Bhagavadgita Pages, Chapters 1 to 18

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Gadayatryam = saranagati Gadayam, Sriranga Gadayam and Vaikunta Gadayam in prose form. Article by Prof. Ramanujam


  Notes by Veeraswamy Krishnaraj

The second Rahasyam: Sriman Narayana Charanau saranam Prapadye; Srimathe Narayanaya namah.  This seems to elicit multiplicity of opinions and interpretations.

"I seek the holy feet of Narayana, ever associated with Sri as my sole refuge" and the second half is the prayer of the fruit. "May I be accepted wholly in the service of the divine couple, Narayana and Sri". --Prof. Ramanujam

Sri and Narayana are the Divya Dampathis (The Divine Pair) in Sri Vaishnava tradition.

The Three Secrets are a must for every Vaishnava Mumukshus (the ones who want to be liberated from the world of miseries--rebirth)

Here are the three secrets:

1) Tirumantra, 2) Dvaya Mantra, 3) Carama Sloka.

1) Sacred Mantra, 2) Two Mantras in one, 3) Ultimate Verse

The second Mantra is the unique Mantra in the sense that Sri and Narayana are mentioned together. Sri has many names in relation to this verse: Thayar (= தாயார் = Mother , piratti (= பிராட்டி). Sri is the Universal Mother.

The two lines of the Dvaya Mantra contains reference to Sri, the Universal Mother. This reference to Sri is in the adjectival form in both occurrences: 'Sriman Narayana' and 'Srimate Narayanaya'.

The first reference to Sri: Narayana is the subject and Sri is adjectival to Narayana. Example: Sri-associated Narayana.

Commentators say that two important tenets are referenced here. 1) All seek Sri. 2) Sri seeks Narayana. That is the proper channel. Everybody runs to the Mother; the Mother pleads with the Father.

Sin-laden Chetanas (sentient beings = we the people) may elicit resistance and anger from Narayana, when He is directly approached for succor and his feet are directly sought as refuge. To preclude this negative excitation of the Lord by the seekers, Sri offers to mediate on behalf of the Chetanas and obtain Grace from Him (Wait my child; let me speak to your Father). As the people go pleading with the Universal Mother, Sri goes pleading with the Lord on behalf of the Chetanas. Her beneficial influence with the Lord is acknowledged important for the Chetanas.

The commentators referring to 'Sriman Narayana charanau' say that the phrase indicates the divine feet of both Sri and the Lord (altogether four feet). Others say that it means only the two feet of the Lord.

Sri is the mediator and facilitator (Purushakara) and thus earns the right for the first surrender by the Chetanas (Purushakara Prapatti). The second surrender is paid to Lord Narayana.

There are two elements here: Purushakaratvam and Upayatvam (Agency and Means = Mediation and Means). Sri is the Mediator and the Lord is the Means or the Giver of Refuge. His divine feet are Ultima thule. Moksha or liberation is the goal of Mumukshu.

Sri has another role and attribute here apart from being the Mediator. Sri is glorified as a benign goddess in the sense she is all pure goodness and kindness. While the Lord can dispense punishment or Moksha, Sri is capable only of dispensing kindness to Mumukshus.

The Lord is the administrator and giver of Refuge or Raksha and Sri is the facilitator or the cause (hetu) for refuge or Moksha through her unfailing power of mediation, goodness and kindness.

One's Karma is the determiner for punishment or liberation. If Karma demands punishment, Her mediation precludes any punishment. If Karma is smiling on the face of Mumukshu, Sri makes sure that her kindness also shines through. --Veeraswamy Krishnaraj




Professor V.V.RAMANUJAM, Ph.D

Retired Professor, University of Madras

This article graces the Commemoration Souvenir dated March 25, 1987 on the occasion of Srirangam Gopuram Maha Samprokshanam.

Veeraswamy Krishnaraj appended the appropriate Tamil and Sanskrit Verses quoted by Prof. Ramanujam.

Sri Ramanuja has left us nine invaluable works. Of these, the Vedartasangraha is an interpretation of significant sages from the various upanishads into a sytem of vedantic philosophy, the Visitshtadvaita. His magnum opus, the Sri Bashya, is a detailed commentary on the Vedanta Sutras compiled by Veda Vyasa, codifying the essential teaching of the Vedanta. Here, the acharya refutes rival systems and establishes that his visishtadvaita is the best interpretation of the mind  of Vyasa. The Vedantasara and Vedantadipa are shorter commentaries of the sarirakasastra, the Vedanta Sutras of Vyasa.  The three gadyas (Prose pieces) collectively referred to as gadyatrayam are immortal poetic pieces, surcharged with the emotion of God-Iove, presented in prose form. They are very much akin to the hymns of the AIwars. Of these, Saranagati gadyam is the practical exposition of the concept of  Saranagati or surrender to the Lord and is a working commentary on the Dvaya Mantra (# 2)

  Sriman Narayana Charanau saranam Prapadye

Srimathe Narayanaya namah


"I seek the holy feet of Narayana, ever associated with Sri as my sole refuge" and the second half is the prayer of the fruit. "May I be accepted wholly in the service of the divine couple, Narayana and Sri". --Prof. Ramanujam

Here are the the three Sri Vaishnava Mantras.



The Sriranga gadyam, very much shorter than Saranagati gadyam is addressed to Sriranganatha personally. The central idea in this gadyam is the same as Saranagati  Gadyam. The Srivaikunta Gadyam is a graphic description of the Lord's abode of bliss - Srivaikunta, and how the released soul sees the Lord there, conveys his yearning to be accepted in His service and gets so accepted. The ninth work the Nitya, presents the details of  ritualistic daily worship of the Lord.

In order to understand the proper significance of the practice of Prapathi shown by Sri Ramanuja in relation to his interpretation of the Vedic teaching in Sribashyam and Gitabashyam, we have to understand clearly the terms "Bakti" and Prapathi. These terms are, I hope familiar to most people but perhaps not properly and precisely understood." Both are vedantic In origin. The Upanishads have prescribed these as two different paths for salvation from samsara--the cycle of births and deaths. As a means for this goal, bhakti or devotion (love) towards God Is much more than merely accepting God as our superior and showing love and respect. It is a strict discipline. After mastery over the senses and consequent purification of the mind by proper performance of acts prescribed in the sastras (karmanushtana), one becomes fit to follow the path of knowledge (jnana) and understand the true nature of the self (Jivatma). " Such a person realizes that bhakti is the true path to, salvation and practices it strictly according to prescribed rules. Only the first three of the four castes are eligible to practice this path. The upasaka (he who practices) should engage himself in continuous and incessant meditation (dhyana) of the Lord following scriptural injunctions. The upasana has to be carried on continuously till one sheds the body; even then, death time remembrance of the Lord (antimasmriti) is obligatory. Bhakti is an arduous path requiring a healthy body, proper knowledge, pure mind, deep devotion towards the Lord and ability to think of Him without any interruption.

Bhakti as a means to salvation has been likened to crossing a pit of fire on a bridge of hair. Even the smallest act of omission puts the clock back on the upasaka. The fruits of one's karma (good and bad acts over several lives) have to be fully consumed before bhakti can bear fruit and this may extend through many lives.

Prapathi or surrender to God, on the other hand appears to be simple. The supplicant realizes that the various prescribed paths to salvation karma yoga, jnanayoga and bhaktiyoga are impossible exercises and seeks the Lord's grace as his sole means of deliverance. Prapathi is termed nyasa which means " deposit ", One deposits everything with the Lord. " Sinner as I am, You are my sole means of deliverance" is the prayer of the prapanna. "My salvation is your responsibility. Save me from this samsara (birth-death cycle) or even reject me. I have no other means than You." declares Satakopa (Nammalvar) in his Tiruvoimozhli. (5-8-8).  


Verse was appended by Veeraswamy Krishnaraj

களைவாய் துன்பம்; களையாது ஒழிவாய்; களைகண் மற்று இலேன்;
வளைவாய் நேமிப் படையாய்; குடந்தை  கிடந்த மாமாயா!
தளரா டலம் என்னது ஆவி சரிந்து போம்போது,
இளையாது உன் தாள் ஒருங்கப் பிடித்துப் போத இசை நீயே . 5.8.8

You may absolve me of my miseries; or You may not. I shall not seek help from no one else. You are the possessor of weapon, the Discus. When time comes as my life ebbs away from my body in Kudanthai, you will bestow upon me my desire to hold on to Your feet with singleness of purpose.



Such a prayer is easily made. It is not necessary to repeat it -It ought not to be repeated. But a steadfast faith in the Lord as our sole savior is quite essential and the prapanna should not seek any other path to salvation. This is the most difficult aspect of prapathi. Without deep-rooted and unshakable faith in the saving grace of the Lord, prapathi is simply futile. It is absolute surrender of everything - even the very core of one's being at the Lord's feet. Prapathi and Saranagathi are often used as synonymous terms to connote the same concept but are not identical however.

Both Bhakti and Prapathi are Vedic in origin and acharyas prior to Ramanuja were aware that they were authoritative  paths to salvation. But it was Ramanuja who established firmly in his written works that the Vedas prescribed Bhakti as the sure means to salvation and that terms like Brahmagnana, dhyana, Vedana, upasana and so on connote only the Bhakti path. Most Vedantins believed that jnana was alone needed for Moksa (liberation).

 The sruti declares: tatvajnanam mokshah. Tatva-jnana or true knowledge, according to them consisted in the realization of the identity of the jiva with the Supreme (tat tvam-asi ) .  

The Sruti ordains that one should meditate with devotion on the primal cause of the universe (karanam tu dyeyaha). Ramanuja taught that real jnana consists in knowing that the Lord is the sarvabhutantaratma (the inner soul of all beings and that all existence is due to Him and controlled by Him. He is the sarvaseshin (master and possessor of all) and all beings are seshabhutas, His possessions, subservient to His will. This true knowledge coupled with an understanding of His grace and auspicious qualities would naturally lead to love and devotion towards Him. The Vedantins of Ramanuja's days found it difficult to understand this simple truth. Bhakti is a result of true knowledge of the interrelation between the self (jiva) and the super-self (the Lord) and is itself refined knowledge (bhaktischa jnanavis sha ). Prapathi is a further refinement of this knowledge since it is a result understanding the futility of the path self-effort and discipline. If one understands that the Lord is the Indwelling  soul (antaratma) and the niyantha (commander) there is nothing that the self can do except to look to His commands. It is the responsibility of the possessor to look to the welfare and safety of what he possesses. Prapathi is after all a state of mind resulting from this true knowledge. For the sake of expression we call it a means (to salvation). It Is the lord Himself who is the means and the savior. It becomes clear that unlike in the case of bhakti, prapathi is bound to yield quick results.


Prapathi is not specifically mentioned in Gita as a means to salvation by itself.  Taking the two verses manmanabhava  madbhakta (Gita, 18 - 65) and sarvadharman parityajya (18 - 66 ), the ultimate teaching of Krishna is interpreted to mean that He ordains the path of devotion as the surest path to salvation.



मन्मना भव मद्भक्तो मद्याजी मां नमस्कुरु ।

मामेवैष्यसि सत्यं ते प्रतिजाने प्रियोऽसि मे ॥१८- ६५॥

manmanā bhava madbhakto madyājī māṁ namaskuru
mām evaiṣyasi satyaṁ te pratijāne priyosi me 18.65

manmanā1 bhava2 mad-bhaktaḥ3 madyājī4 mām5 namaskuru6
mām7 eva8 eṣyasi9 satyam10 te11 pratijāne12 priyaḥ13 asi14 me15 18.65


manmanā1 = Keeping your thoughts on Me; bhava2 = become; mad-bhaktaḥ3  = My votary; madyājī4 = My sacrificer.  namaskuru6 = Do obeisance; mām5 = to Me.  mām7 = To Me; eva8 = indeed; eṣyasi9 = you will come.  [I] satyam10 = truly; pratijāne12 = promise; te11 = to you; asi14 = you are; priyaḥ13 = dear; me15 = to Me. 18.65


18.65:  Think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me, and offer your obeisance to Me. Certainly you will come to Me. I truly promise you that you are dear to Me.

