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The release of the ChathuslOki, SthOthra Rathnam & Gadhyam Tape

From: Sadagopan (
Date: Sun May 31 1998 - 12:49:50 PDT

Dear BhakthAs :

Last week at Pittsburgh , I had the good fortune 
to acquire a copy of the above tape produced by Sriman
Nadadur Madhava DAsan . I want to share with you 
the blissful experience of listening to this high
quality tape released jointly by Sri Ramanuja Mission , Inc
and Sri Ahobila Muth of North America , Inc .

The subject matters of these five works associated 
with Sri Alavandar and Sri Ramanuja ( Sri ChathuslOki ,
Sri SthOthra Rathnam , Sri Saranagathi , Sriranga
and Sri Vaikunta gadhyams ) are the core of our 
Sri Vaishnava sampradhAyam . The doctrines covered
by these two AchAryAs are profound in scope and supremely 
relevant to our every day life .I have no doubt in my mind
for the need for every Sri Vaishnava to acquire a copy of 
this tape produced with a high degree of devotion and
professionalism and listen to them and recite along with them . 

The sampradhAyic way in which Sri SaranAtha Bhattar of 
the Pittsburgh Sri VenkatEswarA temple recites the slokams and 
the Gadhyams is a testament to his depth of Sanskrit scholarship
and Bhakthi . The padacchEtham ( splitting of the sandhis and 
word groups ) as well as the breath control behind this blissful
delivery is remarkable . 

The professional and skillful recording with high
calibre recording facilities by Sriman Madhavan is the complimentary
adjunct in the realization of this auspicious tape housing 
the AchAryA's paramAnubhavams .I thank Sri Madhavan for 
his pursuit of excellence in making available to us the great
works of our AchAryAs with his deeply researched introductions
and commentaries to gain the right perspective on these
extraordinary granthams for our own salvation .His commentaries 
are crisp and pertinent and prepare us to enjoy the recitations.
I wish him continued success in this mahath Kaimkaryam to
capture and make available additional treasures . 

My hope & prayer is that every Sri Vaishnava household 
will acquire this and other tapes produced by 
him as a labor of love to our tradition and learn 
from them and train the children to recite them and make them
their own . Competitions at the Hindu Temples for children 
to recite these sthOthrAs are worth the while to challenge 
the children to get acquainted with these kula dhanams .

The fact that Swami Desikan has written commentary in Sanskrit
for Sri ChathuslOki and Sthothra Rathanam as well as for
the three gadhyams indicate the reverence with which 
he viewed them . PeriyavAcchAn PiLLai has blessed us 
with  commentaries in Tamil . The subject is Sarvatha: 
Saaram ,( the quintessence of VedAntham)(i-e)., Prapatthi . 

Following his AchAryAs , Sri Ramanuja housed his
reverence to AchArya paramparA ruchi parigruhitha prapatthi
( SaraNAgathi doctrine assembled by the discriminating 
and exquisite taste of the Successive AchAryAs ) 
in his SaraNAgathi gadhyam and extended its coverage to the 
other two gadhyams . He did not want to cover Prapatthi in
Sri Bhaashyam , since it was intended for fulfilling another 
mission (viz)., kantanam ( crtical rejection of other 
Vedanthic approaches , which he found wanting in perfection ). 
He severely criticized the views that that held aloft 
the beliefs , " TattvamaseethyAthi Vaakya janya Jn~nam is 
Moksha Saadhanam and Karma jn~Ana samucchayam is Moksha-
saadhanam " and established with precision that 
" bhakthi rUpApannamAna Jn~Ana VisEsham alone is 
VedAnthAbhimadhamAna Moksha Saadhanam " . After
completeing the mission of creating Sri Bhaashyam  , 
he turned his attention to the doctrine dear to his heart 
as an AchAryA and celebrated personally prapatthi at
the lotus feet of the auspicious dampathis at Srirangam 
on the historic Panguni Uttharam day .

The comparison between Bhakthi and Prapatthi has been 
made by celebrated AchAryAs time and again .The salient 
points for us to remember as taught by our AchAryAs are :

** AchArya Mukha Prapatthi is more appropriate for people 
   like us than Bhakthi.

** The reasons are : Bhakthi is adhikruthAthikAram 
   (limited to chosen adhikAris /practioners ) ,whereas 
   Prapatthi is SarvAdhikAram ( Can be performed 
   by anyone ); Bhakthi is hard to practise ( Dushkaram ),
   where as Prapatthi is sukaram ( easy to perform , KshaNa 
   karthavyam ; can be completed in a second ) ; Bhakthi 
   gives delayed results .Prapatthi gives immediate 
   results unfailingly for one who has MahA viswAsam .

