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virOdhi parihArangaL - 44

srI:
srImathE satakOpAya nama:
srImathE rAmAnujAya nama:
srImadh varavaramunayE nama:
srI vAnAchala mahAmunayE nama:

emperumAnAr explains to vangi puratthu nambi the obstacles that are faced by srIvaishNavas in various aspects of day-to-day life. vangi puratthu nambi documents these instructions in a wonderful grantham with commentary named virOdhi parihArangaL (removal of obstacles). We are now viewing the English translation of this grantham with the help of the explanations given by srI u. vE. V V Ramanujam swamy. The whole series can be viewed at http://ponnadi.blogspot.in/p/virodhi-pariharangal.html.

74. anthima dhasA virOdhi (அந்திம தசா விரோதி ) - Obstacles in final moments



varAha perumAL (as seen in thiruvidaventhai) - one who promised to carry his devotees to redemption


anthima dhasA means final moments in the death-bed. When death approaches, many people will lose their consciousness. Many may be fully aware and conscious of their last moments as well. Our AchAryas have highlighted two important aspects in "'pERu thappAthu' enRu thuNinthirukkaiyum, pERRukkuth thvarikkaiyum srIvaishNavAdhikArikku avasyApEkshitham" ('பேறு தப்பாது' என்று துணிந்திருக்கையும், பேற்றுக்குத் த்வரிக்கையும் ஸ்ரீவைஷ்ணவாதிகாரிக்கு அவச்யாபேக்ஷிதம்) - A qualified srIvaishNava should be fully faithful in achieving the ultimate goal (and thus be relaxed about it) and at the same time should be greatly craving/longing for the ultimate goal. This whole topic is based on these two important aspects. Here pERu (பேறு) - ultimate goal is to reach srIvaikuNtam (paramapadham) and engage in eternal kainklaryam for his pleasure. Translator's note: In sAsthram, generally, anthima smruthi is greatly emphasised. In bhagavath gIthA 8.6, kaNNan emperumAn says "yam yam vApi smaraN bhAvam thyajathi anthE kaLEvaram tham tham Eva ithi kauNthEya sadhA thadh bhAva bhAvitha:" (யம் யம் வாபி ஸ்மரண் பாவம் த்யஜதி அந்தே களேவரம் தம் தம் ஏவ இதி கௌந்தேய ஸதா தத் பாவ பாவித:) - Oh son of kunthi! whatever one meditates on during the last moments, that AthmA will attain that form in the next life always. This is why meditating on bhagavAn's names, forms and leelAs are greatly emphasised. But depending on ones condition at the final moments, it may be possible. If one is completely unconscious, they may not be able to meditate on bhagavAn at that time. Also, due to ones own material attachments, one may easily start thinking about materialistic aspects during the last moments. Even the great saintly king bharatha who had mastered gyAna yOga fell trap to attachment towards a deer and started meditating on that deer. As a result he was born as a deer in his next birth. But all of these are specific for upAsakas or karma/gyAna/bhakthi yOga nishtas. For prapannas, this requirement is not there. As a totally surrendered soul is under the full control and responsibility of bhagavAn, whether he is able to meditate on bhagavAn or not, he is sure to attain paramapadham without fail. When emperumAnAr wanted to clarify certain doubts, he went to thirukkachi nambi (kAnchi pUrNa) who was performing confidential kainkaryam to dhEva perumAL and requested him to get  dhEva perumAL's advice on those doubts. thirukkachi nambi requests dhEva perumAL about emperumAnAr's situation and dhEva perumAL blesses thirukkachi nambi with 6 vArththaigaL (words/phrases) which are aimed at clarifying emperumAnAr's dilemmas. It is noteworthy that emperumAnAr did not disclose his doubts to thirukkachi nambi and dhEva perumAL did not ask thirukkachi nambi about those doubts either. dhEva perumAL knowing the inner heart of emperumAnAr, directly revealed the answers to thirukkachi nambi. Those 6 points are - "I, srIman nArAyaNan is the supreme", "Duality is the real truth", "prapaththi (total surrender) is the means", "No need for anthima smruthi (meditation on bhagavAn)", "prapannas get liberation at the end of this life itself" and finally "accept periya nambi (pUrNAchArya) as AchArya". Here he specifically negates the need for anthima smruthi (meditating on bhagavAn on the final moments) for a prapanna. This is also the main purport of varAha charama slOkam - where varAha perumAL specifically mentions that for the ones who are very devoted to him (which means who are fully surrendered to him), even if they are totally unconscious, he will take remember them at that time and carry them to paramapadham. We can actually observe in the lives of our pUrvAchAryas that, during the last moments, most of our AchAryas meditated on their own AchArya instead of meditating on bhagavAn specifically. Let us now move on to the topic itself.

