Śrīraṅga Gādyam | Śrī Rāmānuja Āchārya

śrīḥ
śrīmate rāmānujāya namaḥ

॥ śrīraṅga gadyam ॥

Introduction

Śrīraṅga Gādyam of Śrī Rāmānuja Āchārya, is one 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.

Śrīraṅga Gādyam acquires its name from its lyrics itself:

As the words of " Śrī Raṅga śāyina" appears at the end of the first stanza and the sentence of "Śrī Raṅganātha, mama nātha, namostute" appears at the end of the Gādyam, this as a whole gets addressed to Lord Śrī Raṅganātha; this Gādyam is popularly acclaimed hence as Śrī Raṅga Gādyam.

Even in this short Gādyam, Śrī Rāmānuja has recalled the meaning and significance of the Dvaya mantram.

Dvaya Mantra – is the Mantra for taking Refuge or Śaraṇāgati in Lord Śrīman Nārāyaṇa and His Divine consort Mother Lakshmi.

/ Śrīman Nārāyaṇa Chāraṇau Śaranam Prapadye
Śrīmate Nārāyaṇāya Namaḥ
/

Though the same is true of the bigger Śaraṇāgati Gādyam also, in order to meet the desire of His disciples for variety in phrases, Śrī Rāmānuja has given here the Meaning of Dvaya in a summarized form.

This Gādyam has 5 stanzas and 2 ślokas:

The 1st stanza explains the meaning of the second part of the Dvaya mantram, while the 2nd stanza contains the meaning of the first part of the Dvaya mantram as well as the description of necessary Personal Eligibility and self-pity.

The 3rd stanza carries the significance of the other requirements of Prapatti or Śaraṇāgati, in particular Mahā Viśvasa.

Two ślokas follow this as the śāstric testimony or pramāṇa for the meanings of already adduced (tattvas).

The next sentence proclaims the power of prapatti vākya (the statement of Surrender), the mere utterance of which fulfils the desire of self-surrender for even those who do not have the capability for the practise of pūrṇa prapatti, i.e. with full understanding of the preliminary requirements of devotional practice.

In the final stanza, or the 7th part of the Śrīraṅga Gādyam, through 14 exclamatory phrases, the meaning and significance of the word, Nārāyaṇa are explained fully,

followed by the words "Namostute", which emphasizes the importance of Bhāra Nyāsa or surrender of the burden of protecting one’s self, in the means now adopted;

the phrase may also be taken to signify prayer for the fruit of self-surrender, namely self- renunciation of freedom and service to the Lord according to His desire.

Śrīraṅga Gādyam | Śrī Rāmānuja Āchārya

Āchārya Vandanams

lakśmīnātha samārambhāṁ nāthayāmuna madhyamāṁ|
asmadācārya paryantām vande guruparamparām||

To the Āchārya lineage

- starting with Śrīman Nārāyaṇa,
- with Nāthamuni in the middle
- and down to Śrī Rāmānuja,

adiyēn prostrates.

yo nityamacyutapadāmbujayugmarukma
vyaamohatastaditarāṇi trṇāya mene|
asmadgurorbhagavato।asya dayaikasindho:
rāmānujasya caraṇau śaraṇam 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.

cidacitparatattvānāṃ tattvayāthārthyavedine ।
rāmānujāya munaye namo mama garīyase ॥

Meaning:

Adiyēn’s profound salutations are to that revered and most sacred Rāmānuja Muni,

who knew clearly the inner meanings of the doctrines of Three Tattvas of:

- Chetanā (the sentient being),
- Acetanaṁ (the insentient) and
- Paramātmā (the Supreme Soul).

