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The Three Charama Slokas

Rama, Krishna and Varaha Avatarams

ll Hari Om ll
Om Namo NaraayaNaaya
The three slokas discussed briefly here are considered to be the very essence of the teachings of Bhagavan in three of His innumerable incarnations (avatarams) and are at the very core of the doctrine of surrender (prapatti, sharanagati) as practiced by SriVaishNavites of South India.

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Sarva dharmaan parityajya maam ekam sharaNam vraja l Aham tvaam sarva paapebhyo mokshayishyaami maa shucahaa ll

। ॥८॥
Sakrud eva prapannaaya tavaasmeeti ca yaacate l Abhayam sarva bhootebhyo dadaamyetad vratam ma-ma ll

l ll
Sthite manasi susvasthe shareere sati yo narahaa l Dhaatu-saamye sthite smartaa Vishwaroopam ca Maamajam ll Tatas-tam mriyamaaNam tu kaashtta paashaaNa sannibham l Aham smaraami madbhaktam nayaami paramaam gatim ll

l ll l ll
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Shree Krishna said:
Sarva dharmaan parityajya maam ekam sharaNam vraja l Aham tvaam sarva paapebhyo mokshayishyaami maa shucahaa ll

। ॥८॥
Give up all (the other) dharmas and seek Me alone and My refuge. I will absolve you of all sins and liberate you. Do not despair.
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Shree Rama said:
Sakrud eva prapannaaya tavaasmeeti ca yaacate l Abhayam sarva bhootebhyo dadaamyetad vratam ma-ma ll

l ll
To all those beings that fully seek My shelter and plead for My mercy, and say I am yours, I shall certainly offer My protection to all of them. This is My vow.

Bharata receives Ramapadukas after failing to convince Rama to return to Ayodhya from His exile. Page | 4

Shree Varahaswamy said: l ll l ll

SrI BhUvarAha PerumAL

Sthite manasi susvasthe shareere sati yo narahaa l Dhaatu-saamye sthite smartaa Vishwaroopam ca Maamajam ll Tatas-tam mriyamaaNam tu kaashtta paashaaNa sannibham l Aham smaraami madbhaktam nayaami paramaam gatim ll

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Lord Varaha addresses Mother Earth or Bhoodevi (who expresses concern for the well being of all Her children): If anyone thinks of Me, when the mind is sound (sthite manasi), with the body in good health (suswasthe shareere), and with all mental and physical faculties working perfectly and intact (dhaatu saamye sthite) - thinks that I am indeed the very cause of this universe (or the form of this universe, vishwaroopam), that I am without birth (ajam) - then I assure (You, Devi) that I will remember this devotee of Mine when he/she is on his/her death bed, lying (helplessly) like a stone or a log of wood, and personally take him/her to the Supreme Abode.

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The meaning of charama
The word charama, originally derived from the Sanskrit, is also used in other Indian languages such as Hindi. It means ultimate, extreme, the limit, etc. and can also be interpreted as suggesting a climax or the most important and significant. Some examples of the usage from Hindi are given below, each suggesting some kind of a limit, or ultimate factor: http://shabdkosh.raftaar.in/Hindi-Dictionary/meaning/charama

चरम 1) चरम

/ मच इ

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2) चरम 3) चरम रमइ म र ब

चरम र चरम

। इ । र

चरम ।

The same applies now to the use of the adjective charama to describe the slokas just noted which are believed to reflect the most important message to be derived from each of these incarnations of Bhagavan. To Ramanujacarya, for example, the Shree Krishna charama sloka was, for all practical purposes, the very last sloka of The Bhagavad Gita. In the slokas that follow Krishna is telling us more about the benefits to be derived from a study of the Gita (what is known of Phalashurthi). Likewise, the Shree Rama charama sloka embodies the message of protecting all beings that have surrendered to the Lord, although it appears in the Yuddha Kandam of Valmiki Ramayanam, long before the slaying of Ravana. The Varaha charama slokas, from the Varaha puranam, also embody a very stirring message, in response to the plea by the Lord‟s consort. The following is a brief discussion of these slokas, extracted from the various email exchanges in our Gita groups in the Metro Detroit area.

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From: vlaxmanan@hotmail.com Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2011 11:01:17 +0000 Subject: [detroit_gita] Tavaasmi Not Brahmaasmi RE: Ten verses on surrender: Adaikkalappattu - 1 Dear All: In the earlier email on this topic, I called attention to the sloka from Ramayana, dealing with Vibhishana sharanagati. Sakurdeva prapannaaya tavaasmiti yaacate l Abhayam Sarva bhootebhyo dadaamyetat vratam ma-ma ll

Vibhishana surrenders to Lord Rama When Vibhishana decides to abandon RavaNa and comes to seek Lord Rama's refuge, everyone is suspicious, except Hanuman, who knew Vibhishana well. Hanuman had met the latter in Ravana‟s court after the flight across the ocean to Lanka. It was VibhishaNa who interceded when Ravana ordered Hanuman to be killed, following the destruction of the Ashoka vana, where Sita was held captive. Hanuman was captured and brought to the Page | 8

court before RavaNa. Then followed the decision to set fire to Hanuman‟s tail, as a punishment imposed by RavaNa, which led to the burning of the whole city of Lanka. Hanuman freed himself and set the whole city ablaze in a fitting lesson to the Rakshasaas. Everyone in Rama‟s camp was thinking that Vibhishana might be a spy acting on Ravana's behalf. Can he be trusted? Lord Rama then speaks to Sugreeva, His ally in the war, and other elders. They discuss the course of action to be taken and He seeks their inputs. Rama listens to all of them patiently and then makes His pronouncement. He mentions how King Shibhi gave refuge to the pigeon that was being chased by a vulture. The pigeon was his prey. It was running scared and sought the shelter of King Shibi. The vulture demanded justice and its food. The pigeon's mate begged for compassion from Shibi and protection for the pigeon. The vulture said it was none of the king's business interfering in its right to hunt for its food. When the king said he must protect anyone in his kingdom who has sought his refuge, the vulture retorted that it was his subject too and deserved justice as well and demanded its food and nothing less. The king agreed to offer his own flesh, in equal measure, to the vulture and started cutting the flesh from his mighty arms! With the pigeon on one side of a balance, he started placing his flesh on the other side of the balance. Still it was of no avail. The balance was tipped on the side of the pigeon. King Shibi had to keep on cutting more and more of his own body. Finally, he offered his whole body and climbed on to the balance. You can look up the rest of the story. King Shibi was being put to a test of Raja dharma (king's duties). Lord Rama recalls this story and tells Sugreeva that He too must follow the example of this illustrious king of an earlier yuga - the Satya yuga. Rama cites some more examples and then concludes with the above verse. He says it is His vow (vratam ma-ma). He will offer (dadami) protection to all beings (sarva bhootebhyo). All beings are equal. A crow, a pigeon, a human, Page | 9

even a Rakshasa. Especially when they have totally, completely, (sakrudeva, in the best possible way) surrendered (prapannaaya) to Him. Especially when they beg Him and plead with Him (yaacate) and say we belong to You (tava asmi = tavaasmi). Surrender is complete when the Jeevatma realizes that it belongs to Paramatma. There is no existence for the Jeevatma without the Paramatma tava asmi. I am nothing. I am nobody. I am yours. I belong to you. That is prapannaaya. That is yaacate. That is prapatti. That is also the meaning of maam ekam sharanam vraja - surrender (sharanam vraja) to Me (maam), surrender to Me alone (maam ekam).

Rama meets Sugreeva

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Tava means yours and asmi means am, or I am. Tava+asmi becomes Tavaasmi with sandhi. Thus, tava asmi = I am yours. Tava asmi not Brahma asmi (I am the Supreme Brahman), which is the famous aphorism of Adi Sankara, and one of the Mahavakyas of Advaita philosophy. Here the sage Valmiki, through the words of Lord Rama, teaches us to think in terms of Tava asmi. This is what all Jeevatmas realize when they truly surrender. Ko Aham? Who am I? This question was asked by Brahma himself at the beginning of kalpa (a day in the life of Brahma). He found himself seated atop the lotus that emanated from Bhagavan's navel and was surrounded all over by the waters of pralaya. He had forgotten how to create. Then he started wondering.

Bharata receiving Rama padukas

Who am I? Ko Aham? Aham Tava asmi, or Tavaasmi. Not Brahma asmi, or Brahmaasmi. Page | 11

Prapanna means one who has surrendered, or one who has performed the act of prapatti. Arjuna says, "Shishyas teham shaadhi maam tvaam prapannam" at the end of his lamentation (Bhagavad Gita chapter 2, verse 7). Uddhava says, "Narayanam Narasakham sharanam prapadye" when he wants to receive supreme knowledge from Krishna when He was ready to return to His abode at the end of His stay on this earth. The verb prapadye describes the active act of surrendering. Everyday, when we recite the Venkatesa Suprabhatam, we say, "Shree Venkatesa charanau sharanam prapadye". If you can feel in your heart that you have surrendered when you recite these verses, He will hear you. Tavaasmi, sharanam prapadye. He will surely offer His protection (abhayam). When the Jeevaatma realizes "Tavaasmi" surrender is complete. There is no separate existence for Jeevaatma apart from Paramaatma. This is the core teaching of the doctrine of Prapatti practiced by SriVaishnavites of South India. Very sincerely V. Laxmanan ****************************************************************************************
From: jambunathan@msn.com Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2011 13:53:25 -0500 Subject: RE: [detroit_gita] Tavaasmi Not Brahmaasmi RE: Ten verses on surrender: Adaikkalappattu - 1

Dear Laxmanji, Excellent quotes from Ramayanam, Bhagavad Gita and Swami Desikan. As you know adiyen is a great fan and devotee of Swami Desikan --- the preceptor extraordinaire.

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Swami Desikan was a great devotee, scholar, traditionalist ,ocean of compassion and humility personified. He was the greatest architect of the manipravala style --- combining Sanskrit & Tamil. It is said that even the advaithis, dvaithis, buddhists etc. can get an indepth knowledge about their religion/philosophy by studying the works of Swami Desikan. Swami Desikan himself says that his works are not intended to offend any religion but to heal and embrace everyone by making them understand the greatness of prappati marga or surrender. Sri Vaishnavas quote three famous saranagathi slokas from the smrithis. You have quoted two of them already. 1. Lord Rama's assurance of protecting those who surrender to him. ( Swami Desikan describes this very beautifully in his Dasa avathara stotram - the one who is personification of dharma and who has taken the infallible vow of protecting the ones who surrender onto him) 2. The Bhagavad Gita verse- 18 chapter, sloka 66. 3. The third one is from Varaha puranam called as Varaha charama sloka. (You could probably elaborate this later.) Thanks again for all the sacred information. Regards, Jambunathan ****************************************************************************************
From:V Laxmanan (vlaxmanan@hotmail.com) Sent: Mon 5/23/11 5:10 AM

Dear All: In His avataram as Krishna, He gave us Sarva dharmaan parityajya, where He assures us that He will liberate us (mokshayishyaami) from all of our sins Page | 13

(sarva paapebhyo). In His avataram, as Rama, He promises that He will always provide protection to all beings (make them fearless) who have surrendered to Him (abhayam sarva bhootebhyo dadaami). In the avataram as Varahaswamy, He assures that He will give us memory of Him at the time of our death, as long as we surrender to Him at some point in our life, when we are still physically healthy with all our mental faculties intact. The two slokas, revealed as a conversation with Bhoodevi (Mother Earth) are given below. The purpose of Varaha avataram was to rescue the Earth from the waters of pralaya and provide a place where Svayambhu Manu and his wife Shataroopa (the Hindu Adam and Eve) could live. Discussions of these slokas may be found if you scroll down.

