quote him as I will not say anything that is not there in his thiruvuLLam“.

Let us look at the chUrNai. It is a fairly lengthy one and we have to see this too in parts, like the 5th chUrNai:

EvambhUtha math kainkarya prApthyupAthayA avakluptha samasthavasthu vihInOpi, anantha thadhvirOdhi pApAkrAnthOpi, anantha madhapachArayukthOpi, anantha madhIyApachArayukthOpi, anantha – asahyApachArayukthOpi, EthathkAryakAraNabhUtha – anAdhi viparIthAhankAra vimUdAthma svabhAvOpi, Ethadhubhaya kArya kAraNabhUtha – anAdhi viparItha vAsanA sambadhdhOpi, EthadhanuguNa prakruthi viSEsha sambhadhdhOpi,  EthanmUla – AdhyAthmika – Adhibhaudhika – Adhidhaivika sukhadhu:kha thadhdhEthu thadhitharOpEkshaNeeya vishyAnubhavagyAnasankOcharUpa machcharaNAvindha yugaLa aikAnthikAthyanthika parabhakthi paragyAna paramabhakthi vigna prathihathOpi, yEnakEnapi prakArENa dhvayavakthA thvam kEvalam madhIyayaiva dhayayA niSSEsha vinashta sahEthuka machcharaNAravindha yugaLa aikAnthikAthyathanthika parabhakthi paragyAna paramabhakthi vigna:, mathprasAdha labhdha – machcharaNAravindha yugaLa aikAnthikAthyanthika parabhakthi paragyAna paramabhakthi:, mathprasAdhAdhEva SAkshAthkrutha yathAvasthitha mathsvarUpa rUpa guNa vibhUthi leelOpakaraNa visthAra:, aparOkshasidhdha manniyAmyathA madhdhAsyaika svabhAvAthmasvarUpa:, madhEkAnubhava:, madhdhAsyaikapriya:, paripUrNAnavaratha nithya viSadhathama – ananya prayOjana – anavadhikAthiSaya priya madhanbhavashtham thathAvidha madhanubhava janitha – anavadhikASaya prIthikAritha – aSEsha vasthOchitha – aSEsha SEshathaikarathirUpa nithya kinkarObhava II

Word-by-Word meaning

EvambhUtha – like this
math – my
kainkarya – service
prApthi – to gain or to obtain
upAyathayA – means
avakluptha – mentioned
samastha – entire
vasthu – things
vihInopi – though you do not have
anantha – without end
thadh – to that
virOdhi – inimical
pApa – sin
AkrAnthOpi – though seized by or taken over by
anantha – endless
madh – towards me
apachAra – fault or misdeed
yukthOpi – though possessed of
anantha – endless
madhIya – mine (refers to his devotees)
apachAra – misdeed
yukthOpi – though possessed of
anantha – endless
asahya – without any reason or compulsion
apachAra – misdeed
yukthOpi – though having
Ethath – like this
kArya – effect
kAraNa – cause
bhUtha – being
anAdhi – without end
viparItha – false or reverse
ahankAra – conceited or egoistic
vimUda – hidden
Athma – sentient soul
svabhAvOpi – though having basic nature
Ethath – this
ubhaya – two
kArya – effect
kAraNa – cause
bhUtha – being
anAdhi – without beginning
viparItha – false
vAsanA – knowledge derived from memory
sambadhdhOpi – though bound or linked
Ethath – this
anuguNa – suitable to
prakruthi – primordial matter
viSEsha – special
sambadhdhOpi – though bound to.
Ethath – this
mUla – root
AdhyAthmika – dhEha vyAdhi (physical ailments) and manO vyAdhi (mental ailments)
sukha – happiness
dhu:kha – sadness
thath – that
hEthu – cause
thadh – self
ithara – others
upEkshanIya – not worthy of regard
vishaya – matter
math – my
charaNa – exalted feet
aravindha – lotus like
yugala – two
aikAnthika – only one and nothing else
athyanthika – only end
parabhakthi – having knowledge of bhagavAn
paragyAna – having ability to have dharshan (vision) of bhagavAn
paramabhakthi – attaining bhagavAn
vigna – hurdle
prathihathOpi – though defeated by.
yenakEnApi – in some/whatever
prakArENa – method
dhvaya – dhvaya mahAmanthram
vakthA – said.
thvam – you

Explanatory Notes:

EvambhUtha math kainkaryaprApthiEvambhUtha – like this; math – my; kainkarya – service; prApthi – to gain or to obtain. bhagavAn says of bhagavadh rAmAnuja that for carrying out kainkaryam to him, he does not have…..

upAyathayAvaklupthaupAyathayA – means; avakluptha – mentioned. bhagavAn says that vEdhas (scriptures) have mentioned that one needs to have karma (doing as per what vEdhas have ordained to do), gyAna (knowledge about bhagavAn), bhakthi (devotion to bhagavAn) as upAyams (paths or means) for reaching God.

