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Naama Mahimaa--Part 4: Gowali pancha rathnam charaNams

From: V. Sadagopan (75041.3037_at_compuserve.com)
Date: Sat Nov 01 1997 - 13:52:35 PST

Dear BhakthAs of Sri RaghurAmA ,

In the first of the ten charaNams , Saint ThyagarAjA 
hails Sri Ramachandran as " Thiruvukkum ThiruvAhiya
selvan " in the manner of Thirumangai Mannan . 

He salutes SithA pirAtti as MahA Lakshmi and hails 
Sri RamA as the Chandran that makes the Kumudha
pushpam ( a type of Alli pushpam that blossoms at
night ) of SithA's heart blossom with joy.
The charaNa vAkhyams are as follows :

Sree VanithA hrudh kumudhaabhja 
vAnghmAnasa Gochara ( Duduku gala nannE ) 

Sree VanithA is the Srimathi , MahA Lakshmi .
Her heart  kumudham  blososms at the sight of 
the chandran of Sri RamA . 

The Saint appeals for the protection of  Sri Ramachandran 
in this first charaNam this way :

Oh ChandrA that makes the heart lilly of MahA Lakshmi
( SithA dEvi ) blososm with joy ! You are beyond the power
of speech and mind as the VedAs have declared ( VaachamA-
gocharan ) . " YathO vaachA nivarthanthE , aprApya manasa
saha " is how the siras of  Vedam declares about You . 
Who else is there besides You to save me ? You must 
therefore come to my rescue and put my fears at  rest . 

In the first charaNam , the Saint follows ancient 
practise of Sri VaishNavAs in performing SaraNAgathi .
When they observe prapatthi this way , they become
blessed with the lOka maathA's vaathsalyam and
Vallabhyam . They know that She as the most compassionate  
mother and  will come to their rescue and intercede with Her
Lord regarding them , who are frightened to approach Him . 

Out of Her limitless affection for Her erring children ,
She intercedes and acts as a mediatrix with Her consort
and succeeds in persuading Him to forgive the errant ones .
She has sambhandham , vyApthi and Isvaryam 
( AakAra trayam ) and uses them all to advantage 
in Her mission to help the PrapannAs . She uses 
Her selvAkku effectively . Thus the first upAyam 
to get the Lord's anugraham is MahA Lakshmi's
aruL . 

Parasara Muni in his VishNu PurANam has 
recognized Mahaa Lakshmi as the Lord's 
omnipresent mangaLam ( pervasive/
vyApthi ) and as the Parabrahma SvarUpiNi 
known for Her Vaathsalyam ( affection for Her
vatsalAs/dear ones ) , Vallabhyam ( Sri Vallabhai with 
the power to make things happen ) and Purusha-
kAram ( power of  effective sipaarisu / intercession ) .

NadAthUr ammAL has described in few slOkams 
of Prapanna Paarijaatham all these three unique 
attributes of Sri Devi :

aparAdhaika sakthAnAm anarhANAm chiram nruNAm I
BharthrurAsryaNE pUrvam svayam PurushakArathAm II

vAllabhyEna anuthishtantheem vatsalyAdhyupabrhamiNAm I
upAya samayE Bharthu: J~nAna sakthyAdhi vardhineem II

mukthAnAm bhoga vrudhyartham sowndharyAdhi vivardhineem I
AakAra thraya sampannAm aravindha nivAsineem II
asEsha Jagadheesithreem vandEh Varadha vallabhAm II

Here , NadAthUr ammAL points out that MahA Lakshmi 
secures Mukthi ( Moksham ) for the chEthanAs from Her
consort by enhancing Her Lord's J~nAnam and anugraham 
at the time of prapatthi by Her children . Her prAdhAnyam 
and essential role is saluted here . Saint ThyagarAjA as
a parama VaishNavA was deeply aware of this central
doctrine and followed the traditional practise by offering 
His prapatthi through MahA Lakshmi ( Sri VanithA ) .

What NadAthUr ammAL observed is an echo of 
Sri RamAnujA' s SaraNAgathi on that memorable
Panguni Uttharam day , when MahA Lakshmi 
( Sri RanganAyaki ) was sititng together on yEka
peetam with Her Lord , Sri RanganaathA at Srirangam .
Acharya RaamAnujA grasped the significance of 
the special occasion and offered his SaraNAgathi 
starting with MahA Lakshmi ( Sri RangadhAmEswari ) 
thru the first choorNikai of Sri Ranga Gadhyam :

" Bhagavan NaarAyaNa abhimatha anurUpa svarUpa 
rUpa guNa vibhava eisvarya seela aadhi anavadhika 
adhisaya asankyEya kalyANa guNa gaNAm padma-
vana aalayAm Bhagavatheem Sriyam dEveem 
nithyAnapAyineem niravadhyAm deva deva dhivya-
mahisheem AKHILA JAGANMAATHARAM ASMAN-
MAATHARAM ASARANYA SARANYAAM ANANYA-
SARANA:SARANAM AHAM PRAPADHYE ".

