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The Carama Sloka Currukku of Swami Desikan : Part 1

From: V. Sadagopan (
Date: Mon Aug 25 1997 - 16:51:05 PDT

Dear Memebers of the PRAPATTHI GROUP :

During the course of discussions on the agenda items for inclusion in
the Bhaktha SammELanam meeting at Pittsburgh to honor
the visiting MatAdhipathi of Uduppi , I learned that the Madhva 
SampradhAyam rejects the Prapatthi approach in getting the 
Blessings of the Lord and their intrepretation of the Carama 
SlOkam of the Lord does not permit them to accept SaraNAgathi 
as the most efficacious , superior and easy to perform route 
available to one and all revealed by the GeethAcharyan .

After a lot of discussions , it was agreed that in a Sri VaishNavA 
conference , the omission of SaraNAgathi as 
one of the primary items would not be a welcome move . Prapatthi 
yOgam was then included along with Bahkthi Yogam as the two essential 
planks for gaining Moksha Siddhi . Our Sri Vijay Srinivasan has kindly agreed 
to cover the subject of SaraNAgathi that is dearest to heart of 
Bhagavadh RaamAnuja SiddhAntham . A panel to discuss SaraNAgathi
was also  agreed upon and the balance was acheived finally . 

During these discussions , it also became clear that the Sri VenkatEswarA 
temple has not had many Sri VaishNavite topics for upanyAsams based on 
VishidhtAdvaitham for coverage compared to other Vedanthic view points .

Another thing also became clear . It would be beneficial to have a 
a new religious Journal in English entitled " SaraNAgathi "  to cover
this magnificient , ennobling and most  important topic of Self-surrender 
to get familiar with the different view points , nuances and cardinal
aspects of the Prapatthi SaasthrA . The intent is to invite articles from
Sri VaishNavite scholars from  India and USA and bring these all
together . 

I have agreed to serve as an Editor of this important 
publication until a suitable and more  qualified scholar could take over .
The plan is to have the issues printed in India to save some printing 
expenses , if we can not get it done thru Desktop Publishing
help from some of our capable members . Please let me know ,
if some of you would like to join in this bhagavadh kaimkaryam 
in the areas of contributing articles , reviewing , preparing the text ,
membership drive et al . We are at the planning stage at this time .
I will have more details after my trip to Pittsburgh on 8/30/97 .

In the context of the paucity of coverage of the Sri VaishNavite topics
in a Sri VaishNavite temple , I have also agreed to help by organizing a
one or two day conference on " AzhwArs and AchAryA's anubhavam
of Sri VenkatEswara " at Pittsburgh . All AzhwArs with the exception
of Thondaradippodi ( Sri RanganAtha pathivrathai ) have blessed us 
with a total of 202 Paasurams . Swami Desikan's Daya Sathakam and 
other contributions by NadhOpAsakAs such as AnnamAchAr , Purandara
Daasa , Saint ThyagarAjA , Sri Mutthuswami Dikshithar would easily 
add material to extend the conference to two days . We would have to 
schedule this important conference to coincide with one of the National
extended holidays . It might be possible to release a souvenir containing 
the presentations prepared for that meeting by the speakers . Please 
let me know of your views about this Kaimkaryam and your interest
in particpation at the appropriate time . 

I will now write as prelude about a magnificient short grantham 
in Tamil by Swami Desikan known as " Carama Sloka Surukku " . 
There are 11 tamil verses in this rahasya grantham . All of them are 
set in the Tamil metre known as KattaLai kalitthurai . This rahasya 
grantham is part of the Desika Prabhandham .

The well-known carama Slokam of GeethAchAryan 
has the following TEN parts or words or group of words :

(1) Sarva DharmAn Parithyajya 
(2) Maam (3) Yekam (4) SaraNam 
(5) Vraja (6) Aham (7) tvaa (8) Sarva PaapEpyO
(9)MokshayishyAmi (10 ) Maa Sucha : 

In the first of his 11 verses , Swami Desikan gives the full 
meaning of the entire verse . Then , he uses ten more verses 
to cover indivually , the ten bhaagams of the carama slOkam .

I will cover in this posting , the first verse and its expanded meaning .
I will split the sandhis of the verse to make it easy to apprciate the verse .
I will be following the sampradhAyam of intrepretation of my 
maanaseeka guru , Sri V.N. Srirama DesikachAr Swami of 
Oppilaippan Koil , my next door neighbor . Please let me know , if you would 
like me to cover the word for word meaning for the Tamil words .

