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01 ‘Agajaanana padmarkkam’

This is for you, children.
At dusk, when the reddish divine disc, descends with admirable glory, behind the western hills, visible from our house , we children used to sit before a brilliant big brass lamp that illumined and  sanctified the small enclosure called ‘sree kovil’ in our ‘naalu kettu’ big house, where we were raised. Focusing at our innocent faces and appreciating our imperfect attempts to sing, were rows of dazzling pictures of male and female forms of divinities who, we were told, were the givers of heath, wealth, education and happiness .

The first stotram we were taught by Appa was,

agajānana padmārkam gajānanam aharniśam
anēka dam tam bhaktānām ēkadantam upāsmahē
 अगजानन पद्मार्कम् गजाननम् अहर्निशम्
अनेक दम् तम् भक्तानाम् एकदन्तम् उपास्महे.The meaning, in brief :

I meditate upon the God with elephant-face and single tusk, the giver of many boons to devotees, seeing whom Parvathi’s face lights up, as the lotus which blooms at the sight of the sun.This familiar prayer of obeisance to the beloved child of Parvati, is heard again and again as one of the ‘prarambha prarthanas, initial invocation to the remover of obstacle, Gajaanana Bagaavan. The verse is simple, sweet and meaningful.I will try to give the word by word meaning first and then explain the overall beauty .
Agaja- Paarvathi
Aananam-face or mukham
padmam- lotus
arka-sun.Gajaanan- the one with the face of an elephant
AhaH -day
Niza- night
Aharnisham- day and night, throughout.Anaekam – Many, plenty
Dam- He who gives
tham- you
Bakthanaam– to the devotees

Eakadantham- single-tusked
Upasmahae– Upasmi aham- I

Explanation of the words :’Ga’ refers to gamanam or movement. When the negative sound ‘a’ is prefixed, the meaning changes to, one which cannot move- here mountain, the Himavan. Recall similar words like, asathyam, adharmam, Atchuthan, Ananthan, Amara, Asura, etc.
The word ‘ja’ means’ born to or from. Agaja is the one born to Agam or mountain- ie Parvathi.

  नग Naga has also the same meaning- the one which doesn’t move. Nagaathiraja is King of mountains, Himavan.
Remember the first sloka in Kumarasambhavam
 :अस्त्युत्तरस्यां दिशि देवतात्मा हिमालयो नाम नगाधिराजः
पूर्वापरौ तोयनिधी विगाह्य स्थितः पृथिव्या इव मानदण्डः॥ १-१astyuttarasyāṁ diśi devatātmā himālayo nāma nagādhirājaḥ |
pūrvāparau toyanidhī vigāhya sthitaḥ pṛthivyā iva mānadaṇḍaḥ || 1-1Mahaganapathi is described in the first line as the sun for the lotus face of Parvathi. The Divine mother’s face blossoms the moment she sees her son, as does a lotus which blossoms at the sight of the first ray of the sun.Second line – Gajaanananam – the elephant faced God. Day and night, with no break, always,Third line-  aneka dam- tam bhaktaanaam, ‘damtam’ should be understood as the combination of  two words,  ‘dam, tam’. You give, in plenty, to your devotees.Fourth line- eakadantham -single-tusked – I worship.Charm of the hymn :
The first line starts with ‘Agajaana’ and the second one with ‘Gajanana’, both carrying different meaning but with sound parity.
The third line starts with ‘anaekadantham’ and the fourth one with ‘ eakadantham’, again different meanings with sound parity.
This sabdalankaram, beauty of sound similarity adds to the charm of the hymn.
The Sun and lotus have special significance in our literature. The sun is not a globe of burning gases or even just a remover of darkness or nourisher of living beings.
‘Sooryam sundara lokanathamamritham, vedanthasaram, Sivam
Jnanam,brahma mayam, suresamamalam, lokaikachitham swayam.
Indradithyanaraadipam, suragurum, thrailokya choodamanim,
Vishunu, brahamma, sivaswroopa hridayam, vandae sada Baskaram.
The sun is vedantha saram, the meaning of vedantham, Vishnu, Brahma, Siva swaroopa hridayam, Suraguru –the Rishi’s  eulogization of the sun god goes on endlessly. For the Hindus He is the prathykshadeivam, the god visible to the naked eyes, the very source of life, nourisher, remover of sins .
So, is the importance of lotus, which is related to all gods. Though the sun opens up the eyes of all buds, he is named padmaprobhoda, emphasizing  his special relationship with the lotus. Our ancient literature sings loudly about this unique relationship of the heavenly born sun and pankajam, born in marshy, muddy bottom of a pool. The unique union of the sky- born, extremely powerful luminary and simple, bashful, lovely, fragrant flower of moderate family has been the theme for many poetic works. No flower other than Lotus has the unique distinction of having the closet relationship with the gods. Brahma is padmasana, Vishnu is Padmnabha and Lakshmi is padmam, all in all .
‘ padma priyae, padmini, padma hasthae,
Padmaalayae, padmdalaayathakshi.
Vishnu priyae, viswa manonukoolae,
Thwat paaadapadmam, may sannidhisswa.’
Every where padmam, that is Mahlakshmi.
Ask your child, while reciting, to concentrate on his mind’s eye, the sparkling face of the Gajanana Bagavaan, the face that  blooms the lotus-like lovely, serene face of Parvati, beaming with pride and tranquility at the sight of her beloved sun.
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