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Stotra Ratnam : Part 1

From: V. Sadagopan (
Date: Sun Dec 01 1996 - 20:38:50 PST

Dear Members  of the Prapatthi group :

After completing the Chathussloki on the mahAthmyam
of Sri Devi , AaLavandhAr proceeded to compose his 
tribute to Sriman NarayaNan.There are 65 slokas in
this sthothram . The number 65 is  the sum of the letters
contained in the three rahasyams( AshtAkshari+Dwayam+
Sarama Slokam ) . Therefore, Sthothra Ratnam is considered 
the essence of Rahasya Trayam or it is the Rahasya Trya Saaram.

It has  been said that there is no Kavyam that moves one's heart
as Srimadh RaamayaNam ; Similarly , Sthothra Ratnam has been
considered by Purvacharyas as the sthothram that is matchless 
in moving one 's heart . It has profound philosophical principles
and yet it is a moving appeal to the Lord and cries out for His 
grace. This sthothram is a great lesson in the stages that one
has to go through to perform SaraNAgathi and to become free of 
fear about SamsaarA . 

The sthothram starts and ends  in the traditional way of salutations to 
one's AchArya . Swami Desikan states that  this gem of a sthothram 
is placed in the beautiful box of Acharya sthuthi . YaamunA starts with 
the salutation to his Acharya and then moves on to praise BhagavAn.
He becomes diffident about his qualifications for the task and yet 
wants to eulogize Him in the manner of VedAs and Upanishads .
His resolution gets diluted and he laments over his lack of 
qualifications and inadequacies and performs akinchana SaraNAgathi 
at the lotus feet of the Lord . He then comforts himself by reflecting
that even a small upAyam such as SaraNAgathi can yield major 
auspicious results and that his goal in performing SaraNAgathi is 
to do Nithya Kaimkaryam in Sri Vaikuntam . He recognizes that 
the great sins that he has  accumulated obstruct  progress in
the attainment of his desired goal . He states that he is however 
not discouraged as  a result of his awareness of the Lord' s 
DayA . He appeals movingly to the Lord to strengthen his 
SaraNAgathi efforts and to protect him from the obstacles that 
stand in his way towards the realization of his goal. He goes on
to the next step of prayer, where he begs the Lord to grow his Bhakthi
towards Him and to bless him to live with BhagavathAs and to
live in  a state of KaarpaNyam devoid of egotistic thoughts. 
He pleads with the Lord for Acharya Sambhandham to realize the 
fruits of the glorious Prapatthi and declares his MahA viswAsam 
in the Lord's KshamA and anukampA to bless him with the fruits 
of Prapatthi .

The meaning of Dwayam is deftly interlaced  in the body of this
gem among sthothrams composed by AaLavandhAr . In the previous work,
Chathussloki , our Acharya made Purushakaara Prapatthi to
Sri Devi . Thereafter, as he starts to perform BharanyAsam 
at the holy feet of the Lord, he completes guru paramparAnusanthAnam
as the first step as a prerequisite. He elaborates next on the meaning of
NaarAyaNa sabdham and follows the arc of Dwayam and completes 
the SaraNAgathi at the sacred feet of Sriman NaarAyaNA . The second 
paadham of Dwaya manthram comes into focus now. Our Acharya now 
explains the meaning of "SrimathE nArAyaNAya " section by stating 
that  this portion stands for the obtainment of the fruit of nitya Kaimkaryam 
to Sri VaikunTa naathan in Parama Padham . He adds next the slokams 
that cover the "Nama: " section--the concluding word of Dwayam -- for
seeking the Lord's anugraham to eliminate any left over obstacles in
his efforts to get  the full benefits of SaraNAgathi (i-e) Nitya Kaimkarya 
PurNAnubhavam . Thus , the slokams of Sthothra Ratnam can be 
considered to cover the full meaning of  the sacred Dwaya Manthram .

The Two Invoctory verses (Taniyans ) for Sthothra Ratnam

Taniyan 1 :

svAdhayan iha sarveshAm thryyanthaartham sudurgraham I
sthothrayaamasa yogeendra: tam vandE YaamunAhvayam II

I salute Yaamuna Muni ( Yamunai Thuraivar ) , the preeminent 
among the Yogis for blessing us with the gem among sthothrams.
He gave us this eulogy so that  we can all enjoy the delectable 
taste of the meaning of the VedanthA , which is very difficult to
realize on our own .

Taniyan 2 :

namO namO YaamunAya YaamunAya namO nama: I
namO namO YaamunAya YaamunAya namO  nama: II

There are many nama: sabdhaas in this Taniyan. Each of the 
nama: sabdhaas have their own meanings. The five meanings 
of the nama: sabdham are : My Maanasa  , Vaachika and Kaayika 
( mind, Speech and Body ) NamaskArams to Yaamuna Muni; 
In addition to these three Upaaya namaskArams , I salute 
Yaamuna Muni in Parama Padham for making it possible to
reap the benefits of my Prapatthi . May the fruits of these namaskaarams 
not belong to me , but only to him as the Seshi .

Yaamunaacharyan ThiruvadigalE saraNam.

Sri VaishNava Daasan ,

Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan