SrI: SrImathE SatakOpAya nama: SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama: SrImadh varavaramunayE nama:
Sribhashya Mangalasloka Anubhavam – Part 1
Svami Ramanuja commences Sribhashyam with the wonderful mangalasloka:
śṛti-śirasi-vidīpte brahmaṇi śrīnivāse
bhavatu mama parasmin śemuṣī bhaktirūpā
The hymn delivered by the great preceptor Swami Ramanuja is an evergreen elixir for all devotees. The hymn cultivates devotion in the hearts of devotees – the very hymn being a petition to the Lord to nurture enlightenment that takes the form of devotion. The hymn is inspired by the works of Azhwars and also praises Azhwars.
In this article, we shall investigate the first of the two claims.
Clearly, the words
that speak of the Lord performing as sport the actions of creation, sustenance and destruction of all worlds are inspired by the second of Brahma Sutras –
which in turn is inspired by the words of Upanishad
“yato vā imāni bhūtāni jāyante”
In these words, the word sthema implies protection and sustenance of the worlds. This includes the Lord’s rakṣaṇam which is His tendency to save the world. Given that rakṣaṇam is mentioned already, Swami speaks of the same character once again in
the primary resolve of Lord Srinivasa is to protect all His devotees.
Why does the Lord’s rakṣaṇam find repetitive mention given that it was already mentioned in the first quarter of the hymn through sthema?
Our Acharyas always author their words on the basis of scriptural evidence pramāṇam. When we seek such evidence that serves as the background of the words of Swami Ramanuja, we can discover none in all the scriptures – except in the words of Azhwars. The words of Azhwars serve as the pramāṇam for the words of Swami Ramanuja.
Azhwar experiences the auspicious attributes of the Lord in Thiruvaymozhi (1-3-2)
hymn. Azhwar refers to His limitless and pristine auspicious attributes through
“oḷivarumuzunalam mudalila kēḍila”.
Then again, he experiences the mokṣapradatvam or His unique and constant potency to grant liberation through
“vīdānthelitharu nilaimai adhu ozivilan”.
To the question if the liberating potency is not part of the aforementioned auspicious attributes, our preceptors reply that though it is indeed part of His auspcious attributes, it is very special and pertinent to the souls. Therefore, it is experienced separately again.
Azhwar also enjoys mokṣapradatvam separately in the aṇaivadharavaṇaimēl Thiruvaymozhi in the second decad. Swami Desikan also confirms in Dramidopanishat Tatparya Ratnavali that mokṣapradatvam is the prime focus of this Thiruvaymozhi. Therefore, we conclude that mokṣapradatvam is an auspicious attribute of the Lord worthy of experience separately on its own. From this observation, we understand that
does not talk about rakṣaṇam in general but about rakṣaṇam that takes the form of mokṣapradatvam in particular.
Since preceptors before Swami Vadikesari Azhagiya Manavala Jeeyar did not practise the custom of citing the works of Azhwars in their Sanskrit works, we do not find the hymns of Azhwar cited directly by SrtaPrakasika Bhattar to explain these words in Sribhashyam. Instead, Bhattar quotes Svami Alavandar’s
which in turn depends on Azhwar’s hymns for its basis.
[ To be continued ]
adiyen ranganatha ramanuja dasan
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