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based on the vyakhyanam of Sri Periyavaccan Pillai
by Sri M.N. Ramanuja
Jitante pundarIkAkSha namsthE vishvabhAvana
namasthE stu hriShIkEsha mahApuruSha pUrvaja
pundarIkAkSha - oh lotus eyed, this object called soul has been
conquered by you
nama: - this is not mine
tE - This is yours
vishvabhAvana - oh creator of all the universe
HriShIkEsha - controller of senses
mahApuruSha - oh greatest among the givers, munificent
pUrvaja - born prior to all
namstEstu - this soul should be divested of my ownership and should become your rightful possession.
This sloka tells how the Lord conquers the straying person by displaying His beauty and makes him pray to Him as the decided goal.
The straying person has taken a vow as it were of deviating and diverging from God (cf. yAdAnum paRRi nIngum viratam) and indulging in other sense objects. The Lord on the other hand, chases the person as it were, severs his interest in the sense objects, inculcates svarUpa jnAna in him, and pledges not to return without the gaining ownership of the person. Whenever he strays to other objects of interest, He displays His beauty and conquers him (cf. irundAn kandukondu). Being pleased with the person's defeat, He asks "who is defeated?" ; then the person replies (cf. tORROm mada nenjam emberumAn nAraNarku) that "victory is Yours. Is there something that You cannot conquer by the brahmAstra of Your lotus like eyes. (pundarIkAkShatva)". After all it is only by way of the eyes that living beings can impress influence and enslave each other. So here it says that You are conquering us with the help of lotus-eyes. (cf. iNaik koottham kolO ariyEn)
A self-willed person can be brought around by shAstras but to bring around a viShaya pravaNa, (one who indulges in sense objects), is there any other implement better than beauty.
namastE - Now who conquered whom and whose property? I have stolen the Atma belonging to You. You conquered me and took back Your property. (cf. aham api na mama bhagavata Eva aham asmi). The word - nama: - denotes surrendering. namastestu -- kindly prevent the usurpation of the soul by me and appropriate it for Yourself. When God is helping me by creating my interest in Him for His benefit, why should I, a chetana rush and solicit for His slavery (kainkaryam) ? The moment He created interest for a chetana in Him and enlightened him with svarUpa jnAna, the next spontaneous thing for the chetana is to wake up and solicit for His kainkaryam, in line with what is appropriate for his svarUpa.
When the hunchback dwarf (kubjA) woman's hunch was removed by Lord krishna, she requested krishna to come to her house for enjoyment. (cf. vastrE pragrihya govinda , mama gEham vrajEti vy). Likewise, here too God removes a hunch of the Atma - chetana, in the form of ahankAra and mamakAra by displaying His beautiful eyes. When the svatantrya of the chetana is removed and pAratantrya shines through, he becomes fit for the spirit and taste of kainkaryam.
Similarly, the Lord impressed the florist, mAlAkArar, by His beauty, made him fall at His feet several times and made him offer all the garlands and accepted his services (cf. puna: puna: praNamyAha mAlAkArO ativismita:).
vishva bhAvana -- creator of the universe. For a Person who could create this woe-begone universe from nothing, can He not infuse goodness in me who am existing? Is it a difficult task for Him? After all, what is His objective in creation -- to pick out atleast a few mumukShus after the refinement of chetanas. Obtaining mumukshus is for His pleasure. hriShIkEsha -- At the beginning of creation, there was no diversion for the souls to stray from God. Now there are the incorrigible sense organs and the objects for indulgence, to drag the souls away from God. Hence You can control the senses and help me by reining my senses. "Yo vAchi tiShThan , yashchakShuShi tiShThan " etc. I, the chetana, is ever since creation, submissive to the sense organs.
Even if one is omnipotent why will anyone do what all he can? - because You are MahApurusha -- You are omnipotent, but do You use Your potency? yes, You are the greatest of all liberal, munificent persons. You gift the desires of Your bhaktas so profusely that they do not have to beg You again. You and Your assets are all spread out for the benefit of Your devotees. (cf. sa sarvAn arthinO drishTvA samEtya pratinandya cha). This munificence is explained in practice, next. pUrvaja -- in creation, in incarnation and in being upAya, You are at the head of all gains and losses. In every event, the gains, fruits and losses are primarily Yours. Just as in 'bahusyam prajAyEya' the benefit and pride of descending through many bodies, is His own, so also, in 'EkAkI na ramEta', the displeasure of loneliness is also His own. Even in incarnation, as in 'sambhavAmi Atma mAyayA' the incarnation is by His free will for the sake of steering a few good souls towards Himself. If one asks that He took birth owing to the pleas of devas, as in 'sa hi devair arthito jajne' ; the answer is no; it was an excuse; but protection of saadhus was His main benefit; as in ' paritrANAya sadhUnAm'. This is just as in the case of Arjuna; in the guise of encouraging him to wage war, Krishna discoursed on the yoga of bhakti towards Himself. As in 'upAyopEyatve tadiha tava tatvam', just as the virtue of upEyatva is eternal to Him, so also the virtue of upAyatva. His upAyatva does not surface merely when a chetana accepts Him. Sri Parasara Bhattar said in SriRangarajastavam --
"Upanishat declares that SrimanNarayaNa, appropriates for Himself for His own benefit, all the chits and achits by the processes of creation, control and protection. So UpAyatva and UpEyatva are His Svarupa and not mere qualities. Therefore, You who sleeps in Srirangam, I do take refuge in You without any pretext and subterfuge ".
Even during the time of bhoga or enjoyment, He, to show His precedence over the gopis in five lakh houses, keeps the flute over His mouth and plays it. And for a chetana who develops a keen desire to sustain this bhoga, uninterruptedly, He shows him the way so that he may not have to search for Him and awaits his arrival at the Vaikuntham along with His consort Shree. (ShriyA sArdham jagatpati: AsthE Vishnur achinthyAtmA bhaktair bhAgavathais saha).