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TEXT OF THE 63 PRAYERS: 51 TO 60

51. ANDAL TiruppAvai. Verse No. 29 (Tamil):

 

சிற்றம் சிறுகாலே வந்துன்னைச் சேவித்து உன்

பொற்றாமரையடியே போற்றும் பொருள் கேளாய்

பெற்றம் மேய்த்து உண்ணும் குலத்தில் பிறந்து நீ

குற்றேவல் எங்களைக் கொள்ளாமல் போகாது

இற்றைப் பறைகொள்வான் அன்றுகாண் கோவிந்தா

எற்றைக்கும் ஏழேழ் பிறவிக்கும் உந்தன்னோடு

உற்றோமே யாவோம் உனக்கே நாம் ஆட்செய்வோம்

மற்றைநம் காமங்கள் மாற்றேலோர் எம்பாவாய்..

 

CiRRam CiRu-kAle vandu unnaic-cEvittun poRRAmarai-yaDiyE pORRum poruL kELAy

peRRam mEyttu uNNum kulattil piRandu nI kuRREval engaLaik-koLLAmal pogAdu

iRRaippaRai koLvAn anRu kAN GovindA eRRaikkum EzhEzh piRavikkum un-tannODu

uRROmE AvOm unakkE nAm ATceyvOm maRRai nam kAmangaL mARRElOr empAvAi

Please hear why, In this very early dawn, We have come to worship Your golden holy feet. You were born in our family of cow herds, And we are but there to obey your every wish, you better accept us. We have not come to get only the rewards from you, Oh Govinda. For ever and for several umpteen births, We would be only related to you, And we would be thine slaves, And so please remove all our other desires, And help us to worship Goddess Pavai.

Mr. M.R. Kothadram, in his book ‘Andal’s Tiruppavai’ comments on this verse:  “Thus instead of asking for Self-Knowledge they are asking for eternal company of His and service to Him even if they were to be born seven times seven births.  This is the true spirit of surrender  to the Lord and serving Him. Thus the privilege to serve the Lord for ever and anon is what they are seeking now.  The entire burden of Salvation is in the hands of  the Lord to whom they have surrendered  and their life is dedicated to His service. All they want is to be in His presence always irrespective of the births  and be His servitors for ever. To be in His presence is to see Him and be seen by Him and to serve Him  is to worship Him and serve His creations  by seeing His presence in all”

It is interesting to recall Valmiki’s similarly unforgettable lines on Sri Rama in his Ayodhyakanda (Ch.17, shloka 14) : यश्च रामं न पश्येत्तु यं च रामो न पश्यति।

निन्दितः सर्व-लोकेषु स्वात्माप्येनं विगर्हते॥ (yashca rAmaM na pashyettu yaM ca rAmo na pashyati . ninditaH sarva-lokeshhu svAtmApyenaM vigarhate ..) He who does not see  Rama (everywhere) and he whom Rama has not seen , will be defaulted in all the worlds and he himself would feel cursed

Note on Andal: She was the divine gift to Perialwar in the form of a daughter. Her Tiruppavai, is a most beautiful string of 30 stanzas giving expression to the purest love of God, on whom she set her heart, like the Gopis of Krishna’s time, and ultimately merged in Him.

52.   WELL-KNOWN SAYING IN THE LITERATURE

​   काश्यां मरणान्-मुक्तिः जननात्कमलालये। दर्शनादभ्र-सदसि स्मरणादरुणाचलम्॥

​kAshyAM maraNAn-muktiH jananAtkamalAlaye . 
darshanAdabhra-sadasi smaraNAdaruNAcalam ..

 

One obtains moksha (liberation from transmigration)  by leaving this life in Varanasi (Kashi)  or by having birth in the city of Tiruvarur or by having a darshan of the Lord in the well—known Akasha-hall of Nataraja or by just remembering Arunachaleshvar of Tiruvannamalai.

53. From Kandar Anubhuti by Arunagirinathar (15th century) ( Verse no.37)

 

கிரிவாய் விடு விக்ரம வேல் இறையோன்
   பரிவாரம் எனும் பதம் மேவலையே
      புரிவாய் மனனே பொறையாம் அறிவால்
         அரிவாய் அடியோடும் அகந்தையையே

girivAi vidu vikrama vEl iRaiyOn
   parivAram enum padham mEvalaiyE
      purivAi mananE poRaiyAm aRivAl
         arivAi adiyOdum agandhaiyaiyE!

!O, mind! You'd better wish to attain only the position of belonging to the group of devotees, who adore Thirumurugapperumaan, who holds the powerful lance, which the Lord hurled at the Kraunca-hill [wherein the demon Soorapanman had hidden]! You'd better also cut off and cast away the self-oriented egoism completely [with its roots] by means of wisdom of patience!

Another translation:  

The state of parivara or close associate of the Lord Who threw the powerful Vel at the Krauncha Peak. Strive for, Oh mind, patiently and with serene knowledge rooting out, completely, the ego-sense of I-ness.

54.  (TO LORD RANGANATHA OF SRIRANGAM)

FROM PERIAZHVAR’S TIRUMOZHI, NO.423 of Nalayira-prabhandham

 

துப்புடையாரை அடைவது எல்லாம்

சோர்விடத்துத் துணை ஆவர் என்றே;

ஒப்பிலேன் ஆகிலும் நின் அடைந்தேன்

ஆனைக்கு நீ அருள் செய்தமையால்;

எய்ப்பு என்னை வந்து நலியும்போது அங்கு

ஏதும் நான் உன்னை நினைக்கமாட்டேன்;

அப்போதைக்கு இப்போதே சொல்லி வைத்தேன்,

அரங்கத்து அரவணைப் பள்ளியானே..

 

thuppudaiyaarai_adaivadhellaam sOrvidaththuththuNaiyaavarenRE

oppilEnaakilumn^innadaindhEn aanaikkun^ee_aruLseydhamaiyaal

eyppu_ennaivandhun^aliyumpOdhu angu_Edhumn^aanunnain^inaikkamaattEn

appOdhaikku_ippOdhEsollivaiththEn arangaththaravaNaippaLLiyaanE!

 

Oh Lord of Srirangam! SeshasaayinE! (reclining on AdhisEshan!)- those who surrender to capable persons in the world have got tremendous faith that they (the capable person) would be helpful to saraNgathan (one who surrenders). It is a natural process. It is because of one’s complete faith on Him (The Lord)- he surrenders to Him.. Though I am an unparalleled king of all sinners, knowing fully well of your mercy and tvarai (intense desire)

to rush to the rescue of saraNAgathar (one who surrenders) like You did for the elephant (GajEndrAzhwAn), I have caught hold of You as my refuge. When I am incapable and disabled on my death bed- suffering terribly, when everyone else yells around me, that time, it would be extremely impossible to think of You (as anthima smaraNam) and hence when my mind is stable and limbs work, I have uttered You divine name and placed myself at your feet. _ let this help then (at the death bed).

 

When You have been so merciful even for the elephant, this human being is now pleading to You for saving himself. Though I am an incorrigible sinner, when the prapatti saasthram can work for an elephant why not me? It would also work.

55. It is interesting to note an unforgettable parallel from Kulasekhara Alwar:

 कृष्ण-त्वदीय-पद-पङ्कज-पञ्जरान्तं अद्यैव मे विशतु मानस-राज-हम्सः।

 

प्राण-प्रयाणसमये कफ-वाद-पित्थैः कण्ठावरोधन-विधौ स्मरणं कुतस्ते॥
 

Krishna tvadiya-pada-pankaja-panjarantam Adyaiva me visatu manasa-raja-hamsah
Prana-prayana-samaye kapha-vata-pittaih Kanthavarodhana-vidhau smaranam kutas te

Krishna, Allow my mind which is like a royal swan to enter within your feet which are like lotus stems When the soul is ready to depart, And when bile air and phlegm, choke my throat, how will I ever remember your holy name?

These immortal verses were composed by a prince of the Chera dynasty called Kulashekara Azhwar (Called Kula Shekara Perumal in Kerala). He was also called Mudaliyandan Nambi. He was one of the 12 Azhwars. The devotion to God expressed in these verses is unparalleled in any world literature.]

56.  FROM NAMMAZHVAR’S TIRUVAYMOZHI $3554

புணரா நின்ற மரம் ஏழ் அன்று எய்த ஒரு வில் வலவா ஓ

புணர் ஏய் நின்ற மரம் இரண்டின் நடுவே போன முதல்வா ஓ

திணர் ஆர் மேகம் எனக் களிறு சேரும் திருவேங்கடத்தானே

திணர் ஆர் சார்ங்கத்து உன் பாதம் சேர்வது அடியேன் எந்நாளே..

O Deft archer who pierced an arrow through seven trees! O First-Lord who went between the two Marudu trees! O Lord of Venkatam where elephants resemble dark clouds! O Wielder a the heavy sarngo-bow, when will I reach your feet.

Note on Nammalvar: One of the greatest of god-intoxicated devotees, Nammalvar, is the ‘soul’ of the twelve Vaishnava ALvArs. Like the Buddha who appeared in the northernmost part of India and finally engulfed not only India but Asia and the whole world by his teachings, Nammalvar was the star of the southernmost part of India whose work engulfed the whole world of Vaishnavism and beyond. He must have been born fully enlightened because as a baby he never cried or suckled and never opened his eyes. He is considered foremost in the line of all ‘prapannas’, that is, of all those who have surrendered to the Lord. He is therefore known as ‘prapanna-santAna-kUTastha’ in Shri Vaishnava theology

 

57.  FROM BHAGAVAD-GITA  XIV - 14

 यदा सत्वे प्रवृद्धे तु प्रलयं याति देहभृत्।

तदोत्तमविदां लोकान् अमलान् प्रतिपद्यते॥

 

yadA satve pravRRiddhe tu pralayaM yAti dehabhRRit .

tadottamavidAM lokAn amalAn pratipadyate ..

 

Passing away when the sattva-guNa dominates, the embodied self attains the unstained worlds pertaining to the best knowers.

58. FROM GANGASHTAKAM OF ADI SHANKARACHARYA

मातर्जाह्नवि शम्भुसङ्गवलिते मौळौ निधायाञ्जलिम्

त्वत्तीरे वपुषोवसानसमये नारायणाङ्घ्रिद्वयम्।

सानन्दं स्मरतो भविष्यति मम प्राणप्रयाणोत्सवे

भूयाद्भक्तिरविच्युता हरिहराद्वैतात्मिका शाश्वती॥

Hey mother Jahnavi, at the end of my wanderings  devoted for search

For the company of lord Shiva, the end celebration of my travel of the soul,

Would happen in your bank, while  I would be meditating,

Holding my two hands in salute over my head,

With happiness, on the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu.

Let my devotion to Vishnu and Shiva be non-dual and permanent,

 Oh Goddess.

 

It is a common Hindu tradition continuing in every period of time to keep praying to God that one should breathe one’s last in conscious memory of God and His name. The tradition goes back to Sage Suka’s words meted out to King Parikshit, as narrated in Vyasa’s Bhagavatam (2-1-6): janmalAbhaH paraH pumsAM ante nArAyaNa-smRRitiH, meaning: the remembrance of Narayana at the last moment of one’s life is the supreme reward of human birth. It is in this strain Periazhvar says in his Tirumozhi (in Tamil): At the old age when I am fraught with disease I may not be able to call, nay, even think of you, Oh my Lord Ranganatha.  Hence I would prefer to call You now itself when I am hale and healthy so that You can save me at my last hours. (See No. 39 above)

Shankara naturally belongs to this tradition.  But his is an advaita-bhakti. Love of God maturing into the insight of seeing all forms and names of God as belonging to the same one Absolute and the entire universe as the manifestation of that One is advaita-bhakti.  That the Acharya Shankara had this kind of bhakti is beyond question but in his characteristic style of humility he pleads with Mother Ganga to bestow on him this non-dual devotion when he remembers the Lord at the last moment of his life.

.

 

59 APPAYYA DIKSHIDAR'S LAST VISION OF NATARAJA

 

आभाति हाटकसभा नटपादपद्म ज्योतिर्मयो मनसि मे तरुणारुणोऽयम्॥ 

AbhAti hATakasabhA naTapAdapadma . jyotirmayo manasi me taruNAruNo.ayam.

 

To his last day Sri Appayya Dikshita (1520-1593), was able to perform Shivapuja  and his other obligatory anushtanas.  Living at a suburban village he came every day to have darshan of Lord Nataraja. On that last day he was lying down on the darbhasana awaiting his final release. Sri Nilakanta Dikshita, his brother’s grandson, of about twelve years of age, came near him and asked him to give him and other disciples some advice for their betterment. Sri Appayya Dikshita gave out a sanskrit shloka which meant:

“This place Chidambaram is a very sacred kshetra.  You, who are my descendents are full of good qualities.  I have also written a few good works.  My age is also over 70 years. I have attained a stage where I am attached to no kind of desire.  I desire nothing that should be done to me. My only wish is to reach the lotus  feet of  Lord Shiva.”

While he was saying this, he had a mystic vision, in which he had the darshan of the lotus feet of the Lord. Immediately he broke out in ecstatic verse the first line of a verse as follows:

“The splendour of the lotus feet of Kanakasabhapati or Lord Nataraja flashes before me as if the Sun has risen in the sky”

While saying this, Sri Appayya Dikshita attained eternal beatitude.

Adapted from book (1972) on Sri AppayyaDikshita and Y. Mahalinga Sastri’s article on Appayya Dikshita in the book ‘Preceptors of Advaita’ (1968)

 I add to this half-verse the standard prayer that we are all supposed to do at the end of the panchayatana puja:

अनायासेन मरणं विना दैन्येन जीवनं।

देहि मे कृपया शम्भो त्वयि भक्तिं अचञ्चलाम्॥

anAyAsena maraNaM vinA dainyena jIvanaM /

dehi me kRRipayA shambho tvayi bhaktiM acanchalAm ..

60. From Valmiki Ramayana: Aranyakanda: 68 – 29,30

. या गतिः यज्ञ शीलानाम् आहित अग्नेः च या गतिः |
अ पर आवर्तिनाम् या च या च भूमि प्रदायिनाम् ||

मया त्वम् समनुज्ञातो गच्छ लोकान् अनुत्तमान् |
गृध्र राज महा सत्त्व संस्कृतः च मया व्रज || ३-६८-३०

yA gatiryaGYashIlAnAM AhitAgneshca yA gatiH .

aparAvartinAM yA ca yA ca bhUmipradAyinAM ..

mayA tvaM samanuGYAto gacchha lokAnanuttamAn .

gRRidrarAja mahAsattva samskRRitashca mayA vraja ..

"Oh, greatly mighty king of eagles, by me cremated ritually and by me aptly consented to, you depart to the unexcelled heavenly worlds... you depart to those worlds that are destined for the virtuosos [where virtuoso is a person with a special knowledge of or taste for works of art or virtu, and where virtu is the usu. moral worth inherent in a person or thing]of Vedic-rituals, and to those worlds that are destined for the practisers of ascesis amid Five-Ritual-fires, and to those that are destined for un-retreating combatants, and to those worlds that destined for the donors of lands..." So said Rama to the departed Jataayu.

'When a Vedic-ritual is performed the resultant factor is undoubtedly  'merit' for those,  and the worlds . And this is different to that of practising ascesis amid Five-Fires. . 'But animals or birds have no faculty to perform those rituals and they have their own course of lifecycle after their demise. Then where is the question of a bird going to heaven, which heaven is scheduled to some specialists...' is the objection. But Jataayu acquired all those 'merits' when he combated without any retreat  and he is getting a short cut without undergoing too many other kinds of births, and he is given  'emancipation' from lifecycles, for his action on behalf of a godlike Rama is justifiable and befitting to get a final release, by word of Rama ‘by me cremated ritually and by me aptly consented to...’ where He alone can transcend the manmade rules.

An incidental note regarding this service of Rama to JaTAyu:

pitR-vAkya-paripAlanaM is the central thread of Dharma woven through the entire Ramayana.  Certainly Rama’s greatness in this quality nobody can deny. But there are two more characters in the Ramayana who are usually missed in this category.One is Indrajit who gave his life for his father.The other is Angada. Angada became loyal to Rama just because his father Vali told him to be so. At least Indrajit did not live to see his father Ravana being killed by Rama. But Angada knew who killed his father and lived all his life serving him. Also it should be noted that  Angada, being a monkey and therefore of a natural chapala-buddhi, could still control himself and discipline himself.  So it appears Angada is greater than Rama in his pitR-vAkya-paripAlana.

But Rama’s pitR-vAkya-paripAlanam has another not-well-known facet to it. This is the episode connecting Rama to JaTAyu. Dasaratha once promised to Jatayu (at the time of his love-marriage with Kausalya; it was Jatayu who had united them, in spite of Ravana trying to prevent that marriage, because astrologers have told him that the son of Dasaratha-Kausalya was bound to be his -Ravana's - death-knell). to give his first-born son to Jatayu.  But due to the long time that elapsed until Rama was born, both of them obviously forgot it. Finally Rama as a sarvajna did the unique obsequies to Jatayu which he did not do to his father Dasaratha. So he took care to see that the word given by his father long long ago were protected in toto.

Go to  Text of Prayers 61 to 63

 

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