SrI: SrImathE SatakOpAya nama: SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama: SrImath varavaramunayE nama:
mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo
mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ
‘Renouncing all Dharmas, hold Me as thy Sole Refuge. I will deliver thee from all sins. Grieve not.'[1. Cp: Matt: IX-2. ‘Son, be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee’. This verse is known as the Charama śloka, or the quintessence of Bhagavad-Gīta-teaching. This verse constitutes one of the Three Rahasyas or Mysteries of the Viśishtādvaitis, and voluminous Commentaries have been written thereon. Rāmānuja gives here the ordinary interpretation meaning ‘Bhakti‘ whereas a higher interpretation is ‘Prapatti‘. An attempt will be made to elucidate this subject in my Second Volume; but in the meanwhile, the Reader is referred to the most valuable Table appended at the end of this work, where he can generally gather some account as to how ‘Prapatti‘ differs from ‘Bhakti‘.]
All Dharmas = All the Paths of Righteousness inculcated in BHAGAVAD-GĪTA as Means to Moksha, viz: Karma-yoga, Jñāna-yoga and Bhakti-Yoga.
Renouncing = The practising of these Means as Modes of My worship, and in love; but entirely renouncing or relinquishing, —as explained above (vide Commentary to stanza 4;— (1) the fruit thereof (phala-tyāga) (2) the personal ownership of act, (karma-tyāga) and (3) personal authorship of act (kartṛitva-tyāga);
Hold Me = Adopt Me i.e., reflect that I am solely The Actor, the Worthy of worship, the End (=the Worthy of acquisition) and the Means.
That this is the kind of Renunciation, the Śāstras warrant, was emphatically asseverated in the opening of this Lecture, in the following manner:—
‘Hear from Me, O Bharata-Best! the truth about this Tyāga (Renunciation). Verily, Renunciation, O Tiger of men! is distinguished as three-fold. (Gi: XVIII-4).
‘That is deemed Sātvika-Renunciation, where attachment, as also fruit, is renounced. (Gi: XVIII-9).
‘Verily for one housed in a body, to desert work wholesale is not possible; but he is called the Renouncer who renounces the fruit of work. (Gi: XVIII-11).
I will from all sins deliver thee: If thou behavest thyself in the manner explained, I will deliver thee from all the sins of omission and of commission, cumulated in the long immemorial past, —sins which stand as a bar against thy reaching Me. Grieve not.’ Another interpretation is this.
Śrī Bhagavān consoles Arjuna in his griefs which may be supposed to be caused by the reflection that Bhakti-Yoga is one which has to be practised by a person whose sins have (first) entirely ceased and who dearly loves the Lord, but the sins that obstruct at the very outset of the undertaking of Bhakti-Yoga are endless, and it is impossible to exhaust them by expiatory duties occupying but a short duration, and hence Arjuna reflected on his unfitness to launch on Bhakti-Yoga, and cried out in his helplessness. To console Arjuna in this predicament, the Lord may be understood to have counselled him thus:— ‘The endless sins hoarded up in the long past are barriers to Bhakti-Yoga being commenced; and to perform, in the short time thou livest,all the expiatory ceremonies prescribed as appropriate to the several kinds of sins committed, such as Kṛicchra, Chāndrāyaṇa, Kūśmānda, Vaiśvānara, Vrātapati, Pavitreshti, Trivṛit, Agnisṭhoma, et hoc,[2. Expiatory penances. See Manu XI-217, Hemādri and other Dharma-Śāstras which give detailed rules. Tapas, Rajendralal Mitra L.L.D., C.I.E., translates, as ‘religious austerity or self-denial’, p. 60. Yoga Sūtras.] —ceremonies these, of various kinds, countless, and difficult of performance— is out of the question. Therefore give up these Dharmas (of duties otherwise incumbent), and adopt Me in lieu thereof, so as to enable thee to launch on Bhakti-Yoga, —adopt Me, Sole, —Me the Most Merciful, —Me, the Asylum of the Kosmos, demanding no price whatever for admission, —Me, the Ocean of compassion for those who depend on Me.’
If thou comest to Me thus, I will untrammel thee from all the fetters of the sins described, which obstruct thy embarking on Bhakti-Yoga.
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