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Sri VenaktEsa Prapatthi: Part 1

From: Sadagopan (
Date: Sun Jan 09 2000 - 08:16:01 PST

Dear Sri SrinivAsa BhakthAs :

Prapatthi or the surrender of one's self at
the feet of Sriman NaarAyaNaa is a fundamental 
doctrine of Sri VaishNavam. The performance of
Prapatthi is for attaining Moksha Siddhi 
and for not returning to the cycles of 
births and deaths ( apunarAvrutthi ). 

Our AzhwArs and AchAryAs have established that 
aakinchanyathvam ( recognition of  one's utter 
helplessness to practise Bhakthi, Karma and
Jn~Ana yOgams ), ananyagathithvam ( total 
dependence on the Lord and Lord alone for 
one's salvation)are the two essential requisites 
to perform successful Prapatthi .It is in
this context Sri AlavandhAr declared in 
his sthOthra rathnam :

aakinchanO ananyagathi: SaraNya !  
Tvath Paadhamoolam SaraNam prapadhyE 

(meaning): Oh My Saviour ! adiyen offers my
Prapathti at your lotus feet as a totally
helpless one with no recourse other than You .

AchArya RaamAnujA following the  foot steps 
of AlavandhAr declared in his Sri Vaikunta 
Gadhyam :

anAgathAnantha kaala-samIkshyAapyadhrushta -
samthArOpAya: -nikila janthu jAtha SaraNya!
SrImann! NaarAyaNa ! tava charaNAravindha yugaLam

(meaning ): I perform SaraNAgathi at the feet 
of the Lord with the full conviction that adiyEn
has no recourse other than this deed to gain
mOkshAnugraham ; adiyEn knows that there is no other
means even if adiyEn waits for thousands of kalpams 
(aeons) except to complete prapatthi at Your sacred feet .

Swamy Desikan , who extolled the greatest kalyaNaguNam of
the Lord as DayA and visualized that GuNam as one
of His five devis revealed to us the significance of 
Prapatthi for a Sri VaishNavan :

Santha: SrIsam svatanthra prapadhana -
vidhinA mukthayE nirvisankaa: 

(meaning ): The great ones without any doubt 
approach the Lord of MahA Lakshmi to gain 
Moksha Siddhi through the prescribed route of
Savtanthra Prapatthi ( Prapatthi that is performed
without Bhakthi as an angam ).

Many indeed are the Sri Sookthis that have 
been bequeathed to us by our AchAryAs that
describe their Prapatthis to the presiding
deities of Srirangam , Kaanchipuram ,
ThiruviNNagar and Thiruppathi .

Sri VenaktEsa prapatthi belongs to this tradition 
of sacred works that performs Prapatthi to the Lord
of the seven hills . The author is a key dsiciple
of the great AchAryA , MaNavALa MaamunigaL. There 
are sixteen slOkAs in this Sri Sookthi . The first 
slOkam offers Prapatthi to Sri MahA Lakshmi in 
the time honored tradition of Sri VaishNavam . Rest
of the slOkams address their appeal to Sri VenaktEsA
and beseech His divine grace to accept this AchAryA's
Prapatthi . The general meanings of these sixteen
slOkams are given below along with the text of
these slOkams :

(1) IsAnAm jagathOsya Venkatapather- 
    VishNO: parAm PrEyasIm
    Tadh vakshalsthala nithyavaasa rasikAm- 
    tathkshAnthi samvardhinIm I
    PadhmAlankrutha paaNi pallava yugAM-
    PadmAsanasthAm Sriyam 
    VaathsalyAdhi-guNojvalAm BhagavathIm-
    VandhE Jaganmaatharam II

(Meaning): Sri AlamelumangA is the Mother of all 
the universes and their beings . She resides always
on the chest of Sri VenkatEsA and is His dearest consort.
Through Her proximity to Her Lord with Her eteranl
residence on His chest , She enhances the compassion 
for us , the errring-jeevans . Our Mother , Sri 
Alamelumanga is seated on a lotus and carries two
lotus flowers on Her tender lotus-stalk like hands. 
She is reputed for Her benovolent qualities such as
affection and compassion for us , Her children .
After bowing to Her and obtaining Her blessings ,
adiyEn approaches my Father, Lord SrinivAsA without
any fear to perform Prapatthi at His sacred feet .

(2) Srimann KrupaajalanidhE krutha SarvalOka 
    Sarvag~na Saktha Nathavathsala sarvasEshin I
    Swaminn Suseela SulabhAsritha Paarijatha 
    Sri VenkatEsa CharaNou SaraNam prapadhyE 

(meaning): Oh Lord of MahA Lakshmi ! Oh Ocean of
Mercy !You pervade all universes. You are
the witness to all happenings in this and other 
universes and as such You are aware of every thing. 
You are omnipotent . You treasure those , who seek
Your holy feet . You are the ultimate and residual
entity of every thing. You are indeed the undisputed
Supreme Lord. You come to the rescue of those , 
who call out to You in their states of utter 
helplessness. You serve as the cool boon-granting 
PaarijAthA tree to those , who surrender themselves
at Your sacred feet . Therfore , adiyEn also performs
the SaraNAgathi at Your divine feet .

(3) aanUpurArpitha sujAtha sugandhi pushpa-
    sourabhya sourabhakarou samasannivEsou I
    soumyou sadhAnbhavanEapi navaanubhAvaou
    Sri VenkatEsa ChaaraNou SaraNam PrapadhyE II

(Meaning ): Oh Lord of Venkatam hills! Devotees place at
Your holy feet fragrant flowers during their worship. 
That assembly of flowers reach up to Your ankles and
cover the ornaments adorning Your ankles .As a result 
of their association with Your holy feet , the fragrance of
these flowers get multiplied manyfold. Although adiyEn
worships Your tender flower-covered feet everyday , 
adiyEn's enjoyment of Your sacred feet increases
day by day. AdiyEn is never satiated by the thought of 
Your divine feet; on the contrary , the glory of Your
sacred feet enhances adiyEn's desire to worship them even
more every day. Those paadha kamalams are a delight 
to adiyEn's eyes and mind. AdiyEn offers now my Prapatthi
at those sacred feet of Yours.

(4) sadhyO vikAsi samudhithvara saandhrarAga-
    sourabhya nirbhara sarOruha saamyavArthAm I
    samyakshu saahasapadhEshu vilEkhayanthou 
    Sri VenkatEsa CharaNou SaraNam prapadhyE II

(Meaning ): Oh Sri VenaktEsA ! Lotus flowers might be 
the best among all the flowers because of their 
tenderness , fragrance and color.It is not however 
correct to equate the beauty of Your feet to them . 
It would indeed be a gross exaggeration to compare
the lotus flower to the benevolent attributes of Your 
holy feet . Such attempted comparisons are indeed 
the foolish efforts of ignorant poets , who do not
understand the magnitude of greatness of Your divine 
Paadha kamalms. Indeed , there is nothing in the world
that can come near the unique auspicousness of Your
sacred feet. AdiyEn performs my prapatthi  at those 
matchless feet of Yours. 

..To Be Continued