Sri Vachana Bhooshanam, the divine grantha authored by Sri Pillai lokacharyar has its first four sutras as the introduction which concludes by stating that among the Itihasas and Puranas, the instruments in deciding the true meanings of Vedanta, the Itihasas have more validity.
Hereafter, swamy explains certain very valuable meanings, which form the essence of the Vedanta and which are indeed to be known by the Mumukshus. At first, the superiority of Sri Ramayana and the prominent matter explained in the Itihasas is mentioned.
The fifth sutram says that the superior Itihasa, Sri Ramayana states the significance of her, who stayed imprisoned and the Mahabharata mentions the prominence of him, who went as a messenger.
இதிஹாச ஸ்ரேஷ்டமான ஸ்ரீ இராமாயணத்தால் சிறை இருந்தவள் ஏற்றம் சொல்லுகிறது; மஹாபாரத்தால் தூது போனவன் ஏற்றம் சொல்லுகிறது(5)
There are three things here which have to be considered -
- Sri Ramayana's superiority over Mahabharata.
- Denoting Sita pirati by the phrase ' the one who stayed imprisoned ' .
- Saying Sri Krishna as the one who went as a messenger.
- Sri Ramayana was composed by sage Valmiki who was highly respected by Brahma, the creator of three worlds himself.
- As per the blessings of Brahma, every word in Sri Ramayana is purely an authority and hence everything said in this Itihasa is fact and only fact.
- Sri Ramayana is very widely spread in the world than mahabharata.
- It is also said that when the Paramatma, about whom the Vedas speak, incarnated as Sri Rama, the Vedas too descended as Sri Ramayana through Valmiki Maharshi.
Denoting Sita pirati by the phrase 'the one who stayed imprisoned' - The reason for mentioning Sita pirati with this phrase rather than any other word is to highlight her quality of compassion. Instead of saying her as the one taken captive She is said as the one who stayed as a captive. This shows that Sita pirati was not taken to Ashoka vanam against her will. Our poorvacharyas have given an indisputable reason in this matter. Sita pirati, by who's mere wish the fire on Hanuman's tail became cool for himself alone, was truly capable of burning Ravana into ashes by her sole eyesight though she never did it. Hence it is very clear that Sita pirati willingly went to Lanka. The reason for this it that she wanted to free the consorts of the Devas whom Ravana had captured and imprisoned. She stayed there for ten months consoling them that Sri Rama would come and free them. She also repeatedly gave advice to Ravana to change his mind and seek Rama's friendship at least. Hence we can witness that Sita pirati out of her compassion towards the samsaris (the celestial women and Ravana) came to Lanka on the pretext of being taken by Ravana and stayed as a prisoner to free the imprisoned.
Saying Sri Krishna as the one who went as a messenger - The reason for saying Sri Krishna as a messenger rather than The Almighty is to project his divine quality of Ashritha Paratantryam ( being at the will of oneself's surrenderer's ).
The work of a messenger is very much despised even by humans, as even an animal can carry the message from place to another. But, Sri Krishna, the supreme Godhead unhesitatingly went as a messenger of the Pandavas to Duryodhana. This act of Sri Krishna shows that he will, with pleasure, come down and carry out a work of any rank for those who have surrendered to him. Also,this unique quality of the Lord, brings into light, his other qualities such as Saulabhyam, Sausheelyam and Vathsalyam.
In this way, the vital meanings of the Itihasas have been explained in this sutra.
Now, this question may arise here - At the beginning, it was said that the Itihasas elaborate the vedantic thoughts and hence they are the means of deciding the meanings of the Vedanta. Now, in the fifth sutra the prominent meanings of the Itihasas are also told. But we do not see any Vedantic meanings told in them ?
The sixth sutra forms the answer to this question.
It states that these two Itihasas speak the significances of Purushakaram and Upayam respectively.
இவை இரண்டாலும் புருஷகார வைபவமும் உபாய வைபவமும் சொல்லிற்று ஆயிற்று(6)
Purushakaram(புருஷகாரம்) means the recommender who is but Sri Mahalaksmi. Hence, Sri Ramayana is mainly a chronicle of Sri Mahalaksmi as Sita pirati.
Upayam(உபாயம்) means the instrument (to attain moksham), which is nothing but Sriman Narayana. So, Mahabharata narrates the story of Emperuman who came as Sri Krishna.
To show that Purushakaratvam and Upayatvam are the exclusive attributes of Periya Pirati and Emperuman respectively, the words Purushakaram and Upayam are used in the sutra.
Purushakaratvam - In accordance to many pramanas, it is Sri Mahalaksmi, who recommends us to Emperuman for Moksham. She persuades her divine consort to pardon us for continuously committing various sins and to free us from this bond of Samsara. Though, we say that our Acharyas are the Purushakarams in attaining Moksham, they are considered as the organs of Sri Mahalakshmi. Hence it is correct to say that this attribute is solely of Pirati.
Purushakaratvam is indeed needed for us. Emperuman, due to his unlimited prowess is likely to punish us rightly for our innumerable sins. But, Pirati, the ocean of compassion being our true mother, tries to change our nature through her affection alone unlike the father through his severe punishments and stops Emperuman from punishing us.
Upayatvam - One of the foremost principles of our Sri Vaishnava Sampradhayam is that both the Upayam and Upeyam is Emperuman only. Though there are certain abstracts said to be Upayas, the true Upayam is Emperuman only. His Upayatvam is so complete that even if the Purushakaram, Mahalakshmi backs off (which will never happen) by saying that the Jivatma who has surrendered is not fit to attain Moksham, He will say that the Jiva's sins are a pleasure to him and will definitely grant them Moksham.
These two meanings are shown in the first part of the Dwaya mahamantra, which is in the Katavalli Upanishad.
I surrender unto the feet of Lord Sriman Narayana - this is the basic meaning of the first part of the Dwaya rahasya. By surrendering to the lord who is eternally accompanied by Periya Pirati, it is shown that she is the Purushakaram. And as the saranagathi is done at Emperuman's feet, the fact that he himself is the Upayam is also shown.
In this way the sixth sutra clearly states the vedanta arthas explained in the Itihasas.