CommentariesPrabhandam & Slokas

Raghuveera Gadhyam – 14

Dhyaanam

Jayathu Jayathu RamO Jaanaki VallabhOyam |
Jayathu Jayathu RamO Chandrachootaarchithangri: ||

Jayathu Jayathu vaaNinaathanaatha : paramaathmaa |
Jayathu Jayathu RamO nathanaatha: krupALu: ||

Dear Bhakthaas of Jagadhaanadhaka Ramaa:

Swami Desikan covers the glorious incident of Sabari Moksham in his last salutation related to aaranya khaandham .

GS 41: avandhya mahima muni jana bhajana mushitha hrudhaya kalusha sabhari moksha saakshi bhuta! Jaya! Jaya!

(Meaning ): O Lord who was the witness to the Moksha attainment of Sabari, who through her devoted service to the assembly of sages of unblemished reputation had all of her blemishes removed! Hail to Thee! Hail to Thee!

Sabari was an old lady, who lived on the banks of Pampaa river.She spent her life serving the sages doing penance in that region. This service earned her a vast amount of PuNyams which in turn destroyed any blemishes that she might have had. She had started her Bhakthi Yogam in a previous birth and completed that yogam in her next birth as a resident of Pampaa theeram. When Rama stopped at Pampaa Vanam on his way to meet Sugreeva, she met Rama and was blessed to have his darsana bhagyam to her heart’s content. She offered the Lord fruits that she had collected from the forest with great affection. Then she ascended Sri Vaikuntam right infront of Rama’s eyes. Hence Swami Desikan describes Rama as the witness to Sabari’s Bhagyam.

Srimad RamaayaNam devotes the entire 74th sargam of AaraNya Khaandham to describe Rama’s visit to the asramam of Sabari in Matanga Vanam on the banks of Pampaa river. Valmiki describes Pampaa as a lake. Today’s Pampaa is a river where Aiyappa bhakthaas take a plunge before ascending the Sabari Malai to continue with their pilgrimage to have the darsanam of Dharma Saasthaa.

Sabari meets Rama and Lakshmana at her aasramam. She had already attained perfection through Yoga saadhanaa. Rama asks about her welfare and state of spiritual progress. Sabari replied ;” O Rama! the flower of humanity! My asceticsm has become fruitful today and the highest heaven will definitely fall to my lot, now that you have been worshipped by me (adhya praapthaa tapa: siddhi:tava samdarsanAn maya, adhya mE sapalam janma guravasccha sapujithaa: II adhya mE spalam taptham svargascchaiva bhavishyathi ). She entered the agni kuntam after clasping Rama’s lotus feet and ascended to heaven with DivyaabharaNam, celestial garlands and heavenly raiment. Rama was a witness to this glorious event on the banks of Pampaa.

Saint Thyagaraja celebrates Sabri’s bhagyam in two of his krithis. In the MukhAri krithi “entani nE varNinthunuSabari Bhagyamu “, he wonders as to how he can adequatelydescribe the special blessings that Bhaktha Sabari received from Sri Rama. Sadguru states that there were many rishi patnis of high stature at Matanga Vanam as a result of their penance and yet Sri Rama selected Sabari as his hostess and accepted her hospitality with great affection. Sadguru wonders loud: “That grest blessed soul saluted your lotus feet, got rid of her cycles of births and deaths and attained moksham infront of You. What way can I describe Sabari’s unique bhagyam ?”.

In a second krithi set in ragam KiraNaavaLi (Paraaku nee kelaraaRamaa), Sadguru Thygaraja swamigaL is angry at Rama for His indifference to him. Our Sadhguru is in a mood of Amarsha Rosha Roshokthi. He asks: “Why should You, who are immanent in the movable and the immovable, be indifferent where I am concerned ? Have I treated You with scant courtesy like Sabari who gave You the leavings of fruits after she had tasted them or have I, like Guha, given You a bed of leaves without realising Your status ?”. Here Saint Thayagaraja refers to one version of Sabari’s hospitality. According to this version, Sabari checked the ripeness of the fruits that she collected for Sri Rama. She tasted them and gave only those fruits that she thought was ripe enough for Sri Rama’s use. She gave the Yecchil (left overs) out of her great desire to give nothing but the best among her collection of fruits. Our Sadguru taunts Rama and asks Him how Rama ignored him, when he behaved much better than Sabari. With great DaakshiNyam, Sadguryu asks these questions. Saint Thyagaraja’s regards for the exceptional Bhagyam of Sabari is very clear in his Mukhari Krithi. Srimad RaamaayaNam has no support for the reference of Sabari tasting the fruits first and offering only those that were fit for Sri Rama’s consumption.One anotherversion of RamAyaNam is the source of Saint Thyagaraja’s reference in his KiraNAvaLi krithi.

We will move next to the salutations of Swami Desikan to the incidents of Kishkindaa Khaandam.

tridasa kumudha chandhrO dAnAvAmbhoja chandhrO
duritha timira chandhrO yoginAm jnana chandhra: |
praNatha nayana chandhrO mythili netra chandhrO
dasamukha ripu chandhra: paathu maam Ramachandra: ||

Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan

After the break…

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