**************************************************************************************** Subject: RE: [detroit_gita] Tavaasmi Not Brahmaasmi RE: Ten verses on surrender: Adaikkalappattu - 1 Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2011 21:25:32 +0000 Thanks Jambunathan for your wonderful comments. My knowledge of Swami Desikan's work is miniscule. However, I was impressed by the introductory verse of Adaikkalappattu when I read it recently. In addition to its poetic flavor, in this verse Swamin reveals himself as a true bhakta who wants to surrender. The elongated "a" sound in each verb ending in each verse is a really call for all of us to pay attention. Regarding Lord Rama's assurance of abhyam to all those who surrender to Him, I urge all to commit that sloka to memory just like the large majority of us have committed Krishna's assurance to memory.

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Shree Rama said: Sakurdeva prapannaaya tavaasmeeti yaacate l Abhayam Sarva bhootebhyo dadaamyetat vratam ma-ma ll Shree Krishna said: Sarva dharman parityajya maam ekam sharanam vraja l Aham tvaam sarva paapebhyo mokshayishyaami maa shucahaa ll 18.66 ll However, the essence of Sharanagati or Prapatti is "Tavaasmi", found in the sloka from Ramayana. It hit me more than at any other time when I read it again a couple of days ago. Very sincerely V. Laxmanan
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Varahalaksmi

Subject: RE: [detroit_gita] Tavaasmi Not Brahmaasmi RE: Ten verses on surrender: Adaikkalappattu - 1 Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2011 09:03:04 +0000 Page | 15

Dear All: In his comments to my email on Tavaasmi, not Brahmaasmi, Dr. Jambunathan mentioned the Varaha charama sloka. I have pasted that below. The deeper significance of this sloka has been discussed by many other Vaishnavite scholars; see for example http://www.tamilbrahmins.com/philosophy-traditions/2624-varahavaibhavam.html Very briefly, in this sloka, we find Bhagavan telling Bhoomadevi (Mother earth who was resuced from the waters of pralaya in this avatara) Aham smaraami madbhaktam. Such is the mercy of the Lord. In the Venkatesa Suprabhatam, for example, we say, "Sadha Venkatesham smaraami smaraami". Here it is the devotee who says that he/she is trying to remember the Lord. Sadhaa means always. We want to remember the Lord always. Is it possible? In Chapter 8, verse 14, Krishna says, "Yo maam smarati nityshahaa", i.e., He who remembers me each day, (nityashahaa). He also says, "Ananya ceta satatam", i.e., we must give up attachments to all other deities and remember Him always (satatam), at all times. Is this possible? Before He gets to verse 14, He tells in verse 8, Yam Yam vaapi smaran bhaavam tyajatyante kalevaram, tam tamevaiti Kaunteya.." In the end (ante), when he gives up his body (tyajati kalevaram) whatever (yam yam vaapi) he remembers (smaran) that is what he will attain (tam tamevaiti) and nothing else." The addition of eva (only) eti (comes to) here means that it is very important to remember Him at the time the soul leaves the body. Is this possible? Will we even have the physical and mental capacity to do so?

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However, as we see in the Varaha charam sloka, now the Lord assures us that He will remember His devotee. Gone are all the caveats imposed in chapter 8 of the Bhagavad Gita, or even in "sarva dharaman parityajya maam ekam sharanam vraja". When he lies like a log of wood (kashtha) or a stone (paashaana), as he is dying (mriyamaanam), the Lord assures that He will remember His devotee. What does the devotee have to do? He only wants the devotee to remember Him when he is hale and hearty and in good health (su-swasthe shareere), when his mind is not distracted with any other thoughts (sthite manasi), when all mental and physical faculties are working perfectly. (Dhaatu refers to the five gross elements of which the body is made, and indeed all material nature is made up of. Saamye means equilibrium, no disturbance or agitation). Can we do this? Yes, it is possible. Are you doing this now? Yes, you probably are. Have you perished all other thoughts as you read this email? You probably have. Can you now say, "Om namo Narayanaaya"? Yes you can. Yes you are. Now banish all other thoughts and contemplate on Him.

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That is all the Lord wants us to do according to this charama sloka. If any one (naraha) does this (sati yo naraha, sati means if, were to, etc.), the Lord says, He will remember (aham smaraami) this bhakta when he is lying helplessly like a log of wood or a stone and is dying. Om Namo Narayanaya. Hari Bol ! Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare l Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare ll Join the Vishnu Sahastranama parayanam whenever you can. Join the Akanda Gita Parayanam (recital of all 18 chapters) whenever you can, when you are hail and hearty and when all your faculties are functioning fully (dhatu saamye). We have one such event scheduled for March 26, 2011, in a devotee's home in Troy, MI. Wherever you are, you can schedule such an event and spend a few hours in such a yajnya. Even if your thoughts are NOT fully engaged during the whole parayanam, there will be at least a few moments when you will be able to remember Him in the ananya-ceta mode and even in the sarva-dharman-parityajya mode.

