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VarALI Pancha Rathnam -- Part 3

From: V. Sadagopan (
Date: Sat Jan 10 1998 - 14:21:08 PST

Isvara samvathsaram , Maargazhi Month 26th day
Sukla Paksha TrayOdasi , RohiNi Nakshthtram
MaalE MaNi VaNNA ThiruppAvai Dinam

                               NAMO NAARAYANAAYA

RaamEthi varNa dvayamAdharENa 
sadhA smaran mukthim upEthi Janthu: I
kalau yugE kalmasha maanushANAm
anyathra dharmE kalu nAdhikAra: II

( When one remembers ceaselessly the two lettered
mantam , Raama , and meditates on it  , that jeevan 
attains mOksham .        For the humans full of blemishes ,
who inhabit Kali yugam , there is no other dharmam 
prescribed for attaining mOksham; nay ,they are not
even entitled to travel on any other dharmic routes ) 

Saint ThyagarAjA's Bhaagyam

On the banks of Cauveri river at ThiruvayyAru , Saint 
ThyagaraajA had the blessed experience of the auspicious
darsanam of Sri Ramachandran wearing pithAmbaram and 
navarathna maalais . The KaruNArasa pUrna face of the Lord 
and the merciful glances of his beautiful ArAdhana mUrthy 
thrilled the saint . He poured forth raptourously into VarALI 
krithi , " Kana Kana ruchirA , Kanaka Vasana ninnu " in response
to the  blessings of divya darsanam of the Lord . 

The Bhaagyam of Another Parama BhakthA

The experience of Saint ThyagarAjA reminds one of the powerful
experience of another parama bhakthA of AparyApthamrtha Para Brahmam
reclining at Thirukkudanthai. NammAzhwAr was the Parama Bhakthar
at Thirukkudanthai , who described his parama bhAgyam this way 
from his seat at the base of the Tamarind tree at ThirukkuruhUr :

aarAvamudhE adiyEnudalam nin paalanpAyE
neerayalainthu karaya urukkuhinra NedumAlE !
seerAr senneR kavari veesum sezhuneert Thirukkudanthai 
yErAr kOlam thihazhak kidanthAi kandEnemmAnE !

(Meaning ) : " Oh Lord of Pure Nectar that can never produce satiety !
I have become Your slave after seeing You . My body melts in the love 
that I feel for You . The flowing liquid moves as a flood with the wave
rocking with force. This melting is like what a goldsmith brings about 
on hard gold. Oh Lord ! Are You doing the same extinction of myself 
by reason of Your deep love for me? Well, May it be so! Oh Lord !
You are reclining in a most imposing pose at Thirukkudanthai , where
the red paddy grain stems waft in breeze as if they are doing fanning 
service to You " --- Sri V.N. Vedantha Desikan's translation 

Saint ThyagarajA seeking blissiful conversation with and embrace of
Sri RamachandrA like NammAzhwAr was blessed to have his heart's
desire fulfilled . He enjoyed the insatiable beauty of the AarAvamudhu 
sittting in front of him at his pujA graham at ThiruvayyAru 
and that experience of BrahmAnandham flowed through 
the sAhithya Vaakhyams of VarALi pancha rathnam .

Why there are only 8 charaNams in the VarALi pancha rathnam ?
There are only 8 charaNams for this Pancha rathnam 
compared to the usual ten charaNams for the other four 
Pancha rathnams set in Nattai , Gowlai , Arabhi and Sri
Raagams . As the Saint reached the 8th charanam of 
the VarALi pancha rathnam , he was so overwhelmed by
his anubhavam of the soundharyam of Sri RaamA that he
quit singing further and entered into a trance of bliss 
resulting from this extraordinary anubhava janitha 
aanandham  .  

VarALi  Pancha Rathnam : Condensed Meaning  

Sri C.RamAnujAchari has provided us the condensed
meaning of this krithi in his book , " The Spiritual Heritage
of ThyagarAjA " . I will comment in depth on the individual
sections of the krithi in future postings . For general reference , 
the text of Sri RamAnujAchAri"s translation is as follows :

" Sweeter will be the devotee's pleasure , the more he(she), 
with a loving mind , daily sees You and Your charming 
face radiating beauty and unbounded glory .

Did not such a darsanam redeeem and render happy 
DhruvA , when he felt mortified at the sharp and cruel words 
of his step-mother , Suruchi ? 

Did not the description of the glory of Your benign form
given by HanUmAn transport Sri SitA into a blissful trance ?

This , my statement , will be amply testified to by AnjanEyA ,
who lovingly and longingly holds Your blessed Lotus feet 
in his hands , by Lord SivA , the enjoyer of the superb sweetness
of Your (Raama nAmam) , also by NaaradA , ParAsarA , SukA , 
SaunakA , IndrA , Parvathi and SitA .

Equally sweet is the pleasure of the darsanam of sprightly 
SitA devouring the exquisite beauty of Sri RamA's face with her 
yearning and modest looks . " 

While this translation follows the general outline of the text 
of the Saint , what needs to be addes  is the emotional content of
the conversation that Saint ThyagarAjA had with Sri RamA 
about his AanandhAnubhavam resulting from the darsanam 
of the supreme beauty of his Ishta Dhaivatham and upaasanA
murthy . I will provide annotated commentaries on the Pallavi ,
Anupallavi and the 8 charaNams next .  