  • Being worried due to attachment towards house, lands, children, wife, bodily wealth that are being left behind after death is an obstacle. prAvaNyam - attachment. One may start crying about the things that are being left behind such as home, cultivable lands, wife and children, etc. This happens due to ignorance. Translator's note: periyAzhwAr gives a detailed account of the individual's state of mind during the last moments in the death bed in his periyAzhwAr thirumozhi 4.10 padhigam (decad) which starts with "thuppudaiyArai ..." (துப்புடையாரை ...). In this padhigam, he first informs emperumAn that he may not have the stable mind to meditate on emperumAn and requests emperumAn to remember his current fully surrendered state and redeem him at the end of his life (when his mind may not be stable). In the 10 pAsurams, he explains in great detail the amount of suffering one goes through at the final moments. The person in the death-bed will be surrounded by many of his relatives who may be crying loudly increasing his own fear. They may also be looking to grab as much wealth from him as possible before he leaves his body. In spite of all of these, one will feel great pity on oneself for leaving behind ones own children, wife, wealth, properties, etc. But when one is fully realized that they are jIvAthmAs (souls) and they are simply discarding their body, they will not go through all these troubles. Such realization is the natural quality of prapannas (ones who are fully surrendered to bhagavAn). It is said that prapannas anxiously wait for the mrthyu dhEva (death) just like one will wait for a dear guest to arrive at their home. It is because, for such prapannas, after death, they are directly carried by bhagavAn to the banks of virajA river (which runs between paramapadham and samsAram). They go through the archirAdhi mArgam, cross the virajA river and finally reach the divine abode srIman nArAyaNa where he is welcomed by the nithyasUris and mukthAtmAs. He then climbs the sEsha paryankam (throne) where bhagavAn is seated and embraces bhagavAn. After that, bhagavAn grants him eternal kainkaryam and he happily lives ever-after. Thus, looking at the glorious life after death, prapannas are not worried about leaving their body ever. But common men and women who lack such firm philosophical understanding will have great difficulty coping up with death.
  • As explained in "kshEthrANi mithrANi", such attachments should be seen as unfavourable aspecets. Not being so is an obstacle by itself. kshEthrANi, mithrANi - attachments such as my properties, my friends. These are causes for bondage and are hurdles to reach paramapadham and thus these are highlighted as prathikUlam (unfavourable). Translator's note: emperumAnAr quotes this purANa slOkam in saraNAgathi gadhyam. Here is the slOkam and its meaning. "pitharam mAtharam dhArAn puthrAn bandhUn sakIn gurUn, rathnAni dhanadhAnyAni kshEthrANi cha gruhANi cha, sarvadharmAn cha samthyajya sarvakAmAn cha sAksharAn, lOkavikrAnthacharaNau charaNam thE vrajam vibhO!" (பிதரம் மாதரம் தாராந் புத்ராந் பந்தூந் ஸகீந் குரூந், ரத்நாநி தநதாந்யாநி க்ஷேத்ராணி ச க்ருஹாணி ச, ஸர்வதர்மாந் ச ஸம்த்யஜ்ய ஸர்வகாமாந் ச ஸாக்ஷராந், லோகவிக்ராந்தசரணௌ சரணம் தே வ்ரஜம் விபோ) - Dear emperumAn (vibhO)! I have given up all attachments towards my father, mother, wife, children, relatives, friends, teachers, precious stones, wealth, stock of grains, cultivable fields, houses, all other means to attain you, all other goals with even the slightest desires towards them and surrendered unto your lotus feet which measured the worlds. This slOkam is greatly glorified for it clearly establishing that bhagavAn's lotus feet is the only means for our upliftment after rejecting the attachments towards everything else. 
