SrIranga gadhyam – 1st chUrNai Part 2

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We have so far seen 6 qualities of bhagavAn that he shows to everyone and 12 qualities that he exhibits only to his ASrithars (followers).  We shall now see the three guNas (qualities) that he exhibits only to his virOdhis (enemies).

dhairya Saurya parAkrama

dhairya – daring; he does not bother about his or his ASrithars’ enemies. In SrI rAmAyaNam, SrI rAma conducted pattAbhishEkam (coronation) for vibhIshaNa at thiruppullANi (near sEthu), before even crossing the ocean and knowing the strength / weakness of enemy (rAvaNa). This is his dhairyam. vAlmiki (the sage who composed SrI rAmAyaNam) writes that SrI rAma heaved a sigh of relief for having achieved the objective of what he set out to do on completion of vibhIshaNa’s coronation! Another example quoted by SrI periyavAchchAn piLLai in his vyAkhyAnam is in the battle ground in lankA when rAvaNa‘s mUlabhalam (his special army, capable of inflicting extensive damage to enemy’s army) came to the battle field.  On seeing such an army, SrI rAmA, without any change in his countenance, got ready to annihilate it. This is his dhairyam.

Saurya – the feeling that one would get when, on piercing the enemy’s vyUha (battle formation), looks around the enemy’s army and behaves as if he is amidst his own army, but goes on to create panic among the enemy’s warriors.

parAkrama – when he goes around his army before leaving for battlefield giving dharSan (audience) to his soldiers and checking last minute details, if his opponents see him at that time, they will not view him as an opponent but as their own leader. That is his parAkrama which literally means courage/valour/enterprise/heroism/strength etc.

Next SrI rAmAnuja lists four qualities of bhagavAn which are related to (a) his ASrithars (followers), (b) the fact that he is the upAyam (the path to attain bhagavAn) (c) the fact that he is the upEyam (objective or goal to be attained). These are:

sathyakAmasathya – true; kAma – desire; Here, sathya means nithya (forever; permanent). The meaning for sathyakAma is that he has qualities and wealth (nithya vibhUthi and leelA vibhUthi) which are there for ever and which his ASrithars are desirous of. Another meaning for sathyakAma is based on bhagavAn’s point of view. bhagavAn feels that he should protect his ASrithars and this becomes his desire. Since there is no one to prevent him from carrying this out, it becomes his permanent desire or sathyakAma.

sathyasankalpa – Whatever he vows, will happen. He keeps changing himself constantly to appear new to his ASrithars so that they can enjoy him better and better. Another meaning here is that in order for his ASrithars to see him, he takes various avathArams (incarnations) such as dhEva (celestial being), manushya (human being) etc through his sankalpam (vow)

kruthithva – When he gives something to his ASrithars and they get it, bhagavAn feels as if he himself has got it and feels happy. This guNa (quality) is called as kruthithvam. Doing what the ASrithar is expected to do, himself, is also kruthithvam.

kruthagyathA – to be thankful. We would have surrendered to him once, long time back. After that whatever mistakes we commit (unknowingly), he does not bother about these and thinks only about the act of surrender. Even after he gives quite a lot to the ASrithar who has surrendered, he feels that he has not done or given anything to him. He feels so thankful for having surrendered. This is his kruthagyathA.

Adhi – similar such qualities.

asankhyEya kalyANa guNAgaNaugha mahArNavamasankhyEya – countless; kalyANa – auspicious;  guNa – qualities; gaNa – bundles of such qualities; augha – flood or wave; mahArNavam – great ocean.

What has been stated among bhagavAn’s qualities is just a few. But there are countless auspicious qualities of bhagavAn which are like trying to count the particles of water in a great ocean.

parabrahmabhUtham purushOththamam – these are words which are widely quoted in vEdhAntham (upanishaths). parama – supreme; brahmam – absolute; bhUtham – being (entity). parabrahmabUtham – He is huge and he makes those who take refuge in him (surrender to him) huge. He gives his ASrithars the same level of happiness that he enjoys. He shares his 8 supreme qualities with those who attain mOksham (SrIvaikuNtam). Thus he is parabrahmabhUtham.

purushOththamam – supreme among purushas (jIvAthmA, mukthAthmA, nithyAthmA). In bhagavadh gIthA, krishNa says that he is different from achith (insentient) and chith (sentient – bhadhdhAthmA, mukthAthmA and nithyAthmA) and superior to them all. Also, purusha is defined as one who keeps on giving. Since he gives away everything to others, he is purushOththaman.

