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Stotras of Vedanta Desika

by Sri D. Ramaswamy Ayyangar
Page 3

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5. Raghuveera Gadyam

Though the author has named this work as Mahaa-veera-vaibhavam and begins it with the address "Mahaavira!", it is popularly known only as Raghuveera Gadyam. A gadyam is a prose composition which though not metrical, is yet framed with special regard for rhythm and harmony -- a sort of poetic prose.

Leaving out the single sloka at the beginning and the two slokas at the end, this work consists of 94 addresses to Lord Sri Ramabhadra and one prostration to Him -- prostration again and again (96). The entire epic of Valmiki has been epitomised in these 94 sentences (they are called choornikas). The outstanding traits of Sri Rama are all touched upon. In fact, every address makes mention of at least one characteristic trait of that Repository of all auspicious qualities. Even as the story of the Ramayana is being unfolded the glory of Rama-gunas is pointedly referred to. Very fine sentiments such as Rama's absolute independence (svAtantryam) being made subservient to the saranagati (surrender) of Sugreeva (44) -- an apparent paradox -- must be specially enjoyed. Choornikas 30 to 35 all deal with the destruction of the Rakshasas. But what refreshingly different metaphors! Viradha was slain like "deer by a tiger". The Rakshasas that worried the Rishis were hunted down like birds and beasts. The heads of Trisiras were annihilated as darkness by the sun. The huge reservoir of water that was Dhooshana was made dry to the great delectation of the hosts of Rishis. Khara, the chief of the horde became like a tree uprooted by a terrific hurricane. Thc huge forest of weeds in the shape of 14,000 Rakshasas was destroyed by that majestic Elephant (Rama) trampling on it. And later, Kumbhakarna's destruction is referred to as the rending in twain of a huge mountain by a thunderbolt in the shape of Rama's astra (arrow) (61). Choornika 299 is made up of ten words all beginning with the letter "V".

Upto 21 Bala Kanda; 22 to 26 Ayodhya Kanda; 27 and 28 refer to the Vayasa (crow) episode that occurred while in Chitrakuta but is narrated by Valmiki in the Sundara Kanda. 29 to 42 Aranya Kanda; 43 to 47 Kishkindha Kanda; 48 alone Sundara Kanda. 49 to 80 Yuddha Kanda. The rest is Uttara Kanda.

Like Garuda Panchasat this stotra also must be read or recited aloud to obtain the full benefit of its rich cadence and rhythm.

Devanagari Text

6. Gopala Vimsati

This is a stotra containing twenty fine and unforgettable pen-pictures of that Darling of Humanity Gopala -- not the mature Krishna, but the Child of Gokulam with countless pranks to his credit, and the pre-adolescent boy dallying with damsels. The navaneeta-natyam (dance with butter in hand) portrayed in sloka 4, the navaneeta-chaurya (theft), the mother's ire and the child's fear (5), his lovely face turned aside out of fear yet with a ravishing smile lurking on his lovely lips (7), the playing on the flute accompanied by lovely glances shining like lotuses floating on a river of mercy (11) the Venugopala vision of a split green emerald with flute on the lips and peacock-feather on the head (12) -- these and several other sweet and alluring portraits are sure to gladden our hearts and souls for ever. Side by side, his transcendence as a Parama Purusha (3) which still eludes the quest of the Vedas (8), his being an unfailing upaya or means near at hand for attaining moksha (9) his being the protector of all the worlds (16) and the life of his devotees (19) -- these are also finely sung about. Different vrittams (metres) are employed to suit the respective topic. The 20th sloka lets out the secret of this avatara (incarnation) as enshrined in the Charama Sloka of the Bhagavad Geeta, viz., that the Lord expects man to surrender (saranam vraja) to Him before ever He wipes out his sins and takes him unto Himself. Gopala begs of the Gopis for an anjali (folding of palms together in worship). That anjali is the mudra (mark) indicative of surrender.

English Translation with Notes - Devanagari Text

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