Veeraswamy Krishnaraj


सर्वधर्मान्परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणं व्रज ।

अहं त्वां सर्वपापेभ्यो मोक्षयिष्यामि मा शुचः ॥१८- ६६॥

sarvadharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvā sarvapāpebhyo mokṣyayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ 18.66

sarva-dharmān1 parityajya2 mām3 ekam4 śaraṇam vraja5
aham6 tvām7 sarva-pāpebhyaḥ8 mokṣyayiṣyāmi9 ma10 śucaḥ11 18.66


parityajya2 = abandoning; sarva-dharmān1 = all duties; śaraṇam vraja5  = take refuge; mām3 = in Me; ekam4 = only/alone .  aham6 = I; mokṣyayiṣyāmi9 = shall deliver; tvā7 = you; sarva-pāpebhyaḥ8 = from all sins.  ma10 = do not; śucaḥ11 = worry.18.66 

18.66:  Abandoning all duties, surrender unto Me only. I shall deliver you from all sins. Do not lament.

Veeraswamy Krishnaraj


"Think constantly of Me with devotion; worship Me with devotion. You will attain Me" (18 - 65). Casting aside all means, surrender yourself solely to Me. I will rid you of all your  sins. Grieve not" (18 - 66). The latter assures that the Lord will rid the supplicant of all the obstacles that stand In the way of fruition of the prescribed path of bhakti. Suggestions to the effect that prapathi or surrender by itself would lead to liberation are not wanting in the bashyas (Sribashyam  and Gitabashyam): 'lf Bhaktl is the main path to liberation, prapathi is a necessary adjunct to it to get the obstacles to the fruition removed and to make sure of quick results . It should be fairly obvious that to the prapanna who seeks the Lord as his sole means of deliverance, bhakti or devotion becomes an essential adjunct. The prapanna has to wait for the Lord's pleasure and the pleasantest way to spend the time is to keep thinking of Him with love. Bhakti thus becomes a sweet end in itself and sustains the prapanna.  

The sruti and the Gita, the essence of  the Vedanta, taught bhakti as a discipline to reach the Lord (moksha). The sruti taught prapathi not by precept but by practice. Tam ha devam atmabhuddhiprasadam mumushur vai saranamaham prapadye.  By this the Vedapurusha seeks the Lord as the sole refuge for salvation. Here ' aham - mumukshu' means  'I - the seeker of salvation'. ' Deva' means the primal cause i.e., the creator.  

Ramanuja was a close and strict adherent of Vedic teaching. Following this teaching, he established bhakti as the unfailing means of salvation in his bashyas. He, however, showed by his practice that prapathi is the surest means to salvation. This is recorded in the gadyas. Ramanuja was deeply influenced by the Tiruvolmozhi of Satakopa (Nammalvar). The essence of this great poem is truly echoed by Yamunamuni (Alavandar) in his poem Stotraratnam. Ramanuja's deep devotion and loyalty to these masters is reflected in the gadyas where he follows the path shown by them. The saranagati of Satakopa (Nammalvar) Is conveyed to Sri Venkateswara by the verse "akalakillen " (Tiruvoimozhl 6 - 10- 10) and that of Alavandar in the sloka nadharmanishtosmi .' ' (stotraratnam -22)


The verse and translation were appended by Veeraswamy Krishnaraj

அகலகில்லேன் இறையும் என்று அலர்மேல் மங்கை உறை மார்பா!

நிகர் இல் புகழாய்! உலகம் மூன்று உடையாய்! என்னை ஆள்வானே!

நிகர் இல் அமரர், முனிக் கணங்கள் விரும்பும் திருவேங்கடத்தானே

புகல் ஒன்று இல்லா அடியேன் உன் அடிக்கீழ் அமர்ந்து புகுந்தேனேTiruvoimozhi 6.10.10

O the One on whose chest abides the lotus-seated damsel who utters that she will never leave you at all. Thou art of incomparable fame. Thou own the three worlds. Thou art my ruler. Thou art the Lord of The Sacred Hill (Thirvenkatam), desired by the incomparable gods and Munis. I am the Adiyen without refuge abiding below Your feet. (Adiyen = the one serving at the feet of the devotee of Vishnu.)


Ramanuja walked no less than 18 times from Srirangam to Tirukkottiyur to demonstrate his sincerity of purpose in getting the inner import of the charamasloka (Gita 18-66) from Tirukkottiyur Nambi.



