panguni uthram and emperumAnAr

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

panguni uthram is a very special day for srIvaishNavas for many reasons.
  • It is the day when perumAL (srI rAman) married sIthA pirAtti.

  • ANdAL thirukkalyANam in srIvilliputhUr

But beyond all of these, this is the most auspicious day for srIvaishNavas since emperumAnAr recited gadhya thrayam (sharaNAgathi gadhyam, srI ranga gadhyam, srI vaikunta gadhyam) in front of the dhiyva dhampathi (divine couple) on this day. Once, during a panguni uthram day, when namperumAL and nAchiyAr were together in the panguni uthra mahA mandapam, emperumAnAr arrives there. Being anguished at the cruel nature of samsAram and wanting to reveal the upAyam which is most dear to his heart, he started reciting the 3 gadhyams and performed sharaNAgathi in front of the divine couple. sharaNAgathi literally means accepting emperumAn as upAyam to accomplish the ultimate goal (kainkarya prApthi in our case).

gadhya thrayam is generally explained as the commentary of dhvaya mahA manthram. It is made of three gadhyams:
  • sharaNAgathi gadhyam
    • emperumAnAr accepts srI ranganAyaki as purushakAram and first glorifies her
    • he then glorifies emperumAn's divine and most auspicious qualities, forms, eternal servitors, etc
    • he performs sharaNAgathi to emperumAn

  • srI ranga gadhyam
    • In this, emperumAnAr fully enjoys emperumAn's presence in srI rangam as srI ranganAthan.
    • Since, in this world, the meaning of dhvaya mahA manthram is fully manifested in dhivya dhEsams as archAvathAra emperumAns, our pUrvAchAryas usually were fully focussed on dhivya dhEsa emperumAns. saulabhyam (easy accessibilty) is the most adorable quality of emperumAn and is fully revealed in archAvathAram. emperumAnAr enjoys this auspicious quality of saulabhyam in this gadhyam.

  • srI vaikunta gadhyam
    • In this, emperumAnAr beautifully describes the variegated nature of paramapadham and glorifies the same.
    • Here bhagavAn's parathvam (supremacy) is fully enjoyed.
    • The ultimate result of serving in parampadham is established in this gadhyam. 

Let us delve into the beautiful meanings that are revealed in periyavAchAn piLLai's vyAkyAna avathArikai (introduction to commentary) for gadhya thrayam.

periyavAchAn piLLai explains the purpose for emperumAnAr's gIthA bhAshyam and gadhya thrayam. 
  • the purpose of gIthA bhAshyam is to establish (karma/gyAnam based) bhakthi yOgam as upAyam and to defeat kudhrushtis (one who interpret vEdha/vEdhAntham wrongly). the purpose of gadhya thrayam is to establish prapathi (emperumAn) as upAyam.
  • Since vEdhAntham focusses on (gyAnam based) bhakthi, in gIthA bhAshyam, emperumanAr focussed on the same to establish vEdhAntham. Since AzhwArs/AchAryas focussed on prapathi (emperumAn) as the only upAyam, emperumAnAr revealed that principle which is very dear to his heart in gadhyams.
  • Just like vEdham cannot be taught to avaidhihas, emperumAnAr did not reveal the most confidential prapathi to the ones who are mis-interpreting vEdham. He defeated them and established the validity of vEdham using gyAnam/bhakthi which are acceptable to them. But he reveals his own sidhAntham of prapathi through gadhya thrayam .
emperumAnAr performed sharaNAgathi in front of the dhivya dhampathi, established the glories of prapathi and also showed to us that emperumAn is the upAyam for us. Both bhakthi and prapathi are established upAyams (means) to reach emperumAn. But our pUrvAchAryas have always accepted emperumAn as the upAyam and did not consider anything else other than emperumAn as upAyam. 

Let us quickly see the differences between bhakthi and prapathi as shown by periyavAchAn piLLai in sharaNAgathi gadhya pravEsam (introduction).

bhakthi yOgam prapathi (emperumAn)
Only brAmaNa, kshathriya, vaishya are eligible for bhakthi yOgam (Note: bhakthi/devotion is different from bhakthi yOgam - anyone can do bhakthi, but bhakthi yOgam as shown in sAsthram as an upAyam to reach emperumAn has strict principles to follow). Every one can surrender to emperumAn - emperumAn is common upAyam to all
bhakthi yOgam is very difficult to do, since it involves proper karma yOgam and has to be done with proper gyAnam Once prapathi is done, everything is taken care by emperumAn and we just have to do all our actions (according to sAsthram) as kainkaryam
The ultimate goal is accomplished potentially after many more births. The ultimate goal is accomplished at the end of this birth itself.
There is potential for us to falter in our actions. Once surrendered, emperumAn will ensure that we dont falter.
The process/means (bhakthi yOgam) needs to be accomplished by our action (of bhakthi yOgam). The process/means (emperumAn) is already established.
bhakthi yOgam does not fit the svarUpam of jIvAthmA. Since jIvAthmA is naturally subservient to bhagavAn, jIvAthmA independently performing some action to accomplish emperumAn does not fit the svarUpam. Since emperumAn is the upAyam, and accepting that emperumAn is upAyam is just a natural attribute of jIvAthmA, this is perfectly fitting for the jIvAthma svarUpam.
Compared to the result that is accomplished (emperumAn), the bhakthi yOgam performed by the jIvAthmA is insignificant. Since emperumAn is both upAyam (means) and upEyam (goal), prapathi is perfectly situated

vEdhAntham also categorically declares prapathi as the top most upAyam. prapathi is considered as the best upAyam by our pUrvAchAryas as well. And, since sAsthram itself says "dharmagya samayam pramANam, vEdhAs cha" (ApasthambasUthram) meaning "True scholar's conclusion is the main authority, vEdham is also an authority" - here the conclusion of our pUrvAchAryas take precedence even over sAsthram. Thus, since our pUrvAchAryas have accepted emperumAn as the upAyam we can also easily accept the same. 

emperumAnAr reveals this most confidential upAyam to ensure that his followers (who are fully situated in sathva guNam) should understand this most valuable information in detail. Out of his unlimited grace, he reveals this glorious gadhya thrayam for the benefit of his own followers.

periyavAchAn piLLai himself brings up an important question. emperumAnAr already performed sharaNAgathi while under-going samAsrayaNam from periya nambi long ago - so why is he doing this sharaNAgathi again? perumAL (srI rAman) himself said "sakruthEva" (only once) revealing his thiruvuLLam (divine heart) while speaking rAma charama slOkam. 

sakruthEva prapannAya thavAsmIthi cha yAchathE
abhayam sarva bhUthEbhyO dhadhAm yE thadh vratham mama

For the ones who surrender unto me only once, I will bestow them fearlessness from all beings. This is my vow.

periyavAchAn piLLai further says, a sharaNAgathan should be fully satisfied with the first prapathi and be like 
  • sIthA pirAtti who said "thath thasya sadhrusam bhavEth" - Let srI rAman come and rescue me from lankA when he desires since he is my master
  • nammAzhwAr who said to emperumAn "kaLaivAi thunbam kaLaiyAthozhivAi kaLaikaN maRRilEn" - if you remove my sorrows thats fine, otherwise its fine as well - I wont do anything.
So, why is emperumAnAr performing sharaNAgathi again?

periyavAchan piLLai himself beautifully explains that since emperumAnAr is unable to bear the sorrows of samsAram, out of great Arthi (anguish), he is again performing sharaNAgathi here. AzhwArs showed this in their pAsurams. For example, nammAzhwAr performed sharaNAgathi repeatedly since he was unable to bear the separation from emperumAn. In thiruvAimozhi, nORRa nOnbilEn (5.7), ArAvamuthE (5.8), mAnE nOkku (5.9), piRanthavARum (5.10) and ulagamuNda peru vAyA (6.10) are all AzhwAr's padhigams where he performs sharaNAgathi. Since our pUrvAchAryas follow our AzhwArs fully, they also follow suit. When they realise the cruel nature of this samsAram and the divine anubhavam that is waiting in paramapadham, AzhwArs/AchAryas perform sharaNAgathi so many times (not just once or twice). Our pUrvAchAryas established that emperumAn is the upAyam and our sharaNAgathi is just accepting that he is the upAyam.

Since emperumAnAr is declared as udayavar/swAmy (the master for both nithya vibhUthi and leelA vibhUthi) by emperumAn himself, we are also most fortunate to have the divine kainkarya prApthi at the end of this sarIram (body) itself due to our relationship with emperumAnAr through our guru paramparai.

Let us always meditate on the divine lotus feet of emperumAnAr and be uplifted. 

Thus, in this article, we have seen
  • the significance of panguni uthram
  • the three gadhyams and their focus
  • the differences between gIthA bhAshyam and gadhya thrayam
  • the differences between bhakthi and prapathi
  • emperumAnAr's unlimited grace   
  • the reason for emperumAnAr's sharaNAgathi during panguni uthram day
adiyen sarathy ramanuja dasan

Sources: periyavAchAn piLLai's gadhya thraya vyAkyAnam