Paalavi : Kana Kana RuchirA kanaka vasana ninnu 
With Panchama yeduppu ( Pa maa-- pa maa- gaa gaa- ree) ,
the pallavi starts . Saint ThyagarAjA says here that his heart 
is jumping with joy like the waves react to the rising full
Moon at the sight of the Lord's adhbhutha soundharyam . 
His heart has the state described in Tamil as Vimmi 
puLagAngitham adainthirukkum nilai .

Saint ThyagarAjA's jeevanOpAyam ( the  essential means of 
his life, his livelihood ) was to perform AarAdhanam , kaimkaryam to 
Sri Ramabhadran as he explianed in his Saveri krithi : 

" Raajam Natha Sura Raajam , Sthutha Gaja Raajam ,
Sruthi vinuthAjam , Sudha rathi Raajam , Turaga VirAjam ,
Sujana SamAjam , ThyagarAja Raajam , RAAMAM BhajEham
SadhA " 

He was spending every minute of his life from
dawn to ardhajAmam in SuprabhAtham , AarAdhanam , 
NaivEdhyam, Naama sankeerthanam and  SayanOthsavam .

When on one day he saw the resplendent limbs of the Lord 
after Thirumanjanam , the beauty of this " Athyantha Sundara
Sthuthya sucharithra NithyOthsavan's rUpa Mahimai " overtook 
him and related to Him as the Devathi devan , Sriman NaarAyaNan 
standing in front of him with Kothandham in his Hand and 
attired in divya peethAmbharam . 

He cried out : Himakara kOti niphAnga RaamA ! Oh Lord 
filled with the 32 saamudhrikA lakshaNams ! Oh my Prabhu 
who took the avathAram of a human being to reestablish Dharmam ! 
Oh PeethAmbharAlankrutha MadhyakA ! When I enjoy Your 
divya soundharyam , my heart is pounding and I am sinking
joyously in the ocean of paramAnandham . 

Anupallavi Vaakhyams

dina dinamuna mansuna chanuvana ninnu ( Kana kana--) 

Anupallavi begins with  the Veda Svaram , NishAdham 
to salute the Veda Murthy , Sri Raaman , recognized by 
one of the Sri Raama ashtOttharam as , 
 " Om VEdAthmanE nama: "  

The saint declared here that he is saluting his Lord 
who is resting on the bed of his mind , which gives 
immense pleasure to Him every day and that he in turn  is 
dipping deeply into the ocean of bliss over his soubhAgyam . 
Here , the saint recognizes the divya peethAmbaradhAri 
as the sacred resident of his HrudhayAlayam ( heart temple ) 
and states that he has reached the tanmayA state ( united
with the Lord thru nithya kaimkarya bhAgyam ) . 

The saint , who is a supreme example of a Raama ChaithanyA
practised bhakthi yOgam of  a high order and invoked the Lord
to reside in his HrudhayAkAsam as his favorite seat of residence 
as  pointed out by Sriman NaarAyaNA to PrahlAdhA in 
a passage of PrahlAdha Bhaktha Vijayam  , " Paala saagarmanthu 
bhavvaLinchudakanna  Bhakthuni hrudhayampu bhAgayunDu "
( I prefer the heart cave of my bhakthan as a preferred place 
to rest than the bed of AdisEshA on the milky ocean ) . 

Saint ThyagarAjA had the sEvA of Sri RaamA in his 
hrudhayAkAsam thru dhyAnam every day and celebrated 
that blessing with the salutaions : " Sridhara , Raamachandra , 
Muni chinthitha pAdha , SarOja Sri Hari , Maadhava ,
Manju bhAshaNa , yOdhana veera veera , VARA YOGI
HRUDHALAYA , nannu brOvavE " . 

In his DevagAndhAri krithi ,"  TanalOnE dhyAninchu 
tanmayamE kaavalErA "  , he described his deep desire :

" My Lord , What I would like as a cherished boon from You
is to reach the state of tanmayam through the perfection of
the dhyAnam over Your rUpa mahimA , nAma mahimA and kalyAna
guNAs . This is all what I crave for in this life " .

His prayer was answered and he reached the TanmayA
state after witnessing the supreme beauty of the Lord for
whom he had just completed Thirumanjanam . He performed 
shOdasOpachAram and attained brahmAnandham .  He describes
this state in yet another krithi this way :

" divya peethAmbara Vana mAlAdhAruni , aadhi madhya 
antha rahithuni , akila jagadh pUjuni , AathmA Raamundaku ,
Sriman NaaraayaNa mUrthuni -- shodasOpachAramulachE 
pUjimchu , BrahmAnandha Paravasudai --" 

The above passage is also from PrahlAdha Bhaktha Vijayam ,
an opera  composed by Saint ThyagarAjA . Here , PrahlAdhA 
explains his tanmaya state with the above words : Oh Lord !
I have performed Your aarAdhanam with shodasOpachAram 
as You resided in my heart temple adorned by divya peethAmbharam ,
vana maalai . I have understood You as the Supreme one
without beginning , middle or end and worship You as 
the AathmA Raaman and Sriman NaarAyaNan . 

Saint ThyagarAjA had the highest  reverence for great BhakthAs 
like PrahlAddhA , DhruvA ,  AnjanEyA and NaaradhA . He identified 
himself with their spiritual pursuits and yearned for the boons 
that  they received form the Lord through their faultless practise 
of bhakthi yOgam .
The anupallavi Vaakhyams of VarALi Pancha rathna krithi 
relates to such anubhavams of the supreme bhakthAs of 
Sriman NaarAyaNA .

Sri Raamachandra para BrahmaNE Nama :
Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri SadagOpan