You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : May 1997

Sri Ranganatha PaadhukhA Sahasram: MukthA Paddhathi--Chapter 18--Part 1

From: V. Sadagopan (
Date: Sat May 31 1997 - 19:22:57 PDT

Dear Devotees of Sri RanganAtha Divya MaNi PaadhukhAs :

Swami Desikan uses 50 verses to dwell on the beauty
of the Pearls adorning the MaNi PaadhukhAs of the Lord
of Srirangam . We will select 10 verses of this Paddhathi to
enjoy Swami Deesikan's tribute to the radiant pearls embedded
in the PaadhukhAs .

Slokam 1 :

BhaddhAnAm yathra nityAnAm mukthAnAmeesvarasya cha I
prathyaksham sesha seshithvam saa mE sidhdyathu PaadhukhA II

Here , Swami Desikan refers to the first among the three principles
elaborated by VaishNavite tradition (viz) ., Chethanam . The other two
are Achethanam (inanimate ) and Iswaran ( the supreme Lord ) .

The first doctrine, chethanam is divided further into three subcategories:
Bhaddha ( bound ) , muktha (liberated ) and Nitya (eternally freed personages
serving the Lord intimately ) . NityAs are also known as Nityasuris . 

All the chethanAs and AchethanAs are created by Iswaran and disappear 
in Him at the time of the great dissolution of the Universes (MahA PraLayam ) . 
Hence , Iswaran is recognized as " Seshi " or Ucchishtam in 
the Vedic terminology . Everything , the inorganic and the organic , is
reborn from Him after the dissolution including the disciplines of 
divine knowledge ,  the sense organs , the vital realm , 
the blissful realm and all categories of human beings.  

Whatever that is generated by IswarA (Seshi ) that has finite
life time be it in years or aeons is known as SeshA . The relationship
between IswarA (Seshi ) and His creation (SeshA ) is known
as Sesha-Seshi Bhavam . 

In the first verse of the MukthA paddhathi , Swami Desikan summarizes
the relationship between the Seshi ( Iswaran ) and the chethanam 
( Baddha , Muktha and Nitya Jeevans ) . He says : " May the Lord's
PaadhukhAs , which demonstrate vividly the Sesha-Seshi principle 
become the object of my meditation " . He hints that the Bhaddha ,
Muktha and Nitya Jeevans are incorporated into the Lord's PaadhukhAs
and become visible there as the many kinds of pearls . PadhukhA is
SeshA to Sri RanganAthA , the Seshi . Pearls on the paadhukhAs are 
SeshA to the paadhukhAs that assume the role of Seshi in this context.

Swami Desikan skillfully reminds us of the two kinds of Sesha-Seshi 
relationship through this prayer to the Lord's PaadhukhAs . One kind 
of relationship is that between Lord and the PaadhukhAs and the other is 
between the PaadhukhAs ( NammAzhwAr ) and the pearls (Chethanams ) .

The three kinds of jeevans place the Lord's PaadhukhAs with reverence
on their heads . AzhwAr's paasurams are also recognized here as the pearls .

Slokam 4 :

adhivishNu padham parispuranthi 
     nava mukthAmaNi  nirmala prakAsA : I
paripushyasi mangaLAni pumsAm
     prathipacchandra kalEva PaadhukhE ! Tvam II

Prathipath chandran is the new disc of the moon 
seen on the first day after AmAvasyai ( Prathamai
chandran ) . VishNu padham means AakAsam as well
besides the Lord's holy feet . Swami Desikan uses these
two words to indicate that great auspiciousness results to 
those , who meditate on the pearls adorning the Lord's 
PadhukhAs . He compares the radiant pearls of the PaadhukhAs
to the first day moon of Sukla Paksham , which is considered to
confer auspiciousness on those , who see it.

Swami Desikan says : " O PaadhukhE ! You stay at the holy feet of your Lord 
and carry the white lustre of your blemishles pearls. During this time,
you appear like the pratipath chandra kalA , which confers auspiciousness
on all those , who see it. That chandra kalA appears to have taken its 
residence permanently on you as the pearls to confer auspiciousness
on those , who worship you  " .

Slokam 14 :

samAsrithAnAm anagAm visuddhim 
     thrAsavyapAyam cha vithanvathi tvam I
saayujyam aapAdhayasi svakeeyai :
     mukthApalair Maadhava PaadhukhE ! na: II

O Maadhava PaadhukhE ! For those , who sought refuge in you ,
you confer the boon of possessing the likeness of  you . As a
result , they become sinless , blemishles , fearless and perfect 
just like you . They attain thus the type of Moksham known as
Saayujyam . 

The word Visuddhi here refers to being free of defects (blemishless) .
The word Thraasa VyApayam signifies fearlessnes (i-e) freedom from
chipping in the case of pearls and gems . 

The pearls stand for the pasurams of the AzhwAr. They are blemishless
and remove the fear of samsAric suffering . Those who recite them and
reflect on them attain all sorts of auspiciousness and become like the AzhwAr
and AachAryAs .

Slokam 18 :

avaimi RangEswara paadharakshE !
    mukthApalAni tvayi nisthulAni I
tEnaiva kalpAnthara tArakANAm 
    upthAni bheejAni jagadh vidhAthrA II

O RanganAtha PaadhukhE ! I consider your pearls on you as 
the seedlings planted by the Lord Himself for the growth of 
the stars of the next kalpam ( Time unit ) . 

