SaraNAgathi gadhyam – 8th and 9th chUrNais

SrImathE SatakOpAya nama:
SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama
SrImath varavaramunayE nama:

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Both chUrNai 8 and 9 are short ones. Hence we shall see them together in this. First, chUrNai 8:

avathArikai (introduction)

bhagavAn asks of bhagavadh SrI rAmanuja after hearing chUrNai 7, “am I father, mother, relative etc to you alone?”, to which SrI rAmanuja says “you are all these things, to all the entities in the entire universe” in this chUrNai. Now, let us look at the chUrNai:

pithAsi lOkasya charAcharasya
thvamasya pUjyaScha gurUr gareeyAn I
na thvath samOsthyabhyadhika: kuthOnya
lOkathrayEpyaprathimaprabhAva II

Word-by-Word meaning

pithA – father
asi – is or being
lOka – world
asya – this
chara – that which moves
achara – that which is static
thvam – you
asya – this
pUjya – venerable
guru – teacher (AchAryan)
gariyAn – very rare to find (exalted).
na – not
thvam – you
sama – equal
asthi – is
abhyadhika – exceptional or surpassing
kutha – where
anya – other
lOkathraya – among the three different types of people
aprathima – unmatched or incomparable
prabhAva – impact or impression
thasmAth – hence
praNamya – paying obeisance, mentally
praNidhAya kAyam – paying obeisance physically
prasAdhayE – to offer
ISan – lord or one who owns everything
Idyan – one who is fit to be worshipped
thvAm – you
aham – I
pithA– father
Eva – only
puthra – son
asya – this
sakhEva sakhyu: – as friend to a friend
priya: priyAyA: – just as a girl to her lover
sOdum – so do you
dhEva – you
arhasi – qualified or fit

Explanatory Note:

pithAsi lOkasya charAcharasyapithA – father; asi – is or being; lOka – world; asya – this; chara – that which moves; achara – that which is static. You created all the entities such as animals, plants, humans etc which move or are static and hence  you are the father to all the entities in the universe.

thvamasya pUjyasyathvam – you; asya – this; pUjya – venerable. you are highly venerable to all the entities. All these entities look up to you for everything.

gurUr gariyAnguru – teacher (AchAryan); gariyAn – very rare to find (exalted). In the earlier verse the word pUjya was related to bhagavAn being regarded as the biological father; here (in this  verse), gariyAn is related to his quality of bestowing knowledge (gyAnam) and hence defines the boundary for venerability.

na thavathsamOsthyabhyadhika: kuthOnyana – not; thvam – you; sama – equal; asthi – is; abhyadhika – exceptional or surpassing; kutha – where; anya – other.

There is none who is equal to you. How can there be anyone who is superior to you? He stands head and shoulders above everything or everyone else, says SrI rAmAnuja.

lOkathrayEpi aprathima prabhAvalOkathraya – among the three different types of people – badhdhAthmA (samsAris like ourselves, living in this materialistic realm), mukthAthmA (those who have got liberated from samsAram and have attained SrIvaikuNtam) and nithyAthmA (people who were never associated with materialistic realm and were always in nithya vibhUthiSrIvaikuNtam); aprathima – unmatched or incomparable; prabhAva – impact or impression.

You have unmatched impact or impression over the three different types of AthmAs in all the worlds. You are absolutely great!

Let us now move over to chUrNai 9:

avathArikai (Introduction):

SrI rAmAnuja is apologising for carrying out SaraNAgathi (act of surrendering). But what crime did he commit that he should apologise now? He feels that he had been going around doing many acts that are not prescribed in SAsthras (religious treatise), just as a married woman leaves her husband, goes out with several others for a long time and returns to her husband, asking him to give her shelter and protection, going to the extent of saying that he is duty bound to protect her despite her crimes. Such an act of a woman would be considered as the extreme limit of crime; SrI rAmAnuja feels that he too has come to bhagavAn after several births, going to various other dhEvathAs (demi-gods) and indulging in activities not accepted by SAsthram. But why surrender in the first place? It is not possible not to carry out SaraNAgathi either, because at some point of time or the other, just as kAkAsura did in SrI rAmAyaNa, one has to surrender to bhagavAn. Thus, having surrendered, he realises all the mistakes of the past and apologises for the same.

thasmAth praNamya praNidhAya kAyam
prasAdhayE thvAmahamISamIdyam I
pithEva puthrasya sakhEva sakhyu:
priya: priyAyArhasi dhEva! sOdum II

thasmAth – hence; Here, bhagavAn is considered as all the close relatives of the AthmA (mother, father, relatives, teacher etc as seen in chUrNai 7 and 8). A husband or wife will forgive some transgressions. A father will forgive some, so will a mother or brother or such other relatives. Since bhagavAN is all these relatives put together in one form,  SrI rAmAnuja asks for forgiveness for all transgressions that he has committed all along.

praNamya – paying obeisance, mentally.

praNidhAya kAyam – paying obeisance physically; since he has offered obeisance both mentally and physically it is tantamount to offering it verbally too, thus offering it through all three karaNams (media) as mentioned in SAsthras (manO vAk kAyam – mind, speech and body).

prasAdhayE – to offer; who is to be offered here and to whom?

ISamIdyam thvAm – ISan – lord or one who owns everything; Idyan – one who is fit to be worshipped; thvAm – you. Here SrI rAmAnuja requests bhagavAn to offer himself (bhagavAn) to SrI rAmAnuja. If bhagavAn decides to offer himself to his ASrithar (one who has surrendered to him) who can question him? SrI rAmAnuja says that he has committed so many crimes; instead of worshipping and praising bhagavAn, he has been ignoring and hating him. bhagavAn can forgive SrI rAmAnuja of all such crimes and offer himself to him.

aham – I (reference is to SrI rAmAnuja himself), who, instead of worshipping and praising you (here the reference is to bhagavAn), has been indifferent to you all these days and indulging in various crimes. bhagavAn wonders why he should forgive him of such indifference and crime? bhagavadh rAmAnuja offers the reasoning mentioned below, for this.

pithEva puthrasyapithA– father; Eva – only; puthra – son; asya – this. Just as only a father will forgive the transgressions of his son,

sakhEva sakhyu:sakha – friend. Just as only a friend will forgive the transgressions of a friend,

priya: priyAyA:priya – beloved. Just as a girl (or boy) would forgive the transgressions of her (or his) beloved,

sOdum – you are related to me in every way and hence you should forgive

dhEva arhasidhEva – you; arhasi – qualified or fit. SrI rAmAnuja says that bhagavAn, being related to him in every way, is fully apt to forgive him.

With this, SrI rAmAnuja completes quoting from purANas and SAsthras. Next he lists out what all wrong deeds he has committed. We shall see these in the 10th chUrNai.

Translation by krishNa rAmAnuja dhAsan.

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