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Azhagiyasingar Amudha MozhigaL--SaraNAgathi (Part 2)

From: V. Sadagopan (
Date: Fri Sep 26 1997 - 10:38:45 PDT

Dear Memebers of the prapatthi Group :

I will cover in this posting an incident described
by the PurANam about  an enemy of the Lord , who 
received His blessings , when he surrendered finally to 
the Lord due to a fortutious combination of circumstances .

H.H . the Azhagiya singar uses this incident to 
illustrate how it is not too late even for a sworn enemy
of the Lord to receive His protection and blessings .

The incident of GhantA karNan

Once upona time , there was a man with asura svabhAvam
with the name of GhantA karNan . He hated Sriman NaarAyaNA
steadfastly. He will not even look in the direction of  
Sriman NaarAyaNA or His bhakthAs . He cherished his enimity. 
He will not even let Sriman NaarAyaNA's name fall in his ear .
To ensure that , he had tied  big bronze bells on the top portion
of each of his ears . If he sensed that anyone is going to utter
the nAmAs of the Lord such as " NaarAyaNA , GovindhA " , he 
would shake his head violently so that the bells will ring and 
drown out the sound of the naamAs of the Lord . Even when he 
sensed the approach of the bhakthAs of the Lord , he will cause 
his bells over the ears to ring to avoid hearing the Lord's names .

He was however a great Siva Bhakthan . He will not eat without
performing Siva PujA every day . He ate human flesh as well .
He used to offer that and other flesh to Lord Siva . People used to
run away from him for fear of being killed and eaten up . He
roamed mostly in the forests and caves. The greatest joy for 
him was to perform pujA for his ishta daivam , Lord SivA . He received
a lot of blessings from his steadfast devotion to KailaasAdhipathi . 

Lord SivA can bless one with long life as for MarkandEyan and kick
Yama dharman with His feet . He can also bless His bhakthAs 
with KailAsa PrApthi . He can also make His devotees to develop
bhakthi for Sriman NaarAyaNA . There is no doubt about that . That
is why the sAsthrAs state that one can realize bhakthi for Sriman
NaarAyaNA ultimately , when one has bhakthi for Lord SivA 
untinged by bhagavadh dvEsham ( hatred ) . 

GhantA karNan however performed PujA for Lord Siva while
maintaining utter hatred for Sriman NaarAyaNan . 

One day , a great sage by the name of Sankhu karNar 
crossed GhantA karNan's path in the forest . The sage 
uttered the name of NaarAyaNA . When he heard the name
of BhagavAn , GhantA karNan went into a rage and started to 
shake his head violently that activated the bells . The sage  
misintrepretted the ringing of the bells to mean that 
GhantA karNan(GK)  was a bhakthA of BhagavAn , who was 
ecstatic about hearing the name of the Lord .

The sage approached GK to have "sathsangam" . 
GK chased the sage away and answerd the question of 
the sage and stated that he was a Siva Bhakthan . 
The sage asked GK the reasons why he was 
a Siva Bhakthan . GK did  not  answer him , but 
shouted back a question at the sage . He asked what sage
Sankhu karNar was holding in his ears . The sage answered 
that he was holding the conches in his ears to realize moksham . 
GK asked what is moksham . The sage explained that it is 
the most blissful state , which cuts the cycles of births and 
deathsforever  for the humans . GK asked the sage whether Lord 
SivA can confer that boon of moksham on him as his parama
bhakthan . The sage said that he does not know and 
recommended that GK should take that question 
directly with Lord SivA . 

GK rushed to KailAsam and requested that Lord
SivA bless him with moksham .  Lord SivA asked His bhakthan
about the kind of moksham that GK desired . Gk answered :
" I want to get rid of all my difficulties on this earth , reach  
after my death the world of bliss from which there is no return 
to this earth  " . Lord SivA , who is parama dhayALu 
answered that Sriman NaarAyanA alone can confer such 
a moksham on any one , who seek His protection 
through saraNAgathi . 

GK was enraged at Lord SivA 's answer . 
He tore the bells from his ears and tied them
on his hands ( GhantA hasthan ) and returned to the side 
of the waiting sage shouting " NaarAyaNA , NaarAyaNA " . 
He described what happened at KailAsam and begged 
the sage to show him the place , where he can find 
Sriman NaarAyaNan . 