Sri P.B.ANNangarAcchAr Swamy quotes the tenth slokam of
Swami Desikan"s NyAsa Tilakm dealing with his prapatthi at 
the Lotus feet of the Lord of Srirangam to relate to the above 
points .Swami Desikan describes this preference of SaraNAgathi 
over Bhakthi thru his choice words in theis slokam :

AarthEshu AasupalA = This SaraNAgathi gives immediate 
fruits for those , who are eager to cut asunder 
the samsaric links quickly .

tadh anya vishayE api ucchinna dEhAntharA = Even in the cases
of those , who are not in a hurry to destroy the cycles of 
births and deaths( like the AarhtAs ) , this Prapatthi yields 
fruits equally effectively .

vahni aadhE : anapEkshaNAth = This SaraNAgathi does not 
require Agni kaaryam (i-e) not limited to a restricted few ;
it is open for any one .

yaavath aathma niyatha tvath paaratanthr*ya uchithA =
This Prapatthi act fits well with the practise of being
subservient to You until the end of one' life on earth .
This is appropriate to the ChEthanA's svarUpam , which  
is subordinate to the Lord at all times.

tvayi yEva tvadh upAya dhee: = In this SaraNAgathi , You 
become the means and the fruit of that act .SaraNAgathi is 
a sincere prayer for You to stand in the sthAnam of Bhakthi
Yogam to yield the fruits of Moksahm .

abhihitha sva upAya bhAvA = SaraNAgathi is the realization 
that it is not equal in importance as a means in comparison 
to You as the most important means (upAyam ) and 
it is THE MEANS to secure Your blessing for Moksham .

Thus Bhakthi and Prapatthi are two different means ;
for those without the resources to practise Bhakthi Yogam ,
it is the readily practisable and secure menas of cutting
the cycles of births and deaths and serve the Lord in 
His paramapadham . 

AlavandAr and RaamAnujA performed their Prapatthis and
showed us this way as the most efficacious way to secure
the Moksha Siddhi . Their prapatthis are enshrined in
these five works covered in this auspicious tape 
produced by Sri Madhava Daasan .

Each of the words of these five superb kula dhanams 
are worthy of life long reflections . For Example , 
in the 45th slOkam of SthOthra rathnam , AlavandAr 
salutes the Bahgavath svarUpam as :

Sriya; Sriyam = the Lord of Sri Devi, Sriya: pathi

Bhaktha Janaika Jeevitham =mukhya prANan of bhakthAs 

Samartham = One who is all powerful to rescue us from
the terrors of SamsAram 

aapathsakham = aapath bhandhavan , who rushes to us
in times of danger as in the case of GajEndran,
VibhishaNan and Droupathi .

arthi kalpakam = One who is like a kalpaka tree
and grants all the boons desired by his bhakthAs 
as VaradarAjan .

To that Bhagavath SvarUpam , Alavandhaar and Sri RaamAnuja
performed their SaraNAgathis . The 60th slOkam of sthOthra
rathnam , which is echoed by RaamAnujA in his SaraNAgathi
gadhyam is a fitting one to conclude this note relating to
this tape housing their auspicious works :

pithA tvam , maathA tvam 
dayitha tanayastvam , priya suhr*uth
tvamEva tvam bhandhu : gururasi 
gathiscchAsi jagathAm 
tvadheeyas tvath bhruthya: 
tava parijana: tvath gathiraham 
prapannaccha yEvam sathyahamapi
tavaivAsmi hi Para: 

(MEANING): Thou art the Father of all these universes ;
Thou art also the Mother ; dear son ; desirable friend ;
the dear relative ; Thou art the AchAryan , who banishes 
the darkness of ajn~Anam ; Thou art the end result ;
I am Your sEshan ; I am the One to be raised by You .
I am Your humble servant ; I am the one , who seek You as 
my goal ; I am also the one , who has performed Prapatthi
at Your sacred feet .You are the saraNya Bhandhu for this 
erring Janthu .Myself with all these dhOshams have become 
your Bharam thru the performance of SaraNAgathi/Bara SamarpaNam . 

agathim saraNAgatham HarE 
krupayA kEvalam aathmasAthkuru 

DaasOham , Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri SadagOpan