सर्वधर्मान्परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणं व्रज ।

अहं त्वां सर्वपापेभ्यो मोक्षयिष्यामि मा शुचः ॥१८- ६६॥

sarvadharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvā sarvapāpebhyo mokṣyayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ 18.66

sarva-dharmān1 parityajya2 mām3 ekam4 śaraṇam vraja5
aham6 tvām7 sarva-pāpebhyaḥ8 mokṣyayiṣyāmi9 ma10 śucaḥ11 18.66


parityajya2 = abandoning; sarva-dharmān1 = all duties; śaraṇam vraja5  = take refuge; mām3 = in Me; ekam4 = only/alone .  aham6 = I; mokṣyayiṣyāmi9 = shall deliver; tvā7 = you; sarva-pāpebhyaḥ8 = from all sins.  ma10 = do not; śucaḥ11 = worry.18.66


18.66:  Abandoning all duties, surrender unto Me only. I shall deliver you from all sins. Do not lament.

Veeraswamy Krishnaraj


He fasted for a whole month to purify himself to get the upadesa from Nambi. What he learnt from his master, he practiced before Sri Ranganatha in terms of the Dvayamantra in the Saranagati gadyam.


Sriman Narayana Charanau saranam Prapadye

Srimathe Narayanaya namah


"I seek the holy feet of Narayana, ever associated with Sri as my sole refuge" and the second half is the prayer of the fruit. "May I be accepted wholly in the service of the divine couple, Narayana and Sri".  --Prof. Ramanujam


Prapathi as ordained by Sri Krishna is a means by itself to gain the Lord's grace.

Bhagavadgita Verse 18.66



 It actually goes a step further. "Seek Me as your sole refuge - mamekam saranam vraja" commands the Lord; mamekam actually emphasizes mameva; i.e., the Lord is the sole savior; not even the prayer 'I take refuge in you' can be the means. It is just an expression of willingness to be saved and renders the devotee fit to receive the grace (adikarikrityam). This expression conveys one's utter dependence on the Lord who is sought as the sole savior (rakshaka) and the dispenser of the fruit, (mokshaprada). The prayer" I take refuge in You" is certainly not to be considered as a means to cause a flow of His grace. This flow is not conditioned by any act physical or mental, on our part. This, total effacement of the' I ' (aham) is the very essence of saranagati. Nyasavidya or prapatti appears to retain a trace of the 'I' because it would appear that the supplicant seeks out the Lord and actually conveys his surrender In words.  We should recall the Alwar's words:  'save me or reject me; I have no other go' Thiruvoi 5-8-8) and "You have shown that your holy feet -- YOURSELF - as my sole means of, deliverance" (Thiruvoi, 5-7-10).


Verse 3308 was Appended by Veeraswamy Krishnaraj

ஆறு எனக்கு நின் பாதமே சரண் ஆகத் தந்து ஒழிந்தாய்; உனக்கு ஓர் கைம்
மாறு நான் ஒன்று இலேன்; எனது ஆவியும் உனதே,

சேறு கொள் கரும்பும் பெரும் செந்நெலும் மலி தண் சிரீவர மங்கை
நாறு பூந் தண் துழாய் முடியாய்! தெய்வ நாயகனே  . 5.7.10  Divyaprabhandam

You granted me Your Feet as my object of surrender. I have nothing to parlay in an act of reciprocity. My life is Yours.  You of fragrant Basil wreath on your locks abide in cool Srivara Mangai with tall mud-bound sugar-canes and paddy. You are the Lord of the gods.


His free-flowing grace cannot be limited by anything that we think we do. lt should, however, be emphasized that any action or thought resulting from natural love and affection towards the Lord as the sarvaswamin and most enjoyable fruit to be wished for is not taboo. Following sastraic injunctions as His command suits our position as His possessions. These should be practiced in a spirit of service for His pleasure, Bhakti or devotion helps us to pass our time in pursuits pleasing to Him and is the sustenance of the prapanna. Thus bhakti  becomes an inseparable adjunct to prapathi when prapathi is considered as the 'means'.    Prapatti or Prapathi = self-surrender.  Bhakti = Devotion. Acharya = Preceptor.


