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SrI deSika stotrams - 5. dayA Satakam - Part 3.

From: Krishnamachari, N (Krish) (nkrish_at_lucent.com)
Date: Wed Apr 22 1998 - 16:03:35 PDT

		SrI deSika stotrams - 5. dayA Satakam - Part 3. 

SrI deSika the poet:

	svAmi deSikan's fame as the  kavi tArkika kesari is evident all
through the stotram.   An outstanding example of this is where he
presents dayA or Mercy as really merciless (Slokam 26 -karuNe nishkaruNA
nirUpaNe tvam), because she is cruel to the sins of the devotees which
are scared to death and run away in front of dayA!  Who but svAmi
deSikan can use the exact opposite extreme of the quality of dayA to
praise the extremely merciful nature of dayA?

 In the very first Slokam of the stotram, he personifies the huge
venkata giri as the result of the overflowing sweet karuNA or Mercy from
Him which has now solidified like a rock candy (ikshu sAra sravantyeva
yanmUrtyA SarkarAyitam).  In the next Slokam He describes the puNya
tIrtha-s in the Hills as the result of the overflow of His karuNA in the
form of AcArya paramparA, in which he takes his bath.  Thus, in this one
Slokam, he pays tribute to Lord SrInivAsa for His karuNA, to the puNya
tIrtha-s, and to the AcArya parampara at the same time, and very nicely
brings out the intimate and inseparable relation of these to each other.

His description of Princess dayA marching in grand procession with
j~nAna bearing the torch in front and the collection of the other guNa-s
following behind, and thus dayA being the principal center of attention
and attraction, is absolutely beautiful (Slokam 11). 

	In Slokam 29, he compares our sins as food for dayA, and appeals
to dayA saying that she better feed on his sins lest she suffer from
starvation, because the rest of the world together won't have committed
enough sins for her to take care of her hunger.  This is at the same
time an expression of his kArpaNya or humility, and of poetic genius.
He immediately follows that by equating himself with dayA  - that he is
the leader of all that is bad and His dayA is the leader of all that is
good ahamasmi aparAdha cakravartI, tvam ca guNeshu sArvabhoumI - Slokam
30), and challenges dayA to a 'duel' as it were, and establish Her
victory by subjugating him and taking him to the feet of the Lord!    

	The vyAkhyAna kartA-s have pointed out the rasam in Slokam 85
describing the trivikrama incarnation.  Here svAmi deSikan talks about
the 'anjanAdrISvara'  'stamping' all the beings in the three worlds with
the mark of His feet - anjanAdrISituh caraNa pa~nkajena a~nkitam.
anjana also means ink, and the Lord of anjana giri is the one stamping
all the beings of the three worlds with the a~njana that is the size of
His giri.   He is also the Lord of SeshAcala, and He is stamping the
beings without exception (aSesham).

The Greatness of His guNa of dayA or karuNA: 

	This is the main topic of the stotram, and starts from Slokam
10, and continues up to Slokam 100.  As I read the stotram and its
vyAkhyAnams, the following points registered in my mind the most about
Lord's guNa of dayA.   While singing the praise of this guNa, SrI deSika
personifies dayA in the form of dayA pirAtti who  intercedes with Him
constantly for the good of the devotees.

	1. Lord SrInivAsa's dayA is like a treasure to those who have
surrendered to Him and who cannot perform the austere bhakti yoga etc.
This concept of His dayA leading to moksham for those who have done
SaraNAgati is emphasized in several Slokam-s in the stotram.   His dayA
is referred to as aki~ncana nidhi - a treasure for the helpless who have
surrendered to Him (Slokam 10), samsAra tAriNI - one which helps in
crossing  the Ocean of samsAra (Slokam 14),  
 
In Slokam 20, svAmi deSikan points out that those who have surrendered
to His feet get moksha like a peasant who reaps his harvest without the
effort of ploughing his land (janimAn apavargam akr*shTa pacyam
anubhavati - Slokam 20).  Here the reference to a peasant who does not
go through the effort of ploughing etc. refers to those who cannot go
through the rigors of bhakti yoga etc., but who just resort to the
effortless means of SaraNAgati.

In fact, bhagavAn is sitting and waiting, guided by His limitless dayA,
for the devotee to just seek the protection of His feet, like a peasant
sitting on a high pedestal (tiruvenkata giri) watching the seeds that he
has sown (the jIvATmA-s), in anticipation  that the crop comes out good
(in the form of SaraNAgata-s) - Slokam 21.   Even when a devotee
surrenders to Him without knowing the greatness of this act, His dayA
takes care of this devotee and he gets moksham (Slokam 54). 

	2. The guNa of dayA is the leading guNa of the Lord, without
which all other guNa-s are of no avail in helping the devotee.  SrI
deSika describes this concept in different Sloka-s in different ways.  

In Slokam 11, he describes His guNa of j~nAna as the light that His dayA
uses to first identify those in need of His protection, and then dayA
takes over, and uses all His other guNa-s in full force to help the
devotee.  Thus dayA is in full control, and even the Lord just follows
whatever is dictated by dayA, which is nothing but the good of the
devotee. 

 In Slokam 15, he points out that in fact all the other guNa-s such as
His Sakti etc., will be detrimental to all of us in the absence of His
dayA.  Imagine what will happen to all of us in the absence of His dayA
if He uses His j~nAna, which reveals all our sins to Him, and then uses
His Sakti to rightly punish us for all our sins!  SrI deSika reiterates
this point in Slokam 25, where he points out that dayA is the only guNa
which can do only good to the devotee, whereas all the other guNa-s such
as vIrya, Sakti, etc. can come into effect both for helping the devotee
as well as for punishing those who commit offenses.

In Slokam 33, it is pointed out how His dayA protects one who has
surrendered to Him from all the sins even though all His other guNa-s
such as pakshapAta anabhi~jnam - being impartial etc., will result in
one's being punished for these sins.    

	
	3. Even His leelA-s such as pralaya are the act of His Mercy or
dayA so that the souls which are steeped in irredeemable sins are given
a fresh body and a fresh start (Sloka-s 16, 17).  So also, His anger at
the enemies of His devotee-s, such as hiraNyakaSipu, is subservient  to
the dayA of protecting the devotee.   Thus protection, rather than
destruction, is the intended action, just as the removal of weeds from
where the crop grows is just for the protection of the crops and not for
the destruction of the weeds.  (Slokam 24).   This concept is
re-emphasized in Slokam 52, where we are reminded that even the
sufferings that we undergo in this life are but an act of His dayA, just
to help us get back on track when we go off-track and commit sins. This
is referred to as "the hidden act of dayA" (abha~ngura gUDha gatih) to
help us think of Him, since it is not obvious that we will be made to
suffer as part of His act of helping us.     
        
	There are several examples (Slokam 64) which substantiate the
fact that His "punishments" only end up being a help to the recipient in
the end because this is the nature of His dayA.  kAkAsura who committed
an unforgivable offense received a punishment which spared him his life.
Sage paraSurAma received a punishment which cleared the path for him to
reach moksham.   samudrarAja received a punishment which ended up
destroying his enemies.
  
	4. Having re-created the world, it is His dayA again which has
given us the great treasure of the veda-s as a means to remove the
a~jnAna or ignorance in this world (Slokam 18).  Slokam 46 reinforces
this thought, where SrI deSika points out that induced by His dayA He
has extended His 4.  It is God's immense grace that He has given us the
Sastra-s as guide to us for realizing Him and for removing our aj~nAnam
(Slokam 18).   By His  dayA, He has extended His hand of help for those
who are struggling in the ocean of samsAra by revealing the different
veda SAkhA-s Slokam 46).  In Slokam 47, reference is made to bhagavAn
creating "sva SAstram" (interpreted as referring to the pA~ncarAtra) for
our benefit - again induced by His dayA - in order to make it easier for
us to reach Him than through the veda-s.    In parallel, He created the
mAyA Sastra-s also, just to mislead the enemies of His devotees away
from Him - mAyA SAstrANyapi tvat-prapanna pratIpAn damayitum, just as a
part of His leelA.  The point to note is that everything that happens is
because it is His will, and He does everything only for the benefit of
His devotees.

	5. His taking various incarnations is nothing but an aspect of
His dayA, even though many may consider that He takes these incarnations
as a part of His leelA.  In reality, He relieves the devotee who has
done SAraNAgati to Him from future births in this world, and instead He
assumes their future births and takes the various incarnations, even
though in this process He gets insulted by ignorant beings such as
rAvaNa, hiraNyakaSipu, SiSupAla, duryodhana, etc.  These incarnations
are just so more devotees can realize His dayA and surrender to Him and
be relieved of their sins.

	In fact, the five forms (antaryAmi, arcA, vyUha, vibhava, and
para vAsudeva form) that He assumes are all because of His dayA or Mercy
towards us, to make it possible for us to reach Him step by step
starting from the more easily accessible forms such as antaryAmi or
arca, ultimately leading to the para vAsudeva form (Slokam 73).
  
In this kali yuga (kali-jvalana durgate jagati - in this world which is
being tortured by the fire of kali), it is His sheer dayA towards us
that He has incarnated in the arcA form that is easily accessible to us
in places like vr*shAdri (Slokam 81).  SrI A. V. gopAlAcArya svAmi has
referred to one of SrI Sankara's  vyAkhyAna-s where he has pointed out
that it is His sheer dayA which rises like a water-laden cloud and pours
out its contents on us in the form of the different incarnations.  
To be continued.

-dAsan kr*shNamAcAryan