  • Not having attachment towards the ultimate abode as mentioned in "mAga vaikuntham kANbathaRku enmanam EkameNNum" (மாக வைகுந்தம் காண்பதற்கு என்மனம் ஏகமெண்ணும் - thiruvAimozhi 9.4.7) is an obstacle. One must have a great desire to reach paramapadham and see emperumAn there. thirumAlai ANdAn says "in thiruvAimozhi 2.3.3, AzhwAr reveals his disappointment for keeping him in this material world". Translator's note: nampiLLai's eedu vyakyAnam for this thiruvAimozhi 9.4.7 pAsuram is very crisp and beautiful. He explains nammAzhwAr's state where AzhwAr is constantly meditating on srIvaikuNtam which is the eternal residence of narasimha. AzhwAr says my mind is thinking about paramapadham irrespective of it being day or night. nampiLLai highlights that for common people, the activities is different in day and night - but for AzhwAr it is the same - always thinking about emperumAn
  • Not hating this material world which is to be given up as mentioned in "koduvulagam kAttElE" (கொடுவுலகம் காட்டேலே - thiruvAimozhi 4.9.7) is an obstacle. nammAzhwAr sees the existence in this material world amidst samsAris (materialistic people) as "koduvulagam" - cruel world and says "I dont want to see this anymore". Translator's note: As soon as true knowledge about oneself dawns, the jIvAthmA would start feeling very comfortable in this world which is not fit for engaging in eternal kainkaryam. nammAzhwAr manifests great sorrow right in the first pAsuram of his first prabandham - thiruviruththam 1 - "poy ninRa gyAnamum ... iniyAm uRAmai" (பொய் நின்ற ஞானமும் ... இனியாம் உறாமை) - I am unable to bear the existence in this world which is filled with ignorance. For AzhwArs, being in this world is like sanding barefoot on hot sand - that cannot even tolerated for a few moments. Unless one develops such distaste in this material world, it will be very difficult to give up the attachment here during the final moments.
  • Not looking forward to giving up the body with great desire as mentioned in "pinnumAkkai vidumpozhutheNNE" (பின்னுமாக்கை விடும்பொழுதெண்ணே - thiruvAimozhi 1.2.9) is an obstacle. One should look forward to shedding this mortal body. As explained in thiruvAimozhi 6.9.9 "kUvikkoLLum kAlam innum kuRugAthO?" (கூவிக்கொள்ளும் காலம் இன்னும் குறுகாதோ?), one should eagerly await the day of death so that we will reach the divine abode. Translator's note: In AchArya hrudhayam, azhagiya maNavaLa perumAL nAyanAr explains in chUrNikai 229 that bhagavAn waited for nammAzhwAr to call out desperately to bhagavAn 20 times throughout his 4 prabandhams to bless him the divine abode of paramapadham. nAyanAr explains that emperumAn waited for so long for many reasons but most importantly to increase nammAzhwAr's desire to reach paramapadham to the highest extreme possible and thereby having him fully qualified to be called a mumukshu (one who is desirous of mOksham). mAmunigaL beautifully lists out the 20 places where nammAzhwAr calls out to emperumAn and explains in the vyAkyAnam that one who is surrendered should have the greatest desire to be with emperumAn eternally in paramapadham and such great desire completes the surrender fully - otherwise the surrender will be deemed incomplete and superficial.
