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Sri Ranganatha PadhukhA Sahasram (RPS ): VaithAlika Paddhathi --Part 9

From: V. Sadagopan (
Date: Tue Feb 04 1997 - 17:05:41 PST

Dear Members of the Prapatthi Group :

We will devote this posting to the VaithAlika Paddhathi of 
RPS . This ninth Paddhathi has only ten verses . It is constructed in 
the form of the court singers waking up Sri RanganAthA and 
requesting Him to adorn His holy PadhukhAs and get ready 
to conduct His daily duties . Court poets or bards appointed for this 
function are known as Vandhis or VaithAlikAs or BodhakArAs . The title 
for the paddhathi drives from that nomenclature .

Swami Desikan suggests here that the VaithAlikAs , who announce 
time in Sri RanganAthA's court are none other than the Upanishads . 
The ten verses of this Paddhathi address Sri RanganAthA Himself 
indirectly ,since He alone has the two states of being awake and engaging 
in Yoga NidrA . The invitation is extended to Sri RanganAthA to adorn 
His PadhukhAs and to come to the DarbAr and conduct His duties of 
protecting His devotees and punishing their enemies. Some of the verses 
remind one of Thondaradipodi"s ThirupaLLiyezucchi paasurams 
addressed to Sri RanganAthA . 

The first Slokam of this Paddhathi appeals to the PadhukhAs this way :

namasthE paadhukhE ! pumsAm samsArArNava sEthavE I
yadhArOhya vedhAnthA vandhi vaithAlikA : svayam II

(meaning ) : O PadhukhE ! I salute you , who cut asunder the cycles
of births and deaths of the people . The Upanishads are waking up 
your  Lord through their eulogies and appealing to Him to adorn you .
They have taken on the role of court bards to announce the different 
times and divisions of the day and night for your Lord to adorn you 
and to travel to the appropriate  places to perform His duties .

In the second slokam , The upanishads praise Sri RanganAthA 
and remind Him of His early morning duties . They say : " O Lord
of Srirangam ! As the dawn is breaking , BrahmA , SivA , Sage SanakA 
and others are waiting at your outter court at the request of VishvaksEnA .
Please wear Your gem-bedecked PadhukhAs on waking up and 
come near the assembled Gods and Maharishis to bless them . 
Please wear your PadhukhAs for Your  travel to the outter court .
Your PadhukhAs are the first among those enjoying the bliss of Your 
kingdom through uninterrupted service to You . Please bless them 
first by ascending on them and then join the assembled Gods and Sages
to confer Your blessings " . 

In the third slokam , the upanishads as VaithAlikas appeal to the 
Lord further this way : " O RanganAthA ! May the PadhukhAs be united
with Your holy  feet comforted so far by MahA Lakshmi during Your Yoga
NidrA .  It is now the turn of Your PadhukhAs to have their sambhandham .
Dawn is advancing and Your (lotus ) eyes are half open just as 
the  lotuses in the ponds  at this early morning hour before sunrise.
The Lotus on Your navel housing Your son is also half open at the 
sight of your half open eyes , which are the Sun and the Moon .   
Your servants have assembled now and are waiting for You 
to open your eyes fully  and to command them about the discharge 
of their assigned  duties. May Your servants have the blessings of seeing
your half open eyes and the half open lotus on Your navel . 
Afterwards , please open Your eyes fully so that  You can adorn 
Your waiting PadhukhAs comfortably . 

In the fourth verse , Swami Desikan says that the Lord is now fully 
awake. The Upanishads praise Him and remind Him that the time 
has come for Him to ascend His PadhukhAs to initiate the day's festivities.
The eulogizing upanishads say : " O RanganAthA ! The auspicious 
period of fourty eight minutes (MuhUrtham ) set for Your travel according to 
the rules of astrology established by AdisEshA has approached . Therefore ,
let Your beautifully jingling sound of the PadhukhAs announce your adorning them
that the assembled kings , DevAs and servants will know that You have started 
Your journey to the hall of festivities, where they are waiting for You  . 

The fifth verse describes yet another appeal by the Upanishads as 
the day progresses . In the last verse , the Upanishads invited Him 
to come to the hall of festivities wearing His paadhukhAs and ascend 
thereafter on His Vaahanam (mount ) of GarudA . RanganAtha did that
and proceeded on GarudA's back to the hall of festivities. The Upanishads 
describe what happened after  arriving at the Festival hall this way :
" O RanganAthA ! When You participated in your Uthsavam at the Uthsava
Mantapam on the back of GarudA , Your son BrahmA officiated at that
festival . At the conclusion of the Uthsavam , BrahmA placed Your PadhukhAs 
on the heads of the prostrating VedAs and returned them back to Your sacred
feet . The PadhukhAs are ready now to carry You back to Your AasthAnam 
to remove any fatigue You might have had from the journey on the back of GarudA

to the Uthsava Mantapam . Your PadhukhAs are soft like lotus petals and 
they will give You great comfort . Please ascend on them ." 

In the sixth verse , The Upanishads suggest to Lord RanganAthA that 
the noon has  arrived and it is time for His mid day sacred bath . They 
remind Him that he has descended form GarudA , taken His stroll on 
the back of the PaadhukhAs , blessed His devotees and the next item 
on the daily agenda is His sacred bath due at noon time for performing 
MadhyAhnikham . The Upanishads according to Swami Desikan say :
" O RanganAthA ! The day at Srirangam is half done. Duirng the period upto 
noon, You sat on Your throne with Sri Devi , Bhu devi and NeeLa Devi and 
conducted the affairs of Your State . You dispensed justice. Now , the second
of the day is about to start. NeeLA Devi has sent Her assistants to place Your 
PadhukhAs in front of You so that You can adorn  them and travel to perform 
Your abolutions prescribed by the SaasthrAs for the noon time .

In the seventh slokam , Swami Desikan Visualizes the approach of 
the Saayam SandhyA (Evening time ) . The  deepams are lit and brought 
by the ladies to The Lord's sannidhi .. KsheerAnna Nivedanam follows .
The MangalAratthi ceremony proceeds thereafter. Swami Desikan 
prays to Lord RanganAthA through the medium of Upanishads to
participate in the NeerajAsanam ( worship with the Deepams ) 
performed by the divine damsels (Apsaras women ) . The Upanishads
address Sri RanganAthA according to our AcharyA this way : " O Lord !
We request You to participate in the MangaLAratthi ceremony . We request 
You to adorn Your paadhukhAs and walk to the hall , where the Apsaras 
women are waiting with the lamps (deepams ) in their beautiful hands.
Your PaadhukhAs will bring You  over there with their 
customary grace and elegance .

In the eigth slokam of this Paddhathi , reference is made by  the Upanishads
in their role as VaithAlikAs to the remaining three of the six types of 
aasanAs constituting the daily aarAdhanam for the Lord. The previous 
verse covered SnAnAsana , AlamkArAsanA and NeerajAsanA . Here , 
the Upanishads request the Lord to travel to the different sites on the back
of the PaadhukhAs to receive the remaining aasanAs , where they are being 
readied to be offered . The Upanishads as ViathAlikAs request the Lord 
to accept the PadhukhAs presented by BrahmA for such a travel . 

In the ninth slokam , the upachArams appropriate at the time of 
the approach of the  night is described .  VaithAlikAs eulogize 
the Lord and advise Him that the servants of the inner chambers 
(Antha: puram ) of His palace have sent ManmathA (Kama DevA ) 
to request Him  to join Your consorts there . ManmathA stands before 
the Lord  with folded hands to grant this request . The VaithAlikAs say :
" O RanganAthA ! please grant ManmathA his request so that Your 
consorts will be pleased . May Thou approach Your PadhukhAs ,
which are ready to trasport You with elan to the inner apartments 
of Your palace , where Your bed rooms are located ."

In the past eight verses , PadhukhA"s service to Lord RanganAthA
from dawn to night were described. In this tenth and final verse ,
Swami Desikan points out that RanganAthA enjoys His consort's intimacy 
only at night , where as He enjoys the union with His PadhukhAs
many times during the day . Here Swami Desikan hints that the union
between the Lord and SatAri Suri (NammAzhwAr / PadhukhA ) is more 
frequent and intense than that of the Lord with His own consorts.
Swami Desikan says : " O PadhukhE ! Lord RanganAthA is cued in by 
the VaithAlikAs about the different occasions during the day and night ,
when He should unite with you . The Lord benefits from these promptings
and joins you , the PadhukhE , with great affection .

Sri RanganAtha MaNi PadhukhE ! Thubhyam Nama :
Swami Desikan ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam 
Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan