Śrī Vaikuṇṭha Gādyam | Śrī Rāmānuja Āchārya
Śrī Vaikuṇṭha Gādyam | Śrī Rāmānuja Āchārya
॥ śrīvaikuṇṭhagadyam ॥
Śrī Vaikuṇṭha Gādyam of Śrī Rāmānuja Āchārya, is the 3rd and concluding of the 3 main poetic works of the great Āchārya of Śrī Vaiṣṇavism, the famous prayer describing the Meaning of Dvaya Mantra in great detail. Śrī Vaikuṇṭha Gādyam consists of 6 stanzas.
Śrī Vaikuṇṭha Gādyam gives a graphic description of Vaikuṇṭha or Parama-pāda, the Supreme abode of Śrīman Nārāyaṇa, who lives amidst a community of liberated souls and eternal heavenly servants (Mukta Jīvas and Nitya Sūrīs).
These liberated souls have attained Moksha siddhi as their Parama Puruṣārthaṁ (Supreme Goal), the quintessence of which is eternal and blemishless service to the divine beings at Śrī Vaikuṇṭha.
The gospel of self-surrender (Prapatti or Śaraṇāgati) leading to Parama Puruṣārthaṁ of Eternal Servitude forms the central theme of the three Gādyas.
In Vaikuṇṭha Gadhyam, Rāmānuja declares that Śaraṇāgati (Refuge taking) is the stepping stone for Eternal Servitude to the Lord. Āchārya is also telling us about what one should be doing or how one should be conducting oneself after performing Śaraṇāgati.
There is a fascinating description of Śrī Vaikuṇṭha: its opulence, the beautiful gardens, ponds, birds, flower plants, creepers, sweet sounds etc.
At the centre of all this wealth is the Lord, Śrīman Nārāyaṇa, seated on Ādiśeṣa in the company of Mahā Lakshmi and entire entourage of Nitya Sūrīs and Mukta Jīvas, who are engaged in performing various services to Him.
Rāmānuja describes the affectionate look of the Lord on seeing the liberated souls, whom he has accepted for Service:
The final step is the One, when the Lord Himself calls the Mukta jīvas to His proximity, places His lotus feet on their heads, which results in them getting immersed in heavenly bliss.
lakṣminātha samārambhām nāthayāmuna madyamām।
āsmadācārya paryantām vande guruparamparām ॥
To the Āchārya lineage
- starting with Śrīman Nārāyaṇa,
- with Nāthamuni in the middle
- and down to Śrī Rāmānuja,
vyāmohatastaditarāṇi truṇāya mene।
rāmānujasya caraṇau ṣaraṇam prapadye॥
That one who considered everything as a mere straw opposite the invaluable treasure viz., the lotus feet of Achyuta, I surrender to that holy guru, Śrī Rāmānuja Āchārya, the veritable ocean of compassion.
yāmunāryasudhāmbhodhiṁ avagāhya yathāmati ।
ādāya bhaktiyogākhyaṃ ratnaṁ sandarśayāmyaham ॥
Adiyēn plunges/delves deeply into the ocean of nectar of the Śrī Sūktas of my Āchārya’s Āchārya, Swāmi Ālavandār and have brought out the precious jewel of Bhakti Yoga.
Adiyēn will now describe the loftiness of this gem (Śrī Vaikuṇṭha Gadhyam) to the best of my ability.
[Here, Āchārya Rāmānuja who was influenced very much by the Gītārtha Saṅgraha of Swāmi Ālavandār (Yamunacharya) in creating His own Śrī Sūkta of Śrī Gitā Bhāshya, expresses His gratitude to Yamunacharya.]
paramapuruṣaṃ, bhagavantaṃ, nārāyaṇaṃ, svāmitvena suhṛttvena gurutvena ca
Having three types of Chetanās (Baddha, Nitya and Mukta)
and three types of Achetanās (Prakriti, Time and eternal world),
and their essential nature, being (existence)
and their conduct under Him (as subordinate),
but having no touch of pain/suffering or any blemish whatsoever,
being an ocean of the hosts innumerable auspicious attributes,
which are natural with nothing above or exceeding them –
they are of knowledge, power, opulence,
valour, strength, brilliance(of not expecting anything);
that Super Person the God Śrīman Nārāyaṇa,
I having accepted Him as my Swāmi, friend, and Teacher,
and desiring to familiarize adiyēn with the highest
and definitely required (without expecting anything)
Service to/at His two lotus feet.
There exist 3 types of Chetanās (Living beings):
1. Baddha (Bond)
2. Nitya (Ever Free)
3. Mukta (Liberated)
... and 3 types of Achetanās (Non-Sentient):
1. Prakriti (Nature)
2. Kāla (Time)
3. Eternal World
Baddhas, the Bond Souls, have to undergo their karma, that is, will have connection with the life here (Samsāra) until they attain liberation through Divine grace.
After that, they become Muktas, who have self-manifestation ability (Āvirbhāva). Their conduct comprises enjoying/ experiencing God and doing service to Him eternally.
On the other hand, the Nityās like Garuda never had any connection with Samsāra and have been having "Āvirbhāva" of their appearance from beginningless time and enjoying their servanthood to the Master, The Lord.
Achetanās (viz.,), (1) Prakriti (2) Time and (3) Śuddha Sattvam do not have scope for knowledge.
Prakriti is characterized by "Sattva, Raja and Tamas Guṇas", and
Time by division (into seconds, minutes etc.), Muhūrta, division into past/ present/future etc.
Viṣṇu Purāṇa, 4-1-84 refers to this aspect that time which affects anything and everything cannot bring about any change in the Lord. He has no birth or death is of one form and not classified by any name. He is there from the very beginning:
Time or fixed time aspects (Muhūrta/Kāla) do not touch Him; a small part of anything like a digit of the Moon cannot have any effect on Him.
Śuddha Sattva is said to be self-luminous, not given to Raja and Tamas Guṇas; it does not mask the knowledge. While it is for Lord’s enjoyment, it is a means for the "Śeṣa" (Kainkarya doing service to the Lord).
Lord’s innumerable auspicious qualities (Kalyāṇa Guṇas) are there from beginningless time. They form His innate nature and are unique only to Him – the uniqueness of His qualities has no limit, neither has anyone been able to know them fully.
These Guṇas are like streams and they flow into one great sea, Viz., the Lord. He is the Parama Puruṣa, the Supreme Soul, and there is none above Him. He is God Nārāyaṇa.
tatprāptaye ca tatpādāmbujadvayaprapatteranyanna me kalpakoṭisahasreṇāpi
In order to achieve the service at His two lotus feet,
being aware that even in thousands
of cycles of creation/destruction of the Universe,
I will not have any other means
tasyaiva bhagavato nārāyaṇasyākhilasattva-
hṛdayānandanasya āśritavātsalyaikajaladheḥ bhaktajanasaṃśleṣaikabhogasya
The Lord is the reservoir or ocean of kindness towards all creatures (without any discrimination of high or Low);
He has the extraordinary character of not noticing or paying heed to bad qualities of those who have taken refuge and is congenial to all – to devas, animals human beings etc. and produces happiness in all hearts.
He is having Vātsalya type of love towards us - the famous comparison is the type of love a cow has for its new born calf. He is always wanting to be with us.
He is having a great abundance the noble and eternal qualities of knowledge, action, opulence/wealth etc. He is complete perfection (Paripūrṇa) with such assets.
He has Śrī Mahā Lakṣmī as the prime consort (Śrīmatī) who is ever helpful to those, who have taken refuge in Him. She is the mediator between the Lord and us, the Saviour of Souls.
Fully understanding that we have no refuge other than His two lotus feet for progress of the self, they alone are the elixir and protection,
we should, with full determination, surrender at His lotus feet.
tataśca pratyaham ātmojjīvanāya evamanusmaret ।
(One should) keep reminding them over and over again in this way for progress of the soul afterwards every day.
caturdaśabhuvanātmakamaṇḍaṃ daśaguṇitottaraṃ cāvaraṇasaptakaṃ
samastaṃ kāryakāraṇajātamatītya paramavyomaśabdābhidheye
brahmādīnāṃ vāṅmanasā'gocare śrīmati vaikuṇṭhe divyaloke
nityasiddhairanantaiḥ bhagavadānukūlyaikabhogaiḥ divyapuruṣaiḥ
mahātmabhirāpūrite, teṣāmapi iyatparimāṇamiyadaiśvaryaṃ
īdṛśasvabhāvamiti paricchettumayogye divyāvaraṇaśatasahasrāvṛte
atipramāṇe divyāyatane kasmiṃścidvicitradivyaratnamayadivyāsthānamaṇḍape
paritaḥ patitaiḥ patamānaiḥ pādapasthaiśca nānāgandhavarṇaiḥ
nirastātiśayanānandaikarasatayā cānantyācca praviṣṭānunmādayadbhiḥ
krīḍoddeśairvirājite, tatra tatra kṛtadivyapuṣpaparyaṅkopaśobhite,
candanāgarukarpūradivyapuṣpāvagāhi mandānilāsevyamāne, madhye
puṣpasañcayavicitrite, mahati divyayogaparyaṅke anantabhogini,
śrīmadvaikuṇṭhaiśvaryādi divyalokamātmakāntyā viśvamāpyāyayantyā
śeṣaśeṣāśanādi sarvaṃ parijanaṃ bhagavatastattadavasthocitaparicaryāyāmājñāpayantyā,
śīlarūpaguṇavilāsādibhirātmānurūpayā śriyā sahāsīnaṃ,
atyujvalapītavāsasaṃ svayā prabhayā'tinirmalayā'tiśītalayā'tikomalayā
svacchamāṇikyābhayā kṛtsnaṃ jagadbhāvayantaṃ
savibhramabhrūlatamujvalādharaṃ, śucismitaṃ, komalagaṇḍamunnasaṃ,
kāñcīguṇanūpurādibhiratyantasukhasparśairdivyagandhairbhūṣaṇairbhūṣitaṃ, śrīmatyā vaijayantyā
vanamālayā virājataṃ, śaṅkhacakragadāsiśārṅgādidivyāyudhaiḥ sevyamānaṃ,
svasaṅkalpamātrāvakḷptajagajjanmasthitidhvaṃsādike śrīmati viṣvaksene
nyastasamastātmaiśvaryaṃ, vainateyādibhiḥ svabhāvato nirastasamastasāṃsārikasvabhāvaiḥ bhagavatparicaryākaraṇayogyairbhagavatparicaryaikabhogaiḥ nityasiddhairanantairyathāyogaṃ
akhilajanahṛdayāntarāṇyāpūrayantaṃ bhagavantaṃ nārāyaṇaṃ
dhyānayogena dṛṣṭvā tato bhagavato nityasvāmyamātmano
nityadāsyaṃ ca yathāvasthitamanusandhāya kadāhaṃ bhagavantaṃ
nārāyaṇaṃ mama kulanāthaṃ mama kuladaivataṃ mama kuladhanaṃ mama bhogyaṃ
mama mātaraṃ mama pitaraṃ mama sarvaṃ sākṣātkaravāṇi cakṣūṣā ।
kadāhaṃ bhagavatpādāmbujadvayaṃ śirasā saṅgrahīṣyāmi ।
kadāhaṃ bhagavatpādāmbujadvayaṃ paricaryā''śayā nirastasamastetara-
pravekṣyāmi । kadāhaṃ bhagavatpādāmbujadvayaṃ paricaryākaraṇayogyaḥ
tatpādau paricariṣyāmi । kadā māṃ bhagavān svakīyayā'tiśītalayā
dṛśā'valokya snigdhagambhīramadhurayā girā paricaryāyāṃ
ājñāpayiṣyatīti bhagavatparicaryāyāmāśāṃ vardhayitvā
tayaivāśayā tatprasādopabṛṃhitayā bhagavantamupetya dūrādeva
bhagavantaṃ śeṣabhoge śriyā sahāsīnaṃ vainateyādibhiḥ
sevyamānaṃ ``samastaparivārāya śrīmate nārāyaṇāya nama''
iti praṇamyotthāyotthāya punaḥ punaḥ praṇamya atyanta
sādhvasavinayāvanato bhūtvā bhagavatpāriṣadagaṇanāyakairdvārapālaiḥ
kṛpayā snehagarbhayā dṛśā'valokitaḥ samyagabhivanditaiḥ
taistairevānumato bhagavantamupetya śrīmatā mūlamantreṇa māṃ
aikāntikātyantikaparicaryākaraṇāya parigṛhṇīṣveti yācamānaḥ
praṇamyātmānaṃ bhagavate nivedayet ।
There are 14 worlds in an egg shaped structure. Surrounding that egg there are, each seven times the size of the egg, 7 enclosures with surrounding walls.
Once these action/cause groups are crossed, there is the divine world "Śrī Vaikuṇṭha", which is also known as Parama Vyoma (the Supreme Goal).
This is beyond the speech and mind of Brahma and such gods. The size of the worlds, 7 above and 7 under-worlds is talked about in Viṣṇu Purāṇa (2.7).
One should understand that although Prapatti (Surrender) is a one-time observance, one should keep remembering it every day – keep remembering Vāsudeva for at least a short period every day, although one should do it throughout the day- this is essential for progress of the soul.
In such Vaikuṇṭha loka, there is a huge divine mansion, wherein abound eternal beings. Their nature, wealth etc. are not within the comprehension of even Sanaka, Brahma, Śiva and the like.
It also has a larger number of great beings and Mahātmas. To them matters pertaining to God alone are of interest. Neither these external beings nor great persons are capable of knowing the size/extent and wealth of that divine mansion.
Surrounding that mansion are a hundred thousand enclosures. They are adorned with wish-yielding trees. The enclosures are surrounded by hundred thousand crores of divine gardens.
There is in that mansion amazingly beautifully gem-studded, audience hall. It is brilliantly shining with hundred thousand crores of gem studded pillars;
there are places adorned with precious stones; it is studded with decorations; there are flower gardens with beautiful flowers, those falling, and fallen on plants.
This hall is surrounded by a hundred thousand smaller gardens all around. In these gardens are present on one side wish-yielding divine trees all together.
On the other side where these are not together, in the middle of the trees are found flowers, precious stones all forming beautifully a hundred thousand heavenly looking amusement halls; these on enjoying over and over again do not cease to produce amazement.
There are a hundred-thousand spring mounds- some of them, which are Śrīman Nārāyaṇa’s divine sports areas are extraordinary; similarly those which are Śrī Maha Lakshmi’s divine sports areas are also extra-gorgeous.
On a simpler note are the melodious chirpings of parrots, Sārikā birds, peacock and cuckoo. All around the mansion are a hundred thousand gardens:
There, one finds a hundred thousand ponds oozing sweet fragrance, whose long array of sitting facilities are studded with gemstones, pearls and corals; the water therein is spotlessly clear, clean and tastes like ambrosia.
The divinely beautiful birds are adding beauty with their exquisitely melodious and sweet chirpings. Amidst those are the divinely beautiful sports grounds studded with pearls. There are flocks of King swans ruling the scene.
This divine mansion oozes out only the aesthetic pleasure; it is permanent too. Hence it delights those who enter it; it is decorated with arrays of celestial flowers and appears very beautiful;
it is overflowing with music emanating from the humming sound of the bees, which are intoxicated with the nectar sucked from the flowers. The mild wind blowing over the sandal trees, camphor and beautiful flowers carries their fragrance.
Right at the centre of this mansion is located the Yoga Couch, the serpent Anantha (Ādiśeṣa):
Glittering with the wealth of Vaikuṇṭha and rendering the entire universe happy and content, ordering Ādiśeṣa, Viṣvaksena and the entire entourage who are serving the Lord in accordance with His state, and with Śrī Devi, who is matching Him in virtues, divine look, qualities, sports etc., He is comfortably seated.
His two eyes resemble the just-then blossomed lotus flowers. He Himself is like crystal-clear blue cloud and He is wearing the splendorous yellow robe.
He is illuminating the entire universe with His genius like the super-clean, extremely cool, extraordinary tender, crystal-clear gem-stone’s glitter.
He is unimaginably divinely beautiful, of wondrous, eternal youthfulness, nature and grace; because of exceedingly youthful quality, His forehead is a wee-bit covered with sweat, which is rendered beautiful with His curly hair all around.
His bewitching eyes are charming like the just-blossomed lotus flowers.
With His creeper-like eye brows, shining lips, sweet smile, tender cheeks, prominent nose, curly hair adorning His upright shoulders, which are also touching His lovelocks, conch-like neck, He appears supremely beautiful.
He with His beloved garland, lotus-like ear decorations, and the hair which defied the knot (i.e., got loosened, free), all touching His four hands, which reach up to His knees, is looking extremely beautiful.
His palms punctuated by tender lines are somewhat reddish; He is shining with rings on His fingers; the array of His finger nails is shining bright; His fingers, which are somewhat blood shot are adding to His beauty;
His two feet resemble fresh blossomed lotus flowers; with extremely pleasant contact, divine fragrance of accoutrements like crown, headgear, head-jewellery, fish-shaped ear rings,
neck-jewellery, necklace of pearls, upper arm jewellery, bangles, jewellery of chest (Where Śrī Devi resides), diamond jewellery of the chest, pearl string, jewellery adorning the tummy part, the golden yellow attire, waist band, leg jewellery etc., He is appearing gorgeous.
He is looking brilliant with Vyjayanthi garland made of never-fading wild flowers. He is well served by the conch, discus, the mace, the sword, the bow etc.
He has deposited as it were the wealth of the Universe’s creation, sustentation and dissolution at the safe hands of the celebrated Viṣvaksena, who came into being through Lord’s great will.
Garuda and such Nityā Sūrīs have by their innate nature precluded their Samsaric bonds. Service to their Lord is the reason for their existence. The Lord, Śrīman Nārāyaṇa is being served depending on situations by such Nitya Sūrīs.
The Lord is delighting the entire universe with His divine, unsullied, tender glance. His charming speaking style emanating from His slightly opened mouth is adding extra beauty to His face as a whole.
The qualities of bewitching glance, generosity, beauty, sweetness etc. are extra adornments; (His face) is rich with beautiful emotions; He is filling everyone’s inner hearts with the ambrosia of His charming speech.
Having seen Śrīman Nārāyaṇa through the Yogic Vision thus—
further right then, studying Lord’s eternal proximity (nitya sāmya) and eternal service-hood (nitya dāsyam) just as it is, (Āchārya Rāmānuja cries out):
When at all will I be able to see with my own eyes the Lord, Śrīman Nārāyaṇa (who is) my clan’s deity, my clan’s treasure, my enjoyable thing, my mother, my father, my everything?
When will I rest on my head Lord’s two holy lotus feet? When will I at all, after forsaking all other enjoyable desires, all forms of samsāric character, touch His two holy lotus feet?
When will I at all, for doing service to His two holy lotus feet, become fit and with that service as my sole enjoyable goal, do service to His holy feet?
When will the Lord with His cool glance look at me, speak to me congenially, with a deep good sense and order me about for His service?
– thus in such God’s service, developing growing interest, with His own kindness/blessedness supplementing that very desire, approach slowly the Lord reclining on Ādiśeṣa with Śrī Devi also seated and being served by Garuda and others, and address the Lord,
"To the Lord Śrīman Nārāyaṇa, who is present with the entourage, my obeisances, Namaskāras,
so saying and prostrating repeatedly getting up and prostrating, filled with extraordinary fear and humility, remaining in bending stance, when the two leading figures of the Lord’s assembly, Viz., the two door-protectors at the entrance glance at us and see us with friendly look?
You, the Lord! For the noblest and definitely required service of Yours, please accept me"
so beseeching offer oneself to the Lord (i. e.) surrender yourself.
tato bhagavatā svayamevātmasañjīvanena maryādāśīlavatā
atyantasādhvasavinayāvanataḥ kiṅkurvāṇaḥ kṛtāñjalipuṭo
At this juncture, the Lord by Himself being our soul’s elixir without any restriction or limit in blending with even the lowliest, beholding with utmost love, accept you all for all manner of service at all places, at all times and in all situations.
Then obtaining His consent, with extraordinary fear and humility in bending stance, being ready to do anything, go near the Lord with folded hands.
tataścānubhūyamāna bhāvaviśeṣaḥ niratiśayaprītyā'nyatkiñcit
kartuṃ draṣṭuṃ smartumaśaktaḥ punarapi śeṣabhāvameva yācamāno
bhagavantameva avicchinnastrotorūpeṇāvalokayann āsīta ।
Afterwards enjoying the exquisiteness of that emotion with extraordinary love, unable/incapable of doing or thinking anything else, yet again entreating, keep looking at the Lord with fascinated look.
tato bhagavatā svayamevātmasañjīvanenāvalokanenāvalokya
sasmitamāhūya samastakleśāpahaṃ niratiśayasukhāvahamātmīyaṃ
śrīmatpādāravindayugalaṃ śirasi kṛtaṃ dhyātvā'mṛtasāgarāntaḥ
nimagnasarvāvayavaḥ sukhamāsīta ॥
Therefore, the servant is "crowned" to observe the happy service which he had longed (having realized that it is the goal, thanks to Lord’s mercy) during the present birth.
Can he ever think of separating from the Lord?
The Lord’s sweet smile is enough to draw him back; if ever that thought arose with the Lord’s lotus feet covering his head, he will be immersed in the ocean of ecstasy.
The journey of the Devotee from the Nature’s world ends happily, when he arrives at the Eternal world of Śrī Vaikuṇṭha and becomes a part of that eternal world amidst Divine Servants.
With this thought, all of us should rest happy.
॥ iti śrībhagavadrāmānujaviracite śrīvaikuṇṭhagadyaṃ sampūrṇam ॥