On the panguni utthiram day, Lord RanganAtha (naMperumAL) appears along with our mAthA pirAtti Sri RanganAyaki thAyAr and on only this day, one can have this sEtthi sEvai (darshan of Divya dampathi together) in a year. Let us meditate on the Lotus feet of Sriya:pathi Sri Rangantha and surrender to Them and on this day, Our YathirAjar Sri Bhagawadh Ramanujamuni was self- lost in the all-auspicious ambience pervading the Mandapam and indicted the three prose prayers- SaraNAgatiGadyam, Sri Ranga Gadyam and Sri VaikunTa Gadyam, when he witnessed the Graceful Most Compassionate Divya Dampathi’s Serthi Sevai.
Ramanujacharya – the most unparalleled Acharya saarabhouman burst out with these emotional out pourings Gadya trayam (3 gadyas) on the day of Panguni Utthiram. Ramanjuacharya’s wonderful prose version of Saranagati (Self surrender) or Prapatti finds itself an ecstatic expression in his Saranagati gadyam. It is a dialogue of communion with God in which the soul of Ramanuja voices forth its innermost aspirations calling forth from the depths of his consciouslness a response from his Lord Sri Ranganathan an assurance to His devotee- an ardent most endearing devotee- Sri Ramanuja. For an eternal joy of kainkarya (service) and live with contentment and bliss (athasthvam thattvatthO majnAna prApthishu nissamSaya: sukhamAsva..)
This gadya gives us a sense of assurance, certainty. The intense love, plea, fervor of the human soul throbbing with deep love and surrender to the SarvEshwaran Sri Ranganathan (ParamAthmA) is not found elsewhere in our scriptures or in any other sreesukthis. The prose version adds beauty to this plea. The theme of the gadya is the consummation devoutly wished for by every true and sincere devotee.
In Saranagati Gadya Ramanuja pays homage to Lord Ranagnatha and prays to Him to accept him as one who has surrendered himself to His Lotus Feet completely to perform eternal service at His Lotus Feet. He praises the Lord as One who is entirely free of all imperfections (akhilahEya pratyaneeka); who is the abode of all that is auspiciousness (KalyANaikathAna); who is uniquely different from things that one sees around him (svetharasamasthavasthu vilakshaNa) and whose nature is constituted of knowledge and bliss (jnAnandhaika swaroopa). He has form – which is a treasure of qualities like unsurpassed efflugence, beauty, fragrance, softness, grace and youth (nithya, niravadhya, niradisaya, aujvalya, sowndharya, sowgandhya, sowkumArya, lAvaNya, yowvanAdhya anantha guNa niDhi dhivya rUpa).
He is also characterized by tenderness, friendliness, impartiality, compassion, sweetness, dignity, magnanimity, etc. He is verily an ocean of infinite kalyANa GuNAs (asankhyEya kalyANa guNa gaNougha mahArNavam).
With all these qualities, He remains inscrutable even to the highest of yogis (Parama yOgi vaangmanasA(S)paricChEdhya swarUpa swabhAva). He is Unparalled Sriman Narayana who is the refuge for helpless (aSaraNya SaraNya). Ramanuja now procilaims himself as the one who has resorted to His Lord and performed saranagti. (ananyaSaraNa: tvatpAdhAravindhayugaLam SaraNamaham prapadyE).
Ramanujacharya seeks forgiveness of all sins committed by him and prays for him being accepted as the humblest of His humblest servants. “I have surrendered myself to You and have become Your servant. “ (SaraNAgathOsmi thavAsmi dAsa: ) He proclaims and seeks the protection of the Lord and prays for being saved from lure of sense- which has deprived him of the vision of the radiant Lord (bhagavathsvarUpa thirODhAnagareem mAm thAraya). His only wish, he says, is to remain ever after the Lord’s eternal servitor and derive the greatest joy and solace of life from it’. (aSEsha SEshathaika rathirUpa nithya kinkarO bhavAni).
After uttering this prayer which is the innermost aspiration of Ramanuja’s soul he bears an inner voice to him, the voice of the Lord seated in his heart, assuring him that he has been accepted by the Lord as His eternal servitor in which state me may rest happily as long as he would live in this world and thereafter. (yaavacChareerapAtham athraiva SrIrangE sukhamAsva | majnAna darSana prApthishu nissamSaya: sukhamAsva ).
When the time comes to an end, and the is ready to leave this world, He would shuffle off his mortal coils having his gaze fixed in the Lord’s glorious form (Sareera pAtha samayEthu kEvalam madIyayaiva dayayA athiprabuddhO mAmEvAvalOkalan). The Lord Sri Ranganatha assures his devotee Ramanujacharya – not to waver in his faith. (mA tE bhUthatra samSaya: ) but rest assured of certainity of the presence of the Lord with him at all times throughout his life. Saranagati Gadya thus brings to us a wonderful revelation of Ramanujacharya’s impaasioned religious consciousness, his fervent prayer and his vivid sense of the presenoal presence of God Sri Ranganthan.
[Reference: Ramanuja’s teachings in his own works- by Sri M. Yamunacharya]
Writeup By : Sri Madhavakkannan