The great Charama Slokas were recited at the very end of the Bhagavad Geetha, by the Almighty Lord Sri Krishna also known as Geethaacharya, who preaches to Arjuna the ultimate value of saranagathi – a state that he can reach after renouncing all worldly ties.
The well known verse “maam ekam; saranam vraja” says: "Consider reaching me as your ultimate goal and give your all to me! This of course, as most of us know, is the high level understanding of this verse. However, wondering if there is a more profound preaching hidden behind the Great Lord's words, I wish to explore this at a greater depth.
Let’s take an example--one we can all relate to in our day to day lives. Suppose, we have a wedding or an auspicious occasion in the family, in our olden customs, the newly married couple will prostrate at the feet of all the elders in the family to obtain their blessings. One such elder in the family would tell the couple, "Go find every one who is eligible to bless you, and get their well wishes!" The couple would take his words to heart, and search every nook and corner to find eligible elders to get their well-wishes. After they are completely done with this process, the elder would say to them, “How about your parents?” His original intention was to ensure that the couple got the blessing of their parents, but the couple missed the subtle pointer and compromised the entire intent of the elder. The great lord in similar fashion, is using such indirection to tell us something that should be obvious to us.
So it’s time for us to go beyond the surface and read between the lines or rather words in this case-- splitting the word “maamekam” into two parts as “maam” and “ekam”. The word “maa” translates to Sri. Mahalakshmi Thayar and “eka” is another name for Sriman Narayana. Therefore, with the joining of these two words, the Lord is signaling to get the blessings of his consort Lakshmi Thayar to reach him. This is also expressed by the word “purushakaaram” which means that thaayar is the mediatrix for men to reach the paramapadha of the glorious almighty Sriman Narayana.
The Divine Goddess never puts herself ahead of perumal. She, instead, is His constant strength one step behind him-- his 'saha dharma chaariNi’ or one who shares his duties towards all and takes pride in being part of his dharma. In the sundarakandam of Ramayana when Hanuman offers to take Sita Thayar back to her Sri.Ramachandra, she refuses to go with anyone but perumal himself.
In answer to Anjaneya, Sita Thayar says,
“While I can burn down the entire land of Lanka and all the different worlds to ashes with just the power of my words, I would rather that my Lord Sri.Rama do this with his bow and arrow instead.”
The Goddess is as powerful as the Lord and could have fought Ravana, even when he was abducting her! However, she wishes to put her Lord ahead of her and would rather be his shadow then at the forefront. The Lord for his part has no less regard for his consort, Sri. Mahalakshmi and is telling us that the surest route to him is through the feet of thaayar.
This theme has been reiterated by Swami Sri Desikan in his slokas as well. Time and time again, our Acharyas have reached the divine feet of the Lord through devotion to thayar, and we should follow the light and path that they have shown.