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SrI deSika stotra-s - 16. SrI devanAyaka pa~ncAsat - Part 1.

From: Krishnamachari, N (Krish) (nkrish_at_lucent.com)
Date: Sat Apr 03 1999 - 20:55:17 PST

		SrI deSika stotra-s - 16. SrI devanAyaka pa~ncASat - Part 1.

The name for this stotra is based on the fifty Sloka-s (there are actually
53) that this stotra contains in praise of SrI devanAyakap-perumAL in
tiruvahIndra puram.  svAmi deSikan was very devoted to this perumAL and
stayed in this kshetra for a long time and worshiped this arcA mUrti.  We
can still find the tirumALigai where svAmi deSikan lived, and the well from
which he got his water supply.

 Part 1 - Some Personal Thoughts:

My anubhavam is that this stotram is distinct from the previous 15 stotra-s
that we have reviewed so far.  In the previous stotra-s we have covered,
svAmi deSikan has either dealt with topics such as SaraNAgati (e.g., nyAsa
daSakam, nyAsa tilakam, nyAsa vimSati, etc.,), or with bhagavAn's dayA or
other aspects through which he has given us explicit and direct instructions
on the various aspects of our sampradAyam.  Compared to these, a major part
of the current stotram is dedicated by svAmi deSikan to express his thoughts
as he has the tirumeni of perumAL's arcA-mUrti in his mind. 

In my younger age, when I went to the temple and stood in front of bhagavAn,
I used to pray to Him to give me the ability to do well in my school,  good
buddhi, a good job, be paid well, etc.  As I grew up a bit, the prayer just
included the additional request to Him to give those around me who suffer
from any difficulty, relief from these difficulties by being in their
thoughts.  But it is always one of asking for something - give me this or
give me that or give me something else - so that everyone around me can be
comfortable and without suffering.   

It is in this context that when I go through the current stotram, I notice
two things:  1)  svAmi deSikan only thinks of the infinite kalyANa guNa-s of
bhagavAn as he has the mUrti of bhagavAn in his mind;  2) He also does not
ask for anything - he only offers all his imperfections at the Feet of the
Lord, and surrenders the responsibility for protecting him to bhagavAn
unconditionally - prapatti.

No matter what part of bhagavAn's tirumeni strikes svAmi deSikan's thought,
there is an association of bhagavAn's divya guNam that runs through the
great AcArya's mind.  For example, the nails in bhagavAn's divine hands
remind svAmi deSikan of bhagavAn's being ever-ready and prepared to protect
His devotees such as prahlAda, the nAbhI-kamalam reminds him of the creation
of brahma and all the other gods through him, the nails in bhagavAn's
tiruvaDi remind him of the association of these with the origination of the
river ga~ngA which became holy because of its birth from His Feet, the
thought of bhagavAn's udaram reminds him of the three worlds that bhagavAn
swallows at the time of pralaya and keeps in His stomach, and the dust
particles that have association with bhagavAn's tiruvaDi remind him of their
ability to grant salvation to anyone on whom they settle.

Also, svAmi deSikan is not asking for anything from bhagavAn unlike the
likes of me do.  Instead, he offers all his faults and sins at the Feet of
bhagavAn, and declares that this is the only wealth that he can offer to
bhagavAn.  He declares that these faults and sins are so huge that there is
nothing anyone except Him can do to relieve him from these, and totally and
unconditionally surrenders to bhagavAn the complete responsibility for
protecting him.  Thus he performs SaraNAgati. 

If I pick up even a small fraction of this anubhavam of his when I go and
stand in front of the arcA-mUrti in our temples from now on, I would have
benefited from my current effort of going through this stotram induced by my
AcArya's dayA. 

Part 2 - The stotram:

In this stotram, for the most part (30 of the 53 Slokam-s) svAmi deSikan
describes his thoughts as he meditates on the various parts of bhagavAn's
tirumeni, starting from His kirITam all the way down to His Sacred Feet.  In
the last 8 Slokam-s, he performs SaraNAgati to deva nAyakap perumAL, and
indicates the greatness of prapatti over bhakti as the fail-proof mArgam for
attaining the bhAgyam to do nitya-kaimkaryam to Him in this world and ever
after.  

In amalanAdipirAn tiruppANAzhvAr describes Lord ranganAtha's beauty in 10
short pASuram-s starting from His Lotus Feet, and as He describes His
beautiful eyes, he is captured by His overall beauty,  and becomes one with
the Lord and does not get to describe His kirITam.  svAmi deSikan in his
bhagavad-dhyAna sopAnam in 12 Sloka-s describes Lord ra~nganAtha similarly,
starting with His tiruvaDi.  In the current stotram, svAmi deSikan has the
anubhavam of devanAthap-perumAl starting from His kirITam all the way down
to His Lotus Feet in 30 beautiful Sloka-s.  As he sees the arcA-mUrti of
bhagavAn, his thoughts are swept by all the kalyANa guNa-s of bhagavAn, and
this storam is one in which we see the poet in svAmi deSikan revealed in
Slokam after Slokam.   In every one of these Sloka-s, he reminds us of
bhagavAn-s guNa-s such as His paratvam (kirITam), His being the object of
meditation for His devotees (the sweet, smiling face), etc.

He meditates on bhagavAn's kirITam, His beautiful dark hair, face, forehead,
the Urdhva puNDram, nose, ears, ear rings, lips, eyes, eyebrows, the
kaTAksham from His eyes as it falls on us, neck, hands, the Sa~nkha and
cakra, the abhaya hastam, the vaksha sthalam, the vyjayantI garland, udaram
(stomach), the nAbhI-kamalam, the waist-band, the majestic thighs, feet, the
fingers and fingernails of His feet, the knee, the ankle, and even the dust
from His Feet.  svAmi deSikan includes in his meditation bhagavAn's mind as
part of this meditation on His divya soundaryam.  Only selected portions of
the descriptions are included below.     

The kshetra is known as brahmAcalam (Slokam 10).  The reference here is to
brahma's penance in the saugandhya vanam in this kshetra.  In Slokam 11 the
kshetra is referred to as aushadha giri - the mountain where bhagavAn who is
the Medicine that removes the piRavip-piNi - the repeated cycle of births -
resides. 

There are four puNya tIrtha-s in this kshetra - Sesha tIrtha, bhUmi tIrtha,
garuDa tIrtha, and brahma tIrtha.
perumAL's tirunAmam is deva-nAyakan - God of all gods;  also known as
aDiyArkku meyyan - Truthful to His devotees - dAseshu satyah (Slokam 6);
amara adhipati - The chief of all deva-s.   One writer observes that the
first and last of the words of the stotra put together - praNata and
satyavAdI, lead to the meaning - adiyArkku meyyan.

Among the concepts that are brought to us by svAmi deSikan through this
stotra are the following:

1. BhagavAn is the Supreme God whom all the others gods worship, including
Siva and brahma (paSupati vidhi pUjyah - Slokam 1).  He is amara-adhipati -
daiva nAyakan - The Lord of all the gods (Slokam 8).

2. Our AcAryas' blessings are essential for the success of anything we do.
SrI deSikan shows us this by starting the stotram by paying obeisance to our
AcArya paramparA - starting with perumAL, and continuing with pirATTi,
vishvaksenar, nammAzhvAr, nAthamuni, SrI rAmAnujar, etc.  He continues with
his obeisance to the divine poets (vAlmIki, vyAsa etc.)., who have composed
the great works which are comparable to the veda-s (Sloka-s 2 and 3), and he
compares their works to the steps through which we can approach the Ocean of
Bhagavad-anubhavam without getting completely immersed and swept away in the
absence of these steps.  

In SrI dayA Satakam we had seen the similar concepts presented to us in
Slokam 2 (vigAhe tIrtha bahulAm ...), Slokam 3 (dhatte yat-sUkti
rUpeNa...),and Slokas-s 4 to 10 (AcArya paramparA dhyAnam).
     
3. pirATTi's purushakAratvam is brought out in Slokam 4.  Our Divine
Mother's recommendation or support is essential for us to reach bhagavAn. 

4. BhagavAn is aDiyavarkku meyyan (dAseshu satya iti nAmadeyam - Slokam 6) -
One who fulfils the wishes of His devotees without exception.  

5. BhagavAn is also a stava-priyan - One who likes being praised.   In
Slokam 7, svAmi deSikan refers to three of bhagavAn's guNa-s that are all
referenced in the same Slokam in SrI vishNu sahasranAma stotram  - stavyah,
stava-priyah and stotA. 

6. Our indestructible association with bhagavAn is beautifully described by
svAmi deSikan in Slokam 8.  It is like a wealthy person getting a bird for
his sport, tying a rope around its leg, letting it fly freely for some time,
and then getting the bird back to him in the end.  BhagavAn is so Merciful
towards us that even though He ties us in samsAra bandham and we try to fly
as far away from Him as we wish, He gets us back to Him in the end and saves
us.

      7.  The behavior of most of us in this world is very nicely portrayed
by poet svAmi deSikan in Slokam 9.  Just as a person who is scorched by
thirst may chase any mirage - false appearance of a source of water -
without being able to quench his thirst, we all chase the worldly
impermanent temporary pleasures thinking these are what will give us real
happiness.  But when the thirsty individual ultimately finds a real source
of cool water, he immerses heartily in this and has the real quenching of
his tApam.  So also, it is only when we find Him that our real thirst will
be quenched. 


8. In another poetic display, svAmi deSikan succinctly describes the para,
vyUha, vibhava, arcA, and antaryAmi forms of bhagavAn in one short Slokam
(Slokam 10), when he refers to the different places where bhagavAn dwells.
BhagavAn resides in SrI vaikunTham (divye pade), tirup-pAR-kaDal
(jala-nidhau), in the hearts of sAdhu-s as their antaryAmi (satAm svAnte),
in the middle of the sUrya maNDala (savtr*-maNDala madhya bhAge), and in
arcA form in brahmAcala kshetra - tiruvaindra puram, and of course in other
divya kshetra-s.

9. BhagavAn is the aushadham that cures the devotees who surrender to Him
from the disease of the cycle of birth - piRavip-piNi  - nata-janasya bhava
aushdham (Slokam 11).  

10. The puNya tIrtha-s in the divya kshetra-s are capable of removing the
sins and fulfilling the desires of those who take a dip in them with
devotion - vr*jina, durgati, nASanArhaih tIrthaih (Slokam 11).

11. The greatness and importance of purusha sUktam is explicitly mentioned
by svAmi deSikan in Slokam 15.  The purusha sUktam (tava sUktam-agryam)
which describes the creation of the world by Him starting with the creation
of brahmA, occurs in all four veda-s, and was revered by the likes of vyAsa
mahA-muni (vyAsAdibhir-bahumatam).

To be continued.

-dAsan kr*shNamAcAryan