Friday, February 10, 2017

vibhishana Saranagati

Musings on the VibhishaNa SaraNaagathi   * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *    As a Paramaachaarya, Swami Desikan dwelled    extensivey on the doctrines of Prapatthi in many of his  sacred works. What Sri Rama said at the sea side   to VibhishaNaa rivetted his attention . He elaborated   on the SaraNAgathi concepts in his work known as   Abhaya Pradhaana Saaram , where he followed the tradition  of Sri Ramaanujaa , Thirumalai Nambhi , who studied   intensively and taught the rahasyaarthaas of SaraNAgathi  embedded in the different KhAndAs of VAlmiki RamaayaNam .    It is generally conceded by our AchaaryAs that Srimadh   RAmAyaNam is THE SaraNAgathi Saastram . Swami Desikan   played a key role in reminding us of this truth . Adi Kavi VAlmiki  saw what happened during  Raamaavatharam through his   Dharma Veeryam and Divya Chakshus ( POwer of penance   and divine insight ) and  described the exquisite incidents associated  with SaraNAgathi in every KhAndham of his Adhi Kaavyam .  That is why Srimadh RAmAyaNam is described as " PuNyam   Vedaisccha Sammitham " ( One that enhances one's PuNyam  and is equivalent to the Vedaas in its sacredness ) . It is no wonder  that VAlmiki's work is considered as Veda UpabruhmaNam ( A work  that elaborates on the principles covered by the VedAs ) .     The Para Tattva NirNayam ( the establishment of the unparalleled   superiority )  of  Sri Rama is made in Srimadh RAmAyaNam   through the Abhaya PrAdhAnam given by Him on many occasions  as saluted by Sage Vaalmiki . He  establishes Ramaa as   Sarva VialkshaNa Para Brahmam ( One with glories that are   distinctly superior to other Gods ) and praises Ramaa as   " Aksharam Brahma Satyam ". This satya Vrathi and SaraNAgatha   rakshaNa deekshitha is hailed as a Veera of an extraordinary   caliber . The distinct and distinguishing principle of Sri Raamaa   is the practise of  hte  Abhaya PradhAna vara dhaanam principle   for those , who approached him even once for protection   independent of their Avasthaa (state of mind or mood ) .  That is His Vratham as we heard from Swami Desikan   through  the previous three Gadhyam salutations.    Sri Raamaa's SaraNyathvam is abundantly covered in the Yuddha   KhAndham . All other Gods are described as "Vibhuthi Ekadesam "  ( one speck of HIS ruling power ) , where as Sri Raamaa is considered   the total embodiment of the power principle that offers SaraNAgathi unfailingly.  Brahmaa praises the victorious Raamaa in the battle field of Lankhaa  as " saraNyam SaraNam cha tvaam aahu ; Divyaa Maharshaya: "  ( Great sages like Sanaka consider therefore YOU as the means and   the fruit of their endeavours through performance of their SaraNAgathis ) .  They recognize that they are " Tadhadheena Padha laabhans "   ( Those  who  Acheived their superior positions as a  result of His Dayaa ) .  He is the SaraNyan (Rakshakan , RakshaNa vrathi) . That is His VaseekaraNa  Saamarthyam ( winning ways to attract us to Him ) . That SaraNaagathi is   parama hitam ( the superior and eminently satisfying means and fruit ) .    Tondaradipodhi describes the parama hitam aspect of SaraNAgathi  done in a trice (KshaNa Karthavyam ) by PrapannAs this way in one of  the Paasurams of ThirumAlai : " kadaitthalai irundhu vaazhum Sombarai  uhatthi pOlum " ( O Ranganaatha! You take great interest even in those   lazy ones living around your ramparts at Srirangam. They were lazy in that   they did not make the effort to practise difficult Bhakthi and Jnaana Yogams.  They too the easy route appropriate to their limited strength and performed  Prapatthi at Your lotus feet . You accepted those Prapannaas and treated them   as though they were superior to all  the others) . Swami Desikan points this out  and salutes the Lord as "Priya-Hita Kaari " ( the one , who treats us with   affection and benovolence through the practise of his SaraNAgatha rakshaNa  vratham ) . We , who are ananya SaraNaas( with no other recourse for protection  )  become the object of His Abhimaana gocharam ( the object of his special  affection ) .     Sita Piraati is the SaraNya Sahadharma ChaariNi of the sarva loka saraNyan.  