வியாழன், 2 ஜூலை, 2015

Artha Panchakam

ராதே கிருஷ்ணா 03-07-2015

The 5 truths every Sri Vaishnava should know – Artha Panchakam

As Sri Vaishnavas we are blessed to have so many wonderful literatures to read for a lifetime. Artha Panchakam is one of the gems of Sri Vaishnava literatures. The book says something that both a layman & Sri Vaishnava alike would yearn to know. Similarly the book would be equally engaging for learned Sri Vaishnavas also. So what does the book say about? It answers the basic but important questions every person who believes in God would ask himself every now and then.
  1. Who are we? (Sva-svarupa)
  2. Who is the Lord? (Para-svarupa)
  3. What’s our goal? (Purusaartha-svarupa)
  4. The ways to attain the goal. (Upaya-svarupa)
  5. The hindrances in attaining our Goal. (Virodhi-svarupa)
The above points might seem simple, but if we think deeply we realise that these carry answers to a lot of spiritual questions one might have. Also in these points, lie the answer to why and how to escape this vicious cycle of life & death. For a layman it answers questions like What is birth & death, Who created him and What is he?
Artha Panchakam is also mentioned in Nammalwar’s Thiruvaimozhi. Swami Pillai Lokacharya has also written about Artha Panchakam. These are known as the 5 basic truths every Sri Vaishnava should know.

Artha Panchakam

Everyone (Samsari) needs to know three things.
  1. Thanai pathina gynanam  (Jeevatma Swaropam)
  2. Yethu bhagawanidathil adaivikumo athu pathina gyanam i.e adai vikira vazhi – (Upaya Swaropam)
  3. Adainthu yethai anubhavika porano athu pathina gyanam. I.e purushartham – (Upeya Swaropam)

Additionally,  one needs to understand two more things on top of the above three.
  1. Thanai pathi ariya, ivan yevanale undanano avanai pathi ariyamal thannai pathi ariya muduyathu. So to understand about Jeevatma one needs to understand paramatma also. (Paramatma Swaropam)
  2. Virodhi swaropam – ithanai nalaaga adaiya vidamal thaduthathu yethu? (Virodhi swaropam)

One need to understand the 5 things also knows as Artha Panchakam, which are the basis for Vishistaadvaita Sampradayam.
  1.  Paramatma Swaropam - The nature of Brahman to be attained (praapyam)
  2. Jeevatma Swaropam - the nature of the individual self who aspires to attain (praaptaa)
  3. Upaya Swaropam - the means of accomplishing the goal (praaptyupaaya)
  4. Upeya Swaropam - nature of Goal (phala)
  5. Virodhi swaropam, - obstacles in the way of accomplishing (praapti virOdhi)

Vishistaadvaitha (Srivaishnava) scriptures and granthas are focused on these five categories. These five topics cover the entire teachings of Vedas, Ithihasas and Puranas and Vedanta Sutras.

ThiruvAymozhi thaniyan -  Sri Parasara Bhattar aruLich seydhavai
mikka iRai nilaiyum meyyAm uyir nilaiyum
thakka neRiyum thadaiyAgith - thokkiyalum
Uzh vinaiyum vAzh vinaiyum Odhum kurugaiyar kOn
yAzhin isai vEdhaththiyal
Meaning : The Tamil Vedam of Tiruvoimozhi composed by Kurugai Piraan (Nammalwar) contains the five great realities namely: (i) the nature of the Eternal Paramatma (ii) the nature of the eternal Jeevatma (iii) the means for the Jeevatma to attain the goal of  Paramatma (iv) the impediments on the way and
(v) the goal of ultimate life of happiness in Moksha."

Why we need to understand the meaning of Thatvam?

Based on how one understands the thatvam, upayam and upeyam will fall in place.
If someone understands that thatvam is Achit then upayam(means) will be to earn money and live happily with family – this is called Aishwarya Anubhavam. This is the last step (padikattu) where one interprets that Achit is Thatvam.

