SrIvachana bhUshaNam – sUthram 14

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avathArikai (Introduction)

After explaining how the greatness of purushakAram is revealed in SrI rAmAyaNam while speaking about krupai, piLLai lOkAchAryar mercifully explains how greatness of upAyam is revealed in mahAbhAratham.

sUthram 14

aRiyAdha arthangaLai adaiya aRiviththu AchArya kruthyaththaiyum, purushakAra kruthyaththaiyum, upAya kruthyaththaiyum thAnE ERittuk koLLugaiyAlE mahAbhArathaththil upAya vaibhavam solliRRAyiRRu.

Simple Explanation

Revealing the unknown matters fully, since bhagavAn took up the duties of AchAryan (preceptor), purushakAram (pirAtti) and upAyam (self), greatness of upAyam (bhagavAn) is revealed in mahAbhAratham.

vyAkyAnam (Commentary)

aRiyAdha …

Reminding about unknown matters is a duty of the AchAryan and not that of SaraNyan (bhagavAn, the refuge). This is why, after mercifully explaining how bhagavAn fulfilled the role of mother and father, by doing what is pleasing and good for the self respectively in thiruvAimozhi 2.3.2 “ennaip peRRa aththAyAyth thandhaiyAy” (by being my mother who gave birth to me and my father), nammAzhwAr revealed that emperumAn himself fulfilled the role of the AchAryan also by mercifully saying in the same pAsuram as in “aRiyAdhana aRiviththa” (one who taught me that which is unknown to me); this sentence which is mercifully spoken by piLLai lOkAchAryar here, reminds those divine words of AzhwAr.

aRiyAdha arthangaLai adaiya aRiviththu is revealing those principles starting with thathva vivEkam (ability to discriminate between entities) up to prapaththi (surrender) which were hitherto unknown to arjuna. That is,

  • thathva vivEkam (ability to discriminate between entities)

As arjuna remained dhEhAthmAbhimAni and was having affection on inappropriate, bodily relatives, and had to be enlightened by highlighting the difference between prakruthi, AthmA and ISvara, emperumAn explained the difference between prakruthi and AthmA and the difference between AthmA and paramAthmA as in SrI bhagavath gIthA 2.12na thvEvAham jAthu nAsam na thvam nEmE janAdhipA: | na chaiva na bhavishyAma: sarvE vayam atha: param ||” (Never was there a time in the past, when I (who am sarvESvara – the lord of all), you (who are jIvAthmA – the soul, sentient being) and these kings (who are jIvAthmAs – souls, sentient beings) did not exist. Nor will there be a time in the future when all of us (me, you and these kings) will not exist) and SrI bhagavath gIthA 2.13dhEhino‘smin yathA dhEhE kaumAram yauvanam jarA | thathA dhEhAnthara prApthir dhIras tathra na muhyathi ||” (Just like how the AthmA (soul) (that which resides) in this body goes through childhood, youth and old-age, in the same manner, the soul will beget another body (once this body is given up). The one who is wise does not get bewildered in this transmigration of soul).

  • Athma nithyathva dhEhAdhi anithyathva (Eternity of AthmA and transient nature of body etc)

With SrI bhagavath gIthA 2.18anthavantha imE dhEhA nithyasyOkthA: SarIriNa: | anASinO ’pramEyasya thasmAdh yudhyasva bhAratha ||” (Oh descendant of bharatha clan! For the AthmA who is eternal, indestructible and who is being the chEthana (sentient) who is the enjoyer and different from the achEthana (matter) that is enjoyed, it is said (in SAsthram) that (since it is acquired to enjoy the fruits of the karma, once the karma is over) these bodies that are visible get destroyed. Thus, you fight), SrI bhagavath gIthA 2.20na jAyathE mriyathE vA kadhAchin nAyam bhUthvA bhavithA vA na bhUya: | ajO nithya: SAsvathO ’yam purANO na hanyathE hanyamAnE SarIrE ||” (The AthmA (soul) is neither created nor destroyed; this AthmA is not created (during the beginning of kalpa – brahmA’s day) and again (at the end of the kalpa) not that he will be destroyed; he is unborn, eternal, unchangeable, both ancient and ever-fresh; thus when the body is destroyed this AthmA is not destroyed) and SrI bhagavath gIthA 2.22vAsAmsi jIrNAni yathA vihAya navAni gruhNAthi narO ’parANi | thathA SarIrANi vihAya jIrNAni anyAni samyAthi navAni dhEhI ||” (Like how a man gives up worn out clothes and accepts new clothes, the AthmA (who dwells in the body) gives up worn out bodies and nicely acquires other new bodies), emperumAn instructed the eternal nature of AthmA and transient nature of body etc.