In this role She counsels the evil-minded RavaNA in Sundara Khaandham   this way :    vidhitha: sa hi Dharmajna: saraNaagatha vatsala: I  thena maitree bhavathu teh yadhi jeevithumicchasi II    prasAdhayasva tvam chainam saraNAgatha Vatsalam I  maam chaasmai prayathO bhoothvA niryaathayithumarhasi II    ( O RavaNA ! If you want to live in this world , befriend Ramaa ,  who is well versed in the doctrines of SaraNAgathi dharmam .   He discards the offenses made earlier by those , who seek his   protection and perform SaraNAgathi unto Him . With a pure mind ,   beseech His friendship and unite me with Him and make Him happy   and as a result continue to live on this earth ) .    Piratti's Vaatsalya Paravasam ( indebtedness  to those who seek Her  saraNAgathi as the consort of the Lord ) has been identified by   Parasara Bhattar as being superior ot that of the Lord Himself .  Bhattar describes that attribute of Her in one of   the slokams of GuNa Ratna Kosam this way :    maatharmythili raakshaseestvayi tadhaivaardhraaparAdhAstvayA  rakshanthyApavanAthmajAth laghutaraa Ramasya Goshtee kruthA I  kaakam tam cha VibhishaNam saraNamithyukti kshamou rakshatha :  saa na: saandhra mahaagasa: sukhayathu kshaanthistavaakasmikeeII    (Meaning ) : O Mother Ranganaayaki ! Sahadharma chaariNI of Kaakustha  Rangesa ! You saved(protected ) the Rakshasis od Ashoka Vanam from  the wrath of Hanumaan , even when they were committing offenses   to You . Through this  act of Yours , You made the SaraNAgathi  (Abhaya PradhAnam ) offered by Your lord somewhat  inferior to   Your own gesture. Your Lord offered SaraNAgathi to the offending   crow and the supplicnt VibhishaNA only AFTER they performed   their saraNAgathi . You out of Your  infinite mercy and affection for   the sinners ( offenders/ApachAris) protected the rakshasis of  asokha Vanam even as they were threatening You . Therefore Your   power of SaraNAgatha rakshaNam  is superior to that of Your consort.   May Your natural , causeless --nirhethukam, Avyaaja KaruNaa --   compassion protect us ! )     The whole seven Khaandhaas of Srimadh RaamayaNam is   full of incidents illustrating the SaraNAgathi Taatparyam ( the   inner meanings of SaraNAgathi ) . Swami Desikan's Abhaya   PradhAna Saaram salutes the SaraNAgathi episodes in   Baala Khaandham ( Devaas offering their SaraNAgathi and   seeking the Sesha Saayee's protecton to save them from the   cruelty of RaavaNA ) , in Ayodhyaa Khaandham ( LakshmaNA's  prapatthi to Sri Rama and Sita together and seeking their   protection to serve them in the forest . Here SaraNAgathi   according to the spirit of Dvaya manthram is performed by   the anujaa of Ramaaa . The first portion of Dvaya manthram  deals with Prapatthi and the second portion deals with the   fruits of such prapatthi . )     In Ayodhyaa Khandham , we encounter once again SaraNAgathi by  the other brother Bharathaa  and his obtainment of the fruit of his   prapatthi throught he acquisition of Sri Rama Paadhukaas or   Sri Satakopam .     In Aranya Khaandham , the SaraNAgathi of the sages afflicted by  Kara , DhooshaNaa are accepted by Sri Ramaa and he protects  them form the terror of the ogres. Kaakasura SaraNAgathi also  takes place in this Khaandham.    In Kishkindhaa Khaandham , we enjoy learning about   Sugreeva SaraNAgathi and Sri Raamaa's protection   of Sugreevaa from Vaali .    In Sundara Khaandham , we come across the Abhaya PradhAnam  of Sarva Loka SaraNyai to the ogresses that supervised Her  incarceration in asokha Vanam.     Yudha Khaandham houses the famous VibhishaNa saraNAgathi.  In Uttara Khaandham , Sri Ramaa answers the Rakshasaa Maalyavaan  and reveals the rahasyaartham of his SaraNAgatha vratham once again .    It is with all these in mind , Swami Desikan saluted Srimadh RaamayaNam  as SaraNAgathi Vedam . He also identified his work (Abahya   PradhAna Saaram ) as the Upanishad that elaborates on the rahasyaarthams   of the Illustrious SaraNAgathi Vedam, Srimadh RaamayaNam .    kujantham Rama Ramethi madhuram madhuraaksharam I  aaruhya kavithaa saakaam vandE Valmiki kokilam II    Sri VaishNava Daasan ,  Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan