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Re: Am Namo Narayanaya

From: Shrikanth, J (shrikant_at_chow.mat.jhu.edu)
Date: Fri Jun 26 1998 - 23:28:11 PDT

                                
                                   Sri 
             Srimate  Lakshminarasimha parabrahmane namaha
                  Srimate NigamAntha MahAdesikAya Namaha 
             Srimate  Lakshminarasimha Divya PAdukA Sevaka - 
         Srivan  Shatagopa  Sri NArAyana Yateendra MahAdesikAya Namaha      

My pranams to all,
                             

On Tue, 23 Jun 1998, Greg Jay wrote:

> 
> 1. Please state the Shastra Pramanam for substitution of "Am" for Pranava
> in Ashtaksharam. (Not just because Vedanta Desika says so, but in the same
> way as the quote from agama shastra sesa samhita was given.)
>


One pramanam for the above is given in Srimad Rahayatrayasaram itself. In 
the 27th chapter, the mUlamantrAdhikAra, occurs the following passage.

  The verses 1-4 are from the Naradiyam. Verses 5 & 6 are from the
Naradiya Kalpam. i am not familiar with even the names of these works.
i would guess these are Pancharatra works. Scholars on the list may be
able shed more light on these.


<quote>
      vaidikam tAntrikam chaiva thathA vaidikatantrikam |
      trividham karma samproktam pancharAtrAmr.tArNave ||  1

      vaidikam brAhmaNAnAm tu rAjnAm vaidikatAntrikam |
      tAntrikam vaiSyaSUdrANAm sarveshAm tAntrikam tu vA || 2

      ashTAksharScha yo mantro dvAdaSAkshara eva cha |
      shaDAkshara yo mantro vishNoramitatejasa: ||  3

      ete mantrA: pradhAnAstu vaidikA: praNavairyutA: |
      praNavena vihInAstu tAntrikA eva kIrtitA ||  4

      na svara: praNavo'ngAni napyanyavidhayastathA |
      strINA tu shUdrajAtInAm mantramAtroktirishyate ||  5     

 engira padiye praNavam ozhindhapOdhu

      tatrottarAyaNasyAdi: bindumAn vishNurantata: |
      bIjamashTaksharasya syAt tenAshTAksharatA bhavet || 6

 engira prakriyaiAlE ettezhuththum anusandheyamAga vidhikkapattathu.

<end quote> 

<rough translation>

     The Pancharatra, that ocean of nectar, says that karmas are of three
  kinds - vaidikam, tantrikam and vaidika-tantrikam.
     Vaidika karma is for brahmins only, vaidika-tAntrikam for kshatriyas
  and tAntrikam for vaishyas and shudras. Of course, anyone can opt for
  the tAntrika karmas.
     The ashTAkshara, the dvAdaSAkshara and the shaDAkshara are the
  principal mantras for Vishnu, whose splendour is immeasurable. 
     These mantras are vaidika if the pranava is attached in the front.
  Else, they are said to be tAntrika.    (1-4)
     
     For women and shudras, there is no svara, pranava, anganyasa or
  any other kind of discipline. The chanting of the plain mantra (without
  pranava) is prescribed.  (5)

So now even though pranava is proscribed, the following verse confirms
that the mantra still remains eight syllabled.

     In the moolamantra, the syllable 'a' in 'ayaNa' (the latter half of
  the word 'nArAyaNa' ) denotes Vishnu. This 'a' with an anusvara (i.e 'm')
  the forms the bija (root) of the moolamantra. And by the addition of
  this, it becomes eight syllabled (ashTAkshara).  (6)

<end translation>
       
       
  Here, karma is any ritual action. Vaidikam is that prescribed by the
Vedas and uses vedic mantras. It is tantric when the mantras and
procedures come purely from the Pancharatra works. 
  Of course, there end result of both the works are the same - attainment
of the joy of eternal service at the feet of the Divine Couple. 
Alavandar has showed eloquently that the Pancharatra is wholly in
accordance with the Vedas and this fact has been confirmed again later by
Srimad Ramanuja and Sri Vedanta Desika and others.
  
The above passage answers precisely the questions in front of us. 

    What are the pramanams that proscribe the use of pranavam for women
    and shudras? 
   
    A : The quote from the sesa samhita that Sri Krishna Kalele provided.
        And also the verses from above.

    Now if the pranavam has been proscribed, then how does the moolamantra
    remain ashtakshara (8 syllabled) ? 
 
    A : By the addition of the syllable 'am'. The pramanam for doing this
        is the verse 6 above.

As Sri Injimettu azhagiyasinger (the 42nd peethadipati about whom our
Chi. Anand Karalapakkam wrote so eloquently) says in his
Sarabodhini, an excellent commentary of the Srimad Rahasyatrayasaram, 
Sriman Vedanta Desikar has thought about and answered practically all the
niggling tiny doubts that we mandabuddhigals get. No wonder his thaniyan
says "Even one of his many works is enough to make us, those living on
earth, to rise up to salvation at the feet of the Lord" (.. - Oronru thAne
amaiyAtho dhAraNiyil vAzhvArkku...) 

After the above passage, Srimad Desikan goes ahead to discuss how this
addition of 'am' instead of the pranavam still has the same potency.
He demonstrates how all the meanings that can be got from the
ashtakasharam with pranavam can also be got from the ashtaksharam with
'am'. Again for each claim, there are logical (grammatical) proofs and
pramanams attached.

i am in no way qualified to write about any of these. i hope other people
on the list, who are well qualified, can explain this better. 
i apologize for any error or mistake i may have committed. Please
correct me if so.

Again, these pramanams are posted only because they are being asked for 
and discussed. These should not be twisted in a social context.
We should all learn and follow the ideas in the moving posts of Sri
Sadagopan and the appeals of Sri Krishnamachari and others.

sarvam krishnarpanam astu.

adiyen shrikanth