A marital garland of words
This is a collection of 108 slokas- couplets composed by Bhagavan Ramanar.In the year 1914, Lord Bhagavan was living in the Vishupaksha cave. TheAkshara Manamalai was composed during that year. Now nearly 104 years have passed. Still the fragrance of the garland is undiminished.
Bhagavan did not take any great effort to compose these 108 slokas.
One day, Bhagavan’s desciples prayed to the Bhagavan, ‘We require a song to sing when we go for alms.’ But the prayer was not immediately answered. Bhagavan asked “What about Thevaram and Thiruvasagam?”
One day Bhagavan was going for Bhikshatanam( alms).Suddenly Bhagavan began singing the slokas which were later called as Aksharamana Manamalai( The a Marital Garland). The hymns flowed from the lips of Bhagavan like a torrential rain fall. The deciples found it difficult to keep pace with Bhagavan.
Significance of the Garaland
Aksharam means letters – alphabets in Sanskrit.It is garland of letters. Not a an ordinary garland but one used in the marriages in India. It is a garland of fragrance.
Kshara also means liable to decay or be destroyed. Aksharam , therefore also means the one which will not decay or be destroyed. The garland woven by Bhagavan Ramana is indestructible; everlasting. Garlands made of flowers will wither away after a few days. But this one will not.
The purpose of the marriage is to bind two souls in wedlock.Bhagavan Ramana tries to unite Jeevatma and Paramatma by this garland. Once married it lasts forever.. This marriage is immortal.
The first letter in Tamil language a( அ) and the last letter in Sanskrit is ksha( क्ष). This garland unites these two languages.
The Garland had its own specialities. A few are worthy of special mention..
* Bhakti marga and Gnana marga are integrated in these slokas.
* Bhagavan Ramana’s unique ‘Who am I ?’ Margam and the Vaishnava philosophy of ‘Saranagathi(total surrender)’ are united in this Garland.
* This thread joining the Garland is two-liners and it is easy to understand.
* This composition starts with letter ‘a’ (அ) which is the first letter of the famous mantra ‘ ‘ohm’.(aum)Thus it reminds us of the Almighty – Paramathma
* Lord KRISHNA says in Bhagavat Gita that ” Aksharanam Akaraosmi”- meaning I am the first letter of alphabets- a. Bhagavan Ramana’s this composition has been aptly titled as Aksharamanamalai to remind us the preeminence of the Ramana’s philosophy.
* Those who recite these hymns with devotion will be enabled to attain ‘ moksha’ (salvation) and therefore these hymns are a Garland of everlasting fragrance.
* This is a Garland of letters spreading fragrance around you.
* Those who recite these hymns pronounce 108 times the word Arunachala which will lead you to mukti
* This is an indestructible Garland because it advocates primarily Gnana marga- the path of enlightenment.
In this composition a variety ‘ Bhavas’ -expressions are exhibited.
Let us read and enjoy and get enlightened.( To be continued)