  • Able to sustain oneself without seeing emperumAn in paramapadham as mentioned in "unnai ennAL vandhu kUduvan" (உன்னை என்னாள் வந்து கூடுவன் - thiruvAimozhi 10.10.9) after having the desire to be with emperumAn fully matured is an obstacle. When will I come and see the most unique divine form of emperumAn in paramapahdam? When will I experience such emperumAn personally? These are nammAzhwAr's emotional experience in his heart which was as good as real experience. This is the stage where ones desires are fully attached to parathva form of emperumAn in paramapadham. This well matured state of bhakthi is known as parama bhakthi. Translator's note: As mentioned in previous point, ones attachment to emperumAn should mature into the ultimate state. The 3 stages in bhakthi are para bhakthi, para gyAnam and parama bhakthi. para bhakthi is the state of full knowledge about emperumAn - at this stage being together with emperumAn gives happiness and being separated from bhagavAn gives sorrow. parama gyAnam is the state of fully visualizing bhagavAn's nature, name, form, etc. parama bhakthi is the state of ultimate emotions for bhagavAn and not able to sustain oneself in the absence of bhagavAn. nAyanAr highlights these in chUrNikai 233 of AchArya hrudhayam, mAmunigaL explains them beautifully in sufficient detail.
  • Having attachment to archAvathAra emperumAn as mentioned in "maruLozhi nI" (மருளொழி நீ - thiruvAimozhi 10.6.1) is an obstacle. In 10.6.1, nammAzhwAr states that bhagavAn blesses us the ultimate abode of paramapadham based on our desire. And he stimulates the desire towards experiencing emperumAn in paramapadham over archAvathAra emperumAn of this world which we are so attached to until now. So, here when he is at the end of thiruvAimozhi when getting close to paramapadham, he says "maruL" (misunderstanding) for archAvathAra emperumAn since this archAvathAra anubhavam is in this material world. But the same AzhwAr, in the sUzhvisumbaNimugil padhigam (10.9) where he is experiencing the archirAdhi mArgam (the bright path leading upto paramapadham), he shows his attachment to Aravamudhan emperumAn of thirukkudanthai by saying "kudanthai en kOvalan kudiyadiyArkkE" (குடந்தை என் கோவலன் குடியடியார்க்கே). So, we can understand that attachment towards archAvathAram is not against our nature. thirumangai AzhwAr too, during his last moments when singing thirunedunthANdagam, in the 29th pAsuram, highlights "thaNkudanthaik kidantha mAlai nediyAnai adinAyEn ninainthittEnE" (தண்குடந்தைக் கிடந்த மாலை நெடியானை அடிநாயேன் நினைந்திட்டேனே). Translator's note: Attachment to archAvathAra emperumAn is natural for srIvaishNavas. Since they spend their whole live serving archAvathAra emperumAns, they cannot imaging anything outside them. We even hear, parAsara bhattar saying during his last moments "If I dont see srIranganAthan in paramapadham, I will tear a hole in the wall of paramapadham and jump back to srIrangam". Yet, one should give up that attachment to go and serve emperumAn in paramapadham eternally. For srIvaishNavas, while there is no difference in their experience in dhivya dhEsams here and paramapadham, the technical difference is - in dhivya dhEsams of this world, there is break in kainkaryam - no matter what, the temple is closed and devotees go home and take rest. But in paramapadham, there is continuous kainkaryam without the effect of old-age, disease, etc. So, srIvaishNavas need to give up the attachment towards archAvathAram in this world and prepare themselves to ascend to paramapadham when the time comes.
  • Thinking "what is my refuge now?" at the last moments and not knowing that giving up the thought of "our surrender to bhagavAn as the refuge" is the real refuge are obstacles. As explained in periya thirumozhi 2.7.1 "un manaththAl en ninainthirunthAy" (உன் மனத்தால் என் நினைந்திருந்தாய்) - How are you thinking to protect me?, our redemption is bhagavAn's responsibility and desire. Such desire is in bhagavAn's heart always. So, one should never think oneself as the protector and act with independence. Thinking with independence "how am I going to redeem myself now?" is said to be an obstacle. In srIvachana bhUshaNa dhivya sAsthram, 69th sUthram "'anthima kAlaththukku thanjam, ippOthu thanjamen engiRa ninaivu kulaigai' enRu jIyar aruLichcheyvar" ('அந்திம காலத்துக்கு தஞ்சம், இப்போது தஞ்சமென் என்கிற நினைவு குலைகை' என்று ஜீயர் அருளிச்செய்வர்) - nanjIyar says, our refuge for the final moments is "giving up the attitude of protecting oneself now (and forever) and accepting bhagavAn's refuge fully". Translator's note: In the second prakaraNam of srIvachana bhUshaNa dhivya sAsthram, piLLai lOkAchAryar explains the glories of prapaththi (total surrender to bhagavAn). In this section, starting with 60th sUthram, piLLai lOkAchAryar explains that even the prapaththi - ones act of surrender is not the upAyam (means) and bhagavAn alone is the upAyam. He establishes that ones act of surrender is a natural manifestation of ones dependence on bhagavAn. In sUthram 63, he explains that when bhagavAn protects the jIvAthmAs, the only thing he expects from the jIvAthmA is to let him protect the jIvAthmA. mAmunigaL explains in the vyAkyAnam that jIvAthmA having the desire to be protected by emperumAn is indicative to bhagavAn that the jIvAthmA is letting him to protect him. In sUthram 66, piLLai lOkAchAryar explains that bhagavAn's desire is the key for jIvAthmA's protection. In the next sUthram, he says that bhagavAn is always desiring and attempting to protect the jIvAthmA. In sUthram 68, he says that such protection will materialize when the jIvAthmA's desire changes. mAmunigaL beautifully highlights here that "change in desire" means "change in attitude from protecting oneself on ones own to being fully dependent on bhagavAn". This is established in the 69th sUthram by piLLai lOkAchAryar through the words of nanjIyar. In this sUthram, nanjIyar explains to a srIvaishNava who was ill and asks nanjIyar what is the refuge for him at the moment. nanjIyar says that giving up ones own independence and efforts to protect oneself and accepting bhagavAn as the total refuge is the only way. Thus, we can understand that jIvAthmA's natural attitude of letting bhagavAn protect him and being subservient to bhagavAn's desires is explained as "adhikAri visEshaNam" - natural quality of a surrendered person and it never becomes the upAyam (means) for his redemption. More on these principles are best heard under the guidance of learned vidhwAns.
  • Not being like a stone or a piece of wood without manifestation of consciousness/knowledge is an obstacle. As explained by varAha perumAL in "thathastham mriyamANanthu kAshtapAshANa sannibam, aham smarAmi madh bhaktham" (ததஸ்தம் ம்ரியமாணந்து காஷ்டபாஷாண ஸந்நிபம், அஹம் ஸ்மராமி மத் பக்தம்), one should be like a stone or a piece of wood, devoid of any interest in protecting oneself independently. For such persons who are fully dependent on me, I will think about them at that final moment and will uplift them. Translator's note: In srIvaishNava sampradhAyam, 3 charama slOkams are greatly glorified. charama slOkam means that slOkam which reveals the ultimate principles. There is varAha charama slOkam which starts with "sthithE manasi ...". There is srI rAma charama slOkam which starts with "sakruthEva prapannAya ...". There is krishNa charama slOkam which starts with "sarvadharmAn parithyajya ...". All these slOkams reveal bhagavAn's vow in being the ultimate protector for his devotees. Our responsibility is to fully accept bhagavAn's protection and abide by his desires too.
  • Not knowing that any specific requirement during final moments for ones redemption will disrupt ones complete faith in sidhdha sAdhanam (bhagavAn) as the protector is an obstacle. sidhdha sAdhana nishtai means having full faith in bhagavAn being the upAyam (means) and upEyam (goal). Any requirement which depends on self-effort will disrupt such deep faith. Translator's note: When there is specific requirement for ones thought process in the final moments, that will make one think independently and act independently to contemplate on certain things. But such behaviours of manifesting ones independence is contrary to the true nature of jIvAthmA who should always be fully dependent on bhagavAn. Thus, such principles are discarded for prapannas who are fully realized of their true nature. But for bhakthi yOga nishtas and other upAsakas, such conditions on final moments exist as explained in bhagavath gIthA, etc., and their next life is driven by such conditions.
