Periyazhwar’s In-Advance Submission To Arangan
The Panguni-Uththiram day is approaching and inevitably the mind goes to inarguably the greatest of ’em all — Lord Ranganatha. The aura and grandeur of the Day of Union (with Ranga Naachiyaar) can only be felt and not easily be described in words. Even the nostalgia of the occasion would be too overwhelming for those who have had the taste of it.
Even generally, it would be a scintillating and awe-inspiring experience whenever one gets the opportunity to worship Him. Does anything need to be said about such a festive occasion? The gracious yet majestic presence of the Dhivya Dhampathis in the Gadhya-thraya Mantapam adjoining the Thayar Sanctum is a sight to behold.
What has given such an exalted and unique status to Srirangam? The reasons are innumerable. To list a few, Lord Ranganatha is celebrated as ‘Periya Perumal’. He is the Lord held as treasure of the Ikshvaahu clan (gifted by Brahma) and was worshipped by Sri Rama Himself. He is the only Lord whom all the Azhwars have sung. He is the Lord credited with the maximum number of Pasurams as Mangalaasaasanam by Azhwars. The Pranavaakaara Vimanam is a great pride of the temple. The Divyadesam is the chosen and cherished place of stay of many an Acharya. It is the abode of the evolution of the Sampradaya and a major hub of Srivaishnava activities.
We are all aware that the cardinal principle of our Sri Sampradayam so thoroughly propounded with profundity by Sri Ramanuja and established ingeniously by Swami Desika is ‘Self Surrender’. Put in simple terms, it is about reserving a place in the Lord’s abode (Sri Vaikunta) in advance.
Shifting the burden of responsibility squarely on the Lord is an inherent element of the Principle of Surrender. Periyazhwar showed the way in the decad ‘Thuppudaiyaarai’ (Periyazhwar Thirumoshi 4-10). In a classic expression of solemn and powerful appeal, the Azhwar puts the onus of saving him in his final days on the Lord of Arangam.
Swami Desika, ever one to faithfully tread the path shown by great sages, Azhwars and Poorvacharyas, the great Acharya embellished the Sampradaya with his incomparable works. In the fourth Sloka of Nyasa Dasakam he submits thus: "O! Consort of Sri, grantor of desired boons (Abhishta Varada!), I have surrendered to You; please lead me to Your feet when I am done with this body (after death)".
We shall have a look at Periyazhwar’s outpourings in this Note.
- It is with the intent of being helped in times of need that one befriends competent persons. I am unworthy, yet I surrendered unto You because You saved the elephant Gajendra when he was in distress. I will not (be able to) meditate on You when inflicted by illness. Hence, this prayer of mine in advance, O Lord of Srirangam reclining on a serpent couch!
- You must make it a point to remember me when I die. For You are capable of not letting the thought about You entering the mind when Yama’s messengers come and torture me with twisted tongues. Hence, now itself I am letting You know this, O bearer of the conch and discus and Lord of Srirangam reclining on a serpent couch!
- When I approach the entrance of the nether world and Yama’s men beat and grab me, I will have no power then to say “stop!’ Hence I prate Your names whenever I can here and now. You must all the time bear me in mind and save me from miseries, O bearer of the discus and conch and Lord of Srirangam reclining on a serpent couch!
- Lord whose greatness even Siva and Brahma cannot comprehend! You are the first cause of all the worlds, and one who became the three-syllabled Pranava Manthra! When Yama’s agents think that ‘this is the end of his life’ and come and grab me forcefully, You must come and rescue me from them, O Lord of Srirangam reclining on a serpent couch!
- Supreme Lord reclining on Adhi Sesha in the Milky Ocean! In order to create the world You made Brahma out of Your lotus navel. Knowing that the people on earth are mortal in nature, You created Yama too at once. Hence, You must protect me, O Lord of Srirangam reclining on a serpent couch!
- Lord who became the earth, water, fire, air and space! Merciless men of Yama will sure torture me. Hence I have recalled Your names whenever I can here and now. You must all the time bear me in mind and save me, O my Master and Lord of Srirangam reclining on a serpent couch!
- Substance of the Vedas, Lord of gods and my Master, my Infinite Ambrosial delight, Lord of the seven worlds and my Father! When Yama’s agents take furtive forms and try to grab and torture me, You must say “Fear not!” and save me, O Lord of Srirangam reclining on a serpent couch!
- Lord of Vaikunta, Lord of Celestials, Mathura-born Wonder Kid, my Elephant Darling! I can hardly understand any of Your mysteries. When Yama’s men torture me I shall not be remembering You. You must nonetheless protect me, O Lord of Srirangam reclining on a serpent couch!
- Lord who held aloft the Govardhana mountain and saved cattle, Cow-herd Lord and my Master! Right from the start to the present day I have not once forgotten Your greatness. Hence You must protect me from the agents of Yama when they come and torture me, O Lord of Srirangam reclining on a serpent couch!
Periyazhwar makes this submission with a sound knowledge and supreme confidence that Arangan would surely oblige, and finally, in the Phala Sruthi, assures that those who recite this decad of his with purity of heart will become servants of the pure gem-Lord Himself.
Meet you in the next Note.
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