In the introduction to his commentary on Saranagati gadyam, Sri Periavachan Pillai makes these very Illuminating remarks : "It is bhaktiyoga which is emphasized (as the means to salvation) in Sribashya. The kudrushtis (misinterpreters of the vedas) have it that only a knowledge of the sentence tat- tvam - asi [(That thou art) l.e., the realization of the identity of 'I' with' Him' -I AM HE]- Ieads to liberation. Some of them have it that a combination of karma and jnana is the means to liberation. In order to annihilate" the views, Sri Bashyakara established that the vedanta taught that bhakti conveyed by the terms vedana, upasana, dhyana, etc to which karma is an adjunct was the surest means to salvation. Lest those disciples, who had implicit faith in what he taught should think that this was his cherished conclusion, he put forward  the view dear to his own acharyas (Yamuna and Satakopa) and what he himself had utmost faith in, through the gadyas. This view is that prapathi is the  surest and unfailing path to liberation. But, why did he not annihlilate the opponent's (kudrushta's) arguments with this ultimate view? The answer is simple. "He had to vanquish his opponents in the language they were familiar with, namely, the, Vedic texts. These opponents were far away from the true inner import of these texts and Ramanuja did not think it fit to reveal it to them. He reveals this true inner import sastratatparaya or saratama jnana) what he himself had utmost faith in the gadyas.  Feeling that those good people who had deep faith in him as the uplifting acharya (uttharaka,) should not lose this efficacious means dear to the heart of the great acharyas before him and most acceptable to the Lord Himself, Ramanuja, out of his boundless mercy reveals what transpired between him and the great Lord, through the gadyas. 

Panguni = march-April. 

This is the way the gadyas came to be revealed to us. On a certain Panguni  uthiram Day, while Namperumal  (Sri Ranganatha) and Peria pirattlar (Sriranga nachiar) were seated together, and Ramanuja was worshipping them, he conveyed his deep fear of samsara (association with the body in a cycle of births) and implored the Lord to save him. He surrendered his all to the Lord and begged Him to be his sole savior. In these gadayas, Ramanuja's innermost feelings of deep devotion to the Lord break all restrictions and flow freely towards the Lord and His consort. These are prima facie a spontaneous outburst of devotional experience and not coldly labored compositions. The inner voice of the devotee addresses Sri and the Lord and they do reply clearly through the same inner voice. We have the word of the commentator that Ramanuja himself assured Empar that the Lord really reacted to his entreaty and it is that, that is actually recorded.  

In the Saranagati gadya, Ramanuja first addresses Sri as the mother of the Universe, as his own mother, and as the loving consort of his Lord, and seeks her intercession on his behalf. This is itself a saranagati addressed to the mother. Happy at being addressed this, Sri replies  'So be it'; "let your prapathi bear the proper fruit of being accepted as a devoted servant"  The commentators have it that this assurance is not only for the acharya but for all his spiritual progeny. The boon that Lord granted to Ramanuja applies to his spiritual heirs. It is worth noting that once he gets the assurance from Sri of her sure mediation, he addresses himself directly to the Lord seeking Him as the sole savior.  

The acharya then addresses the Lord  speaking of His incomparable glory, "His immense wealth, His power, His retinue, His divine weapons, His beautiful ornaments, His loving consorts, of His infinite compassion and other admirable qualities words which are a rhapsody of devout fervor which can come only from the very depth of a realized soul. We find such outbursts even in the Sribashya and Gita-basya though didactic subtlety and ingenuity of interpretation are the  very essence of these works. Ramanuja hold out prapathi as the highest message he had for his followers. Prapathi is again a form of bhakti since the latter is an integral ingredient which makes the prapanna. It is now phalabhakti devotion to the Lord which is an enjoyable fruit in itself. We have to beg the Lord to confer this devotion on us. The paramacharya begs: "Bhagavan! bhaktimapi prayacha me !" (Stotraratna-54).  

Prapathi, it should again be emphasized, is not a doctrine invented by the Srivaishnava acharyas. It is enunciated in the upanishads--the Isa, Katha, Mandukya, Chandogya, Taitriya, and Svatasvatra; It is the dominating feature in the Bagavatgita right from Arjuna's initial prayer to the Lord for enlightenment (2- 7) to the final exhortation (18-66).


