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DipAvaLi Day Thoughts on Ganga Snaanam

From: V. Sadagopan (75041.3037_at_compuserve.com)
Date: Sun Nov 10 1996 - 05:27:46 PST

Dear members of the Bhakthi group :

On this auspicious day , when taking oil bath
in the early morning and observing Dipawali
celebration and wearing new clothes are
considered the equivalent of dipping in 
the sacred waters of  River Ganga that originated from the 
holy feet of the Lord during TrivikramaavathAram . 

People in south India greet each other on the morning of 
DipavaLi and query " Gangaa Snanam Aacchaa ? "
( Have you had Ganga SnAnam) on this DipavaLi day 
that celebrates the destrucion of unrighteousness
embodied by NarakAsura by Sri Krishna ParamAtmA .

NarakAsuran was the son of Bhu DEvi and had caused 
havoc to Indra and many kings . After his destruction in
the battle with Lord Krishna , his mother ,Bhu Devi requests the Bhagavan
a boon . She asked Him for people to remember the day 
of the ascendance of righteousness as a win for the forces
of light over darkness . Bhu Devi's prayer to the Lord prior
to requesting her boon is contained in the 59th chapter of
Dasama Skandam of Srimad Bhagavatham :

NAMA: PANKAJA NAABHAAYA NAMA: PANKAJA MAALINEH I
NAMO BHAGAVATEH THUBHYAM VASUDEVAAYA VISHNAVEH II
PURUSHAAYA AADHI BHEEJAYA PURNA BHODHAYA TEH NAMA: I
AJAAYA JANIYATRESYA BRHAMANEH ANANTHA SAKTAYEH I
PARAAVARAATHMAN BHUTHAATHMAN PARMAATHMAN NAMOSTHU TEH II

meaing ) : " salutations to the lotus-navelled ! salutations to 
the lotus-eyes! Salutations to the lotus-footed! I salute Vasudeva,
the support of all! I salute Vishnu , the pervader of all! I salute
Him who is the ultimate source of every thing ! I salute Him who is all
intelligence ! Salutations to Him who manifests both as the cause 
and the  effect ! Salutations to Him who is ever existent ! Salutations
to Him who is the supreme soirit ! Salutations to Him who is the infinite
power ! Salutations to Him who is the greatest being ! Salutations to
Him who is the father of the worlds! Salutation to Him who is birthless! ".

She concludes her prayer by acknowledging that there is NO ONE
who is equal or superior to the Lord . Bhagavad DhyAnam of this type
is what Sadguru Thyagaraja practiced and declared that such DhyAnam
is superior to dipping in Sacred Ganga or KshethrAdanam . I will refer to three
krithis of this Maha Rama Bhaktha about Ganga SnAnam . In his DhanyAsi
raga Krithi , " DhyAnameh varamaina GangA snAnameh; manasaa" ,
Sadguru points out that the Rama DhyAnam is itself the most efficacious 
GangA snAnam. In a companion piece set in RagaThodi , " Koti Nathulu
Dhanushkotiloh nuntaka Yetiki tirigetaveh ? O manasA !" Here the Great 
Rama Bhaktha  who had saakshatkAram of Sri Ramachandra says :

" O Mind! Listen to the counsel of Thyagaraja , the great devotee of 
Sri RaghunAtha. For those fortunate souls who constantly and 
directly see the beautiful form of Rama ,crores of holy rivers are present
at Dhanushkoti (the tip of Rama's bow )  itself  . Rivers like Ganga with its
origin 
from the Lord's feet and Kaveri deriving its glory from Sri Ranganatha 
are found there. why should one wader from place to place on Theertha Yatra ? ".

The anupallavi and charana vakhyams of this krithi  made famous by
Sangeetha Kalanidhi Ariyakudi RamAnuja IyengAr are as follows :

SUTIKA , SHYAMA SUNDARA MURTHINI
MAATI MAATIKI JUCHE MAHARAAJULAKU

GANGA NUPURAMPUNANU JANIJANU
RANGANI KAVERI GANI RAAJILLANU
PONGUCHU SRI RAGJUNAATHUNI PREMATHO
BHOGATEH THYAGARAAJU MANAVI VINAVEH 

In yet another great krithi set in Raga Rithigowlaa ,
Saint Thyagaraja states emphatically that his meditation
of Sri Raghunaathaa"s lotus feet is the holy Ganga water 
for the Abishekam of the Lord. Here he requests Sri Rama's 
protection three times in Pallavi Vakhyams :

Pallavi :

Paripaalaya Paripaalaya Paripaalaya Raghunaatha

CharaNam 3 : Supadha DhyAnamu GangA 
                           jalamouraa RaghunAtha 

The gist of this magnificient Krithi is worthy of our 
reflection on this auspicious DipAvaLi day :

" My body is Your favorite abode, my steadfast mind
is the golden throne (Aasanam ), my meditation of 
Your blessed feet is the holy Ganga water(for Abhishekam ),
my loving devotion is the garment (Vastra) for You , my praise 
of Your great glory is sweet-smelling sandal paste(gandham )
for You , my chanting of Your sacred name is full blown lotus
flower(Pushpam ) , the effect of the past misdeeds is the burning 
of the incense before You (Dhupam ) , my devotion to Your holy
feet is the all-day light before You (Akanda Deepam ) , the fruit of my 
devout worship is the offering (Naivedyam ) for You , Your darsana 
is itself DeepAradhanam (waving of the light ) . This is the true 
worship done  by Thyagaraja ."

Sri Sadguru Swamineh Nama: 

Oppiliappan Koil Varadachari Sadagopan