Azhwar said this in Thiruvaimozhi – pasuram  3220, 4.9.10
kaNdu kEttu utRu mOndhu
 uNdu uzhalum * aingkaruvi
 kaNda inbam * therivariya
aLavillAch chitRinbam **
 oNthodiyAL thirumagaLum *
 nIyumE nilA niRpa *
 kaNda sadhir kaNdozhindhEn *
 adaindhEn un thiruvadiyE

கண்டுகேட்டுற்று மோந்துண்டுழலும்* ஐங்கருவி 
கண்ட இன்பம் , * தெரிவரிய அளவில்லாச் சிற்றின்பம், * 
ஒந்தொடியாள் திருமகளும்* நீயுமே நிலைநிற்ப , * 
கண்டசதிர் கண்டொழிந்தேன்* அடைந்தேன் உன் திருவடியே.    4.9.10

Meaning : “I have seen the pleasure of the five sense-organs by seeing, hearing,feeling, smelling and eating and the inferior bliss (Kaivalya) beyond one's awareness. Having discarded in toto these after seeing the excellence of Lakshmi of lovely bangles and you together, I have attained your sacred feet.”

If someone understands that thatvam is  Jeevatma who is vikarame illatha, gyana ananda swaroopamana jeevathma, anumathra swaroopamana jeevathma. Then he will result in athmaanubhavam called Kaivalya Anubhavam. This is the second step ( padikattu).
One will get bored of Athma anubhavam after some time. How long one can experience himself?  So thoughts of having a swami and experiencing his vaibhavam will come in.

So there comes the last and ultimate step (padikattu) called Bhagavad anubhavam.

Aishwarya Anubhavam, Kaivalya Anubhavam, Bhagavad Anubhavam

Interesting post to understand the above in detail…

Fifty Sixth slOkam of Sri SaraNAgathi DhIpikai , where Swamy Desikan describes his helpless state and begs the Lord of ThirutthaNkA to fulfill his desire to experience Moksha Sukham as a Prapannan .He acknowledges his recognition of the seven blemishes associated with the enjoyment of the SvargAnuhavam as well as kaivalyAnubhavam and begs to be rescued from these  temptations and begs for true MokshAnanadham :

SrI SaraNAgathi DhIpikai: SlOkam 56
alpa-asTirai: asukhajai: asukhAvasAnai:
dukkhAnvithai: anuchithai:abhimAna-moolai:
prathyak parAg anubhavai: parigUrNitham mAm
Thvayi-yEva NaaTa charitArTaya nirvivikshum

Oh ViLakkoLi PerumAnE! adiyEn's mind has been swirling over the thoughts of enjoying the sukham of Svargam ( temporary bhOgam of perishable pleasures)and the sukham of Kaivalyam (pure enjoyment of aathmA). adiyEn until now was torn between these two choices since they looked attractive to pursue. adiyEn's confusion is all over now. adiyEn has clearly understood the insufficencies of Svarga and Kaivalya  sukhams and recognize both have following seven dhOshams:
(1) These two sukhams are paltry and insignificant, when compared to the adhbhutha sukham of enjoying You
(2) They are not lasting
(3)To enjoy them , there is the need to goad the indhriyams and the body
(4) at  the end of enjoying these two sukhams , there is no aanandham
(5) during the course of their enjoyment , the worries about the births to be taken at the end of the svarga and kaivalya anubhavams haunt the jeevan and mar the enjoyment.There is therefore no tranquil enjoyment of these two sukhams
(6)These pleasures are not inappropraite for the Jeevan's svaroopam , which is all about deriving aanandham from enjoying You(Seshi) as Seshan
(7) Finally , disturbing thoughts arise during the enjoyment of these sukhams in that it makes  one conclude that one is enjoying these sukham for one's own sake.

These are the seven imperfections in enjoying the Svarga and Kaivalya sukhams. In the case of Kaivalyam , one can concede that two of the seven imperfections can be taken out (viz)., Kaivalya anubhavam does not have the admixture of Dukkham and is not caused by Dukkham. There are still five imperfections that still cloud the Kaivalya anubhavam.Now that adiyEn fully understands the pitfalls and consequences of these two types of "sukhams", the intensity of my desire to enjoy ParipoorNa BrahmAnandham  through Saayuya Moksham has grown tremendously. adiyEn rejects Svarga Sukham and kaivalya Moksham of enjoying the AathmA alone. Oh DhIpa PrakAsA ! Please bless adiyEn with the true Moksha Sukham of performing nithya kaimkaryam for You at SrI Vaikuntam as a Muktha Jeevan and spare me  from the pits of Svaragam and kaivalyam! This is the only
lasting sukham that adiyEN longs for .

