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"The gist of SribhAsyam on chatussUtrI" by DR.NSA

From: padmini ranganathan (
Date: Tue Aug 10 1999 - 11:23:52 PDT

BhagavAn  RAmAnuja has composed two invocatory verses before commenting
upon the "vEdAnta sUtrAs" of BAdarAyaNa.  The opening verse is, 

akhila bhuvana janma sthEma bhangAdi leele
vinata vividha bhUta vrAta rakshaika deekshe |
 s`ruti s`irasi  vidIpte brahmaNi srInivAse
bhavatu mama parasmin s`EmushI bhaktirUpA ||

Before commencing a work, it is customary to pray for the completion of
that work without any obstruction. NamaskAra, AshI: or benediction and
vastunirdEsa or narration of the theme in brief - are the three aspects
of the invocatory verse. MangaLAcharaNa is meant for the successful
completion of the work. It is also meant for guidance of the disciples.
 All these three are to be found in this invocatory verse. 

The meaning of this verse may be summarized thus :

May my mind be filled with devotional knowledge towards the Supreme
Brahman, Lord SrInivAsa, who is exquisitely revealed in the upanishads,
who sports in creating, protecting and destroying the entire universe,
who has taken the one vow of redeeming the hosts of beings, that devote
themselves onto Him.

Let us now try to understand the significance of the verse. The verse
starts with the letler "A"( first syllable in sanskrit),  which is the
first name of that Supreme (narAyaNa) and this ensures, all mangaLa or
auspiciousness, would accrue. The first gaNa in the verse is, nagaNa,
that is akhila and the usage of nagaNa is also suggestive of all
auspiciousness.  All the 6 attributes in the locative case or saptamI
vibhakti, relating to Brahman, declare that Brahman is the prApya and
the prApaka. 

PrApyatvam brahmaNa: sidhyEt
BrahmaNatvasya  kIrtanAt
SvaprAptE: sAdhanatvam hi
Brahmaatvam ivOchyate        -----tatvatIkA - 13

The word Brahman means "brhatvam" and it also   means "brmhaNatvam".
The meaning is, by nature, it is great. This term, therefore, signifies
that Brahman is the prApya and for its prApti, that alone is the upAya.

The word leelA, declares that, Brahman is paripUrna and this is His
spontaneous play or sport.

The first quarter of this verse condenses the meanings of the first
chapter of the vEdAnta sUtrAs. The word "leelA", found in the first
quarter suggests  the theme of the second chapter of the sUtrAs. The
second quarter of the verse namely, "vinatavividha…………" ,condenses the
last two chapters of the sUtrAs. 

The first pAda expounds that Brahman is the cause of the universe &
this signifies the supremacy or "paratva" of the Lord.

The second pAda i.e. "vinata……….", declares the  accessability of the
Lord and expounds His "mOkshapradatva".

The third pAda, points out the pramANa, by means of which, Brahman is
known. The impersonal sruti, which is svayampramANa, is the authority
to know Brahman. Though Brahman is known in the form of Agni, Indra,
Vayu and others, in the pUrvabhAga of the vEdAs, He is exquisitely
illumined in the uttarabhAga or the upanishads. The term vidIpte,
points out this. The two words "brahmaNi" and "srInivAsE", signify the
Supreme reality. Brahman is a general term which culminates in the
particular term sriNIVaSa. The term srInivAsa declares that, the Lord
is the consort of Goddess "Shree" and it suggests the "nityavibhUti",
which is, as real as the "leelAvibhUti". This also establishes the fact
that "srImannarAyaNa" alone is the Supreme Brahman and discards the
view that, one of the trinity may be the Supreme or equality among the
trinity or someone higher than the trnity, may be the Supreme cause of

universe. "parasmin" signifies the Supreme object of attainment and
excludes the attainment of any other thing, as the highest object of

The last pAda of the verse, points out the means of attainment of that
Supreme Brahman. The two terms "s`hEmushI"and "bhaktirUpA" ,are

Bhakti may mean worship and others. "s`mushI" is of the from of
reflective knowledge. Both these are implied in the combination of
"s`mushI bhaktirUpA". It is knowledge of the form of meditation or
"UpAsanAtmakam jn`Anam"

VedAnta dEsika points out as follows.

BhaktE: pUjAdimAtratvam
dhiya:  chintAdirUpatAm
vyavaccHettum ihanyastam
s`EmushyAdi padadvayam  ------------ tatvatIkA - 72.

By this, the views of others, that state that "vAkyArtha j`nAna" or
"j`nAnakarmasamucchaya" is the means to "mOksha" is refuted.

The significant truths of this school are also concisely  expounded in
this invocatory verse.

The characteristics of Brahman are to be noted as follows.

1. "akhilEtyAdinA sarvakAraNatvam" ----- Brahman is the one cause of
all effects as suggested by the terms akhila  bhuvana janma etc.

2.   He is the one to be known and meditated upon, in all the modes of
upAsanAs, meant for attainment of "mOksha".

3..He is to be known exclusively from the host of upanishads.

4. He, who is characterised by the above is, "srInivAsa". The idea is
that, the s`ruti, "nEti  nEti" , should be understood, in the light  of
 all these characteristics and without contradicting any one of them. 

Summarizing the truths expounded here, we may point out thus:

1. Brahman is the main topic of the "s`Astra" ------ "pradhAnavishaya:"

The prayOjana or the benefit from the study is, the attainment of
Brahman. The process of relationship between the "adhiKarI" and
"prayOjana" is thus: By means of "vichAra" or enquiry, one will
ascertain the true nature of the Supreme object of attainment and also
will understand that Brahman itself is the prApaka or the means of that

2. When this is ascertained, that is, when "jij`nAsA" leads to the
"vidIpti" of Brahman, the aspirant will, on account of that itself,
observes "vinati" or self surrender, under the Lord. This absolute
surrender under the Lord, will be the cause of the generation of the
grace of the Lord, which leads to one's "rakshA" or protection, which
will be the ultimate "prayOjana".

Thus, in this invocatory verse, everything that is to be known about
the tatva, hita and purushArtha, is expouned.

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