  • Not knowing that any auspicious thoughts which arise in ones mind during the last moments which brings happiness in bhagavAn's face are part of goal (instead of means) is an obstacle. We are continuing with this section which emphasises on bhagavAn's desire for ones redemption and any other self-effort is a hurdle. One should know that any unskippable thoughts on bhagavAn which arise out of ones true nature (of being engaged in bhagavath vishayam forever) becomes part of the ultimate result. Translator's note: Ofcourse a true prapanna, when he is conscious will contemplate on bhagavAn during his last moments. These are not be misunderstood as means to achieve something else. They are simply the result of constant engagement in bhagavath vishayam (spiritual matters) and the divine desire of bhagavAn himself. We see in the lives of our pUrvAchAryas where the AchAryas during the last moments are most blissful due to bhagavAn's full manifestation in their heart. Our AchAryas also fully meditate on their AchAryas during the last moments and feel great bliss. These are all part of the ultimate result of eternal kainkaryam to bhagavAn in paramapadham.
  • Thinking that at that stage one should compulsorily contemplate on the names of AchAryan is an obstacle. Starting this point, AchAryas' importance is emphasised. One should not think that Acharya's names should be contemplated as sAdhanam (means) during the last moments. Translator's note: Whatever happens by the grace of bhagavAn, one should simply accept at that stage. This goes back to saying there is nothing which is to be done as upAyam (means).
  • Not knowing that any natural thoughts on ones AchArya due to constant past engagement is useful during the journey to paramapadham and thus essential is an obstacle. It is good if one remembers ones AchArya. prayANapAdhEyam - when people go on long journeys, they carry some food to sustain themselves. Similarly for ones journey through archirAdhi mArgam to paramapadham, thoughts on  ones AchArya are the food to sustain themselves. Translator's note: It is generally said that "pAdhEyam puNdarikAksha nAma sankIrthanam" (பாதேயம் புண்டரிகாக்ஷ நாம ஸங்கீர்த்தனம்) - ones food for sustenance during travels is bhagavan nAma sankIrthanam. Similarly, here, glorifying AchArya is emphasised as the sustenance during our final journey.
  • Considering such thoughts on AchArya which occurred to previous engagement as an upAyam (means) is an obstacle. This does not become upAyam (means) to achieve anything. Translator's note: This as explained before is simple coincidence due to previous engagement and should be treated as part of the ultimate result.
  • Not knowing that "He" who is the true well-wisher is the one who leads us in this journey is an obstacle. We should know that AchArya who is our true well-wisher who will lead us in this journey. Translator's note: bhagavAn is generally glorified as "mArgabandhu" - one who is a true companion during travels. Here it can be said about AchArya as well. This principle applies to both bhagavAn and AchArya. kALamEga perumAL of thirumOgUr is glorified as vazhith thuNai/mArga bandhu (வழித் துணை/மார்க்க பந்து) perumAL. emperumAnAr (srI rAmAnuja) is glorified as "srI vishNulOka maNimaNdapa mArgadhAyi" (ஸ்ரீ விஷ்ணுலோக மணிமண்டப மார்கதாயி) - one who gives us the path to paramapadham. So, it is applicable to both bhagavAn and AchArya who are both well-wishers for us.
  • Considering anishta nivruththi (removal of unwanted aspects - ignorance, etc) and ishta prApthi (attaining the desired - going in archirAdhi mArgam, reaching paramapadham, etc) as ones own result are obstacles. avidhyA (ignorance) means the contraction of knowledge due to bondage in bodily aspects in material world. When material body is gone, ignorance is removed and knowledge fully expands. This is the state of muktha (liberated AthmA). archirAdhi gathi is the path that starts with archis (light) and ends at paramapadham. These are not to be considered as a result for oneself which occurred due to ones own effort.
  • Not knowing that bhagavAn who destroys such hurdles and who blesses all benedictions is the true benefactor of any such results. Translator's note: This is a very important principle. It is said that "chEthana lAbam Iswaranukku" (சேதன லாபம் ஈச்வரனுக்கு) - when a bound soul is purified and liberated, he reaches paramapadham and starts serving bhagavAn eternally. So, bhagavAn is explained as the ultimate benefactor in liberating jIvAthmAs from bondage. Though jIvAthmA's true nature is to be eternally serving bhagavAn, he only becomes uplifted by the full and unconditional grace of bhagavAn. Thus, bhagavAn being the propreitor of everyone is the ultimate benefactor as well. This is explained by piLLai lOkAchAryar in srIvachana bhUshaNa dhivya sAsthram 70th sUthram "prApthAvum prApakanum prApthikku ugappAnum avanE" (ப்ராப்தாவும் ப்ராபகனும் ப்ராப்திக்கு உகப்பானும் அவனே) - bhagavAn is the only one who pursues, one who blesses and one who feels happy for the ultimate result. mAmunigaL vyAkyAnam (commentary) is a classic for this sUthram. He explains the principles with pramANams and concludes that since bhagavAn is prApthA and prApakan - the jIvAthmA does not have any engagement in self-effort and since bhagavAn is the one who feels happy for the ultimate result - the jIvAthmA does not have any engagement in self-enjoyment.
  • Having self-affiliation in likes and dislikes is an obstacle. Since bhagavAn is the in-dwelling super-soul, it is upto him to decide what is favourable and unfavourable for the jIvAthmA. Translator's note: When we accept bhagavAn as the ultimate means and goal, our actions should be driven by that underlying principle. We should sincerely follow what is explained in sAsthram (scriptures) and sistAchAram (what is done by our AchAryas) in our lives. Favourable and unfavourable aspects should be determined by sAsthram and AchArya's instructions instead of our own whims. Many a times, people would say "I am fully surrendered and my conduct is bhagavAn's responsibility". But their actions would totally contradict sAsthram and sistAchAram - basically its an easy route of escapism for not following any rules and regulations yet they present themselves as most faithful and knowledgable. Such attitude is detimental for the ones who are desiring to progress spiritually.
  • Not knowing that such likes and dislikes are really apt for bhagavAn who is the only one explained in "aham" is an obstacle. Translator's note: As bhagavAn proclaimed "aham thvA sarvapAbEpyO mOkshayishyAmi" in gIthA charama slOkam - aham means "I" which can be boldly proclaimed by bhagavAn only. We should always say "adiyEn", "dhAsan", etc., which manifest dependence towards bhagavAn and bhAgavathas. Since he is the only true proprietor, only he can have likes and dislikes. Our likes and dislikes should simply follow his. For example, he likes gyAnis - ones who are greatly knowledgable and devoted to him as he declared in gIthA. And he dislikes ones who ignore his instructions that are in sAsthram and follow adharmam. We too should align our lives so that we serve such gyAnis and avoid engaging in adharmam.
  • Not having full confidence that the eternal master who blesses the true knowledge is also the one who blesses liberation is an obstacle. AchArya is the one who imparts true knowledge for the seekers. bhagavAn himself appears as AchArya and accepts us into his fold. So he is the eternal master and the one who blesses liberation. Translator's note:  bhagavAn is called mukundha - one who gives liberation. Liberation means eternal kainkaryam in paramapadham. For such liberation, first one should have true knowledge about oneself (chith), achith (matter) and bhagavAn - thathva thrayam. Such knowledge is imparted by AchArya to the sishya. Once there is true knowledge, naturally, one will desire for relief from bondage and to serve bhagavAn eternally in paramapadham. Such relief from samsAram and eternal kainkarayam is blessed by bhagavAn.

We will continue with the next section in the next article. 

adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan


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