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From: Sadagopan (sgopan_at_computer.net)
Date: Sun Apr 26 1998 - 19:47:01 PDT
Dear Sri Ranganatha BhakthAs : Sriranga KshEthram is the puNya BhUmi . Like in VaraNAsi , anyone who breathes their last here reaches Parama Padham . The great Vedantin, Appayaa Dikshithar , who wrote the commentary for Swami Desikan's YadhavAbhudhayam pointed out the significance of this Mukthi KshEthram this way: idham cha Rangam tyajathAmihAngam na vidhyathEangam yadhi jAthuchAngam I pANou rathAngam sayanE bhujangam yaanE vihangam charaNEambhu Gaangam II (Meaning ) : This is Sriranga KshEthram .There is no rebirth for those , who shake off their mortal coils here . If they perchance take up a body again , it will return to this earth as the ONE with Sudarsanam in its hand , resting on Adhi SEshA , riding on Garudan and having the sacred feet from which the holy Ganga river flows . That body will return with Bhagavadh SaarUpyam . Saint ThyagarAjA , the reluctant traveller ****************************************** To this Moksha KshEthram of Srirangam came the pilgrim from ThiruvayyAru . He wanted to offer his worship to the IshvAku Kula Dhaivam worshipped by His Ishta Dhaivam, Sri RamachandrA at His ancestral home in AyOddhi . As a rule , this pilgrim , Saint ThyagarAjA was not keen on leaving the side of his AarAdhana mUrthy at ThiruvayyAru . He said through one of his Thodi raaga krithis ( Kotinadhulu DhanushkotilO): " Oh Mind ! Listen to the counsel of ThyagarAjA , the great devotee of RaghunAthA . For those fortunate souls , who constantly and directly see the beautiful form of RaamA , crores of holy rivers are present at Dhanushkoti ( the tip of Sri RaamA's bow ) itself , rivers like GangA with its source at the Lord's feet and the KaavEri deriving its glory from Sri RanganAthA ; WHY SHOULD THEN ONE WANDER FROM PLACE TO PLACE ON THEERTHA YAATHRAA AND PILGRIMAGE ? ". In his other well known MukhAri Raaga Krtithi , "KsheeNamai ", Saint ThyagarAjA talked about the real road to travel : " Oh Mind ! Give up the siddhis ( Yogic achievements), which are perishable and bring you rebirth . Perishable are the fruits of the study of Sanskrit , Drama , poetics , VedAs , PurANAs and the performance of sacrifices , Japa , Tapa and KshEhtrAdanam .The ( real) road to travel is the worship of RaamA ; (then ) all that one ( the devotee) does , the Lord will accept with approbation and vouchsafe to him the highest state that is everlasting . With this discriminating knowledge (Vivekam), Saint ThyagarAjA did not want to spend his time traveling anywhere and was happy to stay at ThiruvayyAru deeply immersed in Sri Raama Naama Japam and the AarAdhanam of HIS Ishta Dhaivam . He declared that it was not possible for him to describe the joy that he derived from the chanting of the Raama Naamam ( Kaapi Raaga krithi vaakhyams : Intha Souhkhyamani nE jEppajAla ; yenthO yEmO yevariki dhelusunO ? ) . Saint ThyagarAja , the reluctant pilgrim did not want to leave the side of Ishta dhaivam .He did not also want his Ishta Dhaivam, Sri RaamA to leave him and go on any travel away from him .Hence , He asked in another of his MukhAri krithis ( MuripEmu GaligEgadhA ? RaamA !) : " Oh My dear One ! Sri RaamA ! Are you not happy staying here at ThiruvayyAru (Panchanadha KshEthram ) on the banks of KaavEri river at my home , where I have built a rathna mantapam for Your residence with SitA dEvi and Soumithri ? Why do You want to go away from Your lovely home right here ? Inspite of this reluctance to leave the side of his AarAdhana mUrthy , he was persuaded by his sishyAs to undertake a trip to Tiruppathi , Kaancheepuram and Srirangam . He included additional visits to ThiruvallikkEni and other KshEthrams in that one and only pilgrimage that he took in his life time spanning eighty years before he reached the Lord's holy feet . We will cover the Srirangam portion of this pilgrimage , where many auspicious events took place including the birth of the Sriranga Pancharathna Krithis devoted to Sri RanganAthA . The Five Gems of Krithis on Sri RanganAthA ******************************************* Saint ThyagarAjA arived at Srirangam during ChaithrOthsavam . He stayed at a house of a friend in South Chittra veedhi .This was near the corner of South and West Chittra streets . It was the day , when Sri RanganAthA came around the rAja veedhis of Srirangam on the golden horse ( Kuthirai Vaahanam ) . Saint Thyagaraja was standing in fornt of 86, South Chittra street as the Lord's procession arrived . The great NaadhOpAsakA was moved by the beauty of the Lord on Kuthirai vAhanam and burst forth extempore into the Thodi Raaga Krithi , " Raaju Vedale JutAmu rAre " . As the Bhagavan approached , the Saint wanted to get closer to receive the SatAri and TulasI prasAdam from the Archakar . The density of the crowd thwarted his plans to come closer to the VaibhOga Rangan .The saint was disappointed and stayed put in his original place . Some thing miraculous happened then . The moving procession of the Lord suddenly came to a standstill . The trained bearers of the Vaahanam of the Lord were benumbed and could not take another step . During such occasions , it is generally assumed that some apachAram has been committed and Saanthi ceremony is performed to overcome this inauspiciousness. The ArchakAs felt that there was some dhrushti dhOsham and suggested that the Deva daasis and Raaja daasis should perform the assigned dance for that corner as per aaagama sAsthrAs to propitiate the Lord .The dancers performed . Nothing happened . The vaahanam bearers did not regain their mobility . At that time , an archakar went into an aavEsam ( inspired ) mode pointed to saint ThyagarAjA and said : " A great BhakthA of Sri RanganAthA is standing there at the corner of South and West Chittra Veedhi pining over his inability to approah the Lord closely and have the Lord's darsanam . Please bring him near the Lord for a hearty darsanam and then the procession will move " . The Koil KaimkaryabharAs brought the saint near the Lord and honored him with Sataari and TulasI prasAdham .The Saint was visibly moved by the DayA of the Lord and he sang in all humility the famous DevaghAndAri raaga krithi " VinarAdA nA manavi " . In that song , the saint begged the Lord to listen to his appeal to continue His procession and bless the BhakthAs and BhaagavathAs waiting for His darsanam in the other raaja veedhis . When the saint completed his DevagaandhAri raaga krithi and concluded his appeal to comply with his request , deepArAdahnam was conducted and immediately , the bearers of the Lord's Vaahanam regained their strength and the Lord's procession resumed to the joy of all . Sri RanganAthA thus let all those assembled at His raaja Veethi know about the greatness of His special Bhakthan from THiruvaiyAru . TheArchakAs and Koil adhikAris invited the saint for a specail darsanam of the Moolavar offering Mutthangi Sevai during that eventful evening . Saint ThyagarAja rushed to the Garbagraham and was so moved by the sight of the reclining Lord celebrated by so many AzhwArs and AchAryAs that he broke out spontaneously into the famous KaambhOji raaga Krithi , " Oh RangasAyee " with its many moving pallavi sangathis . He also sang two more krithis in praise of Lord RanganAthA in Aarabhi (chuthAmu rArE ) and in SaarangA raagam ( KaruNa jUdumayya ! kaavEdi Rangayya ! ). These five krithis on Sri RanganAthan came to be known collectively as Sriranga Pancharathnams . I will discuss the meanings of these five beautiful and moving krithis in the second an final part of this posting . Sri RanganAtha ParabrahmaNE Nama: Oppilaippan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan P.S : Please have the darsanam of the Lord of Srirangam in the specail home page created by Sriman Dilepean for the Temple for the Lord at Pomona , New York .