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"SRI STHAVAM 4: " SHINING IN BORROWED FEATHERS!"

Ramanbil_at_aol.com
Date: Fri Feb 25 2000 - 13:59:49 PST

Dear Bhagavatas
Given below is SlOka 9 of Sri Sthavam by Sri KoorathAzhwAn in which he 
explains how the lesser divinities 'shine in borrowed feathers' granted by 
Periya PirAtti.
Dasoham
Anbil Ramaswamy
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"SRI STHAVAM 4: " SHINING IN BORROWED FEATHERS!"
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lOkE vanaspathi brihaspathi thArathamyam 
yasyAh: prasAda pariNAmam udhAharayanthi /
sA bhArathee bhagavathee thu yadheeya dhAsee
thAm dEva dEva mahisheem sriyam aasrayAmah: //
(Sri Sthavam SlOkam 9)

MEANING
"How do people distinguish between an ignorant king log of wood (vanaspathi) 
and the knowledgeable divine preceptor (Brihaspathi)?
- It is by virtue of the grace of All-knowing Saraswathi, revered as the 
Goddess of learning.

How does this All-knowing Goddess Saraswathi (Bhagavathi BhArathee) derive 
her knowledge?
- Because, she herself gains the blessings of the servitors (sA thu Yadheeya 
dhAsee) of Periya PirAtti (sriyam), by genuflecting before them, by serving 
them and by offering them obsequious prayers.

And, who is this Sree?
- She is the Queen consort (mahishi) of the Lord Supreme, Sriman NArAyaNa 
(dEva dEva).

But, what do we do?
We take refuge directly at the feet of this dEva dEva mahishee Herself!

COMMENT
In SlOka 2, AzhwAn prayed to ThAyAr for the grant of appropriate syntax and 
prosody (yukthAm bhAvaya bhArathee). 

Like granting wealth, AzhwAn confirms that PirAtti alone is capable of 
granting persuasiveness of speech etc.

ParAsara Bhattar also confirms that real wealth is "wealth of speech in 
praise of the Lord"- "ArthO VishNur iyam vANi".

Sage Sounaka also concurs referring to Sri -
" Let us bow to the one who is established eternally in all speech and sound"
"nathA: sma sarva vachasAm prathishTA yatra sAswathee"

Swami Desika in Sloka 7 of Sri Hayagriva StOtram asks-
DAkshiNyA ramyA girisasya moorthee dEvi sarOjAsana dharmapathnee /
VyAsadayO: api vyapadesya vAchA: spuranthi sarvE thava sakthi lEsai: //
Meaning
"Oh! Lord Hayagriva!
1. Lord Siva once sat under the shade of a Banyan tree and explained the 
Tattva arthas to the four sages- Agastya, Pulastya, Daksha and MarkeNDEya. 
How did he attain the status of a preceptor?
2. Goddess Saraswathi, the spouse of Lord Brahma grants the boon of learning 
to all those who propitiate her. From where does she derive this power to 
grant?
3. VyAsa, ParAsara, VAlmiki and other Maharishis have composed world famous 
works.  Many other great scholars have bequeathed to this world masterly 
works. How were they able to accomplish all this?"
And answers -
"They all could do so because they were blessed with an infinitesimal 
fraction of your grace".

The AchArya uses the word 'Sri" obviously based on the fact that the Samhitas 
of Rug, Yajur and Sama Vedas refer to "Sri" as connoting all this and more. 
"RuchO yajoomshi sAmAni"

It is also clear from the name "Sarva vAgheeswarEswara:" occurring in Sri 
VishNu SahasranAmam (808) that Sriya: Pathi is the Lord of all who have a 
mastery over all words". Since Sri is an integral part of Sriya: Pathi, the 
tribute applies to her equally. 

In SlOka 12 of Sri Sthuthi, Swami Desika cites several instances in which the 
glories of the galaxy of Goddesses in the Hindu pantheon derived their powers 
by receiving a minuscule droplet of the grace of Sri MahAlakshmi.

AsamsAram vithatham akhilam vAngmayam yadh vibhoothi:
Yad bru bringAth kusuma dhanushah knkarO merudhanvA /
YasyAm nityam nayana sathakai: Eka lakshyO mahEndra:
PadmE! ThAsAm pariNathir asou bhagha lEsAi tvadheeyai //
Meaning
"Oh! Periya PirAtti!
The glories of the great Goddesses were secured by your grace, for example
1. Saraswathi Devi who is hailed as the Goddess of learning, lords over not 
only the universe of letters and speech but also over Lord Brahma, the 
creator Himself!
2. PArvati Devi is the consort of Lord Siva. He is reputed to have conquered 
TripurAntaka by employing the very MahAmeru mountain as his bow (Meru 
dhanvA). But, he has become a slave to her and longs for her loving glance, 
smitten by Cupid's bow of sheer flowers (kusuma dhanusha:)!
3. IndrANi is the spouse of Lord Indra, the Lord of all the Devas. She is 
forever bewitching him since he is so enchanted by her that he never takes 
any of his thousand eyes off her!

With what charisma do these three mighty Goddesses so enslave their husbands 
and keep them under their spell?
It is because you willed it so, with a tiny little bit of your Sankalpam 
(bhAva lEsai:)

In Thirukkudanthai Desikan's Sri AparyApthAmrutha SopAnam, we find the 
following salutation to kOmaLavalli ThAyAr where he also refers as to how 
other deities derive their eminence from Sri.
BhArathI VandhithE ! PaarvathI nandhithE! VAsavI SEvithE ! Kaa SamA Devi thE 
?" 
meaning-
Oh ! DEvi  ! 
You are worshipped by Saraswathi . 
You bestow Joy on PArvathi. 
You are served by IndrANi . 
Is there anyone comparable to you?

 VEda VyAsa, while offering his obeisance to Sarasawathi before commencing 
his magnum opus "MahAbhAratha" does so, only after invoking the blessings of 
Sriya: Pathi. 
Narayanam namaskrithya naram chaiva narOthamam /
Deveem saraswatheem vAcham thathO jayam udheerayEth //

It is clear from the above that all these Achrayas and Maharishis are 
unanimous in declaring that all other divinities "shine in borrowed feathers" 
- shine because of the grace granted by Periya PirAtti and Sriyah Pathi.

AzhwAn goes one step further saying that they shine not from the direct grace 
of ThAyAr but from the grace of ThAyAr's servitors (yadheeya dAsee)
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To Continue: SRI STHAVAM 5: "DESIRELESS AZHWAN DESIRES WEALTH!"
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