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From: Venkatesh K. Elayavalli (vke_at_cypress.com)
Date: Sun Nov 28 1999 - 08:05:00 PST
Dear Members We continue with the translation of Sri P. Lokacharya's Archiradhi by Ms M. S. Ramesh. ----------- In the other path, there is no water neither is there any shade. The Yama dhoodhas who act as the guides take one through a path where one hears weird noises which make one tremble with fear even as one hears the noise. The path is full of difficulties and ills. The Yama dhoothas with their pasa rope drag one in that path. The ties of mamakaram, thinking of the family, the wife and others makes the passage even more difficult. The path is long. The dogs enroute catch us. The weapons like sakti, shanku etc. are used to hurt a person. One becomes mince meat to the demons who are waiting like tigers to pounce upon their prey and have their fill. The body bleeds with the wounds. Hunger and thirst cause a lot of pain. The request to Yama dhoothas to give them food and water only meets with derisive laughter. The nose, the face, the lips, the teeth all get broken and hurt. The hands and the legs also get hurt. We are dragged along the path. This soul which is on its way to Paramapada thinks of what all it has avoided by not going to Yamaloka. It realises how the archiradhi gathi has ensured that it is met with open arms enroute by the devas. It is given due dignity. This description of the path to Yamaloka and the path to Paramapada reminds one of what the prince of Denmark in Shakespeare's drama "Hamlet" told his mother viz. "Look at this picture and that". It is said that coming to know of the difficulties that lie on the path to Yama loka this soul which is on its way to Paramapada is rushing even more speedily towards Paramapada. It is crossing the seven worlds. The author says that the quick pace at which this soul was rushing towards Paramapada was comparable to the speed with which the dimunitive dwarf Vamana assumed the viswaroopa. The soul is happy that it has escaped from the bonds of samsara. There are three types of tapatrayam i.e. difficulties in this world. They are Adyatmika, Adideivika and Adibouthika. Adyatmika refers to the pain that results from the sins committed by us. Adideivika refers to the pain that is caused by deiva vasam. Adibouthika refers to the pain that is caused by sheer existence in this world. All these three types of ills and consequential pains are like a forest fire, to escape from which is very difficult. The soul which is enroute to Paramapada has crossed all these hurdles when it reaches Viraja nadhi and has its dip in the river. (The river in heaven is known as Viraja nadhi while the river in hell is known as Vaitharani). When the soul had a dip in Viraja nadhi it gets rid of all the bonds of samsara. Actually the word that is used in this book is that the soul which has the dip in the Viraja nadhi gets rid of "samsara setru" (Tamil) i.e. a Quagmire. These two words convey graphically the picture that the world is nothing but a pool of dirty liquid mud, almost a cesspool. After the dip in Viraja nadhi, the soul gets cleansed. It is almost as if till then the soul was like a Surya mandala covered by clouds or a chandra mandala which was caught in the net of Rahu or like a manikya i.e. a precious stone lying hidden in mud. Once the soul had its bath in Viraja nadhi, all the doshas i.e. defects are washed away. It gets the brightness as if many thousands of Suns have risen at the same time. The soul gets the brightness due to the purity. As soon as the soul had a dip in Vinya nadhi and shed its rajo and thamo gunams, Vishnu dhoothas who look like Lord Vishnu, having four hands with bright faces (They are known as Amanavan i.e. opposite to Manavan) meet this liberated soul. They hold his hand and guide him on the path to Paramapada. By the touch of the amanavan this soul also gets transformed into a beautiful object. It is blessed with all kalyana gunas. It has only the sudha satva guna. Kainkaryadaras and the Nitya siddas approach him. He is able to see Paramapada in the distance. He bends his head and offers worship to Paramapada. That Paramapada is not like Indra loka as Indra loka can be attained by performing Aswameda yaga. But it can also be lost. But Paramapada is eternal. Paramapada can be attained only with the help of Baghavath preethi i.e. Grace of God. While people in Indra loka will have satva, raja and thamo gunas, those in param padam will have only satva guna. They have clear jnana. Paramapada has an aiswarya and wealth which cannot ever be measured. The soul sees that glorious land viz. Paramapada and bows down and offers namaskaram.