कार्पण्यदोषोपहतस्वभावः पृच्छामि त्वां धर्मसम्मूढचेताः ।

यच्छ्रेयः स्यान्निश्चितं ब्रूहि तन्मे शिष्यस्तेऽहं शाधि मां त्वां प्रपन्नम् ॥२- ७॥ 2.7


kārpaṇyadoṣopahatasvabhāvaḥ pṛcchāmi tvāṁ dharmasaṁmūḍhacetāḥ
yac chreyaḥ syān niścitaṁ brūhi tan me śiṣyaste ’haṁ śādhi māṁ tvāṁ prapannam 2.7

kārpaṇya1 doṣa2 upahata3 svabhāvaḥ4 pṛcchāmi5 tvām6 dharma7 saṁmūḍha8 cetāḥ9
yat10 śreyaḥ11 syāt12 niścitam13 brūhi14 tat15 me16 śiṣyaḥ17 te18 aham19 śādhi20 mām21 tvām22 prapannam23

svabhāvaḥ4 = My own state of being; upahata3 = is afflicted; [by] doṣa2 = fault; [of misplaced] kārpaṇya1 = compassion. [I have a] saṁmūḍha8 = completely stupefied cetāḥ9= mind; [about] dharma7 = duty.  pṛcchāmi5 = I beseech;  tvām6 = You: brūhi14 = to say;yat10 = what; śreyaḥ11 = is assuredly good; syāt12 = perhaps; niścitam13 = for certain;  tat15 = that; me16 = to me. aham19 = I am; te18 = Your; śiṣyaḥ17 =  disciple. śādhi20 = give instructions; mām21 = to me; [I] prapannam23 =  surrender; tvām22 = to You.

2.7: A taint of misplaced compassion afflicts my nature; I am addled about my sense of duty; what I ask of You is that You tell me in no uncertain terms what is honorable for me. I am Your disciple and seek advice and refuge in You.

Veeraswamy Krishnaraj




सर्वधर्मान्परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणं व्रज ।

अहं त्वां सर्वपापेभ्यो मोक्षयिष्यामि मा शुचः ॥१८- ६६॥

sarvadharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvā sarvapāpebhyo mokṣyayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ 18.66

sarva-dharmān1 parityajya2 mām3 ekam4 śaraṇam vraja5
aham6 tvām7 sarva-pāpebhyaḥ8 mokṣyayiṣyāmi9 ma10 śucaḥ11 18.66


parityajya2 = abandoning; sarva-dharmān1 = all duties; śaraṇam vraja5  = take refuge; mām3 = in Me; ekam4 = only/alone .  aham6 = I; mokṣyayiṣyāmi9 = shall deliver; tvā7 = you; sarva-pāpebhyaḥ8 = from all sins.  ma10 = do not; śucaḥ11 = worry.18.6600 

18.66:  Abandoning all duties, surrender unto Me only. I shall deliver you from all sins. Do not lament.

Veeraswamy Krishnaraj


Sriramayana itself is a prapathisastram.  Prapathi is termed Sidhopaya while bhaktiyoga is sadhyopaya. The latter calls for intense human effort while the former is a self-existent means, the Lord Himself. The supreme and infinite end has to be attained only through the instrumentality of the supreme Lord Himself.  "Yameva esha vrunnte tena labhyah" declares the Mundaka upanishad. Whomsoever the Lord chooses, by him HE is attained. The goal--that is the Lord Himself, is the means too. This is the fundamental doctrine of grace, the very basis of saranagati.  

Once we realize the futility of our efforts to realize the Supreme because of the immensity of the obstacles in the form of the results of past actions (karma), the only alternative open is to throw ourselves at His mercy. We can accomplish this through His abundance of knowledge, power and grace --what the best of human endeavor can hardly accomplish. We then substitute the infinite power (sakti) of the Lord to accomplish what the uncertain and insufficient endeavor of man tries to accomplish through the discipline of bhakti. This transfer of responsibility is an "act" of the will. Once the mental state that He alone can be the savior and that there is nothing more that we can ever do to deserve or beget. His grace is attained, the Almighty is the only and entire operative force and the aspirant has only to rest in a state of suspended animation with full and absolute faith in His saving grace. The Lord then becomes  all in the life of the prapanna. The passivity on his part can achieve infinitely more than his best efforts. We thus can secure the highest fruit through the sole agency of the highest active power.  

The first half of the Dvayamantra consists in the formal surrender. "I seek the holy feet of Narayana, ever associated with Sri as my sole refuge" and the second half is the prayer of the fruit. "May I be accepted wholly in the service of the divine couple, Narayana and Sri". The entire Saranagati  gadya is a development of this theme. What is more, in this gadyam, the Lord replies giving an assurance,  "You have been accepted as an eternal servant. You will have an abundance of knowledge of yourself and myself and you will be full with devotion towards Me. Rest in comfort in this Srirangam for the rest of your life meditating on the Dvayam, engaged in such service as you can. Have faith in My words expressed in the Gita (l8-66). They are ever true."  

The main purpose of the eternal association of Sri with the Lord is to be available to serve as the mediatrix when ever a child of Hers approaches the father for succor, He may or may not  grant the child the protection sought. His merciful nature may afford the needed protection.  He may on the other hand as the Master interested in the child's proper upbringing start punishing it for its misdeeds. The mother is there to intercede on behalf of the erring soul and kindle his natural mercy. This act is purushagara making Him the granter of the desired fruit and is essential in prapathi. The prayer to Sri for her favor is conveyed in the opening sentence of the Saranagati gadyam.  

O! Sridevi I Mother of all the worlds! My own mother! The crowned divine Queen of the Supreme Lord of all the devas! pure and blemishless, ever united without an instant's separation with the Lord, full with all auspicious qualities and a charming form; with the most wonderful and infinite collection of adorable qualities matching those of Bhagavan Narayana and to His utmost liking; Thee I seek as my refuge, having no other resort; thou art the refuge of the helpless; I seek your favor to bless that my sincere saranagati at the feet of the great Lord may be deemed to be in proper setting and result in uninterrupted loving service to the Lord." Pleased with this prayer Sri, the Mother is pleased to assure the acharya," So be it. By your prayer (surrender) to Him you shall get all that you desire".  

This is followed by his expression of surrender to the Lord extolling all His greatness. He chants the Dvayam conveying the surrender. Being diffident of his own expression, he repeats the conveyance in the words of the puranas (of the Rishis and the Gita). He begs the Lord to pardoned all his sins: past, present and future. He prays that the welt of ignorance (maya) be removed and that true devotion as detailed in the Gita may be afforded to him. He yearns to be the personification, as it were of the stages parabhakti, parajnana and paramabhakti and prays for an experience of the Lord and devoted service to Him.  

The rest of the gadyam details the reply of the lord. The lord assures that by his grace all impediments (sins) will vanish, and that true devotion as prayed for would grow and sustain him. You shall experience Me in all aspects:  My nature, My form, My wealth; you will comprehend clearly your own self; you will hence forward live in divine experience of Me, in My service. You will be rid totally of worldly misery and shall spend the rest of your life in divine experience. Let there be no doubt about your getting all that I assure you. My words never fail. "  

The Sriranga gadyam is a shorter piece and is essentially the same as the Saranagati gadyam. It is addressed directly to Sriranganatha. " Sriranganatha! mama natha! namostu te" are the words of the acharya. To the seeker of salvation who has taken to the path of Prapathi, it is essential that he should spend his time in devoted service of the lord; in serving his devotees; by meditating on Him and singing His praise; by repeatedly uttering the Dvaya mantra (this is an enjoyable and sweet pastime). The acharya gives expression to all these, briefly, in confidence to the lord at Srirangam. His intention is that this short text may be repeated easily in the presence of the Lord by devotees intent on the fruit prayed for.

Upadesa = instruction.  Upadesagranta = instruction-treatise.

These two gadyas though in the form of a record of the acharya's experience are really upadesas for our benefit. They teach what to pray for; how to pray; what to wish for. The Srivaikunta gadyam is a upadesagranta by itself. In the opening part of this gadya the acharya clearly declares that there is no sure path other than prapathi for salvation, "Tat praptaye tadpadambujaDvayaprapatheh anyat na me kalpakoti sahasrenapi sadhanamasti iti manvanah tasyaiva bhagavato Narayanasya saranamanuvrajeth:' No translation of these sweet words is necessary. Having set forth the purpose very clearly, the acharya describes in detail all the greatness of the Land of Bliss (Srivaikunta ); the greatness of the Lord of that Land: the nature of the service befitting the great Lord; the means to attain all these - the conveyance of surrender; and then in some detail, the fruit -- the eternal vision of the lord, service unto Him for His pleasure, and the joy in witnessing His pleasure. We are truly blessed by a record of the dialogue between Lakshmipathi and Yathipathi, the essence of Saranagati.  

Hail the glory of Sri Ramanuja!