The inner meaning is that the lustre of the  stars 
(pearls/AzhwAr's paasurams ) are clearly visible at night 
to people so far away from them on this earth . Similarly ,
the meaning  (the radiance and divine lustre) 
of the AzhwAr 's paasurams (pearls ) are understood 
without difficulty even by the simplest of  people .

Slokam 20 :

LakshmeevihAra rasikEna padhAvani ! tvam
     rakshAvidhou BhagavathA jagathO niyukthA I
sattvam tadharhamiva darsayasi prabhootham 
      mukthA mayuka nkarENa visruthvarENa II

O PaadhukhE ! Your Lord is interested in sporting with 
His consort, MahA Lakshmi . He appoints you as the protector 
of the universe . You inturn spread righteousness (Sattva GuNaa)
on the earth so that your Lord does not need to leave His consort's
side to punish the wicked ones known for their display of 
RajO and TamO guNAs . 

Swami Desikan compares the lustre of the pearls on PaadhukhAs
to the spreading of the sattva guNA in this universe. 

Slokam 22 :

thrayyanth harmyatala varNa sudhAyithEna
   jyOthsnA vikalpitha ruchA maNipAdhukhE ! tvam 
mukthAmayee Murabhidhangri sarOja bhAjAm 
   varNEna tEh samayaseeva sadhAm avarNam II

In this slokam , Swami Desikan touches on an important doctrine
on offering of  SaraNAgathi at the Lord's sacred feet . This doctrine 
establishes that one should not approach the Lord's holy feet 
for SaraNAgathi without first approaching the paadhukhAs ; similarly,
one should not surrender unto the Lord directly without going through
one's own AchAryA . Swami Desikan reminds us that the PaadhukhAs
are none other than NammAzhwAr , the AachArya of AachAryAs . The 
obstacles to Aathma samarpaNam (SaraNAgathi ) are removed by
the PaadhukhAs through its lustre associated with its pearls .

Swami Desikan says : " O PaadhukhE ! Your thick row of pearls 
resemble the radiance of the moon's rays and shine on the upper floors 
of the mansions of VedAs . The white brilliance of your pearls imparts 
its whiteness to the walls of VedAnthA , just as white plaster provides its 
lustre to theordinary walls of the mansion . Through the white radiance 
of your pearls , you remove the defects and discolorations of the people ,
who surrender at the lotus feet of your Lord " .

Slokam 27 : 

nisseema pankha malinam hrudhayam madheeyam
    Naathasya RangavasathE : adhirOdumicchO : I
maathastavaiva sahasaa maNipaadharakshE !
    mukthAvamsava: spatika sowdhatulAm nayanthi II

O Gem-bedecked PaadhukhE ! O Mother ! You remove all the limitless
dirt and blemishes in my mind through the radiant rays from your 
pearls and transform my mind into a sparkling crystal palace.
Your help purifies my mind and transforms it into a crystal palace
fit for the residence of your Lord .

Slokam 30 :

RangEsa paadha nakachandra sudhAnulEpam 
      samprApya siddhaguLikA iva taavakeenA : I
samsAra samjvarajushAm maNipaadharakshE !
       samjeevanAya jagathAm prabhavanthi mukthA : II

O MaNi paadhukhE ! When the limbs of the human beings 
of the world are daubed with the unguent formed by the admixture 
of your pearl's cool lustre with that of the nectar-like lustre of 
your Lord's toe nails , their  samsAric ills are banished once and 
for all . This extraordinary unguent becomes a sure cure to the fever 
caused by worldly afflictions . 

Slokam 35 :

yEh naama kEpi bhavatheem vinayAvanamrai :
    utthamsayanthi kruthina: kshaNamutthamAgai : I
icchanthi RanganrupathE : maNipaadharakshE !
     tvanmowkthikowga niyathAmiha tEh visuddhim II

O RangarAja PaadhukhE ! Those lucky ones , who prostrate before you
and receive you even for a second on their heads as an ornament 
desire for a status that is equal in holiness and  pristine  state of the 
pearls adorning you . They wish to experience this blissful state right 
here on this earth .       

The inner meaning of this slokam is that one  who offers 
his salutations to a sadAchAryA develop a desire not to 
part with their company so that they can  reach an exalted status 
similar to that of the AachAryAs . 

Slokam 41 :

bhuvanamidhamasEsham bibrathO Rangabharthu : 
     padha kamalamidham tEh paadhukhE !dhArayanthyA: I
chiraviharaNakedhAth sambhruthAnAm bhajanthi 
     sramajalakaNikAnAm sampadham mowkthikAni II

O PaadhukhE ! You are carrying the Lord for a long time on 
your back .The tiredness arising from that marathon and
mighty effort seems to show up as the swaet drops on your 
surface ( pearls ) . It is no surprise that your gigantic effort in
carrying the holy feet of your Lord , who bears all the universes 
inside Him produces the fatigue that leads to the formation 
of those sweat drops (pearls ) on your person . 

Sri RanganAtha Divya MaNi PaadhukhE ! Thubhyam nama : 
Swami Desikan ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam 
Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan