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abhaya pradana saaram
adiyEn has selected the SrI Sookthi of "Abhaya PradhAna Saaram" of Swamy
Desikan for this year's postings , which will start from tomorrow and
conclude on April 10.
Nedumtheru VidvAn SrI Kannan Swamy has made an interesting observation
about Dasaratha Raaman , the One to be understood through the eternal
VedAs ( veda vEdhyE ParEpumsi DasarathAthmajE jaathE) as follows:
He says SrImad RaamAyaNam is an Utthama Kaavyam; it is about Dharma
Saasthram;it is all about SaraNAgathy Saasthram. The central figure
(Naayakan ) of SrImad RaamAyaNam is the Parama Purushan , the abode of
anantha KalyANa guNams, Lord Raamabhadran. The Naayaki for this Utthama
Kaavyam none other than SaakshAth MahA Lakshmi. The scope of the Utthama
Kaavyam is about upadEsam on all PurushArTams.
The Baala KaaNDam according to SrIman KaNNan Swamy points out that the
Lord is the Jagath KaaraNan (Cause for all the universe and its beings);
AyOdhyA KaaNDam teaches us that He is the Protector (Rakshakan) of this
Universe;AaraNya KaaNDam reveals that He is the grantor of
Moksham;KishkindhA KaaNDam assures us that Lord Raamachandran is KalyANa
GuNa ParipoorNan; Sundara KaaNDam lets us know that He is the samhAra
Moorthy of all unrighteous; Yuddha KaaNDam reminds us that He is the
Supreme Being (Parama Purushan) , whose glory is sung by the VedAs.
The genius of Swamy Desikan focuses on SrImad RaamAyaNam and demonstrates
brilliantly that it is SaraNAgathy Saasthram personified . With abundant
citations from SrImad RaamAyaNam , Swamy Desikan instructs us about the
subtle aspects of the profound upAyam of SaraNAgathy: The ten individual
chapters of this brilliant SrI Sookthi are:
1. Prabhandha AvathAram
2. Para Tatthva NirNayam
3. SaraNAgathy Taathparya Prapancham
4. PrakaraNa Taathparya NirNayam
5. SaraNya Seela PrakAsam
6. SaraNya Vaibhava PrakAsam
7. Parama Dharma NirNayam
8. SaraNya Vratha VisEsha PrakAsam
9. SaraNya-SaraNAgatha Sangama Laabham
10. PrApthi PrakAra Prapancham
The subject matter is the central doctrine of SaraNagathy. The author of
SrI Sookthi is the sarva Tanthra Svathanthra NigamAntha MahA Desikan. The
writer about this extraordinary SrI Sookthi is a dullard like adiyEn .
Please bear with me about adiyEn's profound deficencies in understanding.
The intense desire to know more about this SrI Sookthi from earlier
AchArya UpadEsams propels me to take the bold step of attempting to write
about this great SrI Sookthi. adiyEn seeks Swamy Desikan's blessings to
enter into this kaimkaryam during this SrI Raama Navami Uthsava Kaalam.
The First of the ten chapters of Abhaya PradhAna Saaram (ABS) is "
Prabhandha AvathAram " or the birth of the Prabhandham dedicated to
instruct us on the Saaram (essence) Abhaya PradhAnam (Granting of Freedom
from Fear). Bhayam or Bheethi is the fear and Abhayam is the freedom from
that fear . What is this Bhayam ? Swamy Desikan has dealt in detail what
this Bhayam is and who is the One that chases away this fear and grants
freedom from these fears . Let us reflect on these passages from SrI
Abheethi Sthavam, where the prayer is to the Uthsava Moorthy of SrI
RanganAthan , who in our tradition is none other than Lord Raamachandran .
Abhaya PradhAna Saaram is all about that Lord Raamabhadran and His vratham
to protect those , who seek His rakshaNam through the act of SaraNAgathy .
AbhIthi Sthavam passages
The first slOkam of SrI Abheethi sthavam defines three items right away
and pays tribute to that MahA Purushan , ParandhAman , PurushOtthaman
(RamaasakhamKimapi Maha: adheemahE):
The one who destroys all fears on seeking His protection in this world is
saluted as " Iha yajjushAm abheethi: ).
The one who is filled with fear on abandonment by the Lord is saluted as "
iha yadh-avadheerithAnAm Bhayam).
The Lord under whose command are those , who generate fear and freedom
from fear are referred to as " Jagadhi Bhaya-abhaya vidhAyina: yannidEsE
stiTA:). He is the controller and ruler of all these forces
and the empowerer . They are all enabled by Him .
That Lord is the One , who uttered on the sea side the famous abhya
PradhAna vaakyam , which Swamy Desikan paraphrases in the second slOkam of
" Sakruth praNatha RakshaNa praTitha Samvidha:"
Even those who sought His protection ONCE ( Sakruth praNatha ) , He
protects without fail. He has declared this as His vow publicly on the sea
side ( RakshaNa praTitha samvidha:) so that no one has any confusion about
This vow to protect those , who sought His protection are of many kinds as
they sink in the deep ocean of SamsAram : Some are "mitha Buddhis" engaged
in the enjoyment of alpa sukham (siRRinbham) of the world. Some are deeply
stuck in the mud of Ajn~Anam (false knowledge about Tatthva Thrayam).
These are " bahuLamOhabhAjA:". They do not think about the fruits of
auspicious and inauspicious karmas and ( atarkika hitha-ahitha krama
visEsha vrutthi: ).
They do not realize directly or through SadAchArya Upadesam that
SaraNAgathy to You will free them from fear from all quarters and at all
times ( Tasya kadAchana kudascchana kvachana Bhayam na syAth). Such a
bhAgyasAli, who has performed SaraNAgathy at Your Sacred Feet does not end
up in narakam or become exposed to the influence of the servants of Yama
Dharaman , who is Your servant ( na tasya yama vasyathA narakapaatha
bheethi: kutha: )
Oh Lord Raamachandra! For those , who wish to cross the ocean of SamsAram
( thriguNa langhana udhyOgina:) there are fearful times in which they slip
from their chosen path of seeking Moksham ( skhalath samaya kaatharee
anubhavantha:). At those times , You as the forever-alert Lord about their
protection (kaatharee haraNa jaagarUkan) give Your hand as the One , who
has vowed to rescue them (kara-grahaNa DhIkshithan) from such calmities
and protect them without fail. For You , the rescuing of those , who seek
Your protection (praNatha rakshaNam) is like the effort to protect Your
own Self (SvarakshaNam iva bhavathi).
Swamy reminds the Lord of His vow that He broadcast over the noise of the
waves of Raama Sethu in ABS this way:
"sakruth prapadhana sprusAm ABHAYA DHAANA NITHYA VRATHEE"
One who has declared during RaamAvathAram that it is His eternal vow to
protect those , who sought His refuge through the act of Prapatthi.
Swamy also reminds the Lord that He is afraid to reject the SaraNAgathan
independent of the magnitude of trespasses the jeevan might have committed
and salutes the Lord in this context as " SaraNAgatha praNaya bhanga
bheethan ". On seeking the refuge of the Lord's sacred feet , they are
freed from the three kinds of FEARS and attain Moksham ( Bhavath padha
SamAsrithA: bhaya vimukthim aapu:). Abhayam is described as Bhaya Vimukthi
here. He gives the Abhaya PradhAnam and those object of His infinite DayA
, get Bhaya Vimukthi. The SaraNAgathan says : " ayam bhara: Thvath
paadhamoolE samarpitham" (The responsibility of my protection is placed at
Your sacred feet) and the Lord, who has been waiting to hear this plea
takes over immediately
the act of protection that is sought. The Lord is the abode of all
auspicious attributes( Prakrushta guNakan) and with His inviolable power
burns away all the fears of the suffering SamsAri once and for all. The
object of such abundant mercy (the PrapannAs) join the assembly of those ,
who perform pallANDu for Him ( jitham tE Vaadhina:).They join the list of
PrapannAs like PrahlAdhan, Dhroupathi, GajEndhran , VibhIshaNan , the
GopAs and the Gopis , AmbharIshan and a host of others , who have recieved
already abhaya PradhAnam from our Lord .
This then is the message of Abhaya PradhAna Saaram , which we will study
together during this puNya kaalam of SrI Raama Navami season .
In the next posting , we will study the introductory Sanskrit and Tamil
slOkams placed at the very beginning of this Prabhandham of Abhaya
There are three most brilliant Sanskrit slOkams and two Tamil Paasurams at
the beginning of Abhaya pradhAna Saaram. Let us enjoy them first before
plunging into the main text .
SlOkam 1. About The Supermacy of Lord Raamachandran
This is the same slOkam that we find at the beginning of SrI Raghuveera
Jayathi aasritha santhrAsa dhvAntha vidhvamsana udhaya:
PrabhAvAn Seethayaa DhEvyA Parama-vyOma BhAskara:
Lord Raamachandran has incarnated as the son of DasaraTA to destroy the
darkness of fear from those , who have sought His refuge . He is aasritha
santhrAsa (fear) dhvAntha vidhvamsanan(destroyer of the darkness
constituted by fear). He is like the Sun , which chases away the physical
darkness. Similarly ,Lord Raamabhadran has incarnated to banish the mental
darkness caused by fear of samsAric afflictions for those, who have sought
His protection .He is the Sun (Bhaaskaran) shining in the Supreme space (
paramAkAsam ) of SrI Vaikuntam. Such a Sun shining in SrI Vaikuntam is
radiant with His Svayam JyOthi( Parama vyOma Bhaskara:) and is victorious
(Jayathi) . Just as the lustre (Prabhaa) never parts with the Sun ,SeethA
pirAtti never leaves the side of Her Lord and makes His glories supremely
radiant ( SeethayA dhEvyA PrabhAvAn Parama VyOma Bhaskara: Jayathi).
Deep aspects of SrI tatthvam is referred to here. Lord Raamachandran and
His Devi enjoy nithya yOgam . They are never separated from one another
(Nithya SrI and anapAyinee). Their nithya sambhandham is celebrated here ,
when She is likened to the PrabhA of the BhAskaran. Without that grand
lustre (PrabhA), the Sun will not amout to any thing.SrImad RaamAyaNam
also refers to this Tatthvam as : "BhAskarENa PrabhA YathA", when it
salutes the inseperable relationship between the dhivya dampathis.Unlike
other PrabhAs , the PrabhA of Sooryan spreads everywhere and illumines
everything. Joined with the PrabhA , the BhAskaran destoys the long and
dark night of SamsAram.One can not say that Bhaskaran alone (devoid of His
prabhA) drives the darknes (grants mOksham). Thus PirAtti's UpAyathvam for
Moksham is asserted with this analogy. This is the Parama tAthparyam (deep
meaning) of the analogy of Raamabhadran and SeethA Piratti as the Sun and
SlOkam 2: The significance of the Abhaya Hastham of the Lord
prAya: prapadhanE pumsAm pouna: punyam nivArayan
(meaning): The right hand of Uthsavar RanganAthar (Lord Raamachandran)
holds the abhaya mudhrai to assure the PrapannAs that they do not need to
be afraid of any thing. When one reflects on that abhaya mudhrai, it
appears as though the Lord is saying : " Oh prapannAs ! Stop! It is enough
that you have performed prapatthi once. You should not perform Prapatthi
again". That abhaya mudrai seems to be a reminder to the PrapannAs that
Prapatthi needs to be performed only once. Swamy Desikan prays here for
the protection by that abhya hastham of the Lord.
SlOkam 3:The glory of the Prapatthi yOgam
In this third slOkam , Swamy Desikan reminds us of the vow of the Lord to
hasten to protect the Prapannan, who sought His protection. This prapatthi
yOgam is easy to perform and does not have all the difficult
steps of Bhakthi yOgam to gain mOksham.
namastasmai kasmaichana bhavathu nishkinchanajana-
dhrashtthAdhurjAtha-prasamana padhAmbhOja rajasE
The glory of the SaraNAgatha Rakshakan, Raamachandran keeps growing
forever. His glory is limitless. DevEndran misbehaved with AhalyA , the
wife of Sage Gouthamaa. The Sage got angry at Indhran and his wife and
cursed them both. Ahalyai got transformed into a stone and lay by
thewayside. The speck of dust from Lord RaamA's Thiruvadi fell on AhalyA ,
who had ben transformed into a stone .The redeeming power of even the dust
speck from the Lord's feet restored Ahalya back to her human form and
united her with her husband. adiyEn offers my praNAmams to that matchless
Paasuram 1: Lord is the UpAyam for Moksham
sOham tavirkkum suruthi poruL onRu solluhinROm
nAkam tanakkum irAkkatharkkum namakkum saraNam
aakaNDalan mahanAhiya aavalippERiyathOr
kaaham pizhaitthida kaNNazhivE seytha KaakutthanE
(meaning): Lord Kaakusthan (Raamachandran) , who spared the life of the
egotistic son of Indhran ( appearing in the form of the crow) after he
performed SaraNAgathy and limited His anger with the destruction of just
one eye inspite of the extraordinary offense that he committed against His
Devi. He is the Lord, who is the means (UpAyam) for protection of the
DevAs, RaakshasAs and us. This is the deep meaning of
the VedAs and His glory as the SaraNAgatha Rakshakan removes firmly all of
our sorrows and fears.
The prANa PradhAnam ( sparing the life) to the offending KaakAsuran is an
importnat event celebrated in SrImad RaamAyaNam. The KaakAsuran chased by
RaamA's BrahmAsthram (empowered in a blade of grass) could not find anyone
to save him . Finally , that crow fell at the feet of the Lord after
traversing all the three worlds looking for some one to save him (
ThrIn-lOkAn samparikramya TamEva SaraNam gatha:). Out of His infinite
mercy and the vow of offering protection to any one (even an aparAdhi) who
sought His protection, Raamachandran spared the life of that Kaakam :
sa tamm nipathitham bhUmou SaraNya: saraNAgatham
vadhArhamapi KaakutsTa: krupayA paryapAlayath
--Sundara KaaNDam: 38.34 (Words of HanumAn )
Even if the crow deserved to be killed, Lord Raamachandran spared its life
because it had performed SaraNAgathy at His sacred feet.
Paasuram 2: Lord's Abhaya pradhAnam is Veda Saaram
orukkAlE SaraNAha adaihinRARkkum
Unakkadimai aahinREn yenkiRArkkum
anjElenRu aruL koduppan , ithuthAnOthum
irukkAlumezhil munivar ninaivinAlum
neRi uraitthAr nilai uNarnthu nilai peRROmE
(meaning): Lord Raghu Raaman shared His thoughts before VibhIshaNan at the
time of accepting his SaraNAgathy request : " It is my vow to grant
freedom from fear (abhaya pradhAnam) for any one(janthu) , who performs
saraNagathy to Me even once and states that he is My daasan . For that
janthu which practiced SaraNAgathy, I will take the full responsibility so
that no harm comes to it.This is My sacred vow based on the essence of
Vedam -Smruthi and SadAchAram".
Swamy Desikan states here that his mind was filled with peace / joy , when
he reflected on this magnanimous statement by the Lord about His
SaraNAgatha RakshaNa vratham(neRi).
Next , we will cover the first two chapters of Abhaya pradhAna Saaram :
(1) Prabhandha avathAram (2)Para Tatthva NirNayam .
We enjoyed in the previous post the three brilliant Sanskrit slOkams and
two Tamil Paasurams at the beginning of Swamy Desikan's SrI Sookthi Abhaya
pradhAna Saaram.Let us now highlight the content of the first chapter of
Abhaya PradhAna Saaram.
He is "AnjEl yenRu aruL Koduppaan " for those who sought His refuge once
and identified themselves as His Daasans (OrukkAlE SaraNAha
adhaihiravarkkum , Unakkadimai AhinrEn yenravarkkum ).He will assure them
total protection from all fears . This is the essence of Abhaya pradhAnam
offered by our SaraNAgatha RakhsaNa Vrathy , Lord Raamachandran.
First Chapter: Prabhnadha AvathAram
SrIman NaarAyaNan took the avathAram as the son of King DasaraTA during
one of the ThrEthA Yugams. At that time , Brahma appeared before Sage
Vaalmiki and blessed him with "dhivya Saarasvatham" (Divine speech) to
compose the ithihAsam of SrImad RaamAyaNam to celebrate the glories of
the Vibhava avathAram of the Lord centered around SaraNAgathy Tatthvam.
Brahma blessed Sage Valmiki to have dhivya chakshus ( divine vision ) to
experience all that happened during RaamA's life so that his description
of the charitham would be free from any mistakes (na tE vaak anruthA
kaavyE kaachith athra bhavishyathi). Valmiki revealed the avathAra rahsyam
of the Lord as SrI Raamachandran in SrImad RaamaayaNam as a result of that
divine anugraham of Saravathy Vallabhan (Brahma Devan).
After composing the 24,000 slOkams of this sacred epic, sage Vaalmiki was
looking for a qualified adhikAri to teach this MahA PuNya charitham, which
is equal to Vedam (PuNyam Vedaisccha sammitham).
The beautiful and learned sons of Lord Raamachandran and SitA PirAtti ,
Lava KusaaLs , appeared at this time before Sage VaalmIki and prostrated
(Paadha UpasangrahaNam) at his sacred feet.
Sage Vaalmiki recognized that KusaLavaaLs are the fittest adhikAris
(Uchitha Utthama adhikAris) for propagating SrImad RaamAyaNam , which
expounds the deep and esoteric meanings of VedAs. He assessed the young
boys of the dhivya dampathis to be MedhAvis (filled with discriminating
intellect) and proficinet in the mastery of the VedAs and established in
the VedAs (practioners of Vedic anushtAnams).
Sage VaalmIki was immensely delighted to instruc them and spread the
messages of SrImad RaamAyaNam , which came in to existence to explain the
deep meanings of VedAs.
sa thu mEdhAvinou dhrushtvA VedEshu parinishtithou
VedOpabrahmNArTAya thAvagrAhayatha Prabhu:
--SrImad RaamAyaNam : Baala KaaNDam: 4.6
Thus Srimad RaamAyaNam took its avathAram as a Prabhandham through Sage
Vaalmiki and propagated throughout the world through the kaimkaryam of his
sishyAs , Lava and KuchA.
In the next posting of this SrI Raama Navami series, we will study the
second chapter Of Abhaya PradhAna Saaram (Para Tathtva NirNayam) dealing
with the establishment of the Parathvam (the Supermacy ) of the Lord who
incarnated as Raamachandran at AyOdhi .
Today , we will study the second of the Ten chapters of the SrI Sookthi
entitled " para Tatthva NirNayam".
SrImad RaamAyaNam is Veda UpabrahmaNam or the grantham that explains the
meaning of the VedAs. Among those works, which serve in these categories
is the SvEthasvathAra Upanishad, which focuses on two cardinal points: (1)
Sarva SaraNya Para Tatthva vishayam (The Lord serving as the Supreme
Potector/Rakshakan for one and all) (2) Sarva adhikAra SaraNAgathi Roopa
Parama Hitha vishayam( the supreme UpAyam , which is in the form of
SaraNAgathy that is open to all adhikAris).
1)Sarva SaraNya Para Tathtvam
When it comes to the examination of who is the Supreme most protector for
one and all , who seek the refuge, It is easy to prove that SrIman
NaarAyanan taking the different VibhavAtharams like Narasimhan,
Raamachandran and krishNan is the Supreme Godhead(ParamAthmA). Some times
, the confusion about his fundamnetal truth arises due to the competing
claims of this status by two Others : (1) BrahmA and (2) Sivan. Brahma is
the son of SrIman NaarAyaNan and Sivan is the son of BrahmA and therefore
is the grandson of SrIman NaarAyaNan. It is accepted that SrIman
NaarAyaNan has no equal or superior, when it comes to being the unfailing
Supreme protector of all, who seek His rakshaNam. His parathvam
(Supermacy) is considered as " SarvasmAth Paraathvam" (Superior to every
one). This is acknowledged by BrahmA and Sivan themselves. Let us cite
some direct Quotations from BrahmA and Sivan about the fact that PerumAl
is indeed Sarva VilakshaNa Parabrahmam (The One with unique and unmatched
glories as SaraNAgatha Rakshan):
1. Oh Raamachandra! You are the Unchanging Para Brahmam and is eternal (
Aksharam Brahma Sathyam cha)--Yuddha KaandaM: 120-14). These are BrahmA's
words as he salutes his Lord , the victorious Raamachandran in front of
2.You are the root cause of all the three Worlds and their beings and is
the Lord of them all ( Thvam ThrayANAm hi lOkAnAm aadhikarthA Svayam
Prabhu: Yuddha KhANDam: 120-19). These are again BrahmA's own words.
3. Oh RaamabhadrA! The whole world is Your SarIram ( Jagath Sarvam sarIram
tE ; Yuddha KaaNDam:120-26).Quintessence of VisishtAdhvaithanm is revealed
here by the overawed BrahmA .
4. Oh RaamachandrA! You are the UpAyam/means and the fruit of SadhanA for
Moksham . You are the Moksham granting Lord ( SaraNyam saraNam cha Thvam
aahu: Maharishaya:Yuddha KaaNDam: 120.18).
The above are all the direct statements of Chathur Mukha BrahmA. The
passage of SvEthasvathara Upanishad asserts that SrIman NaarAyaNan created
that BrahmA :
yO BrahmANam vidhadhAthi poorvam yO vai VEdAmsccha prahiNOthi Tasmai
tamm ha dEvAthmabuddhi prakAsam mumukshurvai SaraNamaham prapadhyE
(" I an aspirant after liberation seek refuge in (Surrender unto) that
effulgent Lord , who creates BrahmA FIRST (at the time of creation) and
who endows Him with the VedAs also and on account of whom the intellect of
mine shines out"). This is the manthram for performing SaraNAgathy at the
sacred feet of the Lord.
BrahmA's message to SrI Raaman through Yama Dharman
When the avathAra Kaaryam of Lord Raamachandran is completed , Yama dharma
Rajan brings the message of BrahmA to the Lord at AyOdhdi and requests Him
to return to His natural abode , SrI Vaikuntam , now htat the avathAra
Kaaryam is over .Here is the plea of Brahmaa:
Oh Lord Raamachandra ! You created me(BrahmA) in Your navel lotus and
commanded me to engage in the creation of the Universe and its beings. You
gave me the power of Jn~Anam and Sakthi to perform my duties of creation
without obstruction .You incarnated as VishNu from the Para VaasudEva form
for the sake of protection of the world and its beings...You were born as
the son of King DasaraTA in the form of a human to destroy RaavaNa , who
was causing harm to the dEvAs and all Janthus..RaamAyaNam, Utthara
KaaNDam: 104-7 to 11.
Our Lord serves as the protector even for BrahmA and other Gods . They
seek Him as their surest refuge. He is therefore the Para Tatthvam defined
by Veda BhAgams and Upa Brahmanams like SrImad RaamAyaNam .
The above passage is in the Utthara RaamAyaNam , where He (Lord
Raamachandran)is requested by BrahmA to return to His Supreme abode of SrI
Vaikuntam now that His avathAra Kaaryam is completed ; this establishes
His (Lord Raamachandran's) Parathvam.Here is the request for the Lord to
return to His Supreme abode as SarvEsvaran:
aagaccha VishNO Bhadram tE dhishtyA prApthOsmi Raaghava
BhrAthrubhi: saha DEvAbhai: pravisisva svakAm tanum
VaishNaveem thAmm mahaatEjastadhvaakaasam sanAtanam
Thvam hi lOkapathirdEva na ThvAm kEchana jAnathE
ruthE mAyAm VisAlAkshIm Tava poorvaparigrahaam
Yaamichcasi MahAtEjasthAm tanum pravisa svayam
--RaamAyanam: utthara KaaNDam: 110-8 to 12
(Meaning): Oh Lord VishNu! MangaLam to You ! Please return to Your
aasthAnam ; that would be our BhAgyam. Please take the form of Your choice
with Your brothers . Please take the form of VishNu or whatever form You
wish to take.You are the sole refuge for all the worlds.Some do not know
about this cardinal truth .None except MahA Lakshmi , who never ever
leaves You , She alone knows fully about the full extent of Your glories.
Please enter into the form of Your choice and return to Your Supreme
That Raamachandran is the direct avathAram of SrI Vaikunta Naathan/Para
VaasudEvan is referred to by BrahmA here and His role as the unfailing
SaraNAgatha Rakshakan underlying His Parathvam is emphasized here by none
other than BrahmA. Swamy Desikan establishes His Para Tatthvam first
before delving in to His power as a SaraNAgatha Rakshakan.
In the next posting , we will study together the upadEams by Swamy Desikan
on "SaraNAgathy Taathparya Prapancham".
Today , we will start the study the third chapter of Abhaya PradhAna
Saaram celebrated in the SaraNAgathy Vedam alias SrImad RaamAyaNam.
In this chapter, Swamy Desikan celebrates the LakshaNams/lingams/ chihnmas
(distinct marks) of a MahA Kaavyam (viz) SrImad RaamAyaNam this way:
upakramOpasamhArou abhyAsOapUrvathA phalam
artTavAdhOpapatthee cha lingam Taathparya nirnayE
(meaning): For the determination of the central meaning of a great
composition , Six signs are essential: (1) The beginning (Upakramam)and
the ending (UpasamhAram) should be focussed on the same theme (2)
Stressing number of times (abhyAsam) that central theme in the body of the
work (3)Saying some thing new ( apoorvam:hitherto unrecorded) about that
central theme (4)To point out the fruits (Phalam) of the observance of the
central doctrine forming the theme of the work (5)eulogizing /extolling
that central doctrine and (6) pointing out the reasonings and clues
(Yukthis) to support that central doctrine .
Swamy Desikan concludes that SrImad RaamAyaNam of Sage Vaalmiki dealing
with the sacred charithram of Lord Raamachandra accomplishes all these 6
goals to position itself on the highest level of MahA Kaavyams and to be
saluted as an IthihAsam.
What is this central doctrine that dominates SrImad RaamAyaNam ?
It is the matchless , soul-redeeming doctrine of SARANAAGAHTY so much so
that the entire IthihAsam is saluted as the fifth Vedam: SaraNAgathy
It is the central spoke (Lynch pin, acchANi) for the wheels of the chariot
of SrImad RaamAyaNam.
This central spoke , SaraNAgathy Dharamam , which led to Lord Raamachandra
being saluted as " DharmO VigrahavAn " (The embodiment of the lofty
/SrEshta Dharmam of SaraNAgathy ) and the granting of Abhaya PradhAnam by
our Lord in ALL THE SEVEN KAANDAMS OF SRIMAD RAAMAAYANAM.
In the third chapter of Abhaya PradhAna Saaram , Swamy Desikan highlights
the individual acts of abhaya pradhAnam for the SaraNAgathAs, who sought
the refuge of Lord Raamachandra. The observance of His self-avowed
SaraNAgahty Dharmam are highlighted in this chapter with many references
to the individual slOkams of SrImad RaamAyaNam.
It is no wonder that great AcharyAs before and after AchArya RaamAnujA
celebrated and taught Srimad RaamAyaNam to their disciples . Some of them
are Thirumalai Nambi , the uncle of AchArya RaamAnujA , who initiated his
nephew on the sookshmArthams (esoteric and the inner meanings ) of SrImad
RaamaayaNam centred on the SaraNAgathy Dharmam. In that tradition followed
Swamy Paraasara Bhattar , PeriyavAcchAn PiLLai and Swamy Desikan down to
the present day VaishNavite AchAryAs.
Let us study the 50th slOkam of SrI GuNarathna Kosam of Swamy ParAsara
Bhattar to illustrate his devotion to SrImad RaamAyaNam . This is the most
famous fiftieth slOkam of SrIguNa Rathna Kosam strating with the words: "
Mathar-Mythili Raakshasi Thvayi---". The detailed meanings of this slOkam
are given in the Nov 18, 2001 Bhakthi List Posting:
In this slOkam , Swamy ParAsara Bhattar says : Maathar Mythili ThvayA
Raamasya GhOshtee laghutarA ". Your offer to protect the rakshasis from
HanumAn's wrath makes You superior to RaamA in SaraNAgatha rakshaNam. Your
GhOshti is thus superior to that of Your Lord . He protected the offending
crow and VibhIshaNan ONLY AFTER they performed SaraNAgathy . You in
contrast offered to protect the RaakshasIs who were tormenting You even
before they could perform SaraNAgathy .Such is the depth of Your DayA to
make RaamAyaNam to be renamed as SitAyaNam!
The incidents of SaraNAgathy in the 7 KaaNDams of RaamAyaNam
Only the Lord , who is SamarTa KaaruNikan is truly capable of being
SaraNAgatha Rakshakan. He should be both SamarTan (One having the Sakthi)
and KaaruNeekan (One possessing abundant mercy/bhUtha dayA )to be fit to
be the SaraNAgatha Rakshakan . If He is just a SamarTan , He may not have
the DayA to be sensitive to the appeal of the SaraNAgathan. If he were to
be just a KaaruNeekan, his heart may melt over the plight of the
SaraNAgathan but He amy not have the Sakthi to protect . Thus He has to be
both SamarTan and KaaruNikan (SamarTa-KaaruNikan). Rest of the gods fall
by the wayside by these requirements standards.
In the third chapter, Swamy Desikan lists the different SaraNAgatha
RakshaNam episodes in each of the seven KaaNDams of SrImad
1) Baala KaaNDam: The prapatthi of the DevAs for protection against
RaavaNan is an example. This is at the begining of RaamAvathAram .
BrahmA addresses the Lord at the Puthra Kaameshti Yaagam performed by Sage
Rishya Srungar as follows:
Siddha Gandharv YakshAsccha tatasthvAm SaraNam gathA:
Thvam gathi: paramA Deva sarvEshAm na Paranthapa
vadhAya Deva chathrUNAm nruNAm lOkE mana: kuru
--Bala KaaNDam : 25.25
(Meaning): SiddhAs , GandharvAs, YakshAs have assembled here along with
maharishis and have sought You as their protector (from the torment of
RaavaNan). You are the Supreme Resort for all of us , Oh punisher of all
foes! Therefore , make up Your mind to descend into manushya lOkam for the
destruction of the enemies of the gods (dEvAs).
As SaraNAgatha Rakshakan , our Lord responded positively:
bhayam thyajatha bhadram vOhithArTam yudhi Raavanam
hathvA krUram dhurAgarsham dEvarshINAm bhayAvaham
dasa varsha sahasrANi dasa varsha sathAni cha
vathsyAmi maanushE lOkE paalayan pruTiveemimAm
yEvam dathvA varam dEvO dEvAnAm VishNurAthmavAn
--Baala KaaNDam : 25. 28-30)
(meaning): " Oh dEvAs ! Give up your fear. May auspiciousness come your
way ! I will destroy RaavaNa , the scourge of dEvAs and Maha Rishis in the
battle field .I shall remain in the world of humans to rule over this
globe for eleven thousand human years . Having blessed the dEvAs with this
boon (and accepting to protect them ), the high-souled Lord picked AyOdhyA
as His janma BhUmi.
2) AyOdhyA KaaNDam: LakshmaNa Swamy's SaraNAgathy prior to the Lord's
departure for Vana Vaasam to fulfill His father's command (Pithru Vaakya
sa BrAthru charanou gADam nipeeDya Raghunandhana:
SeethAmuvAchAthiyasA: Raaghavam cha MahAvratham
--AyOdhyA KaaNDam : 31.2
(meaning): Lakshmanan fell at his elder brother's feet and held on to His
feet tightly and addressed these words aimed at Raaman and SitA PirAtti.
Kurushva Maamanucharam vaidharmyam nEha vidhyathE
kruthArToham bhavishyAmi Tava chArTa: prakalpathE
--AyOdhyA KaaNDam :31.24
(Meaning): My revered Brother! Please accept me as Your servant performing
kaimkaryam. There is no deficiency in accepting me by granting my request
. If you concede , adiyEn will gain the fruit of kaimkaryam , while You
would gain the fruits of protecting the one , who sought SaraNAgathy at
Your sacred feet .
The SaraNAgathy episodes from AarANya , KishkindhA , Sundara , Yuddha and
Utthara kaaNdams will be covered in the next posting .
Today , we will continue with the study the third chapter of Abhaya
PradhAna Saaram celebrated in the SaraNAgathy Vedam alias SrImad
So far we studied the examples of Abhaya PradhAnam/saraNAgatha RakshaNam
by the Lord. Let us now focus on the incidents in AaraNya KaaNDam and
KishkindhA KaaNDam .
In the very first sargam of AaraNya KaaNDam , SrI Raamachandran's arrival
at DaNDakA forest is described . Lord Ramachandran , SitA PirAtti and
LakshmaNan are recieved with warmth by the Sages , who reside in that
forest . The pious sages performing Yaagams and pursuing righteous customs
were being tormented by the RaakshasAs. The terrorized sages desired to be
protected by the Lord and sought His refuge. In the context of Raksha
apEkshai ( desire for protection ), there is no need to perform any
Special SaraNAgathy at the feet of one with Sakthi and KaaruNyam . The
sages advanced the reason why they should be protected by Lord
Raamachandra (Aaranya KaaNDam 1.17-21):
" The King being the protector of righteous and also the resort for these
people , famous , revered and rspectable holder of the staff of justice ,
worshipful protects the subjects.Oh Scion of Raghu! It is hence the king
is saluted (by all) ,enjoys the foremost delightful pleasures. We being
the residents of Your kingdom deserve protection from You . Whether
staying in the city or in the forest (AaraNyam) , You, the Lord of people
are our king. Having given up punishment , controlled anger and conquered
the senses and having the wealth of asceticism , WE SHOULD ALWAYS BE
PROTECECD BY YOU AS A FOETUS BY ITS MOTHER".
The AraNya KaaNDa slOkam quoted by Swamy Desikan in the context of the
maharishis' request for protection is:
tE vayam BhavathA rakshyA bahvadhvishaya-vaasina:
nagarasthO vanasthO vaa Thvam nO raajA janEswara:
--AaraNya KaaNDam: 1.20
The Sages of the dandaka forest were seeking protection by Lord
Raamachandran from the RaakshasAs , who interfered with their sacred
observances and oppressed them. Raama offered total protection and freedom
from fear for the sages of the Dandaka forest . This is the abhaya
pradhAnam of the Lord to the Maharishis of the Dandaka forest in AaraNya
KishkindhA KaaNDAm episodes
The offer of protection to SugrivA and Vaali Vadham are the episodes in
this kaaNDam dealing with abhaya pradhAnam.
SugrIvA reminds of the lord of His promise of Abhaya pradhAnam:
prartij~nA yaa kruthA Veera ThvayA Vaali vadhE purA
saphalAm kuru thAmm kshipram lathAm kaala ivAgathA:
(meaning: " Pray implement wihtout dealy the vow that was undertaken by
you the other day to kill Vaali , Oh Valiant prince , in the same way as
the season of fructification , when arrived , makes a creeper bear
Lord Raama replies to this fear-soaked request of SugrivA:
" I shall dispel this (very) day the fear as well as the feeling of
animosity inspired (in you) by Vaali , Oh monkey chief ! ....Know Vaali as
killed on the battle field this (very ) day by my might . No falsehood has
been uttered by me ever before even though I continued in adversity for a
long time , overcome as I was by greed for piety , nor shall I tell a lie
under any circumstance (even here after); and I shall fulfill my vow ."
Thus Lord Raamachandra gave Abhaya PradhAnam to SugrivA, killed Vaali with
a powerful arrow and set the stage for the location of SitA PirAtti by
HanumAn and the battle with RaavaNA at Lankaa to fulfil His vow of abhaya
pradhAnam to the DevAs referred to in the Baala KaaNDam .
In the next posting , we will study the episodes of abhaya pradhAnam
covered in Sundara and Yuddha KaaNDams and complete the study of the third
chapter of Swamy Desikan's Abhaya PradhAna Saaram.
On this auspicious day , it will be useful to recap the scope of the ten
individual chapters of Swamy Desikan's masterly upadesams on SaraNAgathy
Saasthram housed in his SrI Sookthi of "Abahya PradhAna Saaram "(APS). So
many gems relating to the SaraNAgathy Dharmam are embedded here from the
SaraNAgathy Vedam of SrImad RaamAyaNam .
The references to the doctrines of SaraNAgathy in this SrI Sookthi are so
many that it will take years to cover them all with justice ; hence,
adiyEn will be only choosing illustrative examples from Swamy Desikan's
marvellous SrI Sookthi of APS. adiyEn will return to the coverage of the
third chapter and references therein to Sundara and Yuddha KaaNDam
episodes relating to SaraNAgathy Saasthram later .
NamO NamO RaaghavAya anisam ! NamO NamO Raghukula TilakAyA!
The extraordinary details that Swamy Desikan provided to explain the
perfection of VibhIshaNa SaraNAgathy forms the heart of this SrI Sookthi
of APS. let us start with a overall architecture of this SrI Sookthi of
APS . There are TEN Chapters in APS .
Chapter 1: Prabhandha AvathAram
During TrEthA Yugam , SrIman NaarAyaNan incarnated as the son of the King
of AyOdhyA , DasaraTan. Once Brahma's son , Sage Naaradha told the story
of Raama"s avathAram succinctly to VaalmIki. Brahma blessed VaalmIki
thereafter to have the power of flow of the divine nectar of poetry to
channel the flood of Bhakthi in the form of SrImad RaamAyaNam. With the
anugraham of Brahma Devan , VaalmIki acquired the divine power of seeing
the past in minute detail and related to all the happenings during the
Lord's avathAram and described them clearly as if describing a fruit
resting in one's one's palm . Knowledge about Lord Raamachandran's
avathAra rahasyams are essential to one, who seeks the fruits of
Moksham.VaalmIki wanted to reveal these rahasyams to the people of the
world out of his compassion for them. Thus arose SrImad RaamAyaNam.
This sacred history of the Lord is for helping people to comprehend
clearly the inner meanings of VedAs. Those who have limited knowledge of
VedAs are inclined to miscomprehend and misintrepret the messages of the
eternal VedAs and the VedAs are afraid of these people. Sage VaalmIki
composed SrImad RaamAyaNam to remove the fears of VedAs since a study of
RaamAyaNa will help them understand the true meanings of the VedAs. It is
said that when RaamAyaNam is placed in one scale of a balance and the four
VedAs in the other scale , the scale with RaamAyaNam stayed down
indicating the loftiness of RaamAyaNam over the VedAs.
VaalmIki needed capable students to learn RaamAyaNa and its meanings from
him . The children of Raama , Kusa and Lavaa , arrived at the hermitage of
Vaalmiki at that time and became the most fititng students
to learn and propagate the messages (avathAra rahasyams) of this dhivya
Charithram about their Divine Parents.
Chapter 2: Para Tatthva NirNayam
This chapter settles cleary that SrIman NaarAyaNan , who incarnated as
Raamachandran is the Supreme God. SvEthasvatara Upanishad reveals two
truths: (1)SrIman NaarAyaNan is the Para Devathai and (2) SaraNAgathy
performed at His sacred feet leads to Moksham and freedom from all
fears.SrImad RaamAyaNam also establishes these two important points.
Chapter 3: SaraNAgathy Taathparya Prapancham
This chapter explains the inner meanings of SaraNAgathy or aathma
nivEdhanam or self-surrender. VedAs prescribe the performance of
SaraNAgathy at the sacred feet of the Supreme Being and RaamAyaNam from
beginning to end points out the importance ofSaraNAgathy by a jeevan.All
the seven cantos of SrImad RaamAyaNam house episodes of individual
SaraNAgathys and the inestimable benefits obtained by the one , who used
this upAyam (means )to gain the rakshaNam(protection) by the Lord through
His blessings of Abahya PradhAnam (Freedom from any kind of fear).
4. PrakaraNa Taathparya NirNayam
The establishment of the inner meanings of VibhIshaNa SaraNAgathy and the
sigificance of the five angAs (parts) of his SaraNAgathy are explained in
this chapter. PrakaraNam means the constituting Division of a whole object
or entity.Taathparyam refers to the meanings . NirNayam means the
establishment of the veracity . Therefore PrakaraNa Taathparya nirNayam
means the establishment of the true meanings of
the various parts (angAs) of SaraNAgathy , the central subject of SrImad
RaamAyaNam . The true fruits (Phalan ) that VibhIshaNa sought thru his
SaraNAgathy is explained as Raama Kaimkaryam and not the gaining of the
kingdom of his brother.
5.SaraNya Seela prakAsam
This chapter salutes the unparalleled auspicious attributes of the
SaraNAgatha Rakshakan , Raamachandran. These guNams shine more in Vibhava
SaraNAgathy than even in the Para Satate at SrI Vaikuntam.Incidents from
VibhIshaNa SaraNagathy are used to illustrate the Lord's matchless guNams
in the context of His abhaya pradhAnam to this brother of RaavaNA.
6. SaraNya Vaibhava prakAsam
The superiority and glory of Raamachandran as SaraNAgatha Rakshakan is
celebrated in this chapter. The unfailing power of the Lord to grant
abhaya pradhAnam and offer protection to the SaraNAgathan is covered here
once again in the context of VibhIshaNa SaraNAgathy.
7.Parama Dharma NirNayam
This chapter establishes as to what is the Supreme Dharmam to be
observed.In the previous two chapters , the Lord's SvabhAvam (intrinsic
nature)and Vaibhavam (Glories) were celebrated. Here, it is established
that SaraNAgatha RakshaNam is the Supreme most important Dharmam.
8.SaraNya Vratha Visesha PrakAsam
This chapter focuses on the superior vow undertaken by the Rakshakan to
protect the one , who sought his refuge. VibhIshaNa SaraNAgathy incidents
are chosen again to illustrate this important aspect of the vow taken by
the Rakshakan(Lord RaamA) as SaraNAgatha Vrathee (One who has taken the
vow to grant abhaya pradhAnam to a SaraNAgathan).
9.SaraNya-SaraNAgatha Sangama laabham
This chapter explains the phalans (fruits)resulting from the union of the
One who seeks protection (SaraNAgathan) with the One who offers that
protection as SaraNyan. The glories of both are covered using VibhIshaNa
saraNAgathy episodes once again .
10.PrApthi PrakAra Prapancham
The way in which VibhIshaNan united with Raamachandran (Sarva LOka
SaraNyan) as SaraNAgathan is celebrated here. The special welcome of the
Lord in His role as SaraNyan and the reaction of the SaraNAgathan to that
exhilarating svAgatham(welcome) and VibhIshaNan's declaration of his own
sense of unfitness for such an honor are covered furhter.The fruits of
gaining the blemishless nithya Kaimkaryam to the Lord as a direct result
of VibhIshaNA's SaraNAgathy forms the concluding note of this SrI Sookthi
, Abahya PradhAna Saaram. This is the Saaram ofthe Lord grantign abhaya
pradhAnam. This then is the principal fruit arising from VibhIshaNa
adiyEn will take up the details covered in the individual chapters later.
SrI SithA SamEtha Raamachandra ParabrahmaNE Nama:
Swamy Desikan ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam
SrI NaarAyaNa YathIndhra MahA DesikAya Nama:
Daasan , Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri SadagOpan