Volume - I
It gives me great pleasure to be able to present yet another work of Sri Vedantha Desikar. The subject matter, called 'Rahasyas' in general was meant to help the ordinary people to get interested in Vedantha and imbibe 'knowledge made easy' so that they could cross the 'cycle of rebirths from beginningless time' - the knowledge leading to Prapatthi Yoga. It was sheer kindness of the great acharya who in his ripe age poured all the wealth of his knowledge into the 32 Rahasyas in order that his fellow devotees for whom he had so much consideration could benefit and redeem themselves.
The first half of 32 rahasyas goes by the name 'Chillarei Rahasyangal' and the present book, which forms the first companion volume, has seven 'Chillarei Rahasyangal'. The balance portion will be presented as a second companion volume - the total in fact works out to 15 only as one Rahasya is lost and is unavailable. In regard to the latter half, that is, the following set of 16 rahasyas most of which are rather big in size, efforts will be made to cover in handy volumes, either singly or in combination depending on size.
The Tamil text was transliterated into Kannada and in this task, my wife's familiarity with Tamil came in handy. Mrs. Sudha has done an excellent job of DTP involving three languages. Mr. Sharada Prasad has as usual done a good job of printing and Mr. Kiran has provided an attractive art work for outside cover. I thank them all for their co-operation.
While writing a foreword to a book written by one of my good friends, I observed: "It is indeed our good fortune that we have had such noble poorvacharyas who were concerned about the plight of their fellow-beings till their lives' 'end' (and even on death-bed: e.g. Sri Alavandar). To this lofty lineage belongs Sri Vedantha Desikar, the latter-day beacon-light, who excelled in all forms of service to the Srivaishnavas. He wrote in his ripe age, out of sheer consideration and kindness, the famous sampradhaya grantha, Rahasyatrayasaram, which is considered by many as his magnum opus. He wrote more than 120 works of all types, and in many languages too - Sanskrit, Tamil, manipravala (a mixture of Tamil and Sanskrit) and 'prakrutha'.
Contributions for Commoners
While most of his works were scholarly, he did not forget the common lot! He wrote for them sthothras eulogising the Lord in His various manifestations and His consorts, as also his lieutenants like Garuda, not to forget Yethiraia To this class belong the Chillarei Rahasyangal. He says in one of the rahasyas, even an ordinary person should be able to understand the truths contained in these rahasyas - It is not easy for an ordinary person to study scholarly works like Sri Bhashya or Gita Bhashya. Hence one should make it a point to study Chillerei Rahasyangal.
The figure of 32
Sri Vedantha Desikar has written 32 Rahasyas, out of which sixteen come under the class of Chillarei Rahasyas. Somehow the figure of 32 seems to have fascinated the author! - he wrote 32 sthothras and his first sthothra 'Hayagreeva Sthothra' has 32 slokas. The very famous 'Yekakshara sloka' in Chithra Paddhathi in Paduka sahasra has 32 Ya's : Paduka Sahasra itself has 32 paddhatthis. The famous Rahasya Traya Sara has 32 adhikaras, Was he thinking of 32 Brahma Vidyas while composing these works ?!!
The Supreme Ubhaya Vedanthin
The reading of Chillarei Rahasyangal gives immense pleasure to the reader as the style and presentation of the subject are so attractive. A person who is conversant with 4000 Divya Prabhandham and recites it regularly, and with even a minimum degree of Vedanthic knowledge will notice readily that Sri Vedantha Desikar is simply marvellous and supreme as a Ubhaya Vedanthin.
What are Chillarei Rahasyas ?
Swami Desikan has chosen to name sixteen of the 32 rahasyas as Chillarei Rahasyas with a view to present lofty truths in as short a composition as possible. It is his view and assessment that a busy adhikari will not be able to devote much time to attend kalakshepam of the lofty works. It is his fond hope that an ordinary person, caught as he is in never-ending rebirths, comprehends the sacred truths presented in these short compositions, and the meaning of Prapatthi to redeem himself. Hence Chillarei Rahasyas are short works propounding hidden truths I inner meanings and provide a platform to common people to understand them. They propound, or convey in a brief manner the knowledge about the Lord, the great and eternal treasure!
The Vishistadvaithic concepts postulated by our Poorvacharyas like Yaamunamuni and Sri Ramanuja do not lend themselves to very easy comprehension, and Swami Desikan has explained the key aspects in simple terms for the benefit of common folks.
The Tathva Traya comprising Isvara, Chethanas (sentients) and achethanas (insentients) has been interpreted in such a way that not only the aspect of qualities qualifying each tathva is covered but also the mutual relationships are explained for comprehension even by ordinary persons. Tathva (that Sriman Narayana being the Supreme Reality), hitha (the way to attain the goal by Chethanas) and Purushartha (the goal itself) have been propounded in a lucid style.
One might ask as to why Swami Desikan has chosen to write so many Rahasyas. It should be noted that each Rahasya takes up different subjects and platforms, and explains various aspects; there is no repetition and if one is a keen student, he will see as to why Swami Desikan had to compose the 32 rahasyas. One gets a consolidated insight after learning all the rahasyas - to this end one has to comprehend the full import of moola manthra, dvaya manthra and Charama sloka : Swami Desikan's exposition of these manthras in a systematic manner leaves one simply breathless! Such is his depth of knowledge and ability to convey the concepts to ordinary people.
In other words even an ordinary person is led to athma jnana or athma viveka by the master with an inimitable flourish.
A synoptic insight into the Seven Chillarei Rahasyas
The utter simplicity of language and style, which owe to Swami Desikan's consideration and kindness to ordinary devotees, are in evidence as one studies the seven Chillarei Rahasyas presented in this volume. The reader would have grasped the Vishistadvaithic concepts and tathva traya in general as he goes on.
In Sampradhaya Parishuddhi, the acharya propounds tathva, hitha and purushartha and puts forward the efficacy of prapatthi maarga as the easiest 'way' to attain 'moksha', It stresses that Srivaishnava 'Sampradhaya' has come down to us in a totally 'unalloyed' state.
In 'Tathva Padhavee', the acharya talks about and emphasizes Lord's grace and to earn it, a knowledge of tathva traya is recommended. Realisation of the fact that a Chethana (sentient being) is not his own master and that the goal is to reach the Lord's lotus feet; it leads to 'anandha' which nithya sooris have been enjoying eternally. In Rahasya Padhavee Swami Desikan emphasizes the key messages flowing from Rahasya traya, and highlights Lord's noble qualities and 'upaya' to attain Him. In the process he elucidates the three-worded moolamanthra in terms of tathva, hitha and purushaartha, the six-worded dvaya explaining 'upaya-upeya' aspects, and the duties of an adhikari in the twelve-worded charama sloka.
In Tathva Navaneethan the acharya talks about Lord Krishna who, having eaten the butter including the vessel(!), has chethanas and achethanas as His shareera. The tathvas propounded are said to form ornaments to the Lord. In Rahasya Navaneetham Swami Desikan highlights our acharyas' debating ability in winning over the adversaries (for proving what is right and dharmic) and no one could conquer them. They teach the inner meanings contained in pranava I moo la manthra, dvaya and charama sloka manthras after fully comprehending them.
In Tathva Mathruka Swami Desikan stresses the upaya aspects of acharya's Thiruvadi and that the acharyas recognise only Sriman Narayana as Paradaiva. Also described are the nature and qualities of Jeevathrnans who form Lord's shareera. In Rahasya Mathruka Swami Desikan states unequivocally that whichever way one sees it, Sriman Narayana emerges as Paratathva and it is one's duty to instal Him in the lotus pedestal of his heart and worship Him constantly.
The book in hand presents seven out of 16 chillarei rahasyas starting with 'Sampradhaya Parishuddhi'. Since one rahasya out of 16 is unavailable, the balance 8 rahasyas will be presented in a separate companion volume.
The original text is presented in Tamil (manipravala), Kannada and English languages : the explanations are given in English. It is hoped that the readers will find this small effort useful.
While writing the first volume of Chillarei Rahasyangal I gave a detailed introduction to the subject of Chillarei Rahasyangal. The total number is in fact seventeen, but one rahasyam (saaradeepam) is lost - therefore we are having 16 Chillarei Rahasyangal. I have covered the first seven in the first volume and in this volume I am presenting the next seven Chillarei Rahasyangal. The last two will be presented as a third companion volume.
I had stated that it was out of sheer consideration for the common folks that Sri Vedantha Desikar wrote loftiest Vedanthic truths in a simple synoptic style, so that they could imbibe at least the minimum details one should know about the Realities, known as Tathwatraya, viz. a chethana, an achethana and Eeshwaran. It is our good fortune that we had a paramachaarya of the stature of Swami Desikan who has done such great service to Saathviks in general and Sri Vaishnavas in particular. We owe a deep sense of gratitude to one of the greatest of aachaaryas about whom some say "na bhootho, na bhavishyathi".
My wife has helped in transliteration of Tamil texts. Mrs. Sudha has done a very good DTP work and Mr. Sharadha Prasad has done the printing at short notice. Mr. Naveen of Hamsanikethan has designed the cover pages. I thank them all for their co-operation.
The second volume of Chillarei Rahasyangal presents seven titles which are a continuation of the previous seven titles of Volume 1. One of these seven now covered, 'Rahasya Rathnavali Hrudhayam' is somewhat long while others are small compositions. All the same the main themes which are explained in these Rahasyas is about the Realities, viz. Eeshwara, Chethana (sentient) and achethana (insentient). Reality or tathva is One only but the others in relation to that One are attributes which exhibit differences between themselves but are inseparable from Eeshwara or Brahman (the Vedanthic terms for Sri man Naaraayana).
Let us briefly see the contents of the seven Chillarei Rahasyangal presented in this volume: Tathva Sandesha highlights our subservience to the Lord who is the 'shareeri' and the soul of all beings - we form His body. Our actions are dependent on His will; we exist because of Him (swaroopa adheenathvam). There are three types of jeevaathmas, just as there are three types of gunas. There is one Ruler and He is Vishnu. The whole universe is His body. At the end Swami Desikan exhorts us as to how we should spend our lives. In Rrahasya Sandesha, the jeevaathma speaking in first person says : 'I, the jeevaathman, whose nature is one of consciousness, am self- luminous, am subservient to the Lord of Sri Mahaalakshmi, my adornment is kainkarya, the value of which is immeasurable, and it is the goal'.
In Rahasya Sandesha Vivaranarn Swami Desikan states that the Lord has all the kalyana gunas (divine attributes); the divine idol (the 'pathnee sambhandha gunas vigraha) forms the subject for Sharanaagathi, which has the unique benefit of burning away not only the past sins but also those that arise later. In Tathva Rathnavali Swami Desikan exhorts that one should go through an aachaarya to comprehend the inner meanings of Tathva Traya. (chethana / achethana / Eeshwara). In the next Rahasya Tathva Rathnaavali Prathipaadhya Sangraham we see a synoptic treatment of all the details contained in the previous Rahasya. The Rahasya Rathnavali in fact is a summary of the next Rahasya Rahasya Rathnaavali Hrudhayam in a point-by-point coverage. Therefore we have merged the two in such a way the original texts of both Rahasyas are given one after another followed by a single interpretation of the text for both titles.
With this we have covered fourteen Rahasyas and the remaining two Rahasyas viz. Tathva Traya Chulakam' and 'Rahasya Traya Chulakam' will be presented as the third companion volume.
As usual original texts are presented in Tamil, Kannada and English, and interpretations are given in English. It is hoped that this small effort will be found useful by the readers.
It gives me great pleasure to present the third and concluding volume of the chillarel Rahasyangal series. I owe it to Swami Desikan’s anugraham which enabled me to complete the sixteen chillarel rahasyas in three companion volumes.
Completing the three volumes with original text in three languages and providing meanings in English was almost like a yajna. I think the Almighty for his grace in my venture.
My wife has provided support in transliterating the Tamil texts into Kannada. Mrs. Sudha has as usual done an attractive type setting –a sizeable part of writing this book took place when I was on a holiday in Calfornia and the MS was scanned and e-mailed to Mrs. Sudha for DTP. I thank her, as also Kiran Ranganathan for cover page design. Ganesh Maruthi Printers have completed the printing within a short period. I thank Sharada Prasad for the same.
The present volume contains two of the major rahasyas viz . Tathvatraya Chulakam and Rahasyatraya Chulakam. It is specially recommended to those who have decided to undergo sharanaagathi that they study these two rahasyas, especially, Rahasyatraya Chulakam which prepares them for the post-sharanaagathi life.
As I keep mentioning, a mere reading of the texts, which are in manipravaala language, itself gives one immense pleasure. Swami Desikan has used the choicest words to convey the sense. It is indeed our great fortune that he gave us such great treasures.
'Tathvatraya Chulakam' deals with all aspects of the three tathvaas viz. insentient, sentient and Eeshwara. Swami Desikan elaborates each entity under three headings respectively : Anaathmaniroopanaadhikaara, jeevantroopanaadhikaara arid Paramaathma niroopanaadhikara. One should in particular study the eloquence when he describes the attributes of Eeshwaran, the Lord.
In 'Rahasyatraya Chulakam' Swami Desikan tells us about the significance of pranava, and the three rahasyas vide moolamanthra, dvaya and charama sloka.
We owe it to his kind consideration that he wrote about the great rahasyas for the benefit of ordinary people like us to imbibe at least the minimum significance and lead a saathvic life thereafter, and engage ourselves in kainkaryam to the bhaagavathas and the Lord.
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