bhagavan now tells SrI rAmAnuja about various things that he doesn’t have. Yet despite SrI rAmAnuja not having these things, bhagavAn is granting him certain things. Let’s look at what he doesn’t have and what bhagavAn grants him.

samastha vasthu vihInOpisamastha – entire; vasthu – things; vihInopi – though you do not have. bhagavAn says that “you do not have karma, gyAna, bhakthi yOgam which the scriptures have told you in order to carry out kainkaryam to me.”  A subtle meaning is to be taken here. It is not that SrI rAmAnuja does not have these yOgams. Even if he has them, he will not reach bhagavAn with the help of these upAyAntharams (other paths to reach bhagavAn) as it is against his svarUpam. Hence we should look at this in a different way:  Not only that, you do not have the basic qualification for these, which is knowledge about jIvAthmA and paramAthmA; not only that, you do not have the basic requirement for this, which is varNaSrama anushtAnam (carrying out activities following one’s varNam, a classification by one’s qualities and work and one’s ASram, one of 4 states in one’s life, being a brahmachAri, bachelor, a gruhasthan, married man, a sanyAsi, mendicant, and vAnaprasthan, retiring to forest to lead a simple life, towards the end of one’s life); not only that, you do not have the knowledge of AthmaguNas, the characteristic qualities of a jIvAthmA. In short, bhagavAn tells SrI rAmAnuja that he does not possess anything mentioned by vEdhas for reaching him and carrying out kainkaryam to him. But despite this……

anantha thadhvirOdhi pApAkrAnthOpi – anantha – without end; thadh – to that; virOdhi – inimical; pApa – sin; AkrAnthOpi – though seized by or taken over by. bhagavAn says that it is acceptable to an extent if you do not have gyAna and other guNas mentioned above. One day you may earn these. However, you also have all the unwanted things as you are surrounded by inimical sins which will prevent you from even attempting to get that gyAna. But despite this…

anantha madhapachAra yukthOpianantha – endless; madh – towards me; apachAra – fault or misdeed; yukthOpi – though possessed of. It is bad enough that you have all the inimical things as seen in the previous verse. Worse still, you are also having faults or misdeeds towards me, says bhagavAn. But despite this….

anantha madhIyApachAra yukthOpianantha – endless; madhIya – mine (refers to his devotees); apachAra – misdeed; yukthOpi -though possessed of. bhagavAn says that he would even tolerate misdeed towards himself. But he would never tolerate anyone harming or carrying out misdeed towards his devotees. But despite this……

anantha asahyApachAra yukthOpianantha – endless; asahya – without any reason or compulsion; apachAra – misdeed; yukthOpi – though having. Apart from the above, you are also carrying out misdeeds without any reason, says bhagavAn. Despite this….

Ethath kArya kAraNa bhUtha anAdhi viparItha ahankAraEthath – like this; kArya – effect; kAraNa – cause; bhUtha – being; anAdhi – without end; viparItha – false or reverse; ahankAra – conceited or egoistic. bhagavAn says that one commits all these misdeeds due to misplaced conceit or ego. viparItha ahankAram (false sense of ego) is considering what is not AthmA (sentient soul) as AthmA; in other words, considering body as AthmA. The causative factor for this is our pApa (sins) and the cause for that is dhEhAthmAbhimAnam (mistaking body for AthmA). AthmA’s svarUpam (nature) is gyAnam (knowledge) and Anandham (happiness). AthmA is different from and superior to prakruthi (primordial nature). But the sin that we commit is that we consider AthmA as being full of sorrow, insentient and equating it to the constantly changing prakruthi. This is both cause and effect. The false knowledge about AthmA is the cause for mistaking body for AthmA and the effect of this wrong knowledge is getting deeper and deeper into that wrong knowledge, inextricably. What is the result of this?

vimUdAthma svabhAvOpi – vimUda – hidden; Athma – sentient soul; svabhAvOpi – though having basic nature. Due to the viparItha ahankAram, the basic nature of AthmA, which is SEshathvam (being servitor to bhagavAn) is hidden. But despite this……

Ethathubhaya kAryakAraNa bhUtha anAdhi viparItha vAsanA sambadhdhOpi – Ethath – this; ubhaya – two; kArya – effect; kAraNa – cause; bhUtha – being; anAdhi – without beginning; viparItha – false; vAsanA – knowledge derived from memory; sambadhdhOpi – though bound or linked. bhagavAn explains the cause and effect for the two faults that we had seen in the earlier verse, namely pApam and ahankAram. He says that the false knowledge that we had been carrying in our mind from time immemorial, with which we are bound strongly, is the culprit for our pApa and ahankAram. What is this false knowledge? That this dhEham (body) of ours is the “real me” and that there is no AthmA and that we should look after this body for ever. bhagavAn says that even though you are bound by this false knowledge…..

Ethath anuguNa prakruthi viSEsha sambadhdhOpiEthath – this; anuguNa – suitable to; prakruthi – primordial matter; viSEsha – special; sambadhdhOpi – though bound to. bhagavAn goes to the root of the viparItha vAsanA which is dhEha sambhandham or connection to the body, which is due to the endless binding of prakruthi on us. Thus, due to endless dhEha sambhandham, we have dhehAthmAbhimAnam; due to dhEhAthmAbhimAnam, we have viparItha vAsanA; due to vipareetha vAsanA, we indulge in apachAram and ahankAram. This is a vicious circle, which even bhagavAn finds difficult to snap. But despite this….

EthanmUla AdhyAthmika Adhibhaudhika AdhidhaivikaEthath – this; mUla – root; AdhyAthmika – dhEha vyAdhi (physical ailments) and manO vyAdhi (mental ailments). Examples of  mental ailments are desire, anger, fear, hatred, sadness, jealousy, shame, distress etc. Examples of physical ailments are headache, fever, pain in the eyes, skin disease etc. Adhibhoudhika – ailments due to animals, birds, human beings, demons, reptiles etc. Adhidhaivika – ailments due to heat, cold, storms, thunder, lightning,rain etc caused by nature.

sukha dhu:kha thadhdhEthusukha – happiness; dhu:kha – sadness; thath – that; hEthu – cause. Happiness and sadness which are caused by the three different factors that we had seen in the previous verse (AdhyAthmika, Adhibhaudhika, Adhidhaivika). What are these (happiness and sadness)?

thatdhitharOpEkshanIya vishayathadh – self; ithara – others; upEkshanIya – not worthy of regard;  vishaya – matter.  Here he explains what are  happiness and sadness to self and others. Desirable or happiness for self is when one gets what he wants; undesirable (or sadness) for self is when one does not get what he wants. Regarding others, they may be either friends or enemies or not known to us. If they are friends, we are happy when they get what they want and we are sad if they do not get what they want. In the case of enemies, it is the opposite – we feel sad if they are happy and we feel happy if they are sad. It does not matter to us if the other person is not known to us (neither friend nor enemy).

anubhava gyAna sankOcharUpaanubhava – experience; gyAna – knowledge; sankOcharUpa – contracting in form (withering away). What is meant here is that when we start getting happy or sad based on our needs or the needs of others, we start forgetting about bhagavAn and focus more on the physical state of life. This leads to contracting of our knowledge (about bhagavAn).

machcharaNAravindha yugalaikAnthika Athyanthika parabhakthi paragyAna paramabhakthi vigna prathihathOpimath – my; charaNa – exalted feet; aravindha – lotus like; yugala – two; aikAnthika – only one and nothing else; athyanthika – only end; parabhakthi – having knowledge of bhagavAn; paragyAna – having ability to have dharshan (vision) of bhagavAn; paramabhakthi – attaining bhagavAn; vigna – hurdle; prathihathOpi – though defeated by. bhagavAn says that instead of being focused on my wondrous and exalted feet and carrying out kainkaryam (service) through unique and permanent parabhakthi, paragyAna, paramabhakthi, you have squandered it all by enjoying worldly pleasures and contracting your knowledge about me. But despite this………

yEnakEnApi prakArENayenakEnApi – in some/whatever; prakArENa – method.

dhvaya vakthAdhvayadhvaya mahAmanthram; vakthA – said.

bhagavAn says that even though bhagavadh SrI rAmAnuja had many faults in him and due to all these faults he had lost his focus on the exalted feet of bhagavAn, since he (rAmAnuja), in some way or the other, had recited the dhvaya mahAmanthram, he (bhagavAn) is granting him (SrI rAmAnuja) all his wishes. It does not matter how one says dhvayam – whether he says with an agreeable mind or not; whether the person is craving for mOksham (SrIvaikuNtam) immediately or is willing to wait till the end of that particular birth, whether he says knowing the meaning of the words or without knowing the meaning; there is no issue. However, it should be only dhvayam which should be recited and not any other manthram. It should not even be the vyApaka manthram (there are three names of bhagavAn which, when added with Om nama:, are called vyApaka manthram as these names bring out the meaning of bhagavAn pervading the universe – the three names are nArAyana, vAsudeva and vishNu and these three names are superior to all the other names of bhagavAn). It should not even be thirumanthram (Om namO nArAyanAya). It should only be dhvayam that should be recited. Even in that, both sentences should be recited and not either the first or the second sentence alone. If we recite only the first sentence, the purushArtham (benefit of surrendering) will not be clear as the prayer for kainkaryam is given only in the second sentence. If we recite only the second sentence, the upAyam (path to attain bhagavAn) will not be clear as only in the first sentence we say that we surrender unto the exalted feet of bhagavAn.

thvam – you. bhagavAn says all these to SrI rAmAnuja, addressing him this way.

We shall see the the remainder in the next part.

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Translation by krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan.

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