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SakalOpanishad SvarUpan : Sri RanganAthan: part 12

From: Sadagopan (
Date: Sat Apr 25 1998 - 17:39:39 PDT

Dear Sri RanganAtha BhakthAs :

In this posting belonging to the series on
" Sri RanganAthO Jayathi " relating to 
the Construction of a Temple for Him at Pomona , NY , 
I will focus on the ways in which the Upanishads rush to
salute Him . I will follow the path established by
AchArya RaamAnujA and his successors on this matter . 

Sriman NaarAyaNan of Srirangam : Sri RanganAthan

AchArya RaamAnujA's darsanam is profound in many ways .
Two of the key features of this darsanam are that 
(1) it harmonizes God's transcendence ( parathvam ) 
with His accessibility ( Soulabhyam ) and (2) it
inculcates "the highest form of devotion without
belittling the part of intellectualism and social 
duties in man's spiritual life " . 

Sriman NaarAyaNA as Para VaasudEvan is readily 
accessible to us at His BhUlOka Vaikuntam 
on the island of Srirangam .The parathvam of His form
at Sri Vaikuntam by the banks of the river VirajA 
comes together with the soulabhyam of His ArchA svarUpam
at Srirangam ( nithya -LeelA VibhUthis ). This amalgamation 
of Parathvam and Soulabhyam at Srirangam  is considered 
the central root ( aaNi vEr ) of our Sri VaishtAdvaithA 
tradition elaborated by our AzhwArs and developed further 
by Dankar , DramidAchAryA , Naathamuni, ALavanthAr , 
Periya Nambi and Acharya RaamAnujA and his succesors  
in the mold of Upanishadic and Vedic tradition .
The Ubhaya Vedantha tradition flourishes today 
from that amalgamation . 

The embodied Isvara Tattvam at Srirangam

The epistemology , ontology , cosmology , theology
and psychology of Sriman NaarAyaNA as the controller 
of all (SarvEsvarathvam ) , the principal of all
( sarvasEshithvam ) , the One worshipped by every
religious act ( Sarva KarmAradhyathvam ) , the bestower 
of all fruits of such worship ( Sarva pala pradhathvam ) ,
the sustainer of all ( SarvAdharathvam ) , the cause of
all effects ( Sarva KaaryOthpAdhakthvam ) is nowhere 
celebrated more than at Srirangam . It is no wonder 
that our AchAryAs , who were conversant with the nuances
of Ubhaya VedAntham spent so much of their life time
at Srirangam and worshipped Sri RanganAtha as 
the Jagadheesvaran. 

Sri RaamAnujA & Aupanishada- Parama Purushan 

AchArya RaamAnujA recognized Sriman NaarAyaNA 
as the Aupanishada-Parama Purushan ( the supreme
spirit revealed in the Upanishads ) .He is the same
Parama Purushan celebrated by Sri GeethOpanishad 
in the chapter on PurushOtthama Yogam . This Supreme
spirit of the Upanishads has been saluted by 
AchArya RaamAnujA as " Sruthi-sirasi Videepthan "
( the shining crown of the VedAs ). The nectar
churned out of the milky ocean of Upanishads by
BaadarAyaNA's Brahma sUthrams was intrepreted 
by AchAryA RaamAnujA to strengthen the citadel
Of Sri VisidshtAdvaitham and fly high the flag of
the supermacy of our Soulabhya Para VaasudEvan 
of Srirangam .

With great coherency and clarity , AchArya RaamAnujA 
commented on BaadarAyaNa sUtrAs in His Sri BhAshyam
and elucidated " the philosophically CENTRAL affirmations
of the Upanishads . As an easier text for us to understand,
AchArya RaamAnujA gave us VedArtha SangrahA , whose 
central purpose was to gather into focus the teachings of 
Upanishads . Sudarsana Suri ,the author of Srutha PrakAsikA ,
an elaboration of Sri Bhaashyam of AchArya RaamAnujA ,
states that the great AchAryaa extracted the nectar of 
VedaanthA , meaning Upanishads .With his effective and 
clear synthesis of the BhEda, BhedAbhEda and 
AbhEda sruthis , AchArya RaamAnujA was able to establish
a coherent doctrine of Brahman . The essence of AchAryA's
thesis that is endearing and assuring is that the Brahman
of the Upanishads is the paratattvA(supreme Reality ) ,
parahitA ( the supreme way to redemption ) and
and ParapurushArthA (the supreme goal ).

For AchArya RaamAnujA , " the ultimate spirit holds ALL
things within Itself and abides as indweller in ALL things--
--- such is the final substance and the entire message of 
the Upanishads , according to RaamAnujA . For his way of 
thinking , the concept of Sriman NaarAyaNA , properly
comprehended , embodies in itself  this philosophy 
completely . Hence one may , as well , conclude that
the WHOLE teaching of the Upanishads stands summed up 

Personal God and the Upanishidic Brahman 

Sri RamAnujA postualted a personal God and defined
Brahman this way : " By the word Brahman is denoted
the highest person , who is , by nature , devoid of 
all evil , and is possessed of hosts of auspicious 
qualities , which are innumerable and unsurpassable 
in excellence " . He accepted a world that is real 
distinctly different from the world of illusion of 
the advaitins . Regarding the means of attainment ,
AchArya RaamAnujA accepted Bhakthi and Prapatthi ,
" wherein the Lord is considered both as a means and 
the object of attainment . Only he attains the Lord , 
whom he elects with grace " . This is the essence of
Sri VisishtAdvitha Darsanam and Parama purusha
prasAdham is central to it and the Samastha 
chidachidh vasthu sareeran as AkhilAthman 
blesses us to gain Moksham .These then are
the conclusions of AchArya RaamAnujA that we cherish 
as the distillation of the essence of the Upanishads 
on the Aupanishadic Parama Purushan reclining 
on His serpent bed at Srirangam .