Verse 1 of Carama slOka curukku

kallAr ahalum karumamum j~nAnamum  kaathalum marru
yellAnilaikaLukku(m) yErpa vithittha kirisaikaLum 
vallAr mulha vali izhandAr yenranai tthozhuha yenru
yellaa dharumamum uraitthavan inn adi sErnthanamE 

( Meaning ) : Those knowledgable  ones with proficiency 
in SaasthrAs can perform effectively Karma Yogam , J~nana 
Yogam and Bhakthi Yogam . The untutored rest will go 
away from the practise of the above three yogAs based on their 
inadequacy about their ability to perform these difficult yogAs . 

It is hence understandable  that those , who are skilled in true
knowledge will perform one of these three yogAs for their 
salvation . For those , who are not capable of performing 
these ardous yogAs , I will stand in the place of these yogAs ,
when they surrender themselves to Me unconditionally ; I  will bless  them 
with the full fruits of these yogAs . ( Swami Desikan states at the very end of 
this verse that he has taken refuge at the sweet and sacred feet of 
the GeethAchAryan, who made such a pledge out of 
His infinite compassion for us all ) .

(Extended Meaning ) : O ChethanA ! Your understanding of the tattvAs 
is limited . Your power to grasp the full meaning of the saasthrAs 
is also limited . You are here on this earth of Mine for a limited time .
You are in an impatient and restless state of mind and are unable to put 
up with the delay in gaining Moksha Siddhi . You recognize that 
it is well nigh impossible to practise any one of the three yOgAs ( Karma ,
J~nAna and Bhakthi yOgAs ) ; you also recognize that they take too
long to bear fruit . Therefore , do not roam hither and thither chasing 
these three difficult-to-practise yogAs as routes appropriate 
for your salvation . 

I am easy of access to one and all .
I am the refuge for all of the beings of the universes . 
You elect Me and Me alone as your sole refuge . Perform SaraNAgathi 
to Me with its five angAs (limbs ) .When once you perform that act , 
you become a krutha Krithyan ( one who has done his duty ) .
Through this act of BaranyAsam , You have become a special
chEthanA , who is to be protected by Me. You become very dear
to Me as a result of this  aathma samarpaNam act of yours . 
My love for you is limitless. 

I will begin to bless you rightaway . There is no
limit or obstacle to my independence and power . I am the one , 
who is the reaper of the reward for My action on behalf of you .
My sankalpam ( volition ) is the only basis and support  for My
act of coming to your rescue . The multitudes of your enemies 
that interfere with your goal to reach me are limitless . They 
are immeasurable . You can not destroy them on your own accord ,
even if you wanted to . I will root them all out and make sure that 
they do not follow you anymore . I will elevate you to enjoy Me and 
all that is Mine and make you equal to Me in enjoying these bhOgAs .
If you enjoy Me in this way , I will bless you with the boons of 
eternal kaimkaryam to Me at all times and places without interruption .
Please do not grieve anymore over any thing . 

The depth of meaning for each of the ten parts of the carama slOkam

Out of his infinite compassion for us befitting his status as a paramAchArya ,
Swami Desikan has  distilled the essence of the upadesams of his 
purvAchAryAs and has blessed us with the many levels of meanings 
for each of the ten parts of the carama slokam . In this context , 
we encounter the following number of intrepretations for each of 
the  ten parts of carama slOkam :

1) Sarva DharmAn Parithyajya -- Six meanings
2) Maam -- Four meanings & hint on the avathAra rahasyam of the Lord 
3) Yekam -- six meanings for this term 
4) saraNa sabdham -- one meaning
5) vraja -- one meaning
6) aham -- one meaning 
7) tvaa-- one meaning
8) sarva pApEpyO - four levels of meanings for the sarva sabdham
9) MokshayishyAmi-- one meaning 
10) maa sucha: -twelve meanings befitting its exalted status 
       among the ten parts of the carama SlOkam .

We will weave these postings amidst the ones under plan 
such as DehaLeesa Sthuthi and Naama Sankeerthanam .

GeethAchAryan , Swami Desikan ThiruvadigaLE Saranam 
Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan