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Sri Ranga Gadyam

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.