1.

svādhīna trividha cetanācetana svarūpasthitipravṛttibhedaṃ,
kleśakarmādyaśeṣadoṣāsaṃspṛṣṭaṃ, svābhāvikānavadhikātiśaya
jñānabalaiśvarya vīrya śaktitejassauśīlya vātsalya mārdavārjava sauhārda
sāmya kāruṇya mādhurya gāmbhīrya audārya cāturya sthairya dhairya śaurya
parākrama satyakāma satyasaṅkalpa kṛtitva kṛtajñatādyasaṅkhyeya kalyāṇa
guṇagaṇaughamahārṇavaṃ, parabrahmabhūtaṃ, puruṣottamaṃ, śrīraṅgaśāyinaṃ,
asmatsvāminaṃ, prabuddhanityaniyāmya nityadāsyaikarasātmasvabhāvo'haṃ,
tadekānubhavaḥ tadekapriyaḥ, paripūrṇaṃ bhagavantaṃ, viśadatamānubhavena
nirantaramanubhūya, tadanubhavajanitānavadhikātiśaya
prītikāritāśeṣāvasthocita aśeṣaśeṣataikaratirūpa nityakiṅkaro bhavāni ॥

Meaning

Having enjoyed uninterruptedly and with superior experience, the Lord of Śrīraṅgam (and) My Lord, who is none else than the Para-Brahma, the Puruṣottama,

in whose control abide the existence, continuity and activity of the three types of sentient and non-sentient beings and their differences,

who is completely devoid of blemishes that afflict them, who by nature is the ocean into which flow the innumerable auspicious qualities like:

- Jñāna (knowledge),
- Bāla (strength),
- Aiśvarya (Lordship),
- Vīrya (Valour),
- Śakti (capability),
- Tejas (self-sufficiency),
- Sauśīlya (amiability),
- Vātsalya (unbounded affection),
- Mārdava (softness),- Ārjava (integrity),
- Sauhārda (good heartedness),
- Sāmya (even-handedness),
- Kāruṇya (Compassion),
- Mādhurya (pleasantness),
- Gāmbhīrya (impenetrability),
- Audārya (generosity),
- Cāturya (smartness),
- Parākrama (pursuit),
- Satyakāma (fulfilment of every wish),
- Satya sankalpa (completing the undertaken task,
- Kṛtitva (doing one’s duty),
- Kṛtajña (remembering even the smallest favour done),

and, having become aware of my lack of independence and the nature of service to the Lord,

and having the knowledge of the experience of enjoyment of the Lord alone, and, borne of that experience desirous of service alone to Him at all times and all stages of my existence,

Let me be His servant forever.

2.

svātma nityaniyāmya nityadāsyaikarasātma svabhāvānusandhānapūrvaka
bhagavadanavadhikātiśaya svāmyādyakhilaguṇagaṇānubhavajanita anavadhikātiśaya
prītikāritāśeṣāvasthocita aśeṣaśeṣataikaratirūpa nityakaiṅkarya
prāptyupāyabhūtabhakti tadupāya samyagjñāna tadupāya samīcīnakriyā
tadanuguṇa sātvikatāstikyādi samastātmaguṇavihīnaḥ, duruttarānanta tadviparyaya
jñānakriyānuguṇānādi pāpavāsanā mahārṇavāntarnimagnaḥ, tilatailavat
dāruvahnivat durviveca triguṇa kṣaṇakṣaraṇasvabhāva
acetanaprakṛtivyāptirūpa duratyaya bhagavanmāyātirohita svaprakāśaḥ,
anādyavidyāsañcitānantāśakya visraṃsana karmapāśapragrathitaḥ,
anāgatānantakāla samīkṣayā'pi adṛṣṭasantāropāyaḥ, nikhilajantujāta
śaraṇya, śrīmannārāyaṇa, tava caraṇāravindayugalaṃ śaraṇamahaṃ prapadye ॥

Meaning

[In this second stanza, are given the meaning of the first part of Dvaya Mantra, which spells out prapatti as the means (upāya),

the eligibility for prapatti comprising the lack of prerequisites like Jñāna, Karma, Bhakti Yoga, the essential preliminary for prapatti, being self-pity born of helplessness.

Since the pleasure arising from constant remembrance of the Lord as Śeṣi, the self as Śeṣa, and the nature of service should continue uninterrupted, these are once again spelled out.]

The Jīva, aware of his dependence on the Lord, his subservience to Him and the pleasing remembrance of the Lord’s limitless auspicious qualities and of the service induced by such remembrance,

realizes his own helpless state,

that is, that he does not have the prerequisites for such experience in real terms, namely bhakti, the means for the bhakti namely Jñāna Yoga, the means for Jñāna, namely Karma Yoga and the needed good qualities like sāttvika, āstika etc.

Moreover, he possesses in plenty the contrary experiences due to his immersion in the ocean of suffering called Samsāra,

further, his real self, which is self-illuminating, has been hidden by Bhagavān māyā which pervades Prākriti or matter in which the self is embodied and which is like oil in the oilseed and fire in the fire-making wood, while Prākriti itself is constantly changing from moment to moment (because of the combination of the three guṇas - sattva, rajas and tamas).

This body has been earned by him with eons of avidya or ignorance. Seemingly endless and incapable of being unbound, He is nervously awaiting many more ages, unaware of the means to cross this ocean of sorrow.

Such is my lot, Oh Lord! Śrīman Nārāyaṇa, who is the refuge of all that is born, I fervently catch hold of your lotus feet as the only means to cross the ocean of Samsāra.

[Having no other means and no other help, I surrender the security of myself under the lotus feet of Śrīman Nārāyaṇa. This is the essence of the second stanza.]

3.

evamavasthitasyāpi arthitvamātreṇa paramakāruṇiko bhagavān, svānubhavaprītya
upanītaikāntikātyantika nityakaiṅkaryaikaratirūpa nityadāsyaṃ dāsyatīti
viśvāsapūrvakaṃ bhagavantaṃ nityakiṅkaratāṃ prārthaye ॥

Meaning

Even though my state is like this (vide first part of the previous stanza),
I pray to the Lord to grant me the boon of eternal service to Him,
because I am quite confident that the Lord is so full of compassion
that He will grant my prayer, for the mere reason of my prayer,
since His service at all times and places is alone my svarūpa or essential nature
and I have no interest or desire for anything other than experiencing Him.

4.

[This and the next ślokas are cited from the Itihāsa as a testimony for the meaning given by Śrī Rāmānuja to the Dvaya mantra.

Of them, the first śloka, in its first half details the reward, however, the word "Dehī" denotes that the emphasis is on prayer and so the first śloka as a whole denotes the means to be adopted.]

tavānubhūtisambhūta prītikāritadāsatām ।
dehi me kṛpayā nātha na jāne gatimanyathā ॥

Meaning

My Lord!!
Be kind enough to grant me Thy service;
induced by the desire born of experiencing You.
I know of no other way.

5.

[In this śloka, the Lord is beseeched to grant the desired service, without expecting any other effort on my part. Since the Lord’s glance alone can develop one’s sattva guṇa (saintly qualities), the lord is addressed as "Puṇḍarīkākṣa".]

sarvāvasthocitāśeṣaśeṣataikaratistava ।
bhaveyaṃ puṇḍarīkākṣa tvamevaivaṃ kuruṣva mām ॥

Meaning

Puṇḍarīkākṣa,
Lord whose glance alone can develop one’s Sattva guṇa
Let me be Thine.
With desire only for Thy service in all ways.
Thou alone shall make me thus.
Only You, who is all knowing, all powerful, yet full of compassion.
Me, who is helpless and beseeching You.

[Normally, a person becomes entitled to the Lord’s service only when he becomes aware of the Lord (Śaraṇya), surrender unto Him (Śaraṇāgati) and its reward and gets the desire for the same.

When this is so, how can mere prayer, not coming from the heart, can bring the great boon?

Since the Lord is full of compassion and is eagerly awaiting the Jīva’s reunion with Himself, He uses this mere prayer as an excuse to correct my thought, conduct and practise in order to take me in His service.]