SrIrangaSAyinam – Instead of staying in some place where no one can see him, bhagavAn takes a simple form which can be seen by everyone. Thus he comes to SrIrangam and lies on the bed of AdhiSEsha.

asmathswAminam – my swAmy (my lord or one who owns me). He is not merely parabhramabhUthan or purushOththaman or SrIrangaSAyee. He is my swAmy. He is so beautiful and so simple. This defines the closeness of SrI rAmAnuja with bhagavAn. In SrI rAmAyaNam, lakshmaNa tells that he is servitor to SrI rAmA. Here, SrI rAmAnuja, who is punaravathAram (reincarnation) of lakshmaNa says that bhagavAn is his swAmy (lord), which means the same.

prabhudhdha nithyaniyAmya nithyadhAsyaikarasa AthmasvabhAvOhamprabhudhdha – high level of knowledge; nithya – for ever; niyAmya – controlled by bhagavAn; dhAsyaika – like a servant; rasa – being a servant is sweet too; Athma – soul; svabhAva – basic nature;  aham – I.

Here SrI rAmAnuja starts mentioning his qualities to carry out kainkaryam. He says that he knows fully well that he is completely controlled by bhagavAn and that he is his servant for ever. Being a servant to bhagavAn is very sweet to him. And this, he says, is his basic nature.

thadhEkAnubhava:thath – that; Eka – one; anubhava: – experience. Making only bhagavAn’s experience as a matter for gyAna (knowledge) (i.e. relevant to his knowledge). Nothing else matters. This is like the state of parabhakthi.

thadhEkapriya: – making bhagavAn’s experience as a matter for bhakthi (devotion). When gyAna matures, it becomes bhakthi. These words (anubhavam and prIthi) are born out of parabhakthi, paragyAna and paramabhakthi states, as we have seen several times in SaraNAgathi gadhyam. To recapture briefly, parabhakthi means having knowledge about bhagavAn; paragyAna means having vision of bhagavAn; paramabhakthi is attaining him. Another explanation for these three is: when one is with bhagavAn, one becomes happy. When bhagavAn leaves, that person becomes sad. This is parabhakthi. This is mere knowledge. paragyAna is craving constantly and taking efforts to be with bhagavAn. paramabhakthi is being always with bhagavAn, after attaining him.

paripUrNam bhagavantham viSadhathamAnubhavEna nirantharamanubhUyaparipUrNam – fully, completely; bhagavantham – to bhagavan; viSadhathama – very clearly; anubhavEna – that experience; nirantharam – without hurdles; anubhUya – having experienced.

bhagavAn is full of gyAna (knowledge) etc (gyAna, bala, aiSvarya, vIrya, Sakthi, thEjas etc that we have seen several times). SrI rAmAnuja wishes to enjoy that bhagavAn, in a very clear way (we shall see the meaning of this shortly). And, that experience should be without any hurdle. Thus, he is praying for having uninterrupted experience of bhagavAn, who is full of auspicious qualities, in a very clear way. Let us now look at some of the subtle meanings of these terms.

pUrNa anubhavam is subjecting bhagavAn’s svarUpa (basic nature), rUpa (physical form), guNa (auspicious qualities), vibhUthi (wealth, comprising nithya and leelA vibhUthis) to one’s experience. viSadha anubhavam is the experience of seeing bhagavAn right in front; this is equivalent to parabhakthi. viSadhathara anubhavam is equivalent to paragyAna anubhavam which is seeing bhagavAn when one closes one’s eyes. bhagavAn will disappear when eyes open; this happens when one is travelling in archirAdhi (bright) path towards SrIvaikuNtam. viSadhathama anubhavam  is paramabhakthi anubhavam which takes place when one reaches SrIvaikuNtam (being always with bhagavAn). niranthara anubhavam is having the experience without any hurdles. Here hurdles refer to the (five) sensory experience.

thadhanubhavajanitha anavadhikAthiSaya prIthikAritha aSEshAvasthOchitha aSEsha SEshathaikarathirUpa nithyakinkarO bhavAnithath – that; anubhava – experience; janitha – born out of; anavadhika – without limit; athiSaya – exalted; prIthikAritha – induced by love; aSEsha – without leaving anything; avastha – state; uchitha – appropriate; aSEsha SEshathaika – carrying out service without leaving anything; rathi rUpa – full of desire or love; nithya kinkarO bhava – make me a servitor forever.

bhagavadh rAmAnuja prays for being a servitor to bhagavAn to carry out kainkaryam (service) to him. This comes out of the love that is born out of paripUrNa, viSadhathama anubhavam (clear experience of bhagavAn who is full of auspicious qualities) that we have seen in the previous sentence. This experience should be there in all appropriate states, leaving out nothing. What are these states? When emperumAn is sitting, lying, standing, walking, speaking to nAchchiyArs (his consorts); in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, in the night; whether he goes to his antha:puram (retiring house, private quarters), thiruvOlakkam (public assembly), garden, lake etc. One may wonder, what kainkaryam can be done when bhagavAn retires in the night, to his antha:puram. nammAzhvAr says that when bhagavAn goes to antha:puram, he would be the cot, or lamp, or mattress, or flower used for decorating his bed, anything – i.e. achith (insentient) entity. This means, doing kainkaryam in all states, at all times, in all places, leaving out nothing. And this kainkaryam is carried out with loving desire because it is being rendered to bhagavAn and pirAttis (his consorts). While doing this kainkaryam, only one thought should be in the mind of the servitor, that he is the SEshabhUthan, SEshabhUthan, SEshabhUthan. The basis for all these is: gyAna (knowledge) about bhagavAn, mainly through kAlakshEpam and upanyAsam (listening to bhagavAn’s stories, his incarnations, his auspicious qualities etc) in our sampradhAyam; experiencing bhagavAn after acquiring this knowledge; leading to desire or love for bhagavAn, which ultimately takes one to carrying out kainkaryam. Hence knowledge or parabhakthi is the starting point. SrI rAmAnuja keeps stressing on this, every time he prays to bhagavAn. When he, who is such a gyAni, asks for gyAna, what can we say of ourselves!!    lakshmaNa, in SrI rAmAyaNam, did kainkaryam to SrI rAma in ayOdhyA (city), in dhandakAranyam (forest), in kishkinthA (mountainous region), in thiruppullANi (sea shore), while walking on sEthu (on the sea), while fighting (on the battle field), when rAma was alone, when he was with his sIthAppitAtti, when he was in court assembly, when he was in the battlefield, in the morning, in the evening, in the night, leaving out nothing. The same lakshmaNa, now re-born as  SrI rAmAnuja, asks for all these kainkaryams which he carried out in an earlier yuga (earlier age). The same was prayed for by nammAzhvAr in thiruvAimozhi 3.3.1 (ozhivil kAlamellAm udanAy manni…).

Do we need to wait till we reach SrIvaikuNtam to carry out kainkaryam to bhagavAn and pirAtti? No, we can do all these in our place itself, even in our house – doing nithya thiruvArAdhanam with love, decorating bhagavAn and pirAtti in our house itself. Going to the temple, sweeping the premises, cleaning it, making kOlam (patterns), stringing flowers for bhagavAn to make a garland, helping bhattar (priest) or parichArakar (one who cooks thiruvamudhu (food) for bhagavAn) or adhyApakas (those who recite pAsurams and vEdha in front of bhagavAn), accompanying uthsavar when he goes around town during uthsavams etc are the kainkaryams which one can do in this vibhUthi itself. For all these, despite being repetitive, the starting point is gyAna.

This brings us to the end of first chUrNai.

Translation by krishNa rAmAnujadhAsan.

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