Lokabhiramam sriramam bhuyobhuyo namamtaham ||
This sloka is chanted by all at all times. Lord Sri Ramachandra removes all our fears and blesses us with what we need. Treading from Himalayas to Rameshwaram, Sri Rama has converted many places in India, sacred. When Sri Sita was abducted by Ravana, Sri Rama came in search of Her in every place. When Ravana carried away Sri Sita, Jatayu, the vulture King, fought with Ravana. He wanted to rescue Sri Sita. But Ravana, with his sword Chandrahasa, cut off the wings of Jatayu, who fell down. Jatayu in sampradhyam is called Periya Udayar [பெரிய உடையார்] or Jatayu Maharaja. We should not regard him as a mere bird. He was involved in the service of Sri Rama. So, anyone wanting to be of service [கைங்கர்யம்] of the Lord, should emulate Jatayu or Hanuman or Lakshmana or Adisesha. Not merely Jatayu served the Lord, but his last rites were performed by Sri Rama and Sri Rama despatched him to Vaikuntam. Sri Rama was about to perform the last rites for Jatayu. Sri Rama and Lakshmana, having lost Sri Sita, went on searching and enquired the trees and rivers, whether they had seen Her. On their way they found Jatayu struggling for life. Seeing Sri Rama, Jatayu paid respects and prayed that He should live long. He further told that Ravana had abducted Sri Sita. He told that Ravana was forcibly carrying Sri Sita and was proceeding Southwards and requested Sri Rama and Lakshmana to rescue Her. Finally, after telling details, he breathed his last. At that time Sri Rama carried the vulture on His lap and cried. He told Lakshmana that more than the separation of Sri Sita, He was grieved at the demise of the bird Jatayu. He ordered Lakshmana to arrange for the funeral pyre. Sri Rama then placing the body of Jatayu on the pyre, did the last rites. Sri Rama then permitted the soul to reach Vaikuntam. The most superior place, Vaikuntam, which one can not easily reach by any number of yagnas, which Devas, Rishis and Siddhas could not easily reach, was ordered as the destination for a bird by Sri Rama. This happened somewhere and at sometime. But to worship Lord Sri Rama and Jatayu, we have come to Thirupputkuzhi [திருப் புட்குழி] Kshetram in Kanchi mandalam.
Thiruputkuzhi = Thiru [associated with Sri Lakshmi], pul [புள்] = bird [Jatayu], kuzhi [குழி] = pit [made for the pyre]. Thus this place is considered as the place where Sri Rama performed the last rites for Jatayu. The Lord here is Sri Vijayaraghavan [ஸ்ரீ விஜய ராகவன்], also known as Sri Poretrinayanar [ஸ்ரீ போரேற்றி நாயனார்] and Sri Samarapungava [ஸ்ரீ ஸமர புங்கவன்]. Sri Thayar is Sri Maragathavalli. Pushkarini is Gruddhara pushkarini [most of the literature refer this as Jatayu pushkarini]. Gruddharam means vulture. Swami Vedanta Desika has composed a sthotram on the Lord, Sri Paramarta stuti [श्री परमार्त्थ स्तुति]. Parama means the last or the most superior and artha means outcome. Sri Vijayaraghava is the Ultimate objective of our actions and he has praised Him. Swami Desika opens the stotra with the words Srimad gruddhara saras teere parijatam upasmahe. The Lord is like the Parijata tree, granting anything desired. He is gracing on the banks of Gruddhara saras [pond]. He grants anyone irrespective of whether he is high or low. To pluck the fruits from a tree, dwarfs will find difficult if the tree is tall and tall persons will struggle if the tree was dwarf. But this Parijata Tree -Lord Sri Vijayaraghava - makes available the 'fruits' easily for everyone. Swami Desika says that Jatayu is the proof of this quality of the Lord. Jatayu got Moksham. We may get doubt here. We have heard of Sri Rama granting Moksham in a place near Saket in Maharashtra; also, we have heard that in Pullambhutamkudi Divya desam [near Kumbakonam] also it is told that the Lord gave Moksham to Jatayu. All are true. Because the purpose of Arcchavatara, that is the Lord in temples, is a reminder of the happenings in Vibhava avatars, like incidents in Sri Rama, Sri Krishna, etc., stories. We should therefore, take that the Jatayu incident is enacted here for our benefit. We see Sri Ulagalanda Perumal, which reminds of Sri Trivikrama Avatar of the Lord and not that Sri Trivikrama Avatar actually happened there. This exhibits the Lord's simplicity towards devotees. So considering this Jatayu incident took place here or in Pullambhuthamkudi or in Saket, near Yugatpuri, in Maharashtra, are all correct. The fact that He granted Moksham to Jatayu is important. Bathing in this pushkarini not merely removes our sins, but also ensures good health. We will now see sloka 39. In all these slokas we find that Arjuna saw the Lord in Viswaroopam and was wonderstruck. He started praising the Lord, as pervading everything in and around. Everything is His body. He knows all and is to be understood by all. He is also the Ultimate destination, Vaikuntam. Now sloka 39:
vayur yamo ’gnir varunah sasankah
prajapatis tvam prapitamahas ca
namo namas te ’stu sahasra-kritvah
punas ca bhuyo ’pi namo namas te
"You are air, and You are the supreme controller! You are fire, You are water, and You are the moon! You are Brahma, the first living creature, and You are the great-grandfather. I therefore offer my respectful obeisances unto You a thousand times, and again and yet again!"
By this sloka Arjuna salutes the Lord repeatedly. the Lord is manifesting in others and Arjuna offers his obeisance to the Lord in every form. Seven persons are mentioned by Arjuna. Vayu = Vayu or wind god, yama = Yama or god of death, agni = Agni or god of fire, varuna = Varuna or god of rain, sasanka = Moon or the god Moon, prajapati = Prajapati or god of progeny, prapitamaha = great grand father or Father of lord Brahma, Sriman Narayana, tvam = You [Sri Krishna] are. That is the Lord is the Prime Commander in all these gods. Lord Brahma is considered as the grand father of the Universe. Since Sriman Narayana is considered as Father of lord Brahma, He becomes the great grand father. Nama = [I, Arjuna] salute, namastestu = offer salutes, sahasra - kritva = do [salute] Thousand times, punas ca = again and, bhuyo = again, namo namaste = salute and offer salutes. We can interpret that these words like Vayu, Agni and Varuna, are all names of the Lord. Or, whoever is named by these words, are empowered by the Lord, Who is inside them as their atman and commanding them. By naming those persons also, those ultimately mention the Lord. So both interpretations are possible. Agni, for example, means agram nayati is agni. That is He who takes you forward is Agni. The Lord carries us forward. So Agni could mean the Lord directly. But we can also take that Agni denotes the god of fire. The Lord controls and commands Agni from in and out. So, Agni could mean the Lord inside god of Fire also. Therefore, the Lord is, either directly, by the word, or indirectly, by refering to the ruling god, indicated by these names. Arjuna repeatedly offers his obeisances to the Lord. We will now enter the temple.