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Stotras of Vedanta Desika

by Sri D. Ramaswamy Ayyangar
Page 6

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9. Ashtabhujaashtakam

This stotra and the four stotras that follow are in praise of the Deities adorning five shrines in or about Kanchipuram. All of them except Saranagati Deepika are very short ones. Two of them, this and No. 11, are ashtakams (eight slokas).

The name Ashtabhujam is the Sanskrit for Attapuyakaram by which name Peyalwar and Tirumangai Alvar have referred to the Lord of this shrine. The word means one with 8 hands. In sloka 10 Vedanta Desika attributes the doubling of the Lord's hands (from four to eight) to the Lord's hurry and eagerness to afford protection to those who have sought refuge in Him. May that Lord be pleased to receive this stuti of eight slokas composed by me -- is the idea contained in the same sloka.

The first sloka prays for help preferred promptly as in the case of Gajendra. I am in the same plight -- nay, in a worse one because Gajendra was assailed by one crocodile, while I am assailed by several. The reference to the Gajendra episode here is based on Peyalvar's verse 99 of his Prabandham.

This stotra it is stated will be of help to those who have performed prapatti and become prapannas, and also to those who desire to become prapannas (9). The "tvara" of the Lord to protect those in distress, i.e., the avidity and the hurry finds mention in the first and last slokas.

Detailed Explanation - Devanagari Text

10. Vegasetu Stotram

The name Vegaa-setu meaning a dam across the river Vegaa (Vegavati) for the Perumal (Lord) indicates the part He played in protecting the Aswamedhayaga performed by Brahma to visualise the Lord, by protecting that yaga from being washed away by the irate Saraswati who desired to wreck that yaga by taking the form of a river in spate. This is to be found in the Sthalapurana.

The Lord, however, attained greater fame and name by packing up His Adisesha couch and following Tirumazhisai Alvar at his behest and later re-spreading that Adisesha couch and lying on it once again (now pillowing His head on the left hand instead of on the right). For this fine gesture, inconsistent with the state of arca, this Lord is popularly known as Yathoktakari or, as Desika has put it, bhagavat-bhakti-mataam yathoktakari (5) -- one who acts as dictated to by His Devotees.

Slokas 2 to 4 and 7 refer to the Lord's puranic greatness as Vegasetu. Slokas 5 and 7 refer to both aspects. 6 and 8 deal with His subservience to His devotees.

More Details - Devanagari Text

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