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Part 2-Experiencing Bhagavat Ramanuja Yatiraja's Divine Works

From: M.S.HARI (Madabhushi Sarangarajan Hari) (mshari_at_usa.net)
Date: Tue Jun 27 2000 - 01:18:57 PDT

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Experiencing Bhagavat Ramanuja Yatiraja's Divine Works Part 2
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Vedaartha Sangraham
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The sermons given by Bhagavat Ramanuja on Veda before Shree Venkata
Shreenivasan are compiled as Vedartha Sangraha. This is the first work of
Bhagavat Ramanuja. Though this work mainly ascertains the purport of the
Vedanta (Upanishad), it is not to be understood that this grantha just
explains the upanishads but it is the purport of all Vedas as the Vedas
finally aim at conveying the meaning of upanishads. Therefore this work is
titled as Vedaartha Sangraham, meaning the summary of Veda. This is not only
complete in itself but also serves as a detailed introduction to Shree
Bhaashya as the content of Jignyaasaadhikaranam is elaborated in this work.
This grantha has such a value that without studying this, beginners find it
very difficult to study Shree Bhashya. 

Vedartha Sangraha has two parts of which the first part is called "Mathaantara
Khandana" and the second part is "Swa Matha Vistaara". In the first part,
Bhagavat Ramanuja refutes and rejects the Advaita matha of Adi Sankara, the
Beda-Abheda matha of Bhaskara and that of Yadava Prakasa. In the second part,
the preceptor in detail explains and establishes Visistadvaita Shree Vaishnava
philosophy and practice. It is established in this grantham beyond doubt that
the Veda's purport is only Visistadvaita Shree Vaishnavam and nothing other
than that. 

Sruta Prakashikacharya (Shree Sudarsana Suri) has commented on this work of
Bhagavat Ramanuja and it is known as Tatparya Deepika - Sruta Pradeepika. 

In the beginning of this grantham, Bhagavat Ramanuja has composed two Mangala
Slokams (Verses) of which the first one is not only in the form of worshiping
the Paramaatman Vishnu, but also is in the form of essence of the second part
of this grantha. Similarly, the second Mangala Sloka is not only in the form
of saluting his preceptor (Bhagavat Yamunacharya) but also is in the form of
essence of the first part of this grantha. Mangala Slokas are found in the
works of our Aacharyas for two reasons - first reason being, worshiping
Bhagavan makes the grantham to be successfully completed without obstacles and
the second reason being, worshiping Aacharyas (preceptors) makes us to get the
knowledge fully as imparted by the grantha. Let us first comprehend the
mangala slokas as follows:
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The First Mangala Sloka Of Vedaartha Sangraha:
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"Asesha Chitachit Vastu Seshine Sesha Saayine | 
Nirmalaananta Kalyaana Nidhaye Vishnave Namaha ||"
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This is the essence of our Visistadvaita Shree Vaishnava philosophy and
practice. The Tatva-Hita-Purusharthas are beautifully conveyed by this verse.


"Chit" denotes the sentient soul - jeevaatman. The Jeevaatman is identified as
finite (aNu), sentient (Jgnyaana), unchanging (Satya), blissful (Aananda)
nature-reality (Swaroopa). He is thus knowledge-self and also has a knowledge
(Dharma Bhootha Jgnyaana) as his inseparable attribute. He is Swayam-prakasa
meaning knows himself ie., his individuality as he is Jgnyaana swaroopa. He
knows other things using his Dharma Bhoota Jgnyaana. Baddha (bound by karma in
material world), Muktha (liberated from karma and hence from material world)
and Nitya (eternally and ever free from karma) are the three types of Chit.
The Chit is eternal and is imperishable. 

"Achit" denotes the insentient matter. Its nature is to change from one form
to another. It neither knows itself nor anything. Trigunya (matter having
Satva, Rajas and Tamas), Satva Soonya (Time which is devoid of Satva) and
Sudha Satva (matter having pure Satva without rajas and tamas) are the three
types of Achit.

"Asesha" denotes that there are innumerable Jeevaatmans. It applies for both
Chit and Achit. Upto this, it is clear that chit and achit are different
entities. "Asesha Chitachit Vastu Seshine" means that the Brahman has all the
chit and achit entities as his property. The term "Vastu" brings out the truth
that these chit and achit entities are real and not falsehood/illusion. This
makes it clear that the Brahman is different from all chit and achit entities
and therefore the Brahman is "Purushotthaman" as "Seshe" denotes clearly that
Brahman is the lord/owner of all chit and achit entities. 

