An Overview Of Thooppul Pillai’s Tamil Prabandhams - 10
The concluding Prabandhamof the Chrukku series is Charama-Sloka-Churukku, the gist of which is given below.
The ‘Charama-Sloka’ was born when Arjuna found himself in utter distress during the Kurukshethra war. Lord Krishna gave him this final piece of advice, when Arjuna’s confusion got confounded after hearing the concepts Karma Yoga, Jnaana Yoga and Bhakthi Yoga as explained by Krishna.
The Sloka may simply be put as the expression of compassion by the Lord on all Jiavathmas — in order for them to wriggle out of worldly miseries by attaining Him — in the form of advice to Arjuna. By this, Krishna unequivocally indicated that the ‘Prapaththi’ mode — which is simple, easy and the better means (than Bhakthi Yoga) — is the preferred one for Him.
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The Prabandham ‘Charama-Sloka-Churukku’ gives a succinct account of the above given Charama-Sloka. We shall take a look at the 11-Paasuram Prabandham in the order.
- The opening verse is a preamble. It says that those who are not knowledgeable or incapable cannot resort to Karma Yoga, Jnaana Yoga and Bhakthi Yoga. These are feasible only for those who are endowed with ability and knowledge. That is why, the Lord came up with the Charama-Sloka so that anyone can attain Him.
- This explains the meaning of ‘Sarva-dharmaan Parithyajya’. Generally, the means which we undertake as prescribed in the Saasthras is considered as ‘Dharma’. Here, it denotes the Bhakthi Yoga, with its components, which is used as a means to reach the Moksham. So, ‘Give up all kinds of Bhakthi Yoga’ is the message.
- The word ‘Maam’ is significant, as Krishna points at and touches his divine form. We attained the Lord who left the ‘Paarkadal’ with Piraatti to be born in Mathura as Krishna, engaged the Kurukshethra war so as to relieve Bhu Devi of Her burden, assumed the role of the messenger of the Pandavas and charioteer of Arjuna and consoled him when he was concerned.
- ‘Ekam’ implies the unequalled and unsurpassed individuality of the Lord. He stands above all — the means to reach Him and the Jivaathmas who adopt them. The Vedas heap praise on this Lord, Sriman Narayana. The six meanings of the term ‘Ekam’ are:
- Both the means and the destination are Sriman Narayana;
- The Jivaathma is subservient to the Lord and not independent;
- The Lord Himself stands in place of the means and saves the Jivaathma of any other burden;
- The Lord does not expect anything other than Prapaththi with its five elements in fulfilling His promise;
- Prapaththi, which is a means, cannot be equated to the Lord, who is the destination;
- The Lord provides the fruits of all the means to Prapannas, all by Himself.
- Through the term ‘Sharana’, the Lord grants us our form, attributes and good means, and eventually His Kainkaryam without ever burdening us with other means.
- We have to follow the path of the Saasthras and do things that will please the Lord, avoid other things and surrender our souls at His feet with great faith. The five elements of Prapaththi, the encompassing sixth and Saathvika Thyaagam are aptly used in this Paasuram, as in: Nadai vilagaamal (Praathikoolya Varjanam), Isaindhu (AnukoolyaSankalpam), Thunivudane (Maha Viswaasam), Kaduvinai Naam Perumpetrai Thagaindhamai Kandu (Kaarpanyam), Adaikkalamaaga (Gopthruthva Varanam), Adai (Athmja Samarpanam) and Adaiviththanan (SaathvikaThyaaagam). This is derived from the word ‘Vraja’.
- Sriman Narayana is the Supreme Lord as proclaimed by the Vedas, the One who can show His form anytime and the One who is born as a human of His own will. By saying ‘Aham’, He revealed His greatness and is waiting to take us under His feet.
- The Lord is different from and superior to all Chethanas and Achethanas and out of His compassion for us, and considering our incapability, He removes our ignorance and takes us under His refuge. He is at the forefront of the Pranavam and He rode Arjuna’s chariot sitting affront. With the term ‘Thvaa’ He also made us all ‘Second Person’ (‘Thvaa’ denotes ‘உன்னை’ — Second Person, Singular). The wordplay on ‘முன்னிலை’ is captivating here, as in grammatical parlance, it implies ‘Second Person’ (as in தன்மை, முன்னிலை, படர்க்கை).
- In days of yore, the Lord manifested as Krishna, kicked Sakataasura to death with His feet and assumed the role of the charioteer for Arjuna. He made us observe Saranaagathi and spared us of our burden. The author’s use of metaphors —forests, hell, collection of poison, terribly hot fire and deep darkness — for our sins, cannot be missed. A perfect description for ‘Sarva Paapebyo’.
- The term ‘Mokshayishyaami’ means, the Lord, who assured us of His abode Srivaikuntam and His Kainkaryam at the end of this birth, together with the Nithyasooris and other Mukthas, will protect us all merely with His will.
- Thus, the Lord who permanently resides in our hearts has affectionately drawn us to His feet and taken the role of all forms of relative of us. He has willed to see that we are not subjected to anymore of the vicious circle of birth and death by granting us the Moksham. ‘Maa Sucha:!’ refers to ‘Don’t be distressed!’.
It is imperative that we learn the meaning of the three Manthras — Thirumanthram, Dhvayam and Charama-Slokam — the most important tenets of our Sampradayam, directly from great Acharyas and enrich our knowledge and divine experience.
Meet you in the next Note.
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