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H.H. the 44th Jeeyar of AhObila Matam : AvaNi HASTHAM

From: Sadagopan (
Date: Tue Aug 25 1998 - 18:04:37 PDT

Dear BhakthAs :

Today is the blessed day of the Thirunakshthram of 
H.H , the 44th Jeeyar of AhObila Matam , Sri VaNN
SatakOpa Sri Vedantha Desika YathIndhra MahA Desikan .

He ascended the throne of Ahobila Matam at the age of
63 and occupied that sacred sthAnam for 35 years .
His kaimkaryam to build the southern Raaja Gopuram 
fro Sri RanganaathA will always be etched in the memory 
of Bhaktha kOTis .

Sri Jaganathan had translated and posted one of this
Jeeyar's  Upadesams today . It is an example of the scholarship 
of this great AchAryan . His parents had the names of 
Sri RanganAthan and Srimathi RanganAyaki( of the Sriranga 
Divya Dampathis ) . Our Jeeyar  was born when 
the constellation of Hastham was in ascendance 
during the Simha (AvaNi) maasam of ManmathA year . 
That year in the Western  calendar  was 1895 .
This Soumya (Azhagiya) Simham(Singam ) reached the Lotus 
feet of his divine parents , Sri Ranganaathan and 
Sri Ranganaayaki at Srirangam on August 16, 1992. 
He was 3 years  short of reaching the Veda PrAyam of 100 .

He has blessed us with 8 Sri Sookthis to remind us 
of the AshtAksharam . The 44th Jeeyar had performed his 
SaraNAgathi at the sacred feet of the 41st Jeeyar , 
Sri VaNN SatakOpa Sri Lakshmi Nrusimha SatakOpa
YathIndhra NahA Desikan ( 1854-1923) and was close to 
the Injimedu , DevanarviLagam Jeeyars (42nd and 43rd 
Jeeyars ) and performed Kaimkaryams for them and 
received their choicest blessings . 

I will celebrate the constellation of HASTHAM 
( the thirteenth lunar mansion , HasthA )under which 
he was born . Hastham or HasthA also means Hand as well as
the trunk of an elephant (Hasthi ) . The Lord's abode
in KanchIpuram is on a hi;;ock having the form of a
hasthi and hence is known as Hasthigiri in Sanskrit 
and Atthigiri in Tamil . We will focus on the symbolism 
of the meaning of Hastham or the Hand .

Acharya Hastham

An AchArya is known for his Hastha MudrA , which is
recognized as hamsa MudrA or UpadEsa MudrA . The Hamsa
MudrA ( signet ring ) in the hands of NammAzhwAr
was given to the first Azhagiya Singar , Adhi VaNN
SatakOpa Jeeyar by NammAzhwAr himself and is worn
by every Jeeyar of Ahobila Matam on their fingers .
Here the Hamsa MuidrA merged with the Upadesa MudrA
formed by the union of the thumb and the index finger .
These Acharya paramparai carries then the title of 
Parama Hamsa ParivrAjakas. 

Hatha Mudrais of BhagavAN and Devotee

Abhaya, Varadha , AahlAvana , Kati mudrais 
are generally seen on the HASTHAMS of the Lord 
at different divya desams .
The Hastham of Sri RangarAjan  holds the Abhaya
MudhrA and assures  us not to fear . SaraNAgathi 
Saasthram is taught by that hand gesture of our Lord . 
That very same Abhaya Hastham advises us not to do
SaraNAgathi again . 

The Bhakthan responds to that Abahya Hastham
with Anjali Hastham (mudrai ) or folded palms . It is 
said that the Heart of the Lord melts , when He sees 
the Anjali MudrA of the Bhakthan . In this context ,
smruthi says :

anjali: paramA MudhrA kshipram DevaprasAdhinI 
( Anjali MudhrA is nmost effective to result in
  very quick anugraham from the Lord ).
This hastha mudhrA is indicative of our KaarpaNyam ,
an essential angam of SaraNAgathi . Aakinchanyam
and ananya gathithvam are indicated by the mumkshu
and the Lord responds very quickly to that Hastha
mudhrA . This Hastha MudhrA of the devotee results in 
the removal of  all anishtams ( Inauspiciousness) 
that stand in the way of Moksham . Their happy 
status is described by the Passage from Saanthi 
Parvam of MahA Bharatham :

baddhAnjalipuDA hrushtA : nama ithyEva vAdhina:

(Meaning ) : Those  who were blessed to see the Lord
in SvEtha DhvIpam rising like thousands of AdityAs
in effulgence , folded their palms in Anjali MudhrA and 
stood wiht joy expessing Nama: sabdham .Anjali of
the Bhakthan is answered by the Lord with Abhaya 
Hastha Mudrai and accepted asBhakthan's prArhtanA pUrvaka 
vij~Apanam for RakshaNam .Anjali Hastham ( mudrA ) of a
devotee has prapatthi garbham ( holds Prapatthi prayer 
inside) according to Swami Desikan , who has blessed us 
with a special Rahasya Grantham called Anjali Vaibhavam .
The power of this anjali mudra formed by folding 
the two Hasthams in unison is indicated by the five 
fruits that it earns from the Lord :

aasu karithvam( Yielding fruit immediately )
asEsha DhOsha Nivarthakathvam ( Removal of all dhOshAs)
asEsha KalyANa kAraNathvam ) Yielding all auspiciousness)
anuBhandhi Rakshakthvam ( protecting all the kith and kin)
akshaya pala Prathatvam ( yielding undiminishing fruits )

Anjali mudrA is therfore understood as am+jalayathi or
the hastha mudrAi that melts the Lord's heart into water.
Swami Desikan prays for this Abhaya Hastham to shine 
forever in his heart .This prayer is addressed to 
Sri DevanAthan of ThiruvahIndhrapuram :

nithyAparAdha  chakithE hrudhayE madhIyE 
 dhatthAbhayam spurathi DAKSHINA PAANI PADMAM  

AhlAvana MudrA Of Telliya Singham

Bhagavan NarasimhA invites His dear Bhakthan ,
PrahlAdhan to come near with this Hastha Mudrai
at ThiruvallikkENi . NO body dared to go near
the Lord after HiraNyakasipu"s vadham . The most
merciful Lord singled out His parama Bhakthan and 
invited him to come near .

hastha Mudhrais of Sri Oppiliappan and SrinivAsan 

with His dakshiNa ( Right ) hastha mudrai , the Lord of 
BhUmi Devi shows His feet as the refufge for the Prapannan .
With His left hastha mudrai ( Kati hastham ) , He points 
out that for those who have sought His rakshakam , the 
samsAra Saagaram (ocean ) is only thigh deep and can be
waded comfortably to reach Him on the other shore . 

One can celebrate the KarAvalampanam by the Lord to
lift us up from the terrors of SamsAram and getting 
us close to His feet in parama Padham .Such is the Power of
Hastham of the Lord and the AchAryA , who leads us 
to the Lord .

I offer my deep salutations to the Mahaan , who 
was born under the constellation of hastham to
lift us up an ddeliver us unto the feet of 
Parama Padha Naathan in His Sri Vaikuntam .

AchAryan ThiruvadigaLE SaraNam ,
Tattai VaathUla SadagOpan