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A Presentation prepared for NammAzhwAr Moksham celebration at Stirling , NJ by Sri RanganAthA Temple of America : Part II

From: Sadagopan (
Date: Mon Dec 27 1999 - 07:17:46 PST

Dear BhakthAs : Sri RanganAthA's mahimai
is limitless . As they say , even the thousand 
tongued AdhisEshA csan not describe it adequately.
The status of alpa maanidam is certainly hopeless
and yet , we will strive to salute an infinitesimal
portion of the Lord's glory at Srirangam following
the path shown by AzhwArs and our PoorvAchAryAs .
May the Dhivya dampathis of Srirangam bless adiyEn
in this fledgling effort . 

AzhwArs and Sri Ranganathan
Eleven out of the 12 AzhwArs with the exception of 
Madhura Kavi placed 247 paasurams at the sacred feet 
of Sri RanganAthan . This is the largest number of Paasurams
for the ArchA Moorthy of any Dhivya Desam . ThiruvEnkatam 
with its 202 paasurams is the next in count .The paasurams 
for Sri RanganaathA fit well with the uniqueness of
Srirangam as the Aadhi KshEthram and we will provide
later five reasons as to why Srirangam and Sri RanganAthan
are so unique in our sampradhAyam for AzhwArs and AchAryAs 
as well as for us.

A reflection on the Number 247 and its mirror image 742 
In a light hearted manner , one can play with the number
247 , which is the sum total of the paasurams by 
the 11 AzhwArs . We can start by transposing this 
number to 742 using a bimba-prathibimbham route . 

Seven can be considerd to represent the Saptha PrAkAra 
madhyan , AkAra SvarUpi ,Sri RanganAthAn;the next number  
Four in this changed sequence can be considered 
either as the four purushArthams or the four Paadhams
of His Charama SlOkam ; the last of the three numbers ,
"2" can be equated to dhvayam . If we do a substraction
exercise , 7 minus 4 minus 2 , we are left with the number 1
to remind us of PraNavam , YekAksharam . Lord RanganAtha
is surely the PraNavArhta PrakAsakan reclining under His
PraNavAkruthi VimAnam as the essence of the four Vedams 
( Veda Srunga VimAnam ). 

Five specific reasons why Srirangam is Unique for us
(1) One of the popular Sanskrit SlOkam used to emphasize 
the uniqueness of Srirangam is:

KaavEri VirajAsEyam Vaikuntam Rangamandhiram 
  sa VaasudEvO RangEsa: Prathyaksham paramam padham 
VimAnam praNavAkAram Vedasrungam MahAdhbhutham 
  Sri rangasAyee BhagavAn PraNavArhta PrakAsaka:

Eight reasons are given for the uniqueness of Sri RangarAjan
and His dhivya Desam in this slOkam :

1.1 : "KaavEri VirajAsEyam" -- At Srirangam , the sacred river
KaavEri is indeed the VirajA river , the divine river flowing
at Sri Vaikuntam .

1.2: "Vaikuntam Rangamandhiram" --Our Lord's temple at 
Srirangam is BhUlOka VaikuNtam or the Vaikuntam in
His LeelA VinhUthi.

1.3: "Sa VaasudEvO RangEsa:"  The Lord here is verily 
Para VaasudEvan .

1.4: "Prathayaksham Paramam Padham "-- This KshEthram is
indeed the supreme abode (paramam Padham ) , where the nithya 
sooris worship Him (SadhA pasyanthi Sooraya: , Tadh VishNO:
paramam padham ).

1.5: "VimAnam PraNavAkAram "-- The VimAnam here has the shape
of the sacred PraNavam (PrNavAkruthi VimAnam).

1.6: "(VimAnam ) Veda srungam MahAdhbhutham "-- This most
wonderful and mysterious VimAnam is like the fragrant VedAs 
that have taken the form of a beautiful lotus bud (Sarasija 
MukuLOthbhAsamAnE VimAnE in Paraasara Bhattar's words). 
Srungam has many other meanings : Horn , the top of
the mountain , Lordship , Soverignity, a fountain of
water . All of these different meanings can be used 
to explain the significance of the Vedasrunga VimAnam . 
Two Rg Vedic verses come into mind as one reflects on 
the word Srungam : 

" Srungam sa dhruptha vinayAdhikrutha--" Rg Vedam: Canto 9
  The reference here is to the Horn, the proud angam of a Bull .

" Srungam na: prathamA --chakravAkEva prathi --" Rg Vedam : 2.39.3
  Here , the reference again is to the two horns of a majestic bull ,
  the Lord .This Veda Manthram begs the Lord to present Himself
  with His mate like two loving ChakravAkA birds every morning ...

" SahasrOthi: sathaamagO VIMAANO  rajasa: kavi:I
  -- Rg Vedam : 9.62.14

  Here the tribute is for the Soma rasam ," the sagacious,
  exhilirating elixir , offering thousand-fold protections and 
  characterized by hundred-fold wealth and is the measure of 
  all the regions ". Such Soma Rasam , offering thousand-fold 
  protections and hundred -fold wealth is the VimAnam , the Veda-
  Srunga VimAnam of the Lord of Srirangam .When one has the darsanam
  of VimAna VaasudEvan at His Veda Srunga VimAnam , one has all
  the blessings and protections referred to by the above Veda- 
  manthram .

1.7: "Sriranga-Saayee BhagavAn " is the 7th group of words.
     The Parama Purushan under the MahAdhbhutha VimAnam is 
     identified for us as SaakshAth BhagavAn of Parama Padham .

1.8: "(Sa BhagavAn) PraNavArtha PrakAsaka:" -- In the final 
      and the eiughth salutation ,the tattvams behind  
      Sriranganaathan , His dhivya Desam ,His adhbhutha-
      VimAnam and His glorious temple all come together 
      in one word: "PraNavArhta PrakAsaka:" . That Lord 
      reclining under His Veda Srunga VimAnam is the One ,
      who is the ParamjyOthi explaining the meaning of PraNavam
      or EkAksharam . Sri Parasara Bhattar , the PurOhithar of
      Sri RanganAthA has explained for us the meaning of 
      PraNavam in first slOkam of his AshtaslOki Sri Sookthi :
      " akArArthO VishNu: jagadh udhaya -rakshA- PraLayakruth 
          MakArArthO jeeavsthu tadhupakaraNam VaishNavam idham
        UkaarO ananyArham niyamayathi sambhandham anayO:
          thrayIsAra: thrayAthmA PRANAVA imam artham samadisath "

(Meaning ): The Supreme Lord , VishNu , who creates , protects
and destroys the universe is denoted by the first aksharam ," A"
in PraNavam; AkAram also includes His PirAtti.MakAram stands 
for the Jeevan; He is the sEsha bhUthan of Akaara SvarUpi, VishNu. 
UkAram stresses that the relationship between the two--the Jeevan 
and the Isvaran -- is ananyArham or does not belong to anyone else. 
This relationship is " Ozhikka OzhiyAthu " as well .The PraNavam 
thus distills the essence of the three Vedams taking the form of 
the three Aksharams, "A, U, M".  

SRI RANGANAATHAN . We will cover the other four 
reasons for unqueness as a prelude to the AzhwAr 
Paasurams in the subsequent postings .

Daasan, O.V.Sadagopan