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Sri Ranganatha PadhukhA Sahasram--part 5

From: V. Sadagopan (
Date: Tue Jan 28 1997 - 17:28:23 PST

Dear Members of the Prapatthi group :

In this posting , I will cover the Third and Fourth 
Paddhathis of RPS named PrabhAva and SamarpaNa
Paddhathis by Swami Desikan .

In the first Paddhathi , he announced the creation of 
the Sthothram on the sacred sandals of the Lord of 
Srirangam . In the second Paddhathi , he discussed
the significance of the name of " Satakopan " and related it
to the paadhukhAs of the Lord . In the seventy slokAs of 
the third Paddhathi , he focused on the glories of the sandals
of the Lord of Srirangam .


In the very first slokam , Swami Desikan sets the tone 
for the celebration of the glories of the Paadhukais of 
the Lord . He says :

vandE tadhranganAthasya mAnyam padhukayOryugam I
       unnathAnAmavanathi: nathAnAm yathra chOnnathi : II

(menaing ) : I salute the celebrated PaadhukhAs of Sri RanganAthA,
which makes the tall become small (humble ) and the small become
tall. Swami Desikan points out that those , who stand tall with their
display of ego are reduced in rank and humbled by the PaadhukhAs;
similarly , those who humbly worship them get elevated and receive 
the blessings of Sri RanganAthA . Even the Lord Himself becomes 
taller , when He wears the PaadhukhAs and becomes shorter , when 
He steps down from them !

In the second verse of this paddhathi , Swami Desikan states that 
it  is impossible to write about the limitless auspicious attributes 
of Sri RanganAtha PaadhukhAs . Even if  the entire sky is made into 
the paper for writing , even if the seas are made to serve as the ink ,
even if the thousand-headed MahA Purushan (Adhi Seshan ) is appointed 
to become a writer , it is doubtful that one can complete adequately 
the task of  writing on the immeasurable , auspicious attributes 
of the Lord's PaadhukhAs .

In the third verse , Swami Desikan points out that the glories of the PaadhukhAs
have their  basis in the VedAs . That basis is elaborated by Sage Valmiki in
Srimadh RamAyaNam and by Vyasa BahgavAn in Srimadh Bahgavatham .
Swami says here that the works of Sages Valmiki and Vyaasa serve as the two
eyes to experience the glory of the PaadhukhAs . Sage Valmiki describes with 
reverence the glory of Sri Rama PaadhukhAs being worshipped by BharathA .
In Srimadh Bhagavatham , Vyasa BhagavAn describes the story of Uddavar ,
who received the instructions directly from Lord KrishNa on Moksha Dharmam ;
after that , Uddavar carried Lord KrishNa's paadhukhAs on his head and 
worshipped them at BadarikAsramam . In many other PurANAs also , Vyasa 
BhagavAn has extolled the greatness of the Lord's PaadhukhAs .

In the seventy seventh slokam , Swami says that there is no limit 
to PaadhukhA's glories and his countless sins 
are clearly dispelled by the power and the golries of the PaadhukhAs. 
The inner meaning is that even if one is a great sinner , the prabhAvam
of the AchAryAs banishes the sins of those , who perform prapatthi
at the sacred feet of their  AchAryAs .


There  are 20 verses in this paddhathi. The central theme
is the presentatioN (SamarpaNam ) of the PaadhukhAs by 
Sri Ramabhadran to his younger brother , BharathA . Latter 
begged and pressed Sri RamA to return to AyodhyA and 
Sri RamA had no interest in returning there .  At that time ,
the Kula Guru VasishtA recommended that Sri RamA 
present his PaadhukhAs to BharathA instead of  him returning 
in person  to AyodhyA . 

Swami Desikan observes playfully that Sri Rama performed 
parasthAnam with his PaadhukhAs . ParasthAnam is typically 
done , when one can not start on a planned journey on an
auspicious day due to unexpected developments. On that  day ,
ParasthAnam is performed by placing the baggage to be taken 
on the planned journey at a place other than one's  own.
Similarly , Sri RamA could not journey back to AyodhyA on the 
day that BahrathA requested him at Chithrakutam . Therefore
Swami Desikan says that Sri RamA performed parasthAnam 
at Nandigramam with his paadhukhAs. 

The inner meaning is that Jeevan begs Sriman NarAyanA to come to 
it or asks the Lord to invite it to His parama padham with great 
intensity and desire . The Lord is not ready to accede to that request
and blesses the Jeevan with a SadhAcharyan , who is deeply attached 
to His lotus feet . When the Jeevan follows the instructions of that 
sadhAcharyan and receives that Acharyan's complete blessings , then the 
Lord joins the Jeevan with Him at  Parama Padham . This inner meaning
suggests that one can not be united with the Lord without the paripurNa 
anugraham of a sadhAcharyan . 

The slokam pregnant with these meanings is :

bhajAma: padhukhE yAbhyAm bahrathasyAgrajastadhA I
            prAya: prathiprAyANAya prAsthanikamakalpayath II

In the second verse , Swami Desikan points out the meaning 
behind Sri Rama taking his PadhukhAs with him instead of 
all other material things , when he left on his exile to 
the forest . Swami points out that PadhukhAs must be 
one of the most precious objects to him for taking them alone on
this journey  . The inner meaning is that 
Sriman NarAyaNA in Sri Vaikuntam worries about the Bhaddha 
Jeevans in the prakruthi mandalam . He places the   AchAryAs 
(His Nitya Suris ) as ParasthAnam on His earth to redeem the 
Jeevans bound in the snares of SamsAram .

In the seventh verse , Swami Desikan asks a rhetorical 
question : Who would have consoled and helped the citizens 
of Kosala Desam , if the PadhukhAs had joined Rama along 
with His brother and wife on the journey to the forest ? 
The PadhukhAs returned to AyodhyA to save the people from their 
sorrows .Here the inner meaning is that we would not have 
any Acharya paramparai to speak of had Sriman NaarAyaNA 
not blessed Natha Muni with his Paadhukhas ( SatAri Suri )
as his AcharyA in the form of NammAzhwAr. 

In the sixteenth slokam , Swami Desikan makes an interesting
observation related to the Srimadh RamAyaNa passage 
that refers to BahrathA's request for Sri Rama to step on the 
PaadhukhAs before giving them to him ( AdhirOhArya PaadhAbhyAm ).
Swami Desikan states that Sri RamachandrA did not step on
the PadhukhAs to empower them , since the PadhukhAs had
unmatchable power of their own . Instead , he ascended them 
to receive the portion of their power to overcome the pains of 
travelling in the forest floor  strewn with sharp stones and thorns.

Thus Swami Desikan celebrates the prabhAvam of the sacred
PadhukhAs during the occasion of the presentation of them 
to BahrathAzhwan by Sri Ramachandra at Chitrakutam .

Swami Desikan ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam .

Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan