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SrI deSika stotrams - 5. dayA Satakam.

From: Krishnamachari, N (Krish) (
Date: Sat Apr 11 1998 - 06:04:17 PDT

Dear bhAgavatottama-s:

This is the fifth in the series on SrI vedAnta deSika's stotra-s. 
 Both SrI Vijay Srinivasan and Sri Sudarsan have written on dayA 
Satakam in mid-97, and these write-ups can be retrieved from the 
bhakti archives. The following is additional information that may be 
of interest.			

SrI deSika stotrams - 5. dayA Satakam.

	dayA refers to the guNa of Mercy or karuNA.  Satakam means the number 
one hundred.  dayA Satakam thus refers to the stotram on Lord 
SrInivAsa's guNa of dayA in 100 Sloka-s (there are actually 108 
Sloka-s in the stotram).

It is worth noting that the stotram is not on Lord venkateSa per se, 
but on His one guNa, dayA, to the exclusion of all His other guNa-s 
such as j~nAna, bala, aiSvarya, vIrya, Sakti, tejas, sauSIlya, 
vAtsalya, etc.   Earlier we had noted that SrI deSika composed 1000 
Sloka-s on the Divine sandals of Lord ranganAtha (The pAdukA 
sahasram), which showed svAmi deSikan's poetic skills.  dayA Satakam 
is one more example.  SrI D. rAmasvAmi Iyengar, in his introduction to 
a vyAkhyAnam on dayA Satakam, points out that there is only one Slokam 
 in this stotra where Lord venkateSa is sung directly, the others 
being devoted to the praise of  His guNa of dayA.    Even in this one 
Sloka, He is referred to as karuNA varuNAlayam, the Ocean of Mercy, 
where karuNA refers to dayA.

The Greatness of dayA Satakam:

	In his vyAkhyAnam on dayA Satakam, SrI sevA SrInivAsa rAghavAcaRya 
svAmi points out that the birth place of dayA is His Lotus feet (i.e., 
His dayA starts as soon as a devotee surrenders to Him), it grows in 
the sweet and inviting smile of His face when He sees a devotee who 
has sought His feet, and it thrives in the form His katAksham (Slokam 

sVami deSikan points out that even the veda-s could only begin to 
describe His dayA'a mahimA, but could not complete it (Arambha mAtram 
anidam prathama stuthInAm - Slokam 101).  Even ancient sages such as 
vAlmIki have chosen to stand at the shores of the Ocean of the 
greatness of His dayA because they knew that it was too deep to 
describe (prAcetasa prabhr*tayopi param taTasthAh - Slokam 102). 
  Sage vAlmIki stops with saying that Lord rAma forgave kAkAsuran and 
offered abhayam to him because of His kr*pA.

 However,  SrI deSika says that being ignorant as he was, he boldly 
jumped (mandasya sAhasam - Slokam 102) into the Ocean of Lord's dayA 
and tried to describe it, and the outcome is dayA Satakam.  He then 
found that he could not find the depth of this Ocean, and is 
struggling to keep himself afloat.  But he says he is proud to have 
even attempted it, because this has provided "amusement" to the Lord 
(padmApateh prahasanocitam - Slokam 103) as He watched him "struggle" 
to find the bottom of the Ocean in vain (atala-spr*Sam in the same 

svAmi deSikan points out that this is a composition on Lord VenkateSa 
by poet venkateSa (vekateSa kavir bhaktyA dayAmastuta - Sloka 107). 
  In fact, he says that it is Lord VenkateSa who really sang the song. 
 It was as if He was shy to praise His own guNa directly, and so used 
venkateSa kavi as the means to put forth this stotram.  He considers 
that he was a vINA in the hands of Lord venkateSvara who played His 
vINA and out came dayA Satakam (vaihArikeNa vidhinA samye gr*hItam 
vINA viSeshamiva venkata Saila nAthah - Sloka 104).  True to this 
depiction, there are 10 different meters which are used in this 
composition, and even a person who does not have any concept of meters 
etc. will easily notice the change in the meter at the end of every 10 
Sloka-s as one chants the stotram.

	In the phala-Sruti, SrI deSikan points out that this praise of His 
dayA should be repeatedly chanted (samyak abhyasyamAnAn - Slokam 106), 
and Lord's dayA will ensure that we are crowned by the glory of His 
Mercy,  accepted as His prapanna-s and given mokha.  This is unlike 
what we saw in the previous stotra-s, where he asks us to just even 
think of bhagavAn in those contexts.  This may be because His dayA is 
the base, the only requirement, but the necessary requirement without 
which we cannot cross the ocean of samsAra.

Guru paramparA dhyAnam:

	svAmi deSikan has devoted  8 out of the 108 Slokams in dayA Satakam 
for paying respects to guru paramparA, AzhvArs, sages such as 
parASara, vishvaksena, SrI devi, bhU devi, nIlA devi, and finally to 
that Ocean of karuNA, Lord SrInivasa, before starting the praise of 
His dayA.  This is probably because His dayA has been praised alike by 
the Acarya-s, AzhvArs, and sages like parASara and vAlmIki, and is at 
the same time the incarnation of SrI devi, bhU devi, and nIlA devi. 
  I noticed that in pAdukA sahasram, with its 1008 Sloka-s, SrI deSika 
has devoted only 4 Sloka-s that pay respects to the AcArya-s etc.  The 
first one starts with respect paid to all those who have had the good 
fortune to have had the sacred contact with the SrI SaThAri, the 
second one to SrI bharata who first showed us the greatness of His 
pAduka-s,  the third one to nammAzhvAr who bears the name of SrI 
SaThAri (tan-nAmAnam munim), and the fourth to sage vAlmIki who made 
bharata's worship of SrI rAma's SrI pAduka-s known to the rest of the 

SaraNAgati in dayA Satakam:

	In Slokam 59, svAmi deSikan points out that our great AcArya-s such 
as SrI bhAshya kArar and SrI YamunAcArya, induced by His dayA, have 
taught us that there is no better upAyam than SaraNAgati or prapatti 
for us to follow to reach His feet (yati-pati yAmuna prabhr*tayah 
bharanyasanAt adhikam hitam jagati nah na iti pratayanti).  In fact, 
even those who have succeeded in controlling their desires for earthly 
pleasures  through control of their mind find it difficult to attain 
moksha by observing all the a~nga-s or aspects of bhakti yoga, and are 
afraid of resorting to this path and instead choose the easy path of 
SaraNAgati  (Slokam 62).

There are several Sloka-s where SrI deSika has repeatedly expressed 
the anga-s of SaraNAgati in this stotram.  In Slokam 12, we see 
expression of kArpaNyam - absolute humility and realization of one's 
impurity partly acquired from countless birth etc.   Here he says that 
his sins (our sins) are so enormous in size that even summing up all 
the good deeds of everyone in this world will be like a fistful in 
comparison, and His dayA is the only hope.  One is reminded of the 
famous tamizh saying - kaRRadu kaim maNNaLavu kallAdadu ivvulagaLavu. 

In Slokam 10, he points out that dayA gives moksha to those in the 
category of aki~ncana nidhi, or those who have no other means (such as 
the ability to adopt the bhakti mArga etc.).  SrI sevA SrInivAsa 
rAghavAcArya in his commentary on dayA Satakam points out that 
aki~ncanyatvam is an a~nga of SaraNAgati, and it is only when  you 
reach this stage that the realization comes that SaraNAgati is the 
only means to attain the ultimate objective of this life.

	In Slokam 29, we again see the expression of kArpaNya, the extreme 
and utmost humility, when SrI deSika says that he is the epitome and 
foremost among people committing sins which require the intervention 
of His dayA for redemption.   Again, there is the surrender in Slokam 
32 - guNa lava rahitam mAm goptukAmA daye - His dayA wanting to 
protect us who do not have the slightest good in us.

Slokam 51 is interpreted by both SrI sevA SrInivAsa rAghavAcArya svAmi 
 and SrI A. V. gopAlAcArya svAmi as an expression of kArpaNyam, 
Aki~ncanyam or ananya gatitvam.  SrI deSikan points out that even a 
being (jantu here is interpreted as meaning that anyone and everyone 
is eligible for this without any prerequisite or constraint) who has 
done nothing to deserve His grace crosses the ocean of samsAra  by 
merely surrendering himself at His feet.

	Slokam 56 is another instance of kArpaNyam (absolute humility) or 
ananya-gatitvam  (the realization that there is no alternative except 
Him) which is a pre-requisite for kArpaNyam. The other means are 
described as mitampacA - yielding insignificant fruits, taraLA - 
transient, phala niyama ujjhitA - unpredictable in their ability to 
yield benefits, punah snatapanAya - resulting on more suffering after 
the transient benefit is enjoyed).   Slokam 58 is a restatement of 
ananya gatitvam and mahA viSvAsam, which says that those who are 
blessed eliminate from consideration the many small water reservoirs 
(bahushu jalASayeshu bahumAnam apohya), and instead will quench their 
thirst from the shower of His Grace which can remove the heat of 
samsAra (jani tApa harAm suvr*shtim upajIvya).  anya-devatA upAsana is 
what is referred to here in terms of bahushu jalASayeshu.

	While most of the above instances were instances of kArpaNyam, Slokam 
57 conveys three other anga-s of SaraNAgati - AnukUlya sankalpam (ony 
doing things that are conducive to attain His dayA),  prAtikUlya 
varjanam (giving up anything that is antagonistic to Him), and mahA 
viSvAsam (absolute and unshakable faith in Him).  SrI deSikan gives 
the simple parallel to the rule of the world - that a generous master 
is kind to those who are good to him, punishes those who are not loyal 
to him, and will always protect those who are loyal to him and do not 
commit acts that antagonize him.  When we know this is the rule of the 
world, there is no reason to doubt the vedic declarations that He will 
always protect those who observe the AnukUlya sankalpam and prAtikUlya 
varjanam towards Him.

	After describing the various instances of His dayA, svAmi deSikan 
concludes the sotram with an expression of SaraNAgati through its 
various aspects in Slokam-s 91 to 100.   These include Atma-nikshepaNa 
(placing oneself completely and directly under His care), mahA viSvAsa 
(irrepressible and great faith in Godhead),  kArpaNya (honest and 
absolute humility bordering on lowliness and honest awareness of one's 
own natural ignorance, impotence, and impurity), and goptr*tva (The 
deliberate choice of God as the sole protector).

To be continued in Part 2...

-dAsan kr*shNamAcAryan