The sage took pity on the suffering GhantA hasthan (GH ) 
and pointed a yonder mountain and revealed that 
Sriman NaarAyaNan is there inside a cave
of that mountain near a pond , where He was discussing
with His consort , RukmiNi , about him (GH) . The sage 
counselled GH to go to that cave and fall at the feet of Sri KrishNan 
and declere loudly that he was a helpless one (akinchanan ) 
and he has no other recourse for protection (ananyagathi ) 
and that he is falling at the BhagavAn's sacred feet seeking
His protction and moksham . The sage siad that BhagavAn 
will grant him the boon of Moksham , if he followed his instruction .

GH asked the sage as to what Sriman NaarAyaNan would 
look like so that he can recognize Him . The sage revealed 
that Sriman NaarAyaNA will be adorned with Sudarsanam ,
Paanchajanyam and His mace and will be seen in the company
of Sri RukmANI . 

GH got now more worried and queried the sage about the Lord
avoiding him and not conferring the boon of Moksham 
because of his past enimity towards Him . The sage assured GH 
that the Lord does not bear grudges and will respond immediately ,
when He hears the " SaraNa " sabdham and asked GH to approach
the Lord with good thoughts and with MahA VisvAsam in Him 
as a grantor of Moksham . 

GH took off to the entrance to the caves with some offerings 
of flesh in his hands , rang the bells in his hands and 
cried out with great longing " NaarAyaNA , NaarAyaNA " .
The Lord ran from inside the cave and GH fell at His feet 
and held on firmly to the lotus feet of the Lord and begged 
for forgivance and protection . The Lord wanted to shake 
his grip and run away from him . Sri RukmiNi dEvi interceded
on behalf of GH and told Her Lord that it is not fair to abandon
the SaraNAgathan . The Lord agreed and asked GH as to
when he wanted Moksham . GH cried out and said that he 
wanted Moksham right away . The Lord granted his wish 
and mentioned that He is conferring Moksham to the younger
brother of GH as well . At that moment , the jeevAthmA inside GH
rose up from his falling body and ascended to Srivaikuntam 
via the archirAdhi maargam .

The sage SankhukarNar saw that uplifting sight and ran to
the side of the Lord and begged for his own Moksham . 
Lord KrishNA responded and told him that he was not ready 
for Moksham , since he had not fully turned himself away 
from the pleasures of samsAram and therefore he had to wait . 

This story from purANam suggests that even long term enimity 
to Sriman NaarAyaNA will not stand in one's way to gaining
the boon of Moksham  from Him , once we perform SaraNAgathi
to Him in the saastraic manner and beg for 
His merciful intervention . 

Those who cry out for His protection like GjEndrA without 
knowing who exactly was the supreme Lord and yet shouted 
for protection with the prayer: " O AdhimUlam , Lord of Gods !
I am unable to protect myself . I am at the end of my life. Please
save me " . Sriman NaarAyaNA immediately ran to the side of
Gajendran and rescued the king of elephants from the hold of
the jaws of the crocodoyle . When Gajendra shouted out in fear 
and addressed " the AdhimUlam " , Indran , BrahmA , Pasupathi 
and other dEvAs knew that the appeal is not for them since they
were not the supreme of supremes . They understood the message
as being addressed to the one that has the qualifications to be
known and saluted as Parabrahmam . Sriman NaarAyaNA 
responded to the animal king's cry . He responded similarly
to the jeevAthmA inside the pot of curd ( dadhi paandan )  via
AchArya nishtai and blessed that jeevan with Moksham . 

Therefore , even if men or women or brahmin or otherwise ,
or from other creeds inside or outside India or sinners or puNyasAlees 
or bhakthimAns or earlier sathrUs of the Lord , once they  perform
SaraNAgathi to LakshmIkAnthan , He will not worry whether we
are His mitrAs or chathrUs and will bless us all with Moksham 
in the spirit of His statements : " sarva PaapEyO mokshyishyAmi "
and " VibhishaNO vaa yathi RavaNO vaa" . He is dedicated to 
come to our rescue and as the ocean of mercy abandons His anger 
and disgust over our paapams and crowns us with the kireetam of
Moksha saamrAjyam . This is the essence of SaraNAgathi 
as taught to us by the Lord Himself and His AzhwArs and 
AchAryAs . 

Subhamasthu .

Sri LakshmI Nrusimha ParabrahmaNE Nama :
Sri Vedaantha Desika Yatheendhra VaryAa namO nama: 
Sri NaarAyaNa Yatheendhra Mahaa DesikAya namO nama:

SeelamillA SiRiyOn , Oppilappan Sannidhi Sadagopan