6.

evambhṛtatattvayāthātmyāvabodhitadicchārahitasyāpi,
etaduccāraṇamātrāvalambanena, ucyamānārtha paramārthaniṣṭhaṃ me manaḥ
tvamevādyaiva kāraya ॥

Meaning

Oh Lord! You Yourself make, now itself, my mind,
which is bereft of any understanding of the supreme truth
and has no desire even to learn,
steadfast in this truth, availing of my mere utterance,
as I can only hold on to that prayer.

[This stanza conveys the wish of the great Āchārya, who had adopted Purṇa Prapatti (i.e. a Complete Surrender), that is, with all its requisites and parts, that even those who have adopted the short cut of mere utterance, shall also reach Purṇa Prapatti by the grace of the Lord.]

7.

apārakaruṇāmbudhe, anālocitaviśeṣāśeṣalokaśaraṇya, praṇatārtihara,
āśritavātsalyaika mahodadhe, anavaratavidita nikhilabhūtajāta yāthātmya,
aśeṣacarācarabhūta, nikhilaniyamanirata, aśeṣacidacidvastuśeṣībhūta,
nikhilajagadādhāra, akhilajagatsvāmin, asmatsvāmin,
satyakāma, satyasaṅkalpa, sakaletaravilakṣaṇa, arthikalpaka,
āpatsakha, kākutstha, śrīmannārāyaṇa, puruṣottama,
śrīraṅganātha, mama nātha, namo'stute ॥

Meaning

[This stanza can be seen as a total prayer to Lord Raṅganātha, instead of being taken as individual exclamations. In that case, the words would mean differently. Let us compare the meanings of the words as straight exclamations with their meanings as a total prayer:]

Oh Lord! Your compassion is limitless like the Ocean.

(Your ocean of compassion envelops me too).

You are the refuge of all the worlds of unimaginable distinctions.

(You can be approached as a refuge by all regardless of caste and other distinctions of birth etc.

By this it is made clear that Prapatti is open to all regardless of distinctions based on caste, knowledge, wealth, age, gender, etc.

Compassion without impartiality or equanimity without compassion are both of no use. Hence both these traits of the Lord are remembered here).

You do away the evils haunting those, who beseech You.

(The destroyer of ills and giver of desired good things. By this is made clear that Prapatti enables one to get good fruits and get rid of bad effects. Also, by the word praṇatā, it is conveyed that a simple act of prostration brings immense benefits).

You are the great ocean of affection towards Your devotees.

You, being Sarvajñā, the All-Knower, know the truthful state of the entire creation, continuously from moment to moment.

(Being Sarvajñā, are You not aware of my eligibility for removing my ills and granting my desires).

Your desire is ever fulfilled.

(You are never deficient in auspicious qualities.
By granting refuge to me, You may guard Your reputation in this regard).

Your will never fails.

(You have Yourself declared Your decision to protect those who have sought refuge even once. Can anyone obstruct You?).

A Friend in need.

(You have rushed to the aid of Draupadī, Gajendra and others at the time of their need).

Śrī Rāma! The scion of Kākutstha’s family.

(Śrī Rāma is remembered here because He has given refuge to Kākasura even when he deserved to be killed).

United with Śrī Lakṣmī always!

(Only Śrī Devi/Lakṣmī, who has undeniable influence over the Lord and unbound compassion for the Jīva who has committed mistakes, can eliminate the Lord’s ire and hence She never leaves His proximity.

Such is the Lord, who is our refuge).

Oh Lord Nārāyaṇa!
The Best among Puruṣas!
Oh Lord of Śrī Raṅgam!

(The Lord of Śrī Raṅga, who has designed to be there to make it easy for prapitsu-s to surrender their selves).

My Lord!
My prostrations are unto You!

(In conclusion, Śrī Rāmānuja prays the Lord of Śrī Raṅgam to approve and accept the adopted means of Prapatti also as its own [not the Prapannas]).

॥ iti śrībhagavadrāmānujaviracitaṃ śrīraṅgagadyaṃ sampūrṇam ॥