  • His niyanthruthvam (being the controller)

emperumAn instructed SrI bhagavath gIthA 7.4bhUmir ApO’nalO vAyu: kham manO budhdhir Eva cha | ahankAra ithIyam mE bhinnA prakruthir ashtadhA ||” (Know that this material nature which constitutes the following eight categories of elements viz the five great elements earth, water, fire, air and ether, mind (and other senses), mahAn (mahath thathvam – the great element) and ahankAram (ego indicating mUla prakruthi (primordial matter)), is mine) and SrI bhagavath gIthA 7.5aparEyam ithas thvanyAm prakruthim vidhdhi mE parAm | jIvabhUthAm mahAbAhO yayEdham dhAryathE jagath ||” (Oh mighty armed! This insentient material nature is inferior; know that the [spiritual] matter called as jIva (sentient entity) which is different from and superior to the material nature, is mine; it is by this jIva [i.e., collection of jIvAthmAs] that this universe is sustained), to eliminate arjuna’s independence.

To firmly establish this principle of dependence of all entities on him, he identified that he is the SarIri (AthmA, soul) of all chEthana (sentient) and achEthana (insentient) entities in SrI bhagavath gIthA 15.15sarvasya chAham hrudhi sannivishtO maththa: smruthir gyAnam apOhanam cha | vEdhaiS cha sarvairaham Eva vEdhyO vEdhAnthakruth vEdhavidhEva chAham ||” (I have entered the hearts of all creatures as the AthmA and am residing there; memory, knowledge to identify any entity and forgetfulness originate from me; I am only known from all vEdhams; I am only the benefactor of the fruits of the ordainments of vEdham and the knower of vEdham) and SrI bhagavath gIthA 18.61ISvara: sarvabhUthAnAm hrudhdhESE’rjuna thishṭathi | bhrAmayan sarvabhUthAni yanthrArUdAni mAyayA ||” (Oh arjuna! vAsudhEva who controls everyone, remains in the hearts (which is the origin for knowledge) of all beings which are in the body which is the machine (an effect of matter), makes those beings act according to the qualities viz sathvam, rajas, thamas, in this mAya (samsAram – material realm) which are filled with those qualities). Being present in everyone’s heart he controls the actions and inaction of all entities. This principle of niyanthruthvam is thus instructed by emperumAn.

  • saulabhyam (easy approachability)

He is not just the supreme controller and one who is greater than all, but also having easy approachability in his incarnations as said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 4.8parithrANAya sAdhUnAm vinASAya cha dushkruthAm | dharmasamsthApanArthAya sambhavAmi yugE yugE ||” (I am born in many ways in every yuga to protect the virtuous, to torture and destroy the wicked and to establish dharma firmly (virtues))

  • ASrayaNIyathvE sAmyam (equal towards all who approach him)

He speaks about being equal to those who approach him as in SrI bhagavath gIthA 9.29samO’ham sarvabhUthEshu na mE dhvEshyO’sthi na priya: | yE bhajanthi thu mAm bhakthyA mayi thE thEshu chApyaham ||” (I am equal (for anyone who wants to take shelter of me) for all beings of different species; for me, no one is disqualified from taking shelter of me (since they are inferior) and no one is qualified to take shelter of me (since they are superior); those who manifest their love to attain bhakthi (devotion) towards me, live in me and I too live in them (interacting with them with great veneration)).