Realize that you are His, not tat tvam asi, not aham Brahmaasmi, but Tavaasmi. The Jeevatma has no existence without the Paramatma. Realize this at least for a moment. Then you have surrendered. Then He assures you that He will remember you when you cannot.

**************************************************************************************** http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jetusa/message/5357 Discussion of first Varaha charama slokam Sri Varahaswamy's grace! # 1 Message #5357 of 5429 < Prev < Prev | Next > Next > Page | 18

Jai Srimannarayana! Sri: Varaaha charama slokam: Sri Sri Sri Chinnajeeyar Swamiji in his chathurmasyam discourses in New Jersey Jeeyar Asramam is enlightening on the quintessence of the charamaslokams blessed by Lord in his various incarnations. Here is a modest try with the limited capacity to present what HH has blessed us. In his Sri Rama incarnation the Lord said He would surely deliver those who would surrender at His Lotus Feet. In His Varaaha avathara He went a step further and assured us thus: Let us see how it is …. 1. Sthithe: manasi suswasthe: s‟ari:re: sathi yo: naraha | Dha:thu sa:mye: sthithe: smartha: viswaru:pam cha ma:majam || 2. Thathastham mriya ma:n‟anthu ka:shtta – pa:sha:n‟a sannibham | Aham smara:mi madbhaktham naya:mi parama:m gathim || Sasthras state that during one‟s last moments - just before leaving this body whatever the person wishes would definitely get realized. That is „anthya kaala smrithi‟. Bhagavad Githa very clearly states this. We know the story of Jada Bharatha who took birth as a deer as he left his body worrying about the deer he was taking care of. But we know the body loses all its capabilities in its last moments. Phlegm blocks one‟s throat. One‟s mind gets withdrawn into depths. His intellect abstains. His strength sinks. His limbs stop working. His senses fail him. Even if he be able to know some things, his body and mind fail to react. When that is the case how can one rely on one‟s „anthima smaran‟a‟? Is it ever possible? Rishis and scriptures advise:- practice on – „IT‟ – from the moment you know of it. Do practice it all your life when you have your senses and organs under Page | 19

your control. Then this (meditating on Lord – the essential Cause of this universe) becomes mechanical. Even the subconscious mind starts pondering and meditating on this habituated thing without much of your persuasion. Then „anthima smarana‟ may come to you automatically. Sri Varahaswamy comes to our rescue and assures us thus – 'You can remember and contemplate on the „mulakaarana thathva‟ now itself when everything is under your control. The purpose of his assurance is to persuade us not to be scared of our inabilities in the last moments. Manasi suswasthe: sathi = when your mind, senses are under your control Sari:re: suswasthe: sathi = when your body is under your control Yo: naraha = any of those people (anybody, need not be learned or knowledgeable) Even if the mind is active and is in condition, it so happens that the body goes out of control with disease. Then the dhathus in the body won‟t cooperate with imbalanace. Dha:thu samye: sthithe: sathi = when there are no imbalances in the dhathus of the body Put responsibility on ME. Ma:m = Me Varahaswamy relieves all beings unconditionally. Why does he do it? Is it because we asked him? No. He saves us since we are „HIS‟ – we are His possessions. So He cannot ignore us and wants to help us out. For that reason, the Lord takes birth, the one who has no birth takes birth for our sake. He is not scared of coming to this mundane world taking birth. He is – Ajayuvu. (Has no birth) How does he come? Viswaru:pancha ma:m ajam = He (who) is the all permeating and all pervading thathva. He is all powerful. Second to none. He is the Supreme Page | 20

Soul. He need not fear any one. He has no birth. Still he never uses pressure. It is His nature – He never wants to impose things on us. Think and Meditate on HIM feeling this attribute of HIM – Viswarupam. Smartha: - if you can think of Him like this, it‟s enough. Whoever thinks like that …… then what benefit do we get? For that HE gave us the second sloka. We will know about it in the next posting. Jeeyar Thiruvadigale Saranam! Jai Srimannarayana! Ramanujamma Mudumbai ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jetusa/message/5358 Discussion of sloka 2 above. Srimathe Ramanujaya Namaha! Srimathe narayanaya namaha!! thathastham mriyama:Nam thu ka:shtta pa:sha:Na sannibham | aham smara:mi madbhaktham naya:mi parama:m gathim || Lord Varahaswamy says: Thathastham = If we think of his magnificence in showering his compassion on us. Tham mriyama:n‟amthu = during the last moments Kaashta paashaan‟a sannibham = when the body becomes like a log or a stone Page | 21

Madbhaktham = (the Lord considers him so) his devotee since he thought of him one day. Lord says Aham smarami – (The Lord) I would think (smarana) on my devotee‟s behalf. Lord tells us - to think of him when all our senses and organs, the mind and intellect cooperate us. He did not impose any conditions regarding when a person should think of him. He takes into consideration whenever a person remembers him. When all the faculties incapacitate that person to utter the divine name or meditate on Him, Lord does the „smarana‟ THEN and AT THAT TIME on his behalf since he surrendered to him. Nayaami parama:m gathim = I myself will take him to the supreme state „Paramapada‟. (ya:mi means „I will take him‟ (not send him, take him). naya:mi stresses -- I do take him, I will go only with him, without taking him I will not go.) That is the compassion of Lord as revealed in the Varaha charamaslokam. Bhagavad Ramanuja was very much moved at the grace of Lord as revealed in this slokam. Jai Srimannarayana! Ramanujamma Mudumbai

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Bhoodevi and Andal: Varaha charama sloka

Andal, of Thiruppavai fame, is none other than Bhoodevi incarnate. Bhoodevi, the consort of Lord Narayana, took avatara as Andal to specifically reveal the laghu upayam (simple and unfailing means) of salvation called the Varaha charama sloka, see links below. She gave the essence of the three charama Page | 22

slokas in the beautiful verses of Tiruppavai and Nachiyar thirumozhi in Tamil for our immense benefit. http://killacan.com/what-is-the-secret-of-avatara-of-andal-nachiyar-/ http://in.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110512082358AAgLkjR http://www.indiadivine.org/audarya/sri-vaishnava-forum/675630-revolutionarylady-sri-anbil-ramaswamys-brilliant-write-up-part-3-a.html See point # 15 in the above discussion by Sriman Anbil Ramaswamy where we also find cited the following sloka from Valmiki Ramayanam. After RavaNa was killed, Shree Rama asked Hanuman to inform Sita about this triumphant event. When Hanuman enters Ashoka vana again, he wants to know how the Rakshaasees who had been tormenting Sita devi (incarnation of Bhoodevi) should be punished. Sitadevi‟s reply is touching. Paapaanaam vaa Subhaanaam vaa vadhaarhaaNaam PLavangama l Kaaryam KaruNam aaryEna na kaschit na apraadhyati ll (Valmiki Ramayanam 6.116.44) Sita tells Hanuman that Her Lord should exercise compassion (kaaryam karuNam) towards all – those who have sinned (paapaanaam), those who performed meritorious deeds (shubhaanaam) and those who are deemed fit to be killed or punished (vadhaarhaaNaam). And then She adds, in Her infinite compassion, “No one indeed has committed any offenses – na kaschit apraadhyati.” If we include the second negative here, “Na kaschit na apraadhyati, the same turns into a question, hasn‟t anyone ever sinned or committed offenses?” The same Bhoodevi, who was Sita, was also incarnated as Andal, and gave us the divine Tamil compositions known as the Thiruppavai, where she reveals the secrets to attaining moksha, salvation; see the discussion at link below. http://jayasreesaranathan.blogspot.com/2009/01/meaning-of-parai-ofthiruppavai.html http://www.ibiblio.org/sadagopan/ahobilavalli/varaha_puranam.pdf Page | 23

See also the discussion on pages 21 to 27 of above link regarding Varaha charama slokam.

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From:Veryytterium (veryytterium@yahoo.com) Sent: Tue 3/08/11 3:36 PM

Sri Sri LakshmiNrusimha Parabhramane Namah
I would like to add a few lines more about Sri Rama's assurance (Sri Rama Charama shloka) to us about His protection. Sriman Narayana in His vibhava avatharams has declared in three occasions, His vratham of saving His devotees under ANY and ALL cricumstances, they are stated in the following. Sri Krishna Charama Shloka (BG 18.66) sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja aham tvam sarva-papebhyo mokshayisyami ma sucah Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear. Sri Rama Charama Shloka Sakrudeva Prapannaya Tavaasmeeti cha Yachate Abhayam Sarva Bhutebhyo Dadaami Etat Vratam Mama. "If a person once surrenders and takes refuge in me saying, I am yours (thavaasmi), I will protect him from all others. This is my vow."

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Bharata meets Rama in exile Sri Varaha Charama Shlokam sthithE manasi susvasthE sarIrE sathi yO nara: dhAthusAmyE sthithE smarthA visvarUpam cha maamajam (1) tathastham mriyamANam thu kAshtA paashaNa sannibham aham smarAmi madh bhaktham nayAmi paramAm gathim (2) Oh Bhumi Devi ! The entire universe is my body (sarIram). I do not have births or deaths. When my bhakthAs with mahA visvAsam surrender to me, while they are still in a state of tranquil mind and healthy body, and reflect about Me as as SarvAdharan ( root cause of all), NiyanthA (one who commands from within) sarva sEshi (the ultimate), aasrayaNeeyan (one who is fit to be worshipped), Sarva VyApthan (all pervasive ) and Nithya sannihithan (One who is always near), THEN I will think of them at their last moments, when they are totally unconscious like a log or a stone and lead them by archirAdhi maargam to My parama padham and bless them to have nithya kaimkarya bhAgyam to Me there . (By Sri U. Ve. Dr. V. Sadagopan) http://www.ahobilav alli.org/ varaha_puranam. pdf

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The Sri Krishna Charam shlokam is perhaps the most famous and Sri Varaha Charama shlokam the least known, but in my opinion it is the most reassuring statement of our Lord's vatsalyam. It is declared by Sri Varahaswamy after rescuing Bhumi devi from Hiranyakshan, giving Her His assurance (due to Her pleading to save His children from this endless samsara) to save all His devotees, if they sincerely surrender to His feet during their life time.

According to this shlokam, we need not wait till we get old and are on our death bed to call out and surrender to God to attain moksham. We neither know if we will be able to do that in our final moments as life/death are highly unpredictable. So in His vast compassion, the Lord says that even when we are young, healthy and full of life, if we sincerely surrender to Him and try to Page | 26

live like a Sharanagathaa, He will definitely rescue us at the end of our lives. (Now what more assurance do we need from God??) These shlokams are very important in the Sharanagathi margam for all Vaishnavas. The sharanagathi margam as opposed to the Bhakti margam, directly puts the burden of us attaining Bhagavan on Bhagavan Himself, thus making it the most easiest, pratical way for all the badhha jivas trapped in this Kali Yugam where the rigors of Bhakti margam cannot be performed by all. It is a wonderful to recite all these three charam shlokas in the morning daily before the Lord, to always assure us that He is waiting for us at Sri Vaikuntham, all He requires is that we sincerely let of our ego, pride and perform sharanagathi to Him. Sincerely, Kamlesh

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http://in.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110220202042AAfKdAP Some additional points are covered in the discussion that may be found in the above link. The Varaha charama slokam talks about: 1. The time of sharanagati - Sharanagati must be done when one is young and able bodied. 2. Who can do sharanagati - Any body (nara) can do saranagathi. 3. Way to do sharanagati - Just thinking (smarthaa) is sufficient, do not have to physically strain onself. 4. What to contemplate on - Contemplate on Him as the Universe itself (vishwaroopam) and beyond birth (ajam)

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The Story of Varaha Avataram
Why does the earth have a smell?
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Subject: Varahavataram RE: [detroit_gita] Tavaasmi Not Brahmaasmi RE: Ten verses on surrender: Adaikkalappattu - 1 Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2011 10:21:19 +0000

Dear All: In the context of the discussion here about Varaha charama slokam and Varahavataram, it is interesting to recall a sloka from Srimad Bhagavatm, from Canto 3, Chapter 13, which provides a description of Varahavataram and the slaying of the demon Hiranyaksha, the twin brother of Hiranyakashyapu. Both the brothers were formerly the doorkeepers, Jaya and Vijaya, at Vaikunta. Because of the offense they committed against Sanatkumaras (who were stopped from entering Vaikunta by these overzealous doorkeepers), they took three janmas as asuras and were slain by the Lord Himself. The first janma was that of Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashyapu. The Lord appeared as Varahaswamy to kill Hiranyaksha and lift Mother Earth from the waters of pralaya. He appeared as Narasimha to kill Hiranyakashyapu and rescue His devotee Prahlada. The earth has an important property called gandha (smell) or ghrana. It is listed as one of the five tanmatras. Shabda, Sparsha, Roopa, Rasa and Gandha are the five tanmatras associated with each of the five gross elements Kham (sky, or ether), Vayu (air), Anala or Agni (or tejas, fire or light), Aapa (water) and Bhoomi (earth). Prithvi or Bhoomi is associated with gandha and so on.

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Varaha holding Prthvi, Mahabalipuram relief. Gandha means smell. The earth has a pleasant smell. Many things that are produced from the earth (fruits, flowers, vegetables, herbs, grain and even minerals) have a very pleasant smell. You can experience this raw smell of the earth, especially if you are in an area with grass or just the mud. It can indeed be intoxicating. That is also the reason why we desire ownership of land, or property, real estate. Such ownership gives us great joy and makes us feel good. Why? Even the Lord Himself enjoyed the smell of His consort Bhoodevi (Mother earth) as Varahaswamy when He tried to lift Her out of the waters of pralaya. This is described by the sage Maithreya when he narrates the Varahaavatara story. (Readers can enjoy the readily available English translation by Srila Prabhupada http://srimadbhagavatam.com/3/13/28/en for more details.) Ghraanena prithvyaah padaveem vijighran Krodhaapadeshaha Swayamadhvaraangahaa l Karaala-damshtropi akaraladrigbhyaam udveekshya vipraan graNatovishat kam ll 3.13.28 ll SB Bhagavan is Swayam adhvaraanga (the very embodiment of all adhvaraas, i.e., yajnyas). He is also called Yajnyapurusha or Yajnyamoorthy. But now He was in the form (apadesha) of a boar (krodha). So, with His nose (snout), Page | 29

Varaha Avatar
In Hindu mythology, the 3rd incarnation (avatar) of Lord Vishnu was the Varaha avatar. Lord Vishnu appeared in the form of a boar to defeat Hiranyakashyapu. I attended a lecture on Temple architecture by Chitra Madhavan today. Interesting perspectives of viewing temples. I follow up the enthusiasm with a photo I took at Rani ki Vav, Patan, Gujarat. http://www.flickr.com/photos/sudhamshu/3338614940/

**************************************************************************************** ghraaNena, He tried to smell (vijighran) the fragrance of the earth (prithvyaah padaveem) again and again. It appeared like He was trying to find out where Page | 30

She is from Her smell. He appeared to be very fierce with fearsome jaws (karala damshtraha) yet His glance and His eyes (drukbhyaam) were anything but fearful (akarala). The usage of drukbhyam here also means He had only two eyes. If He had more than two eyes it would be drukbhihi not drukbhyam. (Doribhih karnam which became Toppikarnam refers to having more than two arms. That's a different story.) He looked (udveekshya) at the rishis (vipraan, i.e., rishis like Mareechi and others who were witness to this avatara) who were extolling Him and entered the water (avishat kam) of pralaya. The word "ka" here means water. Kam means into the water, or in water. Varahaswamy also looks at His devotees very lovingly, read more! As an aside, there is an interesting sloka which uses a double entendre on the word Keshava which is to be split as Ke + shava, where Ke means in the water and shava means corpse. Keshavam patitam drushtvaa Pandavaa harsha nirbharaah - the Pandavas rejoiced when they saw the fallen Keshava - one has to understand the play on words here - Pandavas here refers to white colored birds, like the sea or water gulls and ke is in the water and shava is corpse. The birds delighted to see a corpse, their food, in the water!. Keshava, the Lord, did not fall and Pandavas, His devotees, did not rejoice in that. Anyway, I digress to explain kam, which means into the water. The description of how Bhagavan lifted the earth out of the waters of pralaya continues in 5 more slokas that follow. Bhagavan, it seems, fell in love with Bhoodevi and was enjoying Her. Now, if you did not know already, this is also the reason why men fall in love with women! This interpretation of the Varahavatara story is consistent with another important and parallel reason for the appearance of Lord Varaha. Bhagavan first created Brahma who found himself seated on the top of the lotus that sprung out the nabhi (navel) of Bhagavan. Hence, Bhagavan is called Padmanabhi. He entrusted Brahma with the task of creation. At the beginning of our kalpa (the day of Brahma), it is said that Brahma forgot how to create and started meditating once again and again Bhagavan came to his rescue. (We are now in the first day of the 51st year of the 100 year lifetime of Brahma.) It was even more difficult at the beginning of the very first kalpa Page | 31

when Brahma himself was born. He did not know how to create and first created the four Sanatkumaras out of his mind (manas). Hence the four Sanatkumaras are known as manasa-putras of Brahma. You will soon see why. Brahma told his sons then to procreate. But they were self-realized souls and did not want to fall in the trap of samsara and refused to oblige their father. (So, don't worry if you are a parent. Kids have been defying parents for a very very long time!) A frustrated and angered Brahma (3.12.6, SB), then created Rudra. When this child was born, he was crying - rodati iti rudraha - and so got his name yadarodeeh Surashreshtha... namna Rudra iti prajaahaa, 3.12.10, SB. And so, to this day, children cry when they first come out of their mother's womb. Brahma asked Rudra to start creating and he gladly agreed. But his creations were extremely fierce (roudra, because of the tamasic nature of rudra) and Brahma asked Rudra to stop (3.12.16,17 SB) RudraaNaam Rudrashrushtaanaam... alam prajaabhih srushtaabhih eedrusheebhih Surottama. He gladly did and started meditating and is a very great yogi to this day. Rudra, or Lord Shiva, as we know is always meditating. This is the Srimad Bhagavatam's version of the creation of Lord Shiva. It also tells us that the state of mind of the parents, at the time of conception of the children, is very important and affects the innate character of their offsprings. Brahma was angry and frustrated (3.12.7, SB) and this is reflected in Rudra's character - sadyojaayata tanmanyuhu kumaro nilalohitaha, 3.12.7, SB and also in what he did to create (fearsome creations). Rudra became Shiva after he began meditating. Anyway, Brahma was entrusted with the task of creation and two attempts had already failed. There was a third attempt and that too failed. He created the absolutely beautiful Saraswati and got himself in BIG trouble. We will not get into that now. Finally, when Brahma was meditating and seeking Bhagavan's help so that he could fulfill Bhagavan's wish, suddenly from his body sprang two other bodies - one a male and the other a female. This is described in verse 52, chapter 12 of canto 3. The word kaayaa for the body is Page | 32

derived from "Ka" which means Brahma. (When "Ka" is used as a masculine noun, it means Brahma and when it is used in the neuter gender it means water.) The two male and female forms then started the creative process, as we now know, via what is known as Mithuna-dharma. Kasya roopam abhood dvedhaa yat kaayam abhichakshate l Taabhyaam roopa vibhaaghaabhyaam mithunam samapadyata ll 3.12.52 ll Tadaa Mithuna dharmena prajaa hyedhaamba-bhoovire l Sa caapi Shataroopaayaam Pancaapatyaan yajeejanat ll 3.12.54 ll The male produced from Brahma was known as Swayambhoo and the female, who became his wife, was Shataroopa and together they produced five children. Swayambhoo and Shataroopa agreed to fulfill Brahma's command that they should engage in Mithuna dharma and procreate to populate the whole Universe, for that was Bhagavan's wish. Finally, Brahma had succeeded with a viable plan for creation. But, before they could start creating, Swayambhu reverentially asked his father, where he and his children should live. They needed a place. Yadokah sarvasatvaanam Mahee magna mahaambhasi l Asyaa uddharane yatno Dev Devya vidheeyataam ll 3.13.15 ll Swayambhoo Manu pointed out to his father that Mahee, the earth, is fully submerged (magna) in the waters of pralaya (maha ambhasi). Bhoodevi (devyaa) has to be rescued and we need to put some effort into it (asyaa devyaa uddharane yatno). Swayambhoo wanted Brahma to take over the job of rescuing Bhoodevi from the waters of Pralaya so that he could start family life and fulfill his father's wishes. (Just see how kids behave - they want everything handed to them on a silver plate!) Brahma stood baffled. He did not know what to do. How am I to lift the earth out of the waters of pralaya? Kathmenaam samunneshya iti dadhyau dhiyaa ciram (3.13.16, SB). Page | 33

So, Brahma, the dutiful son of Bhagavan, went back to a long meditation. Let Him, the Lord, from Whose heart I have been produced, now fulfill this task. (Yasyaaham hrudayaat aasam sa Esho vidadhaatu may 3.13.17, SB). And so Bhagavan appeared as Varaha to answer Brahma's call for help (tapas) and lift Bhoodevi out the waters of pralaya. When He first appeared in the form of a boar from the water (varahotako), He was very small - no bigger than the size of a thumb. Varaahatoko niragaat angushtha parimaanakaha ll 3.13.18 ll Tasyaabhi-pashyataha Khasthahaa kshanena kila Bharat l Gajamatrah pravrudhay tad adbhutam abhoon-mahat ll 3.13.19 ll But, "O Bharat (descendant of the Bharata clan)," says the sage Maithreya as he describes the story to Vidura, the tiny Varaha form, within a small fraction of a moment (kshanena kila), started growing and became as big as an elephant (gajamaatrahaa) and grew to fill the whole sky. Oh, it was such a wonderful sight" says the sage. The loving relation between Bhoodevi and Varahaswamy described above is therefore consistent with the need for kama for procreation via mithuna dharma. The Varaha charama slokam, where The Lord fulfills the desire of Bhoodevi to take all of Her children back to His abode, is also an expression of the same Divine Love of the Divyadampati and also the loving relationship of all Jeevatmas with Paramatma. Tava asmi never meant anything less. Happy Valentine's Day. Don't forget your familial duties and offer the flowers to Varahaswamy. Even if your valentine does not remember you, He will remember you on your last day, per Varaha charama slokam. Very sincerely V. Laxmanan Page | 34

Sri Venkatesa and Varahaswamy
Sri VenkatEsA has asked permission of Aadhi Varaha to share the Aadhi Varha KshEthram, in Kali Yuga, when He took the ArchA form to reside on the top of the Tirumala (Venkatam) hills. The following is from the Tirupati-Tirumala devasthanam website. http://www.tirumala.org/ptv_tm_varaha.htm

Sri Varahaswami Temple at Tirumala

Sri Varahaswami Temple in Tirumala is to the north of the Sri Venkateswara Temple, on the banks of Swami Pushkarini. According to legend, Tirumala was originally Adi Varaha Kshetra (the home of Sri Adi Varaha Swami), and it was with his permission that Lord Sri Venkateswara took up residence here. According to the Brahma Purana, pilgrims should first offer naivedyam to Sri Adi Varaha Swami, before visiting the Sri Venkateswara temple. According to Atri Samhita (Samurtarchanadhikara), the Varaha avatara is worshipped in three forms:
  

Adi Varaha Pralaya Varaha Yajna Varaha

The vigraham of Sri Varahaswami in Tirumala is that of Adi Varaha, as it resembles the description of the Adi Varaha murti in Vaikhanasa Agama texts.

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Sarva dharmaan parityajya
The assurance given to Arjuna by Krishna is, perhaps, the most well known of all the three charama slokas and there are innumerable discussion available. The present author is hardly qualified to discuss such a profound statement by Krishna, who is Bhagavan Himself – Krishanas tu Bhagavan swayam, says the Bhagavatam. Hence, only brief thoughts are given below. Krishna says, “Aham tvaam” in the second line. Aham means I and tvaam means you. Grammatically tvaam is the objective (or accusative) case of tvam = you. In English, there is no change in the nominate case (when you is subject) and the objective, or accusative, case when you is the object. In the sentence, “You are the best”, it is the subject but in the sentence, “I love you”, the same word is the object. In Sanskrit the objective case of tvam (subject) becomes tvaam. Krishna says “I will liberate you, aham tvaam mokshayishyaami”. When the devotee says, “Tvam eva sharaNam ma-ma tasmaat kaaruNya bhaavena raksha raksha Mahaprabho”, the subjective, or nominative case is used. You are my only refuge/shelter. You, the subject, is tvam in Sanskrit. Some versions say “tva” (I would spell it as “tvaa”, using my spelling scheme) instead of “tvaam”. Both are correct and both indicate the objective case of “tvam”. Students of Sanskrit, when they learn the declension of the pronoun “tvam”, learn this as “tvaam, tvaa” for the accusative case, singular. It is also important to note that the tense of the verb used is future tense. This means moksha will be granted, not now but in the future. This sends an important message to Arjuna. Today, Arjuna is supposed to get up and start fighting. That is his duty. Forget about all other dharmas (sarva dharmaan parityajya) and yogas. Abandon them. If you think fighting the war and killing all the near and dear Page | 36

ones is wrong and sinful, forget it. Surrender to me and do what I ask you to do. There is no need to fear about any sinful reaction(s). Arjuna was already told this in chapter 2, verses 32 and 33. He was told to adhere to his swadharma – to do his duty as a kshatriya. The doors of heaven lie wide open before him and for all the other kshatriyas assembled on the battlefield. There is no sin. The same message is being repeated in chapter 18 – the misgivings about dharma, ahimsa versus killing etc., or the confused perceptions of right and wrong (i.e., all other dharmas), what to do and what not to do, must all be given up. Once Arjuna understands this, he would fight. There is nothing to fear. There is nothing to despair (ma shuchahaa). There is no need to grieve about anything. So, the verb used is in the future tense. Understand My will and do it. I take responsibility for any sin, even if there is any. I will liberate you. All sins (sarva paapas) will be absolved. Today, do your duty and fight. If only we could all be so clear as to what our duty is, when we are all faced with conflicts in life! The reader is referred to other discussions available of this very important sloka. Indeed many acaryas and VaishNavite scholars have discussed at length the implications of each and every word in this divine sloka. Some links are given below. http://www.srivaishnavan.com/upload4/mummuksu3.html Extracted from above, remarks by leading VaishNavite scholar of our times, Sriman Anbil Ramaswamy. Lord Krishna says "Having renounced all Dharmas, take refuge in me alone. I shall absolve you from all sins. Do not grieve" Sarva dharmaan parithyajya maam ekam saranam vraja Aham tva sarva papebhyo mokshayishyami maa sucha" Page | 37

This does not mean that one should give up one's dharmas and then surrender to him, as some would have us believe. It only means that because you have found other means like Bhakti yoga difficult to practice you are unable to take recourse to them, the only course open to you being surrendering yourself to me. Do that surrender right here and now. Once you do this I shall protect you and grant Moksha. And, he asks you not to grieve and plights his promise to protect. http://sriranganatha.tripod.com/id136.html http://www.sundarasimham.org/ebooks/CSC.pdf http://www.srivaishnavan.com/upload4/mummuksu3.html http://www.scribd.com/doc/38942554/Charama-Slokas

Acknowledgements
The author is grateful to various authors and Bhagavatas and the Internet sources consulted to compile these charama slokas, especially Shri Jambunathan and Kamlesh for permission to use their email exchanges with our Gita groups. Also, several illustrations used here from various sources are gratefully acknowledged.

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