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RANGASWAMY_at_plh.af.mil
Date: Mon Mar 24 1997 - 07:28:58 PST

Dear Members of the Bhakti List,

Today is the blessed Panguni Uttaram day. A number of significant events 
took place on this sacred day. The marriage of Lord Rama to Sita was 
solemnized by Vasishta at Mithila on this day. Some accounts of the Ramayana 
state that Hanuman returned from Lanka and provided Lord Rama with the 
good news of locating Sita. Lord Rama is believed to have set out on his 
campaign to Lanka on this day. This is the only day on which the Divya 
Dampatis of Srirangam are seen in Utsavam in the royal court. As a result,
it is not surprising that Sri Ramanujacharya chose this day, remarkably, for 
delivering the Gadya Trayam. The following is a short account on some 
salient aspects of the Gadya Trayam.

I posted an account of the Sri Ranganatha Gadyam on this list for Panguni 
Uttaram last year and I shall forward the same article again in a separate 
mailing. The term Desika means one who is very familiar with a place. 
This title is most befitting for Sri Ramanuja Maha Desika, who was 
extremely familiar with the path to Lord Narayana (see the Vaikunta Gadyam).

Sri Ramanujacharya returned to Srirangam after living in "exile" in Melkote.
Upon his return, he visited the Temple of Lord Ranganatha on Panguni Uttaram 
day. Deeply moved by the sight of the Lord in Utsavam with his consort in 
the royal court (at the Western entrance. Perhaps Sriman Sampath Rengarajan 
could provide us with a detailed account of the Panguni Uttaram celebration.
Nothing can be better than a description this event from a local person who 
is very familiar with the place [Desika].), Sri Bhashyakarar poured out his 
heart in an intensely personal, highly moving and deeply emotional 
SharaNagati in the SharaNagati Gadyam and the Sri Ranganatha Gadyam as a 
result of which he was blessed with a beautiful vision of Sri Vaikuntam which 
is brilliantly mirrored in the Sri Vaikunta Gadyam. 

The SharaNagati Gadyam and the Sri Ranganatha Gadyam are very similar in 
structure. More precisely, the Gadyams can be divided into three parts, i.e., 
glorification of the Lord by dwelling on his Anantha KalyaNa Gunams, 
a confession of shortcomings on account of association with Karma as a prelude
to the ultimate SharaNagati in the concluding part of the Gadyams. The 
Gadyam form of salutation has a unique prose-poem structure 
in which long chains of adjectives and epithets are interspersed with 
short strings to achieve a mesmerizing effect on the recantor and the 
listener. For example in the Sri Ranganatha Gadyam, Ramanujacharya  
uses the salutation "TadanubhavajanitAnavadhikatishaya PreetikArita 
SheshavastOchitaseshasheshataikaratirupa. Nitya KinkarO Bhavani." Other 
examples of such usages exist in abundance in the SharaNagati Gadyam, 
Vaikunta Gadyam and Raghuveera Gadyam. 

It is instructive to observe the Acharya's thought process while delivering 
the three Gadyams. The SharaNagati Gadyam and Sri Ranganatha Gadyam are 
unparalleled in establishing the doctrine of SharaNagati, fundamental to 
Bhagavad Ramanuja Siddhantam. The SharaNagati Gadyam was a direct consequence 
of our Paramacharyan's intensely personal Anubhavam of the Lord in Utsavam 
with his consort. The beauty of Sri Ramanujacharya's description of the 
Lord's limitless KalyaNa GuNams (Asankheya KalyaNa GunaganambramahArNavam) 
and the Lord's Ayudhams in the SharaNagati Gadyam are unmatched. The Acharya's 
request for Parabhakti, Parajnana and Paramabhakti as a result of this Bhagavad 
Anubhavam were granted by the Lord of Srirangam by breaking his Archa Samadhi
and addressing Ramanujacharya thus "Remain in Srirangam constantly 
engaged in reciting the Dvaya Mantram until thy body falls to the earth". 
The conclusion of the  SharaNagati Gadyam contains significant salutations from 
the Ramayana (Ramo Dvirnabibashate) and the Bhagavad Gita (Charma Shlokam) 
which are indicative of the Lord's compassion to those who surrender 
to him (Atma Nivedanam). One can also associate the salutation "Narayana 
SayujyamavApnoti Narayana SayujyamavApnoti" (from the Narayana Upanishad 
of the Atharvana Vedam) with these aspects of the SharaNagati Gadyam.

Thrilled by this experience of the Lord, and having tasted the sweetness of 
being close to the Lord, the Acharyan, in a state of ecstasy, thirsts for more 
of the same. Fearful of being possessed by Karma, and thus being disturbed 
from this ecstatic state of Bhagavad Guna Anubhavam, Ramanujacharya resolves 
that the only way to overcome the bondage of Karma is by constantly being by 
the side of the Lord. This can be achieved by being of 
constant service to the Lord at all times, in all forms under all 
circumstances. The Acharyan humbly requests this in the Sri Ranganatha Gadyam 
which is my personal favorite (see for example in the salutation: 
TadanubhavajanitAnavadhikatishaya PreetikArita 
SheshavastOchitaseshasheshataikaratirupa. Nitya KinkarO Bhavani.)
. An important salutation in this Gadyam is 
"ParipurNam Bhagavantam" (Lord who is complete in all respects). This 
reflects the Narayana Upanishad salutation "NishkalO NiranjanO NirvikalpO 
Nirakyatha: Shuddo Deva EkO Narayana:Na DvitiyOsti Kaschit. Ya Evam Veda". I 
shall try to summarize the important aspects of the Narayana Upanishad in a 
separate post. 

After the formal SharaNagati in the Ranganatha Gadyam, Emperumanaar was 
blessed with a beautiful vision of Sri Vaikuntam. These are brilliantly 
described in chaste sanskrit in the Sri Vaikunta Gadyam. The beauty and 
majesty of the Vaikunta Gadyam defy translation. However, erudite members of
this forum could prove me wrong. Some aspects of the Vaikunta Gadyam (i.e., 
description of VishNu Parivaram) are best seen from the conclusion of the 
Vishnu Sooktam "Tad VishNoh Paramam Padam Sada Pashyanti Soorayaha. Diviva
chakshurAtatam. TadviprAso Vipanyavoh Jagruvagamsassamindate. VishNoryah 
Paramam Padam." 

Note: This post is written very quickly from memory. Therefore please
accept my apology for all errors. Everything correctly stated is entirely due 
to the grace of my Acharyan.

Sri Ranganayika Sametha Sri Ranganatha ParabrahmaNe Namaha,

Muralidhar Rangaswamy