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Stotras of Vedanta Desika

by Sri D. Ramaswamy Ayyangar
Page 2

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3. Devanayaka Panchasat

This is the first stotra sung by Vedanta Desika in praise of an arca-murti (icon in a temple). Lord Devanatha of Tiruvahindrapuram, by whose blessings and under whose fostering care Venkatanatha emerged as an Acharya of the first magnitude, appears to have commanded Desika to sing about Him "on the pattern of the ancient Vedas". His having fulfilled that command by singing in Sanskrit, Prakrit and Tamil is mentioned at the end of Navamanimalai, one of his Tamil poems. Devanayaka Panchasat is the first among them.

The great love and fascination of Desika towards Devanatha can be seen reflected in almost every sloka here. Slokas 14 to 44 indulge in a close description and intimate enjoyment of the Lord's Form (Body) from head to foot. At times the poet becomes erotic and love-lorn (slokas 17 and 27). That perhaps explains why this stotra is named "Devanayaka" Panchasat instead of "Devanatha" Panchasat. Desika as a naayika (a lady in love) can seek fulfilment only in a nayaka (lover). Moreover, the Alvar who has sung about this Lord has called Him Deivanayakan. Its Sanskrit form is Devanayaka. The Alvar has also referred to this Perumal as adiyavarkku meyyan -- one who is true to His devotees. Desika refers to the Lord by this name also often. The first and last words of the stotra put together spell out the same name -- praNatasatyavaadi.

More Details - Devanagari Text

4. Achyuta Satakam

This is a stotra in Praakritam (a vernacular dialect derived from Sanskrit). Ladies in ancient Sanskrit plays were invariably made to talk only in this language. As Desika regarded himself as a naayika (a lady in love) in regard to the Lord of Tiruvahindrapuram, he must have sung this stotra in what he himself calls "cintai-kavar-praakritam" (Praakritam that attracts the mind). The poet himself has named the stotra as Achyuta Satakam. The names Devanatha, and Dasa-satya also occur very frequently in addition to the name Achyuta. Being a satakam (100 slokas) several topics of philosophy and religion are dealt with in detail. After the prefatory portion, the stotra can be seen to deal with the Lord's svarupa up to Sloka 25. As in Devanayaka Panchasat here also the several parts (angas) of the Lord's Tirumeni (Body) are enjoyed in the order from head to foot (34 to 43). Slokas 44 to 65 deal elaborately with several aspects of the greatness of the Lord's Devotees. Slokas 72 onwards are about the poet himself, his present afflicted state, his hopes, fears and prayers, and appeals for help and succour. The stotra winds up with a request to the Lord to receive him as a bridegroom receives his bride at a wedding (100).

More Details - Devanagari Text

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Mani Varadarajan
Last modified: Tue Apr 6 16:19:01 PDT