Acharya RaamAnujA declares that he has no other
recourse/refuge  (asaraNya: ) and is seeking 
the protection of the lOka mAthA , while performing
His prapatthi ( saraNam prapadhyE ) . 

Our AchAryAs often remind us that MahA Lakshmi"s 
greatness is not understood fully ,
 even by Her Lord . According to AlavandhAr ,

yasyAs thE mahimAnam aathmana iva tvadh VallabhOpi prabhu:
naalam maathum iyatthayA niravdhim nithyAnukUlam savatha: 
                                                    -- ChathusslOki :
SlOkam 2 portion  

Sri kUrEsa in his Sree Sthavam acknowledges this inability
of the Lord to comprehend fully  the limits of the sarva kalyANa
guNAs of His consort :

dEvi tvannmahimAvadhir na HariNA naapi tvayA j~nayathE 

Speaking of Her kalyANa guNAs being outside the powers
of description by mind and speech  , Sri kUratthAzhwAn says 
in another slOkam of his Sree Sthavam :

 " yE vAchAm manasaam cha dhurgrahatayA 
   khyAthA guNAs taavakA : " 

In the very first slOkam of Sree sthavam ,
kUrEsA acknowledges the power of
Sree dEVi over her Lord :

yasyA veekshya mukham tadhingitha 
parAdheenO vidhatthE akhilam   

(meaning ) : The Lord glances at the beautiful
face of MahA Lakshmi and reads the intricate
signs associated with the knitting of Her brows 
and follows the commands implied there and
engages in the acts of the creation and protection
of the world . He is understood as Her ingitha
(samg~yai/hints/body language ) parAdheenan 
( subservient one ) .

Swami Desikan refers to Sree Devi's PurushakAram 
in one of the slOkams of GodhA sthuthi this way :

aardhrAparAdhini janEpya abhirakshaNArtham
Rangesvarasya RamayA vinivEdhyamAnE 

Swami Desikan states that She does viNNappam 
to He rLord on behalf of the aparAdhis like us 
to seek our protection from her Lord .

Hence , Swami Desiakn performed his saraNAgathi 
to Her in the very first slOkam of Sree Sthuthi :

prahtyakshAnusravika mahima prArthaneenAm prajAnAm
SrEyOmUrthim Sriyam asaraNa: tvAm SaraNyam prapadhyE 

This prapatthi vaakhyams are an echo of Acharya RaamAnujA's
saraNAgathi housed in the first chUrNikA of SaraNAgathi
gadhyam that we will refer to later in this posting .

Swami Desikan states in the seventh slOkam of Sree sthuthi
that the divya dampathis play an intricate game of chess
( dhyUtha Vritthi ) between themselves and are sensitive
to each other's point of view and as such are to be
approached as a united entity ( yEka sEshithva yOgam ) 
for SaraNAgathi purposes . Following this thought , Swami
declares , " yuvAm Dampathi Daivatham na: " . Both of You
as the Husband and Wife are our daivatham . 

Their unity of thought in following each other in helping
those in distress is saluted again by Swami Desikan
this way in Sree sthuthi 

aapannArthi prasamana vidhou 
bhaddha deekshasya VishNO : 
aachakhyusthvAm priya sahachareem
eiykamathyOpapannAm 

In the 18th slOkam of Sree sthuthi ,
Swami Desikan addresses the Loka mAthA 
as VishNu kaanthE and reveals that the prapannAs
( vimala manasA : ) totally depend on Her 
dayA , vAthsalyam , vallabhyam and PurushakAram
to get the mokshAnugraham from her Lord . 

As a result of Her krupA and PurushakAram , 
the dhanyAs leave their body and reach 
Sri Vaikuntam via the ArchirAdhi
maargam according to Swami Desikan :

yasmin yeeshannamitha sirasO 
yApayithvA sareeram 
varthishyanthE vithamasi 
padhE VaasudEvasya dhanyA : 

(Meaning ) : The puNyasAlis prostrate at Your 
lotus feet and these blessed souls leave 
their physical bodies , attain suddha sathva 
sareeram and join the residence of Your Lord 
and Yourself ( Sri vaikuntam ) , which is devoid of 
prakruthi sambhandham . 

The parama VaishNava , Saint ThyagarAjA read 
Srimadh RaamAyaNam and Srimadh Bhagavatham
daily and was fully familiar with the above central
doctrines of Sri VaishNava SaraNAgathi and 
performed the sampradhAyic prapatthi starting 
with the self-surrender at Sree VanithA's sacred feet .

Sri Raamachandra Para BrahmaNE Nama:
Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan