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Stotras of Vedanta Desika

by Sri D. Ramaswamy Ayyangar
Page 18

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27. Garuda Dandakam

A form of versification in which more syllables than 26 to a quarter (pAda) are found is known as daNDakam in Sanskrit prosody. This Garuda Dandakam has 108 syllables in each quarter (vide sloka 6). The four sections numbered here as 2 to 5 are really four quarters of one sloka.

This work is in praise of Garuda (like Garuda Panchasat). Sloka 932 enshrines Garuda-mantra. It is said that a snake charmer challenged Desika to defy a deadly serpent which he sent towards that acharya, and on singing this Dandakam, Garuda appeared and carried away that snake.

The last sloka, however, says that this Dandakam about Garuda was sung by the all-knowing Venkatesa for the delectation of Garuda-dhvaja, Lord Vishnu.

Devanagari Text

28. Abhiti Stava

This stotram has a historical background. The great centre of Sri Vaishnavism Srirangam had fallen into the hands of the Muslim invaders led by Malik Kafur in the 14th Century A.D. Before that, the shrine of Lord Ranganatha had been closed after secretly sealing the sanctum sanctorum, and the utsava-murti removed to places of safety by the pious people of the place. Several great acharyas lost their lives, and several others, Vedanta Desika among them, ran away from the place in fear and panic. Desika stayed at Satyamangalam near Kollegal now in Mysore State. It is from there he sang this stotra in praise of Lord Ranganatha, praying to Him to banish their fear and return to His abode. Sloka 20 voices the prayer to banish fear in Srirangam and restore it to its former glory, and sloka 22 prays to the Lord to wield His weapons and remove their fear caused by the Muslims and the Yavanas (other foreigners). The Stotra refers to the Lord's five weapons (panchayudhas), which He always holds in His hands for our protection, in four places 11, 21, 22 and 23. Fear and/or freedom from fear figure in nearly half the total number of slokas of this stotram. Sloka 19 refers by name to eight staunch devotees of the Lord who obtained complete freedom from fear by taking refuge at the Lord's feet and prays for a similar benefit and blessing for all of us. A paaraayanam of this stotram has been prescribed by elders for securing freedom from fear of any sort.

Devanagari Text

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