The source Upanishads for Sri RaamAnujA's Works

The 15 upanishads quoted by AchArya RaamAnujA 
to develop his synthetic approach to reconcile 
the three categories of sruthis are :

Isa, Kena , Katha , Prasna , Mundaka , MaandUkya ,
AitarEya , TaittirIya , ChhandOgya , BrihadAraNyaka ,
KaushItakI , SvetAsvaatara , MahOpanishad ,
SubAlOpanishad and MahA NaarAyaNOpanishad

Sriman NaarAyaNA of MahA NaarAyaNOpanishad

I will conclude this posting with select manthrams 
of MahA NaarAyaNOPanishad .This Upanishad has moving
revelatory passages on the identity of the ParamAthMan
( Paramapurushan ) .In the very first manthram , which 
has profound meanings , the role of the Lord of creation
is saluted :

ambasya paarEbhuvanasya madhyE 
naakasya prushtE mahathO maheeyAn I
SukrENa jyOthIgumshi samanupravishta :
PrajApathisccharathi garbhE antha : II

( Meaning ) : " The Lord of Creation , who is
present in the shoreless waters ,on the Earth 
and above the Heaven and who is greater than 
the great , having entered the shining intelligence
of creatures in seed form , acts in foetus (which 
grows into the living being that is born ) ".

This Lord of Creation and the AntharyAmi Brahman
is recognized in the next manthram as the source 
of power by which all Gods remain enjoying their
respective powers ( Sarvam yasmin dEvA adhi visvE 
nishEdhu : ) . The Upanishad goes onto declare
that certainly has been true in the past 
and  will be true in the future (TadhREva bhUtham  
tadhu bhavyamA ).

In section 12 , the 17th manthram of this Upanishad 
we come across the connection of the Lord to PraNavam :

yO vedAdhou svara: prOkthO VedAnthE cha prathishtitha : I
tasya prakruthileenasya Ya; Para: sa MahEsvara : II

This manthram asserts that this Lord of Creation is
the supreme Lord , who transcends the syllable OM ,
which is invoked at the commencement of the recital 
of the VedAs , which is well established in Upanishads 
and which is dissolved in the primal cause during 
contemplation . 

The next few manthrams identify this supreme Lord as
Sriman NaarAyaNA :

NaarAyaNam mahAj~nEyam visvAthmAnam parAyaNam 

This Supreme Lord , Sriman NaarAyaNA is declared as
the One , who is supremely worthy  of being known by 
the Jeevans and recognized as the supreme goal . 

The thundering statements that follow are :

NaarAyaNa : param Brahmma tattvam NaarAYaNa: Para: I
NaarayaNa: parO jyOthirAthmA NaarayaNa : para :II
NaarayaNa : parO dhyAthA dhyAnam NaarayaNa : para : I

( Meaning ) : NaarAyaNA is the supreme reality designated
as Brahmman . NaarAyaNA is the loftiest of all principles.
NaarAyaNA is the supreme effulgence described by Upanishads.
NaarAyaNA is THE INFINITE SELF.  He is the most outstanding
mediator and meditation . 

Yaccha kinjijagathyasmin dhrusyatE SrUyatEpi vaa I
antharbahisccha tathsarvam vyApya NaarAyaNa: sthitha : II

( Meaning ) : Whatsoever that is comprehended through
perception or known through hearing , all that is pervaded
by NaarAyaNA within ( indweller ) and outside . 


This Lord of Srirangam , who has been saluted as Mahath Yasa:
( the great glory ). He is the web and woof of creation saluted
by the Upanishads . He reclines under PranvAkruthi VimAnam 
and glorifies the meaning of PraNavam ( PraNavArtha PrakAsakan ) .
He is the para Vaasudevan of parama Padham . He is RangEsan .
He has Srirangam as His temple by the side of KaavEri river
and His other home is by the side of VirajA river in Sri Vaikuntam .
That Sri RangasAyee is saluted by this famous slOkam :

KaavErI VirajAsEyam Vaikuntam Rangamandhiram 
Sa VaasudEvO RangEsa: Prathyaksham Paramam Padham I
VimAnam PraNavAkAram Vedasrungam MahAdhbhutham 
SrirangasAyee BhagavAn PraNavArthaprakAsaka : II

It is this Sri RangasAyee saluted by Upanishads that 
Saint ThyagarAjA implored to come to him at Srirangam
in his celebrated KaambhOji Raaga Krtihi :Oh RangasAyee !
pilachitE-Oh yanuchu raa raadhAA ? ( Oh Rangasaayee !
When I implore You to come to me , why should You not 
respond ?) . Saint Thyagaraja composed the Sriranga
Pancharathna krithis on this Lord reclining on Adhi SEshA 
at Srirangam . We will salute those 5 krithis in 
the next posting .

Sri RanganAthO Jayathi ! 

Sri RanganAtha Para BrahmaNE Nama:

Oppilaippan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan

P.S : Please join in the Temple Kaimkaryam
for this Lord saluted by Upanishads and Vedams .
Be Blessed by Him through Your particpation .
Subhamasthu !