  • ahankAra dhOsham (defects of ahankAram)

Defects of ahankAram are explained in SrI bhagavath gIthA 3.27prakruthE: kriyamANAni guNai: karmANi sarvaSa: | ahankAra vimUdAthmA karthAham ithi manyathE ||” (One whose AthmA is covered by ahankAram (considering one’s body as the soul) by the three qualities (saththva, rajas, thamas) of matter, becomes bewildered considering ‘I am the doer’ towards karmas (actions) performed in many ways (per those qualities))

  • indhriya prAbhalyam (great power of senses)

The power of senses (in binding the AthmA in material pleasures) is explained in SrI bhagavath gIthA 2.60yathathO hyapi kaunthEya purushasya vipaSchitha: | indhriyANi pramAthIni haranthi prasabham mana: ||” (Oh son of kunthI! Though a man is having ability to differentiate and is pursuing (self realisation), his strong senses pull his mind forcefully [towards them])

  • mana: prAdhAnyam (the predominance of mind)

Over the other senses, the mind is even more powerful and predominant as said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 6.35 “asamSayam mahAbAhO manO dhurnigraham chalam |” (Oh mighty armed! Oh son of kunthI! There is no doubt that it is difficult to control a wavering mind).

With these (ahankAram, senses and mind), the hurdles for surrendering to bhagavAn are highlighted.

  • Controlling internal and external senses

How to control the internal and external senses which are used to surrender to bhagavAn, to be at one’s own disposal as said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 2.61thAni sarvANi samyamya yuktha AsItha mathpara: | vaSE hi yasyEndhriyANi thasya pragyA prathishtithA ||” (Let him live pulling back all those senses (which are difficult to overcome due to being attached to worldly pleasures) from worldly pleasures and engaging in me, being self satisfied; for the one who has his senses including mind in control (by my grace), isn’t his knowledge firm?) and in SrI bhagavath gIthA 6.26yathO yathO niSchalathi manaS chanchalam asthiram | thathas thathO niyamyaithadh AthmanyEva vaSam nayEth ||” (Being naturally fickle, not firmly engaging in (matters related to AthmA), mind is seeking about those aspects (worldly desires) due to attachment in them; one should captivate such mind in AthmA only (by the constant meditation of “This AthmA is more joyful than everything else”), turning it away from those aspects)

  • ASritha chathurvidhyam (Four types of devotees who approach him)

The four types of devotees who surrender unto him as said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 7.16chathurvidhA bhajanthE mAm janA: sukruthinO’rjuna | ArthO jigyAsur arthArthI gyAnI cha bharatharshabha ||” (Oh arjuna who is best among the descendants of bharatha! Four types of virtuous people namely one who is in grief (due to loss of wealth), one who desires for (new) wealth, one who desires to enjoy the AthmA and the one who has true knowledge, worship me).

  • dhEvAsura vibhAgam (division of divine and demoniac aspects)

Those who follow bhagavAn’s orders are dhEvas (divine) and those who violate them asuras (demoniac) as said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 16.6 “dhvau bhUthasargau lOkE’smin dhaiva Asura Eva cha | dhaivO vistharaSa: prOktha Asuram pArtha mE SruNu ||” (Oh son of kunthI! The creation of beings in this world of [materialistic] actions, exists in two categories, that is, belonging to dhEvas and asuras. The conduct of dhEvas was elaborately explained [by me]. Now hear the conduct of asuras from me!)

  • vyApathvam and vibhUthi (all pervasive nature and everything being his wealth)

Starting with SrI bhagavath gIthA 10.19hantha thE kathayishyAmi vibhUthirAthmanaSSubhA:: | prAdhAnyatha: kuruSrEshta nAsthyanthO vistharasya mE ||     “( Oh best among the kuru descendants! Listen to me as I tell you my auspicious wealth/opulence which are specifically glorious as there is no end to the full expansion of my wealth), to have the words which indicate all the entities in this world pointing to him (bhagavAn), he explained how is pervading everything and has everything as his prakAram (attribute).

