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Sri RanganAtha PaadukhA Sahasram(RPS ) : Part 13--ParAga Paddhathi

From: V. Sadagopan (
Date: Sat Feb 08 1997 - 18:46:56 PST

Dear Members of the Prapatthi Group :

In this posting , we will cover the ParAga paddhathi of RPS.
There are 30 slokams in this Paddhathi . ParAga means the pollen of 
a flower or a speck of dust. Swami Desikan composed thirty 
verses to celebrate in this section the mystery and the holiness 
of the specks of dust (RENU ) associated with the Lord's PadhukhAs .
This paddhathi reminds me of Thondaradipodi AzhwAr , who 
named himself as the dust of the feet of the BhagavathAs 
or BhakthAngri ReNu . 

In the first verse , Sawmi Desikan blesses us and invokes the sacred 
dust associated with the sanchAram of the PadhukhAs of PadmanAbhA 
to protect us . The slokam is as follows :

paanthu va: PadmanAbhasya padhukhA keli pAmsava: I
AhalyA deha nirmANa paryAya paramANava: II

(Meaning ) : May the specks of dust associated with PadmanAbhA's
padhukhAs protect You ! They were the ones that reconstructed AhalyA's 
body into its original form . 

(Background ) :When Rama traveleld on his novel journey to SiddhAsramam 
with sage ViswAmitrA , the dust specks from his paadhukhAs subdivided 
into atomic particles and reconstructed AhalyA's body in the form 
of a stone back to that of the human form as the  beautiful wife 
of sage GautamA . Her curse was removed by the holy dust specks 
associated with the Lord's PaadhukhAs .

In the second verse , Swami Desikan points out that the dust 
particles associated with the Lord's fast moving paadukhAs 
have the capacity to cleanse the minds  of agitated people 
just as the soap nut powder ( Powder from the kathakA nut )
cleanses the  muddy water and soiled clothes. 

In the fourth slokam , Swami states that discriminating people
(Vivekis ) smear the dust particles ( ParAgAs)  associated with
the PadhukhAs on their children to drive away the malevolent spirit 
of egotism . They repeat this act many times to make sure that 
their egotism is completely banished . Swami Desikan explains 
that they take this action at a tender age of the child 
to ward off any onset of egotism as the child grows up .

In the fifth slokam , Swami Desikan mentions that the dhig paalakAs
( Lords of the 8 directions ) wear with humility the dust particles of
the PadhukhAs on their heads prior to their battle engagements 
with their foes. During the time of the battle , they do not wear any 
protection for their heads .  Sri Paadhukha ReNu protects them from
any harm during those occasions. 

In the eigth slokam Swami Desikan is in a playful state of mind 
and asks a question :  " Asthu kim puna: idham rajasA teh 
suddhasatvamayathA manujAnAm ? " . O PadhukhE ! 
What is this mystery ? Your Rajas removes RajO guNam
and makes one attain Suddha Satva maya state .Swami 
uses the word " Rajas " in sledai ( Double meaning) .
Rajas means both the speck of particles as well as RajO
guNam , one of three GuNAs associated with Prakruthi .
By your RajO guNam ( particle state ) , People are cleansed
of their RajO guNam (passionate disposition )says Swami Desikan .
The inner meaning is that travel with the Lord during the UthsavA times 
leads to contact with the dust associated with  the PaadhukhAs 
that carry Him , which in turn destroys their RajO and TamO guNams 
and makes them full of Satthva GuNam . 

In the tenth slokam , Swami states that The Lord travelling on the back
of His paadhukhAs during the times of festivities raises specks of dusts.
Those dust specks are worn as decoration by great scholars in 
the parting lines of their foreheads (Vagidu ) like auspicious vermillion 
(sindhUram ) . These dust particles affiliated with the PadhukhAs confer 
rich Vedic wisdom and divine knowledge to those Scholars . Thus blessed ,
they sanctify the world by their presence.

Inthe fifteenth slokam , Swami says : " O PadhukhE ! Your Lord 
is carried over many streets of Srirangam by you during the festival
times. The dust arising from such travels cover your body and you get 
soiled . Paramasivan sees this and bows before you and 
uses the upper portion of the elephant skin that He is wearing as 
garment and brushes away all the accumulated dust specks and 
offers His kaimkaryam to you this way .

In the seventeenth slokam , NigamAntha MahA Desikan reveals that 
the power of the ParAgAs of PaadhukhAs can cure the SamsAric ills 
as well as  create an aversion to the worldly pleasures (VairAgyam ) . 
He points out that VairAgyam results from the great love (Kaamam ) 
for the Lord like the Gopis for  KrishNA and that state of detatchment 
is facilitated by the power of the ParAgAs of the PaadhukhAs . 

The ninteenth , twentieth and the twenty first slokams of this
Paddhathi deal with the prayer of Swami Desikan for the dust 
of the PadhukhAs to fall on his body during  his last moments  on 
this earth . In the ninteenth verse Swami appeals to the PadhukhAs
this way : " O PadhukhE ! at the time of my last moments on this earth,
you should help me with your power to lead RanganAtha quickly from
His Ranga VimAnam( Sanctum sanctorium )  and bring Him 
to my bed side . Thrugh that act , you will be removing my sufferings 
like placing green camphor ( Pacchai Karpooram) powder on my
tongue". Green camphor powder and sugar are placed in 
a dying person's tongue moments before their death to arrest 
the adverse flow of fluids that cause bitter taste in one's mouth .

In the twentieth verse , Swami points out that those who wear 
the celebrated dusts of the PadhukhAs duirng their last moments 
end up being celebrated by the Devas , who carry the feet of the 
sanctified person on their own heads to display their veneration . 

In the twenty first verse , Swami Desikan says : " O Compassionate
Mother PadhukhE ! O Madhava PadhukhE ! during my last moments ,
please rush to my side .Your quick steps to my bed side will raise a 
cloud of dust , May I breathe that holy dust and derive comfort in my last
big breath ! Please come before my jeevan leaves the cage of my body 
so that your sacred dust can be smeared over my Karma and JnAnendriyAs
to quell their agitations ". The inner meaning is that Swami Desikan 
requests for the blessings of Kaimkaryam to the Lord"s PadhukhAs
( NammAzhwAr ) upto his last minute . The ParAgAs of the PadhukhAs
will cover the IndriyAs as well as the PadhukhAs . The coverage of the 
IndriyAs will purify them. The departing PrANan will then wipe gratefully
the dusts that becloud the lustre of the PadhukhAs and restore them to their 
pristine clarity. Thus the PrANan of Swami Desikan would have performed 
the Kaimkaryam to the padhukhAs until its last moment . 

In the previous  slokams , Swami Desikan described the speed with which
the PadhukhAs rushed to its devotees durinng their last moments . In the 24th
slokam , he describes the haste with which the padhukhAs  rush to destroy
the enemies of the Lord. He says : " O MaNi PadhukhE ! Your Lord blesses
His devotees in His subhAsrayam wearing the five weapons (viz)., the disc,
conch , knife , bow and mace . In that form , He receives the eulogies of
His BhakthAs. Why ? It is because the cloud of dust associated with your
lightning like movements to attack the enemies of the Lord takes away 
their will for fighting. They get subdued instantaneously. Your Lord 
does not have the opportunity to use any of His weapons. His devotees 
see Him thus in this auspicious form wearing all His five weapons and 
salute Him . This was made possible because of your intervention 
and the power of your dust specks (ParAgAs ) . 

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