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Sri Ranganatha PadhukhA Sahasram --Part 10 : SringAra Paddhathi

From: V. Sadagopan (75041.3037_at_compuserve.com)
Date: Wed Feb 05 1997 - 19:28:41 PST

Dear Members of the Prapatthi Group :

Towards the end of the previous paddhathi , Swami Desikan
described Sri Ranganatha"s travel to the inner chambers of 
His palace to join His consorts for the night . In this section 
known as SringAra Paddhathi , Swami refers to the union of 
the Lord with Devi PadhukhA before and after His visit to 
the quarters of His consorts . Through the union with her Lord ,
Devi PadhukA confers on the Lord His beautiful gait and beats 
time with her musical sounds . This way , Devi PadhukhA 
enhances the sringAram (passion and emotional attachment )
of the Lord towards His consorts. There are ten verses in 
this Paddhathi . It is not easy to translate this section , 
where Swami Desiakn's poetic skills are in full bloom . 

The first verse is as follows :

sowrE : srungAra chEshtAnAm prasuthi paadhukhAm bhajE I
yAmesha BhunkthE suddhAnthAth purvam paschaadhapi Prabhu : II

(Meaning and  comments ) : We meditate upon the PadhukhA Devi ,
whom Sri Ranganatha enjoys through union before and after His visits to 
the antha: puram . The same paadhukhA Devi is the root cause of His erotic
plays with His consorts . Swami Desikan suggests that Ranganatha as
the master takes the role of DakshiNan , Anukoolan to enjoy Devi PaadhukhA
who in turn takes the roles of VallabhA ,VaasakA , sajjikA et al . In erotic
play , 
the master and the Mistress take different roles to enhance the enjoyment 
of their union. Swami hints that the inspiration for the Lord's sringAram 
with His consorts originate from His playful involvement with Devi PadhukhA .

In the second slokam , Swami visualizes another scene associated with 
the union of the Lord with Devi PadhukhA . He says : " O PadhukhE ! 
When the DevAs and their king , IndrA prostrate at Sri RanganAthA's feet ,
honey and pollen present in the flowers from their garlands decorating their
heads mix together . They form a paste and that paste attaches itself to
the Lord's feet . When the Lord unites His feet with you , it looks as though
it is like the erotic play in which the master smears vermillion and sandal
paste on the limbs of his mistress. 

In the third slokam , Swami Desikan describes a tender scene . After 
description of the smearing of the sandal paste , Swami elaborates on 
the Lord's state of preparation for union with the PadhukhAs . The imagery of
Lord RanganathA in His wet clothes after His bath and His wearing of a necklace
with loosely-knit pearls after that bath comes before Swami"s mind. He relates 
this imagery to the mood and  appearance of the Lord before His union with 
Devi PadhukhA . He equates the single wet garment to the cloth sprinkled with
rose water in anticipation of the pleasurable union. He relates the pearls in 
the necklace adorning the upper portion of the body to beads of sweat arising
from the excitement over the approaching union . Swami Desikan says that 
he meditates upon that indescribable tender scene .

The fourth slokam , Swami Desikan describes the contest between 
the PadhukhAs and the consorts of the Lord for His attention. Swami says :
" O PadhukhE ! In the halls of the inner chambers , the Consorts of the Lord 
offer their salutation to You and the Lord , when they witness His preference
for 
union with you over them . They enjoy the beauty of the Lord's gait , while
being
united with you . Their affectionate gazes at both of you appear like their
worship 
of You with flowers in celebration of your union with their Lord. Gracefully ,
they 
concede their defeat at the game of attracting their Lord . 

In the fifth slokam , Swami Desikan describes the times in which 
the prince of Srirangam is separated from Devi padhukhA , while 
He is united with His consorts . Swami says that the eternally mischievous 
youth of Srirangam is never far away from Devi padhukhA even during 
the time of union with His consorts. At those times , Swami states that 
Devi padhukhA enjoys the splendour of the beautiful body of her Lord 
bereft of His ornaments. Swami Concludes this slokam by suggesting that 
Devi padhukhA has  a great joy in being close to the Lord even in those times,
when she loses the game with the consorts of the Lord .

In the seventh slokam , Swami Desikan gives an explanation for
Devi padhukhA being the senior consort among all of His consorts .
He says : O PadhukhE ! when your  Lord sleeps , you stay very close 
to His lotus feet with great affection . During the dawn time , when 
the VaithAlikAs wake Him up , His first glance falls on you 
befitting your rank as the first among His consorts . Your stature as 
His foremost consort is therefore unquestioned . 

In the eighth slokam, Swami Desikan describes 
the PadhukhAs as having the eternal fragrance of 
the VedAs (Nityam Nigama ParimaLam ) . Swami has 
blessed us with a work known as Nigama ParimaLam . Here he
connects the PadhukhAs to the esoteric doctrines covered by that work .

In the tenth and final slokam of this paddhathi , Swami Desikan gives one 
more reason for the PadhukhA's title as the first among the Lord's consorts .
He says : O PadhukhE ! Sri RanganAtha has a lot of travel to undertake. 
You carry Him on all of those occasions. Depending on the nature of 
the business at hand , you adopt an appropriate gait. Some times you 
rush fast to get your Lord to His desired destination quickly . At the other
times , you move slowly. There are thus many variations in your gait , which
are enjoyed by the Lord during His union with you. None of His other consorts
have your good fortune to enjoy their Lord in so many moods and contexts .
Hence , I am convinced that You are the foremost among His Devis .

Sri Rangantha Divya MaNi PadhukhE ! Thubhyam Nama :
Swami Desikan ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam .
Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan