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From: Mani Varadarajan (mani)
Date: Tue Oct 10 1995 - 17:46:54 PDT
Muralidhar Rangaswamy gave some nice comments on Sri Ranga Gadyam. M.S. Subbulakshmi has sung this extremely well -- Dileepan gave me a tape of this. It is very moving. The question has often arisen in my mind as to why Ramanuja never composed in verse form (stotra), as his paramaguru Yamunacharya did or as the Azhvaars did. The Gadya style is a "prose poem", in that adjectives and epithets are linked together in a long series of chains to achieve a mesmerizing effect on both the recantor and the listener. For example, see the following line from Desika's "mahaaveera vaibhavam -- raghuveera gadyam", in praise of Rama: devaasura samara samaya samudita nikhila nirjara nirdhaarita nirvadhika mahaatmya ! And that one phrase is one of the shorter ones in the poem! I have not studied the Sri Ranga Gadyam in depth, but it is very similar to Saranagati Gadyam, with which I am more familiar. I suspect that Ramanuja composed in prose because he wanted complete freedom of expression, both to maintain precision and also to use whatever words he wanted without being put in the strictures of the verse form. It is unlikely that he was incapable of composing in verse; what few verses he has left us, though not marvels of poetry, attest to his ability to compose slokas. It is quite impressive to read or hear the Saranagati Gadyam. Ramanuja uses terms from the Upanishads, Gita, and Ramayana and nearly overwhelms the listener with the grandeur of the Lord. After going through a long list of 'kalyaaNa guNas', such as shakti, tejas, saushilya, vaatsalya, aardava, maarjava, audaarya, saamya, kaaruNya, etc., he ends by saying "this are only the beginning of your auspicious attributes!" Just before uttering his formal prayer of surrender, he ends magnificently, ``Make me Thine, my Life, my All, my God!'' Mani P.S. A while back, Dileepan posted a nice series explaining the many guNas of the Lord spelt out by Ramanuja. Perhaps we should repost that soon as well for the benefit of the new members.