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From: Venkatesh K. Elayavalli (vke_at_cypress.com)
Date: Sun Nov 28 1999 - 08:12:07 PST
Dear Members We continue with the translation of Sri P. Lokacharya's archiradhi by Ms M. S. Ramesh. --- Amanavas, Nithyas, Mukhtas welcome this soul. The place is filled with the sound of shanku, Thiruchinnam (a type of bugle) and Bheri. As he is proceeding lost in enjoyment of these sights and scenes, 500 divya apsaras with divya choorna, divya vastra, divya anjana come to meet this soul. They in turn beautify this soul in such a manner that Parabrahma will enjoy the sight of their end product (Brahmalankaram). They beautify this soul with the vastra (raiment), Mala, etc. worn earlier by God. The beautifiers look at the beautified muktatma and enjoy along with him, his good luck in having been blessed with a place in paramapada. Once all this beautification is over, Peria thiruvadi i.e. Garuda will bring the divya vimana. This vimana is covered with evergreen creepers and has as rows and rows of pearls hangings down from the top to the sides. Its top is covered with Merkattis (vithanam) i.e. the piece of cloth which is usually used as a roof over the head of the idol whenever it is taken out in a procession. A number of damsels from Paramapada are seated in the vimana. The muktatma then steps into the divya vimana. Stothras are sung. The vimana starts on its journey to Paramapada. Enroute it passes through beautiful groves and thick vegetation. Apsara sthrees welcome this vimana throughout its route. They offer the divya gandha, brahma gandha and other scented powders found only in Paramapada.Even as they carry these sweet scented articles, they themselves are said to radiate a sweet smell. The vimana finally nears the entrance of Paramapada. The divya gopura is sighted. The Thiruvasal Kappan i.e. the person standing guard at the entrance to Paramapada also welcomes this soul. Thus, the soul reaches Paramapada also known as Ayodhya and Aprajitha. It is known as Ayodhya as it is a place which cannot be attained by anybody by fighting a war! that is to say one has to earn through punya the right to enter Paramapada and not by mere brute might. The word "Aparajitha" also similarly conveys the thought that it is a place which cannot be conquered by anyone. Having reached such a Paramapada where the Perumal is residing, this muktatma utters the words "Sri Vaikunthaya Namaha" and offers obesience to the Vaikuntha Vasal i.e. gateway. As soon as the soul reaches Vaikuntha, the kainkaryaparas, the munis and other great souls are happily surprised that this soul caught in the web of samsara has atlast reached Vaikuntha, a task which is as difficult as water in the ocean successfully climbingup the hill! This soul tossed about in the ocean known as Samsara has achieved a great feat in climbing up the Paramapada hill. Garuda, Visvaksena and others take this atma to their respective residences. They seat him on a high asana while they themselves squat on the ground. Their wives (patnis) brought water and washed the feet of this muktatma (Sree Pada theertha offering). They relate to their spouses the greatness of this muktatma and render upachara to that soul. to be continued ...