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Editor's Note - 103 (December 1, 2016)

An Overview Of Thooppul Pillai’s Tamil Prabandhams - 11

Dear Fellow-Bhagavathas,

The next Prabandham in the series is Gitartha Sangraham, which essentially is the Tamil translation of Sri Aala Vandhaar’s Sanskrit work with the same title. Both are chapter-wise presentation of the Bhagavath Gita in verses.

The Bhagavath Gita is among the most renowned scriptures in the world. It contains, as we all know, the preaching or advice Sri Krishna gave Arjuna during the Kurukshethra war. Krishna, after patiently explaining about Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Bhakthi Yoga to Arjuna, finds that the confusion in the mind of the disciple only got confounded. So, finally, through what is known as the ‘Charama Sloka’, Krishna asks Arjuna to ignore all that he was told before and simply surrender unto Him; and that He would relieve Arjuna of all sins and grant him the Moksham, and so, Arjuna need not worry.

Sri Ramanuja has come up with a commentary for Aala Vandhaar’s Gitartha Sangraham, while Swami Desika wrote an expansive commentary by the name ‘Thaathparya Chandrika’ for Sri Ramanuja’s brief one. In addition, Swami Desika has composed ‘Gitartha Sangraha Rakshai’, another beautiful elaboration of Aala Vandhaar’s original work.

15. Gitartha Sangraham

The Tamil Prabandham of Swami Desika comprises 21 verses, with the 18 chapters of the Gita dealt with in a nut shell from the second to the 19th Paasuram. A verse-wise gist of the Prabandham is presented below:

  1. General prelude to the Prabandham, where the author says the Lord — the Consort of Mahalakshmi and the charioteer of Arjuna — preached Gita to the latter.
  2. Finding that the affectionate relatives are up against him in the battlefield, Arjuna was unnerved and looked up to Krishna. The Lord smilingly explained to him the truth about souls (Athmas).
  3. The wonder Lord consoled Arjuna, saying that the body will get destroyed but not the soul which is permanent like Himself, and that one has to get rid of affection but should not abandon Karmas.
  4. The Lord told Arjuna that the noble elders who insisted that all the Karmas that have been laid down in the Saasthras have to be dedicated to Him only are wise men.
  5. The Lord who resides in the Vedas advised His friend of His greatness of taking Avatharas to relieve people from the birth cycle, the mandatory Karmas shining with the presence of knowledge and the state of those who understand the good nature of Athma.
  6. The Lord of Dwaraka told Indra’s son the importance of observing Karmas and the resultant maturity and that through knowledge one can comprehend the nature of the soul.
  7. The Lord who reclines in Yoga Nidhra on the serpent conveyed to the well-crowned and valourous Arjuna the method of meditation on Jiva, the four rules governing it, the means of Yoga and its benefits, and the importance of meditating Him.
  8. The honey-soaked, lotus-feet Lord made Vijaya understand that the worldly bindings come in one’s way preventing the realisation of His supreme nature, that there is no means other than Himself to get rid of illusion and the greatness of Jnani among the four kinds of devotees (Aarthan, Arthaarthi, Jijnaasu and Jnaani).
  9. Sriman Narayana told the confused Vijaya things the three kinds of people — those who are after wealth, the ones who are desirous of the experience of Kaivalyam and those who seek the Moksham — need to understand and observe.
  10. The Lord of great form explained to Arjuna His own greatness and uniqueness, the Kainkaryams that devout people perform to Him, and the Bhakthi Yoga on Him.
  11. The infinite Lord told Indra’s son about His inestimable virtues in order to imbibe immeasurable devotion in him.
  12. Our Lord stated that He is the body of all things in the Universe and presented His real form to Arjuna. Is there any other means to ensure this, except Bhakthi Yoga? Noble people will confirm this, He added.
  13. The Lord who is kind to His devotees told Partha that Bhakthi Yoga will fructify without delay unlike that of meditating one’s Athma.
  14. The Lord with the honey-soaked, lotus feet clarified to Partha about body, soul, the means of gaining knowledge of soul, and that it is different from body, etc.
  15. The Lord without the three qualities (Sathva, Rajas and Thamas) explained King Arjuna how the three virtues are deterrent to salvation and how they may be overcome.
  16. The Lord who strode the world asserted to Vijaya that He is different from (and superior to) the 24 Thathvas, the devotees (Bhakthas), those who have attained Moksham (Mukthas), and the Nithyasooris (Nithyas).
  17. Krishna told Vijaya the importance of adhering to the Vedas and advised him that he could understand everything through them.
  18. The Lord who revealed the Vedas told the son of Indra that the rules that contradict the Vedas are for Asuras, and that only those which conform to the Vedas have to be followed by us. He further mentioned about the triple virtues (Sathva, Rajas, Thamas), the three actions (sacrifice, penance, gift), the three modes of actions (body, speech, mind) and the three Manthras chanted ahead of the Vedas (Om, Thath, Sath).
  19. The Lord who blesses all with good nature advised the unparalleled Partha his liking for adherence to Karmas as prescribed in the Saasthras with Saathvika Thyagam (sacrificing the ownership for performing them, the satisfaction and the benefit), and explained about salvation and surrender.
  20. Those who talk about, listen or support Bhagavath Gita, which is an ocean of delight, will get rid of the sea of distress and thrive.
  21. Devout people may intently learn this flawless Prabandham which gives out the meaning of the sweet Bhagavath Gita and was composed by Vedantha Desika, an authority on the four Vedas.

Meet you in the next Note.

எங்கள் தூப்புல் பிள்ளை பாதம் என் சென்னியதே!

Natteri P. Srihari (a) Lakshmi Narasimhacharyar

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