  • How he presents divine knowledge to those who are dear to him

Granting divine vision as said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 11.8 dhivyam dhadhAmi thE chakshu: paSya mE yOgam aiSvaram ||” (I am giving you divine eyes which are different from these material eyes, since you cannot see with these eyes of yours), he made arjuna speak about the viSvarUpam he witnessed as in SrI bhagavath gIthA 11.15paSyAmi dhEvAms thava dhEva dhEhE sarvAms thathA bhUthaviSEshasanghAn | brahmANam ISam kamalAsanastham rushImS cha sarvAn uragAmS cha dhivyAn ||” (Oh lord! I am seeing all dhEvas in your form; similarly I am seeing the collections of all creatures; I am seeing brahmA, Siva (rudhra) who is obedient towards brahmA who is seated in a lotus flower, all sages, and radiant serpents) – to show how he grants the divine vision to see him for those who are dear to him and how he makes them speak about that too.

  • bhakthi yOgam

He explained bhakthi yOgam which is supported by karma and gyAna yOgams, to attain the divine feet of bhagavAn who has both parathvam (lordship) and saulabhyam (easy approachability) as said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 9.34manmanA bhava madhbhaktha: madhyAjI mAm namaskuru | mAm Evaishyasi yukthvaivam AthmAnam mathparAyaNa: ||” (Have your mind fixed on me. (that too) Have great love towards me. (that too) Worship me. Bow unto me. Have me as your ultimate resting place. By training the mind/heart in this manner, you will certainly attain me).

  • prapaththi (surrender) as angam (pre-requisite) for bhakthi yOga

prapaththi as a pre-requisite step [to eliminate the hurdles] for bhakthi as said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 7.14mAm Eva yE prapadhyanthE mAyAm EthAm tharanthi thE ||” (Those who surrender unto me only, will cross over this material nature/realm [by my grace]), SrI bhagavath gIthA 15.4tham Eva chAdhyam purusham prapadhyEdh” (The jIvAthmA should surrender to that supreme lord only, who is the primeval lord) and SrI bhagavath gIthA 18.62tham Eva SaraNam gachcha sarvabhAvEna bhAratha |” (Oh descendant of bharatha clan! Follow the supreme lord (me) in all manner)

  • prapaththi (surrender)

For those who become anguished thinking about the difficult nature of performing such bhakthi yOga etc, he mercifully revealed prapaththi in charama SlOkam (SrI bhagavath gIthA 18.66) as the means which matches the nature of the jIvAthmA and is easy to perform.

In this manner, since he explained all of these unknown aspects to arjuna, it is said that he assumed the role of AchArya towards arjuna.

purushakAra kruthyaththaiyum …

Now, the responsibility of purushakAram is not that of SaraNya (refuge), but is the responsibility of pirAtti – bhagavAn himself said in SrI pAncharAthra Agamam “math prApthim prathi janthUnAm samsArE pathathAmadha: | lakshmI: purushakArathvE nirdhishtA paramarshibhi: | mamApicha matham hyEthath nAnyathA lakshaNam bhavEth ||” (In this samsAram, for the creatures who are falling down, for reaching me, SrI mahAlakshmi is identified as the purushakAram by great sages; in my opinion also, her role of purushakAram is acceptable; no other role will occur for her) etc.

To create knowledge about the true entities etc, bhagavAn took up the responsibility of AchArya. Why should he take up the responsibility of purushakAram also? Could he not have just accepted arjuna directly? This is because, purushakAram is compulsorily required for accepting the jIvAthmA. How is this? For bhagavAn being upAyam, just as there is expectation in having a person surrendering, expectation for purushakAram is also present. These two expectations are highlighted in the first and last word of the former sentence of dhvaya mahA manthram which explains the pursuit of bhagavAn as upAyam. purushakAram is explained by “SrI” and the person who is surrendering is explained by “prapadhyE” (I pursue); hence, while it is the norm for a chEthana to have pirAtti as purushakAram fearing his mistakes while pursuing bhagavAn as upAyam, she will eliminate the anger in bhagavAn’s heart which arises due to the chEthana’s mistakes and bhagavAn will finally accept the chEthana; instead here, bhagavAn himself eliminated the anger in his heart which arose due to arjuna’s mistakes and accepted arjuna, and while doing so, he did without even expecting the prayer to do so from arjuna; it is said here that bhagavAn assumed the role of purushakAram upon himself.

upAya kruthyaththaiyum …

While bhagavAn should grant the result when the chEthana prays as said in ahirbhudhnya samhithA 36 – 38 “thvamEva upAya bhUthO mE bhava” (You become my means), here bhagavAn himself voluntarily became the upAyam thinking he will eliminate the undesirable aspects and grant the desirable result and said in SrI bhagavath gIthA 18.66 “mAmEkam SaraNam vraja – sarva pApEbhyO mOkshayishyAmi” (Surrender unto me – I will free you from all your hurdles) – hence it is said that bhagavAn assumed the role of upAyam (even though it is his own responsibility). The responsibility of being the upAyam is not extraneous for bhagavAn as said in SrI rangarAja sthavam uththara Sathakam 87 “upAyOpEyathvE thadhihathava thathvam na thu guNau” (Hence being upAyam (means) and upEyam (goal) are natural for you and not acquired qualities). Due to being with ubhaya lingam (two identiies – being the abode of all auspicious qualities and being opposite to all faults), being upAyam and upEyam are natural for him.

Alternative explanation. Some would explain that bhagavAn who is the upEyam, assumed the role of upAyam. This is similar to how milk which is enjoyable would also be prescribed as medicine sometimes. But since, bhagavAn being upAyam is seen everywhere and is not something which he specifically did for arjuna, and because this section is focussed on establishing bhagavAn as upAyam and bringing out his glories, such explanation will not be apt here; hence, the previously explained reason is the apt explanation.

In each of these acts, ERittuk koLLugai (himself assuming the role) should be understood according to the context.

  • In AchArya role, since arjuna prayed in SrI bhagavath gIthA 2.7kArpaNya dhOshOpahathasvabhAva: pruchchAmi thvA dharmasammUdachEthA: |
    yachrEya: syAn nichchitham brUhi thanmE Sishyas thEham SAdhimAm thvAm prapannam ||” (Having my courage destroyed due to lack of mental strength and having a mind that is confused on virtues, I am asking you. I am becoming your disciple. Please instruct me that which will be good for (me). Please reform me who has surrendered unto you), the only focus here is bhagavAn assuming the role of AchArya.
  • In purushakAra role, the focus here is bhagavAn assuming the role of pirAtti and doing it even without the request from arjuna.
  • In upAya role, the focus here is bhagavAn assuming his own role, but he did it without the request from arjuna.

The greatness here is bhagavAn himself donning the role of AchArya, purushakAram and upAyam, while normally, an AchArya would teach what is unknown, pirAtti will perform purushakAram and bhagavAn will eliminate the hurdles and accept the jIvAthmA who pursued him as the upAyam.

By saying “ERittuk koLLugaiyAlE mahAbhArathaththil upAya vaibhavam solliRRAyiRRu“, bhagavAn’s voluntary taking up of all the roles are clearly explained.

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

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About sarathyt

Disciple of SrImath paramahamsa ithyAdhi pattarpirAn vAnamAmalai jIyar (29th pattam of thOthAdhri mutt). Descendant of komANdUr iLaiyavilli AchchAn (bAladhanvi swamy, a cousin of SrI ramAnuja). Born in AzhwArthirungari, grew up in thiruvallikkENi (chennai), lived in SrIperumbUthUr, presently living in SrIrangam. Learned sampradhAyam principles from (varthamAna) vAdhi kEsari azhagiyamaNavALa sampathkumAra jIyar swamy, vELukkudi krishNan swamy, gOmatam sampathkumArAchArya swamy and many others. Full time sEvaka/servitor of SrIvaishNava sampradhAyam. Engaged in translating our AzhwArs/AchAryas works in Simple thamizh and English, and coordinating the translation effort in many other languages. Also engaged in teaching dhivyaprabandham, sthOthrams, bhagavath gIthA etc and giving lectures on various SrIvaishNava sampradhAyam related topics in thamizh and English regularly. Taking care of portal, which is a humble offering to our pUrvAchAryas. is part of SrI varavaramuni sambandhi Trust ( initiatives.

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