"Sesha Saayine" denotes that the Brahman reclines on the divine bed, which is
the coil of Adi Sesha - divine serpent. This further implicitly denotes that
the Brahman has divine form, divine abode, divine consort Shree, Bho and Nila
and all the divine royal things signifying his unparalleled and unsurpassed
supremacy. 

Therefore the part of the verse "Asesha Chitachit Vastu Seshine Sesha Saayine"
brings out the meaning that the Brahman has "Ubhaya Vibhuthi" as his property.
"Ubhaya" means "Twin" and Vibhuthi means property. They are the Leela Vibhuthi
(the material worlds (from Chaturmuka Brahmaa's Satya Loka to microorganisms)
which are created sustained and destroyed by Brahman as his sport (leela) and
exists for his Leela rasa) and the Nitya Vibhuthi which is the transcendental
divine world called Shree Vaikunta Paramapadam. This part of the verse
therefore implicitly brings out the Pradhaana Pratitantram (key point) of
Visistadvaita, which is the sareera-aatma bhaava relation between the all chit
- achit entities and Brahman. As the Brahman supports, controls and owns all
chitachit entities he is the soul of all chitachit entities. As all the
chitachit entities are supported, controlled and owned by Brahman and exist
for the purpose of Brahman as inseparable attribute of Brahman, all the
chitachit entities are Brahman's body. 

Nirmalaananta Kalyaana Nidhaye brings out the Ubhyalingam - the two
identifications of Brahman. As follows: "Nirmala" brings out "Akila Heya
Pratyaneekatvam" meaning "the Brahman is pure untouched by all the impurities
of the universe though he is present inside and outside everything. He is
"Aatma" soul of the universe called "Antaryaami" - meaning "He who controls
everything by being present inside everything". "Ananta Kalyaana Nidhaye"
brings out "Ananta Kalyaana Gunaakaratvam" meaning "the Brahman is infinite
with infinite divine/auspicious attributes like power, strength, lordship,
firmness, knowledge, resplendence which are beyond the reach of our mind,
sense organs and words. These attributes bring out his "Paratvam" "ultimate
supremacy". His attributes/qualities like divine mercy brings out his
"Sowlabhyam" "Easily available" nature. 

"Vishnave" clearly points out that the Brahman is Lakshmi Pathi (Lord of Shree
Lakshmi) who pervades everything everywhere. Vishnu (Shreeman Narayanan) is
the Brahman. His omnipresence is conveyed by this name. 

To summarise the Iswara Tatva concept, please note the following points:
The Brahman (God - Iswara) is Shreeman Naaraayanan (Vishnu) who is
.. Lord of Goddess Lakshmi (Shree)
.. Unchanging, knowledge-self, infinite, blissful, and absolute pure nature
.. The material cause and instrumental cause of the universe (all sentient  
souls and insentient matter)
.. Having the material worlds (universe) and transcendental world as his   
  body and He being the soul
.. Having divine transcendental body (in five modes - Para, Vyuha, Vibhava, 
  Anaryaami Haarda Roopa and Archa)
.. Untouched by all impurities of the universe
.. Having infinite divine attributes
.. Having as his sport, creation, sustenance, and destruction of all 
  material worlds.

Up to this Visistadvaita Tatvam (reality) was outlined.

"Namaha" is not in the meaning of just saluting Lord Vishnu. It conveys the
"Hitam and Purushaartham" implicitly. Hitam is means to attain liberation. The
term "namaha" conveys meaning up to Saranaagathi at the lotus feet of Shree
Vishnu, which is total surrender. Similarly Bhakthi is also to be understood
to have been conveyed here implicitly. 

"Namaha" with the names of Vishnu used here also implicitly conveys the
"Purushaartham" (goal, result) which is eternal service at the lotus feet of
Lord Vishnu and eternally experiencing the Lord in Shree Vaikunta
Paramapadam.

Thus the first Mangala Slokam in Vedaartha Sangraha is not only in the form of
worshiping the Paramaatman Vishnu, but also is in the form of essence of the
second part of this grantha which is "Swa Matha Vistaara:".
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To be continued.. .
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