Additional Comments
Indra"s lOkam is known as Svargam . He is the Lord of this lOkam . His subjects are the DEvAs. They have partaken nectar and are free of aging and disease . Thet enjoy exquisite sukhams with celestail damsels and other Iswaryams . In to this world arrives a jeevan because of the accumulated puNyams and spends some time partaking all the pleasures of Svargam . Once the Jeevan's puNyams are spent , it returns to the samsAric world to work out its residual karmAs. Hence staying in Svargam is siRRinbham and is insignificant (alpam ) compared to the pErinbham of residence in SrI Vaikuntam from where one never returns to the karma bhUmi to undergo repeated cycles of births and deaths.
The residence in Svargam is asTiram or impermanent. When the jeevan thinks of what is awaiting at the end of its stay in Svargam wearing the best of clothes ,jewelery and enjoying good food in the company of celestial women ,it is frightened over the prospects and gets saddened ( asukhajai: asukha avasAnai: anubhavams). The jeevan forgets that these svarga anubhavams rejected by AzhwArs as unfit and inappropriate (Indira lOkam AaLum acchuvai peRinum VENDEn ). The pride and ego arising from such svargAnubhavams makes the jeevan forgets its svaroopa Jn~Anam and deludes the jeevan to think that it is enjoying these pleasures for its own sake.

SvargAnubhavam is therefore Vaikunta VirOdhi. In his SrI Sookthi known as VirOdha ParihAram , Swamy Desikan points out that SrIman NaarAyaNan drives away these Moksha virOdhis like Svarga anubhavam and Kaivalya anubhavam for those , who perform Prapatthi or pursue Bhakthi Yogam
so that such fortunate ones can attain SrI Vaikuntam and enjoy true Moksha Sukham:

SrIman NaarAyaNa: SwAmi SaraNya: sarva-dEhinAm
bhUyAth nija-padha-prApthi VIRODHI VINIVAARAKA:

--VirOdha ParikAram : SlOkam 1

Kaivalyam is also Vaikunta PrApthi VirOdhi ( hindrance to the parama purushArTam of attaining Saayujya Moksham). What is this Kaivalyam? It is the direct vision of the true nature of the Self ( aathma svaroopa saakshAthkAram ). Kaivalya is the state of existence of the soul enjoying the bliss of JivAthman.It is not considered as the true state of Moksham. It is considered as an inferior version of Moksham because there is no Bhagavath sAkshAthkAram (BhagavAn realization ) here. In his ThiruvAimozhi 1.7.1, Swamy NammazhwAr comes to this conclusion:

" It is a pity that the gracious Lord is worshipped constantly by those , who desire to overcome the dukkham of repeated births and deaths and resort to Jn~Ana Yoga for the purpose of attaiing the blissful experience of the soul (Kaivalyam)".

Therefore Swamy NammAzhwAr instructs us not to seek Kaivalya but to seek the eternal aanandham of Moksham, where the Muktha jeevan is engaged in nithya kaimkaryam to the Lord at SrI Vaikuntam.This Kaivalyam or KevalaavasthA, the individual Self becomes free from bondage , but does not experience the bliss of the Lord as Parama Purushan.In kaivalyam , ParamAthma-SaakshAthkaram is missing and the focus is on
aathmAvalOkanam ;kaivalyam is considered the final stage in Jn~Ana Yogam , which in turn is considered as an auxillary means to Bhakthi Yoga, which alone is the direct upAyam to Moksham just like prapatthi yOgam.

After dismissing both kaivalyam and SvargAnubhavam as alpam , asTiram , asukhajam ,asukha-avasAnam , dukkha-anvitham ,anuchitham to one's svaroopam and abhimAna moolam , Swamy Desikan states that he is no longer tossed about by the desires for Svarga and kaivalya sukhams.
He says that the ever-lasting , woe-free sukham that he is seeking is the sukham of ParipoorNa BrahmAnandham realized through Nithya kaimkaryam to the Dhivya dampathis at their Supreme Abode of SrI Vaikunam. Swamy Desikan prostrates before the Lord and asks Him to fulfill His desire to enjoy the true Sukham of Saayujya mOksaham ( Thvayi yEva nirvivikshum mAm charitArTaya).


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